4 Signs that Show You Need to Get Rid of Your Office Assistant
Entrepreneurs generally hire Office Assistants as one of their first employees. This is because as their business grows, they realise that they need someone to help with the workload. Office Assistants are a perfect choice because these employees can do it all. From running your errands to filing your documents, there is not much that’s off the charts for these dynamic workers.
Nonetheless, there are certain instances when Office Assistants are no longer relevant and one may need to end the relationship. Here are times when an Office Assistant may not be the best choice for your business:
1. You have a ‘shoestring’ budget
If you’re really struggling to get your business off the ground or you’re a startup that needs to save on costs, don’t hire an Office Assistant. Hire a Virtual Assistant instead. In so doing, you get the same or even better quality of work without having to worry about paying for office space, hardware and software to get her going. You also don’t have to worry about employee benefits such as pension funds, travel allowances and medical funds.
In addition, you only pay for the hours worked. This way, you avoid unproductive employees.
The exception to this rule would be if you really need someone at your premises to pack goods or ship certain items. In that case, an Assistant is necessary, but if you can do everything virtually, that will save your business on employee costs.
2. You need a flexible employee
Entrepreneurs are super busy, and I’m sure you are too. As expected, there may be times when you need some urgent work done and can’t call on your Office Assistant because she only works set hours.
Virtual assistants offer that flexibility. You can hire one when you need and as you need her.
3. You like your space
Introverts are known to appreciate their space, but there are also other personality types that enjoy working on their own. If you prefer your own space and the thought of sharing an office frustrates you, it is a sign that you must get rid of your Office Assistant and opt for a Virtual Assistant instead.
4. You’re making losses
Granted, an Assistant is not meant to generate sales, but their presence should lighten up your workload and give you more time to close more leads. If your Assistant has become more of a liability than an asset, it may be time to let her go.
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 Questions You Need to Ask Before You Delegate work
We’ve all heard the quote that if you want anything done, you’ve got to do it yourself. While it’s true that you are more than capable of getting things done by yourself, it may not be in your best interests. Studies show that business owners spend way too much time on tasks that don’t contribute to their income. To succeed in business, you’ve got to learn to delegate these tasks so that you can focus on more important things.
When delegating tasks, it’s easy to assume that everybody is as smart as we are and so we delegate according to how we would want work to be delegated to us. What I’ve learned in my years working with other people is that delegation is not as simple as just handing over tasks. Here are five questions that you need to ask yourself.
1. When does a task need delegating?
There are certain tasks that you must absolutely delegate, and others that you shouldn’t. Apart from helping you get free time to focus on more important tasks, here are other reasons for delegating a project/task:
- You need to meet a tight deadline
- You require extra resources and skills that you don’t have
- To build skills in team members and foster continuous professional development
You should not delegate a task when:
- To avoid accountability. You should never delegate a task simply because you want nothing to do with it. Accountability remains with you because as much as you won’t be intensely involved in the fieldwork, you will still be responsible for overseeing the work. People who delegate tasks to avoid responsibility often fail at overseeing the work too. Don’t fall into this trap.
- If a client requests your work specifically. We all have those demanding clients that request a little something extra, and they’re willing to pay for it. If a client requests that you do something yourself and you agree to it, don’t delegate the task to someone else.
Make sure that you delegate tasks that are not critical to success if you’re not sure of the person doing the job. I know executives who hand over everything to their VA’s because they’ve worked with them for multiple years, but if you’re not sure of the work quality, rather do critical tasks yourself.
Delegate almost all your admin work. Answering emails or filling in forms is something someone else can do without causing too much havoc in your business.
2. Who should I delegate to?
Think about the skills you need for the job. Start by writing down a list of skills, traits and characteristics needed to complete the job successfully, then look for the suitable assistant.
If your project is running smoothly, you can look at delegating to someone with less experience, but if your project is not going well, make sure that you get an expert for the job.
3. What do I want to achieve by delegating this task?
This question is important and it ties back to question 1. Besides time-saving, you must identify the goals of delegation. The pros of delegating versus the cons of not delegating.
4. Will my assistant need any tools to complete this work?
It doesn’t help to delegate a task and not empower your virtual assistant with the right tools to complete it. First research on what tools, apps or programmes your assistant will need before you even choose the right candidate. If you don’t, you may find that the person you delegate to costs you more money because you have to purchase extra programmes.
5. How would you like the work to be delivered to you?
Of course, you must know in which format the work must be sent to you. Don’t expect your assistant to assume that you would like an update every day if you haven’t asked for it. If you don’t set the right expectations from the beginning, you run the risk of a failed project.
Frequently Asked Questions by Entrepreneurs When Hiring a VA for the First Time
Virtual Assistant services are now widely known. They are especially used by entrepreneurs or startup businesses who need the extra help but can’t afford to invest in a full-time employee. For a first-time entrepreneur looking to hire a VA, he/she may have questions or reservations. To help you, we have collected four frequently asked questions and answered them in detail.
