A Virtual Assistant

In this year and age, everything is related to the internet. From shopping, banking, bills payment, social interaction, communication and every bit of actions we humans do nowadays was somehow linked to the use of the internet. For several years I had been working a very traditional job in retail. However, personal circumstances made me re-think my current situation. A part of me always feels that traditional jobs here in the Philippines are very time-consuming. With a standard 48-hour work and a 1-day off per week, quality time with family and peers seems unlikely. So if work schedules are eating much of our time, is it after all worth it? This question bugged me for a lot of months. Then one day I came across KOM Academy’s Facebook posting for a free seminar on “How to be a Virtual Assistant.” Curious, I immediately inquired and pre-registered for this event. That’s when I realized that there are a lot of opportunities outside the traditional work environment.

What is a Virtual Assistant by the way? These are smart individuals offering administrative, creative and technical skills to remote clients. So what made me think this virtual job is kick-ass better than my old job? Reason number 1, “I am my boss”! As VA, as they call it, you work as an independent contractor to the client. Which means that you don’t work for a company or an employer, but instead they outsource you to render them the services they require. About this, you are not limited to work for a single client. Hence, the second reason – more clients, more income. By this I mean you can are not limiting yourself to only one source of income. You have the control to expand your financial gains as you deem fit. The third reason, it is home-based. What is not to love working at the comforts of your space? No hassle from commuting, dealing with worsening traffic situation of the city, increased transportation expenses, annoying amnesiac office mates who always borrow your things but never bothers to return them are just a few to mention.

If there is a convenience in the environment, work schedule is something that is flexible as well in this industry. That is the fourth reason why I considered engaging into this business. The chance to be given a schedule that is favorable to your liking is something that is highly unheard of in traditional jobs. Often you must be employed a full-time job to get a decent salary. Whereas in VA, even part-time jobs can still get you good pay. Mainly because you are paid based on the quality of your work output and not just merely on the number of hours you spent. Furthermore, output-based jobs present more opportunity for workers to get promoted as evaluation is real-time.

The fifth reason I seriously consider is that this job is never boring. As mentioned earlier, VAs provide different service from administrative, to creative and even technical for those highly-skilled individuals like the programmers. Thus, this job can present you wide range of tasks that you can explore and hone your skills.

These things cited above are just a few of the factors why I considered becoming a Virtual Assistant. To have the convenience of time and place in your hands is a privilege that an ordinary worker won’t be able to experience in a traditional work setting. As I go along my journey into this business, I am looking forward to discovering more things to love and enjoy.

To be successful in business, sometimes the wisest move to make is to ask for help. Remember that you don’t have to do it all alone. Get a co-worker from a distance!

Strategic Process for Site Planning

Real estate site selection can be a complex web of evaluating store attributes within a potential store trade area. The process utilizes both a science and an art to the overall selection process combining a number of factors that weigh on the viability of the location. Complicating the process is that each location has its own special attributes, which makes site selection more directional in nature as opposed to a cookie-cutter process. That being said, here are some key attributes that should be considered in the overall evaluation:

Traffic Counts – While these are clearly site specific (think of the difference between a rural site and an urban site), analyzing the traffic counts will help offer a predictability of volume. The key is to understand what the potential traffic patterns are for the site before one can look solely at traffic counts. If a road carries a number of cars, but that road does not feed well into the site, the traffic counts may be misinterpreted. Understand the natural flow into the site before assessing the traffic counts. One way to gain some perspective on how traffic counts mirror volumes is to compare existing site volumes with their traffic counts. Many operators jump right into new site selection without looking back at existing sites and creating a model based on their geographic areas. This may give you a more reliable predictive model for your future sites.

Population Counts – Population count is the next logical indicator for your location. Not only do you want to look at the population count as it stands today – and is it enough to support a site – but also how has it been trending. Positive growth indicates a viable marketplace while negative trends may raise a red flag. In addition, gaining a better understanding of the ethnicity and socioeconomic trends in the trade area will offer a better snapshot into the merchandising mix that should be presented at the site.

