It’s the difference between the Palmer Holiday Chocolate Christmas Bells and the Dove Chocolate Christmas Bells. Both of them are chocolate. Both of them have that holiday bell shape. But bite into them both and you’ll find that the Palmer variety isn’t exactly premium chocolate. The Dove on the other hand is soft, silky and decadently chocolate. Sure, the Dove version costs more, I can get an entire bag of Palmer chocolate bells for 99 cents. Dove will set me back closer to $3. But for me, that $2.01 difference is worth every penny. If I’m going to indulge in those extra chocolate calories I want the good stuff. What does this have to do with business and the virtual assistant industry?
The second installment of my series entitled 100 ways for a home office warrior to utilize a virtual assistant has been published over at The Home Office Warrior, the Internet Magazine for the Home Office Entrepreneur.
When is a blog more than a blog? When it’s a marketing tool. And you thought blogging was only for political pundits and Hollywood gossip mavens. Think again. Blogging is the latest business tool, and when it’s done right, it can effectively work for you and your business.
A business website. Do you have one? As I mentioned in an earlier post, every business in today’s market needs a website. It amazes me that some business people are still dragging their feet on this one. Perhaps its because there are still some people out there telling business owners that they don’t necessarily need one. I believe that’s like telling them they don’t need a telephone. The Internet is where the majority of people go for their information now, if you don’t have a presence on the web, you’re missing out on reaching new clients and meeting the needs of the ones you already have. Don’t believe me?
Last week, we touched on why a virtual assistant makes sense financially for your business. This week we’re going to address some of the common concerns a brick and mortar business owner may have concerning the use of a virtual assistant compared to an in-house employee.
Virtual assistants are beginning to gain a bit of recognition in the media. Even Good Morning America has recognized them. But in my little corner of the woods the words ‘virtual assistant’ still draw blank stares from the individuals I talk to. And when I explain what a virtual assistant is, I can almost see the wheels start turning in their heads. I’m sure the first thought in many of these business professionals heads is, “It’s impossible for someone to do the job of an in-house employee out of my office.” It’s the same mentality that occured years ago when Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were trying to tell people that every office needed a computer. Can you imagine an office without any computers now? It’s a ridiculous thought isn’t it? Someday we’re going to say that same thing about virtual assistants or virtual consultants. Don’t believe me?
According to a BusinessWeek article by Carmine Gallo, only 10% of American employees look forward to going to work. With those same employees working longer hours, a whopping 47.1 a week on average, that makes me think that there are a lot of unhappy employees out there. In the above mentioned article it points to uninspiring leadership as the major reason employees are less than excited about their work week. It then gives seven things that employers/leaders can do to change the workplace environment and inspire their employees to not only enjoy coming to work, but also stay excited about the company they work for. All well and good for those businesses with employees, but what about the independent businessperson?
We’ve all heard about Enron and how a lack of ethical business practices brought them crashing down. But if you’ve been in the business world for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve seen small businesses that employed unethical practices as well. I was involved in the mortgage/escrow business and the words ‘predatory lending’ are being batted about like a tennis ball. Just what is predatory lending?
Remember when e-mail was something only the true technologically advanced people used? It was a novelty then, something that the general public couldn’t see themselves using. Times have changed. Even the U.S. Postal Service has felt the impact of a world communicating via e-mail. In my experience, I see the bigger businesses embracing e-mail as an integral part of their business. But in the rural area I live in and have worked in, small business owners somehow haven’t come onboard yet. Perhaps it’s just the employers I’ve worked for, but if my former employers had a ‘take it, or leave it’ attitude, I would bet there are many more out there like them.
This is my experience with e-mail in my former workplace(s).