How do you manage conflicting deadlines, and what do you do if you realise you can’t meet them all?

Over the last few weeks or so I’ve been working my way through some of the questions I think you ought to ask a VA before you potentially start working with them.

This one is actually one of my favourites, because I think it can tell you a lot about them and what you can expect from them.

In the past some of my processes for dealing with deadlines has been a little, shall we say, rubbish? When I first started out and I got busy, my go to response was to work later.  In fact, I had an audio transcription deadline for the next morning, and I’d underestimated how long it would take me to do.  I worked all night, and was in agony with RSI for days!

But, bright side, the work got done and the client never knew.

However, that sort of process isn’t going to work longer time.  You do actually need to be able to take a break and manage yourself better. Thankfully, I learnt my lesson.

Now, for the largest part, I know what work I have to get through each day, so can plan my time accordingly just the same as anyone else. Where clients have similar deadlines I always ensure that when I’m caught up with everything else I start working on things ahead of schedule. That way I don’t have lots of projects to start at once.

Equally, for longer projects, I tend to build in fake deadlines to help keep me focussed. If I have to have something ready for Wednesday, I’ll make sure it’s done for Monday.  That way there’s a little bit of back-up time just in case anything goes wrong.  The problem with having five children is that there’s always the possibility someone’s going to be ill!  I am therefore a huge fan of the back-up plan.

Occasionally when I’m already up against a client will ask for something to be turned around urgently.  Unfortunately, I have in the past had to say that I’m too busy.  I hate doing it, but I would rather be honest than run the risk of under delivering and letting someone down. To date most people actually extend their deadline to a timescale I can manage, and appreciate the honesty.

 

 

If you have any other questions you might want to ask please email hello@timesavingheroes.co.uk or go old fashioned and pick up the phone. Our number is 0161 883 2024.

Small businesses have the advantage when it comes to social media

Whenever I start talking about social media marketing at networking events there’s always a couple of people that roll their eyes. There’s lots of different reasons for their knee-jerk reaction, and I certainly don’t judge any of them for it.  For many, unfortunately, they’ve had bad experiences of people who have tried to sell them the idea of marketing to the masses – and they’ve been burnt by costly, yet fruitless forays in to digital advertising.

Of course, it’s not that sort of thing I’m talking about. But that’s the point with knee-jerk reactions; they’re not always on target.

However, I digress.

One of the biggest barriers I come against when it comes to talking about SMM with potential clients is their own perceptions.  Many argue that they’re too small to really make any impact with Facebook or Twitter, and therefore don’t see the value of “throwing money” at it.

I agree, simply throwing money at anything and hoping for the best seems like a bit too much of a gamble – and that’s coming from a girl with a thing for the horses.

No matter how big, or small your business, you have to have a plan. That means you need to know what it is you’re trying to achieve, how much money you have to achieve it, and over what time period you’re going to work on it. It’s more complicated than that of course, but that’s the nuts and bolts.

Most of that will be determined by you and any consultant you decide to get in to help; however, there is one thing that applies to every small business.  You can make a huge impact regardless of your size. In fact, I’d go so far as to argue that small businesses might have the advantage when it comes to social marketing.

Think about your small business and any larger scale competitors you may have.  Don’t focus on the things you don’t have such as numerous staff, a large IT department or a huge media budget. Instead, think about what you can do that they can’t.

You can reach out to your local community and be more focussed on the individuals within that community.  You can build genuine relationships.  As a small business you’re more likely to remember Jean from the last time she commented, and you’re definitely in a better position to reply to her when she does reach out to you.  Faceless large corporation couldn’t give a monkey’s about Jean, she’s just order #45789.

Equally, just because you don’t have loads to throw at social media doesn’t mean you can’t get a reaction out of your audience. People love to talk and share, so why not ask them to post pictures of them using your product. Get them to add reviews, or ask questions that they need your answers to. Ask them for their feedback and suggestions, and then act upon them so they know they’ve been listened to.

Being small is a huge advantage when it comes to being genuine.