Whatever the reason, from self-isolation to quarantine, you have the need to bring your offline classes online. This post will help you set up a low-cost tool called Zoom so you can deliver your classes easily online. Plus you have the option to record them and turn them into an online course at a later date.
As you plan your online classes, you’ll need a variety of tools to help you support your students virtually.
One of the most popular virtual meeting services, among small business owners, is the free service offered by Zoom. If you aren’t familiar with Zoom, we will be walking you through the basic steps to help you create your own virtual training room. This will help structure the process in a logical order of steps that people will take to sign up for your online training. Let’s get started with opening your new Zoom account and looking under the hood.
Setting up Zoom is easy and intuitive if you have set up another video conferencing or webinar training service in the past. It may even look familiar to you if you have attended a Zoom webinar or other webinars, in general. The point is that getting things set up and using the tool isn’t rocket-science. You can do this yourself or have an assistant do it for you, if you feel uncomfortable with tech tasks.
Go to https://zoom.us.
On the next page, enter your first name, last name, and password twice. The password should be at least 8 characters long and be a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Once you have completed this step, you will be logged in automatically.
You will then see your personal URL for the service. That link is the gateway to the classes you host.
With the free service, you can host up to 100 people for a limited number of times per month, for 40 minutes at a time. This is applicable to meetings with 3 attendees or more. You are allowed unlimited personal meetings with 1 or 2 people.
Once you are feeling confident that Zoom is the right choice for you, go onto one of the three paid tiers of service. The next tier up will give you up 200 seats. You can also pay for more seats if you need to. https://zoom.us/pricing
The other tiers of services are for larger companies who will have more than one host (minimum of 10, and 100 for the 2 tiers), with pricing equaling the monthly fee for those tiers (currently around $20), times the number of hosts. On the webinars tab, it states you can have up to 10,000 attendees.
But if you are just starting out, begin with the free option and you can always upgrade to the small business tier paid option if you need to.
Note that it does not offer webinar recording with storage in the Cloud unless you have a paid level of service. Otherwise, it will store your recordings onto your computer for you to access as needed. Some media files can get very large, so be sure you have plenty of space on your hard drive, or remember to move them to Dropbox or OneDrive straight after.
Depending on size and length of the video, you might be able to upload it as an Unlisted file to YouTube and then embed the video in a page at your site for interested parties to view the recording if they missed the live broadcast. The important thing is to be able to make the training accessible so anyone who missed it can see it, and to be able to edit it if you wish.
On the left-hand navigation menu, choose My Meetings:
Meetings will be listed according to start time, topic, and webinar ID.
Click Schedule a New Meeting:
On the next page, you will see at the top:
Enter your title and description.
Next, toggle or click to set the specifics of your webinar.
Note date, duration, and time zone. Be careful around the time the clocks change if you live in a location that uses Daylight Savings Time.
Aim for at least a few ahead of time, in order to give you the chance to promote your class, especially if you have a large number of seats to fill.
As the pink box states, you have a limit of 40 minutes, but the toggle is only in 15 minute increments, so you will really only get 30 minutes, not 45, with the free plan. It is possible to create a good class in 30 minutes, but timing will be tight and it will leave most viewers wanting more (which can be a good thing in some cases and frustrating for them in others).
If you check the box for recurring meeting, you will see:
In most cases, you will not be having a recurring meeting. However, if you were using the system for coaching, for example, this might be a useful feature, with a weekly or monthly coaching call being booked in. Again, the paid service will give you the chance to host more classes that are longer in duration. But for the moment, we are just setting up your first one.
Your next choice is what your participants will see when they sign into the Zoom room:
This should be turned on for host, with a welcome slide showing on the screen. There isn’t any need to show their computer screen to them unless you really want to surprise them with your first slide. A welcome slide, however, tells them they are in the right place.
Note: Try to get into the room early and start promptly. The clock is ticking in terms of Zoom’s parameters, and people are busy (as are you).
Next, choose how they can access your audio:
For most webinar hosts and users, “Both” is the best option.
Note that if they are not dialing in from the US, you need to click edit and can add other countries as needed. For this reason, you may want to have someone manning the help desk to assist with last minute registrations:
Zoom will provide the right dial-in numbers with the international dialling codes in their invitation. Or your participants can just listen through their computer.
Next, choose your meeting options:
If you click “Require meeting password,” a box will open up:
Insert the password you wish to use. Write it down so you don’t forget.
Enable join before host – This lets them enter the room before you. If you will make it a point to be early, or don’t want them to see the first slide you will be showing, leave this box unchecked.
Mute participants upon entry – This is a good option because a lot of people have all sorts of things going on in the background and it can be very frustrating for people on the call to listen to chatter, dogs barking and so on when they are trying to hear the class.
Use Personal Meeting ID – This will be included as part of the invitation they will be sent and adds an extra layer of security if you want to make sure the people logging in have registered. This is important if you have a limited number of seats and don’t want people who actually registered to get turned away, which can be very frustrating and disappointing.
Enable waiting room – A waiting room will allow you to control when your audience enters the webinar and sees your first slide. You can hold them in the room until you are ready.
Record meeting automatically – Recording the class on the local computer is always a good idea so you can offer those who missed out a replay, and use the recording for various other marketing and sales purposes.
When you are finished, click Save.
On the next page, you will see a page that recaps what you saved, and offers additional useful information.
You will see name, description, and time, with these choices:
Add to your calendar of choice as needed.
Next, you will see:
With your own customized data.
All the way to the right of the “Join URL” field, you will see:
Click on the link and you will see:
Note the phone number sections will also be customized with your ID, which they will have to enter in order to get into the room.
Copy the invitation and paste it as needed, such as into your email marketing platform broadcast email to invite people on your marketing list to attend. Edit it as needed, such as adding your description of the online class, and then click send. (More on this in a moment.)
