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How To Have A Business Meeting That Doesn’t Waste Your Time

There are ongoing jokes at many companies about the uselessness of meetings and how meetings are created just to make people feel busy. Some businesses have meetings to discuss meetings which is madness.

I have always thought it absolutely critical that if you decide to have a business meeting that everyone involved approaches the meeting with objectives in mind, having a nice chat and a coffee is ok if that is your objective as a relationship builder or enhancer but often having clearly defined objectives makes the whole thing that much more satisfying and productive.

Here are some of my thoughts on making those meetings work well for you, your business and everyone involved

1. Have a Purpose

If you don’t have a  purpose for a meeting, you shouldn’t need to have one. You should be able to state in five to eight words exactly why you are planning a meeting. If you can’t, reconsider. Does it really warrant a meeting or is it more worthy of an email or quick phone call?

2. Write an Agenda

Based on your purpose statement, write a meeting agenda.This may sound rather formal but how many times have conversations veered off topic and then you have to dash off or you have walked away from the meeting and forgotten to ask or talk about something, I used to do this all the time and it just leads to frustration as you then have to pick up the phone again or send another email.

3. Set a Time Limit

Meetings do not have to be long to be productive. Some companies have a standard 15-minute meeting rule. It’s used to simply report on what each person has done or needs to do to meet a goal, or to update on a project. If you set a time or duration for that meeting it will help to keep the focus on the discussion, of course, this doesn’t have to be set in stone and should be slightly flexible so you don’t finish the meeting with unanswered discussion points. in any business time management is important and with meetings virtually or in person the time aspect can make a big difference to the energy level of that meeting.

4. Don’t try to cram too much in

For a meeting to be productive it’s really important you don’t overload the meeting with ‘too much information’. This comes down to two things firstly what you think can sensibly be dealt with during the allocated time and secondly the people involved, people process information differently so consider the fact that maybe you might overwhelm the other person with too much information or on the other hand you may feel like you haven’t really achieved anything if you keep the agenda too short.

5. Distraction Free

Multitasking at meetings is very counter-productive. Tell those who are invited to the meeting to let others in the office know you are in a meeting if its a phone meeting, if its a face to face meeting turn your phone to silent don’t be that person that sits there fiddling whilst you are talking about something important.Ultimately be present  AT the meeting completely and the result will be a lot is achieved.

6. Only invite those that NEED to be thereBusiness Mastermind

Only invite the people to the meeting that will have something to do. There is no point in having anyone at a meeting or part of a meeting if they aren’t going to contribute to the meeting. For instance, if you have client and their project manager, invite them, but there is no reason to invite the people they manage.

7. Start and End on Time

Set a start time and an end time, and stick to it. Start on time and don’t allow late people to show up late. If they’re late they simply miss the meeting. The reason is that late people, for whatever reason, will cause delays and interrupt the flow often you have to go back over things that have already been talked about. Using an online booking system like Acuity scheduling will send reminders for people that have booked a time slot with you. If its a face to face meeting it can still send an email reminder the day before

8. Don’t be a conversation hogger

Meetings are a two way conversation and in the heat of enthusiasm and excitement it can be very easy to talk talk and talk some more without using one of your most valuable business assets…your ears. Remember to listen as much if not more than you speak and let the conversation flow fluidly so everyone contributes to the success of the meeting

9. Assign Someone as the Record Keeper

Decide who should be the note taker, including writing down who is assigned what task. This person will within a specified time send everyone a copy of the meeting minutes, which will include a list of tasks and to whom they’re assigned. Of course if you have a virtual meeting via a meeting platform it’s quite possible as I tend to do when coaching our clients to record the whole conversation so only bullet points are often needed

10. Follow Up if necessary

After a meeting is over, it’s important to follow up with any action points or further information thta’s needed, but also to drop everyone who attended an email with the meeting minutes (as mentioned above) as well as an opportunity to edit the record. In this way you can ensure that everyone who attended is on the same page and it was all understood. It’s amazing at just how many people don’t follow up when it’s essential wether that be for a new client opportunity or and existing project that needs action being taken.

Meetings are necessary for a business and for most it’s unavoidable. However by using these few tips then you can ensure that every meeting you have is one that moves you and your business a step forward to success rather than a step backwards.

