“VBM Or VA? Which Does Your Business Need To Grow?”

“VBM Or VA? Which Does Your Business Need To Grow?”

If your business is to scale up, you will almost certainly need to be  hire or outsource some of the repetitive administrative tasks and managerial tasks. This will allow you to focus entirely on the growth of your business and bringing in the money. Once you have made the decision to outsource some of your workload virtually, then the biggest question is whether to hire a virtual assistant (VA) or a virtual business manager (VBM).

If you are not sure what the difference is between a VA and a VBM, I have outlined below the top 7 comparisons to help you determine which would be best for your business:

Virtual Assistant (VA) Vs Virtual Business Manager (VBM)

1. Roles:

(VA) Virtual Assistants are assigned work or projects by the client, and they work remotely to complete the project within the agreed timelines.

(VBM) Virtual Business Manager assists with the day to day operation of the business. They take over the managerial role of the business owner in performing the assigned roles and act in their place. This can, therefore, involve:-

  •  Management of the entire workforce including virtual assistants,
  • Overseeing all projects,
  • Tracking progress,
  • Analysing reports,
  • Contacting clients, and
  • Organizing deals, among others.

2. Duties:

(VA) Virtual Assistants handle specific administrative work, which may form part of a wider project or strategy. Examples of typical tasks include:-

  •  Personal assistance,
  • Content creation,
  • Email management,
  • Calendar management
  • Social media management,
  • Customer service,
  • Research

Typically, VA’s only manage themselves, however some VAs do have associates that they can call when necessary.

(VBM) Virtual Business Managers handle various managerial duties. For instance their responsibilities can include:

Project Management:

VBMs can organize and plan projects, create budgets & schedules, monitor the projects against the baselines, generate analytical reports, and make managerial decisions.

Team Management:

The VBM typically has prior managerial experience. Hence, can be tasked with supporting you during the whole employee cycle. From recruiting your team, outsourcing to experts, orientate new members, track the team members’ progress & outputs, organize team meetings with the business owner, among others.

Business Management:

VBMs can review and automate business systems & processes, outline new systems and procedures of operations, manage financial expenditures and income, handle tax, licenses, and insurance issues.

Launch Management:

VBMs can oversee the organization of virtual business events and product launches. This includes creating plans, sales and landing pages for the launch, and mobilizing the responsible teams.

Management of Public Relations:

The VBM can oversee the public relations for the business, such as coordination with event organizers, preparing press releases & bios, highlighting new networking opportunities for the client, creating itineraries, and any required materials.

Time Management:

Creating alternative efficient systems to save time, implementing lean operations, and preparing schedules to maximize productivity

Management of Income Streams:

They manage and create new opportunities & systems for multiple income streams such as memberships, loyalty programs, and autopayments, among others.

Website & Social Media Management:

They oversee, review, and analyze data on your social media platforms for consistency, relevance, and performance. They also oversee updates on your blogposts & websites, as well as search engine optimization.

Marketing & Customer Relationship Management:

The VBM can handle the creation & automation of newsletters, email marketing campaigns, implementation of the marketing strategy on all platforms, and identify new marketing opportunities.

3. Work Approach:

The approaches to work between a VA and a VBM are certainly different.

(VA) A virtual assistant work is reactive. They follow instructions provided by client in order to complete the assigned project. Over time, they may understand the clients needs in their specific area and hence make suggestions for improvement in that area. However these suggestions are limited to the scope of thier work.

(VBM) Virtual Business Manager’s approach is proactive. Actively providing suggestions of directions and solutions to the client based on the business’ vision and goals. The VBM identifies new opportunities for the business in the various aspects they oversee, as opposed to the VA who only delivers on the client to assign the work or project.

4. Area of Focus:

(VA) Virtual Assistant’s area of focus is in the completion of the tasks or project assigned to them in time. Their scope only lies within the duties assigned to them.

