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Mind Your Good Business Manners

August 29, 2018

handshake agreement-3546008_1280Even in these days of hurry up, get it done, and move on to the next project, good manners are important to your business success – even more than you may realize. Still, many of us forget that these small details like saying “please” and “thank you” can go a long way to creating positive results. When they are forgotten, we can appear unpolished, rude, and even disrespectful. We all know that every aspect of what we do can affect the final outcome and impression we give of the way we run our business.

This article contains a few reminders of those little pleasantries that can leave a positive impression. Practicing a few common courtesies should not be difficult. However, if you have grown rusty and can’t remember what those courtesies are, a reminder of some of them include:

  • saying “please” and “thank you.” These three words are some of the most important in the dictionary. Saying them frequently can have a dramatic affect on how you are perceived even during adversities,
  • not interrupting. Always let the speaker finish their thought. When you interrupt, the implication is that what you have to say is more important than what anyone else may have to say,
  • offering to pay the tab. If you did the inviting insist on picking up the tab. In fact, arrange in advance to pay for the meal to avoid any confusion,
  • arriving on time or slightly early for appointments. Nothing says you consider the other important the way being on time does,
  • practicing proper introductions. That includes providing your full  name and properly introducing those with you, as well,
  • saying the others’ name during conversation. Be sure not to overdo it; be natural,
  • ordering last if you are the “host” of the group. If asked early, simply tell the server you haven’t decided,
  • never ask for a “to go box” at a professional gathering,
  • leaving a good tip, whether at a business meal or one for pleasure,
  • dressing professionally unless the event is clearly casual, like the company picnic. Even then you don’t want to be too casual. If in doubt, ask what the dress code happens to be,
  • perfecting a good handshake, one that is not too limp but not the death grip, either,
  • and standing when you shake hands or meet someone.

A word of caution: If you are doing business in another country, don’t assume that the common practices in one country are the same in others. A little research on the other country is certainly recommended in order to avoid a minor or, maybe, a major gaffe.

There are many more niceties you should practice. There are also many good books on the topic of good business manners. The Essentials of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat, and Tweet Your Way to Success is one and Emily Post’s The Etiquette Advantage in Business: Personal Skills for Professional Success is another. Don’t hesitate to pick up one or two.

Minding your good business manners can only be to your advantage in both business and other settings.


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!


Read This Before You Write That Book

February 17, 2017

writing-pixabay-828911_1280I promised myself that this year would be the year the book that has been sitting in the back of my mind would come out. I’m sure that every New Year nearly all of us make writing a book our goal. However, stop and take a moment to read this. I  admonish you not to write that book if you don’t intend to take the project seriously. Here’s why not:

  1. Writing your book will feel like a chore rather than a journey or an adventure. We all know how we feel about chores!
  2. Those who encourage you to write are much more enthusiastic about you writing a book than you are. Maybe they should write their own book! You are only apt to produce a good, finished product if you’re enthusiastic and determined.
  3. Writing a book will not enhance your credibility. This is only true if your book is poorly written, in which case you will actually harm your credibility.
  4. A hastily or poorly chosen topic will produce a book no one is interested in reading. No sales equal no profit. That being said, however, don’t let that stop you if you really feel the book in you must come out. There really is no crystal ball when it comes to what your audience will like.
  5. You can’t invest the time in marketing your book. Writing just for the sake of saying you have written a book could result in a manuscript that goes nowhere. Again, no sales, no profit.
  6. You can’t commit to ensuring that you will have your book proofed and edited. There is nothing that ruins a potentially good book than bad grammar, misspelled words, and run-on sentences. It is distracting to your readers and shows you are not really invested in the successful outcome of your writing project.

                             “A book worth writing is worth writing well.”

The bottom line is there are many people who may urge you to write a book and maybe you should, but consider the project carefully. It will take time and it will take commitment to produce even a small book. If you can’t take it seriously, it’s better not to embark on it. If you are serious, then by all means, get busy writing.

Have you considered creating a book? If it isn’t already one of your goals for the New Year, maybe it should be. What would you choose as your topic? We would like to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment  below. And if we can help with your transcription or business solutions contact us at Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions.

“But it’s writing…If you can take it seriously, we can do business. If you can’t or won’t, it’s time for you to close the book and do something else. Wash the car, maybe.” – Stephen King

The Loss of a Pet: Goodbye Speckles

July 26, 2015

Exceptional Business Solutions, Inc.


