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It’s been longer than I thought since I last blogged! It’s been a very busy year, which is ALWAYS a good thing, but as new year’s go, I’m making the resolution promise to share more often, because after all, I’m in the business of making business easy. A few things have transpired since I last blogged a year and a half (a year and a half!) ago. My Fairfax chapter is still going strong, and we’ve moved from The Greene Turtle to Oh George! (same day and time).  I’ve taken on two new roles-as the affiliate sponsor for the HSSG, and as partner and Director of Communications for neXco Corporation. Both positions offer challenges and advantages I’m very much looking forward to.

 

Another promise I make to this year is to be more valuable. In saying that, I want to share with you the five ways I recommend my clients to start their new year off to get a leg up on the new year, and finish the year off at least TWICE as good as they started it.

 

  1. Do an Audit

Audit your books for the health of your business. If you review your chart of accounts and find there are accounts you haven’t used in a while, deactivate them. Also, make sure that all your transactions are coded correctly. This will help your taxes, and your bottom line.  You need to give your books to your accountant for taxes anyway. You may as well make sure the new year starts off clean!

 

  1. Clean your office

I mean throw away anything you haven’t looked at in the last six months, dust and vacuum, whatever you need to do to get that desk and space looking as good as new. Buy yourself a new candle, one that makes you feel like you’re in a spa, and while you’re at it, get a desk plant. Your desk should inspire you, your job is a career, you love what you do, now make your space a place you love to be.

 

  1. Make a List

Every year, on New Year’s Day (or the next day) I make a list of everything I want in the new year. Sometimes they’re mundane things like new coffee mugs, or new kitchen towels. But others are more adventurous and challenge me for example add 10 new clients by June, net twice what I make now, employ 5 more people. Whatever my desires are, I write them down, and wouldn’t you know it, every year at least 95% of those things come to fruition (the rest usually come to fruition another year, meaning I really do get everything I write down!) Your thoughts are the seeds, and paper is the soil. Put your thoughts into motion and that energy will bring those things to you. You may feel silly writing them down, but believe me, it works! I usually put that paper where I will see it every day. On the side of my refrigerator next to my French press.

Start your year off fresh and clean and check in with yourself every few months to make sure you’re still on the same path. Happy New Year! May it bring you abundance and prosperity, and for me? More time to blog!

You’re at a networking event, or at a networking meeting, and you’re asked to give a little bit of information about you, or as they say, tell us in 30 seconds who you are. How can you reduce all of the details of your business into 30 seconds! It’s impossible! No one will want to do business with someone who explains their business in just a few short sentences, right? Not true. It’s not only doable, it’s also quite necessary.

 

People have short attention spans, just look at Twitter or social media as a whole. Most people can only process a few words at a time before their brain starts going on a journey. You have to be able to hook a person with a few key sentences. Use these tips:

 

  1. Know Who You Are

That seems kind of redundant. Of course you know who you are! But do you know who people want? Ahh, now there’s the million dollar question! Know what you want to achieve, where you want to go, who you are and what you do. Take a look at your Linkedin profile or your resume. Maybe you have someone you look up to that says it precisely. Study these things to build upon.

2. Create An Outline

Draw out four bullet points that stand out the most. Now, create a story from that. Don’t use jargon, lots of adjectives, or industry words no one knows. Focus on captivating your audience and inviting conversation from there.

3. Pitch It

Now that you have your perfect ’30 second’, it’s time to test it. Record yourself on video, practice with friends and colleagues. Ask for feedback and on what you can do to make it better.

Remember, your elevator pitch should do three things:

  1. Grab attention
  2. Attract more clients
  3. Strengthen relationships/opinion

Do you have the perfect 30 second pitch? Tell me what works for you!

 

 

 

 

One of the most effective ways to build business when you own your own business (or represent a company) is by networking. Businesses come together to meet, connect, and hopefully create clients from the process. Most times, you only have 30 seconds to convey who you are, who your company is, and what you bring to the table. But, what do you say in this ‘elevator speech’ to really stand apart from your competitors? There’s no time for hesitation! Learn how to perfect your 30 second ‘commercial’ and build those connections that will eventually turn into business!

