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

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

32 Ways Virtual Support Services Scales Your Small Business

32 Ways Virtual Support Services Scales Your Small Business

Business owners, CEOs, Entrepreneurs and Solopreneurs have a hard time letting go of pieces of their business, many times it’s because they don’t know what to hand off. Some are great at delegating while others, let’s just say they need a bit of coaching and prompting. That is where our Onboarding Concierge comes in. However, the problem with delegating is that usually, you don’t know what to give to your assistant or team member. Or they are great at delegating a task but terrible at giving them the information and access they need to complete it.

 

The Vicious Cycle of a Business Owner/CEO

You may have gone through this cycle as a Business Owner, CEO, Entrepreneur or Solopreneur.

Step 1: You are bogged down by various tasks, a bottleneck in the organization and when asked how many hours you work you say, “all of them”.

Step 2: You recognize the need for support, so you search the internet and ask peers for recommendations.

Step 3: You choose someone and hire them either on payroll or contract.

Step 4: You delegate a task to them.

Step 5: They ask for access or do something incorrectly or not the way you do it.

Step 6: Instead of correcting the error or granting them access, you do it yourself without providing feedback.

Step 7: You keep doing that task yourself and stop delegating because “I can do it myself faster.”

Step 8: You fire or ghost your new hire.

Step 9: You are bogged down by various tasks, a bottleneck in the organization and when asked how many hours you work you say, “all of them”.

Step 10: You recognize the need for support…

…you get the idea. If this sounds like you, here are the top tasks to delegate and here is how VEA onboards all of our clients with goals, clear communication and a clear plan of action to help you exit the cycle for good

 

Top 15 tasks for a Virtual Executive Assistant (VEA):

1. Email management: Efficiently organizing, filtering, and responding to emails to maintain communication flow.

2. Calendar management: Scheduling appointments, meetings, and events to optimize time management.

3. Travel arrangements: Planning and booking travel itineraries including flights, accommodations, and transportation.

4. Meeting coordination: Scheduling, preparing agendas, and taking minutes for meetings.

5. Administrative tasks: Handling paperwork, filing, data entry, and other general administrative duties.

6. Research: Conducting online research on various topics to gather information and data.

7. Correspondence: Drafting and editing letters, memos, and other business communications.

8. Document preparation: Creating and formatting documents such as presentations, reports, and spreadsheets.

9. Project coordination: Assisting with project management tasks, tracking deadlines, and coordinating team efforts.

10. Event planning: Organizing company events, conferences, and team-building activities.

11. Client/customer support: Providing assistance and support to clients/customers via phone, email, or chat.

12. Database management: Updating and maintaining databases with accurate information.

13. Follow-ups: Sending reminders and follow-up messages to ensure tasks and deadlines are met.

14. Vendor management: Coordinating with vendors and suppliers for procurement and deliveries.

15. Personal assistance: Providing personal support to executives, such as managing personal appointments and errands.

Top 10 tasks for a Bookkeeper:

1. Accounts receivable: Invoicing clients and tracking payments owed to the company.

2. Accounts payable: Processing and recording payments to vendors and suppliers.

3. Bank reconciliation: Balancing and reconciling bank statements with financial records.

4. Payroll processing: Calculating employee wages, taxes, and benefits, and ensuring timely payroll.

5. Expense tracking: Recording and categorizing business expenses for accurate financial reporting.

6. Financial reporting: Generating and analyzing financial statements such as balance sheets and income statements.

7. Tax preparation: Gathering financial data and documents to prepare for tax filings.

8. Budgeting: Assisting in the creation and monitoring of budgets to manage company finances effectively.

9. Financial analysis: Analyzing financial data to identify trends, opportunities, and areas for improvement.

10. Audit support: Providing documentation and assistance during financial audits and reviews.

Top 7 tasks for an Online Business Manager (OBM):

1. Strategy development: Collaborating with business owners to develop and implement strategic plans and goals.

2. Team management: Overseeing and coordinating the activities of virtual teams and freelancers.

3. Process improvement: Identifying and implementing systems and processes to streamline operations and increase efficiency.

