Tag Archives: Folkestone virtual assistant

Become a networking Ninja

8 tips to make you a networking ninja!

In this blog, I look at ways to help you get the most out of attending networking events. Not everyone enjoys going to networking meetings but for the majority of businesses, it is a vital part of building their client base.  The key thing to remember is this is not an opportunity to just ‘chuck’ business cards at people, attend one event and expect the business to come rolling in! Networking is all about getting to know people, building trust and relationships so that people will want to work with you.  Also, keep in mind that not everyone in the room will need your service/product but that doesn’t mean they don’t know someone else that will so continue to build a relationship with them so they feel confident enough to refer you to their wider network.

1. Business cards
It sounds obvious but
take along your business cards, I’ve met quite a few people that have forgotten them. They don’t have to be expensive if you’re on a small budget.  If you have tangible products some networking groups are happy for you to also take these for people to see.

2. Elevator pitch
Have your elevator pitch ready and make sure you’ve practised it over and over. Keep it concise telling others what you can offer them, where you work, who your ideal clients are and your goals. Change it about a bit as well so if you’re coming across the same people at events they won’t get bored hearing the same thing every time. Ideally, this should be a one minute pitch, many drag their pitch out and people switch off. In the networking group I run everyone gets a minute to pitch, this way it is fair on all attendees.  We then break for informal networking so people can connect further with those they’d like to know more about. 

Relax, you won't be the only nervous one in the room

Relax, you won’t be the only nervous one in the room

3. Icebreaker
Have an icebreaker question ready for when you first meet someone. Perhaps ask ‘what’s your story?’ The important part is to listen to the answer. Think about what you are able to offer this person and if you can’t help them do you know someone who you can refer them to?

4. Diversity 
Try and keep a diverse network. It’s good to network with like-minded business people but also try and get along to events for your chosen professional body.

5. Don’t panic
If the thought of networking leaves you in a panic it’s a good idea to turn up at the event early. There will be fewer people there leaving you to start a one-to-one conversation which will help you relax a bit before everyone else arrives.

6. Be consistent
It’s important that you keep attending the same networking groups so that you build up trust with others. People are more likely to buy from someone they know. 

7. Stay in touch
If you connect with certain people and feel you could work with them then arrange to meet them separately for a coffee so you can learn more about them and their business. I’ve also met some great friends, as well as clients, this way.


Follow up any leads the next day

Follow up any leads the next day

8. Follow up
Once you have been to a networking event make sure you allocate some time in your diary the next day to follow up any leads and connect with new contacts online.

If you have any networking tips then please post them in the comments below.

For more business tips read more from my blog.

The Reverse the Tide team

Exciting new project – Reverse the Tide

A new venture

I’m really excited to tell you about a new project that I’m involved with, along with some other fabulous business owners, called Reverse the Tide.

Reverse the Tide is aimed at business owners from all over the world who want to develop their skills and collaborate with others in order to grow their own business.

We are currently building a website which will become a complete hub for advice, resources and support.  It will include some free resources as well as a members’ section and will be available on a smart phone, tablet and laptop making it accessible globally. 
To accompany the site there will be a Facebook group to enable the members to network and support each other.

Meet the team:
The founder of Reverse the Tide is Sally Marshall from Marshall’s Consulting. The rest of the team comprises:  
Mark Smallcorn – IVQ Designs
Dom Bradbury – The Love Social Co.
Pete Bresser (credit for above photo to Pete) – Bresser Photography and Digital Media
Mike Hacker – Hax Media
Gavin Munnings – Stonk Creative
Jon Pankhurst – Splat Web Works
Rachel Wall – Lighthouse Virtual Assistant

More details about the launch date and future plans will be published on here as things progress.  In the meantime you can get involved as I’m looking for bloggers to contribute to the website, a great way to help other businesses and promote your own at the same time. If you are interested then please email me: rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk and I will send you more details.

PR tips for small businesses

The reputation of your business is key to your success and ultimately its longevity.  If your company is seen as reputable it will make you stand out amongst your competitors.  If you’re not sure what PR actually is, then have a read of my other blog first.

Below I give you some tips on how to use Public Relations (PR) to help you increase the brand, profile and reputation of your business:

  1. Know your target audience
    Know your target audience so that your PR campaign is directed at the right people. For example, if you’re launching a new product who is most likely to buy it and where will you find them:  TV, radio, magazines?
  2. Send pictures with your press release
    A press release is a great way to let the public know, via the media, about your business, product or launch.  A press release is written in a certain format with a journalistic tone.  Send pictures with your release to make it more appealing.  Read my blog about writing a press release for more tips.

