Since The Edwards Company was established back in 2013, we think it’s fair to say we’ve learnt quite a few lessons since then! As with any business journey, it’s a constant learning curve. We’re always picking up on new tricks and tips and taking valuable information on board in the hopes that it will improve the way our business functions.
It’s been quite a journey so far, so we thought we’d share five lessons we’ve learnt about supporting our wonderful clients and their businesses.
Lesson 1 – Virtual Assistance isn’t One Size Fits All
We know we’re stating the obvious here, but every business is unique. We just don’t think we realised how unique until we became Virtual Assistants! Honestly, we don’t think we’ve ever provided exactly the same service twice despite specialising in four very specific areas. Each and every one of our clients, past and present, has had a different set of requirements and needs.
While some love being involved with the Virtual Assistant process and see our service as more of a collaboration, some prefer to step back and hand over control entirely. Some have strict processes and procedures in place that we need to adhere to, while others allow more freedom in the way things are done. This stark uniqueness even filters down into the little things like communication preferences – some of our clients love an email, while others never check their inbox. Some have time for a lengthy telephone call, while others get the job done with a quick WhatsApp voice note.
The lesson we’ve learnt here is the importance of flexibility. Being able to adapt as Virtual Assistants not only allows us to better meet the needs of our clients but also opens up our services to a broader clientele base. There isn’t much we can’t adapt to!
Lesson 2 – Fixed Packages don’t Work for Everyone
While we’ve learnt to be flexible in the way we approach different clients, we’ve also learnt that fixed Virtual Assistant packages definitely don’t work for everyone. It is definitely easy to assume your clients will fit into one of your neatly planned out categories, but that simply isn’t the case. While our fixed packages are still an option for our clients, we’re also open about the fact that there are plenty more solutions that involve a less rigid structure.
Our Ad hoc packages for our credit control, admin and data entry services, for example, allow the roles to be reversed. Instead of us dictating how much of our time comes with a package, our clients are able to dictate how much time they need, and we accommodate them. It also allows them to switch it up. If their workload is heavier one month than another, they can adjust our services to match their ever-changing needs.
While segmentation and categorisation are great for some clients, it definitely doesn’t work for everyone! We’ve learnt that having a wide range of solutions available is far more effective.
Lesson 3 – Virtual Assistance isn’t Always the Best Solution
Of course, we’d like to offer our services to anyone and everyone, but over the years, we’ve come to understand that Virtual Assistance isn’t always the best solution for every business.
To get the most out of a Virtual Assistant, you and your business need to be in a certain position and mind-frame to make it work. While all of our current clients have been in the perfect position to begin their VA journey, that hasn’t always been the case. For example, we’ve had clients in the past who have been reluctant to hand over responsibility for particular tasks to us, meaning we’ve been unable to get the job done.
We’ve also had potential clients who required support but didn’t have the correct procedures and processes in place to allow us to establish a working relationship that would benefit their business. The last thing we want is to ask clients to pay for a service that isn’t benefiting them as much as it should.
The lesson we’ve learnt here is to be selective with our clients to ensure that the support we can offer fits their business and will serve only to improve it.
Lesson 4 – We Can’t Cover All Bases
As Virtual Assistants, it’s within our nature to want to help everyone, all the time, in all areas. While it would be great to have an all-singing, all-dancing Virtual Assistant business that offered any kind of support service you could possibly imagine, we’ve learnt that specialising in a few areas and putting all your energy into supporting your clients within these categories is the most effective method.
We’ve recently undergone a business rebrand, and within that rebrand, we’ve really refined our services. We now focus solely on credit control, content creation, data entry and admin and nothing in between. These were already our best-selling services, but we know that occasionally other services took our time away from our main priorities. Reducing our service list has only benefited our business and the businesses of our clients. We’re able to put all our focus into the areas we excel in, meaning the support we provide is of an incredibly high standard.
We’ve also put more of a focus on our local clients, onboarding businesses from all over the West Midlands, including Wolverhampton, Birmingham and the Black Country. The lesson we’ve learnt here is that while we may not be able to cover all bases, the ones we do cover are covered very well!
Focusing on what we do best definitely generates the best results for our clients.
Lesson 5 – Being Virtual Assistants is Incredibly Rewarding
As Virtual Assistants, it’s in our nature to want to help. One of the most important things we’ve learnt on our Virtual Assistant journey is that it is people we want to help, not businesses. Occasionally, it can be tempting to focus on the business. How can we make this business better? How can we make this business bring in more money? Behind those questions, however, is a person or team of people that we should be focusing on.
Reminding ourselves that there is a person behind the business allows us to be much more effective when offering our support services. The questions we ask ourselves become more human. How can we support this person on their business journey? How can we make day-to-day life easier for this person?
It’s this focus that has really highlighted just how rewarding Virtual Assistance can be. It allows us to form valuable relationships with our clients that make supporting them even more worthwhile. Knowing that we’ve helped to improve someone’s everyday life by reducing their workload or offering advice and guidance for pushing their business to the next level really is all the motivation we need to ensure our Virtual Assistant services are the best they can be.
The more we focus on the client, the more rewarding our job becomes.
There have been plenty more lessons along the way, but these definitely stand out as being among some of the most important! We’re looking forward to what we might learn in the next eight years (and beyond!)
Feel free to share your business lessons in the comments section below!
Looking for a Virtual Assistant service to cover tasks such as credit control, content creation, data entry and admin? We support clients locally (in the West Midlands, including Wolverhampton, Birmingham and the Black Country) and across the UK. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.