If you’ve never done an ‘elevator speech’ before (a 30 second summary of who you are, and what you want), you may want to take notes. Write down two lists: one that contains who you are-or how you want your business to be perceived, and one about what kind of business you’re seeking. For example, in my pitch I tell people who I am, and that I own VersaTel Solutions, that it’s a virtual administrative staffing solution, and offer some sample services. I mention two or three (depending on how much time I have left) types of businesses we tend to cater to, and then repeat my name and my company name. When you repeat your name at the end of your pitch, businesses are more likely to remember who you are. By mentioning what types of businesses or clients you seek, you help the person you’re talking to to establish two things in their mind: either they themselves are a great potential, or, they know someone who may be.

After you’ve written your lists, create a paragraph from them. Again, start with your name and who you represent. A brief synopsis of your company, then a few examples of who your potential clients may be. Finish off with your name and company again. An example of an elevator speech would be:

Hello, my name is Jane Doe, and I own  ABC Cleaning, a Licensed Green Cleaning Solution. We specialize in home and business maintenance using

I’m so excited to lead a new networking chapter in Fairfax, Nexco. It was founded by a great group of businessmen whom I consider friends, and I’m honored to have been chosen to be the voice of this particular chapter.

I’ve done a lot of networking over the years, and I hear people say all of the time how much they hate networking. I disagree. I think networking can be fun, and quite beneficial if done right.  Follow these steps to not only enjoy networking, but to do it successfully as well.

 

First off, remember that networking is not about you landing a job/client. It’s about gaining information from a business and giving enough information about yours in order for them to use that as a stepping stone. It’s a means to an end, not the end.

 

When you enter the room, first go to those you know. It will make the transition easier, especially if your nervous. Plus, those you know, know you best, and may already have met someone they think would be a good referral for you.  When you meet someone, don’t make it all about you. Networking is much like dating; it’s an opportunity to get to know them and in turn, for them to get to know you. This is where you gauge whether there is a connection between your businesses, or possibly between them and one that you know.

After a networking event, reach out to those you wish to continue a conversation with. Ask them for coffee within 2 weeks of meeting. This way, the conversation stays fresh, and any topics that were hot or would be considered leads will still be warm when you meet.

Before you meet, do research on the business you’re meeting with. You want to look invested and interested in what they have to say and to offer. By being educated, they may be more interested in connecting you to other professionals as well.

 

Now, for that pesky “I hate networking” feeling of yours. Make yourself a promise to go to x number of networking events (tomorrow’s event is a great start!) and to make X number of connections, and when you do, reward yourself with whatever small thing makes you happy. Part of what makes networking so overwhelming is, well, the actual events are overwhelming. But, as I say, the only way to eat a whole elephant is to take small bites, so relax! Think of this as an adventure, and a positive path to your success!

 

Join me tomorrow at Brion’s Grille in University Mall in Fairfax from 11:30-1pm for some great networking with local businesses!

Yes, I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog (sorry about that!) I’ve been so focused on building the businesses of my clients, I’ve ignored my home, I’ll try to be better, I promise.

I’ve been on quite a journey these past few months. Some amazing things have been happening in Chez VersaTel Solutions, which I can’t wait to share with you (soon enough). Within this journey I’ve also become aware of things that I had taken advantage of and really didn’t realize until someone else mentioned it. What am I talking about, you ask? Instagram of course!

Originally, I joined Instagram because it was new and I could see the potential of the benefits of marketing through this new social media platform-I didn’t really know how just yet, but I liked it! Eventually, my pictures became less about the food I was eating and more about the meetings I was having. I’ve received more interest than I thought I would get just for snapping pictures at meetings and events I attend. It’s made potential clients turn into real clients, and garnered enough interest to make me busy enough to well, have to let my blog go (at least for a little while).

How can Instagram work for your business? In various ways. Take a picture before a meeting to show you are out and about; snap a shot of your work environment to give people an insider’s look; if you’re attending a networking event, take shot of the event and make sure to hashtag it. If I can make office management exciting, believe me, so can you.

