The Business of Service

Posted: December 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

Performance Tip of the Week

If you were to ask most entrepreneurs why they are in business, many would answer, “To be of service to others.” True, there are those whose motives are purely financial — and I am not discounting the need to pay the bills — but the entrepreneurs in my circle definitely lead and give from the heart. We are in the business of service.

That being said, even when we are in the business of service, generating revenue is the only way we will stay in business. The challenge is finding a balance between giving, and operating a viable enterprise.

New entrepreneurs can easily fall into the trap of believing that in order to get their business off the ground, they need to give their products and services away. The reality is that your prospects will only value what you also value. And your time, expertise, and experience have value, even when you are just starting out. They should not be casually given away. There is a big difference between business strategy and charitable giving.

No matter where you are in your business, it is always possible to serve without giving away the farm. The difference lies in your ability to leverage your value in exchange for something of equal or greater value — if not financial compensation, then perhaps an email address, exposure to new prospects, a referral, or testimonial.

With my current 12 Days of Experts promotion, the 12 experts and I are leveraging the power of a singular focus — helping you become a business power player — and the combined strength of our networks to extend our reach even further. Though we are giving a lot of valuable content to you, we are getting exposure to a broader audience as a group. We are able to serve the women entrepreneurs community, and grow our businesses too – an example of a win-win.

So the next time you entertain thoughts of giving your content or time away at no charge, make sure your motives make good business sense. Strategize the best way for you to share value, without negatively impacting the perception of your offer by not leveraging a solid return on your investment.

by Dr. Shannon Reece

Dr. Shannon Reece What are you doing to serve your community, without devaluing your gifts?

drshannonreece.com

Posted by Natasha Golinsky

Every organization wants a team made up a top talent. These people work harder, are more resilient, are more motivated and require less supervision than most people on your team.  They love to work on their own at their own pace and are very self-motivated.

The temptation is to let these people just do their thing and trust them to get the job done (because they always do). The leadership team gets used to not supervising this person and instead puts their focus on the others who may need more support to complete the project; however, there is a balance between giving independence and taking advantage of the individual’s personal drive.

Don’t supervise them – support them. Don’t inspect their work – inspire them to even greater things. Don’t handhold – volunteer to help them out.  Let them take the lead on the project but stay close enough to let them know you’re there if they need anything.

From experience, these types of people are incredibly productive and focused as long as they feel like their work is appreciated and that they have the support they need when they need it.

Just because they don’t ask for help, don’t assume they like doing it on their own all the time.

Natasha Golinsky

Wife, mom, servant-leader, fire-starter… Helping Christian nonprofit leaders transform strategic plans into world-changing results.

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What are you selling?

Posted: November 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

by Alyssa Avant

As an online business owner there are specific steps one must take when setting up your business online.  In my last blog post I talked about target market.   Knowing your target market is a critical step to online business success.  A next step is knowing what you are selling.  Are you selling a product or a service?  You may even choose to sell a combination of both.  There are even online business models that include selling other people’s products or services and you can still make money.

Let’s look at some of your options.  You could sell physical products in an ecommerce store. Here, you would actually own a web store where customers would place orders and then ship them a physical product. At first you might start out by having a dropshipping relationship with manufacturers so you don’t have to warehouse your own products. Then, as you become more successful you’ll want to start housing some of your own products to reduce your per item costs.

Another option is to sell a digital product, also known as information products. Infoproduct marketing is when you’re selling products that teach people how to do things. These products can be anything from “How to Get a Girlfriend” to “How to Get a Babysitting Job” to “How to Increase Your Miles Per Gallon.”
The possibilities are endless. You need three primary skills to succeed in information marketing:
1) The ability to bring traffic to your website.
2) The ability to create good content in a specific area.
3) The ability to convince people online that your infoproduct is a good investment that will help them solve their problem.

Once you have these three skills, you’ll be able to produce many profitable infoproduct websites.

Finally, there is also the option to sell your services.  Many online professionals use the internet daily to sell a specific service. Everything from virtual assistance, to web design, from business coaching to matchmaking.  There are thousands of options for selling services as well.

No matter what you’re selling, whether it be a product or a service it is important that you know what you’re attempting to sell and that you understand the market that is looking to purchase your offering.  Through this knowledge you will be able to market your product or service in a such a way that it will be irresistible to your audience and you and your business in turn will be successful.

Alyssa Avant is a published author, professional speaker and tech magician. Alyssa has been working virtually since 2007. She has years of experience working with online professionals and business owners.  Her book FaithLeaps: The Christian Moms Guide to Passion, Purpose, and Profits will release this fall.  She is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others so they can avoid the years of trial and error that she experienced as a new online business owner.

By

culture of weYesterday, we discussed How to Triple Your Marketing Team Overnight for $0 by changing the culture in your organization to one where every employee considers themselves a part of the marketing team and is intentional about talking about your org with their friends in person and in their personal social media use.

