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Using A Virtual Office to Help With New Business Goals

It’s a new year – the perfect time to draw the line and set some new goals and resolutions for the benchmarking of your progress and success. Truth be told, any time is the best time to embark on some productive measures and planning for your new successes. It’s just that the turning of the page of the New Year calendar offers a particularly poignant starting point. It then becomes a race to see if perseverance and fire will trump ‘goal’ apathy and procrastination. Good luck with that one!

Perhaps one of the greatest business and social evolutions of the past few decades is the advent of accessible, affordable entrepreneurialism. This evolution has provided a way for the little guy to get into business, with big dreams, and have a decent shot at competing with the big guy. No longer are the cards so thoroughly stacked against the relatively low budgeted freelancer, thanks to two major factors: IT advancements and gadgetry coupled with suitable, affordable, newfangled workplace and work-way options that offer practically all the required physical and personnel support to make the pursuit of a dream business, and uber-success, tangible.

Leading the charge in that second main ingredient to personal, new business goal success are the economically feasible right-sized spaces and ways to work that also lend legitimacy-points to a business, which its prospects and clients can soak up, and which are superb networking and proving grounds for biz launches – Yes, it’s the variety of dynamic Virtual Office Plans and providers being offered today.

To succeed with your new business goals, you need to have the right place, with the right feel, level of support, capabilities – and perhaps more importantly, the right price tag so that you don’t break the bank through misapplied ‘dreamer’ enthusiasm; or overcommit, especially financially, and risk going bust before giving your dream business enough time to take root. There’s no reason, in this day and age, for start-ups to budget for a big, prestigious, full-time office that they’ll only use spottily in today’s nomadic, work-anytime/anywhere work universe, when there are much more savvy ways for a budding entrepreneurs to spend their ‘early’ money wisely. Legitimacy-promoting, fully-enclosed, leased office space is no longer the absolute first-step required of start-ups, as was the case in the last Millennium.

That’s why Virtual Officing makes so much sense. It’s a way to keep expenses low, and commitments in check at a time when an inspired, small business dreamer can use all the breathing room he or she can get. The flexibility of the various Virtual Office programs out there gives great comfort to, and makes a heckuva lot of sense for, today’s enterprising newbies, since it takes the stress of over-commitment off the table with their flexible terms through relative rock-bottom spending on what is traditionally the #2 expenditure (after #1, salaries). While the business gets in gear, hopefully momentum and success will sprout.

Virtual Offices are the perfect bet-hedger for the new breed of business winners … a perfectly reasonable and prudent way to accommodate business goals. And if you think Virtual Officing has experienced some outstanding growth in the past decade, as Al Jolson used to say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!” As more and more individuals shed their central/HQ, full-time office must-ness; and corporations continue to downsize and outsource various functions of their organizations to freelancers, there’ll be an acceleration of the need for Virtual Offices to satisfy the on-the-go small business dreamers who value flexible, affordable workplace and work-way options in even greater proportions than we’ve seen to date.

Virtual Office demand is still spiking since they are simply one of the smartest ways, and ideal homes, to support new business goals. It is a fabulous New Year’s Resolution launching pad for the motivated solo-preneur if there ever was one!

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6 Ways to Set and Meet Your Goals in 2016

It’s that time of year again—time to set goals that will drive you toward greater success in the days, weeks and months ahead. But where do you start? We’ve compiled some of the best tips from top experts to fuel your goal-setting fire.

1. Trust Your Gut

Lynn Robinson, author of “Trust Your Gut: How the Power of Intuition Can Grow Your Business,” says your gut is an incredibly valuable resource that helps you make routinely successful decisions.

“Intuition is a skill we all have and can develop. One of the best ways is to ask questions of this inner guidance. ‘What can I do to increase sales this month?’ or ‘What’s my right next step to grow my business?,’” she says. “Intuition communicates through ‘aha’ moments, feelings, images, dreams and physical sensations. Trusting this wisdom can help you not only set strong goals next year, but achieve them, too!”

