Tag Archives: systems

While a lot of businesses are going ‘green’ and paperless, we still live in a world where paper exists, especially in business. And the problem with paper, is it tends to multiply. Or, at least it feels that way.
If you are a completely paperless business than bravo to you! It is not easy to become 100% paperless and you probably won’t need this advice, however, if you do still have paper piles taking over your desk, then keep reading.
Taking care of the paper piles, will require a mindset shift and daily discipline, as remember, paper tends to keep coming in even after you set yourself up with a organization system. Here are three steps to start the process of managing your paper piles.
Examine the piles:
Before you can organize paper you’ve have to narrow down what needs to be organized. That’s because a lot of the paper you have in your office right now doesn’t need to be there. It’s simple just clutter. When going through your paperwork, think about the following questions:
Will you refer to it again?
Is it available somewhere electronically?
Do you need to keep it for tax purposes?
Will it be worth your time and energy to file?

Organize :
Once you have eliminated the clutter, you will need to organize what is left into a system that works for you.
File boxes, tabbed folders and/or file cabinets are all good solutions. Get yourself a label maker and start creating clearly labeled folders. But again, only keep those papers that have been determined to be essential or necessary to store. Shred and recycle the rest.
Set up a daily routine
The key to organization is consistency. Every day that you receive mail or if other paper finds its way into your office, you need to deal with it. You need to make a decision of where it will go in your new organization system, or if it needs to be tossed, passed onto someone else or if you need to take action with it.
So much of the paper you receive is probably useless. You’ll never look at it again, you’ll never need to reference it, it doesn’t bring you joy, and it takes up a lot of room. So strive to go paperless as much as you possibly can, and then declutter and organize the rest. It will free you from the piles of paper that can overtake your workspace and distract you from other more important tasks in your day.

Earlier this week we discussed the many different social media platforms businesses are using in their marketing plan. Updating your social media accounts, monitoring and responding to the engagement is key to having a successful social media marking campaign, but most of us just don’t have the time in our day to devote to one more task.  Having a virtual marketing assistant is an investment you need to make in your business now.

A virtual marketing assistant can:

      1. Pull content off your website, blog, e-books and training materials and create short concise social posts that lead someone back to your website.
      2. Update your social sites by scheduling posts using tools like:
        Social Oomph
      3. Monitor and respond to engagement, or notify you if engagement is needed.
      4. Set-up contests or promotions using 3rd party tools like:
      5. Research and share trends or information related to  help educate your followers about your business or services.
      6. Monitor your reputation management on review sites like:

Remember that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter help drive traffic to your website so that someone buys your product or service, joins your email list or makes a donation. Publishing useful content on a blog and promoting it through social networking also helps you achieve better organic search engine optimization (SEO) results.  Sharing tools on social sites creates a viral opportunity for your business that didn’t exist before the launch of social media.

Have you invested in your social media marketing yet?  Are you attempting to do it on your own?  How is that working for you?

When working with a virtual assistant or team, giving and receiving feedback is a key to success. Create a system and expectation for doing this from the beginning of any work relationship.

If you are working with someone new to your support team, commit to feedback frequently. With an established team, schedule time for feedback after any big project or event, or at least once a quarter. This allows you to constantly assess and improve within your company.

Pluses and Deltas
The feedback process we suggest at Assistant Match is called “pluses and deltas.”
Plus (+) is the symbol for positive
Delta (Δ) is the symbol for change

When providing feedback with pluses and deltas, you identify both the positive and what can and should be changed in order to improve. This is a solution-oriented process. You do not dwell on things that were “bad” but instead, concentrate on what can be changed to make it “better” in the future.

This feedback process allows for everyone to be heard in a safe, constructive environment.

Let’s take an example and walk through the steps. A virtual assistant completed a research project related to customer leads. This is the first time the research was conducted by anyone other than the company president or sales representative. The president (P), virtual assistant (VA), and sales rep (SR) take part in the feedback process.

Set a time limit. You may want to allow 5 minutes to brainstorm pluses and another 5 minutes to brainstorm deltas. When doing this with a group, select one person to record (type) every comment, but do not take time to ask questions or discuss yet. If someone has a question on something that is said, ask for it to be “starred” so you revisit it later. Over time this will become a natural process that can happen less formally.

Always provide feedback on the PROCESS, RELAIONSHIPS, and RESULTS

+ Pluses

  • SR is able to concentrate on converting sales and is able to get more done in a day since didn’t have to spend time doing research (SR)
  • VA liked the amount of detailed search criteria SR provided (VA)
  • 24-hour requested deadline was appropriate for the project (VA)

Δ Deltas

  • A 3-hour turn around time would be ideal (SR)
  • Data entered into the database rather than in a Word document makes for faster action and better sharing of information (P)
  • Faster feedback helps VA be more effective during project (VA) * (starred)

Read each item out loud if the list is longer than 10 items. Be sure no items were mistakenly omitted and there are no additional ones to add.

  • P wants to add that she liked that VA used a different website than the ones suggested in order to find the necessary info on a more difficult lead (P)

Most of the plusses and deltas will be self-explanatory. Take time to clarify any “starred” items. If conflicting items appear on the pluses and deltas lists, hear the view of both sides so everyone is on the same page. You may want to flesh out an idea that was brainstormed during Deltas to make it more thorough and to discuss if it is actionable.

  • VA explains that if SR can give feedback on the quality of her research findings when she is in the beginning stage of the project, she will be sure the data will be helpful to SR so she doesn’t waste her time researching items that will not be useful
  • SR clarifies that a fast turn-around time will allow for more sales conversions. VA clarifies that with her other responsibilities, she cannot make the research top priority, but she can attempt to complete it in less
    than 24 hours when her workload allows

Step 4: COMMIT
Identify items from both lists that need action. Define that action. The appropriate person commits to it and a timeline is set if applicable.

  • SR will continue to provide the same amount of information and search criteria to VA for future research projects, and VA will provide the same amount of detailed search results
  • VA will enter information in the company database rather than a Word document
  • SR will do his best to not make urgent requests, VA will immediately estimate how quickly she can get the research project complete, and SR will make himself available to provide quick answers and feedback whenever possible

With this process, you and your support team will be on the same page and will be able to move forward faster and in the direction you desire. Be sure to capture this process in a Word document or someplace else, and commit to acting on the deltas.