Category Archives: General

Connecting The Dots To Understand Your SEO Service Provider

Connecting The Dots To Understand Your SEO Service Provider

 

As time passes and the years roll by I have come to believe that there truly are two groups of people in the world: people who connect the dots and people who do not.

You need to be in the first group — connecting the dots — when it comes to understanding your SEO service provider. Here’s why.

1.) Do your research. In this world of digital information at your fingertips it is easier than ever to “shop” for an SEO provider that will fit your needs. In addition to doing online research make sure to reach out to people you know in your business “social network”.

2.) Ask questions. There are no “bad” or “stupid” questions. Don’t be intimidated. Be thoughtful and thorough ahead of time. Here of the few questions from entrepreneur.com you should be asking.

  • May I have a list of current and past clients?
  • How will you improve my search engine rankings?
  • Do you adhere to search engines’ webmaster guidelines?
  • Can you guarantee my website will achieve a number-one ranking on Google, Bing and Yahoo?
  • Are you experienced at improving local search results?
  • Will you share with me all changes you make to my site?
  • How do you measure the success of your SEO campaigns?
  • How will we communicate and how often?
  • What are your fees and payment terms?
  • What happens when we part ways?

3.) The big picture. THE most important issue with your new SEO provider is to have a complete understanding as to how what they are doing fits into the overall plan of what you and your company are doing. The SEO portion of an overall campaign is the engine that drives everything. Yes, it’s done on the backend, which in itself can intimidate many people, but it is imperative to co-ordinate efforts with your SEO provider in order to maximize your efforts on the “front end”.

4.) Have succinct business measures in place. Work with your new SEO provider to put strong, realistic measures in place to ensure the success of your efforts.  Look at the plan with a 10,000 foot view perspective. Will your efforts and the efforts of your SEO provider work get you to your goals?

5.) Monitor your work efforts on a weekly basis. Again, don’t be afraid to continuously ask questions. It’s your money and your business. Make sure you are getting what you are paying for-otherwise you’re wasting everybody’s time.

 

 

Why SEO Is Just Like Housework

Why Is SEO Like Housework?

So you might be reading the above headline and thinking…I certainly hope not. Guess what, it is. Here’s why.

1.) SEO is never “finished”.

Just as the Internet isn’t “finished” the same holds true for SEO. It can’t be finished. With more and more material arriving on the Internet by the minute as well as changing social media platforms and usage, changing market trends and topics, there is always a lot of “dust” settling. Things change at a lightening quick pace. Being aware of this is the vital first step in devising a plan to that works for you and your business needs. It will also help you to feel that you are “staying on top of things.”

2.) A little bit regularly makes a big difference.

Just like laundry and the dishes, doing a bit every day/week means the job never gets too big. For SEO, checking your keyword effectiveness, adding new content on a regular, consistent basis and sharing great ideas you find online is best done in small, regular blocks of time.

3.) Having a strategy and a system makes it quick and easy.

Author Shannon Lush uses the term “speed cleaning” and describes how to put systems in place to clean your house efficiently when you’re time poor. It works the same way for SEO. A smart system for SEO and digital marketing will make things easier. Implementing scheduling tools and idea capture techniques will maximize your efforts.

4.) Spring clean every year for best results.

As your business and the world changes, so will your SEO and digital marketing needs. An annual review of your strategic direction, content and presentation will keep you looking good and once again, that you are on top of things.

5.) You can hire the work out.

If your time is too scarce and too valuable to spend on maintenance work, get someone in to do it. You need to be careful to find a quality service provider, but once you’ve got good help, you can get on with your core business. Be smart, brave and honest enough to realize when you need help. (However, you must keep an eye on the work being done for you. Your SEO provider is great at SEO – and NOT an expert in your business.)

Leigh Baker and Ian Hopkinson talk about Balance 3

Leigh Baker is an author, blogger, business analyst and many other things. She’s really written a book – it’s not just a skill she’s thrown on her Linked-in profile! Leigh is a thought leader in regenerative thinking and sustainability and her brand Balance 3 seeks to inspire agents of change.

Transcript:

Ian: Ian Hopkinson here again with Leigh Baker once again, author, blogger, business analyst and many many other things. How are you today?

Leigh: I’m well thank you.

Ian: I suppose you’re as well as the last time I asked you which was a little while ago.

Leigh: Yes not so very long ago.

