Archive for the ‘Your Business Website’ Category

Dear Danielle: What Is the Best Approach to Physically Obtain Quality Clients?

Dear Danielle: What Is the Best Approach to Physically Obtain Quality Clients?

Dear Danielle:

I am very new to the Administrative Consulting business although I have almost 20 years of experience supporting senior-level executives. I agree with you that we are so much more than “virtual assistants” and I would like to attract customers who understand that and value what we bring to the table, if you will. Therefore, my question to you is now that I’ve created a website and all other social media accounts, what is the best approach to physically obtain quality clients? Eventually, I may narrow my target but for now, my target is Small Business Owners. Thank you. —ND

Hi, ND. Welcome and thanks for reaching out. 🙂

Sounds like you’ve got the perfect background and a solid body of experience to offer clients. Wonderful!

Of course, there’s much more to business than simply knowing how to support clients and do the work, as you realize.

Learning how to run, manage and market a business and get actual clients (much less good ones) is a whole other skillset and area of education in and of itself.

This is why your question is more of a training one, rather than something that can be answered in a simple blog post.

It requires a more in-depth, systematic process of learning to understand the components, dynamics, and psychology involved.

To get that kind of knowledge and learning, I will refer you to my step-by-step self-paced training guide I created specifically for that purpose: How to Build a Website that WORKS!

This guide is centered around your website because your website IS the critical link in connecting your marketing and networking to actually getting clients, and not just any clients, but the kind of clients you want to reach: quality clients who understand your value.

This involves pre-educating your site visitors so they are in the right mindset, setting the right expectations, and prequalifying clients to help ensure you are productively spending your time in consultation with your most ideal and likely client candidates.

In the process of going through the steps and exercises, my guide also gives you a crash-course in inbound marketing because the two go hand-in-hand. You can’t set up an effective website and conversion system that gets results unless you understand all the components and mechanics involved.

Another thing I show you how to do in my guide is how to articulate your value and write your marketing message (and I have a clever system that helps you do that, no writing talent required; couldn’t be easier).

This is where having a target market is absolutely vital.

If there are any “secrets” in business and getting clients (and there aren’t), this is it.

And that’s because it’s not so much a “secret” as it is an area of misunderstanding and resistance for so many people.

You mention that right now your target is “small business owners.” But that isn’t a target at all, you see.

“Small business owners” is merely a demographic, and a very vague, general one at that which isn’t going to be helpful to you in any meaningful way whatsoever in creating a compelling marketing message and getting those ideal clients who value what you do.

It’s like saying “people” are your target market. That’s literally anyone and everyone in the world — which is the opposite of a target market (which by definition is a specific market).

A target market is simply an industry/field/profession that you cater your administrative support to. That’s it. However, it’s a vitally important component in getting those quality, ideal clients who understand your value that you wish for.

And this is where people struggle because they resist the idea that they actually expand their attractiveness and opportunities if they narrow their focus to one specific group.

Because here’s the thing: you can’t articulate your value in any truly meaningful, compelling way until you know who it is you are providing that value to. And that requires you to decide what industry/field/profession that will be.

Because it’s all relative.

Your value — what you provide, the solutions you offer, how you deliver those solutions and the results you create — all depends on who your audience (i.e., target market) is: who they are, what their commons interests, needs, challenges and goals are, what work they do in their profession, how their businesses are run, who their clients are, how they get those clients, and so much more.

You have to decide who it is you specifically intend to help in order to identify, understand and articulate your value in a way that speaks to these things as it relates to them. Otherwise, all you’ll ever accomplish (by trying to create a message for anyone and everyone) is being generic and forgettable.

To stand out, to create real meaning, to get focus and direction for your message and your marketing, you need specificity.

That specificity (i.e., deciding on a target market to cater your administrative support to) is what is not only going to get you more ideal clients who value what you do, it’s also going to make your business and marketing easier, you’ll have an easier time charging higher fees and making more money, and you’ll be able to get more clients more quickly and easily.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to download my free guide on How to Choose Your Target Market.

