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 thealternativepa@outlook.com.

Visit www.thealternativepa.com

“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?

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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?

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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.

Brainstorm

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.

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We can help style the venue and tables

 

Equipment

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

Entertainment

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?

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Live entertainment can really add that certain something to an event

Sponsorship

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

Marketing

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 thealternativepa@outlook.com. We love to hear from you.

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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, Facebook.com/beasboutiquegrantham 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.

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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 katie.harper@natwest.com.

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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. 

BOOK YOUR SEAT HERE

We look forward to seeing you on the night.

Debbie, Katie & Alyson
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 http://www.hanwellwine.co.uk or telephone the vineyard on 01949 81393.

Hanwell Wine Estate Craft Fair Poster

 

 

Good Intentions for the New Year

With 2017 now upon us and with everyone talking about goals and resolutions, have you sat down and reviewed the last year and given thought to what you want to achieve in 2017 and how you are going to go about it and what tools and support you need?

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  • Are you struggling with those mundane tasks which seem to get in the way or you just never get round to completing.
  • Are you spending too much time on admin when you should be focusing on your customers and growing your business and doing what you are good at?
  • Do you not have time to market your business; promote your business on social media platforms and conduct competitor research?
  • Want to plan an event but just not sure how to go about it?

If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, then The Alternative PA, Virtual Assistant service, can support your business with administration, marketing and planning that all important event. We offer an affordable, competitive, and flexible business support solution.

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Call us today on 07888 679118 or take a look at our list of areas we can support you with “How we can help you”

Now is a time to plant the seeds of intention for 2017!

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We look forward to talking with you and helping you grow your business in 2017.

The Alternative PA

 

A perfect setting for a nostalgic wedding…  ‘Wedding Fayre With A Hint of Vintage’

Step back in time at the ‘Wedding Fayre With A Hint of Vintage. . . ‘Wedding Fayre With a Hint of Vintage’ is being held at the beautiful ‘Angel & Royal Hotel’ in Grantham, Lincolnshire on Sunday 23rd October from 11am to 4pm.a5-front-final-cmyk-jpeg

The county of Lincolnshire has some amazing wedding venues filled with ambience and steeped in history and The Angel & Royal Hotel based in Grantham is just one of those beautiful venues. It is said to be the oldest Inn in England.

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We will have 20+ local hand-picked wedding suppliers on the day; from bridal and menswear, to vintage inspired gifts and jewellery.  We have a jam packed schedule of local musicians who are sure to keep you entertained on the day.  Stop and have a chat with Debbie from ‘The Alternative PA’, who is a local wedding planner and is sure to give you some valuable tips and advice.  The hotel will be conducting ‘show rounds’ throughout the day so you can take in the beautiful surroundings and envisage your wedding day at this most stunning venue.

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If you haven’t already found your wedding transport, then take a seat in a cute stretched VW beetle wedding limo amongst other cars which will be parked in the hotel courtyard on the day.

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The first 100 visitors to the event will receive a FREE goodie bag and complimentary drink, so be sure to arrive early!

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The Angel & Royal will be serving light lunches and afternoon tea on the day, so if you would like to book ahead, please contact them directly.

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To keep up to date with the event information please visit our Facebook page; TheAlternativePA or call 07888 679118.

To register for the event please do so here Register via Eventbrite here

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A Perfect Setting For a Nostalgic Wedding

The county of Lincolnshire has some amazing wedding venues filled with ambience and steeped in history and The Angel & Royal Hotel based in Grantham is just one of those beautiful venues. It is said to be the oldest Inn in England.  The Angel & Royal hotel hosts weddings, private parties and corporate functions.

 

Angel Hotel

My wedding planning services were called upon to organise a photo shoot to showcase the hotel to its full glory and create images for the new wedding brochure and wedding fayre posters.  I set out to think of a concept and theme, which would lend itself to the building and created a mood board which would emphasise an opulent and rich theme coupled with; candelabra, reds & pinks, soft delicate florals, vintage props, antique books and lace and vintage styled clothing.

