Blog - Page 17 of 20 - Small business consultant, Kara Lambert is insightful and expert.

8 Fake Facebook Profiles

Fake facebook profiles

Big new this week is that the axe will fall on fake Facebook Profiles and deactivated Facebook Profiles. As a result, business pages, on 12 March 2015, will see a decrease in the number of Facebook followers. Don’t stress, it’s not all doom and gloom!

Before you star sobbing into your favourite beverage, there are a few things you should consider.

What these likers were never going to be!

Customers
Fakers were never going to spend money with you. Obvious right? The thing is as Facebook Business Page owners we get caught up chasing the next big milestone figure, rather than chasing the ones we already have. these fake profiles certainly got you closer to the next big number, but they were never going to help put food on the table.

Build Reach
These fakers were never going to like, share, or comment on ANY of the posts you put your time and effort into. They weren’t going to help you to reach their friends. They weren’t going to help you to expand your actual customer base.

Reviews
These fake Facebook profiles were never going to write reviews for you. They were never customers, so you had no hope of getting an honest third party perspective on your product. These reviews are becoming increasingly important as new customers seek out information about how your product or service performs, how you meet your customers’ needs, and the service you provide.

Build relationships
2015 is the year of social media relationships, reaching out to your fan base, sharing, and getting interactive. The fake Facebook profiles were NEVER going to help you achieve this hot trend.

What the fake Facebook profiles were doing!

Energy Vampires
I think we all know an oxygen or energy thief, well these fake Facebook profiles are no different. If you are aiming to get out to as many of you fans as possible (and you should be), then you are wasting time and energy on these ‘people’. Businesses are rightly concerned that they aren’t achieving a high enough Reach, compared to the number of likers they have. Thing is, if they are fake likes, then you are worrying over spilled milk and chasing shadows.

Showy peacocks
Here’s the thing, Facebook is not a popularity contest. The business with the most likers doesn’t win a prize. If you don’t engage and meet your customer ‘where they are’ then you will never see a sale from them and you won’t put food on the table. I am yet to meet a business who has set out to forgo profit for likers.

The fake Facebook profiles might look impressive, bolstering your numbers, but what real value do they add to your bottom line? Tweet this

fake facebook profileWhat you need to do NOW!

Focus
Forget the fakes and refocus on your ideal client. Who are they and what do they want from you. You are bound to have them in your likers already. Reach out to them.

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Sell the benefits
It doesn’t matter if you are selling the sizzle or if you are selling the what’s in it for me. So long as you are selling the benefits for your customer. Remember, they are time poor and you need to make it easy for them. There is a whole internet sea of information out there and you need to stand as their beacon and guide them your way. The easiest way is to make it about them, for them, and show them that you understand.

Be sociable
I keep banging on about being sociable. Don’t just post on Facebook, interact with your fans. It’s a two-way street. Don’t expect them to like and comment on your posts if you don’t extend them the same courtesy when they do. Customers love to know that they are special, that you ‘hear’ them. Facebook IS social media, so do it!

Drive traffic
Gone are the days where businesses sell on Facebook. It doesn’t matter if you use your own website, Etsy, Ebay, or some other hosted solution. GET YOUR CUSTOMERS OVER THERE. Show them the benefits of what you have on offer and get them over there. Quick smart! Don’t just link to your page, that doesn’t help explain to your customers why they need to be there; you will be penalised by Facebook. The January 2015 changes saw Facebook penalising salesy posts to websites. I have addressed this previously, so take some time to revise what I wrote.

Reach out
Let’s face it, counting likes is so 2013, engagement was 2014, 2015 is the year of the Reach. Reach is how many people, saw your post or page either in their News Feed from liking your page/posts or a friend liking your page/post. That front of mind presence is invaluable these days. It is another chance to touch your customer, and opportunity to reach a new customer, and a way to build those relationships.  You can learn more about how I consistently have a Reach of 60%+ by ordering my Facebook Workbook.

