Do You Have A Productivity Checklist?

productivity checklistWhen you have to undertake a project there is so much that has to go into making it successful, the foremost being having a team of individuals with the right skills, who can identify with your vision and objectives. The key factor for success is getting the highest productivity from your team so that the project is completed on time, within budget, and its results exceed expectations. How do you come up with the winning productivity checklist to make this happen?

A productivity checklist gives a bird’s eye view of all that needs to be addressed as part of project management so that expected outcomes are achieved. Here is a look at the top items in a productivity checklist that must be checked to enhance work productivity, minimize cost, and shorten time to deliver:

Build A Team Of Skilled People

Top priority on your productivity checklist is building a team that gets results. This means finding talented and qualified people who can give professional results. Once you form such a team, you have to inform them about mini-max outcomes so that they know the levels of commitment or output expected by you from each of them.

Have A Good Plan In Place

Second to building a good team is having an excellent plan in place to implement the project. The best plans are the ones that look into risks, make use of innovative techniques to carry out work quickly and efficiently, and which set practical milestones that team members can adhere to.

Good Time Management 

It is how well you manage time that makes your project a success or a failure. The best teams and optimal plans can work only when time management is carried out efficiently. This means focusing on schedules, priorities, and solving delays rightaway so that your team completes work on time.

Transparency In Work Processes 

While getting status updates and email reports on work progress is important, you should also have a system in place by which you can see for yourself what is happening. This transparency-in-work process can be implemented through software applications that show group chats, progress reports for a group at any point of time, information updates, etc. If you find any issue that needs to be addressed by using such tools you can do it right away.

Effective Communication 

While it is important to build a team of skilled people, it is also important to check on how well each member communicates. Effective communication can come about only when you have team members with the right maturity level. They must have a personality that is apt for the project that you are undertaking, only then will you have team members who communicate when required, bring out details accurately, and complete project activities successfully. You can add to this environment by implementing trust-building measures, listening to team member’s problems, and balancing team priorities which results in better cooperation and communication between them.

Show Appreciation 

While giving financial rewards is vital, it is equally important to show appreciation. When you find that results are according to expectations, it is the right time to show appreciation for the team’s hard work. This boosts morale and motivates team members to be more productive.

Good Follow Up

After you have completed a task, follow up on it to check results and feedback. Examine the outcomes and incorporate lessons learnt to introduce better work processes and ideas that will increase productivity. This follow up is essential for all teams in the organization such as work team, accounts team, sales team, etc., because it helps to fine tune work processes which results in greater efficiency.

Use Latest Tools 

Work productivity can be hampered when you have outdated work processes. Replace old systems with advanced models to bring in higher speed and efficiency. While this might be an initial cost it will bring good returns. By doing a thorough research, you can find the best work tools that enhance work productivity but which do not cost much.

Brainstorming

Infusing better ideas can cut down time spent in work and enables team members to deliver more. Have a brainstorm session once in a while so that team members come up with ideas or solutions on problems that they face in their daily work tasks. This enhances communication and helps team members to tackle problems better.

By following a good productivity checklist, you will build a productive team that makes use of advanced work tools and which enjoys good communication and cooperation. The result of this is excellent productivity that helps achieve business objectives on time and brings quality work output.

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Why Should You Use Social Media To Listen To Your Customers?

The power of social media cannot be ignored in the world of internet. No matter how giant or small you are as a business, there are various utilities of the social media marketing for your business. Getting in touch with your customers at a personal level is extremely important, and that’s the reason you need something as powerful as the online social media to get vocal and expand the voice of your online business. Here are some quick reasons why you might consider resorting to virtual marketing.

  • The broader reach: Getting into the online market with deep penetration is extremely important. If you are willing to connect with your customers, you must be looking for feedback on products and services, and that’s only possible when you ask them the right questions. You can think of offering your customers a virtual assistant online that can respond to their queries and offer genuine help on their problems and complaints. In a short time, you will find a better hold on what your consumers feel and think.

  • Boost your sales: Any online business that tries hard to establish itself in the mind of customers through social media will have to get in touch with them and strike the right chord. Boosting your sales and making the most of the marketing is only possible when you interact with your customers on a regular basis. Only when you listen to them, you can expect them to take interest in business news or in some product launch.

  • To Create your niche: When you are extremely popular on social networking sites, mainly the major players – YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you will find that your customers are interested in interacting with you. This is the perfect way to create a niche in your industry as you will above your competitors in terms of popularity and interactivity among customers.

