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  • Sue

Autumn days

Although we're now heading into Autumn, the view from the office window still shows a typical Ventnor summer's day - blue sky, blue sea and golden sand. The only difference now is that the beach is pretty much empty, the deckchairs packed away and the beach huts closing up. People are back at work, children back at school - but for those working in small businesses the work may have mounted up whilst enjoying holiday mode.

If that's the case, then it's always worth seriously considering how some day to day tasks of running a business can be outsourced. 'Outsourcing' is not a popular word, as for some it has connotations of people losing jobs because 'outsourcing' has re-directed work that they once enjoyed and took pride in - companies often use 'outsourcing' when restructuring.

But there are other ways of looking at this and it doesn't need to be about moving work from one person to another. It can be anything from letting an experienced typist type up those invoices that have been sitting around waiting to be done (a common occurrence with small building firms who are not 'techies' and still handwrite their invoices in the hope that someone (partner, neighbour, friend?) might type them up for them) to deciding on specific projects that someone who is good at organising things, can get on with whilst the work that makes the business profitable carries on.

I always suggest that if you're thinking about having a personal assistant or virtual assistant, then make three lists - one of tasks that you wouldn't outsource to anyone, one of tasks that you might once you've built trust and developed a relationship with an assistant, and one with tasks that you would give without a thought, just to get them off your desk and not have to deal with them at all - in other words, the tasks that you don't feel that precious about but needs must, so someone has to to do them.

When you do decide that the time is right to invest in some outside admin help, be sure to contact your chosen person and have a good conversation around what options and advantages there are and how that person might work with you in a supporting role. You'll be surprised how a discussion can highlight areas and draw out tasks and activities that an admin assistant (virtual or otherwise) can actually help you with.

Of course, you can always contact me!

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