Get Ahead VA Blog

Expert Showcase: How to record an interview or meeting

Here at Get Ahead VA our team includes experts in a wide variety of fields. From Accounting to Admin, Hootsuite to Holiday cover, Email Marketing to Excel, our virtual assistants can add value to many aspects of your business. In this Expert Showcase series our team are sharing some of their expertise with you, in a selection of ‘How to’ guides to help you get the best bang for your buck in your business.

In this guide one of our virtual assistants Ashley talks about how you can effectively record meetings or interviews and avoid the common pitfalls that many people make.

“Recording meetings or interviews can be hugely beneficial. It keeps an accurate record of exactly what was (and wasn’t said) at the time, which you can always refer to at a later date. It can allow you to focus on the content of a meeting without worrying too much about capturing the relevant notes. It can enable all parties to feel confident that there will be no misunderstanding.

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Business insurance: A buying guide

Car insurance, house insurance, travel insurance – even pet insurance we are all pretty familiar with. In general, insurance is fairly straightforward – you drive a car, you need insurance. You go on holiday, you need insurance. But when it comes to setting up and running your business, the type of insurance you need can be much more confusing.

Firstly, there isn’t really any mandatory insurance – unless you employ people or drive company vehicles. As most business insurance is optional, cost can be a major factor. You might think some risks are worth taking and that not buying insurance can save you money.

We spoke to Simon Drysdale, director at Hallsdale Insurance Brokers about the key types of business insurance and why they might be worth investing in:

“If you are a business owner, an independent professional or self-employed, purchasing the right insurance is an important means of managing the risks of your business and protecting it for the future.

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Meet the VA: Rachel Allen

Here at Get Ahead VA our people are everything. Our ever growing team has a wide range of highly skilled professionals with different backgrounds, expertise and even different personalities to ensure that we can find exactly the right virtual assistant to match our customers’ requirements.

Here’s 60 seconds with one of our virtual assistants Rachel who has worked on some of the world’s leading brands during her 13 year marketing career:

Name: Rachel Allen

Area of expertise: Digital marketing, advertising and social media

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New website for Get Ahead VA

We are delighted to have launched our new website.  We worked in partnership with website design experts Taybridge Consulting to develop a new website for the business and are excited to see all the hard work finally come to fruition.

The brief for the new website was to create something that was up to date in terms of today’s website design, fully mobile friendly with SEO built in.  We also needed a user-friendly CMS in place to allow us to add new virtual assistants to the team, upload our regular blogs and keep content up to date.  The site needed clear navigation for the wide variety of different business services and marketing services that we offer, as well as highlighting our virtual agency model.  This allows us to offer a wide variety of services under one roof.  As one of our clients says: “It is great to have the support of a team of marketing experts on tap, being able to choose the services I need, when I need them.”  Ali Mearza, Ophthalmic surgeon

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Is your business safe? 9 cyber security tips to protect your company

It seems as though not a day goes by at the moment without cyber security hitting the headlines. Companies and organisations large and small, including British Airways and the NHS, are being continuously targeted by hackers, with some success. You might think that as a small business you are safe – that you are under the radar. But you are just as much at risk and the impact of an attack could be paralysing for your business.

You may presume that having anti-virus software installed on your machines is enough – especially if you use software from well-known suppliers such as McAfee or Norton. But experts generally agree that with the increasing sophistication of hackers that is no longer enough to keep your business safe. So how can you protect yourself?

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5 ways to manage the school holidays

The school holidays are fast approaching – and have already started for some.  Whilst the sun might be shining (we hope!) this can feel like dark days for business owners.  For working parents, the juggle of working and managing the children can be even harder – or more expensive.  For business owners, maintaining output levels whilst staff have time off can also be a real challenge.

