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Why poor grammar can damage your business

Many businesses fail to appreciate that the written word is THEIR window to the world and a valuable marketing tool which can attract or potentially deter new clients. Poor grammar, simple spelling mistakes and a lack of punctuation are all contributing factors that can send customers running in the opposite direction.  

The well written word is an essential component of business communication as it establishes credibility and professionalism. Marketing emails and advertising leaflets containing spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors are a prime example of poor business promotion. Why spend money on thousands of error-riddled leaflets which will have the opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve? Send out an email with poor grammar and it will look amateurish. Sloppy marketing will make people question your overall ability to do business irrespective of how good you are at your job. When it comes to content, what’s even more surprising is the number of people who are simply oblivious to the difference between common words such as “you’re” and “your” or who persist in saying “I could of” instead of “could have” – the list is endless!

Grammar and spell checkers are far from infallible and, if anything, have even contributed to the current decline in written English standards. A software programme won’t necessarily tell you if your spelling of the word is correct, but incorrect in context. I have a friend who regularly posts on Facebook “of cause” instead of “of course” – I haven’t the heart to try to explain her error to her as it’s in a personal rather than business context, but if I came across it in the professional sphere I’d run a mile.

So, what can you do to ensure your written communication is up to scratch? A good tip is to read aloud when writing – you can often pick up simple mistakes this way. Use a dictionary (online or paper) to double check the spelling of words and a thesaurus to broaden your vocabulary. Make time to brush up on basic grammar and if you have neither the time nor inclination to do this, then hire someone to do it for you. Professional proofreading doesn’t cost the earth, but it could save you a small fortune and enhance your business image. 

Pippa Wastell
Why your small business needs an online presence

As a small business owner, time is your most valuable resource. How you choose to invest it is almost as important as where you invest your pounds. Are you neglecting your social media presence because “Facebook is a waste of time” or because you have no idea how to tweet? Are you intimidated by learning how to manage a website or an email marketing program? It’s never been easier for small businesses to compete online with the big guys and it’s never been more affordable to manage.

Facebook is more than cat videos and a pic of your cousin’s new baby every 10 seconds.

Engaging a potential customer on social media builds trust in your business. If your business doesn’t have a decent Facebook page, you are missing a huge opportunity. 24 million Brits use Facebook every day and 56% of internet users age 65 and older use Facebook. Facebook and other social media sites provide an easy, more “non-committal” way to get in touch with you and see what other people are saying about your product or service. Social media is a way to have a meaningful conversation with a potential buyer, even if they aren’t local. Social media also allows for “top-of-mind” awareness campaigns so those customers who aren’t ready to buy from you yet remember your name when they are. You can even schedule your social media posts ahead of time for things like holidays or special sales.

Email marketing isn’t dead

We all hate spam email. This is why email marketing has made some amazing advances in the last few years. Now, emails from business aren’t just hard-sell, “buy now!’ discount offers, but they are informative and, dare I say it, actually fun to read. Find out what your customers love to talk about and incorporate it into your email marketing strategy. Would your users find the latest announcement from Ferrari exciting? Or maybe they are more of a 'great recipe' kind of crowd? Find ways to make your customers look forward to getting your emails. Don’t have anything exciting or interesting to share this week? Don’t send an email. Choose quality over quantity, but do your best to plan out all campaigns so you can establish some frequency.

Your website is your business’ first impression to the entire world

What’s the first thing you do when you are interested in buying a product or service? If you’re like the majority of British people, you Google it. If your website looks amateur, out-of-date or, even worse, your website doesn’t appear in the search results, odds are you are losing potential customers to your competition. Even if you don’t sell anything online, visitors can get to know you and your product, find locations, and contact you. It’s easier and more affordable than ever to have a website, and because of that, today’s buyer might see a business without a website as a huge red flag and go elsewhere.

Nobody has time for that!

Having a great website, a cute Facebook page, sending a few emails would be great, but you’re busy actually running your business, managing the day-to-day operations. There are just bigger priorities, right? Wrong. You could be losing thousands of pounds in revenue each month that you don’t invest in online marketing. Trends change constantly and technology moves fast, but the good news is that you can get affordable, professional marketing help from the world’s best with just the click of a button. You know your business and its customers inside and out. Online marketers have honed their craft as well. Getting your very own marketing assistant is much more affordable than you may think. Contact us to find out how we can bring you more customers, build your online reputation, and best of all, save you time and hassle so you can get back to running your business.

Pippa Wastell
5 benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant

The challenges that come with running a business can be daunting. You're keeping an eye on the marketing, finances, day-to-day problems, hiring, firing, PR and more. With all that going on, you barely have any time for coming up with new ideas and processes that can help grow your business. One of the easiest solutions to these problems is to hire a Virtual Assistant. But why hire a Virtual Assistant when you can hire in-house staff?

A Specific Skillset

A Virtual Assistant is someone who works remotely, often through email, phone calls and/or video conferencing. A Virtual Assistant can work from anywhere in the world as long as they have an internet connection. They may have a broad range of experience but typically work in a specific niche and have dedicated skills like accounting, marketing, PR, data entry or web design.

Save Money

Hiring a Virtual Assistant saves you the cost of hiring a full-time employee. You eliminate employee benefits (National Insurance, holiday pay, maternity leave etc.) and the average rate for a Virtual Assistant is typically lower for those reasons. Plus, you only pay them for the time that they are working for you, so no tea breaks, lunch breaks or trips to the toilet!

Save Space

 As a sole trader or small business owner, you understand that affordable office spaces are difficult to come by. Sometimes just the cost of buying extra office furniture such as a desk and chair might be off-putting. This is where a Virtual Assistant comes in. Because they work remotely, you don't need to make room for them in your business space, or even have an office for that matter. 

A Comfortable Relationship

By choosing a Virtual Assistant, you eliminate any interpersonal conflicts or issues that can arise from having to see or speak to someone 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Not only that, but a Virtual Assistant is generally very flexible and happy to work around your other commitments. A happy employee is a productive one. For instance:

A Virtual Assistant doesn't have to commute to work You don't have to worry about them being late because of traffic or bad weather. 

Many Virtual Assistants have children which is why they work from home. Because they can be so flexible, you don't have to deal with staff needing to leave early to pick the kids up from school, or have an unexpected day off because one of the children is ill. 

A Virtual Assistant will focus on exactly what you want them to do.  Most VAs use time-tracking software so you can be sure that every minute they are working for you is dedicated to your needs. 

Save You Stress

Finally, a Virtual Assistant makes your life easier. Knowing you can outsource difficult or tedious tasks to a capable VA can make the difference between you enjoying what you do or dreading it. By engaging a VA to handle projects or everyday tasks that you either don't have the time to do or can't do, you are freeing up your schedule to make time for what you do best.