tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:/feeds/all Flying Solo 2014-10-25T07:30:00+11:00 tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14816 2014-10-25T07:30:00+11:00 2014-09-08T14:13:02+10:00 Why we’re not rich yet <p>This article is going to explore the reasons and patterns behind our empty pockets.</p><p>Most of us are not where we want to be <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/why-your-financial-reports-matter" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/why-your-financial-reports-matter">financially</a>, and the dream of hitting the millionaire jackpot seems unattainable. The great news is that we can learn to live comfortably if we are ready to own up to the&nbsp;<em>actual</em>&nbsp;reasons why we’re not rich yet, and decide to do something about it.&nbsp;</p> <h2>No plan&nbsp;</h2> <p>The old maxim “failing to plan is planning to fail” has been proven to be true over and over again. We wouldn’t build a house without a plan so how can we build a life without a plan?</p> <p>Is the job of building a financial plan too overwhelming? It needn’t be. Choose to work with a professional financial planner, or start small and kick it off yourself. A good plan can be fine-tuned to changing circumstances, aspirations and dreams. Adjusting your plan is smart, but abandoning it is no different to never having one.</p> <p>Start with a set of objectives or <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/setting-business-goals/four-tips-for-achieving-your-business-goals" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/setting-business-goals/four-tips-for-achieving-your-business-goals">goals,</a> prioritise and add a realistic timeline.</p> <h2>Complain rather than commit</h2><p> There are plenty of very good excuses that our family and friends will happily accept and sympathise with. After all, they’re probably using the same ones, so sympathising with ours validates their own. Break this link. Let’s&nbsp;<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;">admit to ourselves that these are just excuses and stop making them.</span><span mce_style="line-height: 1.5em;" style="line-height: 1.5em;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/money-saving-tips-to-boost-cash-flow" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/money-saving-tips-to-boost-cash-flow">Good habits</a> are hard to get into, and bad habits are easy to get into. If we habitually do those things that serve our plan, we’ll displace those habits that keep us from achieving our objectives and realising our dreams. We’ve now moved from planning to action.&nbsp;</p> <h2>No emergency piggy bank&nbsp;</h2> <p>No matter how good our plan, the world has an annoying way of throwing up unexpected obstacles. A job loss, an accident, unplanned car repairs or a medical emergency all can have an impact on both our income and expenses.</p> <p>Let’s start by ensuring we have a financial safety net of a substantial <em>cash</em> reserve that, while should be earning interest, is immediately accessible to cover any emergencies. A rule of thumb is six months’ worth of earnings. That’s hard to accrue, but no one promised getting rich was easy. A regular deduction from our earnings or jobs into an investment account will condition us to a reduced income.</p> <h2>Living for today in spite of tomorrow&nbsp;</h2> <p>If we can’t afford it now, we will be <em>less</em> able to afford it once we’ve paid the bill and the interest on the interest.</p> <p>The future is a long way off, and our wants are today. The utopian mindset of spending one dollar to win the million-dollar lottery isn’t the best way to kill two birds with one stone. Some of our needs – food, shelter, energy, education – also demand immediate attention. Luckily, most of these are easy to quantify and to include in our plan. The rest can be put into the post-wealthy part of the plan.</p> <p>Following our plan will bring us the wealth we desire, and failing to plan will, well, leave our life to a lottery.</p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts?</em></strong></p> Leah Rise tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14814 2014-10-24T07:30:00+11:00 2014-09-05T16:53:31+10:00 Is a victim mindset holding back your biz? <p>Businesses that are stuck in ‘victim mode’, regardless of the reason, can struggle to prosper. Learn how to break the cycle, be empowered and transform.</p><h2>The Midas touch gone wrong&nbsp;</h2> <p>Many years ago I met a man who seemed to have the “Midas Touch”. Any business venture he started, always boomed, and he became very wealthy in the process.&nbsp;</p> <p>Then, through a series of misfortunes, his business failed and he lost everything.&nbsp;</p> <p>Sadly, he never got over it. Although he had the ideas, ability and resourcefulness to start again, he turned into a bitter and angry man who blamed the world for his loss.&nbsp;</p> <h2>I’ve played the victim in the past. I know the dangers.&nbsp;</h2> <p>I once had a business partner who took everything I owned, even the kitchen sink – literally. I was left with a pile of debt and a battered and bruised ego. I spent a year feeling really angry with him and feeling sorry for myself.&nbsp;</p> <p>I was also hell bent on revenge.&nbsp;</p> <p>Then one morning I woke up and realised how much energy it was taking to hold on to the anger. I was physically suffering from my rage – I had boils all over my body, I wasn’t sleeping, I was short-tempered, and in general, I was not a very nice person to be around.&nbsp;</p> <p>That morning I knew something had to change. I made the conscious decision to let go of my anger. Instead of being consumed by negative emotions I decided to learn from the situation. As much as I blamed my business partner for doing what he did, I learned a very valuable lesson (which in hindsight has saved me a lot of money).&nbsp;</p> <p>The change was amazing – within a few days my boils cleared up, I started to sleep like a baby, my energy came back and I started to see opportunities everywhere.&nbsp;</p> <h2>How to move from victim to victor&nbsp;</h2> <p>A good place to start is by identifying the issues that are clouding your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/decision-making/making-difficult-decisions" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/decision-making/making-difficult-decisions">decision making</a> or impacting on your attitude in a negative way.&nbsp;</p> <p>Then ask yourself two questions: first, what have you got to gain by holding on to this issue, and secondly, what have you got to gain by letting it go?&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Example 1: Staff</em>&nbsp;</p> <p>In a business context, and whilst I know we are soloists, at some stage you will probably have people <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/growth/hiring-tips-to-reduce-your-fear-of-hiring" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/growth/hiring-tips-to-reduce-your-fear-of-hiring">working for you</a>. If a member of your staff steals from you, it’s easy to decide that you will never trust another employee again. Worse still, you might start to imagine that everyone is trying to steal from you. You will become paranoid and spend all your energy worrying about it. But how can you grow your business if you don’t empower people and trust them to do the right thing?&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Example 2: Clients</em>&nbsp;</p> <p>If you have a bad experience with a client, don’t assume that every client is going to be the same. In fact, when you think about it, most clients are wonderful, and if they aren’t, you’ve got the wrong clients – that is a lesson in its own right.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Example 3: Marketing</em>&nbsp;</p> <p>If you try a marketing initiative and it doesn’t work, don’t classify all <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/small-business-marketing-tips-to-make-marketing-easier" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/small-business-marketing-tips-to-make-marketing-easier">marketing</a> as a useless waste of money and vow never to do anything again. How do you think that will work out for you and your business?&nbsp;</p> <p>Holding on to past failures and mistakes takes a lot of energy. One of the best lessons I have learned, not only in business, but in life, is to understand the power that comes from letting go. Let go of the past and you can actually start to move forward.&nbsp;</p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on the impact of a victim mindset?</em></strong></p> Andrew Griffiths tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14813 2014-10-23T07:30:00+11:00 2014-09-05T16:52:46+10:00 Confidentiality agreements: What, when, how! <p>Got a great idea? The best way to protect it is through a confidentiality agreement. Find out more.</p><h2>What is a confidentiality agreement?<strong>&nbsp;</strong></h2> <p>A confidentiality agreement (also sometimes called a non-disclosure agreement) is a contract between individuals or businesses to promise not to disclose certain <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-start-up/written-agreements-things-to-keep-in-mind" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-start-up/written-agreements-things-to-keep-in-mind">agreed</a> information.&nbsp;</p> <p>They are used to protect sensitive information and <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/high-leverage-low-cost-small-business-marketing-ideas" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/high-leverage-low-cost-small-business-marketing-ideas">ideas</a> that are not yet in the public domain. They are often used to protect trade secrets and business ideas, among other things, and can cover and protect a wide range of information: verbal, written, pictures, ideas and designs. They are not limited to protecting discussions only.&nbsp;</p> <h2>There are different types of confidentiality agreements&nbsp;</h2> <p>1. Mutual or Two-way. This is where both parties receive information and agree to keep it secret.&nbsp;</p> <p>2. Unilateral or One-way. This is where only one person receives confidential information and agrees to keep it secret.&nbsp;</p> <h2>When you need a confidentiality agreement<strong>&nbsp;</strong></h2> <p>You need a confidentiality agreement anytime you have a business idea, concept or other valuable information you want kept confidential, and that you do not want others to use or misuse.&nbsp;</p> <p>Generally, if you show your idea, material or information to anyone without a confidentiality agreement in place, it is then considered to be out in the public domain, and it is no longer protected. It also means you cannot register it for protection.