Seasonality & Geographic Nuances – Determining whether the site is seasonal or not should factor into your analysis. Operators shouldn’t necessarily shy away from seasonal type stores but rather not be surprised by them after they open. Closely related to seasonality would be a trade area driver – i.e., a mall or theme park – that may positively or negatively impact your store’s performance. Monitoring these outside forces will tighten up your model. In addition, look for the non-seasonal enhancements or barriers to your site. A river that bisects your trade area, for instance, will effectively cut your traffic to the store no matter how close in proximity the homes are. Even certain companies can impact your site. A large manufacturing facility that releases a number of employees at the same time can cause bottlenecks in the traffic flow that will cause potential customers to avoid the area at these peak times.

Visibility – This may be more anecdotal than the other attributes but should still be a consideration. Judging whether the site is easily viewed from afar as opposed to a site that is hidden by overgrown trees should be a factor. Driving the site from all four directions allows for the owner to gain the perspective of potential customers as they approach the location. Other considerations would include that speed of the traffic as it approaches the potential site. If the traffic flow is traveling at too great a speed or drivers are distracted due to complicated traffic patterns, the opportunity to notice your location is diminished.

Competitors – Obviously, understanding the competition within the trading area is critical. I would approach this competitive evaluation in a three-fold fashion: a) gasoline, b) convenience store, and c) quick-service restaurants. Look at the competitive landscape in degrees of competition – meaning, some competition has greater negative impact than other competition. Ranking your competition based on this impact for all three categories will paint a more holistic overview. Keep in mind, that some competitors may impact only the gasoline while others may have a greater impact on convenience product sales. With the c-store industry creeping further and further into food-service, mapping the quick service restaurants in the trade area will give you a better indication of the viability of your food-service operation.

Location – Location, location, location. There are many factors that come into play when picking the best location. Is it a premier corner? What day part side of the street is the site? Is there easy ingress and egress in and out of the location? Are there divided highways in front of the location that make access more difficult? Is this an inside lot location and not even a corner? What is the length of the property frontage? There is a myriad of considerations for the actual site location that need to be evaluated in the context of the other attributes.

Let’s face it; there are a number of variables that come into play. While one cannot be certain that accurately depicting all of these attributes into a real estate site evaluation model can guarantee success, it will at least put you in a better risk aversion position. That is the science of it.

I have been around the block long enough to know that some stores simply defy their science and just work. The art of site selection is far harder to quantify than the science. While those stores are the anomaly, evaluating new locations by putting their attributes through the litmus test above, helps minimize the downside risk of opening an under performing location.

How Is Your Worksite Wellness Program Addressing The Biopsychosocial Nature Of Health? (Are You?)

Health is a complex concept. And you do want to understand how to best address it, correct?

I have previously written that health and wellness are two clearly different concepts. As a result, I see the work-site wellness programs of today as not really being wellness programs at all, but really being employee health status management programs. If you accept this premise, this means that as a work site wellness professional you should have a clear understanding about the nature of health. Do you think you do?

Health, like wellness, can have many different definitions. Again, like wellness, there appears to be agreement around the idea that health is a complex concept which has several different determinants. The determinants of health can be classified into several broad categories: policy making, social factors, health services, individual behavior and biology and genetics. Health is often referred to as being a complex bio psycho-social concept.

Breaking the term bio psycho-social down into its component parts suggests the term consists of three major components: biological, psychological and social. So how do these component parts each contribute to an individual’s health?

Biological – The biological and genetic or physical (physiological) determinants of health, as well as individual behaviors, are generally the focus of most work site wellness programs today. Programming often takes the form of health risk identification and measurement (commonly called risk reduction) and disease or condition management strategies. These speak to the biology and genetics of health.

Two common measurement tools used in work site wellness programs today are health risk assessments and bio-metric screenings which are designed to measure and categorize health risks and basic biological body measures respectively. The basic biological measures serve as markers for an individual’s health status. Ideally, these measures should be within what has been determined to be a normal clinical range.

