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Best of Trussville Award

Congratulations and hats off to Virtual Ingenuity, LLC for being the recipient of the 2022 Best of Trussville Award in the Business Management Consultant category.

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Virtual Ingenuity, LLC has been selected three years in a row for the Best of Trussville Award for Business Management Consultant.

Kudos to Virtual Ingenuity, LLC for achieving the esteemed Best of Trussville Award for three consecutive years and securing the title of 2024 Business Hall of Fame Winner.

See the full press release here!

Huge congratulations to Virtual Ingenuity, LLC for receiving the prestigious local NSBW Award for Alabama Minority Owned Small Business of the Year!

See the full press release here

In an era of unpredictability, maintaining a thriving business demands adaptability and foresight. Your website, the digital face of your business, plays a pivotal role in this journey. By refining your online presence, you can not only survive but also thrive during turbulent times. Here’s how you can achieve this transformation.

Upgrading Your Web and IT Skills With a Degree

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, equipping yourself with the latest web and IT knowledge is not just an advantage—it’s a necessity. Consider enhancing your skills by going back to school. An online degree in cybersecurity, for instance, can be a game-changer. Delving into the curriculum of a cybersecurity degree, you’ll find it encompasses a comprehensive range of topics including systems and services, networking, security, programming, data management, and the business aspects of IT. This multifaceted training provides a robust foundation in critical areas, ensuring you are well-prepared to face various digital challenges.

The Power of SEO

Visibility is key in the digital world. Implementing search engine optimization (SEO) strategies can significantly boost your website’s ranking and traffic. Optimize your content with relevant keywords, ensure mobile-friendliness, and leverage meta-tags. Effective SEO is like a beacon, guiding potential customers to your website amid the vast sea of online information.

Repairing Broken Links

The functionality of your website is paramount. Regularly audit your site to find and fix broken links. Leverage the plethora of online coding tools and resources available. These tools not only help in fixing issues but also in enhancing the overall user experience. A smoothly running website reflects the professionalism and reliability of your business.

Introducing an Integrated Web Store

Incorporate a web store into your website to streamline the shopping experience for your customers. Focus on creating an easy, seamless checkout process. This not only enhances customer satisfaction but also boosts sales. An efficient web store is a critical component in the digital transformation of your business, especially in challenging times.

Creating Captivating Content

Content is the soul of your website. Engage your audience with compelling, relevant, and informative content. Regularly update your blog, share insights, and connect with your audience through stories. Quality content not only attracts visitors but also establishes your brand’s authority and trustworthiness in your industry.

Accelerating Your Website’s Speed and Performance

A slow-loading website is a surefire way to lose visitors. Enhance your website’s loading speed by optimizing images, leveraging browser caching, and minimizing the use of heavy scripts. A fast-loading website improves user experience and boosts your site’s SEO ranking, making it an indispensable element in your digital strategy.

Adapting your business to changing times is a journey that begins with your website. By simplifying navigation, enhancing your IT skills through an online degree, implementing SEO, fixing broken links, integrating a web store, offering compelling content, and improving loading speed, you set the stage for resilience and growth. These strategic adjustments are not just about surviving turbulent times; they are about setting a new standard for digital excellence in your industry. Embrace these changes, and watch your business not only endure but also flourish in the digital age.

Virtual Ingenuity offers a range of services to enhance your company’s visibility, productivity, and growth. Learn how we can help your business with marketing, branding, and strategic planning.

In today’s business world, it’s important to stay relevant and up-to-date. This is especially true when it comes to branding. If your company’s brand has become stagnant or outdated, it may be time for a refresh. Whether it’s a minor update or a complete overhaul, refreshing your brand can help re-engage your audience and attract new customers. In this article shared by Virtual Ingenuity, we’ll discuss tips for refreshing your brand and how to make the most of the process.

Understand the Importance of Refreshing Your Brand

Before you jump into refreshing your brand, it’s important to identify the specific areas that need improvement. This could include outdated logos, stale messaging, or an overall tired brand aesthetic. Start by researching your industry, competitors, and target audience. Use this data to make informed decisions on what updates will best resonate with your target audience.

Your logo is often the first impression that customers have of your brand. An outdated or overly complex logo can quickly turn off potential customers. Consider simplifying your logo to a more modern design that’s recognizable and creates a lasting impression. This doesn’t mean you need to abandon your brand identity, but rather update it to better reflect your current brand values.

Upgrade Your Marketing

Nowadays, prioritizing social media marketing is essential, but it’s important not to limit your effects there! Continue to enhance your digital marketing strategies by complementing them with traditional methods like brochures and business cards. Here’s a tool to create your brochure featuring proven templates. Simply integrate several high-quality photos, along with updated sales and contact information, to boost brand visibility and strengthen your overall advertising efforts.

In addition, consider content marketing, the strategic art of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a defined audience. Content marketing extends beyond promotional material; its objective is to build trust, establish credibility, and ultimately stimulate valuable customer actions that drive profitability. Through the delivery of top-notch content that educates, entertains, or resolves issues, companies can forge stronger bonds with their audience, enhance brand recognition, and establish themselves as experts within their industries. Contact Virtual Ingenuity for further information!

Update Your Company’s Mission and Vision

With the changing times, it’s essential to reassess your company’s mission and vision. This is important, as it can help provide clarity and direction on what your brand represents. Redefining your company’s mission and vision can also create opportunities for fresh and compelling messaging. This approach can aid in attracting new customers and re-engaging your existing audience.

Create the Perfect Advertisement

Advertising is more than just selling a product or service; it’s about creating an emotional connection with your target audience. And with a refreshed brand, there’s no better way to connect than by creating a perfect advertisement. One that captures the essence of your updated identity and showcases the exciting updates you’ve made. But that’s only half the battle. You’ll also need a new slogan that encapsulates everything your brand stands for in a brief yet memorable tone. The right slogan can help take your brand to new heights and cement your place in the hearts and minds of your customers.

Revamp Your Company’s Website

Your website is the face of your business, therefore it’s essential to ensure that it aligns with your brand vision. Updating your website might mean updating imagery, tone of voice, and other essential elements to ensure that it reflects your brand’s values. Additionally, optimize the website for mobile devices, create compelling content, and use the latest design trends to make it look up-to-date and relevant to your audience.

Refreshing your company’s brand can be a lot of work, but the result is often worth it. By following the tips above, you can update your brand to be more relevant, engaging, and attractive to your audience. Remember that branding is a continuously evolving process, so it’s essential to stay up-to-date and relevant to continue to attract and retain customers.

Need a boost for your brand? Connect with Virtual Ingenuity at (205) 549-0098 to book your complimentary consultation and level up your business.

In an ever-evolving digital landscape, small businesses are increasingly turning to cutting-edge technology to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and drive growth. Artificial Intelligence (AI) stands out as a pivotal tool amidst this technological revolution. Its capabilities range from automating mundane tasks to offering data-centric insights, making it a game-changing asset for small business proprietors aiming to thrive in the current dynamic market landscape.

AI-driven solutions present a multitude of benefits capable of profoundly influencing the efficiency and efficacy of small businesses spanning diverse sectors. Here are several avenues through which AI is demonstrating its instrumental role:

Access Skills You Lack

One of the utmost advantages of AI tools is their ability to grant access to skills that might otherwise be unattainable. This advantage proves especially beneficial in the initial phases of your business if you lack specific skill sets and are unable to recruit individuals possessing those skills. For example, AI can be used to produce impactful presentations when pitching a new business. Chat GPT can be used help to refine communication and assist with brainstorming ideas for various projects.

Improve Customer Service

AI-driven chatbots, also known as virtual assistants, are revolutionizing online interactions with customers by providing instantaneous support and responses to queries. Bots, such as Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant,  can be programmed to recognize certain phrases, handle routine customer interactions, offer personalized recommendations, provide directives, and even troubleshoot basic issues. Utilizing AI for customer service enables small businesses to guarantee round-the-clock availability, enhance response times, and liberate human resources for handling more intricate responsibilities. Undoubtedly, AI has the potential to elevate customer communication to new heights.

