The Benefits of Virtual Offices for Start Ups

The Benefits of Virtual Offices for Start Ups

By Guest Writer: Nick Lewis

Many start ups, particularly one or two person businesses, simply lack the capital for a dedicated premises at first. Beyond that, when the work can be done at home, such as for primarily online businesses, the extra expenditure just doesn’t make sense.

But there are certain advantages that come with having a premises. The happy compromise is a virtual office.

Legitimacy

The primary benefit to having a virtual office is the legitimacy that comes with it. It allows you to have a dedicated business address outside of a clearly residential area, and without people finding out where you live (more on that later), as well as a dedicated landline that doesn’t double up as your home telephone number.

More than that, simply add in a virtual receptionist and the appearance of professionalism is yours for a fraction of the cost of renting a real premises and hiring a full time receptionist.

Anonymity

A real difficulty for many start ups is that their business premises doubles up as a home. This means that many are unwilling to give out their home address and phone number because, rightly, they don’t want members of the public, or worse, disgruntled customers, to come knocking on their family’s door.

However, a fixed line phone number and a genuine, physical address, are essential parts of establishing legitimacy and trust. A virtual office allows you to take advantage of that without giving away your home details.

Efficiency

Virtual office services can also help increase efficiency. Every small business experiences the problems that come with having very little capital for staff at the beginning. It means that job roles have to be doubled up, including customer service – someone has to answer the phone, causing a major distraction to their primary job role.

Virtual office services like virtual receptionists and telephone answering services can take that distraction away so you can concentrate on your core business and deal with enquiries and the like at a time that better suits you.

Although you still have to call everyone back, if all your messages have been collected by someone else (without the off-putting effect of voicemail) then you (or whoever’s job it is) can deal with them all at once.

And because such virtual receptionists or telephone service agents are shared by a number of businesses, this comes at a fraction of the cost of hiring someone to do it full-time, particularly when there may not be enough calls to make a dedicated receptionist worthwhile.

About the Author: Nick Lewis is writing for CS Notepad, Brighton based telephone answering service, virtual office and virtual receptionist firm – www.csnotepad.co.uk

Business Building Tip: Collect Success Stories

If you’ve been in business for any time at all, you have some success stories. You have some people that have had some really good results from working with you, no matter what it is that you do.

You have had some really great accomplishments in your business by working with people. So what I’d encourage you to do is to make a list – create a file of those success stories – people that have had a really good result or really good outcome from working with you.

If they are life changing results, then of course definitely use those kinds of stories. But you can also have really impactful success stories that aren’t world changing type of things.

Maybe nobody got fit with you and went out and ran a marathon. Maybe they just got fit and were living a healthier, more energetic and inspired life.

It doesn’t have to be mountain top, peak of the mountain success story.

It doesn’t have to be those gold medal moments type of a thing.

So make a list of those type of success stories, whether they are big, whether they are small and keep those handy – not only for you to keep you motivated and inspired about what you are doing.

But to be able to use those to talk to other people about what kind of results people have gotten from working with you.

And we’re not looking for only the results, but what is really powerful are the results of those results.

Maybe you’re a weight loss coach, and you worked with someone and you had really good results and maybe she ended up losing 35 pounds in two and a half months or something like that.

And you were really excited about that. And of course she was really excited about that!

And she is living a healthier, more energetic, more inspired life, and she is just feeling healthier and fitter. She doesn’t see herself as an overweight person anymore; she doesn’t even see herself as a formerly overweight person anymore.

Her whole identity has changed to the point where she feels like she is a healthy and fit individual and that’s her new identity – that’s her persona!

Well that’s the results and that’s great.

But what are the results of those results?

Maybe she was feeling so great and so inspired and feeling so good about herself, and her self confidence had risen to the point where she got inspired to go take a salsa dancing class.

She took the salsa class and of course she was good at it and it was fun, but …

She ended up meeting the love of her life type of a thing, so they ended up getting married two weeks ago.

Now that’s a success story!

But not only with the results of what happened, but incorporating the results of those results.

Now that’s what you want to keep in mind when you are thinking of your success stories, not only what are the results.

But what are the results of those results?

And you want good, high impact stories.

Start saving those up, start collecting those.