(VBM) Virtual Business Manager’s focused on a wider scope of work within the business. VBMs is usually multi-skilled and hence can carry out the work themselves, if required, however, there true value comes from their prior management experience. Hence are able to also plan, strategize, organize, coordinate and monitor all aspects of your business. Ensuring your goals are met within time, budget and to the required standards. VBMs are overseers, as well as doers, and thus focus primarily the management and strategy as well

5. Level of Responsibility:

(VA) A Virtual Assistant only takes responsibility for the work assigned to them.

(VBM) The Virtual Business Manager is a right-hand person to the business owners. The actions and decisions of the VBM impact the entire business and its operations.

6. Measure of Performance

(VA) Performance is based on quality and timely completion of the assigned tasks.

(VBM) The success is measured based on the performance, efficiency and general success of the business.

7. Maximum Number of Active Clients

(VA) Virtual Assistants have a lower level of responsibility and work on projects of a lower complexity. As such, they are usually free to work with around 10-12 clients at a time. However, this would depend on the tasks and projects allocated, as well as their speed of delivery required.

(VBM) As a result of the wider scope and level of responsibility borne by the Virtual Business Manager, they usually have to limit themselves to a maximum of 3 clients or businesses at a time. Dedicating themselves to a smaller number of clients enables a VBM to understand the intricasies of the business and bring valuable suggestion to drive the business forward to the owner .

 

VBM or VA…..The Verdict

In conclusion, the decision to hire a Virtual Assistant or a Virtual Business Manager depends on the structure of your business, the kind of responsibilities you wish to outsource and the level of input you want to dedicate to the outsourcing.

If you are looking to simply outsource a few tasks to be completed remotely by an independent contractor with specialised skills, then hire a Virtual Assistant.

However, if you are looking for a strategic partner to oversee your business operations, manage your all your projects, proactively move your business form and potentially manage your staff or VAs then hire a Virtual Business Manager.

Either way, the decision lies with you, you know your business best and what resource you need to move you forward.

 

Have you decided a Virtual Business Manager is what you need?

Then book in a no-obligation consultant call and we can talk about how I can support you.

How To Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed

How To Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed

As a business owner you possibly find yourself managing all kind of jobs, often with moving priorities. You may get to end of your day and wonder whether you have actually made any kind of progress, or achieved anything! This can leave you really feeling aggravated as well as overloaded. Here are some tips to help beat overwhelm as well as achieve efficiency…

 Top Tips To Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed 

 1. Know How You Spend Your Time

Lost time is the significance of inefficacy. This commonly happens as a result of procrastination, distractions or inefficient working practices. The primary step to coming to be a lot more effective is to understand just how you spend your time. This can be analysed quite quickly, by tracking the moment you spend on jobs as well as in between jobs. Tracking can be done either by hand or with a time-tracking application such as Toggl. This simple exercise can also be executed by your team and will certainly help you find where time is wasted in your business and also where enhancements need to be made..

 

2. Processes

Recorded procedures throughout many areas of your business will certainly help boost effectiveness. It saves you and your team ‘re-inventing the wheel’ each time you complete a task. For example, ensuring customer-facing processes are in place, such as customer on-boarding and after-sales care, will vastly improve your efficiency. How? will it means you are able to follow procedure, and use defined templates rather than spend time thinking through and implementing your actions and responses each time, so all that’s necessary is to quickly customise, where necessary.

 

3. Tools

Readily offered online software application will greatly enhance the everyday functional performance of vital areas of your business. There are tools that streamline numerous business areas, for example, client support, project management, accounts, payments and also group communication

 

4. Prioritise Your To-Dos

Focus is in, and multitasking is out! Trying to do too much will just cause you to get stressed out and feel overwhelmed. Leaving you feeling like you have achieved very little. You need to work with your priorities and focus on the most important tasks. Take a look at your to-do list and pick three main tasks to achieve each day. You’re likely to get more done in this manner, as it’s less overwhelming and it’s then a bonus if you manage to complete more.

