Author Archives: admintones

About admintones

Jo Howlett is a born and bred Kiwi, who loves to look at photo's of her home country. She's also an avid fan of the All Blacks. Jo is the Owner of Admin Tones, secreterial and personal assistant services and a regular editor at TheEdifyOath.

Welcome Back!

I cannot believe that we are now in the month of November and soon our year will be over.  So many great things have happened in 2012, and here at Edify and in the Admin Tones office I am looking forward to finishing this year with excellence.

Thanks for joining in here.  Please feel free to leave your comments.

– Jo

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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Uncategorized


3 Fundamentals of LinkedIn

3 Fundamentals of LinkedIn

3 Fundamentals of Linkedin

LinkedIn promises a connection with those who operate within many sphere’s of business.  It has the power to build your profile and connect you to those people and organisations you know will make the difference in your business life.

In all honesty, it took me some time to come around to the idea of LinkedIn, and how it operates, however, having taken the time to get to grips with it early this summer, I have found that it has become one of my most powerful tools in business.

Now that the interface has changed and has become more user friendly, it definitely proves to be a great aid to any organisation.  Since delving into Linkedin some more, there are some key features that I have experienced that I’m sure will support your use of Linkedin and the progress of your business.

*A Source to Connect with Likeminded People*

The beauty of LinkedIn is that it has the ability to connect you to organisations and their owners all over the world.  A great feature within LinkedIn is the ability to connect with those people that are closely linked to the field or target market you operate. I have discovered that this is important to keep a focused eye on, as this could potentially be an area to explore for the better of your organisation. This has personally helped me to connect with likeminded individuals and organisations, which are willing to build connections, trust and support one another to fulfil each other’s business goals.

*A platform to share your Expertise*

LinkedIn provides a fantastic platform to share your expertise.  As LinkedIn is easily accessible, it doesn’t require any hard work to discover that others are able to see your skill set and know instantly how and where you work.  This is fantastic for establishing your position within the sphere of your target market.  Enabling you and your organisation to be highly visible also results in Google and other similar search engines being able to find you faster, meaning quicker results, for you and your organisation.  It also makes the flow for your potential contacts straightforward, as this ultimately makes the process to connect with you even easier.

*A Springboard to Enhance your Skills*

The combination of many contacts and an access point to them is also a great enhancement for your personal development and the growth of your organisation.   Not only can your name and the nature of your organisation be shared, but there is great opportunity to tap into other people’s knowledge and skill set by signing up to specific groups.  The opportunity to gain peer to peer knowledge is an absolute credit to LinkedIn, and its users would be sorry to not take up the advantage being offered. I’ve personally found this to be very rewarding, not only have I been able to diversify my skill set but I’ve also been able to share my expertise and therefore expand my influence, to the degree where I am now being asked questions from fellow group members.  In the beginning I only joined these groups to see their nature, now they have become one of the blessings to my business growth.

I will continue to use LinkedIn, because despite all of my preconceptions it has won me over. It’s a true tale of don’t judge a book by its cover.  LinkedIn has allowed me to gain more knowledge and more skills, which has added tremendous value to my business and I. It also offers a platform for me, to build for my future development and to focus forward for my business and it’s expansion.  Most of all it has been a very worthwhile investment, particularly as it has and continues to make my business and myself suitable and well rounded, meaning I can provide the best possible service to my clients.

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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Uncategorized


Edify’s Hints and Tips (Issue 4)

Edify’s Hints and Tips (Issue 4)

Edify Hints and Tips

Admin Tones likes to provide you with the best support possible for your organisation.  In this issue we highlight the best tips to enhance your Linkedin usage, so that you can optimize your profile.

*Use Linkedin’s Advanced Search to Find Groups and People of Interest*

Using Linkedin’s Advanced Search carves the path for you to discover your network.   A specific search will narrow down the results and provide you with the best connections possible, meaning greater strategy for you and your organisation. Advanced search will enable you to find suitable groups relating to your search criteria, opening opportunities for you that you never knew existed.  Once you’re in a group, be sure to get involved in discussions, share your knowledge, experience and establish trust, this will build your profile further.

*Optimize Your Visibility*

If there is not a group out there to suit your needs, could you create one and become well known in your sphere of influence?  The options are endless for this, not only could you expand your knowledge by adding others to your group, you could potentially expand your status and value within your field.

Connecting with genuine likeminded people provides more potential for others to see your profile, as the people they know and trust will view their connections.  If they know you are well respected and trustworthy they may even connect with you too.

