Organize Your Business for Sustainable Growth

Small business entrepreneurs must often wear hundreds of hats.  But limited financial resources often make it difficult to hire full-time staff.   At the end of the day they realize that time has passed by and important things are still pending.   Those tasks can easily be done by a virtual assistant who has the experience to create sustainable growth and develop a solid marketing plan for your business. I work hand in hand with you to attract customers, grow your company, reduce your costs, and get better organized.

In so many ways, how you set up and organize your company can be the difference between success and failure in today’s business world.

The problem is that few entrepreneurs have the time, resources or expertise to organize their businesses in the most efficient and effective ways possible. Fortunately, there’s an easy and affordable solution available to you!

In this course, you’ll find the indispensable tools to easily organize your thoughts, ideas, needs, and wants to keep you focused on your overall vision for growing your business.

When you work with me, you’ll learn the skills and techniques you need for sustainable growth as your company develops its products, creates its marketing plan and takes on more customers.

This includes: 

  • Making better decisions related to where, when and how to invest your capital

  • Developing the confidence to reach your business goals by setting deadlines and making steady progress daily, weekly and monthly

  • Creating a realistic budget and implementing a truly effective plan for growth

 A simple, three-phase program

My program includes three distinct phases—each of which covers a critical area of business organization.

Phase I: Together, we’ll determine where you want your business to go and how you might get there.

Phase II: We then help you create attainable goals, while beginning the process of developing a marketing plan and comprehensive business budget.

Phase III: Finally, we outline a path for you to reach your goals by implementing your marketing plan and sticking to your budget.

And, with each phase, you get a downloadable workbook that allows you to quickly and easily organize your thoughts, ideas, needs and wants. This keeps you focused on your overall vision as you move through the three phases.

Maintain growth while saving money

If you’re like many business owners, you could be spending more than is actually necessary to attract customers and grow your company. To reduce your costs, get better organized and learn how to find sustainable business success, I invite you to sign up for this incredibly helpful three-phase program.

At only $99, I am offering a tremendous level of value that could help you save thousands of dollars in the long term. And because it’s completely online, you can: 

  • Work on your business at your own pace.

  • Apply our instructions, examples, and workbooks to your company as you see fit.

  • Gain the confidence as you move forward and implement our proven strategies.

Don’t wait to take the steps necessary to run the most efficient and effective business possible!

If you’re interested in taking this course, click HERE to fill out the form at the bottom of the page.  And then I will be in contact with you shortly.

Elizabeth
Virtual Marketing Assistant
Business Virtual Services, LLC
www.BusinessVirtualServices.com

Beautiful and Confident – The way all business women should feel!

I’m a wife, mom, and business owner.  I work 30-40 hours a week, run errands, keep my house clean and organized, worry about my 2 teenage boys, advocate for my special needs son, go to school events, attend meetings, Skype with clients, etc.  Yes, busy I am!!  So, when do I find time to take care of myself?

Do you ever ask yourself the same question?  Does this sound like you?

Well, when I can, I do find time to go to the gym and go for walks in my neighborhood, but not every day.  What CAN I do every day?  Feel confident enough to Skype with my clients, meet potential clients at local coffee shops, attend school meetings, go to the grocery store, and whatever else that brings me face-to-face with others.

How do I do this? By using Younique makeup products.  YES, I’ve heard of Younique for years.  I’ve seen all the before/after pics online.  But, just recently I decided to support a friend of mine with her new Younique business.  I ordered some makeup and started using the products.

WOW!   Not only do I love the quality of the products, but I feel so much more confident when I go out into the world.  I WANT to put on my makeup every morning and even show it off.  I WANT to make sure I look my best when I have to go somewhere.  I work from home, so getting the motivation to actually do my makeup and my hair daily is not always on my agenda.  But, now I WANT to do it.  I actually make time to do it.  I enjoy seeing my results.  I want to try new eyeshadows and new lipstick colors.  I love how the liquid foundation makes my skin feel.  And I especially love my LASHES with Younique’s 3D Fiber Lash Mascara.  Oh, and since I’m getting older, Younique makes me look and feel younger. Yeah…that’s right!  Pretty awesome, huh?

Why am I telling you this?  Because as a female entrepreneur, I have a need to feel put together and confident.  And I know there are other female business owners out there who also want to feel this way.

