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Posts tagged ‘clients’

How To Choose The Right Bookkeeper For YOU!

As a business owner, we tend to think we can handle it all, I mean, we own a BUSINESS, what’s a little office work, right? That’s like saying being a stay at home mom is easy (it’s NOT). A successful business owner understands her (or his) limits, and knows to hand off the things they struggle with (and takes the most of their time). Bookkeeping is one of those tasks that are best left to the professionals.

 

But, what should you expect from a bookkeeper? What qualifies someone to keep your books?

 

First, they must be detail oriented. You need someone who is able to focus on the little things. Someone who can do this will allow the big things to take care of themselves.

 

Second, they must have a really good understanding of your big picture. If they don’t know what your overall goals are, they won’t know how to allocate expenses. assets, or liabilities. Your bookkeeper should have a basic understanding of terms at the very least. They should know the difference between asset, liability, equity, income and expense accounts.

 

Although it seems like a no brainer, it’s not easy to find someone who will follow through. Make sure you have someone who will ensure your projects and questions are followed through to completion. Monthly financial statements-balance sheets, P&L statements, cash flow statements, etc.

 

You know how important job costing is to your business, which makes it just as important for your bookkeeper to understand job costing as well. They need to understand all costs need an item and job detail to make certain the information you have is reliable. Does this mean they have to be authorities on your industry? No, but it’s certainly helpful if they have some understanding.

 

Of course there are so many hat come with on the job training , but helping your bookkeeper (for example, providing them with the information they need to properly keep your books) and answering their questions in a timely fashion will certainly help them, and YOU to set your business up for success!

 

 

How To Convert a Client Meeting Into A Secured Client

Ok, so you’ve done the networking, and you did so well, you got someone to want to meet with you to learn more about you and your services. YAY! Don’t celebrate too soon though; before you start imagining your future together,  you have to make sure you nail that first meeting with these crucial steps, or else, the time and focus you put towards that meeting will be all for not.

Before meeting with the prospective client, do a little homework. Google them to learn as much as you can about their industry and about them as well. You may find information that will help you build  a rapport with this person. Finding that common thread will build trust and commonality-the first step in closing a deal!

Although you normally keep your smartphone no more than 3 inches away from you at all times this may be the best time for you to put that phone away. You wouldn’t interrupt a potential employer with your phone, would you? Don’t do it with a potential client either. It leaves an impression that you are not fully engaged. Securing a client should be your top priority-everything else can wait.

As much as I would love to think this person is at least 80% committed to you, chances are they’re really at more like a 50%. They can really go either way. Try to keep the conversation light, positive, and a fair give and take-almost like a first date. Ask them questions, and make eye contact; talk about your business in a way that may interest them, and do your best to find more commonality to further thread you closer together until that person is a secured client.

Lastly, a successful meeting will always lead to a second meeting-give them all the information they need to help them decide whether your business is the right fit for them, but leave the detailed specifics for the next meeting-taking you to that next step.

Good luck on securing that client!

 

Networking 101-How To Take Networking To The Next Level

Part of owning a successful business, or even a growing business is networking. Yes, a lot can be said for advertising and word of mouth-referrals are even great, but most of your business (my business anyway) comes from serious networking.

 

Not everyone wants to walk into a room full of strangers and introduce themselves, much less try to attract interest to their business. But, if follow these key tips, you’ll be less likely to hold the walls up and more likely to make some valuable connections.

 

Most networking events are  pretty firm on their start and end times. If you show up late, you’ll likely see circles of people already formed, and find it difficult to break in. Get to the event a bit early, and you’ll give yourself enough time to drink in the room, figure out a strategy, and create a circle of people yourself!

 

Networking is not about closing a client-that comes later. This is your opportunity to introduce yourself and your business to those who may not know you, and to meet businesses you may benefit from (or know someone who will). Keep the conversation light; ask simple questions to open up the conversation and smile. Engage in the person, keep eye contact, and make sure you seem interested.  People pick up on these body cues and will know whether you are truly focused, or are just listening for key words that may benefit you, and only you.

When the conversation has warmed up, feel free to share what your product or service is, IF they ask. Give a 30 second elevator pitch that sums up what you do, or offer, and keep it open ended to give them an opportunity to ask you more questions about it. The more they get to know you, the more likely they will be to either share your business, refer you business, or become the business!

