Archives For business building

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We are in the first week of the New Year. How did 2015 end for you? Did you accomplish all you set out to do or did you fall short … again?

What can you do to change the outcome for 2016? Here are a few steps you can take to make sure this year ends on a high note.

The first step is to imagine how you will feel at the end of the year after accomplishing all of your goals. Really think about this and give yourself a few minutes to meditate on it to experience how you will actually feel. I can assure you, it will be a much better feeling than you will experience if you do not accomplish what you set out to do. Take a five minutes out of each day for this meditation exercise.

The next step is to spend some time on Friday afternoon to write down three things you want to accomplish for the following week. And they need to be tasks that push you a little and take you out of your comfort zone. And each task needs to be something that will propel your business one step closer to your ultimate goal for yourself and your business. Do the math. That adds up to 156 very focused tasks that will build and grow your business. Do you think that will have an impact? Don’t let time get away from you again and end the year wondering what happened.

The third step you want to take is to learn how to implement anything you learn as quickly as possible. Most people know everything they need to know to grow and build their business. The problem, most of the time, is in the implementation of what they know. Taking fast action and implementing what you learn is the key to building a business. Don’t wait for that one more piece of information, for the timing to be “right”, or to get things perfect before moving forward. Done is better than perfect. Just move! You can fix it as you go along.

The one constant in business is change.

Starting this week, you will be receiving my newsletter bi-weekly rather than weekly because of a change in priorities in my business. I have spent the last year or so building a solid foundation for the consulting side of my business. This year my focus is on building the speaking side of my business, which requires more time and more focused effort.

But change is just part of any entrepreneur’s life. And the sooner you accept that and the better you become at recognizing when it’s time for a change in your business, the faster you will grow. Money likes speed.

In Napoleon Hill’s classic book, Think and Grow Rich, he discusses the importance of making decisions quickly and without delay. This same logic also applies to the ability to change.

You just have to look at the condition of a couple of the larger retail companies that will probably be out of business over the next few years to see the effects of not making decisions and not changing quickly. Their inability to make decisions quickly and adapt to change is the result of corporate bureaucrats making fear based decisions to either save their jobs or make themselves appear more desirable for the next promotion rather than making sound business decisions. And if they make a bad decision, it can usually be overlooked … for a period of time.

As a small business owner and entrepreneur, you do not have the same luxury afforded corporate bureaucrats. The stakes are much higher, and the decisions you make could have an immediate impact on your business and an immediate impact on your income.

So procrastination, inability to change quickly, and slow decision making are not an option for you because these three things will destroy your business.

Think about the times in your business (or in your life) when delaying a decision or not making one at all cost you money. If you have been in business for any length of time, you can think of a couple. Unfortunately, quick decision making skills can only be acquired from making mistakes, hard-earned experience, and being in the trenches.

The key is to learn your lessons quickly, don’t dwell on your past mistakes, and be flexible. Accept change as part of doing business.

What change do you need to make in your business? Make the decision today to implement the change and stop procrastinating.

“Money likes speed” is not just a cliche. It is a fact. When you look at business owners who are successful and making money, there is one trait they have in common. They make decisions quickly. By learning to make decisions quickly, they also learn to fail fast and fail often.

If you are making minor (or major) decisions in your business on a daily basis, you will make a few mistakes. Get over it. If you can’t do that, then get a job, and let someone else make decisions for you. As a business owner, you are faced with many small decisions you have to make about your marketing, sales, where you will spend your money, and how you will spend your time every day. And you want those decisions to result in increased profits for your business.

Don’t waste time worrying about what someone else may think of your decision or of appearing foolish in front of your peers. Face it. Some people are not going to like you or the decisions you make no matter what you do. And they will give you advice you didn’t ask for. (And why do you have these people in your life?)

So stop trying to do things “they” like or agree with. It’s your business. If you have been in business for any length of time, you already know what to do. Follow your instincts knowing sometimes you will fail. And that’s okay. The good news is, as you get better at doing this, you will fail less often.

Knowing how to make decisions quickly is a trait that can be developed with consistent practice over time. Faster decision making will result in an increase in your confidence and an increase in revenues. And … you will become a much better decision maker.

My challenge to you today is for you to stop losing sleep over a decision you have to make concerning your business, and do not end your day until that decision is made. Commit to the decision and take action.

There is a new tool (new to me at least) I have been using called Evernote.

Evernote allows you to capture anything, access it anywhere, and find it fast. It can be an image, text, photo, audio recording, or almost anything else you want to capture and share. Evernote will capture it and send it to all your devices.
Let’s say you want to capture a whiteboard image before it accidentally gets erased. You simply take a picture, using your smart phone, and Evernote stores it on all your devices and allows you to do a search on the image later on. The same thing applies if you want to take a picture of your notes on a sheet of paper. And you can easily share this image.

And, speaking of notes, you can also just type them in and store them. They are still shareable and searchable. So, I’m sure you can see the power in using this software to help manage a project with several people involved.