The rest of the page will show the options you chose on the previous page. If you want to make any changes, click:
Now your meeting is all set up.
Your only other important step in the interface is when the time comes, you will click the button next to your meeting data to start the meeting and begin presenting to your audience:
There is also a link if you wish to delete the meeting:
Once your meeting looks exactly the way you wish, you will be able to start inviting people. Unfortunately, there is no built-in feature for doing this through Zoom, so you will need to create a registration funnel through your email marketing platform and then drive traffic to it. Let’s look next at how to build an effective registration funnel.
Several popular email-marketing platforms are available to small business owners. This helps to connect with your target audience. They include Active Campaign, Aweber, Constant Contact, and others.
We use and recommend Active Campaign so that you can use the system as a CRM as well.
To make things easy in the long-run, you’ll need to create a new mailing/registration list for people that want to register for your online class. The principles will work the same for most other platforms. If you already have an email marketing platform that isn’t Active Campaign, read through it to make sure you have all the items you need to create in order to have an effective funnel.
STEP 1: Create Your New List
Log in to Active Campaign or your other email marketing account. In Active Campaign, look at the left of the screen for the list tab:
Click and you will see all your lists. On the right, click Add a List
In Step 2, you will name your list. This will be visible to anyone who subscribes, so be strategic about what you name it.
Subscribers will also see your description in various locations, including when they unsubscribe, so write one that is an accurate description of what they will learn and the benefits of being on the list.
When finished, click Add
On the left hand menu you will see the forms tab. Click on the tab and you will be taken to the forms section .
At the top on the right you nee to click on
you will then have a popup appear like this
This is where you will give your form a name. Decide on the type of form (most people use the inline form).
The action taken is next, you can add a tag, subscribe them to an email list (in this instance that’s the one you will choose)
Option lets you choose the list you want the person filling the form out to go into, when you click the dropdown it will list all of your email lists and you can choose the appropriate one.
If you want to add more than one action then click on
So you may want to add them to a list and add a tag.
When you have completed this part click on
You will now be taken to the form editor. This is where you can check your form settings and customise the look of your form.
The first tab you see is the fields tab. All of the elements on the right are drag and drop. for example, if you required the telephone number to be added you would click and hold over the ‘phone’ element and drop it in the form where you want it to be
The style options allow you to change colours fonts and other elements such as the size of the text.
The last one is the options, this is where you can set the message they receive once they have submitted the form. You can also check the action here, in this example the will be added to the list 111test
Once you have created you form you will need to make it avaliable for people to sign up to. To do this the next step is to click on this button on the top right of the page
This will take you to the next stage which gives you 4 options The first option is to embed your form using code on your website, this can be a bit more difficult and may need your web developer to do this for you. Although it takes no coding ability to use this it can be tricky to know where on your site to insert the code.
If you do choose this option then you would highlight and copy and paste everything within the box.
The next option to share your form is via a link. This is great for personal invites or if you are sending out emails Although this is under the integrations section its more of a sharing option. Simply copy the link and send out
Your 3rd option is to use the active campaign free plugin for WordPress. This is a simple way of connecting your forms and for the plugin to add the code where you want it. If you have some understanding of plugins on your WordPress site then this is a good option over using the embed code. If you are unsure please do check with a developer though that it won’t cause any conflicts on your WordPress website.
Your 4th option is to add your form to a facebook page. Great if you have a big facebook audience.
you don’t have to choose just one of these ways to share your sign up form, you could use a combination and at any point you can go back into your form and grab the integration to use wherever you need to.
Next we move onto creating your welcome sequence
Go to the automations tab on the left hand side and click, you will be taken to the automation section where you want to click in the top right hand corner button
A box will pop up and ask you which type of automation you want to create, for the purposes of this being new to you will the ‘start from scratch’ option is the best option. click on that option then click
To automate your email welcome you need to tell Active campaign , what needs to happen to start this automation process in motion. This is know as a start trigger. You will click on ‘subscribes to a list’ then click continue
This is where you can choose the list you want to connect the automation to. select your list and click ‘Add start’
you will now be prompted with the following options. Here you will choose ‘send an email
As this will be your first email in the automation this is what you will see.
Thats normal, just click on the ‘create an email’ link that is highlighted in blue to get you started. The first thing you will do is give the email a name. This name WILL NOT be shown publicly its for you to see in your automation flow only. If you are going to send out more than one email in the sequence you may want to number them or describe the contents of the email Once you have decided click on the ‘Create button’
your next step is to choose a teplate, to get you started a basice welcome email template may be easier however they can be customised after you choose so don’t panic if you think its not exactly how you would like it to look. In my example i will choose the welcome email template
The sender details are next. These can be changed at a later time , if you know these now it’s best to add them so you don’t forget to change them before you set the process live.
The email editor will now open up for you. This is where you can add in your email text, images and links. you can personalise the message that you want to send for each individual receiver.
On the right hand side you will see lots of options to add elements to your email , change colours , fonts and font sizes. Use your time to make this look and feel how you need it to. don’t be overly complicated with your design, simple is best and gets read
Once you are happy click ‘next at the top and it will open up the campaign summary.
The campaign summary runs through with you, the sending details are correct, you have tracking on if you wish. It passes the spam checks according to Active campaign and also allows you to either preview the email or send yourself a tst version via email. this is really useful to ensure it looks good when sent.
When you are happy click
The welcome email is very important, but it is the bare minimum to send out. Sending a few general follow up emails about the topic of the class can keep them interested and looking forward to the event. Let them know if they need to prepare anything or take the opportunity to give them more information.
To add another email you click the ‘Plus’
Then you will be taken back to the beginning of ‘add a new action.
Remember in between each email you can add in sending delays in hours or days otherwise they will all be sent at once. (More about that over here )
The page with the form that you have just created is commonly referred to as a squeeze page or a landing page with it’s only purpose is to encourage a visitor to subscribe. Try to make it as easy as possible for subscribers to join and give them a strong reason as to why they would want to.
