What Systems Do You Have in Place

Today I would like to talk about systems. All of us have systems and processes, however the reality is most of us have not taken the effort to systemize everything and to really get a clear understanding of exactly how our processes work. Therefore, it often times makes it very difficult to delegate aspects of our company if we don’t have well-defined goals and descriptions. It’s critical for you to have some type of soft- interface to help you communicate. Today, we use a variety of different tools: video cameras on our phone system, CRM, and project management tools. We have so many tools and systems in place. It really helps keep everything accounted for and organized.

Redundancy – ensure you have contingency plans in place. Part of having a great system in place, is having a very well-defined, plan B if there happens to be a failure. If there is a failure, then you have backup capacity, which will allow you to continue operating. Even if it’s at 50%, it’s 100 times better than being completely down. We have multiple redundancy pathways in place, yet there are still some times we get caught flat-footed. The unthinkable takes place and there you are. Ensure you have other suppliers in place to handle additional work you can offload until you get back to 100%. The last thing you want to happen is for your inefficiencies to filter over into your clientele business or lifestyle, depending on the clientele you serve.

Nothing will cost you more business faster than the inability to supply your customers with what you’ve promised. This can be a hard, expensive lesson to learn. Be proactive and look at all systems you have in place, and ask what is the cost to build a redundant system in place? Do you have a list of similar businesses you can offload business to on a short-term basis while you work on our infrastructure? Do you have multiple pathways into your building in the event you were to lose Internet connectivity? If your building floods, do you have a way of sending people home and having them work from their homes equally as efficiently as in their office? These are just some of the many contingency plans that need to be put in place.

For example, it is much the same way, Henry Ford took a very complicated process of building an automobile and broke it down into having a worker sit in the same place, and tie down bolts, put a tire onto a rim, and to tighten four screws in order to lock down the engine onto the motor mounts. Henry Ford went through the entire process of manufacturing an automobile in very small, incremental steps that allowed him to mass-produce the product with relatively unskilled labor.

Prior to Henry Ford’s approach, manufacturing of automobiles was done as a customized solution, and master craftsmen completed the work. This made the production of the automobile very slow, tedious, and it required highly skilled labor in order to complete the process. So before you start saying my processes are too complex to systemize, think about the automobile and the amazing achievement Henry Ford accomplished. He independently re-created the way that manufacturing facilities would run forevermore. By creating systems and breaking up difficult tasks, you will discover new aspects of streamlining your business.

Let me share with you some of the systems I have. One of the systems I have in place is the lead generation system through LinkedIn. I have developed scripts to be used by our employees to make contact with people, with members, and members of groups. We contact the members of groups and give them our first script. Depending upon the response my employees get back from the prospect, they will send another script. This correspondence will generally go on two or three times until my employees invite them to do a call with one of our sales representatives. The sales representative will look at the prospect’s profile information in LinkedIn prior to the call. This gives the sales representative the ability to identify key information about the prospect before they jump on a call. The salesperson then, has a scripted presentation that they go through with them, and the objective is to enroll the client into becoming a customer of ours. This is one of our systems. Does your business have a similar system?

Let’s talk about another system one of the greatest basketball players of all-time had in place, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He, when you add up all of his points from playoff appearances, regular-season games, and All-Star games the total points scored are exactly 44,400. This is a feat I’m sure would’ve been impossible for him to have conceived. I can only assume this number was achieved by sheer luck, but this is the exact number. It was not rounded off! It is exactly 44,400 points. This makes him the all-time, highest point scorer in the history of NBA. How was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar able to achieve such amazing feat? Well for one thing, he developed a system of scoring. You see Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 7’2″, and even by NBA standards, he had an unfair advantage. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar maximized his unfair advantage and capitalized on it.

