Step into Spring…

There’s a freshness in the air today; signs of new life, birds singing their song and beautiful yellow daffodils in bloom. Spring is a time for new beginnings, a time when we focus on maybe a spring clean in the house, a tidy-up in the garden and planting new seeds.


I myself am in the process of selling my house which means things must be kept tidy at all times in preparation for that all-important viewing.  We’ve put a huge amount of effort decorating, upgrading and generally turning it into a beautiful home during the last 10 years.

At this time of year, we’re also conscious of eating healthier and losing a few pounds so we’re ready to cast a clout and enter into our spring/summer wardrobe.  We may have a holiday on the horizon which we’re hoping to shape up for. We may be more conscious of what our skin looks like and apply the moisturiser more generously with a view to it soon being exposed.

With the house and our well-being boxes ticked, it’s time to reflect too on where our business is going and think hard about where our focus should be. Maybe your business needs re-energising – maybe a re-brand, new website?  It may be that you’ve taken your foot off the pedal and become complacent with what you are doing. Are you reaching the right people in your current marketing activities? Are you keeping in touch with your clients and actively trying to find new ones? Are you sticking to a plan?  All of this is a lot to think about when you are a small business and it’s extremely difficult to keep on top of everything when running a house, looking after your family and not to mention the running of your business affairs.

Marketing Strategy]

So, what’s the answer?

Delegate, delegate, delegate! I myself found it very difficult to delegate tasks over the years especially when I was a new business starting out 3 years ago. I attempted to do my own tax return the first year and ended up spending most of the week attempting to complete the online form.  The hours I had spent could have been better spent doing other things that I am good at, saving me time, money and not to mention a huge amount of stress. It’s difficult sometimes to make that decision but as I have learnt over the years, you have to leave the things you are not an expert in to the expert who does!

Time to plant your business seeds…


The Alternative PA can support your business with marketing services; marketing consultancy, web design, designing a new logo and marketing materials, photography & videography for your business, event planning, not to mention full PA and administration support. If we can’t help you ourselves, we normally know a man who can!

Go Get EM

 #Springissprung #Marketing #Smallbusiness #Entrepreneur #Rebranding #Eventplanning #Virtualassistant

Are You Keen To Grow Your Business In 2019?

grow your businessWith Christmas now come to an end, you’re probably feeling that you’ve indulged a little too much, so making a New Year’s resolution list will of course make you feel much better. As well as setting personal goals, it’s just as important to set business goals for your business too, to enable you to take your business to the next level.

So, if you’re a brand new business just starting up, own a small business and need some support or a budding entrepreneur, then hiring a Virtual Assistant should most definitely be on your list of new year’s resolutions.

The overhead costs involved in hiring permanent staff, providing them with desk space and equipment to carry out the job, as well as tax, national insurance, employee benefits sickness, holiday pay and pensions are all excellent reasons why you should take the plunge into hiring a Virtual Assistant and it is by far a cost effective and flexible way of operating your business.

By hiring a Virtual Assistant or Virtual PA,you’ll reap the rewards of having a highly skilled and experience Executive PA, who only works for the hours you pay them and with ever increasing diaries and social lives, the Virtual Assistant is here to help you with not only your work life but your personal life too.  Also, we often specialise in other skills too, such as Marketing and Event Planning.  There’s not much a Virtual Assistant can’t do!

A Virtual Assistant can assist you with your day to day business tasks, manage your social media, marketing and planning those all important events.  We’re also happy to help with household chores, such as walking the dog, purchasing gifts for a loved one and collecting the dry cleaning.

It’s entirely up to you how you utilise your Virtual Assistant’s skills and don’t be afraid to ask them what they are capable of doing.  They may even suggest easier ways for you to work, by implementing different ICT systems, thus saving you time and of course money.

Virtual Assistants are keen to help small businesses to grow and stand out in the business world and to enable them to operate more efficiently, enhancing productivity, thus enabling them to free up time to look after current customers and most important of all gain new customers!

So, what are you waiting for – The Alternative PA would love to hear from you.

Call us on 07888 679118 or email to arrange an informal chat and discuss how we can support your business.

For more information visit and check out our testimonials page.

#VirtualAssistant #Businesssupport #Marketing #Eventplanning #Growyourbusiness #Businessplan

Image: Thank you to Daniel Hjalmarsson on Unsplash

Tips on How to Organise the Perfect Christmas party

We’ve all been there, head down and keeping ourselves busy while your manager decides that the Christmas party needs organising and you’re expected to organise this once a year momentous occasion as well as doing your day job!  So, the real challenge then begins…


Follow this step by step list and you’ll be ahead of the game.