2. Get an Accountability Partner and Make it Public

Wesley Higbee, a business consultant, notes doing the right thing—a requisite of goal setting—is obviously a critical factor in productivity.

“Find someone that can help you be accountable to the goals you want to set and craft a plan to have them work with you throughout the year—or whatever period you need—to accomplish your goals. Have them help you formulate your commitment by allowing them to probe why your goals are important to you,” Higbee says.

“Make a public commitment to your most important goal. Announce it to your colleagues, send out an e-mail, talk about it with people, share why you're excited and what you're committed to doing. Psychologically, we don't like to appear inconsistent, so if we make a commitment publicly, we're much more likely to follow through.”

3. Make an Action Plan

Bill Corbett, Jr., president of Corbett Public Relations, reminds that actions speak louder than words—and that’s something to keep in mind when setting goals.

“Actually have goals. Write them down. Look at them often. Goals must be achievable. Write out the actions that must be taken to achieve goals. This is your plan but each action is a goal in itself. This action plan is what is needed to achieve goals,” he says.

“Each of these action steps has a series of steps and work that needs to be done to complete it and the move on. All or most of the actions must be taken before the effort is made to have the ability to achieve a goal. Action is require to achieve goals. Write down your goals and create your action plan for achieving them.”

4. One Day at a Time

Igor Holt, co-founder of Kovach Enterprises, says when it comes to goals, you have to take it one day at a time. Imagine how messy a week can get, he says, let alone a month.

“When we talk about annual goals, rationally speaking its crazy to expect things to go in any specific way. Now, this isn’t to discourage any business owner from setting long-term goals. Quite the contrary, I would encourage goals to be set, but in longer than three to six month intervals,” Holt says.

“Set them somewhere ahead and analyze your efforts once you’re there—regardless of whether you’ve hit them or not. Make quantum leaps whenever possible! If you set a goal of increasing your revenue by 20 percent in the next three months and realize with one week’s effort that you have increased your revenue by 10 percent, keep doing what you did. As a finishing touch, any and all business goals should be communicated with the team, established in writing and meditated on daily.”

5. Find Your Why, What and How

Mike Sciortino, founder and CEO of Gratitude Marketing and the best-selling author of “Gratitude Marketing: How You Can Create Clients For Life By Using 33 Simple Secrets from Successful Financial Advisors,” offers three tips in one.

“First, determine your ‘why.’ In order to increase your probability of achieving your goals, start with defining and clarifying your reason for achievement,” he says. “A clear understanding will help you achieve the best results and often times better outcomes than you expect. Know why you are striving and moving forward.

Secondly, know your “what.” Sciortino calls this is the strategy stage. Strategy is defined as a careful plan or the art of employing plans toward a goal.

“What's your plan. What has to happen for your plan to work?” he asks. “As Pablo Picasso said, "Action is the foundational key to all success.’”

Third, think through your how. This is where you determine the tactics you will employ or, in other words, the devices you will use to accomplish an end—your goals.

“To achieve your success, no detail is too small to escape your attention,” he says. “How will you get from point A to point B at the end of the year?”

6. Mornings Rituals are Key

Business and life strategist Melissa Mizer, CEO and Creative Director of MoreSeekers, suggests creating a morning practice or ritual.

“Start the year by creating a morning ritual that helps you start your day off well,” Mizer says. “Making time each day for prayer, mediation, connection with loved ones, reading, writing, exercise and other self-contemplation increases happiness and make us more productive throughout the rest of the day so we feel more fulfilled.”

For more information about Live Receptionists and Virtual Offices call us at 888.863.3423

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A Small Business “Wish List” for Santa

It is difficult to turn on the radio or walk into a store during the winter holiday season and not hear the song “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” First released in 1934, it became an instant hit with orders for over 100,000 copies of sheet music and 30,000 record sales in the first 24 hours of its release. In addition, the list of artists who have song versions of it over the years is a veritable “Who’s Who.”

