Miss Executive Blog

Uncategorized

Must Have Online Tools for Business

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As a small business owner myself, running a virtual business firm has me running everyone elses businesses too. I love what I do, but I wouldn’t be able to do it without some much needed help from some amazing online tools.

My day starts off with 17hats. On thier home page it says “Chaos. Simplified.” and that’s pretty much it in a nutshell. This software is the bomb.com for managing my time, tracking the time I spend on client projects with timers, invoicing, accepting online payments, lead capturing, it’s amazing!

I never have to listen to that horrible fax beeping and screeching at my office. Gone are those days and my life has been simplified with RingCentral. For just 14.99 per month I have a dedicated toll free fax number. I simply login to RingCentral online, scan my outgoing fax as a PDF into my computer, attach it as an outgoing fax and hit send. All incoming faxes go right into my email, I can simply download them, email them, print them, etc. It’s the best thing since sliced bread!

I create a lot of marketing materials, flyers, and social media content and I use a variety of different programs, but this new one I found last year is awesome and it’s FREE, although you can upgrade to a better professional version for a small monthly fee, CANVA. This little program makes anyone look like a graphic designer and it’s super fun to use with hundreds of existing templates already properly sized for your media or you can customize them yourself.

If you want to network and really get your name out there you NEED to be on LinkedIn. This professional yet social platform has done more for me than anything else in my professional career. There are many aspects to what makes LinkedIn an amazing tool for your business but some of the best aspects are the ad campaigns, sales navigator, sponsored content, and more. It can really put you in touch with the right people in your industry.

There are many other programs in addition to these that I use and for a partial list you can visit my website at www.execbusinessservices.com/.

Miss Executive ~ Tina Holtz

 

 

business growth, Business Start-up, growing your business, Marketing

The Top Challenges for Small Businesses

Running a small business can be a daunting task. It might seem like you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off most of the time. Paying bills, running errands, meeting with clients, making 30 phone calls a day, writing proposals, cleaning the toilet! It may seem like you’re doing everything and yet it can still feel like you’ve accomplished nothing.

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Courtesy Canva.com

In this blog article we’re going to review the top challenges that small businesses find themselves facing everyday. In my reaserch what I’ve found is that even though small business owners are stressed about everything that they need to do and the struggles in owning and operating their small businesses, they would do it all over again if given the chance. The freedom, flexibility, and ownership out weight many of the corporate aspects elsewhere. I know for me, I love running my own business and I know that I am in complete control of my life.

1.) Financial challenges can plague many small business owners. Not having enough cash reserves, lines of credit, or access to money can limit the growth and basic day to day operations. Commit to having a financial overview weekly to ensure you stay on track, and use a good accurate accounting system like Quickbooks, Quicken, or 17hats. Financial forecasting is another tool that should not be overlooked. In order to take control of your finances, you need to know where you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re headed. Set budgets, monitor expenses, and have a business plan that includes cash flow analysis which will help you plan your financial picture now and in the future.

2.) Proper staffing and good employees is a common pitfall. Many small business owners find themselves unable to compete in the job market and sometimes settle for the less desirable employee just to have a warm body. Trust me, this is not helping your business. The key to obtaining good employees is competitive pay, incentives, flexibility, and benefits. I know, you’re thinking there is no way you can compete with the big boys, but there is! You can offer a simple IRA, even if you can’t afford to match giving your employees a way to save for their future tax free is HUGE. You may not be able to offer full heealth insurance, however you can offer Aflac, and although this is not health insurance it does provide benefits for accidents, injuries, and some health related issues and is better coverage than nothing. As a business owner it costs you ZERO and all you have to do is offer it to your employees and you take the premiums out of their paycheck tax free through automatic deduction. You can partner with a local gym in your area for a discounted gym membership, and you can pay for half of the year’s membership and encourage a healthy team. Offering additional educational opportunities is also something that should not be overlooked and for a small cost you can increase the work performance of your team and better your company at the same time.

