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my thoughts on making the most out of all of life's minutes…


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Word Up Wednesday – Brick and Mortar & Click and Brick

If you operate a little store from which you sell your products or offer your services in a physical location…you are operating a Brick and Mortar.  Likewise, if you have a physical location where your clients can meet with you, you are a Brick and Mortar.

A doctor would have a B&M location where he sees patients.  A gift shop or coffee-house is a B&M; customers physically go to the location to buy the products.

A Click and Brick is a combination of a physical location and also does business online.  If you operate a little art gallery where people can come in and purchase pieces of art but you also offer sales via the internet from your website or blog….you are a Click and Brick.

Many times you can enhance your presence if you offer an online option to your customers to purchase your products and goods.  Just be careful not to overextend yourself with online sales that distract from your physical location – by either taking away your attention from your walk-in customers or deplete  your inventory too much that your shelves are bare.  On the flip side, don’t forget about the online customers by having slow response times and shipping delays.

Are you a brick and mortar business that can add some “clicks” too?   This doesn’t have to be just a store….if you offer a service oriented business, you can extend your offerings to online customers or clients as well.  Let’s chat if you’re thinking of how to implement this option to your current business.  Shoot me an email or leave a comment below.

Happy Wednesday!

~Amy

PS – we’re going strong on my challenge this month to buy 100 copies of my eBook…Making Time for Dinner.  Have you purchased yours yet?  If so, send me your thoughts!

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Word Up Wednesday – – Delegate

It is interesting when I looked up the official definition to this word….all I found were links to the upcoming elections.  Well – DUH – Amy – we are in an election year and there is lots of talk about delegates.

But I’m looking at this word as in – delegate – – like to assign part of your workload to someone else.

Delegate: v;  to send or appoint (a person) as deputy or representative.

I think one of life’s most valuable lessons to learn how to delegate.  Yet, I feel , for small business owners, this is probably one of the hardest things to learn and to do.

For me, when I was running my own business I had a couple of issues that set up hurdles for me to delegate:

  1. I was very independent and felt as most small business owners, that I was able to perform every task needed for my company.
  2. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to afford delegating my workload to others.

Both of these situations are very common lines of thinking when I talk with other small business owners.  And one of the things I like about being a small business owner myself and now consulting with small business owners is the “I can do it” mentality.  But careful to not let this get in your way of yourself.   Yes, it is probably true that you can do “it” – whatever it may be.  But too many “its” and the service or product that you offer will begin to suffer.

It is important to take stock in the things in which you excel, the things  you with which you struggle and the things which you don’t like doing very much.

For example: when I wanted to convert my business from a sole-proprietor to a Corporation, I know in my heart and my mind that I would have been able to figure all that was needed to do this.  I mean, I have a BA in Business.  Surely, that should give me a leg up on knowing what to do.  But, I also admitted to myself that:

  1. I am not a lawyer, and
  2. I didn’t have the time to learn what was needed. Even from all I learned in college, I didn’t learn the intricacies of setting up a corporation.

So I allowed myself to hire a lawyer to handle this part of my company.  That was probably the best idea I ever had.  Not the becoming incorporated part (although that was pretty smart too), but the hiring a lawyer part.  He told me things about what was required that I didn’t even know I didn’t know.

A client of mine hates to do invoicing for her company.  I suggested she hire a bookkeeper to come in and do all her financials once or twice a month.  She did so and now she doesn’t put invoicing her clients off until the last-minute.  She saves herself many minutes each month not to mention the headache she doesn’t get anymore.

For personal or home management, it is important to realize where you can delegate certain tasks too.  Delegating household task can be to hired help, like a babysitter or a house cleaner.  But it can also roll into your kids.  Heck I’ve even delegated mouse patrol to my cat – – I mean – there are just some things I won’t do!

Seriously, there is no reason our kids can’t do household chores these days and I’m always amazed at parents whom I talk with that say “Junior can’t do that”.  And I ask…”have you had him try?”  I think kids as young as three should be delegated things to do.

WORD OF CAUTION!  I have learned it is best not to “delegate” household chores to your spouse or partner.  This gives the wrong impression that you are really in charge and/or have some superiority over your significant other.  It is best to use words like “share” or “let’s combine our efforts”.

