5 Great Tips for Writing Content That Skyrocket Sales

Looking for some writing tips to increase your sales and improve your writing content? Increasing sales is a never-ending mission. You always need to look for new tricks to market your products better and make them irresistible. But what if marketing isn’t the only sales-boosting tool you can employ? What if sales-oriented content can be your solution?

Composing selling text can help you convert consumers even when you are asleep. Compelling writing is an evergreen sales-enhancing tactic. Why not give it a try?

Quality content helps you present your brand, connect with your audience, gain their trust, and motivate them to take action. It rounds up the whole journey from introducing your brand to winning the consumers over.

5 Great Writing Tips for Content That Skyrocket Sales

Do you want to test the selling power of well-written content?

Keep reading and find the best writing tips for creating content that aims to sell.

1. Best Writing Tip: Present Your Product as a Solution

Direct your writing towards why your products or service can be life-changing. That’s what consumers want to know – and that’s what you should deliver.

Listing features of a product won’t help you sell. This may be enough to convince some of the buyers to make a purchase, but not the majority. You need to do more. Tell consumers directly why your product matters.

People search for products as a solution to a current problem. They might need a wardrobe update, so they look for new clothes. Or, they spend too much time on repetitive tasks, so they want automation software. In any case, proposing your product as a solution is what will grab their attention.

Start by outlining problems that your target audience has. Present their common pain points. Show them that you understand their pain points.

The next step is to specify why your product is the perfect solution. Paint the picture of a life-changing discovery that comes in the form of your brand. If you explain how you can make consumers’ lives easier, you’ll be worthy of their money.

2. Connect with the Audience by Using a Suitable Writing Style

Writing tone and style play essential roles in the content’s effect on the readers. If your content is generic and dull, you can’t evoke emotions, and you can’t interact with the audience.

What we know about emotions is that they trigger impulse purchases. So, provoking emotional reactions is beneficial for your brand.

The perfect example of a tailored writing style comes from Dollar Shave Club. Their humorous, raw, and sometimes sarcastic, explicit writing perfectly aligns with their target audience – men. Their shoppers can see a man just like them, with the same needs and wants, presenting that brand.

writing content that sells

Content that aligns with your target audience will put you at an advantage. Your unique and personalized writing can help customers feel understood. Become one of them. Don’t be just another brand that wants to sell products.

3. Go Deep Into Research

Every high-quality writing content starts with extensive research. Whether you are writing a book, engaging in business writing, or a copy, information is the foundation for creating credible, empathetic, and targeted text.

To boost sales, your brand’s research should focus on:

  • Products in your niche
  • Competitors
  • Target audience

Gather information on what kind of products are offered on the market. What are the strongest and weakest points of those products? How do your products differ from others? Compare every feature and functionality.

You want to surface your competitors’ best and worst content strategies. Learn from their successes and misses. Also, observe what makes you superior to them. Is it your price? Or maybe your tradition? Find your unique value proposition.

Lastly, you want to learn everything you can about your audience. Go to forums and social media and read about their needs. Browse for product reviews in your niche and pay attention to the consumers’ demands and expectations.

Researching may not be the fun part of content creation, but it is necessary. When you have that kind of information on your hands, you can write content strategically.

If you need some help with collecting data and transforming them into targeted content, contact a freelance writer with research skills. For affordable writing help, you can hire Get Good Grade writing experts. Writing companies that specialize in academic papers have affordable prices as well as highly qualified and experienced writers.

Digging for information isn’t a one-time process. You should stay updated on ever-changing consumers’ needs, competitors’ new offers, and product innovations in your niche.

4. Tell Stories

Stories draw us in. They make us a part of something new and different. Applying storytelling in your content strategy helps you turn your brand from a stranger to a friend.

Joe Teo, an CEO at Hey Orca shared his professional view on the stories’ impact on consumers. “Storytelling, when done right, will pull a consumer into the world of a brand to see a different perspective, showing them the bigger picture. The story is an invitation for someone to participate in something bigger than themselves, something they believe in,” said Teo (reported by Sujan Patel).

Storytelling is the best and quickest way of connecting with the audience. As you present your brand, products, and new campaigns through stories, you give readers an insight into who you are. That familiarity is what brings people close to your brand and encourages them to pull out their wallets.

In the following example, you can see how SuperJam, a homemade jam company, embraced storytelling in their “About” page. After you read the text, you are no longer buying jam from a brand. You are buying jam from Fraser – the jam that his grandmother prepared for him with love.

writing content that skyrockets sales

The beauty of storytelling is its versatility. Use it for written content or video content creation. Also, attractive visuals are always a plus when sharing stories.

To craft a compelling story, you should include the following elements:

  • Relatable characters
  • Attention-grabbing introduction
  • Conflict
  • Resolution with a positive outcome

In terms of perspective, you have three choices:

  • First-person – The author is the main character. The first-person perspective is a good choice for sharing tips and personal experience as an industry expert.
  • Second-person – The reader is the main character. This is a common practice in marketing. You can use it for customer-centric content.
  • Third-person – “He”, “she”, or “they” are the main characters. It can be a story about a customer, client, employee, industry experts, etc. Since this is the least personal perspective, you should make the character charismatic and relatable.

5. Team Up Urgency and Inviting CTAs

Now or never – words that can encourage you to take action impulsively.

That’s what urgency does to people. It blocks out the outside world and leaves you with a pulsating sensation that you must grab this great opportunity.

Sprinkle some urgency across your content. It doesn’t need to be explicit like a countdown. The simple insinuation that you have something that your audience needs NOW will do.

Use words that highlight urgency such as:

  • Now
  • Today
  • Limited
  • New
  • Deadline
  • Expires
  • Hurry
  • Quick
  • Last chance
  • Running out
  • Fast
  • Final

Take Better Beauty as an example. You don’t need to become a member right away, but the fact that you can start enjoying the perks TODAY is enough to get you thinking.

writing that sells

Blog posts can also exude urgency even when the pressure isn’t real. Let’s say that your blog title is “How to Turn Your Prospects into Customers Today.” Nothing is pressuring the reader to make this change in an instant. However, the solution that the blog proposes triggers the urgency to take action.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) won’t stick with the consumers for a long time. You need to encourage them to react right away. How? Add clear and inviting call-to-action (CTA) buttons.

If you leave the consumers time to think, the FOMO can lessen. Streamline their journey by providing them with a quick path to a solution.

Wrapping Up

Writing content that sells is a skill that needs to be learned, practiced, and upgraded. Use these proven tips to strengthen your writing strategy and apply tactics that actually work.

Bear in mind that successful content is personalized content. Stay committed to writing valuable content for your audience. They are the ones you need to win over. Therefore, adapt your content writing to their preferences and motivate them to give your products a chance.

Helene Cue is a writer and copywriting expert with years of experience. Her work experience as an academic writer, editor, and proofreader has motivated her to also start writing reviews on essay writing services. Students can, therefore, read this review, and make informed decisions. Helene’s goal is to help businesses grow with the help of quality content.

 

small business coach

What Perks Can Growing Businesses Offer To Attract New Employees?

attract new employees

Looking to attract new employees to your growing business? Offering a selection of unique and generous work perks can help seal the deal. But knowing what to offer and why is trickier than you might first think.

From game rooms and chill zones to monthly massages, attracting talent has become a war of ever-evolving work perks. But cool as they sound, these novel offerings aren’t enough to sway prospective applicants. Instead, you need to find incentives that add intrinsic value to company culture and people’s lives — this is how you attract the best new employees.

What Perks Can Growing Businesses Offer To Attract New Employees?

