How to Use Zapier to Manage Your Notifications

How to Use Zapier to Manage Your Notifications

How to Use Zapier to Manage Your Notifications

Small business owners and entrepreneurs tend to be technologically savvy. They understand that managing a business with the least resources as possible will help them grow as fast as possible.

If you consider yourself as a tech-savvy entrepreneur, you should use or allow your Virtual Assistant to use Zapier. The tool allows you to manage notifications and alerts without having to check your email calendar. What makes this app great is its compatibility with other 3rd party apps. You can link the tool with apps such as Google, MailChimp, Dropbox, Evernote, Social Media and even get notifications for articles and publications online.

The tool has three features:

1) Get Notified About Important Events

Wouldn’t you want to get notified when you receive an email from an important client? Or how about a reminder to attend a special event?

You’re probably currently using a calendar, your CRM and other apps to monitor notifications. Although it works, using too many apps can distract you from your work and result in missed opportunities.

Zapier helps entrepreneurs handle all their notifications in one place with their notification feature. It monitors all your critical apps and lets you know when something has changed. You can choose to receive notifications via chat, SMS, email or push notification.

2) Discover Problems Quickly

If your server goes down or any of your critical systems stop working, you may experience some downtime. Zapier can help you get notifications when you experience system outages. It can even send a notification to all your customers automatically.

3) Record Your Team’s Most Important Activities

The Zapier dashboard is perfect for businesses to:

  • Monitor orders and shipping
  • Monitor blog subscribers
  • Monitor sales
  • And much more

VA Connect helps you become more tech-savvy with tips and tricks to grow your business without growing your staff. Plus, we provide affordable Virtual Assistants to help you get stuff done. Contact us for more information.

5 Great Ways to Get Started with Your Virtual Assistant

5 Great Ways to Get Started with Your Virtual Assistant

5 Great Ways to Get Started with Your Virtual Assistant

So, you’ve just hired your first Virtual Assistant, congratulations!

Now, because you will be working together virtually, there are a few steps you must take to get your assistant up and running. Although you won’t have to worry about office space, you must spend some time setting him/her up with the right tools to do the job.

Here are five great ways to get started with your Virtual Assistant:

1. Training and Development

Due to the nature of the work (online and not in person), giving clear instructions and expectations is essential.

Training material– Develop training material, how to’s and step-by-step instructions on how your Virtual Assistant should do his/her job.  Remember the reason you employed a Virtual Assistant is to save you time, therefore, make sure he/she is properly trained to work independently.

Expectations document– Outline what work you expect daily. Do you require him/her to send 10 emails by 5 pm daily? Make sure it is clearly outlined in this document.

Performance measurement– Describe how and when you will measure your Virtual Assistant’s performance. Remember to tie KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) to the expectations document. Also, make sure KPI’s are realistic. You can determine this by getting feedback from your new Virtual Assistant. Ask him/her if they agree to the KPI’s and work together to set a good way to measure performance.

2. Remuneration

Of course, your Virtual Assistant must be paid. You can set up a payment method that works best for the both of you. Consider extra charges with the method you choose. Popular payment methods are PayPal, Skrill and Payza.

3. Apps and Tools

To work effectively, your Virtual Assistant will need the following common tools:

  1. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software
  2. Emailing Platform
  3. Messaging Platform
  4. Accounting Software
  5. Meeting Platform
  6. Document Management System

There are certain apps that can make working virtually seemingly easy. Read our blog on five apps and tools that every virtual business should have.

4. Virtual Phone System

Since you’re running a virtual business, you will need a virtual phone system that will allow your Virtual Assistant to make calls without using his/her private phone while giving you the opportunity to monitor calls.

Setting up a virtual phone system is easy. All you have to do is:

5. Shared Calendar

Finally, the best way to know what your Virtual Assistant is busy with daily is to setup a shared calendar. You can use Google Calendar which can be easily synchronized with Outlook. This calendar can be edited in real time and accessed via your PC or mobile, making it a popular alternative for small business owners.

5 Must-have Tools to Run Your Business More Efficiently

5 Must-have Tools to Run Your Business More Efficiently

5 Must-have Tools to Run Your Business More Efficiently

Every business requires six elements to operate efficiently:

  1. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software
  2. Emailing Platform
  3. Messaging Platform
  4. Accounting Software
  5. Meeting Platform
  6. Document Management System

If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, you can use these five tools to run your business more efficiently:

Zoho (CRM Software and Emailing Platform)

Zoho is a free CRM software for up to 10 users that can help businesses start, build and cultivate relationships with their customers.

Some features of this tool:

  • Lead gathering
  • Contract management
  • Workflow automation
  • Analytics
  • Social collaboration by letting you see your team’s social media updates within the tool
  • Email
  • Premium features at no extra cost
  • No service contract required

For a CRM system that enables more than 10 users, try Salesforce.

Slack (Messaging Platform)

Slack is a messaging tool for the modern business. It allows team members to stay connected wherever they are. If you’re keen on speaking in hashtags and staying connected wherever you go, this is the tool for you.

