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Posts tagged ‘marketing’

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!

 

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….

 

 

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!

Social Media-Is It Working For You?

So many people drink the juice that is social media, and are quickly disenchanted by the dismal ratings and virtually zero client turnovers. Why is that? Isn’t social media supposed to be the cure-all, fourth dimension that marketing lacked for so many years? Well, yes! And, no. Social media is the perfect tool to expand on your personal and professional knowledge. Consider it your business’s soapbox. An opportunity for people to get to know you and gain trust in you as your field’s professional source.

 

You only get out of social media what you put into it, AND if you use the correct platforms to voice your business and experience within it. For example, I use Instagram simply because I like it. Do I really focus on it for my business? No, not really. How many people want to see 20 different pictures of me sitting at my desk, or pictures of my dogs sitting with me sitting at my desk? I’m going to venture to say, probably not too many. Would Instagram work for my business? Not really. Instagram does work, however, for anyone selling products (I’ve actually bought things I’ve seen on Instagram). For someone selling a service. Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin work best. It’s good to know what you have, what information you can share, and where you think YOU would want to see that form of information. If you don’t know where your business belongs, do some research on your field. Where are other people who do what you do go for social media marketing? Do they have a lot of followers? Do they seem to do well within the chosen platform? This is a great place to start, and to build your social media presence. But, what do you say once you get there?

 

Communication is a highly underrated art-just because you say something, doesn’t mean you are ‘conveying information’. Learning what to say and how to say it truly takes time and practice. A great place to start would be to write a few different status updates in Word, wait an hour, then go back and read it again. Do they make sense to you? Do they resonate with you? Or do they seem like a bunch of words strung together? Research your competition and see what they write-how effective are they? Do they say things that make you excited about their product or service? Research and practice then practice some more to get the right ‘voice’. Saying the right things, and saying on the right channels will turn those readers into clients; those clients into money!

It’s Been Entirely Too Long….

Ever hear how nail techs have the ugliest nails? Why, you ask? Because they’re so busy making everyone else’s nails fabulous, they have no time to do their own. Well, that’s how I’ve been feeling for the past few months. Business has been great, and things are moving in the right direction, yet at the meantime, I’ve neglected blogging and sharing the information I’ve been gleaning on my journey. I apologize. I really should be more proactive, and I’ve let my blog slip. Please accept the apology-I promise to do better.

 

In the meantime, this has proven as a great example of when one owns a business, and runs it successfully, it’s time to realize what can be done by one person, and what can be delegated out. What’s your time worth? Are you using your time to build business, or are you using it doing frivolous administrative work? It’s been the heart of my business-helping business owners understand what is worth their time, and what isn’t. I’ve done a great job these past few months building a team of incredibly skilled professionals to assist clients and give them the kind of one-on-one focus I strive to achieve with my company. By doing that, I’m able to focus on administrating my own business, and relaying information and experience through the blogs!

 

I promise, I’ll do better. Spring is here, hibernating animals are soon to wake, and me? I’m getting ready to blossom with springs flowers. Who knows what comes next? I guess you’ll have to stick around to find out 🙂

Delegating Is The New Delegating: What You Should And Shouldn’t Be Doing For Your Business

As women, it’s easy to say, “Oh, I’ll just do it” or “I’ll take care of it” and frankly, there are quite a few men out there that do that too; “Oh, it will take too long to teach you all the nuances of the business, so I’ll just take care of it myself.” But often, these business owners watch their businesses crash and fall after two years because they burn out. Administrative duties for a business are much larger than the business itself, and taking advantage of the importance of office management will be the undoing (and is the undoing) of many a business.

Recognizing that your services can be put to better use is the first step to delegating. I often say if you take what you charge an hour, and figure how much it would cost you to focus on admin as opposed to clients-that’s how much money you’re losing. Now, take that hourly and imagine someone else doing it, and it just makes sense to hire someone else to take over your office duties.

It takes a strong business person to understand what they can do, what they can’t do, and what is not worth their time doing. Also, chances are, someone else more qualified in that field will do the job more efficiently. That means giving your copy of Quickbooks to a competent bookkeeper instead of doing it yourself; handing over your Facebook and Twitter to a more qualified market focused writer, and offering up your Outlook to an experienced office manager.

It doesn’t make you less of a successful business owner to hand over the reins of your business. You are the coach-not the whole team, and shouldn’t be expected to be. You started your company because of your love of that particular field. Leave the management in more capable hands. In the end, you’ll actually save and make money (do the math, it’s true!), create a solid, secure business, and enjoy owning your business for a very long time!

Know Who Your Clients Are In the New Year-My Top Ten: Part Two

Thin Client

Thin Client (Photo credit: ryan2point0)

We started off my Top Ten with some of the most common challenges in client personalities. Here, you’ll find the conclusion of my Top Ten with some of the most challenging clients you’ll encounter and how to curtail them before they jeopardize your reputation.

6. Mr. “I Don’t Know, Maybe, What Do You Think?”: These clients have no idea what they want, which is why they flip flop on their decisions making your job more frustrating. In the end, you know they won’t be happy, but you have to find that happy medium.

Solution: Get EVERYTHING in writing once the project is decided upon. Make all the details clear to keep from any misunderstandings.

7.  Mr. “Emergency!”: Somehow, you’ve managed to stay in business with just one client, and this guy’s the one. This client believes you do nothing but work for him, and therefore must be afforded all of your time.

Solution: Make it clear what the timetables are for all the deadlines, and remind him gently (when things start going awry) that you do have other clients, and he is just as much of a priority as they are.

8.  Mrs. “I Don’t Know What I Want, But It Isn’t That”: This client may not know what she wants, but she knows what it’s not, and most likely it’s everything you propose.

Solution: Moving targets can be very difficult to please. This may just be the client you can’t take on for the sake of your sanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.  Mrs. “I Hate That! I Don’t Know Why, But I Do!”: This client will latch on to any small feature and bring your project to a grinding halt.

Solution: Don’t ask them what colors they want, ask them what they want to accomplish. If they’re still nitpicking your project, you have the option to relinquish the agreement.

10.  Mr. “How Much Is This Going To Cost?”: This penny pinching client is more concerned with the budget than the project.

Solution: Agree on the cost of the project including any possible surprises. If they don’t think they can afford some wiggle room, then you have to consider passing up on them as a client.

*Have you encountered these types of clients and want to know how to make your website and your business more clear and succinct to avoid these types of scenarios? Contact me for a personalized consultation!

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