Conduct Market Research

Market research holds significant importance for businesses, and AI can notably enhance its efficiency. Utilizing a natural language processing tool fueled by generative AI, like ChatGPT or Google Bard, enables you to inquire about your business sector, obtaining detailed analyses to assess potential growth opportunities for your company. Instead of investing time in extensive internet searches, employing an AI tool streamlines the data collection process. Subsequently, AI can analyze this data efficiently, facilitating the swift creation of comprehensive reports.

Conduct Data Analysis and Provide Insights

Small businesses can generate significant amounts of data, however, deriving actional insights from this data can feel overwhelming. AI algorithms demonstrate exceptional proficiency in analyzing data, identifying patterns, and extracting valuable insights. Utilizing AI-powered analytics tools, such as Tableau, Polymer,  MonkeyLearn, and Sisense empowers businesses to make data-informed decisions, forecast trends, and customize their strategies more precisely to meet evolving customer demands.

Improve Efficiency or Streamline Operations

AI optimizes operational workflows by automating repetitive tasks like inventory management, scheduling, and administrative responsibilities. This automation not only saves time but also diminishes the chances of errors, ultimately boosting productivity and cutting costs for small businesses. Some of these tools include ClickUp AI, Motion, Monday, and Salesforce. By automating routine tasks, it allows more focus on critical aspects of business management.

Enhance Focused Marketing and Sales

AI empowers small businesses to enhance their marketing strategies through the analysis of consumer behavior, preferences, and trends. This facilitates tailored marketing campaigns that deeply connect with particular target audiences, leading to increased conversion rates and enhanced ROI. AI-driven sales tools such as Hubspot, Sprout Social, Jasper, and Seventh Sense, aid in lead generation, customer segmentation, and sales forecasting, providing businesses with the tools to optimize their sales endeavors.

Generate Content

AI tools such as ChatGPT and Adobe Firefly are some of the AI tools that are capable of producing compelling content across various formats, from video to written material. Generative AI can be used to craft product descriptions and social media posts. This oftentimes saves the business owner a significant amount of time.

Enhance Security Protocols in Cyberspace

Securing sensitive business information holds significant importance, particularly for smaller businesses that might not have specialized cybersecurity resources. Utilizing AI-driven cybersecurity tools, such as Splunk, Trellix, and Darktrace, enables the identification and swift response to potential threats, thereby strengthening defenses against cyber assaults and preserving the integrity of data.

Cost of AI Services

The cost of hiring AI development services for a small business can vary significantly based on several factors, such as the complexity of the AI project, the scope of work, the expertise of the development team, and the geographical location of the service provider. Generally, AI development services can be billed by the hour, project-based, or through a monthly retainer. Hourly rates can range from $50 to $250 or more, depending on the expertise of the developers and the geographical region in which they operate. Project-based costs can vary widely, however, for small AI projects, a range of $5,000 to $20,000 or more can be expected.

Keep in mind that AI development is a specialized field, and prices may be higher for projects that require advanced AI algorithms, large datasets, or integration with complex systems. For a more precise estimation, consider connecting with AI development service providers and delving into your project specifics to receive customized price quotes.

Advantages and Challenges

While there are definite advantages, incorporating AI into small businesses can present challenges such as initial expenses, integration complexities, and the need for staff training. However, the enduring benefits often surpass these hurdles, making AI a worthwhile investment for businesses focused on growth.

AI brings forth numerous opportunities for small businesses to excel in today’s competitive environment. By harnessing AI-powered solutions, small business proprietors can streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and gain a competitive edge. As AI technology evolves, its potential to transform small business practices remains promising, offering boundless possibilities for expansion and triumph.

By embracing AI, small businesses can unlock a realm of opportunities, fostering innovation and securing a leading position within their industries. As the digital age progresses, the strategic integration of AI will unquestionably continue to redefine the landscape for small businesses, promoting efficiency, flexibility, and sustainable advancement.

With its adaptability and transformative potential, AI represents not just a technological advancement but a crucial necessity for small businesses aspiring to excel in the contemporary marketplace of the 21st century.

For strategic planning aimed at enhancing productivity and fostering business growth, trust Virtual Ingenuity, LLC to meet your needs! Call 205-549-0098

Congratulations to Virtual Ingenuity, LLC for being the recipient of the 2023 Best in Business Award in the Most Innovative Project & Business Management Solutions Provider – Southern USA category. https://www.thebusinessconcept.com/winners/virtual-ingenuity-llc/

See the full press release here!

Congratulations to Virtual Ingenuity, LLC for being selected as a 2023 Best of Trussville Award Winner for two consecutive years and being inducted into the Business Hall of Fame.

See the full press release here

Are you an entrepreneur or small business owner looking to avoid common mistakes that could hinder the growth and success of your business? Look no further! In this article, Virtual Ingenuity reveals some common business mistakes and tips on how to steer clear of them.

Inadequate Future Planning

Business owners should always plan for the future. This means having a five-year plan in place that outlines goals and strategies for meeting them. This ensures that your business is on track to reach its long-term objectives.

Not Prioritizing the Customer Experience

Failing to understand customer behavior is like being lost without a map. Imagine being a business owner navigating the ever-changing consumer experience but having no way to capture and analyze valuable data. Using a customer data platform (CDP) is the answer. This allows you to get insights into user preferences, track trends, and target your marketing to key audiences. So don’t stay at sea when it comes to understanding what makes your customers tick — use a CDP to help with your search for deeper insights.

Managing Finances Poorly

Managing your finances is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business. Failing to do so can lead to cash flow issues, missed payments, late fees, and even bankruptcy. To avoid these, it’s important to create a budget, track expenses, use accounting software, and even get help from accounting professionals so that your finances are properly managed at all times.

Neglecting Marketing Efforts

Marketing is essential for any successful business as it increases brand awareness and attracts new customers. Neglecting your marketing efforts can lead to decreased sales and customer dissatisfaction from a lack of communication. Make sure you create a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes both online and offline methods.

Hiring Without Considering Long-Term Goals

When hiring employees, it’s important to consider your business’s long-term goals instead of just short-term needs. Filling positions quickly without considering if they will fit into your overall plans for growth will cost you more in the long run.

Not Learning the Ropes

While obtaining an advanced degree may seem like a surefire way to build management and problem-solving skills, this is not always the case. In this day and age, you have the ability to access resources that can sharpen your skills without having to attend higher education courses. Everything from our podcast to webinars, and virtual coaching is now available at our fingertips. By taking advantage of this wealth of knowledge, you can improve your leadership acumen.

Starting your own business isn’t easy but avoiding costly mistakes is essential for success. These best practices should put you at ease as you move forward with your business goals.

When it comes to strategic planning to boost productivity and business growth, Virtual Ingenuity, has you covered!

Call 205-549-0098.

No matter how much we may want to deny it, one thing is for certain: a recession is coming, and it will likely hit us hard. As a small business owner, you have much more to worry about than the average person. After all, you’ll need to protect both your personal life as well as business from the effects of the economy. How can you do so? Today, Virtual Ingenuity breaks down essential strategies to recession-proof your business today.

Effectively Manage Your Cash Flow

When a recession hits, keeping up with your cash flow can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you manage your cash flow more effectively during this time:

  • Review your expenses and cut back where you can
  • Make sure you are invoicing promptly and collecting payments as soon as possible
  • Consider offering discounts to customers who pay early
  • Stay on top of your accounts receivable and accounts payable
  • Keep a close eye on your inventory levels

Structuring Your Business

Business structure is an essential element to consider when safeguarding against a recession. You may need to reevaluate how your business is currently structured to ensure you’re set up for success. For example, switching to an LLC may be a better option if you’re operating as a sole proprietor, as you’ll benefit from more legal and tax protections. To form an LLC, you could work with a lawyer or use a formation service (which is significantly cheaper). States also have different regulations around LLC formation, but an online formation service that’s already familiar with the rules in your area can help you start your LLC in minutes. Once your business gets started, work with an organization like Virtual Ingenuity to help you maximize your efficiency.

