business owner

Keep an Eye Out

spyWhether you think of your competitors as enemies or colleagues, consider following them along their journey. If you’re a business owner, you should be up to date on all the current industry trends—local, national and worldwide! Learning from others is how we grow and there is a respectful way to keep an eye on your competition in order to gain insight.

Look at your competition through the eyes of a neutral consumer. View their website, subscribe to their newsletter and follow them on social media. Where are the gaps in information, what is being overlooked? What are they spending the time to do that you aren’t? Perhaps they have a blog, is it active and informational? Notice what your business has in common, and what sets apart. Do you offer services that they do not? Do you excel in customer services or offer online payment? These are the things to highlight when telling clients how your business differs. Learn from what they are doing well and from what they are doing poorly.

Keeping your competition close can also result in referrals. If you are able to develop a positive relationship with your competitor you may realize you are seeking slightly different clients. Having this positive relationship also portrays you as a business owner who supports others, even in the same industry. In general, clients react negatively when in the presence of badmouthing other businesses and colleagues. Represent your business as a respectful and genuine community leader.

It is important to note, one should not become obsessed with tracking competitors. This is an opportunity for you to refine what you do best. Don’t lose your identity or copy exactly what others are doing. Become inspired, gain insight and if you’re going to obsess about anything—make it your clients!

Multi-Tasking, Skill or Crutch?

Should you take “multi-tasking” off your resume? PrintThe entire concept and success of IMPACT virtual services is based around the ability to increase efficiency and productivity, so we can’t help but wonder about the skill so many applicants and professionals describe as, “multi-tasking.” Is this possible? And if so, is it truly the most efficient way to work? Many seem to be torn on whether or not this is a skill or a trait that inhibits productive, quality work.

Whether it is in our personal or professional life, more is expected of us than ever before. Responding to emails while on a call with a family member, paying bills while making a list of deadlines approaching that day, our minds are constantly racing! Younger generations are increasingly more efficient with maintaining several tasks going at seemingly the same time, many suggest due to the use of incorporation of technology in their everyday lives. But perhaps this skill is more task-managing than multi-tasking.

Consider two tasks that you believe you are working on simultaneously, perhaps reading this blog while on the phone with an employee. Are you truly engaged with both activities? One will always suffer. Your attention to each activity will constantly be switching back and forth, and we have gotten very skilled at doing this quickly! Is this the most productive way to work? Multi-tasking may create the illusion of getting more done and more tasks may be getting checked off your list, but the work simply cannot beat the quality if you were completing one task at a time.

IMPACT virtual assistants often have multiple clients, so we place a high importance on whether or not someone can manage multiple projects and deadlines. That being said, we also expect quality work that goes above and beyond the expectations of our clients. By using a task management program, assistants are able to document their tasks by time blocks and send reports to their clients. Many are under the impression that certain reoccurring tasks take more or less time than they actually do, so this is a very valuable tool. And while we believe in a high level of communication, we do not traditionally offer phone service. If an assistant is constantly answering the phone it is interrupting the momentum and quality of their work.

How you can eliminate the interruptions in your work life? Turn off email notifications and have calls automatically sent to voice-mail when working on a project. Block off time for catching up on those inevitable tasks that pop up every day. And build in cushion time for transitions and the inevitable roadblock. When adding more hours to your day isn’t an option, it is time to increase the efficiency of your work. Rethink whether or not you are truly multi-tasking and be prepared to defend this skill on your resume as many clients and employers believe this isn’t doing them any favors.