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The Rebirth of Phone Answering Services for Businesses

The advent of cloud based telecommunications has seen small business and entrepreneurs revive the use of phone answering services. Many businesses that use virtual office answering services are left at a disadvantage unlike those who choose virtual phone answering services.

Cloud based phone answering services offer a great alternative to virtual phone systems and voicemail. About 80 percent of callers hang up as soon as they are sent to voice mail and may never call back. This is why startups, business owners, entrepreneurs and small businesses should outsource their phone answering to a virtual answering system.

Advantages of Using a Virtual Phone Answering Service

  1. No more lost customers and opportunities. Instead of sending callers to voicemail, you will have a live receptionist to attend to all questions, concerns and suggestions coming via telephone. The live receptionist should have all the necessary information about your small business. If callers are sent to voice mail, chances are that you will lose them and potential sales opportunities.
  2. You can update your availability status over the phone or on the web. The virtual service is able to answer your phone, screen calls and transfer your calls if you are available. The service identifies real and potential customers and transfers them to you. You will be able to handle your calls more efficiently and concentrate on other areas of the business.
  3. Portray a professional image. A virtual phone answering service makes your business have the professional image that you want. The live receptionist answers all incoming calls and identifies urgent calls based on the information settings in the account. The live receptionist portrays a professional first impression.
  4. You have control over how you want your calls to be handled. If you are a business that deals with a number of other industries or persons, you may want calls from different entities to be treated differently. These can be configured when your account is set up.
  5. You can view your messages online or on mobile apps. The messages are usually on top of the queue for you to access immediately you log in. You can login, view and manage your messages and change availability status, more like an email.
  6. Most small businesses have a poor reputation for phone answering because of the need for human interaction with communication systems. However, this reputation is slowly changing as businesses leverage online technology systems that have never been seen before.

    The new era in cloud phone answering services provide capabilities that are far much better than the more than a century old circuit switches and public telephone networks. Most of the virtual office phone answering services providers focus on providing services for small businesses.

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    About Jim Jacques

    Jim Jacques is the President of United Virtual Office, a leading nationwide provider of virtual offices for entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses. A virtual office includes an address at a prestigious business location in the US, live virtual receptionist, courier services and more. Google +

How to Find the Right Virtual Office Receptionist

Finding the right virtual office receptionist is important in moving your business forward. Since the receptionist plays the role of a telephone contact person with the public,it’s important that this person represents your business properly. Choosing a voice for your company should come down to four crucial factors: experience, professionalism, tech savviness and time management.

The Right Voice
Your live virtual receptionist should be friendly and someone with strong communication skills. The job requires knowledge about the history of your business and its image. The candidate needs to be able to learn company information quickly and demonstrate an understanding and loyalty to the company. The right voice is someone who can answer all the simple common questions about a company, as well as project an engaging personality that helps expand relationships. It’s a community position that could have a huge effect on how the business is perceived.

Professionalism
The virtual assistant must treat clients in a way that they feel they are served in a timely manner. The position involves respecting clients and resolving conflicts. It requires a mature thinker who can clarify confusing situations. It’s all about keeping heated situations under control. It requires an understanding how to treat people fairly and give them a sense of comfort. The receptionist must be easy to train about company policies. To find out how well your clients are being treated, call them up sometime and ask.

Technology
It’s essential for your live virtual receptionist to keep up with technology, at least for work that pertains to office management. The individual should at least know about Microsoft Office and QuickBooks. Being familiar with Word documents and Excel spreadsheets helps the business save time and money. Find out the extent of a virtual assistant’s knowledge, whether it includes graphic arts, web design or programming. You can save a lot of money on overhead the more you can consolidate several jobs into one position. Since the tech world is always evolving, it’s important to find a receptionist who enjoys learning about new software.

Time Management
The key to the success of a live virtual receptionist is how well they can efficiently manage time. They need to make significant accomplishments that can be measured several times per day. You will need to communicate to the receptionist prioritized tasks, so that the most important jobs get done first. The best candidate is the one that effectively saves you the most time to concentrate on organizing and growing your business. An ideal virtual receptionist can handle a variety of assignments within a reasonable time frame.

