THE NEW CONVENTIONAL OFFICE by: Annette Bouchard

As a conventional employer your responsibilities vary from interviewing people, hiring them, training them and then sometimes firing them if they are not adequately suited for the position. All of this time is money to your business. The act of firing someone can land an employer in court fighting about unlawful termination or discrimination. Because of those things a lot of business professionals are turning to virtual assistants. With a VA you can avoid all that hassle. You hire the VA to do a job or project and if things go well, you continue to hire them. If it doesn’t work out then you move on and it’s that simple.

With a VA you are not bound to conventional office hours. Depending on the terms of your contract with your VA you can expect to hand over the work and have it completed by the agreed upon deadline. You wouldn’t dream of asking your Office Administrator to input data after 5:00pm, in order for it to be available before 9:00am the following day. A Virtual Assistant doesn’t close the office at 5. There are VA’s available during regular business hours but many are available to work nontraditional hours providing flexibility with no added expense. The virtual assistant is quickly becoming the more practical business solution.

The way we do business is evolving and traditional models don’t fit all businesses anymore. A VA is a great way to manage your business. The new conventional office allows a business owner the function of a full office with less responsibility and a lot more flexibility.

Signs You Need a Business Support Specialist/Virtual Assistant

Think you can do it all by yourself and be a star Entrepreneur? Maybe you can  but on the other hand maybe you need some help… Here are some signs indicating a virtual assistant may be your answer:

1.  Piles of Paperwork – A cluttered work area is a sure sign you could use some help. A Virtual Assistant can assist you in organizing all of your files online, update contacts, help you prioritize your goals and ideas.

2.  Your To Do list is Multiple Pages – Is completing your daily task list impossible? If your task list is so long that there is no way you are going to finish it and move on to your next set of goals, then you need a virtual assistant. Having a virtual assistant on call will allow you to delegate those non-income tasks that you either don’t want to do or that don’t seem like a priority although you know they are important.

3.  What Social Media Schedule? – if your business doesn’t have some sort of social media plan or schedule, or if you do but are not implementing it, then get a virtual assistant.

4.  Research – most businesses either need to research one thing or another for their personal businesses or for their clients and we all know how time consuming research is. Letting a virtual assistant conduct this research for you will improve your productivity output in your own business and also allow you to provide the information your clients need in a more timely manner.

5.  Leads are passing you by – You are a savvy professional, networking every chance you get but you are not making the most of these contacts and you know it. Enlisting the services of a virtual assistant and informing them of the specifics of your lead qualifying process will allow you to nurture those potential leads and grow your business in the meantime.

6. Projects, projects, projects – Another sign you need a virtual assistant is that you are juggling multiple projects at once but are unable to complete any of them.  Pass them along to a virtual assistant. Let them know the basics or in detail what you want the outcome to be and let them take it from there. If you are not sure how to direct your virtual assistant, send them your notes, or whatever work in progress and let them come up with a draft for your critique. Once they get something in front of you it will be much easier for you to request edits or changes.

7. Disaster Databases – Hire a virtual assistant to help you update, edit, add to or give your databases a complete overhaul.

What are some other ways you think you could use a virtual assistant?

October 2012 Featured MVBS, LLC Client

The McClure Virtual Business Solutions Client Of The Month is Fitness Brokers USA.  MVBS assists Fitness Brokers USA on a monthly basis with database management and invoicing.  Fitness Brokers USA is a full service,    pre-owned fitness equipment company that buys and sells to commercial and residential customers worldwide.  They offer personal, one on one consultations to help you reach your fitness goals. Summer is almost here so get back to those New Year’s resolutions and check them out.  Get great deals on commercial fitness equipment and strength training items by visiting their e-store at http://stores.ebay.com/Fitness-Brokers-USA.  Stay up to date on their latest arrivals by “Like’  their Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Fitness-Brokers-USA/187670107943109. For answers to all your fitness questions contact, Joe Gulino at fitnessbrokersusa@gmail.com or Noel Roby at Noel.P.Roby@gmail.com. Check out their website at http://www.fitnessbrokersusa.com/.

