How to Use Zapier to Manage Your Notifications
Small business owners and entrepreneurs tend to be technologically savvy. They understand that managing a business with the least resources as possible will help them grow as fast as possible.
If you consider yourself as a tech-savvy entrepreneur, you should use or allow your Virtual Assistant to use Zapier. The tool allows you to manage notifications and alerts without having to check your email calendar. What makes this app great is its compatibility with other 3rd party apps. You can link the tool with apps such as Google, MailChimp, Dropbox, Evernote, Social Media and even get notifications for articles and publications online.
The tool has three features:
1) Get Notified About Important Events
Wouldn’t you want to get notified when you receive an email from an important client? Or how about a reminder to attend a special event?
You’re probably currently using a calendar, your CRM and other apps to monitor notifications. Although it works, using too many apps can distract you from your work and result in missed opportunities.
Zapier helps entrepreneurs handle all their notifications in one place with their notification feature. It monitors all your critical apps and lets you know when something has changed. You can choose to receive notifications via chat, SMS, email or push notification.
2) Discover Problems Quickly
If your server goes down or any of your critical systems stop working, you may experience some downtime. Zapier can help you get notifications when you experience system outages. It can even send a notification to all your customers automatically.
3) Record Your Team’s Most Important Activities
The Zapier dashboard is perfect for businesses to:
- Monitor orders and shipping
- Monitor blog subscribers
- Monitor sales
- And much more
VA Connect helps you become more tech-savvy with tips and tricks to grow your business without growing your staff. Plus, we provide affordable Virtual Assistants to help you get stuff done. Contact us for more information.
9-Step Checklist to Managing Your Website and Online Presence
You’ve spent time building your online presence. Perhaps you’ve created social media accounts and even dabbled into social media advertising. But one thing’s for sure, if you’re not keeping track of what’s going where, it’s impossible to manage your overall influence. You also want an online presence that maximises your sales. We’ve developed a 9-step checklist to help you manage your website and online presence:
Step 1: Familiarise yourself with best practices
As much as it’s important to be unique, you need to familiarise yourself with how your industry is and should be represented online. Do an online search of similar companies in your niche just to have a look at what they’re doing. Never copy someone else’s style, but only learn from their methods.
You also want to read up on legal issues such as consumer protection, advertising and selling regulations, copyright, data protection and libel laws. Knowing these rules will help you to create the right content for your website and social media pages.
Step 2: Review your current online presence
If you’ve already created an online presence, it’s important to review it. Review what you’re posting online. In addition, review your audience. Are they still active on the social media sites you are using?
Lastly, you want to review your overall message. Is this what you want to put out to your audience? What do you want to be known for?
Step 3: Design and build your website
The fun part begins. Work with a web developer to create the right website for your business. Before you start developing your website, you should decide on your content and overall marketing message.
Decide which tabs you want to show on your navigation menu e.g. home, contact, products, blog etc. Then, decide what content will go on each page.
Hire a web developer or let us know if you would like our help as we have a range of Virtual Assistants available.
Step 4: Set up a blog on your website
A blog is beneficial to drive the right people straight from search engines to your website. If you use the right keywords and do SEO right, you will find that people will start coming to your website, read a blog and then sign up for your services.
A blog tells the world that you are an expert in the field. You know what you’re talking about. It also helps you to offer free stuff in return for an email signup or blog share.
Make sure that you have a written a couple of blogs before you launch your website. This is to make sure that there is enough content when people visit your site in the beginning.
Step 5: Create a newsletter for your website
A newsletter helps you to keep the connection with your clients going. It is also a chance to advertise some of your latest products. Mailchimp and Aweber are some of the popular tools that people use.
Step 6: Sell your products online
Make sure there’s a way for people to buy products on your website. They shouldn’t have looked all over your site for it either. Make shopping on your website easy by using a plugin such as WooCommerce.
Step 7: Create a landing page or two
Landing pages work well to get a purchase or sign up for a specific product. It allows your reader to focus on one page of information without getting distracted by other pages or sidebars.
Choose a product you want to focus on, create a landing page for that product and then drive people to the page through targeted emails, posts and ads.
Step 8: Install the best plugins for your website
Besides the WooCommerce plugin, there are other plugins that you will need to keep your website running, fast and secure. Here is a list of plugins that every website should consider.
Step 9: Track your performance
Finally, track your performance across all social media platforms and across your website as well. This can help you to focus on products that sell well and maximise on cross-selling opportunities. To analyse your performance on your website, use Google Analytics. For your social media channels, use the built-in analytics.
3 Incredible Ways Your Virtual Assistant Can Help Run Your Business
By now, we have all heard of Virtual Assistants, but are they just people who help us to clear our mailboxes or can they do more?
First thing to note is that Virtual Assistants should not just be limited to admin as many can do much more than that. There are Virtual Assistants who go as far as running your entire business for you so that you may focus on attracting new clients.
Furthermore, people hire Virtual Assistants for many reasons. Some would like to save on costs and others because they’re looking for a flexible employee. The benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant can be found in this article.
Today, we will discuss three incredible ways your Virtual Assistant can help run your business:
Traditional employees are reluctant to work on weekends and even scoff at the idea. Virtual Assistants, on the other hand, work on an hourly basis depending on what works for both of you. If your business relies heavily upon sales during “off peak hours” and “off seasons”, hiring a Virtual Assistant is a good option. You can find a Virtual Assistant to work for you on the weekends, public holidays and any other days when regular employees would not be available.
