Tag Archives: business

We are thrilled to have international speaker, author, trainer, and advisor,  Alex Theis be our guest on the Assistant Match blog, and provide us with information about tapping into the power of referrals.

Whether you’re the CEO of a big company, a home-based business owner, or anything in between, referrals can be an untapped goldmine. Are you tapping into the power of referrals? Here’s five reasons why they are absolutely magical.

1. Referrals buy quicker. Word of mouth is the most trusted form of advertising in the world, so the buying decision requires less research. Referrals ask fewer questions and take less of your time.

2. Referrals negotiate less and rarely complain. That key concept – trust. Referrals have built in trust of you and your product. Their mind is already down the road of being satisfied even before they buy.

3. Referrals buy more and buy more often. People want to buy services and products from businesses they believe in. Because the trust of the referrer has been transferred to them, their average sale is higher and they buy with more frequency. Think Amazon…

4. Referrals cost you virtually nothing. Utilizing the power of your already happy customers and clients, you can compress the time it takes to buy. This means very little marketing dollars are spent and big time ROI.

5. Referrals are more likely to refer others. They were referred, so they tend to follow the same pattern. When we find a good thing, packed with value, we love to share it with others.

How can you tap into this virtual goldmine? Ask your happy customers and clients for referrals. Create a program to incentivize referrals. Reward those who have already referred business to you. Get creative and watch your business grow!

Alex Theis is a speaker, best-selling author, podcaster, and leading expert on customer and client retention. His internationally-downloaded podcast, Limitless, can be heard on iTunes, Stitcher, and PodcastLimitless.com.

There is a lot of information being pushed out online, and getting your message read is not always the easiest thing to do.

Here are 5 tips to help you stand out from your competition online:

1. Identify your customers pain points and explain how you can help solve them.

2. Keep it simple – blogging and social media marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. Keep it simple, focused and streamlined.  Make sure you stay in your professional lane.

3. Focus on quality  vs. quantity.  If you only have time to blog once a month, than make sure that blog post adds value to those reading it.  Same goes for social media.  Stuffing your platforms with content is never a good idea unless that content is relevant to your audience and provides useful information.

4. Collaborate with like-minded professionals. This is a great way to extend your brand and meet amazing folks who are on similar business journeys.

5. Be responsive.  If a comment or question is made on your blog or posted on your social media be sure to respond. It shows that you are invested and engaged with your community.

While the dog  days of summer brings warmer weather, backyard barbecues, and additional time with family, your business shouldn’t take a vacation.

Here are three tips to help keep your business moving forward through the remainder of the summer months.

 

1. Stay Visible

Schedule social media posts, newsletters, and even emails to go out throughout the summer months to make sure your business and your services stay top of mind to your customers.  Outsource these tasks to a virtual marketing assistant who, with a little direction, can do all the work and monitor your online presence.

2. Start a project

If you are staying put, this is a great time to upgrade your website, brainstorm new ideas or revisit old ones with your team.  With a little extra bandwidth in your schedule you can focus your energy on continued education. Take an online course, or volunteer some time with a local organization.

3. Reinvent yourself

While your clients are away, take this time to work on you.  Join a gym, get a walking or bike riding program in place.  Change your sleep patterns to get up earlier during the week.  By taking care of YOURSELF you will be better equipped to take care of your business and your clients for the remainder of the year and beyond..

 

We all have bad days, when things just don’t go right, or a meeting goes sideways and really throws off our mojo.  It can make you not want to be social and cause a detrimental impact on your ability to do business.

So, how do you get out of the “funk” of a bad day so the rest of your week isn’t shot?

1. Stay positive.
The saying “a bad day doesn’t mean you have a bad life” really puts things into perspective.

Procrastination happens the most when we are in a bad mood, and productivity happens when we are happy.  So work hard on your mood and staying positive as it really will have an effect on the outcome of your day.

2. Set up a self-rewarding system to keep you motivated.

Rewards are responsible for three-quarters of why you do things.  A self-reward can be as simple as a coffee break or going to the gym, to something larger like going out to dinner, or a weekend getaway.  It is important that you recognize the progress you make daily and celebrate it.  A reward will also help your mood, which in turn will keep you positive and productive.

3. Have a peer group available to you.

Friend therapy or co-worker therapy is so beneficial to keeping you on track and keeping things real. A happy, productive you, will attract great friendships. Remember, the groups you associate with often determine the type of person you become. Business networking groups can broaden your connections and provide you with people you can bounce business ideas off of.  Friends who makes you laugh or you can commiserate with can help alter your bad mood and keep your day on track.

These are simple steps that really can make a difference in your life and in your business.  Here’s to more good days ahead!

Albert Einstein  once said, “life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving”.  The key to keeping your business growing and prospering is forward motion. This is not always easy to do when there is so much going on in your day, week or month, but there are ways to overcome this challenge.

1. Set goals that are achievable. 

I suggest daily goals first, so that you feel a sense of accomplishment every day, and then set the goals that are more long term.  According to Thought Leader, Jesse Torres, entrepreneurs who know what they want and have set a course are more likely to accomplish their objectives.

