Building a strong brand starts with you

I had the pleasure of having a conversation with Sashka Hanna-Rappl last week about branding your business. Sashka helps businesses create their soul brand, capturing your uniqueness, so that your ideal customers can find you through the strong brand you create together.

Sashka helps you create a strong brandApart from having fun and sharing stories in our half hour together, Sashka shared some ideas for business owners as to how to create a strong brand, using your life purpose as the starting point. She calls it reverse marketing – starting with you, not your customer. It’s not the usual way of creating a strong brand, that you’ll find with many marketing agencies, or branding specialists.

However, it works.

Just think about it. If you can capture all your passion for your business, plus how your product or service helps your customer, then that’s it isn’t it? All in one go, you’ve created something that is identifiable to potential customers and they understand why buying from you is just right for them, and not your competitor.

How to create a strong brand

We all know, and can list strong brand names. We often know the stories behind how the brand grew, or started, or how it developed. Think of Apple and Steve Jobs. Whether you buy their products or not, can you feel the essence of the brand from the story you know? Simple, effective, giving the customer something beautiful and strong to communicate with others/listen to music easily.

Sashka’s advice about creating your brand, from reaching into your soul first, may sound a bit unusual. So think about that now too. If you could get your passion, your story, the why you run your business, and the benefits of what you do for customers into your brand, do you think you’ll sell more?

Yes, I think that’s right too.

People buy from people, and we all love stories, so why not think about our business in the same way. Why should our business, which is what we want to earn our living, and create a pension for us and our family, not benefit from all the things we love & attract us to buy the things we want in our lives?

Know your Life Purpose. Sashka said, “this isn’t your why”. Now to my mind, it’s the WHY that Simon Sinek talks about. It’s not, “I want to buy the extras so we can go on holiday”,or, “I’m creating a pension pot so I can travel when I retire”.

What are your Core Values? The things which are running through your body all the time. The things which without them you feel lost. In Sashka’s workbook, she says, “Your values are your Zone of Genius in Communication. This is where your inner strength and energy will often come from”.

Listen to Yourself. What others think isn’t important here. Not your partner, nor your customers. Starting with yourself can seem selfish, but if the words your using for describing your business aren’t coming from you, or are your words, they won’t sound genuine. Listening is so important to business owners.

Know that words can change. When you’re working on this reverse marketing to get really clear about who you are, and why your business is different, remember that you’re in charge. Your words can change, remember our conversation about words that sell? You are allowed to have some fluidity in the words you use, even though your core values will remain the same.

I’ve seen many business owners spend a lot of time, and money, on getting business cards & paper, and websites built around words that someone else created for them, which didn’t feel right. It was a clumsy way to start their business. Some pulled through and made it work. However others, it didn’t start with them, and the customers didn’t come as the business didn’t attract the right people.

Be You. Be Honest. Sometimes we don’t know exactly why we’re being drawn to a particular colour, or image, or word. Trust yourself. You’re a business owner, and totally in charge of yourself and your business. Give yourself some time to create your strong brand before sharing with others.

Are you ready to create your brand?

Let’s start with Sashka’s book, Soul’d Out, and/or a Find your Why session. I’ve used both of these methods, hand in hand to create the brand words I use in my business. They feel right to me, and hopefully you can see my passion for helping other business owners succeed come through. There’s still work to do. There’s always work to do.

Don’t be afraid of being you, and sharing your soul, to create your strong brand. Your business will thank you.

I’d love your thoughts on branding & how you’ve created your brand for your business.


What happens to your business when you’re not in the mood?

We all have days, and weeks, when we’re “not in the mood” to work, to talk, to play, to network, to do business, to serve customers. Really, it’s true. Don’t hide.

There’s many reasons for this not being “in the mood”, some of which are:

  • hormones (males and females are both affected)
  • moon cycles (whether you like it or not, moon cycles exist and affect our daily lives)
  • energy (or lack of it, which in turn can be caused by a number of factors)
  • holiday (just back from one, or about to go on one)
  • emotional challenges (children, parents, partner, friends)
  • unwell

is your business always in the moodSo, what happens in your business when you’re not in the mood?

