From one ‘Strong Woman’ to another

I can’t help but be inspired by Karren Brady, she established herself as a successful business woman at a young age and has continued to demonstrate her talent ever since. I recently read her book because I enjoy watching her on the Apprentice, I like football (in particular West Ham) and because like me (although I am not comparing to her directly!), she is a hard-working, working mum.  A phrase she uses to describe herself.
So what I have learned from reading this book?  Here I share my thoughts.

She talks about good, in the early stages of the book, as being a barrier for businesses being great. I often find this when I am talking to businesses about their marketing. They are happy as they are sometimes and don’t want to rock the boat. She says there is no need to settle and why not forsake good to get to great.  I agree. Taking calculated risks can lead to great opportunities. She says “I’ll always work hard to improve my situation, I’m ambitious”.  This is an ethos close to my own heart.

She goes on to say that she sees problems as an opportunity to show off her talent and put everything into action. I agree in principle, and it is something to work on to be this positive. Rather than feeling negative about problems, turn them to your advantage where possible.  A note to self for me to do.

She says you don’t have to love every aspect of a business you are involved in, but you do need to respect it.  I couldn’t agree more. Once you respect the area, you can appreciate it and value.  Whether you do this yourself, or outsource is up to you. Just because we are business owners, doesn’t mean we have to do all of the jobs ourselves. I use experts to get work for my business done and businesses in turn use me as an expert for their marketing.  I personally don’t like numbers or accounts, but I respect they need to be done and I respect their value and what we can learn from them and how to use them. I use an expert to help me.

Karren lists three pillars without which you cannot build a business. These are: planning, process and structure.
I agree! Planning leads to process which in turn leads to order and structure. Planning brings success rather than winging it.

“The truth is, she writes, is that the more successful you become, the harder you work, because the successful you become, the more work you are offered.”

Another area where I saw similarities between us is where she talks about a few traits she has, like having a can-do attitude, energy, persistence and perseverance. This is me, I hope, in a nutshell.

Chapter 13, entitled, My rules for success, notes
Rule no. 1 as word hard. Agreed.
Rule no.4 is have the courage to take risks. Not easy sometimes, but agreed.
Rule no.6 is to learn to juggle. Definitely! As a “working mum”, this is what we do best. We often battle the work life balance and the mother/boss balance in our own minds and struggle with this concept of having it all, but it is possible.  She is working proof, as am  I and many of you reading this blog.
Rule no. 7 is plan to win. Fail to plan and plan to fail. Agreed.

Lady Karren Brady summarises her insightful book about her life, career, family, health issues, TV career and more with her rules for inspiration. Success she concludes means different things to different people.  She says whatever your success looks like then remember there are three cornerstones to achieving it – Planning, Process and Strategy.
These are definitely rules I admire and stick to within my personal and work life. It has led to a successful business and happy home life so far for me.

I really enjoyed this book and read it in a matter of days. Normally I wouldn’t review a book in this, but I felt a lot of the content rang true and would be useful to you all in the SME business world and a big thumbs up to all us “working mums!”

Thank you for the read!

If you would like to read the book yourself, it is available on Amazon.

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The impact of a few kind words

Blaise Pascal, French philosopher made the observation back in the 17th century that ‘Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.’ I feel this still applies now, maybe now more than ever!

Referrals and word-of-mouth are crucial to growing your business, irrespective of the industry in which you operate. Think of your customers as brand ambassador’s – if they have a good experience then they are likely to recommend you to their own colleagues, friends and contacts. But just remember, an unhappy customer is also highly likely to announce their dissatisfaction to the broader public.

A survey of 1000 individuals in the US by Dimensional Research, Sponsored by ZenDesk, revealed that ‘95% of respondents who have had a bad experience said they had told someone about it, compared to 87% who shared a good experience.’* Although there isn’t a similar study in the UK, it would be reasonable to assume that the findings would be mirrored here.