Start there, decide on a target market and then get my marketing/website guide, and you’ll be well on your way to getting those ideal, quality clients who absolutely understand how valuable you can be to them.

What Are You Proud of About Yourself?

What Are You Proud of About Yourself?

It’s always a great exercise to reflect and engage in some positive self-coaching whenever you need a little pep talk.

It’s also a great way to identify some of your superpowers.

And what are superpowers really but part of the unique value combination that only you bring to the table.

Make these a part of your website and marketing message!

By enumerating these special traits and characteristics, not only are you helping paint a portrait of your personal and unique value proposition, it helps attract your ideal clients and weed out the bad ones. It’s a useful way to organically prequalify clients.

As an example, here are some of the things I’m really proud of:

  1. I have always created my own opportunities. Like when my daughter was a year old and I was ready to get back in the workforce. I was still really young and the job market at the time wasn’t that great. I created my own volunteer opportunity doing admin at a nonprofit family services organization, which allowed me to brush up my existing skills, learn new ones, and gain some more recent references. I treated it just like a job, going in for set hours three days every week for six months, learning everything I could and even helping them improve on some things as well. It was a wonderful experience all the way around and helped me get a really good paying job afterward. Superpowers: Resourcefulness and Ingenuity
  2. I always pay those who work for me. It’s always been important to me walk my talk and treat those with whom I work with respect. As an industry mentor, I’ve heard far too many stories of colleagues getting stiffed by colleagues or otherwise being devalued. I also remember this one rotten client I had way back in my early days of business. This guy was constantly cheating and not paying those he hired to do something for him, not turning in payroll taxes (both those withheld from employee checks and the employer-paid share), paying employees late, even neglecting to turn over child support monies to the reporting agencies — all while buying himself Harleys, condos and spending lavishly on himself at every whim and depriving himself of nothing. He constantly pled ignorance or oversight, and in my naivete, always wanting to give someone benefit of the doubt, I chose to believe him. After counseling him over and over that employee monies are not his to spend, that he was going to get himself in trouble with the IRS and other agencies, that it was short-sighted to use and abuse the people he engaged to do work for him (and I wasn’t going to lie for him or play scapegoat), I finally had to fire him in complete disgust and contempt. I can’t imagine treating people like this. All my people get paid before I take a dime, and that’s the value I live by. Superpowers: Honor and integrity

These are just a couple of things I’m proud of about myself. By enumerating these superpowers, traits and values I hold dear in my marketing message, it gives my prospective clients and website visitors a picture into my character and better attracts the kind of client with whom I want to work.

By spotlighting the fact that I hold honesty, integrity and respect in high esteem, I’m more likely to attract those kind of clients while organically repelling the ones who don’t fit that criteria.

What about you? What kinds of traits and experiences in your life or business are you most of? What unique superpowers do they translate to? I’d love to hear your stories!

Build a Website that WORKS!

PS: If you need help turning your business website into a marketing machine that gets you clients and consults, check out my guide How to Build a Website that WORKS (GDE-40). This guide gives you a crash course in inbound marketing and business modeling, step-by-step instructions for setting up your site architecture based on my proprietary lead capture and client conversion system, and my proprietary plug-n-play system for articulating your value and creating your unique, compelling, education-based marketing message that gets you more clients and consults.

Dear Danielle: Do I Need an Address on My Website?

Dear Danielle:

There’s a conversation going on in another forum regarding addresses. Some people think it’s important to have one on your site and others think it’s unnecessary. What’s your opinion? –KH

I’ve spoken on this topic before on more than one occasion. Let me take the slightly longer road in answering because it’s important you understand the psychology behind this.

One of the reasons we talk so much about standards and serving ourselves first in business is because our industry continues to really, really struggle in this area.

A big part of the problem is the term “virtual assistant.”

When you keep calling yourself an assistant, it’s hard to look upon yourself as a business owner.

On top of this, and very often because of it, many people in our industry literally do not understand that they are business owners.

They really do think they are simply assistants, only they are now working from home.

And like good little assistants, they let clients tell them what to do in their own businesses.

