Business Savvy, growing your business, Uncategorized

4 Ways to Save In Running Your Business

chaching

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

 

business growth, Business Savvy, growing your business, Marketing, Social Media/Online Marketing, Virtual Assisting

Outsourcing 101

So what is outsourcing you ask?

Well some people actually think that it means that you are sending your work overseas to some foreign company for cheap labor and non English speaking representatives, and although that is a possibility with some firms, that’s definitely not the case with your typical virtual assistant or virtual assisting firm.

Traditional VA’s offer outsourcing as a business service for busy professionals who struggle with a variety of situations, like time management issues, possibly lacking the specific skills or confidence with certain business tasks, or just find themselves in a position where their not ready to bring a staff member aboard to perform these duties. That’s where a well trained VA comes in.

Teamwork
Photo Courtesy https://www.workquotes.net

Outsourcing is available for pretty much everything and anything business related. A majority of small businesses already hire a group of professionals outside their business for the usual services, like an attorney, accountant, business advisor, etc. and your VA should be part of this team.  VA’s have the ability to outsource an enormous amount of business tasks. Common ourtsourcing duties include social media services and management, data entry, basic administrative needs, public relations, data maintenance, research, scheduling, purchasing, business development, marketing, training, and much, much more.

Outsourcing provides business owners with a very unique tool. Imagine that you want to get involved in the social media gold rush but you’re intimidated by the internet and all that technology stuff, and you’re probably working hard on keeping your customers happy and fulfilling their needs. Lets face it, when in the world are you supposed to have the time to start a facebook page and keep up with the content updates? More than likely, you know it’s something you should do, but it’s the least of your worries at this point.

However, in this situation it would be in your best interest to meet with a VA and review how having a social media outlet presence could help your business gain revenue and what specific methods should be used to get you there to accomplish your goals. A VA can set your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and website pages up for you, review them with you, and then once you develop a strategy, the VA can manage them on your behalf as often as you need. Your VA can also incorporate a nice professional weekly, monthly or quarterly newsletter that will keep you in constant contact with your clients. The key to keeping your clients is to remain in contact and to be seen as an informative source, rather than a pesky business who just wants to make a quick buck. Set the stage, be the leader in your market by being the go to source for what your clients need.

teamwork
Photo Courtesy http://www.carrie-persichini.blogspot.com

 

Something that is always in the back of my mind when I go to the vet clinic with one of my animals is that I think how nice it would be if my vet actually could notify me when my animals are coming due for their booster shots or their annual checkup.  I have 4 dogs and 3 cats, and trying to keep track of when they are all due for shots is a nightmare, but what an awesome service that would be for the vet to provide and I can guarantee you that there would be in increase in revenue for the vet if they had a VA who could incorporate this into their business. The same can go for any business, a dentist, doctor, chiropractor, eye doctor, service station, etc.

Start getting creative and think of ways to increase your bottom line and contact a VA to start implementing these services for you. Trust me, the investment is worth every penny and then some.

 

All the Best,

Miss Executive- Tina

Virtual Assisting

I’m back and ready to get back to business!

Well hello there,

As you have probably noticed, I have been missing and haven’t blogged in several months. This year has been extremely busy for me which I guess is a good thing, right? Not only have I been working a full time job, I have continued to work on my virtual assisting business as well, trying to build it up into a successful empire.

Even though I haven’t been blogging, I have been acquiring, researching, and putting together a vairety of blog ideas, to provide tyou with some awesome techniques for growing and building your business, information that will help aide you through innovative technology, methods and ideas. The fblogs coming forth will be highly informational and helpful in many aspects of your business.

Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up through the holidays. One nice thing with the holidays coming is it gives me some extra me time to focus on my blogging and business. I picture myself sitting with my laptop at the kitchen table with a nice warm cup of hot cocoa and watching the snow fall in a heavy storm, just simply blogging away. Now that is my idea of heaven on earth. 🙂

Chat soon and enjoy!

Miss Executive- Tina

Virtual Assisting

What does a Virtual Assistant do exactly?

The virtual assisting industry is taking business by storm, but the services offered from one VA to the next vary significantly. Some VA’s specialize in a certain niche while others cover general administrative needs. 

When I tell people what I do as a VA, often times they still have questions on what it is that I really do. The services list for me is a long one, as I provide a multitude of administrative and business related services with a niche in business development, management, and social media. I do however provide basic administrative functions in addition to the niche services. 

