Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pinterest: For Service Businesses

Your Pinterest Boards Can Be On ANY Topic! 

I'm a big fan of Pinterest and in a post on it to a group over on Linkedin I was asked:

"Do you have some examples of using Pinterest to market a service?"

I made a quick search and came back with these examples. 

Service Businesses Using Pinterest


This is a building company that provides new building renovations, new homes and home maintenance. 

This is a new one I set up for my coaching (my personal Pinterest board is more expansive with a wider range of topics covered on boards)

Here is a legal firm 

This is a new one by an accountant firm 

This is a female plumber 

This is an architect 

This is one I set up with a home theme and example that would work for anyone in the building and decorating or styling industry - Dream Home

This is a tour guide company

This is a dentist 

This is a hair salon 

This is a mortgage broker 


As I went looking for examples a few came readily to mind since I know the businesses personally. What was striking was how few businesses are making good use of this fantastic resource to stand out from the crowd and show some of their personality and importantly - understanding of the topics that are important to their customers and network.

Pinterest has a lot of uses that can help business with curating their online content and effectively bookmarking and sharing information that is useful in one's own business - and for customers and other members of the community in which one resides.

Business has to be more than one dimensional. We don't work with "customers" our customers are people and they all have interests and needs, and aspirations that Pinterest can help us learn more about and understand. The more we know about our customers interests the better we can serve them. Pinterest is fantastic for uncovering topics of interest we didn't even know we had!

Sharing them can be very powerful.

Just opening a Pinterest account is not enough

Like any social media platform just having an account is not enough. It needs to be active and have something interesting to say. People follow people and that means following those people on Pinterest who have good habits of pinning stuff that is a match with your interests that you want to share.

When you understand the personas of your client segments then this becomes much easier to fathom how to make your selections of which boards to follow. Sometimes you might want to only follow particular boards - for example, someone might have a lot of craft boards that are not what you like but they also have a good board of quotations, so you might follow that. Keep in mind a lot of people pin quotations that are just bad thinking so pick well.

The other aspect that many who are using Pinterest have still not yet mastered, is to make their account work for them to drive traffic to their website. You can repin other pins but it is important to also use your own blog posts and articles that showcase your expertise, and optimise these for SEO and link them back to your own website.

Think Niche


Pinterest is a great place to find out how to do things. How to learn things, how to save money, how to discover new things you didn't know about. Great for planning trips, or creating boards for a vision or setting goals, or getting some inspiration on what things you might like to set for goals later.

It is the ultimate window shopping platform that you can "buy" things on without spending money and research against other things in the market. You can save your finds and refer back to them later - and Pinterest will even notify you if something you have pinned with a price, comes on sale.

And remember, the more niche the interest - the more popular it will be with people who love that topic and find it hard to get good information and resources on it.


Work Out A Strategy For Using Pinterest



Again, just like other social media platforms, a business needs a strategy for making the most of Pinterest.

Spend some time and get help you need to get started the right way. This should be just a part of your overall marketing plan that incorporates your online activity.

While a lot of what is typically pinned to Pinterest is cooking recipes and handy crafts ( all good skills that can save you money and be useful), it doesn't  have to be just about nail polish and fitness articles.  Pinterest boards can be just as easily set up for historical notes for academics, stock market monitoring, investment education, sales training, business development, the list is endless and the only real restriction to how useful it can be is our imagination.





Like to discuss your business? Contact Lindy Asimus on 0403 365 855 or use the contact form on this page. Lindy Asimus Business Coaching Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lift Productivity In Your Business With This Knowledge


Business owners are always conscious of the money going out in the business. They want to get good value from every dollar spent. When it comes to productivity though, it can be hard to see if the money the business is giving a good return on the expense. They would do well to pay attention to also what the hidden cost of not spending some money might have in terms of productivity gains being stifled.

"On average, Australian workers spend 16% of their day 
on activities that waste their time and effort."


How do you measure productivity within your team?

Some statistics I came by recently are from an ongoing series of surveys with responses gathered from 2100 individuals across seven Australian industries. The findings were quite interesting and held what I think will surprise a lot of business owners.

Top Time Wasters In Business
The top three areas where time is lost in business is in these areas:


  1. People can't get on with their work due to delays waiting for someone with more authority to review their work, or waiting for additional input from other parties. (16%)
  2. Time-wasting emails (15%)
  3. Technology waiting time. (13%)

Not All Employees Are Equally Productive
There is a tendency for some business owners to equate time spent on the job with productivity. In fact the survey results show this is quite wrong. 

There is no correlation between time at work and productivity. Indeed, the least productive employees often spend the most time at work! 