Here are a few examples of very succesful opt in pages
Name your confirmation page the same as the URL you gave when creating the settings for your form, such as: www.thebusinesssuccessdojo.com/email-confirmation-page
Copy and paste the data about the online class. You can also add a countdown clock set to the time the class is going to take place,
On the left, enter the exact details of when the class is to take place.
Carefully and thoroughly, test your online class setup step by step to make sure it is functioning properly. Subscribe to it yourself, using an email address that you look at often so you will be able to see if each message you send out is going out correctly.
Check the confirmation email and the welcome email. In addition, check the confirmation page and edit as needed.
If you’d like to change something, go back into your list to edit it, save the changes, and test again. When you’re sure that it’s correct, you’ll want to start driving traffic to the sign-up page, which is the beginning point of your online class success
Congratulations! You have now learned how to create the system for your online class using a variety of tools and by following the best practice tips. Now all that remains is to take the steps to get your funnel set up fully and deliver your first profitable online class.
Whenever I talk to new prospects there are normally 2 things that come up time and time again.
The first thing they like to tell us is that ‘Content doesn’t work for my business’, come on, we were told for years that content for transport businesses was a waste of time, all whilst we were sucking in leads from businesses every week :-). You just need the right people and the right intention behind your content strategy.
The second thing is they don’t have time to plan let alone review their content strategy, the truth is they don’t value it as a priority and are happily creating random content that just doesn’t work. The truth is, you need to plan and review every time you publish something new because timing is everything and audiences change. The biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make are:
a) They don’t have a content plan
b) They don’t track and test their results
Sometimes it’s because they don’t know how to plan and track…
All marketing on the internet is content marketing. Blogging is content, Video/ Vlogging is content, linkedin updates are content and Facebooking is content. No matter what you are trying to sell, you need visibility. You can only get visibility if you have a web page with content of some type on it. It could be a post, top tips, embedded video, graphic, Slideshare presentation and so on. Your content is based on what you know your target audience struggles with and needs more information about.
In addition, it should be keyword rich. Every single site on the web has a search option. It might not be very good, but they have them. If it is written content on the page, important keywords and phrases, the people in your niche would be likely to search for should be in the title, description, on the page itself, and in the tags. If it is a graphical item, name the file using keywords. Then use keywords in the title, description and so on. This process is known as search engine optimisation (SEO).
Basic SEO isn’t that hard to get to grips with, it’s a process rather than a hidden secret nobody knows about, yes effort is required but 15 minutes optimising a page will get you far better results than not bothering and bagging out content that just isn’t being found.
Content series are also massively important which is why planning out what you are doing in advance adds a structur to your content that the search engines love and more importantly your readers engage with.
Once you have published any piece of content, it is important to look at:
Your traffic can come from SEO, PPC and also social media. But how many follow your CTA? Imagine you create a 7-part e-course on Living Your Dream Life. You would create an optin page and tell people about it. Then you would track the visitors and the number of subscribers. You would also check the social media response, such as likes, shares and comments, if you are really clever tracking the link clicks from each platform
You would then look at the traffic logs of your site, such as Google Analytics. Google Analytics is free. Register for an account and add a small amount of tracking code to your site. You will start to see traffic reports for your site. The Audience tab will tell you how many visitors you had, as well as age, gender and so on. The Acquisitions tab will show you where they came from – Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Keeping a close eye on the success (or not) of the content you publish is one of the best ways to keep on creating exactly the kind of information that your target audience is most interested in, which should lead to more relevant traffic and greater profits.
That’s simple, to get you started there are only 2 things you need to do
the bottom line is you need to plan your content, create and publish then look at what is happening, without any of these steps your road to gaining new clients online is going to be difficult, slow and rather painful.
Be good to yourself and I guarantee when you do these few steps you will really start to enjoy your content creation and more importantly enjoy the new clients it brings to you.
When it comes to running your own business, how do you know where to begin? There are so many little considerations and moving parts to any business that it can seem overwhelming. You set out thinking business success is only a few short weeks away once you have launched your business however there are many things a serious business owner has to think about when launching and running their business.
That’s why I’ve collated these 100 tips. These are ‘survival’ tips that will help you grow and maintain your business – whether you’re just starting out in your business venture, or you’ve already been in business for a while.
In this blog post you will get tips on the following areas
How to get to know your customers so that you can deliver the products and services they need in the ways they need them
The basics of business planning that every entrepreneur needs to know
What you need to do now to prepare for future disasters so that your business isn’t derailed when they occur
How to document your systems and processes not only for your employees but also for potential investors
The essentials of small business finance
How to identify the help you need and build a solid network that will provide it
Ways to keep an eye on your market and its changes and developments
The basics of managing a strong social media presence and what to do with it
How to monitor and control your reputation online
Essential time management tips
Tips on reducing and managing stress for when things get hectic.
By the time you finish this blog post, you’ll have the basics under your belt and a long list of things you can do today to make sure your business not only survives but thrives in 2019.
Here are 100 small business survival tips.
1- Look at Who’s Looking
Whether you have an online store or an offline brick and mortar shop, pay attention to who is visiting and know as much about them as possible. If you’re offline, watch your customers shop, talk to them and get to know them as well as possible. For an online store, pay attention to your metrics use google analytics or wp slimstat and look at visitor profiles. You can use this information to tweak and better appeal to your customers.
2 – Focus on Needs
Focus on your customers’ problems and needs. Your products or services should fulfil those needs or solve those problems. If your products or services don’t, how could they be improved so that they do? Or, thinking about it another way, what type of customer could benefit from your products or services?
3 – Focus on Relationship, Not Sales
From the moment a customer encounters your business, hold off on sales and instead focus on building a relationship. Think in terms of how you can help the customer. Interact with them and create a bond. Easing off on the sales means they may not buy anything today or even tomorrow, but if you build a good relationship they eventually will, and they’ll stick with you.
