Monday, November 28, 2011

Feel It - Say It.

Have you ever had that thought - you really like doing business with someone and you would like to tell them... but you stifle that thought and push it away and forget about it. It remains unsaid and they never know you feel that way.

We do that with employees too. We even do it with family members.

We even do it with our children.

 To me, this is a no-brainer solution for capturing that impulse as and when it happens and doing something useful with it.

Here are some examples...



You just sold this country property to a couple from the city. Or maybe you arranged the mortgage or facilitated the conveyancing or maybe you did a pest inspection. You may have not even done anything with them yet but would like to do business with them in the future since they have just moved to this area.

Send a card. Make it personal. Something you can't buy in a shop.


Your client or a service provider - or a friend - just treated you to a special event and you want to say thanks. Or maybe you took them somewhere and they participated and introduced you to someone you wanted to meet.
Send a card. Make it personal. Something you can't buy in a shop.



Your client just bought their new home. Maybe you sold it to them, or sold their old home or maybe you just supplied them with new curtains or a kitchen.  Or maybe they are a relative or your child and you want to send them a memento of this special date. 

 Send a card. Make it personal. Something you can't buy in a shop.



When people make a change in their life. They move, they downsize, they switch to a bigger home for their family to grow ... whatever it is, it feels nice when someone notices. If feels even better if they make an effort to mark the event. 

 Send a card. Make it personal. Something you can't buy in a shop.


You shop somewhere and like the service. Let them know! We know the numbers for people complaining are 10x what they are for customers passing on a compliment. Be one of the people who notice others Doing Good Things.  Stand out because you are thoughtful. Appreciation is high value currency. 

Send a card. Make it personal. Something you can't buy in a shop. 



 Like I said, this is a no-brainer but it takes some thought. Don't send ugly cards and don't send cards that say "I am just going through the motions and making no real effort." If you feel the urge - do it. Send a card that has some meaning. If you don't care, don't fake it.

If you do mean it ...

Send a card. Make it personal. Something you can't buy in a shop.

 This is a link to my card shop with Send Out Cards. Go play and see what you can come up with. If you need some ideas, email me and we can work out a strategy.

A real one of course. Nothing fake, make it personal, please!

Oh and by the way ... this is a step to incorporate into your marketing plan. You have one, right?




Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Monday, October 31, 2011

Get Old Fashioned Referrals



Franklin Lyle (Frank) Bettger (1888 – 1981) was a salesman and self-help author. He was the father of longtime actor Lyle Bettger. He played Major League baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1910 under the name Frank Betcher. He was demoted from playing time. Very disappointed, he went to the manager and asked why he was demoted.

The manager told him "You have no enthusiasm"
Bettger told the manager: "I'm just trying to hide my nervousness."
The manager replied: "Try something else. That's not working."

Frank Bettger was an interesting fellow. In 1947, after some prompting from mentor Dale Carnegie, Frank Bettger wrote How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling.  An old fashioned book that is in concept as fresh today ever it was. 

He got right to the bottom of selling. 

He said:
You can’t collect a commission until you make a sale. 
You can’t make a sale until you write the order. 
You can’t write the order until you have an interview. 
You can’t have an interview until you make the call. 

The call is the whole foundation of the business of selling. 
 
 Frank Bettger's  13 Secrets To Success In Sales:

1  Enthusiasm
If you don’t FEEL enthusiastic, ACT enthusiastic. Soon, you’ll BE enthusiastic. Double your enthusiasm and you’ll probably double your income. 


2  Order (self-organization)
Set aside time to plan how you will spend your time. Think about what’s most important. Then do those things first.


3  Think in terms of others’ interests
Find out what your prospect wants. Show him or her how to get it.  


4  Questions
Questions get you further than comments. Let your prospect talk while you discover his or her wants. 


5 Key issue
Find the prospect’s basic need or main interest. Then focus solely on it! Ask “why” and “in addition to that” to discover the key issue. 


6  Silence (listen)
Good listening works magic in selling. Listen intently intentionally!


7 Sincerity (deserve confidence)If you don’t believe in what you’re selling, neither will your prospect. Give your prospect the service you would want.


8  Knowledge of my business
Keep your mind young by continuing to learn about your business. 


9  Appreciation and praise
Show people you believe in them and expect great things. Don’t go overboard – just give them your honest appraisal.


10  Smile (happiness)
Smile your best smile at everyone you see. Think about all the things you have to be thankful for … and smile. The world will smile with you. 


11  Remember names and faces
Take a mental photograph of the person’s name. Repeat it immediately in the conversation and then silently to yourself. Associate his or her name and profession. 


12  Service and prospecting
Take care of them and they will take care of you. Follow-up on all leads immediately.
Set up for your next contact on this contact. 