Psychological – It is now generally accepted that our brain and our body in separable. There is an undeniable connection between the mind and the body. While the exact mechanism may not yet be clearly understood, there is agreement cognition, thoughts, attitude and feelings influence our health. Our thoughts and feelings do have a physical impact on our body. They influence our nervous system, our immune system, our hormone system and subsequently our health.

Disease states are strongly influenced both in onset and duration by the way we think and behave. Our emotional responses result in hormone releases which in turn affect our health. It is clear that how a person feels, or their psychological states including a sense of energy, vigor, durability, hardiness, resilience, optimism, high life satisfaction and positive emotions all reflect the psychological connection to physical health, thereby representing the psychological component in bio psycho-social.

Social – The person – environment fit is reflective of the social component in bio psycho-social. The social determinants of health typically refer to the social environment and the physical environment, which are not controllable by the individual, but affect the individual’s environment and health.

Social determinants are complex, integrated, and overlapping social structures and economic systems linked to a lack of opportunity and to a lack of resources to protect, improve, and maintain health. Environmental factors, such as housing conditions, living conditions, social networks, and social support are also key drivers.

Examples of social determinants include:

• Availability of resources to meet daily needs, such as educational and job opportunities, living wages, or healthy food

• Social norms and attitudes

• Exposure to crime, violence, and social disorder

• Socioeconomic conditions, such as poverty

• Social support and social interactions

Social support, social interactions and friendships have been determined by researchers to provide many benefits. They influence many major aspects of our life. They also provide many beneficial life enhancing roles. Social support is critical. In fact, a lack of friends can be deadly.

We lean on social support, social interactions and friendships for:

• Intellectual stimulation

• Emotional support

• Fun activities

• Support for making behavior changes

The skills necessary for making good social support, interactions and friendship are also the skills necessary for success in life. Social support, social interactions and friendships are also great wellness tools for the work-site wellness professional to tap into.

How is your work-site wellness program addressing each component of the bio psycho-social nature of health?

Bring Your App Business on the Right Track

Every entrepreneur seeks to know the secret recipe for success. What strategies are made to increase the conversion rate? What are the exciting ideas that can be implemented to make the company grow? It is super strategies that create opportunities for a company. There are always some brand new ideas that you can implement to grow your business. However, not all the existing tricks will give your business a boost. It is only when the right strategies are followed at the right time and the right place that you end up having a revenue-generating business.

If you have an app business, here are 5 strategies you can follow to make sure that your business climbs the ladder of success. Let’s take a closer look:

1. Know the Purpose

To start with, in your mobile app business, it is vital to know the purpose behind the creation of an app and the audience for whom the app is created. The advantages and the true value of the app shall not be confined to the number of features it has and rather on how the user experience is. One of the most significant factors in creating compelling apps is close collaboration among developers, the quality analysis team, and designers.

2. All About Planning

It is the business plans that earn you profits. Only with clear objectives can you come up with the most suitable solutions required by customers. When it comes to creating successful apps, it definitely requires sharp focus. The complexity of a mobile app can be huge but fundamentally, an app must be designed by having an understanding of the real world. Moreover, to come up with engaging apps, it is also important to identify the exact expectations of users. So you see that accurate planning is vital for creating successful apps.

3. Choose Your Platforms Wisely

A significant part of sales depends on how you reach out to your target audience and you basically have to connect with them in the best way possible. Unlike websites, mobile applications are designed for various platforms. These days, there are multiple devices and multiple vendors. For instance, most smartphone users make use of iOS devices and others go for iPhones. Thus, the process of app development completely depends on how customer engagement can be carried out on different platforms.

4. Cross-Check the Intuitiveness of the App

Do you think that the app that you design will help in making your client’s life easier and happier? Once you design an instinctive app, it can end up giving an amazing experience to its users. Apart from integrating notable UX designs and streamlined functions, it is equally important to check whether an app is responsive enough and provides suitable performance to cater to the needs of the user. Also, ensure that the app is free from bugs.