4 – Create a Two-Way Dialog
The best way to get to know your customers and build a solid relationship is to get two-way communication going. Encourage them to contact you and interact with you. A great way to do this is through social media. Remember that even offline businesses can and should use social media to do this.
5 – Find Out Who Is Filling Their Needs Now
Find out who a potential customer is buying from right now and how they feel about it. Knowing this information reveals a great deal about your customers’ tastes and how they make their purchase decisions. Perhaps you have something unique to offer that your competitors don’t.
6 – Put Yourself in Your Customers’ Shoes
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and see things from their point of view. When you do this, you can better understand the wide range of buying options they have, as well as the pros and cons of each. This also helps you clarify the edge you have over your competitors.
7 – Take Advantage of Tools
There are many online tools to help you get to know your customers better. Metrics give you passive data on who visits your site and what they do there, but tools like SurveyMonkey or survey slam, which lets you create surveys, Activecampaign an email and crm system that allows you to see what interests them can all help
8 – Don’t Assume
You probably know the popular saying, ‘When you assume, you make an ass of you and me.’ When it comes to online business, it’s more like ‘When you assume, you get out of touch and lose relevance with your market.’ Never assume you know what your customers like. Always rely on hard data or your customers themselves.
9 – Seek Out Face Time
Whether online or off, you should value the actual face-to-face time you get to spend with your customers. Phone calls and emails can be helpful for getting to know them, but there’s nothing like actually spending time with them. Where you can try to arrange a meetup or similar, where it’s not easy have a zoom social and invite them along with no agenda
10 – Find Out How They Feel
When gathering information about your customers, don’t just focus on demographics or behavior, but also how they feel and think. This is part of what’s also called psychographics. When you’re trying to address needs, ease pain and solve problems, your customers’ feelings are extremely important.
11 – Set SMART Goals
When setting goals, do it the SMART way. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. In other words, make sure your goals are specific and locked in to a deadline. Decide how you’ll measure them so you’ll know if you’ve reached them or not. Make sure they’re achievable and relevant to your business.
12 – Identify Your own Milestones
You reach large, overarching business goals by setting smaller sub-goals or even micro goals along the way. These are the milestones that get you to your destination. Not only do they give you direction, telling you what needs to be done on a daily basis, they also give you a sense of achievement when you reach them that keeps you motivated to keep working toward your goals.
13 – Keep Breaking Up Your Goals
Large goals are daunting, but so are your milestones. In order to reach each milestone, you should break them up into definable steps. Take your sub-goals and milestones and keep breaking these up further and further until you have specific tasks you can accomplish each day.
14 – Determine What Makes You Unique
In order to make your business a success, you need a strong unique value proposition. This is what sets you apart from other companies. Don’t focus on being the biggest, fastest, cheapest or best, because something better can come along. Instead, focus on what you offer that’s unique. This is harder for another company to outdo.
15 – Define Your Target Market
Create a profile for your target market that includes demographics, buying habits, and the feelings and attitudes that make up what’s called psychodemographics. Create this profile as if it were an actual person, or avatar, and focus your efforts on marketing specifically to that person.
16 – Size Up the Competition
In the planning stages of your business, research your competitors. You need to find out the overall business climate, as well as come up with ideas to set your business apart. Look at what they offer, what makes them unique, and how they solve customer problems. Also, try to find out what their customers think about them.
17 – Focus on Details
When most people start a business they have a vague idea of what it is and how it will work. But to survive and thrive you need details spelled out as clearly as possible. Think about how your business should operate on a daily basis. How specifically will you meet your customers’ needs? Where will the profits to keep you going come from?
18 – Find Out What People Do on Your Website
When designing or re-designing your business website, focus on what you want people to do there. Don’t just think in terms of design and features, but what actions you want visitors to actually perform. For example, you may want them to sign up for a newsletter or start following you on social media. For each online marketing channel, identify a purpose in this way.
19 – Get the Resources You Need
Identify what resources you have to work with and which resources you’ll need in the future. Outline how you will develop or secure those resources when you need them. Identify others who can help.
20 – Plan with Patience
If you’re just starting out, it’s normal for a business to make little or no money for its first few years of operation. Be patient when planning your business. Give it the time it needs to grow and become profitable.
21 – Back It up
Create a system for backing up your business that includes routinely backing up all data and storing it. Include procedures for what to do if data is lost and define who has access to the backed up data. Consider using cloud services as well as a physical back-ups, and back-up your data in more than one place.
22 – Invest in Security
Invest in a solid security program or service that will ensure your network is safe. Update whenever updates are offered. You may also choose to have your network tested. There are services that try to hack into your site in order to discover its vulnerabilities.
23 – Use Password Protection Best Practices
Your greatest security is simply choosing good passwords and changing them regularly. Use random passwords that are impossible to guess. Avoid common passwords like birthdays, kids’ or pets’ names, or anything related to your company. Change passwords regularly and restrict access carefully. When you hire outside help, give them temporary passwords and delete when the work is finished. Always change passwords when a person leaves your company.Using a free service like lastpass will help you immensely.
24 – Conduct Security Training
Train your staff and outsourced team well on security procedures and how to avoid malware. Make clear guidelines on downloading from the internet and teach them about common threats like phishing schemes. Make sure everyone is on the same page.
25 – Create an Acceptable Use Policy
Along with your security training, create an Acceptable Use Policy. This is a written statement that outlines what uses of the company’s computers are appropriate or inappropriate, especially in regards to internet use. It’s important to have these guidelines spelled out clearly.
