Strength In Numbers
by Janice Byer, CCVA, MVA
Docu-Type Administrative & Web Design Services
Doing administrative tasks from a home office has been around for many years but the term VA seems to be becoming more prominent and recognized by those who would need our services the most.
Now, that’s not to say that we can afford to sit back and wait for new clients to come to us. We still need to promote our industry and ourselves as much as we can. For many of us, as is true for most small business owners, advertising budgets are limited. So, taking out a full-page ad in a business publication is not always an option.
But, as the old saying goes, ‘there’s strength in numbers’!
For most industries, the thought of working together with your competitors would send shivers up your spine. Industry members don’t see the advantages, but rather the pitfalls, of working together. For the most part, the VA industry doesn’t seem to follow that path of fear.
Sure, if a Request For Proposal (RFP) arises from a potential client, then we are competing with each other for that individual project. But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t associate and work together with each other to increase our exposure. It’s not exactly at strategic alliance kind of situation, but it is a necessity that we band together to increase the need for our services.
One way of doing this is to refer your fellow VA’s for projects that may be beyond your capabilities. For instance, I design award-winning websites. I can format a template and arrange the content to be appealing to the site visitor. I even try my hand at designing icons and enhancing photos to increase load times and to be visually appealing.
But, when it comes to the ‘big stuff’, such as company logos and page headers, I rely on my partner-in-crime, Kathy Ritchie.
So, when a new web design client comes on board, one of the first things I ask is if they have a company logo. You see, I try to design the website around the look and colours of the company’s logo. Well, if they don’t have a logo, I send them to Kathy.
Not only does this referral send some business Kathy’s way, it also shows the client that I am more than willing to help them in any way I can, even if it means giving work to someone else. The client feels appreciated and is more likely to refer both of us on to others.
Another means of helping to increase the visibility of our industry is to write articles about the advantages of utilizing the services of a Virtual Assistant. Then send the article to as many publications, both online and off that may be interested in featuring the story to their readers. On an added note, the article can feature you, your business, and the services you specialize in, but if you add in information about your fellow VA’s and the services they specialize in, you are showing the public that the Virtual Assistance industry is not just a bunch of typists but rather professional entrepreneurs who can offer full-service help.
Still another way to help increase the exposure of the VA industry is to become a member of VA organizations and to work together with your fellow members to make the most of your associations. By doing this, we all show the solidarity of the industry and that we are strong as a team.
Being a Virtual Assistant generally means that you can offer a one-stop-shop for your clients and that, even if you do not perform a specific service, you can find someone that can thus giving your client everything they need, and more! This is how we need to promote ourselves to our target markets.
We may be a fairly new industry but we are strong because of our willingness to work together to offer clients everything they need to keep their businesses running.