Showing posts from 2010

Success is a Personal Thing

One of my personal success factors is being able to afford to have someone come in and clean for me every two weeks. It started 15 years ago when I was single and living in Toronto. I was flying all over North America and my housekeeper would come in while I was away. An empty apartment accumulates more dust than a lived in one. I was making plenty of money to be able to pay someone to do something that I really dislike… and go play.

Each person has their own definition of success. Yours probably has nothing to do with housework. Understanding your own personal success factors is important because it keeps you from chasing after goals to which you are not emotionally tied. Goals that don’t feel authentic will be much harder to achieve.

Success is externally evaluated but internally experienced. Behind all of the outward signs, the essence of success comes down to our own personal sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.

Evaluate annually. Now is the time of year that we are considering how…

How Many Minutes?

Should you take the time to set up a good process?

Whenever you think “If only…” with regard to your work, you have an opportunity. Consider it from an economic perspective:
How many minutes would that “if only” save you each time it occurs? How many times per month does it occur?Multiply the answer to #1 by the answer to #2.Now consider, how much time would be involved in putting the “if only” in place? (in minutes)Divide the answer to #4 by the answer to #3. The answer is the number of months it would take for the time investment to pay off.
If your answer is 3 or less, you should consider making the change immediately. If the answer is between 3 and 12, it’s a worthwhile investment of your time. If your answer is greater than 12 months, perhaps what you’re doing now isn’t so bad, but there’s still an improvement opportunity.

A good process is a beautiful thing if designed right.
It takes the think-work out of more routine tasks.It helps ensure quality.It also makes it far easier to dele…

A Few Good Reasons

"Why do I care if I get along with my co-workers or not?"

This bold statement came from a young woman participating in a workshop I was delivering at a Halifax cosmetology school a couple of years ago. It was more of a statement than a question.

Oddly, it actually shut me up for several seconds. Not because I didn't know the answer but because I was surprised that she didn't.

That day we brainstormed 6 key reasons why getting along with other people is critical to any success. Working together, we can achieve these things that we cannot accomplish alone:

More creative solutions. When we bounce ideas off each other, we arrive at better solutions than we would alone.

Implementing complex plans and strategies. Because the work can be divided, together we can tackle complex projects more effectively than we can alone.

Learning from others' skills and experiences. When we work with others, we also learn from others.

Endurance. If one person is responsible, the loss of that p…

What I Learned from a Marketing Guru

I am fortunate to be good friends with a sales and marketing consultant. After years of advice, some things are definitely sticking. One of the most useful has been the P-O-S formula:

Pain - what is your clients' pain?
Outcomes - what will be the result of working with you?
Solutions - how do you achieve that?

I use this formula for all of the marketing writing I do. If I'm having trouble getting started, it helps me focus and draft my thoughts. If I had no problem writing, I use it as a checklist to edit at the end. It's quick, simple and memorable. Give it a try!

Thanks to Debi Hartlen MacDonald of New Life Business Solutions!

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Check Things Off

I have clients and potential clients that want to start e-marketing campaigns. They are stuck at the step of putting together their first mailing list.

In an effort to help, I decided I would give them a specific list of things they can do to compile their initial list. To add to my own ideas, I did some online research. An article called “How to build your mailing list” sounded promising. The skill level required was listed as ‘moderate’. Good so far. It went on to say:

Step #1: Create a well-optimized website…

Hmm… I’ll get right on that.

It’s hard to get motivated when we start with BIG tasks that are really more like projects. That article sure didn’t move me to accomplish anything. I didn’t read far before I felt overwhelmed.

When I seek ‘how to’, I’m looking for a task list that I can check off as I complete things. Being able to check things off gives me a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue. If the first thing on my list is going to take days, weeks, or months to…

What I Learned from a Telephone Guru

I am fortunate to be good friends with The Phone Lady. There are many important things that I have learned from her - the most difficult has been to stop using the word 'just'. That insidious little word just wants to sneak in everywhere. The problem is, once the word 'just' pops in, it diminishes the rest of the message:

"I'm just calling to follow up..." (but it's really not important)

"I just dropped in..." (but I didn't care if I saw you or not)

How about...?

"I'm calling to follow up..." (because it's important to me)

"I dropped in..." (because I wanted to see you)

It's definitely a struggle to keep that little 4-letter word out of my vocabulary! Here's Mary Jane's message about this - I encourage you to read it.