Remember to book in your meeting with me to discuss your business here  and I guarantee it will be productive

To your success

Kevin

Does Your Business Have a Mission Statement?

This all sounds very corporate and business like however a mission statement as a business tool has been around for a long time and is one of those things that is cool to have then not so cool But whether you make it public or not it’s a useful thing to have written out and I will explain why.

A well-crafted mission statement helps you focus on your business better. When you decide to create a mission statement, it requires that you sit down and truly consider what you want to accomplish with your business outside of making money. A mission statement needs to explain why your business exists. It guides your actions (and the actions of your entire organisation) by providing a path toward reaching the business’s goals. It’s the “Why” aspect of your business

Most mission statements are not like war and peace

I talk about focus alot in business and your mission statement helps you and your employee’s or contractors do just that. Answering just a few questions can make a huge difference in reminding you what the core of your business is about and showing your prospects and customers clearly the premise behind your business and you.

Why does your business exist?Small Business Mastermind

If you don’t know why you’re doing it, how can you do it well?

Who does your business exist for?

You have to know your audience to deliver and package the right products and services. This will really help you get your marketing right, your business language right and create the feel that is aligned with your target audience.

What product or services do you offer?

If you can’t describe what you provide, it’ll be hard to move forward. It’s easy if your product is tangible, such as Jaffa Cakes or dog leads a bit more tricky if you are a trainer or coach or even offer digital products.  This is also great for realising just where your sales may be coming from if your offers are confusing to you then it will never make sense to a prospect, time to tidy up and make it crystal clear what your offerings are.

What differentiates your products and or services from the competition? Why are yours better? what is your USP and yes it is still very relevant in today’s world of business. Is it you are you the difference? is it the way you deliver your training, is it a guarantee that nobody else offers? there can be lots of things we overlook that are very unique when looking inwarly from further afield.

Now what?

Once you have answered these questions, consider that your rough draft or outline in which you can now find better words to describe each answer, forming a cohesive mission statement.

Your mission statement comprises of just a few sentences, making up a concise paragraph that describes why your business exists, for whom, what products you deliver, and how they’re different from the competition. The words you use must be understandable to your audience. Get the opinion of your audience about whether it makes sense or not.

Your mission statement is for you and those who work for you to keep focus on what is important. It doesn’t have to really resonate with those outside of the business. But it does need to help guide you forward and inspire you to reach the ideas within the mission statement. It needs to describe what’s truly important about your business, outside of money.

The mission statement should focus on your core competency. What is it that you do for others? Let’s look at a  mission statement from a well know company

A Great Example

Ben & Jerry’s Mission Statement: Ben & Jerry’s, http://www.benjerry.com

“Social Mission: To operate the Company in a way that actively recognises the central role that business plays in society by initiating innovative ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally.

Product Mission: To make, distribute and sell the finest quality all natural ice cream and euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment.

Economic Mission: To operate the Company on a sustainable financial basis of profitable growth, increasing value for our stakeholders and expanding opportunities for development and career growth for our employees.”

you will notice nowhere does it mention making money as their mission.  You can be as elaborate as you want with your mission statement, and you can have more than one mission statement, like Ben & Jerry’s. But the point is to give you and your employees a reason for being, an answer as to what you do, who you do it for, and why you do it.

Feel free to share with me what your mission statement is in the comments.

To your Success

Kevin

What Is A Business Mastermind?

Mastermind is a funny word isn’t it? It sounds like a super villain that is set to conquer the world and rule with an iron fist. Well in this post let’s dispell the thought of it being used for evil and establish what a Business Mastermind is all about.

A Business mastermind is a group where business people get together on a regular basis to discuss mainly business related subjects. Now this isn’t like a newsroom ‘oh let’s talk about the latest figures on the stock exchange’ but more of a  ‘I’m struggling with ….. in my business’ or ‘I need help with….’

Community

It’s a place where individuals and small business owners can find support that they would struggle to find elsewhere, it’s often a big problem being the ‘boss’ or being out there alone, knowing that your group of  business owners is there to support you and advise when needed is priceless on its own to most businesses. We all feel great when our business is launched but it does become very isolating at times, your friends and family don’t understand no matter how much they want to. To be around other people that the challenges a  business owner faces day in day out often only happens with other business owners.

