|Real Bookkeeping. Virtual Assistance.|
|Volume 8 Issue 6||www.offassist.com|
For those of you not living in Central Texas, thank your lucky stars. It's been a HOT summer. One that makes us want to rush from our air conditioned homes into our air conditioned cars and into an air conditioned store. It's usually hot here, but this summer has been one for the record books (literally!). August is traditionally our hottest month of the year, but I keep reminding myself that it means we're that much closer to Autumn.
August is bittersweet, though. When I flip that calendar page my kids start to think about heading back to school, as does their school teacher dad. As much as I sit in my home office right now wishing, just for a minute, that they would all just be quiet for a few minutes, I know I'll miss them when they're all back in school. Thank goodness for weekends!
I hope you all had a great Summer and are looking forward to getting back into work-mode!
Branding, to me, is about having secure sense of self for your business. I see a lot of new VAs, in particular, get caught up in worrying about their logo, their website, their blog, but they don't give a thought to their brand identity, which should come first.
Lots of entrepreneurs and small businesses have a great start simply by word-of-mouth, but when they're ready to start marketing themselves in a more formalized way they don't think about their brand and it's importance.
A brand isn't just a logo. A brand is a representation of who you are, what you do and what makes you different from the rest. I like brands that are honest about how they can provide solutions to your problems, when there is a legitimate need for a solution. It's not necessary to be all things to all people, but it is important to be THE thing to the people looking for your help.
If done right, a brand easily communicates what clients can expect from you. If they like your brand then you have a potential new client. If they don't like your brand, then your product or service wasn't what they were looking for. And that's okay, it's no fun trying to give someone something they don't really want.
There are two easy ways to start figuring out your brand and what value you offer.
First, read through your client testimonials or start asking your clients what they like and dislike about your services. You probably already know how they feel, but it makes a big difference when you ask them directly. Not only is it good customer service, but you'll actually start to see patterns and words that come up regularly. These can help form the essence of your brand and even a tagline.
When I read through the testimonials for my personal trainer client, three themes came up over and over again. She always stressed the importance of training your mind, body and spirit, proper breathing techniques and focusing on long-term health. This gave way to the development of her tagline Train. Breathe. Sustain and built the foundation for her brand.
A more formal approach is a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is a technique taught in University marketing programs and used by corporations. Here you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and identify opportunities and threats within your industry. This is where you get honest about who you are, so you can be honest with your clients about what you can actually deliver.
Most people know about their strengths but don't want to look at their weaknesses. But just like they train you for interview techniques, weaknesses can turn into opportunities to develop yourself and in this case, grow your business. Most weaknesses listed in the SWOT analysis also go in the opportunities bucket. Threats are what economic, social, consumer and competitive trends are happening that could impact your brand and your business. A SWOT analysis can help clearly identify what's unique to your brand and position your business for success.
So before you go out to conquer the world, make sure you take time to develop your brand. It will help you provide value to your customers and make your marketing efforts much easier and more successful.
For more information on branding, visit Senay Johnson's website at http://www.senayjohnson.ca.
Article Source: ezinearticles.com
Upgrading to QuickBooks 2011
Note: Check with your accounting professional before doing this to be sure that's how they'd like it done. YMMV!
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Spotlight: Houston VAs
The Houston VAs started out as a meetup group for virtual assistants in the Houston, Texas, area, but have become so much more.
They are a membership-based group and operate more like a combination continuing ed program and multi-VA practice than a professional association. Members, both VAs and potential clients, pay a nominal ($5/year) membership fee to access all the resources available on their site.
For VAs, the group is vital, local, and lets them pool their talents. Clients in the Houston area who are looking for a local VA can find a whole team when they find the Houston VAs group, but each member remains an independent business owner. Members are also eligible for special training programs and discounts with some of the group's partners (like TexVAL).
Have you nursed a secret longing to be in the spotlight, center-stage, all eyes on you?
If you would like to be featured in the OffAssist spotlight column, and have not been featured in the past twelve months, contact Patty@OffAssist.com and we'll see if we can put you in the limelight.
Fine print: We do reserve the right not to feature anyone and a request is not a guarantee that you will make it into the newsletter. Also, if your news, announcement, etc. is time sensitive or tied to a specific date, please let Patty know in your email.
Have an article you'd like to write for our monthly newsletter or want to be spotlighted? Have a QuickBooks question or something you'd like to see in the Tech Tip?
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This newsletter is published monthly by Candy Beauchamp of OffAssist. © 2011Much of the advice in this newsletter is based upon the research, professional and personal experiences of the authors. If the reader has any questions concerning any material or procedure mentioned, the publisher and authors strongly suggest seeking the advice of a qualified CPA or other professional.