  • Free market research and analysis: How good are you faring as a company, and how effectively you can launch new things, is determined by a strong market research. However, you can make more out of number crunching, provided you know the kind of rapport shared between you and customers. Analysing your key markets will be much easier than ever when your customers are ready to offer their inputs.

The main question arises on the ways of using social media for your business. While you can hire a virtual assistant to look into the responses and feedback on social sites, it is also equally important that you and top officials keep revising the customer feedback from time to time. Sometimes, even after listening to what your customers are saying, you may find that there are too many complaints being made. This is nothing but a weak implementation of policies and theories, which can only be checked with regular intervention. You can offer personalised marketing training to all PR executives and social media experts to ensure that the customer feedback and viewpoints are take seriously, and any action that’s needed is taken in time.

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How Startup Entrepreneurs Can Avoid The Baffling Social Media Management?

Startup entrepreneurs have many hats to wear, and there are so many tasks that need to be catered in a small budget and capital. Having an online business is just not enough to make money, you need to ensure everything, include Social Media Management. If you are startup entrepreneur, managing social media platforms for your business can be gigantic task, and you may want to hire a virtual assistant. Check some areas where you might feel burdened with the task of social media management.

  • Expensive experts and specialists: Let’s admit the fact that having a team of social media experts in your office can be a huge burden. These experts do wonders for your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels, but at the same time, you may have a tough time paying for their salaries.
  • Getting the basics correct: While setting up an online business and building your online image, the task of branding the business is extremely important. It is not just about setting a Facebook page or making a business account on Twitter, you need to plan your course of action, so that you can connect to your customers correctly. The task of making social media marketing plan can be really annoying for starters.
  • Coping with the competition pressure: When you are starting in a niche with a limited capital amount, you already have ample competition to deal with. For startup entrepreneurs, this can be a huge pressure to compete with the giants in the social media market.

What can be the best solution for any startup entrepreneur for social media management? The most smart and easy solution is to use virtual assistant services, which can take care of everything without having spent a fortune on them. A virtual assistant is a person who actually manages your social media needs without even having visited your office. If you want to hire a virtual assistant, here are a few reasons why you would pay for their services.

Get costs cut to a fraction: Given the cost of in house employees, virtual assistants are extremely low on cost. While their full time service charges can be higher than a regular employee, you have the option to get their services for a single hour or for more than a few hours as per your business requirement. There are virtual assistants who are extremely professional and can reduce the costs to a large extent.

Get the best services: When it comes to online branding, you need experts who can take care of your business and without much guidance. Online virtual assistants are extremely professional in their approach, and you just need to spell the tasks and deadlines.

As an online business entrepreneur, you need to start with a budget for your social media and marketing, and that can only be achieved when you have experts without having paid millions in salaries. With little attention and control, managing virtual assistants can be easy and effective.

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How Indian Corporate Women Can Benefit From Virtual Assistant Services?

Indian corporate women have taken a giant leap in their efforts and have made it big in the world of internet. If you are one of them and have the best dreams for your online business, you can now focus on your job with attention by hiring a virtual assistant. At the first place, you may wonder why you would need to consider an assistant for your business, but taking a deeper look at things, it would be easy to understand the master benefits that can be derived from your online manager. Here’s why you would think to hire a virtual assistant, and how these people are essential part of your online business management.

  • Getting the basic tasks: There are many routine activities in a business that you may miss. Being a woman, you would have to multitask all the time, and essentially, there are days when you will mistakenly skip a payment or just miss the date of your insurance premium. In such times, you would want someone to just manage things for you, and that’s what a virtual assistant would do at half of the costs. The person can be in charge of reminders, payments and investments and can update you on all important aspects and dates.

  • Maintain your relations: When you are in a business, you will find no time to remember that special birthday of someone you love nor you will have the patience to check your diary every day. While you cannot get an assistant for home management, he/she can certainly take care of your personal and business relations from a personal angle.

  • Making and executing plans: Being a corporate woman, you might have to travel frequently, and for the same, making and executing travel plans may mean a lot of time. With a virtual assistant at your help, you just need to spell your plans and you will have your itinerary in hand. Your assistant can book your tickets, arrange for accommodation or can even plan and schedule the list of meetings. In fact, some day, when you are out of town, you can ask your manager to take care of office maintenance through coordinating various contacts.

  • Get your social media and marketing issues resolved: Indian entrepreneurs, especially women, have shown their merit as administrators. Unfortunately, like many others, you might lack the time that’s needed to maintain your Facebook business page or Twitter account. This is where you would consider hiring a business expert or online manager who will tackle everything and ensure that your clients are satisfied and well informed about your business. they can take care of online media exposure, and when need, they can even conduct a market research on some relevant aspects.