Trust

How can we ever open up to people we don’t trust? well, this is almost impossible, a good mastermind group is a place without judgement so fears can be faced, issues dealt with and discussed without worrying about any form or recourse. There is always an oath of confidentiality in a business mastermind so problems can be aired in a honest and open fashion, when this doesn’t happen the route cause of those problems never really gets looked at and the problem either grows or just continues which leads to anxiety and stress. Of course, trust isn’t just built because you have joined a group it has to however be built quickly with the help of the mastermind facilitator and the focus groups or support partners within the group.

Movement

Momentum can be gained quickly within a business mastermind group right from the start as when you invest in and commit to a group then you will feel instant accountability to yourself to start with as you have invested and you don’t want to waste that money. A big purpose in my view of a mastermind is to move a  business and its owner forward, that may mean building sales, creating new programs, closing things that aren’t working and changing direction but one thing should always be an absolute and that is that the place you and your business is  when you enter a mastermind group is not the same 3 months in 6 months in or a year in.

Work Ethicsmall business mastermind group

A small business mastermind group that doesn’t encourage a good work ethic is set to fail its members from the off. Often business owners will struggle with time management and achieving tasks which may be down to self-sabotage or other reasons but one thing that should run through the veins of every business owner is the work ethic. Passion driven business owners can learn techniques to be more productive, to overcome blocks in business and through a mastermind group this can be learnt in a safe and encouraging  environment

Leadership

A good mastermind group will have a strong experienced facilitator running the group, why? because it’s about managing a conversation and helping its members help themselves and each other. I like to think of the facilitator’s role like the captain of a boat that has to make small course corrections as the conversations take a life of their own and keeping it on point so the final destination is reached with it’s ‘crew’ being stronger, wiser and having succeeded in their goals by reaching their destination on that particular voyage safely.

Creating an environment of respect and support is another trait of a strong mastermind facilitator, lead by example and understanding that the members of a mastermind group are intelligent business owners looking for help to move their business forward is a key factor to being a good mastermind group.

Conclusion

I have covered a few of the things I believe make a mastermind group for business owners and you can read more on this here  though of course, this isn’t an exhaustive breakdown as there are specific group that focus on sales only or marketing only so when you are considering joining a small business mastermind group its worthwhile having a conversation with the person running it to find out will it be a good fit for you and your business, how can it work for the group and why would you want to join this particular group.

If you fin yourself feeling like you are interested in becoming a mastermind member then drop me an email via this contact form  and lets have a conversation to find out more about what you could be doing to make this your best year ever in business.

To your success

Kevin

 

 

 

How To Keep Your Business Growing

If you want the easy path to success DO NOT start your own business.

Being a succesfull business owner is a twisty turny one for sure with lots of lows and hopefully lots of highs. One thing is guaranteed though is you will face hurdles along the way and that is normal everyone does (even those people with laptops on the beech sipping champagne) The great news is though every problem will hve one or multiple solutions to being solved .

Owning a business is alot of work and yet its one of the most gratifying things you can ever do. Let’s take a quick look at some of the things you may encounter and how you can prevent or deal with them.

1. No Plan = No Focus

A plan is absolutely critical to any success be it you are a startup business or an established business. A business plan is not just a process to get a loan from the bank (which you probably won’t get anyway) but it’s your vision, your route to success as you see it right here and now.

Sitting down regularly and going through your plan, making slight course adjustments as you go keeps you focussed and helps you monitor your progress. If plans are something you think are scary then you need to take a look over here as apart from a business plan you can have other more laser focussed plans for specific projects or tasks.

They key point here is as the saying goes ‘fail to plan and you plan to fail’ and this is sooo true

2. Marketing

You can build a business all you want but if no one knows about it, you’re not going to get very far. Developing a marketing strategy or plan is a must. You need to cover all angles when it comes to marketing. That includes both online marketing and offline marketing.

Whether you love it or hate it, social media is a must in today’s business world, so learn how to run your social media accounts from the beginning. However, you shouldn’t get so wrapped up in social media that you disregard conventional marketing means such as networking and face to face.

Remember a business website is where alot of the magic can happen for you as a business and nowadays building a site isn’t as daunting as it once was. You can gain massive trust from your own site much more effectively and build that all important following of potential clients.

