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Desiree Ashton

doing the legwork, so you don't have to

GlovesGloves come in many shapes, styles and sizes.  As do hands.   Some of us may have a number of different gloves which we can pick and choose from, depending on whether we are going for a brisk winter’s walk in the country, or cutting a dash across town to an important meeting.   One thing is for certain, though – most of us don’t need gloves all year round.  Seasons change …. as does the climate in business.

There are many businesses who currently find themselves in the equivalent of a harsh winter.  Sensing the onslaught of a cold front, they do the equivalent of securing the windows and throwing draught excluders across the door.   All sensible measures to keep out the chill.  They will sit it out, and wait for the fair weather to return.  Meanwhile, as they would in real life, they resort to carefully planned rations to see them through.  In business terms, this translates into a tightening of belts which can impact on resource.

Over the last year, as I have spoken with different businesses, a common concern they invariably share is how, in light of tightening their belts, they can continue to operate as a healthy, functional business.   In ‘staying put’, they do not want to ‘stand still’.  Quite a dilemma.  Keenly aware of limited resource and a growing To Do list, they face the frustrating choice of either doing it themselves, or accepting that it will not be done.

In speaking with me, clients often become aware of a third option available to them – virtual support.  It’s a solution which they may have been aware of, but unless they have experienced the benefits of virtual support before, it can sound daunting.  So, for anyone who finds themselves in the dilemma noted above, here is a brief insight into what you might expect to experience when looking to draft in virtual support.

My first meeting with a prospective new client will always focus on discussing what types of problems they are experiencing.  What is it that is taking up their time?  What elements of that are they comfortable to delegate?  Is this an area that I can start to support?  The key at this stage is identifying the type of support they need – in other words the right glove.   It is very common for there to be a number of tasks and sub-tasks which seem initially unrelated but which can be loosely grouped together to form the semblance of an interim supporting role.  As I begin working through the tasks, new ones often crop up while old ones are done and dusted and so can be ticked off the To Do list.  In some cases, my supporting role ends with me handing back a list full of ticked checkboxes and my client has the reassurance that I am no more than a phonecall or email away should they ever need me to step in again.   In other cases we  arrive at the stage where we can see a regular pattern of  tasks emerging and can start to develop a job specification which will allow them to recruit more permanent staff.  Either way, the support – or glove – which I provide is comprised of whatever my clients need it to be.

Regardless of whether my clients are going for a jaunt across the fields or a dash across town, my role is always the same – to keep their hands warm.

If you are considering employing virtual support you may find it interesting to browse through some of my other posts.  Alternatively, if you have a specific question relating to what I might be able to do for you and your business, please visit my website and feel free to get in touch.


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