Author Archives: admin

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Email Marketing and Social Media

February 2, 2017
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Why Email Marketing and Social Media Really Does Works

Did you know that Twitter is nearly 11 years old, Facebook is around 13 years and WordPress about 14 years?  There is a generation out there that have never known life without it.  Still I come across many small businesses that have not embraced any of these social media platforms.  Lack of time, understanding and a resistance to stay exactly where they are appears to be some of the common factors of non-engagement.  Composing and sending e-newsletters is another opportunity missed by many too. The main reason for that I think is lack content.  A lot of people just don’t know what to write.

Continue Reading….

Did you know that 73% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching a video?

February 25, 2015
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iPhone movie

A powerful subject heading.  Let me say it again – 73% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching a video!

The question is, have you got one on your website? 

Many business owners don’t have a video on their website because the thought of it frightens them to death, they don’t want to be visible or they hate the videos they’ve made.  

Performance Confidence Coach and friend of mine Clare Douglas has put together a wonderful  FREE 10 part video series called ‘Making Videos for the Terrified’. Each video is short (around a couple of minutes each), dynamic and full of golden nuggets. You’d be crazy not to watch them!  

I really believe in sharing great resources, just in case you are wondering why I would promote Clare’s video.  Here’s the link:

 

Making Videos for the Terrified

 

Enjoy! And have fun making your videos!

Can’t find a document? This should help…

February 18, 2015
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Here’s a tip I thought you might find useful when trying to find a Word document on your PC if you’re working in Office 2010.

  • Save your file as usual.
  • Click on the ‘Insert’ tab in your top menu bar (or Ribbon as Microsoft like to call it now).
  • Click on ‘Footer’ in the ‘Header & Footer’ menu and scroll down to ‘Edit Footer’.  The menu bar at the top will switch to ‘Header & Footer’ tools
  • Click on the ‘Insert’ tab again in the top menu.
  • Click on ’Quick Parts’ in the text area of the insert menu (if the Quick Parts icon is not in your insert menu area, you can insert it by going to ‘file’, ‘options’ and ‘customize ribbon’).

Finding a document with Quickparts

  • Click on ‘Field’
  • Scroll down and click on ‘File Name’, choose ‘lowercase’ in the ‘Field Properties area, tick ‘Add path to filename’ in the ‘Field options’ area and click ‘OK’

The ‘path’ will now be at the bottom of your document so when you print, you can easily see where it is saved on your PC/laptop if you need to find it again. Remember to save your document once you’ve done this.

Simplez!

 

 

Did you know you can print Kindle books? Here’s how!

February 11, 2015
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Printing Kindle books

I’m doing quite a lot of reading at the moment.  I’ve bought 9 books in the last fortnight, a couple of autobiographies and the rest are a mixture of business and psychology.  Here are the ones I’ve read so far:
 

 
When I buy business books I love to underline or highlight sentences and specific words and stick loads of post-it notes on pages to refer back to, so I’ve always steered away from buying Kindle versions, even though they can be much, much cheaper than a paperback. Imagine my delight when I discovered a really cool eBook convertor software programme.  It now means I can download Kindle books to my PC, print them off in .pdf format and scrawl all over them, guilt free! (When I was growing up it was frowned upon in our house if you so much as put a pencil anywhere near a book.)

Top 5 Tasks Small Business Owners Should Outsource

February 4, 2015
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tasks you should outsource

 

The biggest struggle for small business owners is wearing too many hats.  When you become a business owner you immediately take on many jobs all at once, so it stands to reason you might not do them well. It’s the norm to do this at the beginning but as your business grows, is it the best use of your time?  A MAJOR lesson I have learned in my 15 year journey as a business owner is to value my time.  Do you value yours? 