3. Keeping Your Finances in Order

This is without a doubt one of the most common problems small businesses face. You need to keep an eye on your finances or else you could go broke very quickly. As your business gets busier if you don’t keep on top of the paperwork and the financials it becomes a monster that gets out of control very quickly leading to anxiety and all sorts.

Also by keeping your eye on your finances, you have a good idea of how well the business is doing, how do you know if this month is up on last month if you don’t know what you took last month. Keeping a watch on those outstanding invoices and those bills flowing in will stop you having a cashflow crisis

There are many small business accounting packages out there now so keeping your book digitally should be a breeze, remember if you are not trained in accounts an accountant will save you a bundle, if they are not then change them but working with a good accountant turns them from being a ‘cost’ to the business to being an ‘asset’

4. Getting Customers and Keeping Themsmall business mastermind group

Everyone knows that the most important part of building a business is finding loyal customers to keep you afloat. While a lot of building your customer base relies on a good marketing strategy, keeping them will depend on how good your customer service is.

Always make yourself approachable and do your best to create a personal relationship with your customers. Developing a personal relationship builds trust, trust builds loyalty, and loyalty is what your business will be built on.

5. Putting Together the Right Team

You can’t build a business alone, to launch and build a business you will certainly need help in some form or another.

Outsourcing to contractors is a great way of building your business without the worry of hiring staff which in its early stages may frighten you or may just be a responsibility you are not ready to take on. Al ot of the time outsourcing makes sense and to protect you there are companies out there which can put your mind at rest when it comes to contracting in staff. Annabel Kaye from Koffee Klatch specialises in contracts and agreements for contractors so if you are thinking of this its worth a look at her site

Finding partners as in referral partners is another great way of building your team without having to employ. Of course, it takes time to build up a great bunch of referral partners but when you do it feels like you have a whole marketing team on out there supporting you and your business.

Make sure to partner with people you can get along with who are equally as motivated as yourself. People may not come to you so don’t be afraid to go searching for them. A good team will build your business – you just have to build the team first.

Being in business may be scary but there’s no reason to panic. You can overcome any obstacle and build your business into a reputable company if you follow these guidelines, remember also that being part of a business mastermind group allows you as a business owner to really grow and never feel that lonley burden that can sometimes come from owning a business (even if it’s just you) that we all face.

If you want to know more about The Business Success Dojo Mastermind then take a quick look here 

To your Success

Kevin

How To Build Your Confidence In Business

It’s impossible to run a small business or be a soloprenuer without at some point losing confidence or self-belief.  Starting out can be very nerve racking until you have had some wins in your business to build your confidence so you can move forward in a much more positive manner. But how can you gain confidence? how do you build confidence in yourself and your business?

Constantly Learn

One really effective way to build your own confidence is to learn.

Put some time aside each week to learn more to help you as a business owner. This may be more on your own subject for example if you are a web designer there are always new things coming out about different platforms, methods of lead generating etc. Also learn about other aspects of your business even if you don’t want to implement that training. For example learning basic accounting so when you employ an accountant or bookkeeper you will be in an informed position to contract them into your business giving you the confidence to make an informed decision when taking them on.

There are so many ways to educate yourself in business. You can hire a business coach to help you one-on-one. You can also download eBooks, join a business mastermind group, sign in groups on social media where you can  ask questions and find information. Subscribe to blogs like Sarke Media

Get Focused

Getting educated is key to getting focused. You really can’t boldly march forward if you don’t know what direction you’re going in. Take some time to focus on your business. What, exactly, are you doing? What do you want to do? Who is your target market or demographic?

If you have diverse interests, this can be difficult – but it’s even more necessary because diverse interests can be distracting if you don’t focus on one at a time. So once you get yourself educated about your market and what you want to do, you can launch a focused business (or focus an existing one).

Don’t Compare Yourself to Otherssmall business mastermind group

We all know that businessman or woman – the one who has written ten books, has a dozen jobs, and has a perfect house. You may not be that kind of person, and such a schedule and goals are just not realistic for you. It’s really not advantageous to compare yourself to others. Set your own realistic standards and compare your progress against those.