The most productive employees are particularly likely to be wasting time waiting on technology.
The least productive group are wasting their time in unproductive meetings

Qualities of productive employees and unproductive employees were striking to say the least. As shown in the survey, despite the gender pay gap and the difficulty older people have in getting employment, the most productive workers were more likely to be female and older workers. 

productive employees characteristics
Characteristics of Most Productive Employees

unproductive employees characteristics
Characteristics of Least Productive Employees


Yet typically the recruiting processes commonly followed are likely to screen out those very people who are potentially MOST productive employees!

Productivity By Industry
These industries represent those surveyed and this is their productivity ranking.

productivity by industry australian EY survey

Declining productivity

Where productivity has declined over time, the reasons employees cite for this are issues controlled by management. While of these four reason given, one is defined as poor management communication, the other three can also relate to a communication issue.

Workers attributed productivity declines to:
  • Poor management
  • Lack of motivation and incentives
  • Staff being treated poorly
  • Poor management communication

The Role of Managers In Productivity

While it may be the individual workers' combined efforts that lead to higher productivity, getting the best from the team is a job for and a reflection of the owner and manager.

Killers of high productivity

  • Needless complexity
  • No environment that values and provides training 
  • Tasks given to employees, but not the authority required to go with the responsibility
  • No performance management strategy
  • No vision for the employees to buy into
  • Time wastage due to inadequate technology


Productivity Improvement: The Upside

As you can see from these sets of data, the gains in productivity can be huge by just improving some areas of business.

That means taking stock of what's happening in the business, and taking steps to improve the efficacy of the business, and the competence of the management, and the flexibility to adapt to a changing marketplace.

That's good news for those businesses willing to improve their productivity and face their own internal devils.

Related:
Business articles 




Like to discuss your business? Contact Lindy Asimus on 0403 365 855 or use the contact form on this page. Lindy Asimus Business Coaching

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Marketing For The Year You Live In

Gary Vaynerchuk is an interesting character. He doesn't pull his punches and his language can be a bit in-your-face but his thinking is spot on - and contains no fluff.

Too many businesses are doing 'marketing' that feels good to them - not what feels good to customers.  Customers are looking for new things and new ways of getting their information so your marketing should be meeting them where they are not where your head is and what's comfortable for you.

 
  

Many business owners are still confused about all the changes that have happened with the growth of online tools and social media.

These things are not going away. Your business needs you to understand the new business marketplace and customer needs so you can address them in a practical way and be relevant - and proximate - to your customers.

This is a basic requirement for business now. 
  

Monday, January 05, 2015

Resolutions Versus Goals: The Difference

Resolutions Not The Same As Goals 

These terms are often confused, and many think that making a resolution is the same as setting a goal. Worse - these resolutions are often made without a clear understanding how to make them work effectively, and precisely what they are an undertaking to do. So when they fail ... it firms up any belief that we might have or secretly suspect, that "Goals/Resolutions don't work".

People work.

Goals and resolutions both, are just methods used to facilitate a desired outcome. One in the longer term (future) and one that happens right now!

So goals and resolutions are not the same thing. But how do they differ?

To make a resolution is to decide right now to do something or stop doing something. It takes no planning - any consideration is already done.

Setting goals effectively requires planning, determining the ecology of the goal - so that you achieving one goal doesn't cost you in other ways you didn't expect.

Goals should ideally be part of a comprehensive plan to improve all areas of life so that they are compatible and not counter productive.

That means attention to detail on:
  • What you want to set as a goal and achieve
  • Time frame in which to do it 
  • That it is reasonable and has some capacity to be achievable
  • That you have the resources available to achieve the goal
  • That you have a way to know when you have achieved the goal and 
  • HOW you will go about achieving the goal - the steps needed. 


By contrast a resolution we can decide to do right now.

It is a determination to stop doing something we are doing now. Or start doing something we are not doing now.

Resolutions work hand-in-hand with goals.

Here's an example. We may have a goal to makeover our home in a new design. But we don't have the money to do everything at once so we may work on the goal and in the process resolve to:
  • Get rid of old boxes from the garage that have been there since the last move. 
  • Throw out or give away clothing that is in the closet that does not fit any more. 
  • Ensure that everything we keep has a place for it to be stored easily and make that space for it.
By following through on these resolutions that we can do right now, we are also working toward making our goal happen. 

Another example might be to set a goal to lose weight.  That's not going to happen all at once and will need some planning and goals set to formulate a way for this to be achieved. 

