Posted by Aileen Gilpin on March 1, 2010

4 Ways To WIN with Email

You’re swimming in emails, phone calls, interruptions…. and it’s only 10 a.m. How are you ever going to finish your day’s work?

Few workers have great systems to deal with the speed and variety of the information they handle daily. Some people use to-do lists. But a to-do list doesn’t help if you have dozens of things listed on it. Other people multitask, but studies have shown that you can actually lose time working that way.

Time management = Calendar management – Learn How….

Here are a few ideas that can help you finish work.

1. Beat clutter with the “D” system.  Every document and email you receive should be discarded, deleted, done, dated (as in, when you’ll do it), drawer (filed) or deterred (forwarded to someone else). The goal – Handle each piece of paper or email once.

Email Tip:    Organize files using colors, categories, alerts, and flags

2. Figure out where your time is going. For one week, record what you do. Then create a time budget for yourself by mapping out what tasks you do daily, weekly and monthly, and how long    they take to complete.

Email Tip:  Create yourself a Task, put a start date, end date, status and assign a follow up reminder for yourself. In Task Details track total hours worked vs. actual hours worked, and what your billing is.

3. Manage interruptions. You can’t stop people from dropping by or calling. But you can determine how you’ll react to their requests. Here’s a great habit to get into: Decide within the first minute or two whether to deal with the issue on the spot or whether you need to schedule time for a longer conversation.

Tip: Immediately open your Calendar and schedule a time to have that conversation with the person, than, categorize it and schedule yourself a reminder.

4. Make a daily plan. Block out time for what you want to accomplish in a day. Schedule high-focus tasks for the time of day when you’re most alert.

Tip: Switch your calendar view to ‘day’ and block out time slots for your high-focused tasks.  Then using the Task function create yourself a task for the other items on your to-do list; put a start date, end date, status and assign a follow up reminder for yourself.

Extra tip: With email you can forward, assign and track tasks that you divert to your staff whether they are internal or external. 

Final tip: Make technology your slave, not the other way around.

Posted by Aileen Gilpin on December 27, 2009

10 Ways to Differentiate Yourself

In a recent article I read they talked about how to grow your business despite the economy but to me it’s really about how to fine-tune your business goals in order to continually succeed.

We all know that goal setting is crucial, whether you’re a business owner or a person seeking opportunities. Having goals that keep you on track and focused will help you achieve.

Here are ten pieces of advice:

Differentiate yourself 
Create a short list of what makes you unique, look at what makes you stand out so you can put your best foot forward and present that first instead of discussing your services.

Grow Naturally 
Whether you want to grow vertically or horizontally, it is important to grow at a pace that you can keep up with.

Focus on customer service 
Bob Burg teaches and relies on the concept that “all things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like and trust.” Customer service is incredibly important. My customers know that they can call on me at any time and I’ll be there for them. Building loyalty among my customers is my first priority.

Say no
Many entrepreneurs feel that they need every sale, but you have to make sure your relationship with your customer is a two-way street. If you are spending a ton of extra time with one customer, that time translates into money that you could have been using to drive new business.  Don’t be afraid to say no.

Go the extra step
In today’s world of technology there are several ways you can show your customers your appreciation. Sending articles relating to their business, hobbies, highlighting them in your blog or newsletter, inviting them to an event you’re involved in, or just by sending them a greeting card that you’re thinking about them.

Hire smart
If you want to work on the company and not in it, hire people smarter/better than you. If you are good at marketing, but are doing it on a day-to-day basis, you can’t focus on the bigger picture of the company. Get someone who can take that aspect over for you.

Take responsibility
Most customers will tolerate an honest mistake if you take responsibility and make it right. Making it right will build incredible customer loyalty and convey how much it matters to you how well you are taking care of your customers.

Don’t skimp
Don’t take shortcuts or skimp on customizing things for clients. Instead, take a look at unique things that can be offered to clients and within those, look at things you can do to streamline your processes.