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The Rider, The Elephant and The Path

My business is all about making things easy for my clients. What I’ve learned is that making things easy isn’t the only secret to success. My clients need direction and motivation too. Getting the right mix of all three can be a challenge but, when it comes together, wonderful working relationships result.

Chip and Dan Heath, in their new book “Switch”, use a wonderful metaphor – of riding an elephant. The book is all about creating change, in ourselves and in others. Here are 3 basic ways to do that: Direct the Rider: appeal to our brainMotivate the Elephant: appeal to our heartShape the Path: make it easyWhile I’m all about shaping the path, I still have to direct the rider and motivate the elephant – both for myself and for my clients. I tend to try directing the rider first. Clear instructions should yield results… or so I think. Then I wonder why nothing happens. I have to remind myself… it is one thing to “get it” intellectually but quite another to “get it” emotionally.

This simpl…

Feeling Overwhelmed?

As an entrepreneur, it's often difficult to find time and energy for back burner items like... setting up, figuring out, checking out, gathering new ideas or starting anything new. Particularly when the item is computer-based and it's a sunny summer day! It's easy to get overwhelmed online and stray from your goal.

The best approach is to find a small amount of time to do something on your list each week and then put the list away until the following week. You will find it will not even matter if you finish a single task each time. Each short session will add up to accomplishment over very few weeks.

My time is Saturday morning with a coffee. A great quote that Mary Jane Copps likes to use is: "It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little."(Sydney Smith)

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The Line between Work and Play

My friend and colleague Jane Veldhoven posted a blog today about the time management challenges attached to social media. From that perspective, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc. are definitely the culprits in stealing our time. It’s where the line between work and play overlap.

We can spend hours online and enjoy it, but leave feeling like we’ve wasted time. Being a small business owner, that line is already easily blurred. I try to get past the guilt by thinking to myself that I just had a nice, well-deserved break, and then get on with my day. Like Jane, I like Linked In because it's all about business – so it’s easier to stay focused!

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Increase your Blog Readership on Linked In

Put your most recent blog posts on your Linked In profile using either of these applications:

They will display the title and first paragraph of your most recent blog post on your Linked In profile.  Find these apps:  from the Linked In main menu choose 'More...', then 'Application Directory'. Click to Tweet this Article

Do you only have one spare minute? Invest it wisely on Linked In.

Stay front of mind by updating your status on Linked In frequently.  Updates are the first thing that pops up on the Linked In home page for all of your contacts.  If your contacts are also clients and prospects, it's an easy way to remind them about you. Update your status with information that may be of interest to your contacts, such as website updates, new blog posts, new products, events you are attending, good books you've read, sales and promotions... you get the idea.  It takes less than a minute to update your status! Click to Tweet this Article

Are you Easy to Find? Use Linked In to Improve Search Results.

I should be able to find anyone online these days.  I often search for specific people or company names to get product or contact information.  Sometimes it's fast and sometimes it's very frustrating.  Three times in the past week I failed to find websites (that I knew existed) for local companies.  What business owner doesn't want to be found?

If you search my name on Google, the second entry is my Linked In profile. This leads people to a wealth of information about me and my company, including my phone number, website and blog - even if they aren't on Linked In themselves.

Take advantage of this prime search ranking!  Complete your Linked In profile.  The more complete and compelling your profile is, the more people will take it seriously and visit links you have posted.

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Reducing the Noise

One problem with the current social media soup is the high noise to relevant signal ratio. The most effective way to deal with this problem is to find accepted and popular experts in your field of interest and subscribe to their feeds. This will lead you to relevant online communities from which you can find and share pertinent advice and draw new customers. This approach will work much better than broad monitoring of many social media services because it will greatly reduce the noise you will need browse and therefore, the time you need to spend building your online reputation.

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Is Your Blog Browse Friendly?

Some of you may be blogging to drive readers to a target post of the day but for those of you blogging to have your readers browse your blog much like a magazine, you will want to make sure you are making full use of tags or labels. Tag and label tools are used to put your blog posts in category buckets that are easy to search and browse by the reader. You may want to consider adding a search tool on your front page that searches only your blog posts or a menu list already categorized with links to specific posts. The easier you make it for your reader to browse, the higher the possibility they will linger.

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What's your Word Count?

How long should a blog post be? It's a common question that has no definitive answer. Some experts recommend keeping your posts under 800 words and others, under 500.

