Biz Blog

Benefits

Most of These 9 Ways to Keep Your Best Employees Don’t Cost Anything

I came across a terrific article this week that I felt was crucial in sharing. Many small to mid-sized companies have a difficult time finding and retaining top talent and can’t compete with many of the benefits that larger companies can. That means that terrific talent sometime walks right out the door, but here are 9 simple ways you can keep your best employees and in many cases it doesn’t cost you anything.

This article is REBLOGGED from Entrepreneur Magazine. Here is the link: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/322012. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

By: Miles Jennings
GUEST WRITER
Entrepreneur & Startup CEO, CEO of VocaWorks & Truli Technologies

November 2, 2018

We’ve heard great advice about how to hire the right employees, and have been reminded many times that preventing great employees from leaving is the best recruitment strategy. But keeping great staff isn’t just about doing a set of tasks; it’s about having the proper mindset. In today’s competitive job market, you consistently have to be engaged with your staff, let them know you care, and demonstrate it in all your actions.

1. Get to know people.
We sometimes are not mindful enough of the fact that we spend the best hours of the best days of the best years of our lives at work. It doesn’t mean that these people need to become as close as family or your dearest friends, but it’s certainly a shortcoming to not know more about them. What keeps them up at night, what they’re passionate about, what they enjoy when they aren’t spending hours with you and your colleagues. Over time, as you build trust, and people realize you are truly interested in getting to know them, you’ll have a chance to glimpse their vision and values and see how you can ensure that the work they do everyday is aligned with that (and continues to be).

2. Communicate.
Many employees leave early on because they feel left to fend for themselves. Especially during onboarding, and in the months after that process is completed, it’s important to make sure that employees know what your expectations are, and more critically, that the door is open for feedback about how the process is going. They should know what the path to success at the company looks like — not necessarily because they want to copy it step-by-step, but so that they have a blueprint for how they can forge their own path.

3. Recognize contributions.
Every company does this differently, and the way you do it should be aligned with your company culture and values as well as the personality of the given individual. Maybe such recognition is more private and personal, like a thank-you note, a post-it or a lunch out. Perhaps it’s the opposite of that, and involves an @channel shout-out on Slack or a company-wide email. Whatever path you choose, make sure that it’s consistent, and don’t miss celebrating small wins at the expense of looking to celebrate only the biggest ones. And remember, if you know your team and have their trust and permission, you’ll be able to share their personal, non-work wins as well, which only gives the team more opportunities to bond and grow together.

4. Proactive benefits.
While some of the top firms in the world offer round-the-clock catering, babysitting, dry cleaning, and the like, many employees just want to know they are more than a number and an accounting entry, and that’s seen in benefits — not just the ones that are expected, but in the openness to those that might not be. Employees of many professions value flexible working time and conditions more than ever, so that should be something you consider, in accord with how your company performs best, delivering in abundance. There should also be an openness to asking employees for what kind of benefits they would like to see. These can be shared with the company and the ideas can be voted on, and if popular, implemented. Employees may not get every benefit they desire, but the fact that they were able to share and actually be listened to would go a long way.

5. Get rid of dead weight.
There are few things as demoralizing as underperforming team members. They bring down the performance of others and lead to a “is anybody paying attention?” attitude among your team, especially if the behavior is consistent and egregious. There’s no need to stage a major public firing. It’s just important to make sure your team knows that excellence is the standard and that those who aren’t committed to that, or to turning around a bad streak, have to go. No exceptions.

6. Opportunities.
The best employees truly desire self-improvement. That’s why, more and more, there are numerous subscription sites where people pay their own money to take classes and learn skills online. Don’t wait for staff to upskill on their own time. Give them opportunities to cross-train and upskill on company time in different departments. Be proactive — this goes back to having an open line of communication, established with them at the beginning — about asking what they would like to improve in and how you can help with that.

7. Empower.
Just as in the early days, it’s important to communicate expectations and be constantly soliciting for feedback about onboarding and growth, so too it’s important to allow developing and more seasoned employees to find their own way — not just by not micromanaging, but by giving them opportunities to manage and direct on their own. Look at failures here as learning experiences and treat them as such, always focusing on encouraging their growth.

