At this point we are assuming that you were successful with getting your business off the grounds – you have a product that people need, you’re selling that product for a profit and now you’re looking for more ways to increase that profit.
The days following your startup launch are probably those days that you’ve work the hardest and you may be thinking that the worse will be over soon. Ooops! Not too soon. You've still got a long way to go. There is still so much you have to learn, so much you have to do and so much you have to overcome if you really want to become a successful entrepreneur.
Following are 5 rules to help your journey to success a bit more effective:
1. Take time to know the people working for you and with you. You can’t build an empire without a team of equally passionate and hard working employees. Know what makes your team tick and give them responsible freedom to do it within your company. Understand what your employees want, and as long as it is in line with our organization’s vision and your business goals, you should encourage them to do it. You’ll have happier employees this way which can translate to motivated and productive employees.
2. Know who to hire and who to fire. Never make a bad hire and never hesitate to fire anyone when necessary. Having employees that do not perform well will have a significant negative effect on the performance of your entire team.
3. Associate with people who have the same drive as yours. Don’t associate with people who always try to discourage your ideas and your plans to be successful. If they don’t have the drive to work hard and make sacrifices to be able to achieve success, then they’ll never get to understand you no matter what.
Join business events and entrepreneurial gatherings where you can meet entrepreneurs just like you. You’ll be amazed at how much you have in common when it comes to life’s philosophies, interests and personality traits!
4. Hire out your weakness. Every smart entrepreneur does this. You can’t be wearing multiple hats all the time and even if you do, there are some tasks that you can’t just do well on your own. If you’re a genius when it comes to software coding but don’t know a thing about marketing, hire a sales and marketing person. Be honest about your weaknesses and your business will benefit in the process.
5. Know where your money is going. This doesn’t mean that you have to be your business’ accountant. At the very least, you should at least keep track of where your money is going. Money is the oil that keeps your business running smoothly, if you lose track of it you’ll be more likely to find yourself down the trenches.
Over to you..
So, what are the top rules you are sticking to as an entrepreneur. Any golden rule you want to share with our community? Please share them below.
The secret to having a profitable business lies in your ability to make your sales or marketing copy as compelling as possible. You have to get it out there and you have to make sure that you get your sales message across clearly to your audience.
One of the most challenging jobs for any marketing professional is crafting up a short and crisp message that can compel audience to buy. How do you motivate someone to click the ‘Buy Now’ or “Learn More”? We provide some strong tips below on how you can achieve this.
Capture the essence of what you are offering. When creating a marketing message it is very important that you know that one special feature that would matter most to your consumers. If you’re able to capture their interest with that one special feature, you’re one step closer to selling.
Create a value proposition. Once you’ve succeeded with convincing your audience to click on the “Learn More” link, you can then focus on your value proposition. This is basically a short statement that tells your consumer why they should by your products or use your service.
This is your chance to even hook your audience with what you’re offering them so make sure that you put real effort into your proposition message. Start it with a catchy headline and then make every word in your copy matter.
Always KISS. Yes, KISS – Keep It Short and Simple. Yes, the shorter and simpler your marketing message is, the easier it is to remember. And the easier something to remember is, the more it will stick to the mind of your target audience.
Effective marketing messages always target any of the top inherent human motivations like the ones below:
Know your target audience well. Very well. We know you already know your target audience, but it will do your business a lot of good if you never stop knowing your audience. Their preferences and buying behavior may change so it is best that you keep track of that. The more you know about them, the better your products and services will become and the easier it is to get your marketing message across to them.
Develop a strong call-to-action. Always end your marketing message with a strong call-to-action. Tell your audience what you want them to do in a very clear manner. Don’t complicate the message and make it difficult to comprehend, otherwise you’ll lose them.
Over to you..
If you have any more ideas to add, please share them with the MACsWomen community through the comments section below.
Cutting through the noise to get through the social data that matters to your business can be quite challenging. But thanks to numerous social listening tools available today, online marketers and business owners can now have those business-impacting data.
Why You Should Invest in Social Listening Tools
Social media listening tools basically provide you with the essential data so that you can come up with an effective social media strategy tailored-fit for your business. These tools will help businesses in:
1. Google Alerts. This social listening tool will send you an email update of the latest happenings on the inter-web based on your queries. These updates will be emailed to you in real-time so you can manage your brand accordingly. Its ability alone to ping you every time your brand gets mentioned online is golden.