One last thought – – trust.  It is important to trust the person to whom you delegate jobs.  Whether it is a co-worker you are asking for help on a project, an employee or a contractor…if you don’t trust them, they will fail.  And – it is oh so important to be specific in what you are looking for and when giving the details of the assignment.

Did you know I can help you with finding ways to delegate some of your tasks  – – and we’ll find more minutes in your day!  Give me a call…I’d love to chat and get things rolling.

Happy Wednesday!

~Amy

PS – we had a pretty good day, yesterday,  on our 100 for May challenge….will you help me sell 100 copies of my eBook, Making Time for Dinner this month?  Buy your copy today and ask your friends to do the same.  And thanks!


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Word Up Wednesday – Advertising

Happy Word Up Wednesday!

A couple of weeks ago the Wednesday word was “Marketing“.  One part of your overall marketing plan is promotion.  In a word – advertising.

AdvertisingThe activity or profession of producing information for promoting the sale of commercial products or services.  

http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/advertising.html#ixzz1qDqE5ywh

We all know what advertising is – we see it everywhere.  On TV, website banners, those sidebars on Facebook, on the side of a city bus, in your shopping carts.  Advertising is everywhere.

The important thing to remember about advertising, especially if you are a small business owner and on a tight budget, is to advertise where your customers  will see you.

This goes back to the all important task of “knowing your customer”.  If you truly know your customer, you will know where they are and what they are doing.  By knowing this,  you will know where to place your advertisements to catch their attention.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • A massage therapist might place an ad offering reduced services to marathon runners.
  • A cleaning service might place some signage right outside a gym so people see it right as they are driving away.
  • A cardiologist could place an ad in her church bulletin.
  • A dog walker could advertise on a ferry or a train to catch the eye of busy commuters.

There are many sorts of advertising too.  From guilt, to “in-the-family”, to pleasure.  This gives me an idea…I’ll work on a collection of the different sorts of advertising and present them to you one day.  Once we know what sort of advertising we want to utilize, then we create the ads.

Questions?  Send them over…I’d love to chat about them.

Happy Hump Day!

~Amy


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Word Up Wednesdays – QR Codes

Good Morning Peeps!

This week’s  we’ll be having a Thursday edition of Word Up Wednesday

Today’s Word – QR Code

 

Have you seen these popping up all over and wondered what they were?  Maybe you haven’t noticed them – but I bet you well now.  This newest tracking method is becoming quite popular, especially with the increase use of smart phones.

QR Code (as taken from www. Wikipedia.com)

QR Code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. More recently, the system has become popular outside of the industry due to its fast readability and large storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be made up of four standardized kinds (“modes”) of data (numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, Kanji), or through supported extensions, virtually any kind of data.[1]

Invented by the Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994 to track vehicles during the manufacturing process, the QR Code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes.[2] It was designed to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.[3]

Formerly confined to industrial uses, they have in recent years become common in consumer advertising and packaging, because the dissemination of smartphones “has put a barcode reader in everyone’s pocket” for the first time. As a result, the QR code has become a focus of advertising strategy, since it provides quick and effortless access to the brand’s website.[4][5] Beyond mere convenience to the consumer, the importance of this capability is that it increases the conversion rate (that is, increase the chance that contact with the advertisement will convert to a sale), by coaxing qualified prospects further down the conversion funnel without any delay or effort, bringing the viewer to the advertiser’s site immediately, where a longer and more targeted sales pitch may continue.

This is a new concept to me too – so I did a little digging and found a very helpful article on the topic and how it can be used to enhance your small business.

Practical Uses of QR Codes

Here are some ways for using QR codes that are mostly in practice now, as well as a few that I believe we will be seeing in the very near future.

Where QR Codes could be used:

  • The back (or front and back) of your business card.
  • Your brochures and other marketing materials.
  • The sides of trucks and trailers.
  • Product tags and packaging
  • Convention and event nametags
  • Restaurant menus
  • Event ticket stubs
  • Point-of-sale receipts

What QR Codes could link to:

  • Installation instructions
  • Sources for replacement parts and service
  • Directions to your business
  • The process for hiring your professional services
  • Valuable coupons and special offers
  • Recommendations for complementary products and services
  • Free mp3 downloads
  • Customer feedback forms

How you can you maximize your effectiveness with QR codes:

  • Provide explanations about their use and benefits
  • Encourage actions that support your marketing plan
  • Assuage the fears of the technically challenged
  • Give reasons to come back
  • Experiment with the size, location, and color of your QR codes
  • Study your analytics
  • Make the process fun, such as a QR code scavenger hunt
  • Experiment

You can read the entire article here:  How QR Codes Can Grow Your Business

I think if you are new to this concept (like me), the best thing to do is to experiment.  Next time you see a QR Code at a store or on a menu, give it a scan and see what pops up.