8. Promote and pay.
Employees expect regular pay and promotion possibilities. What they don’t expect is for you to offer either “out of schedule.” This doesn’t need to be done for every employee in every situation, but given the right success at a task or the right milestone, the occurrences of on-the-spot meritorious promotions or unexpected pay raises will leak out into the rest of the team and keep them inspired to not have to wait for a raise or promotion, but to seek it out by delivering their very best work.

9. Ask them to mentor.
This should only be offered to your very best staff, but they should be given an opportunity to mentor new staff. This will naturally make them up their game, as they are being asked to be a model for someone else, and better, mentorship is a win/win for everyone. You reinforce whenever you teach, and helping someone at the beginning of a journey can only help lend perspective to those further along.

Final thoughts.
It’s easy to get complacent in life, be it regarding family, friends, and yes, especially work. Comfort sets in, and so does routine, and time passes. Understandably, even the greatest employees move on for various reasons, not necessarily related to what’s going on But the best workplaces and the best teams never take anything for granted. Employers need to show that they don’t take great employees for granted; that they want to hire — and more importantly, keep — the best. That sort of engagement and focus is exciting — and contagious.You might just inspire some of your best employees to stay and help you on that mission.

Business Savvy, growing your business, Marketing

TOP 10 Benefits in Joining Your Chamber of Commerce

As a business owner, there are many benefits to joining your local Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of a Chamber is to provide educational and networking opportunities and to help businesses participate in community events which will help expand the local business economy.

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But here is a warning. You can’t just simply join the chamber and expect magical things to happen overnight. You will only get out of your membership what you actually put into it. Which means as a member you need to participate. Your participation in your chamber actually impacts the overall success of the chamber as an organization but also that of your community.

TOP 10 Benefits in Joining Your Chamber

  1. Discounts – You can receive discounts on everything from ski passes, office supply purchases, travel, shipping services, gym memberships, prescriptions, health and wellness, media advertising, and more.
  2. Services – Generally include access to business publications, roundtable discussions, industry briefings, magazines, programs,  leadership opportunities, business resources and more.
  3. Partnerships – Provide you with an opportunity to partner with other members, businesses, groups, and organizations to successfully grow and network your company and it’s offerings.
  4. Marketing and Advertising – Many times you’ll be offered discounted or free advertising once you become a member along with opportunities to have a link on the chamber website. Chambers offer a tremendous amount of advertising and marketing for businesses.
  5. Advocacy – Your chamber and the leaders within your community work together to advocate on behalf of the business community helping to protect your business and provide additional growth opportunities and incentives.
  6. Education and Training – Seminars, business workshops, webinars, small business resource events and more. You can find training on topics like a business startup, financing, human relations, insurance, payroll, QuickBooks, leadership, marketing, social media, taxes, employee engagement, and more.
  7. Economic Development – Your chamber is highly involved in growing your local community and therefore generally works with other organizations to increase the local economy and bring additional businesses into your community.
  8. Database and Leads – Chambers usually provide a membership list to members, which can be used to help market your business and services to other members. Larger chambers generally offer a leads group to help businesses find and gather solid quality leads.
  9. Events – Annual events like a chili cook-off, fall festival, BBQ, Rodeo, gala, awards ceremony, business after hours, open houses, concerts, and more. These are all terrific places to meet and great, rub elbows with fellow business professionals, and spread the word about your business. These are great marketing events too.
  10. Networking – I saved the best for last. This is the core component of any chamber and truthfully any business. The saying goes, “it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you”. Take advantage of as many events and opportunities as you can through your local chamber. The chamber is for your benefit and sometimes you have to stop working in your business, and actually make time to work ON your business.

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So get out there, get those business cards and flyers ready, test the 30-second elevator speech and most importantly make time and INVEST in your business. Your chamber membership is generally a tax write off and it’s a wise investment to help grow your business.

