Every business and business owner hits a point where they can’t do it all themselves. Virtual Staffing is a way to accelerate your business growth. But not all Virtual Assistants and Virtual Staff are created equal. Learn best practices to drive your business.
As a 25 year veteran entrepreneur, there are many lessons that have been learned over the years. The first lesson was about delegation and outsourcing when I attempted to do my SCorp business taxes after switching from a sole proprietor. I quickly learned that proper accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll services are a must!
Now as an owner of a company that provides outsource solutions, I am reminded of that everyday. Our services and our team, helps our clients grow. Not only are we really good at this, we do it all remotely before it was necessary to work remotely.
I am happy to share my success with managing a remote team for the last 10 years. Just ask me how. Learn more about Denise VCA Virtual.
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Transcript from Virtual Staffing to Grow Your Business
Tim Kubiak 0:10
Has your business hit a point where you can’t do it all yourself? It’s something I’m struggling with personally and more and more of my clients are bringing this to me. Today we’re joined by Denise Cagan, and she helps solve people’s business needs with virtual assistants. So if you haven’t already done so please subscribe to this show. Tell your friends. As always, you can find us on bow ties and business on Facebook and Instagram bow ties and bi z on Twitter. And if you’re a Facebook person, you can find my new group, the weekly sales minute there and we’ll put it all in the show notes. Denise started her first business in 2001. This business she worked almost every hat from marketing and human resources to office manager, CFO and Scheduler. After 10 years of ownership, she sold that off and started her current business. Denise can assist at conception as the business grew and evolved. And the model changed to DC a virtual business support Born in 2014. Denise, welcome to the show. I’ve got a ton of questions just from things I’ve been running into myself and with clients. So can you tell us a little more about yourself, and then we’re gonna dive in?
Denise Cagan 1:17
Sure. And thanks for having me on the show, Tim, I appreciate that. So I am essentially in my third career, each of them for a decade or so that’s kind of telling my age, but it is what it is. And the I’ve learned a lot over the time about management working with a major firm Coca Cola, I actually was in QA. So I had a science background Go figure. But then when I started my index company, and that was where I started wearing all the hats, as small business owners know, you have to learn pretty much everything as you’re starting it up until you grow and start developing a budget to hire people bring them on to do those other sorts of tasks. And in this company, I started it. And with that in mind, essentially. And we started out with personal assistance as well. And the name didn’t DCA virtual business support, transpired from our desire to change and revamp that and eliminate the personal assistance. So now we support small business owners exclusively exclusively with remote and virtual workforce.
Tim Kubiak 2:31
So let’s talk about that. Not everybody knows what a virtual assistant is. So can you talk about the gamut of what you offer?
Denise Cagan 2:38
Sure thing, and that’s actually, I think the bigger question that I use sometimes is how do I work with a VA but let me explain the things that we do. And all VA services are different, okay. So some very much specialize in verticals in relation to, you know, the industries that they work with some very much specialize on specific types of tasks. Okay. In my company, we have two areas specifically that we work in, we work with administrative, as well as creative, my administrative team can do the routine things to one off projects, we work within project management systems, we can help set one up for you. Or we can simply just be the person that puts the tasks in and delegates them out. So it’s it’s very much customized to the client’s needs. Some of the routine things that we would do would be scheduling client facing with high level CEOs, C suite executives, and we do this for a lot of our coaches, and consultants. And then you know, document transformation, which could be anything from changing a document to keeping up with your presentations and slide decks, as well as we do interject ourselves sometimes into our the sales process. While we do not do cold calls at all in my company. We do sometimes do the warm follow ups if you have a very solid process, and we can help you put that process in place. And then on the creative side, we specialize very specifically with WordPress websites, social media management, and graphics, and newsletters and communications to your clients.
Tim Kubiak 4:18
Really an outsourced marketing operation there, right. Yes. Are you business clients, you say small business, how do you define small business because I know some very medium sized businesses that could use that.
Denise Cagan 4:31
Absolutely. And we can work with different we have had larger businesses. So SBA definition of small businesses, I think it is and I could be wrong, but I think it’s under 50 million, which is a pretty large size, small business, okay. And we have definitely worked with some that are in the 10 to 20 million range. Okay. On occasion we work with a solopreneur that is like a consultant business professional and they grow To the point where they really just cannot get it all done on their own. So we do have a very wide range from that solopreneur to the ones in the 10s and 20 million.