Indian corporate ladies are churning huge bucks, and most of them manage their work through virtual assistants who take care of their work and manage their professional and personal relations.

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Create A System – Work Smartly With Your Virtual Assistant

Most of us would agree that the internet is certainly the best thing that technology has bestowed us. Today, you can manage everything online, including your business. This, however, doesn’t mean that you need spend money on establishment, salaries and pensions. You can just hire a virtual assistant who can look into varied online aspects of your business, without even being in the same location. Here’s how you would like to make the most of a virtual assistant.

  • Know your needs: Before you look for virtual assistant services, it is essential to understand why you would need to hire one. Sometimes, entrepreneurs just want to avoid getting into minute tasks that take ample time of the schedule and would rather hire someone to get the task done professionally. You can get him/her for social media management, online marketing, email management or even making travel plans and presentations. Unless you know the goals of hiring a virtual assistant, you may have tough time getting the services. In fact, you can hire an assistant for being responsible for mails and queries when you are on a vacation.

  • Hire the right one: Whether you are a team of virtual assistants or need just one person to cater your business, you need to make sure that you are hiring the right one. For example, if you are hiring a virtual marketing assistant, she/he must be able to take care of all marketing aspects and must be capable enough to offer you insight on growth and development.

  • Set the goals and deadlines: As an entrepreneur, it is extremely important that you keep your virtual assistant on her/his toes. While you must not overburden with responsibilities, be very clear about the goals and expectations, and wherever a deadline is applicable, you must reinforce the same. Working with virtual assistants can be a challenge at times as you don’t have any control over their work hours, but with clarified goals and deadlines, you can certainly control the kind of work that are doing for your business.

  • Keep smart incentives: Not many entrepreneurs do that, but keeping your assistants motivated is highly crucial. If you want them to work for your business with dedication, you ought to offer them chances of learning and growth. This can be a small but interesting piece of work, or sometimes, a simple cash reward. The kind of work you are getting will be directly proportional to the way you treat them. Keeping the balance between work and personal touch is highly indispensable.

Organizing your business activities will get much easy with the help of a virtual assistant at hand, but what you need to find is a smart way to get the job done. Online business management is getting easier by the day, and if you know the trick to hire the right online assistant, you will have ample time to focus on other essentials.

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When To Auto-Schedule Your Social Media Content

No matter whether you have a small business or a large one, there is no denying of the fact that you need the social media for maintaining connection and building relations with the ultimate customers, apart from businesses, peers, competitors and brands. Today, most businesses are maintaining their profile in the best way possible by making most of the social media networks.

If you are small business, you need to put in some personal efforts to maintain and regulate all social media accounts. This is just a simple step to ensure that your business and brand stays in the minds of the customers, and they keep following you. Most small business owners make use of certain social media dashboards that help in maintaining and updating many social media accounts. You can schedule posts, as well as tweets, quite easily without individual efforts. With these dashboards, you can manage and check the mention of your business on varied social media networks and can analyze if you are getting decent response. Most of these social media dashboards are extremely user-friendly, and even if you choose the free plan, there are many features that you can use for free.

There is a question of whether you should opt for auto scheduling of social media content. While some people think that a brand or business loses the connection and vibe with the audience in the long run, other businesses actually favor it. There are certain times when you would need auto scheduling of social media accounts. Here, some of the situations are enlisted below.

  1. When you want a particular post to appear on all social media networks at the same time. This is particularly beneficial when you are making a big announcement and want the news to flash on all social channels. This will help every person in the audience to get the news at the same time at all places.

  2. In case, you have a particular line of events coming up and want each piece of news to flash on social sites in a particular way, you can choose to for pre scheduling of your updates. Again, this is helpful when you are announcing something in a chain of events like a product or brand launch.

  3. When you are updating your website and want your clients to know about the same at a decided time, scheduling your posts and tweets in advance can be really great. Consider the fact that a particular piece of information will be updated by the technical team on your portal on a certain time; you can schedule the update on social networking sites and make changes of your business profile instantly.

The only thing that you need to ensure that your posts that are scheduled in advance are not left idle. Always keep the posts interactive and ensure that all sensible replies get a reply from your end. Many times, a certain update across varied platforms can fetch you a gigantic response that you would hardly get with regular postings.

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Is Content Marketing A Viable Alternative To Your Current Marketing Strategy?

