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How much time do you need for running your own business

Running you own business is rewarding, challenging, hard work, and time consuming. Making sure you’ve got enough time to dedicate to running your own business is important to it’s success.

It’s worth reviewing how much time you’ve got to spend every so often. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting your business, thinking about starting a business, or have been running your own business for years.

Life happens. Children grow up, and their needs become different. Parents get older, and we may find that we’re needed to do different things within our families. Expectations change.

The beauty of running your own business is that you can be flexible. You’re in charge! And how you divide your time is up to you.

Running your own business needs time

How much time you need depends on so many factors, that there’s no “one size fits all” answer to this.

time for running your own business v incomeConsider the following questions when reviewing if running a business is right for you, or sustainable:

  • How much time do YOU need to spend in the business? If you’re the only person who can do something, then you’re limited by that available time
  • Is YOUR time flexible, or is it fixed? Will that work for your customers? For example, if you can only work school hours, but your customers want evening appointments, it’s unlikely this business will work for you
  • What can someone else do & how much will that cost you? For example, can you pass work to an administrator or Virtual Assistant (VA), leaving you to carry out the tasks that only you can do?
  • Can you pass work to a contractor to carry out, whilst you simply manage their work each month? For example, using a Public Relations specialist to work with the media can be a really efficient use of your money and time. Leaving them to use their expertise whilst you carry out your favourite work.

We worked with a client recently who had 10 hours a week for her business. She had a salaried job, and looked after her family as well. When we looked at what she needed to do, it was do-able for her. She assigned 8 hours a week to creating new products, (she makes things by hand), and will spend 2 hours across the week doing her marketing. This was sustainable for her for the next few months whilst she created more products and added them to her website. She’d then shift the hours slightly to do a bit more marketing and website work.

Full time, part time or time to time?

There’s many ways to run your own business. There are so many opportunities to create a part-time income, or even a time to time income. You don’t have to think of running your own business as a full time occupation, although for many business owners, this is their aim.

If you’re wanting to test the waters, then it’s likely you’ll start when time allows.

As your client base grows, you may find you need to commit to regular part-time hours each week or month. This doesn’t have to be the same days and times each week or month, depending what you do. Telling yourself, (and your diary), that you’re working on your business, will ensure you dedicate the right amount of time to growing your business.

Sometimes circumstances overtake us. Tracey-Jane’s second business only started to grow rapidly when she was made redundant from her employment. This gave the impetus, and time to grow the business, and it took off. Everything was in place to grow it, and it worked out.

We often have to think about income v time in our considerations of the time we need for running our own business. For many business owners, or those considering starting a business, it’s the income that prevents more time being spent in the business for family security.

It’s often hard to work out if you have enough time available to successfully run your own business to earn the level of income you desire. Be honest when you’re working through your figures, and pretend it’s going to be hard to make the sales to start with.

How much time do YOU need for running YOUR business?

Think it through. Work it out. Write it down. Is this exercise about TIME or MONEY? Or are they tied together for you?

What works for you may be quite different to your friend, or that person who’s doing something very similar to you. We’re all different & our family situations will vary. Ensure you know what your minimum number of hours are that you can commit to running your business and if it gets that you can’t do that, then maybe it’s time to hang up your business owner badge?

We know business owners who do a couple of hours a month, (these are running Multi-level marketing businesses), to those who are working 60 hour weeks when they’re at full capacity in busy periods of the year.

Need help working out how much time YOU need for running YOUR own business? Grab our 5 Day Kick Start Planner and really focus these next few days on the amount of time YOU need. Or join the Business Cheerleading Club & talk it through with other business owners there.

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How to keep marketing simple

Marketing is one of the areas of business which people seem to spend the most time on. It’s also the area of business people seem to have the most frustrations about. It’s the topic which comes up time and again in coaching calls with business owners, and the area they feel most ‘stuck’.

Why do we get stuck on marketing, when it should be the simplest thing to do?

Marketing: The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.

Oxford Dictionary

So, it’s simple right? It’s the ACTION of promoting and selling. OK, market research and advertising are in there too, but that’s part of taking action and understanding the audience you’re promoting to.

