Competition is good for business. Honestly, it is. So don’t fear it; embrace it and learn from it. Analyzing and learning from them will benefit you in so many ways.

To truly understand how much you can learn from your competitors, firstly let’s divide them into direct and indirect.

Direct competitors are those that provide the exact same service as you or sell the same product/s. They are almost a mirror image of your business. The reason they are helpful to you is that they will encourage you to find ways to truly stand out.

One of the ways to do that is to focus on the one thing they certainly don’t have – YOU! There is only one of you and that’s a very unique selling point.

You are what sets your business apart from others – you have the personality and character to show potential customers why they should choose your company above others. So be sure to market yourself to your customers.

If you work with a team, be sure to highlight what makes them so special as individuals and as a team. Perhaps share images of a staff lunch or a day out you all enjoyed. Showing yourself as a caring and well-liked boss is important to potential clients. If your staff loves you, it’s pretty certain that they will too!

Indirect companies offer a similar service or product but not exact. They too can provide you with fascinating and helpful insights that you may not have considered using in certain elements of your business.

Look at how your competitors advertise – what do you like about their adverts and marketing? What doesn’t appeal? Can you incorporate some of their ideas into your own company? Not exact copying – just tips and tricks that may enhance what you already do.

Take a look at their websites – what stands out and what looks unprofessional? If you were a potential client, would you book with them and why? Was their website easy to use and did it properly explain the services they provide or they products they sell? Would it be easy to buy online using their system or did it strike you as over complicated? Can you learn anything from the design, wording and images that they have chosen?

If you know that a rival company could do the job better for a potential client, show integrity by recommending them. People will remember your honesty and desire to provide them with exactly what they need – and you may be rewarded with a referral from the very person you sent to a competitor. And if that competitor learns what you did for them, they may respond in kind in the future by sending someone your way.

Have your competitors incorporated an environmentally friendly aspect to their services? Have you? In this day and age, clients are always looking for conscientious companies that consider the planet. Be sure to mention any local and community projects that you support too – it shows you care and clients like seeing that caring, sharing side of a business.

What have your competitors focused on that you perhaps haven’t considered? These points of difference can really help you to further understand the market and can help you to increase your client base.

Do they offer promotions, competitions, referral schemes or loyalty rewards? If so, perhaps you can come up with your own unique way to say thank you to repeat customers or those that refer you to others.

So don’t see competition as a concern – it shows that there is a need for your type of business and service and that’s always a good thing.

Support your local small businesses.  #fembuiz    www.fembuiz.com.au

 

 

How to Kick Ass when Meeting with a Potential Client

It can be not only exciting but also incredibly nerve-wracking when meeting with a potential client for the first time. Here are some handy tips to make sure that you completely kick ass.

Be on time – whether it’s at your office or theirs or a public location – arrive with time to spare and have everything cleared away before they arrive. It says a lot about your character. Being late or in a state of disarray is a big no-no.

Everything from clothes to make-up to popping a mint in before you meet them will help to convey an air of confidence and that you are the right person for the job. So be sure to wear smart, pressed clothes and spend some time on your hair and makeup to achieve a professional, well-presented look that will impress your potential client even before you’ve said one word.

You will be judged in the first few moments on your appearance, professionalism and trustworthiness – so introduce yourself with a firm handshake and an air of confidence and calm.

Put your phone out of sight – they will appreciate that they have your full attention and won’t be distracted by rings, dings, buzzes and notifications. You may even want to switch it off before putting it away.

Keep your introduction and the first few minutes of the conversation light-hearted, without complaining about the traffic or how bad the weather is. Portray positivity during these crucial few moments – no-one likes a whinger.

Preparation is key so research them and their business thoroughly in advance of the meeting and incorporate something you’ve learned about them into the conversation. This will impress the potential client and show that you are serious about wanting to work with them.

Have an agenda so that the meeting stays on track and on point. This will also serve as a useful reminder of things to discuss, as it’s easy to forget crucial information during your first meeting due to possible nerves.

Establish and maintain eye contact throughout the meeting. There may be other things going on around you but it’s important to make them feel like they are the centre of your world throughout the meeting.

Take notes – not only will this help you to focus, but it also shows your intent to take them seriously. Plus, it’s easy to forget something crucial if you don’t write it down then and there. It doesn’t’ look good if you have to ask them a few days later to clarify an important point.

Don’t interrupt – listen, listen, listen. Listening is one of the hardest skills to master and when a client can see that you are truly listening, it gives them faith and confidence. Nod and smile when they are explaining something to you to show that you are listening and taking it all in. And try not to interrupt them or talk over them.