He did what I would suggest all businesses do: take your strengths and develop a system that exploits your strengths compared to your competitors. Give yourself an unfair advantage! Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s unfair advantage was his patented shot called the “skyhook.” The skyhook is an over the shoulder shot at his release-point when he was fully extended. The top of his release-point must have been close to 10 feet. This created an unstoppable shot. This patented shot became so successful it landed him among the ranks of the NBA Hall of Fame. Here is a list of some of his other phenomenal achievements: six times MVP, six times as a NBA championship team-member, All-NBA team 15 times, All-Defense team 11 times, Rookie-of-the-Year 1970, All-Star 19 times, and listed as one of the top 50 greatest players of all-time in the NBA. How did Kareem Abdul-Jabbar achieve these impressive accolades? It was by developing a system. Magic Johnson would feed the ball in to Kareem, and then “bam,” the skyhook.

Does your business have a skyhook? Start delegating today, build your team and systems!

The Three Step Process of Delegation of Authority To A Virtual Personal Assistant

When a business hires an employee, one of the biggest problems an employer faces is of delegation of authority to the employees. The process of delegation of authority is very complicated with even more complicated outcomes. Therefore, a business needs to be very careful when delegating authority to employees.

The hiring of a virtual personal assistant  has made the delegation of authority job very easy for the employer. An employer needs not to worry about factors like, gender, biasness, or any other favoritism when delegating authority to a virtual personal assistant. The lines below explain the three step process of delegation of authority to a virtual assistant.

Step#1:

The first step in delegating authority to a virtual personal assistant is to build the confidence of the virtual assistant. An employer needs to remind the virtual personal assistant that he or she is the employee of the business and the employer has total confidence over the abilities and skills of the virtual personal assistant. This way a virtual agent gets better prepared for handling of authority.

Step#2:

Secondly, when an employer has identified a virtual personal assistant for the purpose of delegating authority, the employer needs to slowly shift authority to the virtual agent. The employer can start shifting of authority by firstly handing over the trivial tasks that require minimal judgment, and afterwards increase the level of authority.

Step#3:

Thirdly, when the virtual personal assistant has somewhat become used to handling authority, the employer then needs to transfer the authority full time to the virtual personal assistant. However, when delegating authority, the employer needs to clearly state the consequences of misuse of mishandling of authority, this way the virtual personal agent becomes more responsible.

Bottom Line:

In short, starting the delegation of authority with building the confidence of the virtual assistant, slowly delegating authority, and then giving the full authority ensures better and productive transference of authority.

Traits That Need To Be Considered While Hiring A Virtual Assistant

Hiring an employee is one of the most important activities undertaken by a business owner. The selection of an employee directly affects the productivity level, if the wrong employee or employees be hired it can lead to decline in productivity level and vice versa.

The trend of hiring virtual assistant is quite popular in the market these days. Business owners need to deal with the hiring of a virtual assistant the same way, as they would deal with any other employee. The lines below explain the traits a business owner should look for in a good virtual assistant.

Degree Holder:

Education is an important characteristic to look for in any employee especially virtual assistant. A VA must at least be a graduate. A virtual assistant with graduate qualification would be able to understand the commands of the employer and would have the understanding for basic business processes, which is necessary for better productivity.

Good Communication Skills:

Usually the virtual assistants belong to other countries where English is not the native language, in such case a virtual assistant must possess excellent communication skills so that the assistant be able to better understand the message conveyed by the employer, and communicate in a better way any issues related to task at hand.

Multitasking:

Multitasking is another quality a virtual assistant must possess. When an employer hires a virtual assistant, he or she expects the assistant to be a jack-of-all-trades. Therefore, the more skilled an assistant in different areas, the more beneficial would the agent be for the business.

Bottom Line:

In short, before hiring a virtual agent an employer must look for traits such as the multitasking ability, the level of communication skills, and the education the agent possess in order to ensure the right selection that helps increase productivity.

Tips To Consider Before Starting A Virtual Personal Assistant Service

The need of virtual assistance is quite in these days in the market. More and more businesses are looking for virtual assistant who could assist them in managing the business in a cost effective manner, along with increasing the productivity of the business.

Responding to this need of virtual assistance, many entrepreneurs and businesses are looking to step into virtual personal assistant service business. There are a few tips that a businessperson should consider before stepping into virtual personal assistant service business.

