Archive for the ‘Business Solutions’ category

Are There Steps to Creating an Ebook?

December 15, 2016

pic-person-woman-desk-laptop-2Creating an ebook can be an extremely valuable tool to help you grow your business regardless of its size or whether your business is online or not. There are steps to creating your ebook if you want the ebook to be a success. In fact, some steps should be implemented even before you begin writing the ebook.

A general guideline will help you create your ebook. A few steps to include are:

  1. Begin by identifying what you will write about. What are the needs of your target audience? What does your target audience want to know or learn more about? What is your knowledge or skillset? Generally, if you are in business, the three questions should line up and point to the same niche; not always, but most of the time.
  2. Develop a strategy for marketing your ebooks and include steps to take before you begin writing. Make social media a part of your strategy. If you don’t have much of a social media presence, start working on it now.
  3. Create the title. This can change but start with a good working title. Sometimes just putting the title on paper will get you going if you are having difficulty with your start.
  4. Create the outline of the contents of your ebook. Creating an outline will help you stay focused and cover the major areas that you want to include.
  5. Consider SEO as you write. You want to be recognized by the search engines so that traffic will appear.
  6. Use the right tools to facilitate writing: good writing software (this is optional), thesaurus, dictionary, a good grammar resource (The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White has been around for nearly 100 years), grammar check, and spell check.
  7. Edit and proofread your ebook. Preferably this is done by someone else who is capable of handling the job. If you do it yourself, let your manuscript “sit” for a few days before editing and proofing. However, it is generally not recommended that you proof your own work. Most writers realize how difficult it is to catch your own mistakes. Rely solely on spellcheck and you can end up with some very interesting word substitutions.
  8. Revisit your title once you have finished your ebook. Does it still resonate with you? If at all possible, have your title serve as a domain name so that it can be easily found.
  9. Choose a cover. Create one yourself if you are good at that type of work or pay someone. You can have an attractive and affordable cover created at fiverr.com.
  10. Choose a publishing vehicle. Amazon Kindle ebooks shows you step by step what to do to get your ebook published and on Amazon. There are other ebook publishers. Choose the one that is going to be the most productive for you.
  11. Use illustrations if they are appropriate, however, respect copyright laws. There are sights where you can purchase your images. Relying on Google Images is not, I repeat, not your source for images to include in your ebook. Unless you have secured permission or paid for the rights to use the image, you can end up in lots of trouble. Two sites that offer the free use of images are pixabay.com and morguefile.com
  12. Print a copy of your ebook in pdf so that you see what a copy may look like if someone printed it.
  13. Last, but certainly not the least, price your ebook. Include in your pricing consideration whether you will provide it for free in any instances. Review prices of comparable ebooks already on the market to help you make a decision.

Do a little research before you begin the process. Internet makes this part of it über easy. Following the steps outlined will help you have a better grasp on how to organize your work when you have made the decision to write your ebook. Remember, all that is standing between you and a finished ebook is your action. Follow these steps and you will move from thinking about creating your ebook to making it a reality.

Have you considered creating an ebook? If it isn’t already one of your goals for the New Year, it probably should be. What would you choose as your topic? We would like to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment in the box below.

Doing It Your Way – Starting a Business, That Is

November 17, 2016

image-vision-planetc-1616237_1280Starting your own business especially after you have already been in a job or career, can be daunting, but if you have the irresistible pull in the direction of entrepreneurship, don’t squash it. You are not alone. For many it is just not enough to work for someone else, build someone else’s dream.  If you continue to feel you have a product or service to provide, you should answer the call by becoming an entrepreneur – starting your own business.

What does it take to start and sustain your own business? There are many directions this answer could take, with just as many opinions about it, but in my opinion, there is a core to what it takes:

Start with acknowledging what excites you and where you excel. Often the two are the same. If you can’t quite put your finger on what it is, look at where you put your energy in your current job. For example, do you spend a lot of your time volunteering to plan company events and get-togethers? Explore what it takes to be an event planner. Are you especially adept at organizing?Individuals and companies need this type of expertise to organize their space. Do you have ideas, can spot trends? You may have the next hot product. The point is, you should exploit what you love to do and are good at. Remember, when you start a business you are going to be the only one that prods you to get up each day.

