Category Archives: Biz Tips and Advice

Learning necessary skills, tips and advice in managing or developing your business.

How would you like your Bill served?

customer relations, billing, marketing incentives
how would you like your Bill served?

A business owner and customer sit down together for a meal and moan about their bills, each from their own perspective. They agree about the joys of receiving their monthly bills whether by snail mail, or email, if you’ve gone the paperless route. So many bills! Telephone, mobile phone, vehicle, satellite dish, internet, mortgage, insurance, etc., and the list goes on! Well, for those who can afford these ‘privileges’, will see these bills every month. What if a change occurred in delivery of our bills?

Business Plans and Tools

A business development and management course I had taken taught putting together a business plan. One of the steps requires annual cash flow projections showing a slight increase, of prices each year and keeping up with potential of rising inflation and/or our competitors. This helps to see, and/or, realize the potential success, of the business project at hand aka the financial forecasting exercise.

Research is done by marketing firms and businesses to check out ‘trends‘ and/or discover new customer insights. These reports are tools that help businesses adjust and improve their own marketing efforts, to their existing, and/or, for new customers yet still make a profit, to continue operations of their business. It is a great practice and tool, for all business owners.

Customers Collective Buying Power

Now, at the other end, we have our customers. As a customer myself of different services, I have come to realize that many businesses earn over the top profits, with the amounts of monies paid each month. Our governments have control over infrastructure and delivery of some of these services, such as Hydro and we know that our electricity bills, are skyrocketing, least in Canada. This adds a financial burden to many struggling to stay afloat of homelessness, unemployment, etc., since wages aren’t keeping up. What is up with that? Oh! Got to love this quote.

J.O.B.
Just Over Broke

A business needs customers to operate. The monies from every customer especially when gathered together, and drawing upon a customers ‘collective‘ buying power, add up. We are the ‘target market‘. Prices continue rising and we continue paying even though we’re at the edge of broke. I must add another quote that’s awesome, bear with me please. 🙂

I’m not Greedy if I ask for only $1 from the whole population

Examining that quote about not being greedy, can you imagine how much money can be gathered, from the whole population? For Canada, there’s near 34 MILLION people. Now, reassemble that number with the amount of one of your bills but lesser number of people, say, 12,500.  Business planning requires answering the question about ‘market share‘ meaning, how many customers needed, to make a profit? Do you see the amount of monies a business can collect from their ‘target market‘?

Oh! the Businesses will cry Foul!

Can you hear the business owner protesting? Alright, yes, the business owner has bills and financial responsibilities of his own. S/he will have to pay off equipment costs, business loan debts, staff, business licenses, rent, memberships, equipment maintenance and/or replacement, insurance of one kind or other, etc., and it adds up. One beauty about business plans, is they can pinpoint, to almost the nearest dollar, what exactly a business will be required to spend aka ‘expenditures‘. They can’t foresee all future obstacles, that may cause disruptions, of their services and/or products but it’s recommended, to be prepared.

Fair, Unfair and Outright Greed

The prices of many of our gadgets, utilities, services and needs will vary. As customers, we constantly seek out the lower price, to free up and further our own spending power. Some people say the government enrich themselves, off the backs of the People, paying themselves with the Public tax monies, using Public tax monies to pay for ‘government business needs‘ (airplanes, chauffeurs, hotels, meals,rent) always wanting more, raising taxes, creating claw backs, Greed just runs rampant in government office.

Customers don’t just stop at governments either. They will look at business owners and discuss the outrageous price hikes of various products and conclude, greed is the driving factor. The struggle to keep food on the table, heat, water, daycare, telephone, satellite dish, internet, the costs keep rising. Do business owners genuinely appreciate their customers these days?

The many businesses that exist, looking to improve their operations and/or, to attract more customers, can just look at their own ‘personal emotions‘ about bills, to find an opportunity, to change their marketing efforts. We can create our own ‘mover and shaker‘ experiences for customers.

A few simple ‘incentives‘ a business owner could offer customers and build ‘popularity‘ could be, the following

  • offer a one year FREE service for sending in referrals (but no conditions, such as must be new paying customer, that’s asking for unrealistic guarantee )
  • offer one month HALF price or FREE month (i.e., Christmas month)
  • offer a ‘once-a-month deduct your bill‘ customer day
  • offer once a year billing

The point is to realize, customers are struggling to make ends meet too. Rather than viewing them as a ‘money tree‘ and ripe, for harvesting them for every dollar. Take a step back and see, how can a business make their life easier, and, grow loyal customers?

Learning in Action

Extra Reading

Giving Incentives for Referrals 

13 Tips: Getting the Most out Attending a Trade Show or Trade Event

10 Online Customer Attraction Techniques You Should Zone in on in 2015

I hope you found this article informative and gained some new insight. Please feel free to share with others! Use the ‘Contact’ form to make a request on a topic of your own interest. I hope you visit again for more informative articles coming soon.

Article(C)2009 An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense writes articles on business skills and development, health, science, technology and society, and enjoys advocating for social justice, security, and, a better world for all of us. She works as a VEA to help businesses operate more effectively.