 

 

Tina Holtz is a serial entrepeneur who owns and operates a boutique virtual assisting and business advisory firm, Executive Business Services, LLC. She has more than 20 years experience in business development, business management, operations, sales, marketing, and procurement. Tina values building relationships and is passionate about helping business owners reach new heights. She provides a vast array of support services to business owners, entrepreneurs, professionals, and executives.

 970-989-8047 or email at tina@execbusinessservices.com

www.execbusinessservices.com

Uncategorized

16 tips to market like a pro, sort of…

marketing-board-strategyLet’s face it, if you’re like most business owners, you simply either don’t have time to market or you just plain hate marketing. Some people just don’t get it period and it’s a constantly ever-changing industry. It seems that new platforms are introduced daily and it’s hard to keep up with what works and what doesn’t. It’s important to always be marketing – no matter what.

Here are a few things we recommend to most businesses along with some tips to help you market your business effectively. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but what I feel are things that work well.

  1. Find out where your target market hangs out. Facebook, Twitter, the local coffee shop, a mechanics bay, the ice cream parlor, you get the picture.
  2. Determine where your money is best spent. Digital marketing works best because you can effectively target your specific market and measure ROI and analytics. You can’t do that with yellow pages, newspaper, or print advertising.pexels-photo-266176
  3. Join trade associations and use all of their networking opportunities.
  4. Write a column or articles for local newspapers, trade publications, etc.
  5. Host educational seminars, webinars and then video them and post on YouTube.
  6. Hold an annual Open House Event. Spring Fling, Harvest Days, Fiesta, Oktoberfest, etc.
  7. Have product or service giveaways monthly, people love swag, give away a free t-shirt, or coffee mug, or movie ticket, etc.
  8. Develop Press Releases for every NEW product or service you launch, when you hire new employees or key staff members when you have upcoming events, fundraisers, etc.
  9. Build an email list, get subscribers on your website, and produce a monthly newsletter loaded with helpful tips, suggestions, info, resources, and more. No sales techniques here! Just good ol’ awesome content.
  10. Have a booth at trade shows and events that your target market attends. Be sure it’s a nice professional booth. Convey your professionalism.
  11. Donate your products or services to local charity events and silent auctions.
  12. Create a loyalty program for your brand ambassadors and kick ass customers. People love being recognized for their dedication.
  13. Participate in local events in your community like parades, farmer’s markets, fundraisers, gala’s, etc.
  14. Offer monthly and holiday specials. You can package lower selling products with higher selling products to move inventory. Partner up with other businesses and offer package deals.
  15. Interview other professionals associated with your business, showcase them in your blog, video, social media, etc. You can also volunteer to be a gues speaker at events.
  16. Host a weekly meet and greet, chat session, or morning coffee with the boss, etc. Answer question and engage with your audience. People don’t want to see corporate structure, they want raw all natural people.

 

Tina Holtz is a serial entrepeneur who owns and operates a boutique virtual assisting and business advisory firm, Executive Business Services, LLC. She has more than 20 years experience in business development, business management, operations, sales, marketing, and procurement. Tina values building relationships and is passionate about helping business owners reach new heights. She provides a vast array of support services to business owners, entrepreneurs, professionals, and executives.

 970-989-8047 or email at tina@execbusinessservices.com

www.execbusinessservices.com

Uncategorized, Virtual Assisting

Welcome Niki Smith, Our Newest VA

Extra, Extra read all about it!

We are proud to announce that we have added a new virtual assistant to our team and we would like to welcome Niki Smith. Nikki holds an Associates in Accounting Degree, is graduating this year with a Bachelors in Business, is QuickBooks Certified, and also holds a Real Estate License. She is a highly experienced and results-driven professional with a strong accounting, administrative, and real estate background. She demonstrates solid leadership and problem-solving skills. Nikki portrays many of the skills that make a successful VA through her attentiveness to details and her ability to produce consistent quality results. Because the company’s services are completely virtual, they can provide assistance to clients throughout the U.S. and have clients in multiple states.

