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Ratchet Up Your Presentation Skills to Successfully Communicate Your Business Message

Ratchet Up Your Presentation Skills to Successfully Communicate Your Business Message

If you’re a professional, you’re a presenter.

Whether it’s to an audience of one or thousands, your business day is full of potential presentations.

For example:

  • Pitching a new project or idea to a boss
  • Pitching a product or service to a potential client
  • Being in front of a networking group to promote your services
  • Stepping on stage at a conference to share your expertise on an industry topic

The question is are you a well-prepared and confident presenter?

At Business Solutions Unlimited we’ve been asked many times to make presentations. Sometimes it’s on a particular business topic of interest at a local business networking group. Other times, it’s a conference call with slides presented to scattered groups of people across the nation.

The ability to make these presentations and clearly communicate our message has garnered business. It’s also led to us helping our clients present their message to their clients. Below, we share helpful tips on how you can become a pro at presentations.

By-the-way, if you’re needing some presentation preparation help, we’ll be happy to assist. Just call us at (904) 429-4588.

Preparation is Key to Presentation Confidence

Something to keep in mind is that every presenter is nervous, even the most accomplished ones. The degree of nervousness adjusts with the amount of preparation in advance of the presentation.

The first step in preparation is to understand what you’re presenting. Ask yourself, “What is this presentation about?” Then summarize the presentation in a sentence or two.

Know Your Audience

Understand the audience you’ll be in front of.

  • What do they already know?
  • What do they want to know?
  • What information will help them?
  • How do they like to be presented to?

Write down what you want your audience (of one or more) to get out of the presentation. Is it building awareness of your product, services or topic? Is it motivation to take action (make a purchase, sign up for something, etc.)?

Knowing your audience and what you want the audience to know at the end of your presentation helps to create a roadmap. This will help you gather and communicate relevant information that will motivate the results you’re seeking.

Know Your Venue

Understanding where you’ll be presenting is an important factor in preparation.

  • If it’s an office, will you have a table to place a laptop or collateral materials down?
  • If it’s a networking group or auditorium, will you have a podium to speak from and an area to place collateral materials?
  • What are the technical capabilities of the location—does it have projection capabilities or will you have to bring a computer and projector?
  • If a phone conference, will everyone be able to call in or log into your presentation?

Location preparation is vitally important to a successful presentation. If you’re challenged with the location logistics, then consider delegating to a Virtual Assistant firm like Business Solutions Unlimited to handle them for you.

Understand How You’ll Present

Once you know your audience and what you’ll present, you need to determine the appropriate presentation method.

  • If one on one, would a laptop PowerPoint presentation or a table flip book be best?
  • If presenting to a group, will a PowerPoint presentation be appropriate or will people follow along with handouts?

Knowing what you’re presenting, who you’re presenting to, and how you’ll be presenting can help squelch your nervousness and give you information you need to organize your presentation.

Organize Appropriate Presentations and Materials

By knowing your audience, you’ll be able to confidently organize your presentation in ways they’ll be receptive to your message.

By knowing what you want your audience to know at the end of your presentation, you’ll be able to organize the opening and body that leads to your conclusion or call to action.

This gives you insights into your:

  • Presentation structure
  • Pacing
  • Order of facts and data
  • Graphics and visual aids
  • Relevant examples and anecdotes
  • Leave-behinds

You’ll also be able to craft visual aids appropriate to your topic and the audience.

Keep in mind that effective PowerPoint presentation slides tend to be brief and visual.

Your collateral materials should be complementary to your presentation. Are colors and graphics consistent? Do your materials enhance your message?

This is where enlisting the aid of Virtual Assistants can be useful. They can help develop your PowerPoint slides and materials while you focus on the message you want to communicate.

Don’t Forget the Travel, Invite, Setup and Follow Up

While being totally focused on crafting your presentation, it might be easy to forget the logistics.

Do you need to send out an invitation to your audience? Maybe it’s setting up an appointment to meet a client. Or, maybe you need to send out a mass email invitation to a group requesting an RSVP.

Is your presentation local or out of town? Don’t forget your travel arrangements.

