Learning new skills…..quickly

 

I have a client that needed a video edited for posting on YouTube. Now, I have never edited or created a video in my life. So not only did I have to learn a new skill……but had to learn it quickly. Was not an easy task at all.

I went through several programs trying to find the right one to edit the audio….then several more to edit the video…..then several more to add text to the video. Google was a good friend of mine throughout all this.

Luckily it came out pretty good and the client is happy. But I’m thinking the next time I run into this sort of problem I may just call in an expert….lol.

Marketing To A Local Audience

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I have begun the task of marketing my computer repair business to my local community. I have a Google+, Facebook, and Pinterest account. I have a blog dedicated to computer repair. I’ve managed to get listed on Google Places, Yahoo Local, Yelp, SuperPages, and WhitePages. Amazing enough my pages rank on page 2 & 3 for my local keywords.

And for the first time I tried Facebook ads. Mostly because I started to create an ad and then changed my mind. But Facebook was kind enough to give me a coupon for $50 of free ads, so I went forward with it. Ad wording seems to be key here. My first day I got a lousy CTR, but changed up my ad copy and the past 2 days my CTR improved. I haven’t gained any new customers yet, but I am getting traffic through my website. That will at least help with my rankings on the search engines.

I have also done the old school ways of marketing……flyers. So far though…..no help whatsoever. I’m going to change up the flyer design to see if I can’t get a better response through that.

I’m also planning on running an ad in the local newspaper. That will be a story for another day. I’ll keep you all posted and if anybody has any tips for me, please share!

Differences in business culture…how does it affect you?

Sending an email campaign

Bombs Away!

As most of my followers should know, I have talked about putting together an email campaign for the company that I sell mobile marketing solutions for (see Launching An Email Campaign & Launching An Email Campaign 2). Well…after much debate and research it should finally go out this week.

Part of the problem with getting this email campaign off the ground was the differences between the main companies business culture and our culture here in the United States. When I first started offering virtual assistance services, I did not take into account how different cultures conduct business.

Especially when it comes to marketing a product or service. What may work here in the U.S. does not necessarily work in the U.K. Or in Asia. And not knowing that coming into this project made it that much more difficult to get this campaign off the ground. Neither of us understood the business culture of the other.

Now that we are on the same page, I think future marketing endeavors will go much smoother. But for those of you who are planning to move your product service to the global market, do your research. Cause the differences can be staggering.

Growth of the Mobile Market

Importance of a Mobile Marketing Strategy

Importance of a Mobile Marketing Strategy

T-Mobile’s 4G LTE Network Now Covers 154 U.S. Markets

 

A report by Mobile Marketing Watch says that T-Mobile, America‘s 4th largest carrier, is making strides in catching up in the mobile service provider industry. Their 4G LTE network now reaches 180 million people in 154 U.S. markets and are on target to expand that to 200 million people by the end of 2013. They currently have 17 devices that work on their LTE network and soon will be adding the Apple iPhone 5C & 5S to that lineup.

What does this mean for your business? It shows the growing importance of having an effective mobile marketing plan in place. As the speed of mobile networks increase, so will the number of people utilizing their mobile device for research and shopping. If your not in a position to take advantage of this shift, then you really should start working towards it. 

Their are several ways to manage your mobile marketing strategy. You can build custom apps for each phones operating system or go with a mobile optimized website. Their are also companies that combine the two aspects.

If you would like more information or some helpful hints on choosing a system that will work for you, please feel free to contact me at domenic.marchetti@cox.net.

Falling into a new start-up….

Not sure if this has ever happened to anybody else… but I sort of fell into a new start-up this past week. A friend of mine was having problems with his PC and I offered to help him out. Then he called and said a friend that needed help with his laptop, which in turn he had some friends that needed help. Next thing I know I am opening up a computer repair business called Artic Computer Repair, hence the lack of a post for a few days.

I can not really complain cause my original company (RI Business Solutions) is staying afloat, but that is about it. Past couple of weeks I haven’t been able to gain any traction on getting new clients. So having this new source of income is a welcome addition.

