Category Archives for Business Success

Business Challenge? No Problem Here’s Why

When we talk about challenges in business often it can all seem a bit much, we overcomplicate the way forward and then become overwhelmed to the point of inaction so the challenge becomes bigger and darker than it started out as.

It really doesn’t have to be this way!!

I’ve talked in previous blog posts about breaking things down into achievable goals to help us overcome the challenges we face as business owners and how that helps us to handle the overwhelm that can come as a result of a planned or unexpected change in our business. Now I am going to take you to the next level and show you just how easy it can be to use that concept to overcome even the scariest of challenges in your business.

When you’re faced with a big hurdle in your business, you can tackle it much easier when you take on small actions, rather than thinking you have to do it all and make it happen right now. Let me show you just how to break it down, from challenge to micro-steps.

The Reality

First, you need to take stock of your situation. Look at the problem. Write down exactly what you need most, what the end goal is. For example, If you have had a big business expense come in, a tax bill, a new piece of equipment that’s essential or anything else that may have occurred. Start by writing down the amount of money you need and when you need it (see I told you it was simple). Now that you know exactly what you’re up against, it’s time to take that major problem and turn it into something manageable.

Brainstorm

The next step is to brainstorm. You’ve got your pen and paper in front of you, so start jotting down any and every idea you can think of that can help you obtain the things you need to do. In my example, you need cash for an unexpected expense.  You can write down all of the ways you can obtain this, by doing a flash sale, creating a new product, selling a block of coaching for a special price, look at outstanding invoices where clients may owe you money and follow those up, look at your outgoings and see where you may be throwing money away each month. As a business owner our income and ability to sell are often only limited by our imagination and if you need cash in by a deadline then often you will make this happen.

Assess

After your brainstorming session, you need to assess the solutions you’ve gathered. Now we are moving away from our creative thinking and problem solving to reality, working out which of our ideas are feasible and achievable in line with our goals.

Write your ideas down again in order of which seem the most realistic and easily attainable. Throw out ones that are simply too outrageous. Stick the tricky ones at the bottom of your list.

You can keep the list for future development as you may have stumbled across an absolute gem that doesn’t fit right now with the immediacy of your situation but further down the line and with some planning you could create an addition to your business.

Plan Your Next Move

Now it’s time to make a plan.  Start with the first solution you wrote down, and write out small steps you can take to make that idea a business planningreality. The smaller the better. These tiny actions are easier to approach than your overwhelmingly larger goal. As you complete each one, you’ll start to feel more confident and see your goal coming closer to reality.

If  you decide to skip the planning part you will find feelings of overwhelm creeping back in, your plan is your map to solving your current issue, it’s where you will look back to ensure you are on track and that your goals will be met. DO NOT rely on memory or think you have this sussed without going through this phase as you will find time creeping by and your plan will feel non existent.

You will find it helpful to purchase a goal planner, we use these and are incredible for keeping projects on track, you may decide on an online system to keep you going maybe some form of project management system both of these mean daily interaction with your plan so you keep firmly in your mind what you need to do to reach your objective.

Act

Finally, you will need to take action, marking each micro-step off as it’s completed.  This can be where you need to dig deep and kick in the self-discipline, it’s easy to start out well-intentioned and let it fall off after a few days however you will never reach your objective if you allow yourself to do that. You have formulated your plan, you have your tools to support you, if necessary join a club like the business success dojo club and find other business owners to help keep you moving forward Before long, you’ll start to move closer toward getting the job done and seeing the positive results. In my example, your available funds will start to grow. Every little bit counts.

There’s no need to get stuck in overwhelm when faced with challenges. Breaking it down into micro steps, formulating a well thought out and achievable plan and taking action will help you reach the goals you need to overcome nearly any obstacle.

Remember support is always at hand  you just have to reach out

to your success

Kevin

Is It Really Worth It? Owning A Small Business Can Have A Surprising Impact On Us

I’m focusing a lot of time at the moment on the blog talking about change. Why is that?

As a small business owner or an entrepreneur, change will be part of your life, its inevitable. When I first started my own business back in 2002 it was a shock to the system to be facing changes and challenges so frequently. For some reason I thought it would be like an employee, having stability and small challenges along the way.

I had to embrace change very early on and either decide it was going to be my ally to help me and my business or something to fear. I took the former option which is partly why 16 years later I’m still in business.

I work weekly with my clients helping and supporting them through the business success dojo club to embrace and welcome change as it actually brings us much more as business owners than just having overcome an obstacle or challenge.

Taking time to focus on the positive and finding the good in change is yet another strategy that can help you to better deal with business challenges. Let me show you some ways that can happen.

