This is the structure of the team in my company:
- Me: CEO / Online Business Manager / Consultant.
- Manager 1: Administration and General Operations.
- Manager 2: Design and Technical Development.
- Manager 3: Content and Search Engine Optimisation.
- Small Teams Allocated To Each Manager.
There is myself, and then I have 3 managers, each manager is there to ensure that every task is handled to the highest degree of quality, the highest level of client support, efficiently and effectively and for this, they each have a team of skilled professionals who are skilled in specifically the types of tasks being assigned to them. They are a group of people who work with each manager to ensure the tasks, once broken down, are carried out, returned back to the manager for review (where necessary) and then delivered using the procedures I have put in place and the systems I provide to my clients.
Each manager will also have allocated a “second in command” so to speak, so there is cover when the manager is away or unavailable.
Clients come to me with a variety of requirements, and to demonstrate how I would delegate I need to invent a client for this post, let’s say as an example “Joe Bloggs” is purchasing a 30 hour retainer each week and would like the following support in his business:
- A Blog Manager – To post blog updates, write articles and update the blog daily.
- An SEO Expert – to propose a strategy for his site to rank better in the search engines.
- A Customer Support Team – To handle all of his email, incoming enquiries and his diary.
- A Website Developer – To create sales pages for the new products he launches and keep his website updated.
- A Social Media Assistant – To post updates on Twitter and Facebook.
Some entrepreneurs may consider hiring one multi-tasking virtual assistant to handle all these things, it’s not uncommon to find them, VA’s are versatile, but when they use us at Virtual Miss Friday, they hand the requests over to me, and I see to everything, ensuring that all the client’s requirements are dealt with, but it’s not me carrying out the tasks. This is not me handing the client over to another VA, it’s coordinating the work and monitoring the progress so everything can get done at the same time, by skilled individuals. But, the client still gets everything done in one place, simply not by one person.
So here is roughly how I would delegate this work to my team:
A Blog Manager – To post blog updates, write articles and update the blog daily.
I assign the blog articles to my Content and Search Engine Optimisation Manager, who has skilled writers on the team to produce very high quality content. A schedule is set in place so they know when to produce the articles along with the spec for them. A workflow is then created so that those articles, once approved by the Content and Search Engine Optimisation manager, go to the Administration and General Operations Manager, who will then ensure they are posted on the blog, looking professional, and on time. This is a simple 2 step repetitive workflow.
An SEO Expert – to propose a strategy for his site to rank better in the search engines.
I assign the project to my Content and Search Engine Optimisation Manager and introduce him to the client, explaining that he will be in charge of this project with the client as he is the most qualified person to discuss progress with, and monitor the client’s requirements. The project is then managed via a discussion board in the client’s project space, where I will periodically review and check on progress. Because this is a strategy based project, the Content and Search Engine Optimisation Manager will first compile a plan, which I will then issue an estimate to the client for, and once accepted and invoiced, the Content and Search Engine Optimisation Manager will take care of all the requirements with his team.
Customer Support Team – To handle all of his email, incoming enquiries and his diary.
Administrative support is delegated to the Administration and General Operations Manager who will assign a minimum of 2 VA’s from her team to rotate on a weekly basis, thus ensuring the client always has cover for these daily routine tasks. The customer support is carried out via a manual of “Frequently Asked Questions,” and if a question cannot be answered I will be notified, I will then create an answer or ask the admin manager to confirm the answer with the client via a discussion board again, where we can record all correspondence. I am able to review it if anything comes up that needs my attention (the discussion boards are paramount in saving time, because I can immediately login and review what has been said between the team and the client, I also use these discussions to correspond with the client – everyone assigned to tickets and discussions in the project area is emailed every time an update is made).
Website Developer – To create sales pages for the new products he launches and keep his website updated.
Sales page creation and website updates will be delegated to the Design and Technical Development Manager who will again liaise with the client on design related work, information and content, including design briefs, graphics and other documents, however initial designs are assigned to me for review before making their way to the client, this is so I can ensure the brief has been understood and captured the way I had envisaged when consulting with the client. After my first review, the Design and Technical Development Manager will then take over, providing all is well with the client, and again I am able to periodically check up on a discussion board if necessary.
If content is required, and the client would like us to handle it, the Design and Technical Development Manager will bring the Content and Search Engine Optimisation Manager in to liaise with the client on the same discussion, to ensure this is handled correctly.
Social Media Assistant – To post updates on Twitter and Facebook.
The Administration and General Operations Manager (or I) will appoint a social media virtual assistant from the administrative team who will be assigned to make the updates to the client’s accounts, and if the assistant requires anything such as logins or verifications they will liaise directly with the client for these via a discussion. Anything which is outside of obtaining basic information will pass through me, for further advice.
So as you can see, in terms of processing tasks for this client, there is very little I need to ‘do’ to ensure that his work is processed, other than deal with queries and questions as and when they arise, but I do need to do a large amount of coordinating, and actively ensure other people are also coordinating – this is what I do to ensure all of these essential details happen seamlessly…
- I place trust in the people on my team.
- I hire very high quality, committed VA’s to help me.
- I stay on top of and control client intake.
- I consult and ensure the client is not over-delegating or under-delegating tasks thus saving them both time and money.
- I run the company, in every other way than task processing.
If I was the one handling every client by myself, even just the back and forth liaison, regardless of the work, it would take a considerable amount of my time, and I would also be adding an unnecessary “middle man,” because becoming a constant middle man between your sub-contractors and clients will impact your bottom line, and also your life – yes it’s better to be out having a life than being a middle man. Because of the way my company operates, it makes it very easy for me to step away, take time off, and step back from the clients, because they are very familiar with the people who work with me and feel comfortable dealing with them when I’m not available. By doing it this way, it’s fast, efficient, and the client is dealing with the most relevant people to get the job done.
The brilliant people on my team, who are driven, committed and excellent at what they do as individuals and as part of a team, are the ones that I owe my thanks to, for embracing the way I have chosen to work, my systems, my guidelines and my instructions – the company just works, it’s a well oiled, systematic machine, with a human approach and “good old fashioned values in customer care,” by everyone within it. I’m always right there when I’m needed, it no longer makes sense for me to be there when I’m not.
But above all…
And this is the really important part… I never forget that the client is MY responsibility, and it is my responsibility to ensure I deliver the kind of service that I commit to when they hire me to work with them. I never take this decision they have made lightly, and whether I have 4 people on my team or 40 people, I need to always ensure I have processes, procedures and measures in place for back up and contingency in case something were to ever happen to the people who I hire. Not only that, I need to ensure always that we have a consistent yet moderated flow of work, as I also have a responsibility to the people I work with to meet my obligations to them, working in accordance to the capacity of time they are able to provide, or have committed to work with me, planning task and project intake so we are not over-worked or under-worked as a group.
Surprisingly, running a company on this scale can offer flexibility for you to work your business around your life, and not the other way round, it allows for infinite expansion, passive income, and it can also be a very rewarding experience providing you have the right people in the right places.
This is a very brief overview on how my team operates. You can learn much more from me on this topic and more, by joining The VA Passport.