Business

Archive for Business

Do customers value your service and products? Are they talking about you and returning?

During a recent business meeting, a speaker delivered an ‘eight minutes of value’ presentation. He spoke about the perception of value and value-add. These areas are often the point of difference and where a potential customer will make the purchase decision. Most businesses and busy people forget to check their target audience perception of value and value-adds regularly, which is counterproductive to increasing sales and profit, and building good professional relationships.

Let’s begin by explaining each area.

Perception of value is due primarily to psychological triggers. For example, people may be willing to pay more if the product is easier to buy, arrives more quickly, brings the buyer prestige, or is supported by excellent service. Consumers may also be willing to pay more if goods are from socially responsible companies. Also, consumers are reportedly attracted to prices with a nine in them, and quite often offering a bronze, silver and gold service (gold service being premium and mostly overpriced), the silver service will sell more than bronze and gold.

The following infographic illustrates the psychology of value perception:

Image source: Hubspot

Next, value-add. Adding value to your core service or product creates a reason for your customers to be talking about you, remembering you, and returning. There are numerous opportunities you can add value. Suggestions could include: how you confirm an appointment, what you add to a purchase, a little something extra the buyer wasn’t expecting, or a genuine follow-up call. You could send and share information for free or outsource services to offer your client a full-service solution.  Most importantly, it has to be useable, make the customer feel special, and it must be original.

When offering something extra, remember it needs to have relevance for your target market. Finally, never underestimate the value of free resources. Branded PDF’s, calendar’s, gifts or checklists showcase your expertise, encourage consumers to find out more, and increase brand awareness as your resources will feature your logo and details.

What methods do you use when demonstrating the value of your range of services and products to your prospective clients and customers? How can you create a more memorable experience for your target public? Please share in the comments.

Kirsty.

Posted in: Business

Leave a Comment (0) →

How to post regular, engaging and shareable content.

As a business owner, a university student, parent, and lover of ‘me time’, I find it difficult to maintain the momentum required to post engaging content on all my online platforms regularly. I have many deadlines for my work and study life, and some were prioritised over posting. This, I have found, is counter-intuitive to my success; and the solution is an editorial calendar.

To create and publish a balance of messages to your target audience and community which educate, inform, entertain, inspire and problem solve requires a flexible and workable blog and social media networking calendar. This strategic tool will eliminate random posting, which does not convert to business, and focuses your activities on creating better ideas and better business and marketing practices.

Maintaining a rate of two to five engaging social media posts, and one blog post per week, will consistently and effectively promote your brand, product, service and build relationships. Furthermore, you can schedule posts ahead of time for specific topics and events. For example, national celebrations, awareness days, holidays, and seasonal issues.

Ten questions for you to consider when creating your calendar:

  1. Who is my target audience?
  2. What interests them?
  3. What are other posts and blog topics in the same category or written for the same target audience?
  4. What are the trade publications writing about, and what’s on their editorial calendar?
  5. What industry news/posts are shared and retweeted the most?
  6. What is the competition writing about?
  7. What topics are trade shows covering in their workshops and roundtables?
  8. What trends are your managers or clients seeing?
  9. What types of articles interest your managers or clients?
  10. What publications do your managers or clients read, and what are the topics?

Your calendar can include posts for the social media platforms you use regularly and blog posts; as well as, including newsletters and other publications you may write for.

My top seven tips for scheduling posts and publications:

  1. Create a weekly post that highlights a cause you are inspired by, or a local business person who is making a difference.
  2. Schedule weekly or fortnightly posts that highlight testimonials or recommendations of you, your brand, your products or services.
  3. Schedule content to be shared at prime times of the day (take advantage of your page insights).
  4. What content can you use on various platforms and re-purpose?
  5. Post about awareness days that align with your key messages, public holidays, seasonal topics, current community and sporting events, and national special days.
  6. Connect with your audience by creating a personal post around shared public experience.
  7. Choose eye-catching images to compliment posts.

Finally, to generate top of mind brand awareness in your audience consider:

  • Problem-solving content
  • Business content
  • ‘Call to action’ posts
  • Personal content
  • Posting questions
  • Show you are regularly participating in community events
  • 1 – 3-minute video content
  • Inspiring and entertaining content
  • Sharing content from other industry or news sources that compliment your key messages

Monitor your results on a weekly or fortnightly basis, and make changes based on your evaluation each month, until you find the quality and reach of your content increases.

HubSpot offers a range of free content editorial calendars created for blogging, social media, and content campaigns. Instructions are provided, with some additional content management tips.