Though the origins of making a wish list and mailing it to Santa Claus at the North Pole date back to the 19th century, the song popularized the concept—particularly Santa deeming each child as “naughty” or “nice” and determining what gifts to give them (or “coal” in the case of the “naughty” ones). In preparation of Santa’s visit on Christmas Eve, millions of children around the world prepare a wish list of what they hope Santa will bring them in letters they mail off to the North Pole.

As small businesses reflect on the past year and Santa’s coming visit in a few days, they too may want to prepare and mail their wish list to Santa and his Elves. Knowing small businesses are stretched for time and resources, the team at Davinci Virtual pulled together a list of things that you may want to include in your letter to Santa.

Get More Engaged with Customers

There is probably nothing more important that you can do than to find new ways to engage with your customers. Indeed, engaged customers spend more and have higher margins than other customers. Engaged customers are also much more inclined to become advocates.

  1. Digital Presence. Small businesses without a digital presence need to get one. Research shows one-quarter of small businesses still have no website. If you don’t have a digital presence—both website and social media—this should be the number one item on your list to Santa. Check out our two-part blog post on “10 Things to Consider When Building and Optimizing Your Website” on how to get started.

  2. Digital Engagement. A static, informational website is no longer sufficient. Small businesses must engage with website visitors, forming digital connections with them throughout their buying and customer journeys. One way is to leverage real-time personalization to target content offers based on the identity of the visitor—buyer and customer—and/or their behavior. For example, if a visitor is looking at pages and content related to a specific topic or product, then content related to that topic or product should be dynamically offered to the visitor. (Read our blog post, “Personalized Omnichannel Engagement,” for more detail.)

    Despite many customers preferring self-service, live digital engagement sometimes is needed. This is where live web chat comes into play. And like content offers, live web chat is much more than a static button; rather, based on the identity and behavior of a website visitor, small businesses proactively extend chat invitations to visitors.

    Think your engagement with visitors ends when they leave your website? Think again! With intelligent ad retargeting, small businesses can continue to engage with visitors after they go elsewhere on the web.

  3. Live Phone Agents. But just as self-service sometimes proves inadequate, so does live web chat. Certain questions and problems—as well as some buyers and customers—want to speak to a live customer service agent. Here, just as with live web chat, professional, subject-matter experts need to be leveraged to deliver memorable customer service experiences over the phone.

Get More Engaged with Employees

A joint report by Harvard Business Review and Achievers found that 71 percent of organizations believe employee engagement is very important to achieving overall organizational success. Yet only 24 percent of those respondents say their employees are highly engaged.

Business results speak volumes at the same time. An in-depth study by Gallup discovered that organizations in the top quartile outperform those in the bottom quartile in a number of areas:

  • 10% better customer ratings
  • 22% high profitability
  • 21% in productivity
  • 65% better in low staff turnover
  • 37% lower absenteeism
  • 41% fewer quality defects
  • 48% fewer safety incidents

Engaged employees are also much more likely to advocate on behalf of a company, and this translates into tangible business returns. So what should a small business include on its wish-list to Santa when it comes to employee engagement? Below are a few, though certainly not the only, ideas:

    1. Communications and Transparency. Davinci Virtual believes strongly in the importance of communicating goals, strategies, and business outcomes to employees. As part of that process, we provide business transparency to our entire team; they know how well—or not—we’re doing as a company and how their work is playing a role. But unfortunately this is not the case in a majority of instances: only about 40 percent of employees know about their organizational goals and tactics. As a result, if your employees are in the 60 percentile who do not know, make sure you have communications and transparency on your list for Santa.

    2. Social Media. Amplify your content, activities, and promotions by getting your employees to retweet and post them on their own personal social channels. Simply asking them to do so isn’t sufficient. Instead, you need to institute a strategy and implement a basic workflow process when you publish social media posts. And for organizations seeking to streamline the process and make it fun through gamification and leaderboards, there are some employee engagement technology solutions that are relatively easy to implement and manage. What better than to include one of those on Santa’s list.