Finding Facebook all too hard? Find keeping on top of the changes daunting? Rather spend your time making money in your business? Would you rather keep your evenings and weekends for your family? Write to Right offer tailored Facebook Management packages for your business. Let us handle your page, Reach, Likes, Interaction, and go off and enjoy life!
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Selling

Golden rule of sales - Write to RightThere are two parts that businesses need to grasp about selling to a customer.

You need to either be selling the What’s In It For Me, or selling the sizzle. Neither of them are from your perspective. You know how brilliant you are, you need to tell your customers what you know. Remember the example I had about assuming!

Why is it important to sell the benefits?
– It spares the customer the job of trying to work out how the item or service will fit a need, want, or other hole in their life.
– Most importantly, it shows the customer that you understand them. It shows you have been listening. It builds your relationship with your customer. It engenders trust in you and your company.

What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) and selling the sizzle are flip-sides of the same thing. One is a push sale (WIIFM) and the other a pull sale (sell the sizzle). By having the ability to define both and to do both you will meet the needs of customers who either shop for a need (WIIFMers) or are aspirational shoppers (sizzle shoppers). You need to be able to identify, attract and cater to both.

The thing is that the core to being able to do both lies deep in their psyche and can be answered by asking one simple question, ‘so what?’

The hard part is removing the answer from describing the features of the product/service and talking from your customer’s perspective. Though, you can make this easier on yourself if you have defined your ideal client.

Go back to your Ideal Client, look at their fears and their goals. How does your product answer those? Where do you meet them? Where do you exceed them? Now look again at your product and ask yourself ‘so what?’

You can keep asking yourself the question a number of times for the same feature and benefit. The further you dig the closer you are to hitting your customer’s touch point. Remember those? You need, on average, seven to ten to make a sale. The better your touch, the fewer you will need.

So go on, sell me! Give me your elevator pitch! Tell me your business name and the three reasons why I should use your business. Tell me your ‘so what’!

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.

Following

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
– NOW WHAT?

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.

Websites

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

Facebook

Read More

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

3 Facebook algorithm & putting social into social media

The them and us of social media - W2RWe are now almost a month into the new Facebook algorithm and one thing is patently clear – my reach died on my larger page.

I run two pages, one for each of my businesses (Write to Right & Schooled Up), and the larger of the two saw a dramatic drop in its reach. Normally I sit between 60-80% reach (total or post) for my page (all organic); with the change in algorithm it dropped to a third of that. I was in shock! I looked at Write to Right, a newer and smaller page, and its stats hadn’t changed, still 80-90% total reach. I was a little surprised, but being a much smaller page it wasn’t too surprising that it hadn’t moved.

So I pulled my socks up and went back to grass roots for Schooled Up. I looked at the articles about the new algorithm and I looked at what I was already doing. I was already sharing links the way that Facebook wanted them shared – no bait linking and with the image brought in from the website. I didn’t generate my own videos, so there was no benefit of having native video uploads. My photos were bright and colourful. I had engaging content. What was up?!

It hit me! Zuckerberg had gone back to grass roots Facebook, back to the user experience, closer to a true ‘social’ media platform. I had to be more sociable, I had to think link my end user, I had to use Facebook (as a business) like I use it as an individual. Tweet this

So what does that look like?

It means I think more about what my customer wants to see. What they are going through, what is bothering them, what will make their day easier, and I share that. I share more of myself. I used to be a little standoffish, not wanting to share too much of me on my page. I now inject more of my personality into my posts. Now, there is a word of caution here, my customers on the Schooled Up page are a happy chatty lot, they are there to see what I am making, have a laugh, and learn a hint or two. So, I can use emoticons and kisses in my posts, they don’t mind. But honestly, we can all lighten up a little bit! Even brain surgeons joke around; so why not try to find, better still make your own, a humorous quote or picture which will appeal to your ideal client.