4. Project management: Planning, organizing, and executing projects to ensure timely completion and quality deliverables.

5. Performance tracking: Monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to measure business performance.

6. Client/customer relations: Managing client relationships and ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction.

7. Revenue generation: Developing and implementing strategies to increase sales, revenue, and profitability for the business.

Clarity

We hope this brings clarity to our three most popular virtual support services. VEA has helped hundreds of business owners, CEOs, Solopreneurs and Entrepreneurs delegate administrative, time-consuming, and energy-draining tasks since 2016. Allowing them to focus on high-level tasks that grow their business. What do you need to delegate to free up your time and energy?

 

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing

11 Tasks, Projects & Processes to Outsource to Professionals

11 Tasks, Projects & Processes to Outsource to Professionals

As a Solopreneur you are taking care of everything from the top of the organization to the bottom.

 

  • You stock the copy machine and order supplies.
  • You run the whole sales process down to customer service.
  • You are the one ultimately responsible for everything in your business including its success and your failures.

It is manageable in the beginning but as you grow there are more and more unanswered emails, balls in the air, and to-dos that are not getting done. You want to hire your first employee, but you have no idea where to start.

This article will help you understand the who’s and what’s of outsourcing. We highly recommend reviewing our post on “What is One-Hour of Your Time Worth” to start prioritizing the tasks you are currently completing and understanding better what to outsource. The first piece of advice we will give is to hire fractionally.

Hiring fractionally means instead of onboarding a full-time employee at 40 hours a week, hire 4 professionals at 10 hours a week. For example, this could get your bookkeeping, administrative tasks, marketing, AND graphic design miles ahead.

List of Tasks

Many companies start by hiring a marketing person at 40 hours a week but quickly run out of work for them to do or try and make them a customer service representative, assistant, and janitor to justify their hours.

Here are the 11 tasks, projects & projects to outsource to Professionals as a Solopreneur:

Creative

  • Copywriting

Tasks to delegate: Blog posts, landing pages, website copy, social posts, and email newsletter.

  • Graphic Design

Tasks to delegate: Logo re-design, social posts, website, landing pages, brochures, email templates, business cards and handouts.

  • Professional Photography

Tasks to delegate: Headshot, product, location, and behind-the-scenes photos.

  • Web Developers

Tasks to delegate: New website design, website refresh, landing pages, technical setup, SaaS integration, and marketing integration.

 

Virtual Executive Assistant

Tasks to delegate: Email management, calendar management, meeting assistant, data entry, research, travel organization, and vendor/supplier liaison.

Tasks to delegate: Social media strategy, content calendar, graphic design, copywriting, scheduling, posting and engagement.

 

Virtual Bookkeeper

Tasks to delegate: Bank and credit card reconciliation, sales tax filing and compliance, and monthly/quarterly financial reporting.

Tasks to delegate: Following up on late payments, invoicing clients, paying bills, and scheduling payments.

Tasks to delegate: Ensuring your team and you get paid on time while following local and national laws.

 

Online Business Manager

Tasks to delegate: Create job descriptions, recruit and interview prospects, onboard team members and mentor your team.

Tasks to delegate: Document current processes, hand off processes to an Executive Assistant, remove bottlenecks and streamline internal systems.

 

Conclusion

Congratulations! You are well on your way from Solopreneur to Entrepreneur. Putting yourself in a position of working in your strengths and what you love. Doing what you always envisioned when you started your business. If an Executive Assistant, Bookkeeper, or Online Business Manager is the next piece you are looking to hire, VEA would love to help you onboard an expert who will scale with you and your business.

Book a call to learn more about our services and to see if we are a fit.

 

Derek Burbidge
Manager of Sales & Marketing