They think it’s all about the client and whatever the client wants, needs and demands. <Give that good little girl who knows how to follow orders a pat on the head.>

And that just doesn’t help anybody.

It certainly doesn’t help those colleagues grow successful businesses (and by successful, I mean a business — not a hobby — that is solvent, self-sustaining, and earns them an actual living).

And whether they understand or realize it or not, it doesn’t help clients who much prefer not to have to shoulder the burden of leading everything in the relationship. (That’s what they come to the professionals for.)

But if they aren’t looking at you like a professional, they’re looking at you like a trained monkey (i.e., employee/assistant), which puts us back to square one.

You don’t have a business if you aren’t leading it and aren’t making any money.

Thus, getting over employee mindset, remembering that you are a business owner, having standards and making sure the business meets your needs first and that you get to say how it all works and how it doesn’t, is a constant and necessary conversation we have.

You’ve heard the saying, “You can’t care for others unless you first care for yourself.” That’s exactly what all that is about.

But then there are some folks who get carried away with all that to the point that all they think about is themselves in business.

They declare (and we’ll use the topic of the question here), “Well, I don’t want to put an address on my website. I don’t need to and I don’t have to because I’m virtual!”

To that I say, what on earth does being virtual have to do with anything? A business is a business.

They forget that being in business is about being in a relationship with clients. And a relationship is a two-way street. It’s not all about you (me, me, me, me, me)  and what you want and what works for you.

Yes, you get to say how things work in your business. Yes, you get to have high standards around the kind of work you do, the kind of clients you work with, and the kind of money you charge. You can not truly  and superbly help clients without those things.

At the same time, there are some considerations you must be willing to extend to clients – because you don’t have a business with them. And the bottom line is people are people.

So having an address on your site isn’t about what’s important to you. It’s about what’s important to the clients visiting your site.

It’s about helping them view you as credible and legitimate. It’s about trust, instilling confidence, and helping them feel safe about potentially doing business with you.

It’s not for you that an address should be on your site, it’s for the benefit of your would-be clients, and helping put their minds at ease.

Long story short, YES, it’s absolutely vital to have an address on your website.

It doesn’t have to be a physical address (and if you run a home-based business, I would absolutely tell you NOT to use your home address. It’s unsafe, and you do not want clients or strangers showing up on your doorstep out of the blue).

Get a post office box instead. If a post office isn’t close to you, businesses like Mailboxes Etc. come to mind. Alternatively, you can get a mailing address with a service like Earth Class Mail (which is a phenomenal service, by the way).

I would add that besides an address and phone number, put some kind of photo of yourself on your site, in your email signatures, in your forum profiles.

Get a gravatar so that when you post comments to blogs, people see your smiling face.

Being able to “see” who they are talking with goes a LONG way in establishing trust and rapport and facilitating conversation. It helps folks see you as a person – rather than a nameless, faceless entity – and they’ll remember you much better when they have a face to go with the name.

What Does an Administrative Consultant Do for Me, You Ask?

Here’s a client education video for you.

Feel free to use it on your website to help explain to clients what you do and how you help them as someone who is in the administrative support business.

Yes, You CAN Write Articles to Market Your Business

Yes, You CAN Write Articles to Market Your Business

How do you think you will get prospects into your pipeline if they don’t know you’re out there?

Article marketing is one of the simplest and least expensive methods for marketing and promoting your business (often costing nothing but your time).

It’s one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your website and improve your SEO (search engine optimization) at the same time.

Yet business owners come up with all kinds of reasons to avoid article marketing.

In this article, I’m answering all your objections. No negative self-talk allowed. You CAN do this!

Objection #1: I don’t think I’m a good enough writer.

No one is asking you to be Hemingway. In fact, some of the best articles out there are those that are down-to-earth and from the heart.

All you have to do is be yourself, write conversationally (like you would in real life) to your target market on a subject they care about or a problem or question they want advice on.

Objection #2: I don’t have anything interesting or of value to say (I’m no expert).

You’re a human being, aren’t you?

Unless you are a mannequin, you have thoughts. You have opinions. You have experiences. There are things you are passionate about.

