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  4. or the moment i have added the link of your page "Which Is Better For You To Reach The Top? SEO Or PPC" in a new section of my site, in the category "Online Small Business : Hosting, Design and Resources for Webmasters" here : https://www.business-99.com/link-exchange/ I have only 6 other links, then it is probable that my users notice your site.
  5. For the moment i have added the link of your site in a new section of my site, in the category "Business Resources" here : https://www.business-99.com/link-exchange/ I have only 6 other links, then it is probable that my users notice your site.
  6. Please review my blog and comment your suggestion. I had been written this blog for every expertise who have confusion with Sales funnel in google analytic. Blog: https://www.janbaskdigitaldesign.com/blogs/how-to-build-an-effective-sales-funnel/
  7. Graphic design plays a key role in our everyday lives and most people don’t even acknowledge that fact. However, everything, from billboards on the highways and pamphlets distributed at malls to adverts on the city bus and annoying mobile ads shows us that graphic designing surrounds every one of us at all times. It has become an indivisible part of our lives and that has created a huge demand for graphic designers in the industry, making it a career boost for the youth. Visual communication is a huge part of today’s advertising industry and every brand requires it at one point or the other. Many graphic designers are getting much-required attention for their amazing designing skills, more than sound knowledge of colour schemes and the wordplay. When this has become such an important part of our modern world, seeing as how the demand and competition are increasing, it is crucial that the graphic designing game of every designer is right on point. Therefore, the following are the 10 most important key skills that every designer must have in order to succeed in graphic designing. 1. CREATIVITY Creativity and ability to visualize the design in the eye of the mind is one of the most important skills any design professional can possess. Creatively presenting any content and understanding the content with a quirky design that showcases the exact kind of wordplay is something that not everyone can easily pull off. No graphic designing courses around the world can teach creativity. It is something an individual possesses and the one who uses it to their best ability is the king of graphic designing for sure. 2. COMMUNICATION Understanding the demands of the brands and clients, incorporating those demands in design, creating a mood board based on the tonality of the brand, and setting the colour scheme for the designated brand is something that every graphic designer should be well versed with. The top graphic designing institutes usually have assignments that help their students understand this process. However, it is also the basic instinct and creativity of the designer that actually adds up to something that’s crazy and amazing formed from scratch which matches the brand’s marks and stretches the borders of the box presented to the designer. Communicating the message of the brand with maximum impact by understanding the brand and target audience needs is the skill every graphic designer must possess if they want to succeed in this creative field. 3. TYPOGRAPHY Typography is the art of creating wordplay in the form of design by applying it to various different types of fonts and forms of lettering in order to create a design or logo based on demands. This is a skill that is a vital part of the graphic designing curriculum and something every designer must be well versed with at any given point of time. Typography is the solution to many design problems which is easy yet effective in many cases. The minimalist designs are usually based on this topical design and are often considered impactful in catching the attention of the audience and in conveying the message encrypted within. 4. ADOBE CREATIVE Adobe Creative Cloud holds different software such as Illustration, Photoshop, Indesign, After Effects, Animate and many more. These software are the key tools of any graphic designer in their career. Adobe creations make a huge part of the curriculum of graphic designing. All graphic designing students must be well aware of the softwares, their capabilities and shortcomings so that working in the industry becomes that much more easier. Not knowing Adobe is nothing short of a crime in the world of graphic design. Someone who is adept at using these softwares have a higher success rate than others. Paired with creativity, these softwares have the potential to create some of the best designs we have ever seen. 5. CODING Coding is not necessarily a part of the graphic designing curriculum; however, a sound knowledge of HTML opens more doors for graphic designers. Coding, as daunting as it sounds, is not very difficult to understand, especially when it is as basic as HTML. There are multiple online courses and videos available for learning the basics of coding and implementing them in real life in order to get maximum usage of the technology and create kick-ass designs. Limitations may be a part of the job, but with knowledge of coding by your side, stretching those limitations is definitely possible. 6. UI/UX DESIGN UI/UX design is another aspect that is not very famous among graphic designers and is often overlooked by many. However, it is not something that should be avoided if possible. If providing complete design solutions is something you look forward, knowing UI/UX design basics and its implementation comes in handy a lot of times. It is one of the best ways to reach new clientele if this skill is under the belt. It definitely adds another feather to the graphic designer’s creative hat! 7. BRANDING Branding done appropriately is advertising done right. Branding is nothing but communicating brand details to its ideal target audience in the most effective manner, whose impact lasts longest and yields organic results. To provide such impactful designs, it is critical that the graphic designer understands the words as well as the psychology of the brand and the message that they are trying to portray to their audience. Creating colour boards and mood boards based on that information to the most effective advantage is the graphic designer’s biggest achievement. 8. COLOUR THEORY Colours are something a graphic designer deals with on a daily basis. Colours are to graphic designers what music is to singers. Therefore, understanding various colour schemes, creating colour boards that communicate effectively and create a long lasting impact, understanding the psychology of colour and implementing it to maximum impact is a feat every graphic designer must carry out successfully. This also makes an important part of the graphic designing curriculum. 9. PHOTOGRAPHY Photography is a skill that is much appreciated in the graphic designing industry and any designer who has photography as their key skill is definitely easily highlighted by recruiters. A good photographer understands angles, colours, and depth perception, these being some of the key skills that a graphic designing job demands. 10. LIMITATIONS More often than not, there are software or hardware limitations in which case the design is not up to the mark. Whatever the case may be, a good graphic designer should be able to beat those limitations, work around the problems and stretch the box of creativity to present something that is up to the mark; if not above the mark, then just to prove its worth. When any designer is able to understand their limitations and still create something impactful, that is a successful graphic designer right there, waiting to be appraised for sure! The above-mentioned pointers are the technical aspect of succeeding as a graphic designer. However, one of the most underrated skills is to be able to showcase these talents in a creative format by presenting an attractive portfolio and resume that catches the eye of the recruiter. When that is done right and you have the skills to up the game, there is nothing that can hold you back from leaving some kick-ass footprints in the graphic design industry.
  8. Hi everyone, I have been written an blog on Digital marketing important confusion. Please read my blog and given your review here. Blog: Which Is Better For You To Reach The Top? SEO Or PPC
  9. i am still confuse as an owner of business, that SEO is really matter or worthy today for business promotion. Can anyone want to put here their perception
  10. Album dedicated to the photos on some examples of Small Business for Women.
  11. Album about the alternatives to AdSense, which you can try for monetize your website, without using Google Adsense.
  12. Album on Steven Paul Jobs, which is widely recognized as a pioneer of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s. Jobs was an American business magnate and investor. He was the chairman, chief executive officer (CEO), and co-founder of Apple Inc. and the chairman and majority shareholder of Pixar.