5. Promote Your App

Promotion plays an integral role in boosting your app business. One of the most significant factors behind the popularity of an app is the way it is promoted. Adequate promotion of an app through reviews, ratings, video teasers, recordings, and social media posts helps to create a buzz among the target audience.

When it comes to the app business, the competition is stiff and if you fail to follow the right strategies, you may end up causing your app to lose its visibility among an extensive range of audience. So, follow the sure-shot strategies stated above and ensure the success of your app.

Checklist When Buying Industrial Premises for Business Use

Industrial premises are very important because it has various uses. It can be used for storage, manufacturing and for the workplace. It is important that when buying a commercial property to use it for business, it is thoroughly checked. A background check prevents problems in safety and damages. Buying an industrial property may have underlying risks which are often undetected until you’ve purchased the property. Do a thorough check before going through with any sale.

When buying a property the first thing to check is the safety of the environment. Regardless if it is used for storage, manufacturing or office, it must have a building permit. Having a permit means it has passed the standards of safety especially on seismic requirements. These structures are usually large therefore it is heavy. It needs a lot of safety measures installed so that in case of emergency, the safety of employees as well as manufactured products is maintained.

From checking the safety of the place, the accessibility is also very important. When using the place for manufacturing, there should be enough space inside for tractors to move about in transporting materials. This is one way of making operations smooth and ensuring fast delivery time. Having a good road for travel is also important especially if the place is to be used for an office, outlet or manufacturing.

Checking for damages and things to repair is a must. This must clearly be reported by the agent or space owner before the contract of sale is signed. Buyers need to know such to ensure repairs are made before the place is used. Any damages can be unsafe for people working inside and it may potentially disrupt operation.

The space of the place must be enough depending on how it will be used. For instance, if it is a storage place it means there will be transportation of items done. The place therefore should give space for delivery trucks. If the place is to be used for an, office it should allow free movement of employees inside. Otherwise this can be very uncomfortable for people inside and problems and complaints may arise later on.

Be sure to also check that facilities such as lighting and water supply are complete. These are very basic amenities needed in a commercial space. Otherwise if there are problems in access to water and electricity no businessman would ever buy such property.

Your Business Need A Sales Funnel

It may sound obvious but often a business will forget the fact that the only way to make money is to get customers to buy. And the best way to get customers to buy is to have am effective sales funnel.

A sales funnel is set of steps where you guide a prospect through a series of communications that results in them buying from you.

But what happens after that first sale is made? Existing customers are the people who are most likely to buy from you again.

How Does A Sales Funnel Work?

At the top of the funnel, you offer something for free in return for getting a prospect’s contact information. This could be a report, checklist, video or eBook. Then you begin marketing, following up with emails and other communications to attempt to make a sale.

Throughout your sales funnel process, you should have several offers that complement each other. For instance, before you buy a car, you take it for a free test drive. If you like the car and buy it, the salesman doesn’t just hand you the keys and then vanish. You’re offered extended auto warranties, enhancements like upholstery and wheel options.

After a couple of months the salesperson will contact you to see if you’re happy with your new car, and let you know about a discount or sale going on.In the future, you’ll be contacted with opportunities to trade in your vehicle and the sales process goes on and on.

How Many Levels In The Sales Funnel Process?

As you can see from the example above, there can be many different levels in a sales funnel. A one level funnel is where after a customer buys from you, you move onto the next prospect.

But this a critical error.

It costs 6 to 7 times more to get a new customer than keep an existing one. It makes sense to market to someone who has already purchased one of your products, rather than try to convince new people to buy your services. An existing customer already knows you and your business. If they have received excellent value from you once, they’ll be more prepared to spend money with you again, rather than somebody who has never heard of you.

There is no “ideal number” of sales funnel levels. Each business, product and service is different. Just make sure you are continuously providing your prospects and customers opportunities to improve their lives or solve their problems with future purchases from you.

