Thanks to recent isolation requirements forcing people to work from home, many small business owners are becoming familiar with virtual services. At Shepherd 360! we have been using a distributed workforce for many of our own operational needs for years.
Today, we are pleased to expand on our offerings by not only offering many of the services that small business owners need today, but we are doing it involving a word wide distributed talent pool.
Our approach to delivering our services through a distributed workforce relies on recent changes in technology. After years of using several other disjointed applications we have embraced Microsoft 365 with Microsoft Azure to allow us to deliver a fully managed menu of services.
We have three offerings that are delivered using our team of competent professionals. This makes up our core group of services.
These includes cloud based bookkeeping, computerized bookkeeping on our own server (Sage 50), managed website and managed hosting, and access to our team for other needs such as research, typing, data entry, graphic design, branding, social media, blog writing and more.
When you join our team as a client, we create a separate team within our ecosystem just for your company. You won’t see other teams, and they will not see you. But our team members will see different teams depending on their assignment.
Your team is created with a single department. This is a catch-all department where each of your assigned team members can have access to the files and other information contained within that department. There is no lock on that door.
For other more sensitive bits of information, such as finance, that department will have a lock on it, and only those members within your team will have access to it, and only by special assignment. This would be the case of a bookkeeper or an accountant.
Of course, you and our administrator would have access to everything that is within your own team.
Within your own team you can conduct personal or group chats, meetings by video, or one-on-one calls by phone all within your team.
Each department will also have a special electronic book. This book contains information about your company, how it operates, special needs, research and the like. It is our way of training our team members to be the best they can be for you, our client.
Each team also has access to forms. Much like the ones we use on this website to gather information. You too can have those to create your own form, or do a customer satisfaction survey.
Once you are part of our team, you will have access to so much technology all managed for you to help you with your own business. This allows you to be efficient in what you need to do.
Interesting concept. How do I get involved.
Our services are based on a minimum relationship of a year.
We do not offer our services on a one-off basis.
By completing our client application, we will get to know you better and can be better prepared for our first contact with you.
After that, we will generate a proposal detailing our services and your subscription commitment together with any other add-ons that you may need from time to time.
Do you have a trial period?
Due to the resources used during our client on-boarding process there is an administrative fee to cover these resources. This is not refundable once the process has started.
If during the first 15 days of using our services you feel that we are are not the right fit, we will refund you your annual commitment fee.
How do I use the services?
We use Microsoft Teams as collaborative tool.
When your company is setup, we create what is called a Team. This is an environment that contains a lot of tools and abilities and is limited to just your company.
At the very basic level, this team will have what is called department. This department does not have a lock on it and is available to all those members that are a part of your team.
At this point there are only two people assigned to your Team. Our administrator and you.
Because we will be handling your bookkeeping, we will create another department called finance.
This department is for all things bookkeeping. Departments like this one will have a lock on them.
Another may be the marketing department. This department can be a non-secured department.
All members of your team will have access to the general department, and any other department that does not have a lock on it.
For those departments with locks, only those team members who have been explicitly assigned to that department will have access.
Do I receive any training in the use of your team?
Yes, we will provide you with video training, printed materials and one-on-one screen shared training if required.
How do I work with the team?
Each team will have a team lead. If you want something done, or have a question about the team, you can start with a chat. A chat is a method by which you type a message to the team lead.
If the team lead is available, he or she will get back to you at that moment. If not, you will be alerted when a response has been provided.
If you are trying to explain something and need to communicate with the person doing the work, this too can be done with a chat, or through any number of options.
You can even call a meeting with your team using video conferencing if they are available. Note: Calling a meeting with your team will use a lot of credits.
Do I need to be at my computer to use this service?
There are many ways to use our services. You can use your computer with the downloaded Microsoft Teams app. Or you can use an internet cafe and use a web browser to access the online version of the app, or you can download and install the mobile app on to your phone.
Using the phone app will allow our team members to ask you questions 24 hours a day. We know entrepreneurs don’t sleep so if the bookkeeper assigned to your team has a question about an expense, he or she can quickly send you a note complete with any images.
You could then respond whether you’re in the office, golfing or elsewhere enjoying the sunset with a beverage in hand.
What happens if I have a disagreement with a team member?
Any disagreement may be due to cultural or communications issues.
Working in a virtual environment is different that standing in front of someone giving them instructions. There, they have visual clues to go with the other inputs.
If there is a disagreement, you can try discussing the concern with the team member. If they get uncomfortable, they are taught to contact their team lead or can escalate their own concerns all the way to the top.
You can also contact the team lead who will also try to address the concern and may also escalate it to the top.
Or, you can send us a note using the same methods of communications you use to communicate with the team. The message to the executive team is confidential.
We want to fix every problem to the best of our ability.
This may require some additional or retraining on our part, or a break in relationship whether the team member, or the client.
However, long before we get to the latter, we are confident that the problem can be solved.
I like what Shepherd 360! is providing. Is there a referral fee?
We’re glad to hear you’re satisfied enough with our company and our services that you are willing to recommend us to another business owner.
Because our services are limited to our resource ability, we are very careful of who we take on as a client; therefore we don’t offer discounts or any other type of financial compensation.
If we do take on your referral, we will certainly recognize your faith in us and our thanks will be more personal than simply giving you a few bucks.