26 – Protect Your Customer Data
27 – Use Multiple Channels to Keep in Touch
Make contact with your customers through as many different channels as possible so that if you lose one, you can still communicate with them. For example, if your site gets taken down, you can still maintain contact through social media or your email mailing list. Using a service like liveagent will allow you to have multiple channels of communication filtered into one place to keep it organised for your business
28 – Establish Disaster Protocols
Establish clear protocols for any type of disaster that could occur, from data breaches to natural disasters that shut down your company. When something like this occurs, you and your staff need to act quickly and in an organized manner.
29 – Hire Good Legal Back-up
Hire a business lawyer and make sure that all of your legal documentation is in order. Keep copies of all paperwork and understand well what you legally can and can’t do. This will include your terms of business and any contracts you need with your customers.
30 – Listen to Legal News
Keep an ear open for changes in internet law. Especially where ecommerce is concerned, there have been major changes in recent years that anyone doing business online needs to know. Make sure you understand copyright law well and how it pertains to what you do online.
31 – Map It Out with a Manual
Define all of your business practices and write them out in a manual. This can be used as a troubleshooting guide for when things go wrong as well as a training manual for new employees. Document each process for every area of your business including product development, quality control, customer service, internal and external communications, the sales process, financial processes, etc. Use graphics and checklists to make it easy to follow.
32 – Create Training Materials
From your manuals, create materials specifically for training new staff or contractors. These should give an overview of how the company works, as well as specific information for learning systems, processes and policies.
33 – Make Training Videos
If you rely on virtual help for internet or computer based tasks, an easy way to train this help is to create videos. Use screen capture video production software and film yourself actually doing the work. When you hire someone, you can give them these video tutorials and they only need to watch and follow.
34 – Secure Funding
If you’re working on a start-up, write your business systems and processes with financial funding in mind. If you want to take out a business loan, you’ll have to show these materials as part of the application. The more detailed and thorough they are, the more likely they are to get you the funding you need. You may also need to show this documentation to investors.
35 – Write Step Processes
When writing your processes, take each process or thing your business does, and break it down into steps. The steps should be simple and easy for anyone to understand even if they don’t have any knowledge of your industry. If a process has more than about seven steps, break it down into two sub-processes.
36 – Write a Style Guide
Some companies write a style guide. This is a manual that explains how communications should be made in a detailed way. A style guide might cover, for example, how you write emails to customers, what to say on the phone to clients, and words and phrases to use/avoid in marketing materials. How you communicate is important for your brand image, so it should be consistent. Some style guides also include ready-made templates you can use instantly for communications.
37 – Go Visual
Whenever possible, use visuals in your documentation. A graph or diagram explains a process instantly at a glance so that there’s no confusion over terminology. A great way to document your processes is by using mind maps. A mind map allows you to present a ‘big picture’ of information in a simple, easy to understand way.
38 – Allow Room to Grow
In your business processes and systems documentation, allow room to grow. Your business will evolve over time, and your processes and systems need to be able to sustain this change. Make each process scalable and write your documentation with your future growth in mind.
39 – Ask for Collaboration
Enlist your employees or coworkers to help you document your systems and processes. They may think of details you would forget. They may have other input as well that helps to explain the system more clearly. If you have a larger company, you might ask your employees to document their own processes, and then have others review for accuracy and clarity.
40 – Identify Areas to Improve
You can use your documentation not only to outline and clarify processes, but also to identify areas that need improvement. By writing everything down, you get a clearer picture of how your company works. You may find areas where there is waste or inefficiency. It helps if you ask employees and customers for feedback.
41 – Create a Solid Budget
Every business needs a budget. No business can survive without one. Your budget is your estimated monthly expenses and profits. Start by considering expenses. Most start-ups can’t rely on profits early on until they have a steady cash flow going.
Separate expenses into three categories: Fixed expenses which don’t change, such as rent, leased items, and insurance; variable costs, which are related to sales volume and include things such as raw materials, shipping and software to meet sales demands; and semi-variable costs, which are costs that can be adjusted depending on volume of business such as advertising and salaries.
42 – Use Accounting Software
Make it easy on yourself and use an accounting software program such as QuickBooks. While you can’t completely automate your financial operations, automating what you can is a huge help. It makes managing your finances that much faster and easier.
43 – Forecast Major Expenses
Make a list of all of your business’s major expenses such as computer upgrades or subscription services. Put these on your yearly calendar far in advance so that you have time to plan how you’ll pay for them. This way, you won’t have to take money that’s needed elsewhere when it comes time to make your payment.
44 – Pad Your Estimates
When estimating costs for expenses that aren’t fixed, such as rent or salaries, pad your estimation because things usually cost more than expected. For advertising and marketing expenses, take your estimate and double it. For legal and licensing expenses, triple them. They may not cost this much but at least you’re covered if they exceed expectations.Detailed research will help you with this so you can be fairly accurate and there will be no sudden surprises.
45 – Plan To Survive Shortfalls with a Credit Line
Arrange a credit line with your bank when things are good and you don’t need it. Then, when you experience a shortfall, as every entrepreneur inevitably does at some time, you can borrow only what you need. The reason this is a good strategy is that banks are wary of lending to creditors who need it immediately. It’s much easier to establish a credit line when you don’t need it.
46 – Get into a Regular Billing Cycle
Create policies for billing clients if your goods or services are such that you receive payment later. When you get payments later, you’re extending credit to your clients. Like any creditor, you need to regularly invoice them and create clear policies for dealing with late payments. Unpaid invoices (Accounts Receivable) can really hurt your cash flow when they get out of hand.
47 – Plan Taxes Well in Advance
One thing that’s not a financial uncertainty is taxes. Tax season rolls around every year at a set time, so plan ahead. There’s nothing worse than being caught unprepared when tax season hits. Put together all the resources you need including any legal help. It’s good to also set aside some extra cash for tax season in case you have to pay more than expected.
48 – Don’t Set and Forget
Create a budget and revise it constantly. Revisit it each month to see what has changed, as some things certainly will. Update your budget based on the activity of the last month. Also take into consideration any changes in your company that may affect finances, such as new staff or new regular clients.