When offered for the right reasons, work perks are a powerful tool for attracting and retaining staff members. In this article, we look at the following perks that can take your growing business to the next level:

  • Offering flexible hours to improve work/life balance
  • Purchasing company cars to help get people from A to B
  • Organizing work socials to boost team camaraderie

For startups and growing businesses, keeping and attracting new employees proves much easier if you can offer a string of compelling incentives. Read on as we explore the best perks your company can offer to appear more appealing to the job market and attract new employees.

Organize work socials to improve team camaraderie

Do you find yourself taking on more and more new faces as the business grows? Startups often begin life with a small, tight-knit group of people, but as your operation grows so does the need for new members of staff.

It’s important to keep the company culture you love alive by bringing the latest hires into the fold, making them feel as important and connected to the company as everyone else. Not only does this breed a friendly work environment that others are clamoring to apply for, but it also nurtures loyalty and reduces employee turnover.

While everybody sees each other in the office or over a Zoom call, a frenzied schedule renders them unable to socialize with people outside of their established teams/groups. So, there comes a point where you have to step in and organize a much-needed work social to get everyone smiling in unison.

Of course, you have the classic trip to the pub or work quiz to fall back on, but if you want to stand out from the crowd then you really ought to go the extra mile for your staff.

Here are some of the most popular work social ideas to give you some inspiration:

  • Escape rooms
  • Sports days
  • Treasure hunts
  • Go-karting

The key is to tailor the experience to your company and zero in on the things your employees enjoy and avoid things they don’t. For example, if there are lots of non-drinkers on your roster then after-work drinks can feel quite isolating, equally if you have lots of sports fans then knocking off work early to see the local football team could be a no-brainer.

Note that with the coronavirus still looming over our heads, work socials as we once knew them aren’t going ahead, but with that said, there are plenty of socially distanced alternatives to take advantage of — pandemic or no pandemic, some things are more important than work when it comes to attracting and retaining new employees.

Supply company cars to help people get from A to B

Despite the pandemic restricting many operations to within the four walls of peoples’ homes, some others still need transport for work.

Whether this is professional drivers looking to keep the fulfillment process running smoothly or key workers trying to arrive for their shift in the safest way possible, there are many growing businesses reliant on four wheels to get from A to B.

Most drivers are well aware of the financial burden running a vehicle puts on their purse strings in the form of insurance payments, tax renewals, fixing wear and tear, or riding the tide of fluctuating fuel prices.

In this instance, your business can offer to take the pressure off by supplying company cars.

Although an alarming (and costly) thought at first, company cars are some of the most sought-after work perks for attracting and retaining new employees. Here are some of the benefits (as outlined in Microsoft’s business insights):

  • Eliminates an employees’ need to buy and run their own vehicle
  • Remove worries about getting to and from work
  • Your business has more control over specialty vehicles like trucks
  • Convey brand image wherever your team might be

As a growing business, you’re likely noticing an improvement in your profit margins and want to invest that money back into the company — so company cars could be that next big step.

Equally, you don’t want to be left footing the full bill and start cutting too heavily into your revenue either. As such, you must learn from the efforts of more established operations and come up with ways to mediate the overall cost.

The Shell fuel card is one such example used by companies to help stabilize mounting running costs across a vehicle-reliant operation. As shown in this guide, fuel cards benefit companies by:

  • Offering fixed rates and regular fuel discounts
  • Providing access to telematics that let you monitor wasteful driving

While certainly an incredible work perk that can change people’s lives, you shouldn’t let employees treat owning a company car like a blank check. Instead, offer the car with certain stipulations like fuel cards or restricted private usage — this way you can add some checks and balances to the scheme.

No doubt you’ll still turn heads in the job market with the promise of a shiny new coupe delivered to their driveway, but now at least you’ll have checks and balances in place to make the system more sustainable.

Flexible hours to improve people’s work/life balance

From being one of the most sought-after perks to becoming a work-from-home necessity, operating a business during a pandemic would not have been possible without owners embracing the merits of flexible hours.

For some working from home feels like a walk in the park; for others, it’s a chaotic nightmare fueled by having to juggle professional and personal responsibilities.

Restricted only by a manager’s ability to trust their staff, flexible working is not so much a perk as it is a requirement for the modern workplace. As such, attempting to micromanage employees’ work/life balance isn’t feasible because the current job market expects much more freedom from a role so it blends seamlessly into home life.

Allowing flexible hours greatly improves employee welfare and makes you appear to be an understanding, caring company to the job market, all without sacrificing much in terms of operational efficiency. It lets employees tackle the day at their own pace and create a schedule that works for them.

Work perks are a great way for growing companies to showcase company culture and attract new employees, but only if they offer intrinsic value and are put in place for the right reasons.

 From simple yet appreciated offers like work socials and flexible hours to big gestures like a company car, offering work perks is all about knowing your people and improving their lives.

Read this post on why employees leave and how to retain them.

 

small business coach

How to Attract Qualified Employees for Small Businesses

attract qualified employees

How do you attract qualified employees for your small business? Running a successful recruitment process for a small business can be challenging. Small businesses need to compete with large companies to hire qualified candidates. They also need to instill confidence in their growing brand to attract high-quality talent to work for them. Needless to say, that those small businesses that do succeed in hiring qualified candidates handle their hiring process a bit differently.

Job seekers scouring the internet for suitable jobs are thirsting for something different. They are eager to apply to profiles that offer unique perks and more control over their working hours. As a small business, you can use this as an opportunity to make your job posting stand out. Use your job postings to promote your company as a great place to work. Talk about your work from home policy or the support your workplace offers to working mothers. Such unique elements can make job seekers sit up and notice your job posting leading to more responses from qualified candidates.

How to Attract Qualified Employees for Small Businesses

Here’s a look at some concrete steps that you can take to hire qualified candidates for your small business –

  1. Offer Pay Packages Competitive With the Market Rates

Small businesses tend to stick to the pay packages that they can afford. If the salary you offer is lower than the going rate for the job, talented candidates will not be interested in applying. If an analyst’s starting salary is $50,000 per year, why would anyone apply for a job that offers only $50,000 per year for the same job?

To find employees who are well-qualified for the job, the first step is to find out how much other businesses are offering for similar roles in the job market. Base your offer on that figure to ensure responses from worthy candidates.

  1. Elevate Your Recruitment Process Using Technology

A small business recruitment process can benefit a lot from using the right technology. Use efficient software such as an applicant tracking system to expand your applicant pool and improve your screening process. Technology can streamline your hiring process and ensure that your recruiters respond timely to all candidates. Receiving a prompt response from the recruiter’s side, shows professionalism and respect for the candidate’s efforts. This is a subtle employer branding strategy that can establish your image as a small but systematic organization.

  1. Highlight the Benefits of Working With a Small Business

Qualified candidates working in large organizations may not know the perks of working with small businesses. Emphasize the benefits you offer your employees to make your job postings attractive. Some small businesses give their employees the option to work from home or flexible working hours. Other unusual benefits include music nights at work, power-napping stations, gaming zones in the office and fitness allowances.

Including details about the perks and benefits, you offer your employees is a lucrative employer branding strategy. It enables you to position your company as a workplace that promotes work-life balance and makes the job prospect more appealing for qualified candidates.

  1. Make the Job Posting Interesting & Unique

Applicants are more likely to apply to a job posting that they find interesting to read than something written using boilerplate text. Small business recruitment teams should make an effort to create unique job postings that catch qualified candidates’ attention. To attract qualified employees who are experienced and skilled, your job posting should be carefully drafted to reflect the correct details and get candidates interested in your company. Make sure to include information about what makes your organization unique and the benefits you offer your employees.