Happy Thursday everyone!

~Amy


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Word Up Wednesday – Marketing

Good Morning All!

This week’s word – Marketing!

Marketing as defined by the AMA as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

I think many people think that marketing and advertising are the same thing.  There is, in fact, a very distinct difference between the two.  Advertising is the selling of your product and it is just one section in your overall Marketing Plan.

This is a perfect diagram to show all the facets of a Marketing Plan as found at http://www.learnmarketing.net..

This is simply a visual of the definition from above:

 creating = product

communicating = promotion

 delivering = place

exchanging offerings = price

It is always good to remember the different ways to market your product or service.  And every product or service needs some sort of marketing plan.

Today’s Questions:  What does your Marketing Plan look like?  Does it include all the different aspects?

Happy Day!

~Amy


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Tips on Tuesdays – When it comes to advertising….ask!

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Here’s a question for all my small business owner readers.

Do you advertise? 

Here are a couple follow up questions:

  • If not, why not?
  • If so, do you know what works for you and what doesn’t?

One of the questions I ask whenever I am conducting a Time and Energy Audit with someone is about advertising and how it is working for them.  I’m always so surprised to learn that:

 

  • Yes – poeple do advertise.  But no – they don’t know which advertising practice is working best for them.

It is really very simple…ASK!  Anytime you are contacted by a new client or customer, ask them where did they hear about you?  Same thing goes anytime you run a specail or host an event, ask every person “how did you hear about this event?”

That’s step one.  The next step is to keep track of the answers.  This can be as simple as keeping a tick chart – – for every advertising option given, that one gets a little tick.  Then it is just a matter of tallying up the totals over a set period of time.

If you different advertising but in the same genre – like you are running an ad in the different newspapers in your area, dig deeper.  Ask “which paper did you find my ad?”

Finally, if you get a referral from a named customer, a handwritten thank you goes a long way.

Advertising takes money and effort.  Make sure yours is working correctly for you.  Analyze your data after a set amount of time to determine what works.  Those that don’t generate a lot of leads, stop using them.  Those that do bring in the business, increase your efforts there.

I’m available to help audit your advertising stragety  – give me a call if you’d like to chat.  (This phone conversation is 100% free – leave me a comment with your email address so we can connect.)

Happy Tuesday!

~Amy


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Word Up Wednesday – Brand

This week’s word brought to you by:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actually it isn’t sponsored by any of these companies.  But I have a feeling you recognize each of these logos and were able to visualize their products instantly.

Brand:  Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brand)

On Monday, I suggested an article about building your brand with no budget.  And in that article the author writes about finding a way to separate yourself from your competitors and he suggests you do it consistently and constantly.

In general, the single most important thing about branding your company is the consistency in which you do things.  This means you do the same thing over and over and people will start to identify that look and image and thought  – with you and your company.

Without me telling you – I know you know who this sign belongs to:

And do you know why you know – without having to think about it and say “where did I see that before?”

Because The Home Depot uses this look, font, marker size – – every. single. time. they do a sign in the store.  All the stores, across the country.  Every. Single. Time.

And even small businesses can do the same.  Keep in mind – be consistent.

  • Use the same font on all your correspondence
  • Use the same template for every newsletter that you send out
  • Set a rule that all calls will be returned within two hours
  • Have the same look for your window display (think about The Gap)
The possibilities can be as complex or as simple as you’d like to make them.  But the key is – you have to keep it consistent.  

 

I would love to help you audit your “brand”.   I’ll offer my services free for the rest of this month.  Let’s take a look at your image and see how we can create a brand that helps customers identify with you – – every.single.time.

Do you know someone who can use a little help with their brand?  Have them give me a call.  I’d love to help them too!

Happy Wednesday!

~Amy