Discover Your Strengths

With change comes adaptability. We need to adapt in order to roll with the punches. You’ll soon discover some ofyour greatest strengths as you figure out how to handle what’s in your path.

Perhaps you’re more creative than you realized when you did your brainstorming activity. Maybe you find out just how reliable a network you have who have rallied around to support and help you. You may have had to make some cold calls or contact people you were putting off (because it was a job you thought you wouldn’t enjoy) but having done it you realise you have a real flare for it.

Change can really bring out the best in us.

Become More Resilient

Another quality you may not have realized you possessed is resiliency. A resilient person gets back up when life knocks them down. Often, we have no choice but to keep going and not give up. Adversity can truly show you your potential to bounce back.

Resilience is much bigger than just a paragraph in a blog post but it’s truly something that most small business owners will have even if up to this point its been an untapped resource. When we recognise it exists in almost every business owner then we can really start to build our courage, as we know that our resilience will allow us to become braver and face almost anything business and life throws our way.

Learn Something New

There are times in which change requires you to learn something completely new to you. This type of personal development is invaluable. Gaining new skills or discovering unknown personality traits is always welcome. If you know our story then you will not be surprised to know it was during a particularly tough time in business in the early 2000’s that due to a change ie the recession we had to learn how to market more effectively. This skill lead us onto our onlinevisibilityacademy.com business and more recently the launch of the Dojo club. At the time it seemed like a real uphill battle, but we will forever be grateful that the tough times made us realise we were pretty good at marketing small businesses, and that opened up new opportunities for us.

Gain Self-Confidence

All of the above are byproducts of change that can lead to a tremendous boost in self-confidence for you. When you handle a big change like a boss, you can’t help but feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. Discovering just how strong, resilient, smart, innovative and creative you can be brings with it a tremendous feeling of achievement like no other.

Change Direction

Finally, change sometimes requires us to completely change direction… There are some business events that are so big that they will never leave you the same. And that can be okay. In fact, it can be absolutely amazing in some cases. When something happens that causes you to do a complete turnaround without your consent, it can leave you feeling powerless. Turn that feeling around by considering the ways you can adapt to this and make it work to your advantage.

Unexpected change is often the kick in the backside we actually needed to move to the next stage of business.

Going back to my story, if it hadn’t been for my ruptured appendix I may still be running a transport business instead of running the Dojo Club and the Online visibility Academy which we love and enjoy doing.

While all of these things may not apply to your situation, I hope you can at least see what reframing the idea of change can do for your outlook. By altering the way you look at your circumstances, you can move forward in a more positive way.

To Your Success

Kevin

P.S If you’d like to be surrounded by people who will help you transition the changes check out the Business Success Dojo.

Don’t Be The Headless Chicken; It’s Time To Regain Focus For Your Business

Sometimes the biggest obstacle we face in moving forward after a  major change has occurred in our business is our own sense of overwhelm.

It’s scary to wonder where to go from here or how to dig ourselves out of a tough situation. It often seems easier to do nothing or to wallow in self-pity. Now I am no mindset coach and neither do I aspire to be so but I am experienced in business and in supporting business people that are running around like a headless chicken with no real direction on where to go next with their business.   I believe we probably all have been there at one time or another. I recall having the feelings of not knowing what to do first, where to turn for help or which direction to go in. That’s when you have to implement a plan of action. Even taking one tiny step forward is a start.

I found that by setting micro-goals really helped when I was facing these changes,  I ‘m a big supporter of planning and setting goals but micro goals took this to a really different level for me when I was flailing

Here’s where you can start

Break It Down

Brainstorming helps to unload whats running through your head, It’s amazing how creative even the most self-proclaimed uncreative people can be. Take some time to write down all of the ideas you have for ways you can move ahead in your current situation. No matter how small or how far-fetched in fact the more outrageous the better, just get them out. Then begin to break it all down into tangible, manageable and realistic steps you can actually take to overcome your problem. This act alone may help you to feel more powerful and in control of your business, as you can now see the possibilities that may have been blurred before.

Set Milestones

Next, you’ll want to set some realistic milestones or checkpoints to help to keep yourself on track. Again, consider taking baby steps to help you overcome the overwhelm by setting your check-ins fairly regularly. Making your first goal post something readily attainable will help to increase your confidence, as well as your motivation to make it to the next milestone. Creating these assessment points also forces you to develop some sort of plan for your goal, rather than just hoping things will get better.

