Tag Archives: Business

Fake it till you make it

A biography on a very good athlete.
Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes, an important business meeting falls on the same day you have a big fight with your spouse.  Or a big networking event comes the day after you were up half the night studying.  At times, you just don’t wanna.  You’re tired, you’re upset, and you just don’t feel like smiling and schmoozing.

Do it anyway.  With enthusiasm.  Why? Because you can’t let your emotions rule your life.  Yes, there’s something to be said for being yourself, but this isn’t a question of integrity.  This is putting your best self forward in the best interest of you and your business.  So you smile and engage others.  In fact, you focus on what others are doing and saying, and take the focus off yourself.

Do you know what usually happens?  If you let go of that anger, or sadness, or fatigue for just a moment, it temporarily fades.  In fact, after some serious brainstorming or socializing with great people, those problems may not seem as overwhelming as they were before.

Besides that, you still get all the benefits of being part of a big decision at that meeting, or making that contact that will take your business to the next level.  If you had decided to drop out, either physically or mentally, you might have missed it.

Athletes call it “game face.” When they are on the court or the field, they are focusing on the strategy and movement of the game.  When they are involved in the heat of the game, they are just an athlete.  They are not a parent or a car lover or a philanthropist.  They are in the moment, pushing their minds and bodies to excel.

So the next time you have a business event that you are dreading, fake it till you make it.  Put on your game face and make the most of every opportunity.

Business Growing? Get help!

Michigan Virtual Assistant Conference

Image by cletch via Flickr

I found the buzz word:  virtual assistant.

I was at a networking meeting, and one of the attendees nearly jumped out of his chair when I compared myself to a virtual assistant (with a specialty in writing).  “That’s really big now,” he said.

It should be.  In today’s economy, businesses should seek creative ways to be lean and efficient.  Imagine an employee for whom you don’t have to pay taxes or provide benefits, and you don’t have to guarantee a certain amount of hours or worry about unemployment benefits.  You don’t even have to provide an office space or equipment.

This employee can contract with you on a per project basis, or be available at set hours if you wish.  You contact them by phone or email to communicate your needs.  He or she can take customer service calls, set up travel arrangements, edit correspondence, update databases, assemble mailings, create brochures… almost anything someone affixed to a cubicle can do- except gossip at the water cooler.

Of course, you can’t replace your receptionist or sales clerk with a virtual assistant.  Some businesses thrive by providing a unique experience to people as they walk through the door.  With some creative outsourcing, however, you are bound to find some ways to save money without sacrificing quality of service.

Suppose you want to try this VA thing.  Where do you find one?

Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who are unemployed or underemployed or who need a little extra income, but can’t commit to a full-time job.  From experience, many are college-educated mothers who have graduated from full-time mom when their kids started school and are seeking an outlet for their time and talents.

With a little research, through your social and online networks, you may be able to find some of these people who are already established in business or who would be willing to work with you.  A bonus to hiring a VA is that he or she doesn’t have to live close by.  If someone has the proper credentials, they can live across the country (or even the world) and still write, type, or do data entry on behalf of your business.

Build your business and keep America working.  Hire a VA today!

Get referred

Squirting lemon

Image by Kentishman via Flickr

If you network with the right people, they will ask you, “What kinds of leads can I send your way?  Who is your ideal client?”

I am fortunate to have as a client a marketing savvy person who is contacting each of his clients to ask, “how can I refer you?”  As philanthropic as we like to see ourselves, we tend to give about as much as we receive.  By taking the first step, and asking his clients to provide specific target clients as well as a nutshell of their businesses, he is offering to give referrals.  He is giving first, knowing that it is human nature to reciprocate.  Theoretically, he will receive more referrals just by asking the question.

A secondary benefit of having clients answer questions about their business and clientele is that the client has a better understanding of what they do and why they’re doing it.  Everyone needs the standard “elevator speech” when someone asks, “what do you do?”  Clarifying your understanding of your market and business leads to a better elevator speech.  Lawyers don’t just try cases, they resolve disputes.  Mechanics don’t just fix cars, they offer transportation solutions.  It’s not a PC way of defining your business to use impressive words, it’s connecting with potential clients on a level that matters to them.  I don’t care about how a car works, but I do care when mine doesn’t! 

In a roundabout way, I am recommending that you A) Network like there’s no tomorrow, B) Ask for and offer referrals whenever possible, and C) Know your business and how to present it.  These three things are interwoven and provide a strong foundation to build your business. 

Why Wildflower?

Infographic on how Social Media are being used...

Image via Wikipedia

As a young adult, a mentor of mine told me I reminded her of a wildflower.  I believe the reference was that beneath a pretty face and shy exterior, I had surprising resilience and strength. 

Words are the same way.  On the outside, they may flow together and create pleasant prose, but it is the ability to persuade or create strong images or feelings that makes them powerful. 

Just as a florist has a particular talent in arranging flowers to create something unique and beautiful for each customer, I have a talent for arranging words.  These words can engage the reader and connect with him or her, by word images, compelling stories, and universal emotions.  Whether the purpose is relationship-building, information sharing, solution-proposing, inspiration, or education, words are the key to effective communication.

Businesses and nonprofit need to communicate.  They need to communicate their features and benefits, the solutions they offer, and what sets them apart.  Similar to the falling tree in the forest, your business cannot carry out its goals if no one hears what it is all about. 

Unfortunately, many small business owners and nonprofit directors know they are missing opportunities to communicate their mission to the world, but feel helpless to improve their status.  While wearing the many hats of CEO, CFO, HR, office manager, and business development (to name a few), comprehensive marketing strategies may fall by the wayside.  In addition, while many entrepreneurs are financially savvy, their forte may not be written communication.

Consider a writer-for-hire who can update your web content, create collateral and newsletters, compose donor letters…  and you can multiply your outreach many times over.  In addition, if you feel left out of the social media loop, freelancers are available to update your website, blog, and post to relevant sites on your behalf.     

So that’s me, Wildflower Writing, writer-for-hire, available to write… well, anything with words!