Make it a great week,

T

Twelve Books

I work with small business owners to help them build their most successful and nourishing and fulfilling and energizing business. And I do that by helping them not only to get more clients, but by helping them get more ideal clients – clients that are nourishing to them, that are fun to work with, that remind them why they started doing what they do in the first place.

So that’s my goal and I’ve got a little “Build A Better Business” tip for you.

I would encourage you to make a list of the books that you want to read in the next year.

Now some people don’t read, but I would highly recommend that you spend a little bit of time everyday or every week reading.

And what you want to do is read books that nourish and fulfill you, that inspire you to do better work, that give you great ideas.

There’s nothing wrong with fiction or magazines or newspapers or comic books and stuff, a lot of these are… even novels are… filled with a lot of negativity, and I really believe in filling yourself with positive things and things that are motivating and inspiring.

So there’s a ton of books out there that I’ve read that have been really life changing for me, and so what I have done is I have actually created a list of the 12 books I want to read this next year.

I read voraciously and most likely I will read more than twelve, but I’ve got one planned out for each month of the next year.

Actually this was a tip that I heard from James Malinchak, and I really like it. I think it is a great idea to make a plan for the next year as to which books I’m going to read, and then I have one set out for each month that I can read and just really fill myself with positive, inspiring, motivational reading material. It doesn’t matter if it is a business book – a lot of my books that I read are business books and self help books and a lot about keeping a positive attitude and how to just live better in the world and be a more successful, whole, well rounded, spiritual, energetic being I guess.

So definitely create a list for yourself. Some of them can be books you’ve read in the past, that you found to be particularly inspiring, and some are books that you’re wanting to read.

Mix it up a little bit on your list.

If you want to, you could have a list of 52 books and read one book each week. But of course some people don’t have time for that. But if you do, if you are a voracious reader like I am, maybe you want to create a list of 52 books.

So that’s my productivity, “Build A Better Business – Have A Better Life” tip for you.

Make it a great week.

 

P.S. Use the comments to share with me some of your favoritest, most life-changing books!! I’m always looking for the next thing I want to read!

Your Best Business Enhances Your Best Life

Every week I get to work with a lot of small business owners to help them build their most successful and energizing business so that they really enjoy what they’re doing, so that they live a great life.

And I really believe that your best business is part of a well-balanced life.

Your business is not your entire life obviously.

I don’t know if everybody gets that, but you’ve got a lot of different areas of your life and they all interrelate with each other, of course your health and wellness, your fun and recreation, your family and relationship, your spiritual life, your business, your work, your job, your school, whatever it is that you are doing…

These are all parts of a well-balanced life, and your business is just one aspect of that.

And what we want to do is to get you to your healthiest, happiest, most successful and well balanced life by coming at it from the direction of having a successful and well balanced nourishing and fulfilling business. So of course, if you are enjoying your business, and you are having fun, and you can’t wait to go to work each day, and you’re working with great people that are fun to work with, and you have great ideal clients that are energizing and fulfilling and nourishing for you, and you really enjoy what you’re doing, of course that’s going to impact your whole entire life…so that you are having a healthier, happier, more well balanced and successful life.

That’s my end goal for you, anyway. And hopefully that’s your end goal for you, too.

It’s all yours – Make it a great week,

Theresa

What are your top ten FAQs

What are your top ten FAQs?

As you know, I work with small business owners all over the world to help them build their best business, to help them live a more inspired life by working in something that they are passionate about.  And helping them become more visible so that they can share, their gifts and talents and skills and experiences with the people that need and want their help.

I’m glad you’re here.

What I have for you today is what I guess I would call a “Build A Better Business” tip for you.

Keep a list.

Start creating a list of questions and answers – your most frequently asked questions -the ones that you get all the time about the basics, kind of the 101 of your business.

What are some of the most frequently asked questions that people have when they are starting to think about using you and your services?

For example, if you were an attorney, what are some of the most frequently asked questions that people ask when they are looking to hire an attorney?

What you have to remember is that what you are doing is your everyday life but for people that haven’t experienced that before, this may be a once in a lifetime experience. And so what are those frequently asked questions?

What are the basics, the entry-level 101, the general concept that people need to know?

What is it that they need to “get” about working with you in your business?