Ian: We’ve got Leigh’s book here the “Deep Green Profit” sitting up here and you may have seen it in some of the other videos. She actually really is an author she doesn’t just say that, there is actually stuff in  this book.

Leigh: There’s even cartoons.

Ian: Yes that’s right. She’s not one of those people who puts author on their LinkedIn page who doesn’t actually write. So tell us about Leigh Baker and what is Balance 3?

Leigh: Balance 3 is set up to really start to accelerate a shift that’s been happening and it’s way presumptuous for me to say accelerate in a big way because the shifts happening anyway, but I want to do that little bit that I can about it. The shift that is happening is a fundamental shift in how western industry used to think about the environment, how it’s starting to think differently and just how rapidly that is going to shift how products are made and services are delivered.

Ian: That’s really been a focus for a long hasn’t there on just churning this stuff out.

Leigh: Yeah…

Ian: …And having no thought to it.

Leigh: There’s the whole mentality that the 19th and 20th century is product based, it’s a one way system. For the 19th and the 21st century it seemed to work and towards the end of the 20th century we started to get more and more messages that maybe it’s not working, maybe we’re having unintended consequences that are dangerous and damaging.

Ian: Yeah we’re making all this stuff and when it breaks where do we put it? …Oh in the earth okay great.

Leigh: Yes we burn it or we bury it or we throw it in the river or the ocean.

Ian: That’s right.

Leigh: It might’ve worked but when… I forget the numbers exactly… but when Henry Ford bought out the next eration of the production line it was something like two billion people on the planet.

Ian: Yeah right.

Leigh: But we’re looking at a different number now and the rules have to change.

Ian: Absolutely.

Leigh: We’ve now come to terms with the fact that’s it’s probably finite. We haven’t made a lot of progress yet about finding another planet that we can use that’s easily convenient

Ian: If we could only put some of this stuff up on Mars and self combust and sort itself out.

Leigh: We could get into a whole long chat about climate change, whether it’s true and whether it’s not, but to me that is actually a whole discussion that is past it’s use-by date because some really smart scientists and entrepreneurs and philosophers got worried about this stuff back in the 70’s and 80’s and they started designing solutions and did the research. They’ve done the implementation testing and there is a new wave of technology coming that means whether it’s true or not isn’t going to matter that much because the technologies that are emerging are under all sorts of names from biomimicry to dustrial ecology and more than tecnhologies, whole new ways of thinking about systems and thinking about what business is for and how to do it differently. They’re so different and so productive that as they scale up their are a whole lot of challenges that we have at the moment that are going to go the way of vinyl records or CD’s and stereos now. Once upon a time when you had the world’s best stereo the speaker cabinet was four foot tall and I’m showing my age  because i’m even speaking in feet which is not common in Australia.

Ian: That’s alright.

Leigh: Now we have iPod’s which clunk into little docking stations and we don’t have CD’s or vinyl at all.

Ian: No that’s right.

Leigh: It’s actually one of the fundamental transitions of the coming revolution is that we don’t have products. Music has stopped being a product that you buy in a little package and it’s become a service and that’s going to be fundamental.

Ian: Yeah absolutely.

Leigh: See you don’t need to worry about whether climate change is true or not.

Ian: Climate change is just a bit of a distraction really. It just seems like it’s something that people are getting hung up on and it’s bigger than that you know.

Leigh: It’s one of a dozen emerging potential disasters. I looked at people and species and their extinction…

Ian: This is it it’s one aspect of a much larger picture.

Leigh: We can get all serious or we can push the panic button and talk about how horrible it’s going to be, who’s going to suffer, or we can talk about solutions.

Ian: Correct yeah.

Leigh: We can talk about the technologies that are already in practise the innovations that are on the way and the name of localisation under the name of biomimicry, under the name of the sharing economy.

Ian: Yeah absolutely. Now I wouldn’t mind breaking down some of the terms because one of those that you’ve mentioned a couple of times is biomimicry. Just to give people an idea if they haven’t caught on, this is the study of nature’s processes or how nature works and learn from that and mimicking that is where the word biomimicry comes from. What other terms are there that we should probably explain a little bit because there is a little bit of a language barrier with people who are new to this?

Leigh: This is language that’s going to become increasingly common and it’s going to move into ordinary language over the next ten years. So biomimicry is design your products like nature, design your processes like nature, room temperature, ordinary pressure. We don’t need the heat and poison there are new ways to do it. Another term to be watching out for it cradle to cradle…

Ian: Yeah good one.