Review Regularly

Take time to regularly review your original goal in order to be sure it’s still working for you or that you’re even still on the right path. Sometimes we find ourselves set on achieving something that’s no longer in our best interests simply because we’re too stubborn or scared to assess our circumstances. Reflect honestly on where you’re going looking back on the milestones you’ve passed so far. If it feels right in your gut, keep on moving forward. Should something seem off or if you’re not making the progress you’d hoped, go back to the drawing board. Take notes on your situation,

If you are finding that you are not hitting your milestones don’t panic or mentally beat yourself up , being aware is a great step forward, reset your milestones and keep going, feel proud in the fact that your resolve and determination won’t be wobbled by missing a milestone and that your 3 stage micro plan will be your leaning post for you to move through your challenges with success in its future.

Doing something is always better than doing nothing. This is true when facing times of change. Follow these suggestions for gaining control over the obstacles in your life and moving ahead one baby step at a time. You’ll soon see that what you want can be achieved.

Sometimes help is needed as it can be a lonely journey working through these things alone, I felt that way in my early days in business and found a way to overcome that feeling, if you feel the same way, that you want some support and a business sounding board then I invite you to  take a look here at the Business success dojo Club you will be right a home and in a very safe space to be able to explore and overcome your challenges

To Your Continued Success

Kevin

How To Use The Tough Times In Business To Become Stronger

Often growth is talked about through learning and that is through courses or books or even seminars, however, one of the most overlooked ways of learning is through experience. In a previous post I was talking about change whether that was a choice to make a change in your business or whether that was a change that was pushed on you that was out of your control, either way, it makes no difference as there are a lot of benefits that can come from change and periods of transition within a business.

 The same can be said for challenging times. Some of the greatest lessons can be learned from the obstacles business throws at you, and you will usually find that you grow as a person when the going gets tough. Let’s take a further look at some of the ways these challenges and periods of change will make you a better business owner and stronger leader.

Self-Reliance

During difficult times, you learn to rely on yourself and that; ultimately, you’re the one who has to change your current circumstances. Sometimes we need help, and that’s to be expected. Even on these occasions, it’s usually you who needs to determine whom to ask for assistance and to actually reach out to make contact. Challenge can be a catalyst for learning to take the initiative to do what must be done in order to get back on your feet.Nobody will make a decision for you and neither should they as the responsibility is on your shoulders, this can often be a liberating realisation as you move on and in a stronger position.

Never forget that being self reliant does not mean you are on your own as your team and your advisors/supporters will be there for you but when the crunch comes you have to rely on your own instinct and decision making abilities to get you and your business moving forward.

Gratitude

Challenges often take away something that we once relied on or valued. A loss of regular revenue, for example, this can really impact your confidence and your drive for your business especially if it was unexpected. Dealing with such losses can be difficult. When you are facing this challenge you can feel quite down, maybe even like a failure, It’s important to look at the bigger picture, be grateful for the opportunity in the first place and how that will have helped your business and you take another step forward. You may have learnt a new skill during that time, met a great business friend or earned revenue that you reinvested into growing another aspect of your business, it may have even made you decide that part of your business was not viable so the service you offered may not be one you offer in the future.

Whichever way you look at it looking with a view of gratitude will focus on the positives from the situation and allow you to move forward with confidence and a hunger to improve.

Self-Improvement

Let’s face it, sometimes in business, we get it wrong, we are human after all, we missed a deadline, forgot to send an email. Got complacent with a client. There are always lessons to be learnt for us as individuals running a business, there is as I always say ‘room for improvement’ and when we stop striving for that we turn around and our business is in trouble.  A lot of clients are very understanding especially if your work is Business to Business, however, its how these situations are dealt with is what forges our development.  It can be an incredibly humbling experience to have to face our own faults, but it’s one that usually leads us to be better in some way.

Attitude

It’s natural to experience anger, pessimism, resentment or any other host of negative emotions when things go wrong. You’re not expected to be happy about setbacks or problems. However, getting stuck in despair will never move you toward a solution. If you want to improve your situation, it’s absolutely imperative that you develop a positive ‘can do’ attitude. It doesn’t matter if that attitude is one of determination, optimism or sheer stubbornness, As long as it’s used in a way to move you forward, you can count it as an asset.

Challenges are unavoidable in business. How you deal with them is what’s important. By taking on the tough times, you’ll gain a lot more than you ever expected and truly will become stronger in business.

Remember to take a look at the Business Success Dojo Club if you need ongoing support

To your success

Kevin

Embrace The Fear, It Will Make You Stronger In Business

One thing that is always certain in business and every small business owner knows is that change will always happen, things don’t and shouldn’t stay the same. As a business grows we have to change, when we get a quote come in, a new customer, a bigger office our first member of staff or even a new system to play with they all signify change.