You can also record and store audio notes that are also searchable and shareable.

And there are several plugins available for different browsers, such as Evernote Clearly. It makes blog posts, articles and webpages clean and easy to read. Save them to Evernote and you can read them anywhere on any of your devices.

Another plugin is Web Clipper that allows you to save anything you see online – including text, links and images.

There is more you can do with Evernote than I have room to cover in this short article, so check it out for yourself … it’s FREE. Just go to evernote.com to download your copy. Let me know how you are using this tool in your business.

Here are a few free tools you can use and free things you can do to start your business.

Need a website? You can use WordPress to build a free website and start a blog that people can subscribe to. There are two versions of WordPress. WordPress.com is the free version and they host it for you. WordPress.org is where you would go if you want to have your own domain name and host the site yourself.

Do you ever wish you had image and photo editing software but don’t want to shell out the $600 for Photoshop?

Gimp is an image manipulation program similar to Photoshop. You can edit and manipulate photos, images, and also create images from scratch using this editor. Need a new logo or graphic for your website? Get your creative juices flowing and see what you can come up with using Gimp. Download it HERE.

Do you need Word, Excel, Powerpoint? There is great open source software (translated free) you can download that has the basic functionality of all these products. Check out Open Office. You can download it HERE.

Need business cards? Go to Vistaprint and you can order free business cards. Of course you are limited on design options if you are ordering the free cards, but … they are free.

Need audio editing software? Audacity is a free audio editing tool available for both Mac and Windows. You can download the Mac version HERE.

Social Media is a great way to get connected with your target market and engage them. You can open a Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn account for free. Start connecting with people in your target audience and share your knowledge with them. Don’t just be trying to sell them in every post, but do share your knowledge and find a way to engage them.

Make phone calls. Do your research online, create a list of people to call, develop your sales script, and start making calls.

You can email me at mike@mikecoleman.net or call me at 615-308-8078 to schedule a free 10 minute consultation to help you get started.

Money is no longer an excuse for not starting a business.

Should you focus on results or focus on the worK? Both answers are correct but …

You can be much happier focusing on the work than on the results. Because sometimes you do not have much control over the results. And this can lead to frustration, overwhelm, anxiety, and stress.

But if you get up every morning and focus on the work you have to do without stressing over what may happen or what the results may be, you have the opportunity to be a much happier person.

If you focus on the work you have to do, the results will come.

That is why it’s so important to love what you do for a living. If you are doing what you love to do, then you should have no problem focusing on the work you have to do. You will be able to get up every morning and focus on the tasks that will give you the results you are seeking.

And loving what you do does not mean you love everything you do in your work. There will always be tasks in any entrepreneurial pursuit that you do not like to do, tasks you procrastinate on, or tasks you let someone else do.

The big mistake a lot of people make is thinking every part of their business should be smooth sailing or that they should enjoy everything they do in their business. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If you are doing work that matters, it will still be difficult sometimes. But the rewards you receive will be much greater than any sacrifice you make or temporary setback you have to endure.

So, focus on the work (not the results), love what you do, do work that matters, and be happy.

In his 2005 Stanford commencement address to the graduating class, Steve jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

It’s impossible to connect the dots looking forward. We have to learn to trust our gut instincts and move into the future with assurance we will make the right decisions or, at the very least, make the best decision with the information we have available.

So many business owners struggle trying to “figure it out”. You can’t “figure it out” and there is no easy road to success. It’s rolling up your sleeves, losing sleep, not playing as much golf, and, most importantly, trusting your gut. Trusting what you already know.

You already know what to do. How many seminars, information products, webinars, and all the other things that we have all spent time and money on, does it take for us to finally realize we know what we need to know to make money in our business?

The longer I’m in business, the more I realize the importance of trusting my gut. I’ve had and still have great mentors. I have been influenced and continue to be influenced by interacting with these amazing people. Because of their influence, I have confidence in the fact that I can trust my gut because of what I’ve learned and what I’ve experienced in my own business.

And I can’t stress enough the importance of having a business coach or a mentor, even if you have to pay someone. This is the best investment you will make in your business.

When you think about what it takes to succeed in business, it’s really simple. Here are six key components.

1. Know how to market and sell. This sounds obvious, but so many people want to find other things to waste their time rather than doing what needs to be done to grow their business. If you are saying to yourself, “I’m just not good at sales”, then either get a job or start studying everything you can get you hands on about selling. Get out there and have conversations with potential customers. Do whatever you have to do to get better at marketing and selling.

2. Follow up with the people you come in contact with within a reasonable amount of time. Work on building long-lasting relationships.

3. Don’t hang around broke people being influenced by what they are doing (unless you want to be one of them).

4. Develop the self-discipline to get up every morning and do what has to be done with no excuses. Plan how you will invest you time and efforts. Follow through with your plan.

