It may seem like such an obvious question, but recently a client of mine reversed the Q and A and asked ME who MY ideal customer was; what was MY favourite thing to do (in my job). I have to say, I had to stand back for a second and ponder that. For a few minutes.
It is so easy to get caught up in the overview vision of other people's businesses that for a consultant or coach, it remains just as crucial to peer in our own fishbowl once in awhile and reflect, rethink and possibly refocus. When Ashley asked me this question, I found myself stuck for a second. He was bang on in asking me and quite frankly it has stuck with me for over a week and a half now. The reason it resonated so strongly for me is that it dawned on me that what my knee jerk response... was no longer valid. My business had evolved, changed, and me right along with it. So this means that my answer that I would have given a year ago as to what my favourite project or client would be is quite perfectly & completely different now. And that's ok. Knowing where you are at any given moment is just as important as knowing where you want to go.
This brief conversation and exchange allowed for an epiphany of sorts and encouraged me touch base with my own business, my goals, my dreams and my purpose. I left with a sense of needing to fine tune my vision and mission as well as to hone in on what I truly love to do most. So first off, thank you Ashley Gray for the great questions and secondly, here are some tips to discovering your "why" and then my answers to those 2 great questions!
So having sat back and thought about these questions, I realized I am exactly where the universe needs me to be BUT I need to focus more on the ME side of what I love to do, fine tune my offerings and drill down to the juice that makes me jump in the morning! So now you may ask,........
1. What is my favourite or ideal client?
I love working with business owners and help them create "their story", their brand essence, and serve it up with polish, pizzaz and fresh perspective! Let's not just TELL your story, let's SELL your story! I love working with people who are excited and passionate about what they do and are looking to constantly reach higher, improve and grow. I believe in creative, outta-the-box strategies and am fantastic at finding original marketing and brand awareness campaigns. I like passionate people.
2. What project or tasks do I enjoy most?
Marketing, product development, branding & more marketing! I love walking into a brick-and-mortar business and having my brain firing on all cylinders as I "see" where and how I can improve the image, layout, call to actions, brand and customer experience. There are many layers to telling this story, I like finding them, improving them and seeing results! I love creating brand strategies, designing logos, business cards, marketing materials, shelf-talkers, online materials, product packaging...etc. All the creative thinking, experience and marketing graphics that go into polishing your essence of what you are trying to sell.... gives me a rush!
My favourite moment is when a client sees the finished package/product/service for the first time and they get the biggest, juiciest, satisfied grin on their face. Whether it's printed materials, a website, product packaging, social media revamp, trade show design and store or coffee shop materials....whatever,.. the creative is a blast for me and I thrive on making my clients more successful!
So now, back to YOU. What makes YOU do what you do? What is your favourite job, task or project. What motivates you every day?
What is YOUR business "why"?
PS. If you are a #business in #FortLangley, in #Langley, BC., and looking to network, be sure to visit #TRBN ThinkReferrals Business Networking Group at the Red Velvet Cafe on Mavis St.
When: Thursdays (weekly)
#BusinessConsultant #SmallBusiness #Langley
We all know we need to pay attention to our page stats, page rankings and "optimizing" our online brands. But how many of us don't do it because we simply don't know HOW to do it?
Here are 5 quick tips you can apply yourself without feeling SEO challenged!
1. Broken Down Links
For sites on WordPress, you can install Broken Link Checker plugin. It will alert you if and when you
have broken page links. This does happen from time to time as documents, files and pages change. Worth monitoring. You can also go to BrokenLinkCheck.com and take advantage of their free link that checks if you have any issues on your website pages. It takes just a few seconds to enter your details and you receive results fairly quickly. You can choose an "occurrence" report or a more detailed report by "item" which takes a bit longer.
2. Robot Crawler Friendly
If your pages are inter linked and connected to each other logically and often, it allows for better search ability by the various search engines. Take the time to make sure that content and key words are consistent between pages and then to take you into the SEO arena; make sure content is consistent across platform such as social media, press releases, blog posts etc.
3. Search Engine Check
Many different issues can cause problems with search engines not finding your site, from broken links to improper code. To determine whether or not yours is guilty of an infraction or tow, try the free Search Engine Simulator. You simply enter your site's URL, if your text goodies show up correctly here and you can see everything, then the search engines can as well.