  13. Let’s set the scene. You have been working hard to establish your business. More money is coming in and your client list is growing. You love what you do… but you are *tired*. And well-overdue for a holiday. You start daydreaming about soaking up the sun in Queensland, sailing through the Greek Islands, or skiing in New Zealand. You start trawling through travel booking sites. But just as your cursor hovers over the ‘Book Now’ button, it hits you. You cannot possibly leave the business right now. What if an urgent problem comes up when you are mid-way through an international flight? What if that important deal you are working on falls over? All of a sudden… a holiday seems impossible. No need to panic Does the above sound like a bit familiar to you? We all know that burn-out is ‘enemy number one’ for business owners. But too many of us feel that we have no choice but to put off holidays and personal days because we worry that something will go wrong while we are away. It’s a shame because there is a simple contract that can help any business owner take as many holidays as they want. This contract can be quickly and cheaply prepared by a commercial lawyer and can help ensure that your business runs smoothly while you are away (even if there is no mobile phone reception!). This contract is called a ‘Company Power of Attorney’. What is a Company Power of Attorney? A Company Power of Attorney allows a business owner to appoint someone else to act on behalf of the business for a certain period. For example, while they are on holiday. This person is known as the ‘attorney’. The attorney can be a person or a company (although there are some limits on who can be appointed). You, as the person appointing the attorney, can authorise them to perform almost any action that you ordinarily perform when managing the business – this includes operating bank accounts, signing contracts and voting at meetings. You can also choose what scope of powers that the attorney is authorised to exercise while you are away. For example, you can choose to give the attorney the power to take any action that you could take on behalf of the company. Or, you can limit the authority so that the attorney is only allowed to perform certain acts on behalf of the company such as sign a specific contract that may or may not have to be signed while you are on holiday. However, it is important to ensure any limits on the attorney’s authority are clearly specified in the document and discuss this scope with the attorney before you leave. This reduces the risk of the attorney acting outside of their intended authority. The right person for the job The attorney has a legal obligation to exercise any powers they are granted under a Company Power of Attorney in the best interests of the business. That said, you should carefully consider who you want to appoint as an attorney before taking your holiday. You should not appoint an attorney unless you absolutely trust them to manage your business. The attorney will have the legal authority to perform the acts you authorise them to take on behalf of the company without necessarily asking for your permission or input. So, you should satisfy yourself that they will exercise good judgment and have the skills and experience necessary to perform those acts. What if I change my mind during my holiday? You have the power to revoke the powers you have granted under the Company Power of Attorney at any time. If you decide to do this, you should immediately inform the attorney(s) and any other key stakeholders (eg senior staff, your bank) of your decision in writing so that the people are aware that the attorney no longer has authority to act on your behalf. Bon voyage! A Company Power of Attorney is a great way for business owners to maintain work-life balance without interfering with the everyday operations of their business. All you need to get started is a person that you trust to act on behalf of the business (and who is willing to accept this responsibility) and a trusted legal advisor to draft the contract. After that, it is all ‘smooth sailing’… dynamicbusinesswomen.com
  14. The feedback penalty for women What’s vague and bias? Feedback for women Feedback is the backbone of many management tools including having a crucial role in performance management. Many organisations also see it as the tool for improving your performance and preparing you for promotion. But how well does feedback serve women in particular? Does feedback work for anyone? Feedback can be problematic whatever our gender. The most comprehensive review of performance feedback was carried out by Denisi and Kluger and dates back to 1996. They found mixed evidence on its value and say that only a third of feedback leads to improved performance, and that is on very simple and specific tasks. Nearly 70% of feedback does nothing or leads to worse performance. Neuroscience research has found that just saying ‘let me give you some feedback’ creates a threat response in the brain before you even know if the feedback that’s coming is positive or not. Negative or ‘constructive’ feedback impacts the sense of reputation which leads to reduced connection with the group and potentially creates a sense of shame. It impacts certainty; because you no longer know the right work method and being told you are not carrying out the role correctly limits autonomy. Interesting that something with such a poor record became so important in business. The negative bias for women Research at Clayman Institute for Gender Research has examined the effectiveness of feedback for men and women. The work by Shelley Correll and Caroline Simard reveals dramatic differences in the type of feedback received. They found that nearly 88% of the reviews received by women contained critical feedback, compared with just 59% of the reviews received by men. And the critical feedback men receive is heavily geared towards suggestions for developing additional skills. For example, “Hone your strategies for guiding your team and developing their skills. It is important to set proper guidance around priorities and to help as needed.” Compare this with the kinds of constructive feedback that women receive, which include a sharper element, “You can come across as abrasive sometimes. I know you don’t mean to, but you need to pay attention to your tone.” This kind of negative criticism pointing out things like, watch your tone, step back, stop being so judgmental, showed up twice as much for women than for men. Men’s feedback points to growth potential Feedback for women is expressed in more general terms than for men. For example, a man might be described as “achieving goals,” while a woman “gets things done”. A similar behaviour may be seen as problematic in a woman (“Louise seems to freeze when facing tight deadlines to make decisions”) but as careful thoughtfulness in a man (“Matt seems hesitant in making decisions, yet he is able to work out multiple alternative solutions and consider them thoughtfully”). The feedback language used for both genders conforms to stereotypical views of men and women. Not only were women given negative feedback for what was perceived as an aggressive communication style (whereas this would be positively framed for a man), they were also found to be “supportive”, “collaborative” and “helpful” more often than men. The language used to describe men was linked more to confidence and independence, and they were twice as likely to receive feedback based on their technical expertise and strategic thinking. Most importantly, feedback for a man is framed in terms of needing to further develop skills he’s assumed to already have. The criticism of him is wrapped up in an assumed talent: “Matt needs to develop his natural people skills.” There often isn’t the same recognition of growth potential of a woman: “Louise lacks self-confidence: she seems to make herself small when she’s around the client.” These differences in nuance should not be ignored, say Correll and Simard, because “language is powerful at shaping perceptions.” Dealing with unfair feedback If feedback takes you by surprise, it’s not the time to have a difficult discussion challenging it. Take these steps: Give yourself time to process your emotions and prepare a considered response by saying something like: “That’s extremely disappointing, and not what I was expecting. I’d like some time to consider it properly: can we schedule a meeting when we can discuss it further.” Proactively identify the areas of your work that you have not received feedback on, which you believe you perform well in (it may be useful to ask a colleague and ally to reflect on this with you), and ask for formal consideration of the areas to be included. In response to feedback that appears to be gender-stereotyped, ask for clarification in the most open-ended way possible: “Could you clarify for me how ‘being pushy’ is different from ‘being results-driven’?” Jan Hills I set up Head Heart + Brain to change the way businesses are managed and led. My consultancy takes the findings from neuroscience and applies them to leadership and business practice. I have a Masters in NeuroLeadership, the application of neuroscience findings to business and leaders. Over the years I have applied science to help leaders to be more effective, I call my approach Brain-savvy I’m the author of several books including Brain-savvy Wo+man: how women can overcome gender bias and be successful at work, which was written with my daughter, Francesca. We wanted to explore the science behind bias and to give practical help on what women can do to thrive in the workplace despite it. The book is written in two halves and the other end of the book provides career guidance, based on science, for men and women. You can learn more at www.headheartbrain.com dynamicbusinesswomen.com
  15. How Truthful Are Your Numbers? Why Marketing Analytics Sometimes Lie It seems like everywhere you turn, there’s advice on why marketing is important, how to do it and who you should be marketing to. Today, I’m not going to talk about those things. I’m going to offer some advice that you’re probably not going like. Are you ready for it? I think you’re using your marketing analytics all wrong. How is that possible? There is no error in analytics. Numbers don’t lie, it is what it is. Well, except for when it isn’t. Yes, you have all the analytical tools you need at your disposal to make informed decisions about your marketing strategy. But, what if they aren’t telling you the whole story? We all know that there are two sides to every story. Marketing analytics only tell you the number’s side. What they don’t convey is the human side of marketing, the areas where human behaviour influences marketing in ways that analytics can’t pick up on. Are analytical metrics a waste of time and energy? No way! They are incredibly important, but they are also only one part of the puzzle. Take for example that found here claim that proving their ROI for their marketing activities in one of the biggest challenges that they face. Why do you think this is? It could be because they are not looking at the big picture and reaching beyond analytics to determine the success of their marketing strategy. So, just how could your marketing analytics be deceiving you, and what can you do about it? Let’s dig a little deeper. How Sampling Bias Can Kill Your Campaign A sampling bias is something that happens when the data you collect, and the predictions made on said data, do not accurately reflect your real customer base. There is a discord between how data is collected from your market, and how