Virtual Personal AssistantNiche:

Firstly, you as a business owner should decide about the niche you are going to target for your virtual personal assistant service. Like whether, you are going to target businesses looking for assistants for call answering, for administrative assistance, or web designing.

Start Small:

When you are to start a virtual personal assistant business, you don’t need to start on a broader or greater level. Rather, you should take small steps and start the business by offering fewer services and then moving on to diversity and expansion.

Be Realistic:

When starting your virtual personal assistant business it is very important to be realistic in your approach. In start, every business owner wants the business to come no matter whatever it may be. You need to be cautious and never over commit to your clients, and only commit for the service, which you could realistically provide.

Networking:

For reception of projects, you need to do networking with businesses that would be in need of virtual personal assistant service. You need to bring in all your contacts and tell them about your offering, this way you can make your way in the market and be known as a virtual personal assistant service provider.

Bottom Line:

In short, if you wish to start you own virtual assistance service then you would need to shake your contacts, be realistic in your approach and start with small steps.

Virtual Assistant Making Life Easy For The Small Business Owner

Small business owners are usually very busy people and have a very hectic routine. Due to the shortage of budget and resources, the small business owner has to do multiple tasks himself. This makes the life of a small business owner very hectic, and very little relief is left for the business owner.

The virtual assistant service comes as a blessing for the small business owner. An SMB owner can simply assign tasks to the virtual personal assistant and make time for him take some rest, regain energy and focus on the more important tasks. Some of the ways in which a virtual assistant can make the life of a small business owner easy are given below.

virtual personal assistant

  • Answering calls of the customers and prospects is an activity that takes the most time of the business owner, for which the owner has to stay in office. By hiring a virtual assistant to answer calls, the owner does not necessarily have to be in the office all the time.
  • Setting appointments with prospects is another task which consumes a lot of time of the business owner, as most of the time the prospects are not available so the business owner has to wait. Hiring a virtual assistant to make appointments is a way by which an owner can free up time and does not has to stick with the seat.
  • Thirdly, mail dispatch or responding to emails also takes a lot of small business owner’s time. A virtual personal assistant can perform both these functions efficiently, saving the time of the owner, to focus energies on more important tasks.

In short, hiring a virtual personal assistant can help free up time for the small business owner those results in greater energy on part of the business owner, and more focus on strategic matters.

Virtual Personal Assistant Coming To The Rescue of Small Business

In this era of economic down turn, every business is looking for means to save cost. Its the saving on cost, that can help a business survive in this economic crisis along with global competition.

The economic conditions are specially hard for small businesses. Therefore, a majority of small businesses is opting for outsourcing. When it comes to outsourcing the prevalent trend is of virtual personal assistant. A virtual assistant is the one, which a small business can hire to perform the assigned tasks in the minimum cost possible.

Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant can perform a variety of tasks for the employer, which ultimately lead to the owner saving on cost, which the owner might have otherwise paid in great amount to an in-house employee. The lines below give the tasks by performing which a virtual personal assistant rescues the small business in this economic crisis.

Data Entry:

Upon the assigning of the employer, a virtual personal assistant can perform the task of data entry. It is a trivial task, for which a small business needs an additional resource. With a virtual assistant on board, the task can be allocated to the virtual assistant who can do it with the due diligence.

Call Answering:

A virtual personal assistant can perform the task of call answering on the behalf of the employer. An owner can have the calls re-routed to the virtual assistant, and he or she could answer the calls of business and deal with the customer in the most professional manner.

Email Responding:

A virtual Personal assistant receives training about the business before performing any of the tasks. With proper knowledge of the business, a virtual assistant can effectively respond to the emails of the business in the absence of the employer.

Appointment Setting:

As the small business owners are always on the go, therefore, they need an assistant who could set their appointments. A virtual personal assistant can perform this function of appointment setting by calling the clients and asking them time for an appointment.

Bottom Line:

In short, a virtual assistant is a blessing which a small business owner could long for in these days of economic crisis. With low cost and the added value services, virtual assistance service is worth the dime for a small business owner.