2. Take the leap of faith

The saying “nothing ventured nothing gained” speaks volumes in the world of entrepreneurship.  Success is never guaranteed, but without leaping and trying new things, success will be very hard to achieve.

3. Never settle

If your business is doing well, great, but always ask yourself, “can it do better?”.  You should re-evaluate how your business is performing and make necessary adjustments based on feedback and results.

4. Improve your online presence and invest in visual marketing

Today it’s not enough to have an attractive and impressive website.  According to Business Consultant Sam Makad, creating appropriate marketing content involves a lot of creativity and it is necessary to rely on visual content to attract more visitors. Continually working on visual content is a very demanding task. It is important to change your mindset about spending money on visual designs and see it as a long term investment, as it is much more engaging and will attract a much higher number of visitors to your website.  You will also want to have a plan in place to share your visual content on multiple marketing channels as you never know where your customer may be searching.

5. Decide what you are willing to do

You need to be all in or all out as an entrepreneur. So take the time to figure out how much you can do alone, with help, or with a strategic partner.  If there is change to be made you have to be willing to make it, invest in it, and follow through on it.

 

 

 

 

Are you paralyzed in the ‘what if’ syndrome of being a small business owner?

Are these questions constantly finding their way into your thoughts and conversations?

  • What if I can’t do everything myself?
  • What if I disappoint my clients?
  • What if I get in over my head?
  • What if I don’t make enough money to support this business?

These are all real feelings that every entrepreneur and small business owner has had at one or more points in their journey.  Without  fear, you would not be driven to overcome these “what if” senarios, however, getting paralyzed by these kinds of thoughts could easily derail your success.

To get passed these fear based thoughts, without paralysis, you have to turn the negatives into positives, the CAN’TS into CANS!

  • What can I do by myself?

This is where you should look at your daily workload realistically, and decide what tasks have to be done by you, and what can be outsourced to an assistant.  Don’t ever be afraid to delegate.  Without delegation, you will limit your power for growth and success.

  • How can I delight my clients?

What extra steps can you do to impress your clients?  Some of these can be simple, effective communication, or sending a hand written thank you note to them for trusting you with their business needs, remembering their birthdays, providing quality work with no errors, and obviously staying within their target budget.

  • What if getting in over my head is a good thing?

Having too much work will only be stressful, if you don’t have a plan in place to outsource some of your workload.  The administrative tasks that bog down your day, need to be done by someone who can focus on just those tasks and has the expertise to make you shine. Get a team in place  that can handle the areas of your business that you are not skilled in.  Your virtual team can be utilized on an as-needed basis, or, better yet, delegate weekly assignments that help take work off your plate.  Just be sure to have them in place when you need them.

  • What if I make so much money that my business is able to fully support me and my family?

This is really where you need to focus your time.  Securing the clients that will ultimately bring in the cash flow.  You started your business because it was your passion and/or your expertise.  You are the face, the voice and the driver of how successful it can become.  Staying focused on why you started your business will help you to not get paralyzed by fear of failure.

Turn the negative “what ifs” around and let them work for you.  What if staying positive and asking for help was the ultimate solution to getting your business to the point where you ultimately want it to be?  What if…?

 

 

 

 

 

 

You know your stuff, you have a comprehensive website, marketing materials and customers who depend on your services, but can you do more to earn money by sharing your expertise? Absolutely!
A targeted or niche business retreat may be the missing link in your business plan. Hosting a business retreat can not only help your current customers get to know you in a different genre, it may open the door to new customers who are looking for a more intimate approach to learning about your expertise and what services you can offer them.
When creating a plan for your retreat, there are many elements to think about and execute to make the experience enjoyable for both you and your participants.
As with all events, the success of the retreat largely depends on the preparation. Get this right and the retreat will not only give amazing value, but it will be an unforgettable experience for all involved.  Working with someone familiar with retreat planning is always advisable to help ensure success.  Many virtual assistants are skilled in planning, executing and providing follow-up assistance at the end of the retreat

Here are 5 important starter steps when planning a business retreat.

  1. When should you hold the retreat?
    Take into consideration holidays, and give yourself plenty of time to market your retreat.  Decide what months make the most sense for not only you, but your customer base.  There is no magic solution to picking the date, and it may take some trial and error, but think about if a weekend retreat would work better, or if doing it during the week will get better traction.
  2. How long will the retreat last?
    This is where preparation is key.  Think about your ability to sustain your energy level throughout the day, and ensure that the retreat duration is enough for the material you plan to teach.  You may also want to make sure your retreat location has other activities your guests can enjoy during any downtime.  This could include quiet sitting areas, hiking trails, a health and wellness spa, or workout room.
  3. Where will it be held?
    What ever location you choose, be sure to visit  it in person. Decide if you want a formal or informal setting.  A retreat is usually meant to generate ideas and mastermind discussions, so make sure the environment is appropriate.  Talk to the event coordinator and be sure you get everything in writing.  Be clear on lodging expectations, pricing, and food accommodations.  Nothing is worse than having unexpected surprises when your retreat customers arrive.
  4. How will you market your retreat?
    This is where a virtual assistant can be a huge asset to you.  Have them place Facebook ads, create email marketing campaigns, tweet about it using an appropriate #hashtag.  Advertise the retreat in popular online retreat directories such as http://www.retreatfinder.com and http://www.retreatsonline.com, create a video series that can be shared on social media, offer partial scholarship opportunities.
  5. Create a retreat program
    Determine your daily objective. Use graphics, charts and graphs if appropriate.  Be sure your branding and contact information is clear and included on the program.  Have this printed program available to all guests.  Make sure your powerpoint presentation (if you are using one) matches this program so that your presentation is cohesive.

