Do you have lots of business cards cluttering up your office that need organising? Even in today’s digital world, the exchange of business cards continues to be the norm. However, these small cards find their way into bags and desk drawers and you can never find the one you need when you need it.
Contact information is fundamental to networking and business communications. By organising your business cards effectively and uploading their information to your Contacts, you’ll be able to find key people quicker, leading to long-term relationships and increased sales.
Before you begin to organise your cards, look through them and discard any that may no longer be of relevance. This applies particularly if you’ve been in business for some time.
Once you’ve established the cards you wish to keep, here are some suggestions for organising them.
1.Scan cards with an App
Business card apps are very useful and suit all budgets. Simply download the app to your phone, scan your business card and the information is instantly transferred in a digital format. There are many to choose from and when researching you should consider these three things. Firstly consider the stability of the app (you don’t want to upload the cards, discard them and then find it loses all the data). Secondly consider its ability to sync with your preferred cloud technology or existing contacts app. Lastly you should consider the transfer ability of the app and whether or not it’s capturing the information adequately.
Apps such as SamCard allow you to exchange E-cards and the Premium version allows integration with Salesforce. Scanbizcards is another option and allows the integration of multiple CRM services such as Salesforce, SugarCRM, Mailer and Oracle Fusion.
I tried scanning my own business card using the free version of SamCard and the result was pretty good
2.Business card scanners
Another convenient but more expensive option is to use a business card scanner. This is particularly useful if you find yourself sorting through dozens of business cards after each event you attend. Popular options available are Avision Portable and Fujitsu Scansnap.
3.Rolodex and Business card books
The good old fashioned way! If you prefer to see your business cards filed in one place then one of these may be the option for you. A Rolodex is a rotating file device used to store business contact information. Cards are organised in sections from A-Z and placed in the card file holder. A Business card book or wallet contains clear plastic sleeves for holding each individual card.
4.Manually add business card information to your Contacts
If you don’t have time for this, a Virtual PA can offer this as a service.
Best advice, don’t allow your business cards to pile up. Being organised is key to running a successful business.
Have you ever considered that your personal assistant doesn’t actually need to be based in your office all the time, if at all?!
With the availability of apps on your mobile phone, tablet and laptop, a virtual assistant can now carry out most of the administrative tasks remotely. This flexible working arrangement can actually help streamline procedures, increasing efficiency. It is often neither time nor cost effective for a small business to employ an assistant 8 hours a day, and have them based in their office 5 days a week.
So how do you maintain clear lines of communication with a team in different locations? With modern technology and IT systems, our ability to stay in touch remotely is greatly enhanced. Apart from the obvious verbal methods (telephones have been in use since 1876), the following modes of communication are recommended:
Only use one form of communication. This keeps your message clear and prevents ambiguity between team members. I have found Slack a good messaging system if you need to talk to your VA about something and it requires a quick answer. Slack allows real time messaging, file sharing and has a searchable archive.
Schedule a weekly video call with your virtual assistant. In an office environment, we benefit from face to face verbal communication. When working remotely, we don’t have that luxury and it’s often more difficult to establish normal human interactions. Therefore, it’s vital that time is set aside for a weekly catch up call to discuss matters, set goals and targets and discuss progress.
I like to share information frequently with my clients, allowing them to correspond with me at any time, which reduces the risk of re-work, errors and creates a stronger working relationship built on trust and mutual respect. Project management applications like Trello and Asana make it easier, but it’s good practice to send a daily update. I always let my clients know when I’m working on a particular assignment and where appropriate, send a daily email with an update.
When working remotely, it’s imperative to keep everything organised and accessible. Cloud based storage such as Dropbox or Google Drive is useful for this, so that the team can access and exchange large files quickly and easily. If you use Gmail then it makes sense to use Google Drive and Google is also perfect for collaboration in real time. You can also protect your company’s data with security options like 2-step verification and single-sign-on, and use mobile management to keep your data safe in the case of a lost device or if a member of the team leaves.
Are you looking for some extra help?
Call London PA Services now on tel: 07834 733 554 and arrange a no obligation free consultation!
As we enter a new year, it is a time to reflect on the year just gone, and think ahead to what goals we have for 2018.
2017 was a bittersweet year. My sister was married at the end of May and with it came the excitement (and stress!) for her and other family members in planning her wedding. I was maid of honour and it was an incredibly joyous day that I’ll never forget. She was married at St John’s Church, Friern Barnet and the wedding breakfast was at Mill Hill School. The school is Grade II Listed, set in beautiful grounds and of historic interest.