2. Social mention. A free social mention tool that’s surprisingly fast and robust. The tool will basically search content from across the universe (that’s what the tool says!) to give you information about brand discussions. This gives you an easy way to review the most recent mention of your brand on the web. Expectedly, because it’s a free tool, the results are not that extensive.
3. BoardReader. Marketers focus their efforts on the social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, neglecting the social activities happening on forums. BoardReader aims to bridge that gap. This social listening tool scours forums for any conversations about a brand. Often, the discussions in forums are lengthy and detailed so this you will help you discover new insights about your business.
4. Topsy. This social media insight tool focuses on Twitter – tweets, links, photos, videos and influencers relevant to your brand and business. The “sort by date” feature allows you to listen to the most recent conversations about your brand. You can also scan through archives to check out the old conversation and get even more insights.
5. Loudpixel. This is a paid social media analysis service/tool that will help your business turn social conversation into useful insights that you can use to craft up better social marketing campaigns. You can also track the progress of your campaign against competitors’ by using specialized benchmarking system.
Over to you..
If you want to have your ears on the ground of the social web, these social listening tools will be your most useful set of hearing aids. So, are you using any of the 5 listening tools above? Share your experience with us and how the tools impacted your business.
You are ambitious. You have worked hard to get to your position in life. You got through tons of training programs, conquered your way into the professional world and, yet, do not feel successful. How does this happen?
Many women find themselves unable to recognize their achievements. They may be one of the top people in their chosen field, but only notice their failures. Here are four ways to help yourself realize all of your successes!
1. Make a list. This may seem like a no-brainer, but is an incredibly helpful way to start paying attention to your achievements. By writing these accomplishments down, what you are really doing is giving yourself a permanent record of your work. This can serve as a reminder you can later reference when you may be feeling down or overwhelmed.
Try devoting a small notebook you can easily carry with you to this cause. You can even personalize the outside to encourage yourself to write in it. If you are more of a digital woman, Evernote is great resource. It syncs to both your phone and computer, allowing your list to follow you while you work.
2. Catch negative thoughts and re-orient them positively. We tell ourselves to be kind to others - hold the door open for the next person, volunteer to take the new coworker out to lunch and show them the city – but do we extend this same kindness to ourselves? More often than not, we leave ourselves out of the equation. Though you may be a friendly person outwardly, inwardly you may be quite harsh to yourself.
An example: you labor long into the night and manage to get a project finished early. Great, right? Not always. Instead of focusing on beating your deadline, you might say, ‘Oh, well it was easy anyway. I should have gotten it done yesterday’ and quickly move onto the next assignment. Beating yourself up about your efforts leads to less personal happiness and self-worth. Break the cycle! Being gentle to yourself is just as important as being gentle to your peers. Here’s a healthier way to celebrate finishing a project early, ‘I worked incredibly hard to finish this assignment and finished early. Now, I can take a couple of hours doing something for myself before I start on my next task!’
3. Stop comparing yourself to others. Just stop. No good ever comes from it. This habit causes self-doubt and jealousy, two traits that impede success. An effective way to re-direct this tendency is to find people you admire in your field. See what they have done to reach their position, recognize that they have had challenges along the way and overcame them and emulate some of their habits. Say to yourself, if they can do it, so can I with the knowledge that no-one succeeded over-night.
4. Invite your girlfriends over for a “positivity dish.” If all else fails, gather your girlfriends together for a “positivity dish". Here’s how the “dish” works: sit down in a circle and take turns conversing about how awesome each of you are. This is a great way to feel great about yourself and help your friends improve their self-image. You do not have to limit it to your professional life! One of your friends may be a fantastic snow-boarder or an incredibly resilient woman.
Ladies, get out there and celebrate your amazing selves! After you start celebrating your hard work, check out "3 Reasons We Procrastinate" and "How to Effectively Manage Your Time" for other ways to be kind to yourself and improve your work ethic.
If you are part of the business industry, you’ll understand the need to be always moving no matter what. As mobile devices and the internet became staple items of an average consumer, the level of competitiveness has increased in the last few years. And because as a business owner you have your eyes stuck on besting your competition, you may fail to notice those obvious little mistakes that are eating your business away.