Use phrases and words used by them to ask follow-up questions – this helps to establish a connection and can have a very calming effect.

Manage their expectations and show a willingness to work with them. Don’t oversell as this may lead to stress or disappointment further down the line.

Don’t let the meeting drag on so when you feel like you are approaching a natural conclusion to the meeting, ask if they have any final queries, then explain next steps and your plan of action confidently and concisely.

Last but definitely not least, have belief in yourself and make sure this comes across in a way that establishes trust and your ability to get the job done properly and professionally. Don’t doubt yourself or let your nerves show. Instead, act as if you have already landed the job and that this is merely a meeting to go through the main points of working together.

We hope you find these tools helpful and wish you many successful first meetings that lead to many new clients.

 

#fembuiz

www.fembuiz.com.au

Can hiring an assistant really be worth it?

Can hiring an assistant really be worth it?

Are you constantly swamped with mundane, menial tasks that stop you focusing on the core aspects of your business?

Do you dread opening your emails each day because you haven’t been able to clear the previous day’s ones or those that came in last week?

Does the thought of creating a newsletter or posting on social media make you feel stressed?

If you have answered yes to any of the above, it may be that you need a virtual assistant or “VA”.

What if they…

  1. Can do the jobs you hate
  2. Do the jobs you aren’t skilled in
  3. Jobs you shouldn’t be doing as the boss
  4. Managed things enough you could have a day off the kids or hubby!

Hiring a VA can dramatically reduce the number of tedious jobs you have taken on board. You can simply hand them over to someone else that you may never even meet. These online angels can help you to focus on what truly matters in your business, by dealing with chores such as:

  •     social media posts
  •     replying to emails,
  •     answering phone calls,
  •     online customer support
  •     writing content
  •     transcribing
  •     placing ads
  •     invoicing
  •     data entry
  •     proofreading
  •     scheduling appointments
  •     arranging your travel
  •     setting reminders in your calendar
  •     creating templates
  •     writing newsletters
  •     replying to customer feedback
  •     booking restaurants and theatre tickets

 

You can hire a VA per hour or per project and there aren’t any costly overheads like buying them a desk or paying annual leave. Delegating many of the above tasks to a VA should actually increase revenue for you, as you can now focus on “boss” jobs.

What Makes a Good VA?

Excellent communication skills, prompt replies and the ability to follow orders to the letter. They should be able to work without asking for much help or feedback.

How Much Does a VA Cost?

That all depends on the tasks you need doing and their location.

VAs in India, the Philippines and Vietnam for example, will charge lower rates than VAs from the UK and Australia. Some rates start as low as $2.80 AUD per hour and can go up to $100 AUD for top-level VAs.

Where to Get a VA

Ask your friends for referrals, post on LinkedIn or advertise on your website if you have one. There are also several fantastic Facebook groups such as Virtual Assistant Savvies and Female Digital Nomads.

You could hire from a freelance marketplace – these companies take a cut of the hourly rate or project rate as they only hire qualified and verified freelancers. So essentially, they have already done the interviewing process for you. Examples are Upwork, PeoplePerHour and Guru.

If you need a VA to work during your work hours, don’t forget to mention that you are based in Australia. Likewise, if you want your VA to work while you sleep, be sure to add that.

How to Assign Tasks to a VA

  • Give clear instructions
  • Set definitive tasks
  • Set maximum hours per task at the beginning to give a guideline of how long it usually takes you to do it.
  • Provide set language and phrases that you require in an email – send as many examples and templates as possible to help them in the initial stages.
  • Ask them to perform a trial set of tasks before letting them deal directly with clients.

Still not sure if you need one? It may be worthwhile assigning a few tasks to a VA just to see if there could be a long-term benefit. You could start off with a simple 10-hour a week assignment to find out how much they can get done and how much extra time that gives you.

You may find that it’s money well spent.

 

#fembuiz

www.fembuiz.com.au

We all adore that Friday feeling, that wonderful countdown to the end of the workweek, for people working a typical 5-day schedule.  We feel a surge of excitement as we approach the final hour of the week and look forward to two entire days off and a Friday night to either chill or party.

We crave those two beautiful mornings where we don’t have to set an alarm or have to get on the same train or deal with the same colleagues and clients.

How many of you get that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach sometime late on a Sunday afternoon, knowing that in just a few hours you will be setting your alarm for what is commonly known as the “Monday morning blues”?

