tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:/feeds/all Flying Solo 2014-10-31T07:30:00+11:00 tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14818 2014-10-31T07:30:00+11:00 2014-09-08T16:18:12+10:00 Why your product biz needs a Promotional Plan <p>A Promotion Plan outlines the tools or tactics you use to achieve your marketing goals. Here’s why you need one. </p><h2>Promotion Plans make your marketing goals happen</h2> <p>Promotion plays a key part in your marketing plan, yet it is very often overlooked. Promotion forms part of the <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/the-seven-ps-of-the-marketing-mix" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/the-seven-ps-of-the-marketing-mix">4 Ps</a> in the Marketing Mix (a popular term used to describe all the essential elements in your marketing). For example, your marketing <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">goal</a> might be to sell 100 units of product this month through social media, email campaigns, print advertising and competitions.</p> <p>Your promotion plan will detail specific promotions such as:</p> <ul> <li>Launch <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-marketing/is-your-free-offer-irresistible" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/online-marketing/is-your-free-offer-irresistible">offers</a> and discounts</li> <li>Members and loyalty discounts</li> <li>Value added bonuses</li> <li>Free gift with purchase </li> </ul> <p>It also includes the timing and budget for these activities for the year.</p> <p>You can implement a Promotion Plan on the wholesale side (with your stockists) and the retail side (direct to your customers) of your business.</p> <p>A plan specifically for business-to-business and with your stockists is called a&nbsp;Trade Promotional Plan.</p> <h2>The benefits of a Promotional Plan&nbsp;</h2> <ul> <li>Your product and brand stay competitive in the marketplace.&nbsp;</li> <li>Sales promotions offer an incentive to new stockists, prospect and existing customers to buy more or trial new product lines.&nbsp;</li> <li>Customers love great offers and the feeling of getting something ‘extra’ in their purchase.&nbsp;</li> <li>As a supplier, you get preferential treatment from stockists which helps to build a stable </li> <li>You can use promotions as an opportunity to generate trials of new products.</li> <li>You become the ‘preferred supplier’ in your category because you are thinking outside the box, and not just about your needs.</li> <li>If you choose your promotion activities wisely, you achieve incremental sales and possibly halo effect sales as well (where promotion of one <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/retailing-tips-rock-the-retail-world" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-marketing/retailing-tips-rock-the-retail-world">product</a> encourages the sale of another product in your range).</li> </ul> <p>Promotion is a powerful selling tool and when you align it with your marketing activities you get real results.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>What are your thoughts on Promotional Plans? If you have one, why not break down your marketing goals and detail your offers in your promotional plan?</em></strong></p> Helen Roe tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14758 2014-10-30T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-30T10:27:10+11:00 Understanding cash flow forecasting <p>Forecasting your cash flow helps you determine when you’re likely to be short of cash, giving you time to minimise the problem before it becomes a disaster. </p><h2>What’s a cash flow forecast?&nbsp;</h2> <p>A <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/five-tips-for-managing-cash-flow" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/five-tips-for-managing-cash-flow">cash flow</a> forecast is simply an estimate of future movements of cash in and out of your business over a given period of time. <em>Cash in</em> will include receipts from customers, any tax or GST refunds you receive, and any money contributed to the business by the owner. <em>Cash out </em>will include any amounts paid out to suppliers, the ATO, wages and so on.&nbsp;</p> <p>Preparing a cash flow forecast is not difficult, although if done manually it can be time consuming.&nbsp;</p> <p>If your business is in a relatively healthy cash position you might <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/how-to-prepare-a-cash-flow-forecast" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/how-to-prepare-a-cash-flow-forecast">forecast</a> for 12 months looking at monthly balances. If cash is tight, you might prepare a forecast for just the next 30 days, with weekly or even daily balances.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Preparing a short-term cash flow forecast</h2> <p>For very short-term forecasts (up to 1 month), make a list of what you’re currently owed by your customers and estimate when these amounts will be paid. Add to this any new sales that you expect to be paid for within this period, plus any other receipts from other sources (refunds due, sale of assets and so on).&nbsp;</p> <p>Next, prepare an estimate of what you’ll spend, including amounts you must pay to suppliers, loan repayments, taxes and net wages (i.e. excluding PAYG). Take care to include all irregular items, such as super&nbsp;<a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/a-guide-to-business-activity-statements-BAS" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/finance/financial-management/a-guide-to-business-activity-statements-BAS">BAS</a> and annual insurances that are due.&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, bring all of this together: the balance of cash in your bank account now plus your anticipated receipts and minus your outgoings, gives you an estimate of your cash balance in 30 days.&nbsp; If you really need to, you can do this on a daily basis – Excel is a great (though time consuming) tool for this.&nbsp;</p> <p>If this figure is negative, you’re heading for a cash flow problem. Or if you’re doing this daily, any negative balance days will be a problem. Review the cash flow forecast and decide what you can do about it. Can you increase sales? Collect money from customers faster? Delay payments to suppliers? Though, try to avoid delaying superannuation and ATO payments, it may seem like the easy option, but often causes problems long term.