  1. Leverage Your Current Talent Pool

Include a remunerative recommendation system in your recruiting process. Encourage your current employees to recommend suitable candidates who they think can be good recruitment. If your employees are happy at their job, they are likely to talk about their work with friends and ex-colleagues. Happy employees are the best source for finding qualified candidates that can be a good fit for your organization.

An employee giving a recommendation is giving your company a vote of confidence as an employer. Recommended candidates can usually be hired with a shorter interview process and prove to be a better cultural fit into your business compared to candidates sourced from outside.

Small businesses may face more significant challenges when it comes to finding employees who are qualified and experienced. But with persistent effort, you are sure to find many talented people who fit your team and are passionate to work with you. The secret is to think differently and try to make your small business recruitment process stand out from the crowd for the right reasons. Try a few or all of the recruitment strategies mentioned above to enhance your own recruitment game. Innovative employer branding strategies that showcase your strengths as an employer, creative job postings, and a smooth recruiting process can help you create a talent pool that empowers your small business.

Talk to us about the recruitment strategies that work for you and which don’t. We would love to hear from you!

Here’s another post about Strategies to Retain Your Employees. Also read this post about 7 Ways to Attract High Quality Employees.

 

small business coach

What Every Leader Should Be Teaching Their Employees About Finances

Is your business currently teaching your employees about financial wellness? Though it may not be the first thing on your mind when it comes to employee engagement, it’s an offering that many prospective workers may be in search of when choosing what company they want to work for. In order to attract high-level candidates, consider ways that you can teach your employees how to better manage their finances.

Ensuring your employees have proper financial wellness skills will not only help them feel confident in the workplace, but will also have them feeling valued by their employer and are more likely to stay long-term. As a leader, it’s important to take an introspective look at the offerings your company currently has and evaluate how you can improve or begin implementing them into your organization.

What Every Leader Should Be Teaching Their Employees About Finances

Follow along for some of the most important financial lessons you should be teaching your employees.

Teach Your Employees The Fundamentals

When it comes to teaching employees about finance, it’s always best to start with the basics and work your way up to more complex topics. There are a wide range of topics you can cover, so be sure to choose the ones that you think will bring the most value to your specific team. For inspiration on these topics, lean on professional resources such as guest speakers, seminars, or online learning tools that can help you better navigate these conversations.

A simple way to start this process is to encourage your employees to do their own research before big purchases. Whether they’re determining how much house they can afford or looking to start a family of their own, encouraging your employees to ask questions and utilize available resources will help them feel confident in their financial decisions. During their time at your company, it’s likely that they will make a few major investments. Having open time during your day where your staff can approach you and ask questions will help them feel more comfortable and ready to handle any financial decisions coming their way.

There are many times throughout the year when these fundamental discussions can be relevant such as bonus periods, holidays, and tax season. Tax season is a particularly great time to offer learning opportunities. Hosting discussions around tax returns can be helpful as taxes are an area that many employees find to be overwhelming. Having an informational hub or discussions on how they can do their taxes will be a huge weight lifted off their shoulders. Even just providing basic information on what this year’s tax returns may look like will be a huge benefit to them.

Review Company Benefits

As a leader, it’s important to take the proper time to educate employees on the company benefits and financial resources they have available to them. Although it’s likely these benefits will be reviewed during the onboarding process, providing ongoing training and reminders on these benefits will be greatly appreciated by your existing employees. Host open invitation meetings on a routine basis where employees can get a refresher and ask any questions they may have. This is especially important to do during open enrollment periods. Some of the major company benefits you’ll want to review with employees include health insurance, retirement plans, life insurance, and disability coverage.

Outside of the routine benefit packages, you should also take some time to educate your employees on any other programs your company has available to your staff. This may include an Employee Assistance Program or even a financial advisor contact with your 401(k) or retirement plan. Simply giving them the appropriate contact and information to these resources will help point them in the right direction and make them feel valued to the company.

Offer Learning Opportunities

Offering educational opportunities on budgeting and personal finance is a major perk for any business to offer. Though hosting meetings on personal finance lessons may seem like a waste of time, it can greatly help your employees feel more comfortable and valued in their work environment.

To make learning opportunities more enticing and valuable, think about ways that you can sponsor more unique opportunities. One way to do so is to consider taking an annual company retreat or conference. At these events, you can incorporate some financial advice into the day to help keep your employees on track for financial success. It’s a great way to further your available learning opportunities while keeping your employees motivated and engaged.

Foster Open Communication

One of the most important things an employer can do for their team is to foster an open communication environment where anyone is welcomed and encouraged to ask questions and host their own discussions. Having strong communication skills is a valuable trait for leaders to possess and one of the most sought after traits employees want their superiors to possess.

teaching employees about finances

Let your team members know that you are there to listen and help them during times when they may need it most. For example, during one-on-one meetings and any critical discussions, it’s important to be open and honest. Transparency will always go a long way at any company. When transparency exists, team members are more likely to have higher satisfaction levels, productivity, commitment to the company, and overall alignment between teams.

When developing an open environment, think about your employees who may be more reserved or less likely to speak. These employees are only likely to ask questions in a one-on-one environment when they feel comfortable doing so.

For these important discussions, such as career and salary talks, it’s especially important to be transparent and ready to listen. Salary is something that can be an intimidating topic for many employees. To minimize these fears, be upfront about the salary you are giving your employees and allow open communication about raises. Even if you aren’t able to give a raise, employees will appreciate the honesty and open communication.

Summary

Your employees value and appreciate any time you spend making them feel valued and heard. Be sure to allow for plenty of feedback during these educational sessions or meetings as this will help you in the long-term. Now it’s time to start teaching!

 

small business coach

My Top Ten Favorite Business Tools for Entrepreneurs

My Top Ten Favorite Business Tools (Updated to 21 Tools) for Entrepreneurs

As I’m working with my clients I’m frequently advising them about business tools that are useful for small business owners and those who are self-employed. Since I believe that marketing is one of the most important small business owner skills, several of my favorite tools fall under that category.

Just as important as marketing is self-development and included are a couple of those tools in my list. I’ve listed 3 tools that I use in coaching my clients and 2 that help with the financial areas of business..

