Tag Archives: administrative support

Temporary / Contract Employment Trend Here To Stay?

Besides Logging, Temporary and Employment Services showed the most gain in new workers in 2013 according to office secretary 2the Wall Street Journal.   I believe that this trend will continue.    With increased regulation on employers and the high cost of benefits, it makes more fiscal sense to hire temporary or contract employees, especially for small business owners.

The difference between a temporary worker and a contract worker is vast though.  Temporary workers are usually procured through a service and are transient workers, requiring income while looking for a full-time position with benefits.   Contract workers usually own their own business, and provide ad hoc or specific assignment work for various employers.

Other benefits of hiring a contract worker over a temporary worker include:

  • Usually no middleman – since you are contracting directly with the employee, there are no service procurement costs, which equates to lower rates.
  • Reduced training time – because there is no turnover, you only need to train once and then can call on the contractor when needed.
  • Higher dedication to work product – work performed is a direct reflection on the contract worker and their business reputation.
  • Experience – Chances are higher that a contract employee will be more skilled in his/her field, than a temporary employee, since the contractor has built his/her business around their skill sets.
  • More references available – If the contractor is good, references and word-of-mouth referrals should abound.  If the contractor is bad, expect bad online reviews.

If you need administrative assistance, consider utilizing an independent contractor, such as Southeastern Admin.

Lora Zibman

Southeastern Admin, the small business administrative solution

www.SoutheasternAdmin.com  |  770-609-0904

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Scanning For Customers

Okay, you’ve seen them everywhere: billboards, electronics stores, newspapers, Facebook pages, music promotions, real estate signs, and many other locations.  Those strange looking black and white squares that look like something from the future.

Those funny loQR Codeoking square barcodes are called QR codes.  QR stands for ‘quick response’ and they are revolutionizing how marketers convert prospects into customers.

The two-dimensional barcodes are designed to be scanned by smart phones with QR code reader scanning apps.  You can download free apps for your phone to read the codes.   I use Red Laser to read the codes on my android.   The resulting scan of the QR code will send the user to where you point them!

You can create a QR code for free, or you can have it personalized to include a photograph of yourself or company logo.   You can use your QR code to link just about anything:  text, phone, url, sms, email, events, calendar, etc.    There are many sites out there that will generate QR codes, so you don’t you don’t have to be limited to Red Laser.

QR codes are an excellent way to engage a prospect with your business at very little cost.  QR code usage trends continue to gain momentum as smartphone owners grow across the globe and smart marketers push to increase their reach to mobile consumers.  eMarketer’s latest statistics  show that on average 19% of US respondents (1 in 5) have scanned a QR Code.


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What Qualities Make An Administrative Assistant Stand Out From The Crowd?

Does it all

Think anyone can handle the job of an administrative assistant?   Think again.   With the state of economy, assistants are being asked to handle increased workloads and wear many more hats than they have in the past.    For larger companies, they consistently perform 2-3 different job functions, and the longer they have been in their position, the more responsibility they carry.   Administrative assistants for smaller companies have always had this burden, but usually at a reduced pace.

Whether you are looking to hire a full-time, part-time or virtual assistant, here some qualities that you must actively look for during the hiring process:


Because of the amount of responsibility placed on most administrative assistants, it’s important that they are both reliable and dependable.   You need to know that your assistant will first, be there when you need them, and that they can be counted upon when an urgent situation arises (a weekly occurrence in most office for which I’ve worked).    You also need to know that their work will be reliable when it comes to day-to-day work; you need to be able to trust that things are getting done correctly without having to micromanage.

Communication and Customer Service Skills

Communication, interpersonal relationship and listening skills are one of the top desired qualities in an administrative assistant. Your assistant will likely be the first point of contact for clients/customers and workers.   A great administrative assistant knows that she is in the customer service business, and reacts to external customers the same way he/she does to internal co-workers.  In order to reduce unnecessary pressure and interruptions, a great assistant should be able to manage your time by handling questions or concerns so you can run your business with minimal disruption.  By the same token, your assistant should be able to recognize when issues arise that do require your immediate attention.   Again, this sounds easy, but can be challenging when confronted with clients or workers who are upset, confused or unhappy.  Your assistant should be able to listen, interpret and react appropriately.  In addition, your assistant should be able to accurately relay information.  Internal and external experiences with your administrative assistant are a reflection on you.

Organizational and Time Management Skills:

Stating the obvious here… If you are looking to hire an assistant, it’s likely because you have too much to do on your own and are very busy.  You are looking for someone to help alleviate some of the stress that comes with day-to-day operations and handle a multitude of responsibilities.  Prioritization and organization go hand in hand.   If your assistant cannot prioritize, chances are that they are not the best at organizing either.  You need to look for someone that can keep track of multiple projects and reprioritize as necessary – whether it’s booking meetings, filing, or starting to plan for an important event 6 months down the road, they need to have a handle on their assigned tasks.

You also need to be assured that your assistant can find information quickly.   It’s wise to ask a potential assistant how they set up their computer filing system.  If they don’t have a system, then that’s a pretty good indicator that they will have challenges finding important files or data when needed.  Your assistant should not only keep their time and work organized, but should be assisting you in the same way.

Being consistently late to meetings or phone calls is also a red flag.  Not only is it a show of disrespect for others’ time, but it’s a reflection on their time management, dependability as well as customer service skill sets.


Administrative assistants are present during important discussions, client deals, as well as development plans for your business.  Being privy to this abundance of information comes with great responsibility.   A great assistant knows not to disclose information regarding client or business matters, as well as not to weigh in office griping or gossip.   It can be lonely not being a part of the top team in terms of operational direction, as well as not really being one of the “workers”.   A great assistant understands this balance act and comports his/herself appropriately.


Lora Zibman


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What The Heck Is A Pivot Table And What Can It Do For Me?

Being organized means having the ability to find your information quickly, and to be able to analyze it in meaningful ways to your business in real time.

Having never taken a “course” in Excel, I still think of myself as a superuser.  My tutelage has been through necessity as an admin and business analyst, and I have used the program for over 15 years.

You can use Excel to do just about everything; from organizing your contacts, forecasting and graphing sales, to having all of your photographs listed and linked in a single location!   Excel is also useful for uploading information into other programs (Vertical Response, Constant Contact, SalesForce, Outlook, QuickBooks, etc.) so it is wise to keep all of your data in a single source.

A Pivot Table is a fabulous Excel filtering tool which allows you to slice up data in your spreadsheet in a dynamic format.   Say you just want to see the listing of clients who’s contracts expire in March, 2013, or you want to find out how many sales of photo albums you made in 2010 to Realtors located in Alpharetta; you can filter through your data in seconds rather than sorting the entire listing.  You can also have multiple tables to view information as you need it and then graph that data with a couple of clicks.   Any updates you make to the data in your spreadsheet are also automatically updated to your graphs and tables.

Since it’s not very practical to explain how to create a Pivot table in text format, click on the picture below to go to YouTube to see the video covering the basics of Pivot Tables.

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Happy Filtering!

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