Leigh: We’re used to the old thinking of the 20th century was mine it make it use it dump it. Now it’s all about design for remanufacture. Cradle to cradle means manufacturing with no raw material. How’s that for a competitive advantage! There’s an amazing story of one of the early sustainability entrepreneurs who was in the commercial carpet business and he started from waste reduction programs but they’ve moved on so far from that and are now harvesting used fishing nets from tropical oceans to turn those nylon fishing nets into carpet. Cradle to cradle. Once we’ve dug it up lets use it and keep using it. It reduces the need to dig it up.

Ian: Exactly and like we were talking about earlier this stuff is such the essence of our future. You know where we need to go because we’ve gone to that bleeding edge where we’ve messed things up so badly that we can’t ignore it anymore.

Leigh: But we don’t need to have that argument. This is one of the conversations I have again and again. I come from outside ‘traditional sustainability’ because as a business analyst my background was in supply chain systems, so I’ve worked in factories. I’ve worked in warehouses and i’ve seen the huge potential for improvement once we get out of one way thinking. So we don’t have to have the won’t it be terrible. You know if you want to play won’t it be terrible let’s play won’t it be terrible if you miss out on the next industrial revolution. It will be terrible if you’re a vinyl record manufacturer. Yeah let’s play that won’t it be terrible.

Ian: It will be terrible if we keep just saying won’t it be terrible and not obviously focus on solutions like you said.

Leigh: That brings us to two market places that I want to combine. One is entrepreneurs who think sustainability is boring and compliance and reporting because I was to go *knock knock* dou you want another perspective? But the other market is surprisingly a lot of people who have traditional sustainability jobs and don’t know that’s how new it is. They also don’t know that there’s been yet another revolution that’s going on which is in our understanding of how human beings work, how human systems work and how human systems get changed. It comes from a variety of areas from marketing to psychology to neurobiology to philosophy but we now know a whole lot more than we knew even twenty years ago about how to engage people in the business of change.

Ian: Crucial.

Leigh: So those who feel the need to act in this space may still be trapped in 20th century thinking and may still be trapped in working hard.

Ian: Yes that’s right rather than smarter.

Leigh: My greatest goal is to create sustainability entrepreneurs but not sustainability regenerative business entrepreneurs from two different sources. One was entrepreneurs who didn’t know it was an opportunity and the other was sustainability practitioners whom have been taught how to be entrepreneurs. What an entrepreneur is ultimately someone who turns an idea into an ongoing practice.

Ian: Yes that’s right.

Leigh: On a  fundamental level all humans are entrepreneurs. So that’s what Balance 3 is about getting new ideas and learning how to make them happen and learning how to do it from a point of view of thriving so we don’t do it through suffering we do it through fun.

Ian: Well said. I like this term that i’ve heard you use a few times – change agents. Essentially these agents of change are going to be these enlightened entrepreneurs and these sustainability practitioners as you mentioned who are learning to be entrepreneurs is that right?

Leigh: Yeah and I should also say that the real leading edge entrepreneurs have been doing this stuff since the middle of the 90’s. So what the change agents are truly in the business of  is taking that entrepreneurial practice and taking it out to the next level of understanding an adoption. So they don’t actually have to invent anything.

Ian: No and that’s one thing I find compelling about the Dell example that we’ve mentioned before because basically what they’re doing is delivering what they’ve always delivered in a more sustainable way. So to get cradle to cradle certification or a computer. To me is unbelievable and just makes so much sense and you think why haven’t we done this before.

Leigh: That’s one of the emerging mind shifts, that’s probably you called almost call it at the core of regenerative revolution is actually design to do good. When we thought things were infinite we could afford a little bit of poison, a little bit of waste. The new shift is exactly what the great time management thinker Steven Cutting talked about, begin with the end in mind. If we need to increase buyer diversity, if we need to build community and generate on going wealth in that community then lets use… Jim Collins i’m quoting “let’s use the magic of the and and design to do that”. So do more good and it becomes a whole different ball game.

Ian: Brilliant thanks Leigh it’s always stimulating. I want people out there to understand this stuff the way that i’m beginning to understand it because i’m pretty excited about it.

Leigh: You don’t have to be a scientist!

Ian: No no you don’t.

Leigh: You don’t have to be able to do the maths you get that shift in thinking.

