Small Business Saturday Blog

Hiring a VA: What's it all about?

Wednesday, March 02 at 13:11Collaboration | How To

We speak to Small Biz 100 Alumnus and Champion Agile Administration about the benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant...
As businesses are expanding, many owners are increasingly using the services of Virtual Assistants.

We all juggle the work-life balance and don’t always have the time to take care of everything on the to-do list.  A Virtual Assistant can help with that!

There are lots of benefits to using a VA, one being that there are no additional overheads for you. We work independently from our own premises, ensuring that you will only be paying for the actual time that you use our services. You will not be paying for someone’s time when there is nothing to do, or for someone who is late to work or on a coffee break, or if someone is on holiday or off sick.

When you hire a VA, you don't have to think about PAYE, National Insurance or agency fees, providing a desk, a phone or training up new staff.

Another key benefit of using a VA is that we are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, which is perfect for those emergency jobs when your secretary or office assistant may have already left for the day and you urgently need work completing. Perhaps you just need occasional cover for employees who are on holiday or off sick so that the work doesn't pile up.

Using these services will give you the time to focus on your core business activities rather than spending it on time-consuming administrative tasks, whilst having the assurance of a professional, confidential and flexible service available to you at all times.

All assignments can be delivered and returned by email, post, courier or by hand (locally only), to suit you. It really doesn’t matter where you are located, the advantage of using Virtual Assistant services means we can assist you wherever you are. Some of the recent projects that we have worked on have included:

Writing press releases, PR/print and media, event management
Acting as an agent for a talented act in the music industry
Digitalising paper records and creating new systems
Working on an app currently in development
Bookkeeping
Mentoring authors with social media training with a view to them understanding self-promotion
Digital audio transcription services
Acting as Marketing Director for a publishing company
Reformatting of HR policies for HR consultants
Lead generation work for a voiceover artist
Setting up and managing social media platforms and website management for a property development company

A Virtual Assistant can help your small business by offering executive, concierge and business support services!


Whatever your business needs, Agile Administration Services is here to help you lighten the load.

We have worked with clients as far south as Surrey, as far north as Dundee and overseas and are delighted to not only have been selected as a Small Biz 100 business by Small Business Saturday in 2014, but since then have been asked to be Small Business Saturday Champions in 2015 and 2016

For a no obligation free chat please contact me on 07772733349, Cathy Wright, Director of Agile Administration Services. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & the website 


Making the most of Small Business Saturday in the big city

Wednesday, November 11 at 14:38Collaboration | Inspiration | Small Business | Small Business Saturday | Small Business Saturday 2015

Birmingham has a great reputation for its retail repertoire: with the iconic Bullring, the newly opened Grand Central, and the recently refurbished Mailbox; the second city has cemented its place on the map for being a shopaholic’s heaven. However, perhaps Birmingham’s best-kept secret is its thriving small business scene. In recent years, Birmingham has made moves to embrace its independents.  Initiatives like Joe Schuppler’s citywide loyalty card, Independent Birmingham, have helped locals and visitors alike to swap big businesses for lesser known shops, restaurants, and cafés.

One of the pioneers in the push for supporting independent retail was, and still is, Great Western Arcade. Built in 1876, the Grade-II listed Victorian arcade was restored in 1984 and has since been voted Birmingham’s favourite building. Set right in the heart of the city, GWA is the home of independent retail, representing a step away from the high street, into an emporium of unique brands. The centre houses around 40 of Birmingham’s best-loved small businesses and is a modern day treasure trove. GWA offers everything from freshly made food and the finest wines, to hand-made trinkets and high-end goods from hand-selected designers. Though the businesses may be small, they are not to be underestimated, as many have been recognised both regionally and nationally by various award boards: GWA’s Loki is the most awarded wine merchant in Birmingham having won 11 major national awards in the past two years, whilst traditional delicatessen Anderson & Hill has been profiled by the Guardian as one of the best budget eateries in the city. The arcade has also recently welcomed luxury accessories store Peter Forson and will soon play host to leading lifestyle and menswear brand P&Co. GWA has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and there seems to be no sign of stopping anytime soon.

Opportunities like Small Business Saturday present GWA with the much-needed and appreciated platform to shout about all that they have to offer. The GWA is choosing to celebrate the day as a collective body, rather than as separate shops.

The general premise concentrates on trading out to get trade in, something that GWA’s central location will lend itself to nicely. The arcade is a popular thoroughfare given its proximity to the city’s major stations, particularly for commuters in the surrounding Colmore Business District, which alone has 35,000 professionals. In recent years, a huge focus for us has been making GWA a destination in its own right. For Small Business Saturday, we want to consolidate this, creating a market-vibe in the arcade itself and showing Birmingham what GWA is all about.

Whilst we are keen to be seen as a whole centre, we are equally eager for each seller to be able to express their image in their own way. With such a wide-range of retailers comes a wide-range of activities. For example, the well-loved Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe is planning to give shoppers a taste of something sweet, having special guests from Alice in Wonderland hand out a selection of pick’n’mix treats.

With the spotlight already on Birmingham’s thriving business scene, Small Business Saturday is set to see GWA shine.