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About Jim Jacques

Jim Jacques is the President of United Virtual Office, a leading nationwide provider of virtual offices for entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses. A virtual office includes an address at a prestigious business location in the US, live virtual receptionist, courier services and more. Google +

Entrepreneurial Success Depends on Smart Hiring, Marketing and Risk

Every company needs to take the risk of launching a product or service into the market and engaging in serious promotional activities to make sales. But you cannot do this without human resource. If you are running a big company, you may have a separate marketing department which needs highly qualified staff. However, problems can arise when you hire so many people without a slight idea of the roles each will play.

You can maximize on a small number of talented employees and achieve excellent results. But how practical is this? The best thing is to have a small team whose members have specific roles and tasks that will contribute to the job being done satisfactorily. Sometimes you can hire even when there is no need for new employees. The new hires can save you in future when the business is expanding and sales are growing exponentially.

How much a business is successful is not directly proportional to the number of employees it has. Actually, a small group of highly skilled and experienced professionals is much better than a big team of average performers. You should avoid comparing the success of your business with another based on the number of employees you have.

To know how effective your marketing is, measure the success of each campaign individually. You will know which campaigns are generating more sales and which ones are performing dismally. You can then direct more funds to what is bringing better results. It will not hurt to ask customers how they got to know about your product or service.

Have you tried to treat your customer service as marketing? This is the first business contact that customersexperience. How you treat your customers will determine whether they will move to the next step or retreat. It does not matter how small the number of people calling is; when you answer the phone, treat the person on the other end well. What you tell customers is what they will tell other prospects. Treat them nicely and they will recommend you to other customers. Pretend to be what you are not, and you will lose even the customers you already have.

Do not be afraid of taking the right risks. In some deadlock cases, taking risks might be the ultimate savior of the situation. Use your skill as an entrepreneur to assess the situation and make the right decision. On the same note, know when not to take a risk.
No successful business goes through a smooth journey; big gains and losses are made before a company gets to the top. What you lose doesn’t matter but how you recover from your loss is what does.

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About Jim Jacques

Jim Jacques is the President of United Virtual Office, a leading provider of virtual offices for entrepreneurs and small businesses. They entail a prestigious business address in cities across the US, a Virtual Phone Services for answering and forwarding your business calls, courier services and more. Google +

Telecommuting- Uncovering a Recruiter’s Secrets

A certain degree of tact is required when engaging in your first communication with a recruiter. There are certain things that people want to see, and hear, and certain things they don’t. Either way, most recruiters give you one chance to make an impression. Then they send your resume off to their Recycle Bin, or they hand you a business card with your next interview date on it.

The current job market is fiercely competitive, which means that minute flaws can make or break your case. Here are some secret telecommuting secrets, which can mean the difference between a career, and disappointment.

  1. Who Are You?
  2. Many people know themselves, but do they know themselves well enough to dissect their character? Be prepared to fire off a quick response to an inquiry about what your strengths are. If you stumble over your words, or can’t present the answer quickly enough, you’ll have gotten all dressed up for nothing.

  3. One Conversation
  4. Phone interviews are just as important as face-to-face interviews. You wouldn’t take a call on your cellphone while talking to the district manager. Don’t switch over to take another call unless you want your recruiter gone when you get back. That is very unprofessional when it comes to answering services or telecommuting.

  5. Recruiters Need Love, Too.
  6. Approach recruiters at job fairs. They are there to invite you aboard. Making friends is never a bad thing, especially in the corporate world. If you come off the right way, you’ll stand out.

  7. Resume
  8. Most recruiters will scrap a resume if they see a mistake. Always proofread your resume and have someone else do the same. If something doesn’t look right, fix it.

  9. Cover Letter
  10. Anyone can upload a sparkling resume and attach it to an e-mail, but it will mean nothing if you don’t send the cover letter with it. As far as recruiters are concerned, a resume is but paper and their company is but a way for you to pay your bills every month in the absence of another explanation.

  11. Follow the Directions
  12. Many recruiters include specific instructions in their applications. No matter how eclectic the directions might be, most recruiters have a system, and it will aggravate them if you do not follow it right.

  13. Ask Questions
  14. Most applicants feel that the focus should be on them. Most recruiters feel that your interest in their company is self-serving. Bring what you can to the table, but take something away from it. Ask questions about the company for which you are applying.