I’m asking rhetorically really. You don’t have to confess, unless that will be helpful for you. I guess I’m asking you to reflect and review your business, and all aspects of it, so that when you are having an “off day”, your customers won’t notice, and your systems will pick up the slack.

Tips to ensure your business is always in the mood

  1. Support team. Having a support team around you is crucial. Whether it’s family, friends, or staff (on-site or remote), people who can pick up the slack, or the important tasks when you’re not around will help keep customers happy and the business running smoothly.
  2. Email auto-responder. Setting this up, as soon as you know you’re not “in the mood”, will ensure that you can get on with getting yourself back on track, and customers can be still be served efficiently. Do you have another team member you can encourage emailers to contact, using a click through link ideally – a general office email that you know will be checked?
  3. Answer machine message on your phone. This should be fairly easy for you to set up, and amend as your circumstances change. Again, referring callers to another number which will be answered, or giving a clear idea when you’ll get back to them, will help keep everyone informed and happy.
  4. Ordering supplies automatically. Whilst you want to control costs, there’s nothing worse than running out of milk, or toilet rolls is there? So, having some stock items for staff, or for your customers, on regular order that you check every couple of months in your stock review, will ensure nothing is missing, even if you are.
  5. Directory of contacts and contractors. When you’re not in the office, can your team contact your IT support, or plumber, or suppliers, to ensure that the business can function. Having a list of contacts and approved contractors, (even if they are your friends who help out), will ensure that if your partner has to take control whilst you’re unwell for a short time, they can do what they need to keep things running smoothly. Your contacts and contractors will also be more sympathetic as you’ll have built a relationship with them which always make things run more easily.
  6. Be honest….as honest as you can be. With yourself as well as those around you in your family and support team. If ‘life stuff’ is happening sometimes we don’t know what’s going on, so regular reviews of how best to run your business with the facts you have about your situation will serve you, your customers and your business in the best light. If you need to cut your hours, be honest. Cut them. You can only do your best, and be your best if you have the right energy and support to carry out your business tasks.

Every business is different, and each of us as business owners will react in a different way to the situations we face day to day. Whilst we are our businesses, our business can often function without us being involved 24 hours a day, or 7 days a week.

I often say to clients, “what happens when you go on holiday?”. If we can sort out the right support and structure for our business to run whilst we’re away on holiday, we can put systems and support in place for those times when we’re not in the mood, due to life’s little challenges.

Whilst being “in the mood” for business may sound flippant, we’re being honest. We’re just trying to get you to think about the wonderful customers you’ve got and how they’re going to be supported if you’re not around. The Business Cheerleading Club could be part of your support structure. A safe place for your support, and also ideas as to how you can get the right support whilst you’re away, or not on top form. You never know, you may even meet your ideal assistant, or collaboration partner there! That’s certainly been our experience so far.

What tips would you add to our list? What do you do to ensure your business is always in the mood?


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What is business support

What is business support in your business? Is it the support you get as a business owner, or is it the functions within your business to support the whole business to run efficiently?

I think business support is both these descriptions, but it will also be different for each business.

As a small business, you are naturally doing all things in your business – from product management, to customer service, to bookkeeping and marketing.

As your business grows, you may not actually do all these functions yourself, but you’ll have support for aspects of your business.

Business Support Services

what is business supportThis term is generally used for business admin, finance and legal functions. In more recent years, this term has been used when you outsource any aspect of your business to someone else who will take that task on for your business. Marketing, PR, IT support, social media, book keeping and general email administration are all services offered, and used by businesses.

As your business grows, you may find that you create business support services within your staff team, (or remote support staff). Think about it. You need each area of your business to run efficiently, and sometimes you need people to support all aspects of the business. For example, cleaners in your office or shop are supporting the business. They are part of your support team.