49 – Scan Your Paperwork
Scan all financial paper work and back it up. This makes it easy to store and retrieve financial documents. You can also easily share documents with potential lenders or others who need to see them. Scanning saves paper and protects you if you get audited.
50 – Record Your Finances
Record your finances honestly and keep in mind that someday a banker may be pouring over them, deciding whether or not to offer you a loan. If you think about this future banker when you make financial decisions, it may influence you to make decisions that are sound now.
Running a small business isn’t easy and you’ll find many roadblocks along the way. But these 100 survival tips are enough to get you started with conquering those challenges and getting past many of the common mistakes business owners and entrepreneurs make.
Here are a couple suggestions for using these tips to your best advantage:
1. For each of the categories of tips, try picking one tip that you know you need to work on and explore it in more depth.
2. You can also pick a whole category and devote a week or month to implementing some of the tips.
Good luck in your business ventures and here’s to your business success!
Templates are a great way of giving to your audience. You can give them away as an opt-in gift. You can use templates within courses that you offer. You can add them as content upgrades. Templates can be used to take a customer through a process and maybe even to track progress. The uses of templates are vast and wide.
In this Infographic I go through how to make templates that will have the biggest impact and result in supporting you in your business.
How do you use templates in your business?
Have you ever had a day where you couldn’t get started? You thought that things were holding you back? I have had days like this, no matter what I tried to start, writing a blog post, creating my next webinar training even creating my next course, it just wasn’t happening. It’s a rare business owner who—at some point—doesn’t feel stuck and thinks that their business is lacking something.
Perhaps you’re in the early stages of burnout. Perhaps you aren’t reaching your goals and can’t seem to get past the income ledge you’ve found yourself on.
All of this is perfectly normal in business. But staying stuck or on your ledge isn’t.
Successful small business owners figure out how to overcome the hurdles, wade through the overwhelm and continue to grow their business.
The first step is to determine what exactly is holding you back and what you’re lacking in your business:
When you don’t really know what it is you want from your business, you’re experiencing a lack of clarity. Maybe you aren’t clear on who you’re meant to serve, or can’t quite envision your sales funnel. Or maybe you can’t even picture your signature training course in its entirety, or the thought of selling it leaves you in a haze of confusion.
These are all symptoms of a lack of clarity, and they can stop a business dead in its tracks.
This technique can help you get clear on what your next step is and why it’s important to you.
If you’re clear on your goals but you’re having trouble moving forward consistently, then a lack of focus might be your trouble. You head to your office each morning with purpose, but by lunchtime, it’s clear you haven’t accomplished anything you set out to do.
You’re not a bad person, or even a shoddy entrepreneur. You’re just having trouble focusing on the next step that needs to happen to make your dreams come true.
Try this: With your end goal in mind, brainstorm the next physical action you need to take to achieve it. So if your goal is to build a 4-week course, then your next step might be to poll your mailing list about what they need/want from you.
Tried the next step and you still lack focus? Get your smartphone out.
Brain.FM is one of my go-to apps and you can listen to a “focus” piece of music that will help you. I love music and understand deeply how music can help you move between states and change how you feel – it really works well. The next time you listen to music be present:
If you find this doesn’t work for you, I highly recommend hypnotherapy. I use Hypnosis Downloads
A fantastic resource to help you regain your focus amongst the many other things they help you with
I often skip Brain.fm and jump straight to the hypno – for me, this brings faster results.
Bored? Lost interest in that business you once loved? This is, unfortunately, pretty common among entrepreneurs. That’s why we see so many of them jumping from business to business, never spending enough time in any one business to see it through to success.
Staying excited about your business starts with having a dream and a vision that keeps you going even when you’re faced with the day-to-day drudgery that every small business owner encounters. Not everything is fun when you’re running a business, and I know I won’t be popular for saying it out loud. It’s how you get through the dull and boring days that make a difference.
I take a minute and think of my girls, Sarah my wife and Bones our German Shepherd and remember my business provides the environment for me to be able to spend the time with them all, when I want, doing what we all enjoy. Your reasons for doing and being an entrepreneur will keep you motivated.
Want to know how to easily fix all these issues (and more) on a permanent basis? It’s a simple technique that the world’s most successful entrepreneurs have been using for decades: vision boards. These fun and colourful tools are often just what you need to clarify your dreams, work out your next steps, and stay excited about your business.
We hang ours on the office wall, and we can see at a glance our hopes, dreams, and vision for our business. I won’t deny it; there’s a lot of sparkle on my vision board.
Vision boards can be as simple as a few images clipped from a magazine and pinned to a corkboard, or as complex as a framed poster with handwritten quotes and 3 tubes of glitter. The choice is yours. It’s completely personal, fun, and best of all, it works.
Give these things a try next time you’re feeling stuck in your business. And if you’re not stuck, share your tips in the comments for becoming unstuck and envisioning your success.
Once you’ve picked your niche and got your blog set up, you’ll want to start adding content in order to boost your opt-ins and sales. Stop wasting your time guessing and try these ways to boost your opt-in or sales. Some of them are ways to add a stream of income such as paid reviews and others are ways to get more traffic which can translate into more buys and more conversions.
Create a Content Calendar and Schedule
The best way to ensure that you are publishing enough content across all platforms including your blog that will bring traffic and sales is to create a content planning schedule and a content calendar. Your content calendar will be based on the products you want to promote focusing on the problems they solve for your audience. Then you can throw in trending topics to give your content a more current feel and show you’re up to date and paying attention to what’s happening.
For example, if you have identified an app that you know your audience will find value in start with educating your audience about the problem before you provide the solution. By the time you’re done talking about the problem when you introduce the solution, they’ll be ready to purchase.
Always Include a Call to Action
Every post that you publish should have a reason for being, as mentioned before. When you are brainstorming the types of posts you want to include on your blog think about your goals. A goal, to be effective, needs to be able to be converted to a call to action.
