Small Business Owners are Wise to make a few New Year’s Resolutions.

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It’s that time of year again; a time to look forward to the New Year and reflect on the changes we want or need to make in order for our business to grow. With that said, try to remember to strike that delicate balance between work and life.  For many small business owners, the two are so deeply intertwined that it’s hard to separate.

1. Plan your day. Every morning make a “To Do List” and keep it in front of you. Make sure it is reasonable and achievable. Many people are their most productive in the morning so add your toughest item(s) and the ones that you dread most to the top of your list. After you get these items completed your day will seem easier and you just might find yourself whipping through the rest of your tasks.

2. Put time for you on the calendar. While you are planning your day be sure to schedule some “You Time”. It is so important to take the time to recharge and refresh yourself; a healthy work-life balance demands time out. Get used to scheduling time regularly to “meet with yourself” and stick to that commitment. If you don’t invest in yourself, who will?

3. Make customer service a priority.  It’s a fact that customer service can make or break your relationship with current and future customers. Looking ahead to 2017, customer service should be a priority for every small business. A key resolution would be to look at ways that you can get closer, strengthen your relationship, and stay on your customer’s minds. Remember that keeping a customer takes less of our time than finding a new one.

4. Promote your business regularly and consistently.   Too often the task of promoting our small business slips to the bottom of our “To Do List”.  If you want to attract new customers, you have to make promotion a priority. Make a New Year’s resolution to hire a marketing expert or take the time to create a marketing plan on your own and follow through.

5. Grow your business through partners.   When you’re feeling stuck with your business and you don’t know which way to turn, look to partners. With each year, I believe more and more that partner relationships are a huge key in running a successful business. No matter how small in scale the partnership is, it can reap huge benefits for your (and their) business.   I find that meeting with my partners is enjoyable, helps clear my head, and can easily be part of my “You Time”.

6. Join a new business organization or networking group.   There’s nothing like talking to other business people for sparking new ideas and making contacts. Whether it’s a group specifically designed for networking or an industry organization dedicated to a particular type of business,  making the effort to be a part of a group will revitalize you and your business. Give yourself a break and take some time “out of the office” to meet with like-minded individuals to network.

7. Learn how to delegate and get more help. Your business may not be growing sufficiently because you are trying to do too much yourself. Examine your operation for routine tasks that take too much of your time or for the ones that you dread.  Decide to let someone else handle these tasks. Delegation is key to a healthy work-life balance.

8. Give something back to your community.  Make a New Year’s Resolution to find a cause that matters to you and give what you can; money, time, or both.  Not only does it feel good on a personal level, but doing good is just a smart business practice. Those that give get.

Building and maintaining a successful  business can be time consuming and difficult. Use these resolutions to help your small business grow and just as important remember to make time for yourself, family, and friends.

Happy New Year and may Your Business Prosper in 2017!

About the Author: Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Virtual/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.

http://www.anotheryouerrands.com                      937-416-2207

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Networking and Loss

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Networking.  What do we know about networking?  We know it is big in Dayton, Ohio.  We know there are a multitude of networking groups that offer meetings in the morning, at lunch and after business hours.  We know the goal is to meet with other people to see if our business is a good fit with theirs, how and if we can partner with other businesses and to get to know people in hope of gaining referrals.

Loss.  What do we know about loss?  We know it is traumatic.  We know it is heart breaking.  We know there are a multitude of emotions that are ever-present with loss and grief.  There is shock and disbelief, infinite bursts of sadness, disconnection, feelings of anger and lethargy.

I met my friend, Linda Lee Rahn, at a networking meeting a little over 3 years ago.  Tragically, Linda lost her 29 year old daughter in October.  In addition to everything the Rahn family was going through they also found themselves with sudden and unexpected funeral and estate expenses.  Something that no one experiencing this type of loss should have to deal with.

