Heart-centred business Archives - Page 6 of 6 - Kara Lambert

Category Archives for "Heart-centred business"

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.


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.

8 The glorification of ing & the power of being

The importance of being

I remarked to a friend that last week was quite strange. A number of fellow business owners were outwardly struggling with depression, anxiety, cyber-bullying, lack of sales, and generally just feeling funky. I have to admit, I was one of them. Now we couldn’t answer the world’s problems in our five minute walk from the car, if only! But it has stuck with me; perhaps it’s the psych grad in me wanting to know the ‘why’. I haven’t found a ‘why’, but I believe I have found a ‘what’.

I believe that we are stuck in the glorification of the ‘ing’. You know what I mean, we are all busy do-‘ing’. As business owners we are busy:

– chasing

– planning

– selling

– learning

– marketing

– making

– writing

– budgeting

– accounting

– worrying

I am certain there are others, as we each run different businesses and each in our own ways. We are projecting all of this energy out of us and into our business and customers. Then on top of that some of us have families.

As a wife and mother I have a whole other list of ‘ing’s and they seem to grow around Christmas. This time of year we add attending/organising Christmas functions, organising school holiday activities and chasing the right present (anyone who has had a child who has wanted this years’ must have present will know exactly what I mean).

Then when the list is made, we glorify it. Friends come and ask how we are, and we openly respond with “Tired”, “Rushed”, “Exhausted”, “Busy” and they nod in empathy, for they are the same. We talk about all the things we have to do, obligations we have, how we need xyz for the business, and how we are waiting to steal a few days of rest over Christmas (amongst the other ‘ings’ we have lined up).

It was another conversation that I had over the weekend, with a client, which pointed it all out. You see, she was establishing a new business, sorting out stock issues, and planning and growing her business; but she was too busy to enjoy it. With a wistful look in her  eye she said “I just wish I could create what I wanted to, I miss playing”. You see, in all of our ‘ing’ we miss out on some of the greats:

– playing

– loving

– sharing

– being

I like the last one as it can encapsulate the others. Watch this talk from TED to see how big business is encouraging creativity and profiting from the investment.

As a small business owner, I need to back away from the ‘ing’ and look to the creative. I took a month away from work and travelled with my family. In this time I had the space to be and in that I found clarity. This clarity has formed a new direction and untold benefit. Last week, I needed that time again, time to just ‘be’ and in that time I found strength to move forward.

So I wonder, maybe the ‘ing’ that we need to incorporate more into our business (and life) is being. Taking the time and being in a space where we are not bound by rules and expectations; a space where we can play, experiment, and tell stories. A place where there is no right or wrong. What the video was looking at was using the life of children to fuel our creativity. The thing about childhood is that most of us were left to be. We were told to go outside and play, to entertain ourselves; why as adults do we not give ourselves that space? We are too busy with and glorifying the ‘ing’ to go and just be.

So, in the comments below, where do you go to just be? How do you recharge and explore your creativity? There are no right or wrong answers, and you just might inspire someone.

10 Define your business core values

Core values - Write to Right

My last blog post was all about getting to know your ideal client. When you understand the ‘who’ it gives you something to aim for, but with what are you aiming?

Do you know why you are spending your time in it? What drives you and your business? What are your goals or ambitions? What is your purpose? (Deep, I know!)

These questions set the foundations of how others see your business. Here are some simple prompts to help you:

Who– who are you, are you a multi-national, family company, or sole trader? Who are your customers? Are they families, singles, seniors, small business, multi-nationals?
What– What is it that you do? What do you sell?
Why- Why do customers use your business? What is the benefit to them?
Where– Where can they find you? Are you a bricks & mortar, online, franchise?

I would like businesses to dig a little deeper. Big business does it, government departments do it; why don’t small businesses? Small business has the advantage of size and that they often are their culture and that their culture is a large part of who the business is. But what is culture? What underpins it culture is values. It is the values which we hold, individually and collectively, that help define who we are and how we portray ourselves to others. With the integration of social media into business, the injection of our personality through our values is key to developing lasting and valuable relationships with our clients. Tweet this

What are your core values?

Professionally, personally, collectively as a business – what are your core values? What are the fundamental underlying traits, behaviours, and values that you hold? I have included ‘personally’ as so many business owners instil parts of their own personality into their business.

Why should your business define its core values:

  • Point of difference with your competitors
  • Alignment of staff
  • Communicate what is important
  • Influence behaviour
  • Inspire action
  • Contribute to success
  • Shape your culture

I have written on how the culture & values impact on staff behaviours in my Masters of Management, should you wish to read further on the topic please email me directly.

