In the midst of all the great things happening for VaVa, we are celebrating 6 years this month! SIX YEARS?! How did we do it? Through the blood, sweat and tears, we have made it our goal and vision to build a company that is highly sought out, honest, and full of skilled professionals to make our clients’ lives easier and get their work/life balance back. In honor of 6 years in business, we have put together a list of 6 instrumental lessons/tactics/processes that have grown our business to where it is today.
Year ONE: Retention
Let’s face it, unless you’ve owned a business before, “retention” is a term that is probably foreign to you. We contracted our first client, John Mihelakis, in the first two weeks of business and we couldn’t have appreciated it more. When we received the signed contract, we screamed for joy. He needed social media site creation and ongoing maintenance. We knew how to do the work, but we didn’t know how to retain by checking in, setting up weekly or bi-weekly calls, adding more platforms to monitor, streamlining processes, sending him a welcome card, etc. Things that come easy now were not always at the forefront of our minds. Retention is one of the biggest factors in growing a business, and we learned that lesson right off the bat. Address the needs of your clients at all times so you never fall short.
Year TWO: Branding
We saw a decline in potential client inquiries because we were working in the business and not on the business. We were going to events, but we weren’t consistent. We didn’t have our elevator pitch down and it reflected in how we spoke to people. Once we developed a firm brand presence and perfected our pitch, it made speaking to people about our business so much easier. Clients rave about the services that we perform, so being consistent all across the board was key. The decline quickly lifted and has been increasing ever since – so much so that we see trends each year for busier seasons and can prepare for that better.
Year THREE: Building Out Services
When we started, it was just the founders, Melanie and Lauren. We handled everything including all the client work. We then made our first hire, James. And guess what? He’s still with us today. After hiring him, we soon realized that our clients required specialized skills to complete some of the work such as web design, graphic design, marketing, etc. Being able to hire specialized team members that are experts in certain fields has allowed us to expand upon service other than your general VA administrative tasks. It made a huge difference. Our clients could come to us for anything and have everything under one roof and be confident that we would get the job done accurately.
Year FOUR: Financials
You may be wondering why it took us until year four to work on our financials, but believe it or not, it’s because we didn’t realize how important it was. We thought we needed to be at a certain threshold to have a bookkeeper. Lesson learned: Hire a bookkeeper once you start your business. It would have made all the difference. Lucky for us, we found a bookkeeper who was an instrumental part in why we will see over 70% in growth this year. Our current bookkeeper, Banks in Balance, is the best one we’ve worked with in the entire 6 years we’ve been in business.
Year FIVE: Scalability of Systems
We always have had systems, but we’ve perfected them along the way. I don’t know if there is any company out there that has perfect systems, but it should always be a goal. As leaders, we make decisions within our company with the idea that it has to be scalable. Do we want to use G-suite for our day-to-day operations? Is it sustainable for growth? The answer is YES, so naturally we are going with G-suite. Always be thinking about the big picture whenever you are making a decision.
Year SIX: Hiring Your Leadership Team
In the first five years, Melanie and Lauren directly handled clients and team relations. We recently hired a Project Manager (PM) who will take the load off our shoulders so that we can focus on our main duties of the business – growing and operations. Hiring a PM was the best decision we’ve made so far this year and now we will never go back! It is important to invest in your leadership so that you are able to thoughtfully and intentionally delegate, allowing everyone to excel in their domain.
So whether you are in your first year of business or your 25th year, we hope these quick 6 lessons helped you. If it weren’t for some special people in our lives like Diana Ennen, Philip Lewis and Stacey Sagues, Marlene Eldemire, Garrett Gall, Andy Levine, and Amy Sample Ward, we wouldn’t be where we are today. So thank you all and Happy 6th Birthday to us!