Now though comes the hard part. Do I keep both companies running and split my time 50/50? Do I focus more on doing the computer repair and let the virtual assisting business just stay afloat the way it is? Or do I just put RI Business Solutions on hold for now?

I’m going to try and run both for a little while cause I do have some up with the Artic Computer Repair, but if it gets too busy I will have to make some tough decisions. I put a lot of hard work into RI Business Solution over these past 6 months and I would hate to have to let it go. But, in a sense, I guess I am at a pivot point in my life. I’ll have to choose a direction to focus on and go with it.

5 Tips On Determining Your Target Market

Whether your planning on starting a small business or have already started, a crucial item is knowing who your target market is. Most likely you have already spent a lot of time planning your business (hopefully). A big part of that planning should include deciding who will be focus of your marketing efforts. Everybody wants as many people as possible to know about their product or service. But the more customers you want to reach, the more time and money it will take in order to reach them. Defining a target market might feel overwhelming to you, but just remember that it is a crucial part of your overall business plan. Selecting a target market will also help save you time and money in the long run. By focusing on a certain demographic of people who might be interested in your products or services will allow you to communicate with that segment more effectively.

Here’s how to get started:

1.) Review Your Business Plan –  Think about the needs that your products or services fulfill. Think about what makes your business different other companies providing similar products or services.  Now think about who might be interested and have a need for what you are offering. As you consult your business plan and decide who you want your audience to be, remember that it is ultimately about the customer. Don’t think about who you would like to sell to, think about who is looking for the products and services you offer.

2.) Conduct Research – You can begin by using secondary market research. Some sources you can use are:

US Economic Census

Encyclopedia Of Associations

ASAE

The best part of using secondary research is that someone has already done the work. Plus, most of the information is free. A shortfall of this information is that it may not be 100% useful for your business. No matter what, it is always a good idea to do some research. Trying to do marketing without the proper research is like throwing money out the window.

3.) Develop A Customer Profile –  This is an in-depth description of who your typical customer may be and includes demographic information that include age, gender, location, ethnic background, marital status, income, and more. It should also include psychographic information. Psychographic information goes beyond basic demographics and identifies more about a customer’s interests, hobbies, values, attitudes behaviors, lifestyle, buying patterns and more. Both of these types of information are crucial for developing your customer profile. Demographic information is used to identify who will buy your product or service and pychographic information will explain why they may buy your product or service.

4.) Find Out How To Connect – After you have identified who your target market is, you will need to find out how to connect to them. You will need to find out what kind of websites they visit and which social networks they use most often. Are they constantly on their mobile device? Do they use a lot of apps?  Do they read papers or magazines? If so, what papers or magazine do they read? By knowing this information and putting it into your customer profile will help you know how best to spend your marketing dollars.

5.) Monitor Your Marketing Efforts – The work doesn’t stop after you have determined your target market and have a plan in place to reach them. Marketing is a continuing evolving system that requires constant monitoring. You will want to know how your current marketing is working, what you can do to improve it, and how you plan to market into the future. Part of this is being aware of how your customers are evolving as people. Have ways of tracking your sales, quality assurance, requests for more information, and more.This is the information that will help you stay on top of trends, patterns, and areas that need improvement. All of which will change as your business grows.

Why volunteer?

I really liked this post. It helps explain why some people volunteer. People do it for all different reasons and this is just one view, but its a good one.

Haphazard observations

Recently I was asked to write down a few words on why I volunteer.  I have struggled with this question for a few weeks as my initial reasons to volunteer were extremely selfish.   I volunteer at two “places”.  One is a committee within my professional body for which I have just announced I am leaving after 6 years.  The other is for “Movies by Burswood”.  For those who don’t know who they are, it is an outdoor cinema where all profit is donated to charity partners.  It’s an extremely interesting concept and if you want to know more, check out their webpage http://www.moviesbyburswood.com/Page/About-Us

Funnily enough I joined both of these in 2007.  I had just finished another gruelling university degree while working full time and was looking for something to do with all that free time I had.

