Wow, it’s here! 2012! I love the New Year. No, I don’t do big celebrations, I don’t get gussied up and go to big parties, and I don’t get crazy with New Year’s resolutions. I’m not much into hype. It’s not that I think negative on any of that — it’s just that I enjoy sitting in my sweats or jeans, playing euchre with my closest friends and family and keeping the kids from beating up their cousins and fighting over the Roku remote.
What I do love so much about New Years, personally speaking, is the refreshing optimism of what the new year holds. When it’s been a rough year, I feel reborn and take on a sense of freedom with a clean slate to do something different. When it’s been a great year, I feel thankful for what I’ve accomplished.
Something I’m proud to say is the work I’ve accomplished in the Virtual Industry. The Virtual Industry — it’s complicated to say the least. My job is complicated, my clients are adoring but all unique in their own way (which is what makes the industry rock each day), the industry slang, names, titles are complicated, and the list of platforms, systems, and team options are evolving quicker than even I — a person who is expected to test and know them all — can keep up with.
Yet this past year I’ve come that much closer to wearing a badge of a mastery in the virtual operations management division of the industry. I’ve partnered with what I would call the industries biggest and brightest and most accomplished, and I’m developing systems and processes to alleviate the frustrations and confusions of those joining and excelling the virtual forces.
I’m proud to say that not only was this past year astonishing and productive, there were many lessons well learned, and great growth with my knowledge and business. On the other hand, I’m excited to say that this upcoming year my optimism and success are from the peak and the journey is going to be the best yet!
Virtual Team Development
So today, I want to talk a little about virtual team development. The industry has some clashing going on — something that is only going to cause more confusion. There’s a “voice” in the industry that is telling Virtual Assistants to stop calling themselves such, and change their name to Administrative Consultants. There’s so many titles out there — it’s already confusing enough for business owners to find ways to develop a strong team, let alone understand how each of us differs.
Virtual Assistant (VA) – Virtual Operations Manager (VOM) – Online Business Manager (OBM) – Administrative Consultant — Virtual Executive Assistant – Online Marketing Directory
In the spirit of SIMPLICITY, it doesn’t matter what your consultant names him or herself. In the end – we all work for the better cause and we all work to service the virtual industry; we’re all the same. Each business owner will offer a different niche, a different target market, and some different services.
If you are developing a business this year, whether it’s a Virtual Assistant Business, an Administrative Consulting Business, or a Virtual Operations Management Business — we are all doing the same thing: we are offering virtual administrative consulting services.
If you are in business this year to develop a team — just make note — these titles shouldn’t confuse you — we’re all the same — we’re all here for the common goal of entrepreneurship ourselves — and service to a target market seeking the individualized expertise the industry has to offer.
3 Steps to Simplifying The Process of Team Development
Step 1: Define Your Team Structure
Most virtual admin consultants are going to focus on a core skill set or service, and will provide a more solo and boutique service. Commonly referred to as Virtual Assistants or Administrative Consultants, you can develop your team one person at a time based on your needs at the moment.
I consult business owners with a bigger virtual infrastructures to think ahead, however. They may require a virtual team as they grow. This is where the Online Business Managers and Virtual Operations Managers come into the scene. They can still offer that boutique one-on-one attention, and manage the finer “starting points” of the process, but as the client grows they’ll have everything under their umbrella covered. They will either have a team of their own, or they can manage a team of consultants you already have established.
Step 2: Project Management Plans
If you hire a Virtual Operations Manager or Online Business Manager you have your project manager. If you are a smaller business and go the solo-route or choose to set up multiple consultants yourself, you’ll have to consider your project management set up so you can manage the workflow. This is essentially the delegation cycle. This gets more complicated than I can discuss now, but it is discussed more in the project management SOP modules. Without workflow processes, however, you’ll find it difficult to manage your needs as your business and team grows. This is also where efficient systems and proper platforms play a crucial part.
Step 3: Developing a Strong SOP for Position(s)
Speaking of systems, a strong SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) needs to be developed. This will ultimately ensure you’ve developed your team structure correctly. The SOP process can be simple, but the key is to “document” the Task Descriptions (commonly referred to as job description in Corporate America — but your consultant who is an entrepreneur may not resonate with “job description”) and the expectations you have for the process.
Your consultant(s) is a professional and they will fine-tune the processes and procedures for you, and polish the SOP for their position, but you need a foundation for them to get started with. The SOP will develop over time — so just start with areas you need your consultant(s) to take on now. They’ll tell you how they can do them, and together you will develop a system that will hold a strong foundation for your business.
Developing a virtual team doesn’t revolve around a “title”. It revolves around the services that consultant has to offer, their rates, their work ethics, their integrity, their availability, and their skill-sets. Disregard the titles, and instead develop your team based on task objectives and company goals.
This is only a scratch to the surface of developing a stable virtual infrastructure for your business. More of this complicated process is discussed in further posts and resources. Consultations are available if you require further direction — please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on any of the above.