As I’ve mentioned before, outsourcing is one of the key factors to success in any small business. If you’re spending time trying to perform every single task in your business then it’s going to adversely affect your productivity. So if you’re struggling to handle all the competing demands on your time, then read on to find out how outsourcing increases productivity and income.
A lot of business owners complain that they can’t afford to outsource, but the question is, can they afford not to? Remember when you’re doing non-fee earning tasks yourself, you’re doing them at your hourly rate. So if you’re charging say £50/hour and spending 2 hours a week doing admin, then you’re working as an overpaid PA!
If you can find someone to do these tasks at a lower rate then you should be delegating the work to them. This both saves and earns you money. It saves you money because the hourly rate you’re paying someone to do your admin is far lower than what you charge yourself, and it earns you money because you can use the extra time to focus on those activities that will generate income for your business.
So if you feel overwhelmed by your workload then you need to consider outsourcing. But if you’re unsure what you can delegate to someone else then ask yourself the following questions:
- What types of tasks need to be done but don’t contribute to the growth of your business? For example, handling email enquiries, setting up and managing your contact database or writing up reports may all be activities that you need to do but don’t earn money for you. They are important tasks, but they can be time-consuming and can take you away from those activities that will earn money for your business.
- What don’t you enjoy doing? Let’s face it, you work far more productively when you’re focusing on those tasks that you enjoy doing. So if you’re not good with figures then hire an accountant, if you hate paperwork then hire a virtual assistant, or if you’re not creative then hire a graphic designer.
- What tasks can’t you do? If you don’t know how to create a PowerPoint presentation or design a website then hire the appropriate people to do it for you. Yes, you could spend time learning how to do it yourself but is this really the best use of your time? You can very often spend days trying to do something that a specialist could do in a couple of hours. You may decide to learn some of these skills yourself over time, but trying to do everything from the beginning will just stress you out and slow down your progress.
So if you’re running your own business and trying to juggle a hundred things at once, then you need to think about outsourcing. By gradually outsourcing more and more non-fee earning tasks, you will begin to feel less stressed with your workload, and will benefit financially from having more time to focus on growing your business.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your workload, then we can help you to become more focused and effective in your daily activities so you can spend more time on your client work. Click on the arrow button to find out more about our virtual assistant services and how they can help you save time and money in your business.
When you’re running a business on your own, it can very often feel that you have no time for a holiday. You’re trying to juggle so many demands and requests that the thought of organising time away from your business just stresses you out.
However, it is essential that you have a break so that you can take time out from your normal routine and get some relaxation. But how to balance business and personal life so that you can manage your workload while having time off?
Well, here are some tips to help you keep your business running smoothly while you enjoy your time away.
Take the right equipment. You’ll at least want to check and reply to emails while you’re away and you can easily do this on your Smartphone. But if you want to do more than that then you’ll need a laptop or other device. Now laptops can be quite large and heavy to carry around, but smaller devices like netbooks, iPads or other tablets may not have all the functionality that you need. So think about exactly what work you will be doing while you’re away so you can decide which device to take with you. Also remember to take appropriate chargers and spare batteries and check if Wifi is available at your destination and if not, then look at other options such as mobile broadband.
Accessing Documents. Work in the cloud so that you can still access your documents whatever device you bring. You can use tools such as Dropbox or Google Drive, but remember to upload the relevant files before you go. Another alternative is to use an automated backup service such as Carbonite so that you can access all the files on your computer.
Schedule work beforehand. It’s a good idea to write and schedule blog posts, email newsletters and any other promotional offers before you go away. This means that you’re not spending time doing these tasks during your holiday and you can maintain a presence with your online contacts even when you’re not there!
Plan Your Day. If you are going to do any work while you’re away then set a schedule. You don’t want work to encroach too much on your holiday and this may not always be possible, especially if you have small children. But you could get up early and do a couple of hours work before everyone else gets up and then catch up again in the afternoon while everyone is having a siesta.
Outsource your customer support. Don’t spend your holiday answering customer queries as this will just stress you out. Instead hire a virtual assistant to take care of your emails and phone calls while you’re away. This means that you can relax and focus on those things that are absolutely necessary, safe in the knowledge that someone is handling your communications and your customers are being looked after.
If you’re running a business on your own then it can be a challenge trying to keep on top of your workload while having time off. By knowing how to balance business and personal life, you can ensure that your work won’t take over your holiday.
If you want to take a break from your business but would like someone to handle your back office tasks while you’re away, then click on the arrow button to find out more about our virtual assistant services and how they can help you save time and money in your business.
Many virtual assistants and other service-based businesses can find that their workload slows down in summer. Perhaps because their clients take time off to go on holiday, or the business owner themselves has to cut back hours to look after the kids who are off from school. Whatever the reason, as a small business owner it can be tough when the client work isn’t rolling in as regularly as you’d like. You can lose momentum and motivation if things go too quiet for too long.
So how can you keep things moving over the holiday period? Well you don’t have to start selling holiday packages or swimming pools but like travel agents, you do need to understand what your customers are thinking about in the summer months and cater your marketing to that.
So when business is slow, ask yourself a few questions:
- What are your customers’ worries and concerns in summer? As a virtual assistant, some of my clients may be concerned about who is going to answer customer enquiries while they’re on holiday, or they may want to keep their Facebook page or LinkedIn group updated while they’re away. So grab a piece of paper and write down the kind of concerns that your target market may have over the summer months and how you could help them with that.