your market is defined, that marketing strategist seem to have trouble honing in on. As an example, let’s look at a typical survey that might pop up on a business’s site. The survey is there with the intention of collecting important data about their customer, but the problem is that the data collected might not be very relevant at all. If 6 out of 10 people who visit the site fill out the survey, that equals a great deal of data collected. But, what if only 2 out of every 10 people that visit the site make a purchase? That leaves room for a couple possible conversions, but chances are that not all 6 of those people actually define the target market. What’s happened is that your analytics have been polluted with data that just doesn’t belong. If you use this information to influence your marketing strategy, your resources are going towards a market that doesn’t exist. Talk about disaster for your ROI. Social Media Could Be the Biggest Culprit of All Social media is huge and everyone’s doing it. We know, we get it. But the very nature of social media platforms is so fluid that they make accurate analytics rather difficult. Let’s say you have been marketing on Facebook. You have tens of thousands of likes, and you pay careful attention to what people are saying and how they interact with you. Except, not all of those likes, even the ones that are making the effort to engage are going to be a solid representation of your true market. Social media opens up the world and lets all of us run around, bouncing in and out, doing and saying as we please. For a business, this really clouds the waters of analytics. Even if you are careful, what you end up with is a set of data that only represents a fraction of your market. The tricky part is figuring out just how much of your market that is. It could be 90% or it could be 10%. Marketing analytics don’t always do such a great job of illustrating this. There are different approaches you can take to solving the social media analytical conundrum. The first is to base your analytics off of a randomized sample of your customers. Maybe, with purchase, you ask your customers if they are connected with you on social media. You do this with a straight 100 orders and voila! You have a randomized sample that is more indicative of your real audience than what social media analytics are telling you. What if you find out that your customer base does have a strong social media presence. Great, now you know that you can more accurately leverage those analytics. But, going forth without discovering how representative those analytics are is a marketing mistake that most business can’t afford to make. Web Analytics That Like to Keep Secrets Most businesses say that their marketing strategy would be dead in the water without tools like Google Analytics. I’m not disputing this. Web analytics, like traffic and site performance, is critical for evaluating the success of your marketing efforts. But, here again, we run into the issue that there is so much that isn’t being told with just web analytics. There are little gems of data in there that could make or break your campaign. You just need to know how to access them. Enter market analytics. With market analytics, the metrics are more focused on determining how online events and activities influence consumer behaviours like browsing activity and sales conversions. Market analytics scan more than just your website. They combine your entire digital presence including social media, email marketing and online PR. What does optimizing your strategy to include both web and market analytics together accomplish? It provides a big picture view that allows you to determine which metrics are the most important at every stage of your marketing campaign. Meaning, you can make informed decisions based on a thorough analysis rather than just the snapshot picture that only one type of analytic provides. The Takeaway To be successful with marketing, as with anything, realizing that you need more than just one tool is crucial. You wouldn’t think that a hammer was the only tool you needed in your toolbox, so why depend on straight marketing analytics to build your business? There is so much to found here, and much of it is about numbers, but your success as a business is also about human behaviour and interaction. Reach outside of the box to gain the insights, or the other side of the story, that marketing analytics just don’t tell on their own. dynamicbusinesswomen.com
  16. Do you spend a lot of time staring at a digital screen? If you like millions of others have been spending long continuous hours in front of digital screens; you might be suffering from digital eye strain. The blue light and the glare emitted by the digital screens are the main culprits responsible for digital eye strain. The most common symptoms of digital eye strain are tired and irritated eyes, headache, increased sensitivity to light and pain in your neck and shoulders. These 9 simple yet effective tips can help you fight digital eye strain: Blink More – Almost all of us are guilty of continuously staring and not blinking often while working with digital screens. This leads to dry and irritated eyes which eventually puts you at a greater risk of other eye health issues. One of the simplest solutions is to blink more often. Make a conscious effort to remind yourself to blink more often. Take a break from the screen and blink slowly at least 10 times. Take Periodic Breaks – Get up and take frequent breaks while working with digital screens. During such breaks, you can move about, stretch a bit or get yourself a glass of water. This will help release tension from not only your neck and back but also ease the strain on your eye muscles. Ensure Correct Posture and Screen Placement – Ensure that your posture is correct and your chair is adjusted to an appropriate height as per the screen. Your monitor should be at a distance of around 20 to 24 inches from your eyes and the centre of the screen should be around 10 to 15 degrees below your eyes. This is an ideal placement for your eyes. Eat a Nutritious Diet – A well-balanced diet comprising fruits, vegetables and other fruits rich in vitamins A, C, E, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients which promote good eye health and reduce eye strain is recommended. Adjust the Display Settings Appropriately – When it comes to the display of your screen, you need to ensure that the brightness and colour of the screen are appropriately adjusted. The brightness of your display should be approximately similar to the brightness of your surrounding workstation. You can reduce the amount of harmful blue light emitted by a colour display by reducing the colour temperature of your display for better long-term viewing. Wash Your Eyes Often – Washing your eyes with cold water cannot only soothe them but also promote blood circulation and alleviate pain in the muscles around the eyes. Do Simple Eye Exercises – One of the simplest eye exercises to do is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes you stare at a digital screen, look away for 20 seconds at something which is 20 feet away. This will help your eye muscles and prevent your eyes from becoming overly dry. You can ask your eye doctor for much simpler eye exercises or search for them online. Prefer Working with Correct Eyewear – Long hours in front of the screen can result in irritated and dry eyes. You can consult your ophthalmologist and get a pair of customized computer glasses. Such glasses are essentially prescription glasses and are anti-glare. They are designed to ease the strain of your eyes considerably while working on digital screens. Go for Regular Eye Check Ups – Periodic eye examination can help your ophthalmologist detect not only common vision problems but also other issues related to your overall physical health. For instance, Retinopathy – a condition in which the blood vessels surrounding your retina are damaged due to high blood sugar levels is one of the very first indicators of diabetes. This condition can easily be detected by your ophthalmologist during a comprehensive eye exam. If diagnosed at an early stage, appropriate preventive measures and treatment can be prescribed. Don’t take your vision for granted. Reduce the strain on your eyes with the above-mentioned tips to prevent digital eye strain related complications in the long term. dynamicbusinesswomen.com
  17. A community is EVERYTHING to the success of your business. Community has been the most pivotal aspect of my own business success and you can see it in action every day with giant brands such as Apple. Apple fans arguably pay over the odds for Apple products, simply because they’re Apple products. Often the actual product matters less than the fact it’s from Apple. They have developed such a strong community, a community who will buy anything they sell. The most successful communities are based on shared values. They are not just a group of people who are in the same place at same time. It’s not what you’re doing, but why you’re doing it that matters. ‘People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories & magic’ Seth Godin So, maybe you’re wondering what makes an awesome community? Russell Brunson studied many mass movements while doing the research for his book ‘Expert Secrets’. He found that all mass movements had three things in common. Charismatic leader They were all lead by an attractive, magnetic person; a strong, charismatic leader. Future based cause All the mass movements were striving for a goal in the future. A collective good, which wasn’t directly associated with one person. Offer their audience a vehicle of change They all provided their followers with a way to get to the common goal. They gave a path to this ‘ideal’ future situation and they focused on HOW their followers would get there. Why is community important? Now we might not be planning to create a mass movement. However, if we take some of the principles from this research it can positively affect the community we can create around our businesses. Some practical ways to grow community around your business Having a community is important for personally. I love the community I’ve built around my business and I’m grateful for it every day. Community creates return customers. If people feel valued and part of something they will return and they will probably bring their friends too! Having a thriving community around your brand will make your business much more visible to new connections and potential opportunities. Your community will turn into an army of advocates. These people will share your products and shout about you from the root-tops. This word of mouth, organic marketing really is the most powerful marketing out there. Other people promoting your brand creates social proof and allows you to shortcut some of the relationship building processes with future community members; they already trust you as they have taken on the trust that these other people have. An interactive community can really help you gain traction on social media, which will help to spread your message further and in turn reach more new customers. The best ways you can build community around your blog Be true to yourself and your brand message. People connect with people. You’ve probably heard a thousand times that people buy from people they know, like and trust. Attracting your true fans means that you have to show enough of your personality and that of your brand, that you might well turn some people off and that’s ok. Not everyone has to love everything, it’s just not human nature for us all to like the same