Find the perfect venue
This is one of the most time consuming jobs in planning your perfect event.  Consider the size of venue, access, disabled access, public transport, parking, do you require overnight accommodation nearby and most importantly is the ambience right for the event you are creating? You’ll need to find a venue which is easy to get to and can accommodate your party numbers (assume everyone is coming for now). Consider the venues you have already worked with or hosted events at in the past. Don’t be shy to ask for a discount if it’s a regular haunt. If you decide to try somewhere new, ask if they have in-house catering, bar facilities and on-site entertainment or if you will need to organise this yourself. This can save a huge amount of time if the venue already has their own facilities.


Set a budget
What is your budget? Compile a spreadsheet with all the overhead costs.
Consider or not whether you want to invite partners. Will you be providing a free bar for staff?

Set a date
Don’t forget venues get booked up very quickly during the festive period, especially if it’s a large party. Once you have found the perfect venue, ensure you leave plenty lead time to set the date in the diaries, inform all invitees, and parties involved asap.  You need plenty time to organise all the different elements of the event.

Food glorious food!
It is so important to get the food right at the Christmas party!  Check with your venue if they have their own caterers. They may have preferred caterers they work with. If you need to book an external caterer, ask your work colleagues and friends for recommendations on caterers if you don’t have any contacts of your own.  Don’t be frightened to ask for a tasting session prior to booking.  Good food equals happy people.


Equipment/Dressing the venue
Will you need to hire any equipment? Will the venue include table cloths, flowers or any other decorations or do you need to arrange this yourself?

It’s the party of the year, so you’ll need that all important entertainment booking. Again, check with the venue if they have a resident DJ.  Adding music to an event can really add to the atmosphere and boost the event. Again, if friends or colleagues have recommendations this is a great place to start.  Listen to the band or musician before you book them!  Consider are they right for the event?


If you plan to hold a Christmas party, but don’t have the time to organise it, The Alternative PA can support you the event planning from finding the perfect venue, setting up caterers, booking entertainment and anything else that needs organising. There is nothing more stressful than trying to be a gracious host while planning everything yourself, so take the pressure off by outsourcing the event planning! Call us on 07888 679118 or email thealternativepa@outlook.comto discuss your event requirements.


Run a competition to boost your audience

A great marketing tool
Ever thought about running a competition to boost your business and audience reach?  A well thought out competition can be a great marketing tool to include as part of your overall marketing strategy. If it’s difficult to think of what you may want to offer as a prize, especially if you are a business who offers a service, then why not team up with a client or supplier you know, who may be happy to collaborate with you. Running a competition gives you PR coverage, increases your audience reach and enables individuals to engage with your business.

Why run a competition?
Competitions are a fantastic way of marketing your business to the big wide world. This can be done via social media, your website, e-shots, and working with the local press.  If you are a new business, it’s an excellent way of getting your product or service out there and testing the water so to speak!

The prize
The prize must be attractive to your potential audience and obviously the better the prize, the more likely people are to enter the competition. Make sure you let your audience know what the prize is and if you are teaming up with a third party, make sure they are tagged or included in the competition information, so they gain publicity too.

Drawing a winner
To make it fair, a great way of picking a winner is to use which uses an algorithm to select a random number/winner. People use for holding drawings, lotteries and sweepstakes.

Gain ‘liker’s and leads
Make sure if you’re running a competition on Facebook, that you adhere to Facebook’s competition rules. When you are posting your competition, make sure as part of the competition that you ask people to ‘like’ and ‘share’ your post as well as whatever you would like them to do as part of entering.  This will increase your number of ‘likes’ on Facebook. Look at running a competition as another way of gaining potential leads and you never know, you may well get an enquiry from your first competition.

Don’t drop off the radar

Best of luck!


