Is your business suffering from friend sabotage?

by Leanne Campbell, Passion Media Productions.

1152432_cybot_wipIs your business suffering from friend sabotage?

As a home business person it is difficult at times to determine if your doing the right thing in your business. This is because often there are not many people around us who support us, understand us and can give us constructive feedback or quite simply that we can trust! Businesses where your the only one in it are sometimes beset by our own worries and self doubt and we need to always work on keeping our views clear on what we are trying to achieve and not on our own negative self concerns. If your self taught in what you do and your always comparing yourself to others with training or better equipment then STOP! you are you and your abilities are yours and as long as your passion to be the best is there then you will always improve! On top of all of those hurdles we often feel the need to ‘help’ our friends within our business and welcome them in without interviewing them to see if they are the best person for the job!

In times of self doubt we sometimes are tempted to go to our friends for help and if they don’t believe in our business then the negative feedback can destroy our positive self image and also cloud our thoughts on what we need to do to grow and improve ourselves and our business. Of course not all friends will do this but there are a lot who mean well but are not of the same mind set and they can shake our self confidence to the point where we no longer believe we can do it and so our business either suffers or fails! To prevent this you either need to work out which of your friends can give you honest feedback with a mindset that you can and will do it or you need to find a network of people in a similar situation who can help you where there is a win win learning/encouraging environment between all of you.

The other area we can let ourselves damage our own business is in having friends help us. This one factor has destroyed many people’s business because most people expect their friends to have their back! The truth is most people only have their own backs. It is difficult to present a professional image if the person assisting you in your work is turning up late to scheduled times, if they don’t pass on contact details to you because they want them for their own interests or if they are unprofessional in attitude and actions. Don’t let this one most common mistake destroy your business!

If you have gone out into the world yourself in business it is up to you to protect yourself. If your business has been effected in any way and your gut instinct is telling you that a friend is sabotaging you in any way then do something about it before it becomes so big there is no recovery from it. Don’t lose your business and your friend because you didn’t protect either relationship when you saw the problems arise. If a friend is accidentally bringing down your confidence levels then decide not to discuss your business with them from now on. For friends working with you already you need to find a diplomatic way of letting them know you don’t need their help any more.

The biggest way a friend can sabotage your business is if you let them. I know this is hard to take but if you were looking at it from the outside you would see how your business and infact you yourself are suffering.  Wake up and smell the coffee, see what is really happening…know who you are and develop yourself and your business. Friends can be the biggest hurdle a home business person needs to overcome but it is one of the most necessary! Do your friend and yourself a favor and make sure your healthy, happy and successful. Friends are meant to be friends not business workers. Who are you to go to for a quiet drink when a co worker is annoying you to cool down if your friend is that co worker??? Who do you go out with after a long tiring week of work to get away from it all if your friend is also your work mate??

Set yourself and your friends free so your business can soar!

Leanne Campbell
Passion Media Productions

passionmediaproductions@gmail.com

Why Most Small Businesses are Failing at Getting Business Online, and How You Can Succeed at It

1287371_seo_2Most businesses look at the ‘Online’ marketing world and see it as the magic answer to solve all their business problems, so they go out build a ‘brochure’ website (which are not designed to get leads or customers) and sit back and expect the customers to come pouring in. The reality is that this just doesn’t happen.

Marketing your business online has massive potential leverage for business – it can work 24/7 marketing your business, anywhere in the world, but like offline marketing you need to put in work and have a successful working online marketing plan to get real, sustained results online.

There is so much “noise” out there on the internet today that it can be very hard to get traction online for most businesses, but that is where most consumers and businesses are searching to make purchases.

When marketing your business online you want to follow the PITT formula, which is:
Plan à Implement à Test à Tweak

First you want an online marketing strategy for you business, don’t just go out and run around the internet trying to market your business, have a clearly defined plan of how you are going to market and advertise your business online.

Where are you going to advertise? How often are you going to market? Where are you sending the visitors you are marketing to? How are you planning on converting these visitors once they are at your site?

Next you want to go out and implement the plan, and make sure you are testing all of your online marketing to see what is working and what is not working. Where is your traffic coming from and how is your site working to convert visitors into leads? Make sure you are tracking all stats for your marketing and your site so that you can easily see which of your marketing strategies are working and which aren’t.

