Networking Event – Success or Failure?

Success or Failure?

Last Wednesday I attended a Network After Work event in Providence, RI. It was my first networking event and I didn’t know what to expect. Now I am not sure if it was a success or failure.

It wasn’t really what I expected. The other attendees were not what I would call my “target market“. Small business owners were few and far between. I was hoping to increase the awareness of my business in my local area as I am trying to transfer from using Elance to attracting clients directly.

Here is the “But”, I did meet some key people who could compliment my services. Hopefully by developing this new connections I can build a mutually beneficial relationship with this other service providers as we share a similar target market.

Question is: Would that be a good idea? Hence my dilemma. These key decisions are so important to a business. There are both Pros and Cons to this. Trying to weigh them out will prove to be difficult.

Overall though, I feel my first event was a success. I got a chance to practice my networking skills and find my tactic to start conversations. I did meet some interesting people and heard how others are handling their various jobs and businesses. So the learning experience was worth it.

I have already started looking for other events in my area. But I will be a little more particular of which events I will attend. Networking is definitely an important part of building a successful business, but you have to pay attention to which events you are attending. If the event is not going to meet your overall goals, then the time spent there will not be productive. And unproductive time spent is a loss for your business.

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)

 

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.

 

 

Launching email campaign 2

I’m in the final steps of launching my first email campaign. As some of you may know, I decided to do an email campaign to market a mobile application I am selling in the US (Launching An Email Campaign). Did my research and leaned some of the ins and outs of doing one. 

I’ll be sending out a campaign of 50,000 for my first round to see how it goes. I am hoping for a 10% open rate (average is 13%) with a 5% click through rate (average is 9%). I feel like I have a good design that is simple and straight forward. I didn’t want to go with a lot of useless information or a “glitzy” type of design. I think a straight to the point approach will be appreciated by my target market (small business owners). It will be launching next week, so time will tell how well it does.

Fingers crossed everyone.

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:

Small Business Owner Weekly Review (Week of April 22, 2013)

Search Engine Optimization

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Sounds rather complicated to me. Wikipedia defines it as the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results. In other words, where in search engine ranking your website is listed in relation to searchable keywords.

There are A LOT of factors that go into optimizing a website for search engines. The amount of information I have found so far is overwhelming. Inbound links, outbound links, PageRank (PR), choosing keywords, and much more.

Where does a small business owner like myself with little SEO experience begin? Well a nice article to start with is “10 SEO Tips For Beginners”. This article takes you through the basics of SEO and explains each aspect for you to understand. Having a proper understanding of how SEO works goes a long way in preparing your website for the search spiders (web crawler).

SEO is going to be an ongoing process for any small business owner. It seems the way websites are ranked change on a routine basis. Knowing the latest information is key to keeping your website “search friendly”.

I’m no expert on this. Just passing along information as I find it. Being a small business owner is difficult task. Having a little help along the way is always a good thing.

Elance vs. Freelancer

It has been a few weeks now that I have been actively trying to establish my small business services company now. I started working using Freelancer.com about 3 weeks ago and have been working with Elance.com for about 10 days now. Already I see the differences in the 2 sites.

Even though I have not been awarded any contracts from either site, I have gotten better quality leads on Elance. I consider them better quality as the posters of different projects have taken the time to ask me questions about my qualifications and experience. Even though I may not get the project, I am getting valuable experience on interacting with different business owners and getting insight on what they are looking for in service providers.

Freelancer on the other hand, it seems the business owners are less inclined to even inquire with people who submit proposals on their projects. I have even asked some questions to clarify some aspects of their projects and did not get a response.

Also, Elance has an easier to use interface. Managing the projects I have placed a bid on is so much easier to track than on Freelancer. I also like the fact that Elance does not give out the financial details of a persons bid.

So in my opinion, Elance is a much higher quality site to utilize for the purpose of trying to gain projects to work on. I think I am going to focus more on Elance than Freelancer from now on.

Moving forward…

Found an interesting article on starting a virtual assistant on Entrepreneur magazine. Brings up a lot of good points and details. Gives some additional resources for me to go through. Going to take me some time to read it all though.

Michael Hyatt also wrote a nice article on his experience working with a virtual assistant. I think if more small business owners were informed of what virtual assistants do and how they can save them both time and money then they would look into the services more.

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