Another very simple yet effective habit is to plan your to-do’s for the next day, as the last task you do each working day. This means you set your intention and awake with a firm plan for the day ahead.

 

5. Break It Down

People feel overwhelmed and can become inefficient when faced with a large task. However, breaking the task down into smaller achievable steps makes everything more manageable. Additionally, it helps you strategise and see your direction clearly, which can increase your motivation in a big way 🙂

 

 6. Embrace Change

If the method chosen to complete a task continues to achieve the required outcome, oftentimes people resist changing it. However, if the same outcome can be achieved with considerably less effort, in a fraction of the time, therefore making you much more efficient… change should be encouraged!

 

7. Delegate

Many entrepreneurs find delegation challenging because at some point they’ve carried out all the roles.

But, you need to let go – for the sake of your business, for team retention and to allow you and your business to grow!

As a proactive resource dedicated to supporting your business with the exact level of service you require, you can be ultra-confident that your Virtual Business Manager or Virtual Assistant will take on individual tasks, projects or entire roles as necessary to improve your business operations, increase efficiency and help you grow your business.

 

Book a 30 minute no-obligation consultation today to dramatically improve the efficiency in your business.

 

 

 

 

 

In-house or Outsourcing: Which Is Better For You?

In-house or Outsourcing: Which Is Better For You?

Growing businesses see an increase in the number of tasks and workloads. Business owners often find themselves, working longer hours and doing mundane low-value tasks. If this sounds familiar then it might be the time to hire an extra resource. The options are an In-House employee or outsourcing to a contractor.

But, which is the best fit for your business?

Larger businesses have the infrastructure and resources to invest in a varied mix of employees. However, small businesses need to be more cautious in their approach to hiring. As such, many look for part-time support initially.

In-house Employee vs Outsourcing: What is the Difference?

Virtual Business Managers or Virtual Assistants are independent contractors who work remotely and provide specific services to their clients.

Nowadays, virtual support is more than just administrative work. Skilled business managers or assistants are able to support you with….

  • operational support
  • personal tasks,
  • content creation,
  • project management,
  • email management,
  • social media management,
  • customer service,
  • research, and
  • analysis, among other tasks.

Part-time employees are employees who work fewer hours than the standard 37-40 hour work week. Moreover, an employee is hired to take on a set number of responsibilities, per their job description.

 

Factors You Need To Consider

The Society of Virtual Assistants lists are some of the main factors you need to consider when deciding the best fit for your business.

1. Working Arrangements

The nature of your business tasks will dictate whether you hire a in-house employee. If the business tasks require a physical presence, for example, the role involves reception cover or a physical task such as packing then an on-site employee is needed.

However, if the tasks can be delivered virtually then a virtual solution is a better option. Outsourced Managers or Assistants require no office space to be created for them, this is a huge positive for small businesses in the wake of COVID 19.

 

2. Costs

The hourly rates for a virtual resources are generally higher than those of employees.  However, remember for virtual contractors there are no extra hard costs such as:-

  • NI,
  • pension,
  • holiday pay,
  • sick pay
  • insurance,
  • worker’s benefits,
  • facilities costs
  • equipment and software
  • training costs
  • line managers and HR costs
  • recruitment costs

When you take all these extra costs into consideration the cost of hiring an outsourced resource is usually less than hiring a part-time employee with the same experience.

 

3. Availability of Skills and Equipment

Most office-based jobs can be outsourced and there is a large pool of highly skilled Virtual Business Managers and Assistants available. It can be a challenge to secure a local part-time employees with the same level of expertise.

Additionally, virtual freelancers already possess the required equipment and software needed to fulfil the assignment. This saves you the time and costs of buying new equipment.  In the wake of COVID 19, this is a great way to optimise your business and hence work leaner.

 

4. Flexible

Virtual Business Managers/Assistants are able to work after regular hours, as their work is contractual on a project basis. One of the main advantages of outsourcing is that you only pay for the actual hours worked or agreed project rates. Moreover, as a small business owner themselves, a Virtual Business Manager understands the importance of maximising productivity.

