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Posts tagged ‘versatel solutions’

Tips To Network Successfully

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!

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Do You Need A Basic Virtual Assistant, Or A Business Grade Virtual Assistant?

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.

 

You’re Using Social Media All Wrong-Here’s Why…

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!

The Difference Between a Virtual Assistant and VersaTel Solutions

I do a lot of networking, and recently I met a Virtual Assistant (VA). That’s very uncommon because, well, they’re virtual and generally don’t venture into the wild (i.e., networking events). I was intrigued by her as one would be with say a peacock or a Richmond Birdwing Butterfly(yes, I know what that is!) and asked her what her skill set was. “Well, I don’t do bookkeeping, and I won’t cold call. I don’t do or even understand social media, and I won’t get involved in marketing material. Oh, and I don’t do notarizing. Who does that anyway?” As she told me all of the things she doesn’t do, I couldn’t help but say (in the most eloquent way I could), “So, you’ve told me all things you don’t do, is there anything  you do do?” She looked at me blankly, probably wondering if it would be appropriate to slap me. It was a valid question; how would it benefit a company to pay separately for a VA, separately for a bookkeeper, and separately for someone to do their social media? That’s a lot of money if you ask me.  At this same event, I happened upon a gentleman who I had seen a few months before who had brushed me off with “Yea, I could hire you, but I’ve got this girl doing everything for me out of the Philippines, and she only charges $10 an hour. I just don’t see the value in what your company offers” (yes, he really said that).

 

I reintroduced myself to said gentleman and asked how things were going with his Filipino VA. He complained about how much time he spends just trying to get her to understand what he needs, and how many times he has to send things she writes back to her because they just don’t make regional sense. She speaks perfect English, don’t get me wrong. She just doesn’t speak Northern Virginian. People don’t get how important that is! Yes, of course you can spend pennies on someone overseas to do the same things you could pay an American to do, however, just because they speak English, doesn’t mean they speak Tyson’s, or Richmond, or Maryland. The words we use here, and the way we intercommunicate here in the DMV is vastly different than people back home in Michigan. I don’t communicate with people in Massachusetts they same way I do here, and how would someone halfway across the world know that where you live it’s called the Metro, and elsewhere it’s called the subway (in Michigan it’s called a People Mover-go figure!)

 

At VersaTel, we keep things local on purpose. Not only does it feed the American economy (which is EXTREMELY important to me), it also ensures regional intercommunication (basically, when you say something specific to the area, we know what you’re saying. Or, if you need scheduling, we know the area and where to take you first so you’re not driving all over the state). We don’t pretend to know what we’re doing, or say “Oh yea, we can do that” and hope for the best. We are highly skilled professionals, CPA’s, with a plethora of experience ready to service your needs. Our flexibility is the beauty of our business, and because WE are a small business, we have a vested interest in YOUR small business. It’s small business that built this country, and small business that will rebuild this economy, so the next time you think “Oh, I’ll save money if I cut corners here and there” remember you ALWAYS get what you pay for, and with VersaTel Solutions, you get a ‘Justice League’ of telecommuters at your service!

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!

 

 

Spring Clean Your Business!

Ok, so it’s almost summer-we’re only a few days away! However, it’s never too late to spring clean, especially when it comes to your business. Regular evaluations will help you stay on point and focused on your ultimate goals. How do you spring clean a business?

 

Start wtih updating your website and social media by taking stock of what your online presence looks like. Is there something on your site that could be updated? Are there pictures you could remove because they’re too old, or has the vision of your business shifted since you created your site? Tighten things up, fix the details and update everything you see fit. Keep your website relevant to where your business is today.

 

When I worked in retail, once a year we would have a staff meeting to address issues we had allowed to stay stagnant as opposed to resolving them. The same should go for your staff. It’s important to remind them where they are headed and to reflect together on what the common goal is. Address issues on both ends-yours and theirs-to make sure everyone stays on the same page.

 

If the vision of your business hasn’t changed, or, you just haven’t had time to do anything about it, you may want to take the time now to touch base with your business plan. Revisit it and update it once a year to keep pace with the rest of your company. Go back to basics to keep you chugging along the track you want to stay on!

 

We all hate emails that just sit there don’t we? At some point we look at our inbox and think “How did I acquire 12,000 unopened emails?”  Pour a cup of coffee, push up your sleeves, and clear out your afternoon to organize and delete emails. If you just can’t afford to do that, consider hiring someone to do it for you (*hint, it’s one of the options we offer!) The minor cost to take care of this is worth its weight in gold.

 

Lastly, literally, clean your office! Clean off your desk, dust, and vacuum. It’s important to do this at least once a month, but hey, I get it, you’re busy! If you can do this at least once a quarter, you’re still in better shape than most people.

 

So, what are you waiting for? Get cleaning!

 

 

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?

 

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