  1. Hootsuite is a very helpful business tool with managing your social media posts. You can send one post to multiple social media sites with the push of a button, and you can schedule future posts so that your message broadcasts while you are on vacation or sleeping! Plans start as little as $19 per month.
  2. MailChimp is an email newsletter distribution platform. You can create your newsletter using their templates, add subscribers to your list and send out hundreds of email newsletters a month for free.
  3. Clickfunnels is an online business tool that helps you to build marketing campaigns without the help of a technical person. You can connect these campaigns to your website so that your visitors may view and buy your products or services online. The cost starts at less than $99 per month.
  4. WordPress. You may already be familiar with WordPress. This famous website platform boasts of providing 28% of all the websites on the globe. That’s a lot of sites! These websites are relatively easy to design, but many business owners hire a web designer to set everything up. Adding content and images is really easy; very similar to Microsoft Word. The cost can be as little as zero.
  5. Audible is a way for you to listen to all kinds of books on tape. I consider personal development to be essential for the small business owner. Zig Ziglar, the famous motivational person talked about the benefit of going to “automobile university,” that is to listen to audio recordings while driving your car. I frequently listen to personal development recordings while driving or working out. The cost is about $15 per month.
  6. Quickbooks.  Most everyone in business knows about Quickbooks; but did you know that this billing and invoicing tool can automate your payments from customers? Then you don’t have to manually create bills or chase customers for money. The payment shows up in your account so that you can spend more time with your customers. You can use it to pay your bills too! The cost is as little as $5 per month.
  7. Our 36 Coaching Module Assessment. This business tool is a self-assessment we provide to business owners and self-employed people who are looking to improve their business and take it to the next level. The tool examines your business in 36 areas in your business. We have found that every business owner wants to experience freedom in business. That’s why we decided to become our own boss; to be free from another boss! The cost is zero.
  8. Coaching Agenda. Our clients fill out a weekly coaching agenda prior to each session. Included on the agenda are Key Performance Indicators, Goals and Actions, Biggest Achievements, Challenges, Motivation level, and other important information. This tool tracks your business progress and results helps to achieve forward momentum and identifies obstacles to overcome. The cost for this business tool is included with all coaching packages.
  9. Strategic Plan. In my opinion, one of the most important business tools an entrepreneur can use is the Strategic Plan. Therefore that is one of the first things we provide for our clients. For us, this important document includes your personal vision, values, goals and bucket list. To that, we add your business vision, values, and mission, your business goals and objectives which form the “big picture” and your action plan which breaks everything down into small steps to achieve the plan. The cost is included with coaching packages.
  10. Canva. This simple and amazing content creation site will help you to create all kinds of images, presentations, posters, infographics, social media images and anything you can think of. There is a free version or you can pay $12.99 per month for the pro version.
  11. Promo. is an online video maker that gives you everything you need to make high-quality videos that will help your business grow. easily create videos from scratch or choose from our selection of video templates. No editing experience needed unlimited creative options inside. They have millions of templates for all kinds of business types and it fits all types of content. With Promo, you can also make video advertisements freely and easily. Promo helps you to promote your business or products, improves brand awareness, widen your reach, and engage your customers.

Top 10 Business Tools

  1. Flock. For small businesses, communication plays a very important role. It’s a means of synergizing the office environment so all the relevant divisions can work in harmony. There are several requirements for in-office messaging and video conferencing, which can be addressed with Flock. It is mostly available for free unless you need the advanced features available for a mere $4.50/ month for each user. Since Flock facilitates both messaging and video conferencing at a low cost, it is our personal favorite.
  2. Colorcinch is the cooler, down-to-earth stepchild of photo editing – always dependable, fabulously low-maintenance, and ready to prove their worth. They help you to “cartoonize” your images in a very cool way. Their price range from $3.99 per month to $5.99 per month.
  3. Titan. Another important form of communication for small businesses is email. Aside from interacting within the office environment, email is used to inform clients and customers about your business products and services. Titan allows you to create official email addresses with your business domain that adds to your professional capacity. After a 30-day free trial period, you can choose to continue using this highly professional business tool for only $1.50/ month for each user.
  4. Asana. Small businesses that require a level of symbiosis and planning when executing important projects. Asana is a project management tool for small and medium enterprises to keep employees focused on the step-by-step execution of the projects. You can create daily goals, assign deadlines, and allocate tasks to each member or team and watch as the tasks are completed with absolute effectiveness. Since Asana allows you to classify the project with short-term goals, it makes it easier to follow the progress of individual tasks. The basic project management tools in Asana are available for free. However, if you wish to use the advanced premium features, it’ll cost $11/ month for each user, and for business features, $25/ month for each user. Since Asana is a useful small business tool where you can view each project from different clients on one forum and keep tabs on the development, the cost seems meager as compared to its usefulness.
  5. TimeDoctor. To run a small business with efficiency, you have to take Time Management into account. It is not optional to create effective calendars and schedules for each project for different clients. Time management increases your efficiency in manifolds. Not only can you check the development of the projects, but you can also dock the exact amount of time that your employees dedicated to your business. It can be overtime or slacking that causes delays in your projects. TimeDoctor is an excellent small business tool that tracks productivity and Time Management for all your business functions. You can try it for free for 14 days to evaluate its suitability for your business. You can subscribe to the plan for only $10/ month for each user.
  6. Adobe Creative Cloud. For design-based small businesses, Adobe Creative Cloud is a blessing. It facilitates the use of multiple tools on desktop as well as mobile apps for all your design functions. It is an outstanding tool for creating attractive videos, adjusting features in photography, creating a web design, and programs to detect and track user experience. This small business tool is popular for its proficient design facilities and regarded quite highly among professionals. The plans for Adobe Creative Cloud vary based on how many people use it and for what purpose. For individual use, the price is as low as $10/ month. If you want to use it for business, then it costs $34/ month. Adobe Creative Cloud also offers separate packages for educational purposes, including small businesses that focus on training in design functions. For students and teachers, it costs $20/ month. For Universities, schools, and colleges, it costs as low as $15/ month.
  7. Wave. Small businesses are extremely reliant on regular billing and payments. Since the profits are limited, and there are multiple expenses that you need to consider, payment cycles must be systemized. Wave is a targeted software created to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs. It helps you design customized invoices with your business domain and feature the identity of your brand. You can create recurring invoices for billing and payments and track the income and expenses accordingly. The best part about Wave is it is mostly available free of cost. However, if you wish to associate billing and payments with credit cards, then you might incur additional charges.
  8. Turbo Tax. Maybe your business is a startup and you haven’t developed much complexity. You can do-it-yourself until you can afford a bookkeeper. Tax filing, especially for small businesses, can be really cumbersome. You have to consider all the previous year’s taxes, deductible business expenses, income, etc. That is why TurboTax comes in handy. You can synchronize TurboTax with QuickBooks to access all your income and expenses. It can also track the taxes from the previous year as well as deduct and business expenses associated with travel, advertising, materials, etc. The tool is available for $160 under federal jurisdiction and $50/ state. The cost of TurboTax may seem a little higher than usual, as compared to small business tools that perform other functions, but it is worth it when you get to save a considerable sum in tax deductions and returns.
  9. HelloSign. Another primary requirement for small businesses is signing important documents. When you accept a contract or need signatures from clients, suppliers, partners, investors, or even employees, it is helpful to have the process digitized for efficiency. HelloSign offers the means for you to request the signature from them. Once the process is completed, a copy of the acknowledged and signed document is sent to each signatory for posterity. It helps keep your business functions above-ground and transparent, facilitating trust-building and understanding among all parties. The cost incurred for this most-useful small business tool is a mere $13/ month for each user for the standard plan. You can also upgrade to the business plan, which costs $23/ month for each user.
  10. Paypal. It is a globally-accepted mode of payment for all small businesses. Therefore, you can provide local or overseas services and get paid via simple online transfers. The standard Paypal plan charges 2.9% + $0.30 for each transaction. The Pro plan charges the same, with an additional $35/ month.

Two more honorable mentions: Slack and Basecamp. These two tools provide similar services but Slack is more geared towards communication while Basecamp is for project management. Slack starts at $6.67 per month and Basecamp is $99.00 per month. Both are great tools!

I’ve brought to you some of the best business tools, apps, and technologies that can benefit your business. Try some of the tools in this list and watch your business grow!

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HOW TO STOP OVERTHINKING

What is overthinking?

Basically, overthinking is thinking over something too much for too long a time. Everyone is asking the same question How To stop Overthinking?

Now, it is part of human nature to think things over before making a decision or taking a step in a situation, but it can spill into overthinking when you get trapped in your thoughts and can’t get out of your head. It is this condition that births stress, worry, and it happens to every one of us. But in some extreme cases, the grip on the mind can be so firm that some persons find it hard coming out of overthinking. Perhaps its worry about the future, or regurgitating and reliving past experiences, by dwelling on the “should-haves” and the “I wishes”. Some persons even fret over the impressions other people have of them and fall in the loop of overthinking.

