F.A.Q

Credit Control

WHAT EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE IN A CREDIT CONTROL ROLE?

We have over 20 years’ experience working in a credit control environment, both in small to FTSE-registered companies, and have a proven track record of achievement, especially during the recession of 2008, enabling our debtors to be paid on time. We have experience in debt negotiation for payment plans and can work to tight deadlines if necessary. We have been able to help many clients ensure their cashflow is not too impacted and are often contacting their debtors for payment just as invoices have fallen through.

WHAT ACCOUNTING PACKAGES DO YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE IN?

We mainly use Xero, QuickBooks or Microsoft Excel but we have an adaptable set of skills which enables us to use any of our clients’ systems where necessary.

DO YOU JUST CHASE ONE-OFF INVOICES OR CAN YOU WORK ON A MONTHLY RETAINER?

We can assist with one-off invoice chasing and will charge on an hourly rate until the invoice has been paid. If you have a number of customers who require weekly chasing and a high turnover of invoices, you can rest assured that we can handle this on a regular basis, with follow-ups and a method of chase procedures which will ensure your invoices are paid in a reasonable manner. We can also issue monthly statements for you ensuring that customers can’t claim they haven’t received notification.

HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE?

One-off invoice chasing is priced at £35 per hour. A typical monthly retainer fee for weekly chasing support starts from £336 a month for a minimum of three hours per week (please call us to discuss bespoke packages)

HOW FREQUENTLY DO YOU PROVIDE UPDATES ON PAYMENT PROMISES, PROCESS ETC.?

We can provide daily, weekly or monthly reports and it is entirely based on how closely you wish to be involved with the process. As standard, we provide a weekly payment promise list and a query report for your actions; or if something is urgent, we will be in touch in between. Our time is tracked in Toggl and a weekly report can be provided upon request.

VA Business Support

WHAT EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE AS A PERSONAL ASSISTANT?

Pellings Business Solutions Limited was established in 2014 and the owner and team members come from a variety of different backgrounds, including credit control, administration, marketing, the army and wedding and event planning, among other industries. 

By using Pellings, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with a wide variety of experience, knowledge, and expertise. In all of these roles, we have had to learn how to move into the freelance world, adapting and evolving to ensure that all of our clients receive the best advice and completion of project. As a Virtual Assistant you need to be able to be organised, adaptable, forward thinking, used to working to tight deadlines, great telephone manner, literate and have great attention to detail. Whomever you are matched to for your project you can rest assured your business is in a safe pair of hands.

WHAT ARE YOUR WORKING HOURS?

Our core hours are 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, with some exceptions around childcare and occasional evening working as and when required (but this is at the discretion of the Pellings team). The owner, Karen Brooks, is always contactable between our core hours, on 01329 623003 or 07411 729928. 

To ensure that you always have your work covered each week, you can rest assured that we will always provide support, even when your primary virtual assistant has gone on holiday or is off sick. We always ensure that a minimum of two Virtual Assistants work for our clients and we never schedule holiday at the same time.

HOW DOES WORKING WITH THE PELLINGS BUSINESS SOLUTIONS LIMITED TEAM WORK?

All main communication and decisions surrounding queries, pricing and work volume will be managed by the owner, Karen Brooks, who will then liaise with your virtual assistant and update you accordingly. Your main virtual assistant and backup assistant will have direct contact with you, so that you are able to discuss what projects and daily tasks need to be actioned each week. Your retained weekly hours will be split between these two Virtual Assistants.

When it comes to hand-over, both Virtual Assistants will be in regular contact to ensure that their transition is seamless and all tasks are carried out. Your contract will be between Pellings Business Solutions Limited and all invoices are to be billed from us and paid to us directly. 

DO YOU HAVE REFERENCES I CAN CONTACT?

Please check out our Google My Business reviews, Testimonials, LinkedIn recommendations and business page Facebook reviews to understand and get a feel for what our clients think about working with Pellings Business Solutions Limited.

HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE?

Our prices do vary depending on the project or service that you require but as a guideline, our Virtual Assistant Admin support retainer package starts from £336 per month, which is the equivalent of £28 per hour for 12 hours’ support per month and our project to project support is £35 per hour. Please call us directly to discuss your needs and get an accurate quote.

Digital Marketing & Social Media

WHAT IS DIGITAL MARKETING?

Digital marketing is simply marketing activities that use an electronic device or the internet, examples of which are social media, SEO and email marketing.

DO I HAVE TO BE ON EVERY SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORK?