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    About Jim Jacques

    Jim Jacques is the President of United Virtual Office, a leading provider of virtual offices for entrepreneurs and small businesses. They entail a prestigious business address in cities across the US, a Virtual Phone Services for answering and forwarding your business calls, courier services and more. Google +

Makeover Your Brand Image with a San Francisco Virtual Office

Running a business is quite a challenge, especially when one has to deal with various elements of the business such as finding office space and recruiting the right employees. However, things are likely to change for many entrepreneurs thanks to virtual offices, which is a recent innovation that is already revolutionizing the way people do business. However, virtual office space providers are not the same. As such, you should lease virtual space that befits your brand image. Read on to learn more about this topic.

  • Location

  • Your business’s location can make the difference between success and failure. Entrepreneurs who run businesses using home addresses are likely to give clients the impression, that they are not reliable or trustworthy. According to a survey carried out by Entrepreneur magazine, 36 percent of business owners cited opening offices in other countries as a big challenge. One way of overcoming this hurdle is to lease virtual office space in a prestigious address that will most likely make it easier for you to attract clients.

  • Ramp up Your Business’ Reputation

  • Besides location, clients pay a lot of attention to the way an office looks. Pictures of a well-organized office on your website will show clients that you are dependable. A study published by Carson Research Consulting Inc. shows that between 26 and 54 percent of satisfied clients are likely to recommend a business to other people.

  • Show Clients Your Creative Side

  • Virtual offices do not have to be dull and unassuming spaces. You should look for virtual office service providers who have set up unique workstations. Most people associate creativity with unusual working spaces. For example, the office layout for search giant Google includes open floor plans, workspaces designed to look like pods, and spaces flooded with natural light. Such an approach gives clients the impression that you run a forward thinking and innovative business.

    Whether you run a startup or an established business, virtual offices San Francisco can help you expand your market footprint. They also improve a business’ brand image.

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    About Jim Jacques

    Jim Jacques is the President of United Virtual Office, a leading nationwide provider of virtual offices for entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses. A virtual office includes an address at a prestigious business location in the US, live virtual receptionist, courier services and more. Google +

How Successful Entrepreneurs Turn Obstacles Into Assets

There are three things that will help you know which direction to take to ensure success after starting a new business or launching a new product:

  1. Find out what people like and do not like about your product or business. The earlier you get to know this the better before you dedicate more resources into the venture. Knowing this will help you avoid loses or keep them to a minimum right from the start.
  2. The feedback you get from your customers could take you to the next level or form a boundary between you and your competitors. The industry may be too congested but there may be potential customers who are still in need of the product or service that you provide./li>

  3. Whether you achieve what you expected or not, you are better than the person who is still dreaming. The fact that you made an effort is a stepping stone to success. Your knowledge is an asset and that is something that a dreamer does not have. Your assets are what will make your business succeed.

Sometimes you may be greatly disappointed. In some cases you may even lose the will to carry on. But why not take a different approach? Maybe your first approach was the problem. Look at your disappointment in from a different angle and try to come up with ways of making your idea, product or business better. You can come up with a solution and be better than when you first tried. You will get to know what consumers like, hate and prefer.

What happens when you can’t solve the problem? Learn to live with the fact that it may never change. However, do not hide in a cocoon; turn the outcome into an asset. Find out what you can do about not being able to change the problem. You could use the idea to sell yourself when looking for a job or turn it into a product or venture that your computer never imagined would have been.

Remember, successful people work with what they have. They never wait for the right time, the weather to be better or for the rate of inflation to go down. Actually, the truth is some of the things that you may be waiting for will never come. There will never be the right time to do something unless you create it. Start with what you have at hand. If something else comes along, embrace it and continue moving forward.

Use everything at your disposal to achieve your business goals. Be motivated and encouraged by obstacles and disappointments. It does not matter how many times you fall or how many disappointments you get; it is always worth trying again.

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About Jim Jacques

Jim Jacques is the President of United Virtual Office, which provides business owners with virtual office services to help them save money and grow their business. Virtual Offices include a prestigious business address in myriad U.S. cities, Virtual Phone Services, courier services and more. Google +

Guide: Mobile Payments for Startups and Small Businesses

Innovating the payment process may be a great idea, but any entrepreneur looking to enter the innovative payment processing market should be aware of the following guidelines:

Don’t attempt to fix what is not broken. If your idea causes merchants or consumers to take extra steps to complete a process, are you really selling something that will be worth their effort? Will your customers have to invest in expensive new technology? Will transactions actually take more time than they currently do?

