As far as we’ve come about websites, there’s still so much to learn. First of all, if you don’t have a website – get it done now. It’s like not having a sign on your business on the main drag of town. No one has a clue that you’re even there. The other factor…. web design is, and will forever change – often. You need to make it apart of your overall yearly budget to freshen up and in some cases redesign the entire site. I know that sounds scary, but it’s true. There’s many reasons that you need to determin if your website is up for a redesign. Jessica Hill from Hubspot shares some great insight on 8 reasons you need to redesign your website…..
Some would believe that we’ve become incredibly complicated. Would you agree? Even the “tech tools” that we have available to us have created another job for us……. Yes, they’re helpful – don’t get me wrong. But how many times have you sat on the phone with a tech for one of your computers? Point proven.
It goes even deeper than that….. We’ve allowed ourselves to think “more” is better….. to think “bigger” is better…. to think I have to be involved with “everything”….. to believe that to get somewhere – I have to have certain people “like” me…… and on and on.
We can deliberate for hours on exactly how to make our lives more simple, but there is one – sure fire way to make it happen. Put the word “NO” into action. Ta-da! Ok, I know what you’re thinking…… “But I can’t stop doing the things I’m involved in”….. yes you can. “But if I don’t do ‘that’, I’ll miss out”…….no you won’t.
We’ve allowed ourselves to believe a TON of false information. This thought of “Living life simple” came recently for me when we began to put up Christmas decorations. We were finding it hard to complete everything, and get all the decorations up. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. I want to provide the best Christmas experience possible for my kids. But there comes a point that you have to take a look at the season of life you’re in and make a decision on the actions that you’re taking and ask – “Is this adding complication, or helping provide the type of life I want to achieve” . If our decisions and actions are making life hard – then I would like to introduce you to “Mr. No”.
There are commitments in our life that we can’t avoid – work ( all though that can be a choice too), family, chores, etc. But there’s a lot of things we do that we can say NO to, that will significantly improve our desire to live life more “simple”.
The next time you make a decision – just ask yourself, “Is this helping me achieve simplicity”? The answer will be apparent. The beauty of saying “no” will automatically make all the things you say YES to make since to your life. If you’re looking for simple harmony, start by saying NO.
I’m always researching ways to be more productive and how to better spend my time on tasks and projects. I think with our lifestyle changes over the last 15 years or so, combined with advancements in technology, we simply can’t do things the way we’ve always done them. Those who want to be successful at being productive, should be on the lookout for different ways to accomplish the “mountain” of tasks we have in our lives.
I was recently introduced to a new way of productive thinking called the 50/10 rule. In a nutshell, the 50/10 rule says that you work on a task or project for fifty straight minutes, and then you take a ten minute mental break. I was intrigued by this because I’ve always been a believer in “block” planning which means you focus your thoughts and energy to a specific tasks or project for a period of time.
Learning how to manage your day by using focus and a forced mental break is a great way to get MORE accomplished and feel great about it. Here’s why; When you focus your efforts and energy into one area, you prevent having to “start & stop” your brain from thinking about more things at one time – which it’s not designed to do. In addition, when you take a mental break, you give your mind the opportunity to relax which allows better performance throughout the day. The 50/10 rule appeals to me because it forces you to take a mental break. You may not want admit it, but you need a mental break. Our society is steeped in depression and anxiety mainly because of the mental pressure we’re constantly under.
If you’re tired of going home worn out and exhausted, then I would encourage you to try the 50/10 rule. You can read an in depth article here for additional details about this type of productivity and how it can benefit you.
Ok, so you want to be a pro a “tweeting”, right? But you feel so awkward sending out a “tweet” to the virtual world. If that’s you, then you’re ahead of the game. There’s a lot of people out there who have no clue what they’re doing in the social media world, and they haven’t thought twice about getting any feedback or learning about the social media landscape.
In a recent article on Constant Contacts blog – “25 Things That Make You Look Dumb on Twitter” it reminded me when email was just getting popular, it reminded me of people who would send you an email and they would WRITE THE ENTIRE MESSAGE IN ALL CAPS. Remember those people? They use to drive me crazy? Certainly email has changed from then. It’s now used as a glorified text message.
Now however we’ve turned our attention to Twitter and Facebook. As long as they’ve been around, we’re all still figuring out the best way to use it for our own unique situations. Take a look at the article “25 Things That Make You Look Dumb On Twitter”. You might be surprised at what you learn. It certainly made me think about my social media approach, I hope it does yours.
People buy more jelly beans when they’re offered an assortment of colors. This is true even if all the jelly beans taste the same. In experiments involving thousands of consumers, researchers at several major universities concluded that the more choices shoppers have, the more they buy.
Sometimes buying a product is difficult because of the variety of models–with options, add-on items, and services–the customer must choose from in order to obtain a complete solution. Promotional materials for these products must present the choices clearly and take advantage of opportunities for cross-selling and unselling.
Years ago I owned two small retail businesses. I was very young and had little retail sales experience. I wish I had someone who could have spoke into me at the time who could have helped me be much more prepared than I was for the holiday season. We weren’t staffed properly, we didn’t have enough inventory – and so much more. Each year at this time I always think about those times and reflect about what I “could” have done.
Don’t get caught thinking what you should have done, but instead take action now. Here’s how to make the most of the season:
Prepare for the rush
For many retailers, November and December offer their busiest period. Make sure you are prepared for a potential flurry of extra shoppers by training staff members on how to manage the rush. Emphasizing exceptional customer service can make a big difference to stressed-out holiday shoppers. If you don’t think your current staff will be enough, consider taking on temporary help.