2003 – 2013

I heard the thud when Speckles fell from her perch to the floor of her cage.  I got up quickly thinking maybe she had hurt her leg or wing.

“Speckles!  Speckles!  What’s wrong girl?”

Then the sound of two screeching noises, her expanded wings started folding inward and her eyes slowly closed.  I turned her over and her little beady eyes closed for the last time and she was gone.  Just like that!  It was as sudden as snapping your fingers or a quick clap of the hands.

In that moment my heart fell.  I had that queasy feeling you get when something has gone wrong.  The first thought was that she hadn’t been acting any different.  I even watched her earlier playing with one of her toys.

I quickly got out the camera and took Speckles’ picture for the last time.  I couldn’t help myself.

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Start a Woman-Owned Business – It’s about Making History

March 12, 2015

March is National Women’s History Month. It is safe to say that women, particularly women moving into business ownership, are making history daily. This observation is based on the sheer numbers of women entrepreneurs that are creating new businesses at historical rates.

In recognition of National Women’s History Month,Face Pic PEOPLE_line-lady I did some research about women-owned businesses. It is inspiring to observe the cadre of women making history daily, with impressive numbers of women moving into entrepreneurship in the United States alone.

American Express compiled some very revealing statistics in a recently published white paper about the state of women-owned businesses. Their study found that over the past year, each day an average of 1,288 women started their own business. An impressive number when paired with the fact that as of the end of that same year, a total of 9.1 million women owned a business. Those 9.1 million women-owned enterprises employed 7.9 million people. And, get this, they generated a whopping $1.4 trillion in revenue.

All that said, it is the growth that is most impressive. From 1997 to 2013, the average number of businesses started daily by women was 591. Compare that to the 1288 women-owned businesses started in 2014 alone.

Naturally, sustainability is always an issue. Business owners must be vigilant for ways to attract more customers, grow their business and find ways to compete in the larger market. Entrepreneurship is rarely easy, but is very fulfilling, as many women are discovering in record numbers.

Growth was greatest in the health care and social assistance arena. That included doctors, dentists, residential care facilities and child care providers.

According to the statistics from the Delaware based National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), one in 5 firms, or 51%, was women-owned. They generated revenues of an average of $1 million.

Exceptional Transcriptions and Business Solutions is a woman owned business. I founded the company out of a love for the service I was providing for someone else in their enterprise. I wanted to extend my skills as a transcriber and business problem solver to help others in business. My business has thrived over two decades with the help of a tremendous team of transcribers and other experts.

Over the years, the services offered at Exceptional have increased until today there is an array of business services we can proudly provide, either directly or through partnerships, to the solo entrepreneur and small to medium sized business.

Access to speaker services is one of the latest services to be added. In addition, I am working on a book to help others who are in need of expert advice on various business challenges.

I discovered a love of public speaking and sharing my knowledge as well as learning new ways to solve challenges from my audience has inspired me. I look forward to offering my speaking services to your group.

Women make history everyday as they enter the world of entrepreneurship. Are you a  history maker?

Until next time… Be Exceptional



Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions

Did You Have a Banner Year?

January 9, 2015

Banner Year CelebrationWhen we hear business owners and entrepreneurs talk of “banner years,” it  is often referencing the positives of the year, but banner years are also marked by the challenges and misfortunes of the year. The years should be more accurately labeled eventful years, because not only are the positives worth mentioning, the negatives are worth noting because they can also teach us something.

As you evaluate the past year and prepare for the new year, examine what impacted the successes and the challenges of your business. Did anything make it a banner year and did you celebrate the outstanding?

If there were negatives that stood out above all else, did you take a close look? Some are found in many other businesses. Here are common culprits. Do they look familiar?

1.  Cash flow failed to meet expectations. This will often happen if your business is new and you have no history to point to the past cash flow.. More often than not, entrepreneurs and business owners fail to closely follow the revenue and expenditures on a timely basis and reach the end of the year only to be shocked at how much the company did not make over the year. Of course you may encounter the reverse. Either way, there is the failure to routinely monitor the cash flow, in or out.

2.  Technology bloopers. By this I mean that you did not take advantage of the many ways technology could have benefited your company during the past year, either because you were unaware or because you were unwilling to spend the money. For the new year, be sure to include keeping up with the technology that may be available to move your company forward. Consider the services of a consultant and definitely stay on the lookout for conferences, webinars and teleseminars that will keep you abreast of new tech advances related to your business.

