Archive for Virtual Assistance

Outsourcing To A Virtual Assistant

Posted in Office Management, Outsourcing, Virtual Assistance with tags , on November 23, 2010 by virtualcitypa

Outsourcing is the strategic use of outside resources to perform activities traditionally handled by internal staff and resources. Small business owners can outsource non-core functions to specialized and efficient service providers. The difference between simply subcontracting and outsourcing is that outsourcing involves the wholesale restructuring of the corporation around core competencies and outside relationships.

 As a consequence, a new class of skilled entrepreneurs has emerged — the virtual assistants.

What is a virtual assistant?

A virtual assistant (VA) is an independent entrepreneur providing administrative, creative and/or technical services. Utilising advanced technological modes of communication and data delivery, a professional VA assists clients in his/her area of expertise from his/her own office.

A VA completes your projects using his or her own equipment, and carries out the work through e-mail, fax, telephone and postal service. Therefore, the location of your VA is not important. This gives you the liberty to look for professionals best suited to your needs located anywhere on the globe. Since they’re paid only for time-on-task, businesses can hire several VAs in dispersed locations and have 24-hour support — paying far less than what a permanent or temporary employee would cost for such comprehensive assistance.

The services offered by each VA differ according to his/her skills. The list of services includes general administration services, database and Website development, graphic design, Internet research, sales support, presentation preparation, telephone answering, bill payments, travel arrangements, bookkeeping, desktop publishing, computer training, medical/legal transcription … the list is endless!

Why outsource the work to a VA?

The primary benefit of outsourcing is economising since the VA can do it cheaper. VAs only charge for actual time worked.

By outsourcing to a VA rather than hiring an in-office assistant, you will never need to pay employment insurance, vacation pay, sick pay, or contribute to retirement plans and worker’s compensation. A VA has his/her own hardware, software, training, etc., thereby reducing your capital investment. So there is no wear and tear on your office equipment or a need for special equipment.

Engaging a VA gives you time, allowing you to do what you do best. You can focus on delivering the higher value and service to your customers. As skilled VAs are chosen to perform particular tasks, they can do it better because they do it all the time. It is their business.

Like you, VAs are entrepreneurs and understand the needs of businesses today — ensuring the success of their clients. VAs value each and every client; it is because of these clients that VAs can ensure the success of their own businesses.

The resources of the VA can give your business access to technical advances you would not normally have access to. With modern day communication, projects can be accomplished without ever having to meet the client face to face. With the growing ease of the Internet, finding a VA almost anywhere in the world is quite simple to accomplish — more so in the developed nations like USA, Canada, Australia, UK and many other European countries where the VA industry is highly organised.

http://realtytimes.com/rtpages/20031027_va.htm

The emergence of Virtual Assistants

Posted in Outsourcing, Virtual Assistance with tags , , on November 19, 2010 by virtualcitypa

Virtual Assistants are typically professional level people who have left the confines of corporate business to start their own businesses. Virtual Assistants are independent contractors who work from home providing a variety of services to businesses.

This trend allows these highly skilled professionals to bring their knowledge to bear for a whole range of companies that would otherwise not have access. While VA’s were once limited to more administrative tasks, they now encompass the entire spectrum of professional skills. If it can be done from home, there is a VA doing it.

What companies are starting to appreciate is that Virtual Assistants cost companies a fraction of the cost of actual hires. A company employing Virtual Assistants can utilise the services of a whole range of professionals instead of having to choose which specialty is needed most as the company grows.

For the cost of one salaried Administrative Assistant, a business owner could utilise approximately 1400 hours of assistance divided among any number of top professionals. Utilising Virtual Assistants allows businesses access to the exact services that they need, it also allows businesses to shift gears more quickly and efficiently by investing in growth rather than payroll because they are paying only for the time spent on their project. There is no longer a reason to worry about taxes, benefits, vacation pay, and time wasted by the water cooler.

