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.

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 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