Archive for Entrepreneur

Virtual Assistant and Small Business Strategist

Business Strategy – Hard to see the Woods

Oftentimes we get focused on a single aspect of our business and forget to look at the big picture. We forget to work on our business, follow our business strategy. As trite as it may sound, we fail to “see the woods through the trees.”

When we get overwhelmed with the stress of a project, worried about finances or from lack of clarity as we move forward, we lose our way. While we may keep working in our business, for our clients, we aren’t working on our business and keeping it healthy and growing.

This is a serious problem!

We get so focused on the one thing as powerful and wonderful as it may be and forget about all the other opportunity and room for growth around us.

This is where having a business strategy in place can really help. It will guide your day to day activities, give you clarity when you are feeling overwhelmed and keep the momentum growing even when you feel like you are caught in the weeds.

What type of strategy is right for you?

Experts agree that there are three primary types of business strategy:

  • Cost leadership – use your prices to attract and maintain customers
  • Differentiation – offer unique services that stand out from the crowd
  • Focus – serve a niche that while limited can maintain your business

The question you have to ask yourself is which strategy will work best for your business as you look at your mission and end goals. Or better yet, do you need to combine strategies to achieve your goals?

Where to begin creating your business strategy?

A business strategy must be written down, detailed and easy to pass off to the next person. But getting to that point will take some time and some forethought, even trial and error.

  1. To begin, you must determine your vision…what is your end goal, where are you going? This may evolve over time especially as you really get into it and as time passes. Does be afraid to evolve your business as your vision changes.
  2. Based on your vision, what is going to be your competitive advantage? What is going to make you stand out from the crowd…is it going to be what you offer, how you offer it, what you charge for it or something else? Again, this will change, be ready for that. You must be flexible in order to grow especially as times and technology change.
  3. Who is your target market? Knowing who you serve will determine how you speak, how you market and what problems you will solve.
  4. Create a strategy for systemic growth and don’t hesitate to revisit it if it stops working or things become stagnant.

The key to all of this is that while trusting your gut is important, making fact based decisions will take your further. Make sure to do your research, know the facts…and then move.

Get Clarity for the New Year

I have had a blast this holiday season giving away strategy sessions! Some incredibly talented entrepreneurs have shared their time and dreams with me. It has seriously been some of the best of times.

There is something about driven, like minded business owners putting their heads together with no ulterior motive other than to share their dreams and brainstorm next steps.

I’m not selling anything, but I’ve gotten so much out of these sessions and gotten to know some truly talented people. So much so that I have decided to continue this practice into the new year!

What is a Strategy Session?

Some would call this more of a virtual coffee date, but for me, it truly is about strategy…no sales, no offers, just a chat about your business and giving you feedback based on my expertise in systems, marketing and as a virtual assistant for the last 14 years. See what’s included and then click the image below to book your strategy session today.

  • 1 hour phone call – we will discuss your business – your challenges, where you are struggling, what are your goals.
  • Detailed action plan – approx a week after our call, you will receive a detailed action plan. This plan will include actionable items to overcome your challenges, grow your business. But not only will it tell you what to do, it will tell you how.
  • Technology/Resource Recommendations – the action plan will include technology and resource recommendations based on my personal experience working with dozens of businesses over the years to help you systematize your business and free up your time.

When it all boils down…(FREE Giveaway)

Are you doing what you enjoy? And are you making a living doing it? Or at least bringing in an amount you are pleased with? Are you comfortable with where you are, satisfied to stay there.

If your answer is Yes…Great! Keep going. (But remember my lesson of keeping all my eggs in one basket.)

BUT, if you are looking at those questions and answering “No”. Shaking your head, feeling the stress or just feeling hopeless. Then this post is for you!

I want to help you. I have been there. Way more often that I would like to admit in my now 13 years in business. So for the month of December I am giving away a FREE strategy session.

What is a Strategy Session?

Here is what is included:

  • 1 hour phone call – we will discuss your business – your challenges, where you are struggling, what are your goals.
  • Detailed action plan – approx a week after our call, you will receive a detailed action plan. This plan will include actionable items to overcome your challenges, grow your business. But not only will it tell you what to do, it will tell you how.
  • Technology/Resource Recommendations – the action plan will include technology and resource recommendations based on my personal experience working with dozens of businesses over the years to help you systematize your business and free up your time.