Here are our 5 top tips to turn any holiday headaches into halcyon days:

  1. It may sound simple but breaking down tasks into what is both ‘urgent’ and ‘important’ can be a really worthwhile exercise.  You may discover that some tasks can actually be left until September as, whilst nice to do, they are neither urgent or important.  For other tasks you can see clearly what needs to be done and when.
  2. Work as a team. Talk to your team about who needs help covering which tasks over the holiday period.  Try and engender a sense of shared ownership.  Though a particular task might not usually be an employee’s area of responsibility, would he or she have the skills to cover it on a short-term basis?  What support would they need to do it?  Can training be given before holidays begin, or handover notes issued to help whilst staff are away?
  3. Plan ahead. It is never too late to plan ahead – even if the holidays have already started.  Look at what work you have coming up and when you are likely to be on holiday or short of staff.  Consider if any orders or events can be rescheduled.  Identify any pinch points where business requirements may not match staffing or availability levels and define appropriate plans of action.
  4. Talk to your customers.  They may understand about the ‘summer squeeze’ and be prepared to wait, or work with you to address only urgent requirements.  Advise customers in advance if there will be longer delivery times or delays.  People get frustrated when situations are forced upon them with no warning, or when they feel that they don’t know what is going on.  Be open and honest about any potential issues so that you can work together in a positive manner.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This could be from family members if you work for yourself, or outsourcing to external agencies for holiday cover.  Services may be more affordable than you think and don’t always tie you in to long-term contracts.  Find the right solution to enable you to put customer service first and maintain standards for your clients – whilst taking the break you need.

Our team of highly experienced virtual assistants are perfectly placed to assist in any aspect of your holiday cover – from admin to social media management and more.  We love to take on the tasks you don’t have time to do, don’t have the skills to do, or simply don’t want to do.  Please give us a call on 01483 332220 or email [email protected] to find out how we can help.  We pride ourselves on being the staff you don’t see, but the difference you do.

Expert showcase: How to view, store and manage files online using Google Drive

Here at Get Ahead VA our team includes experts in a wide variety of fields. From Accounting to Admin, Hootsuite to Holiday cover, Email Marketing to Excel, our VAs can add value to many aspects of your business. In our Expert Showcase series our team deliver some of this expertise to you, with a series of ‘How to’ guides to help you get the best bang for your buck in your business.

In this guide one of our virtual assistants Rachel talks about storing and sharing files effectively online with Google Drive.

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Meet the VA: Melanie McDowell

Here at Get Ahead VA our people are everything.  Our ever growing team has a wide range of highly skilled professionals with different backgrounds, expertise and even different personalities to ensure that we can find exactly the right virtual assistant to match our customers’ requirements.

Here’s 60 seconds with one of our virtual assistants Melanie who has a wealth of marketing expertise from a varied international marketing career including high profile corporate companies Eurostar and Natwest:

Name: Melanie McDowell

Area of expertise: Marketing, Social Media and Project Management

When & why did you join Get Ahead VA: I joined Get Ahead VA earlier year, wanting to use my marketing skills whilst still being able to work flexibly around the needs of my family, and Get Ahead VA enables me to do just that.  When I met Rebecca for the first time, her energy and passion for the business made me want to be part of the team.  I particularly love that she gets the team together periodically, where we are able to share ideas and experiences.  I find I get so much energy being in a room with so many experienced and amazing people.

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Get Ahead VA Reading team expands

We were delighted to appoint our first franchisee Carrie Jones to the Reading area in May this year.  Carrie has already been hard at work growing her virtual agency team.

Ian Pulfer has joined the team as a web and email marketing expert.  He brings with him 20 years of experience in the industry in designing, creating and maintaining websites, email campaigns & newsletters.  Ian has spent the past nine years at design and marketing agency Ideas Industry working with a number of blue chip clients including CA Technologies, Vodafone, Hitachi, IBM and Wind River.

Laura Sands is a very experienced copywriter and blogger, as well as a marketing expert.  She spent fifteen years working at healthcare expert Colgate Palmolive, in a variety of product and brand management roles.  She has a keen interest in SEO and providing a correct and consistent tone of voice across the marketing mix. (more…)