Keep Your Financial Records Organized

A key element of staying on top of finances during a recession will be to know all the small financial details of your business. From cash outflow to pending payments, there is a lot to organize! You can do this easily if your business and financial records are up-to-date, maintained, and easy to access. This can help you find documents for financing or assistance. Struggling to keep these records in one place? Online tools can help you manage and store all your important documents easily. You’ll be able to digitize paper records and keep everything in one file by adding pages to existing PDFs. You can also reorder, delete, and rotate pages in each document.

Find Ways to Cut Costs and Debt

According to the World Bank, interest rates will increase during and after the recession. The general costs for business operations are similarly going to go up. Thus, it’s in your best interest to find ways to cut costs and reduce debt as soon as possible. Here are some ways you can do so:

  • Review your expenses: Do you need that expensive office space? Could you downsize to a smaller space or work from home? Evaluate your current expenses to figure out where to cut costs.
  • Renegotiate your loans and leases: If your business struggles to make loan or lease payments, Equifax recommends talking to your lender about renegotiating the terms.
  • Refinance your loans: If you have good credit, you can refinance your loans at a lower interest rate, thus saving you money.
  • Sell off unneeded assets: If your business has assets that it no longer needs, such as equipment or vehicles, selling them can help reduce debt.
  • Get help from a professional: If your business struggles to manage its debt, consider working with an experienced debt management company.

The key to successfully navigating any period of financial difficulty is preparation. The more thoroughly you organize your business by digitizing your paper records and setting up your business structure correctly, the more quickly you will breeze through this recession to make it through to the other side.

Virtual Ingenuity focuses on helping local businesses improve their efficiency and marketing. Call 205-549-0098.
Let’s impact together!

Congratulations to Virtual Ingenuity, LLC for receiving the ByBlack Certification designation from the U.S. Black Chambers Inc.

 

Virtual Ingenuity, LLC is honored to have received the ByBlack Certification from the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. This designation grants companies that hold the ByBlack Certification access to participate in exclusive contracting and training opportunities funded by U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) corporate partners and sponsors. This initiative is the first of its kind focused solely on certification for Black-owned businesses.

By becoming ByBlack Certified, black-owned businesses can increase their opportunity pipelines; build relationships with procurement personnel at America’s leading corporations; and collectively team up on large contracting opportunities. As corporate America becomes more inclusive and further diversifies its supply chain, the ByBlack certification offers the opportunity for Black-owned businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Certified businesses are routinely sought after by USBC Corporate Partners who are looking to increase their spending with the Black business community through USBC’s internal, proprietary database. Once a business is granted the certification, they have access to numerous contacts with corporate representatives and supplier diversity professionals. ByBlack.us is a platform where business owners can begin making strategic relationships, scheduling meetings to uncover procurement opportunities, and begin building a healthy pipeline of new businesses to set their organizations up for short and long-term profitability targets. USBC helps to facilitate these relationships by hosting several events focused on matchmaking and networking.

Learn more here

Congratulations and hats off to Virtual Ingenuity, LLC for being the recipient of the 2022 Best of Trussville Award in the Business Management Consultant category.

Virtual Ingenuity, LLC receives 2022 Best of Trussville Award

Trussville Award Program Honors the Achievement

TRUSSVILLE October 3, 2022 — Virtual Ingenuity, LLC has been selected for the 2022 Best of Trussville Award in the Business Management Consultant category by the Trussville Award Program.

Each year, the Trussville Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Trussville area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2022 Trussville Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Trussville Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Trussville Award Program

The Trussville Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Trussville area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Trussville Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Trussville Award Program

CONTACT:
Trussville Award Program
Email: PublicRelations@awards-us-business.com
URL: http://www.awards-us-business.com

Did you know that a properly executed social media strategy can drive more traffic to your website and enhance lead generation? There is an overabundance of social media channels, from LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and TikTok, to name a few. With all of these options, it can be overwhelming to determine what platform to choose to build an online presence. Here are several factors to consider:

  • What are your social media strategy objectives?
  • Which channels is your target audience using?
  • Which channels is your competitor using?
  • What kind of content do you want to create?
  • Do you have the manpower to manage multiple channels?

Let’s dive deeper:

Determine your social media strategy objectives

It’s important to determine your social media strategy objectives. Once identified, you should align those objectives with well-established platforms that have a large following. It is a best practice to research the social media advertising platforms that suit your budget. You will want to choose the most effective platform that will raise awareness and extend your business services reach. If lead generation is most important, then LinkedIn might be a good fit since that platform is the renowned B2B champion in lead generation through group participation and advanced search filters. Facebook and Twitter can also be very effective.

Research your target audience

Research the specific channels that your target audience is using based on social media demographics. You may want to consider Sprout Social to help you to conduct an analysis of your current followers and to outline the key demographics of various social media platforms. The research will ensure that your chosen channels facilitate the most relevant approach of your target audience based on demographic data.

Research your competitor’s social media channels

Research the social media channels that your competitors use.  Know the type of content they post, what gets the most likes and shares, and the frequency to which they post. You may even want to “follow” them on social media. This will help you gain valuable insight that you can replicate for your social media strategy. Consider using a specific tool to analyze your competitor’s top-performing social content based on the most shares and engagement. Facebook and Twitter will enable you to track any mention of them across the internet. Here are several strategies that will help you to work smarter.

Know the type of content to suit your target audience

Know the kind of content that you want to create. Whether it’s company news, industry updates, or video content. B2B audiences tend to gravitate to LinkedIn or Twitter. This, of course, depends on the industry. Keep in mind that video content generally appeals to a younger audience. In which case, YouTube, with over 3 billion searches per month or even TikTok, would be ideal. If image-based content is preferred then you may want to consider Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook. Again, make sure that you use a platform that will appeal to your target audience. If you want to share editorial content, then consider Medium, 95% of its readers are college graduates, and a little over 40% earn six figures or more.  LinkedIn is a great industry trusted leader for editorial content and it can expose you to over 300 million users.

Determine if you have the manpower to manage multiple channels

If you decide that you want to use multiple social media channels, there are tools to help you maximize time and allow you to schedule multiple posts in advance across several social media accounts. ContentCal, Mailerlite, and Lightful are some that come to mind.  Do your research on the most popular, effective, and budget-friendly tools for you.

In the past few years, social media usage has increased across all generations. Stay up-to-date with the latest social media strategies for your business.

 

Let’s impact together!
205-549-0098

The holidays are approaching and many of us struggle to take a break during this festive season. Delivering a smooth experience that meets a client’s expectations is essential for your business to grow. From my experience, this is my fail-safe system for defining the rules of engagement and taking a real break from business:

  • No client work
  • No work emails
  • No meetings
  • No checking the email app on my phone

When my holiday break begins, I turn off my computer, close my office door, and do not open it until the new year. That’s my yearly no cheating holiday break strategy! Here’s what you can do to set and manage client expectations for the holidays:

Plan your holiday

I set my non-negotiable time off, just as I schedule my client meetings and projects. Select the dates you want to be out of the office. Make it official and add them to your calendar. For me, seeing those dates help to solidify those plans.

Set clear client boundaries

Increasing trust is one of the best ways to manage expectations. Communicate clearly with your clients how your team works. Give them a heads up that you will be off on the specified days that you’ve chosen. Give them a call and reassure them that you will finish any open projects before your time off. Set mutually agreed-upon marketing goals and strategies that align with your client’s business and project goals. Be transparent about what you can and can’t accomplish. It’s okay to work longer hours to get everything wrapped up, just make sure that this process is communicated to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Let your clients know that you will limit the start of new projects before the holidays as it pertains to your client’s needs.

