Category Archives: Productivity

The New Google Map Application Stinks – Here’s A Work Around

If you’re like me, you frequently use Google Maps to plan out trips with multiple stops.   The old Google Maps made it easy to change your routing and rearrange stops.  The new Google Maps is horrible for planning multiple stop trips.   I’ve never liked MapQuest as it is is excruciating slow, and rearranging stops takes forever.

If you liked Google Maps the way it was before, here is a work around to get back to what they are now calling Classic Maps.  If you look at the below screenshot, you will see a tiny question mark icon at the bottom right.  If you click on the icon, you can “return to Google Classic Maps”.   You will have to answer a survey of why you do not like the new version, but it is well worth answering, as maybe they will allow you to choose which version you’d prefer in the future without doing an internet search on another map application.

Hope this saves you some time and headache.

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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Linking Facebook Business Posts To Twitter

FB TweetHi there.  I love to share when I find useful information.   If you’re tired of posting to both your Facebook and your Twitter accounts separately, link the two applications so all FB posts go automatically to Twitter.   Takes seconds, and here’s how:

  1. Open your browser, and then open 3 tabs.
  2. In the first tab, log into your Facebook account
  3. In the second tab, log into your Twitter account
  4. In the third tab, go to “www.facebook.com/twitter”
  5. Choose the business page you would like to link, and authorize it.   You can also link your personal page to your Twitter account.

How easy was that?!

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

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Timely Tips From Southeastern Admin

I hope you are ready to Get In Gear for the New Year!2014a

Many of us took the respite over the holidays to refocus on our business plan, strategies and tactics.  Now that you have your marching orders, so to speak, the list of items that you want to knock out can be daunting.

To get you started, here are some time organizing tips that might help:

1.  Make a list and prioritize.    Once you have your list of goals for the new year, break them down into small chunks so that you can realistically accomplish them, and mark milestones in your calendar.  Keep in mind that some things may never get done.    If some items are so low on your list, consider delegating or not doing them at all.

2. Make an appointment with yourself.  Actually having the time marked in your calendar for tasks will help ensure that you get them done.   Create recurring time blocks if you need to complete a task every day, every week, etc.

3. Know thy self.  When scheduling time, make sure you block out the time of day when you are the most productive for the task at-hand.  Are you a morning person, or do you tend to have that creative energy flowing late at night?  If all you can manage at 8am is to be dressed, then use that time for low-brain function tasks, such as entering your contacts into your database, or writing thank you notes for referrals or client visits.

4.  Allocate more than enough time and commit full attention.   If, for example, you are scheduling time for social media posting and it takes you 30 minutes to an hour to complete a decent post, then schedule a full hour and add on additional time for proofing and the actual posting.  It’s one thing to put an action item in your calendar, but it’s quite another to get the work done.  Make sure that you do not feel rushed to complete your projects.  Rushing through tasks can make you feel anxious and overwhelmed, as well as cause you to make mistakes.  If you’ve over-scheduled time, then you’ll reap the benefits from any unused time to focus on other items, or pursue unexpected opportunities.

5.   Respect your time.  Emergencies and opportunities will surely overlap the time you have scheduled for yourself, but if you stick to your plan then you will be closer to accomplishing your goals.

6.  Know your limits, and keep the big picture in mind.  Just because you can do something, does not mean that you should.   Is your time best spent somewhere else?  Does it take you two to three times longer to do something than someone with more experience?    Is it a task that you just despise doing?  If so, then either don’t do it or delegate it out.

Remember to keep a positive outlook.  You’ve set these goals to better your business, and ultimately to be happier in life!

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

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4 Habits Of Punctual People

Those people who are always on time? How to they do it? If you are part of the 20% of Americans who are chronically late, get ready to change everything.

Plan any event and chances are one in five of the people you invite will be late.

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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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Free Can Be Dangerous

It’s been a while since my last post.   Thank you to my clients who are keeping me busy!    I wanted to remind everyone to make sure that when you are downloading “free” software, that you need to make sure to always choose the Custom or Advanced installation.    99% of the time, when you choose the Typical or Recommended installation, you will be loading all sorts of other programs and there’s a huge risk of downloading malware.

Here’s a real life example.  I needed a color identifying program so 9-30-2013 12-02-44 PMthat I could match the colors from one of my client’s website to her new newsletter which I am creating.   Someone told me about ColorCop.net.   I started to download their software.  I immediately chose the “Advanced” download, and see that the first thing they want to install on my is a Delta Toolbar.   WARNING WILL ROBINSON – do not install this onto your PC – ever.  I had to hire someone to clean up my PC after I made this mistake.   So, was I safe in proceeding after I unchecked the boxes?   No.  It then proceeded to tell me that it would install several other programs, including TopArcade.  I had to quickly cancel the installation, and do a check of all the programs that were installed on my PC today.  I had to uninstall each of them and ensure that they were completely gone.

I still needed the program, so I went to CNet.com.   I love this site,9-30-2013 12-45-00 PM as they have a lot of shareware choices.   I found another program, “JustColorPicker” that is similar to ColorCop; it offers RGB, HEX and HTML color code identification.    I proceeded with the download, and again made sure to choose Custom Set Up.   Again, the site was going to download a toolbar if I did not uncheck those options.   Once I hit “next step” there were other programs that it would have installed, had I not clicked “Decline”.    At least this download offered me the choice to Decline these options.

I am now using Just Color Picker, and the program is working to my liking.   The morale of the story is to BE CAREFUL.   If your PC security comes up with a warning window, do not ignore it!  Even if you really, really want the program/functionality, try to find an alternative program.  Chances are, there’s one out there.

I am the queen of cheap, but I have learned my lesson in willy-nilly downloading.   Stay alert and have a good antivirus program.

Best wishes,  Lora Zibman

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

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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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