On the other hand, part-time employees are paid standard rates for the hours they spend at work, inclusive of breaks, and regardless of their productivity. Eventually, this lack of flexibility results in higher additional costs to your business.

 

5. Workflows

The consistency of work in your business could determine whether to hire an in-house employee or outsoucred virtual support. A Virtual Business Manager or Assistant can be hired by businesses for inconsistent work i.e. seasonal work or project work. For instance, if you simply need someone to

  • create your website or
  • set up automated systems in your email or
  • set up a Trello account, it would make sense to hire a virtual resource.

Hiring a in-house employee requires a constant stream of tasks and duties to enable them to fill their required hours.

Furthermore, it is much easier to end contracts with outsourced contractor when the work is completed. Compared to part-time employees where you would need to go down the redundancy route.

 

6. Efficiency

Efficiency in business means using the least amount of input to attain the highest amount of output. This is achieved through the optimum use of resources. Virtual Business Managers especially are proactive and highly proficient in the services they offer. This means that they will use fewer resources, including time, to achieve the highest quality.

Hiring a part-time in-house employee could require you to assign them tasks that they are not highly specialised in. Therefore resulting in wasted time, training costs, and lower quality of work.

 

Verdict

In conclusion, the decision to hire a in-house employee or outsource to a Virtual Business Manager/Assistant depends on the size, nature and goals of your business.  Considering the above factors makes it easier to decide whether an in-house or outsourcing is a better fit for your business.

 

How To Keep Your Day Running Smoothly

How To Keep Your Day Running Smoothly

  • Does your daily to-do list keep getting larger instead of smaller?
  • Do small day-to-day tasks prevent you from completing more important projects?
  • Are you constantly frustrated, overwhelmed and stressed out trying to manage it all?

If so, you should consider hiring a virtual assistant (VA) to keep your day running smoothly, handle some of these small, but necessary, daily tasks. Not only will you have more time to devote to bigger projects, you’ll also have some time during the day for yourself. With all this extra time, you could go to the gym, meet a friend for lunch, daydream, or even take a well-deserved nap for that matter.

 

Calendar and Email Management

Give your VA access to your business calendar so they can update personal and business appointments, schedule meetings and mark important dates like your anniversary or your mum’s birthday.

When changes to your daily or weekly schedule occur, your VA can simply send you an email or text message alert which you can respond to as necessary. If you’re on-the-go all day long, whether meeting with clients, travelling for business, or you need some quiet time to focus on a particular project, your VA can update your calendar and ensure that you keep your day running smoothly.

Realistically, this could easily save you 30 minutes or more each day, depending on your schedule of course.

The same applies to email messages. Your VA can check your email throughout the day and alert you of any pressing issues or messages that require immediate attention. Your assistant can also organise messages into appropriate folders, delete spam or marketing messages to keep your inbox sparkling clean and clutter-free.

If you want your VA to respond to certain clients or colleagues, you can instruct them in doing so. Spending a few minutes here and there to provide instructions concerning email management could save you up to an hour or two per day depending on how much email you receive. This is time you can spend solving problems, growing your business or attending to personal matters.

 

Originally posted 30th Oct 2019 on Linkedin – Click Here

Why There’s More To A VA Than Meets The Eye

Why There’s More To A VA Than Meets The Eye

Virtual Business Managers (VBMs) are a valuable business partner that brings innovation, experience, and drive to your business. Outsourcing provides your business with additional skills. Skills you could struggle to find via the traditional recruitment route.

The Challenges Of Recruiting

Recruiting somebody into your business is one of the most difficult tasks small business owners face. Even in a market where unemployment is high, the task of finding somebody “good” is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

When you are in business you want to surround yourself with people who are as dynamic, proactive, and driven, like yourself. While they may not share your entire vision, they should nevertheless “buy into” what your company represents. They must be able to contribute to your company’s long-term viability and growth.