Follow-up with a reminder email of your planned time off. Be sure to include the following information:

  • Dates when your holiday break will begin and when they can expect to hear from you afterward.
  • Your process of how you will take care of them leading up to your break.
  • A request for all materials you need from them to complete the current project and deadlines for when you need them.
  • What will happen project-wise if they don’t provide you with the requested materials in time. For instance, you may have to push back the project submission date.
  • If you’re providing products that ship out, be sure to give yourself enough time to prep each shipment and factor in time in case of shipping delays.

Create a detailed plan for all projects

It’s time to put systems in place to ensure that everything runs smoothly while you’re away. Create a detailed plan of action with timelines for each project. Under-promise and over-deliver. Give your team some cushion for the unexpected, and then deliver ahead of time. When you give clients a better understanding of your promises as a business partner, it will help them manage their expectations and allow you to always meet them.

Your client should be clear about the status: the strategy, the plan, the goals, the accomplishments, and the next steps of the project at all times. Be upfront about what happens if plans change.

Set an email auto-responder

It’s important to set an “out of office” email auto-responder or website banner. In case you receive emails in your inbox while away, your well-crafted “out of office” message should include the following:

  • A genuine and friendly greeting for their inquiry
  • Dates of your absence
  • How often, if any, you’ll respond to emails during your break
  • Reassurance that their message is important and they will receive a response
  • BONUS: Call to action with links to your most popular blog posts or videos

Keep your word and enjoy our holiday

You’ve planned it out and scheduled your holiday break on the calendar, sent an email to give your clients a heads-up, and set clear boundaries, now it’s time to keep your word and reward yourself with being fully present during your planned holiday.

You can always get more clients but you can’t get more time, so have a fabulous holiday – you deserve it!

 

Let’s impact together!

205-549-0098

Many business owners are unsure of what the term “fractional executive” means and the benefits of hiring one. A fractional executive is a business leader that has a part-time position and experience working in C-level roles and senior level management such as director, VP, CFOs, COOS – the list goes on. Businesses that don’t have the financial resources to hire a full-time in-house executive can work with an experienced professional without hiring them at a full-time salary with benefits. A fractional executive can be the perfect way to bridge the gap between a critical business need for support and its resource readiness.

To read more about how your business can benefit from a fractional executive, please read more here:

A huge shout out and congratulations to Claudine Land, founder of Virtual Ingenuity, LLC. She is our June winner of the Business Specific Grant in the category of Business Support Services.

Here is what Claudine shared with us:

“I am the founder of Virtual Ingenuity, LLC, a business support organization focused on helping businesses improve efficiency, effectiveness, and profits. There are many ways to change the world for the better. My talent and skill are working with organizations to improve their operations and marketing in order to reduce inequities in health-outcomes.

From my early beginnings in Jamaica to my transition to the Unites States, I’ve been told most of my life that I have the incredible ability to recognize and decipher the professional needs of people around me… My clients are very important to me. That’s the reason I move forward boldly, even audaciously. This work needs to get done. Healthcare patients cannot wait for efficiencies, they are already suffering. I take an intentional, even surgical approach to my clients by incorporate customized plans, workflow systems and innovative solutions for their success. My dedication rests solely in building genuine results-driven strategies and optimized strategic planning to boost productivity and growth. I strongly believe that making an impact – one business at a time – will make the world better. As a woman, minority lead business, the challenges are steep. The struggle to get noticed, taken seriously, and given an opportunity to make that impact is a very real up-hill battle.”

Congratulations to Claudine on her grant.

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You’ve heard the term –work smarter, not harder. Yet many business owners struggle with being successful at it. How do you work smarter, instead of harder? Here are some useful tips that might help you out:

1. Develop great time management skills

Focus on your top priority task,  switch off the phone and close your office door to avoid distractions until that task is completed. If you have to respond to an urgent inquiry, opt to email instead while you accomplish that task.

2. Set doable deadlines and do everything in your power to meet them

Write down your deadline somewhere that you will see and remember them. Always allow yourself some wiggle room. For instance, if you tell yourself to finish something by Thursday that’s actually due on Friday, you’ll be ahead of the game and you’ll have an extra day to refine your work.

3. Learn how to use productivity tools well

With extensive research, you can find tools that will make your work life much easier and free up your time. To have a tool without the knowledge or expertise to use it is futile. It is important to know the type of tools that are needed for your specific purpose, whether it’s to prioritize tasks, communicate efficiently within teams, or monitor work activity to measure profitability.  The right tool can be a lifesaver.

4. Use your phone wisely

Instead of writing an email, sometimes it’s just better to pick up the phone and call to discuss an important or urgent dialogue. You can actually run your business from your phone. Smartphones have become increasingly popular in business and a more adept enterprise tool. When utilized correctly, mobile phones can help professionals knock out work, especially smaller tasks, which could potentially boost productivity.

5. Be concise

If you want to sell a product that your company has featured, practice and sharpen your “elevator speech” to 30 seconds or less. You need to be persuasive, so make sure that you know your audience and speak directly to them. Don’t forget to ask for the sale and make sure that you have your business card handy.

6. Ask the right questions at the right time

This is a great way to get feedback and to gather the information that you need to help in decision-making for your business and team. How do you know when is the right time? Be a good listener. This is key to knowing the right time to ask a question. Be sure to follow up with follow-up questions.

7. Learn as much as you can

Look at your skills and determine where you need to fill in the gap and talk to important connections in your niche. Customer engagement can make or break a deal so speak directly to businesses that are in a well-defined niche in which you are comfortable.

8. Keep up to date on trends and development.

There are several ways to do so such as an industry magazine, trade papers, or blogs. You can also sign up for emails, take advantage of training opportunities, and speak to customers. Find a way to keep tabs on your competitors.

It’s important not to lose sleep. Hire a company to do the work for you. Virtual Ingenuity, LLC can do the research for you and help you put individualized processes and effective tools in place for increased productivity and business success.

 

Let’s impact together!

205-549-0098

Featured on the International Virtual Assistant Association’s (IVAA) blog page

Many of us struggle with the increasing cost and day-to-day operations of running a business. So, how do you save both money and time for your business? By outsourcing tasks. There are ways to do this effectively.

Define your goals

Before you bring another company on board, map out your long-term and financial goals in order to make the best outsourcing plan. Doing so will help you choose the most beneficial outsourcing partners to fill your company’s needs.

Involve your management team and board of directors in the decision-making process

Getting them involved will help to create a healthy relationship with your partners and ensure proper documentation to increase accountability and responsibility.

Factor in the costs involved in outsourcing

A key advantage of outsourcing is to save money and reduce costs. Regardless of what you outsource, you are likely to save money compared to having that department in your own business. Remember that you won’t have to pay full-time salaries, benefits, or invest in expensive software and equipment. When you outsource, you only pay for what you need.

Never skimp on quality

Do your research before choosing a service provider to ensure that they have the experience in the tasks that you are looking to outsource. For example, evaluate their experience, qualifications, reputation, track record, and performance.

Look out for red flags

Make sure that the company you choose is able to share work references. Be aware if the company wants a large percentage of payment upfront.

With the right outsourcing partner, you can be assured that your business processes will be handled effectively. Feeling overwhelmed? Our team would love to help you with a customized strategy that works for your business.

 

Let’s impact together!

205-549-0098

When you hire a consultant, you are looking for someone to support you, keep an eye on your business processes, and offer recommendations for increased productivity.

How do you know who to hire for the role? Here are some key things to consider. Make sure that the consultant is

Proactive

It is important to find a consultant who will help you find additional ways to get the job done efficiently and who is consistent at it. Find a consultant who will think ahead of what needs to be done and do it without being asked. Have a warm-up period to allow yourself time to find this out.

Your Superhero

A consultant should be your superhero. Your consultant should find out what your weaknesses are and be aware of what you are struggling to accomplish and is not afraid to suggest ways in which to help get things off your “to do” or procrastination list without judgment or shame.

Aware of your long-term goals

Are there podcasts or partnerships that you’d love to have or would you like to be featured on certain publications? It is the consultant’s role to find out what your long-term goals are and help you meet them.

Virtual Ingenuity, LLC knows that growth starts with partnerships. Supporting our clients’ visions certainly sets us apart from the competition.

