5 Types of Virtual Assistants That Will Grow Your Business

5-types-of-virtual-assistants-that-will-grow-your-business

One lesson that entrepreneurs need to learn right away is that virtual assistants can help grow your business. Entrepreneurs are risk takers; they want to be in the driver’s seat and lead the company toward long- term growth and sustainable success. There’s just one problem: You can’t do it alone.

You need help. More accurately, you need assistance of the virtual kind. Here are 5 types of virtual assistants that every business needs to go to the next level:

Administrative Support. The foundation of the Virtual Assistant lies in the ability to provide administrative support. Entrepreneurs often find themselves overwhelmed with the sheer volume of responsibilities that accumulate for every overlooked task.

You need a Virtual Assistant who can handle the following administrative services:

  • E-mail Filtering
  • Calendar Management
  • Appointment Setting
  • Follow Up Calls
  • File Management
  • Phone Handling
  • Transcription Services
  • Preparation of Presentation Materials
  • Bills Payment
  • Online Interviews

By delegating these tasks to a Virtual Assistant, you can allocate more time to attending to the core functions of your business.

Accounting Services. Many businesses fail because the owners were not able to consistently keep track of the flow of money. You cannot support expansion programs more so fund operating expenses properly if you do not know where your money is going.

You can hire a Virtual Assistant with an accounting or clerical background and can render the following services:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Payroll Preparation
  • Preparation of Financial Statements
  • Preparation of Cash Disbursement Schedule
  • Accounts Management of Payables and Receivables
  • Inventory Management

IT/ Website Support. If you have a website, you should have it audited from time – to – time for upgrades, maintenance or improvements.

You do not have to keep the Virtual Assistant for IT/ Website Support full- time. But it is absolutely important to have him or her on speed dial for immediate repairs. Remember your website is your place of business online. If it breaks down, you may lose a fortune on unearned revenue.

Can you imagine waking up one morning and the first thing you see online is a warning that your website has been hacked?

Services include:

  • Trouble shooting
  • Web Analytics
  • Improvements
  • Maintenance

Online Marketing Services. It doesn’t matter what the nature or industry of your business is. You need online marketing services. This is the most cost efficient approach to marketing. Statistics fully support the value of online marketing.

A Virtual Assistant can manage the following online marketing services for you:

  • Search Engine Optimization or SEO
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Pay- Per- Click Advertising
  • Online Advertising
  • Networking

Content Writer. A significant component of online marketing is content writing. People are highly influenced by the content that they come across. This is the reason why businesses regularly outsource blogging work.

It is not part of their core competence and they want the blogger to manage the entire project. The objective is to deliver fresh, engaging and relevant content that compels readers to take action.

Your Virtual Assistant can create content for the following:

  • Blogs
  • Articles
  • Posts
  • Web Copy
  • Marketing Copy

You do not have to hire these 5 types of virtual assistants at one time. You can start out with administrative support, accounting and have IT/ website support on call. As your business begins to gain traction, you can bring in the online marketer and the content writer.

Read More

People are People: Why Outsourcing Customer Services is the Best Solution

people-are-people-why-outsourcing-customer-services-is-the-best-solution

Outsourcing services has become an increasingly popular solution for businesses that want to introduce efficiency in operation. Over the last 20 years outsourcing provided several benefits for businesses which include the following:

  • Reduced cost of business
  • Greater productivity
  • Increased business flexibility
  • Lower risk to business expansion
  • Improved quality of deliverables

Businesses that are outsourcing for the first time, usually delegate non- essential tasks such as administrative work or back office support. With the growth of global outsourcing, businesses are beginning to outsource more specialized tasks one of which is customer service.

Customer service plays an important role in developing a business. Its main purpose is market retention. With the expanding role of the Internet and the increasing influence of social media, consumers have more access to information while becoming accessible to your competitors.

If your customer service isn’t spot on, you could easily lose your customers to proprietors of the same trade.

Just how important is market retention? Here are the statistics from a survey conducted by ProvideSupport:

  • 13% of dissatisfied customers will tell 20 other people.
  • 78% of customers report competent customer service are responsible for a great customer experience.
  • 45% of consumers will abandon an online transaction if their concerns are not properly addressed.
  • Loyal customers are worth 10 times more than their first purchase.
  • A 5% increase in customer retention will improve profitability by 75%.
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60% to 70%; the probability of selling to a new customer is 5% to 20%.
  • 80% of your revenue will come from 20% of your existing customer base.