people. In order to find those true fans, some tyre kickers will have to go. Have clarity as a leader Clarity is so important. Your brand must stand for something. People must be able to gauge what this is quickly and understand it. If you aren’t clear people will not follow your brand and you will not be able to develop the strong community you need to push to the next level. If you don’t have clarity, this should be your immediate focus. Remember at the start of this post I spoke about every Mass Movement having a charismatic leader, a future based cause and a vehicle of change. You can’t offer any of this to your community if you don’t have clarity. Build your brand on a single powerful idea. It’s so important to get to the core desire of the people you’re trying to help. How are you trying to help the people you serve? What’s the core desire you are trying to help them to achieve? Engage with your audience. Engaging takes time and it’s often considered unscalable in a business as it grows. That may be true, but it’s so very important and should not be forgotten about. Make connections with your potential fans, be the brand that stands out. Ask your audience questions and interact with them. Thank people for stopping by your website, for retweeting your content, respond to their questions and emails. All of these things will make such a difference to how your brand is perceived. Get them on your email list Having your own list of customers/community means you can communicate with them on your terms and you won’t be at the mercy of social media algorithms. Getting them onto your email list is the first step in creating a deeper connection. You can then nurture the relationship and give value beyond what they see on the surface. This will put you in a better position to sell your products to them in the future and for them to become a super fan of yours. Feature your community There are so many ways you can do this and examples from brands who do it well. Take Frank (@Frank_bod) for example, they make natural caffeinated skincare products and share their clients’ images on their main Instagram feed. People love the idea of being shouted out and so they are so willing to share images of themselves with the product, adding to the social proof and organic spread of the product information. You could start your own hashtag community People enjoy joining in and being part of events and challenges. So why not create a # relating to your business. I started #LittleFierceOnes on Instagram with a friend and it now has over 280k images in the gallery and its own thriving community. This is another area Frank do well in. They have two hashtags #TheFrankEffect and #LetsBeFrank, which are full to the brim of clients sharing their products for them, genius! Reward loyalty. Rewarding loyal clients/community members is a wonderful way to give back. Maybe you could offer a free product, shout out or something much more exciting. You could give your core community special perks or the chance to win prizes. I hope you’re now convinced about the power of community and the role it can have in growing your business. Do you have any tried and tested ways to build a community around your business? What works for you? dynamicbusinesswomen.com
  18. Even though nowadays we have all these connective technologies, business travels are still a very popular activity in many companies. When you’re new and young, you find the idea of spending some time in a new and interesting destination amazing. But after you spend some time in airports and various hotel rooms that all look alike, you start missing the comforts of home. As a businesswoman, I’ve met some of my biggest challenges while being on a business trip. What to wear, how to pack, what to do, how to find my way around an unknown city, how to stay safe if I’m alone, these are all things that have bothered me a lot before my first business trips. Here are some tips that will answer all those most important questions. Always plan ahead. You should never go on a business trip without preliminary preparation. Trust me, once you take off, you will be too overwhelmed with the travel and your upcoming meetings to take care of the small details. So, a few days before your travels, you should research the city you’re going to stay in, the hotel, the distance between the hotel and the places where your meetings are, and interesting places you’d like to visit in your free time (if you have any). Fortunately, our smartphones make it easy for us to find out that information. All you need to do is download a navigation application, type in the addresses and check the fastest route. And the Internet is filled with useful guides for almost every city of the world. If you’re travelling to a distant country, you should also exchange currency a few days earlier and make sure all your documents are up to date. Take care of your security. If you’re travelling alone, security should be your top priority. Even though we live in the 21st century, some parts of the world are still not a safe place for women. Airlines have strict rules about carrying potentially dangerous objects, even pepper spray, so this is out of the question. What you can do to protect yourself, is make sure your bags are compact and locked and your documents are well hidden close to you. When you’re in the hotel room, make sure the clerk doesn’t announce your room number. This way you may avoid some unpleasant stalking. Also, make sure the door to the hotel room has a double lock and is secure. Use a door jammer if necessary. I would also recommend a self-defence class, it will really give you more confidence. Pack light. Many of us have this problem, where we are incapable of packing light. But if you want to save yourself all the effort of dragging a big suitcase, you’ll have to plan and restrict yourself. For a week-long trip, all you need is 2 pairs of pants, 5 tops, 3 dresses, some underwear, 2-3 pairs of shoes (2 in the suitcase, 1 on your legs), 1 pajamas, 1 or 2 belts (if needed), some toiletries and hair tools, some basic makeup and jewellery, and that’s it! All that can perfectly fit in one small rolling suitcase. Add your purse to that, and you’re good to go. Travel smart. There are many types of transportation, make sure you always choose the right one. If your destination is located on the other side of the country, then you’ll go by plane, of course. But if it’s located closely, it will be a lot cheaper to use a train or a bus, or a car even. Compare prices from a few sources, to make sure you’re getting the best deal. If you’re being picked up at the airport, make sure the person picking you has all the corresponding documents, don’t trust the sign with your name on it only. When you leave your meetings or the office, remember to remove your badge. Strangers don’t need to know your name, trust me. Take full advantage of the situation. Even though they might be tiring and even dangerous, business travels are a great opportunity to meet new people from your line of business, make new connections, and maybe even visit a new and exotic destination. Therefore, you need to take advantage of every single perk offered. Make a detailed itinerary of all your meetings, choose the most interesting local dining places, and choose some places to visit if you have the spare time. We only have 1 life, and we should enjoy every moment of it, even the working ones. dynamicbusinesswomen.com
  19. Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview about video communication and marketing with Ethan Beute @EthanBeute. Ethan is Vice President of Marketing at BombBomb and author of Rehumanize Your Business: How Personal Videos Accelerate Sales and Improve Customer Experience. (Wiley, April 2019) He is the host of The Customer Experience Podcast He has collected and told personal video success stories in hundreds of blog posts, webinars, podcasts, and stage presentations. SmallBizLady: Why should a small business owner be thinking about video? Ethan Beute: No matter what business you’re in, when people say “yes,” they’re saying yes to you – to who you are and to the trust and rapport you’ve built with them. Video helps you communicate, connect, and convert in a more personal and human way. SmallBizLady: Generally speaking, isn’t video expensive and time-consuming? Ethan Beute: We call scripted, produced, and edited videos “marketing through video.” I like to teach a simpler style we call “relationships through video” – simple webcam and smartphone videos to replace some of your plain, typed-out text in emails, text messages, and social messaging. SmallBizLady: Why is simple video better than typed-out text? Ethan Beute: Very often, you can save time by talking instead of typing. You explain things more clearly – with tone, pace, body language, etc. People feel like they know you before they ever meet you. It’s very differentiating. SmallBizLady: When is this type of video communication better than a typed-out email or text message? Ethan Beute: Any time you want to convey sincerity, enthusiasm, expertise, gratitude, warmth, concern, empathy, or any of those other deeply human elements that we can’t capture when we go to the keyboard instead of the record button. It’s also good for longer or more complex topics. SmallBizLady: What are a few sales-related ways to use this simpler style of video? Ethan Beute: Cold prospecting and introduction. Follow up with responsive or nonresponsive leads to create engagement. To confirm an appointment and set expectations. To follow up after an appointment to restate key ideas and readdress objections. Look at all your touches and you’ll see spots that benefit from video. SmallBizLady: What are a few customer experience-related ways to use simple, personal videos? Ethan Beute: Replying to any inquiry. Customer service and support. Holidays and special occasions like birthdays or customer anniversaries. Event invites. Special offers or promotions. Meet the team. Look at your customer lifecycle and you’ll see spots for a more personal touch. SmallBizLady: Are there any other good times to use this type of video communication? Ethan Beute: “Thank you” is one of the best and easiest videos to record and send. Send a couple every day and your life, relationships, and business will all change for the better. Other possible videos include “great to meet you,” project updates, and internal communication. SmallBizLady: Does every video have to be one-to-one and truly personal? Ethan Beute: No. We also recommend “evergreen” videos to record once and use over and over again as needed. They’re great for customers’ frequently asked questions at each stage of the relationship with you and your business. The context can help make it feel more personal, even though it’s not just for that one person. SmallBizLady: What types of businesses are using video communication? Ethan Beute: Because it’s about human-to-human connection and communication, all kinds. Some of our top groups include real estate, mortgage, financial advisory, business coaching and consulting, insurance, automotive, nonprofit, software, professional speaking, solopreneur, etc. SmallBizLady: What kind of benefits are people seeing with simple, personal videos? Ethan Beute: Success stories and anecdotes are endless. In terms of survey data, video communication results in more replies and responses to emails, more clicks through emails, higher lead conversion, greater ability to stay in touch in a meaningful way, more referrals, quicker time to resolution, etc. SmallBizLady: Any pro tips for success with video in email? Ethan Beute: Be clear before you start your message on why the recipient(s) would or should look at it. Make that reason clear in your subject line, opening line, and video thumbnail or preview. Use text to drive the video play and (separately) to drive the call to action. SmallbizLady: How should you push through if you are really not comfortable on camera? Ethan Beute: Because there’s vulnerability and a basic fear of judgment or rejection there, your first few videos may feel a little uncomfortable to you. But that’s exactly what makes this style of video so powerful. It’s real. It’s you. It connects. Practice builds confidence and confidence builds success! succeedasyourownboss.com
