Episode #137 – A few Tips to Create A Level Playing Field with Your Website

The best news, ever, is that “small” businesses have the opportunity to have a level playing field with much bigger companies. I say opportunity, but you have to be willing to recognize it and take it.

Here’s the deal, you can be a hobby business and look like you have an empire.  But if you have an empire you can also look small and disconnected.

Before someone even visits your business in person they start with your website.  As I’ve said before, the first place a customer visits is often the last place you update.  So break that habit now.  Make sure to keep links and dates updated.  It’s silly to visit a site and see an out of date deadline.  I visited a site yesterday that had the year wrong… by two years!  Oh boy.  For the record, I’ve been negligent of expired dates, but not two years… yikes!

Here’s another quick hint… update your email.  If it’s business related, please don’t use gmail or yahoo… get a domain that matches your business… it just screams “lack of experience”.   Your image online needs all the help it can get to express creditability.

Use real photos.  You want people to come visit you!  Stock photos have a time and place… but on your website it’s time to show you.  For example, if you have a hotel and show stock photos of a room and not your room, you’ll have some very disappointed customers.

Finally, represent yourself as a subject matter expert.  Read my article on my website and start featuring your experiences, awards, honors and education.  It’s the way to separate yourself and build your online creditability.  When in doubt of representing yourself as a subject matter expert, just ask yourself, would you rather buy something from an order taker or from a subject matter expert?

When you level up your game with your website you will level the playing field.  It really is a special time in commerce that you have the opportunity to compete on a world market AND you can represent yourself just like bigger companies.

PS: if you love my post, give it a “like”!

Action Step
1- Find your trouble spots, repetitive questions, and areas of tasks you do over and over…. make the lists
2- Analyze the lists and develop solutions to farm out, enhance the FAQ page, or automate your marketing!
3- Install my free app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

Listen to Episode #137 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

Love this inspirational quote?  View it on a 12″ x 12″ Canvas “Social Square” wall hanging!

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Episode #136 – Automate Your Systems to Create More Time!

What’s so wrong with giving 110%?  Nothing.  It just makes me wonder why you weren’t giving your all the day before, and the day before that.

There’s nothing wrong with giving 110% unless it’s giving 110% to the wrong thing.  If you are baking a cake and it calls for one cup of milk, will 10% more hurt?  If you are following a recipe the extra 10% will hurt the end product.  Honestly, I’m not sure how… I buy finished cakes… but it will!  haha.

How about if you eat the cake and you eat 10% more what happens then?  If it’s the corner piece, YUMMM!  But seriously, 10% more, one time, probably won’t hurt, but if you do this every day and you better increase your exercise to 110%.  Haha.

Inspirational quotes are funny, taken at the surface level they’re fine… but dig a little deeper and you’ve got to think about them.  Because, what happens when you give something 110%?   You only have so much time.  The quote implies that you are giving 110% of your time.  Well, that has to come from somewhere!

That’s where I’ve been having fun this summer.  I’ve been working on systems and processes.  When you create systems and processes in your business you are creating your most valuable resource… time.  Something as simple as an FAQ page on your website will eliminate phone calls that consume time.  It’s the reason that when you call the drug store the voice tree lists the hours of operation.  It’s the reason that the first thing the cable TV trouble shooter asks you is, “is the TV plugged in”.

Your goal as a small business is to do what you do best and do it.  The reason you get bogged down and frustrated is because as the owner you have to do everything.  Take today’s inspiration and imagine if you could give even MORE time to the things you do best and less to the frustrating things.  It would be awesome… right?

Look for ways to automate your processes.  For example, add a vending machine, enhance your FAQ page, install keyless locks, automate your marketing.

Whaaaat?

Yes, automate your marketing.  So much of your marketing is able to auto generate that you need to do this!  About a month ago I started to include text messages in our auto marketing loop… best thing ever!

Has it given me more time.  Yes!  My incidents of unhappy “uninformed” customers has reduced because they receive “check list” reminders via text!