No business plan and no marketing campaign is 100% flawless. There will always be mistakes and the best way to protect your business from spiraling down is to prepare for them – identify the potential mistakes that may come your way and make plans on how to lessen their impact, if not to totally prevent them from happening. Below are some of the mistakes you may be overlooking.
1. You’re not using data effectively. Your main goal as a business is to improve your return on investment (ROI), but you won’t be able to achieve this if you’re not using market and business data to enhance your product or improve your service.
You must note, however, that not everyone on your team needs the data. As long as you put it in the hands of team members who can analyze and make use of them, you’re golden. Data used properly by the right people can improve your business big time.
2. You’re not motivating your employees enough. You think that salary is enough to keep your employees passionate and engaged to improve your business. Think again. Just like everyone else, they must be motivated. Feedback and incentives can help.
3. You’re not giving people enough incentives for them to talk about your business. Customers nowadays are more informed than before. They basically know their value as potential marketers of your business. They’ll be more than willing to tell people about your products or services, but you’ve got to give them enough reasons to do it. Quality customer service and customer satisfaction counts a lot, but you should not stop there. Offer them substantial incentives so that they’ll be even more motivated to market your business on your behalf.
4. You despise negative feedback. If you ignore complaints, dismiss customers making bad reviews as crazy or make excuses then your business won’t become better and grow bigger. As Bill Gates puts it, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
5. You think that closing a sale is the light at the end of the tunnel. Nope, it’s not. A new sale is the start of a new marketing cycle. After the customer buys your product or uses your service, the nurturing phase then begins. You want to build an even deeper relationship with them so that they do business again with you.
Over to you..
Are you guilty of committing any of the 5 mistakes mentioned above? What are your plans to correct them? Any more tips to add? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.
#FollowFriday or #FF started as a trend in 2009 when Twitter users started tweeting out handles of users that they think are worth following. The trend was picked up by almost everybody and has since become a regular Friday activity.
It is a shoutout and appreciation of some kind to Twitter users who’ve been providing you with interesting and useful update the past week. You are basically recommending that your own followers follow them.
Although #FollowFriday is being practiced by most online marketers, we are still seeing quite a few who are not using it effectively. Wondering what the hashtag FollowFriday or #FF means for your business? Want to know how to make the most of it? Read on.
1. Tell people why they should be following a user. Simply throwing out a tweet with the hashtag #FF and Twitter handle of the user won’t do ( #FF @MacsWomen ). People reading your tweets will have no idea why the people you are recommending are worth the follow. Why would people follow them if you don’t explain why they should?
If you want your #FF tweet to be checked out by people, you should at least mention what makes the user you’re recommending interesting? Are they an expert? What topics do they generally post? Are they funny? Are they always insightful?
"Hey #ff @MacsWomen they will give you tips on how to leverage social media for your business." (click to tweet this)
2. Don’t mention too many handles. Always limit the number of mentions in each tweet. If there are too many usernames in a tweet, people will just skim through them. And you wouldn’t have enough characters left to explain why they should be followed.
3. Group the mentions. If you have people who are on the same field and are sharing the same expertise, you can have them in one #FF tweet.
"Great thought leaders in the online business / marketing industry @ThisIsSethsBlog @GuyKawasaki"
4. Don’t just recommend everyone. Be selective. Only recommend people who you truly find helpful, interesting or insightful. Choose a few that has standout the past week. This way you will not only be helping them gain new followers, you are also providing something of value to your own set of followers.
5. Avoid recommending people just because they #FF you. Mentioning users in your #FF just because they have #FF’d you is really not a good practice. The people who mentioned you may have nothing interesting or insightful to share so recommending them to your users is not a smart move. Again, as mentioned above, be selective.
Over to you..
Will you be sending out your #FollowFriday next week? Will you be using the tips provided above? Do you have some Twitter tips you want to share with our readers. You can share them through the comments section below.
You’ve done your homework – read books, listened to podcasts of industry leaders giving golden tips and tips, you’ve taken note of cautionary tales you’ve heard from someone successful, and you’ve worked through the basic business checklists. You feel you’re all set to start your own business. But are you really?