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you don’t have a confidentiality agreement in place when you decide to show your invention, idea or process to a potential investor or licensee (even just to determine if there is enough interest), Intellectual Property Australia <a href="http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/" mce_href="http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/">(IP Australia</a>) will deem it no longer new or <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-start-up/latest-changes-to-intellectual-property-IP-laws" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-start-up/latest-changes-to-intellectual-property-IP-laws">eligible to be patented.</a>&nbsp;</p> <h2>A practical example<em>&nbsp;</em></h2> <p>You have a great idea for a new business. Let’s say you’re developing a <em>Back to the Future</em> movie-style Hover Board (skateboard without wheels). You want to speak to a designer about how much it would cost to create.&nbsp;</p> <p>You should have them agree to a confidentiality agreement before you start any discussions, or your idea is no longer able to be protected.&nbsp;</p> <p>Even if the designer does not use the concept for themselves, it is still considered to be in the public domain if you do not have a confidentiality agreement in place.&nbsp;</p> <p>You then decide to set up a website to sell the Hover Boards while they’re being designed and developed. You should have your website developer sign a confidentiality agreement before starting your website to protect both your Hover Board concept and your website design.&nbsp;</p> <p>Any potential investors or funders you speak to should also be required to agree to a confidential arrangement.&nbsp;</p> <p>You also may want to consider having your contractors or employees sign a confidentiality agreement when they are working for you. This can protect your client lists, your trade secrets and business processes, as well as your designs and other materials.&nbsp;</p> <h2>How do I know what to include?&nbsp;</h2> <ol> <li>The most important item: ensure the other person is aware that you are providing <em>confidential</em> information and that it is to be kept <em>confidential.</em> If you don’t tell people the information is confidential (and that this is the only basis you are providing the information), they can do whatever they want with it. <br /> <br /> </li> <li>You need to clearly define the ‘Confidential Information’. The description must not be too broad and include information which may be in the public domain, and not too narrow that it does not include information you may need during discussions. <br /> <br /> </li> <li>You need to clearly define the purpose for which the confidential information is being provided. It can only be used for that specific purpose so it is critical to ensure it is well explained.<br /> <br /> </li> <li>The information must actually be confidential in the first place. You cannot ask someone to keep something confidential if it is not. If it is already in the public domain, it is too late. No matter what you make someone sign, the information <em>must</em> be confidential in the first place.&nbsp;</li> </ol> <h2>Do confidentiality agreements really work? What do they protect?&nbsp;</h2> <p>There is controversy in Australia about whether confidentiality agreements are effective.&nbsp;</p> <p>In 2008, a breach of confidentiality cost Sears 25 million dollars, and in January 2013, Hallmark successfully sued one of its former employees for sharing trade secrets with a competitor. So they do work if well drafted and used in the right circumstances.&nbsp;</p> <p>A confidentiality agreement does not necessarily compensate you if your idea or design is leaked into the public domain. If information is used or made public, you may claim for losses that flow from the breach, but in many cases, the compensation may not be equivalent to the loss of the idea or information. You need to ensure that your agreement is strong and makes clear the <em>potential</em> losses that may be suffered so that you are adequately compensated.&nbsp;</p> <h2>What if they won’t sign my confidentiality agreement?&nbsp;</h2> <p>Don’t deal with people who are not respectful of your right to protect your trade secret. Walk away and don’t divulge any information.&nbsp;</p> <p>As you can see, confidentiality agreements are important. Go to every meeting armed with a few, just in case.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>What are your thoughts on confidentiality agreements? Do you have any questions?</em></strong></p> Vanessa Emilio tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14812 2014-10-22T07:30:00+11:00 2014-09-05T16:52:17+10:00 Hiring an online marketer on a tight budget? <p>If you’re hiring an online marketer on a shoe string budget, it’s vital to think about six important things before handing over your cash. </p><p class="Body">As a soloist trying to get online exposure, it’s doubtful you’re going have unlimited funds to throw around on marketing. So if you only have a small budget, does it still make sense to hire an online marketer? The simple answer is ‘yes’, but there’s a lot to think about before handing over your cash.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Focus on return on investment (ROI)&nbsp;</h2> <p class="Body">Like any business decision, you should invest based on your expected returns. This mindset should be the same when spending whatever sum of money in online marketing. Therefore it’s a good idea to set goals and monitor key performance indicators (KPI’s). If you spend 1000 dollars per month on marketing, how many customers do you need to attract in order to make it worthwhile?<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>Get your website in order&nbsp;</h2> <p class="Body">Before you spend money bringing people to your website, make sure it’s doing your business a favour! It needs to be carefully <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/how-to-create-and-plan-a-website" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/how-to-create-and-plan-a-website">planned</a><u> </u>and capable of converting visitors into customers, taking the following into consideration.&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Aesthetics. Have a professionally designed website that internet users expect to see.&nbsp;</li> <li>Content. Provide up-to-date and useful sales copy for potential customers.<br /> <strong></strong></li> <li>Conversions. Make sure each page is set up with a goal in mind, and has a suitable call to action.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h2>Be realistic</h2> <p class="Body">It’s important to be realistic about what you can achieve. This comes with knowing how competitive your industry is. Have a look at the types of businesses that are competing online. Are they big businesses?&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">If you’re not technical when it comes to online marketing, speak with <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/directory" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/directory">consultants</a> and participate in <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/index.php" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/index.php">forums</a> to get a professional assessment.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Focus on one channel<strong>&nbsp;</strong></h2> <p class="Body">As you probably know, there are lots of channels for marketing online, but not every channel is going to be optimal for your business, especially on a limited budget. The smartest strategy is to focus your efforts on one channel.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Speak to a range of experts&nbsp;</h2> <p class="Body">Take your time to get a number of perspectives. If you speak to an SEO expert about your business, guess what services they are going to propose? Get a variety of proposals from experts that specialise in different areas of online marketing. These proposals will expose you to new ideas and hopefully give you more confidence in making a smart decision.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Learn<strong>&nbsp;</strong></h2> <p class="Body">As a soloist constrained by budget, your long-term strategy should be to try and learn what the expert does. That way you’re investing in both marketing and knowledge for yourself. Their willingness and ability to teach you should be a consideration before making a hiring decision.&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">With these tips under your belt, you’re in a better position to hire an online marketer on a tight budget.&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body"><strong><em>What’s your experience with hiring an online marketer? Any tips for making the right decision?</em></strong><em></em></p> Adam Binstock tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14877 2014-10-21T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-15T17:50:26+11:00 Why things go wrong. An alternative view. <p>Has October been a magnet for misfortunes? Have gadgets stopped working or communication problems arisen? Here’s why. Well, an alternative view anyway. </p><h2>First, a back story.</h2> <p>You know when you think you’ve saved a document but you haven’t? The frantic attempts to recover it, the swearing at the PC, the gut churning … we’ve all been there.</p> <p>It happened to me years ago whilst minuting a meeting on a volunteer committee. When I fessed up to the Chairperson, he shrugged and said, “Yeah, it’s the Mercury retrograde,” before helping me to document the meeting from memory.</p> <p>Later when prompted for an explanation he told me that three times a year, for a period of about three weeks each time, the planet Mercury appears to be travelling in a retrograde motion in relation to Earth. (One’s been underway since 4 October). Some believe Mercury is associated with communication, so when it’s going backwards, so do your communications.</p> <p>Arguments occur for no good reason. Post goes missing. You run late. Your car breaks down. Servers fail and batteries die. Gadgets break. It’s a bad time to sign <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/office-admin/subcontractor-agreements-contracts-for-sub-contractors" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/office-admin/subcontractor-agreements-contracts-for-sub-contractors">contracts,</a> or make big purchases. You get the idea.