Category Archives: New Business

How To Create Linked In “Company” Sites

Creating a company website for your business inside Linked In is another great way to detail the actual products and services your company offers without writing lengthy descriptions on your Profile Page.  I created my Linked In website and added several virtual administrative assistant services that Southeastern Admin can offer to businesses in Cumming, Alpharetta, Dawsonville and nationwide.  I hope that you will “follow” my company in Linked In.

Get started by using this link:   http://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/company-pages/get-started.html#

Thank you to Irene Doehring of Creative Graphic Design for sharing this tool, as well as other useful information.   I can’t tell you how great it is to have such a knowledgeable network of professionals on my side.

Lora Zibman |  www.Southeastern Admin.com   |   770-609-0904770-609-0904

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REMINDER: Forsyth County and GA Secretary of State Filings

Hello everyone.   Just a reminder to save you from paying any late fees:time to file

The extended grace period to renew your Forsyth County Business License ends on March 31st.   Don’t forget to submit all three forms:   the Affidavit of Residency, Private Employer Exemption (if applicable), along with the Renewal Application.    The Affidavit and Employer Exemption forms must be notarized.    Please let me know if you need assistance from Southeastern Admin – we offer notary services.

Make sure that you also complete your Annual Registration with the GA Secretary of State before April 1st.

Lora Zibman |  www.Southeastern Admin.com   |   770-609-0904770-609-0904

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Digital Marketing for Small Businesses

I found this interesting white paper that discusses digital marketing from, of all companies, YP – rebranded Yellow Pages advertising:  YP_SmallBizFacts_WhitePaper.

Here’s an excerpt from the publication:

“…small business marketers know what works for them. 77% of business-to-consumer SMBs have acquired a customer through Facebook, compared to 60% from a company blog, according to HubSpot. Business-to-business SMB marketers found LinkedIn most effective, delivering new customers to  65% of respondents, followed by company blogs (60%), Facebook (43%), and Twitter (40%).   Frequency of blogging makes a difference—92% of respondents who blogged daily got new customers through their blogs.”

digital marketingDigital marketing has become the largest percentage of Southeastern Admin’s business.  We help our customers with email campaigns, blogging and social media posting.  When meeting with small business owners, I try to impress upon them the need to communicate with their customers.   There are so many FREE resources out there to stay in touch!  A few are:  MailChimp, Pinterest, Facebook, Google Plus, and local community sites.   Consistent communication is crucial and will produce ROI, but you must dedicate the time to make this happen.

For those that don’t have the time and/or don’t want to have to learn the new outlets, having a virtual assistant is a huge advantage.  We work 1:1 with business owners to determine what will work best for them and within their budget, and then we ensure that the message is getting out consistently.  Once a relationship has been established, most business owners find that we can assistant them with a multitude of other projects.    We place a high value on these relationships, and have built a network of trusted professionals in different service areas who may also be of assistance to our clients.

Lora Zibman |  www.Southeastern Admin.com   |   770-609-0904770-609-0904

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Southeastern Admin Helps Coordinate Better World Books’ NPLP Trip For 6th Year

Southeastern Admin is proud to have assisted Better World Books with their Non-Profit Literacy Partner (NPLP) international trip for the sixth consecutive year; 5 years as an employee, and now as a contractor.  If you haven’t heard of Better World Books (BWB) and you love to read, you need to check out their site.    They are an online bookseller that literally does a world of good.

They sell new and used books at very competitive prices.  They also do much more.  For each book sold on their site, they donate a book to literacy initiatives world wide, partnering with such respected organizations as Books For Africa, Room to Read and World Fund, just to name a few.

Each year, BWB organizes a trip for a group of its employees, selected by a lottery system, to actually go to a country that has benefited from BWB’s generosity.   The group of employees includes members from all departments, including the warehouse floor.  Some of the people who are selected have never even been on an airplane, so this is a pretty cool benefit for working at BWB.