    3. Face Time. Make sure your team has valuable face time together, whether team-building exercises, quarterly offsite meetings, or project post mortems (celebration and learnings). In particular, if your team is virtual or you lack an adequate space to host face-time interactions, include a virtual office location on your list to Santa.

    4. Empower Innovation. Employees need the freedom to experiment and innovate. This drives greater staff engagement and productivity in addition to new business ideas and initiatives.

    5. Career Development. Too many businesses often make the mistake of thinking that compensation and training are the principle lynchpins in career development. While they are undeniably important, they are not the end-all solution when it comes to employee engagement. Social connections and aligning work experiences with employee cultural needs and areas of interest are just as important, if not more so.

We’ve certainly found this to be true at Davinci Virtual. Corporate responsibility has always been an important priority for us, and we allow our employees to determine what activities and organizations we support. In addition, we’ve made being a customer service agent fun, enabling agents to graduate to higher levels that include expanded scope and responsibilities and eventually ascend to the level of what we call a “Super Agent.”

Get More Productive

Every business aspires to achieve greater productivity. For small businesses that are constrained for time and resources, outsourcing certain tasks and functions can make a big difference. Suddenly, rather than fielding customer service calls and emails or performing rudimentary administrative functions, small business leaders can focus on building their businesses.

Our Live Receptionist teams were created with this in mind. The following are a few of the things small businesses can include on their list to Santa:

      • Call Forwarding and Screening
      • Voicemail Management
      • Appointment Scheduling
      • Outbound Calling
      • Advanced Call Routing
      • Order Processing and Customer Care
      • Administrative Tasks and Work
      • Auto Receptionist
      • Online Faxing

To understand the ROI of Live Receptionists, check out our ROI Calculator. And when you need a virtual office to host a team, partner, or customer meeting or a day-office when you need to work from a physical location, simply reserve one of our more than 4,000 meeting spaces in over 1,000 locations.

Need Help Writing Your Letter to Santa?

Running a small business is not an easy undertaking, and your list to Santa might be quite long.

If you find that you need some help while writing your letter to Santa, just let us know. You can call us, email us, or chat with us. After all, all three are much faster than mailing a letter to the North Pole.

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The Pros and Cons of Virtual Receptionist Services

There are many advantages with engaging a Virtual Receptionist these days. We live in an ever-increasing, nomadic, flex-working, work-anywhere/anytime universe where more and more entrepreneurs are constantly on-the-go, and relishing ways to save time, effort and money as they ply their trades and grow their businesses. The old paradigm of ‘having to have an office with an on-site assistant and/or receptionist’ to be in business, is crumbling.

Many who have Virtual Office plans are now taking advantage of Virtual Receptionists to make their work-lives complete, and to function more efficiently…it’s the logical progression of where the world of working and ‘officing’ is going.

Stepping up to the plate to fill the vital function of keeping fleet-of-foot entrepreneurs and executives on track are providers of the valuable feature of professionally administered Virtual Receptionist services. When the right Live Receptionist is chosen, not only does it offer superior administrative and operational output and results, but it also provides a solid, constant human connection to clients and prospects that could otherwise falter and damage business potential and relationships if only recorded, electronic messaging is offered.

Most people by far prefer to speak to a live receptionist rather than to a piece of equipment and leave a Voice Mail message that they’ll wonder if it will get picked up, and when. Live Virtual Receptionist services ensure a greater chance that, not only will the messages be delivered efficiently, but that it will also go packaged with a sense of nuanced human communication that only a person-to-person conversation can transmit. Furthermore, a live Virtual Receptionist provides a name that a caller can capture as a way to guarantee that there’ll be a reliable person and tracking process handling the message.

