Blog Post Boost Your Business. Image of people standing around a whiteboard with their arms in the air
When speaking to business owners over the last few weeks, there’s been a general feeling of the “chicken and egg” scenario. 
The business owner desperately wants our Virtual Assistant support, however the certainty of regular cashflow isn’t quite there to allow the next step to happen.
I tailored the conversation to provide some tips and I hope they’ll be helpful to boost your business too.

It’s common at this time of the year for people to hold onto their money in anticipation of the Christmas season about to hit. 

So, what comes first? The investment in the Virtual Assistant which will alleviate time pressure so you can focus on selling, or spending a few more hours working to increase sales and get you you over the hump to hire a virtual assistant? 

Well like any scenario, it can be a bit of both. Here are five foundation areas to review, supporting to increase your sales and help get you over that hump, allowing you invest in a Virtual Assistant Team to help take your business to the next level!

1. Legitimacy of your business

If you can’t be found on Google, you won’t be found by your customers, and you may not be taken seriously by those potential clients if they do find you.  Make sure you have claimed your business with Google My Business. Yes, you will need to create a gmail account; no this isn’t a bad thing, as you can use your gmail to link together different systems in the back end of your business with ease. It is the first thing I do when I start a new business, and it’s the first thing I check with any business I’m about to engage with. So make this a top priority….

“No. 1A highlighted and circled in a red pen priority.”

With so many scam websites advertising loudly with the aim of stealing money for an inferior (or no) product, you need to make sure your business is showing up everywhere to help prove your legitimacy.  A scammer won’t go to the length of setting up a google business and a presence over multiple social media platforms (that’s real work, and tricky for a new google business profiles to get validation) so it’s absolutely vital you do.

If you’re a service based business, you might not want to show your address to the public – I certainly don’t. Once you’ve validated your business, you simply switch off the “show address to public” toggle, so it will only be ‘available’ for a few minutes.  Don’t let the address thing spook you. It is exceptionally important for service based or online businesses to create their Google Business Profile, because you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store to prove your presence in the world.

The next step is to create a LinkedIn Profile for yourself, and a LinkedIn Company page for your business. I know, there’s some rumours that company pages don’t get that much traction, so why would you bother?  Because it all helps with the search results and proving you’re a legitimate business owner with a legitimately trading business. This is about being found when someone searches for you, and it’s about showing the world that you are a real live person with a real product or service to sell.

Does this mean you need to create content for all these places?  Ahh, there’s that answer again… yes and no. It’s always good to have content posted to your social media, which goes further to proving your legitimacy online, however you don’t need to make it difficult – you don’t need to have “the ultimate business strategy for THIS platform” You can if you want (and yes your business will do better if you do) but the aim of me writing this post is to get you going, not get you overwhelmed.

If you would like to dabble in Social Media, our go-to recommended tool is Publer which is free for the first 3x account connected. This means you can connect your Google Business and 2x LinkedIn profiles to Publer and create content which goes out all platforms at the same time – and yes, there’s an app for that, which means you can easily snap a photo and post then and there.

You don’t have to make your social media fancy either.  Writing something without a picture, just once per week will help to ‘ping’ these platforms and show your customers that you’re around, your active, and you’re ready to do business.  Ready to take it a step further? Purchase the Publer Professional or Business plan and create 3 months of staple social media content which will automatically recur.  Don’t care for creating social media content? It’s time to have a chat with me.

2. Reputation and referrals.

A customer’s recommendation to use your product or service is priceless.  It’s one thing for you to tell the world about what you do, it’s another thing for someone else to recommend you.  As they say “create fans, not customers” because these fans will be your best supporters.

Brick and mortar store owners have it a bit simpler; create a A5 flyer with a QR code linking to your google profile and get peoples reviews right there and then. Offer something free, like a pen, when then they review right there in the store, or put them into a monthly draw for the chance to win something of higher value. 

If you’re serviced based, remind clients at the bottom of your emails or invoices how valuable their review of your service is – you could offer a free 30min strategy session as your monthly prize.  I often follow up my Discovery Calls with a request for a review, even if the person has decided to not work with me; we did after all, engage in a meaningful conversation and I’ve often tailored the tips I’m writing here for you, to their business to help get them ready to work with me later.

Following up with these reviews is also important. Write a reply suited to their review to make sure they feel seen and heard.  This is how you showcase your professional service outside of the work you did together and allow other potential customers to see you. 

If you’re finding it hard to manage these reviews, let me know and I have a tool which can help with this and other aspects of managing the back end of your business.

There’s a common ‘way of working’ amongst Kiwi’s when it comes to interactions with other people. It’s the “don’t be a dick” clause. Hold this true in your interactions with others; whether at the industry level, or when working with your customers. Gossip and negative reviews spread even faster these days, and you want to do what is in your power to control the image of your business which goes out into the world. While not every interaction is going to be perfect, the way in which you respond to that interaction is going to speak more for you than you could know.