Then ‘tweak’ – start making small changes to your site and to your marketing to improve your results. Making small changes and testing gets you ahead of the game and means that you are constantly improving your results online, and if something isn’t working, then that small change can simply be undone and there is no huge loss to your business.

Lastly, repeat the cycle to ensure you are always moving your business marketing forward. The biggest mistake I see most businesses make online, is that they try one thing online to market their business and it doesn’t work, so they give up. Getting results online for your business is about constant planning, implementation and tweaking.

So where is the best place to market?

Use a wide variety of advertising and marketing sources online, don’t just pick one source and focus all of your effort on that one source, because what will happen if that source suddenly disappeared?
The best place to market online really comes down to the business and who their target customers are. Not every online advertising and marketing strategy is going to work for every business – it is not a one size fits all thing, and the strategy needs to change for every business depending on their size and their target customers. That is why the testing and tweaking system is so important.

Businesses want to think about who their ideal client is and where are they hanging out online? What sites do they visit? What are they doing online?

If you are a business selling fishing gear, then go and find fishing hobby sites and forums where fishing enthusiasts are hanging out and go an interact with them to market your business.

Search engine advertising works well, as long as you have a website that is converting visitors, otherwise you are just wasting money.

Social Media is a fantastic source of potential customers, and is growing very fast. Many businesses are bringing in massive amounts of business via social media, but a lot of businesses are doing it completely wrong, and just wasting their time with it. Make sure if you go down the social media avenue to do your research on how to best market yourself and get business through social media.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a great way to get free targeted traffic to your site without having to pay the search engines to send that traffic to your site. This can take time to get working (depending on your industry) and if you are in a competitive online industry it can be hard to get traction with this without the right knowledge or advice. The greatest key to getting great results in SEO is to do your research upfront to find the right keywords to target.

The online world can be very confusing and daunting to businesses that haven’t had much experience with it, but with a bit of research and action in the right direction, virtually any business can leverage their business online and be successfully getting business online.

Copy (2) of Kim-portraitKim Baird
Online Results Expert at Amazing Business
Kim has been helping businesses to get real results online for their business for almost 10 years. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience both technically and also in sales and marketing which is key to her success at getting results for her clients. For more great information on how to get better results for your business online, or to find out how Kim can work with you to get results, visit the Amazing Business website

Have an internet presence without a website!

1290864_ethernet_cableBy Deb McPhedran

Remember the good old days?  You decided that you wanted to work for yourself: have your own business.  You put an ad in the paper, told a few mates and off you went.  How things have changed!  We have ABN’s and BAS, and registered business names and trading names, and insurance policies and liability policies.  Oh for the simple days of the past…sigh….

The internet has changed the way we live, and the way that we do business too.  If my husband is looking for a new product to use in his plumbing business, he goes to the internet and he searches for what he is looking for.  He finds the product, the price, and where he can purchase it from.  The internet has indeed changed the way that we do business forever!  The fact is if you are not effectively represented on the internet, then you are not tapping into the enormous potential for business growth that is provided there.  Collectively we are all spending far more time on the internet, so can you really afford not to have an online business presence?

Mypostcodes.com is a recently launched Online Business Network designed to allow Trades, Services and Businesses to have a detailed online presence without the hassle of designing and maintaining a website.  When you join mypostcodes.com you will receive a free membership.   This will allow you to promote your business in a nominated postcode area of your choice.  You are then able to build your own ‘contact card’ which enables you to represent your business exactly how you want to. These can contain as much detail as you like, including price lists, menus, business descriptions and more.   Businesses are found by category and postcode.  Additional subscription levels begin at only $99.00 per year, with the highest level of membership being an Australia wide membership for those businesses who do their trade by mail or internet for example.  Check us out at  www.mypostcodes.com  and you can join us and leave feedback at www.facebook.com/mypostcodes.

Deb McPhedran is a partner in a small business with her husband.  Along with Irena Butler who is a Financial Planner and Michael Lyne who is a Web Designer, they have developed mypostcodes.com which is a recently launched and affordable Online Business Directory allowing business owners to promote their businesses in their own unique way.

Dot Com Women

dotcom_women_on_black_squareBusiness Women: looking for robust discussion and a positive, supportive community in which to learn, grow and prosper?  If you want to be challenged, cheered and encouraged, Dot Com Women is for you.

