February 2015 - Small business consultant

Monthly Archives: February 2015

Three simple ways your business can avoid the missed opportunity

Oh my word, talk about missed opportunity!

This week I went to my scheduled (6 months ago) dental hygienist appointment and was shocked with what greeted me on the reception desk. You see, I have been a patient at this lucrative dental practice for 10 years and had the same health fund for half of that time.

The practice had become a preferred provider of my health fund! Now this is a big deal, because I have had some pretty lousy luck with dental work over time and this practice came highly recommended and has the most amazing staff. Thing is, that doesn’t come cheaply. I honestly never did mind paying top dollar to see a top dentist and hygienist. My peace of mind is worth as much as I pay to them. But I had to find out that they were now preferred providers (meaning my check-ups are now gap-free) by actually going in to my appointment.

This business has my mailing address, my health insurance details, and I follow them on Facebook. Why didn’t they see it necessary to tell me of the change? (They told me of their renovations) Let’s face it, most of us don’t go into or past our dentist on a weekly basis, and having this knowledge sooner would have swayed my decision on where my husband went for his dental work before Christmas.

So what is the point I am trying to make to you?

Firstly, gather customer details into a database by all means, but use it AND use it to their benefit. (Tweet this) Don’t underestimate the power of a letter or card in the mail or a personalised email in their inbox. Keeping up the lines of communication fosters trust, builds relationships, and (done correctly) moves you closer to a sale.

Secondly, never EVER assume that your client know what is going on in your business. (Tweet this) Let them know! Let them know of changes, holidays, even if you are running late. Talk to them, again, it builds trust and relationships.

Finally, share your talents with the world. (Tweet this) What might be small to you, can be significant in the lives of others.


Creating content for Facebook

Quick ways to create Facebook ContentCreating content for Facebook, or even your blog, needn’t be difficult. Once you know where you want to take your business and what your customers want from you, then the secret is to find where they cross and the content which sits there.

So, in the past I have spoken about goal setting and defining your ideal client, I will also let you know that the workbooks from these popular workshops are now available to download, so this post is about getting the content.

The first thing when looking for content is to hang out on the pages where your clients hang out. Now, I don’t mean that you should stalk them, but I certainly believe that you should understand where they are coming from, what drives them, their likes, and their passions. The best way is to out and out ask them. The good thing is that when you do this on Facebook that it will actually increase your interaction and increase your Reach. So you won’t just be learning more about your customers, but you will also be increasing the number of people who see the post and your page; that means more potential customers.

When you have a list of pages, head on over to them. Here’s the secret, you don’t have to ‘Like’ them. Shock horror! Nope, in fact, with my other business I don’t even ‘Like’ my competitors’ pages. If you choose to like them, after you do, head back to that ‘Like’ button and check out your options.

Steps to creating easy Facebook content

Get Notifications

Up the top of your Facebook Newsfeed there is your profile picture (and Name), the word ‘Home’, 2 people together, 2 speech boxes, and a picture of the globe. In that globe are your Notifications. This is a collection point for where people mention your name or tag you in pictures, and this is also where you will receive updates from the pages where you choose to receive ‘Notifications’. When you choose to receive notifications, you will also see a box pop up in the bottom left of your screen, letting you know that the page has made a change, added a photo, or written a new post etc.

I use Notifications to ensure that I get to see what my favourite pages are up to and as an alternative Newsfeed of my choosing, not the choice of the Facebook Algorithm.


You will want to make sure that this is checked, otherwise the Page’s posts will not appear (at all) in your Newsfeed. This is a default for Facebook, however, there have been times after upgrades that this has become unchecked. So if your favourite pages have fallen off of your Facebook radar, then I would highly recommend checking this.

Interest Lists

This option is my ALL TIME FAVOURITE!!!! The beauty of this one is that you can add pages to your Interest lists without liking them. (Super handy for competitors pages) You can add pages to multiple lists. You can create lists for various reasons. So, I have lists for Competitors, Suppliers, Mastermind participant pages, Inspiration, and my all-time favourite is for Content to Share. That’s right, I have a list of pages, that when I am utterly stuck for things to share, I go to that list. It’s a gold mine of information, inspiration, blog posts, helpful hints, delicious recipes, questions, and the compulsory funny videos.

While the majority of my lists are private, I do have some public lists. These public lists are for my Mastermind participant pages, where we can readily see what is happening on our pages, like comment, and/or share from there. By having these lists, I help my fellow business owners by promoting their businesses, boosting their Reach, and sharing great content which my clients will enjoy.

Now What?

Well you can share the content, you can write a response to the content, write an argument to the content, review the content, find similar content. The options are endless. The idea is that when you need some inspiration, that you use these hints to get you ‘unstuck’.

These hints are fundamental to how I run and grow my businesses on Facebook. If you are interested in learning more about Facebook and how my pages have a consistent Reach of between 60-90%, without advertising, then sign up for the Newsletter to hear when training will launch. If you cannot attend the training, but would like to receive the workbook, then you can pre-order it now and receive it straight to your Inbox before the general public.