3. Clearly write the problem you are solving.

This is often the hardest thing for a business owner to do; this along with niching.  Yip, and I’m just as guilty as you!

Google will read your website/LinkedIn page and (amongst other criteria) rank your content in terms of “does this answer the problem which is being searched for?” This means somewhere on your page, the words need to be written. Not in a fancy images, but in text writing just as you’re reading now. If it’s in an image, Google can’t read it. So don’t use your pretty business logo image at the top of your website. Make sure you have words of your business name written.

When your potential customer is searching in google, they’re usually asking a question.
“Christmas gifts for men”
“Mechanic for electric vehicles Wellington”
“Business support for my admin”
“café in Nelson with meeting room”
“Business coaching for manufacturing company”

None of these questions are what your business is called. They are all about the customers problem. Remember Google is smart; it can read an interpret whole sentences. So going back to our example above, the ‘answer’ to the problem you might write is…

“Christmas gifts for men” – we stock Christmas and birthday gifts specifically for the man in your life.
“Mechanic for electric vehicles Wellington” – We provide specialised services for all types of electric vehicles in the wellington region.
“Business support for my admin” – we provide virtual business administration support for small to medium businesses around New Zealand and Australia.
“café in Nelson with meeting room” –We have the perfect meeting room for small business meetings in our Nelson café. Free hire with the purchase of coffee and a cabinet food for the meeting.
“Business coaching for manufacturing company” I provide business coaching and consulting for the manufacturing industry, tailoring my customised framework specifically to your company’s unique set of challenges.

Remember, when your client is searching for you, they don’t know they’re searching for YOU. They only know the problem they have, and that they want someone relatable who will solve that problem. Make it easy for Google to find you, and make it easier for your potential customers to ask the questions in Google to find you.

4. Nurture your customers – present, past, and future

Alex Hormozi asks an incredibly deep question to really get you think about your customer journey “What would you do if I took away all the ability for you to advertise, and the current clients and the ones they referred to you were your only income source?”

Those clients would become your Number One A priority.  You would give them the utmost care and go the extra mile for them; whether it’s impeccable customer service, or some other extra factor. Being responsive and do the things you promised them is absolutely important. (This doesn’t mean breaking your boundaries either; there’s a balance)

Starting an emailing list is often a high priority to every business; monthly is perfectly fine, though every two weeks is better.  And the emails don’t need to be long!  If you’re a store, you can talk about new products or highlight an item for sale 2-3 products is more than enough.

Service based businesses may highlight a client success story, a service you provide, or tips and tricks related to your area of expertise (these tend to go down well!).  Keep a list of frequently asked questions and address them in your emails.  Keep it to 1 topic per email… and would you believe that plain newsletters actually have the best open rates?! This is because they look more like an email addressed to the person, rather than a promotional email.

Next you can turn these newsletters into social media posts, helping easily support your online presence. These people on your mailing list are going to be your fans. You’re directly in their inbox and you’re speaking directly to them. Make it worth their time!

5. Invest in yourself.

The only other time you’ll go through a personal growth challenge as big as this, is when you have your first child (if that’s your path in life).  There is so much to learn in the first 6-18 months that the feeling of overwhelm and “what the heck have I done” is so similar to the first time parenting it’s uncanny. 

Just like with any new thing you do, you will be faced with challenges and hardships, and you’ll also be rewarded with being proud of what you accomplish.  So take the time to learn this new thing and go easy on yourself!

If you’re not ready to invest in a business coach, then here are some easy ways to get your professional development.

Listen to podcasts while you’re commuting, walking the dog, or cooking dinner. 

Read books around the areas where you are struggling; time management, profit first, how to sell, how to be a true and authentic business person (the 90s self-help books aren’t a thing anymore so just start reading books again!) 

Join a local networking group to meet other like-minded business entrepreneurs. Or learn to be colleagues with other people in your industry by joining up to your industries professional organisation.  You’ll learn invaluable lessons from people who have been exactly where you are.  Yes they’ll have done things a different way, and they’ll be at a different stage in their journey, but this is what makes talking to other business owners important.  Don’t hide away in your shop or in your home office.  Get out and make connections with people in your space.  Often you’re not going to be direct competition anyway, because you serve completely different clients. 

Legitimacy is key

To navigate this challenging phase, consider these five foundational areas to work on and propel your business forward. Legitimacy is key; ensure your business is easily found on Google and establish a presence on platforms like LinkedIn. Reputation and referrals are invaluable – cultivate fans who will advocate for your business. Clearly communicate the problems your business solves to improve your online visibility. Nurture your customers, present, past, and future, and consider starting an email list to keep them engaged. Lastly, invest in your own growth through podcasts, books, and networking. By focusing on these foundations, you can build a strong business that’s well-prepared for success in the competitive landscape of New Zealand. Don’t let the “chicken and egg” dilemma hold you back; take action and watch your business soar.