It’s a business owner’s dream to be surrounded by people who are motivated and self-starters. People who instinctively know exactly what to do in a moment of crisis. However, the truth is that the majority of people who apply for your office jobs will simply not fall into this category.

 

It’s Not Just Executives That Need Star Quality

Finding executive-level staff to help head various departments is important. However, you should never underestimate the importance of finding staff to help with the day-to-day operation. There is less at stake when recruiting lower-level staff, but, these individuals still contribute to the greater good of the company. Without their focused and well-delivered effort, your company is likely to flounder.

Many would-be employees still view their employment as a means to an end. They are good at what they do, but they’re not inspired. Therefore they are unlikely to seize an initiative should it be needed. Ideally, you want to recruit forward-thinking employees who bring ideas and energy to your company. Unfortunately, this kind of employee is often difficult to find.

 

Virtual Business Managers Are Valuable Business Partners

This is a good reason why business owners should outsource many of these positions to a virtual Office manager or virtual assistant. A virtual business manager is a small business owner themselves and knows full well what it takes to proactively drive a business forward. Virtual business managers are able to easily take on your outsourced tasks, offering a cost-effective and efficient solution. Additionally, they are a valuable business partner and advisor, that will contribute to the business growth

Next time you complain about the lack of star quality among potential recruits, consider outsourcing the position to a skilled virtual business manager. Not only will the task be completed

  • carefully,
  • correctly,
  • on time and
  • within budget.

But you will be able to draw on their previous business experience to help further your business growth.

Find out more about Bravapro by following me on social media #bravaprova

Is An Offshore Virtual Assistant Right For You?

Is An Offshore Virtual Assistant Right For You?

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The low cost per hour, often offered by offshore Virtual Assistants, can equal high cost per task.

A task which may only take a competent UK based Virtual Assistant 15 minutes could take an inexperienced one struggling with language difficulties several hours.

I have learned since starting my business that there is a great Virtual Assistant support network and in the UK. This network is spearheaded by the Society of Virtual Assistants. As a member, I have access to the Society’s blog posts, and a recent one about Onshore vs Offshore Virtual Assistants caught my eye.

Onshore Virtual Business Manager like Bravapro, regularly have their services compared to those offered on offshore online platforms. While these sites can help minimise your admin bill for simple, repetitive tasks, they do have limitations.

Small business owners do not always fully understood these limitations.  Often spending money on services that offer a low ROI. The Society of Virtual Assistants’ blog outlines the 3 main considerations when comparing Onshore vs Offshore Virtual Assistants.

  

GDPR

Legally, under GDPR legislation if your task involves personal data you are considered the data controller. You have a responsibility to ensure that GDPR protocols are adhered to and not compromised or copied in any way. A breach of GDPR could result in a company fine.

UK based Virtual Assistants, who have signed up to the ICO, understand how confidential and personal data needs to be handled. They use processes that comply with the UK and European data protection legislation to deliver services and mitigate the risk of fines.

Deadlines

Deadlines are often tricky because of time differences. Virtual Assistants working in different time zones could send you a query while you are asleep. If you then reply, the Virtual Assistant could then be asleep and not able to act immediately. The result is you’ve lost 2 days.

For time-critical tasks using onshore virtual support means you can have real-time conversations. Helping to ensure your time-sensitive tasks are delivered as per your deadline.

 

Language and Culture

Language can also be a barrier and when passing tasks to offshore Virtual Assistants. It is therefore important to spend time documenting your exact needs in clear, simple English. However, your time spent documenting and micro-managing each task, could be better spent growing your business.

Cultural differences can also impact service. Some Asian cultures consider giving an outright NO as ‘losing face’ and impolite. Instead, offshore Virtual Assistants may agree to something they are either not qualified to work on, or unable to meet the deadlines on. Of course, you will not know about this until your deadline is looming and the work isn’t completed.

Bravapro provides onshore Virtual Business Management and Virtual Assistant Services. With a variety of support options, you can be assured your outsourced tasks are handled effectively and in line with legislation.