Customers ask how to define their core values. There are a number of ways. Personally, I looked at the one thing I would love to do even if I never got paid to do it; then I looked at what it was about that thing which drove me. For me, it comes down to quality (read my latest post on this) and giving business owners the skills to get the most out of their business and to get themselves to the next level.

At its essence you are looking for what you and your business stand for, what ultimately drives what you do and what it is you actually do.Tweet this

Here is a video, which I have found, that will help you on the journey to finding your core values.

I’ve also found the following video on how large corporations use their core values. I particularly like the point made by Tony Hsieh that their company used the values to ‘hire and fire’. From my research, I know that (certainly in the public service) the alignment of core business and employee values is a key driver in customer satisfaction.Tweet this I believe that the private sector is no different. This is, in part, reiterated by the second statement by Jim Collins in the following video. (I also find the clip from Steve Jobs quite inspiring.)

Now over to you, comment below with your core values (business or personal). Don’t be shy and don’t worry if you only have one. Now think about how you will use this value and transmit this value to your customers.


Quality, heart-centred online business

Quality websites - Write to RightIn my last blog post, I wrote about how I kept my online presence whilst I was on holidays. Now, during those four weeks I not only had a marvelous time, I received a shot of clarity. See, I thought I knew what was at the heart of Write to Right, seems there is something in the Parisian air and I now know what is at the centre of the business.

I have a burning desire to help business owners make their online presence the best it can possibly be. My focus is on quality. While I have been teaching you the skills and sharing my insights in running an online business, what I wanted to do was to help you make the most out of what is inside you, what drives your business. I want to help you get that out to your customers.

I was talking to a prospective client, who was looking for a content author (something I can, but prefer not to do), and I spoke to them on how I like to focus on getting the most out of a business’ existing online resources and how they will benefit. I explained that although I write all of my own content, I don’t write for others as my experience is that business owners are best placed to write their own content. (Read my blog post on why you don’t need a copywriter) I also explained how, though web designers/builders are great for building your site – they will only put in to it what they receive from their customer (you).

Now, while I am a firm believer (now) in getting something up live and rejuvenating it, I also am a firm believer in the need to make it the best it can be at that time. Some would say that it’s advocating for polishing the proverbial dog dung, but some customer’s prefer theirs shiny and isn’t it better to show your customers what you sell on a polished turd than not letting them know at all?

I’ve read a lot recently about quality being an entry requirement to the marketplace, I’m also seeing more on how marketing is changing from a push to a pull. I don’t think they are mutually exclusive. As a consumer, I am turning away from the hard sell and I am also becoming wary of the soft sell. As a business owner, I (and others) am developing the ‘social’ part of my social media presence. (Read how you can be more social in my blog)

I believe that consumers are looking for genuine interaction when purchasing and I firmly believe that businesses find genuineness easier when they come from a place of quality.

Why? Quality, and delivering what you say, engenders trust and customers will only perceive genuineness when they trust the message and the method. (Tweet this)

Take some time to watch this TED talk from Joseph Pine. While this talk is now a decade old, I believe that we are still in the transition phase and that when businesses realise that customers are after more than just a product or service they open up another level of their business’ earning capacity.

Social media is ingrained in current culture. In fact, Facebook has an average of 1.35 billion people using the platform every month (Tweet this). While businesses might believe that they can afford not to be on a social media platform, I’m not one to ignore the potential of reaching 1.35 billion people every month. Incidentally, I am also aware that there are a number of consumers who shun social media, and as a result I maintain a website presence. The benefit of both is an increased potential client base.

I want your business to make the most of the opportunities afforded it. I want you to shine above your competitors. I want you to extend the quality you invest into your products and services to your online presence. I see benefit in moving to the experiential model and believe that a lot of this lies in your online communication.

I believe that ensuring the quality of your business’ online presence is what lies at the heart of my business. There is science behind this. Google has quality indicators in its search algorithm, customers will not buy from websites that contain spelling and grammatical errors. (read more about why I think this is important) I want to take this science, meld it with my Management and Psychology qualifications and balance it with my years of website experience to offer you ways to have the best online presence possible for your business.

So that’s the ‘why’, what about the ‘how’? Read through my blog posts, sign up to the newsletter, like my Facebook page. These are all ways in which you can find out how you can DIY a better online presence. If you are time poor check out the services I offer to do it for you.

Where to from here now that you have read, signed up and liked? I want you to watch the following TED talk by Seth Godin on Tribes. I want you to think on what is at the core of your business and how you will lead your tribe in a new direction. Think about what influence you can make in the next 24 hours and take your tribe on a new journey. Better still, when you take them on the journey, let us all join you by sharing it in the comments below.


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