After a long break (and a push from the other Directors in the business) I’m getting back to writing regular blogs, so if you’re reading this I hope you enjoy it.
This year there have been huge changes and growth across our existing and new businesses, too much to detail out in one blog, which I’ll cover in the coming months. To begin with, I just wanted to let you know what my last week has looked like.
For the past 2 days I have been at a sales and closing training event in Birmingham (while testing out staying in our own SA), Wednesday I was in Northampton running our Business and Property Mastermind, helping business owners with their next steps and their overall Business Plans, Tuesday I spent the day with Mylo as Ella was with her nanny, Monday I caught up with the team in the office working on priorities for the week, the weekend was the weekend and last Friday I was head down in spreadsheets (earphones in, hacker mode!).
If I could, I’d spend every one of my working days in hacker mode, automating reports and KPIs and improving business data using spreadsheets (SUMIFS, Conditional Formatting, Graphs… lovely).
82% of small businesses fail due to cash flow problems with most business owners rating cashflow as their number 1 risk.
So how do you manage cashflow? Data! - live, accurate, automated data in easy to read formats so you can make business decisions quickly to the benefit of your business.
Knowing your data is vital within a business as it helps; identify problems, find bottlenecks, highlight poor performance, see unnecessary costs and more. Ultimately to come to the answer of ‘We need to do X to improve Y’.
I love spreadsheets. Solving businesses perceived problems of managing business finance and getting real time reports and data (I’ve been doing it from day 1 as an accounting apprentice all those years ago). So many people get stressed by this, ignore it until it becomes a mountain, have no idea where to start and fly their business blind as they don’t know their results. So make sure you spend some time now, setting this up right, setting up your accounting system to give you the right data, automating reports from this data, linking in data from your other systems, and make it easy to analyse so you can focus on making decisions and the high value tasks that you need to be focussing on for your business.
What are the biggest challenges you are facing in managing your businesses finance?
This week’s tips are ideal for small to medium sized businesses looking to grow their business and step out from the day to day running of the business, and become the Business Owner they set out to be.
“Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week” – Lori Greiner
Tip 1: Systemise
Within your business you have processes that are normally documented as process documents, these describe how to begin and complete a task within your business. So, a process describes what needs to be done in your business. Business systemisation is the systems that form around these processes, these can either be manual or automated systems in order to complete each process.
Systemisation definition from Personal MBA is: A system is a process made explicit and repeatable. Systemization is the act of creating a new system. The primary benefit of creating a System is that you can examine the process and make improvements. Developing Systems helps everyone do what they have to do with minimum misunderstanding.
For example; the process document for a business task that aims to get more website subscribers, would be to give value, create blogs/reports, advertise them on social media and then link to the website where people can subscribe. The system around this process would be to manually create and schedule posts on social media, and then automate the subscriber sequence by embedding a form into your website (from Mailchimp for example) and setting up an automated email series. You can then monitor results and KPIs based on this system to make improvements.
This is just one example of how to systemise your business and one example of business systemisation software. There are many systems to your business and just as many (if not more) different software out there that could help automate some of these.
Tip 2: Outsource
After reading the Systemise section, you may feel you need this section the most with the amount of process documents and systems to build in your business. However, outsourcing should only be done when you have a correct and detailed specification – and this usually means processes and systems complete, but could mean just a detailed specification of one task.
Some Business process outsourcing examples;
Outsourcing the systemisation of your business can be done, however you should expect to pay a higher price for this as the person or business that can do this for you needs to be very highly skilled and experienced to know how you want to run your business and what systems you need. You will also need to be heavily involved with this task in order to convey your business vision and what you expect from your business so that the right processes and systems are formed.
Tip 3: Scale
Once you have systemised and outsourced some or all of your business, you should have freed up some of your time as the business owner to work on higher value tasks such as growth.
With more time to be working ON the business rather than IN, you have more time to work on the business vision, direction, process improvements, new sales, bigger picture growth in order to scale your business.
And then, the great thing about these 3 tips, is that as you scale, the increased sales you make should fall into the systems you have created, be fulfilled by automation or your outsourcers and then create more growth through customer recommendations and reviews from the great service you have provided.
Systemise, Outsource & Scale is a cycle within your business that never ends. Improvements to systems will need to be made as new technology or competition emerges and as you scale you will need a bigger team of outsourcers and new processes in place.