Tim Kubiak 5:10
I’m laughing because I know but how far behind I am on my own marketing right now? I’m like, Oh, yeah, the ones that can’t get it all done might know somebody like that.
Denise Cagan 5:21
You know, when I talk to folks about, you know, what introductions would be great for me. That is one of the things I tell them to listen for. If they open the conversation, like, man, I just can’t seem to keep up, consider introducing them to me. And if I don’t have the resource for them, I could introduce them to someone.
Tim Kubiak 5:39
So I was on your show. And one of the things that impressed me was the process, you have a much better process on communicating with guests than I have. So is that an example of some of the types of things that your marketing services and the VA can do?
Denise Cagan 5:57
Yes, as a matter of fact, I believe Rebecca was the one who reached out to you and said, hey, these are the things that we need. And oh, by the way, your podcast is going to post here and here’s our, here’s the image and the suggested lead in. So yes, we do incorporate our team into all of those aspects.
Tim Kubiak 6:16
Yeah, I am still in your suggestion late in best practice, because I’ve always been like, hey, it’s gone live. Here’s the link. Yeah. So and you you brought up one of the questions you get a lot is how do you work with a va?
Denise Cagan 6:33
So in the answer is dependent upon what the person needs. But here’s what we do, we start with what we consider a sales call, and it’s really just a discovery call, figure out what you need, if it is in our wheelhouse. And then we suggest things to the clients. For instance, we had a nonprofit come actually two of them almost back to back, come through one’s a global organization, and one is very hyper local. So they came through and they said, Oh, well, we need this and this and this. And by the way, what else can you do? So I the email was almost exactly the identical to each of them, because they both had asked for largely the same type of things. You know, they wanted Event Registration event, follow up, communications out to guests and clients similar to like what we do for the podcast. And then they wanted some email management, and some social media. So I suggested to them, Well, what about newsletters to your client, or possibly CRM and donation management, you know, we can formulate all of those things, create the letters for you, so that they can be easily be mailed out. So it’s a suggestive process is, what it is how to work best with your VA. If a client is we run into people who are reluctant to turn over the reins, and so with them, my suggestion is slightly different. Give us one or two things that you feel very comfortable turning over, okay? Until you build up the confidence to give us something a little more in depth, or that you know, isn’t quite as straightforward. So how I recommend is going to depend on a little bit on the client prospective clients personality and style.
Tim Kubiak 8:24
So I’m going to use an example of a CEO that’s one of my clients, right? young company, very visionary, and what they’re trying to build. And they’re trying to balance and coordinate all of their VC meetings, all of their investor meetings. And because they’re knee deep in the build, sometimes it’s they’re not getting back to people fast enough, is that something that, you know, a virtual assistant could help monitor an inbox, look at what really matters, you know, or keep an eye out for names and then make those schedules happen.
Denise Cagan 9:02
Absolutely. So this is very typical task of for our executive assistants. And it’s most often coaches and, you know, consultants that are asking for this, but also, in the case you just described, it would be very appropriate, we would do the inbox management. And then we would do all the follow up to the VCs, prospective clients and other connections that they have. And what we would do is we would set A, basically a procedure, we’re really big on procedures. So we create procedures for pretty much everything that we do for our clients. If we’re really successful about what we’re doing for our clients, they will potentially grow to a point where they bring somebody on so we’ll then pass those procedures over to them as well. But in this case, we would create a procedure based on their scheduling roles. Okay. So we know hey, it’s going to be a zoom, it’s going to be an hour, only these times a day or if Oh hey, this coffee shop is closed. To me, I need 30 minutes drive time before and after. Oh, I have to pick my kids up at school at three. So don’t schedule anything past two o’clock. So and yes, those are some of the rules we work with when it comes to scheduling.
Tim Kubiak 10:14
But it’s amazing, right? And their pre COVID world is probably worse. We have soccer practice on Tuesdays at four. So I’m out from 345 to whatever. Yeah,
Denise Cagan 10:24
yeah, I saw you chuckle on that one. Yeah.
