Dorset Virtual Assistant grows her business with help from Transformational Business Support
Signature Office Support, run by Hazel Sirkis is a virtual assistant service based in the picturesque village of Wool in Purbeck, Dorset. Hazel received support from the Transformational Business Support team partnered with Dorset LEP to expand her business.
Supporting Dorset-based organisations
Since it began in 2017 Signature Office Supplies has provided remote office services to companies, charities, community organisations and education bodies in Dorset. A sole trader, Hazel can assist her customers with governance, bookkeeping, basic administration, database management and onsite or online minute-taking. She calls on freelancers when required to bolster her service and provide a comprehensive offering to her customers without them having to incur the overheads of employing onsite staff. As Hazel says:
“A virtual assistant can be a secretary, a personal assistant or simply an extra pair of hands to help with businesses whilst working remotely and without any of the overheads or responsibilities of having an employee.”
A speciality which is unique within the area, Hazel’s company has an extremely low carbon footprint as most meetings are held online. If meetings are face-to-face, they tend to be within a 15-mile radius of her location. As Hazel says:
“Within the Purbeck area is the right mix of organisations that need my help.”
Additionally, living in such beautiful surroundings in Purbeck, Hazel believes that her quality of life and ability to relax in the picturesque environment is important for her wellbeing.
Plans for expansion
Reviewing her current turnover, Hazel believed there was potential for 15% growth and engaged with WSX, as part of the Dorset LEP-funded business support programme, to seek advice on a revised business model. She undertook a 1-2-1 with a business advisor and used the online video content to cover areas highlighted within the 1-2-1. From the advice, Hazel concluded that she needed to form a collaboration to expand and offer more outsourced services to clients:
“During the 121 it became clear that the best route was to collaborate and potentially merge with a fellow virtual assistant to be able to offer the ultimate full service for clients and to grow.”
Her hope was that this action would lead to an increase in her own turnover as well as an opportunity to generate work within the Purbeck economy.
How Transformational Business Support helped
Hazel believes that the 1-2-1 support she received was essential in planning her growth. She feels it provided support and advice which was great for ‘stress testing’ the expansion ideas.
“The business advice during the 1-2-1 was particularly useful and informative, assisting with my future expansion planning. It was helpful to discuss the business with an independent advisor to check my plans for growth and challenge where necessary.”
Hazel’s Top Tip for future entrepreneurs
Hazel’s advice for future fellow business professionals is to seek support from within their locality:
“Get to know where support is available and who provides the support. Also, sign up to local business networks to find useful contacts and likeminded people for advice and support.”
Find out more about Transformational Business Support