So, if marketing is simple, why do business owners get so confused and hung up on marketing?

keep marketing simpleI believe it’s because the places available to us to promote and sell our products and services have increased 100 fold, (maybe more?), over the past 20 years. Our lives seem more complicated with communication technology, not less complicated as we may expect. Our attention span has reduced. Any promoting and selling has to happen in a smaller time frame than our ancestors had.

Many of our clients seem to tie themselves in knots about whether to use twitter or instagram; or how many emails should they send to their customers each month; or they spend hours making a web page look stunning, but then forget to add a link to that page on any of their social media posts.

Is marketing an art?

Well, that may well be the topic of a discussion we can have one day. However, for now, I’d like to suggest that marketing is an industry. Even our children understand on some basic level that they are “being marketed to”, and being shown what life will be like when I purchase this sparkly new product.

Some advertisements may be considered art, whether they are video format, or flat images. There are advertising and marketing awards each year. (I think I’m straying into advertising here, but it’s in our dictionary definition, so please forgive me for putting both terms in the mixing pot).

I guess what I’m trying to say, is, does it matter if marketing is an art or not? If you have a product or service you need to sell to generate some income in your business. Then you need to market/promote it to your ideal client, otherwise, you’ll have no business.

Keep marketing simple

When we work with clients, we always like to keep things simple, and marketing is no exception. If it’s not simple in your business, it’s unlikely to happen, or happen well. Agree?

So to keep marketing simple what do you need to do?

  • Understand who your target audience is, and where they ‘hang out’. By this, we mean, do they read the local newspaper; are they on facebook all day; do they listen to national radio; do they have young children and sit at the swimming pool for hours on end each week. Get the picture? You can do some really detailed research on this if you want, but simply having a really good feel to where your ideal customer is, means you can speak to them there
  • How much time do you have each week to market your business? Knowing how much time you have for this part of your business, helps you then to really get to know what’s achievable in the time you have. Do you have other people who can help you, or who’s job it is to help you with marketing? If you don’t have time yourself, can you pay someone else to help you? If so, how much?
  • What’s worked in the past? Do it again. Don’t ever think that because you’ve done something that worked once, that your customers will be bored with it next time you do something similar. A lot of businesses can only grow if they get new customers, so you’ll be constantly marketing to new customers. Keep marketing simple by repeating what works for your ideal customer.
  • What do you enjoy doing, (that gets results)? If you enjoy doing something, your tone, and manner when you’re marketing is likely to be more natural than when you do something that’s uncomfortable for you. If you enjoy chatting with people in Facebook groups, and you get customers from those places, do more of it. Spend your time doing things you enjoy. If you enjoy blogging, and that’s getting more traffic to your website, which in turn is increasing sales, then do more of that.
  • What’s right for your business? This may be related to where your customer hangs out, but not always. What’s right for your friend in the networking group, may not be right for you, or your business. It’s not always about breaking through our comfort zone in life and business to get growth. A lot of time, it’s about understanding what’s right, and will work for us.

You’ll notice we haven’t talked about Facebook ads, needing to post 6 times a day on twitter, or spending time making connections on LinkedIn. They may be part of your marketing mix (remember? Product, Price, Promotion and Place, with Promotion being where you promote your product), but it won’t work for all businesses or business owners.

What should I do to keep marketing simple in my business?

We recommend you take the following steps:

  1. Create marketing time in your weekly & monthly diary that isn’t allowed to be used for anything else
  2. Divide up that time to ensure you’re marketing in the right places to your existing customers & your potential customers (may be different places & definitely different words)
  3. Review what’s working and do more of it next month. Reflect on what’s not working, and either ditch it, or adapt it
  4. Don’t spread yourself too thinly. Do whatever you’re doing well & have time to chat to your potential customer, in the place that’s right for you, and/or them
Tracey-Jane Hughes owner of Manage Those Things

Tracey-Jane Hughes

If you need help with working out how to keep marketing simple for you and your business, book a coaching call with Tracey-Jane. Or, join the Business Cheerleading Club

Why a content marketing plan is useful

Do you use a content marketing plan?