What if you could get out of that rut and actually look forward to your Monday mornings? Here are just some of the ways to make Mondays exciting again:

1. Monday Lunch

Make Monday lunch arrangements at least twice a month with a friend that lifts you and laughs with you – a person that you can truly be yourself with and look forward to seeing.

2. Monday Supper Club

Take it one step further and have a Supper Club with a group of uplifting, fun friends – once or twice a month, pick a different restaurant to try out. Many restaurants have great discount deals so check online for coupons and promos.

3. Get Dressed Up

Don’t opt for your usual work outfit on a Monday – wear a bright top, some accessories, perhaps heels and a spray of your favourite perfume.

4. Cupcake Breakfast

You have the rest of the week to be healthy – start the week off with a decadent cupcake, perhaps a cheeky chocolate donut, or get up 20 minutes earlier and sit in a café with a lavish latte and a magazine.

5. Wednesday Movie Night

Okay, so you can’t cram everything fun into a Monday, so pre-book a cinema trip for midweek. Popcorn, reclining seats – with or without company, go and lose yourself in the fantasy of a great film.

6. Spa Spoils

Buy some lavender oil or a face mask over the weekend to put on when you get home on Monday night. Maybe some bath salts or body scrub.

7. Sunday Positivity

Prep for your Monday morning mentally and physically by getting your Monday outfit ready in advance and your office bag packed whilst playing some funky music. Perhaps make a call to an uplifting friend or family member to end the weekend on a high.

8. Lighten the Load

Don’t schedule lots of meetings on a Monday, save those for later in the week.

9. Exercise

As much as it might hurt initially, set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than usual and go for a 20-minute power walk or do an online workout. Workout for Women is an amazing app that requires no gym equipment and has 7, 14, 20 and 28-minute workouts and a progress tracker. Get those endorphins flowing.

10. Half Empty or Half Full?

Half full of course!!! New week, new potential – see each Monday as a chance to approach a project with a new perspective and renewed enthusiasm.

11. Cheer Others Up

Surprise your colleagues with a little treat – maybe some mini muffins, or a small pot of carrots and hummus. Their appreciative smiles will be contagious.

If you try all of the above and still have that feeling of dread several months later, then ask yourself why you feel this way. Your job is such a huge part of your life that you really should be enjoying most of the time. Maybe it’s time to change things up.  Love It or Leave It

Here’s to your next wonderful Monday morning!

I’m Rebecca Bennett, but please call me Beck.

Many times I have been called the girl that wears many hats, I learnt very young to follow your passion and always reach for the stars. 

My Dad once asked me what I want to be when I’m older?  As I’m guessing most parents would.

I said “Dad I want to be a photographer and travel the world taking great photos to share with everyone”.  He replied “How are going to pay for that?  Equipment isn’t cheap and either is travelling”.  I knew somehow one day I wanted my own business, I was 12 years old.

My Uncle then suggested I go work in the mining industry operating those big Tonka truck like things that move dirt, (Haul trucks). “There’s a couple of girls up there, you could do it too, but you have to be 21 years old”, he said.

Dad & I on the first Haul truck at the driving school.

So to bide my time I tried a few other job, like cleaning eggs off the floor at an egg factory, selling donuts and making coffee at a local store, burgers at Hungry Jacks, I even hand painted folk art on hundreds of terracotta pots for a nursery, they then went on and sold them to stores like Bunnings, Kmart and Big W for mothers day (for my dads boss).  Folk Art was something I use to do with my Nanna Ketty on school holidays, she taught me well, we even went to classes together, after this big job at such a young age and the passing of my dear Nanna my passion for painting was gone.

My passion for photography grew, joining one of the local camera clubs and attending with my mum.

I left school after year 10, My mum pulled me out, my high school wasn’t keeping up with their reputation, the photography classes and dark room wasn’t happening or being used and the bullying was literally a nightmare after nightmare.  I wasn’t learning what I WANTED to learn.

Using my biggest lens to take photos of the surfers at Secret Harbour @rbennett_photos

So I then went to the local TAFE, did my maths and english, photography, digital imaging and illustrations, Microsoft Word, Desktop Publisher, Excel Spreadsheets, Access Database and then onto Business Administration, in which during a class one day someone came in looking to take on a traineeship administration person, so of course seen the opportunity on the job training could give me at 16 and went for the interview.  This was a real estate a company, the owner got me to look after the database and enter client addresses, phone numbers etc.  They also let me go out sometimes and take property photos and create the window displays.  I brought my first car and moved out with my first bf Dean, I earn’t $350.00 a week, it wasn’t easy, we both didn’t have much and we had a car loan each, I now just turned 18.