Business SOS has been created to help small to medium sized business owners, systemise, outsource and scale their business. Through a monthly membership that delivers new training videos each week covering the Business SOS model and how to implement SOS into your business, AND a monthly Live Q&A to have all your business questions answered so there are no blocks in the way of your growth, Business SOS is becoming the go to platform to help your business become sustainable, scalable and profitable (especially due to the low monthly fee of just £9+VAT).
We hope you have found these tips useful and are able to use them to improve your business and investments. Don’t miss out on future tips - subscribe to the Turner Invest newsletter at turnerinvest.co.uk and follow us on social media.
Having run a Serviced Accommodation business for over 3 years now, I know first-hand how hard it can get at Winter time when bookings slow down, cash flow is tight and you’re doing everything you can think of to profit.
So, apart from the obvious of making more sales (which a lot of people are posting about), as part of the Business Health Check I do for clients, we look into expenses and aim to trim them where possible ensuring no effect on business performance (as money saved is straight into your profits, whereas increased sales come with more costs).
As I have recently done this for a SA business I thought I would share some of my top tips to reduce spend over the Winter (& longer term):
Below are tips on how to reduce the Cost of Sales expenses for running a SA business:
Those are just some of the tips for savings in a SA business and all the above relate to the Direct Costs of SA income.
If people are interested, I can share further tips on the savings to be made from the operating expenses of a SA business? Just let me know.
Empowering People to Live the Life of Their Dreams
On the back of our recent Serviced Accommodation (SA) business milestones, we had a lot of interest for our set of automated guest messages.
In summary, the timing of our messages are as follows:
To download all of these templates, click here (no email address required - instant download)
I hope you find this useful for your business.
If you need SA management services in Essex and the surrounding areas, get in touch.
And if you would like to receive our free report series, subscribe to our mailing list below.
All the best in your business success,
In our Serviced Accommodation (SA) Business we recently hit a big milestone and thought we would share some of our "SA highs & lows":
Last week we hit a big milestone in our SA business: our 1,000th booking.
Having operated for over 3 years and now managing over 20 properties (a mix of owned, R2R and managed across Essex and surrounding areas) we have had our ups and downs but are extremely happy with our success. So to celebrate our 1,000th booking, I thought I would share some stats, milestones & lessons learnt:
It didn't start like this, it started with 1 as a test & Catherine dealing with everything from uploading properties on to the OTAs, to checking in guests, to replying to enquiries & managing cleaners & contractors, whilst I was still in my day job.
But every time something new happens, we add it to our process list & ops manual & it's no longer the big issue it would have been when we started.
Now, with our team of VAs managing all customer service, listings, bookkeeping and admin, and an excellent Property Manager managing things on the ground (including expansion) we have truly built a business where we are the Owners and not the day to day managers.
So for all of you just starting out, keep going, it is achievable, you just need to keep systemising, outsourcing and scaling and you can create a SA business that you can enjoy.
As it has been a while since we released the last set of Tuesday Tips, this weeks is a bit more special and detailed.
We are giving away 3 free reports that are our Top Tips to leverage your business and lifestyle, and all you need to do is subscribe to our newsletter and all 3 will be sent to you over the next few days.
So, what are the Top Tips?
Tip 1: How to Find & Hire the Right Virtual Assistant for Your Business
The simple 5 steps to finding and hiring the right Virtual Assistant (VA) for your business, whether that is to:
This report takes you through exactly how to prepare for, find and hire the right VA for your business so you can start outsourcing more of your tasks and focus on higher value tasks or simply enjoy more free time.
Tip 2: The 20 Questions You Need to be Asking Yourself to Get a Leveraged Lifestyle
Then this free report/workbook asks you all the questions you should be asking yourself to run a successful business that does not take up all of your time, can scale without you and gives you the freedom to do what you want in life.
Prioritise reading this report and answering the questions to get your redefined to-do-list, your refocused business vision and your reinvigorated motivation to get your business to where you want it to be.
Tip 3: The Top 30 Life Leverage Apps to Save You Time, Money and Your Sanity!
This report details our top 30 apps to use in your day to day life to save you money and time so you can focus on the more important things.
Make life easier by downloading these tried and tested apps and start leveraging technology to live smarter.
That's this weeks Top Tips on how to leverage more, and get more of your own time back - subscribe below to get all 3 free reports emailed to you.