But in the meantime we can resolve to: 
  • Stop buying packets of snack food at the supermarket (reduce temptation at home)
  • Have three meals a day
  • Keep some nuts or carrot sticks in the refrigerator in case you feel like a snack
  • Cook meals 
  • Not buy takeaway dinners 
  • Buy vegetables and fixings for making meals from scratch. 
  • Learn how to cook 3 new recipes to empower us to have healthy meals (if we have not been cooking until now)

Resolutions - Make Them Easy To Be Good At! 

Resolutions don't have to be hard. Make them easy things that you can see work and get practice at achieving the things you promise yourself when you resolved to do that thing, (or to stop doing that thing).

Small Changes Big Impact 

It is amazing how much progress we can make to improving our life just by starting with a resolve to tidy up all those easy things that are just minor annoyances in life or subtle changes in our habits that have been stopping us from having our life be the way we would prefer.

Sure there may be big things too. A resolution carried out gives us confidence in our ability to do what we say we will do. That's important to maintain our credibility with others but perhaps even MORE important that we know we can rely on our word to ourselves.

So - what's the easy thing you can resolve to do today that will make a difference to your success this year?

Related articles on Goals






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Contact Lindy Asimus on 0403 365 855 or use the contact form on this page.
 Lindy Asimus Business Coaching
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Saturday, December 20, 2014

This Help All Business Needs On Social Media Marketing


 Many business owners are active online to some degree. They have listened to a webinar about online marketing or attended a workshop or some other event where the idea of being on social media for marketing has been the topic pushed at them.

Then they come to this point, which was explained very succinctly recently in an email I received.

"Generally I am finding that there is so much information out there, it's hard to figure out where to concentrate on for small wins, where improvements can be made with the website/ social media channels etc, marketing plan and so forth

As mentioned I am really trying to read and read and read when possible but some guidance / coaching is probably going to help me reach my goals a lot sooner"

Points for this business owner being perceptive enough to know that trying to do it all alone can be both a false economy and a source of needless confusion and frustration. 

Are you feeling lost in the maze? 

What all business needs to know on using social media marketing 

Integration

Your website is integral to your business presence online.  That means that it must be effective not just on the page for visitors but also "in the back" where Google reads it.   

Your efforts to promote your business online can't be spent all on promoting online properties you don't own. If you want to promote Facebook, get a job there, don't do your work for them on your business Page free and imagine that they can't take it away in a moment. They can and they might. Meanwhile you can use it all you like but don't build your whole presence on a rented platform. 

Integrating your website with your social media platforms means that your social efforts are captured with your website and customers can find their way to your site for more information, to check you out and to see that you are the real deal! Trust is a high value commodity online and one of the things that you and your business needs is the means to develop trust. That's where social media can help. 


Audience (Really Your Online Network)

Well let me start by saying "audience" is definitely the wrong word for what you are building. It's wrong because at the most basic level, broadcasting to your online network is not the thing. 

Before you can occasionally broadcast a promotion, you need a network of people who are willing and interested in following you and receiving your updates, and people are interested in people who are interested in them.  That comes way before you can effectively build your useful network of eyes (people) to see your offers. 

There is no shortcut to this. Engagement is essential.

If you have a high level of traffic into your business then you can begin to build your online network with those who are already familiar with and like what you do. 


Message

Knowing clearly what the single message is that you want people to know about your business is vital to being able to create the types of content and target that message to get to the people who want to know about it. 

If your products and services are geared to satisfying customers who are male, 30 - 50 and single then your message is going to be significantly different and needs to be in front of another set of people than if you were looking to develop a network of senior citizens with an interest in buying a retirement unit. 

For social media your business can use successfully, you need a clear message and a clear persona of who your content is meant to delight and help solve their plight.  

Content 

It's fantastic that we all have cameras  with us now everywhere we go. What's not so good is the confusion that this can bring about. Your products and services need more than just Instagram photos to show them off well.  Some products are easier than others to capture well in an image. Professional images need to be a priority for some uses online. That's your website, your promotional material and some other work you might want to share as a template that you can adapt and re-use.  If you are selling meals, professional product photography is an art form. Not an iPhone filter. 

Building trust is not what you get with stock photos on your website of people who don't work there. It's like a high resolution statement that your business is not to be trusted. 

Graphic design in the form of banners and marketing collateral will make you stand out as well prepared and fastidious, and your own photos taken through the day supplement these to show you as being real. 

The topics you will write about, the articles that you curate and share with a comment, all of these add up to elements of your content and context marketing. This is a critical part of your online marketing strategy and needs proper resourcing and skills, and experience to do well. 