Some of the countries visited in past have been:  Cambodia, Vietnam, Brazil, Chili, Uganda, Ghana and Liberia.   This year, they are going to Zambia!     While I was never lucky enough to be chosen in the lottery during my tenure with BWB, I am so excited for the travelers, and invite you to share their experiences by visiting their blog.

We were able to help the travelers coordinate everything they needed for their trip, from what to bring (and not to bring) to securing their visas, flights, hotels, transfer and excursions.

Bon voyage BWB travelers!

Lora Zibman   |  www.SoutheasternAdmin.com   |   770-609-0904

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Zambia Trip: Travels and First Impressions of Lusaka


The longest airplane trip in the world. Literally.We’ve mentioned that a group of Better World Books employees is out visiting Zambia where some of our nonprofit partners operate, supporting literacy and education in the region. The first impressions are in, so here’s the first official update on the trip.

From David Ebrite (National Account Executive based in the Atlanta, GA office):

Well, after months of anticipation and planning, we took off for Zambia on the Better World Books annual literacy trip. This is a wonderful chance to see the good that we and our partners are doing in the world.

Had a few snow flakes driving to the airport in Atlanta. Our colleagues coming from Indiana had more than that! We were told the flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg is the longest in the world – over 14 hours. A quick two hour flight then to Lusaka, Zambia and we are ready to begin!

Was dark when we arrived but roads seem fine and the city is bright. I am most excited to begin tomorrow and spend time with our literacy partners.

For all of you freezing at home, it’s a beautiful 75 degrees here….

From Franklin Mejia (based in the Mishawaka, Indiana location):

A trip, nearly 24 hours between flying and changing planes, has been very overwhelming to arrive in a country that has so much to offer and leave to imagination.

The very first impression got me thinking back when I was a child growing in Guatemala city. Lusaka is only 100 years old and rich in language, 72 languages/dialects, and offers so much to learn from.

It has been a long trip, but it is worthwhile to come and start the adventure in such a different–but at the same time similar–to my early memories of my home country Guatemala.

From Michael Schrader (Shipping Specialist based in the Mishawaka, Indiana location):

I have never flown on a commercial airline before so this is an all new experience for me. We first carpooled to Chicago together. The roads were decent until we went through the snow storm in Gary. All I could think about was what to expect in Johannesburg, South Africa. How is the environment there? How is the culture different from mine? I am excited to go but also nervous and soared of into the unknown.

We arrived at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Once I got my luggage turned in, I headed over to the TSA with the rest of the group. There was a slight wait and then we started boarding. I heard the engines start and the plane was moving towards the runway. I definitely felt an adrenaline rush. We rapidly increased speed, felt like a roller coaster taking off. I instantly felt the difference in pressure, felt light headed but just for a few seconds. We kept increasing till we reached altitude and we were above the clouds. The clouds astonished me, breathtaking. It looked like huge cotton balls and it was neat seeing it from above, looks way different from below.

My ears popped in and out throughout the ride. We landed in Atlanta around 4 o’clock. We then headed to our gate. With 45 minutes to an hour of wait time, I decided to look around the airport and call my family. Next to my gate, they had artifacts in cases. A stuffed wolf, hand carved statues, wall full of art, and much more. We then met up with the Atlanta group and boarded. This plane came with complimentary TV on the seats and I had access to movies, music, games, and a tracker for the plane so I can visually see where I am on map.

What also surprised me was the complimentary food/drinks. It is getting dark outside my window, all I can see is the moon, and the red and white lights flashing off the airplane. I believe this is the end of my blog, I’ll be in Africa in 11 hours and 22 minutes, and I can’t wait to arrive!

– See more at: http://blog.betterworldbooks.com/2014/01/23/zambia-trip-travels-and-first-impressions-of-lusaka/#sthash.tQ9BxoV3.dpuf

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Temporary / Contract Employment Trend Here To Stay?