Ian: Yeah that’s it it’s a shift in thinking and it’s integrating this into our daily lives that knowing that the possibility. I keep coming back to it but I think it’s amazing how Dell has done what they’ve done because I think that’s a high profile example that will cut through and it will get people’s attention and most will think well if that won’t then what will.

Leigh: The examples are everywhere. What’s been happening as we’ve had a series of conversations is that i’ve actually re-tuned your perceptual system to look for these examples and you’re going to see them everywhere.

Ian: Yeah that’s right.

Leigh: You just happen to have an IT bias which is what you’re seeing.

Ian: Yeah that’s right plus obviously in here we’re always trying to do things not necessarily the way that everyone else does them we’re trying to innovate, we’re always looking for opportunities for things to be sustainable in here so i’m obviously very open to that. Anyway we could talk all day about this clearly. Thank you once again Leigh and we’ll see you all very soon and we’ll have Leigh back on the program for sure. If you have any questions for Leigh  can they email you?

Leigh: We talked about Balance 3 and obviously i’m Australian, so it’s balance3.com.au and contact is there.

Ian: So contact is through the website. Thanks very much for listening we’ll see you all again very soon.

 

 

Cheap SEO and the bad alternatives to PPC ads

We’ve wound up about cheap SEO and their dirty tactics again. Here we highlight why all traffic is not good traffic, and how cheap SEO companies are trying to take people for a ride – again!

In this video, Andrew Radics and Ian Hopkinson discuss cheap seo guys dirty tactics.

 

The Streisand Effect of an Uber Awkward Lyft

With their use of technology putting users back in control, Uber and Lyft are causing a stir in the taxi industry, and a headache to regulators. Andrew and Ian discuss the Streisand Effect of the dirty tactics used by Uber to bully Lyft, who have seen increased awareness, reputation and business in return.

In this video, Andrew Radics and Ian Hopkinson lament on the war between taxi companies Uber and Lyft.
The Streisand Effect of an Uber Awkward Lyft

