How I work

So, you are thinking that working with me will really help your business, but you have a few questions about how this will work. That is perfectly normal and when we buy anything these days, we do our research and often ask a few clarifying questions to make us feel secure.

In order to help this process, here are a few questions to clarify this and to get you started on your journey with me.

Before I answer them “Auxilium” means to “aid, assist and support” and this is what I do by seamlessly working alongside a business owner as their brainstorm partner, proactively suggesting ways of making their businesses work for them, saving them time and money and helping to grow the business.

Alex working at her desk in a red dress

Pre Covid, administration tasks were seen as an expense and people asked themselves;

Why spend time and money on something that does not tangibly provide me with a result.

or

Why employ a VA or a VBM when I could do this myself?

Recent times of working from home and utilising software and getting processes and procedures in place for people to follow has reduced costs and saved money and in some cases also saved the business from going under. The wise business owners are the ones that have invested in their business and employed someone to review and tweak their admin.

Admin is the central cog to the business and once it runs smoothly all the other aspects of the business will turn in unison.

Here are a few common frequently asked questions; – please click on the + to expand the box for the answer.

What is a Virtual Business Consultant/Manager?

My services start with Consultancy services because clients come to me when they have reached a Xroads. This is usually because they have grown the business, wear too many hats, have a long revolving ‘to-do’ list, and need to outsource and get a clear plan for their growth ahead. I work with clients to carry out a business audit of all the strands of their business and we look at the past, present, and future to gain a ‘helicopter view’, unravel their ‘spaghetti brain’, and avoid those ‘big red bus’ moments. The audit provides their actions in a ‘high, medium & low” priority so that they can focus on getting things done and with my support and guidance.

Following my audit I become their Virtual Business Manager taking on the strategic projects and processes highlighted in the audit. So, whether that is setting up and managing an onboarding process, writing standard operating procedures, reviewing and updating all of the company policies and manuals, overviewing the installation of a CRM and updating it, reviewing all systems and processes to fine-tune them, tweaking and finding solutions, carrying out Display Screen Risk assessments, brainstorming and collating evidence for accreditations, all these areas will help you save time and money, and help grow your business.

How do I know if working with a Virtual Business Consultant/Manager will work for me and my business?

You have got to this point and need help so that is the biggest step, and, in all honesty, you don’t know if it will work. However, I can assure you that I have worked with many clients who have asked the same question, but once they have employed my services have never looked back. In fact, they have often asked themselves, “how did I ever do all this before!”

Of course, it is a 2-way relationship and we both need to communicate to ensure we both understand what is needed and expected. Usually, we will have to get to know each other in a 30-minute call or meeting to decide if we are a good fit. I always suggest that we are clear on what is needed right at the start to avoid any misunderstandings and confusion.

If you are new to using virtual support I will explain how I have worked with Clients in the past but will work with you to ensure that the ways you want to work together and communicate are flexible and suit you and your business.

What makes you the right Virtual Business Consultant/Manager to work with me?

To my mind that depends on if we get on and understand what is needed, timescales, and can communicate well and our discovery calls will determine this.

I have 15 years’ experience in financial institutions in the City, followed by 17 years as an Office Manager for a bespoke furniture manufacturer. Coupled with 4 years as a small business owner and flexibly bringing up a family and caring for ailing parents, so  I definitely have the skills, proactive support, and vision to support you.

I also have a degree in Business Administration from Kingston University, achieved later in life, I am a Fellow of the Institute of Administration Management, and an avid networker in various groups including the Kingston Chamber of Commerce.

I am a lifelong learner and have recently undertaken the following courses in order to bring my clients varied and useful services; Display Screen Risk Assessments, Corporate Social Responsibility, Mental Health First Aid, Pandemic Awareness, GDPR & Anti Money Laundering.

I have Professional Indemnity, Cyber and Public and Products liability Insurance. I am also registered with the ICO.

I have a team of staff in various roles, should I just get them to do the strategic administration tasks?

You can definitely get your workforce to cover these tasks but I am sure that will add to their ever-growing ‘to-do list so that hasn’t solved your problems.

If you are lacking in particular skill sets, even on a short terms basis then getting professional support and experience will save you so much time and money.

More importantly, I can give you a different perspective, be your second brain and sounding board, provide a clearer vision, and action the projects that you need to get started and finished to help you grow your business.

 

How do we start working together?