Besides Logging, Temporary and Employment Services showed the most gain in new workers in 2013 according to office secretary 2the Wall Street Journal.   I believe that this trend will continue.    With increased regulation on employers and the high cost of benefits, it makes more fiscal sense to hire temporary or contract employees, especially for small business owners.

The difference between a temporary worker and a contract worker is vast though.  Temporary workers are usually procured through a service and are transient workers, requiring income while looking for a full-time position with benefits.   Contract workers usually own their own business, and provide ad hoc or specific assignment work for various employers.

Other benefits of hiring a contract worker over a temporary worker include:

  • Usually no middleman – since you are contracting directly with the employee, there are no service procurement costs, which equates to lower rates.
  • Reduced training time – because there is no turnover, you only need to train once and then can call on the contractor when needed.
  • Higher dedication to work product – work performed is a direct reflection on the contract worker and their business reputation.
  • Experience – Chances are higher that a contract employee will be more skilled in his/her field, than a temporary employee, since the contractor has built his/her business around their skill sets.
  • More references available – If the contractor is good, references and word-of-mouth referrals should abound.  If the contractor is bad, expect bad online reviews.

If you need administrative assistance, consider utilizing an independent contractor, such as Southeastern Admin.

Lora Zibman

Southeastern Admin, the small business administrative solution

www.SoutheasternAdmin.com  |  770-609-0904

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A Time For Thanks

2013 Thanksgiving Card

Have you taken the time to thank your customers this year?    Thanksgiving is by far the best time: it’s the start of the holiday season rush, everyone celebrates Thanksgiving, and it’s non-denominational.     If you did not take the time to thank your clients prior to Thanksgiving, there is still time to close out 2013 by showing your appreciation.    While holiday cards and gifts are a great way to connect directly with your customers, they can be out of reach for some budgets.

A great alternative is to send email-based communications and newsletters.  I have used Vertical Response, Constant Contact and iContact, and can tell you the best application by far is iContact.    Pricing for one of these subscriptions can vary significantly depending upon how many contacts you have in your database.    There is, however, a free alternative.   MailChimp is a great program that allows you to upload up to 2,000 contacts and send them unlimited emails.  Of course you don’t want to bombard your client-base; I would recommend sending monthly or bi-monthly communications.

Every business has a lot to communicate.    You need to make your clients aware of what is happening in your industry, what new services you are offering, what awards/recognitions your business has received, what’s happening in your community, why your services have value, and much more.

As we all know, timing is everything, and being in front of your clients and prospects on a regular, monthly basis does pay off.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to learn new software, Southeastern Admin has the experience that can help you get your monthly campaign going by:

  • uploading your contacts
  • create appropriate lists for your market segments
  • create eye-catching email templates that match your business and branding
  • add in links back to your website and social media; and
  • create original content.

Whatever you do, don’t forget to thank you customers for their business!

Lora Zibman

Southeastern Admin, the small business administrative solution

www.SoutheasternAdmin.com  |  770-609-0904

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Your Online Presence

Getting Startedwww

Mike Remer with LocallyVisible shared some tips to quickly check your online presence and ratings.

If you’re just starting out and want to list your business, where to start?   Mike recommends starting with Google, Google PlusYahoo and Bing.  Other good directory sites are Yelp, Insider Pages, CitySearch, Kudzu, Manta, Mapquest, YellowPages, SuperPages, Foursquare and Angie’s List (you can create free business listing).

Make sure that you are listing your business information consistently and accurately.   For Google, listing is not instantaneous.   They will mail a postcard containing a PIN to the address you list as your business, which you will have to enter on the set up site to verify that you are the owner of the business.  This can take up to 5 business days.

Check Your Listing & Reviews

If you’ve been in business for a while and want to make sure that your business is listed correctly and check your online reputation, go to http://I-GM.com/reputationreport.   Just enter in your business phone number, and this site will quickly check your listing on major sites and provide a quick snapshot on how your company has been reviewed by your customers.

