Monthly Archives: October 2016

Decrease Stress with Effective Communication

Communication seems like it should be a simple thing to do, right? It should be as easy as breathing, or eating or watching TV. Highly successful individuals have excellent communication skills. They communicate to others what they want, what they need and how they’d like things done. They know that in order to succeed communication is key.

Most issues can be resolved with simple communication. Think of all the issues and stresses you’ve had in your business and your personal life. How many of them were from lack of communication or a miscommunication?

I would like to think that most people that work for me don’t think I’m an evil Queen but if there is one thing I’m a huge stickler on it’s COMMUNICATION. I want to know what obstacles my virtual assistants are facing, I want to know when they are sick or taking a vacation, I want to know the good, the bad and the ugly. And I’d better not find out that they are not communicating with their clients. So my VA’s know me well and know that if they communicate with me and their clients in a timely fashion then no one loses their head.

So how can you prevent communication breakdown in the office or at home? There are some simple things that everyone can do, even if you are an excellent communicator but you are dealing with someone who doesn’t communicate well – try the options below.

  1. Really listen to the other person. Sometimes I think we are so caught up in what we are doing that we don’t really listen to the other person and we miss important information. When speaking with someone try to give them your undivided attention.
  2. Pick up the phone if you need to. Sometimes email and texts just don’t cut it. If we are going to have to text each other 5 times to make plans then we probably should just get on the phone and talk it out. Or if you are emailing back and forth with an employee or client several times over an issues pick up the phone and resolve the issue.
  3. Respond to important emails and phone calls in a timely fashion. I will admit when people don’t respond to important messages in a timely manner – even meaning within 24 hours- this is a pet peeve of mine. Now what may be important to you and what may be important to someone else could be two different things so you can make your best judgement on what you feel that you need to respond to.
  4. Schedule time to communicate. We are all super busy people and a week, a month, a year can go by so quickly. Schedule a weekly call with people that need to know what you are up to. Set aside 10-20 minutes each week to get this call in and it could save you so much stress and headache. Sometimes a daily check-in may be required, just schedule the time and stick to it.
  5. Communicate what you want from others. People aren’t mind readers and don’t know what you want if you don’t tell them. I will admit that years ago my communication skills lacked a bit in this department. Finally, my husband told me that he could not in fact read my mind and this came as a shock to me. I started wondering if all spouses were like this or just mine – in case you haven’t figured it out yet – I’ve learned that there isn’t a spouse out there that can read minds so I guess at work and at home we need to tell people what we want.

Once you start effectively communicating with others you may find a huge increase in productivity among your employees, a higher satisfaction rate among your clients and a happier home life. Take a step back and look at the things in your life that cause you stress? Can any of those things be resolved with increased communication? If so, then start communicating more effectively today!

Patience, Grasshopper!

Patience, grasshopper. Life is about the journey not the destination!

Have you ever had a great idea, created a business and thought you’d be making 6 figures in no time and six months later you give up because you’re overwhelmed, frustrated and you’re not making any money?

This happens to a lot of people in business. In fact, people are trying new ways to make money every day and often times fail due to a variety of things including lack of patience.

You aren’t going to grow a successful business overnight, you aren’t going to attract clients or customers overnight and you aren’t going to make 6 figures overnight.

A business takes planning, organization, money and time. I’m human, too and I love goal setting. I set myself goals and then get super excited about them and have to make myself STOP and put together a plan. A plan to achieve those goals. If you don’t have a plan you’ll just end up wasting a ton of time doing non-productive tasks that will get you nowhere.

Besides my plan I also have to make myself STOP to remember that it’s not about the destination… it’s about the journey. The journey to success can be far more rewarding than the success itself. Why? Because you will cherish your success more if you worked your butt of for it. Your future self will be able to say ‘I worked my tail off for seven years to get to where I am today. It took a lot of hard work, perseverance and patience!’

So how does one succeed in business? There are many factors but here are a few super important ones.

