Tag Archives: business

How to Know Which Tasks to Delegate

task list

Photo by stockimages

“The inability to delegate is one of the biggest problems I see with managers at all levels.” Eli Broad

Have you reached a point in your business where you know you need help, but you can’t think of what you can hand off to someone else?

Here’s a quick way to find out what you should and should not delegate

Grab a piece of paper and a pen. Draw two lines down the page so you have three columns. Label them “Daily” “Weekly” and “Monthly.” Now answer these seven questions.

  1. What tasks do I do daily, weekly, and monthly?
  2. What needs to get done but is not getting done?
  3. Can someone help with any of these tasks if you explain to them what you need done?
  4. What parts of your business are things that only you can do?
  5. What tasks are things that you love to do and don’t want to give up?
  6. What tasks are things you hate doing? (Are you putting them off?)
  7. Who suffers if I continue trying to do everything myself?

“No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself ….” Andrew Carnegie

Now that you have identified what can be delegated, don’t hesitate. Start your search today for a virtual assistant that will be a perfect fit for the tasks you have chosen to delegate.

If you need help with that process, let me know and I’ll provide some resources to help you get started.

Until later …

Toni

Need an Extra Hour? I’ll Give You One!

hour

Let Go and Grow!

I keep seeing comments on the Internet about entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who are hesitant to try a virtual assistant. I don’t blame them. When you work hard to build a business, it’s difficult to hand over a door key, even a virtual one, to someone you don’t know.

According to this blog post, (go ahead and read it … I’ll wait), the main three reasons for not contracting with a virtual assistant are:

  1. They feared their Virtual Assistant wouldn’t understand their client’s needs
  2. They felt since their Virtual Assistant didn’t have a vested interest in their business they wouldn’t treat their client’s as they were themselves; and
  3. They feared that there was too much for the Virtual Assistant to learn and it was faster to just do it themselves.

Before making the decision to provide administrative support from my home office, I worked for many years in brick-and-mortar offices, for companies large and small. Some key truths I learned over the years are:

1. Every business is unique, and it takes a little time to fully understand the needs of each person I worked for. Communication is the key to coming to this understanding quickly.

2. My philosophy was and still is: If I make YOU and your company look good, I look good, and that makes both of us feel good.

3. There is a learning curve in all new jobs, just as there is a learning curve when you get a new smartphone or upgrade the operating system on your laptop. Again, it takes a little time and good communication. Time and good communication are important whether your assistant is working from home or sitting right next to you in the office.

4. Once you and your assistant get more comfortable with one another, you will see how a virtual assistant truly is a part of your team of trusted associates.

To help you “test the waters,” I’m offering a “Let Go and Grow” special. It gives you an opportunity to work with a seasoned professional at a great price and get one hour FREE.

Just click on this link and fill out the form to get started: Let Go and Grow.

Until later …

Toni

 

Thursday Thoughts: Serendipity

connect

” Image by Salvatore Vuono

I want to tell you about a REALLY special person I met through a phone call. Anyone who looks at my picture can tell I’m no “Spring Chicken,” so when I say I think someone is REALLY special, it comes from my long experience of meeting and interacting with people — lots of people.

A few days ago, I received an email from someone who saw this post on LinkedIn and wanted to talk about it.  So I called him.

Being an introvert, I’m not the best at phone conversations with people I’ve never met, but this gentleman instantly put me at ease with his friendly, easy-going manner. We chatted about our shared philosophy of helping others, a little about ourselves and about our businesses , and agreed to exchange some information. Sounds pretty cut and dried, doesn’t it? But in that brief conversation, he conveyed such wisdom, business acumen, and genuine kindness and concern that by the time we said “goodbye,” I knew I had just met a REALLY special human being.

I want to share his company with you because I believe it’s a good thing for anyone who wants to broaden their horizons and grow their business. Liked LinkedIn, it’s a place to make contacts, but unlike LinkedIn, it’s more personal. It’s called The Expert Directory.

theexpertdirectory.comI hope you will explore the site. You may not be interested in it now, but perhaps you know someone who would be. I receive no compensation for telling you about it. I just know the man behind it wants you to succeed. I believe he would like to see every one of us succeed. Truly. He’s that kind of person.

His name? Bill Doerr. You can look him up on LinkedIn. Great guy. Here’s what three of his many LinkedIn recommendations have to say:

“Bill is one of those rare people who loves to help others by making mutually beneficial connections. He does it with generosity and professionalism. No one I’ve met does it better.”

