Monthly Archives: May 2014

Invest In Yourself & Your Business

Have you ever heard the saying ‘You have to spend money to make money’? Well, it’s true. Some spend a little to make a little and others spend a lot to make a lot. What’s really fun is to spend a little to make a lot … that seems to be the formula that we all like best.

So how do you know what the right investments are for your business? Well that my friend is different for every professional in every business. But for the most part the easiest way to make more money is to hire an assistant. As your business grows there are things that MUST be done but are either taking up too much of your time or aren’t making you as much money as other things you could be doing. Now I understand not everyone has the money or space to hire a part-time or full-time employee so that’s where virtual assistants come into play as a great investment. Virtual assistants are contract employees who work a certain number of hours per month from their home office. They take care of their own office space, equipment, supplies, insurance and taxes.

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So how do virtual employees make you money? Well, if you are a sales professional you must set appointments and meet with clients. The act of setting the appointments isn’t making you the money, it’s sitting with the client and selling them your product or service that is. So let’s say you spend one full day setting appointments and four days selling. You had to set the appointments on day one to make all the money you did on days 2-5 but what if you hired someone to set your appointments so you could get in five days of selling? If you are a good salesperson your fifth day of selling will make you a lot more money than the cost of hiring a person to schedule those appointments for you so it’s well worth it. You are now money ahead. You had to spend money to make money.

Another example of how you could increase your business is by using social media. Social media is a great marketing tool but it can be time consuming, it’s always changing and there is a lot to learn. Who has time to learn how to make social media marketing successful for your business? A social media assistant would. You don’t get paid to sit on Facebook and Twitter but the revenue it could generate for you could be well worth you hiring an assistant to do it for you.

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Remember to be smart about your investments and track their success. If you are spending money on an appointment setter make sure that the revenue you are making for the appointments she is making is at a bare minimum paying for the service. This goes for all products and services. If you pay $200 per month for a social media assistant make sure you are generating a minimum of $200 per month from social media. Of course the goal is to make money, not break even but you certainly don’t want to loose money. A lot of companies are losing money on products and services every day and they don’t realize it because they aren’t taking the steps to measure the success. If you don’t have the time to measure the success of your investments than that’s what your assistant is for, right? If you don’t have one I guess it’s time to hire one. And I might just know a person who can help.

Drip, Drip, Drip, But Not Like Chinese Water Torture

Dripping on prospective clients can be a very effective way to grow your business but only if you do it tastefully! Over the past several years my team and I have learned how to drip on prospective clients without it becoming painful. So how does it work?

  • Make first contact via email, LinkedIn and/or phone call.
  • If no response, follow up after one week.
  • If still no response, follow up after another week.
  • If still no response, put them on my list of prospective clients to follow up with after one month.
  • If still no response, put them on a quarterly list and follow up with them each quarter until they either become a client or ask to be removed from the list.

I have gotten business from people that I’ve dripped on for six months, some after a year and even some after two years or more. If they don’t want to hear from me, they’ll let me know and I’ll remove them from my list.

Now, I do train my appointment setters to do this a bit differently because of the nature of that business. But no matter how you drip the last thing you want to do is completely harass prospective clients. We do not contact them daily or multiple times per day. Remember, we don’t want to turn our dripping into Chinese water torture!

I’ve explained how I drip but what am I putting in my dripping message that helps make it effective? It’s really quite simple. I let my prospective clients know that I offer a valuable service that will help them grow their business. If they don’t respond to me then I let them know that their potential business is valuable to me and that I will follow up with them from time to time to see if they are in need of my services.

If you drip on prospective clients correctly you should receive a high percentage of positive feedback and a good amount of business. Don’t drip on them too much yet make sure you are dripping on them enough. There is a happy medium so get organized, create a plan and start dripping!

Creating New Business From Old Business

The other night I was brainstorming marketing ideas in front of the television when a Dominos pizza commercial appeared. What a unique and smart marketing technique – tell people that you’ve listened to them about how bad the pizza was and then tell them you’ve have made every effort to make it better. I thought back to the first time I had seen those commercials, back when I hadn’t had Dominos in a long time. I immediately ordered their pizza and it was delicious! The marketing worked! Then I began to wonder why this wouldn’t work for other businesses. Especially businesses who most likely made a few or more mistakes early on, but learned and grew and were now much better for it.

I started to think about how I could apply this technique to my own business. I was very experienced in my field before I started my own company but as we all know running a business is completely different than having a job. I know I made a few mistakes in my early years and maybe didn’t always provide the best possible service because I was still learning. But now I’ve been in business for several years, I have listened to my clients feedback and I’ve worked very hard to perfect every facet of my business. In fact, I am still working hard to create better service every day … after all, we are never quite done growing. My team and I thrive on building long-term relationships and work very hard on customer service, but like everyone else I’m always looking for new business. So why not create new business out of old business.

The next morning I dug into my list of contacts and started reaching out to past clients. Clients that perhaps the service just didn’t work out how they had hoped, clients who maybe moved on to other jobs, clients who felt that there wasn’t enough work to continue working with an assistant … whatever the reason they left, I contacted them. I let them know that we were still helping people build their businesses and that we’ve worked very hard to improve the quality of our services over the past few years. Once again … the marketing worked! I generated a lot of leads from my marketing to past clients and am now working on turning those leads into business.

Sometimes we need to remember that new business is right in front of us and we have to reach out and grab it. Don’t let all those old contacts just sit in your database. Market to them. Re-engage them. And let them know the value in them coming back to your business … it’s definitely worth a shot!

Check back next week for my blog post titled Drip, Drip, Drip, But Not Like Chinese Water Torture.

Are you too busy?

Believe it or not, some people are too busy to realize that they are too busy. A lot of us are trying to manage our careers and make time for our families all while maintaining a social life. So how do you know if you are too busy?

If you find that having to use the restroom a few times a day has become a major inconvenience, and you think if only you could figure out a way to make those few minutes each day more productive, then YES, you are too busy!

If you are having a hard time setting aside time to eat food, then yes, you are too busy!

If you wish you had a chauffer so that you could work while in the car, then again, you might be too busy!

And finally, if your job, family and/or social life are suffering and you frequently hear people tell you that you are too busy … listen to them.

So if you are just too busy, what do you do? It’s very simple really.

1. Next time you need to use the restroom take a pad of paper into the stall with you and write down all of your priorities! These are the things that matter the most to you. Remember them.

2. At your next meal (preferably not a family one) write down a list of things you can let go of. Maybe it’s poker night … okay sorry … maybe it’s a different extra curricular activity or two that you no longer need to be a part of. There might be something that you can back off of. Let it go, remember your priorities.

3. Finally, right before you hit the hay make a daily, weekly and monthly to-do list. Then circle all the things on the list that you would be okay farming out to someone else, like perhaps to a virtual assistant. Maybe it’s appointment setting, expense reports, travel plans, thank you cards, birthday cards, data entry, research, event planning or anything else you can think of.

4. When you wake the next morning hire a virtual assistant. Your virtual assistant will give you the gift of time! She will do your to-do list and you’ll no longer curse having to use the restroom, you’ll be able to stop and enjoy a flavorful meal, your family will see you more and you’ll be able to spend Friday afternoons on the golf course instead of at the office.

Successful people know when they need help. Successful people realize that they can’t do it all and successful people, believe it or not, do take a pad of paper with them to the restroom.