3.) The majority of small business owners lack time. Most of the time it’s because you started out by doing everything yourself, wearing multiple hats and so you just continue doing it. Learn to delegate tasks and duties to your staff. Being a good manager means that you know where your time and that of your employees is best spent, and providing you with the best return on that time and investment. You don’t need to be changing oil in a service truck if you should be at a meeting with a potential client. You are too valuable for that, you should be bringing in a new customer and your mechanic or laborer should be changing the oil. The same thing goes for invoicing, payroll, etc. You need to be running your business and delegating those tasks to another person. Know where the true value lays within a member of your team and where you should be really spending your time.

4.) A lot of small business owners start their company with little business management knowledge. That’s ok, it doesn’t mean you’re not a good entrepreneur, but you might need some help with the basic operations and set-up of your business. Be sure to get the help you need right away. I cannot stress this enough. If you procrastinate the problems and issues only get bigger and can lead to failure. For instance, I know a cleint who was a concrete guy, a great concrete guy at that. He knew how to pour concrete very well, but he didn’t knew nothing about how to run a business, invoice, market, hire employees, set the business up etc. Sometimes you need help, so reach out to a virtual assistant or business advisor to help you with those issues.

5.) Marketing always seems to be a BIG struggle for small business owners. Today marketing can be done very easily if the right techniques and methods are used. Most small business owners are unsure of where to begin, what methods to use, how to track it, or plain and simple don’t understand it, so they never market their business. Truthfully they really don’t have time to market because their too busy running the business. So marketing gets overlooked and set to the wayside. Marketing is the backbone to the success of every company and sooner or later it needs to be a part of your business plan. Again, you may need to reach out for assistance with this.

6.) Growing pains! This is common with a lot of small businesses. You start out small, maybe you even bootstrapped your way along and then all of the sudden one day you wake up and your business is booming. You find yourself growing so fast, you don’t even know what’s going on. You’re hiring staff with no paperwork, your throwing receipts into a box by the door, you’re only invoicing once a month because you have no time, you barely pay your bills on time even though you have the money in your account. This can be an exciting spot, but it can also be very scary. More than ever, this is when you have to ensure that your management plan is up to snuff. DO NOT cut corners or procrastinate. You have to ensure that you have the proper foundation established for your business so that you can succeed through this growth process.

virtual-assistant

Here are some interesting stats from a research study that Constat Contact did.

43% of small business owners say they are wearing too many hats

20% have a hard time riding through bad economic times

10% struggle with hiring and managing staff

66% have trouble finding new customers

56% say they do not have enough time

40% say they have trouble retaining existing customers

32% say they have a hard time paying bills

So this just goes to show you, that you are not alone afterall. Just remember, if you need help there are loads of professionals out there available with the experience you need. You can start with your virtual assistint, lawyer, CPA, business advisor, insurance agent, etc. These professionals truly care about the success of your business and are with you every step of the way.

Tina Holtz~Miss Executive

 

 

 

Business Savvy, growing your business, Uncategorized

4 Ways to Save In Running Your Business

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I have found over the years that as business owners are consumed in running their business, often times they don’t know about potential money saving opportunities that are available.

As a Virtual Assistant providing business support services, it’s my job to stay up to date on the latest and greatest techniques, softwares, programs, and…. money saving opportunities that can increase my clients bottom line. Because I am based in Colorado these top “3 Ways to Save” mostly apply to Colorado companies, however most states do have similiar programs available.

Cost Containment Certification

This is a cost savings opportunity available to all businesses in The State of Colorado who pay for Worker’s Compensation. The State rewards businesses who implement a proper safety program that meets the following criteria:

* A safety policy statement
* A safety committee or coordinator
* Posted safety rules
* Consistent safety training
* A designated medical provider
* Claims management procedures
* Once a company receives certification, your workers’ compensation insurance carrier,           will apply a discount to the policy at the next renewal period after certification. A 5                 percent discount is applied to companies with:

* An experience modification rating
* Lower frequency and severity of losses for the most recent policy period      as compared with those from the previous policy period.
* If the company is not eligible for an experience modification rating: The      discount depends on the accident experience during the 12 months                before the renewal date. Discounts are awarded on the number and cost      of accidents and range from 2 percent to 10 percent.

If you have your worker’s compensation insurance through Pinnacol, they provide you with a workbook that walks you through the process as well as providing sample forms. I’ve helped several businesses with the set-up process of their Cost Containment Certification and it can save at a minimum of 5% on your worker’s compensation premiums and more. I had a client saving 13% annually on their premiums.