Not to mention, you’re a business owner with some skill and knowledge in your field or else you wouldn’t have gone into business, right?

You have something to offer and that is yourself.

It doesn’t matter that the topic may have been covered a million times before.

No one else can write from your perspective, in your voice, with your personality and your unique insight.

Your right clients need to hear you so they can get to know, like and trust you.

Objection #3: I don’t have enough time; I’m too busy with clients.

That’s great that you have clients. But clients aren’t necessarily permanent fixtures in your business. They move on for all kinds of reasons.

Sometimes, it’s you who outgrows them.

Even if you have more business than you can handle at the moment, it’s always a smart idea to maintain your marketing presence to keep those prospects flowing into your pipeline.

One article a month is completely doable even for the most time-strapped entrepreneur.

Objection #4: I don’t have enough time; I’m too busy trying to get clients.

That’s exactly what article marketing will help you do, silly. 😉

Article marketing is a way to drive traffic to your website, which is what you want prospects to do.

Articles help increase your expert status in the eyes of would-be clients; they see you as an authority in your field.

Articles give them a chance to get to know you, which is what establishes rapport and gains their trust and confidence in you.

Articles also lend to the laws of attraction and intention: your right clients will be drawn to you and want to learn more about how you can help them by clicking through to your website.

Objection #5: I don’t know what to write about.

Here’s my own simple technique: Imagine you’re at a networking function. You’re talking shop with the business owner next to you, getting to know each other.

The business owner, now knowing that you are in the ___ business, asks you about ___.

Your answer to their question is your article!

It really is that simple. So go to those business get-togethers. Write down the questions that current and prospective clients ask you. These are the topics for your next articles.

What to Do Next with Your Articles

  • Post them to your blog.
  • Publish them in your ezine.
  • Post them on LinkedIn.
  • Post links to them on your social media accounts.
  • Shop them around to the professional publications of your target market.
  • Identify the popular expert blogs of your target market and ask to them to guest-post your article.
  • If a particular article topic proves to be especially popular (i.e., gets a lot of feedback and/or comments), expand it into a white paper or guide for your target market that you can use a free or sign-up give-away.

© Copyright by Danielle Keister for the Administrative Consultants Association. You are granted permission to republish this article only if used without alteration in its entirety with this copyright notice, title, article content, resource, and links left intact.

How to Build Trust and Credibility on Your Website

When your business is virtual, your website becomes your “office” and the public face of your business.

However, because it’s virtual, your clients and prospects can’t step into your office to get any sense about the personality of your business and its professionalism and legitimacy… Or can they?

Just because you run an online business doesn’t mean can’t give visitors a helpful and welcoming reception and positive impression as a brick-and-mortar office does.

There are small  details you can provide on your website that have a powerful impact in establishing rapport and instilling trust and confidence in your prospective clients .

  1. Your Name. People want to know who it is they are doing business with. Your name gives them someone to identify with and humanizes the connection. Clearly display your name, if not on all the pages of your site, at least on your Contact and About pages. Lead your business loud and proud and see what a difference it makes.
  2. Address. It doesn’t matter if you use a physical address or a post office box — just have an address of some kind on your website (but don’t use your home address for security reasons). This isn’t a logical thing; it satisfies a psychological need. People are simply more trusting of a business that clearly displays an address. And trust — particularly for online businesses — is the name of the game in getting clients.
  3. Contact Info. Don’t make it difficult for your site visitors to figure out how to contact you. The more clearly you display contact info, the better visitors feel about your site. The best sites not only display at least their basic contact info on all pages of their site, but also consolidate their full information (including hours of operation and other helpful data) on a Contact page of some sort.
  4. Photo. Nothing does more to create rapport than providing a photo of yourself on your website. Make sure you display your photo on at least your Home and/or About and Contact pages. Most of us don’t like our own photos, but you have to tell yourself to get over it. Because it’s not about being the best looking, it’s about humanizing the business and giving your site visitors someone to connect with. Forget the cheesy glamour shots and unnecessary Photoshopping. Don’t use any photo that is more than five years old; better yet, take a fresh, current photo of the real you. Wearing something simple and professionally modest is perfectly fine. The most important, stylish thing you should be wearing in your photo is your smile.
  5. Your Office. If you have a separate office area that is presentable (such as a dedicated room or space in your home that you have turned into your office), take a photo and put that on your site. Prospective clients like to see these glimpses into your operations. It makes it more real to them and they get a sense of who you are as a person at the same time.
  6. Don’t be a robot. Long gone are the days of impersonal corporate-speak and the royal “we.” Speak directly to your site visitor in an everyday conversational way as if they were sitting right there in the room with you.
  7. It’s not about you. Never forget that your site is for your visitors, not an indulgence for your ego. I don’t know how to put this more delicately, but when folks are shopping for solutions, they don’t care about you. They are looking with a “what’s in it for me” mentality. They want to know what you do and how you do it as it applies to their interests, their needs. They want that information provided from their perspective, not yours. That means using lots of “you” in your writing rather than “I” and “we.” If you have lots of “I” and “we” in your copy now, go through and do a more personalized rewrite with a “you” perspective. It will really transform the whole personality of your content–you’ll see.