One of the things I hear over and over again is “I can’t afford to get someone else to do it!”  Really?  My response to this is to get the business owner to sit down and work out how much time they are spending on tasks that can be outsourced.  Once that bit is done, I ask them to work out how much their time is worth. For example if they are spending hours doing their own bookkeeping, fitting it in when possible (late evenings, weekends), and their time is worth say £30 per hour (generally more), why wouldn’t you outsource to someone who can do it for £15 an hour?  AND, they’d get it done in a much shorter time.  Remember, the bookkeeper knows what they are doing. Base your time per hour by how much YOU earn in that hour.  By outsourcing, not only are you using your time in a savvy way, you’re getting rid of the psychological baggage rattling around in your head – the niggle that reminds you you’ve still got it to do, the one that goes on for weeks then you end up doing the work all in one go when you’re tired and want to be doing something else. If you are losing time with family and friends due to working late evenings and weekends here’s a reality check.  You CAN’T get that time back. It’s literally priceless.

Bookkeeping: Bookkeeping is the first task small business that owners routinely neglect and struggle with managing in their operations. Do not let this happen to your small business. By outsourcing your basic accounting services to a seasoned bookkeeper, you will have the ability to use updated financial information to run your small business. A bookkeeper can do your accounting work a lot faster and more accurately than you can, and it is affordable.

Payroll:  Unless you run an accounting firm, you should not be doing your own payroll. If you hire an outsourcing company to do your payroll, then you can rest assured that you and your staff will have no issue when income tax season rolls around. If you do the payroll in-house, then you need to stay on the top of rules. The fees to outsource payroll are not very expensive, so do yourself a favour, let a payroll service handle it. (psst… I’ll let you into a secret, I outsource my payroll!)

Social Media Marketing: There are plenty of solopreneur marketing consultants and social media marketing agencies that can handle developing your social media strategy, content development and social promotion for your company. When you perform these tasks in-house, you often fail to retain the consistency of doing them.. Just remember that social media is a long term strategy, so be prepared to invest 12-24 months to achieve your goals.

Administrative Support: Do you often feel like you wish you had another pair of hands to help you in your small business? Utilizing virtual assistants is a cost effective way to get routine tasks handled in a  business  You can use a virtual assistant for maintaining your personal schedule, database, preparing mailings, email newsletters, copy editing, blog maintenance, booking travel arrangements, invoicing, collections, voicemail and email management.

How are your pickled onions?

January 28, 2015
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pickled onions

Odd title to the email you might think. Why ask the question anyway? Here’s why.  A jar of pickled onions is the kind of thing that gets opened, a few taken out and then they sit.  They sit at the back of the fridge and get forgotten.  A few months down the line you remember they are there but by that time, it’s too late.  They’re out of date so you end up chucking them.  I managed to finish a jar of pickled onions the other day which was left over from Christmas.  As I was fishing the last one out I remember thinking I couldn’t remember the last time I EVER finished a jar. A small feeling of satisfaction came over me.

The point is how many jars of ‘pickled onions’ have you got sat on your desk or in your work place?  The little jobs that never get done?  Ask yourself why they are still there and why haven’t they been done.  Hate doing them? Lack of time?  These are the things that niggle in the back of your mind and can become energy draining. You knowthey need doing but you keep putting them off. 

So what’s the answer?

There is no easy answer. A good place to start is to look at how productive you really are during each working dayAre you busy busy or are you busy doing nothing busy?  I’ve been keeping an eye on what I do recently and identified a few bad habits that are not productive.  One of my top bad habits is breaking off in the middle of a task or project to check my emails.  How many of us are guilty of that?  Not only does it stop me doing what I’m doing, it stops my focus.  To change that habit, I now close down my email programme throughout the day only opening it at specific times.  A frightening thought to some but it really does work and I have become far more productive.
 

Once you’ve identified areas where you waste time and do something about it, your productivity will increase and you will be surprised at how much ‘extra’ time you have. The next thing to do is to stick to your new habits.  Don’t shove that time aside because something else crops up. FINISH THOSE PICKLED ONIONS!

The ONE Thing that is guaranteed to help you

January 21, 2015
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Tick List

 

I am always trying to find better ways of working which I can pass on to my clients to help them get more out of their day.  There are loads of resources out there in the forms of books and masterclasses, some which are really expensive.  As a small business owner I know that I want to choose wisely when I’m spending my money.  And in my experience, expensive doesn’t necessarily mean great results.  Not one thing works for everyone.

BUT…

I’ve just found a great little resource I think could help you enormously. And it is one thing… quite literally.