What is Business Support

For me, business support is your support structure for you to grow your business. This may well be the staff, (and contract) team around you.

  • It’s also your training, learning, development, and keeping pace with new technology and software.
  • It’s your business coach who helps you work out your next steps, and encourages you to put in place the actions you need to do to take those steps.
  • It’s your networking group, (online or offline), who will be your cheerleading team, and tell others what you do
  • It’s your family and friends who will be there for you as your business grows

Where, what and how do you get your business support?

Is it from one place – a support company who provide you with the business support you need? Or is it from a variety, a mix of all the above? Have you thought about your business support team recently? What’s working? What maybe needs reviewing?

It’s interesting that since I started Action Learning Sets, and the Business Cheerleading Club, I’ve been more conscious of my own business support structure. My family and friends and what I need from them. My coaches and mentors. My networks.

I’m really enjoying the journey, it’s fab – Karen, Karen Peddie Holistics

It’s beneficial to air a problem, and put it out there. It makes you think more deeply about it rather than it rolling around in your head. It’s lovely to have other people’s ideas & then work out what’s right for me. I recommend being part of an Action Learning Set, whatever stage of business you’re at.”, Jane, Created4U

I started Manage Those Things to help business owners, like you, manage those things you can’t, won’t or don’t want to do. That’s classic business support. But the business club and more focused coaching & action learning are directly supporting you as a business owner to give you what YOU need to support your business growth.

Let’s talk through YOUR business support and check it’s the right mix for the next year of your business development. NOTE: Business Cheerleading Club members get one to one support £20 a month cheaper than booking one off sessions.

What is business support to you?



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How to create flexible working business case

This week I’ve had the honour of accompanying two business owners to celebrate their flexible working businesses at the Mum and Working Awards. Both started, and run their businesses, around their young families. They both created a flexible working business case for them to work through with their husbands before taking the step of setting up by themselves.

The awards were and inspiring couple of hours, with many of the judges sharing their own flexible working decisions with us. It wasn’t all about business owners either. Julie Baker, Head of Financial Inclusion and Enterprise at Nat West, shared her story of how she created not only a flexible working business case for herself and family when she wanted to carry on working and developing her career. She also came up with an idea for a friend of hers who was working nights, whilst her husband worked days so they could manage looking after their own child. Julie created the flexible working business case for this lady to become a child minder, look after her own child as well as Julies, and create a more family friendly home life for her family.

We heard from more than one woman who’d been working in businesses which wouldn’t, (or couldn’t?) consider flexible working. So they set up their own businesses, to find the right flexible working environment for themselves and their families. It felt very much, “I can’t get what I’m wanting here, so I’m going to create it myself”.


As I write this, on International Women’s Day, with the slogan, PRESS FOR PROGRESS, it feels like we shouldn’t have to write a flexible working business case, but it should be a core value in our society. Every business, large and small, should understand that working flexibly ensures skills and talents remain in the business and economy as a whole. Even though some jobs or roles may be difficult to organise flexibly, there’s no reason not to believe that flexible working is important to our economy.

Your business may also need more flexibility to respond to fluctuations in customer demand. So looking at your flexible working plans, and how things can work best for your business, using a flexible work force, should be part of your business review process.

Creating a flexible working business case

Whether it is for yourself, or your business, creating a business case for flexible working will help you see the opportunities and challenges.

Things to consider in the business case:

  • What do you mean by flexible working
  • How many hours are the minimum required for the job to be done well
  • Where does the work need to be done
  • How can each team member remain part of a team whilst working flexibly around each individuals needs
  • What are the core functions and hours of the business and how will they be staffed
  • Can technology help flexible working in the business
  • Is training needed for team around how flexible working will benefit them and work in practice
  • How will communication need to change for flexible working to be effective

It’s not necessarily about reduced hours, or working at different times of the day. It’s an opportunity to look at your business processes and identify what has to happen, and then work out the how & who will make it happen.

