This was in my recent ACS Newsletter but thought the information relevant here also. When VAs are on leave, have emergencies, or whatever, there are other VAs they can seek support from to keep things going.
A client of mine and I were talking recently about backup support, particularly for when I’m not around. I’ve been away on a few trips in recent years and I know that some clients can get anxious if they know I’m not going to be around. So having a backup strategy for ongoing support is paramount. Of course, there are always the ‘unforeseen’ things that take place too. For example one of my backup support team members last year ended up with an injury whilst I was away and wasn’t able to provide the support she was originally organised to do.
My client told me of someone else we both know who seemed to have disappeared off the face of the earth for a period of time and it turned out a family crisis had arisen and he’d taken off interstate without a word to anyone. I know of someone else who had taken ill and was in hospital and unable to follow through on some work but very few had known about it.
What plans do you have in place should an emergency arise, or even if you plan to go away for a period of time? Do you have a few people who can step into your shoes and keep things running? Many of you are sole proprietors and small business owners and you don’t always have the luxury of having a temp in your place or another work colleague step in, as in many corporate offices. Although I know many people who feel their workload doubled when they returned to work from leave in the corporate world and wondered why they went away at all?
I’m very much a ‘have laptop will travel’ type of person and like to keep my fingers on the pulse. I never fully relax when away on leave and check emails on a daily basis – once done I can relax and enjoy my day. It does mean that if an emergency arises my team know I will see their message(s) within hours of it being sent. And one of the values of having a support team is knowing I have more than one person I can turn to, when something unforeseen arises if I’m not going to be around for a period of time.
Perhaps you only need to have your phone and email monitored but don’t have anyone to do that? One of our Virtual Assistants can take on that role for you. Or, if you already have regular VA support it’s possible they might be able to take on some of your routine items – depending on how well they know your business. For some of my clients I manage their phonecalls and email, for another I pick up her mail as she is literally only a few minutes away from me. For others I might monitor their shopping cart sales and autoresponders and make sure pre-written newsletters go out and blog entries are published. There are a number of things a VA can do to help keep your business running while you take a well earned break, or even an unscheduled one. Make sure that someone in your home or office knows your VA’s contact details so if something unplanned takes place, they can contat your VA who, in turn, can contact your clients and associates on your behalf, if that is what is needed.