What are things that they may have misconceptions about, that they may not understand?

What are the top 5 things they need to know about working with someone in your field?

Or what do they need to know about hiring someone in your field?

Just think about that, and start keeping a list of what are the most frequently asked questions for people that are looking to hire you?

You know what they are going to be asking you?

How can you help them?

And then just work on creating some really good benefit-oriented answers to these questions.

Make it a great week,

Build your better business!

T

It’s Thanksgiving – I Love What I Do And Here’s Where You Benefit!

11/24/11

I Woke UP Inspired This Thanksgiving Morning.

I woke up very early this Thanksgiving morning, and as I was lying there, drifting in and out of coherent thought, one of the rational thoughts that landed (in between fuzzy waking nonsensical dreams of puppies riding bicycles and singing “Row Row Row Your Boat” J) was regarding what I wanted my business to stand for.

This is something that I work with my coaching clients on in the “D” (define) piece of my signature “D.A.R.E. And Do Good” business success program.

Of course, I’ve done this exercise before for myself, and in the past I had always defined it as “I want my clients to feel nourished and fulfilled by their business, from following their passion and doing great things for the world. I want them to feel tremendously confident and happy with their choices.”

And that’s the first thought that came up for me this morning as well.

However in following that concept through the circuitous route that was my fuzzy waking-up mind this a.m., between the puppies singing another chorus of “…gently down the stream…” God chose to drop a more inspired thought into my head to kind of wake me UP today.

And that thought was – beyond just wanting people to feel nourished and fulfilled by their business (phenomenal concept, but kind of boring in the languaging of it) – and beyond my mission of “I want to REVOLUTIONIZE the way you market and promote yourself,” today I recognized that -> I want people to Fall In Love With Your Business Again (FILWYBA).

And by people, I mean passionate people who are great at what they do, who really know that they can truly impact their clients and help them to create the powerful transformations they are looking for. People like you.

I so love what I do, and I am truly grateful for that every day, and it being Thanksgiving, I was even more aware of that, and in the feeling of this immense wave of gratitude and desire to share that feeling – (puppies notwithstanding) I realized I wanted everyone to feel this way about their business.

I want you to feel so excited that you want to jump out of bed two hours early so that you can get your day started, so that you can really go to “Joy” not to “work” early Even on your day off, inspired to get out there and help those you’re most meant to serve.

Doesn’t matter what you do, whether you’re a sales rep or a dentist or a graphic designer or a health coach or a network marketer or whatever, if you want to love, Love LOVE! your business, and really share your gifts with the world in a big, Big, BIG! way, but you don’t know how, then I need to work with you.

So on this cold, dark and rainy morning, as these thoughts were running through my head, I couldn’t help but jump up out of bed EARLY on My Day OFF! in order to write this note to you. And in doing so, I had another inspired thought. I wasn’t planning on running a Thanksgiving or Black Friday deal or anything like that. If that had been my plan, believe me, I would have been more organized about it, that’s for sure.

But here’s the deal…

Today, as my special Truly Thankful Thanksgiving I’m offering to coach 3 passionate and heart-centered business people at a ridiculously low rate – a savings of more than 80% off my standard rates – for a whole year. (Nope it’s not really a Black Friday sale, it’s a Truly Thankful Thanksgiving sale!)

It’s my way of giving back a little bit more.

My standard coaching fees for a year of one on one phone coaching is normally over $500 per month (That’s my 2011 pricing – $6,000.00 + per year, haven’t decided on 2012 schedule yet.)

But today, you have the chance to apply for a shot at one of the three slots I’m making available at only $1,200.00 per year. That averages out to $100 per month.

There are a handful of caveats though.

  • You do have to apply for the slots – because (to be perfectly self-centered about the whole thing J) if I’m going to expend my time, energy and emotional investment in helping you to build your business and create your position as the recognized and preferred name in your marketplace, it has to be a joyful and engaging experience for me as well.

In order to apply, just shoot a short (3 to 5 min) video telling me who you are, what you do and why you want one of the $1,200.00 coaching slots. Tell me about your dreams, your passions, your visions for your business, and what’s working for you and what’s not. Really lay it out there. I want to be inspired by your inspiration!

Upload your video to YouTube.

