What is your favorite business book. Mine is…

What is your favorite business book. Mine is…

I love to read. Always had it in my…since I was a child. I read books so fast, I would often run out of books. These days, I wish I could say that! I still love to read and try to read in my spare time. That’s the problem though, I don’t have as much spare time as I used to. Let’s just say between the family, job and business, I am pretty much busy most of the time.

Even though I am a pretty busy woman, I do still find some time to read. I like to read several different genres. I like to read biographies and memoirs, historical fiction, business, mystery, drama, and a few others. So you can see I am all over the place.

business book emythI do have some books that stand apart from others. In the business genre, I have to say that The EMyth Revisited, written by  Michael Gerber, is one of my favorites.

In this book Gerber talks about how most small business are started by “technicians.” This is someone who is involved hands on in the how to of the business. They rarely focus on the other important aspects of the business. They also need to be the manager and entrepreneur, overseeing the business and growing the business. The technician needs to grow into the entrepreneur and hire others to be the technicians and managers. This enables the business owner to work on his business and not in his business.

The case study in the book uses a woman who is an excellent pie maker. Her goal was to open several bakeries using her recipes. However when she started her business, she was the technician. She was the baker. She could not get herself or see herself not being the one baking pies. He takes her through a transformation teaching her how to become the successful entrepreneur and eventually opening several bakery locations.

This book really opened my eyes to how important systems and processes are to a business. He talks about creating systems that will produce consistent and reliable results regardless who is working them. And this is what you want. You want to be able to hire other technicians to work in your business but produce the same results as if you were the technician. This gives you the freedom to build and grow your business.

This is just a little portion about the book. I totally would recommend this book to be on any entrepreneur’s book list.

So what is your favorite business book or what book are you reading now? Please share it with us in the comments below.

 

Are you doing it all alone? Questions to ask when hiring a virtual assistant.

Are you doing it all alone? Questions to ask when hiring a virtual assistant.

When we entrepreneurs first have an idea for a business and go for it. We start out all alone taking care of all aspects of our business. And it may remain like that for a long time. However, think about it…can you really do EVERYTHING? Are you an expert at EVERYTHING?

virtual assistantDoing business consists of bookkeeping, social media, blogging, marketing, email lists, product creation, customer support, and much more. Do you have time to perform all of the tasks necessary for these areas in your business? If so you are probably spending way too much time working and not enough time with family and friends. I mean, that is the reason for having our own business, right? To be able to earn more money and have time to do the things we like to do. We want to travel, volunteer and spend time with family and friends.

There are people that can help you with these parts of your business. There are some that focus on a single area of concern, like a social media expert, or a customer support expert. Others can do a bit of everything. Some do outsourcing. Others hire virtual assistants.

Outsourcing is where you hire someone to provide specific services. Usually the person you outsource work to is an expert in that service.

A virtual assistant, or VA, usually provides many services. They know a lot about a lot of things. Consider hiring a VA to give you some of your valuable time back to use in other areas of your business or personal life. Some common things that are given to a VA to do are bookkeeping, research, manage email, social media, scheduling appointments, transcription and social media. But each VA has their own set of skills. You will need to talk to your prospective virtual assistants to see if they are able to do what you need.

The following is taken from a conversation that I had with my friend Ellen Marie. She is a virtual assistant. We talked about how one can find the right virtual assistant.

Pam: In your words, describe what a VA is.
Ellen: A VA is more than just an administrative assistant. They is a collaborative partner in your business. When I say partner, what I mean is they should “show up” for your business and treat it as if it were their own, insuring your success.

Pam: What kinds of services does a VA provide?
Ellen: Virtual Assistants perform a wide array of services for your business. It can be as simple as typing letters or responding to emails, but there are some who do so much more like marketing, social media, graphic design, web design and maintenance or email campaigns. There are some “generalist” and some “niche” VAs. Based on your particular needs you would speak to a VA a couple of times to be sure you are getting exactly what you need.

Pam: What are some questions to ask when hiring a VA?
Ellen: I would ask the VA about her experience, work schedule, fees, how do you organize your work, technology, ask for suggestions on collaboration so you can work smoothly together. Also what are your skills? What skills are you best at?

Pam: What would you recommend not asking a perspective VA?
Ellen:Do not ask “what can you do for me”. That’s too vague. Get specific. Mention the specific platforms you use and ask if she has knowledge of them. Remember, you are looking for a partner, not an employee.

The main things Ellen stresses is that you must be clear on what you need and what the expected outcome is? If you are vague in asking for what you need, you will not get exactly what you want!

