For those of you who are still in the dark, a Virtual Assistant, or VA, is an executive level, administrative professional who works from his/her own office to support clients using some of the latest available technology. The Internet has brought many skilled professionals out of the corporate environment and back into their homes, enabling them to create a better work-life balance, while still performing in the roles they love. The VA is one such professional. Working from their home-based offices and making use of the Internet, telephone, fax and email, VAs are able to offer small and medium-sized businesses a quality of administrative support, previously only available to the corporate giants, in a cost-effective manner.
A Virtual Assistant’s service offering may vary, but you are guaranteed to find one out there who is able to perform the exact functions your business needs. You will find that hiring a VA will REVOLUTIONIZE your business.
1. A VA brings invaluable work experience and training to the table. You may even find that they will teach you a trick or two. Be it software, hardware or grammar, you can be sure that your VA knows his/her stuff!
2. Because VAs run a business themselves, they have a unique understanding of what your needs as a small business owner are. They will be able to assist and advise you on matters pertaining to Marketing, Branding, Web Design and e-Commerce. What avenues of advancement have you not yet explored with your business? Are you sure that you have all your bases covered? Your VA can help.
3. Get organized. If you attend conferences and AGMs I’ll bet you have a ton of business cards cluttering up your desk. Let your VA scan and enter them into a database for you. Future mail campaigns will be a breeze with a ready-made contact list all neatly stored on a CD.
4. Is there a special project boiling over on the back-burner that you’ve been wanting to do? Your VA can help with research, planning and coordination, leaving you free to continue your focus on your core-business function.
5. If you’re too busy to remember important dates, anniversaries and meetings, your VA, with a tailored reminder service, can assist. From ordering flowers for your mother, to sending a thank you note to a client and even arranging gift baskets for investor, they aim to please.
6. Conceptualizing marketing items can be agonizing if you don’t have the know-how, equipment or creative flair. Most VAs have a wide range of software packages at their finger-tips, as well as experience in creating flyers, brochures and business cards for their own company’s. Put your ideas to your VA, they will dazzle you with the results.
7. Planning a much-needed break with your family? Let your VA take care of the details; flights, car hire, accommodation, even a list of “must-see” places of interest. Your VA can handle it all, down to the very last detail.
8. If you’re on the road a lot, chances are your cell-phone is often out of signal range and there is no one in your office to take a message should that all-important client call. With the call answering service provided by many VAs, you can divert your calls and rest assured that your client will receive the personal touch rather than dealing with an annoying automated answering device. Your messages will be passed on to you in order of importance and you won’t need to sort through lengthy messages on voicemail.
9. Conferences and networking functions can take a lot out of a small business owner. It is imperative that you attend and make a dazzling show of it, but in order to do so, you have to neglect existing clients. This will no longer be a problem with a VA. They can handle all your conferencing arrangements; table-hire, banner design and creation, even gift bags for client samples. It’s that easy!
10. If you have a lot of correspondence, and you’re a bit of a “keyboard klutz”, your VA can help. Many VAs offer a fully digitized transcription service. Simply record your memos/letters onto your computer and email them to your VA, s/he will have it neatly typed and ready for mailing in no time! Other VAs may provide dictated typing as a service, so that urgent e-mail is just a phone-call away.
Now that you’ve heard all that a VA can do, where can you find one? That’s easy. The Virtual Assistant Networking Association (VANA) at http://www.vanetworking.com is an invaluable resource when looking to partner with a VA. With 6,500+ professional VA members you are certain to find exactly the service you are looking for. According to Tawnya Sutherland, founder of VANA, and author of the Virtual Business Startup System states, “Our forum is leading the way in revolutionizing the VA industry by offering expert advice to VAs on how to be the best VA they can be. That’s why partnering with one of our VAs can help your business grow and operate on a more proficient level. Our team of VAs are varied with different skill sets and different visions for their business. That’s why teaming up with a VANA Virtual Assistant can give your business all the support it needs.”
So if you’re looking for a VA or want to start a virtual assistant business, now is the time to stop by VANA and see everything they have to offer.
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Tawnya Sutherland, founder of Virtual Assistant Networking Association (VANA) www.VAnetworking.com and author of The VBSS System, a Virtual Business Startup System, is a Certified Internet Marketing Specialist sharing much of her online marketing experience at VANA to help aspiring and successful VAs turn clicks into cash at their websites. Listen to Tawnya at her VA Talk Show, Where VAs Talk the Walk at www.VAtalkShow.com
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