Having a content marketing plan is one thing, using it can be quite a different thing! We know many clients that start off with all good intentions, and print off, or create a content plan, but then stop using it after month one.

What is a content marketing plan?

In case you’re not sure what a content marketing plan is, (and if you should have one & use it), here’s our definition:

A clear plan of action about the content you plan to create and publish to promote your business and/or your website.

A content marketing plan doesn’t have to be just about your website, but it’s generally thought of as a website content planner.

It can be created, and used, in many forms – created content marketing planner, a simple diary you use, an online calendar. Whatever works for you is good. You don’t need to buy a specific tool if that format doesn’t work for you. If you know how you work best, (online, or pen and paper), then start with that. You can create your own planner, with columns and tick boxes so you cover everything you need for your business. Or, you can buy one which best suits your needs.

“What does that mean?” I hear you ask:

It means, what articles, or pages are you creating to share your knowledge, wisdom, ideas, new products with the world?

As you can see from this, your website, is only one place to share your business knowledge and products. It’s likely you’re sharing ideas on your social media channels, or at your local networking group, or through the local media or in your company brochure.

Having a plan, (for anything), helps you get everything in the right place at the right time, to share the information you want with your customer/potential customer/existing client.

Do you see? You can share whatever you want, and each piece of information you share is likely to be for a different audience.

For example:

  • A sales page for a new product is likely to be written for new customers who haven’t bought from you before
  • An email to existing clients is likely to share some information about a product or service they’ve previously bought, and/or something that you think will interest them
  • A news item may share information of interest to your network to engage them in conversation about a new idea, and gather their views to help with your market research

Can you see how different content will be written for different audiences? And that’s why you need a content marketing plan!

How is a content marketing planner different from a marketing planner?

week to view content marketing planWell, that may well be a conversation for a different day, as we could then go on to talk about your business plan, and your PR plan too within the same chat!

For now though, let’s just say that your content marketing planner, is the detail behind the marketing planner you’ve created.

So, if you want to create a buzz around the May half term holidays, you’ll start creating your content marketing plan now, in January, to work up to ensuring your existing clients know what’s available for them in May, as well as sharing content in the right format to capture the attention of new customers who may be interested in your offering in the holidays.

This content marketing may well consist of email newsletters to your existing lists, press releases, articles on your website, social media posts and/or an advert in your local newsletter.

Can you see how this all needs to be planned out so you ensure you cover all bases with your information, to meet your customer & potential customer at the best place for them?

We can talk about where your customers ‘hang out’ another day, but for now, let’s just agree that we need to have a content marketing planner, and use it to promote the areas of work that are in our marketing plan to get the sales we want to support our overall business plan this year. Agree?

OK, so do you need any help with this? Or to put your thoughts in order now you understand the purpose of a content marketing planner?

We created a content marketing planner for you, to help take the strain off you, and all you need to do is fill in the boxes and then carry out your ideas. It’s 212 pages long, for 2018, and that’s just the basic template. You may find you need to print off more copies of some of the pages, to get your thoughts in order for a specific area of work you want to do, or a promotion you’re working on. That’s fine. We’ve created the template, (often the boring bit), so that you can just do the work (the exciting bit) 🙂

Buy it now & get your content planned for your awesome year ahead. (Once you’ve made payment, we’ll send you the planner for you to use as you want).





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Still stuck on planning?

You may well be still stuck on planning. Is that a bad thing? Doesn’t it mean that you’re taking time out of your business to work on your business and really think about what you want and how you’re going to get there?

I knew I had to do something different this year with my planning. Not because I hadn’t achieved in the past, but because I wanted to achieve more. I wanted to be more focused with the time I spent on each area of my work, personal life, and family time, so that when I was doing the things I wanted to do, I wasn’t distracted by other things going on, (often in my head).

Planning tools & resources

I know some people love getting stuck into the “right” planner for them. I’ve also known some people chop and change planners, diaries, journals & wall charts, just so they could get it all to match up. Well, whilst that may work for them, that certainly doesn’t work for me.