13 – Closing the sale (action) In modern language this is really helping the customer to get their solution.
Proceed through the sales process – Attention, Interest, Desire, Close. Conclude your presentation with the magical question, “How do you like it?” Welcome objections. Don’t be afraid to ask for the money. 

Why Don't People Give Referrals Easily?
Most people don't hold back from referring business to you because they are mean spirited. Mostly people just don't think about it. To be frank, most people really don't think of your business at all in any way beyond thinking do you have something they want to buy or access. 

Nobody cares about your business. If you want referrals you will have to make it part of your process to make it easy for customers to refer you. As an old wise insurance salesman that worked with me once shared - to get referrals you must be referrable. Indeed, as I recall it was this same gentleman who first introduced me to Frank Bettger's work.

Ask For Referrals
If you want referrals to someone you should know that people don't refer 'up'. They will only refer to someone on their level or below. So if you want quality referrals you need to ask people who are the kinds of customers you want. 

Of course if you want A Grade customers you have to be A Grade at what you do!
If you are working with a good client then you want to let them know you appreciate their success and a good way to open the discussion for referrals is to ask them:  "Of the people you know in business, who do you admire most and why?"  Then after you learn who that person is, ask to meet them. Have lunch with them both and learn more about the person and do not attempt to sell them anything! If you find you develop some rapport with them, then you can feel out if there is any way that you can be of service. Never pull out the desperate high pressure sales pitch on someone you meet this way!  After the lunch you can follow up with an appropriate card in the mail to say thanks. And another to your client for the opportunity. 

For general referrals you may want to talk to the client about work you' ve just done and ask them "Who do you know (like you) who needs this kind of work too?" 
But back to  Frank. Frank Bettger not only asked for referrals. He also followed up and if the referral was slow coming he had a strategy for that too.


He Who Hesitates ... Needs A Hand

If the customer hesitated to give a name, he'd help them this way.  "That's all right, Mr. Wright. I think I understand how you feel. Give me the name of someone you know, under fifty, who is making money. I promise you I'll never mention your name." 

"Mr. Wright, my name is Bettger. I'm in the life insurance business. A mutual friend gave me your name with the understanding that I wouldn't mention his name. He told me that you have been very successful, and that you would be a good man for me to talk to. Could you spare five minutes now, or would you rather I stop by some other time?"

 Times have changed in so many ways since 1947 when Frank Bettger wrote his book. But some things that have changed have been unfortunate. Like the tendency for people in business to forget about listening to what customers want. About taking an interest in the client and coming to the sales process with an attitude of serving the needs of the customer and developing rapport and relationship.

Work through a reliable process.

If what you are doing isn't working remember Frank's manager's words...

"Try something else. That's not working."


And get enthusiastic about it!


 Need help developing a referral strategy? Let's talk.

Related:
Remember to build your mailing list
What to do next when you feel like giving up
Send cards for marketing and friends automatically using this Cloud app
Step up in your business - Here's how to improve performance

How to get your business found online




Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Business Writing Not Just On The Wall


A quick look around local websites in Anytown will show you that there is a problem with how businesses are presenting online and wasting the opportunity to be of service to customers seeking what they provide.
As ths article from Entrepreneur outlines  there are many reasons that combine which stop business from selling more (online and back in the store) than they could.

Web content is one of the critical factors in a business being found in search but it goes much further than that.  First people have to find you. Then they want to find what they are seeking and for your website to serve them well it needs to have good information that addresses their interest. They need to be able to find your location easily, your contact details and the extent of the services you provide. All of these are just the beginning and the more you can add in layers of well targeted written articles and pieces of information, the more it will help the site be found online and answer the questions the customer is seeking. So your content helps in two ways 1) Getting found online and 2) Showing customers good useful and helpful information.

So what is content? Content is really the professional know-how that you have as a business about your product, how your products can be used and what's good about those products and services. A recent study by Focus found that "Ninety percent of B2B buyers prefer to consume information online." The challenge is to make your content valuable and easy to find.

But your website is just one place for you to be providing good content. You can be adding good content to your profile on social business networking sites and the many free directory sites that are available now, which also allows you to add a link back to your website (this is valuable to help your search placement on the search engines) (Ask me if you are not sure what these are).

Content can also be made available for offline too, and one of the common written pieces that businesses don't have is a Business or Corporate Profile. You don't need to be a large organisation to need one of these for your business. You could be a small accountancy firm or a supplier to industry and this gives an outline your story and your professional bona fides.

When the act of writing for your business is given some importance you fill find that you can do things you could not do before. You can easily let people know about your business, you can include testimonials, and position yourself as the expert in your field and professional in your way of relating to customers, potential business partners and investors. Your quotes can be sent with supporting material to reinforce your professional approach and give customers confidence in your expertise.

