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Stressed Out Over Your Small Business? Laughter Can Lighten the Load.

Starting a small business usually means lots of long hours, a few disappointments and wearing many hats. But a sense of humor can help lighten the load.

Indeed, studies prove it. Although you probably don’t need scientific data to convince you, the University of Missouri does offer some. UM reveals positive humor should result in a happier workplace. Meanwhile, the University of Florida’s study shows humor in the workplace can boost employee productivity.

“In the business world, many successful organizations such as Zappos, Virgin, and Google, deliberately build play areas into their workspaces and organize fun events with the intent that the humor arising from these events will ameliorate the stressful nature of work, boost morale, and increase productivity,” according to the Association of Psychological Science.

Need more convincing? A Quickbooks study reveals a sense of humor can reduce sick days, lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, reduces burnout and boosts creative thinking. Even if you work alone, you can find ways to incorporate humor into the daily grind with vendors, clients and others. If nothing else, get a joke book and watch some funny videos.

Psychological scientists David Cheng and Lu Wang of the University of New South Wales discovered people who view a funny video clip spent twice as long working on tedious tasks than people wo watched other neutral or positive videos. That may explain all the cute cat videos on YouTube.

“Humor is not only entertaining but also replenishing. Individuals engaging in activities that require persistence may benefit from exposure to humor,” the scientists reported. “There has been increasing recognition that humor may have a functional impact on important behaviors in the workplace and that exposure to humor may increase the effectiveness of employees,” the scientists reported.”

Even though business is a serious matter, Barbara Weltman and Jerry Silberman, authors of Small Business Survival Book: 12 Surefire Ways for Your Business to Survive and Thrive, urge you not to take yourself too seriously.

“Keep things light and you’ll enjoy yourself more. You’re bound to face disasters, but if you can laugh a little, things won’t seem so bad,” they say. “You don’t have to be Jay Leno, Chris Rock, or Ellen DeGeneres to have a sense of humor and incorporate it into your daily activities. Just keep things light. Resorting to humor about yourself and your situation can provide a number of benefits.”

Beyond the benefits we’ve already outlined, the authors offer several more:

• Humor raises hope.

• Humor improves communication.

• Humor helps you put mistakes into perspective so you can move on.

• Humor can help you accept change.

With that in mind, let me leave you with a joke I found on SterlingFunding.com:

Fresh out of business school, the young man answered a want ad for an accountant. Now he was being interviewed by a very nervous man who ran a small business that he had started himself.

“I need someone with an accounting degree,” the man said. “But mainly, I’m looking for someone to do my worrying for me.”

“Excuse me?” the accountant said.

“I worry about a lot of things,” the man said. “But I don’t want to have to worry about money. Your job will be to take all the money worries off my back.”

“I see,” the accountant said. “And how much does the job pay?”

“I’ll start you at 80,000.”

”Eighty thousand dollars!” the accountant exclaimed. “How can such a small business afford a sum like that?”

“That,” the owner said, “is your first worry.”

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Maintaining Communications with Your Prospects and Clients While You’re Traveling

Going on Vacation or Traveling This Summer?

Forty percent of solopreneurs and small business owners indicate they take 16-plus days of vacation every year, and this doesn’t factor in the weeks or months that you spend on the road meeting with prospects and clients.

So, as you get ready to depart on a vacation or go on another business trip this summer, the question is who looks after your business? Even if you’re one of the 40 percent of professionals who say you’re “always-on,” the reality is that you’re not available 24/7.

At the heart of your business are your clients and prospects; they don’t shut down and go on vacation when you do or get on the same planes and attend the same meetings as you.

Hiring more staff isn’t necessarily always the answer. More headcount costs more money, and not every business can afford to do so. This certainly makes a lot of sense with revenues for solopreneurs and small business static or even decreasing. Working more hours isn’t an option for most. Ninety-seven percent of small business leaders work weekends; almost half work 50-plus hours, with 19 percent reporting 60-plus hours a week.

Outsourcing Tasks and Functions

There is an alternative; Growing numbers of business leaders recognize the value in strategic outsourcing, bringing in experts who are more efficient and effective at a particular task of business function. In some cases, outsourcing may even be cheaper. Fifty-five percent of small business report some level of outsourcing today. The other 44 percent delineate a list of reasons why they are unlikely or very unlikely to outsource any tasks or business function.

So back to the original question: how do you manage communications—digital, email, and phone—with clients and prospects when you’re traveling—whether for business or leisure? For many businesses, this may be a broader issue than when you’re traveling. Prospect and client engagement may be problematic whether your traveling or in the office.

Missed Customer Engagement

Research shows that an astonishing 60 percent of callers will abandon a call in less than one minute. One-third will not call back again. The same is true when it comes to digital engagement. Forty-one percent of customers who submit an email for support expect a response in less than six hours. Visitors to your website will leave within an average of 76 seconds if they cannot find what they need or get their question answered.

This data should be quite concerning, not only when you’re traveling but when you’re in the office. It also provides you with a solid business case for looking at outsourcing options.

Strategic, Targeted Outsourcing to Davinci

Davinci Virtual Office Solutions launched Live Receptionist, Auto Receptionist, and Live Web Chat services to provide businesses with the means to outsource these functions—when traveling and when not traveling.

Live Receptionist services provides customers with a dedicated team of sales and services agents who are experts on your business and able to route and answer inbound calls and emails, quickly and effectively. Call workflows, which extend to Davinci Auto Receptionist, route inbound callers to the right voicemail or person in your organization.