Business at Buckminster Barn

Buckminster would like to invite you to join them on Thursday 25th October from 1pm. We are holding this event for any local PAs, Administrators, VAs (Virtual Assistants), Event Managers, Project Managers and anyone else who looks after booking meeting rooms, corporate events and private dinners for their business/department or client and is interested in meeting with local businesses. It’s an opportunity to give you all a treat too for all your hard work!

poster batbarn

The day will consist of:

  • Welcome to Buckminster & Barn Tour
    You’ll have the opportunity to see our beautiful Barn, which is positioned within a tranquil and gloriously attractive setting, Buckminster Barn is a sympathetically converted farm building combining distinctly traditional features with stylish contemporary finishing. The oak wooden beams, flag-stone flooring and a wood-burning stove provide for a country life feel. The floor to ceiling windows and opening French doors providing panoramic views over endlessly rolling countryside, a beautiful sight from dusk till dawn! The Barn is perfect for business meetings & conferences, product launches, private dining and corporate parties, birthdays, wakes and christenings.
  • Mini confidence workshop by Emma Kate Dawson Coaching
    Clear, functional boundaries will boost your productivity, reduce frustration and aid good work place dynamics. But do you struggle to find the confidence to set boundaries with your boss or other team members? In this mini workshop we’ll go through a step-by-step process you can use to confidently decide, set and maintain boundaries.
  • Afternoon tea treat
    Join us for a delightful and well-earned afternoon tea with your colleagues and new acquaintances – please inform us of any dietary requirements by emailing
  • Networking session
    They’ll be an opportunity to network with attendees during the afternoon and gain new contacts for your business.



5 Tips On How Events Can Be Powerful For Your Business

Business owners often forget about holding events when they are putting their marketing strategy together. Events should be a natural element as part of your communications plan.

marketing strategy

Events can be extremely powerful; meeting potential clients face to face can be so much more productive rather than trying to spend lots of time posting on social media, getting lost in the crowd.  When you meet with an individual face to face, you are bound to make a lasting impression. My motto is: People buy from people.

man and woman handshake

Here’s some ideas for your business:

Organise a launch event

This is a fantastic way of getting your name out there if you are launching a new business or indeed a new product. Get friendly with the local press, invite them along on the day and all your business contacts and suppliers to gain early coverage for your new business or product.

advertisements batch blur business

Why not hold a promotional evening or VIP night?

Give your loyal customers an opportunity to buy your new products at a discounted price, run special offers and incentives.  Loyalty cards are a great way of retaining customers. Again an event is a great opportunity to showcase your new products.

table with plates and flowers filed neatly selective focus photography

Attend industry exhibitions

These events can be a great way of a) getting your name out there and b) gaining new contacts.  Often industry exhibitions will have the right target audience attending for your business so it’s in your interest to engage with them and tell them all about your business. Giveaway freebies on the day so delegates have something to remember you by. Be prepared with your marketing materials in advance and make it a priority to follow up with them after the event. Drop them an email and connect via Linked-In.


Attend local networking events

I have met most of my clients at networking events.  You’ll have an opportunity to introduce your business and meet with local businesses. Talk with your business contacts and ask which ones they attend in the area. Check on Facebook and Eventbrite for your local networking groups. Make it a priority to attend at least one meeting per month. Make sure you have your business cards with you too as I often see attendees without them!


Speaking at Business seminars & expos

This is a wonderful way of sharing your expertise and knowledge and telling your story about your brand.  Not only does it give you an opportunity to talk directly with attendees; people will be interested in what you have to say and don’t forget to inject some personality into your talk – people buy from people!

black and gray microphone

If you require support with planning an event or indeed organising some marketing materials, please get in touch @ or call 07888 679118.

For more information visit:

Tags: events eventplanning eventmanager networking eventtips marketingmaterials


10 things a Virtual Assistant can help you with in the Summer Holidays

With not long to go now until the Summer holidays, it’s an extremely busy time for everyone, especially for small business owners and entrepreneurs. There are passports and paperwork to get organised, last minute holiday purchases to be made, not to mention a whole stack of work that needs to be completed before you jet off to the sun!

There’s a stack of work to be done before you jet off to the sun

When you think about it, the lead up to your holiday can be one of the most stressful times of the year.  For many of us, it’s extremely difficult to leave work behind. But there is a way you can avoid the stress and last minute panic. A Virtual Assistant can step into your shoes and take care of your business, giving you the reassurance to know tasks will be dealt with and clients looked after in a professional way.

Let us step into your shoes…

Hire a Virtual Assistant!
A Virtual Assistant can help you with a wide variety of tasks, helping you to fully switch off and enjoy your holiday.  Leave your mobile phone behind and let us take care of your business for you whilst you spend time with your family and friends.

