Using Microsoft Office Groove 2007 and other collaborative technologies has enabled a virtual office services business to grow and expand.
After working as a PA and administrator for 20 years, Anna Isaacs decided to use her experience to set up a virtual office services business. She duly launched Office Lifeline in January 2007 to offer clients her organisational and PA skills virtually - from her home office.
"I had recognised for some time that there were lots of small companies and individuals out there who could benefit from my experience and expertise as a PA," says Anna. "The issue was that those people didn't necessarily require my help full-time. A flexible, ad hoc service that would cut their overheads seemed to me a much more attractive and affordable proposition. The real challenge was how to service such a wide variety of secretarial needs remotely across so many different kinds of client."
"Thanks to Groove, if a UK client comes to us at the end of the working day with a document to be typed, our VA in Canada can type it up while we're all asleep and have it ready for the client first thing next morning - that's quite a feature that our competitors can't offer!
"The online database available in Groove also allows us to keep good client records and timesheets and provide accurate invoices. That in turn reduces the amount of paper we use, which clearly makes us more environmentally friendly."
Since starting up two years ago, Anna‘s revenue has more than doubled and she now has several VAs serving a variety of high flying business clients. Her operation is continually developing and becoming more efficient by keeping abreast of new technology, all of which allows her to take on more clients.
In time, she plans to franchise Office Lifeline, as she’s confident many PAs and secretaries seeking to work from home will be interested in the virtual PA and admin support concept. “Our services are not limited to UK-based businesses. Whilst we already have clients abroad, with the help of technology, I believe we can expand further into the international market,” she says.
Office Lifeline is a shining example of how collaborative technologies, like Groove, can help a business evolve into something no-one would have dreamt of a decade ago. In the current economy, it’s also a model that’s helping small businesses not just survive, but reach new customers on a global stage. Today Warwickshire, tomorrow the world!
Read the Office Lifeline case study in full.