4. Creep Your Competition
Yes, you read that right! Take advantage of the free online tools that will allow you to see where your competitors are getting links from to THEIR website. Knowing this allows you the opportunity to see where their key traffic is coming from and gives you the information you need to apply to your site. Try Majestic SEO or the SEOMoz Open Site Explorer
5. Check Your Own Direct Links
Same as above except check your own website(s) and see where your traffic is coming from. This helps you determine what marketing initiatives are working and also gives you valuable insight into supporting blogs, posts and comments that may have driven traffic to your site that you didn't know about.
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Leah Chevallier, Business Consultant & Marketing Educator
Running a business is really like running a marathon. You need to plan, train and then pace yourself in order to have a successful finish.
How do you "pace" yourself you ask? Very carefully!
Many times the idea or concept takes us running out of the gate, full of enthusiasm and pep. That is all good because that energy is what is going to get you to the finish line, however, pacing yourself in your execution, strategy and growth can mean the difference between making or breaking that strong finish.
The flip side of the obvious quick start is the paralyzing, procrastinated fear of actually launching. You may be shaking your head right now and thinking, "really, people get scared into immobility?".. The answer is, quite simply yes.
Many entrepreneurs either find themselves hitting that wall at the very beginning of their concept, before it has even evolved into a full fledged business plan. I have a friend who is talented beyond belief, full of potential and yet she balks a the idea of actually executing her plan for fear of failure, fear of making a mistake and fear of fear itself. Secondary to that would be the successful business owner that has already launched but has hit a plateau whether it's valid and just a growth block or perhaps they hit a very deep pothole. The fear is still there and still very real.
In either of those situations, you need to force yourself make a list and make your "why and why nots" very tangible. What are you afraid of, drill down form that first answer. If you cannot do it on your own, grab a supportive friend, or hire Life/Business Coach or business consultant!.
(*Here is a shameless plug for my olympic medal wearing, straight shooting, Life Coach, Jeff Pain; whom I thank for kicking me in the ass when I needed it!)
Ask yourself, are you afraid of failure for money reasons or lack of support from family members? Is it more confidence related? Start your short list, then drill it down. What is the worst thing that can happen? What is the consequence of that action or more importantly, the inaction? Then take your list on the upswing, what would happen if you DID succeed? What would that feel like? What would THAT fallout look like?
Regardless of your reasons for faltering, force yourself to view it from all angles. There is a pretty good chance that what you fear isn't as big as the fear itself. Take that first step and OWN it!
Now go be amazing!!
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Serial entrepreneurs have no shortage of ideas and often, they are running off with their great idea before actually getting properly prepared to run with it! Here are 5 tips for any start-up or new business owner to consider BEFORE galloping off into the successful sunset! Ready - Set - Go!
5 Business Start-Up Tips:
1. Research your business name THOROUGHLY. This means your business name at the registry office, your trade name, DBA (short for "doing business as") or your proposed operating name. Then check the trademark databases in your country to make sure the name is not already in use or possibly something too similar. But don't stop there; you will need to make sure the corresponding domain name is available as well as Twitter handle and Facebook! Yes! Your name matters, research it well and cover ALL your bases.
2. Talk to an Accountant. They can help you prepare your filing system for receipts, month end preparation as well as give you advice on tax breaks/cuts you may not have realized you could use. You will want to understand the difference between being a Sole Proprietor or being Incorporated etc. Let them help your startup launch on a clear, planned and strong base.
3. Invest in your brand from day one. Having a business name is one thing, having an identity is another. Plan on hiring a graphic designer and other professional to help you formulate your brand image, from logo concept, corporate colours to social media icons and online personality. You have only a few seconds to make a first impression, regardless if it is online, in an office or a brick and mortar store; make it count!
4. Hire professionals where and when you need them. All startups need to invest in their social media. Companies are being made and broken online every day; knowing your brand and being able to successfully take it to market and bundle it up for social media is crucial. Do not make the mistake of assuming you can do it all yourself if you are brand new to the world of social media; the learning curve will leave you in the dust of your competitors with no guarantees of ever catching up. Launch strongly, clearly and with a strategy in place.