Ian: The Streisand effect of an Uber awkward Lyft! What’s uber awkward about this?
Andrew: I have no idea.
Ian: Alright, Uber and Lyft are both new taxi services using technology.
Andrew: Relatively new.
Ian: Relatively new technology.
Andrew: No I mean the companies are relatively new
Ian: They are relatively new. They are causing a little bit of a stir because the law makers and the regulators of taxis are a little bit on hop. So they’re trying to shut them down or at least trying to regulate them more than what they have been. People have been doing what they normally do with any technology that is like this; they have been given the ability to organize themselves which is why their popularity on Facebook is so huge. Once again, people are organizing themselves into cars, sharing rides and so on. Does that sound a bit ominous?
Andrew: It does. But how does this relate to Barbra here? This is Barbra, meet Barbra. She’s our mascot.
Ian: She’s a bit quiet today though, she’s normally a little bit chirpier, probably needs another coffee. This says Mad Scient-Barb
Andrew: Hold on we better do the profile shot, there you go.
Ian: Oh that’s better, excellent.
Andrew: The Barbra Streisand effect, how does it work with this?
Ian: In this particular case what’s been happening is because of the disruption in the rivalry between these kinds of companies, Uber has been trying to aggressively muscle Lyft out of the way.
Andrew: How?
Ian: You tell me.
Andrew: You read it, I didn’t read it. In my humble opinion, they’re been doing some really dirty tactics such as setting up ghost phones to ring up Lyft and organize a car to be sent out to an address, and then not turn up or cancel the call so they’re taking up the time of the Lyft drivers. Sometimes they even put Uber drivers or employees into the Lyft cars as a passenger and then the employee’s try to get the Lyft guys to come and work for Uber, it’s just not right.
Ian: That was one of the ones I thought was really strange. You hop into the car of your opposition and try and convince them to work for you.
Andrew: I just think that’s dirty business. Well it’s probably not illegal but it’s just not right.
Ian: It’s absolute scum it’s like the equivalent of those people that used to get paid or probably still get paid to click on other people’s ads to deplete their spend.
Andrew: On their AdWord accounts.
Ian: Yeah, so they run out of money and they get non-targeted leads.
Andrew: It’s also like poaching employees.
Ian: Yes. That’s been going on for years, it still goes on.
Andrew: But until I actually read this I’d never heard of Lyft before.
Ian: I hadn’t either. So this is the Streisand Effect at work in a number of ways really, creating more and more awareness for Lyft, Lyft is looking like the good guy because they’re being bullied by Uber and Lyft is going to get more business out of this I expect.
Andrew: Well you’d hope so.
Ian: Plus Lyft has a big pink mustache in front of their cars. What do you think about that?
Andrew: Yeah… not much, but it’s not a prerequisite though apparently. I’ve read that drivers can have it if they want to look different so they can be recognized. I wouldn’t, personally I wouldn’t hop into a car with a pink mo on it, you’re advertising ‘hey I’m getting a cheap ride here’, what does that say about me?
Ian: Yeah, well maybe they should advertise something else that’s pink, what about a pink flamingo? The pink Barbra could be the mascot, the pink flamingo.
Andrew: Well that’s not so far-fetched. A company I used to work for that’s no longer around so I can mention it, it was called Phone Talk. We were driving around in these little black vans with a giant plastic phone on the top of the van.
Ian: I remember those, I saw one of those.
Andrew: I felt like an absolute tool driving that thing.
Ian: Yes I probably saw one of those and said in my mind ‘what a tool’. But yes.
Andrew: But it was effective, we actually got stopped in car parks when we were grabbing some lunch or something, all we had to do was open the back doors, pull out our little deck chairs and sit there and connect people.
Ian: Billboard on wheels.
Andrew: I felt like an absolute idiot but anyway. So pink mo on your car, still some people love it, it works whatever.
Ian: Maybe that is what you need to do to get decent reception, just have a really big phone attached to your car.
Andrew: It was plastic.
Ian: Oh, well that doesn’t really work.
Andrew: If you flicked a switch it lit up, it looked like a driving billboard although that’s not far-fetched anyways.
Ian: The thing that irked me about this, yes I said irks, look it up on Google. I think that if you’re confident in your product, if you’re confident in what you’re doing, for god’s sake don’t try these sorts of tactics to muscle your competitors out of the way. Just run a great business, run a great service, hire great people.
Andrew: Just do it better.
Ian: Do it better, exactly.
Andrew: I guess it’s like any business, there’s competition everywhere you look, but you differentiate yourself, you make yourself better, you offer a better service in whatever shape or form that is, that’s up to you. But don’t do dirty tactics because you’ll get caught out and you’ll have the opposite effect, the Streisand Effect of what you’re trying to achieve. We tried that in nicely.
Ian: Beautiful. Nobody likes a bully. Thanks very everybody [email protected]digital.com is our email, we just got a digital health check just literally before we came into the room.
Andrew: We did. And they corrected your spelling of pigeon.
Ian: They did, I love that. We’ve got a little bit of a trick question on our contact us page, if you pick carrier pigeon you’re probably not our ideal client.
Andrew: You can’t afford anything!
Ian: That’s right so thank you for the health check inquiries, keep them coming. We’ll look at your website and give you a bit of an idea of what we can do for you or what you need to do on your website to improve the performance.
Andrew: And as usual, any complaints, any queries, worries…
Ian: …Call my home phone.
Andrew: 555-722-975
Ian: 555… Who is that? Vermont.
Andrew: Someone somewhere.
Ian: Thanks guys.
Andrew: That’s Barbra’s number.
Ian: Yeah that’s Barbra’s home phone number. No it’s Beverly Hills so she would be 310
Andrew: 90210
Ian: That would be a great phone number 310 90210. Alright see you guys!
Andrew: Bye

‘ Aint What You Do, It’s The Way That You Do It

There’s an old jazz standard that goes (in part):

When I was a kid about half past three

My ma said “Daughter, come here to me”

Said things may come, and things may go

But this is one thing you ought to know…

Oh ‘t ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it

‘T ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it

‘T ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it

That’s what gets results………………….

You can try hard

Don’t mean a thing

Take it easy

Then your jive will swing….

We live in a constantly changing world, facing a constantly shifting range of issues.  It’s easy to get caught in what one of my coaches calls “toxic seriously”.  Unwittingly, we can bring this to the way we message our clients and customers.

How we succeed in business and is as much about the style and grace with which we present our message as about the content.

The Art of Running a Successful Meeting

The Art of Running a Successful MeetingYears ago while part working for a global entertainment company here in Los Angeles, something I had joked about for years…finally happened. I was in yet another Senior Team meeting. It was the third meeting of the day. Five minutes into the meeting I realized I was in a meeting-about a meeting!! That was it…I’d had enough. The time had come to take matters into my own hands. I swore from that day on that I would do everything in my power to make sure that any meeting I was part of would have an agenda. It’s the only way to not waste everybody’s time.