If you’re interested in what these products are and how they can make you feel more confident, click HERE.

To shop these products, click HERE.

View product catalog:  Younique_Product_Catalog_2017_03_en_US

To learn how the Younique Foundation helps women who were sexually abused, click HERE.

You TOO can feel confident and beautiful as a busy female entrepreneur.

Elizabeth
Virtual Marketing Assistant
Business Virtual Services, LLC
www.BusinessVirtualServices.com

What’s the real (effective) way to send email campaigns?

OK.  So lately, I’ve had some real questions about email marketing.  There is so much out there, and so much to learn, that many of my clients (and potential clients) are just getting frustrated with how unpredictable email marketing seems to be.

Well, let me start by saying this…It is a very slow process!!  You will have to do these things, and do them correctly, for email marketing to work:

  1. Pick an email marketing program that will work for your budget and your needs (I recommend Constant Contact because of all the tools it has to offer).
  2. Create web forms for your website, your blog, and social media.  These forms help get sign-ups for your email campaigns.
  3. Create an email that has value, is not too long, is not too short, has the right colors, and is mobile friendly.
  4. Load an organic, nurtured list of individuals into your program (and then learn how to segment them as your list grows).
  5. Follow-up with your contacts, based on their interests, their wants, and their needs.
  6. As your list grows and the demands get higher for your valuable content, create automated emails, or even put together a “product” using email marketing.

Oh goodness…so much to think about.

Let’s first start with FINDING INDIVIDUALS TO EMAIL. Where are you getting your contacts from?  Do you have a well-nurtured list of people just sitting in your folders in your Gmail or Outlook accounts?

Did you purchase a list that you’re hoping to use (I really hope you didn’t waste your money)?

Are you in the process of networking, collecting business cards, handing out flyers, speaking at events, etc?

AND what do you do with all those NEW contacts?

First, you have to decide who is who, where each contact came from, how you know them, what relationship you’ve nurtured through them.  Then, you need to segment them based on your answers.  The idea is to create SPECIFIC lists so you can send them SPECIFIC valuable content through your email marketing efforts.  If you don’t have contacts, well, then you need to get some. You can do this by using a web form through your email marketing program, through networking in person, or through prospecting on LinkedIn.

Is all this too much to process?  I know, it can be overwhelming.  And that’s JUST finding contacts.

Now, the first email you send to your contacts SHOULD always be an introductory email.  You should include who you are, how you know them, why you’re emailing them, what you have to offer, and how often you plan to email them.  AND always include a way for them to opt-out or unsubscribe…always!!!

Listen, don’t beat your head against the wall trying to figure all this out. Let me help you with ALL of this and more.  Email marketing is often times trial and error.  It’s can be a very long process…it takes time.  Don’t get lost in the email marketing world.  Contact me today so I can help!

Think of it this way.  Even if it takes you months to actually get it all right, just ONE of those contacts actually making the right move at the right time can pay for all your hard work and then some.  But in order to get that contact (and hopefully more) to purchase from you, you have to nurture them the right way…through segmented email marketing!

So, get help and do it all the correct way.  Don’t settle for a purchased list or a $10/hour admin to help you.  Remember, you ALWAYS get what you pay for…ALWAYS!!

Have a question about your email marketing needs?  Contact me! I will walk you through what needs to be done first, we will set a plan in motion together, and I will work with your budget and your business needs!

Elizabeth
Virtual Marketing Assistant
Business Virtual Services, LLC
www.BusinessVirtualServices.com

 

RETHINKING ONLINE FUNDRAISING from the donor’s perspective (Guest Post)

fundraising_inspirationIn the midst of all the Christmas noise, dozens of emails requesting a donation begin to flood my inbox. Suddenly I find myself sifting through the requests and deciding which ones I have the most affinity with. Many end up in the delete folder. Some because they point only to my wallet and never established a relationship with me, others because they extend in endless litanies, others because they do not clearly show how those who serve the organization benefit, and the vast majority because there is no evidence to understand that the online channel implies visual, participatory, and emotional components that separate them from a letter in the mail.

I know many organizations that want to expand their reach to the online channel. But not many have understood that a donate button is by far the thrill of touching any human being. If a nonprofit wants to cultivate a new audience it should not involve a request for money, but rather first start a relationship with the prospect. In this search, many nonprofits have chosen to chase “likes” across every social media platform. However, many might agree with me that social media is primarily for entertainment and communication. Let’s face it, people do not look in social media for organizations they want to donate to; it simply is not entertaining. Proof of this is the amount of “likes” that nonprofits convert into donations.