Do your research to determine the demand for your business and where it will be sustainable enough to provide the lifestyle you want for you and your family. After all, having a business, even one that you love, won’t keep the lights on or a roof over your head if it’s not something others want to buy over the long term. Just because you love it, doesn’t mean others will.

Develop a vision followed by a plan. Your new business may need to start off as a side hustle and that’s ok. In addition to helping you gain experience and customers, a side hustle can help you determine if what you offer really is a product or service that is in demand. You can’t rely on your gut instinct alone nor can you rely on the hope that it “happens” when you are starting your own business.

Seek help; look for others who are already successful. Learn from their experiences. Join a Mastermind group or seek a mentor. Don’t overlook joining associations that are related to your new business.

Be very focused on doing what it takes to grow your business. Invest the time. Invest in education. Invest in networking. Success will not happen overnight, without effort.

Explore funding options for your new business. There are many ways to fund a business today, including crowdfunding. This is where your use of social media will come in handy as well.

Be cognizant of when you need to increase your staff and then do it. Stretch when it’s needed. You want continued growth and sometimes that means strategically increasing your staff, even if only on a contractual basis.

Outsource projects; don’t hesitate to use outside resources as you need them. Companies like Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions exist to help you with activities you don’t have the time or the expertise to complete. As a new entrepreneur, you can’t do it all.

We would love to hear about your experiences as an entrepreneur or new business owner. Fell free to leave a comment.

Audrey Dixon is the Founder and CEO of Exceptional Transcriptions and Business Solutions and has been helping new and existing businesses succeed for over 20 years.

Who Uses a Transcription Service?

October 28, 2016

transcription imageTranscription services can benefit a number of different businesses, even individuals. By definition a transcription service converts the spoken word into written typed or printed documents. In addition, transcription services can also take your handwritten documents and convert them into typed manuscripts or documents.

In fact, in today’s technological advances and extensive uses of the internet, the need for transcription services is even greater than in the past. There are podcasts, webinars and seminars on the web. There are audio tapes and medical notes to be transcribed. Transcribing court reporting and legal documents are in constant demand.

An improving economy only increases the demand. Having a conference? Document every word.There is a substantial list of businesses or services, even individuals, that use the services of a transcription service. If you are wondering if you or your business can benefit from using a transcription service service, review the following list:

  • Financial advisor
  • Accountants
  • Realtors and Real Estate Appraisers
  • Sales Representatives
  • Writers and Authors
  • Insurance Professionals
  • Architects
  • Attorneys
  • Psychologists
  • Students
  • Court reporters
  • Market researchers
  • Ministers
  • Professional Speakers
  • Journalists
  • Education Professionals
  • Researchers

Transcription services can go further than audio transcriptions alone. A transcription service can also offer copywriting, proofreading, database management and more.

Professional, well-trained transcriptionists have excellent grammar, listening skills (including the ability to discern dialect), and writing skills and accuracy.

Why would you need or use a transcription service? There are a number of reasons including:

  • Time – frees you for your major work and tasks
  • Accuracy – trained to hear and capture every word, including dialectal nuances
  • Convenience – transcription process when you need it
  • Customization and personalization – production of professional looking documents
  • Financial – less expensive than you imagine

If you see your business listed and the services you need don’t hesitate to contact us. Our business is to put your words on paper.

Transcription Services Play a Role in Successful Focus Groups

August 29, 2016

freedigital photo people ideas ID-100299611Focus groups are an excellent tool for marketing and research professionals to use in gathering information and to uncover trends. The ultimate goal is to help companies sell products and services. Transcription services play a role in the success of focus groups by capturing every word spoken.

Focus groups are generally made up of individuals who fit specific targets related to the company products and services.

During the sessions, focus group participants are often in a room or setting to themselves, sometimes with a two-way mirror, although this is not a requirement. Participants are then asked to complete questionnaires or discuss topics or even take part in a specific activity. For example, a national bank asked the participants of its focus group to construct a vision board depicting their ideal retirement using materials the bank had provided. The participants were then asked to discuss their board and their retirement goals, answering questions from a facilitator. The group reactions and discussions were recorded on film and audio tape. The data was analyzed to determine what the bank needed to focus on to better serve their customers in their retirement planning.