Speaking of lighten up. Don’t rant on Facebook. I mean don’t ever! As a user I am on Facebook to catch up with what my friends and family are up to and to see what great new things your business is doing. I do not want to hear how: Facebook isn’t playing nicely, how another business stole your idea, and at a push do I want to know that you can’t make a deadline because of illness. People will disagree with me, they will say that it boosts their stats – sure, temporarily. If you continue to whinge at your customers they will turn off. Consider this, your Facebook posts and page are your shop front, how would you feel as a customer if you walked into a store to some sour person whingeing about how bad business is. It’s not welcoming. Last year, Facebook published its research on how positive emotions in posts effected behaviour. I analysed it and wrote about how businesses can benefit from the research. I strongly suggest that you head over and revise that content. Why? Because with the change in algorithm to a more user oriented, socially driven Facebook, you will benefit from knowing what makes people click and comment on Facebook.

Now what do I mean about being sociable, well I wrote about it back in June 2014, but here are a few ideas. Consider what is troubling your ideal client (not sure who your ideal client is, here is where you can do some background work), then head to Pinterest, Google, ask them what their favourite pages are, or if you happen to be in your definition of you ideal client then look at your Newsfeed. Set up an interest list of the Facebook pages they find interesting and follow them, look at what they are sharing, share from them (you will be helping their stats too). Not too sure about that? Have a look at what is trending on Facebook. The other day, the big news item here in Australia was the change to the Cadbury crème egg recipe, so I found a DIY for the eggs and shared it, with a reference to the recipe change. It was huge! With most of my fans being parents, I shared a kinetic sand recipe just after Christmas – another popular one with my customers.

So what did I have to do to improve my Facebook insights? (they are now back up) I went back to what my customer wants. They don’t want to see a constant stream of my products, they don’t want to hear my whinge about how my stats dropped. They want helpful ideas on raising their kids, mealtimes, and cleaning the house. They want to know how my products will help make things easier for them. They want to be entertained. They have enough drudgery in their lives, and I help make it that bit easier.

So, do you know what your ideal customer wants? How are you improving their day? Want to know the other gems I use to get my reach so high? Then sign up for the weekly newsletter, where I will share the hints and you will be invited to attend my Facebook secrets workshop, where I will tell you the steps to take to get seen on Facebook.

Time management

Mindfulness time management Write to RIght

But I just don’t have the time! I’m time poor! I need more hours in the day! I wish I had a magic wand and could give you more hours, I don’t, but I do have ways to make it feel like you do have more time. It’s all about time management and time perception.

Here’s the thing, if you constantly think and feel that you don’t have enough of something; you won’t! It really is a ‘glass half empty’ approach to time management. Consider this, you have a friend who is always negative, they can not see the good in anything; always moping, bad things constantly going wrong. If they can only see the negative, that is all they will find.

So, now think about time. Yes I know we all have the same number of hours in the day, but how do you value and see those hours? Do you believe that they will slip through your fingers, do you think they will whizz by; or do you think you have all the time you need, and that time is on your side? Which would you prefer?

I changed my belief about the time I had and suddenly I realised that I can do all that I need AND I don’t have to feel rushed or stressed in completing them. I realised that time is an asset and when assets are seen for their true value they can appreciate. (Tweet this) I liken it to when you feel stressed and take a deep breath, things seem to slow and calm down. When I first started, there were a lot of deep breaths, but that’s ok, it’s working.

So my first hint is to change how you think about the time you have available, the second is planning how you use your time.

So, time is an asset, something to be valued. Don’t squander it! I plan my time, especially when I have a number of high, competing priorities. I work back from my deadline, add meetings, parent commitments, me time, wiggle room for illness; then I work out which parts of the task need to be done, when (milestones). I admit, it’s the project manager in me that enjoys this, but to be honest, if it didn’t work I wouldn’t do it. (I’m just not a checklist kind of person)

I encourage you to put in the time for illness and time for yourself. While you plan your working time with these contingencies, if you don’t need them, then don’t use them. That said, I have quite often been grateful for having worked an extra day into a schedule to care for a sick child, be with a friend who needed a shoulder, or attend that impromptu school assembly.

So planning your time is key. The other tool I have used to maximise my time is a social media calendar. I used the calendar when I took a month off for a family holiday. It saved my sanity when I was planning the posts, it also saved me time in rebuilding my Facebook reach when I returned, it kept me in contact with my email subscribers, and it allowed me the freedom to be dedicated to my family while on holiday.