MVBS September 2012 Client of the Month – Nancy Whitehouse-Bain, Realtor with RE/MAX Property Promotions in Leominster Ma

This month’s Client of the Month is Nancy Whitehouse-Bain, Realtor with RE/MAX  Property Promotions in Leominster, Ma.  McClure Virtual Business Solutions assists Nancy on an ongoing basis with various administrative tasks. Nancy has been a full time broker  for over 18 years and as s Top Producer she specializes in Single family homes, Multi-families, Condominiums, New Construction and Land listings.

Nancy’s accomplishments extend to her being a Certified Distressed Property Expert – CDPE, Certified Buyers Representative – CBR, Member of 100% Club – Top Producer, RE/MAX Hall of Fame, 2009 Platinum Producer and 2010 Gold Producer.

In addition to her accomplishments she is affiliated with the Northern Worcester County Board of Realtors, Massachusetts Association of Realtors, Gardner Chamber of Commerce, RE/MAX International.

She is  married to a wonderful man named Scott, and has two children, Dean and Sabrina as well as two step-children, Ashleigh and Jordan.  Nancy enjoys playing basketball and racquetball when she gets the chance. For more information on your local real estate market, contact Nancy at nancw@propertypromotions.net and don’t forget to check out her website for real estate tips and trends athttp://www.wykesandwhitehouse.com/.

5 Ways to Maintain Your Customer Relationship After the Sale

We all know that making a sale is exciting and is what brings home the bacon. The sale, however, is not what makes most businesses profitable. By profitable I am referring to long term success. It is the customer relationships that make businesses profitable. More specifically, what happens after the sale is usually what is crucial in maintaining most businesses. Without good customer/client relationships most businesses would fail. I say “most” because I’m sure there is an exception or two to this rule but the majority of businesses do rely on at least 3 things: repeat customers, referrals and good recommendations.  Make sure that you keep a database of incoming customers and clients with their contact information. Here are 5 ways to maintain good rapport with your customers after the sale:

1.  Send a thank-you. After the sale, send your client or customer a thank-you note and or gift depending on your budget and what service or product you offer. This gives the customer the feeling you see them as a new friend not just a dollar sign. They will think of you again, which is your ultimate goal.  I don’t suggest including coupons or anything promotional as this takes away from the sincerity of your actions. There will be opportunities later on for those activities.

2.  E-Newsletters & Social Media – get customers to join you in your social media communities as well as sign up for your e-newsletter.  Include the latest news and updates in your company as well as links to the latest article you wrote on your blog or elsewhere.  This will give you the opportunity to stay in constant connection with your clientele. Not only will you stay in constant contact, you will be the first company they think of when someone they know is looking for the product or service you provide.

3. Postcard, Brochures, other print media that may be appropriate to your business.  I know in this day and age a lot of people feel that print advertising is dead. I don’t completely agree with that.  I feel that because print media may be taking a back seat in this technological world of social media, online directories and other online advertising, it is a favorable option in your marketing plan and customer relations management.  The fact that it is becoming the least used media for advertising and marketing may give you the leg up when utilizing it. When a customer or client gets a piece of print media from you it gives a more personal impression. You aren’t just spamming them with random email ads, you are taking the time to design, address  (yes I do recommend writing out the address to the addressee) and put a stamp on a postcard, letter, brochure or whatever it may be.

4.  Offer referral discounts. When creating your marketing calendar input an opportunity to send out a coupon offering a discount or gift certificate when customers or potential customers refer you. You can choose to distribute your coupon either through social media or print or both.  Make sure you include a coupon code for tracking your marketing and instruct them to make sure their friends mention them when contacting you.

5.  Finally, refer your customers and clients to others.  Get to know your clientele, find out what they do, ask for a business card, whatever you have to do to get more info from them. Then file that information accordingly and be sure to refer them out during your day to day business as well as to your familiar sphere of influence.  Your clients will be extremely grateful and will either continue to utilize your services or products if need be or they will be sure to refer you out to their sphere. One hand washes the other.

Thanks again for reading and if you have any other great ideas or suggestions that are vital to maintaining relationships after the sale please comment!