Please contact me if you require any professional support, strategy and content creation or team training.

Posted in: Business

Leave a Comment (0) →

A quick guide to the most used social media platforms

Are you posting effectively? Do you know what the optimum characters to use in a post for each platform are?

Not every platform is for every business; however, choosing the right social media sites, and regularly engaging with your audience, is essential. Below I have outlined information on five social media sites to help you determine which platforms are a good fit for your marketing efforts.

Facebook allows brands to communicate with their current and potential audience directly, which is why marketers put a lot of effort into generating likes and fans. Approximately one in two Australians use Facebook daily, and it has 15 million monthly active Australian users. The most common age group of users is the 25 to 34-year-old age group at 29.7%. Therefore, if this age bracket is your target public, this could be the prime target demographic for marketing efforts and engagement.Ideal content length for Facebook post is 40 – 80 characters.

YouTube is reported to be the biggest online video platform worldwide, containing a wide variety of user-generated and corporate media content, and is a valuable advertising solution. Approximately one in two Australians use YouTube, and it has 15 million unique Australian visitors per month. Videos up to two minutes in length receive the most engagement and can increase conversions on a website by 80%, and many marketing professionals name video as the best return on investment. Ideal content length forYouTube is 70 characters for the title and up to 5000 characters for the video description.

Twitter allows users to send short 140-character messages, and currently ranks as one of the leading social networks worldwide. Millennials make up the biggest percentage of all generations using twitter. So, if they are your target audience you can reach them on this platform. More good news is 93% of people who follow a business or brand on Twitter plan to purchase from them. Ideal content length for Twitter posts is 71 – 100 characters, and hashtags linking to a broader issue or conversation are useful.

LinkedIn is for business professionals and is used to build relationships: connect with associates, colleagues and likely consumers. It is the second most popular business platform, after Facebook, utilised by 82% of large businesses, 41% of medium-sized businesses, and 35% of small businesses. This platform is chosen to increase authority and professional appeal amongst mining organisations and leaders. Ideal content length for LinkedIn posts is 16-25 words, and hashtags linking to a broader issue or conversation are useful.

As at June 2018, there were more than 1 billion monthly active users of the photo-sharing social networking app, Instagram. Instagram users are mostly below the age of 35, and the platform is one of the most popular social networks amongst teenagers. Instagram is the best social media platform for engagement, ease of use, target market penetration, and building brand awareness. Even so, University of Missouri-Columbia reported most users engage in social news and entertainment. However, this study also identified several strategies for increasing engagement, such as: news images that are aesthetically pleasing and empowering, simple clean images, images that are friendly to the eye, and posts with visible facial features.Ideal content length for Instagram is 138 – 150 characters and 5 – 6 hashtags.

Whatever platform you choose, it is important to create and select content which will receive high engagement, increase awareness of your brand, encourage website visits, and provide a return on investment. The goal is to engage the target audience, so I suggest identifying your key messages, set your online marketing goals, then choose which platforms to post regularly on.

Please contact me if you require any professional support, strategy and content creation or team training.

Posted in: Business

Leave a Comment (0) →

Word to the Wise – Book Review

As a lover of words, my latest book review for Exisle Publishing was a treat. Word to the Wise is now included in my ‘go to’ word book resources.

Every day we engage in communication tasks that call for accurate wording, tone and formulation. These tasks include social media posts, emails, marketing materials, reports, and business and personal messages. The author, Mark Broatch, has created a book that suggests proper word use for all these situations, and more.

The examples, explanations and language used throughout Word to the Wiseassist readers to craft and create their own written messages with precision and confidence. I was delighted to find additional sections which included common social media abbreviations, often misspelt words and Mark’s bibliographical sources. Further, this book has an extensive A – Z list of confused and misused words, which I plan to choose a word from each week to use and share.

In an age of multiple channels of communication, Word to the Wiseoffer’s timely suggestions and reminders. For instance, clarify the purpose of what is about to be written, who the reader or audience is, have the right words been (used which are not misspelt, misused or could be misunderstood), and ‘the real writing is done in the rewriting’.

If you want to write clearly and persuasively, and you want your message to be received well and understood by the reader, and if you love words, I highly recommend this book for your work, study or home space.