- What are they busy doing? When you know what your customers are doing and what’s on their minds, you know how to speak to them. Ask your clients what their plans are over the summer months. Perhaps they want to get started on a project that they’ve been putting off and want to use the quiet summer time to do this. By asking questions and finding out what their plans are for the rest of the year, you can talk to them about how you can help them achieve these plans.
- What would they rather be doing? They may want to take some time off over the summer but are worried about how this will affect their business. Perhaps they’d just like a few days lazing by the beach. So what would your clients love to do but feel they can’t, but possibly could with the help of your services? Again, educate them as to how you can help them achieve this without a lot of stress on their part.
Putting together a summer marketing plan doesn’t require any magic skills, but it does require some thought. When business is slow, take time to speak to your clients and find out what they are doing over the summer months. Then put together a plan that can help them with any issues or projects that they have. By doing this, your clients will not only appreciate what you’re doing for them but you will also be ensuring that you have a steady stream of work to cover you over the holiday period.
Are you planning to go on holiday but worried about who’s going to look after things while you’re away? Or perhaps you’re planning to work on a project and need some help? Then click on the arrow button to find out more about our virtual assistant services and how we can help you in your business.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, Why Updating Your Website is Important for Online Success, it’s essential to keep your website updated if you want to drive more traffic to your site and rank highly in the search engines. An out of date website looks unprofessional and can stop visitors from contacting you as they may think that you are no longer in business.
So here are 7 ways that a virtual assistant can help you to keep your website updated on WordPress.
Add latest news about your business. If you have a “latest news” section on your site, then a virtual assistant can keep this updated for you with any current offers or news about your business. There’s nothing worse than seeing latest news on a website that’s over 6 months old!
Update web pages. If you make changes to your services or hire a new team member, then you’ll want to update your website as soon as possible. Your web designer may be too busy to do such a small task straightaway, so this is where a VA can really help. They can make quick changes to web pages or design new ones with text, images and links.
Format images. The images on your website should be of the highest quality and have “alt tags” on them for people who have images switched off by default. A VA can do this for you and ensure that the alt tags are SEO friendly and the images link through to the appropriate pages on your website; this all helps with search engine ranking.
Check for broken links. Broken links can make your website look very unprofessional. A VA can check that all the links are working on your website – either manually or using a plugin that checks for broken links automatically.
Add social media links. If you are using social media to promote your business then you’ll want your website visitors to be able to connect with you. A VA can add social media icons to your website that link through to your profiles, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc.
Update copyright. A lot of people forget about this, but it’s a good idea to have a copyright date on your website and ensure that it’s current. If it’s out of date, then your visitors may wonder if you’re still in business. A VA can set this up so that the date automatically changes each year.
Add and update plugins. One of the great benefits of using WordPress for your website is the additional functionality that you can add with plugins. A virtual assistant can suggest the plugins that you need for your website, such as social sharing, backup and caching – and ensure they are updated as necessary.
If you need someone to manage your website content, then check out our website management services. Having an up to date website will ensure that your visitors see the latest information and improves SEO. Click on the arrow button to find out more about our website management services.
Now video marketing is becoming an increasingly popular way for small businesses to promote their services or products. If you’re like me and running a business on your own, then it’s a great way for people to get to know the person behind the brand. In fact, I’ve recently started to put some videos together – mainly short screencast tutorials – which I will be sharing shortly.
So if you are someone who would like to use video marketing but don’t have the time or skills to set everything up, then here are 5 ways that a virtual assistant can help you to manage and promote your videos.
Research appropriate equipment and software. One of the first things you need to consider is getting the right equipment to shoot your video. This will include camera and microphone, and possibly lighting and screen. A virtual assistant can research and recommend appropriate equipment based on your needs and budget. They can also suggest software to edit your videos whether you are recording head shots of you talking to camera or recording your computer screen for tutorials.
Help with editing. Once you have got your video recorded then it can be time consuming to edit the video and add in the appropriate titles etc. A virtual assistant can do this for you with your directions. So they can add or remove audio and visuals as required, add captions and call outs to sections of the video, and cursor and zoom effects when you want to highlight a particular point.
Make it look professional. To make your video look really professional then it’s a good idea to add intro music and a title both before and after the main content. A virtual assistant can research and add appropriate music, titles and graphic effects to the video which will help to promote your brand.
Promote video. Once you’ve made your video then you obviously want people to see it! A virtual assistant can set up a channel for you on YouTube, complete with your company details and branding. They can upload videos and add tags so they appear in the search results. They can then promote the videos via social media and email marketing so they get the highest visibility and ranking on YouTube, as well as submitting them on video promotion sites such as TubeMogul and Traffic Geyser.
Video blogging. Another way to use video is to create video blogs (or vlogs). If you’re someone who blogs a lot then you can shoot a short video which is related to the blog. The virtual assistant can then upload the video on to YouTube with a link to the blog post, and add a link to the video on your blog. This creates traffic both to your blog/website and to your YouTube channel so dramatically increases your online profile.
Although you could do all the above yourself, by outsourcing the technical and promotional tasks you can focus on the marketing message you want to get across so that you can maximise the results from your video marketing activities.
Check out the Smart VA YouTube Channel for a selection of video tutorials. Whether you want to know how to use Twitter Search, create a campaign on MailChimp, or manage your inbox in Outlook, these videos are all aimed at showing you how to use tools and software to save time in your business.
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