There are some severe repercussions of overthinking. For example, in high-stress situations where a high-stakes decision is necessary, overthinking can come in the way of logical and sensible reasoning, and the resulting choices could be catastrophic. This could apply to your business, where overthinking can cost you a great deal of profit if you choose investment in the wrong area because you did overthink things.

how to stop overthinking

Many of us suffer from “paralysis by analysis.”

Overthinking can also paralyze you mentally, making you incapable of deciding as you fear making the wrong decision. This can make you take no action at all, and that could be worse, in some cases, than taking the wrong decision.

So, whether you’re caught up in severe overthinking or just occasionally, restlessness becomes inevitable, and you could even slip into depression, elevate your stress levels, and cloud your judgment.

In this article, we will explore the various tricks and hacks you can employ to stop overthinking.

So, why do people overthink? 

In most cases, overthinking comes as a result of depression or anxiety, and addressing these two elements may address your problem of overthinking. If overthinking isn’t as a result of some underlying emotional conditions, then some though hacks could be useful to manage and stop overthinking. So, how do you stop overthinking? Let’s find out.

How to stop overthinking

 

Let go of some past events

learn how to stop overthinkingOverthinkers often regurgitate and relive past experiences, as they sometimes may find themselves recounting a one-time activity, adventure, or transaction and are imagining “what if”, or “I could have…”. Though this may seem harmless, it is sipping out energy from the present to the past.

It would help if you had this resolved in the depths of your mind: you can’t change the past – but you can choose to learn from it, adapting lessons from those perspectives and reshaping your view of the past. When you can bring yourself to accept the past is already done and can’t be changed, you free yourself from any unnecessary burdens, regrets, or grudges and stop your mind from overthinking. Redirecting energy from the past to the present moment is a great way to stop overthinking.

Practice taking authority over your thoughts

As a way to stop thinking, you must know that you can be in control of your thoughts – you can choose what to think about. As you realize you’re overthinking, you can choose to consciously divert your thoughts onto the present and not give in to overthinking. You can bring your mind back from a cesspool of overthinking to the here and now. How can you do that? Start by breathing. Then ask yourself some questions to diagnose the epicenter of your overthinking: “what am I thinking on? When is that? What is stressing me out?” etc.

You can journal how you feel and what you’re thinking about. That helps you keep track of your thoughts. As overthinking sets in, take up your journal and note down how you feel, what you’re thinking on, the mood you’re set into because of what you feel, and your concentration level in that mood. All these strategies help you follow up your thought patterns, to identify and stop overthinking.

Thinking about your thinking

This is the underlying concept behind metacognition – thinking about your thinking, being aware of your thoughts. Being aware of the thoughts you’re having and how they affect you can help you consciously overcome and stop overthinking.

Remember, the goal here isn’t to simply try to forget about specific experiences, but to become more aware of, and remove yourself from the core “being” of your thoughts. It is about observing your thoughts, what and how they make you feel, all in a bid to stop overthinking.

Zero-in on what you can control

young man overthinkingOne of the critical causes of overthinking is panic, anxiety or fear in a stressful scenario. When things start to go wrong, overthinking may seem inevitable. But in that, you can breathe, slow things down, and ask yourself, “what things can I control?”

Acknowledge what is on your mind, what you’re thinking about. Then, slow it down and expand your perspective to see what is within your power to change or control. When you focus on what is within your ability to control, you indirectly magnify your power to change things.

This also applies to businesses. When things seem to be crumbling or failing, don’t amplify what is beyond your control or what you wish you could control; instead, carefully assess the situation and see what logical steps you can take towards achieving your set goals. Maybe you’re running bankrupt, or the profits are dwindling; carefully consider what steps you can take towards reducing expenditures or strategies to revamp sales, rather than focusing on the state of the economy.

Acknowledging your fears is a way to stop overthinking

More often than we may realize, it is fear that spurs in the mind and results in overthinking. This could be fear of what others would say, how others perceive us, the error of making mistakes, of not being good enough to prevail, or the fear of losing. Such worries have the potential to keep you in indecision and cause you to overthink.

Our imagination can easily paint images of suffering more than we are experiencing. The fantasy of what things may turn out to be can birth fear and cause overthinking. How do you overcome this?

You can start to take action

take action now

Take a bold step towards what you fear. Action enables you to stop overthinking, as you transcend from imagination to tangible results. Even if you fail, you will have overcome your fears in that aspect and in so doing, subdued overthinking.

It will help if you internalize that no matter what may happen, you’re going to be ok. Be confident to take a step towards achieving your goals. That may be in your business; overcome your fears and insecurities by taking action, even a small one, in the direction of your goals. Being action-oriented enables you to overcome and stop overthinking.

See solutions, not problems

To stop overthinking, see the solution, not the problem. It would help if you amplified the solutions to problems rather than the problems themselves. Redirect your efforts, thoughts and energy towards solutions to problems rather than the issues.

The problems you may have cause anxiety and stress, breeding grounds for fear to set in, and thus, to overthink. To overcome this, you can write down those problems or share them with someone. Then, critically brainstorm on ways to solve those problems, rather than dwelling on the gravity and severity of the problems.

What if you hit a wall in your business?

Perhaps in your business, you hit a wall in sales, or the work schedule is stressing you out. You can start by writing it down clearly or sharing with someone like a friend. Then, get to brainstorming on how to get out of that challenge. Don’t keep going on and on about how problematic the situation is. No amount of complaining about a problem can solve it, but careful strategizing could.

Being open about your fears, problems or thoughts to a friend can open you up to a new perspective of things. This will give you just what you need to stop overthinking.

Be action-oriented

do not think take actionThis applies in two folds: making the decision, then act. It will help if you practice making decisions and sticking to them. Indecision is a breeding ground for overthinking and to overcome it, you must be action-oriented, adding action to your choices.

Decide to do something, get on your feet and actually do it. And it starts with the small decisions. As you practice being decisive, you quickly become action-oriented. The action stems from the decision, and the decision comes from you. if you must stop overthinking, be a person of action.

Manage your stress

Develop ways to manage your stress levels. Stress exacerbates overthinking, so keep it in check. This may involve altering your work schedule, taking breaks, prayer or meditation, or simply engaging nature, away from your smart devices and the modern world entirely for a while. Even taking a few minutes’ walks can go a long way to ease your mind of stress and help manage overthinking.

When you feel your thoughts are overwhelming and you’re caught up in overthinking, you can do these things to clear your head:

  •         Take a walk. Merely engaging a walk in nature like a part for a few minutes can ease the congestion of thoughts and get you out of overthinking.
  •         Do some exercise. Sweating out your thoughts helps you think better and eases you out of overthinking.
  •         Go “dark” for a while. Simply disengaging from your digital devices for 30 minutes or multiple hours can really get the pressure off and ease your mind, thus, helping to stop overthinking.

Live in the moment

overthinkers take actionTo stop overthinking, you should learn to live in the present, not the past. For some, this can be as easy as flipping a switch. But for others, you may have to redirect your thought patterns to the present consciously.

It is possible to take control of and alter the thoughts you are having. Before overthinking takes hold of you, you can smell it a mile away and reset your thoughts in time. Be it a high-stress environment, where all seems to crumble down, or perhaps worry is setting in or regret of the past; do this. Breathe and focus on the present; what do you see? What do you hear?