  1. Be okay with your business taking time to grow. You must have the patience before you begin or you’ll end up spinning your wheels, becoming overwhelmed, frustrated and to the point where you quit. Do you know someone who started a business and after a year or less just called it quits? Do you know someone else that has a successful business and it took them years to get to where they are? You have to put in your time – your future self will thank you!
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  2. Make sure you are selling something people NEED. Your service or product must be something that people are willing to buy. This may sound silly but 90% of startups fail and one of the reasons is because the business isn’t selling an in demand product. Do your research, find out where there is a need and fill that need.
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  3. Put together a marketing plan. So many people just willy-nilly slap some marketing on social media and then are overwhelmed and frustrated that no one is seeing or paying attention to their posts. When I talk to entrepreneurs most of them feel like there is not enough hours in a day to do the social media they feel they need to in order to succeed. The truth is you can create a very effective plan to social media – start with the main form of social media that your niche market is on and grow from there. Don’t try to be everywhere and market to everyone – no one will see you. To truly grow a following market to a niche and market on their preferred form of social media.
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  4. Set reasonable goals. Striving to meet specific goals is far more effective than just having a general goal of – I want a successful business in a year. What is your definition of success? How much money do you want to make? How many clients will you need? How will you get those clients?
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  5. Network and build relationships. Spend some time building relationships with potential clients. Your company will grow a lot faster if you actually start doing this before you launch your company. I spent three years networking before I launched my company and I think it really helped me in gaining credibility in the industry. People already knew me, they knew what I was capable of – this is where patience comes into play.
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  6. Hire good help. Anyone who has ever started a business knows that there really are NOT enough hours in the day to get it all done. In order to make more traction you have to hire good people to help you along the way. These people can help you with branding, marketing, social media management, administrative, and so much more. You need people you can trust – someone whose goal is to help you achieve your goals. Even though we try – we can’t do it alone!
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  7. Brand yourself! So this could go hand in hand with putting together a good marketing plan but your branding needs to be done first. Who are you, what is your mission, why would someone want to do business with you? Branding is making yourself recognizable so when people see your colors, your symbol or your logo they think of you without seeing your business name. Branding is your story – your personality – in order for people to buy from you, they want to know who you are.

These are just some of the things that lead entrepreneurs to success and I could write an entire blog post and more on each of these points. But in the scheme of things, if you have a great business idea and you have a plan – patience is key. With persistence and consistence comes success and you will get there, but in the meantime don’t forget to enjoy the adventure!

 

 

The New Site Is Up

After sharing with everyone on Tuesday, how awful my current site was, I got the new site up and running and I have to say… it’s much better! This site is more inline with what we are trying to accomplish at Elite so for those of you thinking about creating a new website or updating an existing site here are a few things to think about.

Brand

What is your brand? What is your story, your vision, your mission? Your brand is who you are. I LOVE the color blue so that’s reflected in my brand and my site, I love the saying ‘Life is about the journey not the destination’ and I wear a compass necklace so I implemented the compass in my logo. I am passionate about guiding people to success! The site is better but it will still evolve as I do – and your brand will evolve as you do.

If your company is a personal brand – as in your name be sure to post several pictures of yourself so people can get a clear picture of who you are and what you do AND share your story! Why did you start your business – what challenges and obstacles did you overcome to get where you are today – was there a need you saw and you were led to fulfill it! As I’ve said before I could spend days, weeks, months and years writing about brand.

Layout

Have you ever looked at a site that has so much going on you don’t even know where to begin or what buttons to push? Today, so many people are looking at sites on their phone so you want to choose a layout that looks good on mobile and that is easy to follow. If a site is too busy or too overwhelming a persons anxiety level will increase and they’ll hop of your site almost immediately. Same goes for sites that are too dull – like my last site – it wasn’t real appealing to the eye and seemed drab or dull. People will perceive your products or services as drab or dull.