 

Let’s impact together!

205-549-0098

Virtual Ingenuity, LLC has been selected three years in a row for the Best of Trussville Award for Business Management Consultant.

Kudos to Virtual Ingenuity, LLC for achieving the esteemed Best of Trussville Award for three consecutive years and securing the title of 2024 Business Hall of Fame Winner.

See the full press release here!

Huge congratulations to Virtual Ingenuity, LLC for receiving the prestigious local NSBW Award for Alabama Minority Owned Small Business of the Year!

See the full press release here

In an era of unpredictability, maintaining a thriving business demands adaptability and foresight. Your website, the digital face of your business, plays a pivotal role in this journey. By refining your online presence, you can not only survive but also thrive during turbulent times. Here’s how you can achieve this transformation.

Upgrading Your Web and IT Skills With a Degree

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, equipping yourself with the latest web and IT knowledge is not just an advantage—it’s a necessity. Consider enhancing your skills by going back to school. An online degree in cybersecurity, for instance, can be a game-changer. Delving into the curriculum of a cybersecurity degree, you’ll find it encompasses a comprehensive range of topics including systems and services, networking, security, programming, data management, and the business aspects of IT. This multifaceted training provides a robust foundation in critical areas, ensuring you are well-prepared to face various digital challenges.

The Power of SEO

Visibility is key in the digital world. Implementing search engine optimization (SEO) strategies can significantly boost your website’s ranking and traffic. Optimize your content with relevant keywords, ensure mobile-friendliness, and leverage meta-tags. Effective SEO is like a beacon, guiding potential customers to your website amid the vast sea of online information.

Repairing Broken Links

The functionality of your website is paramount. Regularly audit your site to find and fix broken links. Leverage the plethora of online coding tools and resources available. These tools not only help in fixing issues but also in enhancing the overall user experience. A smoothly running website reflects the professionalism and reliability of your business.

Introducing an Integrated Web Store

Incorporate a web store into your website to streamline the shopping experience for your customers. Focus on creating an easy, seamless checkout process. This not only enhances customer satisfaction but also boosts sales. An efficient web store is a critical component in the digital transformation of your business, especially in challenging times.

Creating Captivating Content

Content is the soul of your website. Engage your audience with compelling, relevant, and informative content. Regularly update your blog, share insights, and connect with your audience through stories. Quality content not only attracts visitors but also establishes your brand’s authority and trustworthiness in your industry.

Accelerating Your Website’s Speed and Performance

A slow-loading website is a surefire way to lose visitors. Enhance your website’s loading speed by optimizing images, leveraging browser caching, and minimizing the use of heavy scripts. A fast-loading website improves user experience and boosts your site’s SEO ranking, making it an indispensable element in your digital strategy.

Adapting your business to changing times is a journey that begins with your website. By simplifying navigation, enhancing your IT skills through an online degree, implementing SEO, fixing broken links, integrating a web store, offering compelling content, and improving loading speed, you set the stage for resilience and growth. These strategic adjustments are not just about surviving turbulent times; they are about setting a new standard for digital excellence in your industry. Embrace these changes, and watch your business not only endure but also flourish in the digital age.

Virtual Ingenuity offers a range of services to enhance your company’s visibility, productivity, and growth. Learn how we can help your business with marketing, branding, and strategic planning.

In today’s business world, it’s important to stay relevant and up-to-date. This is especially true when it comes to branding. If your company’s brand has become stagnant or outdated, it may be time for a refresh. Whether it’s a minor update or a complete overhaul, refreshing your brand can help re-engage your audience and attract new customers. In this article shared by Virtual Ingenuity, we’ll discuss tips for refreshing your brand and how to make the most of the process.

Understand the Importance of Refreshing Your Brand

Before you jump into refreshing your brand, it’s important to identify the specific areas that need improvement. This could include outdated logos, stale messaging, or an overall tired brand aesthetic. Start by researching your industry, competitors, and target audience. Use this data to make informed decisions on what updates will best resonate with your target audience.

Your logo is often the first impression that customers have of your brand. An outdated or overly complex logo can quickly turn off potential customers. Consider simplifying your logo to a more modern design that’s recognizable and creates a lasting impression. This doesn’t mean you need to abandon your brand identity, but rather update it to better reflect your current brand values.

Upgrade Your Marketing

Nowadays, prioritizing social media marketing is essential, but it’s important not to limit your effects there! Continue to enhance your digital marketing strategies by complementing them with traditional methods like brochures and business cards. Here’s a tool to create your brochure featuring proven templates. Simply integrate several high-quality photos, along with updated sales and contact information, to boost brand visibility and strengthen your overall advertising efforts.

In addition, consider content marketing, the strategic art of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a defined audience. Content marketing extends beyond promotional material; its objective is to build trust, establish credibility, and ultimately stimulate valuable customer actions that drive profitability. Through the delivery of top-notch content that educates, entertains, or resolves issues, companies can forge stronger bonds with their audience, enhance brand recognition, and establish themselves as experts within their industries. Contact Virtual Ingenuity for further information!

Update Your Company’s Mission and Vision

With the changing times, it’s essential to reassess your company’s mission and vision. This is important, as it can help provide clarity and direction on what your brand represents. Redefining your company’s mission and vision can also create opportunities for fresh and compelling messaging. This approach can aid in attracting new customers and re-engaging your existing audience.

Create the Perfect Advertisement

Advertising is more than just selling a product or service; it’s about creating an emotional connection with your target audience. And with a refreshed brand, there’s no better way to connect than by creating a perfect advertisement. One that captures the essence of your updated identity and showcases the exciting updates you’ve made. But that’s only half the battle. You’ll also need a new slogan that encapsulates everything your brand stands for in a brief yet memorable tone. The right slogan can help take your brand to new heights and cement your place in the hearts and minds of your customers.

Revamp Your Company’s Website

Your website is the face of your business, therefore it’s essential to ensure that it aligns with your brand vision. Updating your website might mean updating imagery, tone of voice, and other essential elements to ensure that it reflects your brand’s values. Additionally, optimize the website for mobile devices, create compelling content, and use the latest design trends to make it look up-to-date and relevant to your audience.

Refreshing your company’s brand can be a lot of work, but the result is often worth it. By following the tips above, you can update your brand to be more relevant, engaging, and attractive to your audience. Remember that branding is a continuously evolving process, so it’s essential to stay up-to-date and relevant to continue to attract and retain customers.

Need a boost for your brand? Connect with Virtual Ingenuity at (205) 549-0098 to book your complimentary consultation and level up your business.

In an ever-evolving digital landscape, small businesses are increasingly turning to cutting-edge technology to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and drive growth. Artificial Intelligence (AI) stands out as a pivotal tool amidst this technological revolution. Its capabilities range from automating mundane tasks to offering data-centric insights, making it a game-changing asset for small business proprietors aiming to thrive in the current dynamic market landscape.

AI-driven solutions present a multitude of benefits capable of profoundly influencing the efficiency and efficacy of small businesses spanning diverse sectors. Here are several avenues through which AI is demonstrating its instrumental role:

Access Skills You Lack

One of the utmost advantages of AI tools is their ability to grant access to skills that might otherwise be unattainable. This advantage proves especially beneficial in the initial phases of your business if you lack specific skill sets and are unable to recruit individuals possessing those skills. For example, AI can be used to produce impactful presentations when pitching a new business. Chat GPT can be used help to refine communication and assist with brainstorming ideas for various projects.

Improve Customer Service

AI-driven chatbots, also known as virtual assistants, are revolutionizing online interactions with customers by providing instantaneous support and responses to queries. Bots, such as Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant,  can be programmed to recognize certain phrases, handle routine customer interactions, offer personalized recommendations, provide directives, and even troubleshoot basic issues. Utilizing AI for customer service enables small businesses to guarantee round-the-clock availability, enhance response times, and liberate human resources for handling more intricate responsibilities. Undoubtedly, AI has the potential to elevate customer communication to new heights.