Here are 10 suggestions for tasks that you can delegate to your Virtual Assistant to make your life a little easier before, and during, your holiday:

1. Managing your diary
Lunches, dinners, important meetings, it can seem never ending!  We can keep track of all the invitations and enter them into your diary and set reminders so that you are aware of what you are doing and where you need to be!

2. Keeping on top of your emails
That feeling of dread when returning from your holiday to hundreds of emails in your inbox can be eliminated.  We can help with managing your emails for you, sifting out the important ones and responding to any urgent enquiries, saving you time when you return.

3. Managing your important business calls
Leave your mobile phone at home and let us manage your calls.  The last thing you want to be doing is answering a business call when you’re relaxing by the pool. We offer a professional service allowing you the time to relax and switch off.

4. Updating social media
We all look forward to shutting down our laptops and switching off from work for a couple of weeks when we’re on our holiday, however, we still need to be active on social media. We can schedule your social media content for you so that you don’t drop off the radar.

Don’t drop off the radar

5. Marketing
You’re exhibiting at an event later in the year and you require some marketing materials designed and printed.  Brief us with what your requirements are and we can arrange this all for you, ready for you when you return.

6. Newsletter
Got something to shout about? Provide us with a draft with your latest news, tips and offers and we can send out a summer themed newsletter to your mailing list for you. Now is a great time to send a newsletter wishing your clients a happy summer.

7. Chasing outstanding payments
Have a few outstanding payments due from earlier in the year? Now’s the time to chase them. We can send out a few polite, gentle reminders to tidy up your books, ready for your return.

8. Last minute travel arrangements
You’re off to spend 2 weeks in the sun but you still need to book your train tickets to the airport and book some important travel arrangements for a conference you are attending when you return. Let us take care of the arrangements for you.

9. Project management
You are working on an important project and you need to keep on top of progress, chasing suppliers, ensuring important deadlines don’t slip while you’re away.  Brief us before you go and we can happily manage this for you, ensuring milestones are met and completed.

10. Delegate!
These are just a few ways that we can support you and your business with. Give yourself permission to delegate, switch off, relax and enjoy that all important time with your family and friends.

Relax and enjoy!

For more information how we can work with you and support your business, please call 07888 679118 or email


“Working with Debbie as my PA is a delight. She has so many talents; she is very organised, capable, flexible and proactive. She performs a number of duties for me: full PA support, market research, designing marketing materials, social media and assisting with projects. She also helps me set and keep to milestones which move my businesses forward. I have every confidence in allowing her to be client- facing too. She has made a huge impact in making my business run more smoothly and she is such a pleasure to do business with.”
Judith Hogarth, Health and Well-being practitioner, Dendra

“In our business we often have unpredictable peaks in workload,  for example foreign delegations seeking to visit us with little notice. Thankfully, we are able to use to Debbie to plan, arrange and oversee their programmes and we are 100% confident things will be done correctly, efficiently and professionally”.
Matthew Anderson | Managing Director, TVET UK

Let us support you and your business



10 Tips for Organising a Successful Event

Whatever the event is you are planning; excellent event management is essential for any successful event.

Set your objectives

Be clear, concise and measurable.
Are you raising awareness about your business?
Are you launching a new business?
Perhaps your fundraising for a charity?


Set a budget

What is your budget? Compile a spreadsheet with all the overhead costs.
Consider or not whether you will you charge an entrance fee for your event to cover costs?

Find the perfect venue

This is one of the most time consuming jobs in planning your perfect event, consider size of venue, access, disabled access, public transport, parking and most importantly is the ambience right for the event you are creating?

Bucks Dawn
The stunning Buckminster Barn

Set a date

Once you have found the perfect venue, ensure you leave plenty lead time to set the date in the diaries, inform all invitees, and parties involved asap.  You need plenty time to organise all the different elements of the event.


Hold a brainstorming meeting with your staff, volunteers and anyone else you think may be beneficial to the meeting.  This can set out a plan of action and don’t be afraid to assign jobs, after all organising an event isn’t an easy task!

Food glorious food!

This is so important at an event – ask people you know for recommendations on caterers if you don’t have any contacts of your own.  Don’t be frightened to ask for a tasting session prior to booking.  Good food equals happy people.

We can help style the venue and tables



Will you need to hire any equipment? e.g. OHP & screen, generator if outdoors event, marquees etc?


Adding music to an event can really add to the atmosphere and boost the event. Again, if friends or colleagues have recommendations this is a great place to start.  Listen to the band or musician before you book them!  Consider are they right for the event?