</p> <p>Now, I live in New South Wales’ Byron shire, an area famed for all things alternative. As Robert observed when he visited “Spit out of the window and it’ll land on someone who’ll realign your chakras, perform Reiki, numerology, naturopathy, you name it.” So for Mercury to come up in a normal conversation round these parts is no big deal.</p> <p>At the time I took it with a pinch of salt, but since the notion entered my consciousness it took root and grew. Conveniently or not, I’ve noticed misfortunes tend to cluster at certain times and these times are often when Mercury is in retrograde.</p> <h2>The Mercury retrograde in action</h2> <p>This October is a case in point. Just last week, for example, I spilt a teeny bit of water on my external keyboard, which promptly gave up the ghost. I returned my tax return to my accountant minus the cover letter, which I found on my desk. Our smoke detector went off unprompted at 4am. I bought a top online and found out afterward I could have used a free postage promo code. (When the top arrived, it was too big. “You look like a basketball player,” offered John-Paul. Not the look I was going for!)</p> <p>And at Flying Solo we’ve experienced missed <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/time-management-tips/prioritising-taks-stayin-alive-on-deadline" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/time-management-tips/prioritising-taks-stayin-alive-on-deadline">deadlines</a>, delayed <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/tips-for-managing-overdue-accounts" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/tips-for-managing-overdue-accounts">invoices</a> and technological challenges.</p> <p>I am sure plenty of you think I’m crackers. Part of me agrees. And for the longest time at work I bit my tongue during Mercury retrogrades, wanting to delay either the launch of a product or a key decision, but I didn’t, <em>and I swear to you it has burned us each time.</em></p> <p>So now I’m a veritable Nancy Reagan, and openly voice my concerns about making big calls at these times. Robert and Peter let me have my say and we apply the two out of three rule as usual. I’ve never asked their personal view, so am taking a deep breath and inviting them to comment on whether they think my theory is wacky or wise.</p> <p>I know there is likely to be a logical explanation of ‘what you are conscious of, you observe’. I know this is an out there topic and am feeling quite nervous about reading all of today’s comments, not just my business partner’s.</p> <h2>Over to you</h2> <p>I am really curious to see if some of you will also say, “Now you come to mention it, I have had a month I’d rather forget.”</p> <p>Or if you’re a plumber, IT expert or someone who specialises in fixing things, have you been extra busy? I’d love to know.</p> <p>Perhaps there’ll be zero comments and a torrent of unsubscribes from people who reckon Flying Solo has gone bonkers.</p> <p>That’d be fine. And par for the course. Mercury’s retrograding til 25 October, you see.</p><p> <strong><em>So, have you had a weird month? What are your thoughts on the Mercury Retrograde theory?&nbsp;</em></strong></p> Sam Leader tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14809 2014-10-18T07:30:00+11:00 2014-09-05T16:51:44+10:00 The four top visual social media platforms <p>Want your visual content to stand out, especially on the top four visual social media platforms? Read on.</p><h2>Instagram</h2> <p><a href="http://instagram.com/" mce_href="http://instagram.com/">Instagram</a> has 150 million active users and is obviously one of the top social media websites today.</p> <p>But if you thought Instagram can only be used to put up crisp, filtered images of your Sunday picnic, think again.</p> <p>Successful brands are already using Instagram in creative ways. Generic Electric for example has 166,318 followers, the last time I checked.</p> <p>If a company that has hardly any “creative” component can boast thousands of engaged followers, surely your brand can find some good use for Instagram?</p><p><img mce_src="/uploads/Article Specific/Instagram.thumbnail.468x319.jpg" src="/uploads/Article Specific/Instagram.thumbnail.468x319.jpg" width="468" height="319"><br /></p> <p>Another great example is Starbucks. They have got a massive 2,300,000 followers! These companies understand the golden rule of social media: people love connecting with people. They’re using Instagram to humanise their own brands.</p> <p>For soloists and micro business owners, it’s a great idea to share photos of yourself and your staff (if you have any); make use of captions, and reply to photo comments using tags (@username) of the people who leave comments.</p> <p>Also make sure you use the hashtag # to be found when people are searching for relevant topics. You can also come up with your own signature hashtag to engage people in conversations about your brand.</p> <h2>Pinterest</h2> <p><a href="http://www.pinterest.com/" mce_href="http://www.pinterest.com/">Pinterest</a> is a huge virtual pinboard where your images become pins and people can like or share them via the “Pin it” button.</p> <p>Eighty percent of the Pinterest audience is female, and Pinterest drives more referral traffic to websites than Twitter, Reddit, <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-networking/using-linkedin-for-business" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-networking/using-linkedin-for-business">LinkedIn</a> and Google+ combined.</p> <p>Real Simple is a New York based magazine that gives creative, practical and inspiring tips, and it’s one of the most-followed pinners on Pinterest. With over 130 boards, their content is organised and users can follow topics that interest them. They’ve got boards from easy hairstyles to weeknight meals.</p> <p>The best part? They make sure they’re engaged with their followers via comments.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img mce_src="/uploads/Article Specific/Pinterest.thumbnail.739x395.jpg" src="/uploads/Article Specific/Pinterest.thumbnail.739x395.jpg" width="739" height="395"></p> <p>Needless to say, on Pinterest, use only high-quality photos. A good size to start with 736 x 1128 pixels because it’s long enough not to be missed by users and stands out nicely. It also works nicely on smartphones.</p> <p>This <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/DesignerRRusso/best-image-sizes-for-social-media-design/" mce_href="http://www.pinterest.com/DesignerRRusso/best-image-sizes-for-social-media-design/">board</a> shows you how different sizes come out when published.</p> <p>Another neat tip is to add a “Pin It” button to your images if you want them to be shared on Pinterest. However, try posting them once to see if they are near-perfect size and don’t get lost in the sea of pins.</p> <h2>Vine</h2> <p><a href="https://vine.co/" mce_href="https://vine.co/">Vine</a> is relatively new on the block. It lets you create 6-second videos to put your message across. It was released in January 2013 and has bagged 13 million users, making it the most downloaded iOS app in June last year.</p> <p>The beauty of this video-sharing app is that it leverages the low-attention span online. Videos are capped at six seconds but you don’t have to shoot the whole thing in one go. You can create a montage and a series of non-consecutive pieces together.</p> <p>Home improvement brand Lowes understands this pretty well. Their Vine page uses a hashtag #LowesFixInSix where they teach six-second home improvement tips using fun, short videos.</p> <p>&nbsp;<img mce_src="/uploads/Article Specific/Vine.thumbnail.550x583.jpg" src="/uploads/Article Specific/Vine.thumbnail.550x583.jpg" width="550" height="583"></p> <h2>Twitter</h2> <p>Surprised to see <a href="https://twitter.com/" mce_href="https://twitter.com/">Twitter</a> in this list? Well, Twitter is always making <a href="https://blog.twitter.com/2014/coming-soon-a-whole-new-you-in-your-twitter-profile" mce_href="https://blog.twitter.com/2014/coming-soon-a-whole-new-you-in-your-twitter-profile">new tweaks</a> to their design and the latest one looks eerily like Facebook.</p> <p>Nevertheless, this means they are jumping the visual bandwagon with a larger profile photo.</p> <p>The new features, along with larger “best tweets”, pinnable tweets and an ability to choose which type of tweets you’d like to see are coming.</p> <p>There are many more ways to grab attention using visuals, but I’ll stop at these and pass the megaphone over to you.</p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on these top four visual social media platforms? Got any more to add?</em></strong></p> Pooja Lohana tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14807 2014-10-17T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-17T10:30:14+11:00 My thoughts on overwhelm <p>Overwhelm refers to the feeling of drowning under a sea of everyday tasks. Here are my thoughts on why we experience it, and how to combat it.</p><h2>The rude awakening</h2> <p>If you opted out of the standard employee work week in the quest for a better <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-life-balance/six-work-life-balance-tips" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-life-balance/six-work-life-balance-tips">work-life balance</a> as a soloist, you probably got a fairly rude awakening early on.</p> <p>Being a soloist doesn’t mean working less hours or different hours. In fact, if you aren’t careful, it can mean working every hour and still trying to fit in all the obligations you were juggling before.</p> <h2> Extra challenges</h2> <p>Running your own business is even more challenging in today’s society where so much is expected of us.</p> <p>To be considered successful it is expected that we: work in a well-paying job, regularly spend quality time with our children, maintain loving relationships, keep up with friends and family, pursue meaningful hobbies, exercise regularly, cook and prepare healthy meals; all while keeping ourselves regularly groomed and presentable.</p> <p>It’s no wonder when you ask someone how they are, the response is ‘busy’.</p> <h2>Unrealistic expectations </h2> <p>The problem with most productivity manuals is that they work on the assumption that it is possible to fit everything in, and if you don’t, you must be doing something wrong. But what if it’s just not possible to fit in everything? What if society is designed in a way that sets us up to fail by pushing unrealistic expectations and constantly moving the goal posts?</p> <h2>Combat overwhelm by prioritising</h2> <p>So how do we find the right balance in the pressure cooker that is modern society? It’s all about priorities: finding them, setting them and letting everything else fall where it may.