To start conquering the online channel, nonprofits should remember that the main hub for their digital marketing efforts should be their own website. Why? Because it is in the digital home where organizations can initiate a relationship with their audience without mercantile shades. It is where they can share their vision and mission, and enrich the visitor experience with visual content, testimonials, videos & text, and show the impact of their work. Though it is hard to engage people with dull web pages, poor visual content, and no chances for the visitors to participate online and somehow become part of the cause.

There are 7 core principles to captivate an online audience: easy, short, fun, visual, modest contributions, participatory, and togetherness. Few nonprofits have implemented them. Everything that screams fun and puts a smile on someone’s face drives us to share it. Any easy process motivates us to take action. Everything that makes us participate in togetherness gives us a sense of belonging. And everything that is visual contributes to our memories.

It’s time for nonprofits to change the input to get a different output. It’s time to start creating online events that help build a relationship with supporters. It’s time to consider that online fundraising takes as much, if not more, effort than face-to-face initiatives and that today’s efforts might not bear fruits immediately but they will in a short time when the online channel will become the main stream of income.

During the year-end campaign, I suggest nonprofits to use two pledge themes: one for advocacy, one for advocacy and donation. And if you are looking to rise above the noise, put your website to work by cultivating an audience and making donating online fun!

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Adriana Granados
Visionary Entrepreneur
www.PixGift.com

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Are You Using Your Website for Generating Leads and Revenues? (Guest Post)

Learn the 5 principles of social media platforms that can be applied to your business to gain growth.

When I was invited to write something essential for businesses I thought it would be of great value to show you how you can apply the core principles of Social Media phenomenon to put your website at work for your marketing efforts, lead generation, or use it as an income stream.

The internet brought us many challenges: short attention spans, a faster live style, building virtual relationships instead of physical to name just a few. But the Internet also brought unimaginable ways to do businesses such as the Social Media platforms which found the way to create wealth by bringing together five principles: delivering visual content, building communities, creating user-generated content, rally collective participation, and monetize websites. And even when it might sound hypothetical for your businesses you can apply the same core elements to boost your own company to grow.

This is for example the story of Adele. She is the owner of a small beauty studio who saw the potential of our image-driven platform to increase her clientele by tipping into people’s fascination with selfies and images to build a community around her business, and monetize her website.

Adele came to us looking for a strategic plan to attract new prospects. She had a well-designed website though it was not offering her any other benefit than having an online presence. So we started to sketch a tailored marketing strategy for her including the same elements of Social Media platforms. To accomplish her plan Adele bought access to our platform that allows to capture photos, emails, names, phone numbers, along with other affinity and demographic information in one single tool that we call Virtual Photo Booth.

To create visual content generated by users we asked prospects to share a “Before Selfie” to be part of a Collage of Beauty. To build a community we asked existing customers to participate and share with three other friends. To drive people to participate we created a perk system offering a free 7 point skin analysis and entering to win a free facial for booking and appointment through the Collage of Beauty. Surprisingly, after a couple of weeks Adele reached her goal of booking 30 new prospects who ended up buying care products and many of them became regular clients.

Every day more than 1.8 billion of images are shared or posted on the Internet. Visual user generated content is everywhere and it is so powerful that marketers, brands, and nonprofits have been using it to grow businesses or raise funds. What enjoy us the most is that this recourse has not stopped us to find ways to present the stories of our clients: a nonprofit which increased four times its fundraising goal and was able to provide additional scholarships, help abused cats and dogs, support victims of an earthquake, engage students in an annual campaign, a coffee shop developing a treat-a-friend board to buy a coffee for a friend, two students collecting money for a trip, pool funds for a honeymoon and so much more stories. All of them without exception were completed using users’ images as the resource to facilitate content efforts, create marketing visuals, generate leads, monetize websites, and raise funds while bringing together communities where every person is a part of a whole.

I always say that building a business does not take millions. It only takes imagination… and leadership. Regardless if you are a business, a nonprofit, or an individual there are always opportunities to harness the power of images and the crowd to set you apart from the competition and create memorable experiences for the people you serve.

