Most people keep their business cards in a wallet or handbag, which means when its time to hand their card to a potential client, they have to rummage around, through loose change, petrol receipts, other business cards, photos of their kids, credit cards and so on.
So much for making a great first impression!
How about this scenario...
When asked for his business card, John reaches into his trouser pocket, effortlessly pulls out a business card holder, removes a card and presents it to George. Poetry in motion! George's eyes linger on the business card holder and he is impressed with John's style.
Here's another example
David, an executive with a multinational company is sitting at his desk. An old colleague drops in for a visit and asks David for his business card. David pulls out his card from a drawer, holding it between his index and third fingers (like a cigarette) and casually tosses it to his friend across the table. Is that appropriate?
Keep it professional
Your business card is an important part of your professional identity. It holds your name, designation, the organisation you represent, your office/ residential telephone numbers, mobile number, fax number, email ID, website address, etc. It might also carries your credentials and educational qualifications. When you are presenting it to somebody, do so with respect. Your body language should also convey the same.
Always hold the card face-up, so that the print faces the individual you are presenting it to. This is a courtesy, so that he/ she doesn't have to turn it around to read it. Hold it firmly in one corner, using your your thumb and index finger to grip it as you extend it to the receiver.
If you are dealing with clients from Asian countries like Japan or China, it is important to hold the business card with both hands and offer it accompanied by a small bowing gesture. Europeans and Americans do not pay as much attention to business cards as the Asians do.
Always present your business card with your right hand, as in some cultures it is considered impolite to do so with your left.
Storing your business cards
There are a variety of business card holders available - metal looks classy, leather is stylish. Pick a holder than is slim, but capable of holding 10 - 15 cards and keep it replenished. A card holder stops business cards from getting creased or dirty and dog-eared.
Writing on a business card
Always make sure that the information on your card is current. Never cross out old phone numbers, email addresses, etc - it looks tacky and unprofessional. You are better off investing in a new set of cards that show the correct information.
It's also rude to write on or deface someone else's business card in their presence. Wait until you are out of their sight and then jot down any information on the card that will help you to remember them.
Other things to remember
Keep your business card to yourself until someone asks for it.
Only ask for cards or contact information for people you intend to follow up with.
Make the most of your networking by regularly connecting with your contacts.
Business cards can be one of the most effective ways to gain new business. Think of them as little billboards with your name on them. They help you make more sales, create more customers and increase awareness of your business.
Are you making the most of your smart phone for your business, your personal life and even for pleasure?
Here are a few iPhone apps you might like to check out (if you haven't discovered them already of course!)
(Please note: The following refers specifically to iPhone because that's what I use, which isn't to say that other smart phones aren't as good, but I can only talk about what I know!)
If you are doing a lot of your transactions online through PayPal then PayPal's mobile application is for you. It lets you do most of the things that you can do with your normal PayPal account - receive instant notification of an incoming payment, taking a look at your balance, making payments to anyone in your contact list, and sending money. mbPointer
Turn your iPhone into a PowerPoint presentation remote controller. After you've installed the companion receiver app, mpPointer connects to your PC via WiFi, acting as a remote control for your presentations. It allows your iPhone to serve as a regular touchpad for your PC, allowing mouse movements, including scrolling and clicking. LinkedIn
LinkedIn for iPhone is a useful networking tool when you are out and about. You can use it to view your entire business network and next time you meet a business professional, just add each other on LinkedIn, right there on the spot. You'll never lose another business card - or another valuable contact again. Evernote
Keep track of everything that happens in your life with this app. Evernote lets you gather notes, voice memos, ideas, or snapshots on your iPhone, and it syncs them with your computer (PC or Mac). Very useful for creative minds, Evernote keeps your ideas organized and easy to review later. Some favourites... MyFitnessPal
Studies prove that the best way to lose weight and keep it off forever is to simply keep track of the foods you eat. MyFitnessPal is a free website (www.myfitnesspal.com
) and mobile app that make calorie counting and food tracking easy. (I love this app and it's actually helped me to lose 10kg!) Marine Charts New Zealand
As you may know, I'm a keen 'boatie' and EarthNC Marine Charts New Zealand delivers a complete chart plotter solution right there on your iPhone. No other app delivers the same ease of use, depth of data, and range of features. This is a must-have app for any boating enthusiast! Countdown
Perfect for anyone who is working from home and for Mum's with young children. A godsend in those cold and blustery months of winter when you really don't want to leave the house. Yes, I'm talking about Countdown's online shopping app and there is nothing easier or nicer than placing your order online and having it delivered right to your door, especially when you are pressed for time. Word games for your brain! Jibber Jabber
I'm totally hooked on Jibber Jabber! It's a word completion game, which is easy to learn, endlessly challenging and best of all, it's free! Give it a go! Whirly Word
Get your brain working with Whirly Word! It's one of the most popular word games available on iPhone. It's very addictive and great for when you have a spare five minutes. You might even increase your word power, because if you're not sure if one of the answers is a real word, there is an inbuilt dictionary - just tap on the answer to see its definition. And of course, there are thousands more apps to choose from - just visit iPhone's App Store.