Don’t be afraid to sell something on every single post that you publish within the text, in an advertisement in between paragraphs, through sidebar links, pop-ups or slides, and via content upgrades to help convert people to your email list. If your audience can easily consume the free content you’re providing, giving them more ways to buy will improve sales. Don’t be fearful of doing this. Yes, some people may get mad and go away. But they aren’t your target audience anyway.
Create Clear CTAs
When developing your CTAs, it’s important to use clear language that provokes enthusiasm, provides a reason (solves pain points) for your audience to act, limits the time they can act, and shows proof that the solution works for other people just like them. Additionally, the CTA button when one is used should be very prominent and use words that demand action rather than “buy now” say something like: “Yes! I want my Freedom Now!”
Using these direct and indirect ways to boost sales and opt-ins will be effective if you add the new content on a regular basis, promote every piece of content you publish, and become very responsive to comments and questions.
Content ideas are literally everywhere if you are looking for them, and with care an attention will boost your sales.
I love being a business owner. My motivations for achieving career status and business status aren’t different. They’re very much the same. So what motivates you to build a business?
These and many, many other yet similar thoughts go through the heads of every would-be business owner, and are often the driving force behind that final, “Enough! I’m starting up on my own.”
Whilst these thoughts are great for lighting a fire and encouraging you to make a scary jump to business ownership, they’re not so fabulous at motivating you to grow and improve. They won’t inspire you to increase your skills and raise your rates and be brave and authentic in your marketing. They won’t help you find the courage to hire a new coach or launch a brand new program.
To find the motivation to make your business thrive, you have to identify the real reasons behind what you do. This has been popularised by Simon Sinek’s Book “Start with Why”.
Sinek’s “Start With Why” suggests that when an organisation understand the reason why it exists then its leaders inspire their teams more effectively. With this in mind let’s look at the types of Why and how they motivate.
“Passion based” is a phrase that’s found a massive following in the past few years, and seems to be the holy grail of entrepreneurial adventures. And for business owners with a true passion for their field, it can be a strong motivator. Some business owners are passionate about a subject, spending all their waking hours learning about the topic. Some are passionate about a market, and would do anything to help their ideal client achieve his or her goals.
Whichever type of passion-based business owner you are, learning to harness that passion will help take your business to the next level.
Maybe you want to retire at 40 to travel the world, or send your kids to an elite private school. Maybe you love fast cars, and dream of driving a brand new Ferrari. Whatever your big dream, you knew you’d never make it while putting in time at the day job. While everyone seems to go on and on about those passion-based dreams, the truth is there’s nothing wrong with wanting financial fulfillment. Money is a necessary tool. We need it, and the more we have, the easier life is. And wanting more of it is nothing to be ashamed of, as long as you maintain your integrity and authenticity in pursuit of it.
Plenty of online business owners go into business so they can have more to give. You’ve no doubt heard of—or maybe even know—marketers who use their earnings to fund mission trips, build schools in war-torn, third world countries, and support a variety of charities at home and abroad. Others use the time freedom they’ve built into their business to volunteer with local hospitals, animal shelters and children’s organizations.
If you have a heart for a cause, a philanthropic why might be the driving force that takes your business to the next level.
What most people don’t realise is that any one of these three main “whys” can activate at any time. You may be financially motivated and that leads to philanthropic motivation. This, in turn, can ignite a passion motivation. As you’re a smart, ethical entrepreneur and business builder the question is how can use these “whys” to reach the top of your game?
Answering the above 4 questions in your journal will give you some of the answers you’re looking for. Start with the “Money is no object” question and see where it takes you.
Please note, sometimes this can be a difficult question to journal because all you can see are obstacles. Visualise a day in the life of your dream.
If you journal through your hopes and dreams you’ll start to see a pattern. You’ll start to see your true motivations emerge and you’ll be happier for it.
Please share this post with anyone you think it may inspire
Business coaches are strong assets for business owners because they hold the owner accountable for their own progress. They offer different perspectives to problems, share how they overcome a similar block, they offer guidance as well as challenges, and they observe objectively how a business operates and what can be improved.
A business coach will improve your productivity in all aspects of your business life. Here are some examples:
Smart business owners know they can’t know everything about every subject, especially if they have no experience in running a business. This is where a smart business coach can become the business’ top asset, guiding you to financial success. If you’re ready to hire a smart business coach, schedule a discovery call with me today.
Let’s state the obvious: you’re in business to earn money. Yes, you want to help others as well, but you want to make a profit with your business, am I right? In order to make a profit, you need to sell your products and services. But is it enough to just create products and hope that people to make a purchase? Not at all. I like to call that “hopeful marketing” and it simply doesn’t work. That’s a very passive approach to running a business as opposed to a proactive approach, which includes finding people in your target market, forming a relationship with them, introducing them to your business, and then asking for the sale.
It is discouraging when people say “no” when you ask for a meeting or for the sale but there’s also a popular thought in the sales community that you need to hear 100 no’s before you hear a yes. Your business and your services won’t appeal to everyone; or they might appeal to someone who doesn’t have the money to spend right now. That doesn’t mean your business idea is awful; it simply means you haven’t found the right people yet.
If you have put careful thought into what you want to offer your target audience and you have created coaching packages and/or services to meet those needs, be confident in telling people who you serve and how you do so.
Your customers will purchase from you when they know, like, and trust you, so coming on strong with heavy sales talk or pestering them like a used car salesperson will chase those promising customers away.
Instead, gently nudge these prospects down your sales funnel. If you have never heard of a sales funnel, it’s simply a visual representation of how you’ll guide prospects toward your higher-priced products. In this manner, you’ll have lower-priced items for sale for those who say they’re interested but don’t have the money. If they purchase your lower-priced item, they may find the money in the future for a higher-priced item, but only if they know about the other products/services you offer.