An Effective Dinner For A Home Business Proprietor

When you want to take your client for dining out, make sure that they are considered in the final selection. If they have any allergic reaction, you must allow for them by going to places where they will not be left with a scenario that makes them unpleasant. Showing that you care about their desires can make for a wonderful first impact. It could also be a respectful reaffirmation of why they do business with you to begin with you, which is because you have their best interests at heart.

If you say that you are going to be at the restaurant at a particular time, get there early. If you arrive before they do, you can take the extra time to make it certain that you are not located someone noisy or near a high-traffic area so that you talk business and hear each other without disturbances.

Based upon the restaurant, paying the bill in advance could be a good strategy. If the customer sees the bill, they may feel a little bit nervous about the prices. You could have the staff members run your card and add a tip percentage just before your client arrives or if you can step away mid-meal. This can leave you with the choice to get the check just before you leave or have them mail it to you. These options will all depend on where you eat, though.

As it comes time to order items, keep your intake somewhat balanced with that of your client. This means ordering similar items and eating at an equivalent pace. Follow your client’s lead is the way to go with food orders and with light drinking. Things could get uncomfortable if you finish your plate before they do.

Be well-mannered to wait of staff. If something comes to your table that isn’t that great, do not get upset or abusive towards the staff. Showing condescension and rudeness can show the client that this is how it is to work with you.

Adding some small talk in with the business talk while you eat can help you get to know or reconnect with each other individually. They will be also examining to see if you dominate small talk or if you listen well. Any major business talk is best reserved for the main course where wait staff tend to interrupt less.

Finally, remember the important parts of your dinner and accomplish any requests your client made during the dinner. Nothing will hurt you and your business more than showing that you cannot follow through with promises and requests.

Connecting with clients is essential to a home business, and dinner is one of the best ways to do this. Take the time to make it an enjoyable experience for you both to build a better working relationship.

Ensuring the Safety of Your Business Through Document Storage

The documentation that your company produces is extremely valuable for a number of reasons. Crucial company financial documents, employment letters and client files all fall under the confidential company documentation umbrella. Unfortunately, paper-based documentation can be under threat due to a variety of reasons such as fire, theft or natural disasters. Even if you store your documentation digitally, on an internal or external hard drive, it is important that you protect your company’s information. To ensure the safety of your company’s documentation, it is best to take on the services of a document storage company. Before you choose a storage company, there are a few factors to take into consideration:

Storage Systems

A well-designed storage warehouse will have processes and systems in place to make your document storage as effortless as possible. It is crucial that there are not only efficient and comprehensive systems in place, but that you understand them and how they work. It does not really help to have your documentation stored safely if you cannot access them easily whenever need be. Depending on the size of your business, you may generate paperwork at a speedy rate and if your documentation is not stored in a logical system that you understand, it will hinder your ability to retrieve what you need when you need it. A well-designed storage system is quite a complex operation; hence you need to choose a company that specialists in document management. A good document management company will be able to explain their different storage options to you. In addition to this they should be able to suggest a solution that is best for your business’s document storage requirements, be it tweaking the existing system or customizing a system to suit you.

If required, your document storage company should have an electronic document management system in place to conveniently scan and safe keep your business documents in order for you to access it offsite electronically.

Safe and Secure Storage

Safe and secure storage is crucial for all your documentation. Because your paper documents can be damaged by climatic conditions, fire or theft, you need adequate security against all these hazards. A document management company will have the safest facilities for document storage possible. This includes vault-type storage; climate controlled environments as well as excellent fire prevention and management facilities. Should you have scanned paperwork and are utilizing digital storage systems, then the storage company will make sure that all your information is backed up and stored on secure servers.

Retrieval

Being able to access your documentation whenever necessary is vital. A well planned storage labeling system should be in place that gives you easy access to all your files irrespective of how many you have stored away. For example, even if your particular vault is lined with shelves containing rows upon rows of boxes, you should be able to find documents alphabetically, by year and by type. In addition to this, you should be able to access your documentation 24 hours a day, should there be any emergency requiring you to produce the relevant paperwork.

