StartUs Presents: Smart Office Solutions

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Gabriella Mitteva, CEO of Smart Office Solutions, talks about the visions for her startup, why companies should outsource & her motivation to keep going.

Describe Smart Office Solutions in 50 words or less.

Smart Office Solutions offers administrative support services to individuals & businesses that require any level of administrative consulting designed to suit them whether on a regular or ad-hoc basis.

Why did you decide to pursue your own dreams rather than someone else’s?

I’ve established Smart Office Solutions Ltd. on June 2, 2014 as a natural continuation of my freelance practice and strive for expansion.

After being twelve years at administrative support roles, in 2003 I decided to start a career as a Virtual Assistant (VA). I have created my own brand – G.A.B.Y Virtual Assistance – that specialized in assisting small and medium businesses. During this time, I gained a broad experience in working with different clients from all over the world and proved to be the reliable and responsible VA they need.

7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

More individuals & businesses will take advantage of remote & flexible admin services that will save them time, energy and money, no matter where they are located. Using remote admin support should not be considered as a luxury but as daily or weekly necessity.

In 2022, outsourcing of administrative projects & tasks should be the best way for startups to grow. Thus they can cut capital costs, keep flexibility, and improve business efficiency by acquiring every service they need on a monthly basis.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

By number of satisfied regular & ongoing clients who bring new ones. It proved that spread-of-word is the best testimonial for the quality of work we provide. Trying to use combination of various marketing methods to increase popularity of the company worldwide. Up to now Facebook & LinkedIn are the most successful channels for us.

Describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it.

My typical working day starts in the morning at home, when I check all incoming emails and reply to urgent ones, set priority tasks for the day. At noon I go to office where the team is working and assign the tasks for the day and week. Working time in office is filled with a combination of management & marketing tasks, supervision of the team’s projects, contacts with clients. Usually my working ‘day’ ends in the evening, when I review completed tasks by the team.

Already pivoted? Did customers use the outsourcing service like you imagined it in the beginning?

Each client is a whole new universe: they all have different needs, point of views & requirements. Usually, most of the clients in the beginning of our partnership do not realize what type & range of tasks they could outsource. Most often, they start with a few tasks or a project and when they see that list of tasks they could outsource is almost endless, they keep on adding more and more.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

I have used my own resources to establish Smart Office Solutions in 2014. However, my desire is to apply for relevant financing (EU projects, startups investors, etc.) that will enable me to expand the company and hire more staff in the future. As financing of such type for startups in Bulgaria is not so popular yet, I will focus on foreign organizations.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

Yes, the competition in that sphere is really tremendous, especially the dumping of prices by side of Asian freelancers & companies. My hint has been always: combination of prompt service, quality work, meeting deadlines, flexible & loyal attitude and reasonable prices. To me that is the successful formula that has brought me regular & ongoing clients while I’ve been working as freelancing Virtual Assistant for 11 years. And I keep on using the same formula as startup owner.

What do you look for in team members?

Intelligent, flexible, hard-working, motivated professionals who know that first impression really matters, who keep up promises & deadlines, who are constantly trying to improve their skills, who are extremely organized and work well in a team and are not scared of challenges that we are facing daily.

Why would a talent join your team?

If a talent meets above requirements, he or she will work in a cozy & quiet office (free of distractions) which is fully equipped to provide the prompt Admin Support our clients need. For all team members – full-time & part-time, Smart Office Solutions is a correct and loyal employer providing initial training and prompt payment.

What was your most memorable moment so far?

I enjoy participating in each client’s project and I am excited to learn new skills that to be applied in the next one. However, I am especially proud of my partnership with a US company where I’ve been the Project Manager of a virtual team of 30 freelancers for a year that was full of daily challenges. This project helped me to be a better psychologist (when dealing with various human characters) and a better manager. It is an unforgettable and valuable experience!

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

First and most important, Never give up!

Try to stay focused & organized… and if you struggle, then ‘free-up’ some of your own time & energy to concentrate on other areas of your business by outsourcing the rest tasks to specialists. Set clear expectations but don’t forget to follow your dreams!

Your team should be your most valuable ally (your second family) so select your talents carefully, if necessary listening to your sixth sense. Love what you do!

If you’d have to choose now, would you make the same choice – to provide outsourcing services?

Yes!!! Even while working as a freelancing Virtual Assistant, I was convinced that business entities will take more & more advantage of outsourcing services in the future. I would make same decision as I love what I do and this is one of the most important keys to success for any activity.

Thank you for the granted opportunity to tell you the story of Smart Office Solutions and share my experience with StartUs visitors and readers! Hope they will find this interview interesting!



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