More and more businesses are coming round to the idea of Virtual Assistance; it’s a win-win for everyone involved. It gives businesses the help that they need without the hassle of hiring a full-time employee.

www.powerhomebiz.com/082005/va.htm

Office organisation tips

Posted in Office Management with tags , , , , , on November 17, 2010 by virtualcitypa

With the ever increasing workloads that companies are putting on employees, staying organised is vital. Here are some tips on how you can have better office organisation, more productivity and a little peace of mind.

1. Know the times of day that you’re at your best

We all have times of the day that we’re more productive than others. Use those better periods of the day to spend on the toughest tasks you need to accomplish. Leave the easier things for the times you’re less energetic.

For example, if you’re not a morning person then don’t schedule an important meeting early in the morning if possible. Push it back to 10:00 a.m. or later. Using your time wisely is one of the keys to better office organisation.

When you’re not feeling your best it’s nearly impossible to get anything of substance accomplished. This is where flex schedules can be a big asset. If your office doesn’t have that, talk to the boss about it and try selling him on the idea.

2. Deadlines are good

Set deadlines for yourself on important tasks. By doing this you’ll notice yourself getting more done in less time. Even if you really don’t have a deadline for a certain project, set one anyway. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you can be with just this tip.

3. Control your day instead of your day controlling you.

Think about how much time you lose every day due to office distractions. Perhaps its emails that co-workers send, others who pop into your office and proceed to camp out for 15 minutes and the list goes on.

Let others know that unless their needs are an emergency, that you’re busy and don’t want to be disturbed. That’s not being rude, it’s being productive.

Every time you become distracted, not only do you lose the time during the distraction, but it’s difficult to get re-focused again. When this happens throughout the day it makes getting anything accomplished nearly impossible.

4. Cut the fat.

No, I’m not talking about a diet. Good office organisation is going to require the elimination of these things which are not of any value.

For example, if you are writing out reports that other co-workers don’t need, then stop doing it. Put out one report and send it to everyone by email.

Get with your boss and discuss the areas that you are spending unproductive time in. Let them know you could be utilising that time on the areas you are strongest in.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/123924/office_organization_tips_to_being_more.html

Office essentials checklist

Posted in Office Management with tags , , on November 12, 2010 by virtualcitypa

Whether you’re equipping your first office or just re-stocking your current one, this checklist will help you determine and track which furniture, equipment, technologies and supplies you need to help your business run more smoothly.

Office Furniture and Equipment

  • Desk
  • Comfortable chair
  • File cabinets
  • Overhead and work lighting
  • Client seating
  • Fireproof safe
  • Desktop and pocket calculators
  • Bookcases
  • Postage meter
  • Worktable (s)
  • Office decorations
  • Labeling machine
  • Wall whiteboard and markers
  • Radio
  • Paper shredder
  • Photocopier
  • Wastepaper basket
  • Recycling bin
  • Alarm system
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First-aid kit

Computer Hardware and Accessories

  • Desktop computer and monitor
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Printer
  • Modem
  • Notebook computer
  • CD writer
  • PowerPoint projector
  • Digital camera
  • Handheld organiser
  • Surge protector
  • Computer locks
  • Scanner

Computer Software

  • Word processing software
  • Virus protection software
  • Accounting software
  • Desktop publishing software
  • Contact management software
  • Website building and maintenance software
  • Payment processing software
  • E-commerce software
  • Inventory management software

Communications

  • Telephone line
  • Internet connection
  • Toll-free line
  • Desk telephone
  • Fax machine
  • Cordless telephone
  • Answering machine/service
  • Cordless headset
  • Speakerphone
  • Tape recorder
  • Mobile phone(s)

General Office Supplies

  • Business cards
  • Envelopes
  • Stationery
  • Imprinted advertising specialties
  • Postage stamps
  • Printer cartridges
  • CD and USB memory sticks
  • Pencils and pens
  • Printer paper
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Fax paper
  • Notepads
  • File folders
  • Stapler
  • Scissors

This checklist was revised from 202 Services You Can Sell for Big Profits by James Stephenson.