Well, that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Your employees are probably just a small percentage of the people who know and love what your organization is doing.

  • Churches – every member and regular attender should be spreading the word about your church.
  • Schools – every parent and student could be talking about your school.
  • Non-profits – every volunteer and donor could be sharing the great things your org is doing with their friends.
  • Businesses – every customer or client has a story to tell about you.

Creating a “We” Culture

Just like with employees, if you want your members, parents, students, volunteers, and customers to become a part of your marketing team, you must create a culture where they are motivated to do that. In fact, the culture is even more critical here, because while employees may be motivated to some extent by self-interest (to keep their job or make a good impression on supervisors), your customers, members and volunteers must be inspired by something beyond self interest.

Here are 5 key elements to creating that culture:

1) Expand the “we.” If your primary goal is the success or growth of your organization, you are doomed. That mindset views customers, volunteers, and members as a means to an end. If you want them to talk about you, you need to start by envisioning them as joining with you in a movement that is bigger than your organization. Why does your org exist? To save souls? To end poverty? To cure cancer? To prepare students for adult live? To be a partner with like-minded organizations in providing?

To make this a part of your culture, it has to start at the top and permeate the way your organization thinks about everything. There can no longer be an “us” and a “them.” Whenever you talk, think and dream, it must be about “we,” and “we” must include your customers, volunteers, parents, and members.

2) Communicate the “we.” We live in a society dominated transactional relationships. Our default thought process is “You give me this and in return I’ll give you that.” If you want to change the culture, you have to constantly tell your customers why you’re doing what you’re doing. You’ve got to talk to your volunteers with words like “we” and “us.” You’ve got to remind parents, “We’re all in this together.”

3) Empower the “we.” As you help members, parents, students, customers and volunteers view themselves as part of a bigger movement, you’ve got to create the tools that will empower them to be a part of the “we.”

  • Blog and use social media in ways that make it easy to share what you’re doing with others online.
  • Create Facebook Events that make it easy to invite friends.
  • Facilitate dialog, feedback, and suggestions so everyone can speak into what your organization is doing.
  • Make your paid staff available.
  • Facilitate meet-ups and relationships among customers, members, parents, and volunteers. A lot of this can be done online through social networks.

4) Encourage the “we.” Call people to action – specific action. “Bring a friend.” “Share this video.” “Rate this service.” “Like us on Facebook”

5) Celebrate the “we.” Find examples of members, parents, customers, or volunteers who are spreading the world. Tell their stories. Show specifically how their actions helped further the movement. Recognize those who are making a difference, and it will inspire everyone in the tribe to make a difference.

How does your organization think about its customers, members, parents, students and volunteers? Are they a part of “them” or a part of “we?” What do you think is necessary to create a “we” culture?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck

 By Calahan Solution

Sometimes a very simple tweak can make a huge impact for you and your prospects.

Have you ever had this happen?  You read an email from someone that really impresses you.  You are inspired to take action right away and then you realize that the email does not include contact information.

You don’t have the desire to go to their site to look it up, so you put it off until later.

Don’t let this happen to your prospects!

Today I’ll share two tricks to make it easy for your prospects to pick up the phone and give you a call.

I’ve shared before that saying your phone number at the beginning and again at the end of a voicemail message helps the person on the other end get in contact with you easier. (They don’t have to replay your message a number of times to catch your number.)

The same holds true for your email.

Today’s 60 Second Trick– Put Your Phone Number in Your “Reply to Address”

Your “from” line in email does not have to be just your name.  Make yourself easily accessible!  Update your reply address to include your phone number.  You can see an example of mine below.

Easy productive and efficient communication trick for email

Make Sure your Signature Line has Your Pone Number Too.

Hopefully you already have a signature line on your email that contains your contact information.  If you don’t, add that in a few seconds as well.  It does not have to be fancy, it just has to be there!

Make It Easy for Them to Find You

The benefit of having your phone number in two places is that you are easy to find.  Your number does not have to be looked up.  Any time you make it easier on your prospect, they are more likely to pick up the phone.

The from line trick also makes your phone number show in the reader view pane of their email.  They can see your phone number without ever opening up your email.

Besides, you can spare 60 seconds to make this quick update right?

Outlook: click here to get directions to change sender name in Outlook

Gmail: click here to get directions to change sender name in Gmail

Outlook Express: click here to get directions to change sender name in Outlook Express

I learned this from line trick from Mike over at TPE a while ago and it has been working great for me.  Make it work for you too.

 To your success!
Steph blue

PS – I invite you to sign up to get updates in your email, or you might be interested in less email?  Click to get a weekly digest every Friday.  I promise that we will continue to work hard to provide you with content that will inspire and enhance your experience!