Enterprise Zone Tax Credit

The State of Colorado provides a range of tax credits available to businesses that are located in what they call Enterprise Zones. You can click on this link to see if you are located in one of these zones, http://choosecolorado.com/doing-business/incentives-financing/ez/. Here are some of the available credits.

EZ – Investment Tax Credit: Providing businesses a tax credit of 3 percent for equipment purchases.

EZ – Job Training: Companies that implement a qualified job-training program for their enterprise zone employees may claim an income tax credit of 12 percent of their eligible training costs.

EZ – New Employee Credit: A tax credit offering businesses $1,100 per new job.

EZ – Agricultural Processing: A tax credit of $500 per new business facility employee may be claimed by business adding value to agricultural commodities through manufacturing or processing.

EZ- Enhanced Rural Enterprise Zone New Employee: Offers $2,000 total per new job for new businesses located within an enterprise zone.

EZ – New Employee Enhanced Ag Processor Credit: Businesses located in an enterprise zone may be eligible for a credit of $500 per new employee, if the business is an agricultural manufacturing or processing business.

EZ – Health Insurance: Offers businesses $1,000 per insured job available for the first two years in state enterprise zones.

EZ – Research and Development Tax Credit: A tax credit for businesses up to three percent, based on the increase of a company’s research and development expenditures within an enterprise zone during the previous two income tax years.

EZ – Vacant Building Rehab: Allows owners or tenants of a building in an Enterprise Zone that is at least 20 years old and that has been completely vacant for at least two years to claim a tax credit of 25 percent of the cost of rehabilitating the building for commercial use, up to $50,000.

EZ – Commercial Vehicle Investment Tax Credit: Offers businesses a state income tax credit up to 1.5 percent on commercial trucks, truck tractors, tractors, or semitrailers, as well as associated parts. Learn more.

EZ – Contribution Projects: Enterprise Zone (EZ) Contribution Projects encourage community participation and public-private partnerships to revitalize EZs. EZ Administrators may propose projects for EZ Project status to implement the economic development plan of that specific EZ. EZ Administrators work with their communities to bring forward proposals that meet the economic development needs, result in job creation/retention and business expansion, and have the support of the community. Colorado taxpayers may earn Colorado income tax credits by contributing to targeted efforts. Learn more.

youdeservit

Save Energy, Save Money

Throughout the U.S., everyone is interested in saving energy and money. Many local and state governments are offering programs that provide rebates, tax credits, and more. In my area, our county has a group called Garfield Clean Energy. They offer free walk through to business owners, and will help design an energy plan for you, provide coaching, and connect you with contractors. Rebates are available for up to 50% of a cost of project that will save energy according to your energy plan developed. For more information visit, http://www.garfieldcleanenergy.org/com-rebates.html

Complete an Office Systems Audit

Having an office systems audit or analysis completed takes an in-depth look at where you spend money within your business and provides an opportunity to analyze where savings can be implemented. I personally take it a step farther and look at potential increased revenue streams that might be left untapped.

Generally you review your company as a whole; your business structure, products and services offered, your target market, goals, overall efficiency, expectations, employee morale and turnover rates, training, safety, expenses, sales volumes and reports, marketing strategies, a thorough review of policy’s and procedures, processes, softwares, weaknesses, strengths, exit plan, procurement, contracts, and your future outlook.

Savings and increased revenue are almost always located in an Office Systems Audit and with the New Year coming, this might be a terrific resolution to start your New Year off with a bang.

Tina Holtz is a seasoned business professional with more than 20 years of experience in business development, business management, sales, marketing, and procurement. She is the owner of Executive Business Services, LLC and provides virtual assisting and business support services to business owners, entrepreneurs, professionals, and executives. You can reach her at 970-989-8047 or email at tina@execbusinessservices.com – www.execbusinessservices.com

 

Uncategorized, Virtual Assisting

Don’t Hire an Employee. NOT YET!

 

First, imagine that just by reading this blog article you could save about $40,000 a year? Hmmmm. Read On.