5. Research your market and competition VERY thoroughly. Many people assume that their idea or concept is better than anything in the marketplace and blindly run to production or execution mode only to find that a competitor has already launched a bigger, better version at a much friendlier price! Knowing your competing products or businesses inside and out will always put you at a vantage point. Don't skimp on knowledge!
For entrepreneurs, the holidays can be stressful for all the right reasons and for some, all the wrong reasons! Either way there are a few things to try and keep fresh in your mind!
For some people, this time of year brings enormous sales volumes, shipping, receiving conundrums and hiring of seasonal staff, increases in theft. Yet for others, depending on the industry they are in, it is a time of massive decrease in sales volumes, manufacturing/plant closures for holidays or simply, they offer services that people are just not buying this time of year. A good example of that would be Lawn & Landscaping, Exterior House Painting, manufacturing plants overseas or Plastic Surgeons! ( I am assuming people who partake in plastic surgery will not be looking to have black eyes and puffy faces over the holidays, at least not from self inflicted procedures!)
So here are a few tips for ALL of you, regardless of what side of the fence you fall on!
1. Pay attention to your business during this time.
Create detailed reports for both positive and negative effects this season has on your business. Every bit is a potential learning! Look at your numbers from previous 1-2 years, are you on top of trends and patterns? Are you trying to offer extra services? If you are an "off season" business, perhaps you can offer an extra service this time of year like Gift Certificate bundles as gifts or even tie in with another business and offer packages together.
2. Do not let details slip!
As busy brick and mortar businesses gear up, they often fall down on absolute store basics like keeping cardboard and garbage out of sight. Be sure to receive product before or after regular stores to keep clutter and mess (and liability) to a minimum. Hire the extra staff or schedule earlier starts and overlaps to ensure it's done. Keep your floors, aisles and entrances squeaky clean!
3. Traffic speaks volumes!
If you have 5-10 times the traffic coming through your business, what are you doing to capture that beyond only targeting a sale? Get them on your email list, client database and mail out list! Have an entry ballot with gift raffle with email request, or staff with an iPad at the exit of the store offering a coupon handout for every email newsletter sign up! Use great tools like infusionsoft or mail chimp for iPad and get those customers INTO your database! Need a 1 one hours session on how to use some of these tools? Email me!
4. Downtime turning up?
If your business is quiet this time of year, take advantage of the lull to work out your marketing and social media for the year. Sit down with an expert if needed and plot out your goals and make a strategy on how to implement those goals using your social media platforms, marketing and PR efforts. Using the tools on the internet, you can set up pre-posts for the first quarter ahead of time, freeing up tons of time when you start to gear up again in Q1!
5. And the survey says….
If now is a quiet time, focus on pulling all your customer service and feedback learnings now. By contacting your current clients with surveys now, you will be way ahead of the game in terms of pulling feedback, learnings and ultimately strategizing and prepping before your busy time comes in the New Year. Any changes that need to be made can planned and executed well in advance if you start now.
6. Streamline Social Media
If you are slammed this time of year, make sure to utilize the tools on the internet and your iPhone to pre-plan your and streamline whatever you can. Social Media is an obvious one. If you have planned your SM strategy, you should have already done most of your pre-planned posts for Facebook, Twitter etc. If you haven't, get in there now and do it! If you need to, hire somebody to do it or you!
WordPress has a built in feature that lets you to prep your posts, preview them and then schedule them for a later date. The same can be done with Hootsuite (and also TweetAdder for Twitter). You can also sync your blog RSS feed to Hootsuite to be automatically tweeted. Engage your key (senior) staff to help animate the day to day "live" component where needed but setting up your posts ahead of time will save you a TON of time!
7. Book in YOU time!
Yes the hustle and bustle can drown the best of us, please remember to book in down time for you, yourself, family and friends. Let's not forget that we are #entrepreneurs partly because it is in our blood but also to support ourselves, with a hope to gain a better quality of life. Don't lose your quality of life in the chaos of Christmas! Family and friends first!
*Book your consult today, let's see how we can streamline, strategize and IMPROVE your business!
Leah Chevallier, serial entrepreneur in the Juvenile Industry sharing insight, success and 18 years of award winning retail experience! Took $2000 Micro-credit loan and turned it into $30 million!