McClure Virtual Business Solutions June 2012 Client of the Month – Lori Herbert, BS, RDH of Helpmehygienist.com

The June 2012 McClure Virtual Business Solutions Client of the Month is Lori Herbert, BS, RDH.  MVBS provides social media, marketing and general administrative support services for Lori on an ongoing basis. Lori is a Reg­is­tered Den­tal Hygien­ist with a Bach­e­lors Degree in Psy­chol­ogy.  Work­ing with patients with den­tal anx­i­ety is her strength.  It is her job to make patients feel safe enough to begin dental treat­ment. She understands that education is the best tool to fight her patients dental fears.

To accomplish her goal of educating her patients and the public, Lori has established an educational website, www.helpmehygienist.com and Facebook Page, http://facebook.com/helpmehygienist. Lori understands that it is easy to walk into the dental aisle and get overwhelmed just look­ing for a tube of tooth­paste. In order to ease some of these fears she has included on her website thorough  infor­ma­tion related to den­tal hygiene pro­ce­dures, den­tal anx­i­ety and den­tal prod­ucts. There is also a store page with electric toothbrushes, tooth whitening aids and many other products she recommends.  In addition, she has placed several dental informational links to  help you improve your oral health.

Lori’s number one priority is educating her audience and making them feel more comfortable when it comes to dental hygiene and care. She is always willing to answer any related questions as well as hear any  suggestions or input on what her audience is looking for so be sure to check out her website and Facebook page and let her know what you think.  For any questions on dental hygiene and procedures, contact Lori at lori@helpmehygienist.com or message her on Facebook.

The MVBS May 2012 Client of the Month – Fitness Brokers USA

The MVBS May 2012 Client of the Month is Fitness Brokers USA.  MVBS assists Fitness Brokers USA on a monthly basis with database management and invoicing.  Fitness Brokers USA is a full service,  pre-owned fitness equipment company that buys and sells to commercial and residential customers worldwide.  They offer personal, one on one consultations to help you reach your fitness goals. Summer is almost here so get back to those New Year’s resolutions and check them out.  Get great deals on commercial fitness equipment and strength training items by visiting their e-store at http://stores.ebay.com/Fitness-Brokers-USA.  Stay up to date on their latest arrivals by pressing  “Like’ on their Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Fitness-Brokers-USA/187670107943109. For answers to all your fitness questions contact, Joe Gulino at fitnessbrokersusa@gmail.com or Noel Roby at Noel.P.Roby@gmail.com. Check out their website at http://www.fitnessbrokersusa.com/ .

Submit Your Small Business Success or Inspirational Story for a Chance to Win!

I hope 2012 is treating everyone well so far. 🙂 MVBS would like to start off the year with a bang by offering a $100 MVBS gift certificate for the best small business success or inspirational story submitted in the next 45 days! So whether you are an independent contractor, small business, or large business that started off small, submit your story by February 18, 2012 to mccluresolutions@hotmail.com.  Each story submitted will be featured on our blog, Facebook and Twitter in addition for a chance to win the $100 gift certificate. The best story will be chosen by our team plus votes from other readers and will be announced February 24, 2012.

That’s 5 free hours of MVBS administrative services to help you get that project you have been putting off done or your 2012 calendar in order, or anything else your business needs.

What business couldn’t use a little extra exposure too?

How could you use a personal assistant for 5 free hours? I bet you can think of a few things….

Don’t hesitate submit your story today!

Inviting All You Saavy Bloggers Out There to Guest Write for MVBS!

MVBS is looking to enhance the versatility of our blog and is pleased to invite those of you who love to write, to share your ideas and opinions on our blog. For those of you who don’t already know, we are a Virtual Assistant Team that provides business support services to businesses and professionals on an as needed basis. We pride ourselves on providing our readers and followers with valuable information they can use.  We are specifically interested in business topics such as how-to’s, up and coming business news and opinions, inspirational business stories, social media information and insights, industry specific information (i.e. real estate, sales, etc.). Also, if you think your personal startup story could inspire and educate others or would like to submit a relevant topic not listed here, we would love to hear from you too.

If interested, contact us at mccluresolutions@hotmail.com and let’s inform and write!

 

***Please note that all posts and topics submitted are subject to review and approval.