Tag Archives: virtual assistant kent

Jennifer has joined the LVA team

Meet our new team member Jennifer

Lighthouse Virtual Assistant is four years old this year and is growing rapidly with lots of lovely clients. The time has therefore come to expand the team and I’m very pleased to be able to introduce you to my new colleague Jennifer Roording.

As an example of how wonderful networking can be, I met Jennifer at a local Ladies Who Latte group and when I said I was looking for someone to help with the growing workload Jennifer got in touch.

Jennifer, originally from Pennsylvania, USA, moved here to the UK in 1999 and completed a degree in business administration. Over the next 15 years she held various sales, marketing and business development positions in Kent and London based companies within the technology, publishing, newspaper and education sectors.

Jennifer is now enjoying spending time with her young family and running a small business of her own, and is very much looking forward to joining a team again. I have no doubt that she will be a great asset to the LVA team and I’m very much looking forward to working with her. Welcome to the team Jennifer.

Find out more about Jennifer. 

Tips to create a fab video for your business

Why use videos?

A video is such a great way to inject your personality into your brand.  It shows the real you, the way you talk, smile, explain things. People buy from those they like and trust and a business video will help establish these traits enabling you to connect with your audience. Once someone gets a ‘feel for you’ they are more likely to buy from you. Here’s an example of one of my videos:

Videos on your business website will help you achieve all of the above but will also push your site up the Google ranking making it easier for potential customers to find you. Remember your video doesn’t need to be a Steven Spielberg production so you need to get over that fear of talking to the camera and what you look like and get yourself out there!

To give you confidence here are my tips to get you started:

1.   Work out what you’re going to say and pop a few bullet points on a post-it-note

You can buy an external mic like this online

You can buy an external mic like this online

2.  Make sure the location you are recording in has good lighting and is quiet.  I find it best to have my laptop slighter higher as well so you’re not looking down (this can be quite unflattering!)  You may also need to buy an external microphone (like the one I have in the picture, which I think costs around £10 online)

3.  Look presentable.  I’m not suggesting you go and have a make over but it’s important to look professional

4. Use your video  software on your computer or I also use screenomatic which is great for screen sharing. Place your post-it-note with your bullet points just under the camera to prompt you so you don’t forget what you’re saying

Use a post-it-note with bullet points on to prompt you

Use a post-it-note with bullet points on to prompt you

5.  Speak slowly and relax, remember not to use industry jargon – if you’re not happy you can re-record!

6.  Watch the video back to make sure the sound and lighting is okay and that the background behind you looks professional (no snoring dogs or an untidy desk!)

7.  Include a call to action – what do you want your viewers to do after watching your video

8.  Get sharing!  Pop your video on your social media sites, website and YouTube Channel.

9.  Most of my clients look at me in horror when I suggest they create a video and say they wouldn’t know what to talk about.  So a few ideas include: a tutorial on how to do something, showing how a product works, introducing a member of staff or a virtual tour of your shop.

Pop over and subscribe to my YouTube Channel to get some more ideas and free marketing tips.

 

7 money saving tips for your business

 

Saving your small business money…

In this blog I share my advice on how to save some costs if you run a small business and in particular when you first start out as it’s all too easy to get carried away when you first launch  your business. Don’t spend your cash on stuff that’s nice to have, instead spend it on what you actually need. Of course once the money comes in and you’re a huge success (which you will be) then have all those things that are a bonus, after all you’ve worked hard for them!

Tip 1: Make sure you are networking with the right people
Do you really need to spend money joining expensive networking groups and associations? Some charge an awful lot of money and there are plenty of good free groups that you can start your networking with or ones that are cheaper, and then as your profit grows look at maybe joining those that charge more. If you are going to pay out make sure that the group has your ideal customers in it.

Tip 2: Trial software before you buy
Software for your business can be expensive and it’s tempting to think that you need the top version of everything to make your business better. Remember however, that the software is only a tool to help you. There are lots of free software packages out there and if you do need to pay for one use the free trial first that’s often on offer to see if it will be of use to you long term.

 

Keep on top of even the little expenses

     Keep on top of even the little                       expenses

Tip 3: Don’t go crazy with stationery
Do you really need that truck load of stationery with the fancy logoed folders that will still be in the cupboard next year? Buy the essentials but don’t go overboard, you can add what you find you need in small quantities as you go along (which may include those fancy folders!)

 

Tip 4: Advertise to your ideal client only
Do you really need that highly expensive advert? When you set up your business you’ll get bombarded with offers from newspapers, radio stations and websites and they’ll tell you they’re doing you a wonderful special offer and ask you how can you possibly refuse! You’ll remember in my marketing tips blog I talked about finding out where your ideal customer will be – if the advert you’re paying for is not reaching that ideal customer you’re wasting your money.

Tip 5: Why Canva is fabulous
I want to share a piece of free software called Canva with you that helps you create graphics so that you don’t need to pay out for a graphic designer to begin with. You can add text, shapes, upload your own photos or use theirs (some are free and some only cost a small fee), there is so much you can do with it. It even creates the graphic for you in the correct size (i.e. for Instagram or Facebook) so that you don’t need to resize your graphic www.canva.com

Piggy bank

You know how the old saying goes “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.”

Tip 6: Trade shows can be very expensive
I often hear people say ‘I need to go to a trade show to get my business out there.’  However, the stands are extremely expensive and you need to consider extra expenses such as staff time to man the stand, travel, food, free promotional items, it all adds up. You can attend trade shows without having a stand and this is a good way to find out if it really is for you first. Remember my rule – if you do attend make sure it’s where your customers are definitely going to be.

Tip 7: Seek help with clients who are late payers
No matter how well you check out your clients you may get one that never pays your invoice on time. Chasing these clients yourself costs you time and money so it might be a good idea to seek a specialist to help you with those outstanding invoices. Make sure you have a contract in place detailing the process if your client pays late or refuses to pay.

I hope you’ve found my money saving tips useful. Be careful with your money and figure out what you really do need as your business grows so you don’t waste your cash when starting out.  Feel free to share of any of your money saving tips in the comments below I’d love to hear them.

Contact Rachel:

Email: rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk
Phone: 01303 647101

 

What is branding?

Richard Branson's take on branding

Richard Branson’s take on branding

In a nutshell branding is what makes you stand out from your competitors.  It tells your customers what they can expect from your service or product. A strong brand is distinctive and memorable.  It defines who you are, where you want to be and who the public perceive you to be.

Marketing and branding are not the same.  Marketing is what you do and branding is what you are.

The brand is the name, design, symbol, term or other feature that makes your goods or service different from your competitor.  A brand name is spoken, letters, numbers or words i.e. Cadbury.

Buyers like brands as it helps them to distinguish the product that they prefer.  It may also offer a psychological reward.  For example when people buy a Rolex or Jaguar.

Branding also helps the seller.  It can be valuable in indicating repeat purchasing and help when introducing new products i.e. Cadbury has Dairy Milk, Chocolate Buttons and the Twirl all under its prestigious brand.

Other areas of branding take place at a corporate level.  This may include a logo, company name and the business’s underlying values.  Corporate branding should play a role in guiding all of the company’s marketing.

If you provide products then packaging and labelling are important attributes to your brand. A huge number of decisions are taken with regards to the aesthetic and structural choice of packaging.  Typography, material, layout are just some of the choices to be made.  Labelling is also important and is used for legal and promotional purposes as well as grabbing the buyer’s attention.

As you can see branding is a complex subject.  If you need help with yours then feel free to give me call on 01303 647101 or email rachel@lighthouseva.co.uk