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Preparing a long-term cash flow forecast&nbsp;</h2> <p>The same principles apply when forecasting cash flow over a longer period.</p> <p>I recommend you start with a copy of your annual budget, and adjust that to take into account the expected timing of receipts and payments. You’ll go through exactly the same process that you would for a short-term forecast, only you’ll do it for each month throughout the year. In my experience, not having a budget is one of the reasons small business owners get themselves into cash flow problems, so if you don’t have one in place, now is a good time to start putting it together.&nbsp;</p> <p>Excel is an excellent tool to use for long-term cash flow forecasting, but there are also some really good software tools that will extract data from your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-technology/business-finance-choosing-accounting-software" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/technology/business-technology/business-finance-choosing-accounting-software">accounts</a> and help you prepare both cash flow forecasts and budgets.&nbsp;</p> <h2>How accurate will my cash flow forecast be?</h2> <p>It’s unlikely you’ll ever get an absolutely accurate forecast of cash flow, but that shouldn’t stop you trying. A realistic forecast of cash position allows you to plan with confidence, and removes what for most business owners is their single biggest source of stress.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><em>Do you forecast your business cash flow? If so, what types of issues has it helped you avoid?</em></strong></p> Rhys Roberts tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14817 2014-10-29T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-29T10:34:32+11:00 How to break up with your clients gracefully <p>The time may come when you have to utter those five little words, “It’s not you, it’s me”. Here’s how to break up with clients gracefully.</p><h2>My clients do as I do</h2> <p>It’s really interesting being a coach. Many times my clients reflect me and where I’m at on my journey. When I first started out in business I was unsure of myself, and that showed up in my journeys with clients. It wasn’t that they were unsure of me and my ability, just that they treated the process with unsureness. They may have moved appointments a few times or turned up late.</p> <p>Another example is that of self- worth or <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-confidence/do-you-believe-in-yourself" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/startup/business-confidence/do-you-believe-in-yourself">belief.</a> As I scaled the heights of self- belief, my clients tended to believe in their abilities more too. I tended to attract those who were genuinely as fearless or courageous as I was feeling at the time.</p> <p>But what happens if you change mid process with someone? What happens if you ascend and they haven’t, just yet?</p> <p>In these instances there is usually quite a mismatch in expectations. Your clients feel the shift and so do you, but who is going to be forthright enough to say, <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-relationships/breaking-up-with-my-cafe-its-you-not-me" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/marketing/business-relationships/breaking-up-with-my-cafe-its-you-not-me">“This isn’t working out anymore”.</a></p> <p>Like intimate relationships, client relationships will not survive if you do not move or grow together. So what happens if we realise the dead horse can no longer be flogged?<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2>I’m breaking up with you</h2> <p>Terminating a contract is never easy. These conversations are awkward at best, especially in the case of coach and coachee, where coaches are in a position of responsibility.</p> <p>In all cases though, we need to ensure we let clients down gently.</p> <p>If the client no longer aligns with you, it is important to own your feelings around this. Use ‘I’, always. Own your feelings. “I’m headed in a different direction and that means making some changes in my business”, as opposed to “you’re no longer a suitable client for me and you need to find someone else”.</p> <p>And apologise – plainly and simply. Apologise that this inconveniences them, because it will.</p> <h2>Do what’s right </h2> <p>If this is occurring at a time when the official contract isn’t up – do what’s right. If there is money to be refunded, refund it. If there’s still time to be given, give it. This may not be someone you would like to work with in the future, but your <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-values/why-business-integrity-is-so-important" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/business-values/why-business-integrity-is-so-important">integrity</a> depends on their comfortable exit from the process.</p> <p>Don’t leave them hanging either. Ensure that you can suggest an alternative option. Is there another professional that may indeed suit them better? Direct your client and make it easy for them to find their feet again.</p> <h2>Be grateful… for something, anything.</h2> <p>Always find something positive that can be taken from the experience and thank the client for bringing that to you. Thank them for their custom, their time, or the learnings. This will not only help uncouple themselves from you <em>but</em> it will also help you understand that it wasn’t all bad.</p><p> <strong><em>What suggestions do you have for letting your clients down gracefully?</em></strong></p> Lynda Bayada tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14883 2014-10-28T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-24T14:28:28+11:00 Could you be tempted to re-run the rat race? <p>It’s easy to get the impression that everyone in corporate land is quietly plotting their escape from the rat race to run their own business. But, it’s not a one-way street.</p><p>In Flying Solo’s last <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/understanding-micro-business" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/understanding-micro-business">Understanding Micro Business survey</a>, 90% of business owners said that they would not seriously consider working for someone else, even in a highly lucrative and suitable office job!