Networking.  What do we know about networking?  I know that in less than a day and a half, 45 people from local networking groups helped to raise over $4000.00 in donations via a Go Fund Me campaign for the Rahn family.  I was overwhelmed with the donations, calls and e-mails from people that Linda and I had met at networking events.  So many reached out with prayers, meals and support.  I will now think of networking in a totally different way.   Yes, it is still about business but I have seen that for many of us it is also about friendship, compassion and encouragement.  Thank you so much to the people that reached out to Linda during this time.  Please continue to do so.  I am proud to be part of the Dayton networking community.

About the Author:  Sheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Virtual Assistant service in the Dayton, Ohio area.  Sheri helps small business owners save time, money and frustration 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

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4 Tips 4 Remembering Names

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Remembering names is one of the simplest yet most important factors of interacting with people.   A person’s name is the single most important word to them. As Dale Carnegie said, “If you remember my name, you pay me a subtle compliment; you indicate that I have made an impression on you. Remember my name and you add to my feeling of importance.”  Use these 4 tips to remember names.

  1.  Pay Attention: Be sure to pay attention as you are introduced.  You’d be amazed at how little attention we pay to the person we are meeting. Clear your mind and focus on them not on you or what you’re going to say next.
  2.  Repeat: As soon as you’re introduced, say, “It’s lovely to meet you, Jane.   Repeat the name silently to yourself a few times.  Repeat the name throughout the exchange. Try to also use their name during conversation and when the conversation is at an end.
  3.  Mental associations: Make a visual connection with a person’s name to something memorable in your world.   Try to connect the name with a familiar image or famous person.  Associate the person’s name with a picture that is easy to recall.
  4.  Did I mention Repeat? Use their name frequently:  People typically like the sound of their names so this tips bears double mention.  Try to use their name at least three times during your conversation:  when introduced, during the conversation and conclude with their name.

After meeting the person,  jot down notes with their name, where you met, how you met and the specifics of your conversation in a “new contacts” file (paper or electronic).  Take a look at your notes prior to the next time you anticipate seeing that person.

Although it makes us uncomfortable, we all forget names.  If you absolutely can’t remember a name, try to offer any information you can remember, such as where the two of you may have met. Alternatively, if you shake hands and introduce yourself, your contact will most likely follow suit.

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About the AuthorSheri Miller is the Owner of Another You, LLC, a Personal/Virtual 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 Are You Willing to Give Up?

ZVJ6OumLI run my work days by a schedule. Everything that I need to do is on my Google Calendar.  In my line of work, working with multiple small business owners, this is a must.

I am happy to say that MOST things that I have scheduled are completed each day and deleted from my calendar.  There are some days, where I cannot get to everything on my list.   I start with my highest priority:  1) client work 2) volunteer obligations 3) my business.  Some days lessor priorities do not get done and they are moved to the next available day.  This brings me to this Blog Post.

“Write and Publish Blog Post” was originally scheduled on my calendar for 4/15. Well today is 04/27 and I am just now getting around to starting it. Obviously, it has been moved multiple times on my calendar.  Priorities got in the way.

 How do we get everything done that needs to be done?

What can we put off or even give up?

What can we delegate?

Every small business owner that I know has this same problem; too many tasks and not enough time. As I grow my business and gain more clients I have found it necessary to give up some of the scheduled things on my calendar:

1) I network more strategically.  Networking has been a HUGE part of building my business. In fact, it worked so well that many days I can’t find the time to network!  I still want to stay in front of the contacts that I have made and still like to meet new people. But it has become necessary to me to cut back on meetings and decide which groups are really worth my investment of time.

2) I have also tried to schedule more telephone meetings than actually meeting at an office or neutral location. The drive time alone is a huge time saver and I find that people are more focused during telephone conversations; maybe because they are just as busy as I am!  Of course, I do meet with all my prospects and referral partners face to face if they wish.

3) I believe that Social Media is important-more for some industries/companies than others. I have cut back on the amount of posts that I schedule per week. To date, my clients have come from strategic networking and word of mouth.  I want to stay in front of my contacts and remind people what I can do for them so I continue to have a presence on a few social media venues (only the ones that reach my target market).  Cutting back on the times that I post per week has allowed me more time for my clients.