 

© Copyright by Danielle Keister for the Administrative Consultants Association. You are granted permission to republish this article only if used without alteration in its entirety with this copyright notice, title, article content, resource, and links left intact.

A Few Words About Testimonials and Public Client Lists

There are all kinds of good reasons to use testimonials on your business website and marketing, but be sure to pay attention to these caveats first:

  1. Make sure the clients whose testimonials you use are aware that they may get contacted by your prospects. It’s never a good idea to put clients in a position of being caught off guard.
  2. Make sure those clients are happy to talk with your prospects. Only display the contact info of clients who absolutely don’t mind being contacted. If contact from your potential clients is going to irritate or inconvenience them in any way, don’t provide their contact info to the general public.
  3. Assign and use testimonials according to these three levels:

a) Public testimonial with full client names, photo, links and contact info;

b) Public testimonial with just client’s name and/or company (no direct contact info); or

c) Private testimonial and contact info provided only to prospective clients who are in the advanced stages of the consultation/retainer process.

I also thought I’d address client lists in this post and why displaying your full client roster may not always be a good thing.

First, understand that the reason you’ll see colleagues displaying a client list is that it gives the appearance that they have “all” these clients and are super successful.

That’s not a bad thing per se. It also might not be the truth.

It can be misleading because these lists sometimes include people they’ve worked for that are merely one-time/occasional project customers and not actual, long-term retained clients.

You’ll have to decide whether you want to take the chance of being viewed by some clients and prospects as being deceptive if they eventually learn the actual truth.

And here’s another reason. It’s not very pretty, but it’s something to be aware of nonetheless: If you provide a public listing of your clients, there are others in our industry who will try to steal them.

Some will even call your clients posing as prospects and try to glean some competitive intelligence about your company and your work with that client.

It’s icky and goes against industry ethics, but it happens.

My recommendation is not to provide your full client roster to the public. Instead, use a sprinkling of testimonials from those clients (just a small handful, or even just one or two is plenty) who you know to be absolutely loyal to you.

Happy clients are going to stay with you, but that doesn’t mean you have to lay a direct path for any would-be interlopers to bother them.

On the other side of the coin, I’ve also heard from clients who’ve commented that they’ve found their names on client lists even though they weren’t happy with that Administrative Consultant’s skills or service.

You’d think it would go without saying, but since it’s not, I’ll spell it out: It’s not to your benefit to list people who haven’t had a satisfactory experience working with you. If that’s the case, they aren’t going to appreciate being contacted off-guard by your potential clients, and they aren’t likely to give you a glowing recommendation.

When all is said and done, hype and smoke and mirrors really isn’t a good policy. There has to be substance to back up the image you project.

Grow your business authentically and truthfully, and it will reward you in dividends a hundredfold.

Does Location Matter?

I was corresponding recently with a new colleague who had some great questions. On of the things we discussed was location.