It depends on what situation your business is in at the time we speak. If you are at a X-roads and are not sure what help you need I usually suggest either a Mini or Full Audit to help you devise a clear action plan of what is needed. I would work with you to complete this audit, discussing all areas of your business and this can be helpful to ensure all areas are reviewed as this can stimulate ideas, suggestions, and new ways of working.

If you are at a stage after this and you are clear what projects you need to start but just don’t have time to start them or do not know how to get them off the ground then we can brainstorm them and I can create an action plan ready to start.

Once we have decided to work together, I will send a booking form to outline what we have agreed, including costs and terms and conditions. You will sign and return this to me and in return, if you require any non-disclosure agreement documents signing from your side, I am happy to sign those for you too.

Depending on what access I need to your systems, you will need to provide passwords to me and in some cases set up a company email e.g. alex@abcltd.co.uk so that if I need to act on behalf of your business, then I would be seen as part of your company, not a third party.

Once this has been done, we would have an initial brainstorm session to agree what tasks needed to be done, timescales, communications, and the way that you work and would like me to act on your behalf, so that verbal communication & emails look the same to a Client and everything is seamless.

Be aware that the setup can take a few hours and these hours would be part of the package that you selected, but once set up is completed this will make your life easier and save you time and you will easily recoup the money spent doing this part over and over again.

 

What are Auxilium’s Values?

“Auxilium’s Core Values motivate the day to day drive for excellence.”

Core Values are fundamental beliefs which guide principle behaviours. For Auxilium they ensure a path is followed in all that we do in my business. They support the vision for the business and give clarity and identity about Auxilium Business Consulting Ltd and its relationships with Clients and how the business is managed.

The aim is to stand out in a confident, trusting, and communicative manner. This ensures that we work in partnership with our Clients, building and sharing knowledge in an open and honest way to ensure responsibility between us, solving problems, finding solutions, and growing the business in a responsible and sustainable way.

The core values that are important to Auxilium are;

CommunicationCollaborate with everyone, listen, learn, pay attention, accept and confirm, ask questions and clarify to ensure everyone has understood.

IntegrityActing with honesty at all times, being open, respecting others, generating trust, keeping promises, pride in all work, and helping others at all times.

GrowthContinuous improvements in personal and professional ways, with feature rich processes and procedures. Investment in training, software solutions & technology to ensure enhancements are made to deliver the best services and solutions.

Partnership – Building relationships with Clients, Supporters, and Suppliers of my business in order to focus, support, grow, explore, enable others, and be valued.

Sustainability Ensuring that people and the planet come before profits by maximising the benefits from choices to sustain a long-term environmental focus.

What is the difference between you as a Virtual Business Consultant/Manager and a Business Coach?

A business coach will work with you and support you to clarify the vision of your business and how this vision fits in with your goals. These goals will be personal as well as business orientated, but that is where it ends. The next stage is to put this vision into action and that is where the Virtual Business Manager comes in. Many coaches will refer Clients to me as they have gone so far with a client and then understanding their vision they can now see clearly, I can support them to ensure this vision becomes reality.

What is the difference between you as a Virtual Business Consultant/Manager and a Virtual Assistant?

To my mind, a Virtual Assistant (VA) is your reactive partner and a Virtual Business Manager (VBM) a proactive partner. What does that mean exactly….well, a VA will be task focussed as opposed to strategy focussed and will require some direction where as a VBM will work more independently. The VA will work alone or as part of a team and the VBM will drive projects and teams. The VA will need direction and will rely more on the business owner to tell them what to do as opposed to the VBM being a strategic partner and using their initiative and experience be able to guide and suggest solutions to the business owner. The VBM will ultimately run projects on the business owners’ behalf leaving them crucial time to work on the business, not in it and leaving that to the VBM.

 

What types of work and industries have you helped?

I have been supporting clients in Auxilium for nearly 4 years and you can see on my About page the businesses I  serve and projects that I have undertaken. My Auxbrag page will also show you the types of businesses that I have supported. On my Blogs page, you can also read some Case Studies that describe how I have worked with a client, what support I have provided and how this has helped them. You can also listen to some podcasts from the links on the bottom of my home page where I have been interviewed where I discuss how my business has evolved and how it supports businesses to grow and thrive.

What if you do not have the specific skills to help me?

After many years in the City and as an Office Manager and then running my own business I have many skills that support the work I do. However, in this fast-paced tech world, no one can know everything. People will understand concepts of many areas in software and services but that is why people specialise in services so that they can be the expert. Examples would be Bookkeeping, Social Media, Copywriting, Proofreading, Website development and so the list goes on.