Dot Com Women is an online forum for entrepreneurial women in all stages of business and entrepreneurial activity.  Dot Com Women aims to promote business leadership through active participation in the Dot Com Women Forum and provides the opportunity to:

- meet motivated and savvy business women
- be part of a vibrant online community where women become critical thinkers in the world of business
- forge strategic alliances
- promote to other business women

Here’s what some members have said about Dot Com Women:

“I think that business women offer something unique to the market place and that with a little bit of support (and some cheering from the sidelines) we can become incredibly savvy business leaders and owners.”

“How exciting to see women prosper in business with diversity and variety – it’s amazing by networking can what you encounter and many relationships you build from it…That’s what I love about networking. Being time poor these days, this website still allows us the opportunity to still network from our own personal desks at work whilst juggling the craziness of life. Love it!”

Limited Offer: Half Price premium membership ($75 inc GST). Go to www.dotcomwomen.com.au and start expanding your business network TODAY!

Out in the world vs in your head

Article by Jo Balfour

20090903-IMG_7590-2One of my New Year’s intentions this year has to wring my hands less at work. It’s part of a sustainable stress management plan.

Hand-wringing is quite specific, I know, but the concept behind it is around not getting the ‘guilts’ or the ‘niggles’ that I’m letting someone down or upsetting them with a decision.

Stress-free decisions come from quick and straightforward communications around news or views.

Hand-wringing comes from putting off telling clients you’re going on holiday.
That’s probably not revolutionary but, despite being a strong and resolved individual, last year, I learnt the hard way.

In the third year of running my business, I put off telling my clients I would be away for two weeks because I feared they might hate / sack me / wish sushi food poisoning on me. Not that my clients are that way inclined in the slightest, but in my head, I was scared to tell them. By the time I’d mustered up the conversation, it simply was too late to organise my trip, and I postponed my holiday.

Consequently, I put off fulfilling a lifelong desire to see the cherry blossom in Japan because the guilty conversation in my head was greater than the reality.
As a result, I mentally kicked myself every day for a few months reminding myself that I did not endure the scary-start-a-business thing only to give in to the fear so readily. Funnily enough, two months after the intended trip, I actually resigned the main client I dreaded telling in the first place.

So, if you have a difficult conversation to have, perhaps a fee increase, taking leave, shutting down over Christmas, a change of staff to an account, here are some considerations before you end up exhausting yourself mentally or compromising:

1) Acknowledge the niggle or the fear, however extreme, and preferably on paper. These might include: will my client sack me, will this damage the relationship, will I be able to pay my mortgage, will my staff member sit and watch YouTube all day while I’m away?)

2) Rationalise the niggle and acknowledge the real-world outcome. Discuss it with friendly ears to get another perspective.

3) Consider the objections of the other party and brainstorm a range of potential solutions.

4) Give yourself a timeframe or schedule an appointment in your diary to discuss the news and solutions.

5) If having difficult conversations is something you struggle with, then once complete, afford yourself an reward. Perhaps it’s two hours off work at a time when you should be working, an issue of your favourite magazine or one you always want to buy but think is too expensive. It needn’t be food, and it needn’t be expensive.

6) Acknowledge the mental freedom and energy you saved, and gave, yourself so you feel safe to do it again in the future.

As it happens, a client told me last month they had delayed a major launch to early April. 

You might be pleased to know that, emboldened by my New Year’s intention, I explained I would be on leave in Japan at the time, would be disappointed to miss the event but had a range of solutions set out in advance to ensure the launch went smoothly for them.

Instead of the disappointed response I expected, my client responded with great interest about my travel plans.  Not the story I told myself in my head last year at all!

It strikes me that we females could save ourselves a great deal of worry by communicating the story as it is in the real world, instead of how it is in our head.
Until next time, this salary (wo)man is getting out into the world and is off to Japan, sayounara.

Jo Balfour runs PR and Communications at Progressiva, a boutique PR agency specialising in helping consumer, business sand online technology companies tell their story. She loves hearing about business challenges and tough decisions. Email her jobalfour@progressiva.com.au

Using downtime to grow your business.

Guest post by Belinda Jackson.

Winter is a time for hibernation for many – but not businesses. Even if your industry experiences a downturn during the cooler months now is the time to use that to your advantage and do some work on your business.

Two good methods of increasing your business’s brand awareness, building status within your industry and gaining more customers are online marketing and blogging. This article will give you a few pointers on both these strategies so business will be booming by the time the first daffodils of spring appear.