 

“Nikki brings a variety of qualities to the team and is extremely passionate in helping others within their business challenges. I am pleased to have her joining us at Executive Business Services. Nikki is heading up a new satellite office in Kerrville, TX and is eager to start building a client base in and around the Kerrville area. I have no doubt she will be successful.”   Tina Holtz, Owner & VA

 

Niki Smith
Niki Smith

 

Virtual Assisting is not new to the business industry, but it’s still not a widely understood term. A Virtual Assistant or VA is a highly-skilled professional who provides administrative support and other specialized services to businesses, entrepreneurs, executives, sales professionals, and others who have more work to do than time do it. A Virtual Assistant is a vital and trusted member of the business team and works remotely with leading-edge technology to communicate and manage business projects, tasks, and client relationship needs.

The beauty of a VA is that most small businesses need assistance with marketing, project management, daily admin duties, emails, newsletters, business taxes, bookkeeping etc., but they can’t always afford to hire an employee. That’s where the VA comes in. Your VA is available when you need them and there is no commitment. Use your VA 5 hours this week and 20 hours next week and not again for two weeks, whatever you need, the flexibility is there. It saves your business money in the long run and if you think you can’t afford a VA, that usually means you really need one.

So feel free to reach out to our Facebook page and give her a warm welcome, or contact us today and become a happy client.

Virtual Assisting

The Cost of Hiring a Professional

pexels-photo-271265As a virtual assistant and business advisor, I generally work with small to mid-sized companies and organizations who have a limited budget when it comes to outsourcing and professional services. Often times the owners or managers will wear multiple hats, trying to fulfill all of the roles within the company and handling all of the daily business tasks. But soon they find themselves overwhelmed, frustrated, and burnt out. Customers are complaining, calls are not getting returned, orders are falling through the cracks, they run out of printer ink and paper, invoicing is delayed, licensing requirements are put off, tax payments are delayed and fines accrue, and papers are piled sky high.

It’s at this very point where bringing in a professional can be a real solution to their problems, yet they don’t do it. Why? Because they look at the cost and think that it’s way too expensive to pay someone $35-65 an hour to provide them with the much-needed help. Honestly speaking, this is a largely misunderstood concept. The cost of not hiring a true professional is actually higher.

Professionals such as accountants, lawyers, business advisors, and virtual assistants, know the ins and outs of their professions and are able to handle tasks quickly and efficiently, especially the tasks that might be daunting for you. As a business owner, if you’re spending eight hours trying to set-up Quickbooks on your own, that’s revenue lost for you. Your time is much more valuable and would be better spent with you working in your business rather than on your business. You could have hired a virtual assistant or bookkeeper for $40/hour to set-up Quickbooks for you, and it probably would have taken them two hours. You have to understand that spending money for professional help really isn’t always a bad thing and you have to determine how your business can truly benefit from the help.

It doesn’t make any sense for a business owner or manager to try and file papers, send out marketing newsletters, reply to emails, purchase materials, set appointments, manage a website or social media campaigns, if it means lost revenue for your company. Here’s a good example: If you can be out working and generating $85/ hour in your business, and you spend ten hours a week doing these odds and ends in your business, that equals $850 of lost revenue a week or $44,304 of lost revenue annually. If you hired a virtual assistant at $35/ hour to handle those same tasks on your behalf, you would not have lost revenue at all, you would have generated $500 of increased revenue or $26,000 annually.

The proof is in the pudding they say, and here is the proof that the cost associated with hiring a professional, isn’t always as bad as you might think.

Miss Executive ~ Tina Holtz

Tina Holtz is a serial entrepreneur who owns and operates a boutique virtual assisting and business advisory firm, Executive Business Services, LLC. She has more than 20 years experience in business development, business management, operations, sales, marketing, and procurement. Tina values building relationships and is passionate about helping business owners reach new heights. She provides a vast array of support services to business owners, entrepreneurs, professionals, and executives.

 970-989-8047 or email at tina@execbusinessservices.com

www.execbusinessservices.com

 

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