Archive for September, 2013

Business Books Recommended by My Facebook Friends

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I’m collecting a list of must-have business books…books you’ve read (and maybe re-read) that clearly helped the way you think and the way you do things in your business, above all other books.


Are there one or two books that you would add to this list?

Here’s how my Facebook friends responded:

5 comments for now

Category: Running a Strong & Efficient Business

Are You Having a Business Identity Crisis?

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When rethinking your business model, different roadblocks spring up along the journey. One that nearly always happens is the business identity crisis: What is my business, and where is it going?

It feels as if you’re starting out all over again with incredibly basic questions. Darn! Again? Didn’t you do this at the very beginning of your business?

Sometimes it feels like you’re sliding backwards toward square one. Don’t worry, you’re not.

It can be frustrating when you are trying to transform your business to have to question your entire business model all over again. Truly — it’s necessary, and a wise move for any seasoned business owner. I see it as a great opportunity during your business reinvention process to pause and re-examine The Nine Big Questions.

Here’s an exercise in big-picture thinking for you and your business:

  1. What do you want from your business: emotionally, financially, intellectually?
  2. What personal values does your business reflect?
  3. Have your personal values changed since the last time you created your business model? If yes, what has to change in your new business model to reflect those new values?
  4. What brand does your business currently have? Do you need to re-brand it?
  5. If you re-brand it, what image/message do you now want to project for your new business model?
  6. Which marketing techniques are working and which ones need to be ditched?
  7. Who do you serve and do you still want to serve this audience?
  8. Who are your best customers? Who are your repeat customers? How can you serve them better?
  9. And the biggest question of all: WHY are you in this business? (Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to get out.)

Don’t Panic

I know that rethinking your business can feel overwhelming. Take a look at these nine questions and pick just one to ponder. Pick a question that calls to you. Trust your intelligence and gut instinct to select a starting place for rethinking and redesigning your business model.

Business re-design is not just about making decisions and implementing plans. It’s about asking questions, getting clarity and finding focus. You’ll be happy you took the time to ask yourself The Nine Big Questions.

So, how about you? Which Big Question is the one that’s on your mind right now?

18 comments for now

Category: Rethinking Your Business
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10-Minute Marketing Tasks You Can Do Easily

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As a small business owner, your days are filled with meetings to attend, to-do lists to complete and hundreds of other pressing tasks that all seem to need your attention right now. Oftentimes, marketing doesn’t make the cut. But there are quick, easy ways to accomplish your marketing goals in 10 minutes or less.

Here’s 12 easy marketing tasks you can do in 10 minutes:

  1.  Go to your last email newsletter and find out your open rate, or the percentage of people who opened your email. Email marketing programs track this rate by taking the number of opened emails (calculated by interactions with an email server, such as clicking a link or downloading images and dividing it by the total of emails that didn’t bounce back.) Then, go here and see how your open rate compares to the average for your industry.
  2. Go into your shopping cart software and find the people who have purchased from you more than once.
  3. Write a thank-you note to someone who has helped you in your business, or who has inspired you to succeed.
  4. Get your latest revenue and expense reports and see how much profit you’ve made in the last 12 months. Which months are strongest for you?
  5. Get your latest revenue report and see which product or service makes the most profit.
  6. Compare your logo to the colors on your website. Do they match? Are they consistent?
  7. Compare the photos and graphics you use on your social media platforms. Do they match? Are they consistent with your brand, as well with as the photos and graphics you use on your website?
  8. Create a “good girl” or “atta boy” folder. Whether it’s a physical folder or one in your email program, create a place where you can store testimonials and rave reviews from your fans. Such a folder has two purposes: It’ll be the well from which you can draw testimonials for your website (with permission, of course). And, even more important, it’ll give you inspiration on those days when life is beating you down.
  9. Look at the tasks on your to-do list for today and tomorrow. Which business goals are they associated with? Are you doing the best tasks you can, today, to reach your goals tomorrow?
  10. Ask yourself, when was the last time you increased your rates? Many people resisted raising prices during the recession for fear they’d lose business. But you’ve become more of an expert in your field over that time, and therefore, you’re worth more. So, what’s stopping you from raising your fees? What are the potential rewards if you DO raise them?
  11. Think of one objection or question that prospective customers might have about buying from you and craft a response to it.
  12. Write 10 possible headlines for your next article, or 10 possible titles for your next speech or class. Choose the one that’s most powerful and compelling to your audience. (Hint: the more you write, the better they get!)

Each of these tasks can help you achieve your business goals. You may find things that need your immediate attention, like mismatched web graphics. Perhaps your email open rate is low compared to your industry, so you need to freshen up your newsletters. By performing just one of these quick steps, you’re saving yourself time in the long run.

17 comments for now

Category: Marketing, Running a Strong & Efficient Business