Ellen can be reached at:

URL: http://www.ellenmarieva.com/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/ellenmarieva

 

 

Emergency Preparedness: Does your business have a contingency plan?

Emergency Preparedness: Does your business have a contingency plan?

emergency preparedness contingency planWith Hurricane Matthew beating down our doorsteps here in South Florida, I thought I would take this time to talk about something critical. Something everyone and every business should have in place. That is emergency preparedness – a contingency plan.

Create a contingency plan to address the needs of the business in the event that something occurs outside of normal business operations. This includes events like a personal emergency, natural disaster (hurricane, earthquake, flood, fire, etc.), or even sabotage like a hacked website. These things are a possibility for every person and every business.

What would happen to your business if you fall ill and could not attend to your business for six months? How about a devastating weather emergency? In 2005, here in South Florida, we had Hurricane Wilma. We were without electricity for over a week. Luckily my family and I were able to evacuate the area to family in another state but if i had a business at the time and no power, how would I run my business? As a matter of fact, I was working a full time job in 2005. Some of my fellow employees were asked to take their computers and temporarily relocate to Orlando. That was the contingency plan in effect.

Your contingency plan will consist of several different scenarios. The plan for a weather disaster and relocation will be different than that of a website hacking. When developing your plan, you must think about all of the different scenarios that can potentially disrupt your business. I recommend building a list of these scenarios first.

When developing the actual plan for each scenario you must think about who, what, when and how these things will happen.

Who: Who will implement the plan? Who are participants in the plan?

What: What is the scenario or event disruption and how will it affect your business?

When: When will the plan be enacted?

How: How will the plan be implemented? This is the meat of the plan; what will happen in this scenario.

Once the plan is fully documented, make sure more than one person is aware of the plans and document. Store it somewhere safe; somewhere it will always be accessible.

My last tip is to make sure you review your plan at a minimum, yearly. Things change and you want to keep the plan up to date.

Click here to go to the Small Business Administration website to read further information about emergency preparedness. It contains some great information, PDF’s and checklists. Here is a link to the SBA for information about Cybersecurity plans as well.

7 Tips to Get the Most Out Of Attending Business Conferences

7 Tips to Get the Most Out Of Attending Business Conferences

Business conferencesSome entrepreneurs go to business conferences every chance they get. Others feel so intimidated that they never step out to see how attending a business conferences can help their business. I have found that attending conferences really do help entrepreneurs in many different areas. For that entrepreneur who works alone, getting out and seeing others (in person) proves that you are not alone. There are others, just like you, working on learning, building and growing their business.

Here are some sure fire things to do at business conferences to get the most out of your attendance.

1. Network. Network. Network. 

Talk to everyone. Make sure you take the time to get to know other attendees. Introduce yourself, ask them about their business and then share how your business can serve them or others they know. Listen to other others with sincerity and interest. Grab a coffee with someone. Go to lunch or dinner with some new contacts or even ones you already know. Who knows? That person you are talking to may become your next best business associate, partner or client!

2. Wear your nametag.

Wearing your name tag will help you with networking. Other attendees will have an easier time remembering your name and you will have an easier time remembering theirs.

3. Bring plenty of business cards.

Once you have met another attendee and connected, share your business cards with each other so you can follow up and connect with them after the event.

4. Attend as many of the sessions as possible.

You are there to learn. Take notes and ask questions.

5. If there is a vendor area, visit the vendors.

Learn more about vendor products and offerings. This is also a great way to network. You never know when you will need that certain product.

6. Follow up with everyone you met at the event.

You met them in person, now solidify your relationship with each person so they will remember you. Send them an email once you return home and connect on social media.

7. TAKE ACTION!

Make sure to review your conference materials after the event is over. Make a list of what you learned and then take action. Put what you learned into practice! I mean, that’s why you went in the first place, right?

What are some actions you have taken at conferences that helped you get the most out of it?

 

Have you considered your digital afterlife?

Have you considered your digital afterlife?

Lately I have been reading alot about what happens to your online accounts after you pass away.

I began to think about my online usage and how many accounts I actually have out there. What will happen to them all? And what about all of the automatic renewals I pay for? If I don’t tell someone about them and something happens to me, they will keep on renewing year after year? And how will my family pay the bills? They have no idea what bills are even out there. I decided to do something about it. I am working on a project what will help me document everything for them.

Have you, a relative or a friend run into anything like this? What were the problems? How was it handled? Please comment here or contact me. I would love to talk to you about it.