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Administrative support for small businesses
With so many people seeking administrative support for small businesses, I was recently asked to summarise what made a good Virtual Assistant. My immediate thought was specialist, senior-level experience, and that is definitely part of it, but what about all the other facets and soft skills that we need to have in order to excel at this job? Below I have listed my top 7 skills that I think turn a good VA into a great one!
One of the main “selling-points” if you like, of a Virtual Assistant, is that they come “work-ready” – no need to spend hours training and initiating them into your ways of working. The chances are, they already have the skills necessary to enable them to assist you, or you wouldn’t have hired them! But what use is this if your chosen VA cannot communicate with you? Communication skills are essential for any Virtual Assistant and are always open for improvement. Of course, listening goes hand in glove with communication – you really cannot have one without the other! A good VA will always ask questions (and listen to the answer) of a client to ensure they understand as much as possible about the business and can consequently deliver the best possible service.
Anyone selling a service needs to be approachable and friendly and the ability to instantly put clients at ease, whilst still remaining professional and competent is a must. For those of us who spend the majority of our time working remotely, it is imperative that we have a good telephone manner and can converse over video call.
This is a strange one and may not be immediately apparent when one considers skill-sets! But the ability to gather information from a variety of sources, evaluate and then link ideas is of immediate benefit to the business owner. In addition, a VA needs to have vision, in order that they can see where the business owner is aiming to take the business and the ability to move with them!
Personal & Professional Development
Any VA with the commitment and drive to succeed will acknowledge that personal development and the will to constantly self-improve play a big part in their business. After all, as technology evolves, so it is fundamentally important that we as an industry evolve with it. It is all about adding value to our services and in so doing, solving problems more efficiently for our clients.
A great sense of urgency
Having worked in marketing for many years, I am used to the ever-present deadline. This is of great benefit to me in my work, as alongside this, comes the ability to plan. When asked what tools I use to plan and manage my time, my stock answer is, “all that are available”. This isn’t, meant to be trite, it is simply the truth! I use online planning tools like Trello, Asana, and Toodledo, but I’m not averse to an old-fashioned paper list and I have even been known to have the odd sticky note pad lurking. Whatever works and gets me in before the deadline is good with me!
Need I say more? Although I am constantly amazed by how this seems to be a rare commodity in everyday life! It is vital that a good VA have this by the bucket load and use it. Initiative is a great skill and is definitely needed in this role. It is a great feeling to discuss a project with a client and be able to suggest improvements and is something that is certainly valued by my clients.
No, not the yoga-type, although that’s probably good too, but the type that allows you to cope with the individual demands of every single project and ever-changing requirements. The ability to interact well with others is also a must, as is the need to be tactful and patient.
Therefore, in offering administrative support for small businesses, a good VA needs to not only have the skill-set for which the client has employed them, but also the full remit of soft skills and an abundance of these will set apart a great VA from a good one!
If you would like to put my skills to the test, contact me for an informal discussion on how I can support you and your business.