At the crux of customer experience is customer service. If your customer service team cannot satisfy the concerns of your market, you stand to lose much more than failure to generate new sales.

The problem with customer service is companies are resorting to automation. In their effort to minimize mistakes they have been implementing Artificial Intelligence or AI systems to take the place of human customer service agents.

Technology companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google have come out with AI assistance to standardize the level of service and reduce the risks associated with human error. The goal is to introduce large scale AI systems that can manage customer support services.

But the results have been far from desirable. Apple’s Siri AI system has been the object of much scorn and vilification as Microsoft’s Tay AI.

Perhaps one day these technology companies will understand customer service is a function that is best conducted between humans. A customer service transaction is typically emotionally charged. An irate customer wants an immediate resolution to his or her concern because time lost could be opportunity cost.

Machines do not have the capacity to manage customer support services because they have no empathy. They do not understand “need” and therefore exhibit no sense of urgency.

The most effective solution to customer service is also the simplest, least presumptuous one. Outsource customer service to providers of human virtual assistance. Let the customer service agent become human and relate to the customer as another human being.

Forget the automated scripts and spiels. These can remain only as references. For the most part, allow the human in the customer agent to shine through. It is in man’s imperfection that customer service becomes perfect.

Read More

How to Market your Virtual Assistant Business

how-to-market-your-virtual-assistant-business

A Virtual Assistant must constantly find ways to widen client base. This business is not showing any signs of slowing down and it gets more and more competitive as more people join the virtual workforce.  

You have to be able to stand out by executing a good marketing scheme.  It is time to cast your net wider and be ready for the big haul.

There are so many ways to bring your business into the market’s awareness but I have decided to narrow it down to the basics. Let people know you exist by reaching out to them via the following methods:

Create a website. You cannot market your business properly without establishing a strong online identity.  Make sure that you create one that will give people a distinct overview of your services.  

If you are not skilled in creating a website, it is advisable to enlist the service of a web designer. This is the first thing that potential customers look into so put much thought and time into the process.  

Keep in mind that your website gives people a 24/7 access to your Virtual Assistant business, so it is important for you to maintain it properly.

Update contents on a regular basis, keep your design simple and fresh and make sure that navigational system in use is always current.  

Do not neglect your website because this is your virtual doorstep.  No one will knock when it looks uninhabited.

Create a Blog.  Do not underestimate the power of blogging.  Let people know more about you and your business through the articles you post.

Virtual Assistants deal with people across the globe and it is important to cultivate trust prior to any business dealing. A website will draw in people while the blog will help maintain interest.  

This is an avenue for you to service your existing clients, share knowledge and interact with people who visit your website.

If you wish to land more interviews from potential clients, it is always a plus to have a blog on your website. There is also a plugin that you can use which will automatically send details of your latest blog posts on your Facebook business page. Generate “Likes” and you generate interest.

Create a Facebook page for your business. With over a billion users, this social platform provides you access to a huge number of audience.  You do not have to be a big corporation to be able to post an Ad here.  

Facebook has helped launched many small businesses around the world and now it’s your turn.  Set your target market and Facebook will help you reach out to them. It will be easier for you to narrow down potential clients based on demographics.  

Social media marketing will help you interact with a bigger audience, win new customers and promote your Virtual Assistant business.  The possibilities are endless when you utilize this platform so use it not only to connect with your friends but to give your business the attention it deserves.

Read More

Top 5 most expensive penthouses in the U.S.

img20

The number of millionaires is growing in the world. They have their luxury ways of living and buying a penthouse is one of them. Here is a list of the five most expensive penthouses in the U.S.

1. Pierre Hotel Penthouse, New York
Price: $125 Million

img1

This penthouse is located in New York. It is the most expensive penthouse registered till today in the U.S. The interior is decorated with statues worth more than $1 million each. There is a Swedish sauna that cost $1.5 million to build. The windows and fireplaces were designed back in the 17th and 18th century. The staircase is made of wood, and you can have a 360-degree view of the Central Park, Manhattan, and the Hudson River. The maintenance cost of this penthouse is about $47,000 per month.