Ultimately your business needs to be able to show its best face to the world. Online or offline, it is the same. Good quality information, great tips and well presented material shows that you know your industry, you know what customers value and you are thinking of their needs, not just your own. Your content should reflect that you are there to serve their needs and this should be the focus behind all your communication pieces.

What Content Do I Need?

Content for your website and brochures should show:

  • Who you are (We like to know there is a person around)
  • What you do and sell
  • How to contact you
  • Where you are (even if sales are made online it gives some certainty that you will be available if something goes wrong)
  • Quality photographs of your business, your people and your service (well tagged for online to help enhance search)
Adding More Value
Extra content that you can include:
  • How-to articles
  • Product reviews
  • What to use where
  • Things to know about using products or services
  • Specialty insight into common problems you see and how to fix them
  • Good service stories
  • Happy customer stories

The list is endless and once you begin to think of Content being a high value part of your inventory then you will never be short of topics to write about.

Remember - you not only need content online - it needs to be kept 'fresh' so added to regularly. Search engines put a high value on good quality content and freshness.

Gettng started can be the hard part. Email me if you would like me to review your content.
Did you know? Ask about my blog and content writing service to get you on track.

To your success!


Like to discuss your business?


Lindy Asimus
Business Coach
lindyasimus@gmail.com
www.lindyasimus.com


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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A Website Is Part Of Your Social Marketing

An Apple Is Not An Orange...And They Are Both Fruit


Okay so I've been putting off writing on this topic but recent posts and comments that have been put to me make now as good a time to dispell some myths that are percolating around which on the face of it sound plausible but are built on very shakey foundations and show more a lack of understanding than they do insight into online marketing and especially what social media is all about.

Let's take this headline for example "Ignore the Social Media Hype. Your Business Will Always Need a Great Website"

No kidding.

Let's break this down.

Social media and the use of it for promoting a business does not and never has meant that your website is not necessary.  And there may be people who will want to sell you a Facebook page that will tell you it is all you need but they are not people who deserve your attention.

Your website is as important as ever - and social media is the spark that can help drive more traffic to your site. All the reason you could need for ensuring that your website is up to scratch ( and most are not) and that your links from social media are leading to your website.

Scratch that. Your website is more important than ever.

Your Business Will Always Need A Good Website.

Absolutely!

And this is often not what businesses have.

Many companies have websites look good and have cost a lot of money and say virtually nothing of interest to people who will probably never see it anyway because it doesn't have any effective search engine optimisation.  Google can't find it and neither can customers. Or worse - if they do there is nothing useful for them to read.

Here are some more mistaken beliefs that have caught my attention lately.

Social media is not for every business.

This may be true if your idea of social media (marketing) is only about directly selling goods.

For perhaps most businesses this is not going to be the result of using social media. But for some businesses social media can deliver sales directly.

This is not necessarily even the most useful means of using social media.

So what can social media be useful for in addition to direct sales?

For many in business, "Having a chat with a stranger" is not high on their list of priorities. Some issues that are though, and if they are not already, should be high on the list of priorities, include:

  • Researching your marketplace
  • Being on top of trends
  • Meeting people of influence in your chosen area of interest
  • Meeting future customers
  • Meeting future business partners
  • Learning ahead of the curve
  • Understanding customer sentiment
  • Learning
  • Teaching
  • Building your profile
  • Becoming a credible expert
  • Meeting new people in your community
  • Gaining new skills
  • Being on top of changes that are coming
  • Keeping current
  • Managing your company's online reputation
  • Being accessible to customers
  • Showing transparency and approachability
  • Developing wider competencies
  • Engaging in ways that are not available offline
  • Observing different ways of thinking
  • Seeing new ways of doing things that can work in your business
  • Increase exponentially the number of people who know your business
That's a few things to start with.

And no it isn't a spectator sport. Neither is it a broadcast medium.
 
Oh and no... These benefits don't all come from having a Facebook page.

First you need to start with a better framework for what you imagine social media to be.
And get your website in order. 

 How many other benefits can you think of?



 Related
Develop A Strategy For Social Marketing
Check Your Website For Roadworthiness
Think Social Media Is No Use For Your Business? Think Again.
How To Get Your Local Business Noticed Online
Purpose Then Strategy - Case Study Starting Your Website
  Quick And Dirty Business Review




Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Business Intelligence: For Small Business Too!



In one of the not-so-rare synchronous events a blog  by Thom Singer arrived in my inbox on the topic of business analysis. He makes some good points about business analysis being the realm of larger companies with big budgets and not so much that of small and medium businesses.