Often it’s a change that we can control, like using a new email system for example, we know it’s going to be different, making that series of phone calls you really don’t want to do but know they need to be done, publishing your first ever blog post,  other times it’s a change that is forced on us like a VA deciding to become employed or an employee resigning as they are moving on. These all cause change within the business and sometimes that change especially if it’s unexpected can be frightening and uncomfortable.

Learning how to deal with that fear IS something you can do, once you understand the reasons for it,  how it can actually benefit you and ways to overcome it.

Change doesn’t have to be scary if you embrace it then you can learn how to use it to become a stronger business owner.

Reasons for the Fear

First of all, the biggest universal reason to be afraid of change is fear of the unknown. We feel safer in what we already understand and are familiar with. The unknown causes anxiety for lots of reasons, one of which is that this anxiousness is a protective measure. Our brains tell us that we can remain safe if we avoid what we can’t see, understand, know or process.

Another cause of this specific kind of fear is the false belief that there is only one correct way, when in fact many options lie ahead of you. It won’t be disastrous if you make the “wrong choice” because there are actually a number of ways you could go that could be completely right for you. Don’t get hung up on perfectionism or absolutes.

Self-doubt is another common reason to avoid change. You may think you’re not enough to navigate whatever life is currently throwing at you. That’s usually not the case. In fact, you’ve probably made lots of adjustments in your life before now you just haven’t credited yourself properly for it.

Benefits of Change

There are actually more benefits to change than negatives. Truly. For one, the personal growth potential times of transition offer can be limitless. You’ll learn so much about yourself and your capabilities during this time, along with gaining new skills.

Change also gives you the chance to examine your business and your goals.  Change  leads to progress, part of being in business is to always be moving forward, when a business stays still it becomes stagnant and before you know it you are in trouble   You’ll gain opportunities through transformation that you never would have had if you’d stayed the same .

Finally, you’ll develop new skills as a person and leader like strength, resiliency and flexibility when you embrace variation.

Overcoming the Anxiety

Now let’s look at ways to overcome the anxiety that comes with fear of change. First, you want to try to reframe the negative stories you’re telling yourself. Focus on the positive things that could happen, instead of the bad. Take time to process your feelings about the change you’re facing and try to determine the causes. This type of honest assessment provides insights that make it easier to get a handle on your anxiety because you can name its source.

Another great strategy that works is to look back on accomplishments you’ve made during times of transition or instances in which you’ve gotten through tough adjustments. Knowing you’ve done it before can give you the confidence and motivation to do it again.Speaking with mentors and other business owners will also help as often knowing someone else has come through the other side of a challenge inspires us and shows that it can be done and you can do it to.

These suggestions are definitely not a comprehensive list, but they can get you started on the road to overcoming the fear of change. Once you begin to do that, you’ll find your world will open up immensely.

If you are looking for support then come and join the dojo club where business owners at all stages of their business are working together to tackle the daily challenges of being in business

See you there

 

Kevin

How To Deal With Challenges In Business

Facing challenges in business is a given. I defy anyone that has been in business, or who owns a small business for more than 5 minutes to say otherwise. What’s important is how you deal with these challenges when you’re face to face with them.

Big or small, you will encounter some difficulties and unexpectedly negative situations as you go through your business life. Sometimes it’s a blip on the radar. Others times may find you facing one obstacle after another. What is clear is that the way you tackle these can (and does) affect the outcome.

Let’s look at some strategic ways to deal with a business challenge. I know they will help you tremendously. Over time I have learned A LOT by going through some really tough times. I faced challenges that I never even knew existed. What I have learned is you don’t have to sit idly by as life throws obstacles in your way. Isn’t hindsight wonderful as it didn’t dawn on me at the time. These tips can help you hurdle a few business challenges and come out the other side stronger.

Know the Hard Times Will End

It can be hard to look at the big picture when you’re in the middle of what you believe to be a crisis. However, every situation is temporary. Your current situation will undoubtedly change, and you’ll move past it. Keeping this at the front of your mind can ease how you feel at the time and help you to think more clearly as you work to overcome your current obstacle. You’ll feel more able to think clearly and productively if you’re able to be optimistic about the future.

The first time I was in a situation (that almost bankrupted our business back in the early 2000’s) sent me into a downward spiral. I didn’t have the support to help me through it. But those of you that know me know I’m stubborn and I think that was probably the only thing that got us through it. What was fascinating was the next big hurdle we had to overcome didn’t feel so bad, it became more of an okay here we are where do we start to move past this?