</p> <p>But, just recently, I’ve seen three committed and successful business owners be lured back into the arms of well-heeled corporate suitors.</p> <p>One was a high profile editor who went from website founder to a senior role in a major bank. Another was a serial tech entrepreneur who went from start-ups to a big telco. And, a third was a veteran freelancer who went from almost two decades of soloism to running an in-house communications team.</p> <p>Consider this job offer:</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;"><em>Flexible opportunity for independent professional</em></h3> <p style="text-align: center;" mce_style="text-align: center;"><em>&lt;Respected company&gt; in &lt;Your industry&gt; is seeking an independent thinker<br /> &nbsp;to lead a small team of great people. You’ll enjoy interesting work, <br /> sensible hours, good remuneration and you can work from home <br /> two days a week. You get to run your own show, all with the backing <br /> of a stable business. Interested? Let’s talk!</em></p> <p>Okay, so jobs don’t come along like this very often, but what if one did? My friend was offered a role like this recently, and after much consideration and assessing of their priorities, they understandably jumped at the chance. It came along at just the right time for their family.</p> <p>A steady salary, holiday pay, the camaraderie of a team, freedom from having to do everything yourself, no debt collection, no sales pressure, no rent, no website updating, cleaners and free biscuits in the kitchen. Did I mention the steady cash flow?</p> <p>It made me wonder, are we <a href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/working-alone/solo-business-owner-we-are-the-soul-traders" mce_href="http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/live-smarter/working-alone/solo-business-owner-we-are-the-soul-traders">soul traders</a> actually just one golden offer away from taking down the shingle? Or does the freedom, flexibility and passion for our own businesses offset the undeniable rational benefits of working for someone else?</p> <p>It also indicates that in today’s rapidly evolving job market, the skills needed to run your own business – self-motivation, thriving on uncertainty, personal branding, social networking, creativity – are increasingly attractive, transferable and valuable skills for prospective employers.</p> <p>I’m certainly not advocating a mass exodus to the dark side, but it’s reassuring to know that it’s yet another option for soloists should the stars one day align.</p><p> <strong><em>What would it take to tempt you away from being your own boss?</em></strong></p> Peter Crocker tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14894 2014-10-27T01:39:00+11:00 2014-10-31T11:47:56+11:00 iiNet Microsoft Lync: Helping businesses communicate better <p>At iiNet, we rely on communication between staff in order to solve customer issues quickly, and create awesome new products. Here's how we do it, and how you can too.</p><p>With our employees spread across many offices in different time zones, we often face challenges with knowing when people are available to chat, or hold face-to-face meetings.</p><p>Thankfully, a few years ago our IT guys installed <strong><a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/clk/285815106;112716324;y" mce_href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/clk/285815106;112716324;y" target="_blank">Microsoft Lync</a></strong> across our whole network, and it quickly became the most popular way for the iiNet team to communicate.</p><p>Whether through instant messages or audio and video conferences, we’re able to easily see if someone is available, send them a message, and chat to them virtually at the click of a button. We’re even able to use it to talk to partners and suppliers outside of iiNet!</p><p>After launching our popular <strong><a href="http://blog.iinet.net.au/hosted-exchange/" mce_href="http://blog.iinet.net.au/hosted-exchange/" target="_blank">Hosted Exchange email service</a></strong>, our <strong><a href="http://www.iinet.net.au/business/" mce_href="http://www.iinet.net.au/business/" target="_blank">Business team</a></strong> got to thinking – what if we could offer the same features and convenience of Lync that we take for granted, to our business customers, but without needing them to invest in all the hardware and running costs of setting it up?</p><p>Fast forward a year, and we’re proud to announce the launch of iiNet Hosted Microsoft Lync. It’s got all the features of iiNet’s own big business Lync system, but available for a simple monthly charge, with no IT woes, and backed by iiNet’s awesome customer service.</p><p><object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="//www.youtube.com/v/ErslnBdv-78?hl=en_GB&amp;version=3&amp;rel=0"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/v/ErslnBdv-78?hl=en_GB&amp;version=3&amp;rel=0" mce_src="//www.youtube.com/v/ErslnBdv-78?hl=en_GB&amp;version=3&amp;rel=0" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always"></object></p><p>Whether you’re a small home office or a company spread across many cities, Lync helps our customers communicate better with their teams, customers and partners.</p><p>And by selecting a full featured Lync Phone package a user can place and receive phone calls from their Lync client software or physical Polycom desk phone, including a dedicated phone number and all local and national calls included in the monthly fee.</p><h4><strong>If you want to find out more, check out <a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/clk/285815106;112716324;y" mce_href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/ddm/clk/285815106;112716324;y" target="_blank">lync.iinet.net.au</a></strong></h4><p><em style="font-size: 12px;" mce_style="font-size: 12px;"><strong>Author: Balmik Soin, Operations Manager of iiNet’s Business division.</strong> He loves diving into technical projects, much to the dismay of his team who believe he should stick to Powerpoint presentations.</em></p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p><p><br /></p> FlyingSolo tag:www.flyingsolo.com.au,2010:Media/14884 2014-10-26T07:30:00+11:00 2014-10-24T11:27:39+11:00 Get seen and get interviewed <p>In this podcast with media expert and author, Catriona Pollard, we look at getting noticed by journalists and nailing the all-important media interview.</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/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