So You Want More Website Traffic

Posted: September 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

by Alyssa Avant

It’s time to demystify getting website traffic. The reality is, it’s not as hard as you think. It does take work – But it’s not difficult work. How do you drive traffic to your website consistently? Here are several proven traffic sources and methods to help you consistently bring people to your website.

A Content-Filled Newsletter 

You’ve probably heard the expression “the money is in the list.” This is SO true. Website owners who put off building their list until sometime “later” are majorly missing out.

The time to start building your list is now.

The attitude you should take with your newsletter is to build your following or audience. The attitude shouldn’t be one of trying to SELL them.

A 90% content to 10% sales ratio is about the maximum amount of selling you should do.

Remember: The goal is to build an audience over the long run, not to try and make as many short term sales as possible while burning out your audience.

Leverage High Quality Content

High quality content is what will bring you the most traffic over time. To build a business successfully means to have high quality content that people want to come back to and send to their friends.

What’s the best ways to leverage high quality content?

The most obvious way is to put it on your own website. You should have more high quality content on your own site than any other site.
Another way to leverage high quality content is to have your content published on other people’s websites. One great way to do this is to guest write for other blogs.

What does this mean? Basically, you write a piece of content exclusively for someone else’s blog or website. The article is highly informative and really hooks others in. At the bottom of the article is a link pointing back at your site.

There are many places you can publish your content. These include article directories, other people’s blogs, which is known as guest blogging and more. The bottom line is to really get your content out there to as many people as possible.

Explore Other Methods of Traffic

Try publishing a YouTube video and see what happens. Experiment with PPC to see if you get a good response. Start a Twitter or Facebook page and see how your audience responds.

Once you start getting decent traffic from your website, expand out to other methods of gaining traffic.

Chances are, only a couple methods will really work for you. But if you don’t try it out, how will you know?

Interviewing Other Experts

One great way to gain both traffic and credibility for your website is to interview other experts on the topics they’re known for.

This does two things. First, it provides high quality content for your own readers and subscribers. But it also links your site with the person you’re interviewing.

The person you interviewed will often post a link to the interview on their own website. Even if they don’t, you’ll still get massive credit in your industry and in the eyes of search engines for interviewing those experts.

If you interview 10 experts, you will almost certainly get at least 5 backlinks back, resulting in both increased rankings and a lot of traffic.

There are many ways to drive traffic to your website. The most important thing is that you’re implementing something today. If you take action, you will always see results. Select the one that appeals the most to you and put it into action now. Gauge the results, then take the next action from there.

 

Alyssa Avant is a published author, professional speaker, and tech magician. Alyssa has been working virtually since 2007. She has years of experience working with online professionals and business owners.

Her book FaithLeaps: The Christian Moms Guide to Passion, Purpose, and Profits will release this fall.

by Stephanie L H Calahen

Where do you spend your time? Where you choose to spend your time directly reflects the financial outcome for your business.

Today, I’ll focus on ways that you can evaluate and adjust how to spend your time so that you can positively impact your bottom line.

What are your strengths & what are your weaknesses?

When working in your business, there are a number of activities that we need to do. Some we are fully suite for, others we are not. Try this exercise. I have listed various areas to consider. Take the time to list these out. Now, I’m not expecting you to take hours to do this. I’m looking for your gut reaction. Ten minutes max.

  • What things do you do naturally that take little effort?
  • What things do you not do well?
  • What activities do you find you procrastinate
    Even if you know how or are good at it when you do the activity, for some reason you find that you just don’t do it.
  • What activities do you dread to do?
    I have one client that processes payroll and schedules a full day for the activity. He hates going into the office on those days and mentally shuts down on those days – thus, payroll takes even longer.
  • What business activities are revenue generating?
    There are activities in your business that will lead to more business and there are others that are necessary, but more operational in nature. Here, list the activities that are necessary to make money in your business.

Where are you spending your time?

Out of the listing you have made from the questions above, highlight the activities that you are doing consistently. Be realistic!

What is the cost?

As you look at the listing that you highlighted, what patterns do you see? Where are you spending your time that just does not make sense? Not sure? Use our cost calculator to determine what your decisions are costing you.

Share your findings

Tell me about where you found you spend your time that you shouldn’t. I’ll help you find how you can delegate the activities so that you can free up your time and enjoy your life!

Where have you delegated tasks? What worked? What didn’t? Share your experiences here! I’m sure that my other readers would appreciate your insight and perspective!

Join me on my page http://www.Facebook.com/StephCalahan1 I’d love to talk with you there.

Get more tips and quotes by connecting on Twitter! @StephCalahan
My clients’ success (as they define success) is my first focus – what their goals are and what they are trying to accomplish. I enjoy seeing my clients soar and reach goals that they did not originally see as possible! It is why I do what I do.