The Right Time…For Who?

Timing really is everything.  You cannot sell something to people when they don’t want it; rather your product or service must fulfill an unconscious longing within them.  Not everyone is looking for or needs your services.   Something has to make them want your product.

Like timingmany things in life, obtaining a new business client can be a matter of timing.  When they finally figure out that they need your service and have time to process that they need your service, the timing will be right…for the both of you.

Unfortunately, our timing is not always the same as our client’s timing.  I met a lady at a networking event the fall of one year and she did not contact me until the following summer.  She had been to a seminar where the speaker discussed how much help it was to her business to hire a Personal Assistant.  My future client emailed me right then and there during the seminar.  The time was finally right… for her.

Last January, I made an appointment with the leasing manager of a local prominent apartment complex.  It was bitterly cold and icy on the day of the appointment and I slipped all the way from the parking lot to the leasing office.   I remember wondering if it was worth my time and trouble.  The leasing manager agreed to place my business cards in the lobby and to include them in the New Tenant Packages.  Nine months later, I received a call from one of the tenants.  He has a small Property Management company and  is overwhelmed with trying to run the company and hold down his full-time job.  After a short telephone call, we scheduled a time to meet to discuss how I could help him.   He told me that he saw my card months ago and hung onto it.  The timing was finally right…for him.

We work hard to build our business.  We market, network, build relationships; we spend a lot of time working on  our business and building our brand.  As small business owners, especially newer small business owners, it’s easy to become disheartened if it seems that our hard work is not paying off.   When this happens to you, remember that your timing is not always the same as your client’s timing.  Continue to work hard and they will come to you…when the time is right for them.

headshot2About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.

http://www.anotheryouerrands.com

937-416-2207

I Am a Solopreneur, But I Have My Own Board of Directors

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Humans are social creatures, and being part of a group makes us do fascinating things.  I doubt I would have “mooned” out of a bus in high school if others on the Drill Team were not doing so.  OK, so I said “fascinating” things not necessarily things we are proud of!

After working with the public for 32 years, I now work alone.  I love the change but sometimes it is nice (necessary) to talk to other like-minded individuals about my business.  It’s good to bounce ideas off of others, hear what they would do in certain situations and sometimes just simply complain to someone.

Accountability:  The fact or condition of being accountable; responsible.  I am blessed enough to be a member of a small Accountability Group.  Today, we are 5 female members strong and we meet via Google Hangout each Monday morning.  We set a couple of goals for the upcoming week and discuss how our past week has gone.  The main topic of discussion is business, but it occasionally veers off to personal areas like husbands, children, exercise (usually the lack of), pets, and other interests we have before getting back to business again.

It has been a good thing to be part of this group of small business owners.  It has been a nice check and balance system for me.  It helps me to make me feel like I have to keep up but also, more importantly, that it is also okay for me to fail.  I love tapping into the experience and skills of others in my group.  I consider them an instant and valuable support network.  We have a private Facebook group for issues that arise during the week.

How do you stay accountable?  Think about it.  Whether you work for someone else or are an entrepreneur.   How do you help yourself be accountable for business, diet and exercise or any goal that you have set for your life?  Remember, there is power in numbers.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work.  If one falls down, his friend can help him up, but pity the man who falls and has no one to help him.~Ecclesiastes

 

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  About the Author:  Sheri Miller is the Owner of  Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge service in the Dayton, Ohio area.  Sheri  helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.        http://www.anotheryouerrands.com           937-416-2207

Is Anybody Out There?

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Do you answer every e-mail that you receive?  What is your usual e-mail response time?  When people don’t answer your e-mails, how does that make you feel?

Observing proper etiquette for responding to email is an important piece of communications for any small business.  I realize that everyone is busy, but I think it unprofessional when people do not respond to e-mail.   In my opinion, it tells me that what I say or what I need is not important.

It is a good business practice to answer all customer/client e-mails within 24 hours; vendors and acquaintances can wait up to 48, according to a recent survey published in Chron.  I manage e-mails for some of my small business clients and I see how many e-mails they receive during a day.   Believe me when I tell you, a huge amount of today’s business happens via e-mail.