She felt that since we run online businesses that have nothing to do with proximity to clients, we as an industry should be conveying that in every way possible. As an example, she stated that she would prefer to see our directory categorized by country only and not list the state at all.

 

She correct that we aren’t confined to our own geographic location when it comes to delivering our services.

I definitely share her sentiment that we can definitely benefit from continuing to educate clients about how easy it is to work together virtually, how much more efficient it is, and how much their business can benefit from that greater flexibility.

Providing a location doesn’t take away anything from that effort. Providing a location has more to do with instilling trust and confidence in clients.

Being completely transparent about where you operate from isn’t a matter of whether you can work with a client or not.

It has to do with providing all the information possible to put clients at ease and trust that they are dealing with a serious, legitimate, committed business and not some fly-by-night who may take their money and run. The more straightforward and transparent you are about those kind of details, the less suspicion they will view you with.

In many respects, it falls into the realm of marketing.

Marketing very often isn’t based on anything rational or what should matter. It’s commonly about the irrational, about what does matter to clients for more emotional reasons, regardless of whether it’s logical or makes sense or not.

Some colleagues argue that they don’t need to provide a business address, that it’s a new virtual business world and totally irrelevant to their ability to deliver their services to clients.

They get so caught up in petulantly insisting that they are business owners who don’t answer to anyone, they end up forgetting that business is a two-way relationship.

I hate to burst your bubble if you’re one of those people, but it does matter.

A virtual business is still a business and all the marketing and trust-building rules still apply.

In fact, because we are virtual, it’s even more important for us to be as transparent and forthcoming as possible.

Because that’s what matters to people – and clients are people.

They want to know who they’re dealing with. In healthy, two-way relationships, you make sure you provide the information and do all that you can to let the other party know that you are credible, you are legitimate, and you can be trusted because you have nothing to hide.

And that means you provide a business address of some kind, even if it’s just a post office box.

It might not be something that should matter. It might not matter in reality one way or another (because a business can still be good or bad either way).

Nonetheless, it is something that does matter to your site visitors and prospective clients.

So if you want to make it as easy as possible to instill trust and credibility, and put potential clients at ease and comfort, make sure your business address and contact information is visible or easily found on your website.

Review My Website

I constantly see people in our industry asking colleagues to review their websites.

It’s all well and good to ask colleagues to check your site for typos and other goofs, offer opinions and give tips for improved SEO (search engine optimization).

However, the most important feedback and ideas you should be seeking is from your target market.

THEY are whose opinion and user experience matters most as they are the ones you are seeking to work with, not your colleagues.

If you site and offerings don’t appeal to your target market (i.e., a field/industry/profession you cater your administrative support to), it doesn’t matter a whit what your colleagues think. We aren’t your clients.

If you are running a business (and not a hobby or freelance sideline), you want to design your site to be attractive and appealing (both visually and content-wise) on all levels to your specific target market and ideal client. That information should come from your market/field research efforts.

There are lots of ways to go about doing that:

  1. First, identify a target market as well as profile your ideal client. Once you know who you are talking to and trying to attract, can you begin to understand specifically, in great detail, what colors, shapes, fonts and other visual elements appeal to their collective, professional tastes and sensibilities, what their unique business problems are, how to craft your offerings in a way that most resonates with them, and how to speak and write in their “language.” You can’t do that if your audience is anyone and everyone.
  2. Obtain market research about your target market from a company that specializes in that work.
  3. See if you can get your hands on some surveys conducted by your target market’s professional associations.
  4. Look at some of the more professional looking sites of those in your target market and look for common themes, visual personalities and design elements. Model your site after the mood, look and colors. For example, is it a market that has a more serious, studious bent or is it one where whimsy and fun are welcome? If you are trying to appeal to a serious audience, they are not generally going to be attracted (or have confidence in) a site that feels more like a circus sideshow than a credible business they can confidently give work to.
  5. I consider this one THE biggest, most important step: TALK TO YOUR TARGET MARKET.

This absolutely astonishes me, but I can’t believe how many people in our business NEVER make any effort to actually talk to real, actual people. It’s absolutely insane NOT to talk to your target market.