Word to the Wise – available at Exisle Publishing– RRP $29.99

Posted in: Business

Leave a Comment (0) →

Work-life balance reduces stress

Are you rushing from commitment to commitment? Are you searching for more hours in the day? Well, you are not alone.  Health Direct suggest that Australia is behind the rest of the developed world in creating work-life balance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lack of work-life balance will lead to stress because there is an imbalance between your daily demands, responsibilities and commitments and the time, capabilities and energy you have to complete the workload and obligations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can you do to manage the stress and create a more balanced life? I concur with D J Lee’s article, 6 Tips For Better Work-Life Balance, and have found my success in being aware of the suggested areas for many years. The six tips are:

  1. Let go of perfectionism – strive for excellence instead. Ask yourself, “have I done my best today with the resources I have available to me right now.”
  2. Unplug – Work screen free time into your day, every day.
  3. Exercise and meditate – There are so many recorded benefits to these activities. Move your body and practise deep breathing exercises every day, your muscles and mind will thank you for it.
  4. Limit time-wasting activities and people – Practise the 3 D’s: Do, Delegate, Dump. Stress will reduce, and results will increase.
  5. Change the structure of your life – Revisit your weekly timetable or planner and change a few things around and delegate some tasks to others. You may find that doing things the way you have always done it isn’t working anymore.
  6. Start small. Build from there – Change something every day, not everything all at once.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What work-life balance means and looks like is different for each person and family. Sit down and define it for you first. Once you know that, decide what you want to stop, minimise, keep doing and do more of, then consistently implement new ways of doing and being in your day.

Please share your work-life balance suggestions.

Images: Pixabay

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

Leave a Comment (0) →

Performance Affects Productivity

The health epidemic of the 21st century, according to the World Health Organisation, is stress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professor Patrick McGorry, Australian of the Year in 2010 and expert on mental health said we need to transform our workplaces into 21st Century Workplaces where leaders at all levels: promote mental health and prevent harm, recognise when people are struggling, are empowered to turn towards strugglers, rescue those who have already been swept away.

Employers and leaders are realising it is time to become more active in providing healthy workplaces and seeking out tools to develop resilient teams.

Why it matters?

Resilient teams are more creative, productive, resourceful and high performing teams.

Studies support that developing practical strategies will decrease the damage done to the individual and the business; reducing costs, increasing staff loyalty, improving morale, and avoiding fines, claims and disputes.

It is reported that:

  • 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health condition.
  • The typical age of onset for mental ill health is late teens to early 20s.
  • There are a large number of workers who are carers for friends or family with mental ill health. 

What does a resilient workplace look like?

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a resilient workplace all team members, from the top down, are actively involved in developing, supporting and actioning programs. The team members understand that their physical health affects their mental health and support each other to reach health goals.

Management is considerate of the mental wellbeing of staff and provides a safe environment for staff to be heard, acknowledged and recognised. Comprehensive training and support are offered during times of change and flexibility and autonomy are encouraged.

Team members are given access to resources that promote skills they can use as individuals to take care of themselves and manage stress. Skills such as goal setting, meditation, mindfulness, taking regular ‘me’ breaks, eating well and being kind to self.

Most importantly, communication in the workplace is effective and open, and social interaction with other employees is enjoyed. These positive relationships promote good mental health and problem-solving solutions among the team.

Working Together: Promoting mental health and wellbeing at work offers good practice and practical information to this complex area of resilient workplaces and teams. This online resource acknowledges that resilient individuals are flexible, adaptive and optimistic, and a resilient team is one of support based on mutual trust and participation.

 Your plan 

Whether you are a solo-preneur, not for profit organisation or a large company, building a resilient workplace will have benefits for you, your workers and your business.

To begin to build your healthy, happy and productive workspace practical strategies can include:

  • Identify areas of concern and areas of improvement.
  • Gain involvement, acceptance, and commitment from all.
  • Provide clear expectations and goals, tools and support that promote resilience, individually and professionally.
  • Take an active role.
  • Have clear role descriptions, outlining all responsibilities and opportunities.
  • Have effective and regular communication methods in place.
  • Encourage social interaction and self-care check-ins.
  • Promote a fair, inclusive workplace.
  • Set up peer support and mentoring opportunities.

Now that you have considered how performance affects productivity, and how building a resilient workplace can benefit each one of your workers in a positive way, what would you consider the most important change or improvement you could make now?

Please share your strategies here.

Images: Pixabay

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Resilience

Leave a Comment (0) →

Easy-Peasy Blog Post Template

My whole career has been a combination of corporate and small business hands on experience, and during the last decade I have watched on with interest, and attempted to participate, as the way businesses communicate their message to their customers has multiplied, technology driven mediums have increased, and consumer expectations of professional goods and services have soared.