*Update your Profile Regularly*

Engage with your network by updating your status and on groups regularly. Creating substantial connections is a key on LinkedIn.  If your profile is regularly updated people are far more aware of who you and your organisation and the type of contact you are willing to be.  Are you just someone who creates contacts for the sake of it or are you willing to build rapport and become a better connection to the people you are linked to?  An updated profile also keeps search engines up to date making it easier to locate you and your information.

To keep strong connectivity on Linkedin it is of great importance to continue the relationships you have already developed.  This will be a measure of your professionalism, to which many will look at, particularly if they are keen to use your services.  The most important thing to focus upon is that Linkedin is another tool for your organisation, and could be pivotal in expanding, improving and strengthening its worth.

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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Uncategorized


Spotlight with Colette Ratcliffe

Spotlight with Colette Ratcliffe

I met Colette at a local networking group when I first started out in business and we re-connected some months later.  Since then it has been a pleasure to build a great business relationship with Colette, based on trust and forward thinking.

I know that Colette doesn’t sell anything she deems inappropriate for the person and will do her upmost to offer the best value for money.

Colette has a great passion for helping others, it is this quality that solidifies her work ethic, and fused together with her knowledge of the corporate environment, her business is full of expertise and vigour.  Pure Solace is an integral part of Colette’s life, she is always full of creativity and is a true entrepreneur at heart.

In this issue Colette share a part of her business journey and experience.


Pure Solace


Name: Colette Ann Ratcliffe

 A quote that resonates with me: “When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes”.

My first car was: An MG Metro

My guiltiest pleasure is: Red wine and Walkers sensations crisps

The first record I ever bought was: “Mary’s Boy Child” by Bony-M

In 5 years from now I will be: A successful Holistic Therapist and Businesswoman

My most treasured moment is: Meeting my wonderful husband (and having my two daughters if I can have two!)

My favourite clothing as a child was:  An Arron cardigan that a neighbour knitted for me which I had for about 20 years!

The biggest lesson I’ve learned since starting out in business is: Hard work and positive thinking pays off!  Do not let “no” dishearten you.  Try again at a later date.

My favourite holiday destination is: Costa Del Sol, Spain

Two things people don’t know about me are: I love dancing/aerobics/zumba and I can touch type at approx 95 wpm

How does your business help others?

Holistic therapies are treatments that help people to de-stress, unwind, re-energise and find time for themselves to re-balance their energies and assess their health and wellbeing.

I also provide corporate on-site massage and reflexology sessions for local businesses – please see my website for further information and recent testimonials  I am also now selling Christmas gifts and vouchers.



Deep Breathing in Bed

Deep breathing in bed will allow your body to relax prior to falling asleep. To do this, lie on your back in your bed. Relax your entire body slowly and inhale through the nose. Try to fill the lower part of your chest first and then allow the air to go into your middle and top portion of your chest. This entire process should last eight to 10 seconds. Hold your breath in for one or two seconds. Quietly release the air from your lungs and relax before doing the exercise again. If you begin to feel dizzy you are doing the exercise too quickly and need to slow it down. This exercise can be done until you fall asleep.
Read more: What Kind of Breathing Exercises Can I Do Before Bed? |

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Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Welcome Back!

Thank you to all of our readers and to those of you that have left previous comments or feedback.  These are greatly appreciated.  I hope that you were able to take something away from the last issue.

It is my desire that you go away from here, equipped, empowered and most of all energised

I hope you will gain something fresh from this issue.

The Edify Team at Admin Tones

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Posted by on June 19, 2012 in Uncategorized


3 Key Features of EXCELLENT Customer Service

3 Key features of Excellent Customer Service.

Good customer service is a crucial to any business or organisation. Excellent customer service will make a business.  No matter if it is a Sole Trader, a Partnership or a Corporation, each of Imagethem require a solid customer service.  Customers, whether it’s business to business or business to customer, are where it is at.  A good standard of value & support is integral to keeping your existing customers and bringing in additional customers.

Having recently seen good and bad examples of customer service I felt it was meaningful to cover and bring to light some key features of excellent customer service.

So, what do we mean by customer service?  Business directory describes it as; ‘All interactions between a customer and a provider at the time of sale, and thereafter. Customer service adds value to a product and builds enduring relationship.’

With the likes of Google Inc tapping into providing a means of improving customer service, it just goes to show that customer service is a crucial element to a company’s reputation.  Often there is a Stigma that corporate companies have the best customer service strategies because they are bigger, but the smallest of companies need them to, perhaps even more so.  Strategies don’t necessarily need to be filled with heirs and graces, sometimes even the simplest methods have the greatest rewards.  Below are just a few methods that set an excellent standard of customer service.