I’m not saying that once I’ve decided on something I’ll stick to it, but I certainly want to spend time giving something a good try, before reviewing and moving on to try the next thing if I think I can do something better.

I’d seen the Best Self Journal a few times over the past few months, and liked the idea of working on 13 weeks at a time. To my little brain, it seems more manageable, and a more focused way of working. I’d never seen anyone use it in person, but I knew people who loved it & had increased their productivity by filling in all the boxes & planning their time more effectively.

Sarah Arrow’s guide to planners in December is a brilliant round up of different printed planners, pros and cons & that decided it for me. I was going to try the Best Self Journal.

Still stuck on planning?

stuck on planning start doingPlanning is an ongoing, ever changing ‘thing’ that we need to do in our lives. However much we plan, we often have to change plans. Sometimes to fit something else in that we want to do, or sometimes because we need to care for a sick child or parent at the last minute. Or that plan we’d made to do that training course has to be changed, because the course is cancelled.

However hard we try to control things in our plan, diary, and life, there are always things out of our control. The traffic was unusually bad due to an accident; or the person we were supposed to meet had to cancel and we have to reschedule. Or the resources we ordered to make that customer order haven’t turned up so we now have to do that task tomorrow as we promised to them for the weekend.

“Arrgghh” is often our response to a plan that’s not quite gone to plan!

However, if you look at planning as an ongoing process, and not something just for January, then you may find that you allow for reviewing your plans. You may find that instead of fixing things in now for August that have to stay like that, you have a post it note with the thing you want to do, and you can move it around as other work, or family stuff comes up that you also want to do.

Think about planning differently

Having some fixed things, like holidays, deadlines, and events on the planner which can’t move is a starting point. My family laughed at me with the big wall planner I created before Christmas. However, when we talked through what we all wanted to do this year, and we looked at the planner to see when we could do it, they understood that things have to work around school holidays, and for us this year, GCSE exams.

Then think about those goals you’re wanting to achieve & set the time in the year you’re wanting to achieve them by. That’ll help you get a framework in place for your year. Then plan the quarter, the month, then the week, with each part of this planning focusing on those longer term goals you’re wanting to achieve.

Think of it from a production point of view. If you want to create 200 Christmas cakes by the end of November, when do you need to get the ingredients? When do you need to make the mixture? When do you need to bake them by? Are you making them all in one go (do you have enough cake tins?), or are you making them over a few months & steeping them (filling them with alcohol)?

Make sense?

So, instead of working yourself up into a bit of a dither that you’re STILL planning, it’s fine. Understand that you’ll be planning throughout the year, and changing your plans, as you review your business, and the goals you’ve set, and what your customers want.

My lessons from using Best Self Journal so far:

  • It takes longer than you think. Whatever it is, it takes longer
  • A 30 minute walk will take longer than 30 minutes if you need to put shoes and waterproofs on & take them off when you come home
  • Anything takes longer than expected if you do other things “on the way”. For example, hanging the washing out to dry on the way to pick up shoes to go out for a walk, will add extra time you hadn’t planned in. But it’s still a job that needed doing
  • Having a clear goal for the next 13 weeks keeps you focused on that goal & everything you do, or are asked to do, has to help you to achieve that goal
  • Batching time is really important (phone calls back to back, writing stuff in one session, shopping & meetings can be done whilst out in same area of town)
  • Don’t try and do too much
  • Write down your time out & exercise as you’ll forget it otherwise

And my biggest lesson from this week which has worked wonders for me – write a meal planner at the start of the week, and plan the shopping trips in around the meetings already scheduled. It’s been brilliant, even though I do say so myself!

Do you feel you’re still stuck in planning mode? Is it a problem for you or are you quite happy with the progress you’re making?

If you need some help with planning, why not book a call with Tracey-Jane to help you work things out?

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Business tools can be time savers as well as growth tools

There are many ways we can grow our businesses, but business tools and systems are one of the quickest and easiest ways to grow your business, without too many tears.

“What do you mean by tools?” I hear you cry! Well, tools are anything that will help make your business processes easier and/or quicker.