It was also the year I ceased working as an employee as a Virtual Assistant and launched my business. Having been a business owner previously and having loved being my own boss, I knew it was something I could do, but I knew it wouldn’t be without challenges.
After several months gaining a couple of clients, networking and trying to increase my brand awareness, my Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and after only a month passed away at the end of October. Having never lost a close family member, it was a huge shock and had a significant impact on any business development.
We are a very close family and I will miss him dearly. We are thankful that having reached 86 he was still leading an active life with many interests.
So what does the year ahead look like? I have started 2018 with renewed motivation, energy and excitement. This week I’ve been registering for several networking events and on Monday attended my local FSB meeting in Finchley, where I made several new contacts and left feeling focused, ready to grasp the nettle and move my business forward.
I became a Virtual Assistant in order to have more flexibility. I therefore wish to obtain a better work/life balance, which means spending more time with my 5 year old son, meeting new people and working from a café instead of being stuck at my desk. Planning my day is key and I am currently working through a marketing course, which will hopefully help me focus and allow me to have more structure.
Whatever your personal and business goals are, I would like to wish you every success and look forward to working with you in 2018.
How to let go and delegate more often
Learning how to delegate work effectively can be a real challenge and it takes time and effort to educate someone. Often it is just quicker to do the work yourself.
However, delegation is an area of great importance for the growth of an organisation and the rewards can be significant. It allows you to focus on key objectives instead of non-income generating tasks.
The biggest challenge is how and when to delegate. This is where a virtual assistant (VA) can assist and relieve you of those time-consuming tasks, freeing you to concentrate on the things that are really important. London PA Services is here to help.
Are there certain tasks that lend themselves to delegation better than others?
In an ideal world, you should really spend your time doing tasks which only you can do. For some reason, we are often emotionally attached to certain tasks and we simply like doing them. However, you can take some steps towards delegating these. Make a list of all the tasks you do in a week and then put a tick by each task you feel could be outsourced to a virtual assistant. The types of tasks you should be delegating are as follows:
Time Management Tasks
Book Keeping and administrative tasks
Website content updates and management
Social Media management
Travel and Event Management
Is it worth putting in more time to show someone how to do the task if it would take longer than doing it yourself?
Absolutely. Think of it as an investment for the long term. It's in training others that we become more confident at delegating. London PA Services will save you time by working independently on the tasks that you regularly need assistance with.
How do you get over that old cliché, "if you want something done properly, do it yourself"?
Think about how you can delegate without constantly checking up on your virtual assistant. Set goals and make suggestions but allow your virtual assistant to work autonomously. Remember your VA is a highly skilled individual and is there to help you! She might have some good ideas on how to streamline processes and increase the productivity of your business.
What's the best way to set clear expectations and goals?
You should be very clear on what you want your virtual assistant to do, what is the deadline and how much time they should spend on the task. Give the VA an idea of what processes she should use to complete the task and what results are expected in the short and long term. Always keep the lines of communication open with your virtual assistant giving regular feedback. This helps to build trust and loyalty and prevents any misunderstandings. As a virtual assistant, I like to provide a daily wrap email to update my clients on my progress, but regular one to one meetings (Skype or in person where possible) are also essential in developing a good, long lasting working relationship with your virtual assistant.
Being a self-aware business owner means acknowledging that you can't do everything yourself! Call London PA Services now and start delegating!
Did you know that having more time can increase your sense of wellbeing? Consider the following:
Do these sound familiar? If you look down the list it doesn’t take much to realise how much time you spend – or don’t spend on these time-consuming tasks. A virtual assistant can help expand your potential, keep you focused and drive your business.
Recently a two-part experiment was run in Canada. First the participants were asked to spend £30 on a purchase that would save them time. Next they were told to spend the money on material goods. The research concluded that time saving compared with material purchases increased happiness by reducing feelings of time stress.
Psychologists say stress over lack of time causes lower wellbeing and can contribute to anxiety and sleepless nights. However, even though people can afford it, they remain reluctant to pay for help. Less than a third of adults questioned, spent money in this way, but those that did, reported greater happiness.
"In a series of surveys we find that people who spend money to buy themselves more free time are happier - that is, they have higher life satisfaction", said Dr Elizabeth Dunn, a psychologist professor at the University of British Columbia, Canada.
How would it make you feel if you had more time and energy to work on your business? Are there tasks that you keep putting off because you hate doing them? If so, research shows that hiring someone to carry out these tasks is money well spent.
Call us now. Let us take those all-important but dreaded tasks off your hands. Free up your time, allow yourself to re-focus on the growth of your business!