Case study: Using a Virtual Assistant

Posted in Office Management, Outsourcing, Virtual Assistance with tags , on January 11, 2010 by virtualcitypa

Desmond Turner is in a quandary faced by many small business owners. He has so much work he can’t focus on minute details, but he’s not at the point where he needs a full-time office assistant. Turner, owner of A+ Landscaping, is a perfect candidate for virtual assistance.

Hiring a virtual assistant (VA) is a practical and affordable solution to helping manage many small but growing businesses. Thanks to speedy advancements in technology, entrepreneurs have access to highly-skilled professionals.
A VA is someone who handles administrative functions such as e-mailing, faxing, database management and bookkeeping from a remote location. Highly skilled assistants can also offer help with website maintenance, customer and client contact and even marketing material, all services that would greatly benefit Turner’s business.
“Because I’m in the landscape industry, I spend the majority of my time outside of the office, which means I don’t really have time to devote to answering e-mails and sending faxes,” said Turner. “Having a professional who could serve as a liaison between me and my clients would be invaluable.”
Invaluable indeed, since not having an assistant means late nights spent catching up on paperwork like contracts and bookkeeping.
Virtual assistance companies often span several industries, and some assistants even offer help with the clients’ personal lives by organizing social gatherings, making doctor appointments and arranging travel plans.

Virtual assistants offer several advantages over do-it-yourself practices or temporary and part-time workers, the main benefi t being that they’re cost-effective. The employer has no payroll taxes, workers’ comp or temp agency commission fees. Small companies could also save money on offi ce space, equipment, pensions, insurance and the like. Another advantage for business owners is that they would have full access to assistants while only paying for work that was actually done.

Employers who are thinking about hiring a virtual assistant are urged to do research beforehand to ensure a profi table match. A good VA may be instrumental in helping with the mundane tasks while business owners focus on advancing the company’s goals.

What is concierge?

Posted in Lifestyle Management, Virtual Assistance with tags , on January 4, 2010 by virtualcitypa

Personal concierge services allow clients to “buy back” their precious time so that they can get back to enjoying what means most to them. A personal concierge works on the most basic of premises: people want things done and just don’t have the time to do them.

Many concierge companies provide errand services and information services for their members. Services include informational requests, setting dinner reservations, making telephone calls, researching travel arrangements and more.

Typically, concierge companies will bill on an hourly rate, and depending upon the type of task, and fees can fluctuate drastically. Other companies bill a flat monthly fee based upon the number of requests a member is allowed to place each month. This service offering is also known as lifestyle management.  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concierge

Benefits of Using a Virtual Assistant

Posted in Virtual Assistance with tags , on November 7, 2009 by virtualcitypa

There are many reasons why using a VA is beneficial. Here are just a few of them:

• They are orientated to meet your personal needs
• They treat your business as if it was their own i.e. become very involved
• Minimal training required
• You only pay for their time and materials used: you are not liable to pay tax, national insurance costs and benefits, as you would when taking on a new employee
• You have the peace of mind that any deadlines will be met
• You will not have to make room in the office for an extra person, or relocate completely if it was necessary!

Would a Virtual Assistant Be Useful To Me?

If you can relate to any of the following scenarios, then it may be worth using a VA:

• You generally need a personal assistant

• Delegating work to existing staff will affect their ability to meet current deadlines

• You need to ‘free’ some of your own time to concentrate on other areas of the business

• Your current staff does not have the skills to complete the task(s) in question

• You have limited funds to purchase equipment (e.g. PC’s) to complete certain tasks

• You want a business e-mail account but do not have a PC and/or on-line connection

• You need a contact person for times when you are away

• Your premises does not have enough space to accommodate another person

http://www.bizhelp24.com/small-business/benefits-of-using-a-virtual-assistant.html