New Year, New Outlook

January 22, 2022

Is this the year you scale up?

At this time of year, entrepreneurs typically carry out some form of planning. Goals for the upcoming twelve months, plans to change the business, thoughts of where to go from this point. Realistically, however, for many sole traders and small businesses, a business can’t build or expand without an injection of time or money—new growth usually requires both.

Albert Einstein is attributed as the author of the well-known saying:

‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.’

If you want 2022 to be the year that your business changes shape; if you want this year to be the year you take on staff to cope with more/bigger orders; if you want this year to be the year you hit a turnover of six figures, then you need to make plans now. Plans that see you doing different things, making different decisions and exploring new opportunities.

Realistically, an injection of time, if you’re already working flat out, is not going to happen without an injection of money. However, it may be too big a leap for you at the moment to take on staff and organise their training if you’re up against things, which is where a VA comes in. They can support your business for as little or as long a time as you need; they can be a long-term, forever solution, but often they fill gaps in the short-term…supporting the growth of a business as it turns from a one-person operation/small team to a workforce sufficiently big enough to take the business to the next tipping point.

Alternatively, your plans for 2022 may not be about growing your business but getting more out of your time. It’s easy to become a slave to your enterprise. A VA can help you work smarter, and the cost of their efficiency and support can be negated by a raising of your prices or by them helping you find clients who truly value your service and who are willing to pay a little bit more. Being a sole trader can be a lonely business, and whilst family and friends can offer wonderful support, they don’t always ‘get’ what you go through as CEO, cook and bottle-washer. A VA often proves an effective, confidential sounding board, and their solutions are typically creative and powerful. They have the luxury to be objective about your business and can see it from the outside in, through your customers’ eyes—a POV that’s worth its weight in gold.

Make a real impact

A VA spending just a couple of hours a week in your business could make a real impact on your company, your work/life balance, and your stress levels. The best thing is, there are no employment contracts involved with engaging a VA, no need to incorporate a payroll solution and no huge legalities or long-term commitment. There’s really no risk to trying out a VA in your business. If doing this doesn’t move you forward (though I know it will!), you can just say so and turn to Plan B.

Another benefit with a VA is that you don’t have to find a shared workspace for you both. Again, they’re not an employee, so their working environment is not your responsibility. VAs largely work remotely, and they have all their own kit, so to speak. They’re used to dealing with many different clients, as well as clients of clients. They’re attuned to hitting the ground running from a set of instructions from their own home office or hot desk.

Because they work with a range of clients, their technical, systems and subject knowledge, outstrip the average employee’s. Many VAs focus on a specialism, though they will happily do other tasks beside this. It’s worth finding a VA that aligns with your field or industry, as their input will make even more of an impact on your business.

It goes without saying that a VA’s time management skills, self-discipline and organisational prowess are above and beyond the norm—they need to be, if they’re to serve all their clients without any drop in the quality of service they offer. You can be confident that, whatever a VA says they will do for you, they will do for you!

To get different results you need to do new things

Being remote workers, you won’t have to adhere to any Covid responsibilities when engaging a VA that you would have to sign up to if you took on an employee; by law, you would be responsible for the latter’s health, safety and wellbeing as their employer. Given that Omicron was lurking round the corner when things looked to be getting on an even keel, who knows when we’ll be out of this pandemic? Setting up a range of different support solutions is never a bad idea; it’s actually good future planning and ensures you’re ready for most eventualities as a business owner.

Think also about the things you don’t currently do in your business, but which you plan to ‘when you have more time’. Things that you know will help move your business forward. This is the epitome of Einstein’s quote…

doing what you always do, day to day, is only going to result in the same turnover, the same customer base, the same reputation that you already have—nothing different.

To get different results, you need to be doing new things, you need to be completing tasks you’re not completing at the moment. However, bear in mind the story of the busy fool…it’s always worth consulting an experienced VA about the tasks you plan to take up—are they really going to help you grow your business, or do they just represent a waste of your time?

It’s the perfect time to decide, now that Christmas is well behind us and January has bedded in…what do you want from 2022? Just more of the same…?

If you’d like more information on how I can help you manage your workload, give me a call on 07711 933457.