Remember, networking is the beginning not the end. If you’ve exchanged cards with someone at the networking event, or, if the event sent out a list of email addresses, follow up with a quick summary of what you talked about, or about your business. You talked to so many people, it’s hard to keep track of all that information-the same goes for everyone else at that event. Be sure to follow up within 48 hours while you’re still fresh in their mind.

 

If you’ve networked before, what would you say was your most valuable tool?

 

Working From Home Can Be Hazardous To Your Health!

Working from home can be a great solution for solo-preneurs, telecommuters, and those who have small children who would rather work with them than without them, but many don’t realize a home workplace can intensify problems rather than alleviate them.

 

Make your home-office a healthy environment by creating physical and mental boundaries. For example, it’s important to give yourself a breather between work and home. For many, that generally translates into a commute. But what do you do when your only commute is coming down (or up) the stairs? Some go to the local coffee shop to grab a coffee and drive back home to create an official start to their day. Since I have three kids in three different stages in life, I tend to have a cup of coffee between the time my oldest leaves for school and the middle has to wake up to get ready for school. That hour of time is enough time for me to prepare mentally for my work day. I also NEVER work in PJ’s-I take a shower, put on pants with a zipper and button, wear makeup and do my hair. These simple acts make me feel like I’m going to the office, as opposed to just down my stairs.

 

It’s not easy to mentally separate work from home, believe me. If possible, try to dedicate a room to become your office. If you don’t have that available to you, create a work space that looks like an office, and avoid pictures of your family, or decorating with your home’s design in mind. Reflect your business to make you feel as though you’ve entered an office-not a corner of your living room.

 

While working from home may be great for those who hate the distraction of coworkers, it can actually make you feel quite lonely. Consider joining a meet-up group or a networking group to get you out of the house, and keep you out of a mental funk.

 

Don’t get too distracted by the doldrums of your home-your office is your oasis, and keeping your mental and physical health in check will not only make you a healthier person, it will make you a more successful business person as well!

 

 

 

Daydream Your Way To Success!

As a kid, my mom must have visited the principal’s office and seen my teachers more often than she did my dad.  I was considered disruptive, and inattentive; talkative, and incorrigible. As the years went on, school became more difficult to focus on, and I got so stressed out by the whole thing, that I skipped out on my SAT’s. I figured I wouldn’t be able to stay focused long enough to take them (which I wasn’t), and it wouldn’t matter anyway because I was too stupid to go to College. That’s what all my teachers said, so why shouldn’t it be so?

 

Fast forward to my current business that supports my short attention span and allows me to flourish in my scattered focus. At any given time I have Pandora playing, two screens open, and am working on both a marketing piece, and someone’s books while paying attention to my 2 year old and making sure he doesn’t try to escape via the high backyard fence (which he’s tried a time or two).  I’ve always worked 2-3 jobs, and where many say multi-tasking doesn’t work, I disagree. I think it’s a case by case issue. I actually can’t do one thing at a time. Finally, there is evidence to support this. So many people become depressed by their jobs; bored with their lives, and have mental breakdowns when their strictly timed lives are disrupted.

 

This is no way to run a business-much less your life. Find a creative outlet for your brain, and give it a rest every now and then to keep from burning out. Just as you need to take a walk around your office, home, or outside every hour, you need to give your brain a break too. Every 20 minutes, try to look away from your screen, and every hour try to stare at something other than spreadsheets-like a Yahoo front page, PerezHilton.com; whatever tickles your fancy.

 

Believe it or not, doodling has helped many of history’s greatest thinkers to achieve their goals-think Steve Jobs or John F. Kennedy. These nonsensical sketches help unlock creativity, enhancing recall and lighting up neural networks that allow for cognitive breakthroughs. Think about the things you did as a kid to get through your lessons, and which ones worked best. your brain now is the same a your brain then. The paths you used to tap into the deeper part of your brain are the same, you just have to use the same directions/patterns to get there.

 

You are a genius, if you allow yourself to be. You are the only thing standing between you and your success. Don’t think you have to believe what others say you are, nor do you have to follow a pattern of life because that is what is expected of you. No, I didn’t take my SAT’s, but I did go to College (for a bit anyway), and found that my brain was better used in different ways. Once I started to believe in myself, and less in what others wanted me to be, I found a whole new pattern of life that has brought me so much success so far. Why question it? I’m just going to enjoy the ride….

 

 

Cluttered Office-Cluttered Mind. Organize For Success!