    Use an interesting angle

                   Use an interesting angle

  3. Send the PR to correct contact
    Send any information to the correct media for your service, if you don’t you’re wasting your time and money.  A little tip, if you are promoting a new product, is to send it to the journalist for free so they can test it (obviously only do this if the product doesn’t cost a fortune!)
  4. Meet deadlines
    Make sure you work to media deadlines.  Most have a cut off point for when they will run your story so make sure you don’t miss it.
  5. Stand out from others
    Have an angle to your story that makes you stand out and connects with your audience as well as the journalist.  Don’t make a sales pitch as the media will be unlikely to run your story.
  6. Being a small business can be an advantage
    Just because you’re a small business it doesn’t mean the media won’t use your story. Local media love a local angle and being smaller makes your story more personal so don’t be afraid to get out there and promote yourself!

    Know the correct media to contact for your business

       Know the correct media to      contact for your business

    Good luck if you’re launching a PR campaign soon. I offer PR services to help promote your business so if you need advice and support then please contact me 

Event organising tips

I have managed many events over the years and the most important advice I can give you is to make sure you leave yourself enough time to plan.  It always takes a lot longer than you think to get everything organised.  Below are a few tips to get you started and if you would like help organising your own event, conference, launch etc. then don’t hesitate to contact me and I’d be more than happy to assist.

  1. Know your audience
    Make sure you know your target audience.  Who are they and when are they most likely to be able to come your event.

  2. Have a purpose
    Make sure you have a clear business purpose for your event.  Is it to create awareness for your business in general, demonstrate a new product or launch a new campaign?

    Make a list of the essentials including refreshments

            Make a list of the essentials                     including refreshments

  3. Create a list
    Make a list of everything you need such as lightening, refreshments, press packs etc.  This is good to have to hand when contacting venues so you can make sure they quote a price for all the essentials.

  4. Check the date
    Check to see if any other events are being held within your industry on the same date you have in mind so that you don’t clash.

  5. Leave plenty of time
    If you are having an invite only attendance make sure you get the invites out in plenty of time. If everyone is welcome then promote the event through all your social media platforms and try local media as well.

    A VIP gift is a great way to thank people for coming

        A VIP gift is a great way to thank people                              for coming

  6. Why should someone attend?
    Give people a reason to attend – what will they gain from coming to your event?  A good idea is give the attendees a VIP gift such a discount as a thank you for coming along.

  7. Have a budget
    Make sure you stick to your budget, some venues can be extremely expensive so don’t get carried away.

  8. Get feedback
    Finally don’t forget to get feedback from the delegates so you know what worked and what didn’t.  You will also need to follow up any leads and/or enquiries where appropriate.


If you need help organising your event then contact me for a free no obligation quote: 01303 647101.

Tips for Twitter

Why there’s no need to be terrified of Twitter!

Twitter has approximately 313 million users with 500 million tweets a day and 78% of people view this platform via their mobile phone. Pop star Katy Perry has the biggest number of followers at more than 94 million!  With these figures, it’s understandable that quite a few clients I speak to seem very confident with Facebook but shy of Twitter. Once you get started, however, it’s very easy to use and with the huge statistics I mention you can see why it will be an advantage for you as a business to use Twitter. When you get started you will see that you have a profile of your business just as you would on other platforms.  Twitter is limited to 140 characters per post so you need to keep your tweets short and sweet.  Here are a few of my top tips to get you started:

1. Pick a suitable profile picture
Fill out all your contact details on your profile so it’s easy for others to see what you do and so they can get in touch. Set up a profile picture, this might sound obvious but I see lots of people who leave the standard avatar which looks unprofessional.  As I provide a service I use a picture of myself as this makes my profile look personal and shows there is a real person behind the brand. Your business may lend itself to a logo so choose a picture that works best for you.

                 Personalise your Twitter profile picture

2. What on earth is a hashtag?
Hashtags are used to flag up a particular topic and allow people to find you. So if you’re tweeting about weddings you would use the hashtag ‪#‎Wedding They are also a great way to help you find people to connect with, so search using the hashtag for your ideal client, for example, #smallbusiness

3. Engage to build relationships
Search for topics you’re interested in (i.e. marketing) and then follow these people, most will follow you back.  You can then engage by tweeting, quoting, liking and re-tweeting their posts to build a relationship.

4.  Use photos  
The Twitter feed moves quickly so use photos with your tweets where appropriate as your audience is more likely to see them and engage with you.

