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Country News - 2002

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Virtual Business a reality - in Rathmell
Wednesday 16 October 2002

The peaceful village of Rathmell, on the Yorkshire/Lancashire border, might seem an unlikely location to find a company at the forefront of business support provision in the 21st century, but that would be before you met Pat Hartley of Admin24, one of today's new breed of Virtual Assistants.

    Pat Hartley
 Pat Hartley
Widely accepted in the USA, the concept of Virtual Assistance is now, thanks to the success of companies such as Pat's, beginning to gain recognition in the UK. A Virtual Assistant is neither an employee nor a temp. They are a new kind of professional, offering all the skills of a top level corporate PA, but from their own office. From there they can make use of all the very latest technology, much of which may be beyond the scope of the clients they are servicing.

Admin 24 Logo*Pat Hartley set up Admin24 nearly two years ago and the success of the venture has revealed what a high level of demand there exists for companies like hers, which can offer such seamless and cost-effective business support. "While advances in technology may have streamlined some aspects of business," says Pat "the time-consuming tedium of day-to-day administrative chores remains. Instead of being able to concentrate on what they are in business for, many small enterprises are left drowning under mounds of paperwork. Companies such as ours give them the time to concentrate on their area of expertise, whilst we concentrate on ours, providing professional business support 24 hours a day."

The service Admin24 provides is comprehensive, ranging from the routine such as telephone answering, typing, database and diary management and general administration, to the more specialised such as liaising with customers and suppliers, event organisation, credit control, book-keeping and helping with product promotion via website design and maintenance.

Admin24 has steadily built up its client base, which now includes Julie Mullins (Waymark) - a life coach in Rathmell, Settle & District Chamber of Trade and Jefferson Consultants in Berwick-upon-Tweed. With one recent client though, Apple Textiles Limited in Settle, Pat's success was double-edged. Admin24 worked so well with managing director, Simon Plumbridge, providing support in the initial stages of his business launch, that the company has now expanded dramatically, taking on full-time staff to replace Admin24. Said Simon "When we were starting out, Admin24 provided an invaluable service to Apple Textiles. Whether dealing with major customers, processing new orders or handling day-to-day correspondence, the service has always been exemplary and the level of support and professionalism is a credit to Pat and her business".

One of the many advantages of working 'on-line' means that work can be accepted from virtually anywhere in the world and Pat has had enquiries for her services from as far as afield as San Francisco. "The beauty of having a VA when clients either live or go abroad on business is the time difference" " Pat explains. "Work can be faxed or audio tapes e-mailed with the use of digital voice recorders so that while the client sleeps overnight or prepares for the next meeting later that day, I can complete their work and return it to them for downloading onto a printer or laptop."

Probably the key benefit to having a Virtual Assistant is flexibility. "I work mostly from my own office but when needed I will go out on business on behalf of the client. Recently I helped one of my clients prepare for a trade fair. I took textile products to the photographer, spent a day there having each item photographed and even mucked in with the ironing to make sure they looked ship-shape for the photo shoot. This meant the client could concentrate on other areas that needed to be dealt with in time for the show. Let's face it," concludes Pat, "managing a business in today's challenging environment means wearing many hats. By taking on a Virtual Assistant, a company or an individual can get on with their core business, while we're hard at work handling their chore business."

For more information about Admin24 contact Pat Hartley on 01729 840038 for a brochure or visit the Admin24 web site at www.admin24.net. More information about the concept of Virtual Assistants can be found by visiting www.allianceofvirtualassistants.co.uk.

Released on behalf of Admin24 by The Last Word
Further information from Martin Higham on 01729 822071

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