Virtual Assistant & Business Manager Advantage: 4 Steps to an Efficient, Streamlined Business

Virtual Assistant & Business Manager Advantage: 4 Steps to an Efficient, Streamlined Business

Introduction

The advantages of business ownership are alluring to many, so alluring that it draws them away from the 9-5 in search of more flexibility and opportunity. However, business owners quickly realize that they no longer work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, they work 10, 12, 14 or 18 hours a day and 6-7 days a week! As their business grows, they are making more money but having a hard time keeping the business running due to the number of tasks that now land on their plate. This causes bottlenecks, dissatisfied clients and a life that revolves around work with little time for fun.

This is a major problem for business owners, Solopreneurs and Entrepreneurs. It causes overwhelm, stress and burnout. What is the solution? How do you overcome working 10+ hours a day and over 5 days a week? We will run through the 4 steps to running a more efficient small business that gives you the work/life balance you desire.

Step 1: Identify the Tasks

The first step is identifying the tasks you need to hand off and delegate. You can identify those tasks by reviewing these two blogs: “What is One-Hour of Your Time Worth.” and “Working On vs. Working In Your Business.” These two blogs give you an overview of how to choose the most important tasks. But to keep you from having to click off this blog, here are the tasks the majority of our clients choose:

  • We recommend choosing tasks that drain your time or energy first. Bookkeeping is an obvious first step since it takes hours every month and at tax time. But for you, that could be setting up meetings, booking travel or answering the phone to leads/prospects.
  • If you find that email or calendar management is adding up to an hour a day or more, that would be an easy task to delegate to a virtual Executive Assistant. (Your virtual EA is a part-time assistant or full-time assistant who is remote.) Delegating email and calendar management can save you over 20 hours a month!
  • Client and team onboarding. This process is usually done differently by every person on your team if there isn’t a clear process to follow. But our Business Managers create the process to save hours during onboarding and make it a consistent experience.
  • If you are having trouble identifying the tasks you should be handing off but know that you need help, book a call with our team for a free discovery call. This call alone can help you save hours in your week by utilizing a virtual support service and hiring a virtual Administrative Assistant.
Boosting Business Efficiency Infographic

Step 2: Create a Process

The second step is creating a process, standard operating procedure (SOP) or work instructions so you can delegate that task. Our Online Business Managers are experts at creating these steps so every task you delegate to a virtual Assistant or team member is clear and documented:

  • It’s not as easy as asking someone to task over a task for you. This usually ends with you feeling the need to do it again yourself since “they aren’t doing it how I would.” The truth is, no one will ever do it exactly the way you did, but you can create and refine a process that is close to or in many cases, better than how you’ve done it.
  • The goal is to create an efficient business with work instructions and processes for repeated tasks. This makes it simple to onboard new clients or staff and potentially sell the business at a higher evaluation down the road.

Step 3: Delegate

The third step is finding the right person to hand each task to. That could be a virtual Executive Assistant, Bookkeeper, Business Manager, Social Media Manager, Customer Service Representative, or Salesperson. Whether you are hiring for a new role or discovering the best person to delegate to, each process will be well documented and ready to be taken over.

Step 4: Training

The fourth step is having the right person in place to train your team members, whether they are virtual or in-person, on how to take over that task. After the training period, you should have freed up hours’ worth of tasks off your plate. Our Online Business Managers (OBM) have training as part of their process and job description. They created the process and understood it inside and out. If you would like to be hands off the training portion, the Business Manager can take over the whole process. For our clients, VEA’s OBM and virtual EA work in tandem during steps 3 and 4 to remove tasks and processes from their plate.

Conclusion

Every business owner’s goal is to be more efficient, profitable and working “on” their business, not as much “In” their business. They want to be doing tasks they enjoy and that generate revenue. If that sounds like where you want to be but can’t seem to get there with your current setup, book a discovery call with our team. In the initial call, we can discuss where you are at, where you want to be and how our experienced team can help you get there.

 

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales and Marketing

Creating Business Owner Success: Your Virtual Executive Assistant and Time Management

Creating Business Owner Success: Your Virtual Executive Assistant and Time Management

Virtual Executive Assistants and Virtual Assistants are extremely popular in the remote world, but what exactly are they? As the name suggests they are both fully remote. A Virtual Assistant or VA, is less experienced working in their role and usually requires more hand-holding and training. A Virtual Executive Assistant or Virtual EA, is highly experienced, can work more autonomously, requires little to no hand-holding and has a vast skill set due to their years of experience.