If a project I was working on needed specialist help, from all my contacts  I have a strong network of office and small business specialist service providers that I can call on to support any project. They are people I have met and could match to you and your business with surety that the job would get done to a very high professional standard. I would source and work with them to ensure that your project was carried out as you expected and in alignment will all the other work we were doing together, acting as a project manager so you didn’t have to oversee anything but were safe in the knowledge that your vision was being achieved.

Do you need to come into my premises/office?

I primarily work virtually from my own office based in Kingston upon Thames. However, I am happy to work from time to time from your office or with you, and in some cases, it is vital that I visit and understand the way you work in your office. Most of the work I do can be done remotely as long as I have permissioned access to software and emails and we have secure communications channels either by What’s App, emails, Slack, etc and we communicate the status of tasks. With this set up between us, working remotely will often save a huge amount of time and save the business extra expenses.

What Audits do you offer and how long do they take?

That depends on the size of your business and how much you want to cover. I do offer a Mini Audit which is for one particular area or project and a Full Audit for all aspects of the business. From our discovery call I will be able to determine which one suits best and the costs for this. The Mini Audit starts at £299 and the Full Audit £699. They can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to complete and follow up on depending on the time you have to focus on this. The speed is ultimately driven by the Client and how much time they can assign to this and how quickly they want to effect any changes. However once started I do ensure that we have set dates and times in the diary so that there is some continuity and space for working together on this.

What is Auxilium Ambulance?

Sometimes you have emergencies and need to speak to someone who can help you solve a burning issue. Auxilium Ambulance is just that solution where you can book my time to utilise my expertise, knowledge, and contacts.  I have also collaborated with other specialists to bring you years of expertise, wise words, and solutions.

Also if you are a Business Owner and are considering using virtual support, I am happy to answer any questions you may have about the VA world.

 

 

What is a Display Screen Risk Assessment and why would I need to do one?

A Display Screen Equipment (DSE) risk assessment is undertaken by an Assessor who can identify areas that are not compliant with regulations, and or suggesting tweaks for the person to make improvements and providing a report with recommendations.

Incorrect use of DSE or poorly designed workstations or work environments can lead to pain in their necks, shoulders, backs, arms, wrists, and hands as well as fatigue and eye strain. The causes may not always be obvious. Since we have been working from home during Covid19, many people have”cobbled” together their office set up and after a few months have soon realised that this is not adequate and does not match their old office set up. 

Auxilium can carry out a professional basic Display Screen Risk Assessment virtually. Qualified by the assessor Posturite, you can be sure of a thorough review to ensure that your workstation set up is fit for purpose, meets legal requirements and above all eliminates those niggles and enhances your daily comfort.

 

 

Once the Audit has been done how many hours can I book you for to help me complete the projects?

I have various hourly packages that start at 5 hours. There are options to increase this to 10, 15, and 20 if the project needs this. It is very flexible and can be adapted as the project evolves. These hourly packages can be secured with a booking form and if the project needs extending then this can be adapted to suit your needs. I am happy to chat this through so that the package meets your requirements and is flexible for the way you work.

I also have a VBM (virtual business manager) packages where you can pay a monthly fee and not worry about hours, and so that I can be available for you at all times. This may command a higher fee as a result but I am happy to chat with you about this so that the package suits your budget and needs.

How do we communicate?

As I alluded to in previous answers, this is essential. We would decide on the best method between us and when we should contact each other on a regular basis and how. Everyone works differently and so it is crucial that this is decided at the start and is a method that suits us both. And so that we are both up to date on key projects and milestone statuses. I currently use phone, email, what’s app channels, slack channels, teams & zoom to name a few, and am happy to use a medium that suits you.

What software do you use?

For my own business, I use Office 365, I have a WordPress website and use various different software packages for task management, however, I am happy to use what suits you as the Client and have used G Suite, DropBox, Mailchimp, Canva, Trello, Toggl, LinkedIn, What’s App, Slack, Teams & Zoom with my Clients. We can discuss your preferences and once you set up access for me we can start work straight away.

What hours and days of the week do you work?

I work Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm most weeks and sometimes have a Friday off to ensure that I achieve my work-life balance. I network a lot and if ever I am not available or with a Client I will return your call or e-mail you back shortly afterward. I always communicate in advance if I am taking holiday or will not be available due to attending a course or Client event.

In the event of sickness, I will always inform you as soon as possible and ensure that I have cover for the work or we agree on an adapted workaround or timescales.

If you have a question that I have not answered then please do call me on 07966456734 or email me alex@auxiliumconsulting.co.uk

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