Look at your business and focus on the things you are asked over and over, make a list.  Take a look at your business and find the areas that are repetitive, make a list.  And look to the trouble spots, the places that customers get confused or angry, make a list.  Now with those three lists, either automate, farm out, or clarify on your website.  This will give you time to focus on what you do best!

PS: if you love my post, give it a “like”!

Action Step
1- Find your trouble spots, repetitive questions, and areas of tasks you do over and over…. make the lists
2- Analyze the lists and develop solutions to farm out, enhance the FAQ page, or automate your marketing!
3- Install my free app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

Listen to Episode #136 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

Love this inspirational quote?  View it on a 12″ x 12″ Canvas “Social Square” wall hanging!

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Episode #135 – Take a Walk. Forget the Door Exists.

We’ve reached that point again.  The point where you need to do something, action must be taken.

You’ve analyzed your options and created a plan of attack, but now there’s one simple yet difficult task ahead…

Open the door.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately.  It’s been a lot of reading and researching on social media marketing.  I’m in the process of writing a book and back in February I wrote 95 pages.  Then I got to a point where I realized I wasn’t happy with what I wrote.  It was blah and honestly, it wouldn’t help at all.  Here’s the funny thing, it was just like the books I’ve been reading!

So this summer I’ve been working at the marina and implementing systems to help me understand what works and what doesn’t work. I’m going to come to one conclusion, I totally understand why social media is overwhelming for small businesses and I totally understand why it usually looks like a cluster F.

I asked my cousin who is building a Yoga Empire (she’ll laugh at that), but I texted her the question of how much time she would have to devote to social media marketing, she sent me back the full stream laughing emoji.  I didn’t quite understand it until I read one of the books last night… the author suggested that you need to get serious and devote 10 to 15 hours a week to social media marketing.  And that’s when I completely understood the full stream laughing emoji.  BTW, I raise my cousin’s one emoji to three!

I’m in the peak of summer right now, but I think I know where the book will go. So stay tuned.  I’m opening the door.  I see daylight!  You can sign up for my email list here, when it’s ready (and it will be awesome), I’ll drop you a note.

Now back to your door.  What is it that you’ve been planning for a while that you haven’t been able to make a decision about?  I’d say something odd like… “just open it”.  But it’s probably not that simple.  Today, just forget about it.  Go work on something you like about your business.  Do something fun… take your dog for a walk… check here for ideas.  When the time comes, you’ll open the door.

PS: if you love my post, give it a “like”!

Action Step
1- Take a break.  Go do something to refresh your mind.  Take a walk, read a book, watch TV… just stop.  Do something fun.  The door will still be there tomorrow.
2- Install my free app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

Listen to Episode #135 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

 

Love this inspirational quote?  View it on a 12″ x 12″ Canvas “Social Square” wall hanging!

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Episode #134 – Shorten Your Learning Curve Instead of Taking Short Cuts

“Hurry sign up for this program and start making 6 figures while you sleep!” said the TV commercial.  Why is it that you need to hurry?  Shouldn’t the mere idea of making 6 figures while you sleep be enough of an incentive to get you to dial the 800 number?  Not to mention that it’s a toll-free number!

So what’s stopping you? Why is it that you can’t seem to take action on the infomercial that shows the handsome couple on the yacht that found the “good life” after giving in and calling the 800 number they certainly look rested for making all that money in their sleep!

Maybe, just maybe, it’s because you don’t believe the short cut they promote will cause prosperity in your business!  There are short cuts and there is learning from someone else’s experience that shortens your learning curve.  Recognize the difference.

When you take a short cut, meaning, you see the online offer to make thousands while you sleep or even as simple as the email you receive that says you can buy a steady stream of traffic, you will get somewhere quicker, but probably not where you want to go!