Conduct Market Research

Market research holds significant importance for businesses, and AI can notably enhance its efficiency. Utilizing a natural language processing tool fueled by generative AI, like ChatGPT or Google Bard, enables you to inquire about your business sector, obtaining detailed analyses to assess potential growth opportunities for your company. Instead of investing time in extensive internet searches, employing an AI tool streamlines the data collection process. Subsequently, AI can analyze this data efficiently, facilitating the swift creation of comprehensive reports.

Conduct Data Analysis and Provide Insights

Small businesses can generate significant amounts of data, however, deriving actional insights from this data can feel overwhelming. AI algorithms demonstrate exceptional proficiency in analyzing data, identifying patterns, and extracting valuable insights. Utilizing AI-powered analytics tools, such as Tableau, Polymer,  MonkeyLearn, and Sisense empowers businesses to make data-informed decisions, forecast trends, and customize their strategies more precisely to meet evolving customer demands.

Improve Efficiency or Streamline Operations

AI optimizes operational workflows by automating repetitive tasks like inventory management, scheduling, and administrative responsibilities. This automation not only saves time but also diminishes the chances of errors, ultimately boosting productivity and cutting costs for small businesses. Some of these tools include ClickUp AI, Motion, Monday, and Salesforce. By automating routine tasks, it allows more focus on critical aspects of business management.

Enhance Focused Marketing and Sales

AI empowers small businesses to enhance their marketing strategies through the analysis of consumer behavior, preferences, and trends. This facilitates tailored marketing campaigns that deeply connect with particular target audiences, leading to increased conversion rates and enhanced ROI. AI-driven sales tools such as Hubspot, Sprout Social, Jasper, and Seventh Sense, aid in lead generation, customer segmentation, and sales forecasting, providing businesses with the tools to optimize their sales endeavors.

Generate Content

AI tools such as ChatGPT and Adobe Firefly are some of the AI tools that are capable of producing compelling content across various formats, from video to written material. Generative AI can be used to craft product descriptions and social media posts. This oftentimes saves the business owner a significant amount of time.

Enhance Security Protocols in Cyberspace

Securing sensitive business information holds significant importance, particularly for smaller businesses that might not have specialized cybersecurity resources. Utilizing AI-driven cybersecurity tools, such as Splunk, Trellix, and Darktrace, enables the identification and swift response to potential threats, thereby strengthening defenses against cyber assaults and preserving the integrity of data.

Cost of AI Services

The cost of hiring AI development services for a small business can vary significantly based on several factors, such as the complexity of the AI project, the scope of work, the expertise of the development team, and the geographical location of the service provider. Generally, AI development services can be billed by the hour, project-based, or through a monthly retainer. Hourly rates can range from $50 to $250 or more, depending on the expertise of the developers and the geographical region in which they operate. Project-based costs can vary widely, however, for small AI projects, a range of $5,000 to $20,000 or more can be expected.

Keep in mind that AI development is a specialized field, and prices may be higher for projects that require advanced AI algorithms, large datasets, or integration with complex systems. For a more precise estimation, consider connecting with AI development service providers and delving into your project specifics to receive customized price quotes.

Advantages and Challenges

While there are definite advantages, incorporating AI into small businesses can present challenges such as initial expenses, integration complexities, and the need for staff training. However, the enduring benefits often surpass these hurdles, making AI a worthwhile investment for businesses focused on growth.

AI brings forth numerous opportunities for small businesses to excel in today’s competitive environment. By harnessing AI-powered solutions, small business proprietors can streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and gain a competitive edge. As AI technology evolves, its potential to transform small business practices remains promising, offering boundless possibilities for expansion and triumph.

By embracing AI, small businesses can unlock a realm of opportunities, fostering innovation and securing a leading position within their industries. As the digital age progresses, the strategic integration of AI will unquestionably continue to redefine the landscape for small businesses, promoting efficiency, flexibility, and sustainable advancement.

With its adaptability and transformative potential, AI represents not just a technological advancement but a crucial necessity for small businesses aspiring to excel in the contemporary marketplace of the 21st century.

For strategic planning aimed at enhancing productivity and fostering business growth, trust Virtual Ingenuity, LLC to meet your needs! Call 205-549-0098

Congratulations to Virtual Ingenuity, LLC for being the recipient of the 2023 Best in Business Award in the Most Innovative Project & Business Management Solutions Provider – Southern USA category. https://www.thebusinessconcept.com/winners/virtual-ingenuity-llc/

See the full press release here!

Congratulations to Virtual Ingenuity, LLC for being selected as a 2023 Best of Trussville Award Winner for two consecutive years and being inducted into the Business Hall of Fame.

See the full press release here

Are you an entrepreneur or small business owner looking to avoid common mistakes that could hinder the growth and success of your business? Look no further! In this article, Virtual Ingenuity reveals some common business mistakes and tips on how to steer clear of them.

Inadequate Future Planning

Business owners should always plan for the future. This means having a five-year plan in place that outlines goals and strategies for meeting them. This ensures that your business is on track to reach its long-term objectives.

Not Prioritizing the Customer Experience

Failing to understand customer behavior is like being lost without a map. Imagine being a business owner navigating the ever-changing consumer experience but having no way to capture and analyze valuable data. Using a customer data platform (CDP) is the answer. This allows you to get insights into user preferences, track trends, and target your marketing to key audiences. So don’t stay at sea when it comes to understanding what makes your customers tick — use a CDP to help with your search for deeper insights.

Managing Finances Poorly

Managing your finances is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business. Failing to do so can lead to cash flow issues, missed payments, late fees, and even bankruptcy. To avoid these, it’s important to create a budget, track expenses, use accounting software, and even get help from accounting professionals so that your finances are properly managed at all times.

Neglecting Marketing Efforts

Marketing is essential for any successful business as it increases brand awareness and attracts new customers. Neglecting your marketing efforts can lead to decreased sales and customer dissatisfaction from a lack of communication. Make sure you create a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes both online and offline methods.

Hiring Without Considering Long-Term Goals

When hiring employees, it’s important to consider your business’s long-term goals instead of just short-term needs. Filling positions quickly without considering if they will fit into your overall plans for growth will cost you more in the long run.

Not Learning the Ropes

While obtaining an advanced degree may seem like a surefire way to build management and problem-solving skills, this is not always the case. In this day and age, you have the ability to access resources that can sharpen your skills without having to attend higher education courses. Everything from our podcast to webinars, and virtual coaching is now available at our fingertips. By taking advantage of this wealth of knowledge, you can improve your leadership acumen.

Starting your own business isn’t easy but avoiding costly mistakes is essential for success. These best practices should put you at ease as you move forward with your business goals.

When it comes to strategic planning to boost productivity and business growth, Virtual Ingenuity, has you covered!

Call 205-549-0098.

No matter how much we may want to deny it, one thing is for certain: a recession is coming, and it will likely hit us hard. As a small business owner, you have much more to worry about than the average person. After all, you’ll need to protect both your personal life as well as business from the effects of the economy. How can you do so? Today, Virtual Ingenuity breaks down essential strategies to recession-proof your business today.

Effectively Manage Your Cash Flow

When a recession hits, keeping up with your cash flow can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you manage your cash flow more effectively during this time:

  • Review your expenses and cut back where you can
  • Make sure you are invoicing promptly and collecting payments as soon as possible
  • Consider offering discounts to customers who pay early
  • Stay on top of your accounts receivable and accounts payable
  • Keep a close eye on your inventory levels

Structuring Your Business

Business structure is an essential element to consider when safeguarding against a recession. You may need to reevaluate how your business is currently structured to ensure you’re set up for success. For example, switching to an LLC may be a better option if you’re operating as a sole proprietor, as you’ll benefit from more legal and tax protections. To form an LLC, you could work with a lawyer or use a formation service (which is significantly cheaper). States also have different regulations around LLC formation, but an online formation service that’s already familiar with the rules in your area can help you start your LLC in minutes. Once your business gets started, work with an organization like Virtual Ingenuity to help you maximize your efficiency.