THE PROBLEM

Over the years I’ve found that the majority of small business owners need help in running their businesses but they just don’t know where to turn. Who do they call? No, not Ghostbusters :), but they should most definitely call a virtual assistant. So where can you find this awesome knowledgable professional who is super biz savvy and can help you with multiple aspects of your business? I could give you my number but I really want business owners to know that there are many virtual assistants out there in the market place just waiting to help you. However, if you do want to call me, I would love the opportunity to speak with you.

Virtual Assistants are popping up everywhere thanks to the wide use of technology. As long as I have a computer and smartphone I can work from anywhere, although I do operate my firm most of the time out of my traditional office space in beautiful Rifle, Colorado.

Truth be told, a Virtual Assistant can save you not only a ton of money, but a ton of headaches too! Believe it or not, you may be thinking you need to a hire a full time in house assistant, or a business development manager, or a marketing/sales person. I’m here to tell you, that you may not need to do that at all.

Imagine that I can save you the headache of advertising costs for the position, time in developing a job description, time in establishing work hours and figuring out how to keep that new employee busy, save you the time for interviewing, checking references, and training. That adds up to quite a bit of an investment, on average these costs total around 10% of the annual salary of that new employee. Which means if your new employee’s salary is $50,000 annually, just to hire that person will cost you around $5,000. That’s before they even really get to work. Plus you have to pay for a desk, a chair, a computer, a phone, office supplies, paid time off, worker’s compensation, unemployment, taxes, benefits, and more! PLUS all the time to track and report that information as well. That employee ends up costing you way more than $50,000 annually.

THE SOLUTION

A Virtual Assistant is a true professional highly experienced in business, not only in day to day adminstrative duties, but can also be highly skilled in many other aspects as well. You want to seek a VA that aligns well with your specific needs. It’s kind of like finding a specialist with doctors, you need to ensure that your VA has the skillset you desire and need.

youdeservit
Courtesy of http://www.udeserveit.me

A VA is an ideal solution because you only pay for their services as needed. Perhaps you only need 5 hours of assistance this week but need 20 hours next week because you have a project coming up. Not an issue. You NEVER have to worry about paying for all the stuff you do with an employee because a VA is an independent contractor. You just reach out to your VA, tell them what you need, and BAM! you have a delivered result. Most VA’s charge on average around $30.00/hr for their services, so let’s say you use your VA 10 hours a week, that equals $15,600 annually. If you consider your prospective employee’s annual salary plus all the addittional costs, this is about $40,000 savings per year! That is a huge amount of savings and money well spent for your business.

If you’d like to speak more about virtual assisting, please contact me today.

Tina~Miss Executive

 

 

Uncategorized

Top 5 reasons you need a Dun & Bradstreet # for your Biz

Dun & Bradstreet. Most small to mid-sized companies have heard of Dun & Bradstreet but many still don’t truly understand what it is, how it works, or why you need them. I’ll admit that I think Dun & Bradstreet’s sales calls and representatives are extremely pushy and sometimes just down right hard to deal with because they don’t like taking no for an answer when they want you to sign up for their services. However, having a Dun & Bradstreet number can be very, very important to your business. Here’s the top 5 reasons you need a Dun & Bradstreet Number for your business.

db
Image Courtesy of http://www.d&b.com

1.) Having a Dun & Bradstreet number creates and defines separation from your personal credit and business credit. Stop using your personal credit for the business. Increase your ability to qualify for better loans, negotiate lower interest rates from financial institutions, and no longer have to personally gaurantee every loan.

2.) Define your company for the professional business it is and join the global network of businesses who rely upon Dun & Bradstreet for streamling their operations, analytics, data, and management.

3.) Dun & Bradstreet provides a full reportaire of business solutions no matter what size company you are. Build your business credit, credit management, credit monitoring, financial risk reports, growth strategies, specific industry information, marketing solutions, and more. Dun & Bradstreet provides you with a knowledge base second to none so that you can take your business to the next level.

4.) By joining Dun & Bradstreet you can make informed decisions. You can check business history and credit on potential creditors to see if they are safe company to do business with, you can investigate customers to determine credit risk, research potential business partners, monitor your competition, and so much more.

