Building Your Independent Practice with Virtual Teams


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A joint Webinar segment on creating virtual teams for PRSA's Independent Practitioners Alliance (IPA) in July 2008. Presenters: Ann N. Videan, APR, and Heathere Evans-Keenan, APR

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  • VU for 8 years Always functioned as a sole practitioner Want to remain solo Without knowing, structured what’s now called a virtual team model of biz Subcontracted when needed assistance
  • Here’s how I’ve structured VU virtual team Much larger when counting photographers, printers, admin and others
  • Have big project, need people who do what I do? Should I bring on a competitor? Won’t they undermine me? Find people with similar mindset. Be choosy! Most important -- loyalty and integrity. Ideal: start with someone you’ve worked with and trust, former job, association leadership. Someone admire for integrity and skills. Don’t know anyone? Develop them. Barter project to see how work. Just have expectations in writing —>
  • Things to think about Branding = Whose name will you work under? Letterhead, Web site? Service strategy = Set common goal. Low cost? Quick results? Full-service team? How handle quality? Work location/technology = Shared office? Home offices? Consistent technology? Client contact = Who has it, who doesn’t? Noncompete contracts = teaming up without you
  • • Critical to have agreement up front, so everyone knows exactly their role, responsibility, work hours, client contact, fees, mark-up, etc. • Make sure to include training costs and software, or other aspects of work. • Fee structure must also be outlined clearly. If client gets one bill or three. Who gets paid what and when. Ask for lower fees than yours, or proposal should include mark-up for team members. Recommend you mark up others fees at least enough to cover your tax consequences. • Figure out how to handle communication . Determine preferred methods: email, fax, phone or in person Recommend up-front meeting face-to-face, then once a month to “gel” activity. • Reporting . How and when team members report activity: daily, weekly, monthly? By email? Phone call? Plug into software?SharePoint, MS Project, Timeslice
  • Recommend this model to those who prefer not to hire employees, yet want to grow their business and enjoy more flexible lifestyle. Questions?
  • Building Your Independent Practice with Virtual Teams

    1. 1. Building Your Independent Practice with Virtual Teams Ann N. Videan, APR Heathere Evans-Keenan, APR
    2. 2. Ann N. Videan, APR <ul><li>Founded virtual PR corporation, V idea n Unlimited, LLC, in 1996 </li></ul><ul><li>Accredited in PR with 27 years of corporate and agency expertise, specializing in word-of-mouth marketing </li></ul><ul><li>National panel of independent judges honored V idea n Unlimited with Crown Jewel Award (top home-based business in America) </li></ul><ul><li>Award-winning presenter, editor and writer, including IABC Gold Quill </li></ul><ul><li>Founded 200+-member Independents’ PR Alliance (IPRA) in Phoenix </li></ul><ul><li>Former president of the Phoenix Chapter of PRSA </li></ul><ul><li>Career highlights: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Catalyst for client Rhino Internet to bring white rhinos back to Phoenix Zoo </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Handled PR to recruit film extras to Sun Devil Stadium during filming of Tom Cruise movie Jerry Maguire </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Heathere Evans-Keenan, APR <ul><li>Founded award-winning PR agency, Keenan PR, in 1999 </li></ul><ul><li>Winner of multiple industry awards including Silver Anvils for successful campaigns in integrated communications and business-to-business marketing </li></ul><ul><li>President of PRSA’s largest chapter serving 1,300+ members in D.C., VA, MD </li></ul><ul><li>Founded DC’s first solo practitioner group: the Independent PR Alliance in DC, </li></ul><ul><li>Accredited PR pro with nearly 20 years of experience helping corporations and government organizations build brands </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent speaker on PR topics and known for high-demand workshops on media training, branding and presentation skills </li></ul>
    4. 4. Thriving as a Virtual Team
    5. 5. Thriving as a Virtual Team <ul><li>Roadblocks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creating a good team/environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Recognize your role on the team (Team lead = New Biz Dev) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Find subcontractors through associations/indie groups </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hire people more skilled than you, even competitors </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Begin with small, safe projects </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Tandem with client contact until trust is established </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Secrets of good relationships w/ subcontractors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Work with people you like with same level of integrity </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Understand their currency </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Priorities, drivers, FT, PT, project work, lifestyle, family, biz goals </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Resource account appropriately </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Have a spirit of partnership </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Be a good client </li></ul></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Thriving as a Virtual Team <ul><li>Considerations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Branding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Biz name, letterhead, Web site </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Service strategy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Set common goal </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Quality </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work location/technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Client contact </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contracts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Noncompete </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Confidentiality </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Consulting/subcontractor agreement </li></ul></ul></ul>
    7. 7. Thriving as a Virtual Team <ul><li>Managing the team </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Setting written expectations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Agreement up-front covering all aspects </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Work style, software, reporting </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fee structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reporting mechanisms </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Common Questions <ul><li>How and when do you end a relationship with a subcontractor? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you protect the integrity of your brand? </li></ul><ul><li>What are some of the pricing models you’ve used for working with subcontractors? </li></ul><ul><li>How can I quickly get up-to-speed on a partner’s work ethic? </li></ul><ul><li>How do I choose the right subcontractor for a specific client need? </li></ul><ul><li>How do I manage a client’s expectations after I’ve had to fire a subcontractor? </li></ul>
    9. 9. Other Questions? <ul><li>Ann N. Videan, APR, [email_address] .com </li></ul><ul><li>Heathere Evans-Keenan, APR, [email_address] .com </li></ul>