“He is one of those rare human beings dedicated to making a contribution to the success all who come in contact with him.”

“Superlatives are the only descriptors possible for Bill Doerr. He is stellar in every single aspect. As a colleague he could not be more intelligent, wise or giving. As a mentor, he is unparalleled. As a friend his deep kindness, compassion and soul is unrivaled. Business is business and there is absolutely no doubt he is a master in so many arenas. Ultimately, it all comes down to basic humanity. Bill is a well rounded human and that is the heart of business. Anyone can spout numbers, facts and tactics. Bill does it with soul and a cheerful, wise nature. He loves his work and it shows.”

One definition of “serendipity” is “the act of finding something valuable or delightful when you are not looking for it.” That’s what I found when I called Bill Doerr. Our conversation not only lifted my spirits that day, but also made me get more excited about my business and make some changes for the better. I hope you get to meet him some day, too.

Until later …

Toni

Necessity. Invention. Hipwhaties?

wednesday-women-awardHipknoties®  – that’s “hipwhaties!”  I mean, what’s a woman going to do when she’s going away for a three-week trip where she has to dress for all kinds of situations, from casual to evening dress, and all she has is one carry-on?

The old saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention” has been attributed to Aesop and Plato. I doubt Sarah Yonover was thinking of either of those guys when she was faced with the above packing dilemma, but she certainly put the saying into practice, in a creative and, well, HIP, way!

Starting with an infinity scarf, she invented a multitude of ways to turn a length of fabric into myriad styles of garments. It was such a hit with people, Sarah returned home to start her own company, Hipknoties®.

Watch the magic here, and you’ll understand why Sarah Yonover is our Wednesday Woman this week!

Have you ever had a unique idea but never followed through with it, then later learned someone else had turned “your” idea into a successful product? Let me know in the comments.

Until later …

Toni

Giving is Key to Getting

giving_key-to_getting

via Wikimedia Commons

‘It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.‘ … Ralph Waldo Emerson

For the past few days, I’ve had “bloggers block.” While I could think of a plethora of informative topics, nothing jumped out and said “write about me.” It’s been quite frustrating.

Then it occurred to me that the entire time I’ve been unable to write to you, I’ve been preoccupied with things that pertain only to me — a new business idea that excites me; a petty, but annoying, physical ailment; a social obligation. As I was sitting here looking at my blank screen, the thought hit me.

“Giving is the key to getting.” It’s certainly not a unique epiphany. People have been saying and practicing it for years. Great sales and marketing people like Zig Ziglar and Og Mandino made it a mantra. But I had for the moment forgotten it.

Once this thought struck me, I opened a browser, typed those words into the search box, and began to read.

There was an article in the New York Times about a year ago about Adam M. Grant, who is the youngest tenured professor and single highest-rated teacher at The Wharton School, and author of the book and website “Give and Take.”   The article says “The greatest untapped source of motivation, he [Grant] argues, is a sense of service to others; focusing on the contribution of our work to other people’s lives has the potential to make us more productive than thinking about helping ourselves.”

In my community, there are not many big businesses, but a lot of small ones. Many, no matter how small, seem to find ways to give back to the community. In return, the community supports them and they grow, or at least remain stable. It’s reassuring to see how it all works for the greater good.

If you’re bogged down with worry about your small business or stuff in your personal life, perhaps reading the article will help provide motivation to get outside yourself and do something to help others. We all have so much to share, and the satisfaction that comes with knowing you’ve helped someone else is well worth even a small amount of your time.

Until later …

Toni

Save Time and Money with Google Apps – Learn more here.

 

Save Money and Time with Google Apps

google-apps

Google Apps

Do you use Google Apps?  They are really great for team collaboration. I think you’d also benefit from trying it out for your business.

What is Google Apps?

Google Apps is a cloud-based productivity suite that includes Gmail for professional email, Drive for online storage, Hangouts for video meetings, Calendar for scheduling and Docs for editing files. I especially like how easy it is to get things done and work with others from anywhere, using any device I choose. Google Apps is cost-effective, too.

Millions of organizations around the world count on Google Apps for professional email, file storage, video meetings, online calendars, document editing and more.

Watch a video or find out more here.

Here are some highlights:

Business email for your domain

Looking professional matters, and that means communicating as you@yourcompany.com. Gmail’s simple, powerful features help you build your brand while getting more done.