Live entertainment can really add that certain something to an event


Think about your business partners and suppliers, would they like to be involved and gain press coverage out of the event?


Organise a communications plan and list all types of marketing which will be required, print, Eventbrite, e-shots & social media. Social media can be extremely powerful marketing tool. Why not run a competition on social media giving away free tickets to your event.  Ask people to like your page and share the competition.  Also, don’t forget to ask your suppliers to share the event on their respective pages too.

To enquire about our event planning services, please contact us on 07888 679118 or email We love to hear from you.


What our clients think

“So, less than 12 weeks left until our big day!  To be honest, at first, I didn’t see the need for or the additional expense of a wedding planner. After a free initial consultation with Debbie, I realised that her expertise and wide range of contacts could be of real benefit to us when planning our wedding. It has been, for us, financially a cost that we have recovered in time and savings. Debbie has sourced  a fantastic caterer, a local musician to accompany one of my friends who is going to sing for us and knowing that we were on a budget, encouraged me to go into charity shops to look for dresses and accessories.  Very quickly, I found a near-perfect dress which is now being “up-cycled” to become my dream dress for a starting price of only £75!! I highly recommend Debbie to assist you with your wedding planning. She is great to work with, has a wealth of knowledge and is professional without ever losing sight that it is your big day.
Marie, Newark

“Wanted to say a big thank you for all your hard work that went into such a great day yesterday, the music and dancers were brilliant and certainly kept customers in the room for longer! The feedback from customers is that they really enjoyed themselves and were asking when’s the next one! You did a great job and just wanted to say a big thank you !!”
Vintage Trader

“I can highly recommend this lady , she is very well organised and has an eye for detail.  She is an experienced PA and Event Organiser. If you are a sole trader, SME or a larger company , Deborah has the experience in marketing on Social Media, managing your website or in traditional marketing role and for event organising she can organise a wedding, conference, relaunch of your business or the opening of your business. Deborah has organised several vintage fairs and if you go to www, you can see the events and reviews. No business to small or large, give Deborah your brief she will cost the job on a hourly rate”.
Carol @ Quirky Quirky.


Learn how to take the perfect picture

We’d like you to join us for our next ‘Grantham Women in Business’ networking meeting, which is being held at Belton House (National Trust) on Wednesday 13th June.

Belton House

We’ve planned a Summer evening visit to Belton House with a chance to brush up on your photography skills with one of their volunteer photographer’s Jon Scrimshaw, so if you have a camera hidden away at home, don’t forget to bring it along on the evening! Plus, enjoy a picnic by the Boathouse where you have the opportunity to buy a slate for the new roof and be a part of this fantastic restoration project. Belton House are aiming to raise £100k to help restore the Boathouse to its former glory and every donation helps.


You’ll also have the opportunity of introducing your business in our ‘Round Robin’ session to all the ladies in the group and lots of opportunity to network on the evening.

Join us at 6pm for registration as the meeting will be kicking off at 6.15pm promptly.

If you have any special dietary requirements please email


Pay £10 on the door (refreshments & picnic included in the price) but please register to secure your place.

We confirm attendee numbers to the hotel the day before the event. In the event of any cancellations less than 24 hours beforehand we will still have to charge the £10. 


We look forward to seeing you on the night.

Debbie, Katie & Alyson

Free Family Arts & Craft Fair at Hanwell Wine Estate

On the afternoon of Sunday 14th May, Hanwell Wine Estate in Hickling Pastures, Nottinghamshire will be hosting a free family arts & craft fair. With activities for all ages, it’s a great opportunity to have a go at different arts and crafts free of charge, with local experts offering live demonstrations.




Learn the secret to creating beautiful flower arrangements with Flowers From Holland,  try your hand at pencil drawing with Louise Cann, discover the health benefits of homeopathy with Wendy Jackson and find your inner artist with Sara Penrose. There will also be loom weaving and sewing demonstrations.


Local artists will be showcasing their hand-made products on a range of arts and craft stalls featuring unique items and gifts to buy, alongside live entertainment, fun activities for younger children, wine tasting, hot gourmet food from ‘Gourmazin’, tea, coffee and delicious home-made cakes.


The event will be open from 1pm to 6pm with free parking at Hanwell Wine Estate, which is located off the A46 on the A606 Melton Road, Hickling Pastures, Nottinghamshire, LE14 3QG. For more information visit or telephone the vineyard on 01949 81393.

Hanwell Wine Estate Craft Fair Poster