Online marketing is a great way to connect with your business prospects and customers regularly at only a small cost to you, because you are marketing to many at once. It is the perfect solution to acquiring, building and maintaining profitable lifetime relationships with your customers.

Successful online marketing can:
Increase your sales;
Reduce your marketing costs;
Build customer relationships;
Generate referrals.

The first step in online marketing is to have an effective online presence, such as a website. Promotion is second, to ensure your business has incoming leads and finally there is persuasion, which is the conversion of leads into clients. You have to be genuine throughout these steps allowing your customers and prospects to get to know, like and trust you.

Your website needs to promote your business for you, especially when you’re not. Make sure your website has all the information that prospects are looking for, such as clear contact details and information about your products/services. Be mindful to use effective words that sell and have a call to action.
Promote your website online through search engines, email marketing, blogging and social media.

Think about the words customers would type into a search engine, like Google or Yahoo, to find your business and optimise your website with those words. This way search engines can find your pages and return them in the search results. For example, if you’re a florist include the phrase “floral arrangements” and other variations throughout your website.

Blogging is a great medium to leverage your expertise, get known as an industry expert and drive more traffic to your website through search engines. Blogs provide a web presence and they are easy to manage, as they have a built-in content management system. This strategy is a low-cost lead generator for search engine optimisation (SEO) because Google loves blogs. When you put new content on your blog Google is notified and you can often be found within hours.

Blogs can also build credibility and expert status. Prospects can search for you, read what you have to say and know you are an expert. You are communicating with your market through the blog, and your market can communicate back by leaving comments.

Businesses can get a free blog at www.wordpress.org or www.blogger.com or look at my Business Blogging Program, for more advanced tutorials.

Spend a bit of time this winter tweaking your online presence and your bottom line will thank you for it.

About the author
Belinda Jackson is an Australian solo entrepreneur and web marketing expert. She is the owner and manager of
www.webchameleon.com.au,

Review- Childsplay Marketing Tool

cardsChildsplay Marketing Cards are a brainstorming tool developed to help business owners free their mind from their usual paths of thought.  They are intended to help you generate new ideas. 

The set is made up of three lots of cards which come in a tin box together with an instruction booklet.

Their website says” Every great marketing campaign consists of 3 key ingredients – 1) Target Audience, 2) Special Offer for that audience and 3) A Communication Vehicle to communicate that special offer to your target audience.

Inside your ChildsPlay Marketing pack you will receive 3 decks of cards that correspond with these 3 key ingredients, 50 cards in each deck. Marketing campaigns are easily created by mixing and matching the 3 decks together – it makes marketing ChildsPlay for everyone!

I played around with the cards when I was looking for a way to promote my business that wasn’t going to cost me a lot.  I was hoping to come up with childsplaysomething a little different.

Not all of the Target Audience cards applied to me but the ones that didn’t made me stop and question whether I had really considered my market carefully enough. 

I selected three cards to work on then went on to look for the special offer ideas from pack two.  They actually gave me some good ideas.  Set 3 looks at the way you communicate the offer and (to my shame) pointed out a couple of things that I should have done but hadn’t.  They also gave me some new ideas to work with.

These cards are a great tool to get you thinking differently.  If you want something to instruct you step by step then these aren’t for you.  If you want something that will help you to shift your mindset and look for the creative options then grab these cards.  They are well worth the investment.  RRP $69.

Available from Fix My Business.

We gave this a 5 Cherry Rating.  5c

Childsplay Marketing

If you have your own business you know that sometimes it is hard to think of a new way to promote your product or service.    Childsplay Marketing have come up with a fun way to help you generate ideas.  It is a set of cards!  Yes, really!

You get three decks of cards which will give you a combination of over 125,000 ways to market your business.    It is a little like playing a game so what it actually does is to help you free your thoughts.  It is brainstorming by cards.

Have a look at the video clip here which will show you how it works.  If you love the idea then grab your set from Fix My Business now.  Watch for our product review in the next edition of Cherry Mag.

My Monday Off

There is not too much of the ‘day off’ happening today.  The kids have started their school holidays so they are buzzing around like flies. 

I think I will try to read a few articles from my Dynamic Business magazine between their visits.  The Dynamic Business site is a great Australian business information site and they produce their own print magazine.

At the moment they are offering a special subscription rate of $1 per magazine.  A yearly subscription (11 issues) will cost you only $12.10 including GST.  How cheap is that?

To subscribe just click here.