Here are some helpful tips to run a successful team meeting.

1.) Set a specific time for the meeting. Give it a start time and an ending time. This will help with the pacing of the meeting. If your meeting is an hour long with 5 agenda points (see 4 below) you pretty much know that you have roughly 10-12 minutes for each point to be discussed.

2.) Be on time. It sends a terrible message to your team if you are the one habitually late to meetings. First it displays your bad time management skills and secondly it sends a message that your time is more valuable than others. Yes, we all know problems arise, fires need to be put out and projects get derailed-but make an effort to be on time.

3.) Make sure the right team members are present. Who is actually vital to the main topic of the meeting? Make sure they are there…not the entire team.

4.) Have an agenda. This helps everybody in the meeting to know exactly what’s going to be discussed during the meeting. Break down the meeting into small bite sized bits. This helps to accomplish a few things. First, everyone in attendance will be able to determine which parts of the meeting agenda specifically pertains to them. This also allows them to make notes ahead of time to answer questions.

5.) Use a timer. I have found through the years that this can be a really handy way to keep yourself and your team members on time. Use your iPhone timer or your watch. Let people you will be using this method for the benefit of everyone at the meeting. Trust me…it works.

6.) Take notes. This does not mean that you have to take notes…but make sure it gets done. There a few different ways to approach this. You can either assign it someone on a permanent basis or a rotating basis. Once the notes have been taken make sure that they are distributed to all team members in attendance as soon as possible after the meeting.

7.) Assign action points. During the course of the meeting when new tasks are discovered make sure that they get assigned during the meeting. Make sure that the tasks are assigned to the team members with complete info: what the task involves, what is the due date and who gets confirmation of the task being completed.

Finally, there is one last question to the throw out to the room once you’ve completed the meeting. What needs to be done from this point forward to take us to our next step? Look around the room and you will see a sigh of relief that you asked the question. Everybody had it on their mind and are now relieved that it has been put on the table.

Jedi mind trick!

As always, onward and upward.

Rallying Your Troops, A.K.A., The Power Of Positive Thinking

Keeping your team on point and happy is crucial to work getting done and productivity staying high. This happiness doesn’t always have to be paid out in dollars. Let’s take a quick look at how some of the biggest companies out there motivate and incentivize their employees.

the power of positive thinking

Google: Every wonder why Google employees love their jobs? Maybe, just maybe it’s because some of these perks.

  • Free food from gourmet cafes representing food from around the globe
  • Dog friendly work environment
  • On-site gym
  • On-site doctors
  • Free laundry machines

Netflix: When you work here you never have to worry about asking for days off-there’s no vacation policy. As long as you get your work done there is no limit to the number of days you can take off. What about a dress code? There isn’t one.

Facebook: Free food. There is $3,000.00 for child care reimbursement. So, what about time off? 21 days paid time off, 11 paid holidays and unlimited sick days. There is also four months off-paid for-for maternity/paternity leave.

Now that we’ve seen what life is like at the top of the food chain…let’s come back to reality for you and your small business! Once again-showing your appreciation doesn’t always have to be about dollars.

Employees want to be appreciated and they want to know “what is going on”. Working from this statement let’s take a look at a few things you can to keep your workplace a great, positive place for your employees to come to everyday.

Show Your Appreciation
When you have an employee that is doing stellar work-don’t it go unnoticed. Either taking them out to lunch or a verbal, “thanks for the great job you’re doing” can make a huge difference in an employee’s day. This is an instance where a little bit can go a long way.

Communicate-Make sure you have consistent communication with your team. It’s vital to keep moral up and positive. Don’t sequester yourself away from everyone. Try to be as open and real as you possibly can with your communication in the office. Remember…your attitude and vibe can often set the tone for the entire office.

Don’t Lie-If your employees find out that you have lied to them…your toast. Any trust that existed will be obliterated. Trust is directly linked to positivity and productivity in the workplace. Also, try not to ever over extend yourself to your people. If you promise to do something, then do it! Lying to your people is a guaranteed path to destroying morale in the office.