Provide information
Look at the world through your customer’s lens. What do they want and need to know? Provide valuable information that they can’t get anywhere else.

Take a break
It is important for you to feed your mind, body and soul. If you are not mentally sharp and focused and physically well-rested, you will make poor business decisions.

Posted by Aileen Gilpin on October 1, 2009

5 Easy Ways to Increase Sales – Fast!

We’re always seeking ways to work smarter not harder especially when it comes to the sales cycle.Recently, I attended a workshop on Closing the Sale – A Natural Step and it reminded me of the key points in finalizing business sales. Going to workshops focused on my experience is a great way to refresh my skills and bring to the forefront on my mind all the smart techniques learned over the years. One one piece that I walked away wanting to learn more about was how can we do more, better, faster, with less.

Here’s to your success!

5 Easy Ways to Increase Sales – Fast! 

What am I doing wrong?

That’s the question we as business owners ask when things are not going gangbusters. It is also often true that we may not be doing anything wrong, but rather that we need to discover new, different, and efficient ways of doing things.

Here is a list you can use as an evaluation measure of your marketing efforts. It includes six important marketing principles that can affect your business success.

Target niche markets – Likely, not everyone is the best prospect for your products or services. So target your marketing initiatives to reach the people with the greatest need for your services.

Always incorporate an offer in your advertising – Always incorporate a captivating offer in your advertising. You may offer free information or guidance that will attract customers to your web site.

Collect and use contact and follow-up data – Many businesses acquire over 50% of their sales by sending follow-up communications to customers who didn’t buy the first time.

Diminish risk – Most people refrain from making a purchase because they don’t want to risk disappointment or financial loss. You can eliminate this risk by providing a liberal satisfaction guarantee.

Diversify – Expand your existing customer volume and capitalize on more business from satisfied customers rather than spending more money finding new customers.

Posted by Aileen Gilpin on September 9, 2009

What is social networking?

Social networks are the entire craze these days. When they first came out, business owners didn’t know what to do with them. I think it was due to the over-flooding of teenagers on MySpace. With a better understanding and infrastructure that Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter now has, more small business owners are far open-minded to the concept.

Several individuals have asked that I provide feedback on the topic of social networking, and what came to mind is with time-management social networking can benefit your business.

So ask yourself, Should I be spending more time on social networking?

Back before the development of social networking sites, businesses relied on customer referrals to generate sales.  A happy customer equaled a new referral almost every time.

In the virtual realm of business, we now seek out a higher level of recognition.  Therefore, we pound social networking sites with day to day updates and spend countless hours bouncing from one site to another.  The objective is to connect with as many professionals as possible.  The more knowledgeable we are about today’s trends; the higher quality of followers we obtain.

Mismanagement of Time

The issue is of course our time.  How much time do we have to bounce between network sites?  I believe that Internet entrepreneurs spread themselves too thin as it is.  Social networking has become a fad that everyone is addicted to at some level.

Perhaps our focus shouldn’t be on how many different social networks we can belong to at one time, but rather which of those networks can we benefit the most from.  If time management is your weakness, you should consider a site that not only allows you to express your business, but also provides you with qualified connections.

I’m not saying that you should eighty-six your past relationships with Twitter, Face Book, and LinkedIn.  Just consider where your time is best spent.

*******

Special Offer!

LinkedIN is the fastest growing online networking tool for businesses today.

The reasons to join are endless!

If you want to grow your connections and don’t have time or the know how, call me. LinkedIN has helped me build my online brand AND it has impacted my bottom line. It can do the same for YOU!

Connect with me on LinkedIN

Posted by Aileen Gilpin on July 1, 2009

5 Signs It’s Time To Hire An Assistant

While many business-owners have difficulty delegating work, at a certain point it becomes necessary to move the business forward. Hiring an assistant can help you run things more efficiently, letting you focus on the big picture as your assistant takes care of administrative tasks. Some companies hire admins to work on-site, but many others are using virtual assistants to take care of tasks like scheduling or invoicing remotely.

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