Believe in Your Success

A lot of people swear by the power of positive thinking. It is said that visualising your goals can attract the very things you need to reach your goals. Even if you don’t get into the visualisation bit, you can benefit from believing in your business and your own competence.Look at past success and realise that yes you did well, yes you helped that client to succeed yes you delivered an awesome bit of work that a happy client has paid for. Look at your previous testimonials for inspiration and allow others to recognise for you how good you are, this will all help you in becoming more confident as its easy to focus on our struggles and overlook our success.

Celebrate and Congratulate

When you get a win even if its a small one recognise that win, congratulate yourself and celebrate that win so it implants itself into your being. I know that sounds a bit mad but when you feel great about a small win and you celebrate with that fancy coffee or walk in the park with the dog just think what will be your celebration treat when you get a bigger win?

Once you get confident, you will be much more likely to attract clients, which in turn will boost your confidence. It’s a good cycle to get into.

Remember if you want help with your business confidence then take a look here 

Kevin

7 Forms & Scheduling Types of Software for your Website

You’ve got your website and you now need to be contacted by your visitors who may have questions or they wish to book your services. The question is which form will work best for your website?

Obviously to free yourself up to do more of what you love it’s important to set up processes and automation wherever you can. One of the ways you can do this is by using forms that automate a submission process. For example, if you are a coach and need clients to schedule coaching calls with you, using a tool that can automate this process is a must, or you’ll find your diary gets in a mess real quick!

Another example would be when you’re going to accept guest post submissions. Instead of having to email back and forth with someone to get all the needed information (post, author bio, author image, etc.) it makes more sense (and saves time) to set up and automate this process so you only have to approve the post or send it back for editing.

In this post we’ll explore some of the options that are available for your website, and we’ll focus on two types of uses – 1 for appointment bookings and one for gaining content contributions.

Appointment Bookings

Acuity 

$10 a month or limited free.

Acuity Scheduler is what we use to schedule our coaching calls. For $10 a month you can embed the form on your own website, reminders will be sent to your clients and you can block out segments of your diary. Accepts payments and deposits and syncs with Google. EU compliant and you can have more than one calendar which means your whole team can use it.

Time Trade 

$49/year individual option; free 15-day trial

Free version – allows you to book up to 5 meetings a month
Time Trade easily integrates with Google, iCal, or Outlook calendars. You set up the rules as to how far in advance someone can book an appointment with you as well as whether or not you allow someone to choose a same day appointment. You can set up an automated email that goes out once an appointment has been booked. It will also send you notifications of appointments booked like Acuity does.

You Can Book Me

$10/month ($10 per calendar, per month; 2 calendars would be $20/month, etc.)

They’ve been around since 2008 (known by a different name back then) and have tons of satisfied customers. They offer a whole slew of different features, some beneficial to an online business owner and some better suited for offline business owners. Just a few of these features include some of the more standard booking software options – the ability to send a customized automated email once a booking has been created, adding a logo/image to keep your brand showing up across all platforms.

The paid version enables Zapier integration which means your can integrate You Can Book me with a heap of other programs.

Timely
$19/month for 1 ‘staff’ (person); 30 day free trial
Timely works from the cloud – meaning you can access it anywhere and there isn’t any software to be downloaded to your computer. While some online business owners use this option, it offers a lot of bells and whistles if you’re looking for just an appointment booking software.
Timely integrates with many popular payment gateways like Authorize.net, PayPal, and Stripe. This allows you to accept point of sale payments easily (great if you’re working with a client in person, hosting a live event, etc.). You can also run reports to track the financial aspect of things too.

Most of the appointment booking software available is pretty similar – you set the days and times you’re available, give the link to a client (or add to your website/email, etc.), they set a time up, and you’re notified about the meeting. So it’s just a matter of deciding which one fits your needs best.

Receiving Content Contributions

Many website owners choose to allow guest post submissions from their audience and connections. This can be a great way to take the pressure of yourself from always having to create content. Just remember, be picky about the content you accept. It is your reputation on the line! If you’re going to accept submissions, save your time and sanity by setting up a form to collect all the information you’ll need. Here are a few options to choose from:

Formidable Forms

$34 for one website (they do also have a free version)
This plug-in makes creating forms quick and easy!  Everything is done via an easy to use drag and drop editor. You’ll have 7 different field types to use when creating a form: text, email, url, paragraph text, radio, checkbox, and dropdown. If you don’t want to create your own contact form, simply use the template Formidable Forms provide.