At the end of the day, if you listen to what your audience needs, there’s no harm in making the offer and asking for the sale. If they say no, move on and continue to nurture the relationship. Just remember, you’re one no closer to the yes that you want.
Experiencing business success is easier than you think, and when you’ve done it a few times you’ll be able to look back and know that you achieve success pretty much the same way, in other words you have your own personal blueprint for success. Everyone’s success blueprint has the same core elements:
You may have a few others to add, but those 6 information points are the core success blueprint for everyone. It’s the same thing, over and over again and it gets results.
If you want to create a pattern of success in your life, you can start now by learning the secret that successful people know. Successful people are only special because they are action takers, and follow through. They are not smarter than others; in fact it is entirely possible you are smarter on paper than they are. You just don’t follow through on your goals. You may abandon them because they feel too heavy, or you see someone else do better. You may run out of steam before completing them, or you may not have the momentum to get you there. So what can you do about it?
Start at the beginning and as Steven Covey recommends; Begin with the end in mind.
With practice you can create the best goals for yourself. Your first ones will be vague and you’ll wonder why you don’t achieve the results that you want. Over time you will start to flex your intentional muscle and setting goals becomes easier and more accurate.
Know that the goal is something that can be accomplished and know that the goal is measurable before you finish writing it. Most of all, make sure it’s a goal that you really want to achieve.
People who achieve take action. If you want to get something done, schedule it no matter how silly it might seem to you. If you put it in a schedule at a particular time, and not just on a generic “to do” list, it will be more likely that you get it done. I use the Best Self Journal for my daily activities, and I also use the “no white space philosophy” which means scheduling tasks back to back. It may sound fearsome, but it’s fantastic.
All the things that need doing from travelling, to tasks to taking a shower are on the schedule.
Imagine writing your book. Thinking about the finished book can make it seem overwhelming. Indeed, that’s the reason many books never make it from the author’s mind onto the page and into the store.
If you have set a goal to write a 80,000 word novel by a certain date, then you should know how many pages you need to get done each week and which days you can work on it, which times, hours, and how long it takes you to write a page.
Successful writers write; they don’t wait for inspiration to strike, they make it happen by striking (paraphrasing Yeats just a little). They schedule it, and do it. The same can be said for anything you want to achieve.
You don’t wait until you want to do it; you do it on schedule.
There are a lot of things that need to be done but that can escalate easily into “busy work” which doesn’t get you closer to a goal. Bookkeeping for instance is something that can be accomplished today, with the right software, almost automatically. You can schedule payments to happen automatically; you can also use software that enters everything for you in the ledger.
Freeing up time to focus on your scheduled activities that must be done to achieve the goal is a more productive use of your time. Doing by hand what can be automated is procrastination.
Successful people don’t do everything themselves. The best scientists, professors, doctors, lawyers, and CEOs have assistants who help them achieve their goals. Even I have an assistant, and a team. You too can hire outside help and contractors to help you do the tasks needed to reach your goals.
Is there anything you cannot outsource? That will be going to the gym. You can send someone else, but you won’t get any fitter for outsourcing it so you may as well go yourself. Pretty much everything else can be outsourced from cleaning your home to servicing your car. A lot of entreprenuers never reach this phase because they think it’s wrong to pay someone else to clean their home. So, let’s look at things from the heart here:
In most cases, someone has already done it before you and I’m not sorry if that upsets you, to be successful you’re going to have to leave your ego on the doorstep. Someone has already worked out the kinks and devised a plan of action that will work for you too with hardly any tweaks.
Learn from other people’s mistakes and know that you can gain valuable information from what others are already doing and why they’re doing it. You whys might not be in alignment.
It’s said that it takes ten thousand hours of work for your natural talents to manifest. Keep this in mind as you look toward your future and set your goals. The chances are unless you’re having a massive career u-turn, you’ve already got a heap of hours under your belt and you’re well on your way to becoming a credible expert.
Know that even when you’ve racked up your 10,000 hours you don’t get to rest on your laurels. You still carry on learning. If you keep your mind open you’ll be ready for the opportunities to come your way. If you visualise yourself at the top, you must also recognise that the only way is down. Learning is the journey and not the destination. The destination changes throughout your lifetime. What’s important to me at 45 (a nice boat, a hot beach) isn’t as important to an entrepreneur of 30, or one of 20.
Bask safe in the knowledge that as you change, so does your journey and how you achieve your goals.
As you set goals to create a pattern of success, it’s imperative that you know what your core values are in terms of family, personal, financial and your physical life. My core values are heavily focused around my family. I have a great marriage (we work at this all the time), I have two daughters at home who are growing into their power (we work at this all the time) and we have an amazing amount of quality time together. I couldn’t do this without achieving my financial goals, so I work harder on those in order to facilitate my core values.
Everyone has different areas they need to work on, some more than others – you need to know what your areas are to set realistic goals that you want to meet.
Nothing is ever done without the paperwork, as they say. Well, that includes creating a pattern of success. Only by setting goals, then tracking and assessing the outcomes of your goals, and then repeating what works will you create a pattern of success.
Creating a pattern of success requires knowledge of goal setting, and goal achieving, and an in-depth knowledge of yourself. This self-knowledge can scare people; what if they don’t know who they really are? If that’s the case I recommend getting familiar with feeling discomfort. Because when you start laying down your pattern of success you will have moments of self doubt. You will have moments of wondering what the path more travelled looks like and you’ll not want to get out of bed.
Life isn’t lived by playing safe. Playing safe does not serve you, your dreams or anything else you want to achieve. Yet stepping into new territory means you’ll feel unsure and you’ll feel discomfort and the urge to quit will ebb into your consciousness. The great news is you’ll also know that it flows away when it’s faced with your success pattern.
What’s stopping you from gaining the knowledge and creating a real pattern of success in your life?
If you’d like to explore this further, book a call with me here