I recently felt like my home office had turned into the family dumping ground. Everyone’s stuff from house bills, to permission slips and homework landed on my office. Because the logical place to put these things are on my OFFICE desk, and not in the area of the kitchen I organized with great detail for all personal items to be placed, right? It’s an uphill battle to get these horses to drink the water I’ve led them to, so I decided it was time to force them into organization. Why? Because my cluttered work space has caused me to slack off-I don’t even want to look at my desk, much less work here. I bought a few things to help my family become more organized and keep my desk clutter free!

 

I find inspiration in the strangest things. I like to use old glasses and unique items to bring interest to my table so when I look at them I smirk, or at least feel like if Better Homes and Gardens were to do a surprise photo shoot of my office, they’d find it interesting too. I have a gold dachshund tape dispenser from Target, a vintage green goblet that belonged to my late in-laws to hold paper clips and rubber bands, and a mesh metal cup for pens. There’s a really cool gold leaf bowl that holds lotions, hand sanitizers, cards, and other miscellaneous things too. I also bought Nate Berkus push pins that look like the earrings I used to wear in the 80’s. Having these interesting things for my mundane items make me feel creative, and glamorous even if what I’m doing isn’t the most glamorous of jobs.

 

I have a Threshold double layer organizer that acts as a holding station. One layer is for home, and the other layer is for office. This way, I’m not accidentally handing a pile of papers to my client that has a drawing from my 9 year old stuck in there (not that that’s EVER happened, or anything). Even though I don’t need it yet, I also got a Threshold desk organizer from Target. Having this greatly reduces the possibility of my desk becoming too cluttered. Taking these precautions and using these items makes my desk feel more upscale, and forces my family to put things where they belong (otherwise, they end up on my keyboard, and if that were to happen, I’d truly be on monkey tilt).

 

Working from home can be a challenge within yourself; finding inspiration and motivation on the daily can be a daunting task. But, when you work from home it makes it easy for the other members of your family to take advantage of your workspace and make it their own as well. Setting clear boundaries by using organizers, and using office products that put a smile on your face will both keep you fresh and creative, and your family behind within the parameters you set.

5 Methods To Sustain A Successful Business!

I come across many businesses on a daily basis, and some of them follow my philosophy and some of them look at me as though I’m an alien. I tell people all of the time, to keep their businesses simple and focused-slow and steady wins the race! But, time and time again, I’m met with those who think putting their hands in many pots makes them both versatile and bring them closer to success at a faster rate. Yes, I’ll agree my company offers many different services, however the true service we offer is office management. That’s what I own-a virtual office management company, and to say I’ve moved at a turtles pace in building and sustaining this company of mine is an understatement. It’s the key though to building a secure and strong business! Here are my top ten methods to building and sustaining a successful company. Do you utilize any of these tools?

 

1. Dream Small-When one sets out to start a business, it’s easy to dream big-why not? Mark Zuckerberg dreamed big and look what it got him? Big returns! For the rest of us however, we need to dream small. Be realistic about your goals and don’t set out to reach goal 2 and 3 before you reach 1. Complete each task in it’s entirety or you’ll only set yourself up for failure. Build an air-tight foundation to your business and it cannot fail!

2. Captain or Deckhand? Pick one!-You can’t both lead a boat and row at the same time. It’s impossible. So, why do so many businesses think they can do EVERYTHING by themselves? I hear every excuse, “I can’t afford it”, “I don’t see the point in hiring someone to do what I can just take care of myself” and so on, and so forth. Of course, you can probably manage your office AND do your very focused job, but do you want to? Probably not. Do what you’re really good at, and hand off the rest to keep you from losing focus. Doctors have nurses for a reason…you should have an office manager for that same reason as well.

3.The Elevator Speech-If I asked you to tell me who you are, the name of your company, and an overview of what your business does, could you do it? Of course you could! But, could you do it in 30 seconds? Maybe not.  Rehearse this, even if you don’t need to actually use it, to really boil down the essence of your company. It’s a great practice to help keep you focused on who your business and you are in your core.

4. Mr./Mrs. Right-If there’s anything I’ve learned from networking it’s to be uber specific about who my ideal client is. Do you know who yours is? No, it’s not “Anyone who needs plumbing!” (if you’re a plumber, of course). Write down who your ideal client is, where they live, what they do, etc. to pinpoint your market and draw a clear, narrow path to your success!

5. Get To The Point-What is your ultimate goal for your business other than make money and retire in the Bahamas? Think small here: what is your ultimate goal this year? This month? This week? Take small bites, set small goals and create positive habits to reach those goals consistently!

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