Common VA services are as follows:

Transcription, Reminder Calls and Cards, Database Management, Meeting and Event Planning, Newsletters, Mailing Services, Bookkeeping, Competitive Research, Concierge Services, Gift Buying, Travel Arrangements, Contact Management, Desktop Publishing, Digital Imaging, Editing/Proofreading, Contract Negotiations, File Conversion, Bill Paying, Collections, Graphic Design, Word Processing, Database and Spreadsheet Creation & Management, Resume Writing, Internet Administration, Online Marketing, Internet Research, Interpreting, Translation, Organizational Services, Photocopying, Presentations, Public Relations, Realtor Support, Social Media Management, Systems Management, Tech Support, Webinar Creation & Management, Transaction Coordinator, Purchasing, Web Design/Development/Maintenance, Content Writing, Marketing, Advertising and Brochure Creation, Business Development, Sales, Cold Calling, Appointment Setting, Paralegal Services, Investigations and Research, Answering Phones, Blogging, Lead Followup, Surveys, Policy and Procedure Creation. The list goes on and on and on.  

Virtual assistants are highly skilled professionals, with most of us having obtained our experiences on the job, many times through several employers and industries over a life long career. We remain up to date on the latest business programs and technology to ensure that we are as productive as possible and that we provide our clients with the solutions they need most. 

Most people believe that they need an in-house assistant to handle their day to day needs, but most of the time just the opposite is true. VA’s can handle all of  your business needs from afar. With our business knowledge and the technology available today, we can do everything but take out the trash and lock the door, however we can happily make arrangements for those things to be done as well.

Often times prospective clients explain to me that they only need someone part time, or they feel they need someone full time but they struggle in creating enough work for a full time person. They simply believe they need a full time person to man the phones just in case it rings. A VA is the solution!

For instance, I created my VA firm based on the needs of the small to mid size business, as I had experienced these issues first hand as a business owner and manager. It was hard to find qualified people who had all the skills needed, but who could work for the pay being offered, without benefits and that would be available at the drop of a hat when needed or that could work a varied schedule.

Temp help was not an attractive choice because I would never end up with the same person and I would need to constantly retrain each temp, so it was very inefficient. I couldn’t always afford to hire someone, and other times it wasn’t fair to the employee to not be able to guarantee a certain amount of work each week, and then other weeks it was difficult to just have them sit there and twiddle their fingers because I had nothing for them to do. But most of the time, more often than not, I just couldn’t find people with the right skills. So we just went without. 

Fortunately, that is where the joy of working with a VA comes in. You always get the same great service from the same great person. You know the skill set and the qualifications of that person and that they are qualified to complete the work you need. You never have to retrain anyone and you don’t have to pay any benefits, taxes, worker’s compensation, insurance, or vacation pay. Your VA is an Independent Contractor and you simply pay as you go and call when you need help. Whether it’s five hours this week or 20 hours next week or one hour the week after, your VA is there and ready to serve your needs no matter what. The relationship that you’ll create with your VA will be much like other business partners, like your accountant, your business advisor, attorney, insurance agent and more. 

In my local area, I provide free local pickup and delivery of projects if my clients need it. I also make an offer to visit their offices as needed for an additional fee, if they feel that I really need to be there in person. Because we are virtual, we can work and coordinate with clients virtually all over the world. There is no limit to what a VA can offer you. 

Again each VA has unique skill sets, so when seeking a VA for your needs, try to find one that best suits your needs. The VA industry is tightly knit and many of us work together. If your VA doesn’t offer a service you need, she/he more than likely has a VA colleague that can assist you.  

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself working with several VA’s once you get the hang of using us. You might use one for handling all of your human resources, one for accounting, one for social media management, and another for marketing and business development.

It’s by far more beneficial and cost effective to have these professionals on call and part of your team, rather than to hire one of each when you may not be utilizing them to the fullest. I often times find that small businesses try to put one person into a multitude of positions to try and save money. They may have a receptionist, but she/he might be filing the role of receptionist, bookkeeper, janitor, social media manager, website developer, human resources, and sales & marketing. Pretty soon none of the tasks are being completed correctly or on time, and further more, the person may not have the proper skills to provide you with the return on investment that your business deserves.

