Strictly Savvy: Digital tools equal growth

Having the right digital tools will free up resources, people, and time, says Strictly Savvy general manager Teesha Masson.

“And that saves businesses money and enables them to then focus on growth.”

A meeting room with a hot pink accent wall at the Strictly Savvy office, a virtual assistant company based in Upper Hutt.

Upper Hutt-based Strictly Savvy began in 2012 after seeing business owners struggling with day-to-day operations. Today it has a team of high-calibre virtual assistants with a range of skills, talents, and knowledge.

“Whether you call us an outsourced office admin team, business support team, or a virtual secretarial service, we can help with anything that will free up time so you can spend it where it’s needed most,” says Teesha.

Virtual assistant proves invaluable

Jethro Gilbert, business owner, founder and chief executive of Future Leaders Academy, knows all too well how effective that help can be.

At the time Jethro could not commit to investing in a permanent staff member. Instead, he turned to Strictly Savvy for extra support in the form of a virtual assistant.

“We’ve got three different brands across our portfolio, 15 staff, five casuals and offices in Wellington, Waikato and Queensland. Which makes it complex and busy when trying to grow and run all of them.

“I was at the point where I needed extra help. For a lot of small business owners, 50% is about being an entrepreneur, identifying new opportunities and pursuing those. The other half is keeping the current business going and operationally managing that.

“I had my head in two different spaces — growth and management. And I just needed that extra set of hands to delegate tasks to so that I could work on the business,” he explains.

No task is too tough

Jethro’s virtual assistant’s tasks varied from booking appointments, arranging gifts, and booking cars for services. It freed up time for him to focus on work rather than “ad-hoc things”.

“It also helped that the virtual assistant had a broad range of experience, from marketing to admin to communications. So I could ask them to draft an email, get into spreadsheets, sort out our processes, tidy up our files and systems, no task was too tough.”

That virtual assistant’s role has since morphed into a permanent EA role, complete with a handover process. The virtual assistant has also improved Future Leaders Academy’s digital systems and processes along the way.

One example is the project management-type software, which staff use to collaborate online.

Even now, Jethro continues to reach out to Strictly Savvy for digital support when he needs expertise and timeframes are short.

“For a small business like ours, we can’t afford to hire a full-time marketing manager or a full-time bookkeeper. But we can outsource that sort of work from a productivity and financial point of view and get paired with the right tools for the right jobs.”

“Having a virtual assistant helped us to test the value that role might add to the business and we’ve since gone on to hire a permanent person.”

Jethro Gilbert - Future Leaders
Inside the Strictly Savvy office, a virtual assistant company based in Upper Hutt.

Embracing the virtual world

When it comes to the digital world, Strictly Savvy’s Teesha says small businesses are embracing technology.

“We’ve seen a huge growth in confidence over the last few years where a lot of businesses were pushed into working virtually through lockdown and had no choice but to adapt.”

In a time where tech is evolving rapidly, Teesha says businesses must continue to adapt and keep up with changes, or risk being left behind.

“A lot of people spend their whole day at their desk and/or scrolling on their phone after work. So you have to think about where the masses are finding businesses and their info these days.”