Platform

Don't like Twitter but like Facebook? That may be irrelevant. If your people who love what you do and are potential customers love Instagram, you better learn to like it too.  Remember this social thing is not about playing on Facebook, it is work and it is about having your business in the right place at the right time for the right people. I notice that when people tell me they don't like a platform, it follows that they don't understand it and have no idea how to use it properly. Opportunity, once it is seen, is hard not to like. 

Online is alive too. 

No matter how much we might like being online, many times the people we would like to get to know and develop some influence with are not online. Or not yet on the platforms that we might prefer. Consider how you will bring people online from offline so they can follow you and make your business updates part of their day. Enrolling people to your online properties, signage, promoting online profiles offline... all of these are part of your online business marketing.

Research

It doesn't matter what you know today, there is much you don't know about how to make this work for your business. Whatever you know today, be sure, that it will not be the same a month from now. This online environment changes by the hour. What tricks some are using to work today, will work against businesses tomorrow. Count on that. What won't change is a good strategy. Your tactics might flex, but the strategy will see you through that in good health  Staying up-to-date with these changes is a full time job and not one that many businesses have either the time or the understanding to manage well. 

Research is an ongoing facet of the online marketing space and this must have a place in your marketing process. 

Each of these topics above mean hours and hours of work to prepare, to promote and to get really good at in your business. 

You can try to cover off on all of these things alone, or you get some help to do more and get to your goals faster, and with less hassle.  One more thing help buys us is a fresh set of eyes. That can be just the thing we need to find our way out of the maze that is social marketing. 

Money for jam

Once you have established your working network online, you have the basis of your own business sales channel. You can then feed it and help it grow. 

That's something you can't buy ... but you can fund. 

And it can be amazing!

Related posts:
How to start blogging for business - and what to write about
10 Steps To Local Marketing Online
The Dirty Secrets Business Needs To Know About Social Media
Why You Need To Build Your Mailing List And How To Do It
How To Get Your Local Business Found Online
How-To: Developing A Social Media Strategy For Marketing
Quick & Dirty Business Review
Test Your Website For Roadworthiness
What You Should Know About Social Media For Business




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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

New Habits Feed Motivation For New Behaviours


Want to get motivated? Try some new habits!

Here's something that might surprise you. What you think motivates you... probably doesn't.

We have a lot of ideas about who we are, what drives us. What prevents us from doing the things we profess to want to do. The sobering truth is that we people are really not that good at separating what we think we do and our actual behaviour. Some social psychology studies reveal interesting myths we tend to believe and it is far different than what actually changes behaviour.

Goals and Motivation

Some look at motivation as something that we go to a workshop or seminar to 'fill up our tank' with motivation. The problem with that is that after the expensive seminar, we are back home and leaking motivation till the tank is empty again.

Rather than look outside ourselves for motivation, it is more useful to find that essence inside that connects with that is truly of value to us at a core level.

Setting goals for things that don't matter is pretty pointless. If it is just stuff that has no meaning, put it on a shopping list or drop it altogether. Pretending to set goals we have no intention of changing our habits in order to achieve just trains us to be unreliable, untrustworthy and all that does is erode self esteem.  If you are not going to do something, own it. When we make promises we have no intention to honour we erode our self respect. Whether we know it or not.

Be clear on what it is you want
Be clear on what purpose having what you want achieves for you.
Be clear on what not having this will mean for you and those around you.
Be clear on the steps that need to happen and the order in which you will carry them out in order for this to happen.
Budget for whatever resources you need to make this happen. That might be in money or time, or both.

Set Your Expectations And Make New Habits.

If you are setting out to achieve a change in your behaviour then you will be looking to isolate the current habits that you have which are preventing you from getting the results that come with the new behaviour.  Once you have identified the habits that are stopping you - then you need to identify a new set of habits that underpin your new behaviour and assist you to reach your intended outcome. Work this through to make sure this new habit has the potential to do what it needs to do for you. That taking on this new habit will achieve the resulting behaviour but won't create unintended downside effects that make problems or add stress to your life or for those around you.

Let's look at an example.

Say you feel pudgy and tired all the time and stressed out. You want to get more physically active but time is a pressure for you. You don't feel like you have any time to yourself and if you take time to go for a walk or other activity then you will be putting pressure on your partner to manage the household alone.

 New Behaviour

You want to walk for half an hour
Take time to meditate for ten minutes
Get ready for work without being rushed.

The Why - Purpose: Is to feel better, less stressed and more in control of life.

New habit: Set the alarm for an hour earlier and take this time to do whatever is required for your new behaviours.

Previously, you set the alarm for 6.30 am.

Now you set the alarm for 5.30 am. And you get up when it goes off.