If you would like to know more, I suggest looking up Randy Pausch, Gay Hendricks, mindfulness, and Einstein time.

Style guide

style guide Write to Right business solutions

I believe that a classic style never dates and consistency is key to delivering to your customers. But how does it apply to business and why is it important? Consider official letters from Government. They can be sent from anywhere in a country, not necessarily where you reside, but it will not matter where it is they will all have a similar look and feel. The easiest way to combine the two is to develop a business style guide.

Why is this important? People like consistency, we are generally adverse to change. If you were reading an official letter and it used terms interchangeably, changed its logo throughout, and referred to you or the representative in different ways you would start to question. You would question if they knew what they were doing, if it was actually an official letter, and how you would be treated face-to-face or on your next encounter.

So how does this apply to your business? Firstly, I could almost guarantee that there are other businesses around with a similar name and or function to yours. A consistent look to your communication (website, emails, Facebook, etc.) will save them any confusion as to which business they are talking with. Secondly, it is easier for a business owner to use one style for their communication, rather than feeling the need to make it up as they go along. It is also helpful if you have staff who write for the business. Thirdly, it can save you money when employing a consultant to undertake any communication tasks (developing a pamphlet, building a website, managing social media etc.).

Using a style guide has certainly helped me when writing for different media and clients. While working in government, there were guides for press releases, ministerials, client letters, and an overarching guide. Unless you are a business with a few hundred staff who communicate across many media and stakeholders, you are unlikely to need this many guides. However, a document that outlines your mission, vision, ideal client, benefits, key adjectives, and preferred tone is a worthy addition to your business. From here it can evolve to including which messages are distributed over particular media. You can even detail how minutes will be taken and distributed.

Consistent look

If you have been following the blog, you should now go back and revise the adjectives where your
goals/mission/vision and the needs/fears of your ideal customer cross. This will give you some grounding to develop the style guide.

Business name
You will need to consider how you will refer to your business. Will you use the name in full all the time, for the first time on a page or use, will you use a shortened version?

Business owner/s
Have you thought about how you will refer to yourself as the business owner or owners? Will you use ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘they’, or your name or names? Although you will need to consider the tense of the text you are writing, this is one topic where I see a lot of inconsistency. Something you might wish to consider if you are struggling with this is if your customers would prefer to be spoken to in a formal or informal/conversational tone. An informal/conversational tone will use ‘I’ and the formal tone will use ‘we’ or ‘they’.

Logo
Probably one of the easier aspects to settle on, except if you consider how it will be used online, in black and white, or if there is some instance where you will prefer a shortened version.

Colours
Something I had previously overlooked was how I used colour through my communication. I underestimated how the use of consistent colours can reassure customers and develop your brand image. Consider the background colours to images or posters you develop and font colours for any communication. There is a simple rule of thumb applied to the use of colour online: There should be a high contrast between the background and the text colour, and avoid yellow text (many people find it difficult to read online).
Here is something I learnt as a manager, don’t refer people to a particular coloured text, it will be meaningless if they are colour blind.

Font
Some businesses will consistently use one font for all communication. Others will use the font from their logo. This is a matter of style. Branding experts recommend using no more than three font styles in one image or document. Additionally, research indicates that people find text with serifs easier to read, something to consider if you are writing a larger document.

Tense
The tense you use will generally depend on the topic or how the document is to be used. My word of advice is to be consistent. While there can be a need to jump between past, present, and future tenses; doing so can make your document harder to read and can cause confusion.

Ease of use

So, if you have detailed how your business will meet the above points, it will give you a handy guide when writing. Better still, if you and another person write for the business it will assist in having consistent look to your communication. I have found having a ready reference also helps me to quickly put together supporting images and documents (and I’m all for saving time).

Saving money

Employing a consultant to manage your social media, develop a website, or develop a document can be a costly, though worthwhile, venture. Having a document that outlines how you will refer to yourself, your business, how you want your logo used, and your business colours will save having this conversation with the consultant. It allows us an insight into the back end of your business and means that we can easily support you and help you to achieve your outcomes. Let’s face it, in anyone’s business time IS money.