5.) Through their marketing solutions you can obtain access to potential businesses that you may not otherwise be able to reach. Through establishing an online presence and credibility with D&B, along with access to their entire business directory, you can get your business verified, create a target market and obtain customized leads using the most up-to-date information, and work with a marketing expert who can help you grow your business.

solutions
Image Courtesy of http://www.lifeplansinc.com

No matter what stage your business is in or what goals you hope to achieve, Dun & Bradstreet surely has some terrfic solutions to help your business.

I want to add that I just had a client sign up for D&B recently. Because they have now separated their personal credit from their business credit, they were able to qualify with a vendor they previously could not through their personal credit. Through this new opportunity they are now saving thousands of dollars annually and their D&B investment has by more than paid off.

Check it out! www.d&b.com

Tina Holtz~ Miss Executive

Uncategorized

The Importance of Branding Yourself

who-are-you
Image courtesy of http://www.playbuzz.com

As a virtual assistant and business advisor it’s my job to know the ins and outs of social media and the new online platforms that can help businesses succeed. It’s always about working smarter and not harder. I also stay on the up and up in regards to personal branding as well which sparked this blog article today.

 

Years ago, we all networked through business meetings, luncheons, face to face appointments, Rotary and Chamber of Commerce meetings and the like. We walked around handing out business cards to everyone in sight and giving our quick over practiced elevator speech, hoping to dazzle them into wanting to know more about who we are and what we do. Then we would follow up with nice hand written card or quick phone call just to say hey. The goal was to ensure that EVERYONE knew who you were and what you did! In a way, we were branding ourselves. I know when I did these things at every job regardless of where I worked, people began to know that if they worked with me, they got treated a certain way. Generally like a ROCKSTAR! I took pride in the fact that people always remembered who I was, how hard I worked, and always asked “Hey! Where did Tina go?” So many of my customers have followed me throughout the years, from business to business and industry to industry. I guess what I am getting at here, is that I succeeded in branding ME.

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Image courtesy http://www.twitter.com

Many times we all get so wrapped up in branding the company we work for, (which is what we’re hired to do), we forget to brand ourselves. I’ve seen so many people say it’s not in my job description, or no one cares what I do, no one appreciates the handwritten note, etc.  Nothing could be farther from the truth! Everyone is watching you. Your co-workers, your vendors, your boss, your family, your friends. If you put in 110% all the time and go the extra mile, they all say “Man, do you see how hard Tom works? He never cares how bad of a day he is having, he just goes and goes.” You’re building a reputation, you’re building YOUR BRAND! I would much rather put the time and effort into branding myself like that versus everyone thinking you might be a dead beat, who never goes the extra mile, always goes home at the strike of 5 on the dot, complains about how dirty the bathroom is and then never cleaning it. Nah, trust me, you don’t want to be that guy.

Today with social media and technology, branding ourselves is a bit easier in the sense that we can reach so many people in just a few clicks. I still like to network the old fashion way because that’s who I am, but I alo implement other ways to brand myself too. One is through blogging, which I love! The other is through monthly email newsletters, being seen as the GO TO person for super awesome information, having a nice clean informational website, clean and precisely driven marketing materials about my business, and holding the most professional image of myself as possible on social media and business networking and self branding sites.

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Image courtesy of http://www.quotesgram.com

Recently I was invited by a colleague to join MyOpportunity and BrandedMe, which are two fairly new networking sites similar to LinkedIn, yet they all differ a bit in what they offer and I LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! them.  I will say that before I join anything, I complete some due diligence to ensure that it’s worthy of my time and that the offer is legit. I’ve been on LinkedIn for years, since 2007 or 2008 I believe. It’s proven to have been largely successful to me over the years and I value every connection I make. I don’t just go through and connect with just anyone, I review their profiles and I look at certain people to see if we can be beneficial to each other now or in the future. I found that by joining these other two sites, there are different people on each one of them. I’m getting new contacts and connections on every platform and the experience is fascinating to say the least. It doesn’t require a lot of time, of course you could sit on there all day no doubt. But a few hours a week can go a long way in branding yourself and your business.

 

The point is NEVER QUIT branding, do it in everything you do and it will follow you forever.

You will find me here: 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tina-holtz-7b235647

BrandedMe: https://branded.me/tina-darinholtz

MyOpportunity: https://www.myopportunity.com/profile/tina-holtz

 

Best of Luck!

Tina~Miss Executive