</p> <p><em>What to do</em></p> <p>Once you realise that you aren’t going to fit everything in, think about what you absolutely <em>must</em> find <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/time-management-tips/effective-time-management-prioritising-time" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/time-management-tips/effective-time-management-prioritising-time">time</a> to do. Schedule those things in and fit everything else around it. You may not get everything done, but you will at least fit in the most important things – the things that mean the most to you.</p> <p>This can be difficult and seem like a sacrifice, and it is, but if you let go of the things that are less important, you are likely to feel less <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/professional-development/business-information-overwhelm-how-to-take-action" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/professional-development/business-information-overwhelm-how-to-take-action">overwhelmed</a> by everything else.</p> <p>It’s also well worth sitting back and thinking about <em>why</em> you are feeling overwhelmed. Are your expectations of yourself unrealistic? Are you prioritising an image of success over what is meaningful to you?</p> <p>When your business depends entirely on you, there are suddenly a thousand things that need your attention, from tax forms to walking the dog. It’s easy to quickly become stressed, which can be detrimental for both your personal and your professional life. So to feel happier and healthier, learn to prioritise, and in the process, be less overwhelmed.</p> <p><strong><em>What are your thoughts on feeling stressed and overwhelmed?</em></strong></p> Jo Macdermott tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14777 2014-10-16T07:30:00+11:00 2014-08-11T18:20:16+10:00 Will your Success be temporary or permanent? <p>In this article I explore the concept of success and provide a tool to help you instantly ascertain whether your success will be temporary or permanent.</p><h2>The concept of success. Aliens would be confused.</h2> <p>All around us we see stories of success: what it is, what it looks like, how to get it and what it feels like.</p> <p>An alien from another planet would be confused as to what success actually is because it seems to be represented differently by each cultural, societal or economic group. While many Caucasians seek tans, many Asians seek lighter skin. Many westerners want to be thinner whilst many east Africans see voluptuousness as a sign of prosperity (and in Africa, thin = sick or poor). Ostensibly “poor” westerners want more money; apparently “rich” westerners want more time.</p> <p>Fashion models tell us that success looks physically tall, thin, tanned, and proud. Slick <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/spending-too-much-on-small-business-marketing" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/spending-too-much-on-small-business-marketing">marketers</a> tell us that in order to look successful, you must have the latest watch, car, shirt or clothing label.</p> <p>However you define success, whether it is <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-psychology/how-to-make-more-money" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-psychology/how-to-make-more-money">more money</a>, <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/time-management-tips/time-management-tips-for-self-management" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/time-management-tips/time-management-tips-for-self-management">more time</a>, possessions or the latest gadgets and gizmos, that is up to you. We cannot tell you what success will represent for you, especially as this may change over time. What we can do, is tell you how to predict whether your success will be temporary or permanent.</p> <p>Examples abound of “get quick rich schemes” and equally “quick rich” people. Formerly famous or newly bankrupt celebrities are clichéd: MC Hammer, Donald Trump, Vanilla Ice and so on. These people enjoyed a brief glimmer of success and then crashed. The fortunate ones rise again, the unfortunate do not.</p> <h2>Test your success</h2> <p>To test the longevity of your success, before it arrives, write down the following words on a piece of paper: Money (M), Things (T), People (P). Now, put a number beside each word, prioritising it in order of importance to you. Please do this before you read on. Yes, now.</p> <p><em>Please do it before you read on. It's important. </em></p> <p>There is no right or wrong answer, and your answers are your personal responsibility and your choice. However, we have found this to be a good guide of predicting whether your success will be short or long-lived.</p> <p>If you answered your priorities as TMP, then your success will be <strong>T</strong>e<strong>MP</strong>orary. Things will fade in time or depreciate in value and you will find relationships may sour. Famously, MC Hammer had a house with gold gates and a gold urinal, but very few real friends.</p> <p>If you answered your priorities as PMT, then your success will be <strong>P</strong>er<strong>M</strong>anen<strong>T</strong>. Despite any fluctuations in assets or income, your relationships with other people will see you back on top very quickly. Richard Branson shares this PMT priority with you.</p> <p>If you are wondering what happens when you choose MPT, look no further than Donald Trump. Focussed on money more than people and things, the three-times married, four-times bankrupt tycoon has a hairstyle that would suggest he is secretly a <strong>M</strong>u<strong>P</strong>pe<strong>T</strong>.</p> <p>However you define your success, I wish you the very best in making it personal and permanent.</p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on success?</em></strong></p> Jeremy Britton tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14806 2014-10-15T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-15T11:03:21+11:00 Be someone on ‘The Internet of Everything’ <p>What exactly is the Internet of Everything? And why is it important to be on it? Find out. </p><p>The other day an old friend messaged me on <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-networking/five-tips-for-business-engagement-on-facebook-business-page" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-networking/five-tips-for-business-engagement-on-facebook-business-page">Facebook.</a> They were looking for 150 presentation boxes (bear with me). The boxes had to be this wide, this deep and this high. And white. And preferably glossy.</p> <p>Um...I thought. Why is this old friend asking me about presentation boxes?</p> <p>I just replied, “Nice to hear from you, I have no idea. Won’t Google tell you everything you need to know about presentation box suppliers?”</p> <h2>Yes, Google will</h2> <p>If you have any question, any wish, any wondrous thought, you can just type it into a search engine. Some have called it <em>The Internet of Everything.</em></p> <p>On the other hand, I hear business owners say they feel invisible. They’re worried they won’t be found. They feel they’re going to fall through a crack and nobody will catch them.</p> <p>And they’re frozen in fear.</p> <p>But just like the presentation box supplier, you don’t have to be everywhere, you just have to be in the right places at the right time, doing what you do best.</p> <h2>My tips</h2> <ul> <li><b>Be findable</b><br />Have a site, be on LinkedIn and take part in digital life. You might not be a retailer, but you need to show that your door is wide open and you’re ‘in business’. </li> <li><b>Be yourself</b><br /> Most micro businesses don’t need bells and whistles, they just need confidence to be themselves. Listen to what your clients say about you, step up and show yourself.</li> <li><b>Have a crack&nbsp;</b><br /> Just give things a go. Do you think you should be using social media? Stop agonising. Choose one and have some fun.</li> <li><b>Write words&nbsp;</b><br /> Search engines love your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/small-business-blogs/blogging-how-to-start-a-blog" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/small-business-blogs/blogging-how-to-start-a-blog">words,</a> clients love your words and prospects love your words too. If you’re a good writer, write a <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/small-business-blogs/how-to-be-a-bold-business-blogger" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/small-business-blogs/how-to-be-a-bold-business-blogger">blog</a>. If you’re not so confident, make a quick point with a few sentences. </li><li><b>Be a problem solver</b><br /> Focus more on being the person who specialises in solving one problem rather than trying to be all things to all people. Go to the heart of your offering and allow your passion to be seen and heard throughout your digital trail. </li> </ul> <h2>And remember this…</h2> <p>The people who <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/attracting-new-business/need-more-business-look-to-your-lovers" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/attracting-new-business/need-more-business-look-to-your-lovers">know and love you</a> are your most likely future referrers and customers. Make sure you talk to them more than you talk to strangers. If you’re feeling lost on <em>The Internet of Everything</em>, look for your clients and referrers on there – they’ll show you the ropes.</p> <p>Hopefully next time someone is looking for whatever you offer (presentation boxes perhaps!), they’ll know exactly who to call.</p> <p><strong><em>Who are you on the Internet of Everything?</em></strong></p> Katie McMurray tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14871 2014-10-14T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-09T22:33:38+11:00 There is no such thing as better <p>We often see the word ‘better’ in business marketing material. But is it the best word to use? No, because the very concept of better is a myth.</p><p>A ‘better service’ can mean faster, cheaper, more convenient, more customised or more reliable. A ‘better product’ can be the cheapest, simplest, rarest, most popular, most expensive, most comprehensive or most eco-friendly.</p> <p>As you can see, ‘better’ can mean the exact opposite for two different people, which is why it’s not the best word to use in relation to your business.</p> <h2>Better can be vague</h2> <p><a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/seth-godin-touched-me" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/seth-godin-touched-me">Seth Godin</a> says, “There is no more everyone. Instead, there are many pockets of someones.”</p> <p>Each <em>someone</em> sees the world differently, and once you’ve dropped the notion that there is a universal ‘better’, you can take your thoughts in a more useful direction, and ask “Which pocket of someones am I a match for?”