When deciding how you should setup your focus group, here are some key decisions that should make up the planning:

  • Determine the number of the participants.
  • Decide the incentive you will offer the group.
  • Find a convenient, accessible and comfortable location for conducting the group.
  • Prepare questions/script and types of activities the group will be engaged in.
  • Select the participants for the group that best matches the information you are seeking. For instance, if you run a preschool and looking for ways you can better serve your families, you would contact parents of preschool age children to participate. Other groups would not be as useful.
  • Determine compensation for the participants. This will vary from time required to region of the country you are in.
  • Select a skilled facilitator or moderator who will be responsible for:
    • explaining why the group is assembled – the focus group’s goal,
    • establishing the ground rules for the group process,
    • setting the tone,
    • providing the time frame for the session – ideally 1 – 2 hours,
    • creating the script, although this could fall to someone else,
    • checking the recording process,
    • having snacks or meals on hand for the group,
    • providing feedback to the group, and
    • thanking the group for their time and explaining when and how payment will occur.

Because participants are free to discuss their opinions and insights, and because focus groups are generally a part of your marketing planning, it is important to accurately capture the session(s). Consequently, one of the most important elements at the conclusion of the focus group is turning the audio tapes of the session into written documents so that the data is easily analyzed and, later, archived.

Choosing the right transcription service is as important as choosing the right participants and facilitator for the focus group. A highly qualified transcriber has the ability to discern accents and have a commanding grasp of English and grammer. Exceptional skill, accuracy and timeliness is at the core of your selection.

Have you used focus groups to help with your marketing plans? How do you think focus groups would benefit the growth of your business?

 

photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Get the Most from Your Business Meetings

August 16, 2016

Meeting with clock-1264696_1280Although many would like to do away with meetings, whether face to face meeting or a virtual meeting, they are an essential part of running your successful business. When getting the most from your meetings, they are one of the best ways for communicating with your staff and they with you. The trick is to get maximum leverage – get the most – from your meeting. Here are a few suggestions for making your meetings as effective as possible:

1.  Develop an agenda and share it with anyone who will be attending the meetings. This gives others the opportunity to think critically about the items to be covered.

2.  Provide a specific length of time for the meetings. This will help avoid the “when will this meeting    end?” syndrome. Some mangers and executives are known to use timers very effectively for this.

3.   Try to set the meeting under 30 minutes to be mindful of the average person’s attention span. Anything longer and there will be a lot of wasted “mind power.”

4.   Develop a “parking lot” for off topic ideas or subjects. One nonprofit executive who depends on her staff continually coming up with novel ideas, assigns someone to record these spur of the moment ideas, either by taking notes or electronically recording meetings and retrieving the parking lot ideas once the meetings are transcribed. Any discussions of topic at the meeting is discouraged to avoid unnecessarily extending the meeting time.

5.  Allow time for a summation of the meeting before its ending. Include assignments of responsibilities and make sure that everyone understands their assignments.

6.  Share taking points with meeting participants so that any information about the meeting is controlled and consistent.

7.  Immediately distribute the minutes from the meetings.

These are just a few suggestions to make your meetings more effective and productive. No one has the time to spend filling it with unproductive gatherings. Make the most of your meetings so that everyone has a sense of accomplishment and an understanding that their time is valuable and their input a necessity.

If you are in need of someone to quickly transcribe those meeting minutes, don’t forget that ExceptionalTranscription and Business Solutions can help with those minutes and with other business needs.

Audrey Dixon is CEO and Founder of Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions. She and her team are masters at accurately transcribing your audio meeting minutes, podcasts, seminars, etc. into written documents.

Save Time: You Speak, We Listen, We Print

July 19, 2016

computer, glasses pic

Your problem is that you, like so many others, only have so many hours in the day to do what you do best, which is running your business not creating and typing documents. So how do you take care of the manuscripts you need to create? Guess what? You need help! No surprise there.

When you speak whatever it is you want the world to know, we type it. Turn your thoughts and words into documents, Power Point presentations, articles, e-books, e-courses, content for blogs and Twitter and more. You can even get your audio message transcribed from teleseminars, coaching calls, expert interviews, podcast, dictated e-books or special reports, live events/workshops, or a mix of these.

What more could you ask for? Everyone wants to be heard and, more importantly, you want to know that someone really listened to what you had to say. When you speak every word is captured and converted to a document for your use for whatever purpose you desire. In our capable hands your audio becomes text as your  audio recordings are faithfully transcribed into well-presented, crisp and clear text documents.