Empowering People to Live the Life of Their Dreams
We get asked a lot about what Virtual Assistants (VAs) can do and how to manage them, especially when it comes to hiring a VA for bookkeeping and making payments.
Outsourcing your bookkeeping is like any other outsourcing you do in your business, but it seems more risky as it is to do with money and making payments. However, it doesn't need to be.
Firstly, let's look at the Outsourcing Definition:
According to investopedia.com:
Outsourcing is the business practice of hiring a party outside a company to perform services and create goods that traditionally were performed in-house by the company's own employees and staff. Usually done as a cost-cutting measure, it can affect jobs ranging from customer support to manufacturing to the back office.
Although investopedia states that outsourcing can affect certain jobs, it can also create them. For small to medium sized businesses, physical staff may not even be an option due to the cost, so the best way to begin for them is to hire a virtual assistant in the Philippines or from any country where a full time decent wage for a Virtual Assistant is not as huge a hit to the costs to the business as hiring from the UK or US.
Back to outsourcing your bookkeeping...
Here are our Top 3 Tips when it comes to Outsourcing Bookkeeping:
1. Trust & Time – as with any new member of your team, there needs to be some time to build trust within the business and time to train your VA for them to understand your business processes and systems before full rights and access is given to anything, especially financial. Therefore, start with less rights and responsibility and build it up over time.
2. Choose & Create – You need to choose your online banking & payment provider to ensure it can be outsourced & create the right user permissions. Generally, all business banks have the ability to add and manage users, however some can be cumbersome to set up (for example Lloyds lost paperwork that I had sent over from the Philippines not once but twice which caused huge delays!), so make sure you speak to people who have experience with the particular bank you want to set-up with.
Also, some may not have the level of permissions you want to implement. For example PayPal’s User Permissions (which can each be turned on or off) are as follows:
So, know what permission levels you want to give your team, and go to the bank that can give you what you need.
3. Review & Reward – Periodically review your systems and your teams progress, accuracy and achievements and reward them with extra responsibility. By staging the increase in permissions your team will feel they are getting recognised for their work, and in turn it will take more off of your plate. Win – Win.
And by reviewing your systems and automating as much as you can, you can reduce the risk of error and ensure you and your team are working effectively and efficiently.
Hope that helps.
p.s. Who out there, like me years ago, has used one of these calculators when doing bookkeeping!
Managing a virtual team can be a daunting task for some entrepreneurs and business owners. However, the benefits a team of Virtual Assistants (VAs) bring to your business can be enormous, so it is worth taking the time to work out how best to hire and how best to manage your VAs.
For tips on how to hire your VA, see our previous article here.
And for our top 3 tips on managing VAs, read on:
“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers” – Stephen R Covey
Tip 1: Know their values
Knowing your teams values, whether virtual or physical, is a must in order to manage your team effectively. If your VAs highest value is their family, and that is why they became a VA to work from home and spend more time with their family, then you know bonuses of additional time off or financial bonuses to help support their family will motivate them. If your VAs highest value is money, then you know they will appreciate financial bonuses, if it is learning & development then they will appreciate the opportunity to grow in their role and attend courses.
Take the time as soon as you hire your VA or team member to find out their top 3 values so you can motivate and reward them to become the best & most loyal team member for your business.
Tip 2: Trust
Trusting your new VA can be hard. A lot of business owners fear that due to the distance and not being able to see them work physically in an office, they may not work the hours required for their role. This can easily be managed using software such as Harvest or Timeproof alongside a task management software such as Asana.
Trust in any relationship is earned, and trust in a working relationship is no different. Give your VA more basic tasks first in order to test them before gradually moving to sensitive or tasks with more responsibility (such as online banking).
Tip 3: Feedback
Feedback works both ways in managing your team. You should be feeding back to your VAs exactly how they are performing in their role. To do this effectively you need to have relevant KPIs set-up from the start that can be tracked and monitored.
Asking your VAs how they feel they are doing in their job and for their own feedback on their role and tasks are important regular questions to ask (at least quarterly). This can lead to improved performance, improved business processes and highlight any blockages that are stopping progress and any training and development needs they have.
In summary, treat your virtual team just as you would like to be treated. Get to know the, trust in their ability to get the job done, check in with their progress and results and get their feedback to see how you can improve as a manager to improve them as a vital member of your team.
To find out more on how to hire your perfect virtual team, see theviva.club
We hope you have found these tips useful and are able to use them to improve your business and investments. Don’t miss out on future tips - subscribe to Turner Invest newsletter on turnerinvest.co.ukand follow us on social media.