I finished my Administration traineeship at the real estate then left.  The owner at times was really nasty, especially when his diabetes count was not good, he snapped one day and literally threw documents and files across the room one day because he didn’t like the way I placed them on the table.  It made sense that when I started he made me use special clips in the manilla folders so the paper could never accidentally fall out.  Convenient for me with this episode of his, guess he seen it coming.  I thought to myself that one day when I’m a boss or manager I would never be like this or treat my staff in such a manner.

I then moved on to working for a local Glazing company, again in an Administration position, I asked if I could do a Cert iii in Business traineeship with them, they agreed, the lady that ran the office taught me on the job and we also had the same lady come in and check how my progress was going, I also attended TAFE once a week.   I got most my units completed, but then it got a bit complicated for my on the job trainer, I also caught her taking cash home ($$$$) and told the owner of the company, and then she decided to retire.

I moved on to a larger glazing company learning as much as I could along the way, designing glass products, liaising with clients and suppliers. I helped the owners create many spreadsheets for their pricing folder and designed books showcasing the 2nd company they were starting and aligning with a major supplier.

I spent 3 years with this company, I also started HR driving lessons to start working towards the dump truck dream, but it was so expensive.   I had a property with my parents and my brother that we rented out, then my parents divorced and we had to sell when the GFC hit, everything we invested into it was gone, we manage break even and the loan was gone, this was a long process.

I got a call from my old boss asking me to come back and he would pay me an extra $4.00 an hour, he needed my help, it was a shorter commute to work too so I took it, especially after I just been in a crash prior and my car was a wright off, I wanted to lower the risk of that happening again.

Photographing my friend for her wedding.

2 years later I decided enough was enough, I needed a big change, I was in the glazing industry, designing and creating documents, managing staff and the office long enough.  I wasn’t getting anywhere financially.  I was looking at house plans everyday and designing beautiful things for other peoples homes looking at the nice blue sky outside through the huge glass shopfronts imaging the great photos I could be taking.

I took a week off work, told them I was going on a holiday, (as if! I couldn’t afford that bringing in $600 a week, now at 25years old!) Dad paid for me to sit a Haul truck course so help start chasing the dream, it took 5 days on a limestone site.

6months later a large mining company took me in, starting on the big Komatsu trucks, then the Caterpillar watercarts and now the M16 Graders.  5 years ago I got jumped at the opportunity to join the Emergency Rescue Squad, something I NEVER even dreamed off or let alone thought I would be considered for, but I walked in there and gave it a go. 

My Rescue crew and the trucks I operate.

I’m now 33 and been there for 7years, been to a few destinations, taken photos, built a house and even turned the theatre room into a photo studio, but guess what?  I didn’t like having a photo studio.

I then felt completely lost.

So how did I come into starting a female based directory?

At the 5 year mark I started dating one of the guys at work, he got completely obsessed with me, this ended badly turning into a HR issue, having to attend phycological appointments and still receiving treatment today for injuries. 

I had 2 months off on stress leave.  I wasn’t allowed to go to back to work until my anxiety had settled and a 2nd phycologist agreed I was mentally fit to return to work.  All phycological expenses and time off paid.

Climbed the hill, there’s our camp behind me.

During this time off I attended the Perth Careers expo 2016 with my Mum, step Dad, and step brother who was 15, they were seeing what he might be interested in.

I sat down at the stage area while they did their thing and listened to the Women’s in Trade speeches, there we maybe 5 people sitting down and listening to them, I found no one was really interested, I found it great that these chicks has done an apprenticeship in a male dominated trade and went on to start their own business. 

One was a carpenter the other an electrician.

At the end they were saying how they find it hard against all the men, people don’t take them seriously or barely them a chance.

I wanted to give them a chance.

But how could I find these female tradies?

I went back to work a forgot about the directory idea, I brought a book at the airport called “Ready to Soar” by Naomi Simson the Red Shark from Shark Tank.  I used this book to distract myself, I couldn’t attend to TAFE to do more courses I wasn’t in Perth every week.  We do 12.5 hour days with terrible reception at camp so online training is a nightmare. This was all I could find at the time to get me thinking about the world of being a business owner again.

Researching

And it has paid off.

My idea came flooding back.

On my lunch break I created an advert on Gumtree looking a web-developer, he did a terrible job of the first website. 