It’s not just getting an extra pair of hands, (who you have to train to do the tasks), but systems and software can make a massive difference to your business, and your personal time working in the business.

How do you manage your customer or client details? Do you have them written in a little black book? Or on a spreadsheet? Would you like to be able to add notes to customer details so that you don’t need to remember conversations. The system does that for you. One system we really like, which is called a CRM system (Customer relationship management), is Capsule CRM. We’ve found it easy to use, it links with google mail, and mailchimp which were important for our clients. It can link to all sorts of other systems too if you want it to.

How do you manage your finances? Do you stuff all your receipts into a box & give them to your accountant or bookeeper at the end of the year? Or do you keep your spreadsheet or accounts system up to date every week? Whatever bookeeping system you use, this is a business tool.

Can you see? It doesn’t have to be something weird and wonderful to be a useful tool for your business!

There are tools for scheduling social media posts for your business, and scheduling appointments with customers, tools for creating beautiful images for your website or blog posts, tools for more efficient team working. In fact, there’s tools for all sorts of things to help you grow your business quickly and easily. There’s even tools to link the tools up if they’re not set up to talk to each other automatically – a tool called Zapier where you create Zaps to connect systems together.

There are so many tools to choose from, our advice to clients is try a few out and find what works for you. Just because we love Capsule CRM doesn’t mean you will too. You may find Zoho easier to navigate, or it looks better to you. Most business system tools have free trials, so use them. Put some time aside and try things out, and find the one/s that work for you.

One of the go to places where a lot of these whizzy tools are available, is AppSumo. They offer, often at the start of the growth phase for a business tool, special offers, or deals, which in turn helps the developer to improve the business tool. You can grab bargains for whatever area of work you’re wanting to improve.

appsumo store for business toolsHowever, AppSumo have put together a Briefcase full of business tools for entrepreneurs and business owners which covers most of the basics. These business tools are tried and tested, and you can get access to them all with one simple monthly payment. We really like this idea for small business owners – you know what you’re paying, and you know the systems work.

Tools we’re especially loving (as they’re new to us and we’re enjoying playing with them, plus getting so much benefit already), are GRUM (This is going to be in the Black Friday offer from AppSumo, so don’t miss out on lifetime access) – being able to schedule Instagram posts is fantastic for us. Yes, it’s important to be live on social media, but the fact you can create images on your laptop, then schedule them once in the knowledge that they’ll be sent out when you want, is perfect.

WEBSITE AUDITOR is a fabulous tool helping you to analyse your website, the traffic to it, and give you ideas of how to improve your site so it can be found more easily. You can even make the changes inside the website auditor software, making it simple to use, for everyone – even those with no technical skills. This is currently available with a massive discount for lifetime access, and we can highly recommend it.

We love business tools, and encourage our clients to make use of software and technology within their businesses to make life, and business, more straight forward.

If you’d like help with your business systems, or need help with setting business tools up, or linking them together so they talk to each other, get in touch. We can do this for you, and make the business tools you choose to use, even easier! We can even arrange training for you and your team, on site, or online, if you prefer to learn from another business owner how to make the best use of a business tool in your particular business.

What are your favourite business tools?

 

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SarkeMedia courses

We love what we do, supporting clients. You may be surprised that we work with specialists too. We’re always learning new tips, and keeping up to date of new software and algorithm changes. We may sometimes suggest you learn from a specialist, and/or we’ll walk alongside you and a specialist with a particular project. We’ll always give you options, as we all learn in different ways, and what suits your business partner, may not suit your style.

thank you sarkemediaOne of our favourite companies we often refer clients to, offer training, coaching and 1 to 1 support, are Sarah and Kevin Arrow from SarkeMedia who run the Online Visibility academy. We’ve worked with Sarah and Kevin for years, so we can highly recommend their work.

Some of our own courses dovetail into their work, like our Get your website working course will lead you onto some of their courses for more detailed work, learning about a specific area of work, or to really drill into an area you need to really master in your business.

