More Virtual Assistant Business Quick Make-Over Tips

  • Join at least one online networking site, which can be a strictly business site like LinkedIn or Ecademy, or more social site (but often equally effective) such as Facebook and Twitter. Don’t forget as a ‘virtual’ worker you can work with anyone, anywhere.
  • Send your existing clients a questionnaire. Ask them what they like about your service and what they would like to see added. If they are happy clients, ask them for referrals to other potential clients.

Virtual Assistant Business Quick Make-Over Tips

You know how it is, you’ve been in business for a few years, you’ve got a few clients on your books, but things are feeling a bit stale.

Do you feel that your business needs a Gok Wan style make over for the new year, but where do you start? The following is a series of tips for a virtual assistant business revamp.

  • If you’re not already doing it, create pre-paid packages to entice clients to pay in advance for blocks of time. They benefit from a small discount, you benefit from not having to chase overdue invoices and increased budgeting capacity.
  • Join a local networking group to gain local visibility and meet some like minded small business owners. Don’t forget to follow up after events and meet up with contacts outside the events too.

Virtual Assistant Website Mistake 10

A website that is “me” focused.

While back in part 1 of this series we talked about personalising your website, don’t spend all of it talking about yourself and how wonderful you are? Although your visi­tors need to know a bit about you, what holds their interest is the knowledge that you understand their problems and issues and have ready-made solutions that resolve those problems. Your visitor will always ask, “WIIFM?” (What’s In It For Me). Answer that question by making your web site about your visitor, not about you.

If you are not sure how to WIIFM your text, hire a professional sales copy writer if you can afford it or try the following format:
Do you struggle with getting your VAT return in on time, we offer a full book keeping service which means that your VAT return will never be late again and you will save expensive fines and a whole lot of stress.

Replace the italics with their pain followed by your solution and the bold italics are your WIIFM.

In summary: Your web site can function as an attractive online brochure, or it can be a client-generating tool to help you grow your business. As a virtual assistant, you need to generate clients from your website in order for your business to be successful, make the necessary changes and you will get more clients online.

About the Author:

Justine Curtis is the director of her own successful virtual assistant business My Virtual Assistant http://www.my-va.com and founder of The UK Association of Virtual Assistants (UKAVA) which offers free resources and information to its subscribers – sign up at http://www.ukava.co.uk. Justine is the author of Setting Yourself Up As A Virtual Assistant and is delighted to be able to pass on the benefits of her vast experience of the VA role to aspiring and progressive virtual PAs as a co-founder of the VA Success Group. If you are thinking about starting a virtual assistant business, visit http://vasuccessgroup.co.uk

Virtual Assistant Website Mistake 9

No testimonials or case studies to demonstrate your expertise.
One of the easiest ways you can create customer confidence in you and your business is to post testimo­nials on your web site. Don’t even think of writing these yourself (I’m sure you wouldn’t) but ask your clients to write something that clearly states what you do for your client and how working with you has improved their business or life, etc.

If you are new to virtual assisting and don’t yet have clients you can ask for testimonials, prepare some case studies outlining a problem and how your ser­vice helped solve it. These case studies are also very powerful in convincing a potential client that you can do what you claim.

Virtual Assistant Website Mistake 8

Lack of additional resources and links.
One way to gauge the usefulness and helpfulness of a business is to have a look at their websites resources and links section. For example, the Resources and Links section of the UKAVA website lists a whole range of resources to help new and established virtual assistants and they are often featured in my email newsletter. In many cases the Association receives no compensa­tion for the resource I recommend—I just know that it’s the best source to do a particular task.

Your clients want the same help and advice from you. The more you know about your industry, its problems, and how to find solutions – whether you offer the solution or not – the greater the perception of your expertise and, consequently, the greater value you offer your client.

Virtual Assistant Website Mistake 7

Copying every other virtual assistant web site.

As part of vetting the websites that we list on the UKAVA Directory, I have the job of personally checking every potential members website before it is added. It is quite obvious in a lot of cases that virtual assistants have simply visited the websites of their competition and formatted their own site in a similar fashion, but with their own information. I have found elements of my own VA website and articles on many of them, one time even finding a whole website that contained nothing but my website text added to a different design. The designer was blamed for this and it was soon changed but you see my point.

Don’t fall victim to such behaviour and make sure you pique your readers interest by injecting your personality throughout your site. Give visitors a great experience of “you” when they visit. And, flagrantly flaunt your Unique Selling Proposition (USP), so that your visitor instantly realises why they should do business with you instead of your competitor.

Virtual Assistant Website Mistake 6

Not mentioning what makes you different, your USP.

When I’m doing online research for a particular product or service, I want to know right away what makes any company unique or different from their competition. Most virtual assistant websites just display a whole list of services they provide. While I agree that you do need to let your prospects know all the bases you can cover, if you love designing databases or have a passion for project management, tell the world about it on your website.