You can achieve this by taking on daily activities like prayer or meditation to stop your brain from reliving these moments. As time progresses, you’ll find it more natural to plug and unplug your mind from overthinking.

Stop Overthinking by controlling your emotions

overthinking monkeyTo stop overthinking, you must take control of your emotions. That doesn’t mean you simply ignore and bury them, but to master them. It will help if you acknowledge your feelings. What you’re feeling right now and identify the reason why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling. If you feel anxiety, don’t just ignore that emotion. Search deeper to unravel the causes of that emotion and seek to understand it. Knowing is half the battle. When you see the source of specific emotions, you can better take steps to address those situations and stop overthinking in a preemptive manner.

Know the difference between fear and intuition

Fear and intuition aren’t the same, and a proper understanding of this will help stop overthinking in its tracks. The fear of making mistakes is often the cause of overthinking. That helps to foster indecision and gives a feeling something is not right. Being able to identify whether or not you’re driven by fear or intuition can help you stop overthinking and get to the action. By carefully scrutinizing your thoughts, you can better make decisions. Then deploy those decisions to action towards achieving your goals.

Ask yourself the right questions

The right questions can help diagnose overthinking and guide you out of it. Simply asking yourself why you overthink isn’t going to stop overthinking. Instead, that will lead to more overthinking. Rather, ask yourself questions that will bring about solutions to your worries. Ask questions that can help you make changes in certain areas rather than questions that will keep you in regret, fear or anxiety. In so doing, you’ll stop overthinking in its tracks and press on the path to success.

Don’t focus on what can go wrong, but what can go right

overthinking creating problems that don't exist

There are indeed situations in which the very thing that could possibly go wrong goes wrong. But often, all those negative possibilities play out in our minds and feed off of our fear, giving room for overthinking. Our fear of the outcome keeps us paralyzed, even above the actual manifestation of the outcome itself. So, don’t focus on the negative; look to what is going right. When thoughts of fear and failure set in, remind yourself of all that is going right. Subdue those negative thoughts. With that, you’ll have stopped overthinking in its tracks.

Learn to distract yourself

To stop overthinking, it is always good to have some happy and fun activities that you could engage in and distract yourself from overthinking. You could take up activities like playing an instrument, knitting, gardening, dancing, prayer or meditation, drawing, etc. All these distractions to distance yourself from worries enough to hamper the overthinking process.

Put things into perspective

It can seem easy to put things out of proportion and make situations bigger and much worse than they actually are. When we let thoughts of fear in, what appears as a bad situation can easily be exaggerated and magnified, and that’ll cause you to start overthinking things. There are some things you may just be pressuring yourself to accomplish within an unrealistic time frame. Thus, pushing yourself to overthink. Merely changing up such time frames or properly prioritizing tasks can go a long way to relieve some pressure from your mind and help manage overthinking.

Perfection is the enemy of progress.

-Winston Churchill

Stop waiting to attain perfection

Many at times, we hold out of progress because we’re seeking perfection in every single thing we do. While excellence is essential; perfection can be impractical and unrealistic. This takes up more resources than necessary.

So, when you have the thought, “this must be perfect”, remember that perfection isn’t a smart move compared to progress. When you see improvement and choose to settle for excellence, overthinking will seemingly fade out.

Internalize the fact that you can’t predict the future

can't predict the future

We don’t know what tomorrow holds. We can only plan and hope for what it’ll bring, but we don’t know what the future will bring. All you have to work with is now, this present moment. If you waste it in overthinking, then you’ll destroy the only chance you have at preparing for an uncertain future in worrying and overthinking things.

When you can fully internalize this fact, then when you find yourself overthinking, you can pull yourself out. The you can enjoy the present. And you can better plan for the approach and logically and sensibly anticipate and invest now for the future.

Accept your limits

To stop overthinking, you must know your limits – acknowledge what is your best and be content.

Too often, overthinking is birthed from a feeling of unsatisfaction with our best. We see that we aren’t good enough or our best isn’t sufficient. Once you’ve given your best in a task, you should accept the results as the product of your best and be ok with it. Tell yourself, “I did what I could; I put in my utmost best”. Of course, this works when you actually invested your best.

Be grateful

You can’t be ungrateful and grateful at the same time; so, be positive. The power of positivity is a great tool to help you overcome overthinking. Every day find things to be grateful for. You could make a list of things you’re thankful for, and daily acknowledge those things. Such a positive attitude towards life and your challenges will keep you from overthinking.

Relax and breathe

relax-breathe

As easy as this may sound, it has the potential to get you out of overthinking. The next time you find yourself overthinking, simply take a deep breath and relax.

Here’s a simple exercise to achieve this:

  •         Get a comfortable seat and relax your next and shoulders
  •         Place your hands on your body, one across your belly and one on your heart
  •         Breathe in and out through your nose slowly

Meditation or prayer

I know we’ve mentioned this before, but the emphasis here should show just how helpful this is. Engage in regular meditation or prayer if you find yourself overthinking regularly. There are tons of resources on the internet to get you started on how prayer or meditation works and what conditions are optimum to achieve maximum results.

Tackle automatic negative thinking

no-negative-thoughts

Automated negative thoughts (ANTs) are negative thoughts often initiated from, and involve anger, fear, anxiety and often involuntarily trigger a reaction to a situation.

A great way to tackle ANTs is to keep track of your thoughts by recording them and consciously working towards changing them. Here’s how you could achieve this:

  •         Use a notebook to record and monitor your thoughts, how they affect your mood and your reactions to situations
  •         Explore the possible reasons why you’re having the thoughts you’re having
  •         Identify and explicitly denote the emotions you’re experiencing. Also, note what you’re telling yourself amid the situation.
  •         Consciously replace negative thoughts. Instead of amplifying the negative, look to the positive aspects of the situation and zero-in on those.

Acknowledge your successes

When you find yourself overthinking, take a pause and note down some things you did right in the past day or week. Reminding yourself of your successes and achievements can help calm you and stop overthinking.

And these achievements don’t necessarily need to be huge; merely being on time for an activity or completing a planned assignment would do. These little wins will add up and have a significant impact on how you view yourself and enable you to stop overthinking.

Practice self-compassion

Have compassion for yourself. Too often we find it easier to let go of the shortcoming of others than those of ourselves.

Final Note

Overthinking can happen to just about anyone, and its management is critical if we are to enjoy happy lives and make sensible and unclouded decisions. With these tips, you can be well on the way to stop overthinking.

 

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Importance of Business Networking

Business Networking

Do you feel awkward or afraid when going to business networking events? You are not alone!  Many people avoid networking events and many others make big mistakes while networking. Simply showing up at a networking event with your business cards is not enough! Successful business networking requires planning and strategy.

Business Networking

Importance of Business Networking

Networking is important and networking works! According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70 percent of all jobs are found through business networking. As a business owner, you want to constantly grow your network of contacts.

How Have You Been Impacted by Meeting Other People?

Think about some ways that meeting other people has impacted your life. The position you now hold likely happened because you met someone somewhere. How did you meet your spouse, your friends, and your work associates? In many cases, you were introduced or you met them somewhere. Many of us have gotten something free such as tickets to an event through networking. Don’t miss out on this great way to grow your business!

Here are some tips to make your business networking effective:

Go with the networking plan to serve others.

The best way to set yourself at ease during networking is to focus on other people. Go with the mindset that you are there to give. Listen well! Think about ways you can help them: people that you can introduce them to, resources and tools that could benefit them. Make them happy that they met you!

Have a goal with your networking events.

