After the Holidays…

This is the time of year where we often hear…  and sometimes say…  “Let’s wait until after the holidays.”

Some of us get so wrapped up (or overwhelmed) by the holiday season, we put everything off that we can until January.  And  let’s be real for a minute…  Are you REALLY going to be less overwhelmed after the holidays???

I doubt it.  There’s always something.  If an opportunity for something you want comes into your life, be wary of putting it off just because it happens to be December.

And if other people use that line on you, be bold in questioning whether January will really be that much better.  At the very  least, schedule a definite time to follow up after the holidays instead of leaving it open.

If you do this instead of accepting a vague follow up “after the holidays”…

  • You can avoid feeling totally unproductive because you’ve scheduled a solid appointment;
  • You have a clear time blocked out on your schedule instead of just creating a bigger “to do” list for January…  so you’re less overwhelmed and more organized;
  • You avoid letting the opportunity slip through the cracks.

What else can you do if you’re feeling a bit unproductive during this time of year?

If you can’t use the time for meetings, use it to handle other things…

  • Plan for next year – Gear up to implement new ideas, products, etc. – Plan out your marketing calendar, etc
  • Update your contact database – Touch base with people to say hi and update their info.  Reconnecting might also spark a new opportunity.
  • Purge old files, clear clutter and get organized.
  • Create and/or update your systems so your business runs more smoothly.
  • Get your tax info together so you’re ready to go BEFORE the deadline.
  • Follow up on old opportunities that haven’t come through yet.
  • Schedule meetings for January…  tell people you’d like to keep it off your to do list. (Yes, I mentioned this twice because it’s that important.)

You can be productive during this time, even if it’s not in the way you usually are.  Set yourself up to start the year off organized & refreshed!

A Simple Model for High Impact Business Networking

Have you ever been frustrated with networking?  Do you sometimes feel like you go to a networking event only to be sold other people’s stuff.

These 3 simple steps will help you (& the people you meet networking) make the most of your networking efforts.  When you lead by example, the people you network with will follow!

Networking, or any marketing strategy, is always more effective with a clear strategy.  Know what your purpose is, create clear objectives and have a simple strategy.

A true networking model is based on combining your network of contacts with someone else’s network of contacts to create a synergistic effect and an endless stream of referrals.

Networking is NOT about you selling to the people you meet and them selling to you.  This model falls FLAT!

Here are 3 simple steps for high impact networking:

  1. Build Trust & Lasting Relationships (Make new friends)
  2. Provide Value & Support (Help your new friends)
  3. Ask for Support (Make it easy for your new friends to support you)

Watch the video for details on how to create a solid foundation for high impact networking.

 

Now, I’d love to hear from you.  Please share your own best networking tips in the comments section below.  Your input could be life changing for another reader, so don’t hold back!!!  See you next time.

Here’s to your endless success & prosperity!

Jen

Are You Spending Too Much Money on Business Software – 5 Free Solutions That Work

CD DVD Disc

freeimages.com/Enzo Forciniti

Cutting expenses is often a side of the profit equation that is ignored.  Or maybe, you think you don’t have a choice for certain necessities.

Think again.  You can cut costs by exploring these 5 free software solutions.

If you like mindmapping, check out solution #3…  It’s my personal favorite!

 

Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations

Want an alternative to Microsoft Office?  I recently switched to WPS Office, in part because it also has an Android app I can use with my tablet.  WPS Office includes software to create and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations.  In fact, I love the presentation component because it includes templates that make it easy to jazz up your slideshow.

Click HERE to Get WPS Office – Price: Free

Desktop Email

It may seem that desktop email is going by the wayside.  I like it though because it’s much easier to type on a keyboard.  I also like to archive important emails by printing to pdf into a regular folder on my computer instead of cluttering up my email program.  As I switched to an online calendar and contact manager, I found Microsoft Outlook to be overkill.

I found Thunderbird and I love it.  It’s simple and does everything I want it to, so it will likely work well for you too.  You can pull email from all your accounts to your desktop. The user interface is intuitive for anyone who has used Microsoft products, except it’s even more straightforward.

Click HERE to get Thunderbird Email – Price: Free

Mindmapping

This is my favorite!  I use it to brainstorm all my new ideas and to organize components of just about every project I do.

I explored several different mindmapping programs. Lots of them have mobile versions as well.  I didn’t like any of them.  I started with this simple, free mindmapping solution called Freemind.  And after all my searching, it’s the one I came back to.