One thing we all seem to agree on is that you have a brief moment to capture the attention of your reader. They have a lot to read. We recommend keeping most of your posts under 500 words and all of them under 800. You will find you can say a lot in 800 words. (This post has only 90 words.)

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Breaking Routine

A routine is not necessarily a bad thing but if blogging topics have become routine for you, chances are that your audience feels the same. One way to break the routine is to put very short survey questions on your blog asking your readers what topics they would like to read more about. What are they interested in today? Surveys on your blog will identify topics of interest to your specific audience. Just remember to keep it very short. You don't want them clicking out before they are finished and most readers today move quickly from screen to screen.

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Remember Your Audience

Keeping blog content relevant to your target reader is a key factor in blog success but can easily get lost in our rush to get everything done. One way to slow down and remember your audience is to sit quietly at your keyboard for even a minute or two, just before you compose your post, to think about the topic you are addressing in terms of your target reader. Once you place yourself in your reader's chair, it becomes easier to write specifically to them. This short moment of meditation will absolutely increase your focus and build your blog success. Keeping your posts relevant, interesting and helpful will have your readers returning for more.

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What's being said about you online?

An easy way to monitor your online reputation is to set up a Google Alert. It's quick and free. Follow this link and enter your full name with quotation marks around it - like "Linda Daley". It's a good idea to set one up with your company name as well. You'll receive an email every time your name shows up on the web. (If you have a common name it's a little trickier to filter, so read the FAQ to find out how.)

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Can Iceland's Volcano Drive Blog Traffic?

One way to drive traffic to your blog is to use current popular news stories as a jump off point to hook your audience. Readers often search current news stories and, if your post headline contains one of them, the same thought process will have them following the link to your blog post.

For example, emergency preparedness planning was a hot topic during the swine flu pandemic warnings in 2009. Emergency preparedness is less discussed with the story dropping out of the headlines. If you would like to open up the topic again with your clients, try using the Icelandic volcano eruptions and the havoc resulting at UK airports as a jumping off point.

Be sure to include the story headline in your blog post title to have your readers clicking in and keep the post content relevant to keep them there.

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Blog Posting Frequency

There are many reasons to blog for business so it is important to determine what your goals are with a business blog. A blog is the same as any other business process. You need to determine your end goal and plan a strategy that gets you there.

For those of you blogging to gain new customers, here is an interesting statistic from a hubspot survey they shared in a recent webinar.

100% of those blogging multiple times a day received a new customer contact through their blog. 90% of those blogging daily will achieve the same result. However, when you go out to those blogging weekly, only 58% received a customer and out at monthly blog updates it drops to 13%.

This does not mean that a business blog cannot serve multiple purposes but it does show that if your primary goal is to gain new customers, blogging has to be a commitment in terms of content relevance, frequency and promotion through social media tools.
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Paper Counts

The paper you use when providing printed documents to contacts and clients is a big deal. Well, I should say that it's a big deal only if you use the right paper. It's a non-issue if you use plain old 20lb. paper and it's a real detriment if you use cheap photocopy paper. I have had a lot of people comment on my paper over the years and many have said it's an important part of my brand. Not only does quality paper look good, but it also feels good to the touch - it engages other senses - which makes it (and you) memorable. I think it also says that the person you're giving it to is worth the extra cost and effort.

The environment: I try to compensate for my excess by recycling all the paper I print for my own use. Once done with, paper gets flipped over and used again. I had read that this isn't good for your printer but I just retired a printer after doing that for 11 years - can't ask for a printer to last much longer than that! (I also buy cheap recycled…

Use Linked In to keep your Contact List Up-to-date

You can export your connections from Linked In and import them into your Outlook address book or other contact list database.  On the MY CONNECTIONS page, in the bottom right corner, click on EXPORT CONNECTIONS.  Follow the directions to easily create a spreadsheet of all your Linked In connections.

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Search for the Best Blog

Although I've set up the odd blog for other people, I've never really considered having one myself... until 2 days ago.  My friend, Danielle, convinced me to contribute to a 'photo a day' blog.  In 2 days, we've explored WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger, but ended up liking Blogger the best.  It was the easiest to set up and navigate.  Of course, I'm happy as long as I can manipulate the colours and fonts!  So, after the learning curve was done, I decided that Daley Progress deserved a blog... and here you are.  Check back or subscribe because I'll be posting technology tips and other ideas for busy people.

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