2. Sherry Netherland Penthouse, New York
Price: $95 Million

img24

This complex was built in 1927 and later converted to residential suites in the 1950s. The maintenance fee for the apartment is $54,00 per month which includes regular housekeeping, 24-hour concierge, and room service. There are a huge library and a lovely terrace from where you can view the Central Park.

3. One57 Penthouse, New York
Price: $90 Million

img8

You can get the best views of New York from this penthouse. It is the largest residential building in the city now. It has won various awards for its design and is regarded as one of the most attractive buildings in the U.S.

4. Ekaterina Rybolovleva’s Penthouse, New York
Price: $88 Million

img9

This penthouse is bought by a female Russian millionaire. It is a 6,700 square foot apartment in New York. Her father is a mining billionaire and has given this apartment to her daughter.

5. Acqualina Penthouse, Miami
Price: $55 Million

img10

It is located on the coastline of Miami. It has 24-hour private concierge service, housekeeping, and lovely views. You can get access to the Sky Garden which is on the roof of the building. It has a green wall of exotic flora. There is also a waterfall that goes down the infinity pool. There is a 100ft outdoor cinema screen.

People have different tastes. Some like the artwork whereas others like the views. These penthouses show the great taste millionaires have.

Read More

4 reasons why you should buy a penthouse

img15

Rich people can find it boring to live in traditional houses. So, living on the top of buildings can be something different. Here are some great reasons for buying a penthouse.

Great views

 

img5

If you love the beauty of the city from heights, then you will love living in a penthouse. You can have beautiful views through large windows or view the sky from the terraces.

Size of a penthouse

img2

Penthouse has more space than normal apartments. The common size of a penthouse is 4,000 square feet. There can be more than one level in a penthouse.

Luxury everywhere

img7

In a penthouse condo, you will find everything that is high-end. You will find the finest accessories, modern appliances, advanced security system and much more. There is a swimming pool, terrace, private elevator, fireplace, higher ceilings, etc. Some penthouses have lovely gardens on the terrace. So, you can spend some good times in the greenery near the sky.

Private access

img9

Unlike a normal apartment, you can have more privacy in condos. Some penthouse has separate elevators, so you don’t have to meet anyone outside when you are in the elevator.

The demand for penthouses is increasing. It is a way to escape the busy and crowded streets and has some quite time on top. You no longer need to find a house on the outskirts of the city to find a quiet environment. You can now find a great privacy right at the center of the city and enjoy all the amenities.

Read More

3 Easy Steps to Create a Digital Marketing Team with Virtual Assistants

3-easy-steps-to-create-a-digital-marketing-team-with-virtual-assistants

Virtual assistants are becoming a key component in the business development plan of many companies regardless of size, scale or type of industry. You can contract the services of a Virtual Assistant for any type of skill that your business needs. Demand for virtual assistance services continues to remain high that more talented peoples are crossing over from the brick- and- mortar world to the virtual world.

One of the most in-demand skills is marketing because many companies do not allocate enough funding for an in- house team. In board rooms across the world whenever talk of increased marketing is initiated, the follow up question is, “What is the expected ROI?”

In the days before the Internet exploded into the mainstream consciousness, ideas for marketing consisted mostly of printed material, publications and press releases. These were expensive and difficult to measure. The evolution of digital technology and the growth of the Internet have given birth to Internet- based marketing which is more effective and cost efficient compared to traditional marketing.

The offspring is Digital Marketing which consists of a multitude of tools, techniques, processes and strategies all designed to pull an audience toward your business.

You can create a digital marketing team with Virtual Assistants with 3 easy steps:

Hire a Project Manager. The project manager is the Digital Marketing Manager. The ideal candidate should have the following qualifications:

  • At least 2 years hands on experience in online marketing.
  • Has working knowledge on website design and development.
  • Understands the principles of SEO
  • High level of proficiency in all social networks
  • Excellent in written and spoken English
  • Judicious in research
  • Great ability to work with a team

The Digital Marketing Manager will assist you in recruiting, evaluating and selecting the members of the Digital Marketing team.

Assemble the Team. A Digital Marketing team needs the following key positions:

  • Website Designer
  • Website Programmer
  • SEO Professional
  • Social Media Marketer
  • Content Writer

Some of these skills can be integrated such as Website Designer and Programmer if the Designer knows coding. The Digital Marketer can be the SEO Professional. Proficiency in SEO should be in your priority list because it is the process which dictates the direction of the other strategies.