Try to Assess Things Rationally

Emotions run high when we are facing a challenging time in business. These feelings are usually of the negative kind. You may experience emotions like fear, anger, sadness, guilt and resentment as you try to manage a crisis. While these feelings are perfectly normal, they’re also counterproductive to finding solutions. It’s easy to get stuck in negative emotions.

When this happens, you’ll generally find yourself reacting blindly rather than making proactive decisions. Try to find a way or activity that will help you suppress these emotions, go for a walk, watch an uplifting film, have lunch with a friend. It doesn’t matter what it is but by letting that feeling sit for a while will really benefit you when you go back and tackle the issue with a much stronger and clearer mind. You’ll soon see your progress shift in a more positive direction.

Remove Yourself from the Equation

In addition to trying to keep your focus on the future and positive outcomes during tough times, you may wish to remove yourself from the equation as well. What I mean by this is to try not to take it all personally. It’s so easy to get caught up in the ifs and buts and to feel like it’s some sort of personal vendetta that the world has against you, though it never is.

The time will come when you can look back and deal with what lead up to the situation but whilst you are there and it’s happening no good will come of focussing on how you got there. In fact, by focussing on why you’re here in this mess will lower your determination to overcome your business challenge. It will end up lowering your energy so it will feel much worse. Keep your eye firmly on moving past the situation and keep reminding yourself that it’s not personal, it’s not the end of the world and there is a reason why this is happening even if it’s not clear right now but it will make you stronger afterwards

Look for the Learning Point

I don’t mean to belittle or detract from the seriousness of anyone’s problems. Please know that’s not my intent when I say that it can bebusiness success helpful to search for the value hardships may bring. Perhaps you’ll find none, but many times you just might. Business challenges often bring opportunity for change with them.

Change can be scary. It can also be transformative and exciting. Embrace any potential for the positive transformation you might find during the tough times, and you’ll feel more motivated to push past them.

When your business challenge has passed you will be able to look back far more objectively and see how the situation came about. It’s a clear way of growing and strengthening your business practices. No one can foresee issues. If we could we would never come across them but when they do come along embrace the challenge and know it will serve your business in the future even if that benefit isn’t clear right now.

These are a just few strategies I’ve found helpful when dealing with business challenges. Give them a try, and you may find yourself more in control of your situation than you realised you could be.

Feel free to share this with anyone going through a business challenge you may know that needs some inspiration to move through it.

To your success

Kevin

How To Make Sure Your Interview Doesnt Flop

I have talked over the last few blog posts about finding influencers to interview, how you can approach them but what do you do when they have said yes and the time to interview them has actually arrived?  I have put together some of the tips that I have learned that will help you even if you have conducted a few interviews before.

Prepare

To make sure that frustration doesn’t creep into the interview and that energy levels are high you need to make sure the lead-up and the prep work is done. Ensure that you have pre-arranged the tech so ask them to turn up early so you can make sure that internet connections are strong, microphones are working properly and that the webcams are connected. There is nothing worse especially if it’s going out live when there are these types of problems at the start of an interview. If necessary arrange a quick run through before the actual date just to check all is working well and that the interview will go ahead without any hiccups, it will help keep the focus on the conversation and remove any stress about the tech not working properly really useful if the person you are interviewing is nervous or has never done an interview online before.

Easy Questions and Small Talk First

It’s good to open an interview with an introduction and a few basic, easy questions to start with. These should be questions the interviewee is comfortable with and maybe has a prepared answer for already. Do your welcome then ask them to explain briefly who they are, what their expertise is, a bit about how they got into the industry. You’ll get more into the complicated stuff through the course of the interview, but at first, start with simple topics which are based on them and their own history as this is something everyone can answer easily and gets them into the flow of talking.

Erase the Ums and Uhs

When I first started interviewing and public speaking like most people I had never heard myself talk before and was I surprised when I realised just how many verbal ticks I had. Umms, errs, SO  at the beginning of a sentence…

If you’re recording the interview and publishing it in audio or video form, you’ll need to watch out for these.  These filler words and sounds are used in everyday conversation but in a recorded interview, they can become terribly annoying. If you haven’t recorded yourself speaking much, do a trial run and listen to your speech mannerisms. Over time you WILL get better at removing these, and you will find that they are eradicated from conversation also.

Good Posture

It sounds a bit mad but having good posture and eye contact during a video recording makes a big difference. Sitting up straight helps with your breathing and the way you speak, checking where your webcam is so you are looking at the person on video, not on your screen helps also.

It’s amazing how many people watch the screen yet when they look back are looking down and appear disinterested yet as a presenter I know exactly why that has happened. It does feel a bit strange to start with but you soon get in the habit and it then starts to feel normal.