In a recent discussion with 3 other female solopreneurs, I found that we all have very different ideas about e-mail etiquette.  Forty-eight hours would not be acceptable for one of the ladies; she expects a much more timely response.  Another small business owner takes it very personally when she does not receive an e-mail reply in a timely manner.  I think it is important  to remember that we all don’t think alike and our timeline is not necessarily everyone’s timeline.  But in the end, good manners are in order.  With that said, use the simple RATE system to assure professionalism in e-mail.

R-Reply-No Matter What:  24/48 hours is a good response time for most people.

A-Answer All the Questions:  Don’t you hate it when you ask 3 questions and only receive a reply for 2 of them!   Now you have to start the process all over again.  Take time to read your e-mails and respond to all points the sender is trying to make.

T-Tone:  Be careful, tone is hard to read within an e-mail.  Take caution not to interject attitude or sarcasm into your response.  Watch about trying to be funny too, humor can be easy to misinterpret.

E-Emoticons:  Avoid using these when sending or responding to a business e-mail; they tend to make you look unprofessional.

What you write and how you respond to e-mail can be critical to your success.   E-mail etiquette is important for small business owners and their teams.

headshot    About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge service in the Dayton, Ohio area.

Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as   your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.     http://www.anotheryouerrands.com      937-416-2207

 

 

 

Happy Anniversary

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I could not have imaged how wonderful and transformational this past year would have been.  Everything about my life and my family’s life has changed.  It has been one fabulous year!

Time has flown!  I started my Personal Assistant, Errand and Concierge business one year ago this month.  I have changed, I have learned and I have grown.  My company, Another You, has certainly changed and grown.   When I first thought of starting my own small business, I thought that I would be helping the busy individual, the working mom, the single dad, the 2-career family.   Little did I know that so many soloprenuers and small business owners would need and seek my help.  My business has changed from a Personal Service into a Small Business Service.    THIS is where I was supposed to be all along!

Having managed healthcare practices for 32 years, I gained a lot of administrative and organizational skills.  These are the skills that I now use to partner with other small business owners to save them time, lessen their frustration and help grow and sustain their businesses.

Starting and running a business is not easy.  I spent the first 5 months of the start-up networking, getting my name out there and building relationships.  Then finally I began to build a client base.

I certainly did not do this on my own.  I owe a huge debt of gratitude to God for everything good in my life, my husband for his hard-work and total support during this past year and to my son for always being there to lift me up when I doubted myself.  I am blessed to have an extended family and great friends that have been with me cheering me on each step of the way.   I have met so many wonderful people in Networking Groups such as WiBN and TBN and have been supported by the directors and members of the Franklin Area and Springboro Chamber of Commerce.   I am blessed to work with and assist  dedicated and  hard-working small business owners.

It has been one FABULOUS year!  Happy Anniversary Another You!!!      hann

About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Personal and Business Concierge service in the Dayton, Ohio area.   Sheri helps busy people with a focus on the small business owner.     Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.        937-416-2207

The Networking Event…To Go or Not To Go

networkclockBefore you leave your office you take a look at the calendar to prepare for tomorrow.  There it is… that networking breakfast, lunch or meeting.  Also on tomorrow’s calendar is a mile long “To Do List” of things you HAVE to get done.  What do you do?

I opened my Personal and Business Concierge service, Another You,  almost a year ago.   Like with most start-ups, I had a lot more time than actual work.  In the beginning.  I considered Networking to be my full-time job.  I had to get my name out there!  I needed to build a network of people who I could refer to, count on, and hold me accountable.  I understood that building relationships would build my business so I visited as many networking groups in the Dayton area as I could find.  After a few meetings, I joined as many as my small budget would allow.  For the past 6-9 months, it has not been uncommon for me to have 5-7 networking events scheduled on my calendar each week.  I agree with  Alan Collins , that, “Pulling a good network together takes effort, sincerity and time.”

Because I am blessed, have worked hard and have had the help of supportive people in my life, my business is really starting to grow!  Now I find that I am having a hard time fitting in client work, networking, and the administrative tasks of my business.

  • Decisions:  If you skip the networking meeting and use that time to work, you might actually be able to complete and cross off most items on your To Do List.  That then leaves time in the day for family, friends; whatever you enjoy.  Work-life balance is very important.
  • Decisions:  I find that networking can be fun.  My business has grown because of  networking.  I am still looking for new clients and feel that networking is the best way to market my small business.   Cindy Gaboury Co-Owner of Audio, Etc. , who I met through networking says,  “If it was important enough to you to add to your calendar, then you should attend the event.”