The beauty of this is that you will then tend to attract clients that need those services so you will be doing more of what you love. How great is that?

Virtual Assistant Website Mistake 5

Missing or hidden contact information.
Have you ever visited a web site that you think offers the ideal solution to your problem, but you’ve got one question to ask before mak­ing your purchasing decision? You go to the Contact Us page to look for the phone number or an email address, and all you find is a contact form to send your question. How annoying is that. There you were, credit card in hand, and already to buy and now you have to fill out a form and wait…

Web site owners are often reluctant to have their contact info readily available on the web site, as they fear having their email address harvested by spam­mers or having their phone number added to a telemarketing list. There are ways to lessen the likelihood of either issue by using an email spam filter on your computer and, if you a residential line for business, registering the number with the Telephone Preference Service.

Virtual Assistant Website Mistake 4

Not Turning Your Website Visitors Into Prospects.

Lots of virtual assistants complain that they get a lot of visitors to their website, but few of them convert into customers. Most marketing texts will tell you that it takes approximately 7 ‘touches’ for a prospect to decide to buy something from you. A visit to your website is just one touch. If you don’t have a system in place for capturing information about your website visitors so you can keep in touch with them, when they are ready to buy they will simply purchase from someone else they have got to know, like, and trust online.

The best tool you can have in place for this purpose is an email newsletter. You can create a regular publishing schedule to be in touch with your contact database, and you can easily demonstrate your expertise via the articles you write and resources your provide.

Virtual Assistant Website Mistake 3

Nothing to demonstrates your expertise.

Virtual Assistant websites often boast about how profi­cient they are at solving their clients problems and I’m sure that they do, but where’s the proof?

If you’ve been in business for awhile, you’ve got a good idea of the many problems your customers face, so providing relevant content that addresses these problems moves you into “expert” status. If you are an expert prove it by publishing articles, free downloads and resources for your prospects and clients.

Don’t think of it as giving away your expertise for free — think of it as developing a better educated consumer for your services and products. Will you lose customers because they read your information and implemented the solution without hiring you? It’s possible but unlikely because most prospec­tive customers are unable to do it on their own and will need your expert assistance to help them solve their issues.

Virtual Assistant Website Mistake 2

A Lack of a clear call to action on each website page.

Have you ever been to a web site and been completely overwhelmed with all the directions you can go from the home page? There’s navigation buttons left and right and so many options you don’t know where to go next? Then in frustration you click back to the search results and go on to another website. Sound familiar?

Or perhaps you have found a website that had some interesting content or answered some of your questions but you weren’t ready to buy what you were researching just yet. You want to remember the site for future reference but you’re not sure if you’d find it again. You may bookmark it but if it had a newsletter or a free download of some kind you’d sign up just so that you know they’d contact you from time to time and you wouldn’t have to go looking for them next time.

The most effective call to action you can have on your home page and every other page of your website is to offer something for free, whether it’s an eBook, Newsletter, White Paper or Report, but something useful that’s attractive to your target market so that they’ll be eager give you their name and email address to receive your offer.

Many times the call to action is to telephone or email the business for a free consultation. That call to action is effective to some degree, especially if someone is shopping for an immediate solution to their problem. Overall, however, people want more time to make a deci­sion about doing business with you. They want to determine your credibility and make a decision about whether or not they trust you before deciding to have a personal conversation with you. Expecting someone to call you upon first meeting you (viewing your web site) is not very realistic. However, if they’ve seen enough on your site to want to know a little more, there’s a greater likeli­hood they will part with a tiny bit of personal info (first name and email address) to get a better sense of who you are while staying anonymous…and without making a commitment. Once you have their contact information, they then become a prospective client, and you can market to them as you would to any other prospect in your business.

Virtual Assistant Business Make-Over Tips

Write regular press releases and send them to publications aimed at your target market. Even if your particular story is not run, you will be seen as the expert in your field and may be approached later.

For more tips, sign up to our monthly newsletter at: http://www.ukava.co.uk

Virtual Assistant Business Make-Over Tips

You know how it is, you’ve been in business for a few years, you’ve got a few clients on your books, but things are feeling a bit stale.

You feel that your business needs a Gok Wan style make over, but where do you start?

If you’re not already doing it, create pre-paid packages to entice clients to pay in advance for blocks of time. They benefit from a small discount, you benefit from not having to chase overdue invoices and increased budgeting capacity.

For more tips, sign up to our monthly newsletter at: http://www.ukava.co.uk

Tips For Survival In An Economic Downturn

If you are still feeling the effects of the economic downturn, try the following tips from Doug Richard, entrepreneur and Dragon.