Social media has provided a great platform for promoting good experiences but at the same time venting frustrations. It is yet another reason to have an online presence to manage both the positive and negative posts and proactively respond. By having an open dialogue with customers it is possible to turn around a negative situation and resolve it for everybody’s benefit.

It is possible to give clients an incentive for making referrals by setting up a scheme. The reward could be a gift, or a discount on future purchases. These are often worthwhile as they often cost less than advertising and can be easy administered.

I addition, testimonials are a great way to demonstrate the abilities of both you and your business, and provide credibility with real life examples. Gather testimonials, and build the task into your work flow. Every time that you successfully complete a project then collect a testimonial from your happy client. Even better if you can get photos too!

Many of my clients are afraid to ask their own customers for testimonials for fear of getting the response ‘I’m too busy’.  But all you really need is a short quote based on their experience, be it a sentence or a paragraph, and permission to mention them and their business by name. It is free advertising for them so a win/win situation.

Try and encourage your customers to recommend you or simply say a few kind words. Any endorsement will bring with it new customers with the confidence to do business with you. And don’t forget to return the favour!

*http://www.marketingcharts.com/online/bad-customer-service-interactions-more-likely-to-be-shared-than-good-ones-28628/

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As a business owner, do you think there’s no such thing as a ‘holiday’? Think again!

The holiday season is fast approaching.  As a business owner myself, I know how important it is to take a break.  To recharge those batteries and enjoy a bit of complete down time.

But what do you do about the day to day running of your business?  Who can you trust to run it in your absence?  It’s never easy to completely switch off.  You’ve worked so hard to get your business to where it is that you feel you’re neglecting it if you’re not there overseeing things.  We all get caught reading a sneaky email or taking a work call when we’re supposed to be taking a rest and dedicating our attention to our families.  So, what if I told you there was a way you could completely switch off from your business, be it for a couple of days or a couple of weeks?  That nothing would happen to it and it would be there safe and well when you returned refreshed and reenergised?  Does it all sound too good to be true?

Well, think again!  This is where me and my team at TWVA Limited can help.  We are an Independent Business Administration Service that loves helping ambitious small and medium sized business owners with their administration.  The business was founded by myself, Tiffany Wise, back in 2016.  After working as a top PA in the City for over 15 years I now work alongside a team of like minded experts to deliver a top-level administration service.

I know only too well how difficult it is to entrust the baby that is your business to someone else but we pride ourselves in offering top-level, flexible holiday cover for all areas of your business.  From diary and email management to managing your social media or manning the phones in your absence.  Whatever you need to ensure the business functions in your absence, we can help.  Our reliable and efficient service offers you peace of mind.  So, while you’re off scuba diving in the Red Sea, braving a red run in Val D’Isere or sipping a Mojito in the Maldives, we ensure that your business continues to run like clockwork!

For more information, visit us at www.twva.co.uk or give us a like over on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TiffanyWiseVA/.

 

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How to Understand the Masculine and Feminine of our Psyche for Business

Introduction

Everyone, irrespective of gender, has a male and female aspect.

In order for us to navigate the work place with confidence, we need to develop both these sides of our psyche.

We live in a world of duality: hot/cold, up/down, in/out, male/female.

Men have a female side to their psychology = anima.

Women have a male side to their psychology = animus.

 

It is the marriage of both male and female which enables us to become balanced as human beings and to operate successfully in the world and in business.

Five steps to developing our Masculine Principle/Animus for business

Both anima and animus have a light and a shadow side. The light is the qualities we admit to and try to develop; the shadow is the qualities we ignore or refuse to accept. Our task is to bring both the light and shadow qualities into consciousness and then integrate them.

Step One

Become aware of the light qualities of the feminine psyche:

Feelings

Emotions

Tenderness

Relatedness

Fidelity

Friendship

Love

Compassion

Gentleness

Intuition

Imagination

Creativity

Aesthetics

Step Two

Become aware of the shadow qualities of the feminine psyche:

Moodiness

Sentimentality

Hysteria

Bitchiness

Disowning power – e.g. waiting to be rescued

Possessiveness

Vanity

Smothering

Fear of Intimacy

Step Three

Become aware of the light qualities of the masculine side of the psyche – animus:

Assertiveness

Courage

Analytical thought

Strength

Vitality

Decisiveness

Focus

Desire for achievement

Develop these qualities. However, be aware that at first, the animus can seem either bossy and opinionated, with an answer for everything, or too timid to raise his head.