For yourself, if you’re creating a business case for your employer, or partner, think about the end result you want. Is it about continuing to do fulfilling work, but reducing your hours. Or is it about putting children, or caring responsibilities first?

Flexible working businessBoth Emma, from bras4mums, and Zoe from Bournemouth Bra Lady created a flexible working business case for themselves, and have created their businesses around their families. They were both finalists of Self Employed Parent of the Year, showing just how much that planning has helped them create the flexible business they want.

If that’s what you want, you can do it to. If you need help seeing all the options, personally, or for your business, book a call with Tracey-Jane & let’s explore together.

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Blogging for business – why bother?

You may think blogging is ‘old hat’. Or heard that blogging for business is “a waste of time”. Yet, there’s a lot of businesses who are growing their online visibility through blogging. What do you do? Why bother with blogging?

In our recent #inconversationwith business blogging expert Sarah Arrow, she walked us through how she’d taken her husband’s business website from no traffic, to 700 visitors a week, which led to a massive increase in sales. That’s how her blogging for business journey started. She, and Kevin, now help many business owners to write content on their websites to grow their business reputation and increase sales.

Why bother blogging for business?

in conversation with sarah arrow blogging for businessAs Sarah said so eloquently, “If you want to leave those customers for me to have, that’s fine. I’ll take them!” She went on to say, “when I asked my customers how they’d found us, they said, “I typed it in google” ” Simple as that!

Sarah told me how she wrote blogs, (or posts, or articles), whichever term you prefer that answered customer queries that she was getting on the phone. She wrote posts that helped her understand Kevin’s transport business. She wasn’t a writer, and didn’t want to write. However, she found that, when she wrote a post, (on BT Tradespace which is where she started blogging for business), that the phone would ring with a booking, or enquiry. Instead of writing 3 times a week, she decided to write daily, to keep the phone ringing every day.

The more you write, the more people are able to get to know you. They understand how your business works. They understand, know and like you as a business owner, and know they want to do business with you.

We discussed that many business owners are frightened of blogging, for all sorts of reasons. The main one I see and hear, is those businesses who aren’t wanting to be visible, or aren’t certain about what their business does, so aren’t able to talk about it. Others are scared that they’ll say “something wrong”.

What do your customers need to know?

If you’re ready to get started, and I highly recommend Sarah’s 30 day blogging challenge as a starting point, then start with talking to your customers about what they need to know:

  • About you
  • About your product or service
  • Why did you set the business up?
  • What can your product or service help them with? In marketing speak, what “pain” does your product or service “relieve”
  • What do you offer that they can’t get from another business which sells the same product?

And that’s just a starting point! Can you see? Whether you like the term blogging, or content marketing, all you’re doing as a business, is sharing your skills and knowledge with your customers and potential customers.

You’re helping your website be found by people searching for places to get a particular product, or fix a particular issue.

As Sarah said, when you’ve got water gushing everywhere, you simply need the first plumber that comes up in your google search who can come right now. If Joe Bloggs Plumbers who lives down the road doesn’t have a website, or is consciously promoting himself online, he’ll not be found when you search for ‘plumber’ in your area.

How to get started with blogging for business

I recommend Sarah’s 30 day blogging challenge. It’s focused on blogging for business & not only takes you through the writing aspect, giving you ideas of what to write about, but also how to set your website up to get maximum traffic.

The Business Cheerleading Club supports all aspects of business, and we’ve been exploring with some members the how to of blogging, and have even helped add a blog to a website to get them started. Each month we explore a business topic, but as a member you can ask questions, get support, and share your blog links to get extra traffic from club members.

In fact, the last two Action Spotlight Coaching sessions have focused on content creation and blogging for members. We talked through the types of content they could create, and how they could schedule their time to blog regularly, to “improve your writing muscle”, as Sarah said.