It's a drum that I seem to bang a lot with clients and that is the issue of understanding the critical dynamics within a business, knowing where customers come from, what they do and why they deal with you - or why they don't.  For small business there are ways to streamline the process of collecting this information but much of it can be done with old fashioned methods.

Simply, if you know that Action A leads to Result X - if you get a good result then you can do it again. You can do it more often and predict your results over time. If you don't know what results or lack of results come from certain actions (or inactions) you can't. Simple as that.

Marketing Not Gambling

If you don't have that business intelligence for your business then you don't know a whole lot of things that you need to know. You don't know what's working. You don't know what will improve your results and you don't know what it is costing you aside from the money you spend, when you pay for that marketing initiative, in lost opportunity and sales not made.

Just like paying for that Yellow Pages ad and never tracking sales.  That's not marketing or even advertising. That's gambling.

Just like hiring employees you want to perform well... but you never instruct fully as to their role and what you expect from them, never manage effectively, have no useful reporting process to monitor their progress and never bother to review their need for training or resources. What is that?

Moving to online presence that a company generates, from the website to use of social media platforms to promote the business it is clear that the same kind of Business Intelligence (BI) is not understood and so not being captured.

Not All Websites Are Created Equal

A cursory investigation of a local chamber shows websites that are poorly constructed, not functioning in any way to generate interest and not likely to be found in a search. Oh some of them look good! Most of them don't and to Google they may as well be a blank page with nothing showing on the site.

Who is to blame? Ultimately it comes down to the business owner to make sure they know at least enough to know when they are getting quality information and not bragging from someone who talks a big game but produces nothing of substance.

Commonly I ask business owners "How do you access your website traffic analytics to check?" All too often the response is a blank expression.  This is the first question I ask when assessing a current strategy because it is clear - that if they don't know the answer to this question ... there is no point asking them anything more technical about the site because they don't know.

How then, do you make a reasonable judgement about the value of the work done so far on the website and how do you reasonably then commit to good actions going forward?

This lack of understanding results and Cause and Effect in business is not confined to poor results. It could be that the results are good - but the numbers are not suffiently understood to allow the owner to recognise that hey - this advertising we just did has not only been good - it has given a result 3x better than anything else we have ever done! And suddenly the cost has a context by which we can measure performance objectively and track against future advertising.

You cannot get good business intelligence by guessing!

Of course the response from some business owners to questions of this nature can be "Oh I'm too busy for that!"

Too busy to know if the money you are spending is being wasted.

Too busy to know if you're not spending the money that could be increasing your profit three-fold. 


Measuring is important. Too often, people go mad measuring metrics that don't matter. And neglect those that do.

Here are some simple business intelligence items that you should know now:
Where do I find the traffic statistics for my website?
Where is traffic to my website coming from?
Where is it not coming from that it should be?
Where are my customers finding my business?
Who are my top 50 customers who have spent the most with me over the past 3 years?
How much have they spent with us over the past three years?
How did they come to be our customers in the first place?
How many other customers have they referred to our business?

That's some that I like to start with. These are simple questions to which you should already have the answers. If you don't then you need to fix that... that's the first step.

The second step is to learn what to do with it.


 Related
Quick And Dirty Business Review
Develop A Strategy For Social Marketing
Check Your Website For Roadworthiness
Think Social Media Is No Use For Your Business? Think Again.
How To Get Your Local Business Noticed Online
Purpose Then Strategy - Case Study Starting Your Website



Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Small Business Reminder: Google Is Blind


The environment for business to have a website and look to the internet as a new marketplace to promote our goods and services is no longer new. It's been around for more than 10 years now and certainly over the past five years has become mainstream.

Or so it seems.

So why is it that so few businesses are using the internet in a way that promotes them effectively?

You have a website.
You may have paid a lot for it to be developed.
How is it doing?

How do you tell?

What bits are working and which bits need to be changed?

Traffic is not the be all and end all of having a business website. But it is fairly fundamental as a starting point to measure your progress and to see where improvements should and can be made.

Yet time and again I see business owners with no clue what their numbers are but not even the most basic idea how to find out and what they should be looking for.

Reasons

One of the misconceptions with web property is that a web designer - or even a web hosting company that sells you a template that you pay monthly to host your website online is the place to learn about what you need to know to get the best results.

Nope.

Indeed many of these places know very little and care even less about your results. Their product is to get you online. Your success online is not their problem. With many designers, they will do the site as you want it and it is up to you to know what to put there and they will do it. The responsibility for how well it does is not their concern. That's up to you.

Here's another myth.

What your website looks like is an indication of how well it will function to attract customers.

There are two parts to correcting this myth.

SEO - search engine optimisation is all about ( or should be but often isn't effectively done) how Google "sees" on your website. Google is blind. It reads instructions behind the page and content on the page. That's pretty much it. Ask a blind person to tell you how you look today? That's about the same as Google viewing your website. So you want all the elements that don't show and the content that does, to be right.