Stay Out Of It-The dreaded “M” word is micromanaging. Everyone knows you care about your company, your clients and your employees. Show that passion. Be that person to rally the troops and lead them into battle. DON’T micromanage them. You hired them all for a reason. Let them do their job. Hands off!

A Clear Goal-It’s really simple. When your employees have a clear and concise goal in front of them…it will make their road to success that much easier. Being vague never works. Be crystal clear about what you expect out of them so that they can feel good about the hard working they are doing and so that they can feel confident in your leadership.

As always…onward and upward.

Saying A Good Goodbye to Bad Clients

Saying A Good Goodbye to Bad Clients

It’s inevitable that it will happen. You have to come to the conclusion that you have a “bad client”. For whatever reason or reasons, the relationship is just not working. When it does happen, the first thing you need to ask yourself is this: Is this relationship mutually beneficial to both sides? If your answer is no-you need to figure out exactly why?

When you are preparing to go into a business relationship with any new client it’s a good idea for both parties to first determine the benefits of working together. This needs to a vital process in your business dealing with anybody-what will we, as a company, achieve from working with this particular client? The specific answers can only be determined by you and your team. Here are some factors to take into consideration.

1.) Value. Can each party clearly articulate the value of working together?

2.) Styles. Do your styles match? If you are a company that moves at a continuous, quick pace will your client be able to “keep up” or will you always have a feeling that you are “dragging” the client along?

3.) Clarity. Is there complete clarity about what the client is looking to achieve? This works for both sides. Does your team clearly understand the goal of the client and does the client understand what will be needed from their team to achieve their goal?

4.) Qualification. Wanting a goal and having the qualified people in place to achieve that goal are two different things. The client may want to build that very groovy, cool new mobile app but do they have the team in place to utilize it once it is built? Do they have the funding-now? Is your team qualified to build the app in a timely fashion?

5.) Communication. Does the client really understand? Do they really listen well? Do both parties do what they say they will when they say they will? This is a big one.

So you’ve covered all five checkpoints above and come to the conclusion that it is not going to be a good fit. You are now at the point where you are ready to “fire the client”. Do it with dignity and class.

First make sure ALL of your contractual obligations (up to this point) are fulfilled as best as possible. Second, stick to your guns about ending the business relationship. This will be really useful in the event that they make a request for you to do more work. Learn to say NO…with a thank you tagged on the end. Prepare a concise and constructive answer if they do request more work from you. You never know. Sometimes having these conversations can turn positive-for both sides.

In conclusion, always make sure you are being a great service provider to your clients. This can only be done by assessing the real value of entering into any new business relationship-before the relationship starts.

Onward and upward!

How Dealing With Clients (Potential and Existing) Is A Two Way Street

I’m sure that at one time or another you and your business cohorts have dealt with either one or both of the following scenarios.
Potential Clients-You are at the starting point with a potential new client. Conversations have been had, meetings have taken place and sparkling eye-popping decks have been e-mailed. Business negotiations have begun…you are on your way to closing this deal! Then it happens-nothing. Radio silence begins. No phone calls are returned. No e-mails are answered. Your assumptions are that either alien beings have kidnapped these folks or sadly they are what I like to refer to as business flakes. Weird thoughts of irrational rationalization creep into your head. You think-“good thing we found out now what they are really like-how they really treat people.” Now what?
First, don’t make a pest of yourself. Don’t repeatedly calling when they haven’t returned any of your calls. Don’t send yet another e-mail-you’ll look desperate? You’re going to have to move ahead as if. Here’s what that means. There must have been an initial reason for you to pursue them as a potential new client. Hold onto that thought for a minute or two. You never know what’s going on in their camp. Until you hopefully do get an answer-don’t drive yourself crazy. Put it on the back burner…focus on the good work that you and your team already have on your plate.
There’s a great lesson to be learned here…never let you or your staff behave in this manner. When there are times when you may be dealing with new clients or vendors, don’t waste your time or theirs. Be succinct and as exact as you can whether asking for info or providing info.
OK…now let’s about bad behavior from existing clients. As mentioned in one of my previous blogs. When you come to the realization that you have a client that’s become more of a problem than a pleasure to work with you need to quickly assess if it’s worth keeping them. Take the time to review why you first got into business together. Is that still the case? If not, in a professional, yet firm manner-end the relationship. Life is too short. Bad, difficult clients can drag you and your team down to the curb. Nobody wants to work in that type of environment.
In conclusion…as always…onward and upward.