3.  Regulation hiccups. Like technology, you must stay abreast of any changes in regulation that may affect your business. It doesn’t hurt to stay in touch with your elected officials and certainly consider becoming a member of your local Chamber of Commerce. You will have a better opportunity to learn about any new regulations that might be coming down the pipeline.

3.  New business competitors. Let’s face it, while we all know there is plenty of business to go around, some of us will snare the bulk of it. Did you do your homework on any new competition and threats to your business? You must keep a competitive edge in order to be the company that your potential customer turns to. That requires marketing to your potential customer and developing the relationships with them.

4.   Staffing challenges. Did you grow your staff or are you still carrying the load of work for your small business? You certainly want to shift much of the “grunt work” to others so that you can step more fully into your role as the CEO and visionary of your company. You must trust others to do some of the work and you must hire accordingly.

I’m sure your business had a banner year, full of success, but the challenges may have been there as well. It is up to you to examine them and to make adjustments to your company so that you remain solvent and viable. If you are feeling overwhelmed, then a consultant from a business like Exceptional may be able to help you wade through the challenges.

Let us know about your banner year.

Don’t hesitate to call Exceptional for assistance with transcribing needs, accounting needs, or other business needs. We have the solution.

Read more about how to grow your business. Archives are available.

Until next time,


CEO/Founder Exceptional Transcription and Business Solutions, Inc.

The Loss of a Pet: Goodbye Speckles

May 28, 2013


2003 – 2013

I heard the thud when Speckles fell from her perch to the floor of her cage.  I got up quickly thinking maybe she had hurt her leg or wing.

“Speckles!  Speckles!  What’s wrong girl?”

Then the sound of two screeching noises, her expanded wings started folding inward and her eyes slowly closed.  I turned her over and her little beady eyes closed for the last time and she was gone.  Just like that!  It was as sudden as snapping your fingers or a quick clap of the hands.

In that moment my heart fell.  I had that queasy feeling you get when something has gone wrong.  The first thought was that she hadn’t been acting any different.  I even watched her earlier playing with one of her toys.

I quickly got out the camera and took Speckles’ picture for the last time.  I couldn’t help myself.

I started my Google research on causes of cockatiel’s sudden death.  I found out that I was not the only one who had experienced that happening.  There was no real reason except that Speckles had lived out her years.  It was just one of those things where her little heart needed to rest.

I was teary-eyed knowing I had to say goodbye, but I also knew Speckles was well-loved and well taken care of.

I found a perfect little box that would become her coffin and lined it with yellow tissue to match her plumage.  I went to my backyard with fork and shovel and started preparing Speckles’ final place of rest.  While digging, up came two fat earthworms and I set them aside hoping some other bird would come along and find their evening meal.  I placed Speckles in her yellow, tissue-lined coffin, wrote her name and the date of her death on the outside.

I headed back out to her burial site and had just lowered her little coffin when my husband and daughter came along to say their goodbyes.  My husband covered over the coffin with dirt; I placed a marker at her gravesite and we said our final goodbyes to Speckles.

I know you may think or say “it was only a bird.”  For those of you that have never kept and cared for a pet, it’s easy to think that way.  But, for me, it was a shock.  Immediately, I felt like my memory was on rewind.  I thought Speckles was only in our lives for about 7 years. As it ended up, it had been ten years.

I remembered how she came to be a part of our household.  A friend wanted to get rid of Speckles.  They didn’t even want any payment, they just wanted to be rid of her.  My children, avid pet lovers, especially my daughter who should be an animal rescuer, could not bear the thought of leaving Speckles behind.  Thus, Speckles entered our lives.

Her most outstanding quality was her love for head scratches.  She would allow you to scratch her head all day if you were able and willing.  Sweet bird, but she definitely had the temperament of a female.

She was one of our alarm systems in the house.  Every time my husband drove into the garage, I knew he was home even if I didn’t hear the garage door open.  She would whistle and get excited. As soon as he entered and neared her vision, she was quiet.

I would whistle to her and she would whistle back.  She had her unique cry for her food and her water.  She greeted you each day with that special chirp to make you know you made it to a new day and so did she.

I awoke this morning to a different kind of silence and an empty cage.  I was happy I made it to a new day, but I realized that special morning chirp from Speckles gave me a boost and brightened my awakening.

It doesn’t matter that she was, as some might say, “just a bird.” This was the loss of a pet. She was loved. She was cared for. She will be missed.