Access from any location or device

Check email, share files, edit documents, hold video meetings and more whether you’re at work, at home or in transit. You can pick up where you left off from a computer, tablet or phone.

Enterprise-level management tools

Robust admin settings give you total command over users, devices, security and more. Your data always belongs to you, and it goes with you if you switch solutions.

For a FREE trial, click here.

p.s. I have a special $10 off coupon I can give you if you decide to sign up. Let me know: toni(at)tonimcnulty(dot)com.

Until later …

Toni

Disclosure: If you make a purchase using the links in this post, I will receive a small commission.

 

Pssst! SMM – Pass It On!

If you are not using social media to raise awareness of your business or brand, you’re missing out on reaching a huge audience. The following article  by Allison Kahn* originally was published by SiteProNews on July 14, 2011.   I like this article because it has all the basics to get you started, so I asked and received permission to publish it here.

social media marketing

Photo via commons.wikimedia.org

Social Media Marketing is the act of using social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) in order to promote a business.

Many companies will want to start their own social media marketing campaign and create a Facebook page or Twitter account. The problem is they don’t have a clue on how to run a successful social media marketing campaign. Here, I have listed 10 of the most basic rules when it comes to social media marketing. Follow these rules in order to have successful accounts with Facebook, Twitter, etc.

The 10 [basic] Rules of Social Media Marketing

1. Update! I shouldn’t even have to list this as a rule, but many forget how important it is. You should try and update daily because when consumers visit your page and it has not been updated in over a month, they will assume it is inactive and decide not to follow your business. Also, they could easily go with your competitor because their page is so active they feel that business will give them better service. You do not want that to happen, so update your social media accounts regularly!

2. No pitching! You are not Billy Mays. Therefore, you do not need to yell at consumers telling them to buy your product or use your business. Social media is meant to connect, not pitch. If your consumers feel they have a connection with your company through your Facebook page or Twitter feed, they are more likely to use you over another business that does not make an earnest effort to connect.

3. Communicate with your audience.
If you do not feel it is necessary to reply to comments, answer questions, or join in on conversations on your page, then social media is not for you. You need to be a part of the conversations on your page. If not, you will lose touch with your customers and what they want.

4. Choose Wisely. What you say will forevermore remain public record on the internet. Choose what you post on your page wisely. I cannot stress that enough. If you hire a company to post for you, be sure to hire someone you can trust. And, remember, if you manage your social media outlets yourself only post what you would want to see on the front page of the New York Times (or the Huffington Post).

5. Handle angry customers with class.
Some customers will just have a bad day and want to take it out on your page and blame you for everything. Do not delete any negative comments. Instead, ignore it if it’s only one comment (unless the comment has foul language and is completely inappropriate). If you are in a predicament like Nestle was several years ago where everyone protested on their Facebook page, post an update saying your business is making moves to fix the problem. Never directly respond to one individual, you will never win. Also, never make promises you cannot keep.

6. Link to others. If you find something interesting (and relevant) on the web, link it on your Facebook or Twitter page. Explain why you find it interesting (and relevant) and ask for their input. Link to other companies, articles, cool websites, whatever. Just be sure to ask yourself before posting, is this relevant to my business?

7. Share! Don’t be afraid to show your consumers what your company’s employees are doing when they are not in the office. Take photos of your office picnic, philanthropic event, or even a run/walk for a good cause. These photos create a positive image about your company for your consumers. They want to know you’re human and don’t wear ties all the time. If it’s casual Friday in the office, take a group photo of everyone wearing the company polo and post it immediately so others know what is going on in your office in real time.

8. Start a weekly trend. If you do something once a week, on the same day each week, your followers are bound to come back that day every week. For example, if you own a shoe store, every Monday you could post the shoe of the week. Include an image and a promotion for the shoe, such as a percentage off that week only. If you posted every Monday, consumers are bound to check every Monday to see what pair is being promoted that week and come into your store to buy. It’s a great way to get customers onto your social media pages as well as into your store.

9. Link to your blog. You put so much effort into writing that awesome post about trendy heels for the spring, but no one ever reads your blog. Link it on your Facebook, Twitter, etc. Don’t do it all the time, because if that is the only thing you do to update your social media outlets, people will get bored with you very quickly. But at the same time, don’t be afraid to link back to your blog. You put a lot of hard work and effort into it, and you want people to read it!