Work smarter

work smarter with Write to Right

Working on over working in. Work smarter, not harder. Have you heard either of these in business? They are not cliché and are actually related.

When you choose to work on your business, you are dedicating your time to working smarter. (Tweet this) Working smarter doesn’t mean lowering prices, increasing profits, or churning out more widgets. It’s not about doing more with less, either.

Working on, similarly isn’t about working out how to increase sales, profits or decreasing costs. These things are all about working in your business.

So what’s my point?
As an owner of two businesses, I have had to establish some clear systems to allow me to meet my obligations. With a family to go with these business obligations, I like some flexibility. This is where I have started to work smarter. This doesn’t mean that, at times, I have to work hard.

What have I done?
In the past year I have implemented a number of changes in how I run my businesses, which allow me to grow my income, reduce the time I spend working in my business, and increase the time I can spend with my family. (And I haven’t increased prices or decreased costs)

Last year, I implemented six-monthly reviews of my business goals and broader activity. I track my income and expenses as they occur (but this is working in), however, I also monitor them against the broader goals I set. This review allows me to see where I am meeting (or exceeding my aims) and also where I need to change.

In my business, ‘working on’ has two arms: education and systems.

As a business owner, I find it difficult to put work aside and spend time on myself. However, it is exactly when I spend time developing my knowledge that I receive the greatest benefit in my business. (Tweet this) When I read, I am either developing myself or I am developing my business knowledge. In the past 12 months I have read and learnt from: Get Rich Lucky Bitch (Denise Duffield-Thomas), The Big Leap (Gay Hendricks), Thrive (Arianna Huffington), and Tribes (Seth Godin). I also read a number of blogs, including, Make it Look Easy, Leonie Dawson, and Marie Forleo (plus those whose books I have read).

Grow your business with Write to Right

I have learnt more about goal setting, planning, self-assurance, self-care, and self-love. All of these have helped me grow as a person and as a business owner, but not one of them has directly resulted in an increase in cash flow. They have all been about working ‘on’ me and my business and it is how I have implemented the learning which has resulted in financial growth.

The thing I love most about this growth is that I can then apply it to my business. If I feel more self-confident then I am more likely to make the system changes my business needs.

When I change the systems in my business, I gain time that I can then spend on myself, my business, or my family. There are large system changes and small system changes. Here are a few that I have made and profited from over the past year.

Reverse engineering my time
As I said earlier, running two businesses is taxing. The biggest system change I have made is to reverse engineer my week. I used to be reactionary or first in first out before I started Write to Right (my second business). As a result of starting Write to Right I had to make drastic changes to how I handled my time. I work backwards from when work is due, include other obligations, free time, and some contingency time (because let’s face it we get sick). Now, this does not mean I take all of this time to do the work; in fact, I am more likely to finish the work earlier. What reverse engineering allows is for me to feel less pressured when things go wrong and for me to value my time for myself and my family.

Accounting systems
A recent review of my accounts and time input into the business lead me to change my accounting systems. This has meant a simpler way for customers to pay invoices and a more automated accounting process on my end. So not am I not working harder, I am no longer busy working in my business collecting debts.

Websites
I recently needed to update my website, but realised that I needed to change the entire platform on which it was built. So I outsourced it! There is a misconception in small business that:
– we must do everything we are capable of (and I certainly was)
– outsourcing is expensive, and
– outsourcing is a luxury.

They’re all wrong. While I knew how to change the platforms, I also knew that by outsourcing it, it would be faster and allow me more time for other activities.

So, how will you work on your business in 2015? What will you do to work smarter? 2015 is my year of growth, so I will continue to learn. Growth isn’t always inwards, so I will be growing and sharing what I know with all of you. The first is a series of facilitated courses with practical tasks that will give you knowledge you can implement (straight away). After this I will be working towards my ebooks/workbooks and videos; these will push my boundaries, help me to grow, and allow me to meet my goal of helping you to grow your business.

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