Tim Kubiak 10:27
So the joke with me is I have no work life balance, all I do is work. Right? Unfortunately, my children are in their 20s, and ones that are getting past her mid 20s towards her later 20s. I’m still in grad school, and I still get the abuse of, you know, Dad, you don’t make time for anything. And I’m like,
Denise Cagan 10:48
well, we can help you with that.
Tim Kubiak 10:49
You get it, you know, and it’s funny. So at one point in my life, I had somebody whose sole job was, was to keep me from booking my overbooking my calendar.
Denise Cagan 11:00
That’s important, though, you do need time for those other things that are important in your life, because otherwise you burn out. I mean, it’s not just a function of more productivity, but it’s a function of keeping your sanity sometimes.
Tim Kubiak 11:15
Yeah, yeah. And I know, and I’ll speak as the former executive and the entrepreneur, I’m the guy that will go just like this call started a minute late, because I booked Oh, wait, I got a client. I’m going to book them right up to the minute before, okay. You know, and her name is Jen, lovey, Jen, I’ll talk to you later after too today. Great. Good luck on your meeting, boom, right into this. And that’s my day. So I started 5am. I ended six or 7pm in this first two hours, and those last two hours are everything. And it’s conversations all in between. It’s probably not that uncommon, but how do you how do you help? Or can you help somebody like me, set those boundaries?
Denise Cagan 11:59
So one of the things that we can do, first of all, is taking some things off of your plate. Okay. So there may be initial conversations that we can have with people or follow up conversations, depending on what’s most appropriate for your business that we can have, for instance, we have one person that we work for, and she has a great business model. She buys cars for people who suck at it. So she does this. Oh, yeah. Yeah, it, I could tell you how stole your story about her. She’s just phenomenal. But we help her in her process where she has to collect a bunch of information to make that happen. You know, we have to get information about trade ins, people’s driver’s license, insurance, registration, and all that information. Plus, there’s a survey relating to what type of vehicle that they want. Well, if they don’t have all this information in, then she can’t do her job. So we do all of that. Whether it’s chasing a person down for three weeks to get it, or whatever it is resizing trading photos. When that file is complete, we then let her know. Hey, Leanne, you can shop now. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s, that’s one of the ways just taking some things off your plate.
Tim Kubiak 13:14
How do people start, they start the day by a block of hours, do they say I need it? You know, I need 100 hours, I think this quarter, I need 20 hours this month? Or how do they do? I know how to sell service contracts. And it that’s all I know. So.
Denise Cagan 13:28
So we, our model has changed a little bit over time, just because we went through some that didn’t work well. rollover minutes didn’t work? Well, for us, it was a nightmare to keep up with. So what we do have now is the retainer plan, much like attorneys to some degree, but it’s based on what you feel like your actual usage will be per month, and then on the next month, it’s reconciled. So if you have a 20 hour per month plan, you use 22 hours, the next month, you’ll get your 20 hour charge plus a $2 overage charge. Likewise, if you use 18 hours, the same scenario, you’d get your next month’s charge, and then a two hour credit. So we utilize a retainer plan, we do have an option to purchase a block of hours. And that block of hours is a 20 hour Block, block this to be used in two months. And so that’s provided to clients who either have a project or be they they’re they’re they’re not. They’re not interested in making a commitment to the six month agreement that we have for the retainer programs. So the retainer programs get you some discounts, but you do have to commit for six months. Otherwise we can do the block of hours.
Tim Kubiak 14:43
So Can Can you help someone integrate your gun to the marketing side of your business now and again, selfishly, I get client, maybe get a need, right. Can you help them set up and integrate their automated marketing plan?
Denise Cagan 14:59
Generally It depends a little bit on what programs they’re using. We’ve worked in my gosh, HubSpot sharpspring. Get response, several different email management systems. We are phenomenal with WordPress. And we’re great with automating things through WordPress. Recent recently, we automated an HR system. It functions very much like a CRM. So when you put candidates to the stage that they’re in, they get their scheduling link. So it doesn’t take the human touch out. But it does reduce the time considerably, until you get them to the point where that we are ready to hire them and interview them
Tim Kubiak 15:44
up. I’m just thinking this through as a sales guy, so takes your sales cycle and puts in a candidate hire cycle. So they go from stage one to stage, whatever,
Unknown Speaker 15:53
Tim Kubiak 15:54
and they opt in or out, you opt them in or out at some point. And Nope, sorry, send the reject letter.
Denise Cagan 16:02
Yeah, and it has that function as well. And you can defer the rejection letter until you’ve actually made a hiring decision as well. It’s pretty it’s um, yeah, we we implemented it for us, we really like it.
Tim Kubiak 16:15
That’s actually pretty awesome. I don’t know if anybody who’s used that. That’s new.
Denise Cagan 16:20
It’s a program called Edie add why.
Unknown Speaker 16:24
Denise Cagan 16:25
Happy to give you an introduction, if you need it.
Tim Kubiak 16:29
At some point, I may. So you brought up the control freak earlier? modern control freak, right? How do you really have that initial conversation? Because I, I can think of so many people I know that are drowning, that are just afraid to let go of this little bit of anything?
Denise Cagan 16:51
Well, to be frank, so we’ll start the conversation just like I’ve started the others. Okay, what is? What is it that you cannot get to? What is it that you absolutely detest doing, but needs to be done. So those are the two things, you know, what, you know, you just can’t get to and what you don’t like to do. And then we’ll talk about, okay, these are these areas, we can help in these, we probably can’t, we have on occasion worked with or attempted to work with people who really cannot let go. And honestly, at a certain point, we have to say, you know, we don’t think this is a fit the in order to be successful in work, and it’s taken us a while to develop this profile. A they have to be welcoming to technology. Okay. And be they have to relegate that control, at least a little bit, okay, at least a little bit to start off with, as I mentioned, one to two tasks. And we recommend that they give us the tasks that are extraordinarily repetitive, just so that we can start building a rapport with them. And then my team leaders who, so the process with my company is once we assign you a VA, you also have a team leader that basically manages your account, okay, which is a little bit different than a lot of VA companies. And in that they’ll meet with you, whatever frequency is, is is needed, you know, first we need it weekly, then monthly, maybe or bi weekly. And then we’ll ask what are other things, you know, do you feel comfortable letting go with? What other things are you struggling with? And we’ll start developing a list of things. And some clients do start out very, very slowly this way, until they develop a comfort level two, go ahead and hand off these other things. Other clients, it’s like a water fountain, you turn it on, and they keep giving us stuff, which is fine.
Tim Kubiak 18:44
That’s great. Yeah. When does it become too much? When do you look at them and say, you know, this is really a full time person.
Denise Cagan 18:55
So when the expectation is that we integrate into their company is usually the sign. There have been a few instances where that has occurred. There’s been we’ve worked with an attorney who really just preferred having somebody in the office, and that’s a sign that, hey, this is probably not a forever relationship, but we help develop procedures, we actually help train our replacement. You know, he gave us plenty of notice. It was a great relationship. We we applaud folks who move on to, hey, I’m going to hire that full time person. We’ve had other clients who they started out with no 10 hours a month, and then they’re up to 160 hours a month. That’s a clear sign that you could probably bring in a part time person at least. Okay. And probably, you know, the relationship is different. And then we have people that have that type of an increase and don’t ever want to deal with an employee. They would rather give that responsibility over to
Unknown Speaker 19:53
us. And you’re okay with that.
Unknown Speaker 19:55
We are, we are,
Tim Kubiak 19:57
it’s not like you’re gonna kick them out.
Unknown Speaker 20:00
Now, that’s awesome.
Tim Kubiak 20:03
That from a p&l perspective, there’s a lot of advantages to that, right? I mean, you’ve got, you know, your your painting fee, and, but you’re not dealing with if you have to restructure if you have to resize anything beyond the length of the contract.
Denise Cagan 20:21
Correct. And after our six month term, it goes month to month. So it’s extraordinarily flexible.
Unknown Speaker 20:28
Oh, that’s, that’s amazingly flexible.
Denise Cagan 20:31
Yeah. And they don’t have to deal with payroll taxes, they don’t have to deal with benefits. They don’t have to deal with finding a replacement. If the, you know, the person needs time off or decides to quit or whatever. They don’t have to deal with any of that. That is all my company’s responsibility.
Tim Kubiak 20:50
Nice. You talked about people being open to being digitally enabled, if you will, if you have a list of three tools that everybody whether they’re working with you or not, should be looking at what are they?
Denise Cagan 21:04
A CRM system doesn’t, there’s some better than others. But you definitely need a CRM system and one preferably that has some automation capabilities. An email management system, the most common that we work in are MailChimp, and constant contact. We’ve also used AWeber, get response, eye contact, and a few what, not unknown ones. Okay. And then the other is some type of cloud storage.
Tim Kubiak 21:38
Denise Cagan 21:40
So we need a place to put all of your records and documents that is consolidated. And it shouldn’t be spread across multiple ones.
Tim Kubiak 21:48
And right now, my partner, Steve, when he hears this is going to twitch, because I just moved everything to Google and took him took away his Dropbox.
Denise Cagan 21:57
And it’s a better choice that I think,
Tim Kubiak 22:00
yeah, and we use G Suite for our email, right, or workspace or whatever they call it now. Right? So I’m like, we’re just putting it all in there. We’ve got it. In our program, we have a terabyte of storage per account. I’m absolutely Why am I paying Dropbox?
Denise Cagan 22:13
Absolutely. And that’s what I recommend to people if you are a Microsoft user, use your OneDrive and SharePoint if you’re a G Suite user use your Google Drive.
Tim Kubiak 22:24
So I’m gonna ask you questions on CRM, right? I’m a sales guy I think a CRM only as I’ve got a prospect already in the system. When you say CRM Are you thinking lead capture digital campaigns to
Denise Cagan 22:38
those can be integrated for that as well. We do not do digital campaigns we are more of content management versus advertising. However, we have worked with some systems HubSpot and sharpspring being two of them that absolutely do the digital advertising and campaigns there. But we use our CRM for a lot of other things podcast guests contacts that I meet I am a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business graduate so contacts that I meet through their referral partners so it’s it’s not just lead capture but you can absolutely it and there’s several of them to integrate to landing pages and you know where you can capture that information with or without the advertising
Tim Kubiak 23:25
and obviously say enter in a way to me that also ties in you know, in MailChimp you can build landing pages and whatnot, right? You can all kind of integrates together if you do it right. I think
Denise Cagan 23:35
yes, MailChimp Constant Contact has great landing pages actually,
Tim Kubiak 23:38
do they? My MailChimp contracts about up I might have to go take a look.
Denise Cagan 23:44
We use both I like them both for different things.
Tim Kubiak 23:48
What? So the landing page is I’m gonna ask selfish question, right? So the landing page is on Constant Contact. What do you like? What else do you like more than me over MailChimp. And what do you like most in MailChimp.
Denise Cagan 24:00
At least like that. So MailChimp has started saying that they have a CRM capability. They really it really is not a CRM like a CRM, I would not recommend that function. Constant Contact i i don’t think their lists are quite as clean as MailChimp I think MailChimp lists are much cleaner in how you can move things around and tag them Constant Contact. The landing pages are a step above
Tim Kubiak 24:25
step above. Yeah, it’s funny my um, my MailChimp landing pages don’t convert that well, when some of the opt in process on them a few times. It’s gotten a little clunky. Yeah.
Denise Cagan 24:35
And we do use the survey on MailChimp. What I don’t like about it is it doesn’t we have to manually calculate the things that we want. So we use the MailChimp survey for our net promoter score. Yeah, yeah.
Tim Kubiak 24:51
Denise Cagan 24:54
We’re trying to integrate things the way we need them, and sometimes we have to Try out a few systems. Unfortunately, we looked at a few, we looked at nice reply we looked at, and it just really wasn’t it, it was to get the net promoter score, they were asking for way too much money to do this function. And I’m thinking, let’s just use the survey that we have and do a manual calculation, because it’s a very simple calculation. And you could put it in a spreadsheet. So you can just plug in numbers and don’t actually have to calculate it.
Tim Kubiak 25:28
Yeah, anything in my world, anything I can put in this spreadsheet I’m happy with. I love my spreadsheet. You mentioned something that I want to kind of circle back to it. Sure. In addition to offloading work, as people work with you, you help them build processes. And I think that’s an area where a lot of small and medium businesses really fall down, they truly don’t have a documented process. So I mean, does it go to the point of, hey, you’re doing it this way, we’ve seen this or it’s, this is what you’re doing, and you just simply document it,
Denise Cagan 26:07
it can be both. So in the course of a vas work in an account, we will document that process if they do not already have documented processes, okay. So that is one way that it occurs. They can also hire us for consulting to create specifically processes. And myself and a couple of my other team members, my team leaders actually are adept at this process. I have done it for automotive shops, we have done it for a real estate attorney. So I mean, we’ve got the wide breadth, we don’t have to be experts in the industry. The main thing is that we need to be able to talk to key people and understand what they do. And then we can create it into a document. There’s a process that we go through revisions, editing, etc. We can also help you identify the key areas like okay, talk to us about your business, tell us high level overview. Okay, you’ve got these three key areas. Okay, let’s start on this one. It’s, let me say a throwback from my years at Coca Cola, I was the person responsible for creating every single procedure. I worked in the lab, but I created sales, warehouse office procedures as well.
Tim Kubiak 27:23
And you were part of my biggest addiction in life. That I died when I went to coke. No, just Coca Cola, I still drink. It’s embarrassing to admit, I still drink the full sugar, regular coke. And I have at least one a day. In my hopefully my doctors had less than what I have, I have literally, since I was probably 1314 years old. Everybody else was hiding cigarettes and liquor. I was literally adding Coca Cola under my bed as a teenager.
Unknown Speaker 28:02
Let’s talk about your podcast for a few minutes you do a great show you have really interesting guests. How did you get into
Denise Cagan 28:07
it? You know, we had been talking at the beginning of last year actually started the year prior about doing a podcast and we were working out format and ideas and we had a little bit of a going and then COVID hit. And you know when COVID first hit, we lost our very smallest, most vulnerable clients at that time. And it was a little bit scary. Because there were quite a few of them. As so what we talked about was like, Hey, you know, this is I think this is the right timing. There’s First of all, a lot to talk about right now. Okay, that’s relative to business, we focused on very much the business aspects of the pandemic. So the cares act was the very first thing that we talked about. Then we had a guest from a company called safety trainers out of Western Massachusetts. And she taught did a three part series on how to bring your actually I think it might have been four parts. Anyways, the various different aspects of safety, bringing your team back to work safely, what to do, how to create policies, signage, everything A to Z essentially, relating to that. And then we started diversifying out on the topics. We did a diversity and inclusion series as well. And we talked about that. We had several guests that talked about marketing, and technology. And of course, during COVID technology has exponentially progressed. Zoom even changed how they were doing things because they were not prepared whatsoever, and kind of fell on their face at first, but they were very quick to correct it. They were very, very quick to correct it. So technology expanded exponentially. So there were a lot of things to talk about. touchless technology was one of our topics. So we We talk to different people, we I tap my Goldman Sachs network, you know, Hey, who’s an expert in this? You know, this is what? And I actually pulled them as well. What types of subjects Do you want to see? upcoming? We have one coming up about dashboards and metrics, which small business owners, you know, want want to know more about whether they use them or not, is another story. But we pulled to see what type of topics did people want to we had some other people talk about boundaries, working with family members, we have not got the expert yet on that one. But we will. So we reach out to a variety of places to get our guests and we bring it all back to what’s going to help you grow your business. Okay, whether it’s from regulations to actually increase, increasing your, your profit margin, or your gross revenue.
Tim Kubiak 30:55
And I love that you always tie it back to your core, right? I mean, you’re you’re on message it goes to the the audience you serve in the clients you serve. So I think that’s, I think that’s really well done. Um, where do you see podcasts going? It seems everybody has a podcast now. I got one, anybody can have one.
Denise Cagan 31:17
Yes, I don’t see them going away. As we transform more into a digital society, and we were already there, but it got pushed, it really, really got pushed. I don’t see things like iPhones in Apple, you know, Apple podcasts, and I don’t see those things going away. They may alter and change evolve over time. They’re not going away. In part, because they’re too easy to utilize while you’re driving, whereas videos are not. And eventually we will get back to going out into society and driving places. And that’s when the podcast will be back on.
Tim Kubiak 31:57
Yeah, in the other thing that I think were podcasts, I saw my own numbers dip is when they closed gyms. So not just commute time, but when fitness facilities closed, I saw a dip in my numbers. And I saw a shift in my demographic.
Denise Cagan 32:11
Yep, I can I can see that too. Because that after I talked about driving, I was like, yeah, you don’t look at videos while you’re running either.
Tim Kubiak 32:17
Yeah, that’s right. Now I have tried, it doesn’t work well, the treadmill wins.