TE&CH: Collaboration, Cross-Pollination and Re-imagination for small business success

Monday, August 24 at 16:52Collaboration | Inspiration

Small Biz 100 Alumnus, Cinter are bringing you TE&CH on September 3rd 2015 at Central Working Whitechapel, London. They tell us a bit more about it...

TE&CH is about doing things differently, drawing upon a mixture of expert perspectives, sharing new insights and facilitating linkages between seemingly disparate sectors and disciplines.

Cinter describe how collaborative practices helped their business: “by collaborating with other small businesses we have been able to gain big company capacity from small organisations. We are able to do more, remain agile, share skills and reduce risk by making decisions and changes together. Collaboration has allowed us to reach a broader network outside of our main disciplines and the strong relationships we have generated by working with other organisations has allowed for unprovoked recommendation. Without collaboration our business wouldn’t be as dynamic and effective.”

The TE&CH event will host talks and exhibits that will provide practical knowledge and advice on future technology, innovation and productive collaboration. TE&CH will demonstrate the power of inter organisational collaboration to create profitable, sustainable, and efficient solutions that will respond to business and societal needs.

A highlight for our network will be the opportunity to converse with fellow small businesses BIMscript, Sutrue, Massless, GrowUp and BentoBio. They will be identifying technology as a means to innovate as part of the early speaking session. TE&CH also sees the importance in varied and stimulating break out sessions and enhanced networking via Weave.

This is a great opportunity for small businesses to meet and discuss all things collaborative. The highly anticipated panel discussion will draw all the sessions together into a healthy discussion with delegate participation.

Cinter intends to establish TE&CH as a regular event and a conduit to a growing community of businesses interested in cross-sector activity and collaboration. It will draw upon a wide and varied network of professional connections across the London tech scene, enabling TE&CH to act as a focal point for innovative thinking. Network members and event supporters alike will benefit from newly-established connections between blue chip companies, highly-investable tech startups, and forward thinking service providers.


Please register your attendance here or contact Charlotte Downs on 020 7607 0704 | charlotte@te-ch.uk | @teandch

Why social media is a treasure for independent business collaboration

Monday, June 15 at 11:00Collaboration | Inspiration | Small Business | Social Media

As a new startup in the beautiful world of flowers and weddings, I’m always keen to promote and grow my business by using as many creative and engaging ways as possible- social media being my preferred option, so when the opportunity arose to team up with another local business  - Pipley Flowers, to co-host a Social Media Lonely Bouquet Treasure Hunt and support British Flowers Week – I jumped at the chance.

British Flowers Week is a National campaign, which encourages everybody (including us Florists!) to buy more seasonal, locally-grown cut flowers. We used to have a thriving cut flower industry in Britain but 90% of this was lost to places like Holland. Campaigns like British Flowers Week aims to show everybody what amazing flowers are literally on our doorstep. British Flowers Week will run from Monday 15 June to Friday 19 June 2015.

When I first started trading, my first port of call was always the regional flower market. The guys are friendly and try and stock British Flowers, but inevitably being a large regional wholesaler, they stock a majority of imported flowers. Then one day, through the wonderful connections I’ve made on social media, I came across Liz Rawlings of Pipley Flowers, a local British Flower Farmer (and a pretty good florist too!) who lives less than 10 miles from my business.

Being an avid follower of floral and bridal trends, I had noticed that there had definitely been a shift in the public's demand for more British grown flowers. I had always wanted to use locally sourced flowers, not only as a wonderful selling point to my customers - British Flowers have an incredible fragrance, vibrancy, and a really long vase life, but to support other local businesses, whilst tapping into the bridal trend to buy local.  I had been unable to do so until I really got into social media -  I just wasn’t aware of how many local flower farmers there are in my area, and by having a connection through social media, I was able to make my dreams of stocking locally sourced flowers a reality.

Most businesses know that social media has made it easier than ever to connect and engage with customers through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all of the other platforms available, but one of the over looked bonuses of social media is the ability to connect independent businesses together. The opportunity to work with Liz and create a social media bouquet treasure hunt for British Flowers Week gave us both the opportunity to promote our individual businesses, use our joint social media campaign as a vehicle for traffic to both of our business sites and raise awareness of the beautiful British flowers that are available to both trade and public.

I found that working together on a joint campaign with another small independent business that compliments your own is a brilliant way to share skills, ideas, responsibility and have a bit of fun in the process. Liz and I created a really fun engaging campaign for the public to find out more about buying British flowers. During the campaign week we will be co-hosting a social media treasure hunt across Bristol for anybody who follows us on social media, giving our potential customers the opportunity to find beautiful bouquets made entirely from locally sourced flowers.

I would totally recommend as a small business to look for opportunities to collaborate on mutually beneficial projects with other independent businesses, not only for the shared commercial rewards, but to contribute towards making a strong network of independents businesses who support each other and create good relationships with each other, after all, two heads are better than one!


By Victoria Baker, Peppermint Rose Flowers, 07717 336659
twitter:@_peppermintrose
Facebook: www.facebook.com/peppermintroseflowers

Liz Rawlings, Pipley Flowers, 07722055702
Twitter:@pipleyflowers
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pipleyflowers 

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