A long-time client recently shared an interesting twist to the standard to-do list: instead of writing down all the things he needed to do, he started writing out the things he needed to stop doing. This got me thinking...we all have things we do out of habit or because we think they're necessary, but are they actually that critical? Or are we simply afraid that if we don't do what we've always done, our businesses will fail? ..
Do you get overwhelmed when deciding on the best way to present your brand's content? From blog posts and checklists to webinars and live-streaming, it's not easy to remember
the creative options when you're in the middle of an intense content development session -- or just scrambling to get something out on time.
Take the pain out of content creation with our all-in-one guide to the best goal, topic and format combinations:
Small business owners are a very self-sufficient group, but that boot-strapping mindset can also be what keeps us from growing our businesses in ways that
are smart and effective.
If you're like most business owners, cash was probably tight when you started out and free tools were an absolute necessity. MailChimp became your go-to for email campaigns, Outlook held your contact database and Dropbox kept all your files.
But there comes a point when this starts to feel...off.
Your email list outgrows the limits of the "free forever" plan, or the templates won't cooperate and you spend 6 hours trying to make them look the way you want.
Outlook lets you see all of the names and emails you've gathered, but you have no way of knowing how often those people are actually interacting with your brand unless you go to your email software, your free web analytics software and your free social media tracker and manually trace each customer's path across all of them.
You know it's time to invest in better tools, but your budget is still tight and you feel like you're hopelessly stuck.
When we reached this point in our own business, we realized that we couldn't increase our revenue if we didn't increase our expenses first. It was a difficult decision to make, but we knew that free tools were holding us back.
We didn't dive in all at once; instead, we upgraded our Dropbox account for a few dollars a month to increase our storage limits and we later combined our email, website and CRM into one platform that had a reasonable monthly fee.
These steps were enough at the time, but we're now in a place where we need to expand further. We've chosen only the tools that are most important for our current growth, but we've also made sure that each one is scaleable for the future.
Has it increased our business expenses? Yes, and in some ways painfully so. But we're already reaping the benefits and that's why we choose to look at these tools as investments.
They enable us to increase the quality and capabilities of our services, they save time so we can work on things that bring in more revenue, and they allow us to measure everything we do so we can make sound decisions for the future.
Free isn't holding us back anymore.
How about you? It can be overwhelming trying to find tools that are solid, scaleable and budget-friendly. Here are some tools we love: ..
When I started working in retail, I wrote everything down on sticky notes. This was fine, because my jobs didn’t rely on me tracking much more than messages for my manager. Then I got a job in the corporate world and things were…different. It was my first real introduction to email and I had to keep track of my communications with multiple customers and vendors. I used a double pronged approach: my email inbox and steno notepads. ..
You know you need valuable content on your website/blog and emails, but what if your written content is hurting your brand because you're not writing well? If your writing isn't high-quality, you can be fairly sure you're losing people who would have otherwise followed you. And some of them could have been your next customers. ..
No matter what your reason is for being in business, you eventually have to face the fact that staying in business requires a system for not only attracting an audience, but leading them to become customers. But maybe your business is like many others who don't follow-up with potential customers on a consistent basis. You get busy with current work and don't really think about your leads until your work slows down -- or even grinds to a halt. This causes a feast-or-famine cycle in your business and I'm sure you know how much stress and anxiety that causes. Setting up a lead nurturing system will help break this cycle, bringing more stability to your business. ..