IFS Labs: Business Growth
A good working relationship with your VA does often lead to very long term contracts, but it's essential to understand that your clients are temporary no matter how long the contract lasts.
Here is an example of how a VA can assist with business growth. And an example of on-site support that is available from AdminAnywhere.
In May 2013, I was referred to a small local business via a business growth adviser (also a client of mine). IFS were in the process of taking their business forward. A small textiles flammability testing laboratory, supporting the manufacturing industry; they already had an impressive portfolio of clients from the UK and across the world. Operating out of a unit at the back of one of Bolton's rehabilitated old mills; there were 3 full time directors and a couple of part time technicians at that stage, and everyone was juggling jobs, including the admin. The directors needed to focus on their nominated roles and on moving the business forward. And with assessment due to review their laboratory accreditation for their industry, they definitely needed to focus on those standards and completing their yearly audits.
I was initially bought in to type up test reports and raise invoices, on-site, a few hours once a week. Pretty straightforward work; although there were lots of acronyms and the huge variety of test reports to get used to. Productivity was definitely a key factor. Reports needed to be sent out to the customers as quickly as possible after testing, and most weeks that consisted of at least 100 test reports for me to type up, and most weeks a lot more. The job developed into a regular two visits per week, and I worked for the time I was needed. I'd be on with the work within minutes of parking up. No faffing about! I'd just get on with it. Some days that would be 5-6 hours, other days it could just be 3 hours. That's how perfect their decision was to utilise my services. They just paid for the time I was there; no wasted time to pay for if it was a quieter week. From both sides, it was one of those very satisfying jobs that you could really see the impact of. There was a great team spirit to the business and it was great to be part of it especially when so much of my work is handled for clients on a remote basis from my home office.
In Sept 2015, after over 2 years of supporting them, it was time to hand over the admin to their new office administrator. I'd seen the business become so much more organised, with proper structures in the workflow of the jobs being received through to completion. The team had grown, with new technicians and new jobs roles with hierarchy too. They had reorganised and improved their business premises and added a new testing lab extension too, so they could handle the additional clients that were constantly adding to their portfolio. They've flown through the stringent accreditation (each year) for the textiles testing that they handle for so many more clients than they did 2 years ago. And 2016 sees them moving on to new bigger business premises a few miles away.
I did kind of become part of the family, and I guess that's one of the reasons why they left recruiting an office administrator until the end of this stage of their business growth. Although, when I left, their permanent office administrator position was still a part time role, it had developed to need someone to be there most days and to handle so much more than just typing the reports and invoicing.
So I'm now available on an on-call basis as their business grows further. I'm someone that can 'hit the ground running' if they need any additional help to cover holidays or sickness and for busy periods. I can offer the skills for other projects that their administrator hasn't got the capacity to handle too, like the new order form templates I created recently, which will now make it easier for their clients to raise job requests to them.
In the meantime I wish them all the best for many years to come in business.
It is fantastic to have Julia as part of our team when she comes in. Always happy to help, positive, friendly, proactive.
S Drozda Feb 2014
Julia is a friendly, diverse and very professional Virtual PA. Whether it is Email Marketing, Administration, she is fully competent on addressing almost any task given. Julia is a pleasure to work with.
S Drozda Jan 2015
The Return: April 2016
IFS moved into their own business premises in Trafford Park, Manchester around Easter 2016. Their business growth took another huge rise and I was called in again to help the team for a short while again.
Their new building is perfect for this latest stage of business growth. However getting settled in and the urgent need to recruit new employees to handle the increased workload was an added stress for the directors. So I was called in to help to keep on top of the typing and invoicing once again, and to update their business documentation for the new address. Just 5 hours once a week, for 3 months covering the day their PA is not in the office, gave them time to get into the rhythm of new routines and establish new workflow systems.
Staffing has more than doubled since those early days and IFS is definitely on track for bigger things and more very important clients and space to grow even further.
Once again, I was able to jump straight in and handle the work and it was great to be part of the team again and be introduced to their customers as part of the team too. The AdminAnywhere door will definitely remain open for IFS should they need my support again