Click HERE to get Freemind Mindmapping Software – Price: Free

There are mobile apps that will read the Freemind files also, so you can take it with you.  I use the desktop version on my notebook which is mobile enough so I haven’t used the mobile apps.  If you use them, share your thoughts in the comments area below. I’d love to hear what you think.

Scan to PDF

I bought a Neat scanner some time ago to keep all my paperwork in digital format.  I love the organization of digitizing and essentially eliminating paper piles!  I don’t love the Neat software.  I never really used it except as an interface.  I prefer scanning to pdf and filing in regular file folders.  This way I never have to worry about the scanning software becoming obsolete.

After a Neat software update, my scanner seemed to stop working.  Upon further investigation, I discovered it was some issue with the software and stumbled upon a free (and much more simple) scanning solution called NAPS2.  It seems to work with any scanner and will scan as an image and/or save to pdf.  I also have an HP all-in-one with a scanner and apparently it will allow you to bypass the cumbersome software that comes with that as well.

Click HERE to get NAPS2 Opensource Scanning Software – Price: Free

Graphic Design

I found a super easy(and of course, free) way to create social media headers, picture posts and image quotes.  It’s a site called canva.  They have some free image or you can use your own.  If you use their premium images, there is a fee for your final design.  This isn’t a full blown graphic design solution, however it’s great if you want a quick, easy way to make a professional looking header for your facebook page.

Click HERE to get a Canva account – Price: Free

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these free resources for your business.  And what free software do you use?

p.s. There are free accounting software solutions I’m looking into also.  Would love to hear your thoughts if you use one.  Thanks!

Jen

Rank Higher in Search Results: 10 Tips to Better On-Page SEO (Guest Article)

As a solo/small business owner, we are often tempted to do it all on our own.  Always remember, there are experts out there in every area.  Call on them to make your life easier and delegate whenever you can.  You’ll usually save yourself loads of time.  Here’s a guest article from Barbra Wolfe of In House Marketing LLC, an expert in web design and SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  Use her tips to DIY or call on her to do it for you.

Enjoy…

Jen

 

 

We do self testing exams on our bodies; we submit ourselves for diagnostic blood work; we take our cars in for tune-ups. When is the last time you thought about the health of your website, your SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process, a comprehensive strategy, to move your website higher on the list of results that people see when they search for a keyword or key phrase on any of the search engines ie, Google, Bing, and Yahoo. The more people that see your company appear in the search results, the more visitors you are likely to have, and that should have a positive impact on your bottom line.

There are two main categories of SEO tactics. “On page” refers to thing you can do on your website. “Off page” refers to all the other things in the universe that influence where you rank in search engine results.

So let’s check the SEO health of your website, your “on-page” SEO. Please keep in mind that your “on-page” SEO is just a qualifier, so to speak. You could do all the off page SEO strategies and have a zillion quality backlinks, but it’s all for naught if you don’t have a good foundation in place.

Tip 1:  Do you have a sitemap? A sitemap tells Google how your website is organized. It assists Google to crawl your pages. How can you tell?

1.  One way to tell if you’ve got a sitemap is to look at the Footer credits that appear on the bottom of every page along with the Copyright year and the name of the company who designed your website.

2.  Check your plug-ins. Do you see anything that says Sitemaps? I use Google XML Sitemaps.

For each page and each post on your website,

Tip 2:  Have you identified a relevant title, putting the most important descriptors at the beginning?

Tip 3:  Have you identified your page meta description? If you don’t, Google will pick copy from the page and it often won’t make sense.

Picture1

This is a bad example of a title. What is the name of the upcoming event? This is also an example of what happens when you don’t tell Google what you want in the page description. “Venues are all within walking distance” was a phrase that Google chose from the home page. The home page consisted of pictures and links. The only copy on the home page was:

Shopping, sports complexes, and gaming venues are all within walking distance.

(Actually, this information doesn’t even make sense in the context of the home page, never mind a description for Google to use to describe the whole page, but that’s another issue.)

Tip 4:  Do you have relevant copy on each page that Google can search? You can’t have a title and description for Blue Widgets and then have the content of the page be about Pink Toothpicks. You can, but it will not help your SEO or your readers.

Tip 5:  Have you identified your Page meta keywords? (Google doesn’t look at keywords anymore but Yahoo and Bing certainly do.)

If you don’t know if this has been done, you can check the code itself.