I like writing, and sharing my knowledge by blogging for my business. I know it’s increasing traffic to my website, as my stats tell me that too. I’m getting more potential customers find me and talk to me, and it’s growing my business.

Do you blog for your business? Or do you think you’d like to get started now you know a bit more? We’re here to help 🙂

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Stress busting techniques from Esther Nagle

stress busting techniques for business owners from esther nagleWe all encounter a little stress in our lives, so it’s important to know some quick tips to reduce and remove our stress. These stress busting techniques were shared with us by Esther Nagle, from Balance and Breathe, in our recent online conversation.

Stress busting techniques


Esther’s top stress busting tip is getting your sleep right. Many business owners struggle to sleep well as your brain is buzzing with ideas, or you “just want to get this done”. Instead of getting good sleep, and letting our bodies and brains rest, we often believe that we’ll work through it.

Without sleep, we’ll start to feel more stressed, and out of control. Sleep helps us get a more balanced view of our work, and life.


After your great sleep, Esther suggested that you need to make time for yourself in the morning to set up your stress free day. Whatever you do with that dedicated “morning routine”, (and you may need to play a little bit to get it right for you), be it exercise, meditation, planning, or a mixture of different activities, will be important to the day ahead.


This is one area we know that business owners struggle to do. And it’s often the ‘regular’ bit of it that’s missing!

Whether you set an alarm to keep your day broken up, or schedule your day with breaks into it, it’s important that you step away from your work, take a break, before returning to it.

Having a drink, (why are brew areas so important in offices? Not just for the social interaction, but the act of moving from your desk to get a drink), going for a short walk, stretching, dancing, singing. Changing your physical and mental state for that whole body and brain change is important.


This is an interesting one, but one you’ll probably have heard of. It’s interesting that Esther thinks this is important as a stress busting technique.

Knowing that you have a lot to be grateful for can really help you to focus on what’s fantastic about your work and business, and know that the current frustations (stresses), are only there to make your business better in the future.

Some people write down their #threethings each day in a journal or diary, or even share them on social media (making you accountable for what’s good in your life). Others will have times during the day when they’ll think about what they’re grateful for.


I know from personal experience that business owners are often bad at asking for help! We think we have to know it all and do it all. Hmmm. That’s not going help our stress levels is it?

So, what can you ask someone else to do? Is it the family to do more around the house if you need to work in the business more? Can a friend help you out at an event, instead of you trying to do it all yourself & not being pleased that you couldn’t speak to everyone? Would an assistant be helpful to do the things you don’t enjoy/aren’t finding time to do?


It’s interesting that Esther chose this one to end our conversation, as when she started talking about it, it felt to me that it was the most important stress busting technique that’s available! [Note – Esther has told me since that she could have talked for days about breathing, so she left it until last to ensure she told us the other top tips first!]

Breathing well, helps keep us grounded. Simply breathing in and out, takes the focus away from our busy mind, and focuses on the breath. There’s different breathing techniques you can learn. For starters, simply breathe in and out deeply three times.

I use this when I start to feel a little anxious and is the perfect way to get yourself back in control when you feel yourself getting a bit ‘off balance’.

More stress busting technique support

I learnt loads from Esther, from Balance and Breathe, in our short time together. Her stress busting techniques are all simple to put into practice and are all free! We just need to do them.

Esther shared an excellent 13 minute relaxation exercise. You can contact Esther directly for more information, or support

If you’d like some support, as a business owner, to reduce your stress, whilst continuing to work in your business, the Business Cheerleading Club has other business owners who know what you’re feeling, and going through, and will support you to put your stress busting techniques in place. It’s a place to ask for help.

What else would you add to these stress busting techniques for business owners?

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How to determine which social media network fits your business

Any business, however large or small, whatever industry you’re in, needs to know how to determine which social media network fits your business. Whether you like it or not, social media networks are here to stay, and your business needs to use them to communicate with your customers, where they are happiest.