10. Spread the word!
If you have a Facebook, Twitter, blog, YouTube channel, etc. you really need to tell people. They are not just going to assume you have them. Put them on your company website, on your business cards, put a sign up in your store saying “Add us!” with all the little logos for each site next to the copy. Don’t be afraid to tell your customers you’re on Facebook. If they like you and your product, they will share it on their Facebook account and say, “Hey, I’m a fan of Sally’s Shoes and I want everyone to know!”

Until next time …

Toni

*Allison Kahn is the Marketing Assistant at Princeton Marketing Group in Greensboro, NC. She has a BA in English Literature from Wesley College in Dover, DE. She has a passion for Social Media Marketing. http://www.princetonmarketing.net  and  http://www.princetonmarketing.net./princetonmarketingblog

10 Success Tips from Billionaire Business Women

Every entrepreneur knows that starting a business is risky, yet they do it anyway. Some have a head start because they don’t have to worry about financing. Others only have a dream, a unique vision, a passion they feel they must pursue, and figure out as they go how to get financing. Some choose to start their own business because they want to be their own boss.  Others do it because they perceive a need that no one else has filled. Whatever the reason, let’s get inspired by those who have succeeded.

These ten women have succeeded, at least financially, beyond most of our wildest dreams. Not all of them started out poor, but a few did. Some of them started with wealth they got through marriage or inheritance. But all worked hard to achieve success. Here are their keys to success, according to this article in Refinery 29.

Sheryl_Sandberg_COO_Facebook

Photo via en.wikipedia.org

 

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. – Always look ahead. The more women reach higher positions within companies, the more women will create workplaces that allow females to care to all facets of their life.

 

 

 

Salma-Hayek-Actress

Photo via en.wikipedia.org

 

Salma Hayek, actress and founder of film production company Ventanarosa.  – Persevere. Salma claims she wasn’t taken seriously at first and underestimated, but says, “you stick around long enough, act out of conviction, and try to be honorable in everything you do, [and] good things will come to you. I have seen karma work in this business.”

 

 

 

 

ZARA clothing store

Photo via gi.wikipedia.org

Rosalia Mera, co-founder of clothing company Zara, who said  dropping out of school to become a seamstress at age 11 was the smartest thing she’s ever done. After Rosalia began making gowns and garments in the living room she shared with former husband, Amancio Ortega, the two went on to co-found clothing parent company, Inditex, which eventually resulted in the formation of Zara. Do whatever you can yourself. Sometimes it’s best to tackle things on your own, no matter how difficult they may seem.

 

Miuccia-Prada

Photo via Cory M. Grenier on Flickr

Miuccia Prada, head designer at Prada and Miu Miu:Respect one another and always innovate. With Bertelli known for being a fiery boss and indefatigable leader, the entirety of Prada’s success rests in the intense relationship between the couple. One reason it works so well is their shared bottom line: making a product that both pushes fashion forward and actually sells.

 

 

Laurene_Powell_Jobs

Photo via en.wikipedia.org

Laurene Powell Jobs, co-founder and president of the Board of College Track,  a nonprofit based in San Francisco that aims to increase the number of high school graduates and college attendees from low-income families. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Laurene’s philanthropic efforts change the lives of others every single day, but it’s not without the investment of a lot of hard work and a ton of time.

 

 

 

 

Sara_Blakely

Photo by by Stuart Isett/Fortune Most Powerful Women, Flickr

Sara Blakely, founder and inventor of Spanx. –  Don’t be afraid to fail, and maybe, don’t ask for that second opinion. It took Sara two years to get her initial prototype ready for sale after dreaming up the idea. By not telling her family and friends about Spanx for a full year, she didn’t have to address their concerns and doubts, and never had to spend time defending her idea until it was already on its way.

 

 

The Gap store

Photo via en.wikipedia.org

 

 

Doris Fisher, co-founder of The Gap. – Speak your mind. The store never would have been called “The Gap” if Doris hadn’t pointed out the generational shift in the neighborhood, and that it should be reflected in the brand’s name.

 

 

 

 

Melinda_Gates

Photo via en. wikipedia.org

Melinda Gates, co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. –  Give Back. Melinda has made it her life’s work to help others in need and look for solutions to help others in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

Stark_Handbags

Photo: Pinterest.com via sipwithsociaites.com

 

 

Petra Ecclestone, heiress, model, and founder of Stark, her line of luxe handbags. – “Get as much experience as possible.” Hard work always wins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

United_Colors_of_Benetton

Photo via fotopedia.com

Giuliana Benetton, co-founder of United Colors of Benetton got her start in a small town in Italy by hand-knitting sweaters that her brother Luciano would sell by bicycle. Make your passion your life-long passion. All four siblings still serve as members of the board of directors of Benetton Group, nearly 50 years after its formation.