Keep Your Financial Records Organized

A key element of staying on top of finances during a recession will be to know all the small financial details of your business. From cash outflow to pending payments, there is a lot to organize! You can do this easily if your business and financial records are up-to-date, maintained, and easy to access. This can help you find documents for financing or assistance. Struggling to keep these records in one place? Online tools can help you manage and store all your important documents easily. You’ll be able to digitize paper records and keep everything in one file by adding pages to existing PDFs. You can also reorder, delete, and rotate pages in each document.

Find Ways to Cut Costs and Debt

According to the World Bank, interest rates will increase during and after the recession. The general costs for business operations are similarly going to go up. Thus, it’s in your best interest to find ways to cut costs and reduce debt as soon as possible. Here are some ways you can do so:

  • Review your expenses: Do you need that expensive office space? Could you downsize to a smaller space or work from home? Evaluate your current expenses to figure out where to cut costs.
  • Renegotiate your loans and leases: If your business struggles to make loan or lease payments, Equifax recommends talking to your lender about renegotiating the terms.
  • Refinance your loans: If you have good credit, you can refinance your loans at a lower interest rate, thus saving you money.
  • Sell off unneeded assets: If your business has assets that it no longer needs, such as equipment or vehicles, selling them can help reduce debt.
  • Get help from a professional: If your business struggles to manage its debt, consider working with an experienced debt management company.

The key to successfully navigating any period of financial difficulty is preparation. The more thoroughly you organize your business by digitizing your paper records and setting up your business structure correctly, the more quickly you will breeze through this recession to make it through to the other side.

Virtual Ingenuity focuses on helping local businesses improve their efficiency and marketing. Call 205-549-0098.
Let’s impact together!

Congratulations to Virtual Ingenuity, LLC for receiving the ByBlack Certification designation from the U.S. Black Chambers Inc.

 

Virtual Ingenuity, LLC is honored to have received the ByBlack Certification from the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. This designation grants companies that hold the ByBlack Certification access to participate in exclusive contracting and training opportunities funded by U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) corporate partners and sponsors. This initiative is the first of its kind focused solely on certification for Black-owned businesses.

By becoming ByBlack Certified, black-owned businesses can increase their opportunity pipelines; build relationships with procurement personnel at America’s leading corporations; and collectively team up on large contracting opportunities. As corporate America becomes more inclusive and further diversifies its supply chain, the ByBlack certification offers the opportunity for Black-owned businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Certified businesses are routinely sought after by USBC Corporate Partners who are looking to increase their spending with the Black business community through USBC’s internal, proprietary database. Once a business is granted the certification, they have access to numerous contacts with corporate representatives and supplier diversity professionals. ByBlack.us is a platform where business owners can begin making strategic relationships, scheduling meetings to uncover procurement opportunities, and begin building a healthy pipeline of new businesses to set their organizations up for short and long-term profitability targets. USBC helps to facilitate these relationships by hosting several events focused on matchmaking and networking.

Learn more here

Congratulations and hats off to Virtual Ingenuity, LLC for being the recipient of the 2022 Best of Trussville Award in the Business Management Consultant category.

Virtual Ingenuity, LLC receives 2022 Best of Trussville Award

Trussville Award Program Honors the Achievement

TRUSSVILLE October 3, 2022 — Virtual Ingenuity, LLC has been selected for the 2022 Best of Trussville Award in the Business Management Consultant category by the Trussville Award Program.

Each year, the Trussville Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Trussville area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2022 Trussville Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Trussville Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Trussville Award Program

The Trussville Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Trussville area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Trussville Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Trussville Award Program

CONTACT:
Trussville Award Program
Email: PublicRelations@awards-us-business.com
URL: http://www.awards-us-business.com

Did you know that a properly executed social media strategy can drive more traffic to your website and enhance lead generation? There is an overabundance of social media channels, from LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and TikTok, to name a few. With all of these options, it can be overwhelming to determine what platform to choose to build an online presence. Here are several factors to consider:

  • What are your social media strategy objectives?
  • Which channels is your target audience using?
  • Which channels is your competitor using?
  • What kind of content do you want to create?
  • Do you have the manpower to manage multiple channels?

Let’s dive deeper:

Determine your social media strategy objectives

It’s important to determine your social media strategy objectives. Once identified, you should align those objectives with well-established platforms that have a large following. It is a best practice to research the social media advertising platforms that suit your budget. You will want to choose the most effective platform that will raise awareness and extend your business services reach. If lead generation is most important, then LinkedIn might be a good fit since that platform is the renowned B2B champion in lead generation through group participation and advanced search filters. Facebook and Twitter can also be very effective.

Research your target audience

Research the specific channels that your target audience is using based on social media demographics. You may want to consider Sprout Social to help you to conduct an analysis of your current followers and to outline the key demographics of various social media platforms. The research will ensure that your chosen channels facilitate the most relevant approach of your target audience based on demographic data.

Research your competitor’s social media channels

Research the social media channels that your competitors use.  Know the type of content they post, what gets the most likes and shares, and the frequency to which they post. You may even want to “follow” them on social media. This will help you gain valuable insight that you can replicate for your social media strategy. Consider using a specific tool to analyze your competitor’s top-performing social content based on the most shares and engagement. Facebook and Twitter will enable you to track any mention of them across the internet. Here are several strategies that will help you to work smarter.

Know the type of content to suit your target audience

Know the kind of content that you want to create. Whether it’s company news, industry updates, or video content. B2B audiences tend to gravitate to LinkedIn or Twitter. This, of course, depends on the industry. Keep in mind that video content generally appeals to a younger audience. In which case, YouTube, with over 3 billion searches per month or even TikTok, would be ideal. If image-based content is preferred then you may want to consider Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook. Again, make sure that you use a platform that will appeal to your target audience. If you want to share editorial content, then consider Medium, 95% of its readers are college graduates, and a little over 40% earn six figures or more.  LinkedIn is a great industry trusted leader for editorial content and it can expose you to over 300 million users.

Determine if you have the manpower to manage multiple channels

If you decide that you want to use multiple social media channels, there are tools to help you maximize time and allow you to schedule multiple posts in advance across several social media accounts. ContentCal, Mailerlite, and Lightful are some that come to mind.  Do your research on the most popular, effective, and budget-friendly tools for you.

In the past few years, social media usage has increased across all generations. Stay up-to-date with the latest social media strategies for your business.

 

Let’s impact together!
205-549-0098

The holidays are approaching and many of us struggle to take a break during this festive season. Delivering a smooth experience that meets a client’s expectations is essential for your business to grow. From my experience, this is my fail-safe system for defining the rules of engagement and taking a real break from business:

  • No client work
  • No work emails
  • No meetings
  • No checking the email app on my phone

When my holiday break begins, I turn off my computer, close my office door, and do not open it until the new year. That’s my yearly no cheating holiday break strategy! Here’s what you can do to set and manage client expectations for the holidays:

Plan your holiday

I set my non-negotiable time off, just as I schedule my client meetings and projects. Select the dates you want to be out of the office. Make it official and add them to your calendar. For me, seeing those dates help to solidify those plans.

Set clear client boundaries

Increasing trust is one of the best ways to manage expectations. Communicate clearly with your clients how your team works. Give them a heads up that you will be off on the specified days that you’ve chosen. Give them a call and reassure them that you will finish any open projects before your time off. Set mutually agreed-upon marketing goals and strategies that align with your client’s business and project goals. Be transparent about what you can and can’t accomplish. It’s okay to work longer hours to get everything wrapped up, just make sure that this process is communicated to ensure that everything goes smoothly. Let your clients know that you will limit the start of new projects before the holidays as it pertains to your client’s needs.

Follow-up with a reminder email of your planned time off. Be sure to include the following information:

  • Dates when your holiday break will begin and when they can expect to hear from you afterward.
  • Your process of how you will take care of them leading up to your break.
  • A request for all materials you need from them to complete the current project and deadlines for when you need them.
  • What will happen project-wise if they don’t provide you with the requested materials in time. For instance, you may have to push back the project submission date.
  • If you’re providing products that ship out, be sure to give yourself enough time to prep each shipment and factor in time in case of shipping delays.