And I do mean target market, not ideal client.

You can find ideal clients in all walks of life, but the only thing that will give you the path you need to find and understand clients most quickly and easily is to have a specific target market. It’s what will also give your site and offerings the absolute greatest level of clarity, meaning, resonance and attraction.

That is the thing that is going to open up a path and give you the greatest clarity and direction for knowing who you are talking to, how to talk to them and what they want from you and how to frame your offerings for them.

Once you know that, go about making friends with some folks in that market and ask them for their advice and opinions and ideas for creating a site that is going to be attractive to others in that same field. Have lunch with them. Invite them to be on your advisory panel. Probe them about the obstacles and loads they have in running their business. Develop feedback forms and online surveys for them in order to get the information you need to most effectively develop your offerings and marketing to them.

This is work that is going to yield a gold mine of information that will make you stand out and also allow you to attractive administrative solutions of great value that you can charge well for.

Are You the Right Person to Be Designing Your Website?

There is always ongoing discussion about the best platform to use for our business websites: custom CSS/HTML, WordPress, subscription service (e.g., Wix, Squarespace), and so on.

One common denominator in these conversations is that the emphasis always seems to be on the do-it-yourself mentality.

And there always seems to be one important question left out of the equation: Are you the best person to be building your business website?

We in the administrative support business preach this business principle all the time to clients:

  • Are you the best person to be doing that work?
  • Is it the best use of your business time and energy as the business owner?
  • Do you have the knowledge and skills to do a good job of it?
  • If you are spending your time there, what more important business activities are being neglected, and how is that impacting your forward business growth?

And yet many in our industry don’t practice what they preach.

An administrative support business is no different than any other small business. Administrative Consultants can be more successful if they grow their businesses in the same ways that we advise our clients to grow: By letting go of doing everything yourself, getting the right help and expertise, and saving yourself a whole ton of wasted time and energy.

The mantra in marketing circles is: When the product is invisible, the package IS the product.

What that means is when you offer an intangible product such as professional services, how you package that product is absolutely vital to how your business is portrayed and perceived by your market.

Clients don’t know how to tell a good administrative consultant apart from one who is not so good. They rely on other subtle clues and cues to help them differentiate.

One way they do that is through the visual presentation of your website. They directly correlate the look and feel of your website with your level of skill and competence — you need to make the right impression if you want them to choose you.

So the question becomes: Are you the best person to be designing the product packaging for your business?

First, most people are not designers.

I hate to break it to you, but just because you own Photoshop or Dreamweaver, that doesn’t make you a designer.

Just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you are any good at it or that it’s a good use your business time as the CEO of your business.

New business owners often get so caught up in playing with their new site software toys and tools (because it is fun), they lose sight of the fact that they might not have the marketing understanding and knowledge of design principles to give their business the best possible “packaging.”

Another thing to consider is the idea that when it comes to our own work and our own businesses, we can be too close to it to see clearly and through the same eyes as our intended market.

Your website, after all, is not for you, it’s for your target market and would-be clients, and it needs to designed with them in mind: their needs, their tastes, their interests, their viewing habits…

And, through all this, when you are spending weeks, months even, dinking and fumbling around with your website, what more important business-building work is that distracting you from? Where could your time be better and more smartly spent?

Not that you shouldn’t be involved in the design of your website — of course, you should. And I get that most people in our industry start their businesses without being properly funded, so they bootstrap and have to make do with what is available to them at the moment.

That said, when it becomes financially possible for you, I urge you to have your website professionally designed or overhauled by a real, skilled designer.

Indeed, do everything to MAKE it financially possible.

Your business website is THE most important and central marketing and client-getting tool in your business toolkit.

Professional web design, therefore, is one of the first, most worthwhile investments you should make where you’ll see an immediate results in getting clients.

Your business will look better, allowing you to attract a better clientele.

It will also make you stand out from the sea of generic, templated and unprofessional, amateur-looking sites.

And you can focus your time and energy on the more important work of networking and business development.