Working with lots of different types of business owners across a variety of industries, I’ve seen a bit of everything in the way people run their companies. From very small one man band deals, all the way to six figure earners who employ a team around them. There are things that all these businesses need (and don’t always have) and can be adopted at any stage of the journey. Below I’ve got a list of the top five things I think you need in your small business.
Now it often surprises me that business owners don’t always protect themselves by using contracts or air tight agreements. As a virtual assistant I issue to my clients a formal agreement which we both need to sign as well as a non disclosure agreement if I’m working behind the scenes in their email marketing database or website. Now being the VA its not necessarily up to me to request their signature on these documents but it protects us both in the long run so I’m proactive on issuing them. I also provide T&Cs on how I work and what they can expect as it helps to cut out any uncertainty and future problems.
Contracts don’t stop the problems but they do help to protect you going forward. It’s very similar to insurance – you need this if you are running a business….also make sure you have cyber insurance if you work in an online capacity (but that’s a whole other blog post).
Systems Operating Manuals
You may think your business is too small for a manual and I’m not talking war and peace but just somewhere you keep all the important information like brand colours, how you like to operate, where things are kept and who is responsible for what. From a purely selfish side of things, this is great to get handed or refer back to as a virtual assistant and can be a blessing. As a business owner it gives you the ability to pass on this information at the drop of a hat – so for instance if you had to step away from your business for a while, with a manual you could pass this to a business manager (or family member) who could at least keep the wheels turning for you….which leads me onto….
Disaster Recovery Plan
Sounds scary doesn’t it but if the last year has taught us anything, it’s that nothing stays the same and problems can sneakily creep up on you. So knowing what you’d do if your WiFi failed or your laptop got stolen will help you become unflappable in the future.
Setting up a central storage system for electronic files and passwords is invaluable and could help if you suddenly need to decamp and work from somewhere you aren’t as familiar with.
Active Mailing List
I know, I know, when you are busy a mailing list doesn’t seem very important but the minute you get blocked from social media platforms (it happens all too frequently) or you get stuck in an algorithm black hole during a launch…you’ll wish you’d looked after your list. Give out your mailing list often and add it to your marketing spreadsheet…you have got one of those right? Make sure people know they can get you via email.
Built in Breathing Space
This may seem the least important but I think it’s up there as a priority. Burnout is a real thing and I’ve seen it slow many an entrepreneur down drastically. Ideas dry up and you can go round in circles about the most basic things…so not taking on everything and letting yourself spend time being creative is a must.
Even if this is only putting half an hour in your diary where you walk around the garden with a hot cuppa. It’s this time that you’ll value and from a VA’s point of view, a client with burnout is as useful as a chocolate teapot and it’s so disheartening to see.
Take breaks people and besides why else did you set up a business than to pop out for a cheeky Nando’s from time to time. Or visit your friend for a gossip and a glass of bubbles.
Vision PA Services
I hope the above have helped and if you need any help setting anything up then I’m just an email away. Even if you just need to plan something out with me.
Fabulously you may see a few things changing around here soon, I’m updating my services and having a little rebrand refresh. But rest assured that I’m not going anywhere and will be happy to help you where I can. You might even find that I’ll be offering the exact thing you need…