Empowering People to Live the Life of Their Dreams
Most of our Tuesday Tips have focussed on entrepreneurs who are already running a business, but what if you are just starting out?
For those looking to start a business from scratch, here are our top 3 tips to get you on your way. And for those who have already started, keep these in mind to stay on track:
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream” – C. S. Lewis
Tip 1: Learn to monetise something you feel passionate about
Creating a business around something you are passionate about will keep you driven and motivated to keep going when times are tough. It will give you the energy and passion to sell the services or products you plan to sell, knowing they are of high value to people as they are of high value to you.
Building a business around your passion will mean you will not settle for mediocre or second best and your customers and clients will love you for it and keep returning and referring!
Tip 2: Understand your values & enjoy the journey
By knowing what your values are and living to them, you are more likely to enjoy what you do and why you are doing it. Your values and their order of priority are unique to you, so invest time in working out what these are for you and ensure you keep working in line with them.
Also, don’t just reward yourself at the end… because there is no real end when you own a business - you’ll find there is always a new goal. So treat yourself along the way and enjoy the journey.
Tip 3: Take opportunities... a leap of faith
To get something different, you have to do something different. Most of us our stuck in a comfort zone and it’s only when something becomes a bit painful that we start to look for something different - a way out. Start to reach outside your comfort zone now and take the opportunities in front of you.
For example, one of the first for us was saying yes to investing in our business education (something we had never done before). At the time it was a leap of faith, now we know it was one of the best investments we ever made.
When it comes to formulating , planning & running your business, there will be a lot more things to consider. However, staying true to the above three tips will allow you to keep pushing for what you want to achieve and what you know is out there waiting for you.
We hope you have found these tips useful and are able to use them to improve your business and investments. Don’t miss out on future tips - subscribe to Turner Invest newsletter on turnerinvest.co.uk and follow us on social media.
Empowering People to Live the Life of Their Dreams
Since the launch of The VIVA Club, we have had a number of frequently asked questions from business owners and entrepreneurs looking to hire a Virtual Assistant (VA). Here is the top 5 questions asked to help you on your way to hiring a VA, and start getting your time back.
1. What tasks can a VA do?
Virtual Assistants are able to complete many tasks for you, whether business or personal, as long as the task is online they will be able to complete it. Some example tasks include:
2. Do I have to hire someone full time?
You do not have to hire a full time Virtual Assistant. A lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs struggle at first to think of enough tasks to fill a 40 hour week for a Virtual Assistant (although as soon as they get their first VA and realise how much they can do, they soon start to require more hours!).
However, if part-time or project based is what you require there are a few options available:
3. How much does a VA cost?
The pay of your VA will depend on the skills and experience they have, and location. The VIVA Club focuses on Filipino VAs.
Note, that it is custom to pay a 13thMonth bonus in December so the annual salary for a VA is 13 times the monthly amounts shown above.
4. I am initially looking to use a VA for sourcing properties on Rightmove. Is this something that other VAs have done previously?
You will be surprised at the broad range of roles VAs have worked in and as long as you are specific in your search criteria and job description, you should find someone who has had that experience or similar, or has been trained in that kind of task.
The VIVA Club provides the VAs access to training that is compiled from a number of working process documents from the our various companies and experience. This allows VAs to train themselves for potential roles and ensure they are able to add value to businesses straight away.
In addition, within Life Leverage Online Masterclass, we teach the very simple methods of how to task your VAs with any online task, no matter how complicated. To check out the Masterclass, which comes with a bonus of free access to The VIVA Club, visit .
5. What is The VIVA Club?
The VIVA Club is The Very Important Virtual Assistant Club.
We named it VIVA as we know how important the right team is for the success of a business and having hired Virtual Assistants for over 5 years across 3 different businesses and personally, we know how Very Important they are.
The VIVA Club is a private community of Filipino Virtual Assistants looking for work, sharing tips and advice, helping each other and receiving training.
Accessing The VIVA Club as an individual or business owner allows you to advertise your role to our 1500+ members in our easy to follow process, allowing you to find your perfect VA.
If you are interested in hiring a VA, check out bit.ly/thevivaclub and feel free to email any questions to my Virtual PA, Mary, at email@example.com
Empowering People to Live the Life of Their Dreams
Turner Invest Directors Catherine & Stephen Turner