So how do you decide on how many networking events you attend?  How many events do you add to your calendar that you do NOT attend?  How much time do you devote each week to networking? Just how important is networking to your business?

headshot     About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Personal and Business Concierge service in the Dayton, Ohio area.   Sheri helps busy people with a focus on the small business owner.     Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business.        937-416-2207

 

 

It Takes a Village…(To Run a Business)

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In 1996, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton published the book, It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us. The focus of the book was on the impact individuals and groups outside the family have on a child’s well-being. The book’s title is attributed to an African proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Recently, I met with a woman who, after retirement, started her own consulting and coaching business. She thought she would start a business doing what she loved and also have time to enjoy retirement with her husband. So she hung out her shingle and before she knew it her small business flourished and she got busy; too busy, in fact, to do it all herself. Her  business had turned into a wonderful success but she was working more than she wanted. She was not spending the time she had envisioned on herself, her husband, family and friends. She loved the work but understood that something had to be done. Being the well-rounded woman that she is, she was not afraid to admit that she needed help. She began outsourcing some of her work. She delegated scheduling, calendar management, social media marketing and was now discussing the delegation of other business matters to me. During our conversation, she mentioned that, “It takes a village to run a business.”

Outsourcing is a term borrowed from the corporate world that refers to contracting out a business process to a third-party. Applied to small business, outsourcing is about taking things that we need to do to run our business and having someone else do it. Outsourcing just 4 hours out of your 40-hour work week gains you a 10% increase in time that you could be spending with clients, friends and family. The average “working” person according to Dr. Wetmore of the Productivity Institute, spends less than 2 minutes a day in truly meaningful conversation with their spouse or loved one. Think about how you would improve your life, relationships and business with an additional 4 hours a week.

So, how do you know when to outsource something? Ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • Am I doing this task “after hours” or not at all?
  • Am I procrastinating on this task?
  • Do I dread starting this task?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to outsource some of your tasks.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness, but rather that of being proactive. Asking for help is not a sign of failure, but yet a sign of success. Any of us who have done it or know someone who has, understands that it takes a village to run a business. By handing off tasks that don’t require your time, energy and unique skills, you will be able to focus more on both your business and relationship growth.

headshotAbout the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Business Concierge/Personal Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps small business owners save time and money by taking care of their day-to-day administrative tasks. Think of her as your right hand while your left hand is growing your business. www.anotheryouerrands.com 937-416-2207

What does your Priority List look like?

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While I was out digging up a few dandelions that had sneaked into my new spring  lawn, I noticed my neighbor’s grass.  From the road his lawn appears to be full and green but when you take a closer look you see that instead of grass, his lawn is mainly weeds. My neighbor has a wonderful home that is beautifully decorated and he is constantly working on it to keep it looking very nice.  His home is definitely on his priority list.

A priority is a thing that is regarded more important than another thing. Each of us has different items on our priority lists. What decides our priorities? How do our lists change with our life transitions? What does the list of a small business owner look like?

Good business planning must involve the setting of priorities. Priorities might include money (cash flow and expenses), customer service, networking and making sure your service or product is the best that you can provide. I wonder how many business owners have TIME on their priority list. Do we schedule FAMILY and FRIENDS on our list? Is ME time a priority?

Work–life balance is a concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development. It is so important to both the health of your body and mind and the health of your relationships to have a balance between work and life. Where does work-life balance fit on your priority list?

As a small business owner when was the last time you studied your priority list?  Is your list conducive to a work-life balance?   Do you need to delegate tasks to someone else to free up time? What if you took most of your workday to do the tasks that excite you and that you are great at and then simply delegate the other stuff to someone else?  Outsourcing just 4 hours out of a 40-hour work week gains you a 10% increase in time that you could be spending on yourself, your family and your friends.

Steven Covey suggests that, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”  My neighbor, Donnie, is a hard worker and a great neighbor; but one who has not scheduled his lawn on his priority list!

If you are a small business owner that has few hours a week of tasks that you would like to delegate, I would be happy to discuss how I could help you.

headshot  About the Author:  Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Personal and Business Concierge service in the Dayton, Ohio area. Sheri helps busy people. She provides support for both the individual and the small business owner. http://www.anotheryouerrands.com 937-416-2207