You are attending events to make contacts that will be mutually beneficial. Decide in advance how many people you want to meet. If possible, decide in advance who you want to meet. Arrive early and view the attendee name tags and the companies they work for. Arriving early is also important to start the event in the right manner. You can position yourself to meet attendees as they arrive.

Don’t get into cliques while networking.

Remember your goals for the event. If you get into a circle of people you already know, you will limit your ability to meet new people. Spend a few minutes with everyone you meet, but move on. You can say, “excuse me, I need to freshen up my drink.”

If you are anxious while networking, go with a friend.

This is a good way to get your feet wet. You can talk with your friend during the gaps between meeting new people. As you get more comfortable you and your friend can split up.

Get introduced at networking events.

Another advantage of arriving early is to ask the host to introduce you to some of the guests. Or if you see an acquaintance talking with someone you want to meet, approach them and ask your acquaintance for an introduction.

Take your business cards and a pen to networking events.

However, don’t offer your card too quickly. If you meet someone that would be a good contact for you, ask for their card. Once you have ended your conversation, write down key information about your new acquaintance. This will help you later to remember details about them and will aid you as you begin your next conversation. Of course, when people ask for your card, be ready to provide one. Don’t give them more than one card unless they ask for it.

Small Business Solutions Book

Be a good interviewer while networking.

For a great example, watch how newscasters interview people. Listen twice as much as you talk. Keep good eye contact while they are speaking; don’t look around the room while they are talking. Nod your head, smile and laugh where appropriate. Interject short responses from time to time to relate to your acquaintance. Make affirming comments and sincere compliments. Most people will ask what you do, but if they don’t, feel free to briefly tell them about what you do.

Have a thirty-second commercial while networking.

Be ready to briefly describe what you do. Talk about the benefits (how you impact your client’s life) of your product or service rather than the features (what you do). Know what makes you unique and better than your competition.

Be ready to describe your ideal client while networking.

Know how to describe your prospects in terms of demographics. For example, “My clients are young married couples who live in working class neighborhoods in Greenville SC.”

Look for “Networking Orphans.”

At just about every event there will be someone who is new, uncomfortable and anxious. They may be standing awkwardly against the wall looking out of place. Find them and become their friend. Introduce them to others. They will be very thankful that you rescued them.

The most important thing…follow up after networking!

If you don’t follow up with your new acquaintances, you have just wasted your time at the event. Be unique in your approach. Send a card, or make a phone call thanking them for meeting with you. If appropriate, invite them for coffee or lunch to deepen the relationship.

Conclusion

Remember that people do business with those they know, like and trust. Business networking works! Serve your business contacts well and you will be on the road to great clients and referrals!

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Developing The Right Team Meeting Rhythm

Team meeting rhythm

When you have a small business, you know that communication is important. But does everyone communicate properly inside your business? This blog is about developing the right team meeting rhythm. The goal of your meetings is the deployment of your strategic objectives.

When you first started your business, your communication was more caught than taught. It was easy for people to understand your goals because they were with you all day. However, as your business grows your team becomes more spread out. You must become intentional and proactive with the way you communicate.

Effective Communication or Gossip?

One common misconception is that just because your office is open and everyone can sit near to each other, teams communicate. However, proper communication within a small business isn’t the same thing as simply chatting about the weather. Left unchecked, communication will degrade into gossip and other unproductive topics. Your communication needs to be directed to a specific purpose and strategic. So, to ensure that this happens within your business, you need a team meeting rhythm.

When your team isn’t proactively communicating or in a consistent rhythm, it will be harder for everyone to do their jobs. In addition, it will also be more difficult to establish priorities.

Developing The Right Team Meeting Rhythm

While you may already know that a lot of communication occurs in unproductive meetings, some reports that show that “employees spend 31 hours per month in unproductive meetings”.

Team Meeting Infographic

So, how can you put a stop to unproductive meetings that everyone hates and start using the right team meeting rhythm?

Topics and Activities for Your Meetings

Ultimately, the main goal of the team meeting rhythm is to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This means that there should be some scheduled team meetings which objective is to set goals, reporting, and accountability. These meetings should be regularly scheduled and the information that is gathered on each one of the meetings should then cascade through the organization in a quick and efficient manner.

Within your small business, you should make sure that you have scheduled 5 different meetings:

#1: Daily Meeting (or Team Huddle)

The daily meeting should only take a couple of minutes depending on how many members your team has. Ultimately, the daily meeting has two main goals:

  • Keep your team up to speed and aware of what each one has to do.
  • Create extra pressure from the peers for people who aren’t making the effort they need to make.

This meeting should gather everyone, even if some members are out of the office for some reason. In this case, set up a conference call. You can also use video and screen share tools such as www.zoom.us .

As we already mentioned, the daily meeting should be short. After all, no one wants to get to the office and sit in a conference room for 3 hours. So, during the daily meeting, you need to ensure that every team member has the time to speak and each one speech should cover three different aspects:

  • What they did yesterday
  • What they will be working on today
  • What are the bottlenecks?

Remember that the goal of this meeting is not finding solutions. It is only for everyone to be aware of what they have done yesterday, of what they will do today and the bottlenecks that may have appeared in their way.

#2: Weekly Meeting:

The main goal of the weekly meeting is to have everyone involved with strategic decision making. Unlike the daily meeting, in the weekly meeting, there will be decisions made. After all, with all team members participating, it will be easier to decide on what each one needs to do to ensure that the small business reaches its goals. As the facilitator, you want to make one or more decisions on actions that result from this meeting.

The weekly meeting should last between 1 and 2 hours and it should include the following topics:

  • Review of the KPI of the week
  • Defining the KPI’s for the next week
  • Determining the strategic goals for the next week.

#3: Monthly Meeting:

The main goal of a monthly meeting is to make decisions about key issues for the small business and it should include mid-level and senior leadership teams.

Since the main goal is to make decisions, monthly meetings need to be longer. They usually last between 1 and 2 hours and they should take place in the morning when everyone is fresh.

This is the meeting where the managers from each department make an update about the key decisions and results of the past month as well as it is also the time to brainstorm solutions to any problems or concerns that may have arisen. During this meeting, it may also be necessary to review any potential opportunities for training or education.

Ultimately, a monthly meeting will improve the communication skills of the middle management team, the delegation, the management, and leadership.

Summing it all up, the monthly meeting is the time to:

  • Review the past month KPI’s as well as defining the KPI’s for the next month
  • Review the monthly goals that were set in the previous month and defining new goals for the next month
  • Determining the need for learning and training.
  • Updating your action plan.

#4: Quarterly Meeting:

The quarterly meeting usually takes a bit longer than the monthly meeting. So, one of the things that many small businesses do is that they make the meeting out of the office.

With this meeting, the main goal is to evaluate how the last quarter of the business was in terms of performance. In addition, it is also the time to brainstorm priorities and targets for the next quarter.

In terms of the people attending this meeting, some businesses prefer to only have the executive team while others like to include all team members. We believe that the second one is a better approach.

During the quarterly meeting, there are some topics that should be discussed:

  • Review of the quarterly KPI’s and defining the new KPI’s for the new quarter.
  • Review of the quarterly goals and setting up new goals for the next quarter.

#5: Annual Planning Meeting:

During the annual meeting, you should think about your business performance over the previous year. Usually, the leadership team determines the annual priorities and targets for the upcoming year as well as reviews employee perceptions and long-term goals. This is the time to review your strategic plan: your vision, value and mission, your KPI’s, your goals and your actions. You are setting goals for the upcoming year, creating a budget and taking your team through a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) exercise to determine priorities for the upcoming year.