This year we have launched the new website, reaching out to help women across Australia either professionals working for someone or starting up business from home.

We want women to be inspiring other women.

Tell them they can do it.

Tell them you believe in them.

Let them believe in themselves.

“I do not wish [Women] to have power over men; but over themselves”.  ~Mary Wollstonecraft.

Don’t ever take someones dream away from them.

The best thing I’ve learnt over the years is you don’t need a diploma to start a business. Especially when your surrounded by so many people who are willing to help.

I now have a website with Female business communities, business coaches and more…

Where there’s a will there’s a way.

~R.Bennett

That’s me

Julie’s journey started 18 years ago when she was in a serious car accident and hit by a drunk driver. She sustained injuries to her neck, shoulder and upper back, and is lucky to still be here. Her doctor recommended she try Yoga to help heal her injuries, she did and has since practiced yoga for the past 18 years and has no plans to stop anytime soon.

Six years ago Julie discovered her passion for training with weights when she went to see a personal trainer to even further her strength and rehabilitation. She found both of these practices helped with her injuries and both came quite easy to her, she then decided to become a qualified PT herself so that she could help other people become fit, strong, healthy and heal their injuries too.

She previously worked as a bookkeeper and after having time off to have a family decided that she didn’t want to return to this career and was going to help people instead. She has now been a fully qualified PT, Group fitness leader, Nutritional Coach and Yoga Instructor since the start of 2018.

Julie juggles her new business around her 2 children and her husbands FIFO work. “It can be hard at times, however I get a lot out of it. It’s very rewarding helping people” Julie said. Her favourite quote is “Small Changes lead to big change” which is exactly what she sees in her clients and is extremely proud of them all.

Julie teaches an over 50’s strength and Eccentric exercise class 3 times a week and has various personal training clients, she instructs occasional yoga classes and gives all her clients nutritional advice.

Julie Metsola – Mojo Fitness & Nutrician

What enticed me to buy this book? I wanted to know what the project is, I’m always trying to stick to a budget and I thought this book may have some tips for me to make things easier or to get a new insight.

Who would this book be good for?  Everyone and anyone wanting to improve their financial position without using their wages.

Was it easy to read?  Very simple to read, it has a nice flow.

Are there any beneficial points in the book? There are heaps, I was actually happy to find out I’ve already put some of these things into practice over the past years at times.  Also heaps of introductory information for investing in trades, which I knew nothing about.

What country is the book based in, where do they live? Sydney, Australia.

Check out her website it’s “Fully Lady Boss” SugarMamma.TV >> Click here <<

Book cost? I bought this at Singapore Airport on the way back from a holiday in Phuket, if I brought 5 books I got 1 for free, it went in hand considering I wasn’t going to have much money when I flew back home after this holiday. It was $34.99

Her website store >> Booktopia >> Click here <<

How many pages? 208 pages including the Acknowledgments, there’s even some blank pages at the rear which I think would be great if you want to make some notes and create a course of action.

Any graphics and diagrams?  There are some graphs on page 120 & 121. And a table with figures on page 126.  These are in the sharing shares section, being chapter 7, to help understand investing. Some gel branding images on front and back cover.

My favorite paragraph or quote? There are heaps of quotes or what I like to call “highlighted sentences” in this book. My favorite page 80.  “Be selective, focus on what’s really special to you, and make sure you’re only spending on things that you love”.

Other resources to get information or help? She has a YouTube channel which started before she wrote this book.

Click > Play > Listen > Subscribe >> Click here <<

Was there anything confusing? For me the Shares section, only because it’s all really new to me, but when I’m ready to purchase shares I’d do my homework first and pull this book back out and read that section again.

Does the title match the content? It definitely does.

Does the synopsis (summary) on the rear of the book match the content and title? Yes, it gives a clear insight of what’s to come, but it was different to what I was expecting.

Anything else? Frugal February- great idea! But you don’t have to do February, pick a month that is best suited to you and your lifestyle, e.g. If it’s your Birthday this month or a number of family members birthdays then I would pick a different month.

Did the book make me laugh? Not exactly, it’s more of an educational book, though there are many heartfelt stories in this one, I love the section at the back with her follower’s tragedy to triumph stories from following the project.

 

I fly in a lot of planes and work in a remote area giving me time to read, this is not a paid review, I have come across this book and many others and have been inspired to start blogging about them, especially now I have so many friends asking me for recommendations.
~R.Bennett, Founder of Fembuiz Directory