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If you are a VA you may find you and your business falls into one of three camps.

Group one includes the freelance and professional ‘Veronica F.R.O.G.s’ who are as busy as ever. Maybe even busier than ever.

Group two contains the VA’s who are experiencing a bit of a dip in business yet still getting through OK. Despite the kids at home. Or their other half at home. Or caring for a relative.

And then there’s group three. This is those who are struggling a bit. Who may be feeling anxious about money and a bit less confident than when they began the year.

The VA in each group will have their own set of challenges right now, some of them unique or personal.

Some freelancers, self-employed and small business owners are asking whether it is the right time to be ‘selling’ their services. Will people really want to buy now? Will people have money to buy now?

They are valid questions. But too often there are assumptions being made about the answers.Why not ask them?

The truth is, you don’t know until you ask.

If you are in group one or two above, you may be wondering what kind of things you can you do to (a) help existing clients (b) engage with past clients and (c) offer something of value to potential clients.

Why don’t you ask them?

Give your current clients a call.

Yes, on the phone. Just ask them how they are doing and see if there’s anything they need right now. And that doesn’t have to be a direct business ‘need’.

2. If not a call, send them an email.

And ask the same. You may think every successful entrepreneur, business owner is managing everything with confidence. That may not be the case. These are strange times and it can hit people in different ways.

3. Send out a survey.

You can do this easily with online tools like Microsoft Forms which is part of your Office365 subscription or even free tools such as Survey Monkey. You can set a range of questions to gain the information you are looking for. You can have Yes/No responses, multiple-choice options, ratings and spaces for comments.

When your surveys are in you can analyse them – look for common themes, patterns, concerns and potential opportunities. It also allows you to see what words people are using to describe their wants and needs. You can use those when putting your marketing copy together.

4. Send a Letter.

Why not ask them?This is ideal if you only have a small number of clients. It adds a super personal touch. If you can, do it. Your clients will be so appreciative.

You could always include something of value with your note – like a relevant or inspirational quote, a quick tip or a checklist.

5. Send a Card.

This is an alternative to a letter. It will be welcomed just as much.

You could even include a question or a link to a survey so people can tell you how they are – for example, “No needs now”, “Might need something in 4 weeks” or “Yes, happy for you to get in touch in the Summer”. You can set out the options how you want.

Connections and communication have always been very important in business. Now they are more important than ever.

Microsoft Office 365 gives you all the tools to do that with efficiency, service and grace. Make sure you are up to speed with it.

Any questions? Just ask.

Shelley Fishel

P.S. If you are ready to improve your Microsoft Office skills, take a look at my range of online training courses. Learn what you need when you want, where you want and at your own pace.

No waffle. Just the essential, step-by-step ‘how to’ for the most practical functions you’ll ever use as a professional VA.