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  • February 27, 2017 12:58 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


  • February 20, 2017 12:08 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)



    By Katharine C. Giovanni, CCS

    1. Do a business plan. It really doesn’t matter how short or long it is, nor does it have to be fancy with colored charts. However, you really should do one so that you know where you are going, what you are doing and how you’re going to get there.

    2. Business cards and website. This can all be done on a shoestring with today’s software, but having them is a vital part of a business.  You can obtain some terrific free business cards by visiting www.vistaprint.com, and you can do a website pretty inexpensively as well. If you don't want to do it yourself (many people use Wordpress), here are a few links to some "instant" website creation sites where you can have a site up in minutes via www.godaddy.com or www.intuit.com.

    3. Get some business liability insurance! Please don’t start a business without it. You can also join this group (ICLMNet) as we have a list of insurance companies in our member's library. 

    4. Legal Documents – contracts, agreements, etc… Get this right the first time and you won’t have to put out fires in the future. You’ll need both client contracts as well as vendor agreements.

    5. Do NOT quit your job, go out and rent an office, buy or rent furniture and hire employees.  THINK ABOUT IT FIRST!  First and foremost, you need to be able to feed your family and pay your bills so make sure that you have either enough money saved to last you at least 6 months, possibly even a year worth set aside or you have some other form of steady income flowing into your household.

    6. Find a target market!  There are so many niches for this business that you might be tempted to do them all when you first open up. However, I strongly suggest that you choose one or two niche markets and go after them first. Do them well and then you can choose a few more. If they don’t do well after six months (or they tank completely), then you have hundreds of other niches to choose from! Choose a new niche and then re-focus, re-work your business and then re-launch!  The key here is to never ever give up!!!  Some niches around the country include hospitals, small/medium/large companies, condominiums, shopping malls, airports, office buildings, neighborhoods, individuals, colleges/universities, country clubs, senior market and more. I could go on and on there are so many out there!

    7. Market, market, market … join your local chamber of commerce, networking groups … get out there and shake people’s hands and tell them what you do!  Talk it up everywhere you go. Attend as many expos and receptions that you can!  I think face-to-face marketing is key when starting up a business … so talk it up people!!

    8. Social media … Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn … a GREAT way to grow your business and gain trust without spending a dime.

    9. Be warm, friendly, approachable and extremely courteous 100% of the time. This is the key to being a great concierge!  People may not remember what you did for them, but they will always remember how you made them feel and how you treated them. Customer Service is the hallmark of the concierge industry … over-the-top unbelievable customer service. I think everyone should build a customer service plan. You should talk about every day, not just once in a while! It’s a way of life and something that you practice every minute of your life and in every facet of your business.

    10. Join ICLMNet - I also suggest that you join this group as it will show the general public that you are a legitimate company. Scam companies do NOT join professional groups.

    Lastly, Keep your focus on where you are going … and not on what is hitting the fan at any particular moment. KNOW that you can do this!!  See the future that you want, daydream about it and see yourself being there!!!


  • February 15, 2017 4:02 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)

    One of the questions I get asked by the media is what does a concierge do?  The quick answer is that a concierge will do anything as long as it’s legal, moral and ethical.