</p> <p>There are people out there who value the same unique strengths that your business is built on. Maybe you’re organic and local. Quick and cheap. Rare and exotic. Bespoke and expensive. It’s time for you to be honest with yourself about who you are <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/three-unforgivable-target-market-mistakes" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/three-unforgivable-target-market-mistakes">targeting</a>, rather than being the better choice for<em> everyone</em>.</p> <p>To grab your ‘someone’s’ attention, you need to flag them down with descriptive and specific messages, whether it’s on your website, business cards, a billboard or on the phone. When your market see what you stand for (or the <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/whats-your-unique-selling-proposition-usp" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/whats-your-unique-selling-proposition-usp">unique</a> thing you offer), a funny thing will happen – they’ll <em>decide for themselves</em> that you are better.</p> <p><strong>Example 1</strong></p> <p>Nobody is “The better choice in real estate”.</p> <p>What kind of real estate? Are you the cheapest? Which areas do you know best? Give me a clue – a reason to take notice! Rather than describing yourself as better, perhaps you "sell more units in Hamilton than any other agent" or you "leave your clients with an education as well as a sale".</p> <p><strong>Example 2</strong></p> <p>Every time you claim to be “The best accountants in Brisbane” you’ve missed an opportunity to get a well-matched, like-minded customer nodding their head and choosing you. Instead, name your somebody. You might be "The accountant for Brisbane property owners", or "For companies who need 24/7 access to their accountant". Think of your best customers and why you started your business in the first place.</p> <h2>Better is the reason you have a chance</h2> <p>There’s no single definition for better. And that’s a good thing.</p> <p>It’s the reason why everyone doesn’t fly with the same airline or wear the same type of running shoe. In fact, this lack of consensus is exactly what made it possible for you to start your own business.</p><p> <strong><em>What words would you use, other than ‘better’, to flag down your ideal clients?</em></strong></p> Dave Gillen tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14872 2014-10-12T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-09T13:33:04+11:00 The business skills we need to succeed <p>A healthy business sale and a place on BRW's Rich List firmly positioned entrepreneur, Ryan Trainor as a success. With the launch of BSchool, he's sharing his knowledge far and wide.</p><p><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: #000000; font-size: 11px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; color: #4d4d4c; line-height: 17px; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;" mce_style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: #000000; font-size: 11px; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; color: #4d4d4c; line-height: 17px; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;">To access all Flying Solo podcasts visit&nbsp;</span><a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #3e8a9a; text-decoration: none; line-height: 17px; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;" mce_style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: #000000; vertical-align: baseline; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #3e8a9a; text-decoration: none; line-height: 17px; background-image: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-size: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial; background-position: initial; background-repeat: initial;" href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/podcast" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/podcast" target="_blank">http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/podcast</a></p> FlyingSolo tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14805 2014-10-11T07:30:00+11:00 2014-09-03T15:04:33+10:00 Three elements of a successful business <p>Although it may sound trite, achieving success in business is not that difficult. Here are three elements of a truly successful business.</p><p>There are three elements that are common among the most <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/measuring-success/online-performance-monitoring-tools-to-track-small-business-success" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/measuring-success/online-performance-monitoring-tools-to-track-small-business-success">successful</a> businesses. These universal elements are the foundation of achievement, so if your solo or micro business is not achieving the level of success that you desire, it is probably because one of the following elements is missing.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Productivity</h2> <p>Some business owners are very clear about their goals and yet don’t do enough to accomplish them. Our world is very physical in nature. It functions by action and re-action, as well as cause and effect. Unless a lot of action take place, significant changes do not occur.&nbsp;</p> <p>Conversely, an individual who is proactive and <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/productivity/stop-being-busy-and-start-being-productive" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/productivity/stop-being-busy-and-start-being-productive">productive</a> sees a lot of progress over time. It’s not how intelligent you are, it’s about how you choose your actions that enable you to maximize your results and progress.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Clarity&nbsp;</h2> <p>Many individuals have a vague idea of what they want and how they want to achieve it, but they just aren’t clear about it.&nbsp;</p> <p>Not only do you need to be completely clear about your goals, you need to develop a step-by-step plan for progressing toward them. It’s not important that you have every step outlined initially, you just need enough to get started along your path. As you progress through them, you can develop the ensuing steps.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Belief</h2> <p>If you have been productive and have mission clarity, you will usually be able to outperform the average person.&nbsp;</p> <p>Productivity and <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/decision-making/a-little-clarity-for-big-decisions" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/decision-making/a-little-clarity-for-big-decisions">clarity</a> are very powerful tools by themselves, however, there are people who excel in these two areas but who still experience failure. Why is this? Basically, if you are going to achieve anything worthwhile in life, you are going to encounter a lot of hardships and obstacles along the way. The high achiever knows that failure is the fabric of their success, while the unsuccessful person gets surprised by setbacks and doubts themselves. The bottom line: <em>believe in yourself!</em>&nbsp;</p> <p>Being productive, having clarity and believing in yourself are three elements of any successful business.&nbsp;</p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on these three elements of a successful business? Are there more elements?</em></strong></p> Samantha Hurst tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14804 2014-10-10T07:30:00+11:00 2014-09-03T15:03:42+10:00 Six mistakes of non-converting websites <p>So your new website is beautiful and everyone agrees. But how's the traffic and conversions? Here are six fundamental mistakes of non-converting websites.</p><p>Apart from the phone ringing or lots of people filling in your contact form, one of the best ways to see if your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/how-to-create-and-plan-a-website" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/how-to-create-and-plan-a-website">website</a> is working is to look at your analytic statistics.</p> <p>If you don’t have analytics software, check out Google Analytics – it’s one of the best tools for tracking visitors and their behaviour, and best of all, it’s free.</p> <h2>What to look for in your analytics account:</h2> <ul> <li>Audience – traffic numbers</li> <li>Acquisition – how you got your visitors, their behaviour and conversions</li> <li>Behaviour – which pages received the most views</li> <li>Bounce Rate – the percentage of single page views (the lower the better)&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>If your pages or posts are getting a high bounce rate, then these pages are probably not hitting the mark with your visitors, and they are “bouncing” off.</p> <p>I encourage you to have a dig around in your analytics account – you might glean some very important information.&nbsp;</p> <h2>The fundamental mistakes I see on non-converting websites</h2> <h3>No clear call to action</h3> <p>This is probably the most common mistake – no clear message and no <br /> call-to-action. Most of us want to be lead or told what to do, particularly on a website.</p> <p>If I was to land on your website, would it be obvious what you want me to do? That is, call you on the phone, fill in your contact form, download your free report, join your mailing list? There are many options, but you need to pick just one or two to focus on.</p> <h3>Confusing your readers</h3> <p>Another big mistake is too many choices . You need to decide what action you most want you reader to take, and focus on that one thing. Don’t give them too many choices – confuse your reader and they will leave.</p> <h3>Too many distractions</h3> <p>There are several big distractions that will hinder your conversions:</p> <ul> <li>Ads. It might seem like a good idea to monetise your website with Google ads, but they can be very distracting to visitors. If you really want ads, make sure they are not taking up the best real estate (more on this later).</li> <li>Social Media icons. Yes, I think we should all have them, but not in a prominent position. When a visitor comes to your website, don’t invite them to leave! Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn get enough traffic, they don’t need yours too.</li> <li>Too many different fonts and flashy images. Try to stick to two or three fonts, you can mix it up by using bold and italic for variety. Flashy images are often annoying.</li> </ul> <h3>Not maximising the real estate</h3> <p>The best real estate on your website is the top right corner. This is where your call-to-action should be, whether that is your phone number, join here, contact us, or even your location map – whatever your call-to-action is, put it in the top right.