Working with a virtual assistant is a great option for a busy entrepreneur. Working with anyone – real or virtual – is a dynamic situation where adjustments need to be made as the working relationship evolves.

We have worked with hundreds of VA and clients, and find that the key to success with any working relationship is having good communication and setting realistic goals.

Today, interacting with your virtual assistant is done using various electronic technologies. Setting up a virtual workspace for communicating with your VA is essential.

These technologies should include the following:
Email – let your VA know if you will be setting them up with a specific email address for your business, or if they will use their own email address to communicate with you. Determine a response time that is acceptable to you and your VA.
Live Chat– Skype or Facetime once a week or once a month if that will help you stay connected.
Document Sharing –Dropbox, Basecamp, and Trello are some options where you can share work and give instructions that can be accessed remotely.

Your VA’s output is greatly dependent on your initial orientation, and the systems that you have already set up, along with some training provided by you.

As your working relationship develops with your VA, you may need to be tolerant and allow for a learning curve. If you remember to communicate, give appropriate feedback, and provide the tools and the training necessary for the job, your VA should become a great asset to your team.

The month of November is always a time when we remind ourselves what we are thankful for. In business it may be a strong loyal client base, an awesome team of people who support us, a contract win, or even the fact that we enjoy doing what we do. For personal gratitude, it may be our family, our friends, or even the barista who makes our morning coffee exactly to our liking every time we stop in.

The thing about gratitude that is important to remember, is that it really should be something to think about and demonstrate all year long, and not just when the calendar reaches the month of November.

It is easy for all of us to get wrapped up in our daily lives. With the stress of deadlines, bills that need to be paid, phone calls or emails that need to be returned, and demands on our time, it is easy to forget about being grateful.

Expressing gratitude can be super powerful for a business. According to Randy Raggio, a marketing professor at the University of Richmond, in an article published in Fortune magazine in November 2011, “Gratitude motivates positive reciprocal behavior,” If a customer believes that a business has his best interests at heart, that customer is more inclined to develop a long-term relationship with the business.

The article also mentions that gratitude is an effective tool largely because “it is a precursor to developing trust,” and trust itself is an extremely powerful driver for loyalty, no matter the type of relationship. Just the same, gratitude is only valuable when it comes across as genuine.

So, as we move through this month, and towards 2016 , make it a New Year resolutions to add daily gratitude into your life, and let us know what happens.

A=Allocate
Allocate time to enjoy your summer.  What does that mean exactly?  It means all work and no play will make you a dull “boy” or “girl”.  Plus, everyone needs to recharge their batteries and summer is a great time to do that.  If you are thinking, “sounds great, but how could I do that, when my weekly business calendar is full?”  Start by scheduling down time on your calendar.  Just like you schedule meetings with clients, schedule time in your calendar just for YOU!  If the thought of that scares you, try and start off slowly with just an hour per week, and then move up to a couple hours per week until you can see the benefits.  What you do with that hour is up to you, but extra time in the gym, reading a book, watching a movie, or just relaxing away from the computer can be extremely beneficial to helping you recharge your spirit and your stamina, which in turn will benefit your business.
B = Basics
Getting back to basics this summer can also help your business.  Try and remember why you started your business in the first place, and how excited you were to get it off the ground.  Are your emotions today the same as they were when you made the big decision to move forward with starting your own business?  If not, try and figure out what about it is different.  Are you overwhelmed? Are you unable to do the things you need to do to make it exciting? Are you too busy with the minutia involved with running your business that every day seems like a blur?  Basic human nature is to try and do everything ourselves, but consider enlisting some help where it makes sense.  Try and think about what you can take off your plate,  and what you can realistically delegate. The goal is to get you back to that place where your excitement level outweighs the stress of running your own business.
C = Commitment
Sometimes making a commitment to yourself is harder than making one to someone else.  Isn’t summer a great time to commit to making a few changes in your life?  With longer days and more sunshine it is easy to put in longer work hours, but why not commit to using those few extra hours to reconnect with family and friends this summer.  Having positive relationships in your life will help you be more positive and energized.  It is easy to sabotage yourself if you start to feel guilty when you choose to miss out on things like family parties, dinner with friends, youth sporting events, or even grilling with the neighbors.  Commit to participating in a few if not all the summer activities you can with family and friends.  You will see that making a conscience effort to enjoy the people around you can be the best use of your time in the long run.

If you need help trying to figure out what you can delegate or who you can work with to give you a few extra hours in your day, we have a team of amazing placement specialist that would be happy to assist you. http://assistantmatch.com.