If any of the things below apply to you, then you really have to think more than twice about taking the entrepreneurial plunge.
You’re working non-stop, but can’t complete a single task.
Some people struggles to finish a task no matter how much time or resources they have available to them – they can’t focus on something and get it done. They basically jump from one task to the next, leaving a trail of unmet deadlines and unfinished projects. If you are a bit like this, well you have no business being an entrepreneur. As what Seth Godin said on his book Linchpin: “The only purpose of starting is to finish. “
You always insert a “me” time even on your busiest work days.
Break time is one thing, a must-have “me” time is another. Leaving your work because you feel you’re entitled for a few minutes of facebook-ing, tweeting, or whatever it is you do is not very smart. If you’re starting up your own business, you’ll never have a “me” time because even your “free” time will be spent on strategic planning and business development.
You’re always right.
If you’re the type of person that can’t admit and acknowledge a mistake, then you’ll miss a huge opportunity for growth. Acknowledged mistakes are new learning opportunities. Admit when you’re wrong, ask for advice, learn from your mistakes, move forward and do better.
You’re feeling too proud to empty the trash.
You’re an entrepreneur, you just started your own business, you shouldn’t be doing menial tasks, right? WRONG.
Of course, it is important that you learn how to delegate and trust your team, but during the earliest phases of your business, when you don’t have the resources yet, you have to wear every wearable hat there is. No job is too unimportant, no task too menial.
You always have reasons why you’re not doing too well.
You feel you could be more productive if you just had an office of your own, or a new laptop or an office assistant. And sometimes you strongly feel that you’re not really making a profit because the economy is not doing too well or you don’t have enough capital.
You can have a hundred reasons to not move forward, but if you’re really serious about what you do you can also find several hundred more reasons to press on. Be flexible and adaptable and create options for yourself.
Over to you..
Are you a woman planning to start your own business? Or have you just launched your own business? Do any of the 5 things we mentioned above describe you? If yes, what’s your plan of action? Please share thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.
What’s keeping you from being successful? Whether you think you have not enough time, no sufficient resources, too late to venture out and start a business, or just don’t have anything to motivate you, there’s always a solution. Read on.
Excuse #1: I Don’t Have Enough Time
How much television you watch? How many precious minutes do you spend on Facebook or other social networking sites doing something not remotely related to business planning? Use your time productively. Instead of facebooking or tweeting aimlessly, use your time researching about successful startup entrepreneurs. Listen to business podcasts, read business blogs. The more you associate with successful entrepreneurs and empowered individuals the more you’ll become motivated to be successful.
Excuse #2: I want to start planning about a business, but I’m just too tired.
Okay, we get that you are working long hours because you have to put food on the table. But did it ever cross your mind that when you work hard as an employee, you’re basically working to realize the dreams of others, not yours. Try to manage your work time. Set aside an hour or two everyday and dedicate it to developing a business idea or a business plan for your own venture. Just start.
Excuse #3: I feel overwhelmed sometimes.
It’s okay to be overwhelmed. It’s even okay to be scared. Starting your business is a really BIG venture and if you don’t get overwhelmed or scared at some point it means that you’re not serious enough or you’re not doing enough. As long as you don’t make this “feeling” an excuse to not start or to stop, you’re good.
Excuse #4: I’m afraid I’m going to get bored at some point.
Start a business you love. If you are very passionate about dogs, maybe you can start a dog-sitting business. This may sound too cliché but the saying “Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” can never be more true. If you love what you do, you’ll never get bored.
Excuse #4: I don’t have any strong motivation.
If the thought of being successful can’t motivate you, nothing will. Okay, scratch that – we know everyone wants to succeed and because success is something that’s still may be too far in the future, its motivating power may not be that strong. As mentioned above, one way to find motivation is to associate yourself with successful and empowered individuals. Their go-get-‘em attitude will somehow rub off on you.
Excuse #5: I’ve tried before and I failed.
Most successful entrepreneurs, if not all, have at least one failed venture in their resume. Don’t let one failure stop you.
If after reading this article you’re still have doubts, then try to assess yourself deeper. Maybe this blog post on how to tell if you’re entrepreneur material might help you decide.
Over to you..
If you have any thoughts or ideas that you want to share with us, just leave a comment below.
