Making the change….

Slowly I am making the move into social media consulting. I’m not trying to make the change to rapidly, as this is a key move for my business. I do have the marketing plan just about done, thankfully. Then comes the REAL fun! Making revenue projections….YAY!

But, I have to admit that I am excited about this new direction I am going in. It is an exciting area that I enjoy working in. I have managed to raise my Klout score from a 12 to a 24 in a little over a week. I am getting more and more engagement on my Twitter account. And my LinkedIn network is getting larger.

Hoping to start actually fully promote the new service in February. Going to start some Beta testing next week to get some feedback on what business owners are actually looking for from their social media. Fingers crossed I get some great feedback.

5 Amazing Stats of mobile usage

phone.jpg

More and more people are using this!

 

I was doing some research on the increasing usage of mobile smartphones and the numbers I found were staggering. Just American smartphone ownership has increased from 93.1 million in 2011 to 116 million in 2012. Imagine what the numbers will be for 2013?

Some other stats I found are:

  1. 4 out of 5 Americans use their smartphone to shop
  2. 70% of mobile searches lead to an action within 1 hour
  3. 75% of Americans admit to bringing their smartphone to the bathroom
  4. 40% of mobile users will choose another result if it is not mobile friendly
  5. 60% of all mobile searches are done on smartphones.

This is a market that cannot be ignored by any business owner. The potential of loss business is exponentially growing every year. It has reached a point of either get on board or get left behind. But this isn’t a market where you just want to go with the first solution you come across. Make sure to do your research of what is available to meet your specific business’s needs. Just cause something worked for someone else does not mean it is right for you.

Need more of a reason to start thinking about your  mobile marketing needs? Just watch this video:

If all this does not convince you to start getting your business ramped up for mobile maketing, I do not know what will.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have or just to discuss the future of the mobile market.

* Statistics can be found at:

The 5 Fundamental Pillars of Mobile Marketing For 2014

Retailers Carving Out Space in M-Commerce Market

Mobile Behavior Big Game Seating (a study with Surveymonkey)

 

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.

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.

 

 

Pivot Point

A pivot is a “structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, strategy, and engine of growth (WikiPedia- Lean Startup). It seems my business has made a pivot point on its own. I started out hoping to provide virtual assistance to small business owners, but it seems that providing customer service is my new market niche.

It doesn’t really bother me too much. Long as my business is growing then I am happy. I will be up to 2 contracts providing this service. I seem to be good at it and hope to hire my first employee in the next 60 days.

So I ask that you examine your own small businesses. Are you at a point in your business where a change in direction would be benefical? Maybe the signs that a change is already there, but you are fighting the idea cause it doesn’t “fit into your image”. My point is that you need to be flexible with your business. Be ready to change and follow the growth, wherever it may take you. Do not be afraid of change, sometimes you need to embrace it and learn from it. So take a good look at your business….you may find a gem in their someplace.

Difficult Clients….

Dealing With Difficult Clients

Some clients got you looking like this guy??

I understand that sometimes people will be hard to deal with. Seems no matter how much you think you understand what they are asking of you, you get it wrong. These people never seem to be satisfied and just constantly change their minds. How do you deal with these clients??

Here are some tips:

  1. Remain calm and try not to take it personally.
  2. Listen carefully so you can repeat the clients needs back to him/her.
  3. Only say sorry once and include as part of a full sentence.
  4. Empathize with the clients and show that you understand their position.
  5. Summarize everything at the end of each exchange with the client.

Granted…you will still get that occasionally client that just will not be satisfied. You may just have to refuse work from that type of client in the future to save yourself the aggravation. The amount of stress generated from that one client can affect the work you complete for other clients. That can start a horrible snowball effect that will not end well.

For some more tips visit:

Key Points In Marketing Your Small Business

I have been doing research on marketing my virtual assistant services. There is a lot of information out there on the web. Can be rather overwhelming. But I did find 1 good article on About.com (my old stand-by for research). It was titled “101 Small Business Marketing Activities” by Alyssa Gregory.

She talks about some key points in developing a marketing strategy.

  • Marketing Planning
  • Marketing Materials
  • In-Person Networking (something I constantly overlook)
  • Direct Mail (not on Saturdays pretty soon)
  • Advertising
  • Social Media/Internet/Email Marketing
  •  And much more

The 2 major points I took from this article is creating a marketing plan and attending a conference.

Creating a marketing plan helps you to understand your target market. By understanding your target market, you can better reach your potential customers. You also can plan your marketing efforts while keeping within your advertising budget. The hard part is doing the research and pulling it all together. As I delve into my own marketing plan I am seeing not only how important a good plan is, but also that it is harder than it looks to complete.

The second point of attending a conference is a strong point for me. Especially cause I spend all my time working with clients “virtually”. I forget that there is an actual business world out there. Attending a conference gives you a way to connect with people face to face. I see how building a strong off-line network can be a key part to building a successful business. No advertising is better then word-of-mouth. Most people will trust a friend or co-worker opinion over any type of advertising you can develop.

Hopefully I can pull this all together and develop a plan that works for my business.

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