Get out of your back office and go to your Home page as a public viewer. Right click on the main part of your page (but not on a picture). You’ll get a pop up box. In the middle of the pop up box, you’ll see “View page source”. Click on this. Don’t worry; you don’t need to know code or how to read it. But you should get familiar with this process because we’ll use it again to look for other things on your site. (And, of course, you can implement the same process to look at your competitor’s sites… Just sayin..)

The tops of my code pages look like this. The code is in red. The copy in black is what you create.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang=”en-US”>
<head>
<meta charset=”UTF-8″ />
<title>the title of your page ie: 20 Free Wealth Building Tips | Financial Wizard | Las Vegas </title>
<meta name=”description” content=”20 key wealth building tips are revealed for free from Financial Wizard’s newest book, the Wealth Finding Genius.” />
<meta name=”keywords” content=”best financial wizard, financial guru, wealth building, Las Vegas, whatever you want to write” />

Yours may not look like this because you have an older website or you have one built and hosted by GoDaddy. Regardless, now that you’re looking at the code, you can find these words by using the Control-Find feature. (Press CTRL and F at the same time.) Type in the word title. Do you see the title of this page? Type in the word description. Do you see a description of your page? Type in the word keyword. Do you see any keywords?

Tip 6:  Photos. Are you using “alt tags” every time you upload a photo? The search engines cannot see photos. They can only read the description of the photo that you type.

On one page of my Author website, I’ve got a picture of a woman blindfolded. When I uploaded the picture, I added the description, “Woman Blindfolded”.

If you look at the code page, press Control-Find, and type the word alt. You should see your alt tags. Here’s mine:
<p><img class=”alignnone size-medium wp-image-79 alignleft” src=”http://barbrawolfe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/WomanBlindfolded-300×200.jpg” alt=”Woman Blindfolded” width=”300″ height=”200″ /></p>

Tip 7:  Have you set your page urls to make sense to the user? Google is very concerned with the user experience. Make sure your Permalink settings are set to “post name”. So, rather than seeing http://FinancialGuru.com/?p=123, you’ll see http://FinancialGuru.com/20-Free-Wealth-Building-Tips

Tip 8:  Links. Watch the words in your links; make them relevant and try to use keywords.

Tip 9: Are you linked to your social media sites?

Tip 10:  Google does not pay much attention to static websites. Do you have an active Blog?

Content. Content. Content. Relevant, Original, Fresh Content.

There’s lot more involved with SEO.  To learn more, contact me for our upcoming workshop schedule or meet with me to find out what I can do for your site.

Barbra Wolfe
President of In House Marketing LLC
http://barbrawolfe.com
http://InHouseMarketingLLC.com

3 Ways to Maximize Profits

To increase profits, you must either increase revenue, decrease expenses or both.
(Quick Quiz: Which do I recommend? Hint Hint… BOTH, of course!!!)

Even so, let’s keep it simple and look at the sexy side…
Makin’ more money! That’s much more FUN and exciting. I’m sure you agree.

There are 3 key (yep, it rhymes) ways to make more money.

#1 – Increase the number of Customers

This is the most obvious and most common area business owners focus on. When you sell to more people, you’ll make more money. Pretty straight forward, right?

#2 – Increase the number of Sales per Customer

Business owners often leave money on the table in this area. They either don’t offer additional products and services OR they don’t focus enough of their marketing efforts on enticing existing customers to buy from them more often. So,make sure you offer products and services that are related to the ones your customers are already buying AND market those complementary products and services to your existing customers. When you sell the same customers more stuff, you’ll make more money!

#3 – Increase the Revenue of Each Sale

Some business owners get freaked out OR downright dig their heels in when I suggest raising prices. “Yikes! People won’t pay more. It’s hard enough to get them to pay what I’m charging now!” That’s the mindset of someone stuck in a discount mentality… Sure, some people want cheap to free.

You can cater to them and, depending on your product or service, work your ass off to give stuff away… OR… You can cater to people who want high value and are willing to pay for it. Certainly, you must also clearly communicate (and provide) that higher value. When you sell high value stuff with a higher ticket price, you make more money!

To maximize maximizing profits, utilize all three methods in some combination.

Stay tuned as we go in more depth on exactly HOW to maximize utilization of these methods to maximize YOUR profits.

Now, I’d love to hear from YOU… Please leave a comment below… Share what you do to maximize profits… OR… What is your biggest challenge with using any of the methods in this article? Remember, what you share may make a world of difference to another reader… Or YOU might get an answer you need.

And, if you found this article useful, please pass it on to colleagues, friends, family or anyone you think could use a little extra support breathing life into their business to have more fun, freedom and money!