Will the venue where you’ll be presenting be fully prepared for your arrival? If you’re hosting an event, do you need to arrange catering?

After the presentation, are you prepared to follow up? It could be as simple as mailing a thanks-for-attending card or an email requesting further communications.

A successful presentation has many moving parts. That’s why delegating tasks can be an effective method of making sure all components of your presentation are well prepared.

Too Busy? Delegate Your Tasks

In our experience, successful professionals are experts at their business. However, it’s easy for busy professionals to take on way too many tasks. Many of these tasks might not even be part of their expertise.

In regards to presentations you might understand the topic, but how much knowledge and time do you have to put toward making effective PowerPoint slides or accompanying marketing materials? Are you ready to tackle event planning, email invites and follow-ups?

Find out how delegating tasks to a virtual assistant firm like Business Solutions Unlimited can help you achieve better presentations.

Feel free to give us a call at (904) 429-4588; to discuss how we can help you with your business tasks and goals.

How to Encourage Strong Online Reviews and Why You Should

How to Encourage Strong Online Reviews and Why You Should

It’s been apparent for some time that Google is focusing much of its search results page for businesses toward branded search.

We provided insights into branded searches in a recent article.

When identifying their brand, many businesses will point to such things as their logo, color schemes, snappy tag line, consistent message, and value propositions as their brand. However, all of those items should be considered branding activities for shaping and influencing the public perception of your business.

Your brand is actually your customer’s perception of your business.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is widely quoted as saying, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Today, it’s not so much what people say outside the room, but online that matters. Online reviews should be considered a major association to your actual brand.

Reviews reflect customer experiences with your business. It’s also what many potential customers look at before deciding to use your services or purchase your products.

Online Reviews and the Impact on Your Business

At the end of 2018, Bright Local published results of a study on online reviews. The following results show the impact reviews may have on your customers:

  • Consumers require 40 online reviews before believing the accuracy of a business’ star rating
  • Nearly 60% expect a business should have more than 11 reviews
  • Consumers look at an average of 10 reviews about a business
  • 85% believe online reviews older than 3 months aren’t relevant while 40% only care about reviews with the last two weeks
  • 89% look for and read business responses to reviews

One survey result really stood out to us: 70% of consumers leave reviews when asked to do so.

Your consumers are helping to create your brand story as it appears online with either positive reviews, negative reviews or no reviews.

Fortunately, customers appear to be more than willing to provide their voice to your brand when asked.

How to Ask For an Online Review

Many businesses are under the impression that asking for reviews is a “no-no” with online review sites. That may be the case with YELP. However, Google encourages businesses to do so:

“Remind your customers to leave reviews. Let them know that it’s quick and easy to leave business reviews on mobile devices or desktop computers.”

They also encourage businesses to engage with customer reviews:

“Reply to reviews to build your customers’ trust. Your customers will notice that your business values their input, and possibly leave more reviews in the future. You can also create and share a link that customers can click to leave a review.”

Adding a convenient link to your website that customers can use to directly visit and add a review to your Google My Business profile can help increase the likelihood of a review.

When asking for a positive review, encourage your customer to add valuable details to help potential customers in their decision to engage with your business. A good review may include:

  • Details on services provided
  • How the service met their needs
  • The area the services were provided (“our St. Augustine home”) if conducted in the customer’s home (plumbing, fence, electrical, etc.)
  • Mention employee who helped the customer by name

Be sure to respond to the customer’s review. If the review doesn’t provide one or more of the three items listed above, feel free to add it in your response.

When your business develops and implements a review strategy, it will become an effective component toward establishing a strong brand online.

Is Managing Your Online Presence More than You Can Manage? Reach Out for Help.

Give Business Solutions Unlimited a call at (904) 429-4588 to discuss how we can help your business today.

Realize a Work and Life Balance with a Virtual Assistant

Realize a Work and Life Balance with a Virtual Assistant

If you’re a small business owner, you’re probably busier than the typical employed worker.