After publishing my book, Separated by Work, I realised that to compete in today’s business world I had to immerse myself in learning the most up to date information available. Where was the best place to do that? University of course, where I am currently completing a Bachelor of Communication, majoring in PR and Social Media.

As I learn, I come across tools that make me recognise I have been mostly winging it for the last 10 years. Just hanging in there with passion and enthusiasm for my work, but ad-libbing my communication strategies it all the same. A couple of valuable templates I came across today are, what I believe to be, a business ‘must have’ and a ‘wish I could have had a long time ago’.

Content rules: how to create killer blogs, podcasts, videos, eBooks, webinars (and more) that engage customers and ignite your business is one of my social media subject’s texts. In the book, which I highly recommend you get a copy of, Handley and Chapman share a blog template and a content rules checklist. To get the links to their ‘secret insiders page’ you must buy the book, but I was so impressed with the book and the tools they share throughout and on their website I wanted to let all my business friends know.

I like to shout it out whenever I come across a wonderful piece of advice, a great product or upon receiving excellent service. So, to finish off I will borrow the final bit of advice from the end of the above recommended blog template:

Shout it! Spread the word! Tell your family! Your friends! Facebook! LinkedIn! Let your network know your post is live; generate excitement for the post and earn some well-deserved kudos.”

Have you read this book and used the tools? Do you have other tools that you find valuable in creating great content and getting your message to your customers? If so, please share them here, or your thoughts on the book.

Until next time, Kirsty 🙂

 

Posted in: Business

Leave a Comment (0) →

A Year of Possibilities

Happy New Year!

Preparing for a new year can often feel daunting, and will be overlooked by many if it seems to hard, only to find regret around Easter that this time wasn’t taken.

So, to help you prepare, I have put together a list of ten points to consider when entering into anything new, especially a new year of possibilities, to support you getting the most out of this year.

The following list will give you the beginnings of creating a strong foundation to leap off. This reminds me of one of my favourite sayings, “prior preparation prevents piss poor performance!” Take time to mull over each one.

  1. What is your carrot? What is the thing, your why, that will keep you moving forward and keep your focus?
  2. Get real about the pitfalls, and the worst-case scenario that can occur. It is likely you will be struggle free this year, yet there is also a chance that stuff will happen, you will be blindsided, and bowled over. When stuff happens, what is the plan? What is the best way to address it? What is going to work to keep everyone on the same team, solution and goal focused?
  3. Create a dialogue around what you say to other friends, family members, your children, and those you talk to about your goals, career and lifestyle. Be supportive and positive in your language and prepare the standard responses. This will help when people begin to share their well–intended, yet negative opinion of your choices.
  4. How are you going to manage your finances this year? Create a realistic and flexible budget, then stick to it.
  5. Identify the possible stressors within your family, the routines that are required, also how the responsibilities will be shared to meet the demands of how you would like this year to look.
  6. Listen to how the other people in your circle of influence are feeling, the hopes, positive feelings, concerns, worries, and motivations. Open the conversation to what ifs, those things that may never happen—what if someone becomes ill, what if you are losing sight of the carrot, what if stress gets the better of you, what if one of you is just over it? There are lots of what ifs, discussing them lightly with no expectation of them ever happening, is a good thing because this can alert you to possible stress triggers later on and you will be more open and prepared to deal with the issues together.
  7. Start now to find all the resources you can that have information on what you would like to achieve. Start by Googling, and the more you read, learn, feel supported, and develop an understanding of the jargon, the easier you will find it is to keep on track.
  8. Set up a plan of communication and connection to others. What will work for you, your friends and your family? It doesn’t have to be every day, but by having a sense of belonging and a supportive network around you will triple your chances of success. Don’t get too busy to check in with your mates and family.
  9. What is going to be your time management system, or flexible plan, or list process that keeps you on track with all you want to do, need to do, and includes rest and relaxation?  Have a rough idea prepared so you will enjoy more fun and relaxation, keep working towards your ‘why’, and reduce overwhelm and stress.
  10. How will you improve, grow and develop this year? Just working and watching TV isn’t going to hit the right note. Could you be studying, reading, personally or professionally developing, starting a side home business, learning a new type of dance, getting fit, getting involved in a sport or volunteer position, or making new friends? You may be limited by hours in the day or home responsibilities, however embarking on something new that fits in with your life will energise you and support new possibilities.

I hope these tips spark a brighter vision for you this year. I wish you a wonderful 2018, and if you would like any support – either questions, or would like a quick phone chat please email me.
Kirsty 🙂

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Resilience

Leave a Comment (0) →

Doing the ‘right thing’ in business

In our faced paced, profit and productivity driven business world I would like you to stop and take a breather. I would like you to consider what is good business etiquette. I would like you to appreciate that in the long run your reputation is everything, and will outlast a quick sale or fleeting acclaim. I would like you to reconnect with the value of integrity in an ever-changing economic landscape.

As I see each experience as a lesson or reminder, I am prompted to share my reflections and thoughts on good business practise with you, as many are forging fortunes in the small to medium business market.

This year I was asked to contribute to another’s new venture as the area of information matched my expertise. After 10 months of the proposed plan rolling out, my content shared as requested, inadequate communication, and then finally an agreement received that did not match with previous discussions; I decided to withdraw my interests and cut my losses. This has happened to many of us, I know.

After over two decades of owning my own businesses and a decade of supporting other business owners to become successful, here are my top 8 tips for doing the right thing in business:

  1. Always answer emails and return phone calls within 24 hours – even if it is to say when you will action.
  2. Always honour your verbal agreements.
  3. Never copy, emulate or plagiarise without written permission (an example of duplication for those that are unsure).
  4. Be transparent and always work towards the common good within your industry.
  5. When action is required, just do it.
  6. Do not denigrate colleagues, acquaintances or anyone you do business with – you never really know who knows who, and what they really think about you.
  7. You won’t always make good business decisions, but you can always be a good and honest person in business.
  8. Lastly, when a deal doesn’t feel right, show your gratitude for the opportunity, and then walk away with your head held high and don’t second guess yourself.

If you can pave the foundations of your business ventures with integrity and honour, in years to come you will be favourably thought of and top of mind for continued opportunities. I have people contact me often who remember my consulting and speaking services from when I first began my business in the late 1990’s, which is always a thrill.

So, moving forward, yes, I am concerned that I could have said no when first approached, and not shared my content. Yet, today, I don’t second guess myself, and I am reminded that my reputation is intact, I have many years of good standing in my community to back me.

I will get back to my practise of good business and supporting others get the results they want. My hope is that by reading this you also head into the new year remembering that building a business and profit line ALWAYS goes hand in hand with building a reputation.

C.S. Lewis said it best – “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching

Kirsty 🙂

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Resilience

Leave a Comment (0) →

Thats a wrap – what I learnt being a Uni student

Cheers (sounds of glasses clinking), why?

I have survived my first year of University as a mature aged student, I have survived my first year of my husband’s roster taking him away for three months at a time, and I have survived the first year of my daughter moving in to her own home and my eldest son moving back!

What a year it has been.

The impact didn’t hit me until this afternoon as I was driving home from campus after my final exam. I began to shallow breath, my nerves began to twitch, and I thought, “how the hell did I pull that off!” This year, I realised, I had faced every fear I had, I worked harder than I think I ever had, I swallowed my pride on more than one occasion, and I had weeks where I was learning so many new theories I thought my brain might break.

My home suffered, however, thankfully my children didn’t as I vowed, and followed through on, to be there for them whenever they needed me. My wellbeing was pushed to its limits and I had equal moments of feeling like super woman and a puddle!

So, you are getting the picture.

During this year, my husband was absent for ¾’s of it, and a handful of my closest friends had life throw them their own curve balls so they weren’t on call for me at times I thought I needed them most. Even so, I was never alone, I had people step up for me, check in on me and remind me that I was on the right track during the uphill stints – special thanks to Tracey, Anna and Cinty – you know why!

Fears that were faced: am I clever enough, judgement of others, making huge mistakes, can I do it all on my own, being too old, letting my family down, letting me down, saying no to some work opportunities, and have I got what it takes to be extraordinary?

What I now know: I am clever enough, I am a leader, I am strong, I may get it wrong sometimes, I can take critique, I’m okay with not knowing it all, my family is awesome, I am exactly where I need to be, I have grit and determination that even amazes me, I may be ageing but I am doing it with grace and style!

Already, from the expansion and development I am undergoing opportunities are flowing abundantly.  I am on committees, being paid for work at the Uni, I am meeting amazing people, business is booming and I am just beginning work with an organisation called Porn Harms Kids to make change and give our wonderful young people the best start possible. I am also so honoured to be credited with guiding others to study, grow and push themselves out of their comfort zone. That is probably my greatest honour.

Next year, I am sure, will bring more adventures, ups and downs, yet I will be even more prepared, even more inspired and, as always, supported.

Thank you, to those who have cheered me on; thank you, to those who were inspired; and thank you to me – bloody massive effort Kirsty 🙂

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 1 of 4 1234