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How can I support my Family?

how to, support family, home biz, side job, extra money
work at home and earn

The cost of living in Canada, has risen to points of being seemingly near unattainable, to enjoy a quality life. They struggle to put food on the table, pay rent, car payments, bus fare, daycare, etc. Costs for supporting a family may be more! due to meeting needs for other members, besides just ourselves. Stress sets in and that daily nagging question, how can I support my family?

Today, many families have dual incomes where both parents work, and share financial responsibilities of managing the bills. Some families will have the ‘main‘ breadwinner, who brings home a higher pay, and their spouse may work only part-time hours, to bring extra monies, to help reduce the financial stress, gain possible savings and still provide, a parental presence for their children.

Where to begin?

A business will flourish, when it meets a ‘need‘. We look around and figure, all the needs are being met, shoe store, clothing store, grocery store, etc., and we find that we are unable to compete with them, but, not all services are met.

A few steps to begin;

  • Examine your own skills, write them down.
  • Examine your spouses skills, write them down.
  • What do you enjoy doing most? Write them down.
  • What does your spouse enjoy most? Write them down.
  • Write down a list of all your bills, add them all up for the monthly total.
  • How much extra money would help make life easier?
  • Can you sell one of your skills, as a service, to others?

Success, in selling your services can be found, by learning to ‘market‘, to a larger group of people, interested in your service skills, and who will become your clients. This can be done with a good ‘promotion‘ campaign, of your services whether on simple bulletin boards, online at Craigslist, using classified ads, or simple but attractive flyers. Friends can also help with simply passing the word along about your services.

Let’s examine a sample ad and outcome;’

sample ad

A client looking for a light housekeeper may be thrilled and call immediately but require your services only twice a week and expect you done within 2 hours, every Tuesday and Thursday. This adds up to $60.00 per day, ($30.00 per hour x2 = $60.00). Let’s say, another client also calls, and again, may require the same schedule of 2 hours, but on Mondays and Wednesdays. 1 client ($60.00 x 2 days) =$120.00, a week or with 2 (clients), same math,you are earning an extra $240.00 per week, x 4 weeks (one month) = $960.00.

Providing this type of ‘service’ can also be set up, to suit your own schedule. Let’s examine the following sample ‘day planner’ set for working mornings only, 4 days a week, with 4 clients ;

acornrdayplnnrpicb

The numbers will vary when holidays are involved but if required by clients, you can ask for a higher price and it’s very important, to know your local labour laws. Do not under sell your services or self worth.

Success can be found in selling ONE service and finding a few ‘clients’ who want your service.  A major concern with clients will be, TRUST.  Nobody wants theft or destruction of their goods and/or property.  Police will be called and charges laid. It may be important to consider working with a trusted partner to ensure your own innocence, in the event the client files ‘false’ allegations, so not to pay. It does happen. Always good to stay safe.

One sample job has been used but there are many other ‘service‘ jobs that you can offer depending upon your skills. Watch the slide show!  You may just want to work part time at the corner store , and still offer your own skills, as another part-time job too.

The scheduling will be in your hands, how much you want to earn, how many days you want to work, how many clients will you need. It’s important to keep to your schedule or lose your clients, and ‘business’ reputation. Do a little research ahead of time about ‘business’ development and management skills.

Learning in Action

How to Earn Extra Money Ideas

More presentations from Gin

Learning Resources

WAHM

CBDC Business Plan

How to Use Daily Planners Effectively

I hope you found this article informative. Please feel free to leave your comments or share with your Friends who may this article helpful. Use the ‘Ask a Question’ form and request a topic of your own interest for an upcoming Post.

Article(C)2009 An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense writes articles on business skills, development, health, science, technology and society and enjoys advocating for independence, security and a better world for all of us. She is also a VEA available for Hire 🙂

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Why learn to Outsource office Tasks?

outsource office tasks, aic, an informal cornr, small business, office help
I Love my VEA

The world of outscourcing is here, and going on all around us, at a regular pace. We hear of corporations ‘outsourcing’ to less developed nations. This is good for the hosting nation as it helps in creating ‘economic activity’ but not great news for the ‘home’ nation, since jobs are not locally available. Is it possible for a business, to diversify their needed services?

Costs associated with operating a business can climb, as each ‘need’ must be addressed especially if hiring for a specific ‘skillset’. A small business owner may find him and/or herself wearing ALL the hats as manager, marketer, designer, advertiser, accountant (omg! Tax time!), trainer, next to delivering their own business service(s). They do not have huge amounts of money to spend hiring a specialized ‘team’ in a firm. Some may wonder, how can one be in business for themself with so many tasks, to tend and manage?

Are your eyes spinning around with imagining all these tasks? Well, a few business owners have learned to value and appreciate, the services that a Virtual Executive Assistant (VEA) can offer. Statistics show that a VA is a new, rising, and popular industry in the USA, new to Canada and growing in other nations too. The VEA, or Consultant, is a business owner.

A VEA understands quite well all the skills needed in operating a successful business. Can you imagine the knowledge, skills and expertise that you can tap into? and help your own business? Not every VEA is equal since education, job experience and skills will vary. Again, statistics have shown that a majority of VA’s are college and University graduates, next to being great parents.