    1.      Obtaining tickets to concerts, special events and sporting events
    2.      Transportation Services – train, plane or automobiles … concierge can get it!
    3.      Travel and Vacation Planning
    4.      Business Referral Service – need a landscaper or a plumber?
    5.      Restaurant Recommendations and/or Reservations
    6.      Pet services
    7.      Internet Research – need research done and you don’t have the time to do it?
    8.      Personalized shopping and delivery
    9.      Running to the post office
    10.  Dry cleaning pick-up and/or delivery
    11.  Grocery shopping
    12.  Running to the hardware store
    13.  Senior care
    14.  Modified house sitting – need someone to wait for the service technician while you’re at
    work?
    15.  Picking up or returning a gift
    16.  Meal Delivery
    17.  Home Inventory – video the contents of your home and keep it in your safe deposit box
    18.  Bill paying
    19.  Auto Maintenance
    20.  Home Organization
    21.  Notary Services – many concierge area a traveling notary and can come to you.
    22.  House Cleaning Services
    23.  Courier/Delivery Services
    24.  Delivering lunch to nurses and doctors at the hospital
    25.  Delivering a Meal - breakfast, lunch or dinner
    26.  Prescription Pick-up and delivery
    27.  Repair and Service Calls
    28.  Returning a library book or a video
    29.  Sick Care – sick in bed? Call a concierge and they’ll do your errands, arrange for dinner
    to be delivered and can be on hand to help your family out
    30.  New Mommy Services
    31.  Meeting and Event Planning; private parties
    32.  Personal Chef Services
    33.  Single Parent Helper
    34.  Employee Relocation Services
    35.  Gift baskets and Flower Delivery
    36.  Landscaping Services
    37.  Special Day Reminder Service
    38.  Charter a Private Jet, Yachts or Helicopter
    39.  Hire a concierge to assist you at your event, wedding or conference - also called "event
    concierge" and "wedding concierge"
    40.  Need Security?  They'll hire a security company to assist you.
    41.  Day Spa Services
    42.  Fashion and/or Stylist Consultant
    43.  Nanny Services
    44.  Estate Planning
    45.  Arrange for your Tee Time at the golf club
    46.  Book your appointments for you
    47.  Hire a Butler
    48.  New to the area?  A concierge will give you a tour of the town
    49.  Catering Services
    50.  Get Away Weekends
    51.  Office help
    52.  Moving assistance – let your concierge unpack those boxes and put it all away!!  All you’ll need to unpack is your toothbrush.

    Everyone single one of us tries to squeeze 36 hours into a 24-hour day, and when you do that you inevitably don’t do it very well. You get stressed …

    Which leads to tired …

    Which leads to not eating healthy because you’re craving “comfort” food …

    Which leads to sickness.

    Not good!

    A concierge is here to do the things that you have to do which leaves you with the time to do the things that you want to like spending more time with family and friends, putting more time in at the office, or relaxing.

    That being said, below is a list of 52 ways you can use a concierge. Since the real list of what a concierge can do for you is endless, the list below is merely here to get you started.

    If you are looking to hire a concierge, then I suggest you visit www.ICLMNet.com and check out our directory.

    For people who are looking to be a concierge, please visit www.KatharineGiovanni.com or www.ICLMNet.com

    You may also join Katharine's front desk and concierge free forums at  https://www.facebook.com/FrontDeskTips/ and https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8524518

    copyright © 2014-2018 by Katharine C. Giovanni


  • February 13, 2017 4:28 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)
    • By Leslie Spoor

    Do you ever find yourself staying up late at night inputting data into an Excel spreadsheet? Or find you can’t sleep because you’re worrying about whether or not tasks have been completed for your clients? What about managing timecards? Or providing visibility to your clients for account information?

    All of these tasks and efforts equate to non-billable redundant administrative efforts that dilute your income. Don’t believe us? Here is the math:

    If you normally charge $50/hr for your services and you spend 20 hours per week doing billable work, then you make $1000 per week gross. But if you spend even five hours in the same week doing non-billable, redundant data collection, then you’re actually only charging $40/hr ($1000/wk divided by 25 hrs instead of 20 hrs).

    Now imagine you are actually spending an average of 10 hours per week doing non-billable administrative work. Your hourly rate is down to $33.33 per hour. In fact, the more time you spend doing non-billable efforts, the less you actually make. And that’s before you subtract all your overhead costs or consider the time lost for networking and marketing efforts.

    It doesn’t take a math wizard to see that non-billable, redundant, administrative work is ridiculously costly. That’s why we created Essential Elements™ our data collection software solution.

    We built this system in 2007 and over the years have added more and more features as the needs of our employees and our clients have grown. With Essential Elements™ not only is your admin work minimized but most of the data collection is turned into a component of your billable work which enhances your efficiencies and increases your profit margins.

    And, most importantly, utilizing Essential Elements™ frees you up to pursue new business opportunities!