This is not a sales call. There will be no pitch at the end. This is a gift…no strings attached, strategy session. With a plan for you to step confidentially into 2020 ready to grow your success.

It’s Okay to Dream Big and Plan Backwards

It wasn’t too long ago that I watched a video training course by a random online marketer. And I loved her visual planning method…plan it backwards.

She took one of those cheap desk size calendars you can purchase at any office supply store and hung them on her wall. Each month laid out, ready to be written on.

She then used sticky post it notes and planned her quarter…but she didn’t work from the present time. She worked backward from her big goals!

It made complete sense. And more importantly, it took into consideration not just her life/work balance as far as big events on the calendar, but also her finances. She used the BIG ROCK items to plan both her scheduling strategy, but also her pricing schedule.

With this method, she was able to consider all aspects and adjust as new things came up:

  • Early bird pricing.
  • Special offers.
  • Minimum and maximum participants.
  • Upsells.
  • Drip campaigns.
  • Big events and deadlines.

All of this was on her calendar in brightly colored, categorized post its. Easily adjustable as she worked through her plan with the end goal in site.

For a visual learner and planner like myself, it was magic!

Have you begun planning for your new year, your next big adventure or product launch or even for what your future looks like? Considering all of that, looking at the big picture…what a fantastic way to kick your business into high gear and go after all your dreams!

As a detail person, I can help. Share your vision with me and let me help fill in the details. I can help create task lists, manage your team and even provide regular status updates.

The Importance of Sacred Time

When I first heard the term “sacred time,” I thought it must be some religious practice. A custom similar to prayer rituals or meditation. But sacred time is not that at all. Sacred time is a block of time that you protect like it’s your child.

It’s set by you and for you. And you can set it for whatever your greatest need is. It’s a time for just you. Not lunch appointments, kids demands or even mindless TV watching. It’s a productive block of time that you designate.

And it is a life changing practice!

Sacred Time Guidelines

First, off everyone’s sacred time looks different. It feels different. And it serves a very specific and unique purpose for each participant. So these are just guidelines from someone who has been playing with these elements in my own sacred time for a while.

  • Put it on your calendar – reserve a block of time ahead of time. Put it on your calendar before the week craziness starts. It doesn’t have to be long, but it does need to be reserved. It’s important you share this practice with your family. Not just because it may benefit them as well, but more importantly, so that they know you are not going to be available during this time.
  • Make a plan – this is not a nap time or a self care time, you need those too! But this is a time to buckle down and be productive. Whether it’s work, writing, chores or some other task that is either super important or tedious enough it gets neglected but needs to be done. Make a priority list of things to get done during this time.
  • Turn off the noise – put your phone on DND, turn off the TV or radio background noise and maybe even consider a white noisemaker or fan to block out any noisy distractions.
  • Get your supplies – yes, I’m talking about your laptop or cleaning supplies. But FIRST, fix yourself a large glass of lemon water, light a candle, put on some quiet jazz or instrumental music and clean off your workspace of any distractions.
  • Breathe!!! Sit down, but before you dive into to your list, take 5 deep breathes. Clear your mind of everything else. And focus on being right here, right now.
  • Now GO!

For this block of time, it’s you and your mind, you and your goals, you and your work. No noise, no distractions.

This “loneness” may feel odd at first. But I guarantee you will find yourself coming out of it feeling empowered, accomplished and ready to face the world again. And perhaps it will restore your creativity, your energy and your joy as well.

There are lots of resources on sacred time. And whether you use it for growing your business, completing some personal tasks or just tackling things you do not want to do, you will find that setting this time aside is life changing. And very empowering!

Resources

If you want to find out more about Sacred Time, check out these resources:

Julie Stoian: Sacred Time + The 100/50/10 System – I love, love, love her!

Wayne Muller: Sabbath – This book is more about self care and setting aside time for that. But the practice is the same and this book is amazing and easy to read. I highly recommend.