  20. Owning a franchise allows you to go into business for yourself, but not by yourself. A franchise owner operates by selling an established product or service which often has significant brand recognition (think McDonald’s or Orange Theory). A franchise includes not only a product, service, and trademark but also the complete method to conduct the business itself such as the marketing plan and operations manuals. Running a franchise increases your chances of business success because you are leveraging a proven business model and benefitting from an existing customer base, which would take years to develop with your own original idea. However, people often make the mistake of thinking franchises are just a ‘business in a box.’ People also falsely believe that franchises have a smaller failure rate than other businesses, and that is not true. Like all businesses, 60 percent of franchises will be out of business in year two. Therefore, if you’re thinking of buying into a franchise, you need to prepare yourself. While these types of businesses provide you with everything you need to get started plus training for you and your team, they are not necessarily easy to run. You need significant cash reserves to get started, especially with a food franchise. For example, did you know that often you must have 2 million in liquidity to even apply to become a franchisee of a major food franchise such as McDonalds or Qdoba Grill? Also, many franchisees are required to contribute a designated amount to advertising each month, but they have no control over how those dollars are spent. 10 Things to Need to Know First Before Buying into a Franchise Potential pitfalls aside, buying into a franchise can be a good way to own your own business (and enjoy all of the perks that come with it!), as long as you do it in a smart and calculated way. This list has several important things to think about before buying into a franchise. 1. Do Your Homework Educate yourself. You need to know about the industry and the business you want to buy into. Interview the franchisor aggressively. They will typically only introduce you to people who will help them sell you a business license. Ask questions about their pre-opening support, franchise license boundaries, site selection, design, construction, financing, training, and a grand-opening program. 2. Assess Your Work Style & Strength How do you feel about doing the same tasks all the time? Do you like people? How about business-to-business sales? If you hate sales, you will have trouble running any business. If you hate people, you’ll need a partner to handle that side of the business. Be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. Pick three people you trust and ask them to tell you about your strengths & weaknesses. It’s best to buy a business where you have some experience. Don’t buy a restaurant franchise because you like to eat. Buy a restaurant because you have experience in food service and management. 3. Investigate the Fees In addition to the initial franchise fee, franchisees must pay ongoing royalties and advertising fees. Then there’s often opening day expenses when headquarters may require you to give away free stuff and do special promotions. Franchisees must be careful to balance requirement/restrictions with their own ability to run a business. A system-wide scandal can make your franchise perform poorly: think Chipotle and the lettuce scandal, or the Starbucks manager who called the cops to arrest two black male patrons which caused protests across the country. If the franchisor runs into a problem, that could easily cause problems for your individual franchise too. The term (duration) of a franchise agreement is usually limited, and the franchisee may have little or no say about the terms of a termination. 4. Get Your Money Straight Getting a franchise up and running can involve hefty sums of cash, including the buy-in fee and the cost of equipment, location and fit-up construction for retail businesses, and up-front marketing costs. You’ll need at least the first year of operating capital before the business catches on, not to mention funds to live on while you are building the business. Even well-known brands like Dunkin need time to catch on in a new location. 5. Read the FDD Disclosure Statement Carefully The Franchise Disclosure Document, FDD, is the document which provides information about the franchisor and franchise system to the franchisee requirements. No franchisee is completely independent. Franchisees are required to operate their businesses according to the procedures and restrictions set forth in the franchisee agreement. These restrictions usually include which products or services can be offered, pricing, and geographic territory. This agreement also makes requirements on how much working capital the franchisee needs to have available. The FDD is the most serious disadvantage to becoming a franchisee as you have no control over who else can buy a franchise in your area, nor can you deviate from requirements or products. 6. Use a Franchise Attorney Not every business lawyer can negotiate a franchise agreement—you need a specialist. The FDD or franchise license agreement is a contract that describes the relationship between the franchisor and franchisee, including the use of trademarks, fees, support, and control. It’s the legal, written contract between the franchisor and franchisee that tells each party what each is supposed to do. 7. Beware of Franchise Consultants Most franchise consultants are paid salespeople for the franchise owners. Consultants will put on a hard sell to get you signed to a franchise deal as quickly as possible. Why? They get a commission on the initial franchise fee. Ask them to make their financial arrangements clear, up front, so that you don’t get lied too. 8. Work for a Franchise Learn by doing. Before starting a business or buying a franchise, I suggest working for one. Once you become an employee, you can see how things really work, and how much support is really provided by the franchisor. It’s like being an undercover boss, and it could give you valuable information. You should work at least 6 months to get a real impression of how things work. 9. Hire Professional Help I already mentioned getting a franchise attorney, but you also need an accountant to help you run the numbers. You’ll need a breakeven analysis so that you really understand what your cash outlay will be monthly. A seasoned insurance agent will be beneficial too. Your entire professional team should review the franchise agreement before it’s signed. 10. Talk to Other Franchisees You should reach out to other franchise owners to get their story and see what the real story is about the pros and cons. One of the most important questions to ask them is how much support they receive from headquarters. You also want to ask them if they would buy into the business again based on what they know now. Aim to speak to at least 10 franchisees because many small business owners are prideful and won’t want to admit that they struggled financially. Depending on the franchise you choose, you could be investing between $150,000 and $1 million before the business even opens. Do yourself a favor: try to find any disgruntled franchisees online before you sign your franchise agreement. You need to know if there’s any discord out there about your franchisor. Take advantage of the training, national and regional advertising, operating procedures, operational assistance, ongoing supervision, and management support, and access to bulk purchasing. Another helpful resource to check out before buying into a franchise is the International Franchising Association’s Franchising 101 guide. succeedasyourownboss.com
  21. Technology is changing much of the world we know. From medicine to industry to military, technological applications are taking over. Barring any earth-shattering events, technology seems like it is here to stay. It is humankind’s effort to make the world function with efficiency. One of the areas most affected is business—technology has almost completely transformed the business landscape of today. Small businesses particularly are taking advantage of technological innovations at affordable prices. This blog explores modern technological innovations that are changing the small business landscape. 5 Technological Innovations Changing Small Businesses Small businesses form the backbone of the American economy. Entrepreneurship is part of the American Dream. The ability to achieve success from rags to riches is appealing. Using nothing but your wits, determination, and hard work to do so is an almost romantic concept. Luckily, technology is making life easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs. It is helping them to realize their version of the American Dream. The slide toward innovation began early, ever since the internet became available to the public in the early nineties. Over the years, technological innovations have come and gone. But, some of them have stuck around. These 5 technological innovations are helping small businesses achieve success today: Management Reporting Systems Virtual Reality Virtual Assistants 3D Printers Remote Collaboration Let’s discuss these technological innovations in more detail below. Management Reporting Systems Management reporting systems have been around since the early days of the computer. But the versions we have today are much more advanced than their predecessors. Management systems make it easier for managers to assign work to their subordinates. They also make it easier to manage work queues, reports and make business decisions. Many management systems are all-in-one solutions for smaller businesses. Others are scalable to your needs as your business grows in size and operations. Management reporting systems also reduce the amount of paperwork your business generates. All your business data and information is within easy reach. Virtual Reality What comes to mind when you hear the word Virtual Reality? A VR gaming headset? A VR cinematic experience? Both are very good examples of VR in commercial use. But VR also has many applications in businesses, especially small businesses. Over the years, technology has become more accessible and affordable. Design or engineering business functions stand to benefit the most. Why? VR eliminates the need for complex physical models. Instead, your designers and engineers create virtual models. 3D walkthroughs and models tend to appeal to many customers. They are also easier and cheaper to create in VR than in the physical world. Virtual Assistants Virtual voice assistants are very common these days. Some of the most popular ones are Bixby, Siri, and Google Assistant. There are also smart home assistants like Amazon Alexa in many homes across the country. But did you know voice assistants have a place in many small businesses as well? Investing in a voice assistant can be a good move considering today’s business world. Voice assistants can make calculations, set up appointments, and even place orders. For a small business owner, there is no end to work in sight. So, a voice assistant can help share some of the load by taking on mundane, simple tasks. 