Content

Put the most relevant content on your site. I feel like some people put way too much content on their sites and I’m not sure where this is coming from because people don’t have time to read a novel while looking at your site. Most people don’t want to know your entire life story or the innate details of the inner workings of your brain or business. They want to know who you are, what you do, how you can help them and what others have to say about your service. And the last one is optional. I know plenty of people getting business without testimonials on their site – it depends on your niche.

Contact Info

Please for all that is holy put your contact information on your site! I am amazed at how many people today have these beautiful professional sites and then don’t put anywhere on the site how you can contact them. It’s actually quite strange. There have been a handful of people over the years who have lost my business simply because I can’t figure out how to contact them. Don’t make people work too hard for your contact information.

Social Media Links

Somewhere on your page be sure to link your social media content so people can find you elsewhere. They may follow you on social media or they may want to check out your social media as a form of learning more about you and your brand – so make sure your social media is up to date and consist with your website.

Just Publish It Already

If you are starting a business and are afraid to hit publish because that announces to the world that you are starting a business – just hit publish already! Your site will never be 100% perfect in your eyes. You’ll update it and change it as time goes on, as I mentioned above, your site will evolve as you do. Follow the steps above, check it for continuity and grammar and then publish it. It’s time you leap fearlessly and start your journey towards success!

 

 

My website is Awful but my service is GREAT!

A friend recently asked, “You are a successful business woman so why is your website so awful?” My reaction? I laughed.

I’ve been in the financial industry since 1999. I’ve built quite a network of motivated, success driven clients and colleagues and the one thing that they have never cared about is my website. They care more about the fact that I can provide them with a quality service that gives them the highest return on their investment as possible rather than whether or not I have a flashy website. They also care more about the fact that with my service they are able to stand out among the ever growing competition and that my team of schedulers are able to get them in front of prospects that they’ve tried for months to get in front of. My business is mostly based on word-of-mouth referrals and that speaks volumes for my service.

Another reason why my website isn’t great is because I am very similar to my clients and prospects in the respect that part of the reason I am successful is because I am frugal. I keep a low overhead to keep my costs competitive and again, my clients love that because their return on investment is actually quite great. The last thing I’m going to do is spend thousands of dollars on a website and then pass that cost onto my clients. I got my site years ago and it was super cheap and I’ve just never researched a way to update it – until now.

If you are not in a niche market where a lot of people already know you and you are able to stand out among the competition with your service as your reputation than an awful website will get you nowhere. I am looking to expand my business again and my current site is not helping. Have I lost potential business because of my website? Probably. Should I update my site to reflect my personal brand and the service that I’ve spent so many years polishing? Absolutely! Will I spend very much money on it? No. In fact, my friend’s comment prompted me to find a very inexpensive way to update my site to reflect ‘the times’ as well as my brand.

So why am I sharing with the business world that my website is awful? Because I’ve had years of experience in the business world and it’s beneficial to share with others not only your successes but also your failures. I’m human, learn from me – most businesses NEED a personal brand and need a professional looking website! If your growth has become stagnant – revisit your site. If your marketing is going nowhere – revisit your site. If you are unable to get your business off the ground –revisit your site.

When someone hears about your products or services the first thing they do is check out your website. If it’s dull and drab they might just move on. Your website should highlight who you are, your story, what products and services you have to offer and how you serve others? Your website is an extension of you and your business. People like to know who they are doing business with and know what makes you stand out? Why are you different?

So take a few minutes and look at your website? Does it really reflect what you or your business is all about? Does it really do your products and services justice? If not, you may want to consider making some updates. It doesn’t have to be an expensive site to get recognized.

In the next week I’ll be rolling out an updated website. It won’t be super flashy but hopefully it will be a bit more appealing. J In the meantime, I’ll continue to do what I do best and that is providing a quality service to external wholesalers, financial advisors and other financial professionals. You tell us where you want to rank in your company and we’ll get you there!

If you want to check out my awful site before I replace it with the new one you can check it out at www.eliteschedulingservices.com. The new site should be up and running by Friday! Yay!