Tag: business.

Start with your own. From cleaning up your office to working on your own life, it’s so tempting (and easy) to focus on other people’s messes and problems. The other person’s problem and solutions are so clear and obvious to us. Their mess lures us into a false sense of a simple answer and quick solution. We are so tempted to say, “Why if you’ll only do this, everything will be fine.” Solutions aren’t always as simple as they appear — especially in other people’s lives.

What is difficult and far more bold is to start with your own mess. Start making changes in your own character. Start improving your own attitude. Start that habit at work that you want everyone else to emulate. Start cleaning your own desk and taking control of your own life.

I’ve been working on paring down and simplifying at the office and at home. It feels really good to be organized and uncluttered. In the process, I’ve noticed my tendency to want to “help” others with their difficulties, their messes, and their problems. That silly desire sidetracks me from what I really need to be doing. That distraction stops me from working on my own problems. It prevents me from thinking about and solving my bad habits.

Please don’t think I’m saying don’t care for others or help others. That is not what I mean at all. I’m specifically talking about focusing on others when we seriously need to focus on ourselves.

Often when someone else’s behavior or mess bothers me, I look to myself as quickly as possible to see if I’m guilty of the exact same behavior.

Leave other people’s messes for them. Allow others the joy of solving their own problems. Focus on your own. It may just start a chain reaction of change at the office, at home and in your own heart.

By Sally Poole

In fourth grade we lived in Holly Park, which is part of the Seattle Housing Authority. We just called it “the projects.” Mom, a high school drop out, was recently divorced with four kids. We were really poor and didn’t mind at all – except we had to eat powdered milk on the commodity oatmeal we had for breakfast every morning. At Holly Park, we had tons of other kids to play with and learned all kinds of new things.

One of our neighbors and my best friend was Tonya. Tonya’s mom would iron her hair in the morning to straighten it. My sister and I would beg her to iron our hair too. We liked it because it made our hair warm. She’d just laugh at us and iron our straight hair too.

Tonya’s brother, Mike was older than us and he was a complete mystery. He would bounce his basketball all the time and tell us frequently, “I’m gonna be a pro.” We had NO IDEA what on earth he was talking about. We tried to find out what a pro was. We even asked adults, but out of context, they had no idea what we were talking about either. You have to remember this was in the 1960’s. Professional sports had not yet become the big business it is today – well, not that we were aware of anyway.

Years later I realized Mike wanted to be a pro basketball player, make good money and have respect.

I started thinking that maybe we should encourage all of our young kids to become a pro. Professionals at something – anything! It would encourage them to work hard on their dream career, practice, maybe go to college or a trade school that they hadn’t considered before. To shoot a little higher (pardon the basketball pun) for a larger goal.

I had no idea what I would do with my life when I was in fourth grade, but I’m proud that I became a pro in my field. I hope Mike became a pro too. I wish all of our kids could grow up to be pros, earn the money they want and get the respect they’ve dreamed of.

“Design is the single most critical factor in determining the ultimate winner of the 21st Century.”
~ Kun-Hee Lee, CEO Samsung

Good design is what sets a business apart from the competition – whether it’s the organizational design, the work they do or the product they create for their customers. Design is a critical part of business success because it means someone is thinking things through and looking at the big picture.

STD. What do you think this stands for?

Yeah, me too. Sexually Transmitted Disease.

Well in some businesses it’s used for Sales Tool Development, Seize The Deal, Short Term Disability or Standard Testing Diagnostic. Hmm… would you have guessed that? Chances are slim that you would. Instead you’re probably still trying to not laugh out loud when that engineer keeps talking about that large piece of equipment’s accurate STD output.

Can we please just stop this? It confuses our customers. It stops communication dead in its track because people are trying to figure out what you mean without appearing stupid.

Take the time to spell it out and explain things clearly. Here’s why I think acronyms are stupid:

S – short sighted
T – too technical
U – ubiquitous (everywhere!)
P – passive
I – incomprehensible
D – disruptive

Take two minutes to write out (or say) what you’re talking about. It’s not going to take that much more time and it’ll save you headaches in the long run. And don’t blame texting! This has been going on long before texting was even invented.

So go seize the day, and skip the STD.