You don’t have to experiment with every piece of software that comes out on the market, but as an online business owner it is your responsibility to make sure that you’re maximizing social media by checking out tools that are worth your while.
With hundreds of social media tools out there today, you might need help picking the best tools to use:
1. Repost for Instagram. This tool allows you to strengthen your presence on Instagram by streamlining the repost process. You no longer have to screenshot & crop the photo you want to repost, with this tool all you need to do is:
2. Magnify. Is a content curation and sharing platform you can use to find, filter and share videos from sources like AOL, Yahoo and Code Nast. Magnify allows you to easily distribute high-quality relevant videos to your network.
3. Medium. This is a blogging platform for medium-length stories. Yes, that’s right, medium-length blogs – contents that are longer than tweets but significantly shorter than your usual blog post. Although Medium, at its very core, is a blogging platform, it’s doing things a little differently from blogging platform classics like Wordpress and Tumblr.
Medium is designed like a magazine and all the stories you post on this platform can be seen by hundreds and thousands of its users based on the content itself and not on the popularity or number of followers of the blogger.
4. Jelly. This app allows a user to upload a picture of anything under the sun and then ask their extended social network whatever question they want to ask that relates to the uploaded photo. Jelly basically works like a crowdsourcing platform because they are mainly used by big brands to collate the thoughts and opinions of their audience.
Check out these big businesses that are using Jelly to effectively improve engagement and dialogue with their brands.
5. Bottlenose. Is a tool to help you make sense of the social web. Bottlenose is an intelligent search engine that displays relevant information based on order of importance. This gives you a streamlined list of contents with the most important ones on top of the stream. And because Bottlenose can be seamlessly integrated with Buffer, you can easily share top results with your audience.
Another awesome feature of this tool is that it allows you to customize your feeds according to your needs. You can, for instance, follow the business tweets of someone while skipping their food tweets or posts.
Over to you..
We suggest you try the tools above and be sure to come back here to share your thoughts through the comments section below.
You still got that monthly report sitting on your desk untouched and you were supposed to have it finished 2 days ago. You tell yourself (and your boss if she asks) that you’re too busy with other more important stuff. But you were also supposed to finish those “important stuff” days ago, right? Well, yes but some things came up and..
The excuses go on, the vicious cycle continues.
I bet this habit of putting off tasks drives you to a point where the mere mention of the word deadline sends cold chills down your spine. Can you imagine how much easier and less stressful life would be if you do things on time, when you’re supposed to do them?
Good news is, you can beat procrastination by first figuring out what causes you to procrastinate. Check out the 3 most common reasons we have listed below:
1. You are not confident you can do the job so you put it off as long as you can hoping someone will do it for you. One of the main reasons why people procrastinate is because they are afraid that they will screw something up.
When at some point you start feeling doubtful, focus on the end result. Counter your doubts with the thoughts of dire consequences that might happen if you do nothing at all:
If I don’t do this my business will become stagnant, so I’d rather tackle this one. At least I did my best and I can ask for help from colleagues or hire help if ever I do mess something up.
2. You can’t finish the report because you just don’t “feel” like doing it. When you say things like “I just can’t get myself to finish the report” what you actually mean is that you can’t really get yourself to feel like you want to write the report. It’s not like the report is encrypted and there’s no way for you to decode it. Physically, nothing is stopping you from writing it – you just don’t feel like writing it.
Well, you really don’t have to wait to ‘feel like’ doing something to actually start doing it. As Chuck Close puts it: “Just show up and get to work. Inspiration is for amateurs.” Even if you don’t feel like doing something or how "uninspired" you are about doing it, just do it. The more you do it, the more it becomes a part of your work routine. Next time you know, you’re writing reports like a breeze.
3. You don’t want to do it because it’s hard, boring or unpleasant. Sometimes when faced with hard, boring and downright unpleasant tasks, even the most disciplined people tend to put them off. When you find yourself assigned to these types of tasks the best thing you can do is to use the ‘if-then’ planning.
If it is 4pm, then I will have to start analyzing the data for the report.
By setting a plan in advance you know exactly what you have to do and when to do it.
Over to you..
Do you have your own strategies that help keep you from procrastinating? If you think they’re effective for you then we would like to hear them. We’d love for you to share them to the MACsWomen community, too!