Davinci Live Web Chat changes the dynamics of digital engagement on your website. Whether you’re selling merchandise on your website or simply using it for lead generation, the ability to engage proactively with each visitor based on their identity and behavior is critical. Davinci’s Live Web Chat service uses predictive analytics to determine which visitor needs assistance and when.

In addition to all of the above, Davinci’s various communications services are fully integrated. This is particularly important considering the fact that 95 percent of customers use more than one channel to communicate with companies. Eighty-seven percent note that an integrated experience across all of these engagement channels is important.

There is no reason to risk missing that important prospect call, making clients and prospects countless hours waiting on hold or waiting days for a response they had to a question. Get Davinci Live Receptionist, Auto Receptionist, and/or Live Web Chat and ensure that your customers have optimal, fully integrated engagement experiences, irrespective of the channel they use and whether you’re on vacation, on the road, or back home in your office.

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How Live Receptionists Can Help You Unwind on Your Summer Vacation

If you are like most small business owners, you are working more and vacationing less. In fact, you feel like you’ve got far too much to do in a day to take a day off.

A Sage North America survey reveals 37 percent of small business owners are working an extra 11 hours or more a week than they did before the Great Recession. Sixty-eight percent are working longer days and weekends too. And 43 percent said they have taken “significantly” or “somewhat” less downtime over the past three years.

Sound familiar? You may reason to yourself, “Who will hold down the fort while I’m gone? Who will answer the phone lines to deal with new business inquiries or customer service calls? How can I rest well knowing the phones are ringing and nobody is answering?”

You can take vacation—you can take your much-needed downtime—without leaving your phone ringing off the hook or sending callers to a lifeless voicemail. You can tap into Virtual Receptionist services, also called Live Receptionists, while you are unplugged.

You can temporarily opt for a Live Receptionist service while you take some deserved days off. In other words, you don’t have to get tied down to a virtual receptionist service full time just to get some downtime. You can keep your well-oiled machine running and put the call-answering hat back on when you’re refreshed and ready to run again.

Although Live Receptionists have been in the market for many years, many small business owners don’t consider this solution. There are misconceptions around virtual receptionists. For example, a Live Receptionist answers calls—but that’s not all a virtual receptionist does.

When you hire a Live Receptionist to cover you during your vacation, they can take on varied administrative tasks to keep your business rolling forward. A Live Receptionist can offer your business hours, answer questions about what you offer, make sales calls, take product orders and handle any number of other customer service functions in the interim.

Backed by technology, Live Receptionist services can offer up data that helps you better understand how your business is performing. You can, for example, access a report that offers details about incoming call history. You may recognize patterns in this data that helps you grow your business.

The data you now have access to can show you the draw of various promotions you’ve pushed out through e-mail or social media or some other marketing campaign. Let’s say before you go on vacation you did some Facebook advertising for a summer special on your service that is redeemable the week you get back. The Live Receptionist can help you capture and process those leads so you can hit the ground running when you return to the office.

Live Receptionists can be a godsend if you want to rest peacefully on your vacation. And, who knows, you might find that it’s a virtual office technology you want to keep using.

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Davinci Live Receptionist vs. an In-House Receptionist [Infographic]

Davinci Virtual Receptionist Services is proud to present this infographic guide that compares the savings you get with a Davinci Live Receptionist.

Contact Davinci Receptionist Services to learn more about what a virtual receptionist can do for you today.

Please share our infographic using the image below:

Davinci vs In-House Receptionist

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How Would Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Use Virtual Offices?

As they battle for the Oval Office, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are working on planes, trains and automobiles—and likely using virtual office technologies of one sort or another to keep up with a grueling schedule.

When Donald Trump gave the Wall Street Journal a tour of his office in the Trump Tower in Manhattan, he had all sorts of memorabilia stacked up on cabinets—and all sorts of folders stacked up on his desk. He even had the chair from The Apprentice in the corner. These days, however, he spends more time standing in front of a podium than he does sitting in a chair.

Trump has a view of New York city from his offices—but he’s getting a view of the fruited planes as he travels across the nation on the campaign trail. I imagine that Donald is making impromptu stops at meeting rooms, tapping into an online command center, leveraging unified messaging and more to run his business while simultaneously running his presidential campaign. If he’s not, he should be using virtual office technologies to drive greater productivity.

With her jam-packed schedule, Hillary could use a virtual office assistant or a live receptionist to field calls, book appointments, arrange gifts to be sent to loved ones, and more.. She could whip out the smartphone she’s so often seen toting in photographs and use a mobile GPS apps to find a meeting room space wherever she is stumping on any given day.

Hillary and Trump could get creative and hold a debate using virtual meetings technologies—making history in the process. Trump has already declined to show under the bright lights of the television media in the past. A virtual meeting would give him the ultimate control. He could just click a mouse and shut down the debate if he didn’t like it. Hillary could mute her line if she started coughing, skirting speculation that she has some strange illness.

If they want to keep up with the campaign news, Hillary and the Donald can download a variety of mobile apps on their phone. Hillary might especially enjoy the Trump Wall, a parody app about Donald Trump that emerged as a big hit. She’s probably also a fan of the #ImWithHer app that helps Clinton supporters connect and take daily grassroots action.

The point is, technology and alternative workspace—from virtual offices to live receptionists to meeting rooms to productivity apps—are a key part of the 2016 presidential election. And you can be sure that Trump and Clinton will leverage any advantage they can get in what looks to be a hard-hitting campaign on both sides.

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