Reviews are very important.  How many people do you know who search for local services online exclusively?   If you have a choice between a provider with 5 stars and 30+ reviews, and one with 1-2 reviews with 3 stars, which would you choose?

Encourage your customers to review your business on sites you choose.  A follow up customer satisfaction survey might be a great way for you to understand how your business is perceived, collect quotes, and allow you the opportunity to ask your clients to review you online as well.   You can create a free survey using SurveyMonkey.  You can also create a free email / newsletter broadcast, asking your customers to review your business using MailChimp.  Or, you can use the services of a professional company like LocallyVisible, who can do it all for you, including assisting you with addressing any negative feedback you might encounter online.

If you’re a client of Southeastern Admin, you can review our services here.

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Do You Have A Business Plan?

Every business needs a business plan, and even more so if you are bus planhome-based business of one.   You might think that just because “you are the company” and you know what the focus of your business should be, that would be enough.

Taking the time to think critically about your marketing, branding, operations, competition and the oh-so serious reality of financing is crucial to your success.  It’s been almost a year since I opened the “virtual” doors of my business, and like most people starting a small business, did not thoroughly do my own due diligence.   Would I change my decision?  No.  However, I have now have a more real picture of what my future can look like based on experience and having a wonderful support network. 

While completing your business plan, you need to take a long hard look at the realities of all that must go into operating a business:

  • Cultivating clients – are you a decent sales person?  are you good at networking?  can you stand up and sing your own praises?
  • Keeping the books – are you detailed oriented?  will you invest in QuickBooks or some other accounting software to track your expenses and income?  will you take credit cards – do you know the cost using that service?
  • Operations – have you clearly thought out the processes involved in your businesses’ operations (from order in through to billing and collections, if necessary)?
  • Marketing – how will you market your business?  do you have the technical abilities to keep up with social media, or are you prepared to pay for print advertising?  will it all be word of mouth – are you networking on a weekly basis?
  • Competition – do you seriously know your competition, beside Googling to see how many are out there?  how are you different from them?  is your competition successful – if so, why?
  • Financing – have you created a cash flow forecast to know when/if you will need to supplement your income?  can you pay for the necessary licenses, permits, legal and tax services?  will you want to attend trade shows and/or hand our marketing items?  will you need certain office equipment or software?  will you have to purchase inventory?

Even potential turnkey business owners need to take all these things into consideration.

Creating amountain climb2 business plan will help you understand the potential of your business, with all its opportunities and challenges, and will also allow you to be able to communicate that vision to others.   As your business moves along, you need to keep reviewing and updating your plan, and updating your goals and milestones.   Create goals for 6 months, 1 year, and 3 years as well, to make sure that you are on the path you envisioned and review these goals on a monthly basis.   If your path is blocked, create a new one.  The point is know where you are going, and to be able to see the results of what you have created.  It’s important to know the mountain you’re climbing, but is just as important to be encouraged by seeing how far you’ve climbed.  Success spurs success!

While it’s true that there’s nothing better than being your own boss, you need to keep in mind that there does need to be a boss who’s responsible for the direction and vision of your business.

There are many Business Plan templates on the internet that you can find.    Here is one I have used as my starting point and then tweaked substantially for my own vision.   Click here –  BUSINESS PLAN.

Happy selling for years to come!

Southeastern Admin  |  www.SoutheasternAdmin.com  |  770-609-0904

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Marketing Focus

Thank you for the positive response from last month’s Newsletter.  To follow up, we thought we’d provide you with a Marketing Plan Template to help get you started on the path to great marketing and keep you focused.

Click here for your free Marketing Plan Template, and make sure to frequently check our blog and Facebook pages for more tips and resources.

YOUR MARKETING PLANMARKETING FOCUS
Your day-to-day business marketing activities are likely to be focused on communicating with potential and existing customers.     A Marketing Plan sets out how you will put your strategy into place and will help you stay focused.  Be sure that your Business Plan and your Marketing Plan are in sync.