The simple answer is no. It is tempting as a business to simply sign up to every social media network – after all, more social networks means more visibility, right? However true that may be, it’s not going to work if you do not have sufficient time to post good quality content and engage with your audience (and potential customers) on a regular basis. You must also ask yourself which networks your customers are using. Using one or two networks properly and submitting good quality content directed at your target market will reap more valuable rewards than simply signing up to everything going.

HOW DO I GET MORE FOLLOWERS?

The important thing is not just getting more followers on your social media channels, but getting real followers, so no bots! Although followers are largely seen as vanity, they can help build trust to potential customers and generate positive social proof for your brand. So, in a world where organic growth is becoming more difficult. how do you do get more followers? Here are some strategies that can help:

1. Promote your social media profile on all of your ‘owned’ channels – for example, blogs, website and email marketing. The people visiting these channels are your key audience (they’ve searched and clicked or signed up to your newsletter after all) so invite them to also follow you on social media. 

2. Make sure you have filled out your social media profile completely and make the header and sub titles relevant to your business. It sounds simple and obvious but you’d be surprised how many people haven’t done this! 

3. Use hashtags where possible and appropriate. People will use these hashtags to determine whether posts are relevant to their interests and in some cases, even join some conversations using specific hashtags.

4. Use Instagram stories! This is another one that will help you increase your visibility and also add a human element to your brand – remember people buy from people. Plus, it’s a good way to add quick information that might not be relevant for long (for example, a quick sale) as the stories disappear after 24 hours.

WHAT TYPE OF CONTENT SHOULD I SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

Put very simply, the type of content that your target audience wants to see!

This is why you need to think about your ideal customer’s lifestyle, likes, wants and (sometimes) most importantly their pain points before creating your social media content plan (it’ll make your life much easier if you have a plan). If you can tap into these and let them guide your content, you will find your audience will follow and engage. Of course, you want to ‘sell’ and talk about your brand and that’s fine, just make sure it’s diluted within the value-added content you are sharing. 

Another tip is, check your data! That will show you what’s working and what isn’t by showing what your audience is engaging with. Sometimes it’s surprising what content is the most successful!

WHAT IS SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, which is the means of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

DOES SOCIAL MEDIA AFFECT SEO?

You may hear that getting your content shared on social media will help improve your ranking on search engines, such as Google. Many experts will tell you that rankings aren’t directly affected by social signals such as shares and Google have themselves backed up these claims, however studies do actually show that there is a correlation between social media shares and higher rankings in search engines. Confused? Here’s how it works:

social media is a great way to share good quality content that is relevant to your customer. There is also a high possibility that this content will create great links as people share your posts, plus your customers and potentially influencers can talk and promote your brand, getting more traffic to your website. It is all of these combinations that will help your rankings as you are creating relevant content. So, put simply, if you want social media to have a positive impact on your SEO – create and share great content!

IS EMAIL MARKETING STILL EFFECTIVE?

Although there has been a huge rise in different types of digital marketing activity, such as social media, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should abandon your email marketing. Email marketing continues to be one of simplest and most effective methods of marketing your business online. The main benefits are:

1. It is targeted – you are putting this in front of your subscribed list of potential customers!

2. It can increase brand recognition.

3. It’s a measurable activity – by keeping an eye on click-through-rate you can see what your customer is responding to and tailor future content to reflect this.

4. It’s cost-effective – compared to a lot of traditional marketing activity, email marketing is very cost-effective as it doesn’t have a lot of the associated costs such as print, postage or ad space.

Telemarketing

HOW DO YOU CHARGE?

We charge £28 per hour on a 10-hour minimum retainer package for an ideal time of 3 months. We have set the minimum requirement of 10 hours because it can realistically take this time to build product/service awareness, generate momentum and reach the appropriate contacts. It may also take a few attempts of calling to successfully contact the right person.

WHAT RESULTS CAN YOU GUARANTEE?

Unfortunately we can’t guarantee any results but we can promise to provide you with the best lead generation service possible. Every business and product is different, which means that the results for each campaign will vary. We will work with you to ensure that we are generating the best possible results, keeping in regular contact with you and reviewing your strategy where necessary. 

We can send follow up emails on your behlaf to your potential lead using an email template which we have written for you and any relevent marketing material you wish to supply. This will enable them to have the knowledge about your service/product in preparation when we place a follow up call the following week.

HOW MANY LEADS DO YOU GENERATE IN A DAY?

When undertaking outbound calls, we try to generate on average of two to four high quality leads per day but this does vary depending on the nature of the campaign and how easily contactable the potential lead is by phone and email. 

CAN YOU BOOK FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS?

Yes we can, we would just need to discuss how many appointments you and your sales teams can fulfil in any one week, to manage your resources appropriately. We would then need access to your diary to enable us to make an appointment for you. 