3D Printers 3D printers have been around long enough for some of the novelty to wear off. But they are still one of the most important inventions of our time. They are also much more accessible to businesses now than they were a few years ago. Some innovative 3D printers can be a solid investment for small businesses. Many printers generate gorgeous 3D prints using plastics or inks. Others print in 3D using other materials like metals. With the 3D printer, you can print almost anything if you have the right plans and materials. Small businesses can use them to print anything from souvenirs to repairing parts for tools. Remote Collaboration In the Digital Age, physical distances are almost nonexistent. Technology has made the world a much smaller place. Businesses have access to international markets. This is possible through the power of the internet and logistics companies. Businesses also have access to human resources and talents outside their country. They can expand the areas they operate in. Thanks to remote collaboration software, you can manage your global team with efficiency—most of the time, with much more efficiency than you could manage the old-fashioned way. Cloud-based remote collaboration software is the way to go for diverse teams. They reduce the need for expenses like equipment as well as travel costs. They also make it easier for businesses to operate beyond their physical limitations. Remote software makes physical distances immaterial. You can manage all your business devices, networks, and servers with ease. You can track remote teams as well as offer support to your field operatives. You can collaborate with employees that are in different physical locations. Most important of all, you can do all this in the cloud. As technology evolves, we may see even more changes to the small business landscape. How many will become common across small businesses and how many will fizzle out? Only time will tell. succeedasyourownboss.com
  22. Are you finally ready to strike out on your own with your very own small business? Owning a small business is never a get rich quick scheme. If you want to be successful; it will cost you. It will cost you money, sleep, relationships, and you will be pushed in ways you never thought possible. But it will be awesome too. Being an entrepreneur is an evolutionary process; you must grow yourself to grow your business. If you’re planning on starting a business, take the time to figure out the business of running a business. I’ve learned lots of expensive lessons over the last 20 years in business, many of which I share in my bestselling book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months, 2nd edition, but here are my top 12 things to do before starting a business. 12 Things to Do Before Starting a Business 1. Get Clear About Your WHY? Why are you starting this business? How do you envision your life now as a business owner? Have you looked into starting a business just because you hate your job or because you want to be the next tech star to cash out for big bucks? You can always get a new job. And more wannabe tech stars flame out than get a big payday. But if you are starting a business because you have a purpose you want to serve, want to leave a legacy, or fill an unmet need in the marketplace, then these are the reasons that will help you survive the hard days in business. Develop a vision board for your new dream life as a business owner. It will keep you focused on why you are working so hard. 2. Look at Your Finances The money to start your business is going to come from your personal resources. So before you start your business, calculate your net worth, pay off credit card debt, get your credit score as high as possible, and look at all of your available cash reserves such as savings, your 401K or home equity. You need to have an emergency saving account for your household, money to live on, and at least the first year of working capital for your business. 3. Research the Business Opportunity You might be excited about a new restaurant concept, but have you ever worked in a restaurant? Perhaps you should go work part-time in a business like the one you want to start so that you can learn the real deal about running one. It will also help you determine what skills you need to have to run your business. You’ll need to know the industry you want to join. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that buying a franchise will save you. They are not businesses in a box. It’s best to have business experience before starting a business. 4. Research the Market You want to make sure there is a real business opportunity for you, so that requires research. Here are a few key questions that you need to answer. Who are the dominant players in your market? Who is going to be your target customer? Who is your competition? What are the current price points? What are the industry trends? What web marketing strategies are your competitors using? What are the typical sales cycles? These answers will help you make important decisions before starting a business. 5. Develop a Customer Profile Once you identify what’s going on in the market, you’ll need to determine your target customer. Once you do that, you need to go and talk to them. Ask for opinions on how they currently get their needs met. Ask about their budget cycles. Call competitors and ask for a quote. Go online and order a competitor’s product and return it to see what their customer service is like. Use Spyfu.com to search competitor websites to see what keywords they use and if they use paid ads. Once you have this information, you can finalize your niche and your customer profile. 6. Find an Available URL and Name Your Business Your website is your #1 sales tool. Your business will feel very real once you name it. You want to be cleaver, but it’s not a good idea to use a word that is hard to say or spell. Trust me on this; my business is named Quintessence Group, lol. You need a name that is memorable and no more than three words. Use alliteration if you can. Try to avoid unusual spellings on common words or using numbers in place of words. You will be seen immediately as a small entity. You want to build a brand, not just establish a business. So it’s best to invest in a professional logo for your business too. If you are tight on cash, try 99designs.com or fivrr.com as low-cost graphic design resources. 7. Establish Your Legal Entity You need to incorporate your business as an LLC or S-Corp. Do not start your business as a sole proprietor using your personal social security number. You’ll open yourself up to personal legal liability, and you won’t look professional. Try CorpNet.com to help you get your legal entity filed. 8. Secure an EIN Number and Business Bank Account Once you establish your legal identity, go to IRS.gov, and apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You need to keep your business banking separate from your personal banking, so once you have an EIN number, go to a bank and establish a business bank account. I suggest using a different bank than your personal bank to resist the urge to comingle funds and also to protect your personal assets. 9. Develop Your Signature Product or Service You need to test the market. So now it’s time to develop your test product and drill down your list of core services. If you are making jewelry or a food product, you’ll need samples. Find a maker space or commercial kitchen and make a prototype or a batch of your product. If you are a starting a service business, develop your one-pager that tells people who you are and what you do. Be sure to highlight the benefits of working with you. You might want to develop products at cost for your first few customers to get high-quality samples and great testimonials as well. 10. Set Your Price You need to set a price, but you can’t do that until you understand all your costs. Looking at labor, materials, and shipping costs are easy, but you need to include a percentage of your overhead and admin cost and your profit margin. If you don’t know how to calculate this, get an accountant to help you. You can also find a SCORE chapter and get a mentor to help you establish your business. 11. Write a Business Plan Now that you have tested the market, built a basic customer profile and competitive data, made a few sales, and developed pricing, it’s time to develop a business plan to turn your idea into a real business. Go to bplans.com to research sample business plans or use software to complete your business plan. It might even be helpful to sign up for an online business plan course. 12. Launch While Working Don’t quit your job to run this business, yet. It takes 12-18 months, typically, to breakeven, so you won’t be able to cover even a portion of your salary for a while. You need to learn the ropes of running your business while you are still getting a paycheck from someone else. Unless you are directly competing with your employer, run your business on your nights and weekends. Request telecommuting or flex hours so that you can make business calls during the day. Be a smart side-hustler. Never use company resources for your business; that’s a fast way to lose your job. You can sell to your co-workers, though. They might be a great source of feedback or referrals. There are a lot of things that go into running a successful business. If you start with these 12 elements before starting a business, you will have a good foundation to build upon. Hopefully, before long, you’ll be able to wave goodbye to corporate America. If you write a business plan and actually use it to run your business, your finances will grow, and that will allow you to build your dream life and create wealth for your family. It can happen, but it’s going to take a lot of work. You can do it! You must plan for success; it will not just happen to you. succeedasyourownboss.com