You can do it on your own or by stepping up to our Virtual Photo Booth and get ignited by our ideas. It doesn’t matter how you replicate the same concepts of social media but for sure you will be able to deliver surprising results. Remember, building a business does not take millions.

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Adriana Granados
Visionary Entrepreneur
www.PixGift.com

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Conflict in the Workplace (Guest Post)

Conflict Resolution
Dealing with a Toxic Workplace
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
www.careercounselortips.com

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One of my former supervisors said, “We don’t leave jobs, we leave people.” Think about that. Is this true for you? Think back to the last job you left or outgrew. What led up to you looking for another job? Were you not feeling appreciated? Were you unable to be yourself? Did you have an outright, unresolvable conflict with someone? Studies have shown that employees will stay at jobs that pay less if they have a good manager.What can you do when you find yourself in a toxic workplace? I went to a seminar and one of the presenters said something along the lines of: You can try to carpet the world or just put on a pair of slippers. In other words, you can only change yourself. It can be annoying to think about that because, hey, you are already pretty awesome. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone just did it your way? Your way is better-you know it is…how long will it take for others to get on board? Don’t shoot the messenger but….maybe never. Life amongst the mortals, darling. No one said it would be easy. So, now what?Evaluate and Prioritize

What are your priorities? Are you feeling impatient because you are not advancing as quickly as you hoped? Try to take a step back and evaluate your current career path. Are you still learning? If not, you may want to talk to your manager about taking on some new/different responsibilities to expand your skill set. Typically, experts say that it takes about 10 years to become an expert in your field. Have you been doing your job for 10 years? Not necessarily in the same place but the same type of job function. If not, depending on the level of expertise needed for this profession…you probably have room for growth. Try to get this in your current location if you like your job. If you want to stay at your job but are not getting the additional skills there, you may want to consider volunteering. Not only will you presumably put some good karma in your bucket-full disclosure: individual karmic results may vary-you can learn, contribute and expand your network which may help you if you decide to move to a different company.

Evaluate Your Company Culture

The culture of any organization is shaped by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.

-Gruenter & Whitaker

Is this workplace toxic or just annoying? If you feel unsafe to speak up, to be yourself or to make mistakes, these could be indicators that you are working in a less than healthy environment. If your educational background and contributions are belittled by your direct supervisor, you may want to look elsewhere immediately…if not sooner.

I have a friend who was a manager and, with his permission, is allowing me to share his story. He had a very difficult employee who refused to do almost anything that resembled work and he absolutely found the most amazing, Houdini-like ways to get out of work that he agreed he would do but that he did not want to do-which was pretty much everything. To give you some context, the manager would send the employee Outlook invitations for different events that he needed the employee to cover. These were during regular business hours and par for the job. The employee would accept the invitations and then delete them from his calendar. When he didn’t show up to the events that he was scheduled to attend he told his manager, “The audience could have come back in a few hours” or “I didn’t know about the event.” The manager had to start taking screen shots of his employee’s calendar to have proof.

When the manager went to his direct supervisor, the director, with proof of these shenanigans-too many to describe in this article- much to his surprise, she blamed him.  Hmm. In fact, she said the issue was his managerial style. Any small complaint from the difficult employee was taken very seriously by the director. In fact, she encouraged the difficult employee to keep going directly to her-not keeping his manager in the loop about their conversations. Do you remember the movie Office Space?  More specifically, the scene with HR where one employee describes his contributions to the company: he gives them examples of going above and beyond the call of duty, working overtime and so on. Well, he is fired. The second employee who goes into great detail about slacking off at work is promoted. It’s funny when it is a movie but in real life…not so much.

So, if you have a manager who undermines your authority and you are honestly doing everything right and to the best of your ability, you will probably need to look for a new job pronto. In fact, I would recommend looking immediately especially if you know that you have done everything in your power to work out the difficult situation you are facing. It is highly unlikely that your manager or employee, especially if he/she has the support of your manager, will change.

What are Your Deal Breakers?

Again, observe the behavior. What are your deal breakers? What are your values? If you are a manager ask yourself: Is your employee’s behavior acceptable? Are these growing pains? Is there a way we can communicate more clearly? Is the employee coachable? Do I have my direct supervisor’s support? If you answered “no” to these questions, seriously consider your choices. If your direct supervisor undermines your authority, is there another layer of support that is accessible to you? For example, some HR departments offer mediation for employees and managers. If you have exhausted all of your possibilities, your best choice may be to find another job.