It’s time to take a close hard look at your voice mail system. If you don’t have one – don’t worry. I think you’re actually in better shape than most companies with a voicemail system! How many times have you tried to call a business and got stuck in Voicemail Purgatory? Last week I called a local station that I call frequently. I have a new sales rep and could not get to him. The phone system was overloaded with calls and asked me to type in his last name. I had no idea how to spell his last name. I needed something right away and this was aggravating – and I know their system! Think of how a new customer would have felt dealing with this same issue.

This week call your own office and listen carefully. I’m sure there’s something you can do to make your voice mail system work better. Your customers should be able to reach you quickly and easily. Don’t ask them to go to a menu or type in your last name or call another phone number. It’s dumb. It stops you from making a sale and is poor customer service. Rethink your voicemail system and seriously consider a warm live voice instead of a machine.

Sally just got done reading Manage Your Day-To-Day. The subtitle of this book is Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus and Sharpen Your Mind, edited by Jocelyn K. Glei. Here’s some of the best business take-aways from the book:

If you find you’ve been working hard and hardly getting ahead, this book is for you. It focuses on how our work day and work world has changed. Too often we’re reacting and not working on our daily to-do list. The first thing to do is schedule your creative work first and schedule it at a time when you work best. This may take a little time to find – but instinctively you may know this already. Set routines and stick to them. If a project isn’t complete one day, calendar it and move it to the next day. Your capacity is limited. Schedule your renewal or “sharpen the saw” time. Stick to it. Schedule thinking time or alone time to plan. Plan blocks of time to work – calendar it and stick to it. Stop multi-tasking – it doesn’t work. Work on one project at a time, focus and finish it. Understand your temptations and resist them. In other words stay off Facebook and quit texting. Keep your workspace organized. Protect your DO NOTHING time. Your brain needs some R&R. Send really short emails. There is magic in a six-word email. Schedule your social media time and use it effectively to promote your business. Sally does hers at the same time she’s updating client posts. Sometimes your soul needs to rest – take a long break from being connected. Finally, stop thinking everything must be perfect. We are human. Only God is perfect.
Get the work done, do your very best and let it go.

“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”  – Warren Buffet

1. Know Your Audience

– What time they check Facebook, what content they’re interested in.
– Target those specific people who ‘liked’ your page.

Knowing your audience will help your business tremendously down the road. It’s not enough to have a great product these days. You need to find those people who are your target audience and know what they want to see, their interests, likes and dislikes.

2. Engage with Your Audience
– Make posts specifically to your target group.

Once you’ve figured out their likes and dislikes, it’s time to put your knowledge to work.
Think about it – a follower is more likely to like or share a post if it is relevant to them or if they find it to be something they can stand behind.

3. Provide Great Customer Service

Once you have figured out your target market and how to get their attention, you need to keep it! Keep up on your social media; it shouldn’t be on autopilot for too long. Notice when someone comments on a post of yours or better yet, shares your post. Respond to your audience; people like to know that who they’re following is responsive and actually cares about them.

In short, nobody likes to be ignored. If people comment on your post or have questions, acknowledge them! It’s easy to become automated with managing your Facebook, but don’t forget that Customer Satisfaction still rules and will go further than any boosted post ever will.

4. Customization
You can schedule when your FB status is posted weeks and months in advance, specifically to better fit your customers’ schedules. When you go to make a status update there is a drop down box next to the “Post” button that gives you an option to schedule your posting. Use this free trick to optimize your social media!

5. Boost
You can also use the “Boost” button, which places your posts higher in the News Feed, so there’s a better chance your audience will see them. Although there is a charge to boost, but you can choose your own budget. The more you put towards your budget, the higher your boost.

Stay focused and use Facebook’s free platform to your advantage!

How to Make Money In Your Own Small Business
by Jeffery J. Fox

Today I’ve read another book and will outline it so you can benefit from it without reading it. However, that being said, I’m a firm believer in reading and life long learning. I encourage you to do the same. You may learn more and different things than I did.