I have always felt that it was important to contribute to…

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10 Tips To Deal With Stress

We all have stress. Especially if we are a small business owner. Some days I feel like I am being pulled into a million different directions at once. By the end of the day my nerves are completely shot. So I went on the hunt for some ways to help deal with all this stress and here are some tips I found.

1. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. (Hmmm….I have to give up my pot of coffee???)

2. Indulge in physical activity. (OK…I guess I could start walking everyday.)

3. Get more sleep. (I am suppose to do this when???)

4. Try relaxation techniques. (Personally, I always feel like a dweeb doing this.)

5. Talk to someone. (This actually does work. I vent to friends often about my frustrations.)

6. Keep a stress diary. (Hmm…not too sure about this one.)

7. Take control. (Easier said then done.)

8. Manage your time. (I can help you do that….hint hint.)

9. Learn to say NO. (Sometimes you just can’t take on that extra work. Hard lesson to learn even for me.)

10. Rest if you are ill. (But who will get the work done???)

I know I put some smart ass comments after each point, but they are actually very useful tips. I found them on Skills You Need. All joking aside, dealing with stress is important for your mental & physical health. Stress has been tied directly to high blood pressure and strokes. It can actually make decisions harder to make due to a lack of focus (happens to me sometimes). Overall, stress is just a very bad thing to have in ones life.

So if your feeling stressed all the time, I urge you to visit the Skills You Need website to read the full article for yourself. Try some or all of the tips listed and talk to your doctor about how your stress is affecting you. All of us think we can do it all ourselves, but in reality, everybody needs some help some of the time.

5 reasons to use a Virtual Assistant

Hire A Virtual Assistant Today!

Hire A Virtual Assistant Today!

I have been providing virtual assistant services for about 6 months now. I primarily use Elance to gather new clients. It provides a secure way to transfer money and gives users a way to resolve conflicts if they are unsatisfied with the services provided. But why use a virtual assistant?

1. Bookkeeping – By letting a VA manage your bookkeeping allows you to focus on more important tasks.

2. Online Reasearch – A VA can provide a detailed report on just about any topic you choose.

3. Manage Email – Why spend an hour on email when a qualified VA can answer the simple questions and forward important requests to you?

4. Data Entry – A VA can maintain your database of contacts, inventory, and more.

5. Social Tasks – Keeping you social networks up to date can be a time consuming task. A VA can complete this for you.

And there are many more tasks a VA can complete. From marketing to answering phone calls, a qualified VA can be the extra hand you need. For tips on hiring a VA read my article Choosing A Virtual Assistant.

What is success?

What is success?

I’m sure a lot of people were like me when they first started off with their own business. We had a clear vision of what we were going to do and where we wanted to be. In our mind we connected a straight line from the starting point of our business to our success point.

Then when you get into the thick of things you suddenly realize that not everything will work out as planned. Our straight path to success becomes a curvy road filled with potholes, speed traps, and road construction. We are forced to take detours from our original plan to account for the things we didn’t see coming.

I have learned that you need to be able to recognize a pivot point in your business. A place where you need to make a choice to either change direction or keep going on your current path. These decisions will be difficult to make because they sometimes take you in a direction away from your view of success.

When I first started RI Business Solutions (see my first post), my view was to solely perform virtual administrative assistance services. 6 months later and I am doing sales of a mobile marketing platform and customer service. I’m in the process of establishing a call center in Pakistan to be better able to compete in the customer service industry. I have ended up going in a totally different direction then I had originally anticipated.

Does this mean I failed to succeed? I don’t think so. In a sense I have already succeeded because I was able to change my direction to meet the needs of my clients. If I stayed focused on my original plan of success, then I would have failed. But by changing the type of services I provided, I am able to keep my business moving forward. The direction of the movement makes no difference, long as the movement is forward. And forward movement is successful movement.

 

 

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