Armed with the task of pulling together many of my preferred and talented wedding suppliers I work with in the area and after many weeks of phone calls and emails, we all convened at the hotel one sunny Sunday afternoon.  On arrival, I was greeted by Andrew and his wife from Anglo-American Car Hire Leicester.  Andrew had kindly brought along his gorgeous classic car, a Herald Triumph for the afternoon,  who was by far the star of the day!

I then gathered up the models and took them through to the dressing room where the very creative Casey Askew Hair Stylist And Make-Up Artist, who transformed and created a nostalgic vintage look for the hair and make-up.  Jeanette from Celtic Belles was on hand on the day to dress the models in her hand made wedding gowns and assist where needed and suits were provided by Chad from Empire Design.  Coupled with vintage accessories from myself, The Alternative PA , the models were ready to go.

 

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On arrival in the Kings Room, I couldn’t believe my eyes, the entire room had been transformed into an opulent and grand and colourful wedding dining room oozing sophistication.  The whole look was created by Le-Anne from Make My Day Venue Dressing and blooms beautifully adorned the room from Sue from Flowers From Holland and the quirky and unique wedding cake was made and decorated by the extremely talented Sophie from The Confetti Cakery. The whole look was complete!

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With the building steeped in history, it is an amazing venue to hold a photo shoot, wedding or business function.  Chris from Englands’s Finest Photography was keen to capture the essence of the building, the history and the surroundings.

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The hotel did not disappoint as far as providing such a splendid set for this collaborative photo shoot showcasing very talented suppliers and creating a most decadent look and feel and makes the perfect setting for a nostalgic wedding reception.  It was a pleasure to spend time with the team and I can’t wait for the next photo shoot!

The Alternative PA is organsing a Wedding Fayre With A Hint Of Vintage at The Angel & Royal Hotel on Sunday 23 October.  If you would like more information on the fayre or any of the suppliers involved in the photo shoot, please contact thealternativepa@outlook.com.

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Photography:  England’s Finest Photography

Got a Wedding to Plan?

Chapter 1

Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing some top tips with you on how best to plan your wedding.  We’re starting this week with Chapter 1 in your wedding adventure.

We would recommend planning the following 12-18 months prior to your wedding day.

Kick start your wedding plans by being organised and one step ahead of the game!

  • Pop open the bubbly and inform your friends and family of your engagement and celebrate!
  • Treat yourself to a pretty scrapbook and gather all your ideas in here.  Purchase some wedding magazines or pop into wedding shops as often they are available for free!
  • Start a Pinterest board on-line and gather wedding supplier’s business cards at wedding fairs you attend.
  • Book a wedding planner!

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Setting a budget

  • Depending on who is paying for the wedding, you need to have conversations with everyone involved.  This is a key element of planning your wedding, as the budget will dictate, the venue, catering etc and you don’t want to be disappointed further down the line.
  • Open a savings account!

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Get The Date In The Diary

  • Obviously the spring/summer months will be more popular when weddings are concerned, so one way to reduce your spend is to hold your wedding in the autumn/winter months.
  • As soon as you have decided on the month/date you wish to hold your wedding and the approximate number of guests it’s time to start looking at venues.cropped-bag-and-hands.jpg

What Type Of Wedding Venue

  • You will need to decide if you would like to get married in a church or to opt for a civil ceremony. Civil ceremonies can take place at a licensed venue or indeed a registry office. If you would prefer a church wedding, you will need to book an appointment with the Minister to talk through your wishes and check dates, plus discuss formalities such as the reading of the bans.
  • There are many options now for wedding venues and depending on your personality and what style or theme of wedding you want, there is a many different venue types available ranging from; Castle, Manor House, Hotel, Barn, Marquee, Country Pub.  Depending on which option floats your boat, be careful to check with the venue provider what exactly is included in your day, i.e. tables, linen, flowers etc, as if you have to book these on top of the venue fee, this will add a significant amount to your budget.

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  • You will be required to put down a deposit when booking your preferred venue.  It is wise to take out wedding insurance should there be a change of plans due to illness, or any other unforeseen circumstances.

Save The Date

  • When you have made the exciting decision and booked your wedding venue, it’s time to inform all your wedding guests by sending out ‘Save The Date’ cards.
  • You also need to chat with your friends who you have chosen to be your Best Man, Maid of Honour, Bridesmaids, Ushers etc and make sure they are free!