1. Where is the best place to hire a Virtual Assistant?
A simple Google search for Virtual Assistant will give you over a million results, but we do not recommend that you choose solely on search engine results. There are a number of ways to find a Virtual Assistant:
- Partnering with a Virtual Assistant Agency. Probably the easiest and safest way to hire a VA is to partner with an agency like ours. It’s safe because you have a legitimate business to hold to account if things go wrong. It’s easy because the agency will handle the recruitment side of things for you. All you have to do is let your requirements be known to your agency and they will handle the rest.
- Social media. Yep, there are thousands of VA’s on social media. David Risley, a janitor turned successful entrepreneur hires his VA’s on Twitter. He says; “I realized that I needed to tackle this. So, in a very modern approach, I turned to Twitter. I simply tweeted out that I was looking for a VA again. As it turns out, virtual assistants are ALL OVER Twitter. I had several reply to me fairly quickly…”
- Job boards. You can also go the traditional route by posting an advertisement on a career site or job board.
- Freelancer websites. One of the popular ways for finding a VA is through freelancer websites such as Fiverr, Freelancer, Guru and UpWork. What’s great about these sites is you can post a project with the exact requirements for the job. Payments are secured too.
2. Do I have the right resources to work with a Virtual Assistant?
Before you hire your first Virtual Assistant, you must make sure that you’ve properly set up the resources she will need to complete her work. The main resources needed are:
- CRM system
- Email management
- Call management system
- Productivity tracker
- Password sharing tool
Depending on what else your VA will do you will require additional resources. If you’re not sure which resources you will need for a particular project, send us an email at email@example.com and we’ll be glad to help you.
3. How will I communicate with my Virtual Assistant?
Communication is key in a virtual work environment. Most entrepreneurs prefer to communicate via email and messenger apps like Slack or WhatsApp. You can communicate using any method provided that it works for your VA as well.
4. How do I pay a Virtual Assistant?
Paying your VA is easy if you’re in the same country, but if she’s in a different country, simply depositing money into their account may not be the easiest. If you’re still set on depositing money into their local bank account, however, you will need your VA’s bank code, bank name and bank account number. Inquire with your own bank on how you can best set this up.
The most popular methods for paying internationally are:
- PayPal is widely used worldwide and is easy to set up. All you require is your Virtual Assistant’s email address. Your VA can use the money instantly or transfer it to their local bank account. If they choose to transfer, they will get the funds within 2-5 business days.
- Skrill is popular in Western Europe and is also easy to set up.
- Payoneer is similar to PayPal, but just with added functionalities like an ATM card that your VA can use instantly.
- Payza works just like Payoneer.
To choose the best method for your business, compare the fees you will pay with each one. PayPal, for example, removes a large chunk of your VA’s funds when transferred for “goods and services rendered”. If you’re using a freelancer website to hire your VA, you will have to abide by their payment rules.
If you’ve got any further questions, do drop us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Make Your Customers Feel Special
It’s a scientifically proven fact that the human nature is to want to feel important. Your customers are no different. As much as you may have other customers to attend to, each customer wants to feel like they’re your only concern.
It may sound selfish but it’s true. Think about, when you order a meal and it gets to you a little late, what do you do? You probably get frustrated and question the company’s customer service priorities. You may even head over to Hello Peter and leave a horrible comment.
In the same way, you must make each customer feel special so that you may keep them. Here are ways to do that:
- Send a thank you card. A simple thank you goes a long way. A customer will appreciate the fact that their presence makes an impact on your business. Many people are spending less due to the economic instability, but if they feel your appreciation for their business they may just come back for more.
- Send a birthday card. A customer will feel special if you send them a card on their special day. It will remind them that you’re constantly keeping track of them. You can send a card via email or post. To collect birth dates, ask for date of birth when your customers first sign up for your offering and then schedule an automated birthday card to be sent when their birthday arrives.
- Send a random message. This is an expensive way to make customers feel special. All you have to do is send a message via phone or email on any random date just to thank your customer and to ask whether they are still happy. You can even schedule these messages using a bulk messaging service.
- Buy a cup of coffee. Purchasing a cup of coffee and having it delivered to your customer is a great gesture of kindness, especially on a Monday morning. This also works well for long-distance customers that you don’t see often.
- Mention them on social media or a newsletter. You can mention a customer every month on your platforms, it will make them feel important.
That’s it! Five simple ways to make your customers feel special. Best part you can outsource this admin to VA Connect and our skilled team of Virtual Assistants. You don’t have to use all of them, look at the list and pick one or two methods that would work well for your business. For example, if your customers are in a different timezone, the coffee and mention would work well for them.
We want to know, have you used any of these methods to make your customers feel special. What other ways do you show that you care for your customers?