Here are our top 5 tips on training your virtual employee quickly and painlessly. As you are aware, training is the key to successfully managing your business and yet, this is where most business owners fail their virtual employees and even their internal staff. Often they are too busy running the business to strategically think about how to develop their key people. It doesn’t have the be this way.

We highly recommend setting up your virtual employees for success by starting with some foundational training that includes some cultural differences training, then providing the context of how the specific tasks fit into the overall picture of the business. In addition, you need to introduce them to your core values, mission, and service vision.

Training is something that should be an on-going process in your business. To help you, we wanted to provide you with some of our best practices to guide you in setting you and your virtual employee for the best success.

1. Assess the experience of your virtual employee. Some virtual employees may already have industry or task experience while others may be brand new. Clearly evaluating their level of understanding will determine where and how you start your training program.

2. Outline of the topics that you want to introduce to your virtual employee and then create a strategic training plan over the next 90 days. This should be updated every quarter as your virtual employee grows into his or her role.

Start with an introduction of the nature of business of your company. If your virtual employee already has experience in this type of job or industry, then it will be easier for you to train in other areas of the business. If, however, your virtual employee does not have any experience, you need to be prepared him or her for their role.

3. Create activities for them to practice their skills and evaluate their work. A mistake some business owners make is that they teach it, but don’t provide feedback or assessment of the virtual employee's understanding of the tasks. Having your virtual employee perform an evaluation or practice reinforces the learning process in a safe environment. It also allows the business owner to see where the gaps are in understanding.

At HireSmartVirtualEmployees.com we train in all modalities so that no matter what the learning style the virtual employee has, we make sure that we accommodate for them.

4. Whenever possible, use live instructor lead training. We have trained hundreds of people and by far the best results come from live training. Being able to teach a topic, interact with the students, and then assess their learning based on the activities has allowed the virtual employees we place to have a much higher rate of success than on-line training alone.

There are many programs like GotoWebinar.com, GotoMeeting.com, Join.me, or using Skype’s share screen feature all allow you to fully engage with your virtual employee.

5. Make sure you are asking questions during the training. Asking questions that show the application of the training will net the best results. Learning is always more fun when it is interactive. This accomplishes 2 things. It allows you to keep your virtual employee engaged in the process and confirms understanding.

These are the proven training methods that we have used to train hundreds of people. If you would like us to help you with your next hire, we would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your staffing and training needs. Sign up today for a free consultation.

Too many meetings and not enough time? If you are like the way I used to be – you need more than 5 tips to control your calendar and manage your time, but these are the top 5 that have helped me and many other business owners.

In today’s supercharged, hypercompetitive environment keeping your head above the water just by managing your time and calendar can be a full-time job. Constantly balancing the pressures of getting important tasks done, dealing with urgent requests, communicating with your team and clients, and having some time to work on your business strategy is always a struggle for busy business owners.

When talking with our fellow entrepreneurs, we find that we are not alone in our struggle to get our work done on time, schedule time with our internal team as well as our strategic partners. Just this last week as I had the perfect pre-planned schedule… then Bam! an IT crises emerged. Thankfully, I have a great team that was able to step in and keep things going while I worked on the emergency.

Lou Gerstner, former IBM CEO, once said, “Never let anyone own your schedule.” As your business grows, there will be a time where your calendar can get out of hand. And as business owner, one of the time-consuming tasks we do is to organize and manage our calendar. It may not be the most important thing in the entrepreneur world but it’s has the greatest impact.

Here are some tips you can organize and take control of your calendar.

1. Collaborate
As a decision maker, your team should know your schedule to make sure that everything is in place and prevents double – booking issues and general confusion. There are so many options for allowing others to see, add, & change your schedule. Everything from Exchange to Google calendar. Allowing your team to see and help manage appointments is a great productivity enhancement.

2. Automate
One area that has been really helpful to me is using an on-line booking schedule. This allows people to view their own schedule and then automatically book an available spot. This eliminates the back and forth about your availability.

We use Setmore.com for my appointments. (You can actually book an appointment with me if you are interested in learning more about how to incorporate virtual staff into your business.) Check it out – Book an appointment today!. Just be sure to update your online calendar there so you don’t have conflicts.

There are others as well. I have heard good things about www.calendly.com as well, but for my needs, I love www.Setmore.com. If you want more features, you can simply upgrade and then it auto-syncs your calendars as well. Something we may do at some point, but the free version works for me.

3. Streamline
As a busy entrepreneur, my calendar can explode if I had to schedule everyone in my calendar. Fortunately for me, my Virtual Employees have allowed me to streamline my schedule. My Virtual Employees do a lot of the preliminary calling new potential clients, ask a couple of qualifying questions, and then viola, then setting up the appointments I need to attend to in my calendar. This allows me to make sure that I am spending my time with people who really are interested in our services.

4. Time Block & Color code
Time block your schedule allows for you to have a plan for the day. It allows you to schedule the most important and critical items of the day at a time when you need it. It has been proven that the most successful business owners use time blocking to be more efficient. If you are new to this concept – you can read more about it. I time block every Sunday for the following week and make sure that my top 3 business objectives for the week have the time allocated to them.

Once you time block, I then color code the appointments in a different color so they stand out. This allows me to make review if my time allocations are in alignment with my goals and objectives. Here is a sample of this week’s calendar so you can get the idea.

5. Personalize
Alan Lakein said it best, “Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.” Putting in your personal appointments and scheduling time for relaxation is also important. Having support in your business allows you to have more personal time, strategic time and be more productive.

If you have never partnered with a virtual employee before, now is the right time to do so and make your life easier. You may wonder how someone who works across the globe can actually help you manage your calendar on a remote basis. There are several different platforms to use. If you have thought about using a Virtual Employee, but don’t know where to begin, want tips and tricks – then go ahead and book your free consultation to speak with me.

Let your Virtual Employee manage, schedule, and arrange your calendar; keeping you focused, timely, and productive. It’s a beautiful thing.