Feel like you are missing out if you don't get a bit of a sleep in? Set it for 5. 10 and be up and out of bed by 5.25 am. Refreshed.

Sabotaging Your Adult Self

Now what happens, some people will look at the idea of getting up at 5.30am as a kind of punishment. Something that your parents might make you do, like you are a little kid. Like a little kid you might be tempted to "cheat" and oversleep.

But there is nobody to cheat. Only you.

New Habits

Now you are walking each morning
Taking time to meditate and reflect on life
Clearing the time to get ready for work at a leisurely pace
Not taking time away from your other commitments

A Gift To Yourself 

Getting an extra hour a day just for you, is a long way from a punishment. It is the greatest gift that you can give yourself. A whole hour to just do your thing without being required to do anything else for anyone. No obligations, no expectations from others, just a set of things for you to do, that gets you the results that you want, and makes life easier and your energy more abundant.

Now that's something to get you motivated, and rewarded!

Resolutions - They are not the same as goals! 
How to set goals you will reach
When you want to be motivated - use your habits to help! 




Like to discuss your business?
 Call me on 0403 365 855 or
 Lindy Asimus Business Coaching
  Subscribe to Actionbites Blog

Monday, November 17, 2014

Set Up Policies & Procedures For Small Business



Update:

I wrote this a while back and reading it again I was wondering what I'd change. Not much but I would add that the technology to manage this is so much more accessible now.  That means that there is no excuse for businesses to be struggling through poor attention to creating efficient systems to use for repetitive tasks. Too often poor systems translate into work billed not being paid, and extra cost for business that it doesn't need to spend. And no money going where it can bring in new business. 

Documenting your tasks in the business and producing well-written accurate procedures and policies is your key to a well-run business.  This allows you to systemise your business and that means managing your resources and your compliance obligations efficiently.

 The spin-off advantage - your employees know what they are supposed to be doing - and how - and also why it is important.  That saves you time, ensures consistency and that makes good financial sense.

It reduces stress and lets employees function at high performance and be more productive and happy at work. 

Tasks To Be Performed

Start by capturing every duty within the role for that job. This is a great time to assess if this action is still working effectively, or if there are modifications that can be made to streamline and more efficiently cover that activity.

Starting with tasks means that those doing the role now can take responsibility for completing the tasks and documenting them as they exist. It also allows you to see if some tasks are better assigned to a different role, or perhaps delegated to a new role as the business grows. Of course for new businesses you may be carrying out ALL of these tasks yourself!

Policies and Procedures

























Some policies and procedures centre around obligations that a company has to ensure compliance with work health and safety. Others are just good management devices that ensure things get done on time and in the right way. Part of your role as owner or manager of the business is to make it easy for your employees to do the right thing the right way. They should never have to 'guess' what you want or how you want it done to your company specification. Getting this right can be tricky, but this is where you need to be very clear in your instructions and cover every section!

The Employee Manual 

Creating a manual for employees gives you a head start when you want to hire a new person for a role and lets them 'hit the ground running'. You can include your vision and cultural statements and history of the business to date, as well as policies they are to follow and a clear diagram showing to whom they report, their duties and he standard that they are to perform.. Issues around uniform, behaviour and pay dates as well as holiday protocols can all be set out, as well as any drug and alcohol policy, etc. Awards that apply and any additional opportunities for training or career development that may exist can also be included. Also induction procedures.


Organisation Chart

A well articulated heirarchy showing to whom each employee reports does several things. One it shows clearly to whom the employee should go for instruction and to report - and who not to! 

This also serves to clarify to those people to whom the person reports, just where their obligations to the employee reside and makes it easier to recruit new employees if someone leaves or the workload grows and requires more employees to be added.

Training & Testing Knowledge

Having policies and procedures documented is a great start, but it is up to management to ensure that employees - and managers including the owners - understand what the policies mean and that they comply with them. It isn't enough to have a policy and then for the managers to ignore them.


Performance Management

When management and employees have a clearly stated case for what is expected, managing performance becomes simple. You can see if the policies and procedures are being adhered to and should this not be happening, remedial action can be taken as it happens, to correct the behaviour, add any resources that prevent the processes being followed and get everyone back on track.


Getting this all happening can  take some time but it is well worth it. Once policies and procedures are set up you can keep them up-to-date and manage the business more efficiently and without the headaches.

If you need help in getting started, get help.
If you would like me to work with you on this, you can contact me at the address below.


Lindy Asimus
Business Coach
Mobile: 61 + (0) 403 365855
lindyasimus@gmail.com

www.lindyasimus.com

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Get your business on Google ...free!
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Local business: Tips to online marketing 
Getting started with your business blog
Social media help for your business



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