At VEA we only hire Virtual EA’s who have at least 5+ years of experience working with business owners, Entrepreneurs or C-Suite level Executives.

Whether you are hiring a Virtual Assistant or a Virtual Executive Assistant, the end goal is to delegate tasks and save yourself time. Usually, business owners will hand off the tasks that drain their time or energy, freeing them up for higher-level tasks that grow the business. This is usually called “Working On” the business vs “Working In” the business.

Here are a Few Examples of Our Clients who Saved Hours in Their Day By Hiring a Virtual EA:

1. Meeting Assistant/Calendar Manager - 15 minutes per meeting

Imagine reviewing your calendar and seeing 5 meetings in your workday from 9am-5pm. There are two reactions you may have, either stress or peace. The stressful part is that you have to prep for the meeting by creating an agenda, take notes and send follow-ups afterwards.

Our clients have a peaceful reaction by allowing their EA to act as a Meeting Assistant. They know their Virtual EA:

  1. Set up the appointments
  2. Created the calendar invite
  3. Prepped the meeting notes
  4. Suggested software to take notes in the meeting
  5. Reviewed and sent the notes
  6. Put the to-dos in their project management software
  7. Sent a follow-up email on their behalf.

This allows their client to go from meeting to meeting fully prepared without wasting time doing administrative tasks. In one instance this saved their client 15 minutes per meeting, equaling 75 minutes in their day! This opens up more time to work on higher-level tasks, remove bottlenecks or meet with 2 more prospects each day.

 

2. Email Manager - 1 Hour a Day

The first thing most business professionals do in their workday is check their email. After weeding through spam, responding to requests and crafting the perfect email, an hour of their day has gone by. If you start your day in your email rather than spending time on what needs your attention, a Virtual EA will be a gamechanger for you.

Having a Virtual Executive Assistant check your email before you get to your desk will give you a head start on your day. They leave what is urgent and needs your response and remove everything else. In many cases, this saves our clients an hour or more a day! By utilizing the “Inbox Zero” strategy, your Virtual EA will keep your day on track.

 

3. Data Entry – 30 Minutes Per Appointment

A Solopreneur client of VEA’s would spend 30 minutes after an appointment entering information into spreadsheets and a PDF order form which kept a large amount of their calendar blocked off after every appointment. When their Virtual EA recognized this, they took over their data entry. This opened up an extra appointment time in their calendar to spend with clients and generate revenue, allowing for an extra $900+ to be made each day. Their next step is hiring an Online Business Manager to automate the process.

 

4. Process Management – 14 Hours a Month

A professional services client of VEA’s was manually invoicing their clients every month. This meant the first few days of each month were spent in QuickBooks. Once they were brave enough to ask “Is there a better way?” Our team went to work. An Online Business Manager (OBM) and Virtual Executive Assistant worked together to implement a new process utilizing digital tools to save them 14 hours a month!

 

5. Creating Work Instructions and Standard Operating Procedures – 15 Hours a Month

Implementing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Work Instructions across your business is the biggest way to streamline and grow. It helps onboard new employees, speed up every level of the organization and potentially sell your business at a higher evaluation. If you are finding that you work over 8 hours a day or 5 days a week, implementing SOPs and Work Instructions will allow you to get back to a normal life and take a vacation!

Our OBM’s are experts at both. If you need to speed up your team, onboard clients and team members quickly and take some time off, reach out to our team to see if we are the right fit.

 

Conclusion:

Have time management tips been your most searched Google term? Are you spending more time working this year? Feeling bogged down in administrative tasks?

Have a call with our team to see how we can streamline your business, free up your time and get you working on what you enjoy and what needs your attention.

Book A Call with VEA.

 

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales and Marketing

Project Implementation and Consultation – for Applications!

Project Implementation and Consultation – for Applications!

When VEA was looking to implement a new time tracking application (read more about that here) initially we picked something that we thought looked amazing and were ready to buy it that day! Lucky for us, one of our System & Operational Process Specialists (SOPS for short) got wind of the project and called me up. She started asking a lot of important questions that I realized we didn’t have the answers to.