5. Be consistent 
Tweet frequently to keep your followers engaged. Try for at the very least once a day, three or four if you have the time. People won’t be online all the time so tweeting often will ensure more reach for your posts. Scheduling tweets in advance can help cut down the time it takes to post.  

6. How to create lists 
As your profile grows with more followers it can be tricky to keep up with your favourite connections.  This is where creating lists can be very useful.  You can create a list around a certain topic such as marketing.  You then add all the profiles related to that area to the list and it makes it easy to find them and their tweets. To create a list pop to your profile, click the ‘list’ button and click ‘add’.

Engage with your followers to build relationships

   Engage with your followers to build                        relationships

7. Share your Twitter handle across all your marketing platforms
Include your Twitter handle in as many places as possible such as your email signature, blog, other social media accounts and website to make it easy for people to connect with you.  You can find me here: www.twitter.com/RachelLHVA

If you need help setting up your Twitter account I offer one to one tutorials to show you how and give you some tips to get you started. I can also write, schedule and manage your Twitter feed so it’s one less job to worry about. Contact me for your free half an hour consultation:  rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk or 01303 647101

Can I pick your marketing brain package

The LVA ‘can I pick your marketing brain?’ package

Pick my marketing brain…

The LVA ‘can I pick your marketing brain?’ package came to fruition as many customers asked if they could just ‘pick my brain’ to get some advice on their marketing and PR for their business.  They wanted a few hours of my time to point them in the right direction and give them my expertise to kick start their marketing.

I offer a block of three different set prices and times as follows:

  • Two hours for £140 (We’ll discuss your business and I will explain some basic marketing concepts and give you tips to start your promotion, good for start-ups or for people new to marketing)
  • Three hours for £210 (We’ll discuss marketing ideas, I’ll look at your current marketing,suggest ways you can improve and which tools from the marketing mix will work specifically for business)
  • Four hours for £280 (We’ll look look at all the above and I’ll also provide a written document for you to refer to with written suggestions on how to take your marketing forward).

The sessions can take place either face-to-face if you’re within 5 miles of Folkestone (or are happy to travel to Folkestone) or via Skype or telephone.  (Please note mileage and call costs will be additional to the package price and the 10% first time client discount does not apply. Payment must be made in full before the mentoring session(s) takes place and payment is non-refundable).

If you would like to ‘pick my brain’ please leave your details below and I will send you some further details about each package and contact you to book you in.

Yes please book my LVA ‘can I pick your marketing brain?’ package!

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Seven reasons to network

Why network?

Networking is essential to building your business and I have gained the majority of my clients using this method.  There are lots of free groups out there and I suggest you attend a few and then stick with the ones you feel most appropriate and where your target audience can be found. Attend them regularly so that you can get to know people, this all helps with building trust and gaining a great reputation for your business (Read my blog for tips on how to master networking).

Here are my seven top reasons for networking:

1.  Networking will help you to build relationships. You will start to build up trust with each of the members and this will help you to gain new business. You will also gain knowledge from others and probably make new friends!

2.  You will learn new skills. Other members may provide training that you can sign up to and learn from. Exchanging skills with others will not only help you make new contacts but also add value to your business.

Practice your pitch

                              Practice your pitch

3.  Some groups will allow their members to provide a short talk on their area of expertise. If you can do this it’s a great opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and promote your business.

4.  You may find businesses that compliment your own work by offering a service that you don’t but that will be useful to your clients. Referrals and collaboration can be used here to help each other out.

You'll even make new friends

You’ll even make new friends

5.  You will have the opportunity to practice your pitch (elevator speech). Try and create a 1-minute speech to tell people what you do and how your business can help those in the room. Sticking to a minute makes you look professional and keeps people’s interest.  Doing this over and over gives you the chance fine-tune your words and grow your confidence.

6.  If you’re looking to expand your business then networking can be a great way of recruiting. You’ll have built up relationships within your networking group so it’s a good place to start when looking for new team members.

7.  The final reason to network is so you get the chance to socialise. Being in the company of other like-minded business people will motivate and inspire you. It’s also a great opportunity to bounce ideas off each other.  

Seven tips to keep you motivated if you run your own business

Staying motivated when you run your own business is tough.  We all have days where we feel like we can’t be bothered and if you work from home it can be even harder to keep feeling positive.  Have a read of my advice below to help you stay focused daily and achieve wonderful things in your business…

1.  Work hard
My first tip is that you do need to work hard to get your business off the ground but I guarantee it will be worth it.  Remember the reasons why you decided to set up your own business in the first place and focus on those reasons to keep you motivated day to day.