Active Listening

Listen actively to what is being said after all they are your guest and have something interesting to say, ignore distractions. Don’t think about what you’re going to say next. After the interviewer is done speaking, repeat back to them a summary of your understanding of what they’ve said. This is a great tool for communication because it clarifies that you understood the meaning and also restates the main point for your listeners.

A good interviewer will allow the conversation to flow naturally and this may disrupt your pre-written questions slightly but hey we are human beings and providing its kept on topic then go with it.

I can’t state how highly important it is to know when to stay quiet. However when you do have someone you are interviewing that just keeps going and this can happen because they are nervous. You need to find a natural pause (normally when they come up for air) to jump in and regain control of the interview again.

Ask for Clarification, Details, and Examples

You’ll create a list of questions for your interview, but you should also ask follow-up questions to their answers that clarify what they have said, ask for further details or ask for examples, case studies are always a fantastic way to express something as we can all relate to other peoples experiences it add a real connection element to the interview as well. This shows that you’re listening but also allows you to get more deeply into specific topics that you think your audience would be interested in.

Ask them before the interview for any links they may have for their website or social media channels, this will save all the ‘how do you spell that’ situations which don’t come across too well.

See It as a Conversation

Your interview shouldn’t be an interrogation. Rather, it should be a conversation. Relax and be natural. You don’t have to just ask questions and listen to the interviewee’s answers. Keep it relaxed and conversational, and guide the conversation through your questions. If you have done your homework and have a relationship with the person you are interviewing this will make it easier for you. If you have no idea what they are up to in their business or in their lives then this may prove to be a bit more tricky.

Keep calm and keep the reigns of the interview firmly in your hands, when we see a good interviewer it’s made to look easy, they look relaxed, often laughing with their guest and keeping the conversation flowing, this hasn’t happened by accident it takes preparation, an experience something everyone can achieve.

To Your Success

Kevin

 

 

Where Exactly Do You Find Influencers To Interview

In my last blog post I was talking about the mistakes you need to avoid when interviewing an influencer, this blog post is going to help you to find the influencers to interview. You may have some already in your network but the chances are you are going to want to find some more.

Here are some ideas on how you can find the influencers that you want to interview and do it without being a pain.

Recognised Authors

Look for authors of trade magazines articles or industry blogs. Since anyone can and should start and write a blog, look for blogs that are widely read and trusted in your industry. It’s even better if the author has an established reputation offline in the media as well. You can do a Google search for blogs using keywords in your niche, take the results with the highest page rank, and look at their authors.

Another great way to find influential authors is by searching on Amazon, all of the authors will have an authors page so you can see exactly how influential they are with what they are doing on Amazon. You can see the books they have written or contributed to along with the feedback /reviews they have received, nothing says influencer more than a stream of people saying how great their work is.

Social Media

Use hashtag searches to find influencers on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The great thing about social media is that it delivers stats about influencers directly through their number of followers. However, you shouldn’t just go by followers alone (of course nobody in the history of Twitter has ever bought followers have they?). See how much actual activity there is on their profile and the kinds of conversations they’re having. You can also search on social media to see who people are mentioning, Facebook is great for tagging and sharing and if you know who is being tagged to give advice or contribute to a topic you have a good place to start when searching for those in the know.

Your Network

Use your own followers to find out who else they follow. You can sometimes glean this information by simply looking at their social media profiles and the other content that they share. Social media sites like Facebook allow you to see who your friends and followers like providing the accounts are set that way within their privacy settings. You’ll also see their shared content. Another great way is to simply ask or put up a poll, you may be surprised at just how helpful your own network can be. Remember as a business you have been growing your email list. Reach out in your emails ask there as well, the chances of your request being seen are higher and it helps to keep your list engaged.

Offline

A great place to look is offline. Look at trade shows, events, and seminars. Who’s hosting them or presenting at them? What are the biggest names? This is a great way to find local influencers in a specific geographical area. An advantage of finding influencers offline is that it gives you a good chance to start building an authentic relationship with them in person, which is much easier than connecting only online.You can search for Facebook events and see which events are being held and where and who you know is going, another great resource for this is Meetup where you can search by industry or location. Again ask your network for referrals for events.

Tools

There are also tools you can use that are specifically designed for finding key influencers. These include Klout, Traackr, Kred, Twellow and more. These tools measure the influence of a person using internet, social media, and search data. Some of them offer very detailed profiles that can help you get a good start on your research.