 

 

Until next time …

Toni

Zen and the Art of Keeping Your Desk Clean

Clean Desk

Photo by Sean Hobson (seantoyer) on Flickr.com

I’ve been told that some people function just fine with clutter everywhere because they remember where everything is. If someone comes in and straightens up the mess, they’re lost. If you’re one of those people, carry on.

If you’re like me, though, a cluttered desk can make it difficult to focus on my work. Not being able to locate needed paperwork, especially if I’m on the phone and need it for reference, can mess with my head. Life is distracting enough without that.

Here are some tips I’ve incorporated into my routine that make my workday less stressful.

  • Two file boxes/baskets. Some people label them “In” and “Out.” I call mine “Do It” and “File It.” If at all possible, I like to end my day with an empty “Do It” box.
  • Touch a paper document no more than three times: once when you receive it, once when you take action on it, and once when you file it. When opening mail, my routine goes like this: If it’s junk mail, straight to the trash can. If it’s actionable, straight to the “Do It” box. If it just needs to be filed, I file it immediately if at all possible. If not, it goes in the “File It” box. Every few days, I take a few minutes to clean out the box and neatly tuck papers into their respective file folders.
  • When you file paperwork, put the most recent on top, not at the back of the file folder. You’ll be glad you did when you need it quickly.
  • Have a file cabinet and filing system that works for you. There are so many office filing and storage possibilities these days, it’s mind boggling. So if your current organization system isn’t working, visit an office supply store and take a look. There’s something for everyone. You also can visit Pinterest to look for unique storage ideas.
  • If you have a desk drawer, use a drawer organizer. When you’re in a hurry and reach for a pen, you don’t need the stress of untangling it from rubber bands or digging through a stack of clutter.
  • Purge your files at least once a year. There are always some documents, catalogs, competitor price lists and the like that are out of date or no longer needed. Shred anything with personal identifiable information on it, and toss the rest. Keep in mind there are some things you should NOT get rid of. Read  “How Long Should You Keep Business Records” from NOLO.com for more information.

For more organization tips, check out the National Association of Professional Organizers.

What does Zen have to do with this, you ask? According to the Urban Dictionary, “One way to think of zen is this: a total state of focus that incorporates a total togetherness of body and mind. Zen is a way of being.”

A total state of focus. Total togetherness. No clutter. I like that!

Until next time …

Toni

 

 

Shake It Right to Get Their Attention

People shaking hands

Photo via Spot Us (spotreporting) on Flickr

What’s the first thing you do when you meet a new business prospect? Shake their hand, of course. It’s customary business etiquette. How many times after shaking someone’s hand did you think (a) “I think my hand is broken.” or (b) “Eww! That felt like a jellyfish!”?

First impressions matter, and your handshake says something about you and the other person whether you intend it to or not.

According to Penny Edge, founder of the Finishing Academy UK, there are seven types of handshakes. Some of them will turn people off. Some of them may help turn a prospect into a customer.

  • Power Shake: To avoid the power shake, step in with your left foot when you see the power shake coming. This will invade the other person’s space and put them off kilter.
  • Board Room Shake: This person shakes hands strongly and grips the forearm with the other hand. Usually it is a managing director who wants to show control.
  • Bone Crusher Shake: While this grip may be okay between two alpha males, in most circumstances it is too hard and holds for too long.
  • Wet Fish Shake: This is known as the limp lettuce handshake. If you’re on the receiving end, take control by adjusting this handshake and giving two firm shakes.
  • Confident Shake: This is described as a firm hold with two shakes and eye contact.
  • Empathetic Shake: This type of handshake involves a brush of the forearm with the left hand for no longer than three to four seconds. Those who use this type of handshake will have an 80 per cent chance of getting on well with the other person. Be warned though – touching for longer than five seconds invades the other person’s personal space.
  • Patronizing Shake: Do not grab hold of the other person’s wrist when shaking hands.

One thing I dislike about my own handshake is that my hands are almost always cold, which can be a turn-off. I try to warm them a bit before meeting someone new.

Which type of handshake do you have?  Which one do you dislike the most? Are there any other types of handshakes you’ve experienced? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time …

Toni

Source: Gulf Business