We have some clients who tell us that, “they don’t like social networks”. That’s fine. We understand that social networking isn’t for everyone. Not all businesses have customers who use social networks. However, people who may refer your business to someone aged 80+, or buy for them, are likely to use some form of social media.

Yes, the use may well be purely social. However, our children are very social savvy, and will often tell us about something they’ve seen on a social network that interests them, or they think will interest us.

So being aware of social networks and which ones to use for your business are important. We all have choices, and if you’ve done your research and decide to focus on one channel only, that’s great. You understand what your business needs, and the resources you have available to you, and where you’re best focusing those resources.

How to determine which social media network fits your business

How to determine which social media network fits your business1. Know your audience – being really clear about who they are, what they do, and where they ‘hang out’ is your first step. Without that, (or knowing your customer avatar), you haven’t got a place to start

2. Who makes the buying decision for your product/service? If you’re a business to customer business, is it the end user who makes the purchasing decision, or someone else? (A parent, child, carer?). If you work business to business, who decides? Is it the marketing manager, the training manager, the sole person who works in and runs the business?

3. Are you promoting a lifestyle option or brand? Are you helping businesses improve their service or product? Are you creating unique products? Are you providing a service? How can you “show off” your product and/or service best to your potential customers? Is it visual? Is it through customer testimonials for your work?

We suggest you consider the demographics and usage of each social channel, as well as it’s reach. Facebook is by far the biggest social media platform, with 461 million active users a month. However, Instagram has by far the biggest engagement per 1000 followers, over seven times higher than the next channel, Facebook! Wow! So, if you’re looking for engagement, head to Instagram! [Source: New Global Social Media Research]

What are you using social media in your business for?

  • Getting traffic to your website
  • Researching customer trends
  • Customer service tool
  • Communicating with your business friends
  • Responding to journalist requests (who mainly use twitter for quick response, thanks to our recent guest Carrie Eddins for that PR Tip)

Having the confidence in all these areas, will make your decision about which social media channel/s you’re going to use for your business easier. However, we also recommend regularly reviewing if your social media strategy is working!

If you’d like some help with how to determine which social media network fits your business, book a call with Tracey-Jane, or join the Business Cheerleading Club & discuss it with other business owners, and Tracey-Jane in the group.

What social media channels do you use that work for you & your business?

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Why conversation is important to us

I love talking and meeting people and having a conversation. It helps the world go round, don’t you think?

If you don’t have a conversation with your client, how will you know what they want, and if you’re the right business to serve them?

How do find the right supplier, or negotiate the right deal for your business? You have to have a conversation.

I was looking at ways to help business owners learn tips and tricks to improve you improve your time management, or learn how to do something. I know you don’t have much time to go searching for what’s right for you. There’s so many courses and tutorials and youtube videos available, but what’s going to work for you?

Conversation with experts

in conversation with Sarah Arrow blogging for business tipsLast week I decided to have conversations with some experts I know in different areas of business, and personal development. My goal is to spend no longer than 30 minutes with the expert – they’re busy and so are you – getting a couple of #tipsforbusiness owners from them from our conversation.

I love learning, and spend a lot of time reading, and watching tutorials and webinars. But I’m sometimes left with more questions than I started with! I want to ask “what does that mean for me?”, “how do I do that in my situation?”. So, this way, I can do the asking!

We’re carrying out these conversations on our Facebook page as a live interview. So they’re free for anyone to watch, and ask questions during the conversation (or in advance if you can’t come live). We’ve created quite a list in a short space of time, and are now getting experts booked in for conversations in April. It’s wonderful how so many people are wanting to share their tips with others so we can all learn and do better in our lives and business.

Every conversation is recorded and will be available afterwards. For our Cheerleading Club members, they’ll have them in the club resource centre. We’ll also be putting them on our YouTube Channel, and of course on the Facebook page, so hopefully they’ll be easy for you to find what you need.

What would you like to learn from a conversation

So whilst I’ve started learning and having amazing conversations with fantastic people, we’d like to hear what you would like to learn from a conversation with….Who? Who would you like to have a conversation with?