What a Virtual Receptionist user needs to be careful of is engaging a service that is too small, inexperienced and lacks the resources to follow-through on the delivery of worry-free, flawless phone answering and message delivery service. Precise messaging and services are only as effective as the capability of a Virtual Receptionist provider, which are sometimes nothing more than a locally marketed individual worker fielding calls at their home for a number of clients that they picked up, but that at times can’t juggle multiple calls properly, or at all.

Home-based, singular, individual Virtual Receptionist providers trying to appear to be a larger outfit than they truly are, is a growing concern to be wary of. Make sure you check the resources, capabilities and references of any Virtual Receptionist services you are considering before signing-on. If you value live receptionists, you’re also sure to value reliability and efficiency. That one call screwed-up by an overwhelmed, small Virtual Receptionist might cost you clients, loads of money and other kinds of grief…surely not worth it.

So if you’re thinking of joining the throngs going fully ‘Virtual Office’ and have a great value for the pro representation of you, your business and brand, go fully professional while you’re at it with an impressive, capable, and cost-effective Virtual Receptionist provider that has the resources to handle all your needs efficiently, and with a great ‘phone smile’. It’s a popularizing, mainstreaming service and level of professionalism that far-and-away pays for itself.

Davinci Virtual offers a great team of Live Receptionists to help your business get the image it deserves!

Contact us today!

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Measuring the Business Value of a Live Receptionist

In an ever-increasing competitive landscape, measuring the business value of any endeavor is vital. From marketing to technology to personnel, companies large and small need to understand the business value each project or capital expense ultimately delivers.

If it’s not working, after all, why keep doing it? Or, by contrast, if you aren’t doing the work that brings the most value to your organization because you are in the weeds with administrative tasks, including answering the phones, why not delegate it? When it comes to staying on top of the phones, a virtual receptionist can eliminate that frustration and add measurable business value to your operation.

“We don't have enough staff to man the phones during business hours,” says David Waring, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Fit Small Business. “So the primary advantage to having a virtual receptionist is that having a live person answer the phone is much more professional than sending calls to voicemail during business hours.”

With that in mind, there are several key ways live receptionists provide measureable business value to your firm:

1. Calls are answered promptly during business hours.

With a virtual assistant, if you are in a meeting, out to lunch, or at a doctor’s appointment, you won’t miss a sales lead that could turn into a new client because your phone lines will always be answered. Market research firm Forrester reports that more than 65 percent of callers will not leave a message in a voice mail. Just one missed sales lead could mean thousands of dollars of lost income for your company.

2. You don’t have to hire a temp worker during employee vacations.

Hiring a temp service comes at a premium. You could pay twice as much as the going rate to bring in a temporary service to manage your phones, effectively doubling payroll during vacations, sick days or employment gaps.

3. Provide strong customer service.

Answering the phones is just good customer service. According to market research firm Gartner, 80 percent of a company’s future revenue will come from 20 percent of its existing customers. What’s more, Bain & Co. reports that a 5 percent increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75 percent.

4. You can spend your time more wisely.

What’s your time worth? If your time is worth $100 an hour, or even $25 an hour, you are wasting valuable resources answering the phone. Think about it for a minute. How many times have you got stuck talking someone who wasted so much of your time that you missed another business opportunity or didn’t complete an important task—or had to stay late to do it?

5. Broadcast a more professional image.

Perception is reality most of the time. Answering your own general corporate line can give the appearance of a one-man operation—even if you are not a one-man operation. You want to present a professional image and that often means keeping up with appearances. Answering your own phone lines may feel like a personal touch, but it can send the wrong signal to clients that you don’t have anything better to do.

Of course, not just any live receptionist can get the job done. It’s vital that you choose a live receptionist firm that gets to know your business. In other words, you need to train live receptionists with the knowledge that they need to direct calls to the right people at the right time, take clear messages according to the guidelines that help you streamline communications, and otherwise understand the nuances of your business so they can be in synch with your company.

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