Step Four

Become aware of shadow qualities of the masculine psyche – animus:

Aggression

Ruthlessness

Argumentativeness

Mechanistic behaviour

Withdrawal

Step Five

Finally, we need to integrate all of these elements by stepping back and observing our behaviour. If we find ourselves acting in shadow, breathe and add the light quality of the animus or anima.

E.g. We want to be rescued by a knight in shining armour (shadow anima) – we find something we are scared of and do it anyway (light animus), thus bringing out our courage.

We find ourselves being moody (shadow anima), we focus on an aspect of our business, make a decision and carry it forward (light animus).

Or if we find ourselves becoming argumentative (shadow animus), we do something creative (light anima).

Or we find ourselves being too ruthless (shadow animus), we concentrate of our caring qualities.

Conclusion

Irrespective of our gender, each of us must recognise and develop the light qualities of both and learn to recognise and use the shadow.

Each of us will need to focus on different aspects.

Some of us will tend toward courage and risk taking but need to be particularly aware of becoming pushy or argumentative.

Others of us may be more timid and passive and need to concentrate on developing the ability to take risks or make decisions.

In business, it is extraordinarily useful if we can see the light and shadow working in other people. When either we or someone else is in shadow, never trust a decision made at that time.

Marcus Aurelius said: “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realise this and you will find strength.”

For more information, contact Author and “magic lady” Laurelle Rond

 

 

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How is your marketing performing?

If you operate in a very sales driven organisation then it may be the case that you know exactly how marketing tactics are performing. But I often find that clients are less concerned with detailed reporting if they see an up-lift in business.

The aim of marketing generally is to see an uplift in business, but looking at the finer details can often give you a great insight into the performance of exact elements within your marketing and gauge how recipients responded.

Email marketing statistics to monitor:

Open rates – This can often be a key indicator of whether your topic as described in the subject line was tantalising enough. It is possible to get the strength of your subject lines assessed by third party websites such as http://coschedule.com/headline-analyzer.

The time of day that an email is sent may also be an influencing factor on open rates so may also be worth testing.

Click through rates – It is crucial to include a call to action within an email communication/newsletter, so a click through to your website is the desired goal.

Recipients – It is also worth reviewing ‘who’ is regularly opening your emails. It may be a catalyst for cleaning up your database and removing old contacts who are no longer interested in your products or services.

Social media statistics:

Likes/Shares and Comments – Last year Facebook was found guilty of reporting inaccurate statistics regarding paid advertising, (https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/11/18/advertisers-militant-digital-metrics/) it may be surprising that this has not damaged their business. But this has to be attributed to the fact that business users have an indication of engagement and can see first-hand the results of their posts and advertising.

Checking on Like, Shares and Comments is so easy, and you can get an indication of the topics that generate a response from your followers.  More and more business is being generated via social media, so it may be worth noting exactly where your leads are coming from.

It isn’t always measurable as some activities are geared towards reinforcing the brand/enhancing reputation, rather than generating direct leads. But it is always worth asking how/where a client heard about you. Irrespective of the nature of your campaigns, make sure you record the results e.g. 10 more phone enquiries, 2 new clients, value of sales generated. By knowing the performance statistics, it will enable you to replicate the successes, and direct future investment in those activities that will generate results.

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The secrets of SEO unveiled. How to boost your SEO and website the natural way!