Then go to this page: Thanksgiving Coaching Application and give me the link to your video, and I’ll review all of the submissions and see which three resonate the most strongly with me.

You have until Monday Nov 28th at midnight Mountain Time to apply. (If you can’t PayPal me the $1,200 by the end of November, then please don’t apply. While I would love to engage with you, it’s just disappointing for both of us if you are selected and we both get excited to work together, and then it falls through.)

  • Second thing, you have to be willing to be coached on camera. For some of you, this will be a deal breaker. For some of you that may be the reason you want it even more – because of the exposure your business will get when we actually put our show together!

But because I want to start putting together a series so that I can make an even bigger impact in the world and help even more passionate service professionals, there’s a chance I may want to video some (or all) of our coaching sessions and/or your life revolving around your business and our coaching sessions. None of that is in place yet, but I’m expecting to roll that out in the next several months or so, and if I do, I want you to be forewarned.

  • Thirdly, I’m going to want to get honest feedback as we go through the coaching process, as well as glowing testimonials when you start getting great results.

The glowing testimonials are really not that big of a deal, because usually people seeing stellar transformations are happy to tell everyone within shouting distance about how well things are going for us in their coaching program, and I expect you’re no different in that regard.

The harder thing is to get people to give honest feedback as we go through the coaching process. Sometimes people are reluctant to say anything negative because they don’t want to complain, or be seen as less than compliant. But seriously, if something doesn’t feel right to you, you have to speak up so that we can see if it’s something genuine to who you are, or if it’s a limiting belief or fear that’s causing the resistance.

If we don’t look at it, you won’t know and you may continue to operate from a place that doesn’t actually serve you. Either way, if you examine it, you can make a conscious choice about whether you want to continue to operate from that belief or not.

  •  Lastly, you have to be willing to make a commitment – not only to showing up for our phone coaching appointments, but to spending time every week to make conscious choices about what you want your life and business to look like and to really focus on the growth and direction of your business.

The 30 to 45 minutes we spend on the phone three times a month is going to be miniscule compared to the several hours you’re going to be spending really getting clear and considering what works for your life and how you want to do your best work and make the biggest impact and do your greatest good in the world, and then implementing those plans to create your vision.

Why not offer free coaching today? After all, it’s Thanksgiving!

Well, because I’m a big believer in the fact that you’ve got to make an investment in yourself and your business. I’ve seen it over and over again: people get better and longer-lasting results when they’ve made a commitment to themselves, their business and me.

And I’ll admit that I’m human; my ego needs it.

Let me explain.

When I was first starting out, I coached several people for free because they told me they couldn’t afford my coaching fees. Plus, I wanted the practice.

And they were getting powerful results and telling me how awesome it was to be working with me.

But then they’d turn around and spend their money on something else like a trip to a conference, and it bothered me. Obviously I respect that everyone has the right to spend their hard-earned (or even easily-earned) income however they see fit. But it bothered me that they didn’t have the money to honor my effort and energy and time after singing my praises week after week.

For sure, I’m human and I started to resent it sometimes. Not all the time, but often enough that I would find myself not looking forward to our scheduled coaching appointments. And that’s way out of character for me.

As much as I loved the one-on-one coaching aspect of it, it felt like what I was giving to them wasn’t valued or respected when they claimed to be destitute and then found money to fly across the country. And I re-learned the concept that people will find the money for what’s of value to them.

So I decided to start charging them $100 a month. And at the time, the two that I had helped the most both declined to continue with me when it wasn’t free anymore. That was surprising, but that was okay.

Because I view money as a form of gratitude, so when I’m paying the water bill, I think “Thank you for the water coming into my home.” And when I’m making the house payment, I’m like “Thank you for the lovely home that we have.” And along those same lines, if they didn’t value the results that they’d gotten for free, they really weren’t my ideal client.

Of course, I want my coaching relationships to be engaging and productive and fulfilling for both of us. So I’ve chosen to remove the barriers that resentment can create by charging a substantially reduced and nominal coaching fee. Call it anti-resentment insurance. J

And that’s my story – how my morning unfolded. And now I offer it to you with much love and laughter. Just go to http://abetteryoucoach.com/tgiving-coaching-application/ to submit your video application by midnight on Monday Nov 28, 2011!