Set Objectives, Budgets and Deadlines
An effective Marketing Plan must set clear objectives that will help you toward your long-term strategic goals.

Timing
Start by building a schedule by identifying key times of the year when customers plan the next year’s budget or seasonal purchasing peaks.  Examples would be Spring and Summer breaks if you run an auto shop, or Christmas if you run a gift basket business.  Time your marketing campaigns to fit with these dates and look for other opportunities, such as trade shows.  If there are significant gaps in your marketing schedule, fill them out with cost-effective activities to help maintain customer awareness (newsletters, email or mailing campaigns, etc.)

If you rely heavily on a small number of crucial customers, consider developing individual account management plans for them.   Key accounts merit regular personal contact (phone calls, meetings, business entertainment, etc.).

Marketing Mix
In addition to marketing communications, your Plan should span the full mix of marketing activities.  An example might be developing new products and/or building your distribution network.   You will also need to plan for any price increases or tactical moves, such as an end-of-season sale.

Be sure to note in your Plan whether you intend to give your staff sales training or introduce new CRM (customer relationship management) technology.  Maybe you need to find more efficient systems or measure customer satisfaction.  Including activities like these in your Plan helps ensure that they are identified as priorities, and that you dedicate time and money to them.

Branding Considerations
Branding is more than your choice of corporate color, logo and catch-phrase.   Branding is best defined as your customers’ experience when they engage with your business, so it extends to such things as how you and your employees dress, how you greet your customers and email communication – the entire experience!

Think of branding in terms of a restaurant that you frequent. You go there because you know what’s on the menu, what it will taste like, what type of service you will receive, and how much it will cost you.   It’s the same for your customers.

Before you can develop your brand identity, you need to be sure that what you want to tell your customers about your business and your offer matches what your target customer segment wants, and what you can actually deliver. Successful businesses realize the importance of having a world-class brand and making full use of its potential.

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Tips for Naming Your New Business

The following is a repost by Mosaic Hub, but I thought these were great tips!

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Whether your business is just starting out, or changing its name to signal a new business direction, merger, or other shift, there are some basic guidelines every savvy namer should know:

    • Easy on the eyes and ears. If no one cmy name isan say or spell your company or product name, what good is it to you? “Chthonic Chronicles” might be what your website devoted to Greek statuary sells, but who’ll remember that strange spelling, or know how to pronounce it?
    • Catchy. It might make more sense to call your Greek figurines site something simple to spell, such as, “It’s Greek To Me”, or “We Speak ‘Greek!'” Now that would be eye-catching on a Home page or web banner!
    • Room to grow. “Aloha Awnings” makes a great title for a company’s Hawaii headquarters, but a different moniker might play better on the mainland. Create your name with future expansion or relocation in mind: “North Bay Realty” gives you more room to expand using the same business name than does “Healdsburg Realty,” which is more localized.
    • Consider cross-cultural connotations. The sad tale of Chevy Nova south of the border may be apocryphal, but it’s nonetheless noteworthy: the car reportedly bombed in Mexico, because in Spanish, “No va” means “doesn’t go.”
    • Availability. There’s no point in coming up with a terrific name only to discover the domain is taken, or the name’s been trademarked. Check out your favorite ideas with a domain registrar.

Beyond these essentials, what’s the best way to come up with a killer and cool company name?

    • Get symbolic. Metaphor can be a powerful naming tool. Start with your business’s or product’s main function, and make a list of what else performs the same action. That’s how a software company, in considering what copied files besides a flash drive, came up with the product name, “Mime.” (Consider how much fun you could have with one of those dancing human directionals, pointing the way to “Mime”!)
    • Change the spelling. It worked for Netflix.
  • Visit your competition. It would be a shame to dream up a fantastic name only to find a competitor using one that’s achingly similar. By the same token, checking out what they’ve done can help you spin off in an entirely new direction.