5. Develop systems for everything. When making sales calls by phone, document what works so you can repeat it. The same applies to making in-person calls. If you do a direct mail campaign, create a spreadsheet to document how many you mailed, how many you followed up on, and how many responded. Develop systems, measure your results, and know your numbers.

6. Develop confidence in everything you do. Know you will make mistakes and sometimes fail. Don’t base your self-esteem on your results. Base your self-esteem on the effort you make towards achieving the result. You can’t always control your results, but you can control the effort you make towards attaining them. If you know you’ve done everything possible, let it go and move on. Don’t let it affect your self-confidence or your self-esteem.

You already know what it takes to be successful. All that’s left is to learn how to trust your gut, take action, and keep moving forward.

Are there opportunities in your business you are missing, for example building your list, growing your business, and increasing revenue?

Let’s take a look at building your list. A huge missed opportunity I see all the time is having a Facebook business page with no call to action or no way to collect information from people who “Like” you. You can actually create a Facebook business page that carries your brand forward, allows visitors to your page to sign up for your newsletter; allows visitors to “Like” you and then receive access to a free video; or download a white paper; and much more. In short, anything you can do on a website, you can do on a Facebook business page.

Simply log into your Facebook account and do a search on “Static HTML: iframes tab”. Then install this app on your Facebook page. It’s that simple. You will need to code a little HTML to create your page but you can use Dreamweaver or some other WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) HTML editor to do this.

Once you have your custom page created, you can make it the default landing page by going to your Facebook business page and clicking on “Edit Page”. Then click on “Manage Permissions” in the left column. In the Default Landing Tab dropdown menu, select “Welcome”.

Now when someone goes to your Facebook business page, they will go to the custom page you created. They can still read your wall and all the other things they could do before but now you have the opportunity to collect names and email addresses and build your list.

Wikipedia defines a contrarian as a person who takes up a position opposed to that of the majority, no matter how unpopular.

If you are in business, it is important that you be a contrarian.

I had a conversation recently with a client who was asking about other things she could do to improve her marketing in addition to the online strategies she already has in place. When I mentioned direct mail marketing, her first response was – “I didn’t think anyone does that anymore”.

My response was – “That is exactly the reason you want to do it!”. She has a very targeted list, which is important, and makes a few thousand dollars from each client. So for under $100, she can do a small direct mail campaign and probably get at least one client for her efforts … if she has GREAT copy for her campaign.

By “great copy”, I mean something targeted and written specifically to her target audience. It will be a one-page personalized sales letter written in a way that gets the recipient to take action. It can’t be something like the junk mail most of us receive everyday. And it has to be more than a postcard like everybody else sends.

Another example that comes to mind is from one of my many mentors. He beefs up his business and marketing in December when most people are saying – “Nobody does business over the holidays”. He generates a seven-figure income for his efforts because he is a contrarian and does the opposite of what most of his competitors are doing.

So think about new strategies you can put in place to enhance what you are already doing. Do the opposite of what your competition is doing and watch your client base grow along with your bank account.

When most people think of Facebook, they think of updating their status, keeping up with their friends and business associates, or about how it is a total waste of time.

But there is an upside to Facebook if you are looking for new ways to expose your business to your target market using pay-per-click marketing strategies … for example, Facebook Ads.

Facebook Ads display on the right side of your Facebook page under “Sponsored”. These are ads that people pay for every time someone clicks on their ad. You can also pay for impressions, but I wouldn’t recommend that.

The great thing about Facebook Ads is it allows you to target a very specific market without spending a lot of money. You control how your ads are displayed, how much money you spend, and who will see the ads.

To create a Facebook Ad, login to your Facebook account, then hover your mouse over the Apps area in the left column. “More” will appear. Click on this and it will bring up a list that includes “Ads”.

Once you click on Ads, you will see a button on the next page – “Create An Ad”. Click on this and you will be presented with a screen that allows you to enter the parameters for your Ad.

There will be three sections. Section 1 is where you enter your ad text, upload a graphic, etc.

Section 2 contains demographic information. If the demographics are not displayed, click on “Show Advanced Targeting Options”. Fill in the info, then move on to the next section.

Section 3 contains Campaigns, Pricing, and Scheduling. This is where you set your budget, schedule your ad, and enter the price you are willing to pay per click. You want to be extra careful here. There are two things you want to make sure you do.

Number 1- set your daily budget to keep from overspending on your ad. You can blow a large budget if you are not careful here.

Number 2 – check the Pay Per Click box. Then type in the maximum bid you are willing to pay for the ad to run.

That’s it. Very simple to do, but it takes work to monitor, test, and get results from your ad.

Do not send people who click on your ad to the Home page of your website. Make sure you are sending people who click on the ad to a landing page with great copy that gets them to take action.

For example, your product page, a landing page with a signup form to download an ebook, or a page that gets them to join your mailing list. Anything that prompts them to take action will work. This makes it easier to measure your results and will help you grow your list of potential clients.