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.
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.
Effective Ways to Increase Your Social Media Reach Organically
We all know or have seen the effects of a good social media reach. Some of our favourite Facebook pages get thousands of likes, followers and tons of engagement daily. But, why is it that even though you seem to be doing the right things, you’re still not increasing your social media reach like these other pages?
This is a million-dollar question that everyone who has created a social media page wants to know. How can a business or an individual grow their social media reach without paying for it?
Increase your reach organically
Sometimes businesses prefer to grow their social media reach organically. They will not pay for advertisements and would rather gather likes slowly and organically.
This option is beneficial for small businesses who find that paying for social media marketing is too expensive.
You can grow your social media reach organically using these methods:
Simply creating a social media account and posting content is not enough, you’ve got to make sure that your page is optimised for search engines. When Google crawls your social media pages, they are looking for relevant information such as name, description, the number of likes, and the number of people talking about your page. This information will help them to list and rank your page with the right keywords.
Failing to add the right information will land your business at the bottom of search engine results. Funny enough, this is a mistake that the biggest brands are doing. A simple search for “Vehicles on Facebook” for example, brings up small business results and none of the big car brands. This is because these small businesses have learned how to optimise their Facebook pages.
Here’s how you can also optimise your Facebook page:
- Add an important keyword in your profile name. for example, if you’re in the car business, add “cars” in your profile name.
- Complete your bio. This will help
- Complete the key
- Request reviews from customers. Request at least five reviews from your best customers. This will make your page stand out from the crowd in search results.
- Add hashtags to your post. Many people search certain keywords in the Facebook search bar. If you search “cars” for example, all the posts with this keyword will pop up. If you want to be on top of search results, make sure that you add a few keywords in the description box of each post. Be wary of overdoing hashtags. Two to three hashtags per post are enough.
- Optimise your audience. In the picture below is a screenshot of what a Facebook page’s settings look like. If you go three lines down you can edit your page’s visibility. Make sure that you’ve selected “allow preferred audience selection…”. This will help you to reach the right people.
The trick to getting your Twitter page noticed is to use hashtags in your posts, especially hashtags that are trending. Word of caution – Don’t use popular hashtags in your Twitter bio or name as it will direct people away from your page. You can use a hashtag in your bio or name only if your company dominates it or if it isn’t so popular.
Another way to optimise Twitter is to use automatic greeting messages when people follow you. Tools such as Crowdfire allow you to do this. Here’s an example of a Crowdfire automatic message:
Thank you for following me, I see that we have the same interests. I am a professional Social Media Manager that helps people boost their social media presence. Don’t hesitate to ask me if you have any question. My links are xxx…
Finally, add your Twitter handle in the publicise portion of your blog post editor. When readers share your blog to Twitter, it will mention your Twitter handle. This will get more people to follow your Twitter account. If you’re not sure how to do this, this blog explains it in detail.
With Instagram, adding hashtags to your profile name works perfectly. I have done this myself and found that my follow rate has increased by 20%. Another tip is to have a simple Instagram handle. Handles with many digits or funny characters are difficult to remember and find.
7 Great Inbound Marketing Techniques Every Business Should Use
Outbound marketing techniques such as cold calling and emails were once the only methods used by businesses to attract clients. But since inbound marketing has come to the scene, companies are finding that they can grow their business even faster. Inbound marketing not only grows your business, but it also allows a company to educate their prospects instead of just selling a product.
Here are seven inbound marketing techniques you can use in your business:
1. Build specialised landing pages
You may have many different products on your business website, but one way to make one product stand out is to create individual landing pages. A landing page is a unique one-pager that focuses on one thing. This helps keep visitors focused on why they clicked your links and helps you make more sales.
How to use landing pages: If you’re in the business of apparel and you sell clothes, shoes and hats for example, but you think that your hat sales should increase, you can create one unique URL/page that only contains information about your hats. Make sure to add a call to action such as, “If you purchase a hat today, you get $10 off your purchase.” This call to action will propel your visitors to purchase more hats.
2. Take advantage of SEO
Make sure that your business ranks on search engines for the right keywords. Research has found that longtail keywords work better than one-word keywords, so next time you write a blog or create an AD, add a keyword of at least three words.
3. Get your VA to write smart blogs
Many businesses write articles, blogs or news on their website with no clear purpose. To make sure that your website ranks for the right keywords, write “smart” blogs. Smart blogs are those that educate your audience, but at the same time influences them to purchase your product. This is a great task to outsource to your Virtual Assistant.
Example: I recently wrote a blog for a recruitment company about how jobseekers can excel at interviews. Within the post, I added information about the recruitment company and how jobseekers can get personal assistance from this company to do well at interviews. This blog served two purposes; the first, educating the reader on how to be successful at interviews, and the second, offering one-on-one help to each reader.
4. Track how prospects find you
Knowing where your prospects and clients are finding you is valuable information that can help you to create better content. Use Google analytics and or surveys to evaluate where users find you the most.
5. Guest blog
Guest blogging on other websites is a great way for you to:
- Expose your brand
- Get linkbacks to your site
- Add prestige to your brand
6. Create popups
Some people hate popups, but research shows that they’re useful to build an email list. If they weren’t, you wouldn’t see all websites with them. Businesses can use popups to collect email addresses and send email campaigns. Embrace the popup but make sure it’s:
- Simple and neat
- Easy to close
- Doesn’t require much information
7. Host a Q&A session
A great way to interact with your audience is through a Questions and Answers session. In this way, prospects get to ask their burning questions and you get to educate them on your brand. Make sure to collect email addresses of all attendees so that you may send marketing material after the session.
Inbound marketing has become the holy grail of marketing. Businesses have seen its benefits and therefore are using it more rigorously. These are just seven of multiple inbound marketing techniques. For more techniques, contact us and one of our consultants will gladly help you.
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