If you sell products, this is a great forum in which to show off your wares. Take pictures of your products being created, of your products being delivered, or, if you deliver them yourself, take a picture of your happy clients. Ask your clients to hashtag your business, or if they can tag you if they post a picture of you or your products.  There are so many ways to take advantage of Instagram; its a matter of making use of it.

Here at VersaTel Solutions we want to help you get your business, your products and your services out there to people you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach. Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you; if you’re on Instagram, follow me: http://instagram.com/sevanastone

Or, if you’re on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/versatelsolutions

Or Twitter: https://twitter.com/Versa_Tel

When I go to networking events, I get asked what I do (naturally), and when I tell people I own a virtual administrative management company they get a glazed look over their face. ‘Oh like a virtual office?’ ‘No.’ ‘So, a virtual assistant?’ ‘No.’ *Sigh.

Since I do do a lot of networking, and get a lot of questions about the difference between VA’s and Business-grade VA’s(of which my company is made up of), I thought I would clear the air, and help you decide which is the best choice for you.

Virtual assistants are great for individuals who need data entry, or just basic trivial things. Chances are you will need to train them, and give them the tools they need to successfully finish the work you need help with.  Think of the secretary or receptionist in an office; they answer emails, calls, schedule travel and do basic admin.

Virtual assistants are also broken down to two different categories: Onshore, and Offshore. Onshore is an assistant located in your country. they can be in the same time-zone or region and will communicate with you in your native, regional language, understanding cultural nuance, like work ethic, timeliness, and vernacular.

Offshore assistants are generally located in developing nations, with language skills often around the 75-90% fluency. Although they work well for interoffice communication, they may not b appropriate for answering emails, speaking with clients, and developing company communication for marketing purposes. Yes, these assistants tend to be cheaper than onshore, however, with onshore, you won’t have to worry about break downs in communication.

A business-grade VA handles much more complex functions, like social media, bookkeeping, web design, email marketing, web development, web admin, and much, much more.  Business-grade VA’s are generally affiliated with a company (like mine). They possess not only advanced skills, but also experience, maturity and track-records that handle high level responsibilities. Yes, business-grade VA’s generally cost more than a basic VA, but if you require specialized skills, the business-grade VA is worth the extra investment.

 

If you aren’t sure whether a basic VA or a business-grade VA would fit best with your needs, contact me for a consultation.

 

Social media can be scary for those who don’t understand it; those who do understand it, however, use it beautifully as the tool that it is, and excel in marketing their businesses. But, those who don’t understand it, underestimate it too, and by doing that, they end up wasting time and money-two things that are extremely rare these days.

Reading this you know which category you fit into, don’t you? Either you’re creating buzz or you’re not, and if you’re not then your strategy is all wrong! How do you know if you’re guilty of these offenses?

Consistency is incredibly important. Posting at least once a day, up to three times a day (any more than that and it can drive your followers crazy). Although there’s no rule about the times of day you should post, it is important to be consistent.

Granted you could post every day for years, and not make a dent if you’re not saying the right things. The quality is much more important than the quantity (even though the quantity is important too, but what does it matter if what you say isn’t interesting?) Think about what you would want to know or read if you were the follower of your business. Would it matter if you read “It’s a rainy day today!” No. No one cares. But, if you sell insurance and you said “Did you know you can get a $500 food reimbursement from your insurance if you lose power because of all of this rain?” See, that’s important information!

Again, when it comes to consistency and content, it’s important that these two marry. Make sure your tone and voice are consistent in the content you post. Don’t sound like a professional in one post, and like a teenager in the next. People can only read your voice, and build an opinion based on the voice they have created for you in their head. Consistency in your tone will help them build a trustworthy persona for you. If you can’t do the posting yourself, make sure you hire someone who will understand your voice, and post for you.

Social media is an important element to your marketing. If you don’t understand it, or don’t have the time to perfect it, contact us to help you navigate through all the platforms to find the ones that would work best for you, and help you stay on track to build your online presence!

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