If we can all have more conversations with each other, we’re bound to understand each other better, learn more, and help each other more aren’t we, and grow all areas of our business too?

That’s a dream I’m having at the moment.

Join our conversations & let’s grow together. A full list of our events is here on our Events Page.



Are you making the most of your website assets

Business assets are often thought to be cash in the bank, property and stock. Your website assets are just as important, even if they’re not listed on your balance sheet.

I know some businesses will have a value put on their website as an asset in the business. Often when a business is sold, the website assets are clearly part of the pricing, and due diligence within the sale.

However, when we work with clients website assets are often not valued in the same way as stock is.

What do you mean, website assets?

website assetsWell, you have your business website don’t you. It may be simply a place for people to find out basic information from you, or it may be your whole business, with stock or services being bought & used from the website.

If you have a full e-commerce site, or site where people come for training courses, then you may well consider your website to be one of your biggest assets in your business. However, this isn’t always the case.

I’ve also helped people create their own website, and once it’s created they just leave it there and expect it to “do it’s job”. Huh? Getting a website live is only the first part of the journey. Now you’ve invested in a website, you need to make it work for you. [We’ve created a 10 module course, with 6 months support, for business owners, as we see this a lot. It’s for anyone with a website that wants to make the most of this asset you have. It’s still being re-worked, hence the price].

Outside of your website though, are all the things linking to your website, which are also considered part of your website assets. Such as, links to your website; social media channels; google my business profile; profiles on industry directories. Everything digital, linked to your website is part of your website assets and helps to maintain your online profile, and your business reputation.

So when that person advises you to start doing some blogging, or linking to your website from your instagram account, they are telling you to put some support in place for your website assets. Having a website sat in the inter-web by itself isn’t enough. It may look beautiful and be perfectly formed, and run so smoothly that it’s a dream for your team to manage.

You may think I’m being cruel here – it’s just some files and technical coding (my web developer friends aren’t going to be happy with me are they?). Yes, they’re your files and coding and they are unique and special to you and your business. And that’s exactly why I’m being honest – look after them. Love them. Love your website and it will love you back.

Make the most of your website assets

There are some simple things you can do, fairly easily and regularly, if you’re looking after your website yourself. Or you these are the things you need to get your web or tech team, or online marketing support team to do for you. These are basics. It’s not a full list, but it’s a start for you to get making the most of those website assets you’ve already got:

  1. Create new articles regularly. Now our friends at SarkeMedia will say creating new content every day will really make a difference. It will, but we’re just starting here. So let’s say you add something new to your website twice a week. We highly recommend the 30 day blogging challenge, run by Sarah and Kevin Arrow. You’ll learn far more than just about blogging, and their support is excellent. You’ll also see that if you use their strategies, you’ll see results to your website traffic, and online engagement in general
  2. Create links to your website from social media Now there’s all sorts of suggestions about how best to do this, but if you’re starting from nothing, then doing something is better than nothing. Depending on your business, and your target audience, you may use a variety of social media channels. Use what’s right for you, not what your friend tells you to do.
  3. Ensure your business details are on the relevant industry directories, or local pages and are kept up to date. There’s nothing that annoys us all than details being out of date is there?

If you need help working through what you’ve currently got, and create a plan for making the most of your website assets now you understand a bit more, why not book a call with Tracey-Jane? Or join the Business Cheerleading Club, and talk things through there with club members, or use the Action Spotlight coaching session to work things through.

Do you think about website assets in your business? Do you look after them as lovingly as you your property and stock?

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What to do when you feel lonely

It’s hard enough being a business owner sometimes, but when you feel lonely, life can feel so much harder.

Loneliness is becoming an ever present topic of conversation. We’re used to loneliness being talked about with our aging population. But loneliness in business owners? Really?

Unfortunately, the answer is “yes”.

