I know it can feel intimidating, difficult and sometimes even confusing. I am here to help you navigate through this maze.
You provide services. Gardening, Landscaping, Cleaning, Business Consulting and so on.
Don’t let the technology of it all scare you. Here are a few golden rules that will help you succeed, retain and gain new customers and keep your staff happy:
Keep a calendar. This is a must. Let’s say you offer your services Monday through Friday and you have 30 clients. It will be very hard for your staff and your customers to be happy with your results, if let’s say you interact with 15 of your customers in one day. Spread the days out so your calendar has 6 customers per day. Better servicing, your staff will have ample time to complete tasks, and most importantly, your customers will be happy.
NEVER promise any customer that you will complete a job unless you are going to do it. It will hurt your business and show that you are unreliable.
NEVER find excuses for not completing a task.
Keep a notepad for every customer. In other words, one file per customer. You will say that this is too much. I will beg to differ. Reading through each customer’s notepad and reminding yourself and staff about tasks, you will always have a complete to-do-list per customer and can always mark completed. A lot of companies like yours have one notepad and keep writing notes on different pages. How productive is that? You will never remember where you wrote what and for which customer.
NEVER settle for a job half done. You are the Business Owner. Be the mentor, the teacher and train your staff to be professional, finish every task for the specific day and customer.
Show up at random times on random jobs, so that your staff will never slack. They will never know when and where you will be. Be the boss. Lead by example!
NEVER tell a customer that you forgot to bring a necessary tool for the day’s work. Not your customer’s problem! Such mistakes will cost you assignments in the future.
So here you have it! GET ORGANIZED! It might be difficult in the beginning, but once you set your system up, it will be a breeze.
So many people are telling me that they are having complaints, problems, and are unsure as how to smooth out their professional relationships.
The rule is: NEVER mix personal and professional. If you do business with a friend and have any issue at all, keep it on a professional level. DO NOT share with your friends and family. This is totally unprofessional and the start of your problems.
ALWAYS be open, talk it out, and respect what the other person has to offer. Business relationships of any kind have a start point and a finish point. When you close such a relationship, be very clear as to why you chose to do so, and part amicably. Some of my clients have followed my advice and are very thankful for it, because they have saved personal relationships and their professional integrity this way.
It is a disaster when your friends draw their own conclusions, when in fact they are clueless about business or the specific relationship/contract that has ended.
One of the facts of small business owners is that they find someone they like on a personal level, and try to do business with them. They are so eager to solve all their problems at once that they usually don’t “hear” what the other party is offering. They just follow their wishful thinking, even though they are not clear about what they expect from a deal. The deal goes on and they discover midflight that the services offered are different than their expectations.
There are different approaches to solving that, and you be the judge of which is the correct way:
You sit down and talk, explain in detail your expectations as a client, and if both parties find out that this relationship does not benefit either party, you simply and professionally say goodbye. Chapter closed.
You are unsure of what your exact needs are, you are not satisfied with the services you receive, and you do not share your thoughts exactly, but decide to end this business relationship. You then proceed to talking to others, who in return have their own opinions and the professional who offers his/her services, starts being criticized to no fault of their own. Be very careful about toying with someone’s reputation and integrity.
You sever both personal and professional relationship because you mix personal and professional issues.
In a few words, business is business, and friendship is friendship. Do not make it personal. Do not treat other professionals in a way that you would hate to be treated. These are shark infested waters and guess what? Someone might actually seek legal action against you for slandering, especially if you are dealing with a bigger company.
is very important. You show respect to yourself, to the person you are meeting with. Nowadays it is very common to call people and tell them this ugly “I’m running late”. If you are among those who tend to always run late, I’m here to tell you that this shows total disrespect to the person you are supposed to be meeting with, whether it is your friend, your colleague, a business meeting, your hairdresser, your boss or your assistant.
When you book any meeting, make sure that you can actually be there on time. An easy trick, is to block your calendar an hour ahead. This way if someone else needs to see you that specific day, you can say that you are available until an hour before your next meeting.
I’ll give you an example:
11:00 am Business Meeting
12:00 pm actual meeting
2:00 pm doctor’s appointment
2:45 pm actual appointment
5:00 pm hairdresser
5:45 actual appointment
This way you will never overbook yourself, you will never schedule meetings on a day that you have too much to do and you will never run late.
Make it a habit to be 5 minutes early. This shows total respect, and organizational skills on your part. Sure we would like to schedule 24 meetings in 24 hours, but it simply can’t happen.
If you run your own business and expect people to come to you at a specific time, NEVER make any other appointments. It shows lack of interest, lack of respect and bad business ethics. If you do that, do not expect other people to respect your time, or to work hard for or with you.
Make the effort. You will only win respect and loyalty!
Being a virtual assistant or manager is much easier for the employer than it looks. It frees the employer from hiring an employee, having someone in their space on a daily basis, and paying employment taxes. An independent contractor always has his/her own health insurance, pay their own taxes and cost much less than an employee. These are difficult times and both employers and professionals looking for work can benefit from such a relationship. A flat monthly fee and a few hours a week can do the trick. With email, Skype and so much technology, one can easily work at home and do the work just fine from afar. Try it and you’ll see how much can actually be accomplished in no time.
If you are a small business owner who needs help and organization for a small fee, you can find professionals who are willing to go the extra mile and offer exactly what you need. Try my website to see what I am talking about. www.mariellastockmal.com