First off, I would like to start off with some top tips and #SEO quick wins

  1. Is your #website Google verified? (ask your web person/host if you are not sure)
  2. Is your website #Mobileresponsive / #Mobilefriendly? (ask your web person/host if you are not sure)
  3. Does your website have a #sitemap.xml? (ask your web person/host if you are not sure)

Many clients I have spoken to have often dabbled with SEO or used suppliers and not had great results.  Many promise the earth and don’t deliver.  SEO, like many other aspects of marketing, isn’t  a magic wand or a miracle worker, but there are some guidelines to follow and some things to do to get the best results you can.

Get on Google

Google my business

  • As well as the above top tips, here is another. Is your business on Google maps (also known as Google my business or Google places).  You may have one set up that you don’t know about so search for it and “claim” a listing if it is yours.  If you already have one or are setting one up, then make sure it is 100% set up
  • ask for reviews (great for boosting your rankings) and
  • add photos to make it stand out and interesting.

(here is an example of Pinpoint Marketing’s, and please leave a review if you would like to! thanks!!)

Linkedin

Has Linkedin set up a company profile page on your behalf? This can happen so check if you have one and then claim it as yours and get promoting and networking online!

Google adwords

Confused by what keywords that you should use and what to potential clients type in when searching?  Google has a free search tool. Check out https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool

Website pages

When adding pages or building a website, don’t forget to include and update Meta titles and Meta descriptions.  Also bear in mind geographic searches. #toptip – have you submitted your website to the free online directories out there?

Google analytics

Don’t forget to make sure Google analytics is added to your website (grant access, add the code and ask your website host if you aren’t sure) so you can log in regularly and track visitors/users, bounce rates, pages views, pages that are of interest and so on.  Key parts of #Googleanalytics to look at are users, acquisition and behaviour.

Google analytics

Content!

Keep content up to date and include keywords too. Blogging is a great way to maximise and showcase your content.

Content is king!

 

 

 

Would you like help with your SEO, website or reviewing your Google Analytics then please ask me and I will happily point you in the right direction!

 

 

 

 

 

Note – This blog is a very quick overview and if you aren’t sure on certain aspects then always ask an expert.

Another Note – I put all of this into practice myself and always have done, but I got reminded of a lot a of this advice and learned more on a SEO course by http://www.onetothree.co.uk/

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Copyright and how it affects image usage

Copyright law is a cause for concern for many businesses, so we thought we would try and give you the highlights and draw your attention to the pitfalls. The law itself is very complex, so should you have a specific query, you should seek expert advice.

Copyright is a key protection for your work in whatever form it takes, allowing others to use it only with your express permission. This is an automatic protection, so no need to register or even the requirement to display © within your work.

In 2014, in light of the easy accessibility of resources and media online, the law changed to offer greater protection to the creator of such works.

What is covered under copyright as detailed on http://www.gov.uk/copyright/overview:

  • Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work, including illustrations and photography
  • Original non-literary written work, such as software, web content and databases
  • Sound and music recordings
  • Film and television recordings
  • Broadcasts
  • The layout of published editions of written, dramatic and musical works.

The law states that anyone other than the creator cannot copy, distribute copies (free or otherwise), rent, lend, perform, make an adaptation or put on the internet without prior permission. However, the UK law only protects you here and not abroad. There are international agreements in place which offer protection but advice should be sought.

Although copyright protection begins as soon as the work is created, there are limitations on how long it lasts depending on the type of work.

E.g. written media is 70 years after the authors’ death, and sound and music recordings 70 years from first release. Once copyright has expired, anybody is entitled to use or copy the work.

The area that gives most concern is the use of photography. DO NOT take/copy images from the internet and assume that because they are in the public domain that it is ok for you to use them in your own material. It isn’t!

Many photographers licence their images via a collecting society, so you can seek permission and pay a royalty to use their imagery fairly simply. But there is also the option of using ROYALTY FREE images online. Many online libraries have royalty free images but they don’t always make them easy to find. Try Pixabay (www.pixabay.com) as they provide a vast range of free images.

Our advice is to always be very mindful of where you source your images and do not ever assume that they are free to use.

 

Further information on copyright and the law is available from these sites:

https://www.gov.uk/copyright/overview

https://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/

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