You might be thinking your business is generating good profits because of all the hard work that your marketing team is putting in currently. However, those are past times when traditional marketing was considered to be sufficient for every business. Today, most small and large businesses are taking the online route, and obviously, the process of web marketing is getting popular. Your website can churn decent amounts of profits for you, provided that you know the trick of content marketing. You might wonder if content marketing is a viable option for your business and whether it can offer you the same level of exposure like general marketing. Check some of the essential facts about content marketing, and you can find the reason to move ahead with content.

  • At the first place, content marketing is all about creating articles that can be marketed online. You need to create the option of “call to action”, and your customers will start responding. Given the fact that most people take the online route to find products and services, content marketing will allow you to reach the ultimate customers without having involved too many channels. You can be sure about the fact that the content generated for your business is churning money for you.

  • Content marketing, as an alternative to your current marketing strategy, is much cheaper and effective. You can get content generated by a professional copywriter or web content analyst, and the process is much simpler than devising a plan for your general marketing. Let’s not forget the fact that general marketing has too many tools, and there are many aspects that you need to pay attention to. On the other hand, a professional content expert will undertake all the research for you and do everything to create content that is fresh, crisp and offers everything that customers needs. In short, content marketing demands content that’s effective, where as your current marketing strategy needs much more calculation.

  • Getting traffic with content marketing and SEO (search engine optimization) is much easy as there are only a few tested paths that you need to follow. If you can generate quality content and present the same in the right places, your website will gain momentum in no time. The more you are willing to explore in general marketing, the lesser it seems. Certainly, content marketing comes as a much effortless solution.

  • Monitoring what is generated from content and web marketing is easy as you can estimate the traffic driven, and if needed, you can make changes in your marketing plan. On the other hand, the investment you have already made on your current marketing strategy is already gone, and if nothing works out, you have very little control over the expenses that have been made.

Content marketing makes way for traffic in many ways and kind of a flexible approach, and thinking of the long run, it is certainly your viable option to your current marketing plans.

How To Use Google+ Hangouts To Promote Your Small Business?

Initially, Google+ took its time to gain market of the social networking sites, and with time, it is proven to be a great option for small businesses to grow in the social arena. Google+ has grown gigantically, and there are many tools that can help your small business in varied ways. One such tool from Google+ that’s worthy of your attention is Hangouts. Many people use this feature to reach friends and people they know, but you can actually use it in favor of your business. Here are some quick tips to promote your business with Google+ Hangouts.

  1. Start comprehensive market research: When you are willing to know what your actual customers want, you can invite them to Hangouts and start discussing thing. Ask them about their views on products and services, and even you can check if they actually follow the happenings of your company.

  2. Conduct meetings easily: There is the option of conference calling on Hangouts, which can be great way to conduct meetings. Don’t forget the fact that actual meetings with clients can be really expensive as it involves time and money in equal amount. Virtual meetings with up to nine people are possible at almost no cost of yours. What else do you need to save money in your small business?

  3. Get going with employees and coworkers: When you undertake meetings with employees, it’s often not easy for them to open up with you. With Google+ Hangouts, you can start talking to employees and coworkers in an informal manner. Think of Google+, and they will get a huge platform and share their ideas on improving and bettering the business prospects.

  4. Get easy customer feedback: While it is essential to know what your customers expect from you, it is equally important that you take feedback on your services and products that are already in the market. As an incentive of participating in these Hangouts sessions, you can offer certain offers or coupons to customers.

  5. Announce the things that matter: There are times when you would want customers and peers to know about your business updates, and what can be a better way to update than Google+ Hangouts. You can update change in your business timings or can even announce the launch of a product line or a new website or outlet. This can help your small business save a large part of the marketing expenses.

Not to forget, Google+ Hangouts will have the On-Air feature that will allow you to reach a large section of your customers. You can opt for live streaming of the business Hangout on YouTube. You can save the same and edit it in your account when you need. As such, your customers can later on check the videos, even if, they miss it in live streaming. Small businesses can use Google+ in their favor in many ways, and probably that’s one of the few reasons why businesses prefer Google+ over Facebook. Make the most of this fast growing social networking option from Google.

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Small Business Owners : 7 Tips To Get Value From Your Content

Small businesses always have budget issues, and when you are taking your small business on the online route, you need to make the most of the content resources that you have. Content marketing has offered phenomenal success to many small businesses, and if you know the right ways, getting the best value from your content is not a herculean task.