</p> <h3>Hard to find contact details</h3> <p>Apart from being a major online marketing faux pas, it’s frustrating when you have to dig to find a phone number. Just put it in a prominent spot on the front page (and make sure it’s clickable for mobile phones), unless of course you don’t <em>want</em> people to call you, and if that’s the case you should consider getting a number that goes directly to an answer service or recorded message.</p> <h3>Ineffective ‘about’ page</h3> <p>The about page is one of the<em> </em>most visited pages on any website. Why? Because people do business with people they <em>know, like and trust</em>. How can they trust you if your about page has:</p> <ul> <li>No photo of you</li> <li>No <em>real</em> information about you</li> <li>No personality&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Many small business owners think they have to pretend they are a <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/working-alone/small-is-the-new-big" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/working-alone/small-is-the-new-big">big</a> company, so they write boring, clinical information about themselves and their business. Please don’t do this – be <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/website-content/uniqueness-your-websites-secret-weapon" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/website-content/uniqueness-your-websites-secret-weapon">proud of you</a> and your business and “get real”.</p> <p>The overall design of your website is very important, but always choose elements that convert clicks into customers, rather than simply make your website pretty or stunning.</p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on these mistakes? Can you list anymore?</em></strong></p> Trish Fehon tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14868 2014-10-09T07:59:00+11:00 2014-10-17T12:17:36+11:00 FREE WEBINAR – Wed 29 Oct: From Flapping to Focus! <p>The Flying Solo crew present the ultimate guide for personal productivity, and provide a practical new template for the year ahead. Proudly supported by DOT (Digital Office Technology)™ from Telstra.</p><p><br /><span style="color: #4d4d4c; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: 17px;" mce_style="color: #4d4d4c; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: 17px;">To register and find out more visit:&nbsp;</span><a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: #000000; font-size: 11px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #3e8a9a; text-decoration: none; line-height: 17px;" mce_style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: #000000; font-size: 11px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #3e8a9a; text-decoration: none; line-height: 17px;" href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/focus" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/focus" target="_blank">www.flyingsolo.com.au/focus</a></p> <p><br /></p> FlyingSolo tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14803 2014-10-09T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-09T12:08:45+11:00 Attract business: Obsess over Customer Experience <p>If you’re looking for points of differentiation, start obsessing over Customer Experience. I’ll tell you why it’s important and how to do it.</p><p>Customer Experience (also known as User Experience in the tech industry) is how a business or <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/promoting-your-product-turn-features-into-benefits" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/promoting-your-product-turn-features-into-benefits">product</a> is designed. It takes into account how your customers’ needs are met or exceeded during: the initial awareness of a business or product, the purchasing stage, and post-purchase/support stages.</p> <h2>An example of Customer Experience obsession</h2> <p>While not a solo outfit, Airbnb really gets customer experience right. Airbnb enables people to rent out their spare bedroom or entire home. They target customers who are looking for cheaper accommodation away from the tourist track; and those renting out their homes to make additional income.</p> <p>The thing is, room sharing sites or classifieds (like Gumtree and Craigslist) were around a long time before Airbnb came on the scene.</p> <p>Airbnb approached the whole thing differently though. They didn't just view their service as a simple listing of rooms on a website, they obsessed over the big picture as well as every minor detail. To alleviate <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/creating-a-trustworthy-website" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/creating-a-trustworthy-website">trust</a> issues, they handle the money exchange. To connect with their audience, they share emotional stories from travellers within their community. And the aesthetics of their website, mobile app and email marketing are sublime.</p> <h2>How to start improving your customer experience as a soloist</h2> <h3>Mental modelling</h3> <p>The best place to start is to map out how your customers expect to do something, such as booking a consultation or comparing why they should use your business instead of your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-confidence/learning-from-business-competitors-how-to-turn-competition-into-inspiration" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-confidence/learning-from-business-competitors-how-to-turn-competition-into-inspiration">competitors’</a>. Then, look at how your website or service actually works. This technique is referred to as either customer experience mapping or mental modelling.</p> <h3>Seek out ideas and look to improve</h3> <p>From your model above, choose an area or areas to focus on. When looking for ideas and inspiration to improve these areas, look not only at your competitors, but at other soloists or companies in different industries.</p> <h3>Test </h3> <p>Once you’ve implemented improvements; test and tweak your changes until you notice positive results and receive glowing <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/communication-skills/selective-hearing-getting-feedback" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/communication-skills/selective-hearing-getting-feedback">feedback</a>.</p> <p>High quality customer experiences can be applied to anything from buying a train ticket to acquiring lucrative financial products. As soloists, you’re in the best position to implement changes, and prospects and clients will notice when you do.</p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on obsessing over customer experience?</em></strong></p> Paul J. Morris tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14802 2014-10-08T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-10T09:52:45+11:00 Part 1: Shipping Incoterm codes defined <p>Incoterms® are three-letter codes maintained by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) for the purpose of importing and exporting. Find out more.</p><p>Below are seven short descriptions for any mode of transport from the Incoterms® 2010 edition. These should be read in the context of the full official text of the rules.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>EXW:</b>&nbsp;“Ex Works” means that the seller <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/outsourcing/delivering-products-online-stores-delivery-dramas" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/outsourcing/delivering-products-online-stores-delivery-dramas">delivers</a> when it places the goods at the disposal of the buyer at the seller’s premises or at another named place (i.e. works, factory, warehouse, etc.). The seller does not need to load the goods on any collecting vehicle, nor does it need to clear the goods for <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/government/opportunities-for-business-growth/export-your-goods-or-services" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/government/opportunities-for-business-growth/export-your-goods-or-services">export,</a> where such clearance is applicable.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>FCA:&nbsp;</strong>“Free Carrier” means that the seller delivers the goods to the carrier or another person nominated by the buyer at the seller’s premises or another named place. The parties are well advised to specify as clearly as possible the point within the named place of delivery, as the risk passes to the buyer at that point.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CPT:</strong>&nbsp;“Carriage Paid To” means that the seller delivers the goods to the carrier or another person nominated by the seller at an agreed place (if any such place is agreed between parties) and that the seller must contract for and pay the costs of carriage necessary to bring the goods to the named place of destination.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>CIP:&nbsp;</strong>“Carriage and Insurance Paid to” means that the seller delivers the goods to the carrier or another person nominated by the seller at an agreed place (if any such place is agreed between parties) and that the seller must contract for and pay the costs of carriage necessary to bring the goods to the named place of destination.&nbsp;</p> <p>The seller also contracts for insurance cover against the buyer’s risk of loss of or damage to the goods during the carriage. The buyer should note that under CIP the seller is required to obtain insurance only on minimum cover.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>DAT:&nbsp;</strong>“Delivered at Terminal” means that the seller delivers when the goods, once unloaded from the arriving means of transport, are placed at the disposal of the buyer at a named terminal at the named port or place of destination. “Terminal” includes a place, whether covered or not, such as a quay, warehouse, container yard or road, rail or air cargo terminal. The seller bears all risks involved in bringing the goods to and unloading them at the terminal at the named port or place of destination.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>DAP:</strong>&nbsp;“Delivered at Place” means that the seller delivers when the goods are placed at the disposal of the buyer on the arriving means of transport ready for unloading at the named place of destination. The seller bears all risks involved in bringing the goods to the named place.