Create a detailed plan for all projects

It’s time to put systems in place to ensure that everything runs smoothly while you’re away. Create a detailed plan of action with timelines for each project. Under-promise and over-deliver. Give your team some cushion for the unexpected, and then deliver ahead of time. When you give clients a better understanding of your promises as a business partner, it will help them manage their expectations and allow you to always meet them.

Your client should be clear about the status: the strategy, the plan, the goals, the accomplishments, and the next steps of the project at all times. Be upfront about what happens if plans change.

Set an email auto-responder

It’s important to set an “out of office” email auto-responder or website banner. In case you receive emails in your inbox while away, your well-crafted “out of office” message should include the following:

  • A genuine and friendly greeting for their inquiry
  • Dates of your absence
  • How often, if any, you’ll respond to emails during your break
  • Reassurance that their message is important and they will receive a response
  • BONUS: Call to action with links to your most popular blog posts or videos

Keep your word and enjoy our holiday

You’ve planned it out and scheduled your holiday break on the calendar, sent an email to give your clients a heads-up, and set clear boundaries, now it’s time to keep your word and reward yourself with being fully present during your planned holiday.

You can always get more clients but you can’t get more time, so have a fabulous holiday – you deserve it!

 

Let’s impact together!

205-549-0098

Many business owners are unsure of what the term “fractional executive” means and the benefits of hiring one. A fractional executive is a business leader that has a part-time position and experience working in C-level roles and senior level management such as director, VP, CFOs, COOS – the list goes on. Businesses that don’t have the financial resources to hire a full-time in-house executive can work with an experienced professional without hiring them at a full-time salary with benefits. A fractional executive can be the perfect way to bridge the gap between a critical business need for support and its resource readiness.

To read more about how your business can benefit from a fractional executive, please read more here:

A huge shout out and congratulations to Claudine Land, founder of Virtual Ingenuity, LLC. She is our June winner of the Business Specific Grant in the category of Business Support Services.

Here is what Claudine shared with us:

“I am the founder of Virtual Ingenuity, LLC, a business support organization focused on helping businesses improve efficiency, effectiveness, and profits. There are many ways to change the world for the better. My talent and skill are working with organizations to improve their operations and marketing in order to reduce inequities in health-outcomes.

From my early beginnings in Jamaica to my transition to the Unites States, I’ve been told most of my life that I have the incredible ability to recognize and decipher the professional needs of people around me… My clients are very important to me. That’s the reason I move forward boldly, even audaciously. This work needs to get done. Healthcare patients cannot wait for efficiencies, they are already suffering. I take an intentional, even surgical approach to my clients by incorporate customized plans, workflow systems and innovative solutions for their success. My dedication rests solely in building genuine results-driven strategies and optimized strategic planning to boost productivity and growth. I strongly believe that making an impact – one business at a time – will make the world better. As a woman, minority lead business, the challenges are steep. The struggle to get noticed, taken seriously, and given an opportunity to make that impact is a very real up-hill battle.”

Congratulations to Claudine on her grant.

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You’ve heard the term –work smarter, not harder. Yet many business owners struggle with being successful at it. How do you work smarter, instead of harder? Here are some useful tips that might help you out:

1. Develop great time management skills

Focus on your top priority task,  switch off the phone and close your office door to avoid distractions until that task is completed. If you have to respond to an urgent inquiry, opt to email instead while you accomplish that task.

2. Set doable deadlines and do everything in your power to meet them

Write down your deadline somewhere that you will see and remember them. Always allow yourself some wiggle room. For instance, if you tell yourself to finish something by Thursday that’s actually due on Friday, you’ll be ahead of the game and you’ll have an extra day to refine your work.

3. Learn how to use productivity tools well

With extensive research, you can find tools that will make your work life much easier and free up your time. To have a tool without the knowledge or expertise to use it is futile. It is important to know the type of tools that are needed for your specific purpose, whether it’s to prioritize tasks, communicate efficiently within teams, or monitor work activity to measure profitability.  The right tool can be a lifesaver.

4. Use your phone wisely

Instead of writing an email, sometimes it’s just better to pick up the phone and call to discuss an important or urgent dialogue. You can actually run your business from your phone. Smartphones have become increasingly popular in business and a more adept enterprise tool. When utilized correctly, mobile phones can help professionals knock out work, especially smaller tasks, which could potentially boost productivity.

5. Be concise

If you want to sell a product that your company has featured, practice and sharpen your “elevator speech” to 30 seconds or less. You need to be persuasive, so make sure that you know your audience and speak directly to them. Don’t forget to ask for the sale and make sure that you have your business card handy.

6. Ask the right questions at the right time

This is a great way to get feedback and to gather the information that you need to help in decision-making for your business and team. How do you know when is the right time? Be a good listener. This is key to knowing the right time to ask a question. Be sure to follow up with follow-up questions.

7. Learn as much as you can

Look at your skills and determine where you need to fill in the gap and talk to important connections in your niche. Customer engagement can make or break a deal so speak directly to businesses that are in a well-defined niche in which you are comfortable.

8. Keep up to date on trends and development.

There are several ways to do so such as an industry magazine, trade papers, or blogs. You can also sign up for emails, take advantage of training opportunities, and speak to customers. Find a way to keep tabs on your competitors.

It’s important not to lose sleep. Hire a company to do the work for you. Virtual Ingenuity, LLC can do the research for you and help you put individualized processes and effective tools in place for increased productivity and business success.

 

Let’s impact together!

205-549-0098

Featured on the International Virtual Assistant Association’s (IVAA) blog page

Many of us struggle with the increasing cost and day-to-day operations of running a business. So, how do you save both money and time for your business? By outsourcing tasks. There are ways to do this effectively.

Define your goals

Before you bring another company on board, map out your long-term and financial goals in order to make the best outsourcing plan. Doing so will help you choose the most beneficial outsourcing partners to fill your company’s needs.

Involve your management team and board of directors in the decision-making process

Getting them involved will help to create a healthy relationship with your partners and ensure proper documentation to increase accountability and responsibility.

Factor in the costs involved in outsourcing

A key advantage of outsourcing is to save money and reduce costs. Regardless of what you outsource, you are likely to save money compared to having that department in your own business. Remember that you won’t have to pay full-time salaries, benefits, or invest in expensive software and equipment. When you outsource, you only pay for what you need.

Never skimp on quality

Do your research before choosing a service provider to ensure that they have the experience in the tasks that you are looking to outsource. For example, evaluate their experience, qualifications, reputation, track record, and performance.

Look out for red flags

Make sure that the company you choose is able to share work references. Be aware if the company wants a large percentage of payment upfront.

With the right outsourcing partner, you can be assured that your business processes will be handled effectively. Feeling overwhelmed? Our team would love to help you with a customized strategy that works for your business.

 

Let’s impact together!

205-549-0098

When you hire a consultant, you are looking for someone to support you, keep an eye on your business processes, and offer recommendations for increased productivity.

How do you know who to hire for the role? Here are some key things to consider. Make sure that the consultant is

Proactive

It is important to find a consultant who will help you find additional ways to get the job done efficiently and who is consistent at it. Find a consultant who will think ahead of what needs to be done and do it without being asked. Have a warm-up period to allow yourself time to find this out.

Your Superhero

A consultant should be your superhero. Your consultant should find out what your weaknesses are and be aware of what you are struggling to accomplish and is not afraid to suggest ways in which to help get things off your “to do” or procrastination list without judgment or shame.

Aware of your long-term goals

Are there podcasts or partnerships that you’d love to have or would you like to be featured on certain publications? It is the consultant’s role to find out what your long-term goals are and help you meet them.

Virtual Ingenuity, LLC knows that growth starts with partnerships. Supporting our clients’ visions certainly sets us apart from the competition.

 

Let’s impact together!

205-549-0098

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