A New York Enterprise Report survey found that:

  • 33% of small business owners work more than 50 hours per week
  • 25% work more than 60 hours a week

A Bank of the West Small Business Growth survey on business owners’ biggest challenges stated that:

  • 43% of business owners identified “always being on the job” as one of the biggest challenges they face
  • 39% identified “balancing work and family”

That same survey also asked small business owners to provide pieces of advice they’d give fellow owners. The top two were:

  • Make time for your family (62%)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help (58%)

Both pieces of advice make sense when seeking work and life balance.

However, as we’ve seen in the above stats, many business owners are challenged to leave work behind. As for asking for help, 70% of small business owners prefer to do everything themselves according to a UK survey.

Not following those two pieces of advice may be having a detrimental impact on your health and family life.

The Impact of Long Hours at Work

Working long hours can have significant implication for your health. Studies have shown that long work hours cause poor sleeping and eating habits. Long term impacts may include health issues like:

  • Hypertension
  • Digestive troubles
  • Chronic aches and pains
  • Heart problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

Too much time spent on work can have a significant impact on relationships. In this day and age, it’s nearly impossible to “leave work behind” when you consider the availability of laptops and cell phones. Often your spouse may feel estranged and disconnected as you spend much of your time on your computer and cell phone.

Quite simply, if you spend the majority of your time nurturing your business and not nurturing your home life—you could lose your spouse and family.

How a Virtual Assistance Can Help You Achieve a Work and Life Balance

Hiring a virtual assistant may be the best way to accomplish advice number 2—don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Many business owners are turning to virtual assistant firms like Business Solutions Unlimited to delegate many of their daily tasks. By freeing up their workload, they’re able to spend time with family and favorite relaxing activities.

These business owners are finding that they can hire a wide variety of skilled professionals through a virtual assistance firm at a cost much lower than hiring staff. Firms like Business Solutions Unlimited can provide professional virtual assistance services like administrative, marketing and bookkeeping.

Additionally, hiring virtual assistants can make business owners more productive. By delegating tasks, business owners can turn their attention toward other tasks important to their business and revenue.

Too Busy? Delegate Your Tasks

The demand for professional and skilled virtual assistants is growing. Industry experts predict there will be 1.8 billion active customers for virtual assistance services by 2021. Maybe it’s time you consider joining this trend.

Find out how delegating tasks to a virtual assistant firm like Business Solutions Unlimited can help you achieve a positive work and life balance.

Give us a call at (904) 429-4588 and let us get to work on your business tasks while you work on getting some balance back.

How to Optimize Your Business for Voice Search

How to Optimize Your Business for Voice Search

Just the other day, we were contemplating picking up some food from a restaurant on the way home from an event. Unfortunately, we had no cash, just a credit card.

We wanted to make sure that the restaurant took our credit card before making an order over the phone. I pressed the little microphone symbol on the phone and asked: “does such and such restaurant take credit cards?”

The answer came back that “yes, this restaurant accepts American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa credit cards.”

Once we parked, I curiously looked at my phone to see that the answer Google presented came from the restaurant’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

While waiting for our order, I scanned the restaurant’s FAQs. Subjects ranged from payment methods to open hours to types of food to nutrition. This was a rich source of information that Google was more than happy to access to present to their searchers.

It also reinforced the idea that local businesses need to optimize their online presence for voice search.

That’s Because a Lot of Users Will Be Using Voice Search

Today, 20% of mobile searches are by voice. Google predicts that 50% of searches will be by voice by 2020. In preparation, Google and other search engines are indexing content that will satisfy voice searches, which are typically:

  • 1% longer than text-based searches
  • More naturally/conversationally spoken
  • 3 times more likely to be for local purposes

And we’re not just talking about mobile voice searches.

Homes are Filling Up with Voice Assistant Devices

Your customers’ homes are filling up with voice assistant devices.

  • Google Home
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Apple HomePod
  • Facebook Portal
  • Microsoft Cortana

Soon, voice searches will be the primary way people get information about your business, products, and services.

A local business that optimizes their online presence for voice will be the businesses that provide the voice searchers with the answers they’re seeking.