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>DDP:</strong>&nbsp;“Delivered Duty Paid” means that the seller delivers the goods when the goods are placed at the disposal of the buyer, cleared for import on the arriving means of transport ready for unloading at the named place of destination. The seller bears all the costs and risks involved in bringing the goods to the place of destination and has an obligation to clear the goods not only for export but also for <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/growth/your-role-in-importing-agent-or-distributor" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/working-smarter/growth/your-role-in-importing-agent-or-distributor">import,</a> to pay any duty for both export and import, and to carry out all customs formalities.&nbsp;</p> <p>As you can see, knowing these three letter terms ensure that you and your business partners fully understand your international commercial transaction responsibilities.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>What are your experiences with incoterms?</em></strong></p> Caterina Zaini tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14788 2014-10-07T07:30:00+11:00 2014-08-12T17:20:46+10:00 Why I changed how I blog in 2014 <p>Blogging is not the same as it used to be. At the start of this year I drastically changed how I teach my members. Let me explain what's going on.</p><p>I've been blogging since 2005. My blog is my business, the main platform I use to build relationships with my audience, establish authority in my field and of course, sell my products and services.&nbsp;</p> <p>I've sold over a million dollars’ worth of products thanks to my blog. I've been able to travel the world and live what I call the <em>Laptop Lifestyle</em>, making my own hours and choosing the projects I work on.&nbsp;</p> <p>I've also taught thousands of other bloggers, many of whom have gone on to make hundreds of thousands of dollars. A couple have even gone on to have million dollar blogging businesses.&nbsp;</p> <p>At the start of 2014 though, I realised I had to drastically change how I teach my members.&nbsp;</p> <h2>What does not work anymore&nbsp;</h2> <p>When I started blogging all you had to do was write blog posts and people would find you. You could build your audience simply by being consistent and writing helpful articles. That doesn't work as well as it used to because of the obvious reason – the web got crowded.&nbsp;</p> <p>There are so many more blogs and websites today with amazing content (like <em>Flying Solo</em> for example), but just having good content on your own blog is not enough.&nbsp;</p> <p>You need to take extra steps to stand out, you need to have a solid strategy behind your blog’s business purpose and you need to become a good <em>internet marketer</em>, not just a good content producer.&nbsp;</p> <h2>How to create a blog that succeeds in 2014&nbsp;</h2> <p>If you are currently blogging or plan to start one, here are the changes I recommend you make.&nbsp;</p> <h2>1. Focus</h2> <p>You need to have a strategy that focuses on a specific outcome. Your blog content should focus on specific topics designed to convert people on to a specific email list, which sells a specific product. Everything is strategic.&nbsp;</p><h2>2. Quality over quantity</h2><p> I used to tell my members to write one blog post a day, five days a week. Today you should write just one blog post a week, but make it amazing. Fill it with <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-marketing/five-easy-ways-to-create-visual-content" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-marketing/five-easy-ways-to-create-visual-content">pictures</a> and an infographic; include video and/or audio, and provide substantial solutions to critical problems.&nbsp;</p><h2>3. Market your message</h2><p> I used to spend ninety percent of my time writing content and ten percent promoting it. Today that ratio should be 50/50.&nbsp;</p> <p>When you create such amazing blog posts, you need to tell people about them! Social media is a starting point, but you also need to build relationships with other people who have an audience, so when you tell them about your latest work, they share it.&nbsp;</p> <h2>4. Call to action&nbsp;</h2> <p>Every blog post must contain an element that calls the reader to do something. Whether it is to buy a related product, join an email list or attend a live webinar – there must be clear and specific directions.&nbsp;</p> <p>Even if the direction is to share your article on <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-networking/which-social-media-platform-is-best-for-your-business" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-networking/which-social-media-platform-is-best-for-your-business">social media</a> or leave a comment, you must ask your readers to do something, and that ‘something’ should be strategically designed to benefit your business.<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>5. Powerful headlines&nbsp;</h2> <p>This is one of the only elements of good blogging that hasn't changed and never will. You must become a brilliant headline writer.&nbsp;</p> <p>People do not read articles unless the headline grabs them. Headlines also encourage others to share your articles or open an email. All communication on the internet is driven by how good your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/how-to-write-headlines-that-turn-heads" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/how-to-write-headlines-that-turn-heads">headline</a> is.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you focus on improving these five aspects of your blog, it will make a big difference. Here's to your blogging success.</p><p> <strong><em>What are your thoughts on my above suggestions? Have you changed how your blog in 2014?</em></strong></p> Yaro Starak tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14846 2014-10-05T12:40:00+11:00 2014-10-01T14:26:28+10:00 Member must reads, part 4 <p>Brent Jackson, Vanessa Emilio and Gavin Reddrop share the books that have had the most influence on the way they run their business.</p><h2>Brent Jackson</h2> <p>The book that has had the most influence on the way I run my business is<i> <a href="http://www.booktopia.com.au/mastering-the-rockefeller-habits-verne-harnish/prod9780978774943.html" mce_href="http://www.booktopia.com.au/mastering-the-rockefeller-habits-verne-harnish/prod9780978774943.html" target="_blank">Mastering the Rockefeller Habits</a></i> by Verne Harnish. In the sea of average business management tomes where people have distilled three or four simple maxims into a 400 page book, Verne’s book stands out by miles. It’s easy to read, and has many instantly actionable and useful structures for increasing the tempo of your business. </p><p>He provides tips to improve communications and reduce time-wasting meetings. He also provides a template for one of the most useful business strategy summary documents. Verne works with Gazelles – businesses that grow over 20 per cent every year – and plenty of Australia’s high growth companies try to follow these methods. </p><p>It is hard to do it all, but even following the principles of one or two chapters will help.</p> <p><i>Read more about <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/directory/38919/Shelf-Companies-Australia" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/directory/38919/Shelf-Companies-Australia" target="_blank">Shelf Companies Australia</a>'s Brent Jackson in his <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/brent-jackson-shelf-companies-australia" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/brent-jackson-shelf-companies-australia" target="_blank">Spotlight profile</a>.&nbsp;</i></p> <h2>Vanessa Emilio</h2> <p><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;">Okay, I realise <i><a href="http://www.booktopia.com.au/the-e-myth-revisited-michael-e-gerber/prod9780887307287.html" mce_href="http://www.booktopia.com.au/the-e-myth-revisited-michael-e-gerber/prod9780887307287.html" target="_blank">The E-myth</a></i> is a popular (sigh!) book that has been around for some time (25 years), but the fact that it is still relevant and being followed is testament to the principles that Michael Gerber has preached.</span><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Some may argue it’s outdated, but it seems that businesses are still being started by ‘technicians’ who have not acquired basic skills or knowledge to run their business. There is no evidence that the percentage of new business successes have increased in the last few decades.<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Saying this, it was certainly <i>The E-Myth </i>principle that remains a driving force for Legal123.com.au.<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p>The principle that is prevalent in this book is to constantly remind myself to work ‘ON’ not ‘IN’ my&nbsp; business. Too often and too easily, as a lawyer and as a business owner, I can get caught up in wanting to help everyone and solving individual client issues. This can be time consuming. Instead, I need to try first to help the greater masses: this is why I created an off-the-shelf solution which actually applies to and assists 80 per cent of individuals and businesses. The other 20 per cent of people sometimes require individual customised assistance. Other times these 20 per cent only require assurance that the 80% off-the-shelf template actually addresses their business requirements.<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p>As business owners, it’s incredibly easy to get caught up in the smaller details and not spend time on the larger picture. The principles in <i>The E-Myth</i> remind me, among other things, to ensure I set up systems and processes to ensure I don’t end up spending all my time working ‘in’ my business.<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p>This is the one ‘must read’ book for all startups and entrepreneurs. <br /></p> <p><i>Read more about <a href="http://www.legal123.flyingsolo.com.au/" mce_href="http://www.legal123.flyingsolo.com.au/" target="_blank">Legal123.com.au</a>'s Vanessa Emilio in her <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/vanessa-emilio-legal123-com-au" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/vanessa-emilio-legal123-com-au" target="_blank">Spotlight profile</a>.&nbsp;</i></p> <h2>Gavin Reddrop</h2> <p><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px; background-color: #ffffff;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px; background-color: #ffffff;">The book that has had the most influence on the way I run my business is&nbsp;<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px; background-color: #ffffff;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px; background-color: #ffffff;"><a href="http://www.booktopia.com.au/the-4-hour-work-week-timothy-ferriss/prod9780091929114.html" mce_href="http://www.booktopia.com.au/the-4-hour-work-week-timothy-ferriss/prod9780091929114.html" target="_blank"><i>The 4-Hour Work Week </i></a>by Timothy Ferriss.