Be Inspired!

Make it a Fabulous!! Thanksgiving and Beyond!!


 

“Old School” Marketing vs. “New Age” Marketing: Is it really out with the old and in with the new?

“Old School” Marketing vs. “New Age” Marketing: Is it really out with the old and in with the new?

“Old school” marketing, otherwise known as offline marketing seems to have taken a back seat to internet marketing when it comes to marketing a business, product or service. As a heart-centered entrepreneur does that mean that you should completely forgo your “old school” marketing tactics and just focus solely on internet marketing?

My answer to that question is no. Let me tell you why.

“Old school” offline marketing techniques such as cold calling, placing an ad in the newspaper, or in person social networking may seem to have been replaced by things such as internet sales, advertising online and social networking websites, but these “old school” tactics are still just as important to your marketing campaign as they were before.

Just like any marketing tactic, internet marketing only reaches a certain amount of people. Though most things in this world can and are done through the internet, not all people use the internet daily. There is even a small category of people who don’t use the internet at all, especially when choosing a new company or service provider to go with. By just focusing on internet marketing you could miss an entire group of potential clients.

On the other hand, internet marketing is too effective and efficient to not do. So my advice is this: use internet marketing alongside of the “old school” marketing techniques. This way you are reaching the largest number of prospects.

As a passionate service provider which do you focus more on – offline promotion or marketing or internet/online marketing?  I would love to hear your thoughts. To leave a comment just click on the comment icon in the top right corner of the post, or click the link that says “comments” below.

Make it great!

Theresa

Public Relations: How to become your own PR firm

Public Relations: How to become your own PR firm.  

With more companies joining the social world of Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin, public relations (the relationship you build within your community and with current/potential clients) is critical to your business now more than ever. The first impression someone has of your company could be what they see on your Facebook page, your website, or even what they read in your blog.

A good set of PR strategies can do wonders for a smart passionate service provider or agent of change like you. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, people no longer choose a company just because they have the best price. People choose a company because they genuinely “like” them. They want to feel that they know the people they are doing business with, that they like them and that they can trust them. It’s actually called the “Know, Like and Trust” factor. Which is why making an effort to build a relationship with your prospects is so important.

A good PR effort doesn’t have to cost a ton of money either, and it is relatively inexpensive compared to advertising and marketing (and sometimes much more effective and beneficial!) One simple PR tactic could be to start a company blog. This allows the reader to get a sense of your personality and is a lot more personable then the general (and possibly generic) information provided on your website. In addition, customer engagement through social networking sites is a great PR tool. You can use sites like Facebook to build relationships within your community.

One great book that I read on creating a buzz and mounting your own PR/publicity campaign is Peter Shankman’s “Can We Do That?!” Even if you never apply any of the ideas in his book, it’s a fascinating read with lots of examples of companies that used non-traditional and even outrageous means of promoting themselves and their message.

Now on the other side of the spectrum, bad public relations efforts (or none at all) can really hurt your business. Why is that you ask? Well, think of it this way – how likely are you to build a relationship with someone that has made a bad impression on you, or puts little effort into the relationship? My guess is not very likely. Even something as seemingly minor as having am ineffective website can hurt business. If your website is unclear, vague and hard to navigate – this makes it hard for visitors to find the information they need, immediately leaving a bad impression in the visitor’s mind. Same applies to a Facebook or Twitter page. If you put no effort into maintaining these pages or actually using them to interact with people, it can give off the impression that you simply don’t care enough to put in the time or effort. It’s important to maintain these pages to the best of your efforts. Even if you can only devote 30 or 45 minutes a week to it, schedule it in and get it done.

Even with PR being as easy as just updating your Facebook page, I understand that sometimes you are simply just too busy to spend time worrying about your public relations strategies or tactics. An extremely effective (though slightly spendy) way to boost your PR is to hire an outside PR firm to help get your started. If that isn’t an option for you but you would still like some outside help, try contacting your local college or university’s Public Relations department. Many of them have students who are in need of internships and would love to get hands on experience.

What do you do to maintain your relationship with your community? Do have any particular tactics that have worked for you? Please feel free to share by clicking the comment icon in the top right corner of this page (or it could be that you have to click the “comments” link below. )

Make it great!

Theresa