PEO Person Eyes Optimisation - is all about how those people having searched and found your site through SEO - can find what they are looking for, what they want to know about your business, where you are, how you work, how to reach you and whether you have even bothered to be findable. The content needs to be useful and current and easy for them to buy from you. This is true even if you don't have a shopping facility on the website - they can still reach you by phone or email and purchase whatever is they want that you have.


There is a bit to learn about this topic and yes there is a lot of bad information out there. Sales pitches are not the best place to learn what you need to know. And yet it seems like many business owners want to be sold the magic bullet (sorry, there isn't one) and instant results. There isn't any of those either.

Nor are there any fixes that don't cost time and/or some money (probably both) to work effectively. But then your experience with other things in life has shown you that already, right?

Steps To Take Right Now

  • Find out how your website statistics are being tracked.
  • Get access to check them at least weekly.
  • Check them at least weekly.
  • Look at where your traffic is coming from.
  • Get your friends in different places to look for your business online as they would if they didn't know you and were just a customer looking for someone who does what you do. Collect the responses for where (page)you come up in their search.
  • Find out which companies are coming up first for what you do
  • Consider your message and what story you have to tell about your business as your keywords you need to use will be in there. 
Google is blind when it comes to 'seeing' your website but it picks up everything it needs if you set your website up well. And your web? Well it is a lot like a guide dog. Look after it and keep it well fed and it will be on duty 24/7 and returning the love.


    Call me if you need a hand.

     Related Posts

    The Dirty Secrets Business Needs To Know About Social Media
    Why You Need To Build Your Mailing List And How To Do It
    How To Get Your Local Business Found Online

       How-To: Developing A Social Media Strategy For Marketing
    Quick & Dirty Business Review
    Test Your Website For Roadworthiness
    What You Should Know About Social Media For Business


    Lindy Asimus
    Business Coach
    Mobile: 0403 365855
    lindyasimus@gmail.com
    www.lindyasimus.com

    www.designbusinessengineering.com
     



    Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    How Do Your Customers Find You?



    "How Did You Find Us?"

    A recent conversation on Twitter brought this up as a discussion point.  In the course of our back and forth, @gregbepper mentioned that as president of his local business chamber he had seen many times that business owners were missing the vital step of asking customers how they came to be at their business.







    The old adage of half of marketing being a waste of money, but not knowing which half - is as true now as it ever was. The difference now is that the tools to track where new business is coming from are now available. Technology takes away any excuse we had for not knowing these metrics but still this is ignored.

    Without knowing where your customers are being activated, we put a blindfold on and start pinning money to that Marketing Donkey. Why would you do that?

    This was confirmed during another discussion with a local advertising consultant who expressed similar views and frustration that many of us share, in the lack of interest that some business owners and managers seem to have when it comes to taking a professional approach to understanding what is essentially basic management application in the business.

    It may be true to say that for many small business owners approaching marketing that they don't know how to do this. They don't know how to go about setting up a system to collect this essential data and some will say they are "too busy"! Really.

    I kid you not.

    Which is fair in a way. Preparation for anything takes some thought and time. Doing things without thought is easy! It is fast! And it costs a lot of money.  But if being not prepared is your thing, then you probably won't notice that.

    "Oh I tried that. I sent a letter once and it didn't work." I have had this said to me by intelligent people who believe that sending one letter is direct marketing,.

    "I don't have time for social media and anyway I don't use the internet. And my customers are local anyway."

    Truly. I have heard this so many times I have just wanted to lie down with a blanket and curl up in fetal position.

    These are our local businesses. They are what give our local area colour and character and they are the businesses that we watch and see them slide and then disappear with all their money and time invested just gone.  Or we watch them limp along barely getting by and wondering why the government is making it hard for them Why the customers are not loyal. And complaining bitterly about the terrible overseas merchants selling goods to "their customers" over the internet.

    How well are your using the intelligence in your business about existing customers?



    What is motivating your customers to come to you?
    Where do they find you?
    Where do they go instead of buying from you?
    What do you need to do to make them come back again?
    What do you need to do to know what they want?

    How much time are you prepared to spend to know these things in your business, or are you too busy "saving money" on your marketing?

    There are ways to know the answer to these questions. If you don't know what they are yet, then make the time and investment you need to find out and get some help to do so.   But beware. Not everyone will care if you get good results and good information.

    To your success!


    Related posts:

    Step-Up In Your Business
    Business Manners -  People Are Watching You.
    Goals - How To Set Them & Achieve Them
    Coaching Tips
    Roles & Responsibilities - Who Is Wearing What Hat?
    Gratitude. It Has A Place In Business Too.
    Appearance Doesn't Matter And You Will Be Judged By It.