    Here are a few of the features of Essential Elements™ (not an all-inclusive list):

    • No software to download – the system is fully cloud-based
    • Customized with your logo and colors so your employees and clients will recognize the system as your company
    • Online access via smart phone, tablet or laptop
    • Training is included in the setup fees
    • You’ll receive, free of charge, all our system procedures to modify for your own use
    • Data collection features (also not an all-inclusive list):
    Activity reports that automatically alert your clients when tasks are complete
    Online time entry by your employees
    Task Management module to create, modify, complete tasks with visibility by employee or client 
    Automated time cards
    Ability to track mileage and reimburse mileage costs for your employees and/or charge mileage costs to your clients
    Automated time tracking with visibility to which accounts need to be charged for more time
    All reports are designed to be Management by Exception for simplicity and ease of use
    Full transparency for your clients – they can view their task completions, hours logs and a status of their account
    Clients can request tasks through the software – everything is automated
    If you need features we don’t currently offer, we do quote customized features for your specific needs

    These are just a few of the features included in Concierge Business Solutions®’ software solution, Essential Elements™. Most importantly, fees are scaled to grow with your business so the initial investment is affordable and cost effective.

    What would you do with an extra 5, 10 or 20 hours per week? How many more clients could you attract? How many more relationships can you build with that much extra time? Or maybe, just maybe, how much more sleep might you get?

    ~##~

    Ms. Leslie Spoor, CEO of Concierge Business Solutions®, is a nationally-recognized business consultant and entrepreneur with over 35 years of business operations experience in the areas of education and training, process and procedure generation, formulation of action plans, software development, business process reengineering, metrics measurements programs, and internal mentoring and coaching programs. For more information about Concierge Business Solutions®, or to schedule a free demo of her Essential Elements™ software solution, please contact Leslie at 760.898.9604 or to email, click here: https://goo.gl/Bl3INq


  • January 09, 2017 2:46 PM | Ron Giovanni (Administrator)

    Hello everyone,

    Well we are now 9 days into the new year and I think it is time to evaluate your business, marketing plans, time management, and your community connections in your industry.  People ask me all the time how ICLMNet can get me business, or they tell me that they are not getting business so they see no valueHere’s my answer… 

    ICLMNet enhances your business because joining gets you involved with a professional group that can help you and your business grow and expand. As small business owners, you most likely don’t have the money to have expensive advisors and mentors, so being part of a Network Community fills the void of not have someone to bounce ideas off of.  It allows you to ask questions to network members when you are not sure if you have the answer right.

    Yes, you want to also get customers, but to find out where customers are coming from you have to add analytics to your website to find out exactly where traffic is coming from. You see it is not about one source to get traffic to your site, great traffic comes from a collection of places. Analytics is extremely important because once you have a potential client on your site, you need to know where they went on your site and when they left.  If your content is not strong enough, and your information is all over the place, then you will not give this person the opportunity to know what you can do for them. Reach out to your hosting company (they all have amazing tools to help you) and see what tools they offer for your website to allow you to track traffic. Also, go over your content on a regular basis to make sure it is updated and fresh. This gives people a reason to come back to your site.  Update your logos and links as well!  It takes money and time to get a customer so if you are not using your website, your marketing, your network connections, and all the tools the internet offers and instead you’re just sitting there waiting for customers to show up, you are wasting valuable time and other resources.

    So make a checklist of how you want to attack this year, grow your business and make connections in your community. If you are not a part of a network of like-minded people/business, then join one today www.ICLMNET.com or others that are out there.

    Regards,

    Ron


  • January 04, 2017 10:57 AM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    Here's a great article that explains why "community" is so very important to growing your business...

    https://www.shopify.com/partners/blog/how-community-can-propel-your-business

  • December 28, 2016 2:35 PM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    For more videos and articles, please visit www.katharinegiovanni.com

  • December 28, 2016 11:54 AM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    Would you like to know who the first person to teach me about customer service was?

    My mother.

    I grew up in the 1960's in New York City in a brownstone, so we didn't have a management company (or a concierge) to help us when we needed something. So I often came home from school and would find the strangest people in our house. One day I found my mother and our mailman in the basement looking at our boiler. Another day, my mother convinced the doorman from down the street to leave his post so that he could climb a very high ladder and change a light bulb. My mother had the most uncanny knack for getting people to do things for her!

    How did she do it? 