Conclusion

A right team meeting rhythm done right will move your business forward by empowering your employees through a shared vision and teamwork. Creating a strategic plan is a good beginning, but team meetings ensure that you are deploying your plan. Here’s an article about strategic-plan-for-your-small-business/”>creating a strategic plan for your business.

 

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Winning the Business: Focus on Your Prospect’s Needs

Prospect's Needs

The reason business owners and salespeople exist is to solve problems for their customers.  The better you are at understanding and articulating the needs of your prospect and crafting a solution to meet prospect’s needs, the more effective you will be at winning clients.

Focus on Your Prospect’s Needs First

Before you start “spouting off” your vast array of business features and services, you must deeply understand your prospect’s needs. Think of how foolish a doctor would be to prescribe a medication to a patient before making an examination. Serve your prospect like a doctor serves a patient: ask good questions, diagnose the condition and only then prescribe the best remedies to treat the business “illness.”

Prospect's Needs
People hangout together at a coffee shop

Ask Good Questions.

In the same way that a doctor makes a thorough examination prior to writing a prescription, you must take your prospect deep into his “pain points” or business problems.  Ideally, you want to identify and quantify three to five pain points to help you demonstrate your value in solving a prospect’s needs.

Set Your Client at Ease

Remember, the reason your prospect is meeting with you is that he has a need. However, like a patient who is asked to disrobe, your prospect may be uncomfortable or embarrassed to talk about his business condition. It is your job to set your client at ease. Be quick to admit a fault or mistake you have made recently or in the past; that will help your client to realize that you are human just like them.

Pay Sincere Compliments

It is also helpful to first find things to praise about your client’s business: the size of the business, the length of time in business, their facility, their employees, etc. Congratulating them for their successes makes it easier for them to discuss their problems later. Ask them what they like most about their business, why they started their business, what advice would they give to a new business owner. These are “feel-good questions” that will help set them at ease knowing that you see their value.

Then move into the broad pain questions:

  • What are the top three frustrations in business that you deal with?
  • We find that many business owners have problems with cash flow, working too many hours and not spending enough time with family or friends. Do you?
  • Do you find it hard to find good employees? customers?
  • We had a client who was stung by a large bad debt. Has that happened to you?

Move Into Specific Pain Questions

Once you have developed your list of three to five pain points, get a deeper understanding of the issues. Do not gloss over these! These are important to help the prospect to understand the issues and how much the problems are costing them. Ask the following questions about each pain point:

  • Tell me more about______________________.
  • How long have you been experiencing this problem?
  • What attempts have you made to solve the problem?
  • Have you given up?
  • How much would you ballpark this problem is costing you per year?

Repeat back or rephrase the answers to your questions to demonstrate that you understand and empathize with your prospect. If you sense that your prospect becomes a bit emotional during this exercise, you have done a good job of helping them grasp the reality of their problems that you will solve.

Recap Your Prospect’s Pain Points

Recap each problem and the estimated costs for each problem. Add the costs up to determine the total costs that your coaching solutions could save.

*As a possible interim step, you can ask about the prospect’s budget for your services or product. However, many small business owners do not have budgets. As long as you can demonstrate that your remedy is going to save them a lot more than the cost of your service/product, you can win their business.

Prescribe the Remedy

Now you should be ready to craft your proposal to the prospect’s needs. A few more questions will help you to focus on your prospect’s needs and refine your proposal:

  • What are the top three things you want out of a service provider?
  • What would you want to change?
  • Are you working toward a deadline?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how important is solving these problems to you?
  • How often would you like to see me or talk on the phone each month?
  • Simply list each pain point in your proposal with the coaching solution for each one and the dollar savings goal for each point. If you have done a good job with this, the cost for your service/product will be insignificant to the benefits you will bring your client.

Conclusion

When you focus on your prospect’s needs, they will understand that you care about them. Doing the above will take some practice, but once you are proficient at this, you will win many customers!

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Prospect's Needs

 

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Selling: Winning Clients Through Prospect Follow Up

winning clients

Winning clients is a difficult undertaking that requires considerable preparation and follow-up. You never know how many follow up contacts it will take to win a customer. Most experts say that on average it takes between 5 and 12 contacts to win clients. It is quite rare to engage a prospect during your initial meeting. The timing has to be right for them. Most prospects will want time to think about your services. Many will want to discuss their decision with their spouse. What do you do next to win them as a client?

Winning Clients Through Prospect Follow Up

winning clients

Generally speaking, several contacts are made prior to retaining a client. A business owner might expect to contact a prospect between six and twenty times and even more. Never give up unless the prospect asks you to stop contacting them. Sometimes months or even years may pass prior to your prospect of becoming a client. Your prospect needs to know, like and trust you prior to giving serious consideration to buying your service or product.

Use a Variety of Ways to Stay in Touch With Prospects

You may ask, “How can I follow up with my prospects without “nagging” them?” The general answer is by serving your prospect and using a variety of ways to stay in touch. Think of creative ways to serve others. Below are some possibilities to keep your follow-ups interesting and helpful:

Add prospects to your newsletter.

For example, Small Business Coach Associates has a bi-monthly e-newsletter that includes helpful information for business owners. Links to helpful articles and services are included in the mailings.

Send prospects helpful information.

If you paid attention during your meeting with your prospect you learned about their hobbies, family, interests, and business. Send articles or information that may be of interest or benefit to your prospect.

Stay in touch with prospects by phone.

From time to time give your prospect a phone call. Be respectful of their time. Always ask your prospect at the beginning of your call “Is this a good time to talk?” If they say no simply say “OK, I just wanted to catch up with you. I’ll contact you at another time.” If they have time to talk with you, ask them how business is going, family, hobbies, etc. If you identify a need, such as a prayer, or a visit, fill the need.

Stay in touch by sending hand-written note cards.

Thank your prospect for meeting with you. In this e-savvy world with easy emails, a hand-written notecard will make you stand out from other salespeople. Congratulate them if they have a great sales month. Send them a note on their anniversary. Find reasons to send your prospects notes.

Connect prospects with service providers.

Be attentive to the needs of your prospect. If you find out they have a leaky faucet, go out of your way to help them find a plumber.

Connect with prospects on Linkedin.

Make sure that your Linkedin page is updated with your experience, qualifications, and links to your business prior to sending them an invitation.

Invite prospects to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter.

Post helpful information to business owners on this social media. Your prospects will receive this information in their newsfeed.

Stop by to visit your prospect’s business.

Sometimes the best way to catch a business owner is to simply stop by their business. Face to face contact is always the best way to build a relationship. However, be respectful of their time; make your visit short and sweet. Having a gift in hands such as donuts or some other food, or a book or article is a good idea.

Invite your prospect for lunch, coffee, golf, seminars, etc.

Winning clients requires a unique approach to contacting and communicating with them that puts them at ease. Find creative reasons to stay in touch with your prospect. The more ways you stay in touch with them, the more they will think of you when a need arises.

Reality is that not every prospect will become a client. Your prospect’s business may fail, your prospect may pass away, or your prospect may hire another business advisor. However, if you are persistent and creative in your follow up contacts with your prospects, many of them will eventually become clients.

Conclusion

In summary, become your prospect’s friend. We have had prospects refer us to their friends who became clients before they did. As you demonstrate that you care about your prospect, they will come to know, like and trust you. Your persistence in being their friend will prove to them that you care, and eventually, you will earn their goodwill.

Questions about our small business coaching services?

Call us at 1-888-504-0777,

or 

Enter your information below to start growing your revenues and profits today…

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small business coach