If you remember the slow and steady wins the race you will get where you want to.  However, only you can decide where you want to “get”.  Here’s a non-business coaching example.  I coach baton twirlers.  I competed for 17 years and I’ve been a coach just as long.  The evolution I hate seeing the that baton twirling is moving more into “juggling” and further from “twirling”.  What I mean is, I see a lot of people twirling three, four, and five batons at one time.  It is difficult, don’t get me wrong.  But it’s also not hard.  I say this because if you can juggle 3 balls, I can teach you to juggle three batons.  Therefore, lots of twirlers with beginner technical twirling skills are performing three baton.  They are taking short cuts.  They “look” like they are good at baton but they have bad-habits and limited technical skill.  They have gotten somewhere quicker but give it a year and they will hate where they arrived because a judge will never let them pass to the next level because they stunted their journey by taking a short cut.

This is why you must be in control of your social media.  You cannot pay someone else to do it.  If you do, you will end up with daily posts that are… well, crap.  Social media marketing is not a check box or a to-do.  It’s a way of communicating, dare I say, second-language for your business.  It’s a skill that needs to be learned and practiced.

Here’s an example of why I say you need to be in control of your postings.  I work for our family marina.  If I let someone else post for me here’s what will happen.  They will set up a google alert and for articles that relate to “Minnesota boating”.  Then, when an interesting article appears about boating they will post on my Facebook Page.  The company doing the posting just sees “Minnesota boating” and posts… but the boating article happens to be about the closure of the lock and dam on the river.  We are an inland lake.  Even though the river is only 20 miles away… not one of my customers would care about a lock and dam closure.

The good news is, you can set up your own Google alerts to sort through daily and pick your own articles to re-post!  See… that’s shortening your learning curve vs. taking a short cut!

PS: if you love my post, give it a “like”!

Action Step
1- Set up a Google Alert that relates to your content mission statement. Make sure to create an alert that is specific enough to your topic.  For example: instead of boating, use “boat safety” or “family boating”.
2- Install my free app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

Listen to Episode #134 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

Love this inspirational quote?  View it on a 12″ x 12″ Canvas “Social Square” wall hanging!

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Episode #133 – I Wrote A Post About Emoji’s? Yikes.

Happy World Emoji Day!

Today I was inspired by an email.  Yes… an email.  I opened my email and found a promotion for World Emoji Day.  It was not from the “National Day of” calendar, it was not from the manufacturer of emoji’s, it was from a cookie company.  Cookies shaped like emoji’s.

img_8105

I’m normally not a huge fan of the “day of” type posts because they seem too contrived.  However, if your business has a natural connection to the “day of” then go for it.  This one is perfect.  It’s eye catching, fun, there’s a promotion code… dang, and it’s cookies.  I mean who doesn’t want a cookie shaped like the “cool” emoji?!?!

I guess this email really stood out to me because… well… what is an emoji?  It’s a non-existent digital entity… right?!  Now it’s a cookie!   Not to mention there’s actually a day designated to celebrate emoji’s… who knew!   Then… after all of that… a business jumped on the “clever bus” and promoted it!

So yes… I was inspired by the email and I too have given in to “World Emoji Day” with my quote.

“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy” A.Chekhov (Trust me… this was not as easy as you think,
Go ahead… try to form one sentence using only emoji’s!)

Happy Emoji Day!

PS: if you love my post, give it a “like”!

Action Step
1- Use as many emoji’s as you can today!
2- Browse the upcoming month on the “National Day of” calendar…. is there something that works well with your business?  If yes… get it on your social media calendar!
3- Install my free app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

Listen to Episode #133 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast
133b

Love this inspirational quote?  Buy it on a 12″ x 12″ Canvas “Social Square” wall hanging!

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com

Episode #132 – Surround Yourself with Positive Messages Because You Control The Business You Create.

The mantra that I hate most is “UBU”.  You just go out there and be you.  The reason I hate it is because.. it is implied that “you be you” without regard to the society as a whole.

We find ourselves in the middle of a terribly disturbing dismantling.  We are no longer unified.  There was a time when we all rushed home to watch the same “After School Special” and the next day talked about it.  While in this day and age, we may watch the same viral video, it’s not at the same time.  The only thing that comes close to that “all at once thing” is the Super Bowl Halftime Show.   And that is no longer entertainment… That’s just a political message or politically correct message wrapped up with a “singer” in ill fitting clothes.