  23. We all know there’s nothing more damaging to a brand or company than a PR disaster. While PR mishaps can vary in damage done, being prepared to handle the media can help to prevent or mitigate potentially detrimental exposure. If your company has already committed a PR faux pas, the good news is that it’s likely to be relatively short-lived. Despite this, some mistakes can lead to long-term damage and possibly even bankruptcy. 5 Small Business PR Tips When you’re a small company without a PR representative or firm hired full-time, having a basic PR toolkit can prevent your brand from potentially harmful media exposure. Thwart future mishaps by memorizing these small business PR tips and adopting them as your PR bible. Tip #1: “Off the Record” Doesn’t Exist There’s no such thing as “off the record.” If you don’t want your audience knowing something about your business, don’t let it leave your lips. Many states don’t have legislation requiring that both parties are aware they are being recorded, and many camera crews will even continue filming once the interview has ended. Reporters are looking for a story and that story is often going to be rooted in controversy. If you’re off-the-record comment provides them with a story, they’re going to use it. Being “off record” goes beyond speaking with a reporter. If you’re in a studio or near a reporter or cameraman or anywhere besides the absolute privacy of your home, be aware that you’re being watched. This clip of Sainsbury’s CEO caught singing “We’re in the Money” to himself before the Asda merger interview proves just that. Even in the event where you feel you can trust the reporter, the best practice is to not say or do anything that you wouldn’t want to be publicly exposed. Pro Tip: “Treading through a tough position can always be resolved when deliberating on the facts of an event. Display facts about the truth to dispel any wrong speculation. There isn’t a need to speak in-depth about hypotheticals or tangents. Stay focused on the facts, as opposed to stirring the pot and denying or accepting any controversy. Stay away from feeding into bait that the media may produce. If you’re resilient and consistent with your fact-based response, there isn’t much room for disbelief.” – Leo Friedman, CEO and Founder of iPromo Tip #2: Always Stay Away from Religion, Politics, and Gender It’s important to remember that without you, the media doesn’t have a story. You control the narrative. Reporters and media personnel will try to direct you away from your message. Stay in your comfort zone and always know that you don’t have to say anything you don’t want to. Chik-fil-a learned this lesson firsthand when CEO Dan Cathy discussed his conservative views on the institution of marriage on The Ken Coleman show. Chik-fil-A underwent a media firestorm following these comments. Business partners severed ties with the fast-food chain and activists worked to boycott restaurants. Even if you’re not dealing directly with the media, it’s important to keep your political and social opinions private. Don’t share them on social media channels or discuss them at public events. Regardless of who you’re with or where you share your personal views, they are going to be divisive. Additionally, your political and social opinions shouldn’t have anything to do with your service or product. Ultimately, companies don’t always know exactly who their audience is. Play it safe, do yourself and your business a favor, and keep these opinions private. Tip #3: Know Your Message & Stay on Topic Know what points you want to make and familiarize yourself with the message you want to send. Remember that your audience wants you to succeed. Have you ever watched an interview gone wrong? It’s painful and unpleasant for the viewer. When preparing your message consider who your audience is. There are three audiences you’ll want to cater your message to: The People on the Inside: Your employees are just as important as your consumers. Consider how your message will affect them. The People on the Outside: The way that current and future consumers view your company influences your brand’s perception. Consider how they will interpret your message. The Future: What does this message say about the future of your brand, your employees and your customers? Once you’ve identified your audience, it will be easier to construct what message you want to send. Once you’ve identified your message, pick three topics that you’ll need to focus on to convey this message. Stick to only making three points; your audience won’t remember anything past that. In addition to your audience, there are a few other elements to consider. What does your company do? Why do you do it? What do you have to gain from your message? And what comes next? Always be comfortable with your client/company message. If you’re not, don’t talk to the media. Pro Tip: “Know how to respond to questions you don’t want to or don’t know how to answer. If you don’t know the answer to a question, be transparent. Tell the reporter that you’d need to have a conversation with the person best equipped to answer that question to provide an adequate answer or that you need additional time to answer the question. If you’re the person who should have the answer to the question, don’t admit that you don’t. Another option is to answer only part of the question, the part that you either know the answer to or the part that won’t be damaging to your brand. Another option is to safely and intelligently redirect the question by clarifying with, ‘I think what you’re asking me is…’ Know that there is a good chance that you’ll be presented with an uncomfortable question and keep cool when it happens.” – Matt Edstrom, CMO of GoodLife Home Loans Tip #4 Know When to Use & When Not to Use Your Company/Product Name Whenever you’re discussing your company or company’s product, make sure to always use the company or product name. This will allow for any statement that you make to be taken out of context and still make sense. This is important for re-creating content from your media exposure. Additionally, the more often you use your company or product name, the more exposure it receives. If someone tunes into your interview halfway through and you’ve only used your company name once, how can the viewer know what you’re talking about? Additionally, if you’d like to feature clips or audio from the segment, it will be a much better branding opportunity if your company or product name is being used. On the other hand, if you’re addressing negative issues, do not, under any circumstance, use your company or product name. If you happen to be addressed with a negative circumstance, whether it be a customer or client complaint, a mistake made by a current or former employee, or even an unfounded accusation – do your best to redirect the conversation and don’t use your company name. As soon as you use your company name, you associate your brand with the negative circumstance. In addition to not referencing your brand in relation to less than ideal situations, don’t use or repeat negative language when discussing said circumstances. Tip #5 Practice & Be Prepared Chances are if you’re a small business, you may only get one shot at getting media exposure. That media exposure could hugely influence the success or failure of your brand. This is one of many reasons why it’s so important to practice and be prepared. No matter how much you prepare, there’s a chance you’ll be thrown a curveball, so prepare for that as well. The more comfortable and prepared you feel, the better you’ll be able to handle unexpected circumstances. Make your statement, back it up with examples, conclude your thoughts, and stop talking. Don’t feel the need to continue talking. Find someone you can run through mock interviews with and remember these tips. Pro Tip: “Be prepared to talk to the media. There is nothing worse than being caught off guard by a question. Prep, prep, and prep again. If you think you are ready to address the media, you aren’t. Outline every angle that may be talked about and become an expert. Doing an actual practice run where someone asks you questions is also a huge help as well. This tactic will help you feel more comfortable and confident in your answers. Even if you don’t fully know what you are talking about, speaking with confidence will go a long way. Take pride in the preparation, and the real deal should be a breeze.” – Jason Yau, VP of E-Commerce & General Manager of CanvasPeople Although the larger your business is, the more likely you are to be featured in the media, all business owners have to be prepared. The next time you get a chance in the spotlight, be sure to remember these small business PR tips. succeedasyourownboss.com
  24. Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview about intellectual property and trademark with Andrea Evans @evansiplaw. Andrea is the owner of the IP law firm, The Law Firm of Andrea Hence Evans, LLC. She is a graduate of George Washington Law School, Spelman College, and Georgia Tech. For more information: www.evansiplaw.com/book SmallBizLady: What is intellectual property (IP)? Andrea Evans: Intellectual property is divided into three types – patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Patents protect inventions. Trademarks protect brands. And copyrights protect written works. SmallBizLady: What types of things can be trademarked? Andrea Evans: A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols, or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. Names, words, images, sounds, objects, scents, and colors that are used to identify and distinguish goods and services and that are used as a source identifier can be protected by federal trademarks. SmallBizLady: What is the benefit of registering your trademark federally with the USPTO? Andrea Evans: The key benefit of federal registration is the legal presumption of ownership of the mark and the exclusive right to use the mark for the goods and services identified on the federal registration. SmallBizLady: How do you determine the cost of your trademark application? Andrea Evans: The USPTO has 45 classes. Each class has a fee starting at $225/class. Expect to pay attorneys fees plus the USPTO fees. SmallBizLady: What makes a trademark weak or strong? Andrea Evans: Brands are on a spectrum ranging from weak to strong. Weak terms are generic, and generic terms can never be trademarked! Consider creating a word or using a term that is arbitrary, similar to Apple for computers. SmallBizLady: What’s a common myth about trademarks? Andrea Evans: A common myth is that owning a domain name means that you own the trademark and vice versa. The truth is that owning a domain name does not necessarily mean that you own the trademark or vice versa. If the domain name functions as a source identifier, it can be registered similar to match.com. SmallBizLady: Is a trademark search necessary? Andrea Evans: Although it is not required, it is recommended to search your trademark before filing a trademark application. Searches can be conducted at www.uspto.gov but consult with an attorney for a professional search. SmallBizLady: What is the difference between TM and symbol ®? Andrea Evans: The ® symbol may be used once the trademark registers at the USPTO. The TM symbol can be used prior to registration. SmallBizLady: How long does it take to register a trademark at the USPTO? Andrea Evans: It can take at least 2-3 months for the trademark application to be assigned to a Trademark Examining Attorney at the USPTO. Once examined, the mark is published for a month, and if it is not challenged, it registers. The entire process can take up to one year. SmallBizLady: Is it required to work with an attorney to file a trademark application? Andrea Evans: Although it is not required, it is recommended that you work with a qualified trademark attorney. Remember, the application is a legal document, and you want to ensure that you have been counseled and understand all options. SmallBizLady: Do international trademarks exist? Andrea Evans: There is no such thing as an “international” trademark, but trademarks can be registered in other countries. Each country has its own laws, and it’s recommended to consult with foreign counsel, as needed. SmallBizLady: Do trademark registrations expire? Andrea Evans: Yes. However, if renewal documents are filed timely and you continuously use the mark, the trademark will be maintained. Coca-Cola has owned their registration since the 1800s! succeedasyourownboss.com