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    Sunday, September 18, 2011

    10 Steps To Local Marketing Online


    When What Used To Work Stops Working
    Local businesses are in a quiet panic. Many have gone along doing the same marketing over and over and using the same methods to attract customers and finding that the results are not the same now.

    Tempting as it is to say "We told you this was coming... but you wouldn't listen.", that's not much help so maybe you who own a local business will be more receptive now to try some other methods.

    Oh but you don't like the internet?

    Too bad. We do and that's where we make decisions about who to give our money to.

    Get used to it.

    Now before you start asking about guarantees and return on investment or thinking you'll get your teenager to set up a Facebook page for you here are some points to get your head around.

    1) Setting up a Facebook page is not a marketing plan. If you give money to someone like that then you deserve to lose it.

    2) If you have no way to measure your old marketing results, don't ask about ROI on social media marketing.

    3) "We put out a catalogue and people came into the shop" isn't measuring results.

    4) Your marketing may not be what's keeping people away. Maybe it *is* You.

    5) You're going to  have to do some research.

    6) If you have no idea how to research or what to research then you would do well to get someone in who does.

    7) You're going to have to get your hands dirty. Yup. You are going to need to polish off those social skills and actually engage with people.

    8) No the internet is not only full of people who live on the other side of the world. It is full of people who live locally too. In fact, it is full of people who maybe used to go to your business. But you may not know that since most businesses have a dismal record when it comes to collecting data on who customers are and what they like and how to reach them.

    9) You'll need some patience. You've spent years getting into this position and building your online network and developing some online presence is going to take a little time to mature. Just like anything else.

    10) Think of your business efforts online as another staff member. A golden employee who never complains, works 24/7 and never takes a holiday. Treat them well.

    A review is a great place to start and there is no time like the present.

    Good luck with it and if you need a hand, well give me a yell.

    Lindy Asimus

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    Thursday, September 15, 2011

    Business Manners: People Are Watching

    Some recent discussions with business friends have been around several issues that actually come back to the same basic issue. Which is "Why do so many business owners not put some effort into learning the basic skills their business needs?"

    Web

    If you are in business then customers expect to be able to find you online.

    If you haven't taken steps to make sure you have a website that works, you are still online but not in a good way.

    People notice that.

    If you think that your keywords for your business is your name then you need to learn more about the internet and marketing online. This is basic knowledge that your business needs. Basic knowledge that you need to have in order to even pick someone to help you carry out implementation of your site in a way that is useful and can work for you.

    Procedures and Systems

    Your employees need to know what they are expected to do and to the standard that you wish them to do it.

    Having proper systems documented means they don't have to guess and don't have to follow you around to ask you. Even better - the business can run more effectively, more efficiently and customers can be more consistently given the service that you promise and they want to get.


    Social Media

    No matter what you've been told, getting a Facebook Page ( or worse, a personal profile you think you will promote your business on) isn't social media marketing. Getting a FB Page or a Twitter account is the start. Not the finish and your work begins from then on. What will you do next? This is what you need a strategy for and good understanding of what to do - and what not to do online. Be assured. The next person who approaches you telling you that a Facebook Page is the answer for your business online probably knows barely more than you do about it. This is not what your business needs. But it does need you to understand social media - whether you decide to become active or you decide not to become active online. You still need to understand it.


    Marketing

    Your Yellow Pages advertisement is costing you a lot of money. How many jobs do you need to cover the cost before you make anything for you? If you are paying a monthly fee then it is still the total amount that you need to know you have to pay back to yourself to recover your cost before you make $1. Are you getting value for this? If you don't have a system  for monitoring leads from your marketing how will you know how well anything works?

    How will you combine your activities for marketing and test where you get the best bang for your buck?  Where does social media and online marketing fit within your overall marketing plan?

    A marketing plan is not a plan if it is in your head. It needs to be set out and planned and costed and budgeted for in order to be able to provide you with any good result and intelligence that you can use going forward for future years.

    This is another area that your business depends on you to gain the skills you need to keep on top of this.


    Professional Courtesy

    You have a phone message. Are you going to return the call? Today? Next week? What about the quotes you promised to deliver? Are they delivered yet? How well have you set them out for your customer to study?

    Too many businesses are just slack when it comes to those issues of manners in business. You got a referral from someone in your network? What did you do to show your appreciation? What do you do to reciprocate that act? You go to network meetings. How much thought do you give to how you can introduce people to potential customers and actively promote those people who support you in some way?

    Not returning calls, not replying to enquiries are all signs that you don't care. Period.

    Not paying your bills is a sign that you have no respect for the people who have provided you service.

