No Living Man All Things Can

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I had a recent conversation with a colleague about how many small business owners and entrepreneurs have a hard time with the delegation of tasks.  I get it.  When you have the type of personality that it takes to start your own business it is hard to give up control.  But sometimes it makes too much sense not to delegate.  For example, my colleague told me about a successful small business owner who had over $30,000 on the table in outstanding AR.  The problem was not disgruntled clients that did not want to pay; the issue was that this business owner simply did not have the time to make follow up calls.

Why People Don’t Delegate

  • Not Enough Time: The perception is that you do not have enough time to properly explain the task or teach the skills necessary for a delegated task.  The truth is that delegation always takes longer the first couple of times you hand off a task. But later it will save you hours, days, and weeks.
  • Loss of Control: Most small business owners are used to doing everything on their own.  They are uncomfortable giving up control.  It is frightening to allow another person-maybe even someone that you do not know-to complete a task for your business.  But isn’t one of the payoffs expected from all the hard work in running a successful, small business the freedom to no longer have to do the “daily grind” work, the “menial” work, the “frustrating calendaring and tedious phone call” work?
  • Not sure Who to Delegate To: Many entrepreneurs do not have the funds to hire a full time or even a part time person.  Many small business owners only need help 3-5 hours per week.  Where are you going to find a hardworking, reputable person who only wants to work a few hours a week?  Where do you find a hard worker that does not need benefits?

What to Delegate

I tell my clients to give me what they don’t like to do, what they dread, or what they are not good at.  Most of them start off with tasks such as:

  • Client Follow Up
  • E-Mail Management
  • Scheduling/Calendar Management
  • Invoicing/AR Follow Up
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Data Entry
  • Recruiting

Tips for Successful Delegation

  • A clearly defined task will produce clearly defined results. Open and routine communication is a must, especially at first.
  • Let go of dictating the how and focus on the what.   Describe what you want and let the assistant decide on the how.
  • Start with a small project or task.  This will help to develop communication and trust between you and your assistant.  After you see how the task was successfully completed, you will feel confident to delegate more.

Back to the small business owner with the 30K in AR.  Think of how a few hours a week in collection calls would change his business not to mention his peace of mind!  To me, it is a no brainer that this is a task that he needs to pass off to someone.  It pays to delegate!  I know that delegation can be difficult but it is a skill that you can improve through time, effort, and practice.  The next time you find it hard to let go of a task, remember the ancient proverb:  No living man all things can.

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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Focus on Your Strengths and Delegate Your Weaknesses.

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HOW TO USE A PERSONAL/VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

Imagine having your own personal assistant without the requirements of hiring full time staff, worrying about payroll, or scheduling.  This dream can be your reality!  There are numerous ways that a personal assistant can help organize your busy life.

 Administrative Duties:  Let’s face it, these are necessary but take time away from your passion.  Schedule meetings and appointments, return customer calls, process mailings and newsletters, data entry, e-mail and vendor management…

 Bookkeeping:  Keep the IRS off your back with routine bookkeeping, receipt management, accounts payable, account receivables…

 Courier:  Need a signature?  Pick-up and Delivery of documents, packages, office supplies, gifts, flowers…

 Compliance:  It’s hard to keep up with all the changes.  HIPAA training, compliance plans, regulations…

 Organization:  The average person spends 55 minutes each day looking for things they cannot find.  Office workspace, desk top, paperwork, systems, business cards, mobile desk…

 Research:  Necessary but takes a lot of time.  Internet research for content, blogs, competition research, large ticket purchases, vendor pricing and services…

 Travel:  For that business trip, long weekend or vacation that you have worked so hard for!    Itineraries, airfare, hotel, rental car, destination information…

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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4 Tips to Help You Manage Your E-Mail

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According to The Radicati Group, business e-mail will account for over 132 billion per day by the end of 2017  The online Tech News, Source Digit,  reports that the average small business receives/sends 116 e-mails per day and it is estimated to rise to 132 per day in 2017.  No matter what tasks I begin helping my clients with, the majority end up having me manage their e-mail. E-mail remains the predominant form of communication in business today and can be a big time-sucker for a busy small business owner.  A full inbox is a problem that can quickly grow worse if you receive a high volume of new messages every day.  Before long, you may find that your inbox has hundreds of messages and you are unable to remember which ones are most urgent.  So what can we do to manage your e-mail?

  1. Enable spam protection in your e-mail settings to reduce the volume of unwanted messages.
  2. Mark the most important messages. Whether you use a star, a flag, a highlighting color, or an icon. You can both manually mark an important message and set others up to be automatically marked in your settings. For example, I set each of my clients up as a Preferred Sender with their own individual symbol. When they send me an e-mail it is automatically marked with their own symbol and stands out among all the other e-mails that I receive. This way my eye is directly drawn to their e-mails first.
  3. Set up a Folder System. This can be as simple as setting up a few folders such as Urgent, Respond, and Waiting or Priority, Non-Priority and Read Later. Depending on your business, you may need to be more elaborate making a folder for each of your Clients, Vendors, Employees, Networking Groups, and Member/Volunteer Associations. Other popular folders among my clients are Leads/Follow-Up, Personal, Industry News, Taxes, Unsubscribe, Finance (invoices due/payments received) and, of course, a Sheri Folder. Create an Archive folder for very old messages that you are unlikely to read again. This allows you to find the messages if needed, while preventing them from making more recent messages difficult to find.
  4. Make E-Mail Templates of “canned” responses when you send the same text over and over again.  Maybe you answer the same question all of the time or you send out the same e-mail multiple times. You could type these responses up each and every time you want to send them out, but you can also write them up once, save them, and use them whenever you need them.

If you are a busy small business owner you do not have the extra 11.2 hours per week that most of us spend reading and answering our e-mails. Try the 4 tips above to save you both time and frustration and remember to only check your e-mails at your predetermined scheduled times during the day.

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

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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

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

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