CAN YOU SELL OVER THE PHONE?

No, this is not our aim. We provide a telemarketing service and our ethos is to effectively and efficiently target those that your business will be of interest to, developing a cold lead into a hot lead. People are very reluctant to buy anything over the phone and would prefer to meet someone in person, so once we have secured an appointment, it’s over to you to meet the prospect, turn on the charm and sell your product or service.  

Business mentoring

WHAT IS INVOLVED WITH PELLINGS BUSINESS MENTORING?

By choosing to work with Karen Brooks, the owner of Pellings Business Solutions Ltd, you have the opportunity to work through any mindset challenges or efficiency mind blocks you may be experiencing, as well as using Karen as a sounding board for new ideas. 

Having been in business since 2014, Pellings Business Solutions Ltd has been through its own ups and downs and we have learnt and grown in business and in confidence from this experience. We have worked with small business owners and other virtual assistants and have been able to offer successful guidance, advice and honest opinions as we put ourselves in the customer’s shoes.

Please note that Karen is not a qualified business coach but she is very personable and brings a wealth of experience to help you gain in confidence, believe in yourself and put actions in place to move your business and your mind forward.

WHAT EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE WITH MENTORING TO HELP GUIDE ME ON THE RIGHT PATH?

Having worked in many different businesses and industries throughout her corporate career and business owner life, Karen Brooks believes in fundamentally helping others. Being an active user of LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, Karen will always offer advice where she sees fit and has been able to help other business owners with any challenges within their business or within their personal life. 

WHAT INDUSTRIES HAVE YOU WORKED WITH?

We have had the pleasure of working with many industries: Virtual assistants, social media companies, telemarketing agencies, networking businesses, accountants, jewellers, seamstresses, hairdressers, bookkeepers and many more.

HOW MANY SESSIONS DO I NEED?

Our advice is a minimum of three separate hourly sessions to be carried out over Zoom, after which we can review if you feel you have been able to overcome any business challenges you started out with, or if your confidence has improved. 

If I feel that you would benefit from further specialist mentoring support which is out of my expertise, I will put you in touch with my mentor or business coach.

HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE?

I charge £75 per hour. All mentoring is done over Zoom and charged in blocks of 3. Full payment is due upfront 24 hours before the mentoring session is due to commence.  

General Questions

WHAT IS YOUR CANCELLATION POLICY?

For all your business support services, there is a 30-day notice for cancellation, however if you are left with retained hours for that month, they are non-refundable. 

For our Mentoring service, Capsule CRM training and Business admin audit, there is a 24-hour notice for cancellations which is non-refundable, although it comes with the option to amend the date.

WHAT IS YOUR POLICY REGARDING ON-SITE WORKING?

On-site working is decided on a case-by-case basis and is dependent on individual circumstances, e.g. location, hours required etc.

Mileage is charged at 45p per mile and is calculated from my postcode to yours.

WHAT ARE YOUR PAYMENT TERMS?

For adhoc support, invoices are raised on the last working day of the month and are due to be paid within 7 days from the date of the invoice.

For monthly retainer support, invoices are raised the day the support starts for the month ahead. eg. If you commence support on 18th October, your invoice will be raised and will cover you from 18th October until 17th October and will then reset and a new retainer invoice will be raised and so forth. A minimum of 2 hours are allowed to be carried over and must be used within 3 months or they will be forefitted. 

WHAT ARE YOUR RATES?

Our typical monthly retainer package for business admin support costs start from £336 a month giving you 12 hours of work (3 hours a week).

One off-projects, we charge £35 per hour.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A VA/VIRTUAL PA AND AN EMPLOYEE?

A Virtual assistant ‘aka’ VA or sometimes known as a Virtual PA, is an independent contractor who provides administrative services to clients. Some Virtual Assistants may provide additional admin services and Pellings Business Solutions Limited is one such business. We provide comprehensive support services to assist in all areas of your business. Many virtual assistants work remotely and some offer onsite working.

All our Virtual Assistants supply our own equipment, have our own business insurances and are in control of our own income tax returns – you only pay for the hours worked. For example, on our retainer package or if we have worked with you on an ad hoc project, we can supply a Clockify report indicating the hours our Virtual Assistants and Business Support Assistants have worked.

An administrative employee works for an employer. Administrative assistants (and executive assistants and secretaries) mainly work on site at their employer’s offices. These administrative and executive assistants may even occasionally perform some of their work from home, but they are still employed.

As a business, you will be responsible for all equipment required to perform your employers duties: paying holiday, sick pay, contributing towards their pension, furloughing your staff if the need arises, ensuring you have enough work for their contracted hours and finding office space for them when working onsite.