There are some Digital Marketing teams whereby the Digital Marketing Manager handles SEO and Content Writing duties.

Create the Process Flow. Once you have assembled the Digital Marketing team, they should be aware of how the Digital Marketing process flows. The first step starts with the systems and frameworks that will support the process flow:

  • Project Management – Asana, Bitrix-24, SalesForce
  • File Sharing – DropBox, Accelion
  • Communication – e-mail, chat support, audio-video services for meetings such as Skype, WebEx or GoToMeeting

The second step covers the operations. You have to detail the procedure of working on a digital marketing campaign. The process should cover:

  • Research
  • Presentation of the Creative Brief
  • Submission of website design mock ups
  • Testing of website features
  • Schedule of content publication
  • Schedule of postings

Setting up a Digital Marketing team composed of virtual assistants is the best option to ensure your business gets the constant push it needs to gain traction. With Digital Marketing results are readily measurable. You can find out if your campaign is along the course of projected ROI. It also allows for greater flexibility. If you are off-course, you can get back on track simply by evaluating available data.

Read More

5 Important Soft Skills That Qualify a Great Virtual Assistant

5-important-soft-skills-that-qualify-a-great-virtual-assistant

What differentiates a good Virtual Assistant from a great Virtual Assistant? Is it the technical and fundamental competencies that are required of the job? Is it the pedigree honed from years of managing different projects across a wide spectrum of industries?

Organizational skills, high level of proficiency in written and spoken English, expert ability to navigate the Internet, appreciable knowledge in multiple online programs and software applications. These are all part and parcel of an ideal Virtual Assistant.

Generally all good virtual assistants have these skills. When you are looking for a Virtual Assistant for your business, these skills should be default in your qualifying criterion.

The factor that differentiates great virtual assistants from good ones is less of what they can do than who they are. These are called soft skills; qualities that define the Virtual Assistant for who he or she is. Soft skills are inter-personal skills. They cannot be trained because they are ingrained.

If work skills are honed by years of business experience, soft skills are learned and developed throughout the Virtual Assistant’s life experiences.

If you want a great Virtual Assistant, look for these 5 important soft skills:

Willingness to Learn – The best virtual assistants are those who have voracious appetites for knowledge. They excel in their job because they want to learn as much as they possibly can. Virtual assistants who are open to learning make fantastic researchers. If you want effective research work done, look for a Virtual Assistant with curiosity that can only be satiated through learning.

Incredible Filter for Detail – Virtual assistants should be meticulous. They must pay close attention to detail. But there are those whose filters are more effective in identifying potential faults and mistakes. This is because they seek to understand the context before delving into the content. They have the ability to piece everything together.

Proactive Approach to Business – The great Virtual Assistant does not think like a service provider. He or she functions like a strategic partner; looking out for your best interest. If the VA sees potential flaws in the system, he or she will not remain silent. Expect to have a discussion that will be conducted in a very professional, respectful and courteous manner.

Strong Sense of Initiative – Virtual assistants have developed a level of intuition they can trust. If you give them materials or content which are lacking in details and information, they will serve you notice of these deficiencies. It is not because they want to prove themselves your superior. The intent is to fortify your business and ensure the integrity of your operations.

Natural Leadership Abilities – What makes a great leader? It is accepting accountability for decisions that have been made. Great leadership does not only manifest itself during periods of success. In fact, leaders are discovered during times of adversity. A great Virtual Assistant is one who is ready and willing to acknowledge mistakes so these can be rectified before the situation gets worse.

How would you know if the Virtual Assistant has these skills? The best way is to shift your focus away from prioritizing technical and fundamental competencies and toward the behavioral component.

It all starts with core values. Find out the values which your Virtual Assistant cherishes the most. Ask him or her to identify at least 5 core values that provide the guidelines for every decision that has to be made. These should be non-negotiable meaning that under any circumstances should they be compromised. Then use these values as benchmarks for performance.

In the end, only time will tell if your Virtual Assistant has the soft skills needed to become great. As the client, you should constantly observe and uncover if these soft skills are present or not; real or contrived.  

Read More