Today’s book is How To Make Big Money In Your Own Small Business by Jeffery J. Fox. This small book is packed full of good advice and is subtitled Unexpected Rules Every Small Business Owner Needs To Know. The number of small businesses is growing in our country and across the world. In the United States many women are starting businesses – more often than men. Small business helps create most of the innovative new products and services in our country. Here are 25 tips from the book to help you grow and manage your business more profitably:

  1. Small businesses are more maneuverable. Look at ideas large businesses have and cannot implement.
  2. Always be looking for new ways to make money.
  3. Have a basic business plan that outlines your break evens, your market and your customer.
  4. Do what comes easy for you – and hard for others
  5. Keep a focus on marketing and selling
  6. You’re in business to solve customers problems and make them more comfortable.
  7. Hire salespeople that were ex-paperboys (or girls).
  8. Be frugal except with customers and employees.
  9. Spend 60% of your time marketing, 30% providing product or service and 10% managing
  10. Seek fortune over fame.
  11. Get rid of the home office.
  12. Price your product or service to it’s value – not its cost. Get away from charging by the hour.
  13. Delegate, outsource and use consultants and interns
  14. Have a back up plan in case you loose an employee – for every employee.
  15. Get rid of problem employees immediately.
  16. Stash cash for emergencies.
  17. Patent, protect and padlock your systems and ideas.
  18. Review billing and pricing frequently. Bill as soon after the job as possible.
  19. You’re not the boss, the client is.
  20. Take accurate notes about each project. Write down dates and times. You may need them.
  21. Always be thinking about how to make your company better and better serve your customers.
  22. Remember to work ON your business – not just IN it.
  23. Stay off of boards and committees – they are a giant time drain away from making profits.
  24. Use technology but wait till it’s been out a year – you’ll save big.
  25. Give surprises to both your customers and employees.

Finally, here’s a list of your daily to do’s:

  • Exercise
  • Talk to a new customer
  • Contact an existing customer
  • Sell to an existing customer
  • Achieve one important objective
  • Execute a marketing event
  • Do one important task
  • Train an employee
  • Listen and talk to employees
  • Inspect product quality
  • Inspect delegated tasks
  • Review all goals
  • Return all calls

Sally Poole
Poole Communications owner

For more information on Jeffery Fox’s book, see here: http://www.amazon.com/Make-Money-Your-Small-Business/dp/0786868252

Here are some quick tips to get your press release published.

1. Make sure it’s news worthy – if it’s not it won’t get published.

2. Take the time to develop a catchy headline that will attract attention.

3. Write in a concise, news-style with the most important information first and the least important information last. When editors cut an article, they cut from the bottom.

4. Find a photo that complements your release. It is much more likely to be printed with a photo.

5. Include your complete contact information: name, title, business, address, phone, email, website. The media needs to be able to get in touch with you to do a larger story if they have time and space. Make it easy for them.

6. Find the right person to send the press release to. You can usually find this on the media’s website.

7. Send that person an email with the press release in the email and attach a PDF or WORD document of the release too.

 

8. Realize that you may have to send the press release more than once. Editors are busy people and your release will only be publicized if there is space or time. This week might be too full of news to print your release, but next week might be great.

If you need help writing and sending press releases, give Poole Communications a call at 800-900-3635. We’d be happy to help.

The business world is changing. Ten years ago, you would have never understood “sharing your contacts on the cloud.” Two years ago Newsweek stopped all printed publications. Take a look around you. It’s time to move your company forward.

Last week I spent three days learning about new trends in internet marketing.  I’d like to share a few ideas with you that can help grow your business:

  1. Grow your e-mail list.  Take a look at how many emails you have right now and set a much higher goal. This is one of the very fastest and best ways to communicate with existing and potential customers. This alone will help increase your business. Then communicate with your customers on a regular basis… which leads to:
  2. Send an e-newsletter regularly. Keep it simple and benefit oriented. Fill it with tools and information your customers can use. The key is to send it on a regular basis. If you’re busy start out quarterly. Get a handle on it and move it to once a month. You can send twice a month if the content is good. I would not send much more frequently than that.
  3. Please tell me you have a website. If not, stop reading and go start working on it right now. It’s that important. Take all of your old yellow page budget and pour it into your website. Then I challenge you to use video on your website. It’s not hard – grab your cell phone, shoot some video and post it on YouTube then link it to your site. It doesn’t have to be perfect – it just has to be beneficial to your customer.
  4. Build a business Facebook page and promote it. Most of the people in the developed world are on Facebook. It’s time you figured out how to use it for business too. Then when people LIKE your page, go to their page and thank them. Saying “thank you” never goes out of style. Take time every chance you get to thank each and every customer.

Thank YOU for reading my post and stay tuned for more growing your business ideas.

Sally Poole

Check out our Facebook videos to see Sally’s Secret Ninja Facebook trick! Find it here.