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That’s all for now folks, Chapter 2 to follow soon…

Happy Planning!

The Alternative PA

If you’d like help with planning your wedding, please contact The Alternative PA @ thealternativepa@outlook.com.  We can take away the stress and strain!

Win a Wedding Planner & Engagement Shoot

Are you feeling overwhelmed with planning your wedding and not sure what to do next, then we can help solve your problems…

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Photography: England’s Finest Photography

Here’s your chance to win half a day’s wedding planning support from ‘The Alternative PA’. The winner will receive 4 hours of wedding planning support; be it help required leading up to your wedding day or overseeing suppliers on the big day itself and managing the day so it runs smoothly, alleviating the stress, leaving you to enjoy this magical experience. Chris from ‘Englands’s Finest Photography’ is offering an engagement shoot inclusive of  edited digital images too as part of the wedding competition prize. This is a great opportunity for Chris to get to know you and alleviate any fears of the camera and bring out your personality.  A fantastic runner up prize is also up for grabs; a romantic dinner for two at the beautiful ‘Angel & Royal’ Hotel, Grantham, one of the oldest inns in England – check out their wedding ackages http://www.angelandroyal.co.uk/pages/weddings.php

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Photography: England’s Finest Photography

Complete our wedding competition form Competition Entry Form and tell us why you deserve to win this fabulous prize. Don’t forget to leave us your contact details so
we can contact you should you be the lucky winner! Please email your entry to thealternativepa@outlook.com.

Best of luck ladies and gentlemen!

Like us on ‘Facebook’   TheAlternativePA, England’s Finest Photography & The Angel & Royal Hotel.

Thank you

Debbie
The Alternative PA

Stepping Back In Time…

Two weeks ago, myself and my bride, Marie, who I am currently working with had the pleasure of visiting Abigail from ‘Abigail’s Vintage Bridal’, an avid collector and lover of an eclectic mix of original vintage bridal gowns.  Being a lover of all things vintage myself, I  was so excited to be visiting this vintage bridal business, which I discovered whilst tapping away on my laptop and I was elated, as you can imagine when I realised the business was only half an hour drive away!

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Abigail’s passion for the history of fashion started in her youth, most of which was spent watching black and white movies whilst her mum did the ironing; her formative influences were very much more in the vein of Myrna Loy than Madonna: vintage wedding dresses were already on the horizon.

After college, a number of years were spent in film, theatre and television. Abigail turned to fashion and worked for a top ladies evening and bridal wear designer in London. Abigail’s Vintage Bridal was formed in 2009 to perfectly encapsulate her love of history and fashion, offering one of the UK’s largest collections of original vintage wedding dresses.

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Abigail has created the perfect stage setting for her splendid dress studio, set in the heart of Rutland. When entering the ‘The Atelier’,  you are transported back in time.  Her amazing collection ranges from the 1800’s through to the 1970’s so caters for all tastes and genres.

We spent a couple of hours trying various styles and dresses from the era’s and Abigail was most patient and happy for us to take some snaps, so the bride was able to see herself in a photograph modelling each dress afterwards over a cup of tea, served may I add in a bone china cup in keeping with the atmosphere!

It is clear to see, she is extremely passionate about great design and devoted to providing reassurance, guidance and advice to create your vintage bridal dream.

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Vintage accessories complete the look

If you have your own ideas or if there is anything she is able to improve or you would like see more or less of to make you feel even more like a million dollars on your special day, she is more than happy to accommodate your every need.  As well as the dresses, she has some fabulous accessories to compliment the vintage look.

Myself and Marie were truly in awe of the stunning collection of dresses and you would be hard pushed not to find anything suitable which would make the perfect asset for your amazing and magical and nostalgic day.

If you’re in the midst of planning a ‘Vintage’ or themed wedding, then swing by and take a look at Abigail’s website http://www.abigailsvintagebridal.co.uk.  Alternatively, if you require assistance with your wedding planning and finding the perfect bridal gown, ‘The Alternative PA’ is on hand to help http://www.thealternativepa.com.