Whilst we recommend Sarkemedia and the Arrows to you, for their breadth of knowledge and success with online visibility for themselves and their clients, here’s some highlights some of clients have enjoyed with them directly:

Leads and LinkedIn – This package to teach you how to use LinkedIn to generate more leads is taught through daily emails with a task to learn or do each day. The Leads and LinkedIn programme is supported by the Arrows through a LinkedIn group (where else!). If LinkedIn is where your potential clients hang out, then you need to be there to hang out with them too.

Business Blogging Challenge – This is a 30 day challenge, delivered by email every day, which takes you through everything you need to know about Business blogging. From why you should have a business blog, to how to set it up, to keywords, (what they are and how to find yours), images, linking, guest blogging, and all things in between. This challenge is supported by a Facebook group which has over 4,000 people either doing the challenge or who’ve completed it.

Marketing Success Strategy Bundle – An amazing bundle of marketing strategies for whichever way you want to promote your business. Done for you marketing strategies which take the effort out of the planning and scratching your head stage, so you simply use your time to get on and do the marketing for your business. We love this one 🙂

Optimise Anything – Just like it says, this course will teach you how to optimise anything. Not only is it important to optimise your website to be found for your keywords, but you’ll also learn how to optimise your Facebook page, your Instagram account, your twitter feed, and many more things you may not have thought can be optimised. Ensuring everything is optimised helps your online visibility, and ensures people find you and trust you for what you do.

This programme is delivered in an online course format, with tutorials, checklists and support. You go as fast or as slow as you want.

Create a business website from scratch – Using WordPress. Step by step tutorials to show you how to set up a wordpress website from scratch. Yes, it’s that simple!

Client Clairvoyance – Find out what your clients are looking for, and develope your business to suit their requirements. Then use that knowledge to market to them in the way that suits them best. If you’re currently unsure what your clients are really after, this will lead you through a step by step process.

Delivered on their course platform for you to go as fast or slow as you like.

Autumn Bundle of Awesomeness – An amazing package of a variety of courses with Sarkemedia old branding which they’re virtually giving away at this price! Even if you don’t need something right now, grab it as you have lifetime access to all their courses.

 

Manage Those Things can help you manage all aspects of your business. Sometimes, however, we’ll advise you to work, or learn from, specialists, like Sarah and Kevin from Sarkemedia. If you’re wanting to improve your Online Visibility, talk to us about your goals and where you are now, and we’ll advise the best way forward for you.

Have you done any of Sarkemedia’s courses? Are they right for you?

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Are you rushing around getting nothing done?

Life is busy, we all know that. Having a business is often a challenge, particular when we first start. We have lists for this, and that, and we do our best to get it done, but it feels like there’s lots of rushing but nothing gets done.

Feel familiar?

There’s so many different ways you can slow down, but how do you find what’s right for you? That’s right, you try them out and see what works! Yes, that’s simple enough isn’t it? But how do you find the time to try out new things when you’re so busy rushing around getting nothing done?

Let’s work through a few options and see if we can find something that feels right to start with.

Tips for getting things done without rushing around all the time

  1. Stop. Take a break.

    tips for getting things done stop and listen to yourselfYou may think that stopping and taking a break is counter productive when you have so much you want to get done. But trust me. When you stop, and take a break (that’s really important!), your brain and body slow down. They thank you for the time out. By doing something different in your break from rushing around, you’ll find your brain re-works your list and prioritises it, so when you come back to work you’ll be very focused and will just crack on with one thing at a time. Doing one thing at a time, to completion, is much more productive than trying to complete lots of things at the same time.

  2. Plan.

    You’ve probably heard, “Fail to plan = plan to fail”? Well, just spending a bit of time planning is well worth it. Are there things you’re doing that someone else could do? Do you have to do them at all? Prioritising through your planning will be so valuable, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

  3. Meditate.

    OK, so this may seem a bit “woo woo”, but this really does give your brain time to be still. We know of so many people who’ve benefitted from just 10 minutes a day of meditation. I’m sure you can fit 10 minutes of Headspace in each day? Go on, try it and let us know how you feel.