At work, loneliness reduces task performance, limits creativity, and impairs other aspects of executive function such as reasoning and decision making. For our health and our work, it is imperative that we address the loneliness epidemic quickly.

Vivek H. Murthy, Harvard Business Review

There’s all sorts of research available, to show that loneliness is an increasing problem, and there’s much concern about all communities about what to do when you feel lonely.

Business owners aren’t immune to feeling lonely

As a business owner, you know how lonely it can be sometimes. Your partner doesn’t understand why you’re working so hard. Your family don’t understand why you need to work when they want you to be with them. Your friends don’t understand that you can’t go out with them tonight as you’ve just got to get this customer order finished. You have no-one to talk to, or share with.

There’s no-one in your usual support team who you think will understand what you’re going through, or the difficulties your facing of making decisions. So, you look inwards to the inner strength you have as a business owner, (it feels like you’ve got a super power doesn’t it?).

You think that running your own business is better than working for someone else, but then you find that you’ve no-one to talk to when you make a brew. There’s no-one to tell what a fantastic weekend you had when you ‘log on’ for work. It can be quite isolating.

I know this feeling only too well. I have some great friends, and lovely supporters, but I’ve had times where I felt so lonely in what I was doing. I felt I had to do “this thing” all by myself. I felt that no-one understood. For me, this period of my life started a period of depression, which took a while to come out of.

Find someone to listen to you when you feel lonely

what to do when you feel lonelyI’ve learnt so much about the power of listening in the last couple of years. It’s a powerful tool for all of us, in every walk of life. For business owners it’s even more important, that it’s something simple you can do when you feel lonely.

Your friends, family, partner, network colleagues, and strangers don’t need to understand your situation. But they can just listen to you. They don’t need to advise, or find solutions for you. In fact, that’s not what you need. You just need to share, with someone, what’s on your mind. You have all the answers in yourself, and by sharing what’s on your mind, you’ll find that it becomes clearer to you what your next steps are.

There are some listening services springing up all over the country now, as more people recognise that listening is way of helping who feel lonely and isolated. I’m a trained listener, and have helped set up a listening service in Preston, near where I live. It’s been so valuable to help those who are lonely, or don’t know where to turn.

Ensure your support network is working for you

Whatever your business, or where you’re based, your support network is important to you. Not only to support you grow your business, but to be there for you when you feel lonely.

Our support network, as business owners, may well be a network group, (online or offline), who understand our business, and our needs. It may be a co-working space we enjoy being in, which offers support to us in not being alone in our day to day work. However we see many business owners sticking with something that isn’t working for them, and that’s making them feel even more lonely in their work.

One step from today is to review who and how you’re being supported in your network. Is it working for you? Do you feel lonely as a business owner? Could you improve your support network in some way? What would that be?

This isn’t about money either. It’s not about how many networks can you be part of, so you don’t feel lonely! It’s about being with the people you feel comfortable with, who can listen to you, and you can listen to them when they need it. You may have friends and family that can do this for you. Or you may have an online group you feel comfortable with, (but there’s nothing better than talking out loud to help you – it does something wonderful in your brain. We need that connection).

Review what you’ve currently got in place, and be honest with yourself if this is serving you and your business at the moment. It’s fine to change support groups as our business grows. Think of it as a child growing up – they need different support as they grow too.

We’re hearing that business owners are finding the Business Cheerleading Club a comfortable place to get support, and be listened to. That’s fantastic, and we’re delighted to be able to offer this place where you’re listened to, you can share your anxieties and successes, and you’ll be understood for who you are, and what you do.

We hope it’s not just a place to go when you feel lonely, but for whole business support.

I also offer listening sessions to business owners, as I know how much this can help. Yes I can coach you, but sometimes, you just need someone to listen to you. Whatever support you need, don’t be lonely. Ask for help. We can’t help you unless we know, (just like your friends would tell you!).

What do you do when you feel lonely at work?

Book a listening and/or coaching session with Tracey-Jane: