Today a friend of mine reached out to me and asked me to help her with a project that she’s doing. She asked me “Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to your younger self?”. Here are my biggest life lessons; there are personal stories behind each one of these lessons but I’ll spare you the details.
Strive to be happy; try not to let things you can’t control get to you
Don’t worry about what you cannot change. Complaining about the weather, bad traffic, taxes, someone else’s stupidity or working is completely useless. Just be happy you’re alive, no matter what is suboptimal, it could always be worse.
Today I’m writing a blog about how to blog… oh the irony! Recently I’ve had the pleasure of coaching several of my clients and teaching them how to make small easy changes that dramatically improve the impact that their blogs have on their business. Take a few minutes and give this a read, start implementing these recommendations into your blog and enjoy the positive momentum that will result.
Blog regularly. If you’re not going to blog regularly you’ll never gain or keep any of the positive momentum that you’re generating.
Be genuine, don’t have hidden agendas; providing value should be your agenda – people do business with who they know / like / trust. Your blogs are an opportunity to earn this.
Today I decided to prepare a blog that shares the lessons that we’ve learnt from our recent experiences in preparing investor pitch decks. As some of you may know we’ve built our first product, BusinessManage.com, which helps businesses to proactively and effectively manage all facets of their business – projects, tasks, employees, human resources, sales, marketing, finance, knowledge, facilities and the list goes on. As part of this experience we’ve been rewarded with a lot of positive attention from investors in Ottawa, Canada and Los Angeles, California.
If you’re planning to perform a pitch to investors, these tips will really help.
Where do I start?
Every investor pitch deck should have two decks – one for presentation and one to hand out at the end including all of the information you discuss. The reason for this is because if you put too much text in your slides then the potential investors you pitch to will be reading your slides while you’re talking. This is bad, because investors make decisions based upon their belief in you being able to make the business succeed. You need them to listen to you.
Today I was asked for the top lessons that I’ve learnt along my entrepreneurial journey. It took a lot of thought and consideration and as a result I’ve assembled this list of the biggest lessons that have been vital to our success. Take a moment to read and consider them carefully, they very well could be the difference between success and failure for you as well.
Know, Like & Trust
This is the single most important point any entrepreneur must know. People do business with those they know, like and trust. You need to invest the time to allow a client to get to know you, to learn about who you are and what motivates you to succeed. Once they get to know you and see that you care about the products/services that you provide and that you genuinely wish to help them then a bond of trust is created and strengthens as time goes on. Like is the intangible item in this list. In most cases it is easy to build like, but, occasionally personalities are incompatible and it’s unlikely that a sustainable ongoing business relationship will succeed. People are emotional beings, the decisions we make, investments we choose and alliances we form are based upon these three pillars (know, like & trust). If you are able to achieve and maintain all three of these then you’ve acquired a client for life.
Build Your Team
Building businesses requires a team of all-stars. Even solo-preneurs require support from external parties (partners, accountants, lawyers, banks, investors, distributors, resellers, suppliers, and the list goes on). Take the time to build an all-star team; without it you’ll struggle when trying to push through many barriers. Even worse, you’ll miss out on transformative opportunities and the opportunity to push through other barriers because you won’t even know that they exist!
I’d like to talk about a topic that most people avoid. It’s a taboo topic because most business owners are typically positive, upbeat individuals who tend to avoid the negative. Heaven forbid that any pessimism ever shadow the company! But… is it pessimism to admit one’s weaknesses? Absolutely not! So long as once the weaknesses are identified, the beholder of said information approaches these weaknesses with positivity and puts into place a plan to eliminate them.
So then, when talking about websites, how do we find our weaknesses and more importantly what do we do to fix them?
Over the past several months my company has been inundated with a higher than average amount of request for proposals. While we’re used to being solicited for several proposals every day, the last few months we’ve witnessed more than triple!
Every week we take the time to determine which ones we will bid on by using our typical approach. At the beginning of each day we sit down and prioritize, consider the types of projects along with the quality and detail within each. Finally, we assess the feasibility of any budgets identified.
I’ve noticed a trend that is evidently growing. A whole lot of request for proposals start out with wording that reveals an issue with the contract awarding processes of many companies. While the wording slightly varies, it typically starts with “We previously hired a development team that could not deliver….”
I can’t even count how many times I’ve been asked the simple question “Why does my small business need a website?” Ironically, it’s a simple question to answer and it’s one of those types of questions that is most effectively answered with another question: “How do you choose which companies you do business with?”
After an individual answers this question, I encourage them to perform an exercise. This exercise can be performed any time, any place but best done where they typically make decisions of this type. I ask them to setup a camcorder and record the entire exercise so that we can review it together.
In the past several months, I’ve noticed a dramatic shift in the ranking of hundreds of companies on most search engines. Unfortunately, consequentially, I’ve also suffered temporary hearing impairment as a result of business owners’ alarm bells going off at decibel levels not previously witnessed to date. Why is that?
Quite simply, the Internet has become a critical medium for the generation of revenue for many companies. Many of these companies rely heavily on the revenues generated from their organic traffic, or unpaid search results. The result of losing even a few positions in rank, often times is the difference between a business that is thriving and a business that is bleeding. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to shift the tide, and the difference between a few placements could easily result in the loss of 70-90% of a companies’ targeted traffic. Think about how you use a search engine. Most individuals open the first 3-5 links that catch their eye and within a minute they’ve narrowed down their potential customer list to 2 or 3 options at most. If your website is not one of the links that catches their eye, then you don’t even have a chance to make a sale…. zero percent!!! That’s horrible odds!
Social media has become one of the most effective venues to market products and services. Due to the ability for companies to create more effective marketing campaigns by targeting their precise audiences, companies can dramatically increase revenues while maintaining, and often times, reducing costs.
Facebook has grown to be the largest social networking site in the world. As of May 2013, data showed that there are a breathtaking 1.11 billion monthly active users and an unbelievable 665 million active users on any given day. Combine the number of active users with the ability to target users based upon their demographics and you’ve got an opportunity that no company can afford to pass up or they’ll be foregoing opportunities for increased revenue on the table for their competitors to take advantage of.
The best thing about Facebook ads is that, despite how powerful and effective it is as a marketing channel, it is incredibly simple to setup and delivers targeted marketing at a fraction of the cost of its’ competitors.