  25. Ann is a 43-year-old single mom from the east coast. Ann is a great photographer, but no one knows it because she spends most of her time helping to run her parents cleaning business. Recently, at Ann’s parent’s 40th wedding anniversary celebration, her dad made a huge announcement. In his most prideful voice, Ann’s dad said, “My wife and I are retiring at the end of the year and turning over the family business to Ann.” For some people this would be great news, but not for Ann. She likes things just the way they are. She works a few hours in the morning, then spends the rest of her day taking cool pictures of odd and interesting people and events in the community. But now Ann is torn, she really wants to pursue her photography business full-time, but she doesn’t want to disappoint her parents if she decides not to take over the family business. This isn’t a scene from your favorite Netflix series. This is a tough situation that many children of Baby Boomer business owners are faced with every day. Their parents are retiring and expecting them to put their lives aside to take over the family business. Running a family business isn’t a “no brainer.” In fact, many businesses fold after the second generation takes over, and rarely do family businesses survive to the third generation. 6 Things to Consider Before You Take Over the Family Business Your parent’s dream of having you take over the family business can become your personal nightmare if there’s not a strong transition plan. Before you say yes and sign your name on the dotted line to buy the company from your parents, here are a few things you must be crystal clear about before you take over the family business. 1. Decide What You Want to Do Get clear about your personal and professional goals. What do you want to do with your career? Will running the family business make you happy? Are you prepared to buy your parents out? How will your mom or dad handle the transition? Do they respect you enough to really let you run it? Will they support your leadership? Make sure you really want the job before you take it. 2. Get Ready to Not Know Everything Even though you may have grown up in and around the family business, you likely still need to brush up on specific operational functions. You might be able to leverage your professional education to grow and expand the business, but the most important thing to do is embrace the business culture. Define the business objectives and goals with care and make sure that you’re keeping the business relevant and generating the revenue the business needs. Digital transformation might be necessary, but rely on key experts within the company for advice. Engage outside consultants slowly. Hire people you know and trust. You must know what each of the employees is good at and help them grow. The key is knowing where to turn when you need expertise. Do not connect only with managers, but those at the front lines of service to make sure you are getting an accurate view of the company and customers from all angles. Studies show family business successions tend to be more successful when there is more support in place to give incoming leaders assurance and resources. However, 70 percent of these businesses fail due to a disconnect between incoming leaders and their employees. To avoid becoming a statistic, shadow as many key employees as possible to gain insight into your company’s workflows. Spend the day or two in customer service, ride along with a salesperson, spend time in the shipping department. Get involved and connect with the employees to garner their support and trust. By meeting with staff and involving them in the transition, instead of maintaining business as usual, you may be able to refine their workflows as well as identify untapped staff with skills that can provide the business with more value in a different department. Build rapport and empathy for your employees. Ask them how things could be run better. Engaging staff early also mitigates potential turnover and other losses to your business. You are the new generation and you must earn respect before making major changes to improve the business. 3. Maintain the Company Culture From handwritten notes to simply remembering an employee’s names, the personal touch will ensure that your company’s values are always realized in every aspect of its operations. My mother taught me a lot about business ownership. As a former manager of senior citizen apartment buildings, she built bridges between residents, staff and the community, and made sure the staff and residents felt valued. Holiday celebrations were planned for tenants who had no family; school children would come and sing and make valentines cards. The most fundamental value of any business culture is that everyone feels like they are a part of something bigger. Treat employees like you care about more than the bottom line. Provide them with care and support—and they will work harder for your company, as a result. In addition to offering generous benefits, it’s crucial to have frequent and open communication with staff. It’s important to do regular informal check-ins with employees between formal managers meeting, which should be weekly. Even if you can’t be everywhere at once, leverage technology to communicate with staff. Don’t let the rumor mill take over in your business. 4. Mastering the Hand-Off It could be tough for your dad or mom to give up control. You might need a consultant or exit planning coach to help develop a plan. You also need to gently but firmly restructure any stake they hold in the business to reflect the move forward. Encourage them to become involved in activities that do not immediately affect your bottom line or outside philanthropic and community initiatives. If you are in charge, you need to look like it. Your parent in the CEO role will need to give up their office and they must not allow people to go around you and use them to intervene. As an incoming leader, it is important to acknowledge those who’ve paved the way. Reach out to decision-makers across all departments and offer to have them serve as your mentor. Also, empower managers to give you constructive feedback. This secures their support over the long-term and reassures them that the change in leadership doesn’t threaten their livelihoods or alter company culture. It is important to create allies early on and weed out those who may not support you and, intead, hinder growth. It’s not always easy, but having honest conversations earlier on prevents damage to your business. Successions are not only a great way to enhance your organizational structure, but also an opportunity to evaluate the business model and pursue new target growth in areas that may not have been apparent to the previous leadership. 6. Putting It All Together As you assume your new role, keep in mind your job is to not only achieve success for your organization but to cultivate the next generation. Family businesses are often entrenched in the local community, so reach out to leaders in nearby business organizations as well as supportive peers to help your transition go smoothly. Immerse yourself in business operations and the organizational structure as soon as possible. Make sure to empower managers to share ideas and feedback to ensure a smooth transition. Finally, make sure that all family members are on board in terms of your objectives for the firm and boundaries in terms of communication and management style. A successful succession maintains the integrity of your family’s legacy, maintains employee morale, and most importantly, prepares your company for its next phase of growth. It is one thing to grow up in the family business and another to be truly qualified to take the reins. Whether the business is a mom-and-pop shop or a manufacturing company or you are an emerging leader in a given field, it’s important to have a deep understanding of the business as well as demonstrated skill in navigating your organization’s culture. Taking over your family business may be a daunting task, but establishing clear objectives early on—from onboarding to team-building—can save you huge expense and relationships in the long run. One last thing… If you’ve taken over your family’s business and it has cash flow or staffing problems, fixing them on your own is the worst thing you can do. So, before you have another long night or tough conversation, let us help you get your family business back to running smoothly. That way your parents remain happy, and you can keep your stress down! Don’t worry; not only can we help you but we are very discrete, so go to http://succeedasyourownboss.com and click the contact button. Someone from my team will follow up with you within 24rs. succeedasyourownboss.com
  26. 1. Learn Everything You Can Devour any learning resources you can get your hands on — management training materials, articles on leadership, exercises in effective communication skills, and the like. Read through your company’s HR policies and employee handbook so that you have a better idea of what to do in any situation. Also, bone up on the latest developments in your area of expertise. If you’re managing developers, can you confidently discuss the full scope of programming language or software tools that your team uses? If you’re in marketing, are you able to evaluate the range of skill sets being utilized by your team, and introduce new ones that can be leveraged for greater success? 2. Get to Know Your Team If you’re being promoted internally then this is easier — you probably already know a little about the people you’ll be working with. If you’re new to the company, then you’ll need some help. Ask for the names of the people on your team and look them up on LinkedIn and elsewhere on the internet (it’s not at all intrusive; in fact, your team is likely looking you up as well). Also, research the people managing you. Get familiar with your immediate boss, and all other executives to whom you might indirectly report. Ask HR for a company organization chart to get a view of all reporting structures. If possible, ask around about some of the key players you’ll be associating within your new role: find out what kind of personalities they have, how they manage, what type of people succeed or fail under their management, and so on. 3. Shift Your Perspective You’ve not focused only on you anymore. Your job has now grown from executing a given set of tasks of your own to helping your employees accomplish their tasks. Take the time to step back and shift your perspective. Learn how to focus on the big picture, and to look beyond your needs to that of your team. 4. Clean Up Your Act As a manager, your team will be looking at you as both an authority figure and as an example. You set the mood of the team. If you as a manager are consistently 15 minutes late, then it tells the team that it’s okay for them to be late, too. If you are constantly in a bad mood or are impatient, then that affects team morale and productivity. As a first-time manager, you don’t have to be the “cool” manager (and in fact, you probably shouldn’t be), but you do have to set a good example. If you want to lead a team of professionals, act professionally yourself. 5. Adjust Your Relationships First-time managers who’ve been promoted internally have an additional challenge, in that the dynamic of their office friendships has now changed. People with whom you’ve shared jokes and secrets are now people you have to manage. Friends who’ve covered for you and vice versa are now employees you have to direct and may have to discipline. It’s very important to step back from these relationships in order to function properly as a manager. You can’t afford to be seen showing favoritism to old friends; you absolutely want to be objective and fair when engaging each member of your team. In closing, first-time managers have a job that is as challenging as it is exciting. With the right preparation, you can get a big head start and hit the ground running. Go into your new role with a smart approach and an open mind, and you’ll do a stellar job! succeedasyourownboss.com
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