A Perfect And Productive Virtual Assistant Experience

Gone are the days when an entrepreneur had to go through the daunting task of conducting interview to hire an assistant. Thanks to outsourcing companies, now a business owner can simply give a job description to the outsourcing service provider and they arrange an assistant for the employer, who works virtually.

Virtual assistant is the rising concept in outsourcing industry and is a dire necessity for small business owners. The owners of startup businesses require a helping hand, which the outsourcing companies can provide in the form of virtual assistant. However, the employer needs to be very cautious in the selection process. The lines below give the right process of hiring a virtual assistant which makes the process productive.

Virtual AssistantFinding A Virtual Assistant:

The process starts by finding a virtual assistant. The employer gives a job description to the outsourcing company and it arranges an according VA. However, the employer needs to decide the way its going to require VA services. Some of the common ways are:

Task-Based VA- Hiring a virtual assistant for specific tasks and projects, so that it does not cost employer much, and secondly whenever the project finishes the virtual assistant does not cost the employer anymore.

Part-time VA- An Assistant that performs assigned tasks on daily bases in some certain hours of the day. This option is suitable for employers who want to cope up with additional work burden.

Full-time VA- Hiring a virtual assistant to perform full time duties is the need of businesses that plan to save cost and increase productivity in a long run.

Assigning Tasks:

An employer needs to be very cautious in assigning tasks to a virtual assistant. As it is the first time both the parties are working together, and it’s the information or work of the employer that is at risk, that is why the main responsibility lies on the shoulder of employer. The steps an employer can take in this regard are:

  • Create backup of all the information on which the virtual assistant is to work.
  • Provide in detail instructions to the virtual assistant.
  • Don’t consider the VAs a replacement of one’s self.
  • Explain the time deadlines to the assistant in a clear manner.

Once the employer finds the right VA, selects the right time duration for the service, assigns the tasks in the best professional manner, then it is guaranteed that the VA experience for the employer would be next to perfect and equally productive.

Top 5 Reasons For Hiring A Virtual Assistant

Small business owners and budding entrepreneurs are always consumed with work load and they cant find time to manage all the tasks and activities at hand. The owners would be traveling frequently, meeting prospects, working on business development and so on. In such situation, the entrepreneurs are in desperate need of a helping hand in the form of a virtual assistant that could work virtually for them.

virtual personal assistant

Virtual assistance is one of the fast trending concepts in the outsourcing industry. A virtual personal assistant brings various benefits to the small business owners and entrepreneurs. The lines below give top five reasons for hiring a virtual assistant.

1. Time Saving Option:

Having a virtual assistant that provides assistance to an entrepreneur in respective business activities saves a lot of time on part of the business owner. The entrepreneurs can have the virtual personal assistant do all the trivial tasks, while they focus on the tasks of more grave nature such as strategy development.

2. Cost Saver:

The expertise which virtual assistants have would cost a great deal of money if the assistant is to be hired in-house. Therefore, hiring a virtual assistant is a definite cost saver for small business owners, who already are short on budget.

3. Increased Productivity:

With a virtual personal assistant working for the employer, the employer can prioritize better, and select the tasks that require managerial attention, and transfer all the non-managerial tasks to the virtual assistant. With all the tasks properly prioritized, they can be effectively targeted, thus an increase in performance and productivity.

4. Employer’s Authority:

The virtual personal assistant service providers, offer full authority to the employer in assigning tasks and duties to the virtual assistant. Having a virtual assistants does not mean that the employer has no authority over the assistants, rather, it would be the same as an assistant working in-house, just with a difference of him/her working virtually.

5. Multitasking:

In majority of cases, a virtual assistant is a jack of all trades, rather than being a master of one. To name a few of the tasks a virtual personal assistant can perform for the employer are:

  • Email responding
  • Mail management
  • Call answering
  • Appointment setting
  • Calendar management
  • Travel arrangements

The above mentioned are only a few of the multi-tasks a virtual assistant can perform for the employer. Thus, in the cost of one, the employer gets a multitasking professional.