  1. Generate concise but descriptive content: The content that you use on your website must be crisp and well crafted for readers. Try to aim for concise descriptive content, rather than opting for stuffed content. Stick to the needs that customers expect from your business and generate content accordingly.

  2. Keep up with competition: The web market for small businesses is competitive than ever before, and that’s the reason, it is crucial that you keep up with all the competition. Try to keep a track with your immediate competitors and find the tactics that they are using for their business.

  3. Market content accordingly: When you are dealing with content marketing, you need to make a strategy. For the same, you need help from SEO experts who can tell you the right place to devise and use the content. The right content is just not enough, you need to place the content at the right place.

  4. Look for long term goals: If you really want to generate value out of content of your small business, you need to keep long term goals. Ensure that you don’t rush with short SEO tricks to get quick traffic. The aim of any small business is not to get quick traffic but to find regular and quality traffic.

  5. Target a niche: Rather than opting to capture all parts of the market with a small business, try to get your content to particular niche. The idea of targeting a niche will help you in focusing on your content. When you cater a particular part of the market initially, you can devise plans for the other sections in a steady way. Also, this helps in judging the market factors and finding the potential of the market.

  6. Keep content updated: Let’s admit the fact that most customers are not interested in static websites that don’t have any updates. Even if, you get traffic initially, you will not be able to retain the same. As such, you need to update content regularly on your website and keep up with all the happenings that take place in your business niche.

  7. Stick to uniqueness: Try and find a copywriter who can undertake the task of research and can generate content that’s fresh, unique and engaging. Instead of looking for content that’s rewritten or duplicated, you must opt to pay for the services of a genuine content writer.

With these things in mind, the content of your website can be your money maker in varied ways. You just need to ensure that you emphasize on maintaining quality content, rather than just stuffing content with keywords and business phrases.

Photo Credit : Photos Stock Pictures

 

 

Why Should You Hire A Virtual Assistant Over a Virtual Employee?

Well, everyone thinks the term Virtual Assistant and the Virtual Employee, are same, but they’re not. If you do not know the difference between these two read my post further….

A Virtual Assistant is an independent business owner who runs her/his virtual assistant business and provides services to her/his clients worldwide. She/he is responsible for her/his own equipments, expenses, taxes and benefits. Where as a virtual employee is still your own staff, who has the right to claim all the perks and benefits on top of her/his salary.

Does that make sense? Most of the time, people interchange these two terms and get confused with the term Virtual Assistant. This rings us to the questions, why A Virtual Assistant and why not a Virtual Employee.

  • Virtual Assistants are always experienced business professionals. They’re well equipped with technology, skills and talents. Virtual Employees come with experience and non-experience. Some times, you need to train even the experienced virtual employees to do certain tasks that they’re unaware of.

  • Virtual Assistants are your Business Partners (without claiming a share in profits). They treat your business as their own. This is the basic ground rule for becoming a Virtual Assistant. Unless, you treat your client’s business as your own, you cannot grow your own business and every VA knows this before becoming a successful Virtual Assistant. A Virtual Assistant studies your business from the scratch and then helps you take step-wise actions to take your business to the next level. A Virtual Employee just follows your instructions and completes the tasks. She/he is not able to guide in the right directions to succeed in your online/offline business.

  • Virtual Assistants bill their time only for the productivity. That means, the VA’s hourly rate doesn’t include lunch time, coffee breaks, vacation time and other benefits. Whereas for a virtual employee, you have to pay for their unproductive hours too.

  • As I said earlier, All Virtual Assistants are experienced in their niche. But, when you hire a Virtual employee, you need to instruct them constantly and always need to have an eye on them to do the things exactly as you expect.

  • Professional Virtual Assistants upgrade their skills to be on the top in their market and always have a keen desire to learn new skills that will help your business. But, if you want your virtual employee to learn a new skill, you need to pay the cost of the new training program/skill.

  • Virtual Assistants are always looking for long-term working relationships. You can use the service of a VA only in need. But, virtual employee has a little interest in the employer’s business as she/he’s working for the monthly salary.

  • Professional Virtual Assistant will help you execute your unique ideas quickly to achieve the expected results and thereby grow your business faster. But, a Virtual employee always waits for your instructions to proceed further on the given tasks.

  • When you’re hiring a Professional Virtual Assistant you’re investing in your business growth. But, when you’re hiring a Virtual Employee it’s your business cost.

Now you need to decide whether you want to use a Virtual Assistant (who is also a virtual business owner) for growing your business or a virtual employee (who still need instructions to perform tasks) to take care of your daily admin chores.

image credit : FreeDigitalPhotos.Net