    When someone has to chase you up for things that are for you then that is a demonstration that you don't care about your business so why should they?

    On the other hand, those people who think of others, who return phone calls and go out of their way to demonstrate quite basic manners really stand out and shine. With very little effort they can be standing above the crowd just with a few simple measures.

    Which kind of reputation would you prefer?


    Businesses Suffering


    Every day the news is filled with yet more reports of new closures, more businesses going into liquidation and more families being left in despair over business failure. Many of these will also have put their homes at jeopardy in the process.

    We need strong local businesses and to that end we need businesses to operate effectively and efficiently and to be monitoring their business numbers and activities so they know right where they are and can react to change as necessary. Not as so many do, to be just doing what they do, oblivious to the issues can run them into trouble.

    Ongoing education is now required in many industries for technical aspects of the industry.  It is your job as the business owner to take measures to ensure that you are educating  yourself overall in matters relating to business, to your marketplace and to technology is being added to on an ongoing basis.

    The markets are changing and the opportunities too. There is no place for complacency in a healthy business. These issues can look daunting but they are actually quite simple to fix. That small amount of effort can reduce a lot of stress for everyone including the business owner.

    Remember. We're watching. 



    Who have you seen in business that you admire who shines at being on top of all these issues in their business?

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    Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

    Friday, September 09, 2011

    Networking. Who Loves Ya, Baby?



    Driving to an appointment the other day I pondered - not for the first time - the huge number of business hours each week, each month, each year, going into what is called networking and wondering "Why isn't this working?"

    And it dawned on me the similarity between these networking sessions and what happens behind closed doors with what we sometimes call lovemaking.

    Here's the shocker.

    Lots of people are clueless in bed too.

    When it comes to networking, we can be like the erstwhile lover, screaming in silence "no - not that... do this..." but yet never say a word out loud to the one we are with... while the partner fumbles around, achieving little, save for creating frustration, irritation and perhaps regret.

    Just like in sex, we can expect people to know what we want most, what we need for it to work out well and an interest in the interaction culminating in satisfaction for both parties.

    People are terrible mindreaders.

    Or like just a casual hook-up with someone  whose name you'll never even remember or maybe cross the street to avoid if you see them later.


    Networking, if it is to be successful needs both to be concerned about the outcomes for the other.

    Not standing aloof waiting to be serviced.

    Are you a considerate networker?

    Successful networking should be about building relationship and sharing a mutual interest in getting good results for each other and those they refer for assistance.

    Time to end the Wham-bam casual bumping into strangers.


    What's your best strategy to encourage mutual gratification in networking?

    Come on now. Networking. It's Business Time.





     Social Media For Business Survey 2011

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    Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    Social Media For Business Survey 2011



    Thanks for helping. I'm looking forward to seeing if there are changes from this survey results from 2010.
    Please send this link  to your friends too!




    Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

    Saturday, August 27, 2011

    Getting The Best From Employees



    Are you good at following directions?

    Recently I've been supervising a team with a project that has a limited run time and  well documented (if not so well organised) procedures and schedule to which they run. And by the way - I didn't design this process!

    The team is a comprised of different aged people, from mid 30's to 70s and to a person, quite intelligent and self driven. As we get toward the end of the project, some issues arise that are things that we've covered off on in one-on-one discussions, and of course are in the procedures in full detail. Some things we have covered off on several times. And yet they arise as a surprise to some of the team!

    Which got me thinking.

    Sometimes we make things harder than need be the case.

    An irritation for me during this project has been the large amount of detail to get across, but without a clear context of what's Important and what's just important.  What's a Must Get Right and what's good to get right but won't break anything if not every I is dotted and every T crossed.  Since I tend to work best with an understanding of the global concept (big picture) and then the detail, this has seemed a bit akin to being given a jigsaw puzzle to do - without a lid to the box to see what the thing is supposed to look like when it is done.

     Are you good at giving directions?

    People are not all the same. Some people just want to know the details that relate to them, and others (like me) want to know how it all fits together in order for any of it to make sense. But we don't always give good directions or format them in ways that accomodate these different styles. Keep in mind there is no right or wrong kind - just different and we can streamline much that is to be done through producing directions that allow for both types to be covered.


    If you have good instructions for new work you have to do be glad! But if you are faced without a clear map of how it all comes together, a good idea is to map it out first and create your own guide to capture any information that turns up that wasn't covered in the instructions.
     
