Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Holidays are Coming, is Your Business Ready? How to Know If You're Inefficient Or Not

How will you get everything done, increase your efficiency and streamline productivity?

It seems like everywhere we look we are seeing a drive for efficiency. Waste is to be avoided and expenses have to be cut if the small business is going to survive, let alone prosper. Today it's more important then ever to get maximum value out of the money spent on resources, whether it is the direct costs of running a business or the substantial costs associated with employing personnel. There's no room for uncertainty when it comes to handling these costs and every reason for the small-business owner to put in place systems to analyze where and why the money is being spent.

There are so many different reasons for employing a virtual assistant.  Each one of these reasons has in one way or another a lot to do with efficiency, so it is somewhat ironic when one of the reasons put forward by a typical small-business owner – faced with the question about hiring a virtual assistant – is one related to efficiency.

"I simply don't know how many hours work it should take to complete, so how can I employ a virtual assistant on an "as needed" basis?"

Before any progress can be made moving forward it is important to get a feeling for exactly what work needs to be outsourced. This will require careful consideration for the executive, who will almost certainly be surprised as the list grows longer and longer. These are all the tasks that should be delegated and many of them may be tasks that can be handled on an "as needed" outsourced basis.

Just think how inefficient it really is to employ an assistant or administrator on a salaried or weekly basis. This person is being employed for 40 hours whether there is sufficient work to fill those 40 hours or not. Invariably this leads to massive inefficiency as a salaried employee may simply "expand" the time that it should take to complete a variety of tasks in order to justify his or her salary. Some people might look at this as cheating, while other people would say it is also human nature to a certain extent. After all, this is the traditional way of handling administration and is it really the fault of the individual employee if there is not an "exact" amount of work to fill an exact number of hours?

In a drive toward efficiency this kind of operation of course needs to stop. Once that long list of outsource-ready tasks is complete a top notch assistant can be engaged to advise. The VA will know how long it should take to conduct and complete each and every task and can then agree with the small business owner to take on this raft of tasks efficiently. A price will be quoted for each job through completion and there will be no need for the business owner to worry about an employee "expanding" to simply fill up their weekly timesheet.   The best Virtual Assistants are experienced small business owners themselves. Their business is streamlining productivity for others and over time as they work with you, they can offer expertise in other areas of your business.  The more efficient the small business owner can be in this way the more likely they are to succeed and go on to prosper in the aggressive real world out there.

Thanks for reading!

Until Next Time

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Few Tips on How To Create a Tailored Marketing Plan

There are numerous aspects involved in developing a marketing plan. From budget to end goal, marketing online can be a long-term process.

Tip #1 Define Your Goal

It can be a detailed process, which is the reason many small business owners hire a marketing specialist to help them plan.  To start, it helps to think about the major goal of the marketing campaign. Do you want to increase customer loyalty, boost brand awareness or sell products?  A well executed online marketing strategy can take a small business to new levels if all steps are geared toward reaching that final goal.

Tip #2 Outline Your Budget

Of course, your campaign will be limited somewhat by your marketing budget. But the good news is there are some low cost options.  Many small business owners start with a small amount of money, gradually increasing the budget to the highest, yet still comfortable level.

An online marketing budget can be unlimited, and you may never reach your entire customer base. Be sure to stick with what you can afford, and work within your budget's confines. Learn about the direct competitors in your niche by searching for your website's keywords.

Tip # 3 Understand the Competition

You will realize that some businesses are more competitive than others. And potential customers who are searching for services or products offered by your company will usually choose highly ranked websites.  Therefore, any site listed above your site is a competitor. Thoroughly research their services and products, and learn their strengths and weaknesses.

Make any necessary improvements to your website. Remember, a site is similar to a storefront. The more enticing the website's design, the more traffic and sales the business will garner.  Your services and products should not be carbon copies of your competitors, even if you must increase the quality of your items or include extras in your service packages.

Finally, identify the customer base you want to target, and advertise in places where they frequent. There are even some sites, particularly social networks, that will place business advertisements in front of certain audiences to which the ads are targeted.

Thanks for reading!

Until Next Time,