Do I suggest that we go back to three TV channels?  Nooooo way.   It’s kind of funny when you think back… we lived in a free country of 300+ million people and “you will enjoy the luxury of three television channels”. Come on, laugh at the irony of that!

We now have thousands of channels, in fact, we have “AllAboutMeTV”.  That’s when I, you, everyone, can go Live and talk about anything, right now.  As long as I have followers… they can watch me.  However, that lends to watching people in ill fitting clothes bathing in milk and cereal… mind you, that while person has several million followers… I don’t think that’s the best role model behavior one can provide.  And that’s why I hate UBU.

UBU implies a sort of “f-you” I’m going to do whatever I please.  It’s a very “online” thing that has now captured the real world.

I saw it yesterday.

In my store, and I’m not kidding, I had a grown man throw a temper tantrum.  He jumped up and down like a 4 year old screaming that it was the “lake’s fault” that the prop on the boat he rented got damaged.  Jumping up and down in a real temper tantrum.  On one level it was hilarious, on another level it was disgusting, and on a final level it was terrifying.

The renters called in from the water and complained the boat was not running well.  They “limped” it back to the dock.  We lifted the motor out of the water and a big chunk of the blade was missing.  Immediately the response from the man was, “You’re not going to charge me for that.”

We moved the boat to shore to fix, pulled the motor out of the water again, and he admitted to his wife “It did not look like that when we first got the boat.” She as the driver of the boat immediately replied,  “well that’s a ‘fake prop’… they put a broken one on it to have that piece fall out so they can make more money” followed by “if you don’t charge us we won’t leave a bad review on trip advisor”

OH my… this kept going for 45 minutes…

It became “they would shut us down by writing negative reviews all over social media” to “the dock attendant told them to go into ‘bad areas’ on the lake to make more money because it’s part of our scam” to “I ruined their vacation” to “they had to go back to Kansas right now because they didn’t have any money for a hotel room” then it was “they didn’t have money for dinner” to “slamming the gates and kicking the furniture on the boat” to yelling at other customers walking by that “this whole place is a scam” all of this in front of their two kids around age 8 and 10.

Yes, the initial jumping up and down temper tantrum was outside in front of his kids!  It occurred in our store for an encore performance in front of my crew.

In business you have to differentiate yourself, your product, and your brand.  But think twice about what or how you are doing it… Anyone with an internet connection and computer can make money online.  But is selling “slut” T shirts to middle school girls a good thing?  Sure, you can sell the glass that says “Fu*k this” on it, but how does it impact you?  You see that word, over and over, as you create the product, or list the photo, or unpack and display it on your shelf, or talk with customers about it.  Soon the message will impact you and that’s the world you are creating for yourself.

Use caution to surround yourself with positive messages.  This goes for the people you hire, the products you sell, and the customers you interact with… all messages will impact “your world”.  And as a business owner, you are building “your world”.  Build it with strength, character, and make a positive impact on the surrounding world you interact with!

I’m not sure what “world” created a middle 30’s man to temper tantrum in front of me twice jumping up and down, screaming and blaming “the lake” for damage he caused to a boat he rented… but if you think they didn’t have money for dinner… when I was applying their pre-departure cash rental deposit to pay the boat damages the wife asked, well let’s be honest… demanded that I put the bill on her “debit card” because she didn’t want to pay a fee later for getting cash out of her account for dinner.

Yeah… demands don’t work in my world.

PS: if you love my post, give it a “like”!

Action Step
1- Find 3 new positive messages, people, and/or products to surround you in your business.  Do this by the end of today.  You may not be able to implement today, but create the plan.  It’s important!
2- Install my free app! (SmallBusinessClubApp.com)

Listen to Episode #132 of the Two Minute Commute audio blog Podcast

Love this inspirational quote?  Buy it on a 12″ x 12″ Canvas “Social Square” wall hanging!

Two ways to get more Small Business Tips …
A- Install our Free App (SmallBusinessClubApp.com –Apple or Android )
B- Subscribe to my blog at BigFishIdeas.com