To find a VA for your needs here are some great places to look:

LinkedIn

LeapFrog

IVAA

VAnetworking

Here’s to your success!

Miss Executive, Tina Holtz

Virtual Assisting

What is a Virtual Assistant?

Virtual AssistantBasically a virtual assistant, also known as a VA, is a business professional with experience in a variety of administrative and business services, which provides these services to other busy professionals virtually from somewhere other than the client’s office. The term today is interchangeable with that of virtual administrative assistant, VA, virtual admin, and cloud based virtual assistant, but they all essentially mean the same thing.

However, it should be noted that every virtual assistant and their experiences vary significantly as each specializes in their own unique skill sets. There is definitely no two alike. You may often times find VA’s specializing in a specific industry such as real estate, law, architects, medical, non profit, accountants, etc.

A virtual assistant can pretty much conduct every office function except greeting your customers face to face in person or making the coffee in the office each morning, but your VA could order your coffee at Starbuck’s for you to pickup in the drive through!

Virtual Asssistant TypingYou may even find some companies using several VA’s once they get the hang of using them. One might be used for accounting and bookkeeping and another for social media marketing. That’s the joy of using VA’s, you get the expertise needed in a variety of fields, but you don’t have to hire either of them full time. The flexibility when using a VA is great for small to mid size and growing businesses.

So how does using a VA actually work?

When you work with a professional virtual assistant, they provide you with all of the legal documentation assuring you that your business information is confidential and secure, usually signing a Non Disclosure Agreement, and providing a clear working agreement covering all aspects of the work to be performed. With today’s technology such as screen sharing, remote log-in, Skype, etc., it is easier than ever to work with a VA and it’s almost a seamless transition.

VA’s also take pride in being educated on the latest and greatest technology, business tools, and techniques and are often times continually updating their educational arsenal, which for you is an added benefit knowing that you’re working with a highly skilled professional.

Here are some thoughts and idea’s on how a VA can assist you in your business.

  • Scheduling a real estate showing or other appointments
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Making travel arrangements
  • Website and Online Marketing Maintenance
  • Social Media Management
  • Invoicing, Collections
  • Answering incoming phone calls
  • Newsletters, Reminders, Cards, Letters, etc.
  • Perform outbound telemarketing calls
  • Manage and update CRM systems
  • Create correspondence letters, brochures, presentations, mailings
  • Write policy, procedures, manuals, contracts
  • Respond to emails
  • Event planning
  • And so much more

Why should you use a VA?

Actually, I prefer the question, why shouldn’t you use a VA? A virtual assistant will ultimately relieve you of the time consuming tasks which prevent you from being able to focus on what you do best, which is growing your business. Your time and that of your management team should be spent soliciting new business and developing relationships with prospects rather than filing papers, answering emails and drafting contracts.

Virtual AssistantA VA can also help you find leads, qualify them and basically act as an overall extension of your business. When working with a VA, traditionally it will be a long term relationship much like what you have with a banker, an accountant, a business advisor, etc. Your VA is going to know your business very well and will work along side you to showcase and present your business in a professional manner that will help you grow.

So the next time you find yourself wondering how you’re going to get all those mailings out in time, or how you’re going to find time to keep your social media updated, pick up the phone and call a VA. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Tina Holtz, Miss Executive

Uncategorized, Virtual Assisting

Welcome to the Miss Executive Blog!

Well Hello and Welcome to the Miss Executive Blog!

This blog has been created around my virtual assisting firm, Executive Business Services, LLC. What is a virtual assistant exactly you ask? Well, we’ll get to that in the next blog, but for now I just wanted to introduce you to the blog and tell you a bit about why I started it and what it’s going to entail. I hope that you’ll continue to be a frequent visitor.

As Miss Executive, I am passionate about research and everything to do with business, from starting them, to growing them, to selling them, and everything in between. I research a lot of business topics, products, and services and people are always asking me how and where I find all the information. So I thought putting together a blog where I can share my research and information would be a good place to start. The research kind of goes hand in hand with my VA practice as well and since I specialize in helping businesses with a large array of administrative and business services, it just happened to make a lot of sense in hosting a blog along side my business. For a more detailed list of who I am and the services I provide, you can visit the Services Page of this blog.

I’m looking forward to getting to know you and discussing business in the near future. Feel free to contact me anytime.

Here’s to a bright future!

Miss Executive