Don’t attempt to solve the problems of the customers. Customers really aren’t looking for new and exciting ways to pay for goods. There are lots of merchants and fewer customers, so gravitate toward the area you can help most expediently.

It’s not about your company. Consumers really don’t care who their payment processor is. Although credit and debit cards aren’t as smart as phones, they do work, so don’t think that flashy technology hardware with your company’s name embossed is the answer.

Go for startups. Big challenges, plus small aggregate numbers equals to big opportunities. Try for lots of small victories that will eventually add up.

Watch out for standalone wallets.We all know that Square has been successful, but there is little room for digital standalone wallets. Don’t be fooled by one company’s lucky experience.

Don’t build a business on QR codes. Only Japan has seen success with these and even there, scanning phone numbers is becoming a more preferred method.

Stay away from NFC. Those who think NFC is the next best thing may very well be disappointed. NFC checkouts can take longer than credit cards.

Social media is not your savior. No one wants to stream purchase data and platform risk can be a big issue.

Banks are worried about becoming commodities. If you can somehow help them to retain their indispensability, you’ll be a winner.

As in any business, services and service reign supreme. This business is no different. If you want your company to gain customer loyalty, customer service needs to be your main concern.

Watch for Amazon, Google and Starbucks to totally reshape this payment industry. Pay attention to the above guidelines and you can go along for the ride.

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About Jim Jacques

Jim Jacques is the President of United Virtual Office, a leading provider of virtual offices for entrepreneurs and small businesses. They entail a prestigious business address in cities across the US, a Virtual Phone Services for answering and forwarding your business calls, courier services and more. Google +

Benefits of Hosting a Startup in Your Corporate Office Space

The virtual office has gained a lot of attention over the years as it becomes increasingly easier to work remotely, but for some businesses it brings a unique benefit. It has become possible to host start-up businesses within your office space. While this may at first seem a little odd, there are some extremely unique benefits that you can gain by opening your spaces to a start-up and to helping them establish a virtual office. Naturally, this is a very symbiotic relationship because the start-up gains as much from the experience as you.

How Start-Ups Benefit

The benefits to start-ups are relatively easy to guess. By being able to share space with an established business, start-ups are able to find better spaces for employees. Most office complexes are made for larger businesses, making it more difficult for start-ups to get the right kind of space for their needs. If you have extra space, you can give them an opportunity that they are not likely to find anywhere else.

The employees stand to benefit a consider amount from the virtual office. They will be able to interact with your employees, providing an amount of stability generally lacking in start-ups. They can gain encouragement and mentoring that they are not likely to find within their own organization, if for no other reason than because they are far fewer in number.

How You Benefit

The energy and ideas of start-ups are contagious. They have a new way of looking at things and in expressing ideas, which will help rejuvenate your workers and your own approach to the work. Start-ups also move far more rapidly than older, larger companies because their primary goal is getting established. This sense of purpose and urgency are great for your employees to witness as well as it will inspire them to take a similar approach.

The close interaction with a start-up will generate a better understanding of other businesses. It is one thing to see how your customers and other businesses work from the outside, but working in close proximity to a start-up creates a whole new appreciation for how others operate. It is too easy to get stuck in a rut or to fall into routines that work in some cases. Having a start-up working in your office space will generate goodwill, and you will be able to help each other in different areas, like new hire references and positive opinions being expressed to others based on the relationship.

Things to Consider

If you are seriously considering creating a virtual office with a start-up, you do need to take a few things into account. For example, you should both sign a nondisclosure agreement to make sure trade secrets are respected and upheld should they be discussed between your company and the start-up. You should also agree to not solicit each other as they generally creates more tension, as well as establishing base rules for working in the same space.

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About Jim Jacques

Jim Jacques is the President of United Virtual Office, a leading nationwide provider of virtual offices for entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses. A virtual office includes an address at a prestigious business location in the US, live virtual receptionist, courier services and more. Google +

Staggering Towards Revenue: 3 Start-Up Case Studies

Internet marketing is not what it used to be. Not so long ago, it was thought by many established technical entrepreneurs that you could build up the fan base for your Internet service, and turn the popularity into cash.

This is no longer the case, and it’s not as easy to move from Likes to generating a profit.

