How Virtual Assistants can make the most of strategic alliances

27 05 2008

Today at Athena Kings Langley's meeting, the business support topic was about how small businesses can team up with with other complementary businesses and extend their product/service range. It's called Strategic Alliance Partnerships. This works well with Virtual Assistants. Virtual assistants usually bill by the hour, so, on your own, the virtual assistant's earning capacity is limited by how many hours you are available. Entrepreneurial virtual assistants recognise this and strategic alliances are a way of augmenting their income. Instead of just offering admin services, virtual assistants can be likened to the project manager in the corporate world who delegates tasks to the most appropriate person. So become the one-stop virtual business service for your clients by teaming up with other businesses who might have the same client profile as yours. You suddenly open yourself up to more prospects, as well as offer more services to your existing clients, that you wouldn't have the skills to do on your own, for example, web design and telemarketing are two disciplines that I don't have expertise in myself, but on my team are 3 experienced telemarketers and a web designer. Today at the Athena meeting, there was a brilliant copywriter who would be a great addition to my services, and we're going to meet up. So watch this space…..


How not to win clients

26 05 2008

Got directed to these tips by a fellow VA  who was rather shocked to find another VA recommending a rather underhand way of winning clients. . Whilst the majority of tips are to do with keeping abreast of your industry news, I found tip no 4 by Moneypenny's MD rather underhand, namely "When your rival brags about landing new clients you can ring up and
offer to undercut the deal.” apparently the MD uses this technique! To me, this seems to be a rather green-eyed reaction to your rival's successes. How do you think the client would view this kind of unsolicitored approach? And how does this affect the image of the virtual pa industry?

If, as a VA certainly, you ever got gazzumped by a rival undercutting your new deal you proudly shouted about on your website, rather than kick yourself for having given so much away on your website, you might take the view that the client wouldn't have been a good one if all they were interested in was the price-tag.

Always remember that as a virtual pa, you are offering a whole package. And to do that you need to find out exactly what the client's expectations are. That's the starting point. You also need to know what they hope to gain. Once you know what they want and their aim, you can then add value by using your knowledge and experience to suggest additional ways of augmenting, perhaps simplifying the process or improving it somehow. This way your prospects see your value beyond the price-tag, and you're more likely to win the client, (even if you are the most expensive) and you'll keep them even when a rival tries to undercut you.

Thankfully, my experience of the VA industry is one of mutual support of another. We share tips and knowledge and celebrate one another's successes. And likewise, we also share bad experiences, so that  our fellow VA's can avoid being stung too. What goes round comes round, so send the good stuff round and do unto others how you'd like to be done to!

by Vee Smith

How Athena Networking has helped boost my confidence

7 05 2008

I chaired my first Athena meeting yesterday at the Amersham Tuesday group.
Being a member of Athena has been really great for not just my
business, but a huge boost to my confidence. I’m enjoying some great
supportive friendships. When I think back to this time last year when I
attended my first Athena meeting, what a quivering shy thing I was,
absolutely dreading the moment when I would have to stand up and
deliver my monthly minute!

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Gimme more widgets!

6 05 2008

In researching for my talk on Friday about blogging for business at the Athena Conference (East Chilterns Region), I’ve come across an absolute gold mine of widgets and directories that I can link to and subscribe to that my mind is now beginning to ‘bloggle’ with the possibilities.

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Must have software – pdf

4 05 2008

Every virtual pa should have the means to convert documents into PDF files and I use desk pdf. I’ve also used pdf995. PDF995 has a free version which every time you use it up pop reminders to tell you to purchase the software to get rid of the annoying pop up reminder. I paid for desk pdf  ($60) and it is so quick to create a pdf document. You create your word document (or excel) then go to print and select the desk pdf from the printers drop down box. You then get prompted to save as and you give it a file name and that’s it. Quick, simple and brilliant! That’s what I like!

Athena East Chilterns Conference

1 05 2008

Here’s one Virtual PA looking forward to the  Athena East Chilterns Conference next Friday 9th May at Latimer House, in Chesham. I’m privileged to have been asked to give a talk about blogging for business. So, as an experiment I’ve set up this Virtual PA blog and been adding at least every other day to it and been monitoring my ranking in search engines. Yesterday, when I checked on Google for virtual pa blog it came up on the 2nd page, which is pretty good, considering I only started this virtual pa blog less than a week ago. Does prove that search engines like frequency.