    Watch out now ... her method is so offbeat that it will blow your mind ...

    Click here to keep reading... https://katharinegiovanni.com/the-key-to-it-all/

  • November 17, 2016 10:49 AM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    A client of mine told me a very interesting story. Apparently, one of her family members had purchased a whole bunch of butterfly wings and was storing them in their attic.

    Butterfly wings? Really?

    (No, I do not make these things up.)

    Click here to keep reading... https://katharinegiovanni.com/youre-selling-what/


  • November 03, 2016 10:37 AM | Katharine Giovanni (Administrator)


    I’ve been an entrepreneur now for over 20 years, and along the way I’ve bumped my head, scraped my knees and picked up a few things. Just because I learned these things the hard way doesn’t mean that you have to!

    So here are my top 8 tips for entrepreneurs …

    Never ever assume! Anything. Ever.

    Why? Mostly because when you assume something, things go wrong. You assume the client will call you back, and they don’t. You assume that your vendor will show up on time, and he doesn’t. Whenever I coach a new client about their business, I will pound them with “what if” questions. For example…

    “What if your vendor doesn’t show?” I’ll ask.

    “That will never happen. I know this guy.” They usually answer.

    “Well, what if it does? what’s your plan?”

    “That won’t happen. He’s my brother’s friend … I know it will be fine.”

    “Well, what if I told you that there is a 1% chance that it does, are you willing to take the risk?”

    As I said, don’t assume. Have a plan. Always check, double check and have a “plan B” ready just in case.

    Testimonials – Overwhelm your clients with testimonials!

    Put them everywhere! On your website, in your business proposals, absolutely everywhere! They are solid and convincing proof that your services work.

    Honesty – Be completely and totally honest.

    Don’t lie or mislead your clients … always tell them the truth. Going above and beyond for your clients is important, especially as they can make or break you. Meaning, they can refer you out to a dozen friends or slam you on Twitter and Yelp.

    Meeting The Client’s Needs – Meet your client’s objections right from the beginning!

    You know what they’re thinking right? They’re thinking that they don’t have enough money to use your services, or they don’t have the time, don’t need it … the list goes on and on. Answer these questions first.

    Customer Service – Always, and I do mean ALWAYS give them over the top customer service.

    It is the number one way you can grow your business … treat them like you wish to be treated and it will come back to you tenfold. People might not remember what you said, but they’ll never ever forget how you made them feel.

    STAY POSITIVE

    You can have a thriving business as long as you stay positive and ignore the doubters. Trust your intuition and follow its guidance. It knows where the clients are! Don’t ignore it, don’t over-think it, and most of all don’t talk yourself out of it!

    Persistence, Determination and Patience

    To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be persistent, patient and determined. It’s that “I’m not going to give up” attitude that will keep you going in spite of setbacks.

    So what if you do fail? You keep going. I’ve failed hundreds of times and yes IT HURT! The key is that I got up again because I knew that if I kept trying, I would get there. That’s where patience comes in. Look at it this way … if you are driving from your house to the mall, you know you’ll get there eventually. You might run into traffic along the way, or possibly need to take a different route, or you might get into an accident … but you will get to the mall. Perhaps not when you wanted to, but you’ll get there! That’s what running a business is like. You need to have the confidence and the mental fortitude to know that you’ll create a successful business, and yes …. YOU DESERVE IT! I can’t tell you how many women I’ve coached who believe that deep down inside they don’t deserve to be prosperous and happy. Yes you do!

    Lastly, you’ll need an extremely HIGH tolerance to pain!

    For the exact reasons I just listed above. Not every month will be profitable, nor will the road be without bumps, hills, mountains and potholes. It happens. Life happens! Just don’t give up. When something (or someone) knocks you flat on your “you know what” … get up! Don’t stay down there. Instead, look at what is working in your company and toss out what is not. Change your direction, company name, services, pricing and try again.

    So how do you become a successful entrepreneur?

    You do whatever it takes.

    Thomas Edison once said “I haven’t failed 1000 times, I’ve successfully discovered 1000 ways that don’t work.”


    copyright 2016 by Katharine C. Giovanni. All rights reserved.




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