 

Had we gone with the application we were originally looking at, we would have discovered very quickly it didn’t do half of the things that our team actually needed it to do. We probably would have ended up abandoning the application and starting over. What a waste of time and money for everyone!

 

A System & Operational Process Specialist (a title within our Online Business Manager (OBM) services) will help you research, select and implement new applications (including change management with your team). There are a lot of questions to consider when you are thinking about implementing a new application. You don’t want to spend time and resources implementing something only to find out 6 months down the road it doesn’t do everything your team needs it to do. Or worse, that your team has a major requirement you didn’t consider and now you have to scrap the whole project.

 

Working with one of our System & Operational Process Specialists will help you discover and answer questions like:

 

Our System & Operational Process Specialists can assist with a wide variety of application requirements – everything from Microsoft set up (such as creating SharePoint sites and OneDrive architecture) to time tracking, project management, and service management applications.

 

Best of all, you get the added benefit at each phase of either continuing with the VEA team or completing the rest of the phases inhouse.

 

Want to learn more? Click the banner below to schedule a call with us to discuss how our SOPS (under the OBM banner) can scale your business.

 

Lanna Thompson
Co-Founder & CEO at VEA

Project Implementation and Consultation – for Processes!

Project Implementation and Consultation – for Processes!

Has a process in your company left you feeling like there must be a better way?! Trust me, we’ve been there! 3 years ago, the billing process at VEA Office Professionals (VEA) took us 16 hours to complete over a 2-day period. Every client we added to our roster, meant the total time for billing would increase. Our Accounting Team dreaded payroll and invoicing at the end of the month – the overall process was painful and time-consuming.

Enter one of our amazing System & Operational Process Specialists (SOPS), Lenneal Howden!

She reviewed our current processes, assessed possible risks, identified areas where we could automate, and implemented the solution that best fit us. The end result? A customized report that was designed with the flexibility to optimize it in the future, could easily maintain the integrity of the data, and most importantly made our work and life easier. Our billing now takes approximately 4 hours per month – a 75% decrease in the time required.

 

Our System & Operational Process Specialists have experience and expertise in reviewing business processes and technology to identify areas for improvement. We have helped many companies streamline their operations and increase efficiency. With a properly documented process, we can analyze what is currently working and what can be done more efficiently. That’s where the magic begins – using that data, we make recommendations to automate and streamline. Sometimes this will involve implementing new applications (read more about that here) and other times we may create connections between your existing applications.

 

Automating processes is like giving yourself a superpower!

  • Saves Time: One of the best things about automation is that it saves you time. Instead of spending hours doing manual tasks, you can set up a system to do them for you in seconds. This means you have more time to focus on important things, such as servicing your clients, growing your business, or spending time with your family.
  • Reduces Human Errors: Let’s face it, we’re all human, and humans make mistakes. But automated functionality not so much. By automating processes, you can significantly reduce the risk of errors caused by human oversight or fatigue. This leads to more accurate results and happier customers.
  • Increases Efficiency: Automation is like turbocharging your productivity. It allows you to get more done in less time, which can have a big impact on your bottom line. Whether you’re a small business trying to keep up with demand or an individual trying to stay organized, automation can help you work smarter, not harder.
  • Improves Consistency: Have you ever noticed how some tasks are done differently depending on who’s doing them? With automation, you can ensure that every task is performed the same way every time. This consistency not only improves quality but also makes it easier to track and measure performance.
  • Enhances Scalability: As your business grows, so do your needs. Automation can scale with you, allowing you to handle increased volume without adding more resources. Whether you’re processing orders, managing inventory, or responding to customer inquiries, automation can help you keep up with demand without breaking a sweat.

 

This all might sound complex, and frankly a little overwhelming, but our System & Operational Process Specialists make it easy by using a 3-step phased approach.

 

Phase 1 - Process Review

We do a deep dive into your process(s) and conclude the phase with a complete strategy for improvement. 

This phase is independent and does not commit you to working with us on implementation. You can implement the recommendations made on your own, or you can work with us to move on to Phase 2.

Phase 2 - Process Implementation

Most of our clients choose to have us implement the recommendations moving forward. After all, we just got up close and personal with your business and team leaders! Additionally, we find that sometimes changes in processes can create resistance in your team. We can smooth that over by ensuring they understand we are the ones recommending the changes. We will also work with them through any challenges they may encounter throughout the phase.