Once you find an influencer somewhere, you should look for them everywhere else as well. For example, if you attend a trade show and come out with a list of potential influencers, check out each through Google search, social media, tools, and so on. Cross-check to get a big-picture view of just how influential the person is and to which audience.

Let me know how you found influencers to interview as iI’msure there will be some more great ideas out there

To your Success

Kevin

Six Easy Ways Your Small Business Can Stand Out From The Crowd

When it comes to starting a small business it’s always an exciting challenge. Getting your feet off the ground and establishing yourself and your business is no easy task, but the great news is it’s never been easier than it is right now . In order to get some attention in the business world you need to think differently and find a way to set your business apart from the rest of the pack. There are some simple things you can do to achieve this, and we’re going to take a look at some ideas that will help find you and recognise you for what you and you new company does.

1. Know Your Audience

First and foremost you have to know who your audience is. You don’t want to be talking about car parts to someone that’s looking for gardening help. Identify your audience. What are they looking for? What do they need? What other things besides what you’re offering are they interested in? Build your avatars using in-depth research and talk to them and their needs.

So often when starting out this crucial part of the process gets overlooked by the desire to ‘get some business’ by talking to everyone you are talking to no one so get this bit right and all of your marketing will be so much easier and give you the results you are looking for.

2. Build a Presence in Your Community

So much emphasis has been put on internet marketing recently that businesses often forget to follow through with conventional marketing. A great way to set yourself apart from the rest is to get involved in your community. support a local charity. Dedicate some time to promoting your business at a local event. Small businesses need a dedicated local following and the best way to build that up is to get involved with your community.

In my transport business we were really well known online, we had a massive digital footprint bigger than the household names however locally people didn’t know who we were, Our decision to go networking locally and get involved in business shows escalated our business not only in recognition but in referals and business from local companies

3. Build a Presence on Social Media

The online presence of your business will always be hugely important when it comes to building your small business. Be interactive. Get people involved. Find out where your avatars are hanging out, that means look at Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google Plus and any other social network you can think of. It will serve you well to set up profiles and company pages on as many social networking sites as possible and focus your attention on those that have your particular audience… btw it won’t be them all nor will it be the same as your mates who has a totally different business to you. Measure and test and scale up or down your activity on these as is necessary.

4. Create a Unique Website

Social media presence is a must but a lot of businesses sacrifice a presence on their own website in order to keep up with their social networks. Don’t be that person. Your website is an should always be the number 1 place you focus your attention online, why? because its the ONLY thing you have complete control over online and its the only thing you will ever own . The power of a well built and maintained website/blog is astronomica and s often vastly underrated   Create or hire someone to create a website which is unique and interactive. Social media is a great way to get people involved but your website should be a direct portal to your business.

I hear all the time ‘well i have a facebook business page which does well for me’ here’s a question what if FB decides to throw you off for no reason, what if FB goes bust and shuts the site down with no warning? what if FB changes the rules and suddenly charge you for a FB business page? all of this is out of your control. By all means, use the social media platforms to your advantage but don’t build your marketing in it’s entirety on just one platform that’s like giving the keys to your business to someone you have never met complete insanity.  Create or hire someone to create a website which is unique and interactive. Social media is a great way to get people involved but your website should be a direct portal to your business.

If you don’t have a website or blog then Create or hire someone to build one which is unique and interactive. Social media is a great way to get people involved but your website should be a direct portal to your business.

5. Write a Press Release

A press release is something so simple that could help you see big results. Putting out a press release about your newest product or service and distributing it to local newspapers and other forms of media can build hype and get you attention. This is your chance to talk up your business and get some eyes on what you’re doing.

These nlocal outlets are crying out for content, positive things to shout about so remember you are more than welcome to approach them with news of your latest business award or your latest launch product, maybe you’ve just moved into a new office or hired your first member of staff the list goes on so take the opportunity to get the word out there.

6. Use Video

Video is a hot thing at the moment, the social media channels love it , the search engine adore it and places like youtube are built for it. Video has two options a pre-recorded video or a live stream video both are incredibly powerful in connecting with your audience.

Mobile phones now can produce stunning results with video these are more than adequate to give you a professional image whilst keeping your costs as a small business right down. All that will hold you back is your imagination.

Remember

When it comes to marketing your business, the sky is the limit. Don’t make the same mistakes that others do. Make sure you distinguish your business by covering all aspects of marketing – both conventional and unconventional. Give these a try and don’t be afraid to experiment.

To your success

essex small business uvp

Strategy: There’s More Than One Way to Eat a Burger…

With 6 burgers, 4 slices of mature cheddar cheese, 6 rashers of bacon, topped with pulled pork in a lightly toasted brioche bun, you might think the Devastator Burger is too big to eat.