A little help can go a long way’  We’ve all heard that quote before and I’m positive that you will enjoy hiring a Virtual Executive Assistant and/or Consultant. S/he will deliver benefits for your own business goals and improve your own over all time management. Take a seat and think about tasks that ‘steals time’ away from you delivering your own services. Write these time thiefs down. It could be one task or a few, write them down. Think about areas that are troublesome because you know very little about it (i.e., social media management, blogging, tweet, what?). Did you know that us humans, tend to let pride get in the way, of asking for help?

The number of tasks you have listed could now be assigned, to a VEA depending upon her/his skill set. Finding a VEA can be easily done simply with the responses, to a Job ad you post on a popular VA forum, classified ad site, or job board, online (psst! Twitter works wonders!). Remember, skills will vary therefore maybe add a specific skill heading (marketing, graphic design,etc.) to the job post.

Tasks that you need done could be those that are repetitive, or to, sort your email, manage your social media, manage your web site, provide content for your blog, event planning, flight arrangements, do a concise market industry report. These tasks can get done and delivered to you because of our fabulous internet!

Once a response, or quite a few, have arrived in your email, now is the time to review and choose who you believe may ‘fit’ your job post. You may very well find one located in your own neighborhood. I believe that hiring the services of a VEA should be close to home since they will be most familiar with your local, regional and/or national, business laws and we don’t want to be doing something illegal or cause damage to your own business ‘brand’.

I believe the majority of professional VEA’s and Consultants, will KNOW and comply with their local, regional or national business contract law. After all, a contract is a legal and binding document recognized in Court and there are Specialists that can track a person that owes monies.

A VEA/Consultant will have specialized skills and be knowledgeable in many and/or specific areas, such as the following:

Paralegal
Financial Advisor
Accountant
Business Development
Marketing
Web Design
Graphic Designer
Research
Technology
Audio/Visual Editing
Political
Medical
Note Reader/Scopist
Real Estate
Mortgage + Loans
Writers
Transcription
Public Relations
Translation
Photo Image Editing
Pod/Web cast
The professional VEA/Consultant strives to maintain and build their skills, experience and business knowledge. Offering their assistance to help your business is the perfect environment to showcase their abilities.

One of the most important qualities of knowing and working with a professional VEA/Consultant are his/her business CONNECTIONS! There are forums and associations for the Professional VEA/Consultant where they share and connect with each other and other business professionals. They can quickly fill a need for a business owner without you having to go forth in search of specialized help. This new industry intertwines and works effectively in the B2B relationship. Have you made friends with your friendly, neighborhood Virtual Executive Assistant/Consultant?

An agreement or contract, will be forwarded to you which should state the protection and confidentiality of your business, payment terms for hourly packages, by project, or by retainer, other services they provide, and, maybe their own promotional brochures too. A common fear about use of the internet is the release and/or discovery, of our passwords to our numerous internet accounts. A professional VEA/Consultant understands this fear and will inform you of measures they use, to protect and maintain confidentiality and your privacy.

The process of hiring a VEA/Consultant is not painful and no animals are harmed. A variety of online business tools commonly used by VEA/Consultants, are:

Google Documents, word processing, spreadsheets, easy to email or share work.
Evernote, send large files
LastPass, Password management tool
EchoSign, used for electronic signature
Hootsuite, post to various social media accounts
OpenProj, Project management tool
DropBox, cloud storage service, share documents
Freshbooks, invoicing, accounting program
Toggl, one of many time tracker tools
Aweber, bulk email program, many more
Skype, video chat
Anymeeting, video conference, webinars, or online training (ability to share your screen)

A few tools that you may want to familiarize yourself with since no VEA/Consultant, is identical. There are many, many other tools online that may be used and will operate in a similar manner and you two may already use these very tools. Do you already notice the capabilities of the professional VEA/Consultant?

A question that commonly arises about VEA/Consultants, is, why hire you? Well, we begin with full-time versus as-needed. Now, which do you think will cost less? 20 hours of a full-time EA per week or 20 hours of a ‘as-needed’ VEA/Consultant, per month? Prices will vary with VEA/Consultants and that alone, may prove a deciding factor. So, if you need help but can’t afford the full-time staff, why not consider hiring a VEA/Consultant, today?

Oh! how big is your list? VEA/Consultants are available for long term too. Imagine, only a couple hours per week at per month.  🙂 It’s a wise investment that every small business should be aware and keep in consideration. As a business owner, you should NOT have to train your VEA therefore pricing should indicate the VALUE you are requesting.

Learning in Action

Related Reading

75+ Tasks that Your Business Should Outsource

The Ultimate List Of Tasks
that Can Be Outsourced To A Virtual Assistant

I hope you found this article informative and gained some new insight. Please feel free to leave your comments and share your new found knowledge with others. Use the ‘Contact’ form to make a request on a topic of your own interest. I hope you return to more information coming soon!

Article(C)2009 An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense writes articles on business skills, development, health, science, technology and society and enjoys advocating for independence, security and a better world for all of us. She is also a VEA available for Hire.

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