Ecommerce retailers should make sure their websites are in tip-top shape, with user-friendly features, clearly explained purchase policies and any special promotions featured prominently.
Promote the holiday spirit
This can be as easy as applying a seasonal theme to your website or putting up decorations in your bricks-and-mortar store. It can also involve giving away free candy canes with every purchase or arranging for staff to wear Santa hats. Encouraging a holiday spirit will help nudge people into opening their pocketbooks, boosting the numbers recorded by your accounting software.
Adjust your marketing approach
Get people ready for the holiday season – and let them know you’re ready – through marketing. This could involve taking out ads in the local newspaper or utilizing special holiday circulars or flyers.
If you have a budget for SEO marketing, begin thinking about how consumers’ search terms may change over the holiday season and adjust your efforts accordingly for higher conversions. If you send out an email newsletter to customers, endow them with a gift-giving theme, such as “top 10 presents for dad.” Include customer testimonials for maximum effect.
Remind people of your business by distributing holiday-themed promotional items featuring your name and logo, such as a calendar for the coming year or an inexpensive Christmas tree ornament.
We’re all looking for ways to be more productive. A lack of productivity can put a drain on your emotions, and more importantly your bank account. Making poor decisions, wasting time, and a lot more can contribute to a lack luster productive business. In the article below, you can learn six simple steps in being more productive at your business. It doesn’t take much – see below for yourself.
I’m frequently asked about productivity. My clients are often desperate to be more self-disciplined, less “lazy” (their word, not mine), and want to know how to get more work done in less time. As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you wear so many hats and have so many things to do, it often seems overwhelming. As a result, some just give up, while other work non-stop, perpetually feeling like they’re drowning. Today, I’m offering several strategies that you can easily implement so that you can stop feeling lazy, start getting more accomplished, and, as a result, increase your income.
1. Step away from judgment.
Something I see frequently is that when people finish the day and haven’t accomplished as much as they’d hoped to or planned to, they end up judging themselves. “I’m so lazy!” “How can I be so inefficient?” are common thoughts and statements. Often, we are our own harshest critics, and this kind of thought process can lead to some substantial, mindset-related roadblocks to your success. In fact, judging yourself harshly can impact your confidence and self esteem, which are factors that heavily influence the likelihood that you will succeed in your business. So the first thing I recommend is to stop judging yourself so harshly and give yourself a break.
2. Make a decision.
There’s one decision that is more important than any other. It’s the decision that you are going to make your business work, no matter what. That means you make the decision to put in whatever effort is required to make your business a success. This decision is paramount to taking your business to the next level. Make this decision once and you’ll start thinking differently about your time. Each decision will flow from this one moment. As a result, you’ll start to notice that you handle your time differently and are more productive.
Now let’s get into some “nitty gritty” solutions that are less mindset-oriented and more practical:
3. Examine the current state of affairs.
It’s crucial that you know where you currently stand. Keep a time journal for one week and see where the bulk of your time goes. Track everything you do and how long it takes, and include the time spent checking e-mail, surfing the internet, and watching TV. At the end of the week, examine the current state of affairs. What are you spending the most time on?
Next, ask yourself what things are you spending time on that you don’t need to spend time on, or that you can eliminate? And what things can you do more of? Note that the things you do more of should be income-generating, and you should try to do less of the things that don’t bring in money.
Studies show that supervisors or managers have the greatest impact on the employee. With that fact, a good place for you to start increasing your employee’s performance is to first review how you may be demotivating your team members.
Ways to de-motivate employees
- De-motivation occurs when an employee feels the manager doesn’t appreciate them
- Too much work for any one person to do
- Not enough direction from the manager and this lack of clarity decreases their ability to perform
- Unfair practices – a manager that favors one employee over others
- Disrespectful comments to employees, especially when spoken with others around
- Constant micromanaging which indicates that the manager doesn’t trust the employee
- Not communicating important work related information to the employees
- Underpaying your employees
- ….and the list goes on.
The manager isn’t the only part of the equation of a happy employee, but they are significant in the employee’s productivity levels. If an employee feels respected by their manager, they tend to form positive relationships with co-workers.
Take the time to review your beliefs and behavior towards your employees. Managing employees takes time and effort and if you are willing to observe yourself and change your de-motivating behaviors, you will see a noticeable change in the productivity of your team members.
Many business owners are trying to do everything they can possibly think of to survive today’s slow economy. People will ask me what’s the best way to stay in business, despite a lack of consumer spending. While that answer is certainly in the “eye of the beholder”, one significant way to fight this economy is through synergy!
Networking with other like minded entrepreneurs can lead to more business and better business opportunities. Just by discussing your small business with other small-business owners can create new revenue streams. Synergy can develop in these networking opportunities, but you have to be proactive. Unless you put your small business out there and appear willing to collaborate with fellow business owners, you cannot expect to see increased revenues.
Get out there and make connections. Don’t make excuses about time – those who complain about not time will be the ones who won’t make it. Meet new people, discuss the issues and plan together. It’s amazing what cam happen when your open to here the voice of others.
One of the most crucial aspects of branding a small business is that you must be absolutely consistent in your messaging. Every interaction with customers must send the same message. You’re ultimately creating experiences for your customers that build emotional attachments to your company.
To many times I see businesses with in-consistent messaging or branding, which often confuses your customers. It’s almost like having to start over each time you have to reel in your dysfunctional marketing campaigns. If you’re not sure where to start, seek some advice of professional marketers and get their opinion. Until you truly understand marketing and branding, it can feel like a much bigger challenge than it really is.
With consistent message comes loyal customers – that will last a very long time.