From the Desk of Clearissa’s Command Center/Customized Virtual Business Solutions/VANot sure how to use a Virtual Assistant (VA)? There are so many ways a VA can simplify your life and/or your business. It is the small, yet very necessary logistics that keep a business running and those are the tasks a VA can handle for you. The International Virtual Assistant Association (IVAA) and I have some ideas you may not have thought of.
Writing, Editing & Proofreading
- You are writing a brochure, or developing a website or manual and need assistance with copy. A VA can create, edit, format and/or proofread drafts and help to finalize the project.
- You are interested in developing a weekly or monthly news letter, you can forward suggestions and/or copy to your VA and he/she can develop copy and format the news letter.
- You need someone to attend/via telecom, a meeting to take notes. Your VA can handle this for you.
- You take the notes and need them typed, formatted and distributed to the meeting attendees. Your VA has this covered.
- You need to send a series of letters or postcards. You fax handwritten drafts or dictate over the phone to VA, who types letters, faxes or e-mails them to you for approval, prints them on your stationery, and mails them.
Database Management & Data Processing
- You fax, scan or mail VA copies of business cards you’ve gathered during the course of the month. VA enters information into contact database, uses mail merge to produce follow-up letter and either scans your signature, uses signature font to sign your name, or mails them to you to sign, and sends out letters.
- You e-mail new prospect leads to VA, who enters them into contact database and uses personalized mail merge to send introductory letter.
- VA monitors marketing follow-up program, sending pre-determined marketing piece every two weeks. Each week data is sent to you via e-mail or logged in a web database so you have a record of transactions. Prospects respond directly to you.
- You want to send a direct mail broadcast and need to verify your prospects, some of whom have missing contact information. You e-mail your prospect list to VA, who telephones each name, verifies spelling, title and address, obtains missing information, makes corrections, and returns list to you via e-mail attachment.
- You need to change database software. VA converts data and walks you through installing and learning how to use new software.
Event Planning – My Personal Favorite
- You’d like to run a teleseminar or webinar. VA sets up seminar, coordinates speakers, does a technical run-through with you or other presenters. During the event, VA monitors the seminar and troubleshoots any issues that may come up during the event. VA records and arranges to sell or share your teleseminar as needed.
- You need a venue for your next conference, seminar or event. VA researches venues and contacts to determine availability, size, and specifics. VA obtains written quotes, compiles a comparison, and reports findings to you.
- VA keeps in touch with speakers and sends out announcements about the event, keeping track of who has and hasn’t responded and sending out reminders.
- VA arranges for someone to be there to greet and register your attendees.
- VA confirms that the necessary equipment (projectors, screens, recorders, refreshments, amenities) will be available at the event.
- During the event, VA stays in touch with you and the venue staff to make sure all is going smoothly.
Mail, E-mail Services
- You travel frequently, usually returning to a stack of mail, missing important correspondence. You forward mail to post office box near VA. VA retrieves and reviews mail, faxes or overnights urgent items to your hotel, responds to routine matters, and forwards non-urgent items to your office. To save on postage, some items may be scanned and delivered via e-mail.
- You need fulfillment for books, tapes or other materials. Orders come in, you e-mail VA with information or VA collects information from your website, prepares packages and mails.
- You can’t keep up with your volume of e-mail and are missing important messages. VA sets up general e-mail account such as email@example.com, retrieves e-mail, sorts, responds to routine requests, and forwards items of importance to your personal e-mail account.
- You’re going on vacation and don’t want to miss important messages. VA downloads your e-mail, or you forward your e-mail to VA. VA notifies individuals that you’re out of office, contacting you with urgent messages.
- You want a way to automatically respond to standard requests to your website. VA creates an auto responder, monitoring and establishing database of who, and how many, are requesting information.
Personnel & Human Resources
- You’re looking to hire an employee. VA writes help-wanted advertisement, places ad, receives and reviews resumes, conducts initial phone interview, narrows selection to three individuals, and schedules an interview with you.
- You e-mail employment applications to VA, who verifies past employment, calls references, and reports findings to you.
- When a new employee is due to arrive, VA prepares and sends welcome package.
- You need reminder to provide annual performance reviews for your employee(s). VA tracks dates and sends you reminder.
- You need assistance with payroll requirements. VA verifies that all payroll requirements have been met, appropriate taxes paid and forms filed.
- You want to make a career change. VA prepares or updates a resume and cover letter for you, researches job openings, and submits resumes to potential employers, tailoring each to particular employer. After an interview, VA promptly mails out thank-you follow-up letter to potential employer.
- You use a variety of subcontractors, employees, or team members, but you find yourself spending all your time making sure they stay on task. VA keeps things running smoothly by regularly staying in touch with everyone, using online calendars and scheduling tools, e-mails, and phone calls to make sure everyone is meeting their deadlines. VA reports back to you by e-mail or you can check the online tools.
Administrative and Telephone Services
- You need to confirm weekly appointments. You e-mail your list/calendar to VA, who calls appointments, notes who is confirmed and who must be rescheduled, and sends list back to you.
- You have routine paperwork to be filled out on a daily basis (e.g., sales call re-caps). You call VA with information; VA fills out form and faxes or e-mails it to you.
- You have stacks of random paper documents on your desk that you can’t figure out how to organize. You mail them in a big envelope to VA, who breaks them down into labeled manila folders, creates a master list, and sends them back for you to place in your file cabinet, category list in front
- You want to make sure you have a backup of your computer or a special file. You mail or e-mail it to VA for safekeeping. In the event of a disaster, your files are located off premises
- You travel frequently. VA coordinates your air travel, car rental and hotel reservations
- You’re going on vacation, or are frequently out of the office, but need to stay in touch with important business calls and not leave the phone unattended. When you are unable to check your voice mail on a regular basis, you use call forwarding feature to transfer calls to VA, or record on your voice mail that callers with urgent messages may contact your assistant. VA answers calls, responds to routine requests, and contacts you with urgent messages. Or you check your voice mail yourself and answer some calls personally while assigning others to VA. Or you obtain separate phone line in VA’s office so that a live human voice will answer with your company’s name. So many choices and it’s all in a day’s work for the qualified VA.
Listed are just a few of the tasks a VA can assist you with and there are many more. The idea is to think outside the box and allow your VA to become your silent business partner.
To Your Success
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