Archive for the ‘Business Solutions’ category

Your Virtual Assistant

October 18, 2017

phones new-years-day-2781454_640I don’t know about you, but I feel busier now than ever. This wonderful age of technology seems to have added to the sense of “too much to do and not enough time to do it.” Add to that is the feeling that I should be doing more: more volunteering, more vacation packed with more activities, more work. Arghhh!

Of course, we know that this sense of overwhelm can lead to stress and stress is the foundation for health problems. In steps the virtual assistant that is as close as your nearest smartphone. In other words, when you can’t afford the services of a virtual assistant, then take advantage of the many ways your smartphone can help you better manage your time and your business.

Here are some tips for using your smartphone as your virtual assistant. I am mostly referring to the Apple iPhone, but other smartphones do pretty much the same thing. Use your phone for the following:

  • Call your ride by giving the name of the destination. Uber and Lyft (or any car service) are your friends. When you “catch a ride,” you eliminate your need to pay attention to the road. Now, you can handle needed phone calls or catchup on your emails while riding to your destination.
  • Pay for goods and services from your phone using any of your debit or credit cards. No more pulling out the wallet, then pulling out the card. In addition, you can use the phone to send money.
  • When expecting a reply to a message, but you must move on to other tasks before the message gets to you, on the iPhone, tap notify and you will be alerted when the message is in.
  • Don’t forget to add extensions to your contacts in your phone; this can save a lot of time and hassle.
  • Facilitate collaboration with colleagues via your smartphone.
  • Manage your calendar by including reminders, alerts and even timers. (Do I really need to remind you of this?)
  • Scan your documents from your smartphone. There are apps that will take care of that for you.
  • If you are using Siri on your iPhone, you can voice text on command and you can ask for your texts to be read. Invaluable if you are trying to find out the last text that came in while you were driving.
  • Of course, you are using your phone for searches. It’s always a hand away!

There are so many more opportunities to put your smartphone to work as your virtual assistant. Take the time now to explore your options. There are specific apps that will enhance what you are doing. It takes some effort before the many ways using your phone as a virtual assistant becomes habit. But believe me, you will save time in the long run.

If there are other business solutions we can help with, don’t hesitate to contact us at Exceptional Transcriptions and Business Solutions. Got a problem you can’t handle because there is just not enough time? We can help you with that!

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Important Resources for the Small Business

August 29, 2017

business team ID-10066165Do you have everything you need to succeed as a small business? In this complex world there are many resources available to the small business owner. The trick is to fully use these tools in order to realize the greatest success for your business. After all, most small businesses can have access to a global market providing an even greater opportunity to reach your goals.

Listed is a sample of some of the resources you can tap into  for your business:

  1. Your local Chamber of Commerce – contacts and networking opportunities in the area you live in.
  2. The US Chamber of Commerce – national networking and information site.
  3. SCORE – a cadre of mentors waiting to assist you as you grow your business.
  4. SBA – Small Business Administration – access to knowledge and funding resources.
  5. Social Media – schedule regular posing to maximize the benefits of this marketing tool; don’t forget your regular email marketing campaigns.
  6. The Internet – with a little research you can find content in the form of blogs, podcasts, webinars.
  7. National Federation of Independent businesses – NFIB.com
  8. Online social networking sites – there are numerous sites, some are paid memberships, others are free.success written in sand pexels-photo-261630
  9. Books and conferences- new books are released and conferences scheduled every day. The point is that you continue to educate yourself and keep abreast of any new information that could help your business grow.
  10. Smart Outsourcing – determine the parts of business that you can relinquish to another expert that will consequently help you manage your business more efficiently and effectively.
  11. Lead Generation Software – leads are your potential customers, you should always be alert to finding new customers and lead generation software could augment your search.

Growing your business is your most important task if you want to be successful. But you can’t grow without the right tools and resources. Some resources directly impact your business, like lead generating software. Others offer indirect, less immediate results like social media activities.

Don’t leave money on the table! This is a list to stir your thinking and provide possible resources for you to take advantage of.

When you are looking for ways to add more time to your day, consider contacting the Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions team.

