Thursday, December 3, 2009

Determining your Budget when Seeking a Virtual Assistant

During the last week I started with another new client which was great. The following day I received an email from this client to format a small document to ensure consistency of logo placement & branding specifications. The client specified in their email "please spend no longer than two hours on this project".

Now, I took a look at the documents that were sent through as examples and the unformatted document and I thought I had misunderstood the instructions. Perhaps I was to redo all of these documents in the two hours, not just the one document. After calling the client to clarify, it was just the one document that needed formatting and so I began. This job was completed in just under half an hour.

This situation caused me to think of how many potential clients out there base their budget and required hours per month on how long it would take them to complete the tasks? Does this often cause some to think that engaging a Virtual Assistant would be too expensive as they themselves spend a lot of time on these tasks?

It is important when engaging a Virtual Assistant to remember that an experienced Virtual Assistant will often take half the time, or less, to complete tasks as this is their area of expertise. Whilst you are the expert in your business, Virtual Assistants are administrative experts and know the quickest way of completing various projects and tasks.

For example, if a small document (e.g. 2 pages) takes you 2 hours to type up and format, consider the following:

* What is your typing speed?
* Do you format consistently?
* How are you it the quickest way?

If you are investigating the possibility of working with a Virtual Assistant, it may be an idea to commence your business partnership on a lower retainer at first and ascertain if you need to increase these hours later. If you find an experienced Virtual Assistant who is fast, this will save you money in the long run. Best to go over your retainer hours in a month, than to have unused time during a month.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

How to stay afloat in the current economic condition

Today's blog has been kindly provided by Colleen Gee from Avatar Bookkeeping.  Collen provides Virtual Bookkeeping Services to a range of businesses. Enjoy!

With the doom and gloom of the world recession on every radio, T.V. and newspaper at the moment it is very easy to look at how to cut costs and to hold on tight to what you have.  That’s not always a bad thing, but you need to be wise and what you cut back on and what you hold tight to..

One example is that because we are wanting to hold onto our hard earned cash, often it is the Marketing Budget that is the first to go..  This is NOT a good idea.  If anything, the Marketing Budget should be increased, not decreased.  With customers more difficult to find, you want to be the one to find them, not your competition and if you’re not out there marketing, then you don’t have much chance.

Current Customers become even more important now.  You want to hang onto them and make sure that they don’t cut you out of their budgets. Keep in touch with them, set up a system to contact them on a regular basis just to “check in on them” and as well as keeping in touch, it is a good way for you to get information on what’s happening in the industry.  Look at ways that you can add value, that won’t cost you big financially.

Cost Cutting can’t be ignored, but again this is where you need to be wise.  Don’t go putting off your key personnel just because you pay them the most.  They may be the ones who can come up with the best ideas or keep those important clients.  Consider things like evaluating the costs of your insurance or superannuation schemes; look at refinancing options; are there better deals out there?  If you are paying a full time Accountant, consider taking on a Bookkeeper to free up your Accountant to work on growth plans.  Look at ways that you can save energy and reduce your carbon footprint.  There are a lot of Government subsidies out there at the moment that you might be able to take advantage of.

Consider ways to diversify your income, particularly if you are heavily reliant on one client.  If that client goes under, it leaves you far too vulnerable.  So as well as looking for new clients, consider ways to provide added services to your existing customers or ingenious ways of generating income.
Make sure that you have a budget and that you set aside time at least monthly to look at and monitor the financial status of the Business and consider your Cash Flow and any actions that might need to be taken.  You should know what the current status is of your Business at least at the close of every month.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Hi & welcome to the Online Personal Assistants blog.  Here we will share a wealth of information relevant to the industry for both clients and other Virtual Assistants.  We will post events and things we have learnt from a range of speakers at various networking events we have attended throughout the year.  You'll also find client profiles, recommended businesses and other information.  We will give you a little of everything that we think you will enjoy.

Happy reading!