Phase 3 – Process Management

Good process management provides a clear understanding and documentation of the actions required from point A to point B to achieve desired results. Management will also look for ways to continually improve the various actions required from point A to point B. Their goal is to provide the desired results while improving the process and aligning it to the company’s strategic goals.

 

Conclusion

This means at each phase YOU are in complete control of deciding if you wish to continue the implementation with your dedicated VEA team or complete the rest of the phases in-house.

 

Want to learn more? Click the banner below to schedule a call with us to discuss our Online Business Manager services which includes our System & Operational Process Specialists (SOPS).

Lanna Thompson
Co-Founder & CEO at VEA

Automating Routine Tasks in Your Business: Automate, Delegate, Alleviate

Automating Routine Tasks in Your Business: Automate, Delegate, Alleviate

There is an infinite amount of advice on the internet that comes from experts, influencers, and AI. This leads to Business Owners and Entrepreneurs being inundated with ideas and resources on how to grow themselves and their businesses. There is never enough time in a day to implement everything you learn, and a lot of the advice won’t work for you. The easiest way to complete anything is to break it into bite-sized, manageable pieces.
It’s a lot like automating processes and delegating tasks. You are inundated with ideas and advice on how to automate and delegate processes, but you don’t know where to start. If you are looking at the whole picture and the hours it takes to complete something, it is way too overwhelming to grasp. This leads to you continuing to do it the way you always have and continuing to complete the processes that could be automated. If you are ready to bring in experts to free up your time, this is how VEA helps businesses grow by breaking down their processes into these 3 pieces: Automate, Delegate, Alleviate.

 

The first step is to automate that process which takes too much of your time. Whether it is email management, project management, travel booking, bookkeeping, invoicing, or recruiting and onboarding new staff or clients. A Business Manager will build and document each process, find faster ways to complete it and help you decide whether or not it’s worth your time. If it isn’t worth your time, we help you delegate it to a virtual Executive Assistant or Bookkeeper.
If you are stuck in the weeds and not sure how to audit your time or discover which step to automate, simply take a step back. Review what your days have looked like so far and even what you are dreading or putting off doing. Those should be the first tasks you automate. Many of our clients also audit their time. A resource like Clockify is very helpful for this. Sign up for a free account and track how long you are spending on each task. If email management takes you a combined 2 hours a day, that is a perfect opportunity to find better systems like “Inbox Zero”. After a few weeks, you can discover where your time is being spent and ask yourself, “Should I be doing this or automating it.”

 

You will quickly discover that you do not have to do everything. A business owner who tries to complete every task themselves will hit burnout, procrastination, and bottlenecks. The truth is some owners are micromanagers and find it nearly impossible to let go of tasks but usually, the issue is that they don’t have time to discover a faster way. That is where a Business Manager comes in to help them discover how to delegate and who to delegate to. It could be someone on your team or you can hire an Executive Assistant or Bookkeeper to completely take it over from you.

Some of the most common tasks our Online Business Managers improve are:

  • Project planning
  • Project management
  • Recruitment
  • Client onboarding
  • Team onboarding
  • Team mentoring
  • Biz dev research
  • Reporting

Again, these are common tasks but we are consistently receiving and discovering new opportunities to streamline processes.

Once our clients have automated and delegated processes they have saved anywhere from 5 hours to over 14 hours a month! Imagine saving yourself almost 2 full days! The hours you save can have you working fewer or no evenings and weekends, and removing bottlenecks from your organization. Freeing you up so you can run more efficiently and work on higher-level tasks to grow your business further.

If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, automating and delegating always leads to alleviating time, pressure and stress from your business.

 

Then What?

Once you have saved yourself hours a month, repeat the process. Our Online Business Managers can repeat the process for different tasks, processes, or projects in your business. If you’ve cleared up your emails and spent fewer hours in your inbox, move on to the project you have been putting off. If you have removed bottlenecks within your team by hiring a Business Manager to take over projects and mentoring, move on to a new internal system for them to streamline.

VEA has been helping small businesses run efficiently for the past 8 years and even though the term “expert” is thrown around everywhere these days, we are experts at what we do. If it is time to automate, delegate and alleviate, book a call with our team to see if we are the right fit for your business.

 

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

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