How to write for online

The key to social media is being social

Have you been following the expanded series on ‘how to write for online so you don’t look like an utter Noob‘? So here is your business checklist so far:
– you have a plan for the coming 6-12 months
– you know who your ideal customer is
– you have detailed your business mission & vision
– you have worked out what terms you will use (your style guide); so

Guess what, now you are ready to write for your customers. What? You’ve been doing it for a while? Good for you, now step back and consider this:
– Do you know where your ideal customer hangs out online?
– Do you know how they use the various social media platforms?

Unless you are lucky enough to fall into your definition of your ideal client, do NOT assume that they use social media the same way you do and do NOT assume that they want to either.


Let’s start with your website, Etsy page, Made It page etc. While I’m not going to tell you how to set these up, because they all differ, what I will say is this: whose need is it meeting? Don’t laugh, because the vast majority of websites I edit or visit are written for the owner’s benefit, or worse they are written in industry terms making them written for your competitors!

Consider the product categories, descriptions, and tags. Are they words you use to describe your products or services, or are they words that your customer would use? Go back to your definition of your ideal customer, their needs and where they crossed with your mission and vision. Now, are there words there that you can use in your description etc.? Why is that important? If you can:
– make it easy for your customers to find
– show them that you understand where they are coming from, then
– you will boost your sales.

Let’s face it we like to feel that we are understood, that our needs are important and are being met, and that we matter.

Do you blog? If you don’t and have the ability to add it to your site then I highly recommend it. Why? There are many reasons, but my favourite is to educate. But I reiterate, you need to blog for your customer (if you are running it on your website); that does not mean that all of the posts have to be about your products, in fact blogging about their other pain points can help to build a relationship (very important in building buyer confidence). Read more about the importance of blogging in my previous post (make sure you come back here though).

Before you read on, consider this:

Not all social media is created equal.
Social Media is there to be social.

Tweet this

Now read them again, consider where your ideal customer is on the chart above and then read the following points about the major social media sites.

Now I generally say not to post the same thing across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The thing is, most of us don’t have a lot of time and it is convenient for us as business owners. But, are we our customer? No! I’m not saying don’t do it at all, but as a customer I beg you, DON’T DO IT ALL THE TIME. Seriously, if you find it difficult then use the scheduling function available in Facebook or on your social media scheduler. By all means schedule the same post over different days at different times to ensure you have grabbed your customer where they are hanging out. Otherwise, give us some credit that we will see that you have posted the same thing in 2-3 locations, where we follow you because we love you, and we will wonder just how much you value us as individuals. Don’t believe me, consider how you feel when you hear mainstream radio play the latest hit over and over and over again, get sick of it & want to hear something different?

Time spent on social media


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2 Tackling fear in business

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I recently revealed that my driving word for 2015 was ‘Growth’. The thing that constantly attacks me achieving is Fear. Over the past weeks I have seen a fair bit of fear in business owners coming out in groups or in posts, here are some of them.

Fear that:

  • the new product won’t sell
  • developing a website/Facebook/video will be too hard
  • competitors will copy their work
  • they will embarrass themselves
  • others will talk, and
  • no one will like them.

Here is where I use my Psychology degree. Unless you have been diagnosed with some form of Anxiety type condition, you can quite easily overcome your fears. Guess what, even if you do have a diagnosed Anxiety type condition, you can use these tools to overcome your fears.

I’m going to tackle the fear of technology first, because it is the easiest.

Guess what, you won’t break it! You heard me right. You will not break a website, Facebook, Newsletter subscription service, etc. You won’t break them. How do I know? I have tried and I started building websites 15 years ago. You might be thinking, “well that’s easy for you with all of that experience” but I will tell you that if you can drag and drop and use a word processor then you CAN build a website. If you can use Facebook with a personal profile, then YOU CAN run a Facebook group or business page. If you know why you are using this technology, who you are aiming it at, and what they want out of it; then you are over the hardest part. If you don’t, then read my two-part blog on finding your online voice.

The next part of fear is purely acknowledging it and not giving it any energy. Some people call this mindfulness, as a psychological tool it is the basis of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. At its core, when you feel fear rising, you acknowledge the feeling and then watch it drift away; without giving it any thought. It’s like bumping into a friend at the shops when they are rushing off to an appointment. You wave ‘hi’ or say a quick ‘hello’ and then they quickly walk off on their way. Some people envisage the fear on or as a cloud, as a boat or plane, or as some other moving object.

Fear is false evidence appearing real

If you are the analytical sort then you might like the following quote I was told by the amazing Sonni from Sonni Lou Designs. Fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real”. Now think about it. What evidence do you have that what you fear will actually become reality? Have you researched and planned your decision? What evidence was there that it would all go pear-shaped? Does the likelihood of failure outweigh the chances of success, or are you going to gain more from the success?

Now let’s talk about what other people will think. There are two quotes I use in these circumstances.

The problem with worrying about what others think is that most of them don’t. Tweet this

What other people think of me is none of my business. Tweet this

When you consider the first, the people who you are worried about generally haven’t done the planning and research you have. The other thing is, they aren’t in your position, they don’t have your experience, needs, dreams, or ambitions. Conversely, the second comes in to play. You do not know where they are coming from, what their motivations are, what their belief system is, what their experience is. Ultimately, it’s their opinion – it’s not your reality and therefore it’s none of your business.

So, you’ve acknowledged the fear, you’ve looked at the evidence, and you really aren’t fussed what others think. Great!

Now, feel the fear and do it anyway!

Feel the fear and do it anyway