6. BUSINESS SURVIVES ON THE BOTTOM LINE. NOT THE TOP LINE

Don’t worry about growing revenue. Worry about growing profit…. Make sure you understand what drives profitability in your business. To spur demand, you may have to get creative with pricing and product offerings, and you don’t want to put something out there that is actually unprofitable.

Consider diversifying to make the most of potential opportunities. Others’ weaknesses and instability could work to your advantage. You never know – you may identify a new market.

You can find more free advice and useful resources like this at www.venturenaviagtor.co.uk

Tips For Survival In An Economic Downturn

If you are still feeling the effects of the economic downturn, try the following tips from Doug Richard, entrepreneur and Dragon.

5. TALK TO YOUR LENDERS
If you have debt financing, stay in communication with your creditors. Don’t wait until it’s too late before speaking with your lender. When you are already in a crisis and haven’t provided any warnings, situations may prove tricky. Maintain constant communication. It will help you should you ever need to renegotiate terms.

Tips For Survival In An Economic Downturn

If you are still feeling the effects of the economic downturn, try the following tips from Doug Richard, entrepreneur and Dragon.

4. YOU CAN ALWAYS CUT MORE

You can forecast expenses, you can’t forecast revenue. Look for places to cut expenses. When times are good, companies tend to add staff and expenses that are nice to have, but not critical. It’s time to take a fresh look at those.

Keep focus on core markets and spend money solely in those areas. Avoid putting cash and time into areas that have proven less profitable.

Many companies begin by cutting advertising / marketing budgets. This can be a mistake. Instead of cutting these budgets, review the methods you are using. Are there more cost effective routes to market? Does your current strategy bring in the right results? If not, rework your efforts to deliver the best possible results

Tips For Survival In An Economic Downturn

If you are still feeling the effects of the economic downturn, try the following tips from Doug Richard, entrepreneur and Dragon.

3. DON’T DEPEND ON ANYONE

Keep a close eye on your suppliers, and have alternatives. In a downturn, some of your suppliers may become troubled as well, and you need to think about alternative sources for your critical inputs.

Tips For Survival In An Economic Downturn

If you are still feeling the effects of the economic downturn, try the following tips from Doug Richard, entrepreneur and Dragon.
2. COLLECT WITH PASSION

On a related point, manage receivables aggressively. Businesses are holding on to their cash longer than before, resulting in late payments. These late payments are having a ripple effect through the SME community. Receivables will trend up, and some of your customers may become troubled as well. Don’t keep extending credit.

Tips For Survival In An Economic Downturn

If you are still feeling the effects of the economic downturn, try the following tips from Doug Richard, entrepreneur and Dragon.

1. CASH IS KING

Manage cash – if you’re out of cash and out of credit, you’re out of business. You need a good 13 week cash forecast, generated NOT from the income statement but from a detailed understanding of receipts and disbursements. Monitor trends in your cash flow to keep on top of any sticky situations.

Creating a Great First Impression

Do What You Say, When You Say You Will
It sounds obvious but make sure you follow up. If you have said you will send through a contacts details, make sure you do it. If you have arranged to send through more information by the end of the day, make sure you do. Nothing will kill a relationship faster than not following up as and when you say you will.

For more tips to running a successful virtual assistant business, sign up for free at http://www.ukava.co.uk/html/news.html

Creating a Great First Impression

What Else Can You Add of Value?
When you are meeting a prospect or attending a networking event you will understandably be focused on what you can get out of the experience. But be prepared to give a little too. It could simply be making an introduction to another of your contacts that could be useful to your prospect or offering a free piece of advice or your expert opinion. Small helpful acts like this will create a great impression and ensure you are memorable to your prospect.

For more tips to running a successful virtual assistant business, sign up for free at http://www.ukava.co.uk/html/news.html

Creating a Great First Impression

Make Yourself Clear
Make sure you are prepared for the specific situation. If you are attending a networking group, make sure you have perfected your one minute presentation and are prepared to speak to prospects on a one-to-one basis and have a ready answer to the inevitable question ‘What do you do’. If meeting a prospect who knows a little more about you and your business, make sure you are clear on what you are offering and how your service works and be prepared to explain this in simple terms with out jargon.

For more tips to running a successful virtual assistant business, sign up for free at http://www.ukava.co.uk/html/news.html

Creating a Great First Impression

As the old saying goes, you only get one chance to create a good first impression. When you are running your own business, it’s imperative that within the first few seconds of meeting you or being introduced to your business, you create a great first impression. In the following series, we’ll give you some simple tips that will have the prospects that you meet being impressed by you, liking you and, critically, wanting to do business with you.