Stop the madness of rewinding and fast-forwarding. Keep an accurate record of interviews and presentations. Hand over your typing burden by dictating your letters and reports and have them typed up by the staff at Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions.

Get your message across as you sit, stand,  walk, or  ride with a hand-held digital recorder to create an mp3, wav, dat file, etc. Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions is a mobile company. You can then send the file via a secure ftp site (Dropbox), email or CD. We listen to every word you speak. Believe it or not, 60 minutes of talking can take 4-8 hours of typing, formatting and proofreading. The ultimate goal is to ensure that every ‘i’ is dotted and ‘t’ crossed; that your words flow and accurately capture your intent.

Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions turns your audio into professionally edited transcripts that are attractive and easy-to-read. We can even include your own images, custom header/footer, and special touches for a branded report.

We ensure quality and efficiency by using professional transcription equipment – computer, keyboard, headphones and transcriber hardware. We transfer your spoken words into copy that will aid you in your business success.

In addition, all of our transcripts are produced by professional typists without additional, sometimes inaccurate, voice recognition software. With a large pool of typists, we assign the best qualified typist to your transcripts, taking into account their fields of specialized knowledge.

Let us know if you need your text tidied up for clarity. The spoken word differs greatly in flow and structure from written text. In some cases, the best transcript is achieved by tidying up the grammar used by the speaker. When you place your order, you provide guidance on the type of transcript you expect.

Can you think of a time when you needed to be working but you also needed to transcribe a document? How did that turn out? What went lacking?

 

I am blatantly offering help from Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions. We want to give you more time. Don’t hesitate to contact us when you need your work turned into documents.

The time is now to take me up on this offer. Feel free to leave an example of times when you had to attend to audio documents, such as transcribing depositions instead of running your law office effectively. Leave a comment. We’d love to hear how you solved your dilemma.

 

 

 

 

 

Do You have a Business Mindset?

September 28, 2015

business team ID-10066165In order to succeed as an  entrepreneur you must have a business mindset. You can have all the schooling in the world, but if you are still clinging to a nine-to-five mentality, success in the business arena will be elusive.

Having a business mindset is often manifests as an innate quality that cannot be ignored. That is the reason so many individuals go into business from the start, bypassing the nine-to-five career. You know who you are: you had a lemonade stand as an eight year old; you pestered your neighbors for odd jobs like taking out their trash, shoveling their snow or babysitting; you delivered newspapers or pizzas.  You demonstrated that you were not afraid to think of ways to make money.

There are probably just as many of you who developed or discovered your business mindset after experiencing working for others and believing there was another way to create success.

Sometimes the business mindset is instilled as we watch others around us. In my case, it was in watching my father. I worked in corporate world, but ultimately I realized my greatest satisfaction was going to come from the framework of helping others through a business that I owned, just as my father had done.

Although it wasn’t necessary for me to shift my thinking in any large degree in order to adopt the mindset, I still needed a shift in thinking for a business mindset to fully emerge. I compiled a few of the ways that it was important for me to adopt/develop my entrepreneurial spirit and business mindset:

  • Absolutely have a purpose and a vision. You must have some idea of what you want from life and what you have to offer to life in order to make your vision a reality.
  • Focus your ideas not on making money, but on service to others. In other words, how can you help to make another’s business better or another’s life better? Build on that.
  • You should expect challenges and be prepared to tackle them.
  • Take risks. Without risks, there is little new that will come about and it will certainly be difficult to take action on your goals.
  • Don’t skimp on your education. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to pursue the four year college education, but it does mean take advantage of all education that you can garner from a variety of sources, including mentors, and that you should never stop learning. Today’s world changes too rapidly. As an entrepreneur you cannot remain stagnant.
  • Approach your enterprise with a sense of gratitude which will automatically put you in a positive mindset.
  • Don’t let failures derail you. Often success is that much sweeter when there have been failures and mistakes.
  • Make every effort to be around others that think the way that you do, whenever you can, in order to avoid the risk of having others negatively influence your thinking.
  • Believe in your enterprise, whether you are a solo entrepreneur or you are on your way to employing hundreds or thousands. If you don’t genuinely believe in yourself and what you have to offer – you’ve heard it many times before – no one else will.

Only you can measure what true success means to you and only you can develop your business mindset to achieve that success.

I would like to know when and how you discovered that you have a business mindset?

Until next time…

Be Exceptional!

Audrey

CEO/Founder Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions