Launching an online business today may sound like an easy thing to do.  A lot of aspects appear to be simple.  But if you are not a techy, developing a website and then getting it online can be an intimidating process.

First, building a website, design, content, any programming, domain name and hosting is a whole project in itself!  Once that is done, most people want to launch their business and see the business flow in.

Unfortunately, today there are literally MILLIONS of sites competing for web users.  The question is HOW do you get people to view your site?  While there are many approaches, here are a few starters I’ll give as SEO assistance.

1.)   Keywords – use them in the content of your site but write your content for people.  However, remember that keywords are at the foundation of your online marketing/ SEO campaign.

2.)   Web Analytics – In order to see how many people actually come to your site, where they are coming from and see which techniques work, you need a web analytics source.  It’s a measuring tool for your SEO.

3.)   Links – Go for quality, not quantity links.  Placing links on a high-ranking page will do much better than placing a thousand links on a low quality page.

4.)   Be Patient – SEO is not a one-week process.  Getting your site ranked, and keeping it there, takes time!  In fact, it may even take months before you see results.

In the end, if all of this is going over your head or you don’t want to spend the time learning it yourself, get the best web developing team to help you build your site and help you with search engine optimization.  You could even lower you business overhead expenses by outsourcing this task.  Whatever you decide to do, you cannot ignore the fact that a successful online business will need an online SEO optimizer.

Lesson from bees

I love to read.  What I read depends on what kind of mood I’m in and what my current interest is.  I have to admit I haven’t blogged earlier because I have been reading.  I’ve heard of this book in passing but it was my sister-in-law that recommended it and lent it to me, “The Secret Life of Bees,” by Sue Monk Kidd.

I could quote several different parts of this book that surprisingly relates in an entrepreneurial setting, but since this is a blog and not a book review, I want to focus on the bees.  Each bee has it’s own role to play.  From the field bee to the mortician bee to the nurse bee and attendants, each bee has a task and expectation that keeps everything in order.  It’s amazing how industrious bees are and in the end, because of their collective effort, a group of bees can produce an amazing product.

Now what entrepreneur would NOT want that?

I couldn’t help but being reminded of Michael Gerber’s, “E-Myth Revisited” touching on the point that in small businesses across America there are 3 distinct personalities: the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician.

Let’s combine the ideas from each book and can you see what an awesome company and product a small business could produce.  Like bees know your role.  If you are the manager, don’t get bogged down with all the details but get a technician to do the work.  Today, it is so easy to hire someone for virtually any task.  As an advocate  of virtual assistance, don’t sweat the small stuff.  Entrepreneurs can continue to dream and outsource work.  Managers can manage and technicians can do the job for a fraction of the cost.

Learn from the bees.  Play the role you were intended to play and leave other roles to someone else.

Time Crunch

I read an ironic quote today.  I found it to be funny yet true.  It’s actually Zall’s Second Law,  “How long a minute is, depends on which side of the bathroom door you’re on.”  A witty point yet it may hit a nerve for those with time issues.

Have you ever noticed when you are waiting for something it always seems to take longer?  Yet if you’re trying to get the task done that same amount of time isn’t long enough.

We live in a world of “NOW.”  We want immediate service.  We want our shipment to be sent immediately.  We want an answer to our problems an hour ago.  It never seems to be fast enough.

Here are two ideas to chew on:

First, from the view of an entrepreneur, solve customer’s problems as soon as possible. Timing is essential.  I heard of an experience of Master Card customer service trying to solve a security issue – basically the customer wanted to use their card while on vacation, but Master Card flagged it as suspicious because the purchases were not near the customer’s address.  The customer called and tried to work it out for almost 2 weeks – still no access to their money on vacation.  Finally, frustrated, the customer called one last time demanding to speak with a manager.  The manager asked her to wait for a few days for a new card.  She said, “No!  I’ve been waiting 2 weeks and if I don’t get it by tomorrow, I’m going to cancel this card!”  The card was in her hand the next day.  Businesses will lose customers if they don’t offer timely solutions.

Second, from the view of a consumer, ask for a time-line. Waiting for something to happen at an unspecified time in the future is the WORST!  Time moves slowly and it’s hard to focus on anything else.  When there is a specific date or time when something is supposed to happen, you can at least move through the hours or days until that point in time without wondering “Will this be the minute I’ll receive the call?”  If a company isn’t able to give you at least an estimated time, that only shows, they don’t take your time as seriously as you do.

In the end, a little give on both sides could go a long way.  A business that understands the value of their customers’ time will work to make things happen as quickly as possible.  Customers who understand that sometimes a quality solution can take time will establish a better relationship and most likely get better service from a company.

What is Virtual Assistance?

Virtual Assistance or VA is a modified form of the job called Executive Assistance, which gives professional administrative, creative, marketing, or technical support to clients, mostly executives. The only difference is it’s done “online”. From the very word “virtual”, VA is known for the remote service it renders.  Clients and virtual assistants can be miles apart, even from different sides of the world.  They communicate through the internet, email, online work spaces, telephone, or fax machine. Through these forms of communication, many jobs can be done virtually.

VA is categorized under the Business Process Outsourcing or BPO sector since clients outsource a part of their tasks to  VA companies or a home based VA worker. The outsourced work is usually composed of, but not limited to:

a. Administrative – includes data entry, contact book and email management

b. Creative – includes writing, web design, graphic design

c. Marketing – includes emailing and calling contacts and offering of services

d. Technical – includes SEO, blog and website maintenance

e. Personal – booking and reservations, calendar scheduling, paying bills online, etc.

Assistants work strictly in accordance to the instructions given by the clients. Moreover, clients and assistants are expected to work in an ongoing, mutual professional relationship, which sometimes develops into a long term work agreement. One of the most notable thing about virtual assistance is that it gives the clients efficiency, profitability and personal freedom. It is  rewarding for a client who needs to balance business priorities and personal life.

This profession is growing considerably worldwide. A significant number of VA is found in the Philippines and India where there is a massive workforce who are qualified, educated and fluent in English, at a lower cost. The top 5 countries with largest registered virtual assistants are USA, England, India, Philippines, and Canada.

A reason why virtual assistance is gaining so much popularity and demand is not only because of the diverse service it renders but also because of the astounding benefits it brings to clients.

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