Tips For Getting The Work Done From Virtual Assistant

Hiring the right virtual assistant to perform your tasks and duties is a job half done. The real job is to get the work done from a VA. It is an art to get the job done from VA, therefore it is of utmost importance for a employer to know that how can he/she have the work done from a virtual personal assistant.

virtual personal assistantThe biggest difficulty that comes is in assigning the first task to your VA. You have not had any interaction with the VA before, and the VA also has no idea of the way you are used to of working. Therefore, you need to be extra cautious when assigning the first task to your virtual assistant.

The lines below give a few tips for getting the first task done from a virtual personal assistant.

Create Backup- Before you are to assign any technical task to your virtual personal assistant make sure that you have created a backup of all your files. There are chances that the VA would take time to meet your expected level, therefore creating a backup is always a wise choice.

Detailed Instructions- To get the job done in the given timeframe you must provide the virtual assistant with detailed description and instructions of all the sub tasks.

Assuming VA is Not you- The major reason why employer fails to get the work done from a virtual personal assistant is that the employer thinks of the VA as another himself. The rational approach is to deal with virtual assistants on their level and not expect them to be at your level.

Getting the job done from a VA assistant is an art that an employer must master to get the value for the money invested.

Virtual Assistant A Helping Hand Every Entrepreneur Requires

Entrepreneurs who are looking to expand their business always face the problem of managing the work load. The meetings with new clients, overseeing the promotional work, setting appointments with existing clients, all of them make the job of an entrepreneur harder. In such a situation, what an entrepreneur needs most is a helping hand. The best example of such helping hand comes in the form of a Virtual Assistant.virtual personal assistant

The concept of virtual assistance takes its roots from the phenomena of outsourcing. There are many outsourcing companies that provide virtual assistant services. However, the issue with entrepreneur, and most of the small business owners is that they are not willing to trust their business information and crucial business intelligence with a worker working in some country far off in the world.

The lines below will give you information that will help you in building trust in virtual assistants, along with the salient functions a virtual assistant can perform as your helping hand.

Reasons for Trusting Virtual Agents:

The level of trust you develop for a virtual assistant depends upon the company from which you are going to receive the service. If the company is well reputed then you won’t face any problems with the virtual assistance service. The traits of virtual agents of a reputed outsourcing company are:

  • The virtual assistants of a reputed outsourcing company have very good American English, and they can communicate effectively.
  • The virtual assistants are extremely loyal and friendly. Furthermore, you can always monitor their performance and keep an eye on them.
  • A virtual assistant from a reputed company will have the desired level of skills you require. In better companies, the virtual agents have degrees in their respective discipline, which helps them in performing the job in a better way.

Tasks Performed By a Virtual Assistant:

The lines below give a few major duties a virtual agent can perform for an entrepreneur or a small business owner.

Managing Email:

Although it seems very trivial task, but managing your emails can take a lot of your energy and time. You use emails to target new customers, in addition to responding to emails of existing partners. The time you spend in managing your emails can be spent on developing strategies, or working on creation of something new.

A virtual agent can help you a great deal in this regard. A virtual personal assistant understands your business and the specific way in which you communicate. Thus, a virtual agent can target new customers by email marketing, further to responding the emails of existing clients while you focus your attention to important matters.

Managing Calendar:

In case you are on a business tour and doing frequent traveling, you need a person who is setting your appointments and managing all your calendar entries. Doing all this yourself can make things more confusing for you.

A virtual assistant in this case can diligently perform the duty of managing all your calendar entries and setting your appointments accordingly.

Phone Calls:

Managing your phone calls is another function, which a virtual assistant can perform for you. A virtual agent can perform the function of answering the calls you receive, in addition to making calls to other people on your behalf so you don’t need to be on the phone all the time, making the job much easy for you.

Bottom Line:

In a nutshell, a virtual assistant is an affordable, competent, and burden sharing hand an entrepreneur can make use of. By performing the core activities, a virtual agent makes the job much easy for a small business owner, who can focus energies towards matter of strategic importance.