Ever had an emergency at work and wished you had a fairy godmother to fix it? Get a Virtual Assistant! He/she can help you manage your workload within a short notice period if they’re available. Since Virtual Assistants work by the hour as “freelancers”, they are more committed to their work and they make sure they deliver on expectations so that you may hire them again. If you’re facing an emergency, they’re more likely to squeeze you into their schedule. Nevertheless, if one is not available you can always hire another one just as fast if you are partnered with a Virtual Assistant Agency like VA Connect.
Every business needs some kind of reporting system to get an overview of how well the business is doing. If you’re a small business owner you’re probably still doing this yourself using spreadsheets. A Virtual Assistant can alleviate you of doing reports. Virtual Assistants are highly skilled individuals as they normally train themselves in a specific niche to appeal to employers. You will find that one assistant can do multiple tasks with attention to detail.
Still not convinced that you need a Virtual Assistant? Take our quiz here.
There are many more ways that Virtual Assistants can help run your business. Here is a previous post where we listed eight tasks that you can delegate to your assistant. Also, if you’re an entrepreneur, here’s how a Virtual Assistant can help you. Finally, here’s how a Virtual Assistant saved me 15 hours per week!
If you’re convinced that you need a Virtual Assistant, contact us today!
5 Must-have Tools to Run Your Business More Efficiently
Every business requires six elements to operate efficiently:
- CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Software
- Emailing Platform
- Messaging Platform
- Accounting Software
- Meeting Platform
- Document Management System
If you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, you can use these five tools to run your business more efficiently:
Zoho (CRM Software and Emailing Platform)
Zoho is a free CRM software for up to 10 users that can help businesses start, build and cultivate relationships with their customers.
Some features of this tool:
- Lead gathering
- Contract management
- Workflow automation
- Social collaboration by letting you see your team’s social media updates within the tool
- Premium features at no extra cost
- No service contract required
For a CRM system that enables more than 10 users, try Salesforce.
Slack (Messaging Platform)
Slack is a messaging tool for the modern business. It allows team members to stay connected wherever they are. If you’re keen on speaking in hashtags and staying connected wherever you go, this is the tool for you.
Features of this tool:
- Channels that help you to organise your team conversations into different projects, topics or anything else you choose
- Private and Public messaging options
- One-on-one or group calls
- Drag, drop or share files
- Multiple team options
Wave (Accounting Platform)
Wave is an accounting software that helps make chasing payments, tracking expenses and managing employees easier.
Features of this tool:
- Create and send invoices
- Track invoices and payments seamlessly
- Analyse expenses by linking your bank account
- Pay your team easily from anywhere
Zoom (Meeting Platform)
If you’re running a virtual business, you’re going to have to find a way of meeting with colleagues and clients. Zoom is a video and web conferencing service that helps you schedule and host meetings effortlessly.
Features of the tool:
- Online call and video meetings
- Cross-platform messaging and file sharing
- Build collaboration-enabled conference rooms
OwnCloud (Document Management System)
OwnCloud is an easy-to-use tool that makes document storing and retrieval easy. It’s the perfect solution for a virtual office.
Features of this tool:
- Installs in your data centre
- Share files securely
- Real-time document updates
What tools are you currently using to run your business more efficiently?
Use these Best Practices to Succeed at a Live Networking Event
Effective networking leads to new relationships, business prospects, reputation building and career advancement. Most people feel anxious when they have to meet new people. These best practices will help you to let go of anxiety and become a successful networker:
Speak to at Least 5 New People
Networking is about making connections. Going to a networking event and standing in a corner will most likely not get you any new contacts. Make a commitment to speak to at least 5 new people at the event.
When speaking to new people, break the ice with an interesting comment. This takes practice, however, if you are a beginner networker all you have to do is speak less about yourself and show more interest in the other person.
Furthermore, you can introduce the new contact to somebody else. This will make you more relevant at the event.
Familiarise Yourself with Current Affairs
In order to remain relevant among a group of people, keep yourself updated on current affairs up to the hour before the event. This will give you more confidence to speak to strangers at the event.
Smile and Relax
Networking is not a selling event. You are not there to sell your brand; you are there to build relationships. Smile at the event and make sure that you look relaxed.
Have a Pack of Your Business Cards Ready
You should have your business cards ready in case somebody wants to get in touch with you later. The worst thing is trying to write somebody’s number on a piece of paper, as loose papers get lost. Your business card should clearly show your name, business and contact information.
Do Not Discuss Sensitive Topics
Remain neutral at all times. Topics such as religion or politics should never be discussed, even if somebody else starts the discussion. Learn to remain neutral when sensitive topics are being discussed.
Prepare a 15 Second Introduction
Although networking is not a selling event you will be asked about your occupation. You might know what you do, but you might not be good at articulating it to other people. That’s where practice comes in.
Your answer should not be forced. It should be a 15 second smooth introduction of your name, company and industry.
Life is about who you know; therefore name dropping is a good networking strategy as it makes you more relevant. Be careful to do it tastefully as you do not want to appear like an obnoxious person. The key to name dropping is taking the attention off yourself and putting it on the other person. For example “Mr x once said that …….” instead of “I have met Mr x before and he said….”