Gravity Forms

$39/year for one website
The Gravity Forms plug-in is a popular option for many WordPress website owners. (At the time of this writing, over 1 million sites are using it). It’s easy to use – select your forms, edit the options, and embed on your website. If you need more bells and whistles than just a basic contact form, there are several integration/add-on options available that will enable taking payments, delivering quizzes and many other things that you didn’t think possible with a form!

Contact Form 7

Free
Obviously one of the pros to this one is that it’s a free option. Many people use this plug-in and are very happy with it. It’s simple and easy to use and you can create several different forms with it.

There’s you have it, 7 different forms for your website.  As with anything, there are pros and cons to the options shared. Do your due diligence, find one that works for you and go with it. You’ll be glad you took the time to set up these simple automated processes so it’s hands off in the future!

Kevin

Website Development: Understanding Your Competition

competitive analysisYou’re getting your website developed, or you’re thinking of revamping your existing website. This means you need to understand who your audience is, and who else is competing for their attention.

This is known as understanding your competition.

Whilst you may not sell products and services that directly conflict with other websites, there is only so much time and attention to go around. Your competition is also vying for the attention of the same audience and they’re also looking at ways to captivate them.

For example, you sell healthy, organic dog food. Your competition are people also targeting the owners of dogs that like healthy and organic food. It can be the manufacturers of dog toys, it can be the person who makes diamond studded bowls. Both of these organisations compete for the attention of your audience. Neither of them sell dog food.

When you understand your competition, you can position your website to stand out, and be clear about what you stand for.

When you understand your competition you can create an effective SEO and keyword development strategy. You can maximise your competition and leverage their audience and vice versa.  And finally, you can position your products and services to sell as they should, and not how you imagine they will (which is flying off the shelves, right? 😉 ),

When you created your business plan, you did a competitive analysis.

If you didn’t, then now’s the time.  Your competitive analysis just needs to be updated to include your website and online marketing, if you haven’t included this already. Once you have a competitive analysis, the work’s not done. The world changes and so too does your competition. It’s important to stay abreast of change and how it impacts upon your business. While it’s not a good idea to stress about your competition, it is important to review them semi-annually or quarterly. This means this aspect of your business plan is a living document.

How well do you know your competition?

Think on this a moment before you carry on reading. How well do you know your competition?

Here are five questions to answer about your competition. Note down your answers, take action, and achieve better profits and a website that supports your business goals.

Question #1  Do you know who your competition is?

Do you have a competitive analysis? It’s difficult to differentiate your business if you don’t know who your competition is. Your USP, Unique Selling Proposition, is often created with your competition in mind. You need to know what you do better or differently so you can offer value and benefit to your audience.

Question #2 – How often do you presently analyse and evaluate your competition?

Again, it’s not wise to fixate on your competition. However, it is wise to create an analysis strategy. Semi-annually, annually or quarterly are common periods to review your competition and update your analysis.

Question #3 – What are your competitions’ primary keywords?

What are their Alexa stats? SimilarWeb stats? What does Moz say? SemRush? How do you compare? It’s important to know not only where your competition stands, but also where you stand in comparison. Create a chart or system to track this information.

Question #4 – Do you follow your competition on social networking sites?

Do you receive alerts when they publish new content? Do you subscribe to their blog or newsletter? Simple strategies can help you stay abreast of your competition. You can collect the information and review it when appropriate. Or you can review it as you learn about it. Often, your competition’s actions and content can be helpful to you. Their actions might inspire a new content idea, product or service or collaboration.

Question #5 – Does your competitive analysis and strategy include:

  • Keyword analysis
  • Linking analysis
  • Products/services analysis
  • Content analysis
  • Advertising analysis
  • SEO page ranking

Rest assured your competition is watching you.

You are already on their radar. You may as well return the favour. Take advantage of automated technology to track their activities. Create a plan to assess your competition and reassess your strategies and tactics.

There’s a lot to learn from the people that challenge you for the attention of your audience, and not every challenger is a threat. Your competition may be the motivating force you need to take your business and website to the next level.

Kevin

Brainstorming Brilliant Domain Names

A lot of people think that the design and logo creation is the first step when starting their own website or blog. That may  have been true in the past, but when you get serious about marketing your business online, you start to put more thought into what domain name you actually need, and the names themselves, rather than just the look of your site.