Try stepping back and looking at your calendar to see what things you may be able to remove to make more time. For me, I actually recorded, how I was using my time. This made it very clear to me what needed to go or be reduced.   For my clients, it was a matter of hiring someone to help with all the things that were on their calendar.  I would love to hear about some of the changes that you have made to allow yourself more time to run your business.  What have you given up?

About 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. http://www.anotheryouerrands.com 937-416-2207

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What to Wear?

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Networking outside the office is your best chance to meet new people who can help promote you, your passion and your business.  It’s also a no-man’s land when it comes to the dress code.

Early in the year, I met a woman slipping and sliding in a parking lot walking into a networking event…it was winter in Ohio! We struck up a conversation about the icy sidewalk and when we finally got into the building she confided in me that this was her first networking event.  I showed her to the meeting room and told her that she was welcome to sit with me if that would make her feel more comfortable.

After our official introductions, she told me that she had intended to be at this same event last month, but when she saw what everyone had on, she turned around and went back home. She said she was a “jeans” type of person and not comfortable dressing up.  The first thing that I did was applaud her for actually making it to the meeting that morning; she wore jeans but did not turn away and go back home.  The second thing I did was point out to her that there were others in the room that had jeans on.

What should we wear to networking events? At most networking events that I attend, I see people wear what they would wear in the course of their normal working day, which means that there are a range of outfits from suits, to business casual, to jeans, uniforms and even exercise apparel.  I guess you could ask yourself, what is the norm of my industry, profession or company?

Another thing to consider is what type of event will you be attending?

Where and when is it?

What is on the agenda?

Many small business owners think about what they wear as part of their personal branding – for some that might mean wearing uniforms or polo shirts with their company logo, but for others it might just be a certain style or color.

I tend to dress as if I were going to see a client; although I do dress differently depending on the industry of the client that I am meeting. It is ALWAYS important to be well groomed. Depending on your profession, I think it helps to wear what you feel comfortable in, that way you will feel relaxed, can be yourself, and can enjoy the occasion.

First impressions do matter. What also matters is that you attend the event! I am proud that his strong lady was able to walk into the event, even though she was concerned about what she had on! She made a good, first (and icy) step toward growing her business. Luckily, she works in a “themed” industry so it will be easy and appropriate for her to wear jeans with her casual themed shirts and jackets.

How do you decide what to wear for networking events?

headshot2About 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.   http://www.anotheryouerrands.com      937-416-2207

Stop and Look Fear in the Face

step outI remember walking into that first Women in Business Networking meeting in June 2013. I had no idea what to expect, my palms were sweaty, I was sick to my stomach and I thought, many times, about turning around and going  home.  After 32 years in the healthcare industry, I had lost my job 5 months earlier.  Following a few months on the couch, I decided to re-invent myself and open my own business as a Personal Assistant.  Living in the medical world, I had no idea that there were Networking Groups out there. A friend of mine told me that if I were going to start my own business, I needed to get my name out there; I needed to network.  Thanks Beth!

So there I was, by myself, walking into this group of ladies that I had never met.  No idea what was about to happen, how the meeting was structured, or what role I would have to play in it.  I was welcomed by the facilitator of the meeting and soon learned that I had to stand up, introduce myself and talk about my business!  What was I going to say? What was my business?  I had an idea, a business name and some homemade business cards but I was still SO unsure of SO many things!  I wasn’t even officially open yet.  Panic set in.  What was I going to say?  Thanks a lot, Beth!

Fast forward a year and a half later. I have been to more networking events than I can count and my business has grown because of it.  Thank you so very much, Beth Reedy.  In fact, I was offered and proudly accepted the Leadership Position of that same Women in Business Networking meeting that I so anxiously attended in June 2013.  Change happens when you step out of your comfort zone.

Whether you run your own business or happily work for others, it is important for your growth and confidence to step out and do things that do not come easily to you. “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’  You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

If you are a a solopreneur, small business owner, or work for one, I would love to hear how you have looked fear in the face and what you have done lately that was out of your comfort zone.

headshot2About 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.                                              http://www.anotheryouerrands.com         937-416-2207

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