Insubstantial Returns

Startups like Pinterest, Tumblr and Foursquare are now beginning to notice the bind that they’ve managed to squeeze into. Unless they were set up with some sort of monthly payment plan, quick profit with minimal effort takes the form of an advertising move.

Some of these startups have resolved to free themselves from the bind, however. Tumblr is expected to bring mobile advertising into its marketing strategy. This comes but a few months after users were afforded the option of buying more desirable post placement.

Though, Pinterest seems to be taking a slightly different approach. Like Facebook, Pinterest will now afford marketers viewer demographics, and a running tab of their most popular posts, and this takes the stance that viewer activity is valuable to Pinterest users. Assuming you could then turn the activity into profit, you could see a substantial return.

As web-marketing tools become more popular, they drive the price of established services down, which puts a serious hold on established services’ ability to turn a profit.

Competition

Another reason that Tumblr and Pinterest may be having trouble connecting the dots is because someone else is pointing them out on the map. Instead of focusing on direct marketing strategies, Foursquare is now providing location data to affiliated companies. Internet business like Path, Vine, Instagram and Evernote, as well a multitude of other location-based features are run by Foursquare.

Many entrepreneurs find this to be extremely clever. Foursquare has chosen to leave the direct marketing ring, and turned itself into a business to business web-tool. Through Foursquare, companies can request location data and retrieve it, making the web-tool an extremely valuable small business asset.

Still, Facebook is already using location data, though in a different template. Either way, it is predicted that it may replace Instagram in the near future. It is also important to note that the data revolution could drive down the profits of individual companies, like Tumblr and Pinterest, as more of the same means more competition. Small business owners should be able to rise above this. By the time the first consumer is aware that a marketing trend has begun to take shape, the small business owners who intend to stay in business will have long moved onto something else.

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About Jim Jacques

Jim Jacques is the President of United Virtual Office, which provides business owners with virtual office services to help them save money and grow their business. Virtual Offices include a prestigious business address in myriad U.S. cities, Virtual Phone Services, courier services and more. Google +

8 Amazing Things Employees Do

It takes a lot to source, recruit, and retain top talent. Sometimes you can be lucky to get employees, who really enjoy their work and dedicate their efforts to making the company move forward.Promotions and material rewards is never a big deal to such employees because they know what there is to the aspect of cause and effect. Only a worthy company can afford to keep this unimaginable lot of workforce. But which are these things that make employers never want to let go certain human resource?


Here are some of the amazing things that employees do:

  1. Passionately learn all business processes and parts
  2. There are employees who know and understand that there is more to just their jobs. They involve themselves with the bigger businesses other than just their jobs. Such employees always look to learn more about other departments so that they can create a positive impact on the entire company.

  3. Resolve issues
  4. In case of situations that conflict with company’s interest or interfere with production, great employees solve the issues without involving the senior management. They initiate the change needed to constantly expand the business.

  5. Lead the company
  6. Employees dedicate efforts to the company as if it were their own. They carry out all business transactions, decisions and activities with the well being and future of the company in mind.

  7. Call a spade ‘a spade’
  8. Great employees understand that honesty is the best policy. Too much secrecy can lead to damages. They find kind ways to address negative concerns without hurting other staff members. They find a way to remedy the situation before a major damage occurs.

  9. Work under minimum supervision
  10. Amazing employees can deliver the same high standards like you do without following them around. Not everyone can do this. Such employees know what they are supposed to do and drive themselves to the standards expected of them.

  11. Mind about other employees
  12. There are very few people who like to see others improving. Great employees not only develop their careers, but also that of their fellow employees. They create examples of how to advance without creating hatred, resentment and animosity.

  13. Generate opportunities
  14. It is not only the sales and marketing staff that can generate business opportunities. Networkers from any part of the company can be agents of growth. Employees are always on the lookout for ways of expanding the business.

  15. Continuously learn
  16. Amazing employees are not contented with what they know; they are always eager to learn something new. Today’s business world is dynamic and no employer would like to stick with an employee who knows what they know and are not willing to advance their knowledge.

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    About Jim Jacques

    Jim Jacques is the President of United Virtual Office, which provides business owners with virtual office services to help them save money and grow their business. Virtual Offices include a prestigious business address in myriad U.S. cities, Virtual Phone Services, courier services and more. Google +

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