</span></span></span></p><p><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;">There have been so many time saving tips and tricks within this book</span><span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, serif; font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;that have allowed me to run my business and my life in a more productive way. I would highly recommend it to anyone who struggles to fit everything into their day whether they be employed, or self-employed.</span></p><p><i style="font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-size: 12px;">Read more about <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/directory/38924/Redxoo" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/directory/38924/Redxoo" target="_blank">Redxoo</a>'s Gavin Reddrop&nbsp;in his <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/gavin-reddrop-redxoo" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/spotlight/gavin-reddrop-redxoo" target="_blank">Spotlight profile</a>.&nbsp;</i></p> <h2>Want to share your must read?</h2> <p>To participate in in the <i>Member must reads</i> series you must be a member of Flying Solo Business Class.</p> <p><b>Already a Business Class member?</b> Simply send your 200 word or less summary to lisa(at)flyingsolo.com.au.</p> <p><b>Not yet a Business Class member?</b> <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/membership/my-account/business-class" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/membership/my-account/business-class" target="_self">Find out more</a> about the best value offering in town.</p> <p><br /></p> <p><br /></p> FlyingSolo tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14801 2014-10-04T07:30:00+10:00 2014-09-03T14:54:33+10:00 Biz: What a recent dinosaur trip taught me <p>What can the dinosaur tourism industry teach us about being successful in business? Let’s find out.</p><p>What makes people travel to the Queensland outback, a mammoth two day drive from Brisbane, to marvel at dinosaur tracks in the dirt? What can these dinosaurs (that’ve been extinct for 65 million years) and the tourism industry around it, teach us about being successful in our own business? As it turns out, many things.</p> <h2>Promote your point of difference</h2> <p>While dinosaur tracks have been discovered in other parts of Australia, the tracks at Lark Quarry are the best preserved tracks in the world. They show a carnivorous dinosaur stalking and then charging a herd of 150 smaller dinosaurs. The explanation and story attached to these tracks brings the stampede to life.</p> <p><em>Lesson: Promote your </em><a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/finding-your-point-of-difference-without-competing-on-price" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/finding-your-point-of-difference-without-competing-on-price"><em>point of difference</em></a><em>, shout it from the rooftops. It may be why a client chooses you over a competitor.</em></p> <h2>Be honest and authentic</h2> <p>We didn’t see casts of dinosaur tracks, we saw the <em>actual</em> impressions left in the mud by dinosaurs 95 million years ago. These are the tracks that palaeontologists from around the world come to study. The real deal.</p> <p><em>Lesson: There’s no substitute for authenticity. </em><a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/confession-why-its-not-easy-being-me" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/confession-why-its-not-easy-being-me"><em>Be yourself.</em></a><em> Be honest and you’ll stand out from the crowd.</em><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>Be relatable</h2> <p>While most people have heard of Tyrannosaurus rex, there’s no evidence that they ever roamed the land that became Australia. At Lark Quarry and its nearby museum, all the featured dinosaurs are local, all unearthed around the Winton area. There’s something amazing about knowing these dinosaurs, including our very own carnivore, lived where we now live.</p> <p><em>Lesson: Ensure your business isn’t alienating clients because they can’t relate to your offerings. Make sure your copy and marketing material speaks to the right people.</em></p> <h2>Build partnerships</h2> <p>All the dinosaur attractions in Winton and nearby centres promote each other’s attractions. After all, why just visit Lark Quarry when you can experience a fully operational dinosaur fossil laboratory, participate in a real life paleontological dig and discover fossils from Australia’s ancient inland sea?</p> <p><em>Lesson: Partner with other businesses to improve your visibility in the marketplace.</em></p> <h2>Be passionate</h2> <p>The palaeontologists at the museum were extremely passionate about their work. They patiently and thoughtfully answered all our questions and happily posed for photos afterwards. It was clear that their enthusiasm had infected volunteers and other tour participants. This was the highlight of our tour.</p> <p><em>Lesson: </em><a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-motivation/business-passion-staying-in-love-with-your-business" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/work-motivation/business-passion-staying-in-love-with-your-business"><em>Love</em></a><em> what you do and your clients will be rewarded with a great experience, one they’ll share with others. </em></p> <p>Even if you think dinosaurs were rightly relegated to the pages of evolutionary history, you have to admire them. Despite being extinct for 65 million years they have some serious staying power.</p><p> <strong><em>Have you had an amazing tourism experience that can provide some business lessons?&nbsp;</em></strong></p> Mary Gardam tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14800 2014-10-03T07:30:00+10:00 2014-09-03T14:53:01+10:00 Five ways to improve your website conversions <p>Increased website traffic does not necessarily translate to more sales, leads and customers, unless you improve your website conversions. Here’s how.</p><h2>1. Split testing</h2> <p>Small details such as the colour of your “Buy” <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/website-design/creating-compelling-call-to-action-buttons" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/website-design/creating-compelling-call-to-action-buttons">button</a> can make a big difference in the action that a website visitor takes. But how do we know which colour will produce the best result or which design converts the best? The answer is Split Testing (also known as A/B testing).</p> <p>You and your web designer might think you have a good understanding about how your visitors will respond to certain design elements on your website, but Split Testing removes the guesswork. There is a range of good split-testing software available.</p> <h2>2. Great content</h2> <p>Content will always be an important part of any website. By creating regular, relevant, quality content that your visitors want to share and link to, you will position yourself as an online authority in your industry niche. This will raise your website’s credibility, and a higher credibility means higher <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/conversion-rates-effective-landing-page" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-websites/conversion-rates-effective-landing-page">conversions.</a></p> <p>Moreover, major search engines favour websites with great content by ranking them higher in the search results for a wide range of relevant keywords. A higher search engine ranking means more visitors and more targeted customer prospects for your business.&nbsp;</p> <h2>3. Offer a guarantee</h2> <p>Guarantees help to build trust. A <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/sales-strategies/how-a-guarantee-can-help-increase-sales" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/sales-strategies/how-a-guarantee-can-help-increase-sales">guarantee</a> gives visitors more confidence in your products and services and thus increases online conversion rates.</p> <p>Prospective buyers often want to make sure that they receive value from their purchase and don’t want to have regrets. You can reduce any fear or objection by offering a money back guarantee. This should help to convert those undecided customer prospects into a sale.&nbsp;</p> <h2>4. Clear call-to-action</h2> <p>A call-to-action is an element on your website (a wording or graphic) that prompts your visitors to take a specific action. It is deceptively powerful, yet often overlooked by website owners. Do not assume that your visitors know what their next steps should be. You need to guide them with clear calls-to-action.</p> <p>For every web page, you need to decide what action you want a website visitor to undertake. It may be that you want them to sign-up for an email newsletter, make a purchase, call for a free quote, download a file, fill out a survey or click to another page. Once you have determined the ideal actions for each page, you need to incorporate these calls-to-actions to help encourage website visitors to take that action.&nbsp;</p> <h2>5. Include a lead capture form</h2> <p>If a website visitor does not make a buying decision the first time they land on your page, you can still market to them via a lead capture form and email marketing. A lead capture form enables you to capture the email address and website, in order to help build a customer email marketing list. The less amount of information you require a person to provide, the greater chance of converting that browser into a lead. Their first name and email address is enough to build a successful email marketing campaign.</p> <p>To maximise sign ups, include an incentive for people to submit their email address. Make the incentive compelling and relevant to your target market. Examples include a giveaway, a discount on their first purchase, or the chance to win a free product or service.</p> <p>Email is still an effective way to communicate with your audience and a lead capture form will help you convert website visitors into sales leads and customers.</p> <h2>Increase conversions</h2> <p>Make website traffic work for you. If you can implement as many of these ideas as possible then you will be well on your way to improving your website conversions. One of the most important factors in the success of your website is your online conversions – improve your customer conversion elements and your business performance will go from strength to strength.<strong><em>&nbsp;</em></strong></p> <p><strong><em>What are your thoughts and ideas on website conversions?</em></strong></p> Emma Henry