Episode 2: Systems And Software - Developing A Virtual Team
When you're running a one-man or one-woman show it's all in your head. You don't really need to read the manual or ask anybody else for advice when it comes to how to do the work required. Everything is in the supercomputer between your two ears, but you're going to need an entirely different approach when you start branching out with a team.
Assuming that you have been able to find some really good prospects and are happy that they have the skills within the individual areas, the next step is to ensure that you have the right systems in place for efficiency and productivity. The more individuals you have on your team the more robust the individual systems need to be, to enable everybody to collaborate productively.
Check out those great collaboration tools online, for instance, ActiveCollab. Take some time to figure out how to best integrate these tools according to your specific clients. Some forethought here will pay dividends and enable you to hit the ground running in terms of productivity.
You simply have got to ensure that everybody is in the loop and that nothing is missed. When you don't use a system there's a danger that a crucial component of the task will be missed and the job will not be completed on time and to specification.
Once again, remember that you may well know what needs to be done and in what order, in order to be successful, but never assume that a new team member is on the right page. They may well be very efficient and very competent at what they do, but you were the one who had established the contract with your client according to very particular details.
Occasionally you will take on a team member who is highly skilled in a rather difficult subject area. In this case, they may already have certain systems and software solutions in order to make them good at what they do. You may well have to investigate how to integrate their systems with your internal systems, in order to ensure that everyone's functioning at their peak and knows precisely what to do.
The best systems and associated software components don't necessarily come cheaply. You need to understand this as you seek to expand your virtual assistant business. Remember however that this can be part of your selling position when it comes to marketing your services to prospective new clients. Would these clients be able to find individuals to provide them with the specialist services you now offer? Would your clients be in a position to locate and pay for the specific software and services needed in order to get the job done? Valid questions, the answers to which you should price into your service menus appropriately.
Remember that as you expand your team along with the relevant software and systems, you need to have secure backups in place. If not you, then who would be able to step in should a specialist team member be unavailable for any reason, specifically when it comes to a full understanding of how these systems and software solutions work?