As you can see, there are many benefits to secure document storage for your company. Not only will you have an organized system in place that you can utilize to find whatever you need, when you need it, but you will also have peace of mind that important business documents are well protected. The good thing about offsite document storage is that even if your business premises get completely destroyed, at least all your paperwork will be safe.

Building a “Successful-Product Pyramid”

Basically, businesses that are into tangible products are on a dead end today. It is because they don’t have an idea on how to create a successful product. Most of the businesses today only adds more features on a certain product and increase its price. They market it as new products even if it is only an improvement of the latter.

It is true that we are lacking enough minds to create a successful product, but deceiving the public is not something that businesses should do. The richest man in the Philippines once said that you have to be honest with your customers if you want them to stay and be loyal in your brand. Well, how can you expect them to stay and be loyal to your brand if you are not giving them what they deserve?

If you wanted to build a successful product, here are some of the important things that you need to know.

Put Innovation as your Product’s Foundation

When creating a product, you should always put innovation as the foundation because in the end, everything comes down on how your product is unique from the others. It is really hard to create a unique product and it is also the reason why every company spends a lot of time, effort and money to create a new product.

Instead of wasting time thinking of adding new features on an already existing product, think of a new product. It will take time, but you don’t have to release new products on a regular basis. You can always add features and tell them that it will be a new addition to the products. You don’t have to add features and increase the price of the item.

Your Product should be Functional

The term “Functional” is not only for electronic products. It can be applied to all the other products on the market today. Let’s say that you already have an idea on what to product, the question is how can you make it functional? You cannot sell an idea. Your idea should be functional if you want people to buy it. If your product will not live up to what you are claiming, it will never be successful no matter what you do.

If you think that the idea of the product is good enough or the design, it should be functional first. It should be a step by step process. You can determine the functions of a product unless you innovate first. You cannot make a design unless you do the first two.

Think of an Attractive Design

Don’t overdo the design because you are not selling a product just because of designs. Make it look attractive and make sure that the functions will not be affected in any way. This is the last step in the successful product pyramid. Even if it is only about the design, it plays a very important role in the marketing of the product.

Many business owners and Filipino billionaires know about this, but only a few are using this. It should be done by business owners if they want to make a successful product.

Best Accounts Payable Processing Practices

When it comes to working in accounts payable, there are a dozen things that can happen to cause a good day to become a bad one – and these things are often actions that took but a second or two to happen. These mistakes often occur not because of a lack of training or due to faulty practices but often because people are unaware of ways to improve the work situation.

Thankfully, there are many actions that can be taken to ensure that your business is using the best accounts payable processing practices available. By doing this, you can minimize the risk and exposure that result from not having a totally secure system and effective recovery process. While there are many different steps you can take, one of the most important things is that you track a number of elements in the accounts payable processing department.

· Keep up with the number of invoices that come into the accounts payable department in given period of time. The larger your company the more of these there will be. Tracking these will give you a baseline and make it easier to track other items within your department.

· How many invoices are processes as a percentage of the total number of invoices during a specific amount of time. Tracking this helps measure how effectively and efficiently your department is getting the work done. If you feel that the work being done is not enough, then sit back and determine what can be done to make your department more efficient.

· Pay attention to the rate of wrong payments as a percentage of total payments. You need to be aware of any over or under charges. Using a HER program can minimize occurrences such as these.

· Figure out how much it is costing you per invoice processed. Be sure to note things such as software costs, IT support, hardware, and any other types of overhead. There are a number tools that can help you be effective and yet still keep the bottom line in the black.

· Track how many invoices are electronic versus paper. It is cheaper to process an electronic invoice than a paper one. In addition, the electronic invoices require less time to process. Hence, the more electronic processing and information storage is a better way to improve your budget and work efficiency.

Having the best accounts payable processing steps in place, you can be certain that you are doing all you can to protect your business. Talk to a team of business management specialist and learn how you can begin to better protect your company.