Aim for the moon

2.  Don’t obsess over competitors
In the early stages of setting up your 
business, you will have no doubt looked at your competitors to see what they were up to and it makes good business sense to keep doing this.  However, don’t get obsessive about what everyone else is doing – focus on your own goals before worrying about your competitors.

3.  Write lists
A tip to motivate yourself each day is to write a list of what you want to achieve, this will help keep you focused and it’s a great feeling ticking off each task when they are complete!

4. Take breaks  
Staying motivated is hard work so make sure you still take time out to have your lunch and coffee breaks – don’t be too hard on yourself!

5. Stay focused
Can you remember how you felt on the first 
day you launched your business? Nervous, excited, full of ideas?  Over time you may feel like you’ve lost a bit of that enthusiasm.  If you have, take your mind back to that first day and think about how inspired you felt and use that feeling to regain your focus.

6.  Stick to your goals
Make sure you stick to your goals and plan ahead so that you can make your dreams of running a successful business become a reality.

It’s okay to make mistakes

7.  Making mistakes is okay
My last tip is to remind you that it’s okay if you get things wrong in your business so don’t get disheartened if you have an ‘off day’.  Everyone makes mistakes and those that say they don’t are lying in my opinion!  Just make sure you learn from them and use that knowledge to improve the way you do things in the future.

I’d love you to share your motivational tips so feel free to post them in the comments section below.


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Digital marketing for your small business

Seven Marketing tips to help your business

I get many calls from businesses asking for help with their marketing so I thought I’d share seven of my top tips with you.

1.  Most importantly know who your customers are and where they are (are they on Facebook, LinkedIn, the radio?) – you can’t market your product to everyone and you’d be wasting money if you did so it’s absolutely crucial that you know this information so that you can target the people that are most likely to buy from you.

2. Remember that selling and marketing are not the same the same thing they are very different.  Marketing is what takes place before you get to the buying process that leads to the ‘sale.’  I have written a more detailed blog on this so have a look.

3.  If you use social media (which you should be) don’t always use promotional posts telling people about your product or service, give them advice and tips as well. This will help you to build relationships with your online community.  Of course it’s still ok to tell people about you but it’s a good idea that only 1 in 4 posts should do this.

4.  Test different marketing methods such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads or leaflets and set a goal as to want you want to achieve from them.  Track the results from this – was your objective successful?  If it wasn’t don’t be too disappointed as finding out what doesn’t work is as important as finding out what does.  Just test other methods – every business is different so what works for one doesn’t always work for another.

5.  It’s YOU that makes your business unique, use this to your advantage and let your personality shine through in marketing materials and when you’re talking to your current and potential clients.  This all helps to build trust and long term business partnerships.

6.  When preparing adverts don’t waste space.  Words perform better than graphics so choose your text carefully.  Always include a ‘call to action’ – this is what you want your audience to do (do you want them to ‘sign up’, ‘download’, visit your website).

Marketing takes time

Marketing takes time

7. Remember that marketing takes time and should be constant.  You can’t expect to carry out a weeks promotion and the world then knows about you!  It can take at the very least six months to see results of your marketing so don’t give up.

To see how I can help you with your marketing contact me for a free no obligation chat on 01303 647101 or email rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk

Trial Lighthouse Virtual Assistant for FREE!

Trial LVA for the day!

Trial LVA for the day!

If you’re ready to save yourself some time and money then this trial is for you!

For many people working with a virtual assistant is a completely new concept and you may be a bit unsure how a VA can assist with reducing your daily workload and helping you save time and money.  With this in mind I am currently offering two hours of my time for FREE so that you can get an idea of the benefits I can provide for your business.

I specialise in PR and marketing so perhaps you’d like a press release written to promote your business or a newsletter template set up that you can email to all your clients?  I also provide an array of admin support so could carry out some word processing, create a professional invoice or set up a database to manage your client contact details or your budget.  See my full list of services to find other areas I can help you with and if you need something that’s not mentioned please do contact me as I may still be able to help you.

Feel free to find out a bit more about me before we work together or view my LinkedIn profile.

So if you’re ready to let me reduce your workload saving you both time and money just quote ‘Trial LVA for a day’ when you contact me and we’ll get cracking!  Terms and conditions do apply and these will be emailed to you.

Offer ends 31st January 2015.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me for a free no obligation chat on 07975 864093 or email rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk