Secretarial Service!

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Establish the fees of your secretarial business according to how long it takes you to handle their work, plus your cost of supplies - work space, equipment and paper - then fold in a $5 profit.

In other words, for a half hour job that you pick up on a regular sales or delivery call you should charge $10.

Another angle to include would be copies. Establish a working relationship with a local printer, preferably one who has a copy machine comparable to a big Kodak 150 Extaprint. When your clients need a sales letter or whatever plus so many copies, you can do it all for them.

Only make copies on the very best of dry paper copying machines, and only for 50 copies or less. More than 50 copies, it'll be less expensive and you'll come out with a better looking finished product by having them printed on a printing press.

When you furnish copies, always fold in your copying or printing costs plus at least a dollar or more for every 50 copies you supply.

By starting with former employers and/or business associates, many businesses are able to line up 40 hours of work without even making sales call. If you're lucky enough to do this, go with it.

Start lining up your friends to do the work for you - girls who work all day at a regular job, but need more money; and housewives with time on their hands.

You tell them what kind of equipment is needed, and the quality of work you demand. You can arrange to pay them so much per hour for each job they handle for you - judging from the time you figure the job would take if you were doing it; or on a percentage basis.

I feel the best arrangement is on an hourly basis according to a specified amount of time each job normally takes.

Whenever, and as soon as you've got a supply of "workers" lined up, you turn all your current assignments over to them, and get back to lining up more business.

If you're doing well selling by phone, and your area seems to respond especially well to selling by phone, then you should immediately hire commission sales people.

Train them according to your own best methods and put them to work assisting you to carry your secretarial service. Your salespeople can work out of their own homes, using their own telephones, provided you've got your area's business community organized in a loose leaf notebook style.

All you do is give them so many pages from your notebook, from which they make sales calls each week.

Even so, you should still make those in-person sales calls. If for some reason you get bogged down, and can't or don't want to, then hire commission sales people to do it for you.

Generally, women selling this type of service bring back the most sales. And for all your commission sales people, the going rate should be 30 percent of the total amount of the sale.

Point to remember: Sooner or later, you're going to want to hire a full-time telephone sales person, plus another full time person to make in-person sales calls for you.

Eventually, you want workers to handle all the work for you, and sales people to do the selling for your secretarial service. So the sooner you can line up people for these jobs, the faster your business is going to prosper.

Later on, you'll want a sales manager to direct your sales people and keep them on track, so try to find a "future sales man ager" when you begin looking for salespeople.

Your basic advertising should be a regular quarter page ad in the yellow pages of both your home service telephone directory and the business yellow pages.

You'll find that 50 percent of your first time clients will come to you because they have an immediate need and saw you at in the yellow pages, so don't skimp on either the size or the "eye-catching" graphics of this ad.

A regular one column by 3-inch ad in the Sunday edition of your area's largest newspaper would also be a good idea. Any advertising you do with free radio advertising or free television advertising will be good.

But, radio and TV advertising is quite expensive with generally very poor results, so don't even give serious consideration to that type of advertising. Read the free radio advertising for ideas to get free exposure for your secretarial service.

By far, your largest advertising outlays will be for direct mail efforts. You should have a regular mailing piece that you send out to your entire business community at least once a month.

This is handled by sending out 200 to 500 letters per day. For this, you should obtain a third class postage permit or else these postage costs will drive you out of the secretarial service business.

Your mailing piece should consist of a colorful brochure that describes your business. It should explain the many different kinds of assignments you can handle - a notation that no job is too small or too large - and a statement of your guarantee.

Do not quote prices in your brochure - simply ask the recipient to call for a quotation or price estimate.

It's also a good idea to list the background and experience of the business owner, plus several business testimonials and/or compliments.

You could also include a couple of pictures showing your workers busy and actually handling secretarial assignments. The most important part of your brochure will be your closing statement - an invitation, indeed - a demand that the recipient call you for further information.

All of this can very easily be put together in a Z-folded, 2-sided self-mailer. Again, look for a free-lance copywriter and artist to help you put it together.

Once you've got your "dummy" pretty well set the way you want it, make copies of it, and either take it or send it to several direct mail advertising agencies.

Ask them for their suggestions of how they would improve it, and for a bid on the cost if you were to retain them to handle it for you. Listen to their ideas and incorporate them where - and if you think they would make your brochure better.

And, if one of them does come in with a cost estimate that's lower than your independent, "do-it-yourself" costs, then think seriously about assigning the job to them.

This is definitely the most important piece of work that will ever come out of your office, so be sure it's the very best, and positively indicative of your business.

This will be the business image you project, so make sure it reflects the quality, style and credibility of your business - your thinking, and your success.

Your brochure should be on 60-pound coated paper, in at least two colors and by a professional printer. The end result is the Z-folded brochure - Z-folded by the printer - with your third class mailing permit indicia showing on the cover side.

This cover side should be flamboyant and eye-catching. You want your mailing piece to stand out in the pile of 50 or 60 pieces of other mail received by the recipient.

When you're ready to mail, simply take a couple of cartons of your brochures to an addressing shop, have them run your brochures through their addressing machine, loaded with your mailing list, bundle them and drop them off at the post office for you.

This takes us back to the planning on how to compile your mailing list.

I suggest that you begin with Cheshire Cards by Xerox. You type the name of your addressee on the cards, maintain these cards in the order of your choice, take your boxes of cards to the addressing shop whenever you have a mailing, and there's no further work on your part.

The addressing shop loads their machine with your cards, prints the address on your cards directly onto your brochures, and gives the cards back to you when the mailing is completed. A mailing of 100,000 brochures, via this method, generally could be completed and on its way in one 8-hour day.

In essence, you'll want to solicit secretarial service, as a business with a regular routine of telephone selling, in-person sales calls at the prospective client's place of business, media advertising and direct mail efforts.

All of these efforts are important and necessary to the total success of your business. Don't try to cut corners or spare the time or expense needed to make sure you're operating at full potential in these areas!

In addition to these specific areas, it would be wise for you to attend chamber of commerce meetings, and join several of your area civic clubs.

You'll meet a great number of business leaders at these meetings and through their association, you will gain a great deal of new business - and even help in many of your needs.

Once you're organized and rolling with your secretarial service, you can easily expand your market nationwide with the installation of a toll free telephone and advertising in business publications.

Perhaps you can add to your primary business with a "mailing shop" of your own - the rental of mailing lists - specialized temporary help services - telephone answering services - and even survey work.

The "bottom line" thing to remember in order to achieve total success, is planning. Plan your secretarial service initial operation through from start to finish before you even think about soliciting your first customer.

Get your operational plan down on paper - itemize your needs, estimate your costs, line up your operating capital, and set forth milestones for growth.

Set profit figures you want to be realizing 3 months... 6 months... l year... 2 years... and 3 years from your secretarial service start-up date.

Learn all you can about the "support systems" involved in operating a profitable business - business planning, advertising, selling, bookkeeping, and banking - and continue to update your knowledge with a pro gram of continuous learning.

Do the homework of your secretarial service properly, and there's just no way you can fail with it.

In addition to SECRETARIAL SERVICE, you may also be interested in the business articles at the Articles Section and Wise Biz newsletter below:

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