Today, 13 March 2013, is My Virtual Assistant's 4th Birthday!
After launching my business right in the middle of an economic recession, it's wonderful to still be here!
Since setting up My Virtual Assistant, techonlogy and marketing opportunities have changed greatly, which has encouraged me to rethink the way I do things and to work out the very best way in which to support my clients.
A large percentage of my clients have come from word of mouth referrals - through the various networking groups I attend and (I'm delighted to say) from my existing cilents.
When I first set up My Virtual Assistant, I never thought my website would bring in as much new business as it has. This has made me realise how relevant it is to have a website and how important it is to constantly keep changing and updating it. However, I still come across many business owners who don't understand how to effectively use technology to their advantage. The business owners don't realise how valuable it is to have a good website, they don't understand Social Media, and some don't even want a smartphone! All this does, is allow their competitors to pass them by.
I still have a lot to learn about running my own business, but I'm pleased to say that I always pay my bills on time, the electricity is still on and I don't go hungry!
Huge thanks to all my (without exception) wonderful clients, and to my family and friends for all your support. It's certainly been an enjoyable four years and I'm looking forward to the years ahead!
Of course, My Virtual Assistant can create an affordable website for your start-up or existing business, but I can also help you out with a whole lot more... Here is a run down/reminder of just some of the things My Virtual Assistant can help you with: Newsletters Example of an A3 Trifold Brochure
Weekly, monthly or annual newsletters – it’s your choice! I can collate the information provided by you and/or your team, creating a professionally branded newsletter, complete with images and links to your website, products, YouTube, email, etc.
I can make things really easy for you
by sending your completed newsletter directly to your customers using an online email campaign website, which also manages your subscriber lists, provides sign up forms, tracks your campaign performance, and even let's you see who’s actually reading your newsletters. PowerPoint Presentations When it comes to creating a memorable PowerPoint presentation, remember that people have come to hear YOU speak, and be informed by you and your message. Don't let your message and your ability to tell a story get derailed by slides that are unnecessarily complicated or busy
All you have to do is scan any handwritten or printed slides, or notes, email them through to me and I will turn them into a fabulous PowerPoint Presentation (that means a presentation which isn't full of bullet points, but rather one that will capture your audience's attention and back up what you are saying
). View example PowerPoint presentation
Flyers, Brochures, Invitations and Advertisements Example of a customised Training Manual
The desktop publishing program I work with is Adobe InDesign CS5 which provides industrial strength publishing techniques, enabling me to lay out, proof, and export print-ready pages.
I will work to custom-design a quality flyer, brochure, invitation or printed advertisement for your business, plus save you time and hassle, because I will liaise with the printing company on your behalf and obtain a sample proof, ensuring colours and images are printed correctly.
Simply scan any handwritten or printed documentation, email it through and I will type it up for you in a jiffy! Let me take care of the editing, proof reading, layout and formatting of your documentation.
All documentation will be emailed back to you, ready for you to print out on your own printer or I can arrange for it to be sent directly to the printing company of your choice.
Need help with setting up a Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn account for your business? My Virtual Assistant is here to help! Let me take the hassle out of creating a brand-relevant page to help promote your business, including a kick-start to finding 'followers' and ensuring your privacy settings are correct.
Happy New Year!
The start of a new year is a fantastic time to take a look at your business website.
So how does your website stack up?
Is it fresh, modern and up-to-date? Easy to navigate? Or are there spelling errors, tired images and does the opening line (horror of horrors) say. 'Welcome to our website'?
If your website content is current, the information is easy to find, your text and images are interesting and upbeat, then that's great news. If it isn't, then the time to do something about it is right now. A website must hold attention, capture imagination and encourage a consequence. Visitors to your website should be thinking about the information you have provided
, not what is happening on each page of your website. Unusual layouts can be distracting, so don't be tempted to re-invent something that's become the norm, simply because you think its 'boring' or you want your site to be 'different'. Make sure your website content is relevant and up-to-date.
Check for simple things - for example, saying something like, "I have been in business for 10 years", will be incorrect if you don't update it every year. It would be far better to say, "I have been in business since 1993." Keep things interesting.