After I survived the 2004 tsunami, life considerably changed for me and one of the things that has happened, even 10 years on, is that I try to cram as much as I can into every day, simply because it could be my last.

The point is, I sometimes set myself ridiculous goals and feel frustrated when I don’t achieve them.

This little resource has been a great help.

It’s a book by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan called ‘The ONE Thing’.

It’s an easy read, has short chapters and has already started making life easier for me. If you want fewer distractions and less on your plate (yes please!) but want more productivity, more income and more satisfaction, I believe this could be your starting point.  At £6.29 for a paperback copy, cheaper for Kindle, it won’t break the bank either.  I would recommend this book as one you should read as part of your continuous development plan, and a great kick start to 2015.

Something’s just clicked!

January 14, 2015
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Hourglass

Last we talked about how to beat overwhelm 

It’s okay me giving out good advice to help you, but sometimes it’s hard to practice what I preach.

I named 2014 as my ‘Big Adventure’.  I planned out the major things I wanted/needed to do in both my business and private life and I achieved them – we’ll talk about them over the next few newsletters.  2015 has been named my ‘Bigger Adventure’. I know what I want to do, I know what I have to do and then I stopped and thought to myself “how the hell am I going to get there?”

I thought about what could stop me achieving my goals and one of the major factors is time… or should I say lack of time

 

Then something just clicked that has made life A LOT easier. It’s simple yet hard to do.

 
And here it is…

I blocked out certain parts of the day and week for specific tasks

“Is that it?” you might be saying right now.  Well, yes it is.  Try it.  Just try it for a week, then try it for a month because I can promise you, sticking to it is not as easy as it seems. Other things will take priority.  What you need to do is train yourself to stick to a schedule and stop butterflying (flitting from one task to another). All I can tell you is it really does work.  Having a schedule (just like a college timetable) enables you to be more focused and get through a lot more AND, importantly, give you some time to work on your own business.

Here’s a template of a Work Schedule  in word which you can use to plan your own

Looking at the schedule you will note that every morning there are 90 minutes booked out as marketing.  That’s marketing for your business!  That’s the time to write newsletters, schedule  tweets and Facebook posts, plan your business. 90 minutes everyday.  It’s amazing what you can achieve in that time and it doesn’t have to be at the beginning of the day when you do this.  You may work better at the end of the day. Just plan it in!

White space (free time) is time between tasks. Sometimes I use it when I need a run over from one task to another but it’s important to book white space in.

I have a project ongoing at the moment which I have tasked myself to finish by the end of June.  I’ve booked it in my schedule because if I don’t, it will never get done. Similarly with my exercise classes – booked firmly in my schedule (see example) because that’s an easy one to not do ‘because I don’t have time’.

Note the weekends are free.  I’ll be honest, I do sometimes use Saturdays if I am particularly busy BUT, I do leave Sundays as ‘me’ time.  Regardless.

Just a point to note – don’t beat yourself up if you don’t stick to your schedule now and again – some things in life really do just take over.  But with that in mind, it’s no excuse to re-start butterflying all over the place again either!

Did you bounce or crawl into work?

January 8, 2015
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Happy New Year 2015

I’ll be honest… I crawled, kicking and screaming! I had a lovely Christmas break.  Some time was spent with family and friends and I gave myself  ‘me’ time too.  After nearly two weeks off, with only a couple of checks of my emails, I had got into a lovely routine of waking up at 7:45am and relaxing in front of my open fire in the afternoon. So the alarm going off at 5:30am on Monday morning was a shock to the system.  Both my body and brain were in denial!

I’ve noticed that a lot of people struggle to get back into the work routine after holidays, particularly after the Christmas break.

To kick start 2015 I thought you would find the attached article about beating overwhelm really useful. It touches on New Year resolutions and gives you five tips to beat overwhelm that actually work. Written by my wonderful client Lynn Scott of Lynn Scott Coaching, I can guarantee it’s worth stopping for 5 minutes and having a read.

I’ll leave you in peace for now.  I am sure you have lots to do.  Don’t forget to take a look at the article though, it’s worth it.

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