Monthly Archives: October 2016

Get Ahead VAArchives

3 things you SHOULDN’T do when your staff phone in sick

For any business managing staff sickness can be a key issue.  But particularly if you own a small business, absence can become critical.  If you employ two waiting staff and one phones in sick, how will you manage being 50% down?  If you only employ one skilled designer and do not come in, what happens to client work that is due?

A recent study by FreeOfficeFinder found that 30% of people have actually lied about being sick, compounding the problem.

“Out of the 10,000 participants, 3.097 admitted to lying about having time off sick in the past twelve months.”

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5 ways Direct Messages have changed on Twitter

Last year, Twitter made a number of changes to Direct Messages to expand their functionality and increase their usage.  They made it easier than ever to have a private conversation on what is essentially a public network.  So Direct Messages could now form an important part of your social media marketing, if you are not using them already.

In case the changes slipped under your radar, here are some of the key alterations and some ideas for how you could now use Direct Messages:
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Meet Regional Director: Allison Wood

I have more than 20 years’ experience, predominantly in the Financial Services industry, in PA and administration roles, and more recently operations management. I get a real buzz from providing great customer service and helping make improvements to a business.  Working with my business partner Karen McCulloch, we love helping businesses in the North East reach their full potential.


If your business could benefit from Allison’s help, or from any of our VAs, please get in touch on 01483 332220 or [email protected]. We pride ourselves on being the staff you don’t see, but the difference you do.

Meet Regional Director: Karen McCulloch

I have 20 years’ experience of working as an Executive Assistant at senior level for some of the largest organisations in Newcastle upon Tyne, allowing me to bring a wealth of knowledge to help businesses to achieve their objectives. I love the flexibility that working virtually brings, allowing me to work with a number of businesses across the North East providing tailor made solutions as and when they need it. I enjoy the opportunity of meeting people to discuss their specific business needs to find out what works for them and deliver the best results.


If your business could benefit from Karen’s help, or from any of our VAs, please get in touch on 01483 332220 or [email protected]. We pride ourselves on being the staff you don’t see, but the difference you do.

How to keep learning for free!

We all know that in small businesses every penny counts.  Sufficient cash flow is vital to make your business run effectively.  Adequate funds to pay your bills and invest in your business are critical.  But when it comes to investing in your business there are so many demands.  From money for marketing, PR and social media, to new technology, premises or stock, the ‘wish’ list can seem endless.

In this ‘How to’ guide one of our virtual assistants Kimba talks about how something like training doesn’t have to demand cash from your business, due to the wide range of free online training courses available.

Training for yourself or for your staff can easily be put to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list.  But continuous professional development (CPD) is vital to ensure that you continue to stay at the top of your profession and deliver real value for money for your customers and clients.

In some industries such as accountancy, this CPD is non-negotiable.  It has to be completed in order to maintain your accredited status.  For other industries it can seem a nice to do.  But in this digital age, training doesn’t have to take up a lot of your hard earned cash.  There are lots of online resources that will only need an investment of your time.
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Inspirational stories from the national Mum and Working awards

Last night we were lucky to attend the national mumandworking awards ceremony in London and what an inspirational night it was.  We were attending as a finalist in the Flexible Business of the Year category – the category we won back in 2014.

The awards are designed celebrate and showcase the exemplary businesses, individuals and associates demonstrating that family-friendly, flexible working ‘works’ – benefiting parents and children as well as businesses and the UK economy.  Competition this year was very fierce with judges describing the 2016 finalists as ‘outstanding’.

The awards event took place at RBS, being hosted by Natwest.  It was attended by nearly two hundred finalists, judges, press representatives and VIP guests.  Judges and speakers included Sarah Willingham (as seen on BBC’s Dragon’s Den), Caprice Bourret, Susannah Schofield OBE, Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise, Business Banking, NatWest and Debbie Bird from Now Baby.  Awards were presented in fourteen categories including ‘Best International Flexible Business’, ‘Best Charity Offering Flexible Working’ and ‘Most Inspiring Business Parent of the Year’.
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