Maintain a good mix of text and images on your website. Too much text can feel overwhelming for the reader. Images should be clear, sharp and not too big. By all means use colour, but don't go crazy with too many font colours. At the same time, just choose one or two font styles and sizes, and stick to them. A little movement
(e.g. revolving images) can create variety. However, if there's too much going on, your visitors will get distracted and possibly annoyed by things whizzing across the page or if the pages take too long to load. This will result in your visitors being discouraged from staying on your website for very long. Keep up with current trends
. If someone visited your website on their mobile phone or tablet device, how well would your site perform? Check that your website is compatible with current devices. Make the most of Social Media.
Do you have a Facebook and/or LinkedIn page for your business? If not, why not? Make sure you have links going from your Social Media pages to your website and from your website back to your Social Media pages. Many smaller businesses don't have a website at all. Are you really impressing your business prospects if they can only find you in online directories and on Google maps?
These days a company website is a basic, must-have marketing tool. A website can make your company look just as good (if not better) than your larger competitors and it doesn't have to cost the earth. So, why would you pass up that opportunity? So, how much does a new website cost?
As a rule of thumb, it takes around 2 - 3 hours per page to create a new template-based website, however this can vary depending on the amount content required for each page, e.g. text, images, image sourcing/resizing, links, forms, maps, etc. To find out more, please email My Virtual Assistant
Sending out press releases is a great way to get some free business promotion. The only requirement is that your press release has to actually contain information that is newsworthy, and be engaging enough to get people's interest.
Has your business recently expanded? Do you have a new product? Have you been involved in some promotional activity such as sponsoring a charity event? Have you or your company recently won an award?
Shout it out to the world, via a press release!
Help! I can't sleep!
So, what's keeping you awake at night..? If you can relate to any of the following (even just a little bit), then it might be time to get some help.
- You have five different projects going on right now and they all were supposed to be finished weeks ago.
- That press release you meant to send out is now a year out of date.
Your sleep remedy? Contact My Virtual Assistant today!
- When friends ask you to go somewhere (if they still ask!) you’re response is ‘Sorry, I have to work’.
- You have lots of great ideas for your business, but can’t find the time to carry them out.
- You get off the computer long enough to grab a shower, eat and sleep for a few hours before getting back to work again.
- You spend most of your day checking and responding to emails and have practically no time left to do any other business activities.
- You wouldn’t dream of taking a day off and your next vacation is booked for… oh, never!
- You've sent out articles, proposals, or other important correspondence with spelling or grammatical errors.
- You’re thinking it’s time to change your "monthly" newsletter to an “annual” one.
- You have projects to do that require skills you don't have.
- Your website isn’t current and needs updating.
- You've had to turn down opportunities because you couldn't figure out when you would do the work.
- You'd love to take your business to the next level ...if you only had the time.
Be honest with yourself - what's preventing you from being a great speaker and taking advantage of all the FREE opportunities to promote your business?
International Speaker Cath Vincent will put you on the right track with an hour's face-to-face mentoring, valued at $250, for just $75!
Whether your issue is confidence, content, connection or credibility, Cath will give you tools and tips to unleash your true potential or as she calls it 'Wake Up Your WOW'. Valid until 23 Dec 2012. Email Cath Vincent now to book your one hour mentoring session for only $75 - and to receive this exclusive opportunity, don't forget to mention that you are a special guest of My Virtual Assistant.
Phone Cath on 021 211 2111. www.cathvincent.com
Successful delegation involves turning the right tasks over to the right people for the right reasons.
It requires you to provide enough information, authority, and resources to get the job done the way it needs to be done.
Delegation goes beyond just handing over the job. It includes setting performance expectations, following-up, and providing feedback.
Yesterday I received a lovely message from a client in Switzerland. Part of her message read:
"Your work is amazing, and I am always loving reading your newsletters. You are one savvy business woman! I have you in mind for some future projects down the track ... I'll be in touch before too long :) Just know your newsletters get read and keep you on my mind. Well done!"
Firstly, it's great to know that someone out there is actually reading my newsletters! And secondly, it just goes to show that keeping in regular contact with your clients really does remind them that you are still in business and helps to keep you at the forefront of their mind.
A newsletter can help define your image, build your reputation and provide useful information to your clients.
Make sure your newsletter doesn't consist solely of material advertising your business - that would reduce its credibility and increase the likelihood of it being disregarded. Don't write your newsletter for other specialists in your industry, instead, fill it with information that can help your clients.
And of course, when you need help creating and sending your newsletter, remember to give My Virtual Assistant a call!