Looking Good?
Is your blouse ironed or are your shoes in need of a polish? It may sound immaterial but in the eyes of your potential client the care you take over your appearance symbolises the level of care and attention to detail you would take over their work. If you turn up with chipped nail polish and lipstick on your teeth they may wonder if you going to send out their letters with spelling mistakes or send emails to the wrong people. Make time to check your appearance before meeting your prospects.

For more tips to running a successful virtual assistant business, sign up for free at http://www.ukava.co.uk/html/news.html

Virtual Assistant Tips – Getting Those First Clients Part 1

When starting your virtual assistant business, after getting together all you equipment, getting excited over your business cards and web site, there comes the sudden realisation that here you are, all ready to go and there isn’t actually a queue of people knocking down your door to work with you. Yikes!

One of the questions I’m asked most often is ‘Where do you get your clients’. Usually the question is asked by new start up virtual assistants, but more recently I’ve been asked by more established VA’s who have struggled during the recession. Newbies have generally spent lots of time putting together their business by purchasing equipment and organising their office, but have forgotten the fundamentals of putting together their marketing plan. Then when they are all set up and ready to go and have opened their virtual doors to the world they find that the phone isn’t ringing and the email Inbox isn’t full of enquiries. More established VA’s, once they have enough clients, put marketing on the back burner until such a time as they need to look for new clients again.

If either of these sounds like you, you need to develop a marketing plan, and fast. Firstly take a long hard look at your contacts and include everyone you’ve ever worked with, all your contacts through previous businesses if appropriate and family and friends. What contacts do you already have that you can ask for referrals? If you are already running a VA business, when did you last ask your clients for referrals? Don’t discount anyone because you think they wouldn’t need your services. They may well know someone who does.

Next take stock of all the skills you have and the industries you have worked in or that interest you. Consider what services can you offer and to whom? If you have been a book keeper with an IT firm for many years, you are going to find it far easier to offer your virtual book keeping services to other IT firms as you know something about their market and their ‘language’. If you target an industry or sector you have experience of, you will be seen as the virtual assistant who is an expert in this field and have an advantage over any other VA.

Join us here for part two of this article on 24th August

Virtual Assistants – Stay Focussed On Your Business Goals 5

You should allot a certain portion of your day to email and to regular mail. For example, allot one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon to handling all your written communications. Unless you dedicate specific time slots to the handling of email and post, you will soon find yourself on the downward slope of decreased productivity as you constantly check and respond to email to put off whatever you should be doing.

In a nutshell:
In the end, the success of your VA business is entirely and completely reliant upon you and the decisions that you make. Success is within your reach, if only you can stay focused on your goals. You must decide to reach for your goals, and then, you must have the discipline necessary to reach them.

For more advice on running a successful virtual assistant business, subscribe to UKAVA: In The News here: http://www.ukava.co.uk/html/news.html

Virtual Assistants – Stay Focussed On Your Business Goals 3

When you are dealing with family in the course of your workday, it is important to schedule your activities as much as possible. With small children, you must take time when you need to, but you should also work hard to make sure you dedicate a specific number of hours to your workday.

For more advice on running a successful virtual assistant business, subscribe to UKAVA: In The News here: http://www.ukava.co.uk/html/news.html

Virtual Assistants – Stay Focussed On Your Business Goals 2

Remember that owning your own business is not the same as being employed in a job. Some people go to work and coast along, playing games or enjoying online social networking (Facebook and co.), some socialise over the kettle or printer, and others, most often those who are paid in a commission or tip environment, go to work to work and to make money. When you work for yourself, what you make in terms of money is directly proportional to your productivity. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense to stay focused on getting as much done in as short of a period as possible?

Go to work to work and to make money. Leave socialising for when your workday has ended.

For more advice on running a successful virtual assistant business, subscribe to UKAVA: In The News here: http://www.ukava.co.uk/html/news.html

Virtual Assistants – Stay Focussed On Your Business Goals

As the owner of a Virtual Assistant business, you will find hundreds of distractions that vie for your time, energy and focus. Common distractions can include children, family and friends, neighbours, pets, constant telephone calls, mail and deliveries, household chores, television (Lorraine Kelly or Loose Women anyone?) and so many more.

As the owner of your own Virtual Assistant business, you must always remember your purpose in bringing your profession home. What was your reason for wanting to own your own home based business? Was your goal to work from home so that you can share more in the lives of your children? Was your goal to be out from under the rule of a dictatorial boss? Was your goal to have the freedom to work when it is convenient for you? Was your goal to reap the rewards of your efforts and make lots of money working for yourself?

Whatever your reasons for starting your VA business, the following series will give you a few tips that will help you stay focused:

1. Whatever your reason for going out on your own, you must keep your reason in the forefront of your mind. If you forget your reason for starting your own Virtual Assistant business, you will not be working for yourself for long. It is far too easy to let circumstance drive you and when circumstance is in the driver’s seat, you are more likely to crash and burn.