 

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Midyear Personal and Business Checkup

July 31, 2017

Let’s talk about your personal vision. You shouldn’t be confused: there is a business vision and a personal vision. In truth, the success of your business vision is intwined with the success of your personal vision. Doesn’t it make sense to check your progress on both, especially at the midyear point? What does your midyear vision checkup look like?

Midyear remains a great time to see where are in accomplishing your goals for your personal life and your goals for your business. We all want to become successful, accomplish our goals, but if we don’t track them we are unable to tell if we are making progress. It’s much like traveling to a destination but never seeing a mile marker or anything else to indicate where we are or how far away we are from our destination. A midyear checkup gives us the information we are looking for, good or bad.

This can only be done if you have actually written your goals. If you haven’t, now is a good time to take on that task. You can be sure that it will be so much more difficult to realize your vision, personal or business If you have not committed it to paper. It’s like trying to hold water: it eventually all slips through your fingers.

Once you commit your vision and your goals to paper, keep a copy handy where you can easily access it. Clearly define your vision. See it – visualize it – as you would want your life and your business to unfold. Vague phrases like “I want to make a lot of money” or even “I want to travel a lot” does not give you a clear picture of what you want to happen. What is a lot? Where would your travels take you? When?

Your goals should be in even sharper focus because this is how you want your life to unfold as you strive to realize (live) your vision (your life). Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” Those words very powerfully point to reasons to clearly define what you want your vision of your life to look like. Don’t let someone else define it for you. They can help you clarify what you want but they can’t create the vision.

Take the time to do an assessment. The process will give you peace of mind when you clearly define where you want to go in life. You can’t just wing it. If that is your tactic, then the winds will carry you wherever it blows and you will be clueless – merely reactionary.

So I ask you again, “What does your midyear vision checkup look like?”

Leave a comment about your vision. Are you goals clearly defined? Are you making the progress you expected to make?

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To Vacation or Not to Vacation?

June 23, 2017

It’s that time of year when Hamlet’s question, “To be or not to be?” seems relevant. The difference is that the question becomes “to vacation or not to vacation?” Unfortunately, for far too many that is the question of the day, especially for the entrepreneur or the small business owner. I’m sure the subject is not a new one for you. However, like most people, you probably need a reminder of why you and nearly everyone else should take a vacation from work. But if the thought of vacation literally makes you break out in hives or leaves you weak in the knees, here are a few reasons you should consider a vacation a must at least once a year:

  1. Taking a vacation helps improve your job performance. When you go on vacation you shut off the task oriented part of your brain, giving it a break. This enables you to reenergize so that you are more apt to create and be receptive to new ideas. Problem solving is also improved. Europeans seem to know this and regularly take vacations. Americans and Asians lag far behind.
  2. Vacations are a health benefit. No matter what your job or business might be, there is going to be stress. We all know that relentless stress leads to weight gain, high blood pressure, heart problems, and a host of other health related issues. It also weakens the immune system making you more susceptible to disease.
  3. Vacations improve your relationships with others. If you have a family, spending time focused on activities that promote togetherness and create memories is priceless. In addition, when you take a vacation and actually travel or at least explore your surroundings, you will have more to talk about with your friends.
  4. Vacations provide exposure to different parts of your city, country or the world. You meet new people and observe firsthand new ways of approaching (and appreciating) life. You are sure to learn something new.

The bottom line is that I urge you to take a healthy dose of time out from your work. Create balance in your life. I’m reminded of the saying, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” The saying hasn’t been around for decades without some basis in fact. Think about and then schedule those vacation days! Don’t be like the millions of Americans who, according to a recent survey by Expedia, are very vacation deprived.

When you take that vacation, if you need help managing your business, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can keep your business going in may areas while you take a much needed break. Ask how we at Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions can help.

Step Away from the Business

May 17, 2017

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It’s vacation time again. Regrettably, it’s a sad truth that many entrepreneurs and business owners are reluctant to take time off. Their hesitancy exists for a variety of reasons including not feeling comfortable releasing the reins to someone else, an inability to unwind, or simply failure to plan for a vacation. But you know that taking the time to step away from your business can have many benefits.