How to Get Your Business Content Noticed for Voice Searches

Fortunately, optimizing your business’ online presence for voice search is primarily the same as optimizing for searches.

You Need to Establish Your Online Presence

All of these devices rely on information from the web. That means if you’ve taken the time to establish your online presence, you’ve provided these devices with the information they’re looking for.

Each of the devices tends to rely on multiple online sources for information about your business.

Google Home

  • Search Results: Google
  • Business Listings: Google My Business
  • Reviews: Google My Business

Amazon Alexa

  • Search: Bing
  • Business Listings: Yelp & Yext
  • Reviews: Yelp

Apple HomePod (Siri)

  • Search: Google
  • Business Listings: Apple Maps
  • Reviews: Yelp

Microsoft Cortana

  • Search: Bing
  • Business Listings: Bing
  • Reviews: Yelp

Facebook Portal

These devices are the new kids on the block. Facebook probably relies heavily on information found throughout their Facebook platform:

  • Facebook business pages
  • Reviews found on Facebook

Don’t Forget a FAQ Page

FAQs, when written correctly, can serve voice search queries better than most of the content on your website.

Content for FAQs is generally concise (under 30 words) and built to answer specific questions.

Develop and maintain a FAQ page on your website. Make a list of questions your customers tend to ask and answer them on your page.

Also, don’t forget about your Google My Business account. The search giant has conveniently added a section for you to add questions and answers about your business.

Is Managing Your Online Presence More than You Can Manage? Reach Out for Help.

Give Business Solutions Unlimited a call at (904) 429-4588 to learn more about the ways we can help your business today.

Start Preparing for New Overtime Rules Slated for 2020

Start Preparing for New Overtime Rules Slated for 2020

For the first time since 2004, it looks like there will be a salary level increase that triggers overtime pay.

In March, the U.S. Department of Labor released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to revise overtime regulations. The proposal is open to comments over the next couple of months. Comments for the Notice of Proposed Rule Making can be made at Regulations.gov.

The proposed changes could impact 1.1 million current exempt employees nationwide.

While the Final Rule won’t be published until late in 2019, anticipated changes to the overtime levels will go into effect in 2020. Small businesses should start preparing for changes to their payroll.

What are the Proposed Salary Levels Changes for Overtime Pay?

Currently, employees with a salary below $455 per week ($23,660 annually) must be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. Under the proposed changes, the salary level increases to $679 per week or $35,308 per year.

Are Highly Compensated Employees Impacted By the Proposal?

Highly Compensated Employees’ salary threshold increases from $100,000 to $147,414 per year.

Does Overtime Protections Change for all Employees?

According to the Department of Labor, the proposal does not change overtime protections for:

  • Police Officers
  • Fire Fighters
  • Paramedics
  • Nurses
  • Laborers including non-management production-line employees
  • Non-management employees in maintenance, construction and similar occupations such as carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, iron workers, craftsmen, operating engineers, longshoremen, and other construction workers

Can Bonuses Satisfy the Salary Levels?

The proposal will allow businesses to use nondiscretionary bonuses and incentive payments/commissions paid annually to satisfy up to 10% of the salary level.

Are There Exemptions from Overtime with this Proposal?

There are a few exemptions under the proposal. Employees must:

  • Be paid a predetermined and fixed salary not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed
  • Be paid at least $679 per week
  • Perform primarily executive, administrative, or professional duties

How Will Employers Be Impacted?

Many small businesses, particularly in the retail and hospitality industry, work hard to manage their exempt and nonexempt payroll budget with an eye on overtime thresholds.

The proposed changes could significantly impact small business budgets.

Small businesses may have to consider increasing impacted employee salaries to at least $679 to avoid paying overtime. Budget constraints may force some businesses to downsize to comply with the proposed changes.

Too Busy to Keep Up with Your Bookkeeping? Delegate Your Tasks

We understand how keeping up with changes to regulations like those proposed above can challenge busy managers and business owners. We’d love to help you with many of your time-consuming business tasks: bookkeeping, administrative, and marketing. Feel free to give us a call at (904) 429-4588 and let’s see how we can help your business.