    Make a List!
    • Draw the project up as a mindmap diagram
    • What are the critical elements in this project that need to be covered off 
    • Write a checklist for each section that can work as a cheat sheet to which you can refer. 
    • Check if there are any materials or resources or extras that you need to get this done but aren't included
    • Verify what your understanding is for the actions you need to take before you begin
    • Clarify and resolve any ambiguity that arises
    • READ THE PROCEDURE!
    • Follow the instructions for the procedure! 
    • Again... Follow the instructions!
    Whether you are the one carrying out the work, or the person writing the instructions, make it easy for these steps to be done and you'll save a heap of time, aggravation and unnecessary stress along the way. And get a better outcome as a result.

    If you are creating projects to be carried out by others, then ensure you design a process to make it easy for those who will bring it to fruition to feel competent and smart.

    So the team has done very well.

    It's been fun to work with a range of ages and personalities doing something new and that's always great for building new neural pathways, for everyone concerned.

    And gave me a blog to write!

    Do you have a favourite tip for learning new processes? Please share your comment below.















    Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites BlogHere

    Thursday, August 18, 2011

    Business Mastery: How Agile Are You?

    Whether is is your business or your hobby or something else you want to do well, it takes some work. And then some more. And then more again.

    In a business, it isn't enough that you are good at making widgets, or using your technical experience. Many elements of business, in order to run effectively, need to be done and some of those facets of the business may be things you have no interest in, or natural ability.

    But guess what?
    They still need to be done.


    Confidence 
     “Having once decided to achieve a certain task, achieve it at all costs of tedium and distaste. The gain in self-confidence of having accomplished a tiresome labor is immense.”
    ~Thomas A. Bennett


    Want to be confident? Increase your capacity to do. Become competent. If that means learning to be a great manager learn to be a great manager. If it means learning to see where the scary gaps are in your business, then discover where the scary gaps are and build a  solution to create competency.

    There are so many things that we can't control in business.  Even more that you can be on top of, so cover off on those things that you CAN control.


    Flexibility
     Consider the law of requisite variety which tells us that in any cybernetic system the element or person in the system with the widest range of behaviours or capacity for choice will control the system.

    Try not knowing what you know and trying new approaches to things you've always done one way. Start with small changes and see your mind stretch to new possibilities. This is where Breakthrough lives.


    Practice

    "Everybody should do at least two things each day that he hates to do, just for practice."
    ~ William James



    Forget that you have done something a few times. How many times do you need to do something to be expert at it? Aim to raise the bar on your expectations - and make the effort on the follow through.

    "The emerging scientific picture is that 10,000 hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert in anything. In study after study, of composers, basketball players, fiction writers, ice skaters, concert pianists, chess players, master criminals, and what have you, this number comes up again and again.


    Now how long is ten thousand hours? It is equal to roughly 3 hours of practice a day, or twenty hours a week, of practice for ten years. Of course some people never reach mastery, which is not really explainable yet. But, no one has found a case in which true world-class expertise was accomplished in less time. It seems that it takes the brain this long to assimilate all that it needs to know to achieve true mastery". ~ Daniel Levitin

    Now maybe you aren't seeking mastery in everything. But the question is really:  "How good is good enough?" and how much effort are you be prepared to expend to get better at this thing you want to accomplish?

    Here's a great example of what mastery looks like. Any kid can ride a bike, right? Take a look at Danny Macaskill.





    How does your agility in your special field compare?

    What do you need to do to excel at what's important to you now?

    If you've achieved mastery in some field, please share your story below as a Comment.

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    Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Are Workers Lazy Or Are You Rewarding The Wrong Behaviour?

    All that time on the job. Shows we are working harder, right? Well according to the statistics, maybe not.

    Yet we have this fascination to see 'bums on seats' and use time in the office as some measure of value - rather than measure efficacy.

    Really. Would you rather have people in the office getting their work done and leaving or have them hang around the full day accomplishing nothing in particular?

    Time to review what it is you're trying to achieve?

    And by the way. Owners and managers have their own way of wasting time while looking busy.

    Pity.

    With a little more thought, some accountability and new skills, they could be getting more done and factoring in some downtime.



    OnlineMBA.com
    [Source: OnlineMBA.com]

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    Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

    Wednesday, August 03, 2011

    Define Your Purpose: Know Why

    This video came to me today and I'd seen it before but it is one of these clips that are worth sharing and relate to the question that I like to ask at the start of any new project, obsession I may want to take on and what I really would like to see clients begin to take on board as they are considering making change - or are stuck in making no change at all.

    How connected to your purpose are you?
    Do you know what is driving you to pursue your present direction?
    Are you doing what you do for your reasons, or to satisfy (or pacify) someone else?

    How do you remind yourself to stay on Purpose?






    Related:
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    What to do next when you feel like giving up
    Send cards for marketing and friends automatically using this Cloud app
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    Like to discuss your business? Lindy Asimus Design Business Engineering Get Help For Your Business Download your free 24 Page Action Plan Marketing Workbook! Subscribe to Actionbites Blog