According to a survey conducted in 2015 by Office Depot Small Business Index, 66% of small business owners struggle with taking vacations and when they do, the majority stay connected to their business in some way. Today’s technology – smartphones, tablets and laptops – contribute to continued connectivity. The upside? It can keep you connected with your business. The downside? It can keep you connected to your business. In some ways, it’s good for the small business owner to take advantage of that connectivity as long as they control the dosage.

Still, it’s crucial that the small business owners take vacation and disconnect from the demands of growing and maintaining a viable business. Here are a few of the benefits of taking a vacation:

  • You reduce stress which equals lower blood pressure, improved heart rate, a boost to the immune system.
  • You Improve family relationships – connect with your spouse and kids while you create lasting memories.
  • You experience improved creativity.
  • You add new experiences and break the routine.
  • You meet new people.
  • You gain a new perspective on life and your business.
  • You set an example for your employees so that they will take vacation.

These are compelling reasons to take time away from your business in the form of vacation. Making vacation a part of your yearly planning may be one way to ensure that you will take much needed time away from the day to day of running your business.

If you are still finding it difficult to take time off, here are a few suggestions to make it easier to create a better work/life balance:

  • Make your vacation plans early and complete all the steps to getting you to your destination.
  • Prepare your staff and your customers for your absence.
  • Add your vacation days to an out-of-town conference or business meeting; take the family with you and once the conference or meeting is over, devote time to them.
  • Plan at least a week of exploring the vacation area.
  • Schedule retreat/spa activities to help you unwind.
  • Check in with your designated staff at a designated time and then disconnect from technology.

Your work and your personal life must be balanced. It has been proven that taking regular vacations gives you a healthier, more positive outlook on life. In short, it’s good for you; it’s good for your business.

How do you step away from the business? Do you plan a vacation or do you spontaneously take time away from the business? Which works better for you? Share your insights and experiences.

Should You Consider Creating a Side Hustle or Becoming an Entrepreneur?

April 26, 2017

computer, glasses picThere are hundreds if not thousands of new businesses created by bold entrepreneurs daily. Some are created as full-time entrepreneurship and others are entered just as a way to earn additional revenue in the form of a  side hustles. Some of of these opportunities readily come to mind, while others may not be as quickly thought of or they may not even exist, yet. After all, who knows when and where the next big thing will emerge?

I’ve taken a moment to compile a list of businesses or side hustles you can consider as an entrepreneur either as a part-time side hustle/venture or as a full-time business. Why not explore some of the ventures I’ve listed here?

  • Business plan services
  • Copy Writer
  • Mystery Shopper
  • Business Presentation Developer
  • Business Support Services (I turned this into a full-time business)
  • Business Form template Creator
  • Career and Personal Coach
  • Freelance Sales Consultant or Coach
  • Headhunter Service
  • Home Offie Planner
  • Web Designer
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Airbnb
  • Brand Ambassadorship
  • Write a Book (I did, you can, too!)
  • Teach English as a Second Language
  • Freelance Photographer
  • Artist
  • Pet sitter or groomer (Pets are a billion dollar business)
  • Personal Trainer
  • Yoga Teacher

This list is just the tip of the proverbial iceburg. You can explore these and the many more that exist. What I wanted to accomplish was to get you thinking of what you could do to change your current budget for the better. In today’s world, both virtual and real, there are so many more avenues that can be explored, many from home.

Yes, the economy is certainly improving for many. Unfortunately, others have given up on their dreams. It’s not too late to look into developing something new or something that will augment your current finances. You can tackle that entrepreneurial venture you have always thought of pursuing. Many who partner with me have business ventures of their own.

If you are still on the fringes of unemployment or you are underemployment (and many are), there are other avenues available to you which require little to no money to start. Side hustles are valuable; new businesses are possible. It does, however, take research and tenacity to get your new venture moving. Being an entrepreneur does not have to be risky business if you have a plan and you diligently work at the plan. The same goes for having a side hustle.

Give a new venture some thought. Either way, Exceptional can assist you with that new venture. We can help with your strategic plan, accounting needs, even with your social media. It goes without saying, if you have transcription needs, we are the company to turn to.

Leave a comment if you have thoughts on starting a new business or venturing into a side hustle.

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.