At first glance, it seems massive. There’s just so much food, and it’s all the wrong foods together, stacked up and what looked tempting when you ordered looks like there’s enough food to feed a family of 10.

Business can seem the same too. There can seem so much to do, and so much that needs doing. Where do you start? How do you get to the end? What do you do along the way?

Eating a huge burger, and business have many things in common. Without a strategy, you won’t be able to eat the burger, and the same goes for business. Without a strategy, you won’t complete the goals that you need in order to live the life of your dreams.

You’ll also have regrets… Remember that huge burger that I couldn’t eat? Remember when I started a business?

And your friends will remind you about it all the time – remember that huge burger you got that time? Why didn’t you finish it? Eyes too big for your belly!  Remember that business you started? How did that work out again? You won’t enjoy barbecues or get-togethers ever again if you don’t have a plan.

It can seem that people only remember the struggle, or the failings and not the successes. Human beings are wired to recall things this way, but let’s give them very little to remember about ๐Ÿ˜‰

Start with what you’ve got

List what you have. All this burger consists of is 6 burgers, a bit of cheese, a bit of bacon, pulled pork and a brioche bun. Why a brioche bun? Well, this gives you the advantage – no sesame seeds to get caught in your teeth. This type of bun is rich in taste as it’s made with eggs and butter, and even when lightly toasted it has a shiny exterior glaze. A normal burger bun would soak up the juices and become soggy. This type of bun holds the burger in burger shape for longer…

The same with any business related task – break it down into components. Business is always overwhelming when you don’t know what to do or where to start. This isn’t where you want to be. You don’t want to fixate on the size of the job or you’ll never start.

Remember not to focus on the enormity of your task

Break your tasks into smaller items. When I have a burger this size after admiring it and taking a photo for Instagram, I take it to pieces. All I have now is a plate full of food. Do this with your business strategy – create smaller pieces that can be separated from the end outcome, but when combined achieve your goals.

When Sarah shared the photo on Facebook, there were a lot of comments about the size of the burger. If you’re surrounded by people reminding you of the enormity of your commitment, put them from your mind. They’re speaking from their own point of view, and that’s not your view is it? They don’t know your strategy.

Now I have a plate full of meat and I cut it into smaller pieces, and then I eat fast. When you eat fast you don’t listen to your body signaling its full. If you drink water or coffee with your food you will find that you can eat more. Now, I don’t recommend you eat this way often. It’s not a healthy way to eat at all. I have a burger like this once every 18-24 months. I could not sustain eating this way more frequently, and it would permanently damage my health. Know that you can do something like this a few times in your lifetime, but the goal is worth it.

Implementing your strategy is the same. There will be things you do that are not good for you  – like pulling an all-nighter to get something done. These happen when there’s no other alternative (like outsourcing, sub-contracting etc). Like swotting for an exam, it’s something you do for a small amount of time to achieve a specific goal. Know and understand this. If you’re pulling too many all-nighters then you need to get assistance. If you find your relationships are deteriorating then you need to get support in. If there are skills you lack, you have the option to learn them or the option to buy them in. You do not have the luxury of complaining about what you lack.

In the case of my burger, I had two daughters eyeing it up, waiting for a signal that they could have a bite. That signal didn’t come, but it was reassuring to know the burger could be devoured in a heartbeat if I’d sat back let my assistants help.

I ate this enormous burger in my own time. There’s a devastator burger challenge, where if you eat the burger in 10 minutes you get a t-shirt. I’ve plenty of tee shirts and plenty of time. For me, eating this burger at my own pace was more important than the thought of something else cluttering my wardrobe.

Did I finish the burger?

Yes and no. I left a bite of the brioche bun, about an inch in diameter. They’re not my burger bun of choice. Purists will say technically I didn’t finish the burger. This is very easy to say when you’ve not eaten 6+ burgers. For them, the task wasn’t completed, but for me it was.

The same applies to your business strategy. You may have 99% of it in place, and you’re growing at a pace you can handle without too many all-nighters, staffing issues, or cashflow problems, then you’re in a great place. Most people don’t achieve this level of success. They quit as soon as they see the depth of what they need to do. Don’t let the 1% missing make you feel like a failure. Don’t let other people make you feel bad for achieving something that they haven’t done themselves.

Remember:

  • Big tasks can easily be made into smaller tasks
  • You can get help
  • You don’t have to do it at someone else’s pace
  • You can do things that are tough every now and then but not all the time
  • To know your own success measurements and compare yourself only to them

What’s next on my food challenge? Well, I have my eye on a huge steak…

To your success

Kevin

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