*Be Contactable*

Sounds simple doesn’t it?  However there are a number of companies that get this so wrong, and it really only takes a few simple things to get it right.

  • Set a time of day aside to answer e-mails and phone calls: That way you can be specific about priorities when they come in.  If its urgent see to it right away, don’t wait.
  • Make sure you have a voicemail answer box so that people can leave a message, it’s frustrating to be left wondering if a call will be returned.
  • Set up an account with a number of Social Media platforms – connecting with clients via Social Media can be extremely advantageous; it can also result in others seeing your reputation glisten.
  • Follow up after a sale has been made. Ask the question: How can we improve?  Is there anything else we can do for you?

*Say Thank You*

Looking after your existing customers/clients is a necessary principal.  There are great ways to appreciate your customers/clients, of course each organisation needs to find their ‘rhythm’ with this, as each will have their niche to provide for.  Below are just a few ideas to think of and perhaps encourage the creativity within you and your firm.  It’s the little things that matter, make sure you are paying attention to them.

  • Provide thank you gifts to your returning customers.
  • Send an e-mail or note to a client on their birthday.
  • Use social media to contact them regularly
  • Call clients on a regular basis to keep contact.


An imperative conduct of customer service is to use respect.  Respect is one of the most highly regarded aspects of customer service and builds a reputation fast.  If a customer feels valued they will return, if a customer is respected, they will remain loyal.  Respect is the difference between retaining a customer and losing them. In a world where respect is often disregarded, it will be the pinnacle of any business willing to engage it and use it as an asset.  Below are some simple steps to make sure your business can cultivate respect and see their reputation soar:

  • Listening to your customers can be pivotal. A listening ear means an attentive ear, resulting in a customer being valued and appreciated.  They are your best fans, they will inform you when you are getting it right, and when things need to change.
  • Respect for customers can only be utilised when it is for the benefit of the customer, not the company.  If it is seen as a self fulfilling act, it won’t carry weight.  As a result of acting for the customer the company will benefit, because a customer will treasure what has been provided for them.  If a mistake has been made, admit it and apologise.  Honesty is always the best policy.
  • Respect within your company should rate highly in your value system.  If there is a lack of respect within your company, this will seep through to your customer base.  There is nothing worse than hearing staff members slandering their workplace, particularly as it doesn’t provide an inviting environment.  Build a great team with respect for one another, and the company will be built around it.
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Posted by on June 19, 2012 in Uncategorized


Edify’s Hints and Tips (Issue 3)

Edify Hints and Tips

Admin Tones likes to bring you the best so that you can prioritise for your business or organisation.  In this issue we highlight the best blogging platforms so that you can demonstrate your organisation to a wider audience.


Blogging Platforms 101

There are several reasons why a blog is now becoming essential to the life of an organisation.  A great reason to start a blog is to expand your audience, building your brand.  To maximise the benefits of blogging, it is a great addition, to combine it with your main website.  However, as a starting block there are good platforms to run a blog from that are simple and user friendly.


Tumblr can breathe immediate life into your blog.  It’s great for short and simple posts, known as ‘Tumblogging.’ Its simplistic format helps those that are unsure, and is encouraging of those that don’t wish to write long posts.  Tumblr is a great platform if you wish to share posts that include images, music or art.  Its ease of use comes in handy for posting from mobile phones, particularly handy if you are on the move a lot or wish to share something immediately.


WordPress has many benefits.  It is simple to set-up and in the future can be transferred into your own website should you require it.  WordPress is great to support your brand, and makes a blog look very professional.  WordPress has the added asset that it is highly operational under Search Engine Optimisation.  There are many added background tools for WordPress that aid a blog.  For a person that wishes to post longer pieces it’s great, with an emphasis on professionalism, it can aid those that are not very creative.  There are many themes to choose from, to suit your particular taste and even down to a specified niche. WordPress offers apps so that posts can be created via mobile phones, it does all the hard work so you don’t have to.

The trick with blogging is to get started.  A blog needs to have specific keywords for it to be optimized in Search Engines like Google but there are great websites available for tips on keywords. A specific direction is often better if you’re blogging for your business, as this will bring in a wider audience from your target market.

Most of all, just like other social media platforms it’s important to have fun, if it becomes a chore, or writers block hits you, the best thing is to jot ideas in a notebook as you go along.  Readers will turn away from blogs that are too lengthy or uninteresting, so make sure you keep it to specifics and inject personality into it.

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Posted by on June 19, 2012 in Uncategorized