Features of this tool:

  • Channels that help you to organise your team conversations into different projects, topics or anything else you choose
  • Private and Public messaging options
  • One-on-one or group calls
  • Drag, drop or share files
  • Multiple team options

Wave (Accounting Platform)

Wave is an accounting software that helps make chasing payments, tracking expenses and managing employees easier.

Features of this tool:

  • Create and send invoices
  • Track invoices and payments seamlessly
  • Analyse expenses by linking your bank account
  • Pay your team easily from anywhere

Zoom (Meeting Platform)

If you’re running a virtual business, you’re going to have to find a way of meeting with colleagues and clients. Zoom is a video and web conferencing service that helps you schedule and host meetings effortlessly.

Features of the tool:

  • Online call and video meetings
  • Cross-platform messaging and file sharing
  • Build collaboration-enabled conference rooms
  • Screen-sharing

OwnCloud (Document Management System)

OwnCloud is an easy-to-use tool that makes document storing and retrieval easy. It’s the perfect solution for a virtual office.

Features of this tool:

  • Installs in your data centre
  • Share files securely
  • Real-time document updates

What tools are you currently using to run your business more efficiently?

How to Get Business Support from Your Family

How to Get Business Support from Your Family

How to Get Business Support from Your Family

Managing a start-up company can be difficult. In the beginning you might have to rely on friends and family to support your business. It is with their assistance that you can have the initial resources needed to succeed.

Some entrepreneurs do not  ask their family for support in fear of rejection. These 5 steps to requesting support will be able to give you more confidence in getting business support from your family:

Step 1. Draw up a business plan or proposal

The best way to show that you are serious with your business is to draw up a business plan  and a proposal for your family members. Include expectations, costs, revenues and milestones. Your family needs to know whether you are requesting financial or non-financial support.

Your proposal should summarize the 4 W’s and an H- why, where, when, who and how? Your family might not understand what your business niche is, therefore your proposal needs to be written in simple language.

Step 2. Get a mentor and build your confidence

Getting a mentor who owns a successful business can assist you to deal with possible rejection from family members. A mentor will motivate you to succeed, offer tips and train you in the business field.

The 7 habits of highly effective people(Stephen R. Covey) are to be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put things first, think win-win, seek first to understand then to be understood, synergize and sharpen the saw. These 7 habits can help build your confidence in business if practiced regularly.

Step 3. Set up the minimum business requirements

Before you contact your family members for support, make sure that you have acquired all the minimum resources and skills that you need to operate. This will show your family members that you are serious about your business.

Step 4. Compile a contact list

It is important to compile a list of all the family members that you will contact. Gather general information such as their occupations, locations and family life. For example you don’t want to ask a “struggling uncle” for support; therefore do some proper research before you contact your family members.

Step 5. Push for a commitment

Once you have compiled the contact list, start calling to schedule meetings. Take your proposal with you along with any possible questions that you can anticipate.

Push for a commitment at the meeting, not forcefully, but assertively. Your family already knows you, so it would not be viewed as offensive if you are a little bit assertive.

If you are calling a family member that you haven’t talked to in a while make sure that you don’t go straight into business talk. Make a first call to discuss family, interests, updates, etc. and then make a second call a couple of weeks later to inform them of your business.


Put these 5 steps into action and be sure to give us feedback on your results. Never lose your will to succeed because perseverance makes a difference between those who succeed, and those who don’t.

Top Business Hacks for Successful People

Top Business Hacks for Successful People

Top Business Hacks for Successful People

When asked to describe the word success, often times people will say things like a successful person drives a big fancy car and lives in a mansion with a pool. For others success is quite simply achieving a milestone or being debt free.

What does success look like to you? As an evolved human being we constantly strive to better ourselves and keep learning. So I want to take this opportunity to fast track you to some of the business hacks that successful people practice every single day.

  1. They are organised and keep a daily planner.
  2. They don’t see problems, only opportunities to come up with solutions.
  3. They are excessively driven and focussed when it comes to tasks, projects and business.
  4. They are exceptionally motivated and love what they do (hobbies that end up becoming successful and profitable).
  5. They relentlessly stick to the plan, no matter their financial, material or emotional state.
  6. They show daily gratitude for everything in their lives.
  7. They speak respectfully of others and treat them with respect.
  8. They surround themselves with a great support team and at the same time show support to other entrepreneurs.
  9. They network on a weekly basis and build important business relationships.
  10. They enjoy work life balance and in so doing take proper care of themselves.
  11. They surround themselves with smart people with greater skill sets.
  12. They focus on one thing at a time (no more multitasking!)
  13. They focus on their customer’s needs and take the time to listen and implement.
  14. They find inspiration from other successful people and learn to have big vision.
  15. They build with the end in mind making sure that they follow that vision and stay true to their ultimate goals.

What are your business hacks to greater success? We would love to hear from you!