Something else to consider is the amount of physical stress a toxic workplace can have on the body. According to www.AllHeartAttack.com, the most number of heart attacks happen on Monday mornings: http://tiny.cc/q34ydy You have choices and you don’t have to stay in a toxic workplace.

Go Where You are Loved

The Oscar award winning actress Ms. Lupita Nyong’o was interviewed in the September 2016 issue of Oprah magazine. She was asked about the best advice she’s received and she said, “Go where you are loved. People who see the best in you bring out the best in you.” These are wise words and I couldn’t agree more.

If you are working in an environment where you are not supported or appreciated, it may be better to look elsewhere. Of course, be self-reflective and ask yourself:

  • What can I do to improve my situation?
  • How am I contributing to the problem?
  • How am I contributing to the solution?
  • Do I need some additional training?
  • Is there anything I could be doing better?
  • What is my ROI on this situation? Will I learn and grow?

If you have done your best to improve your situation and nothing is working, take Ms. Lupita Nyong’o’s advice: Go where you are loved. You will be so much happier for it and so will everyone around you.

Resources for Dealing with Conflict

Resolving Conflicts at Work: Ten Strategies for Everyone on the Job by Kenneth Cole and Joan Goldsmith

This is a great book with a lot of useful dialogues which will teach you some basic conflict resolution skills.

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Perfect Phrases for…..

This is a series of books that you can find on Amazon with helpful phrases for difficult situations.

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About Helen Godfrey

As a counselor, I strive to help people make new discoveries about themselves and what helps them overcome the obstacles they face. My patients trust me to guide them on their journey to achieve the goals they set for themselves. As someone who understands the transformative power of therapy, I’m passionate about learning, listening, and partnering with my clients to bring balance and wellness into their lives.  I enjoy working with people from all walks of life, and if you or someone you love is going through a difficult time of career or personal uncertainty or needs to discuss their concerns with a professional, please contact me to setup a consultation.

Why you should ask for help…

When you own your own business and try to wear many hats, it’s only in due time that you will realize you are falling behind and need HELP.

Look at me…I am a Virtual Assistant.  I work with business owners taking those tedious tasks off their hands so they have more time to focus on their business and don’t have to work 70 hours a week catching up. Here’s the kicker…now I am looking for help.  I work at least 40-50 hours a week now because I am constantly getting emails from past clients and referrals who need help.

Yes, even a professional like myself needs help so I don’t fall behind and get bogged down in tedious work.  There are projects and tasks (HERE is a quick article to explain the difference) that I am very skilled at and need to handle myself.  And there are some that I can hand off to an assistant of my own…either because my skill set is not up to par in that area or because it’s time-consuming and I need to focus on bigger/specific skilled projects.

OH Lord…I have to hire an assistant!!!  This is new to me!!

Sound familiar?  If you have an assistant (or are thinking of getting one) then you understand what I am going through.

Asking for help can be in the form of hiring an assistant to work for you (or with you) or it can be in the form of a Mentor or Coach to help guide you to make better business decisions and reach important goals.  I work with a lot of Business Coaches.  Perhaps I should ask a few of them for advice?!?

Below is a really great article from Entrepreneur explaining why asking for help is good for business: Asking For Help Is Good For You and Your Business

Want to know more about hiring a VA?  Here is a really awesome article that may help you with the process:  7 REASONS YOU SHOULD HIRE A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

Don’t work alone all the time and try to do everything on your own.  It’s good to get help, ask for assistance, collaborate with other business owners, network, and hand over small tasks (or large projects) if it means you get peace of mind and become less stressed.

Hey…if I can do it, you can too!  Here is a great article explaining what a VA does:  How Virtual Office Assistants Work

If you have any questions about how a VA can help you stay organized and get more accomplished, please contact me!

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Elizabeth Debol
Virtual Assistant
Business Virtual Services
elizabethdebol@live.com
http://www.businessvirtualservices.com/

THANKS FOR READING!!  🙂

Feel free to use my post on your blog.  Just please make sure to include the link to my blog in your post.  I would greatly appreciate it!:)

Consider filling out this short multiple-choice evaluation to see if you might need some business re-organizing!!   Click HERE.