Unknown Speaker 32:23
Tim Kubiak 32:25
In my case, the treadmill wins a lot. I totally lost my train of thought I apologize.
Unknown Speaker 32:33
Tim Kubiak 32:35
Oh, you. You have some really great things on your website. One of the things I love that you share is you share your team, what led you to do that in the way that you do?
Denise Cagan 32:49
I think they’re phenomenal. They all have their own strengths. And it also goes to show the diversity in our team, as far as you know, what can we do? And why do we feel like we can do all these different types of services? Well, look at these amazing people. That is why,
Tim Kubiak 33:08
yeah, and just to further compliment you on it, frankly, is so often when you go you see, oh, this is the founder, and they’ve done and you’ve got your own information on there, but you kind of got to look for it. If you go, you know, you got to click about, you can’t click the drop downs. Because if you go where you instinctively go, you’re showing off your people and as a business owner, to me, that’s really an endorsement of how great you are to your own staff.
Denise Cagan 33:33
Thank you. I I mean, I think that’s key for a small business, especially a service business if you don’t trust in and believe in your people and treat them well. You have no business. Yeah.
Tim Kubiak 33:48
Yeah. You work with small business. You are one. What are the biggest challenges we have in the coming year that you see?
Denise Cagan 34:03
It’s, I think it’s gonna vary based on the type of business, the safety business I mentioned earlier, they are going at lightspeed. Okay. They are so busy, we work with a medical staffing company, they are crazy busy. Okay. So I think you’re going to be on you have those one people that are on one end of the spectrum. But then I think there’s others that because the pandemic is length lingering longer than expected, that they’re going to have slower startups, I think cash flow is going to be a significant problem. Because I it, all the indicators are there that while businesses will open up, they’re going to open up much slower.
Tim Kubiak 34:47
Yeah. And one of the things I do is actually, I run a series for clients called selling in the new normal, and it’s read out once a month for people on what we’re seeing changing the customer’s buying process. Started in June, kind of on a whim because we were just all trying to figure it out. And cash flows are thing. The other thing I continue to see is along those lines is CFOs are killing deals. They’re overruling owners. They’re overruling CEOs, you know, if you’re not a priority, right, or the CFOs priority, or putting money back into the business or helping to make money, they’re not approving the expense right now.
Denise Cagan 35:28
So I think that’s smart.
Tim Kubiak 35:31
I do too. But it’s hysterical. Because I’ve watched people go through and say, Oh, yeah, I got to see signed off, the owner signed off on it. And then they’ll come back a couple days later. And they’re like, yeah, we should have called him the CFO, like you said, because they said, No. Yeah. What are you doing? What are you working on next, it’s exciting for you and your business.
Denise Cagan 35:54
We are in the middle of setting up a couple, we have a couple projects going on. So we are setting up a membership base on a website for a client with multi tiered memberships. And yes, there’ll be some automation. In that particular process. We are setting up a nonprofit CRM system to help track grants and donations. And we’re also helping to set up a project management system for another company. So yeah, those are all very exciting. We love doing that sort of stuff. And that’s, you know, beyond the typical VA,
Tim Kubiak 36:32
in that you’re not just a one swim lane, you’re in three different polls. We are right, that’s exciting.
Denise Cagan 36:39
Yeah, we are. And if I can share this, I think that that really, recession proved us a bit. Having that having those three different lanes, because while we definitely saw some drop in some areas, we saw pickup in some areas, too. And as a business model for us that really benefited us.
Tim Kubiak 37:03
So with that said, if you had to do it all over again, what would you have done differently when starting your business or evolving your business?
Denise Cagan 37:11
Nothing I think all the lessons were there that I needed at the right moments.
Tim Kubiak 37:17
And I’ve got one last question is What did I ask you that I should have? I always miss something obvious that it’s like, oh, man, you know, he really needs to or the listeners really need to.
Denise Cagan 37:29
I don’t think there’s anything that you forgot to ask me though. I did forgot to mention the name of my podcast, you totally asked me about it. I did not ever say the name Absolutely. Nurture small business creating a thriving space.
Tim Kubiak 37:41
And we’ve linked it in the shownotes everybody so you can go find it. So thank you for being here. I really appreciate the time. I always love catching up. So we will stay in touch.
Denise Cagan 37:55
Absolutely Thank you, Tim.