Although the actual purchasing of your domain name may be completed very quickly, the brainstorming process will take several days, involve some research

When trying to come up with as many good possible domain names as you can think of, you’re going to do a lot of talking! You’ll talk to others in the industry, talk to your peers, talk to your family members, and talk to your friends and whilst you might not mention you’re looking for a domain name, you will be indicating you need a name and their feedback would be welcome.

Whenever you have an idea for your brilliant domain name, jot it down. Here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Only register domain names that you can get .coms for unless your business is a strictly local business in which case a co.uk, .eu or .us is acceptable.
  • The fewer words the better.
  • Don’t use hyphens or underlines.
  • Don’t use numbers. You don’t want to have to say “that’s 36, in numbers” every time you say your website to someone.
  • Don’t use a word that’s awkward to spell… unless you are prepared to buy every possible variation on that name.
  • Pick a name you can grow into. A name that’ll work just as well 5 years from now as today.
  • Don’t choose a name that can be misinterpreted.

Don’t pick “ToniasTeddies.com” if you might expand into other lines of toys, for example. “ToniasToys.com” might work better.

  • Don’t use your own name as the domain name. If you are setting up your website with business in mind, at some point you will exit the business. When the domain is your name it becomes harder to sell and a business liability rather than an asset. Also, if the business is failing, you’ll be so emotionally attached to it because it has your name, that you’ll struggle for longer, rather than re-group and start afresh.
  • Avoid trademarks – names of other businesses like Twitter and Facebook are trademarked, so you may have to take your site down and cancel your domain if you use a trademark.
  •  If your name is taken then try adding blog to it ie xyzblog.com
  •  Come up with a lot of possible names, and then pick the best one.

You’re probably going to have to come up with two or three-word domain names. Some people recommend having a keyword in your domain name, but there is no longer any advantage for having your domain as your exact keyword, and hasn’t been since 2012.

Single word domains are almost always going to be taken. You may occasionally be able to pick up a single word domain name from Sedo’s Great Domains auction or from various domain name forums, but you won’t be able to register a name from scratch unless you invent a word.

Write all the potential domain names down

And then say them aloud. Cross out

  • Any brilliant domain name that your tongue trips over
  • Any  domain name you have to spell out loud
  • Any domain name that your other half asks you to explain

This gives you a good idea of how memorable your domain name is, and how it sounds when you say it out loud, which you will do more than you think!

You’ll need to brainstorm plenty of domain names and variations, in case the one that you want isn’t available. I recommend writing a list with 10 or 20 on them.

Got your shortlist? It’s now time to buy your domain name!

Buying your Domain Name

Buy your domain name with your hosting, for ease, or separately if you don’t like all your eggs in one basket. I buy mine at 123-reg because you can activate the auto renew option and not lose your domain name or have your site go down because you’ve missed a notification.

When buying a domain name, you might not think you need a lot of support, but the moment you run into a spot of trouble, you’ll discover how good the support really is. Again, 123-reg have never let me down and answered anything I need to know quickly and courteously.

At the time of purchasing your domain name, you’ll be invited to buy a hundred other variants of your domain name, whether you need email services, SEO etc. I suggest you just buy your chosen domain names for now. You can always add on the things you fancy later.

Got my domains, now what?

When you’ve got your domains, and rubbed your hands in delight, the next step is to point the domain names at your host’s name servers.

Now, this isn’t very complicated, and if you buy your domain names with your hosting, you don’t have to complete this step at all.

When you purchase your hosting you’ll get a welcome email and this usually contains a welcome pack, explaining where to find the various bits and pieces that you’ll need and one section will tell you the web address to point your nameservers too. They tend to look like this:

NS1.YourHostHere.com

NS2.YourHostHere.com

You then go along to your domain name’s control panel and look for the section marked nameservers.

On 123-reg I select the domain name and then select manage to access nameservers

domain name management

I then scroll down to the “advanced” settings to find the change nameservers link:

change nameservers for your domain name image

Click update and you’re done!

And there you have it, not only do you have a brilliant domain name, you know how to buy it and where to change your nameservers. All you have to do now is set up your blog 🙂

Sarah

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