  4. Good food and exercise during the day

    You may have your health and fitness schedule sorted. Fabulous. However, could you do some of your activity during your workday? Could you have walking meetings instead of meeting in a cafe? Are you drinking enough water? (we’re going to be coming back to this soon, but for now, ensure you’re drinking 2 litres of plain water each day). What you eat and drink, and the exercise you do all helps you to stop running around. Your body and brain will function better. Need help with this? Our friends at Stay Fit and Healthy have a free 30 day challenge to help you look at the little things you can do each day to improve this aspect of your life.

  5. Listen to yourself

    You know the answer only too well, but you may not be being honest with yourself. Your rushing around may be hiding the fact that you’ve got a hard decision to make, and you’re putting it off. Stop. Listen. And then take the action which feels right. Tracey-Jane has written about this. Listen and trust yourself, you’re right! It doesn’t matter what your mentor, business adviser or partner is saying, it’s what’s right for you that’s important. Act on that.

One of the most important things we do when we work with clients is encourage them to listen to themselves. Spending time with us gives you time out of your business to stop, think, listen and we help you to plan your next steps. We’re facilitators. We can do things for you with done for you packages. We can teach you how to do things in your business if that’s best for you. But you have to work out what’s best for you in the first place.

Stop rushing around, and spend a bit of time thinking and planning. If you’d like our help to facilitate this, book a session with us, and let’s listen to you whilst you work out how you’re going to stop rushing around in the future 🙂

Any other tips for getting things done you’d add to this list?

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Get your website working for you

One of the hardest things in business is to keep juggling all the plates just to stand still. Or that’s what it feels like!

We’ve been there, (and have these moments of juggling every few months!), when you’ve spent months getting your website just right. You’ve worked hard finding the right words, sourcing the right images. You’ve tested all the functions and that the pages link together. You’ve had friends and family test the site for you too, and you all jumped with excitement when the site went live. Yay! All that hard work at an end.

My website is live, now what?

So, what are you doing now? Your website’s live, right? So nothing more to do on that. Tick it off your list and move on to the next big item on your business agenda.

Right?

WRONG!

In some ways, now your website is live, this is when the work really starts. Now you need to keep the website updated. You may need to update links on the site, and certainly ensure, if it’s an online shop, that the stock is right, and listed at the right price.

You know your website looks fantastic, and has a wonderful widget that is amazing and is perfect for your ideal customer to find exactly what they want. If only they came onto your website and used it!

Now you know your web developer told you that they’d fully SEOd the site, so the customers should be coming easily shouldn’t they? You even paid extra for that part of the service, so you know it’s all fine. You just need to wait until google finds you. All will be well. Right?

WRONG!

Get your website working for you

Your website is an asset to your business. You’ve spent hours getting it just right, and maybe spent quite a bit on it too, so your accountant may well be telling you it better be a good investment and work as you’ve said in your business plan, “or else”. Well, that can be a pressure too can’t it? Making the financials work out?

You can affect who finds your website. You can affect how many potential customers know about you. In fact, it’s often this one thing which frustrates us more than anything else – the fact that business owners put so much time (and money) into a website, then just leave it.

When you recruit a new member to the team, do you just leave them to it? Or do you welcome them, nuture them and develop them?

When you buy a new piece of equipment or software, do you just buy it then forget about it? Or do you spend time learning about it, and how to make best use of all the functions to make your business more efficient?

So why not your website? Why do you leave it alone?

Well, many business owners we support leave it alone for these reasons:

  • I don’t have time
  • I don’t have the money to put any more into the website
  • I don’t know what to do
  • I’ve lost interest – all my effort went into creating
  • It’s not my job
  • I’m paying someone else to do that

We don’t think that’s right that you should leave this wonderful asset unattended. It really doesn’t take much to keep on top of things. Even if you ask someone else to do it for you, you need to know what they’re doing, so you can check that things are working OK, and you’re getting value for money.

This 40 minute tutorial shows you the basics of what you need to do, each month, to keep growing and developing your website, to make it work for you. You’ll get the basics of what you need to do to get your website working for you.

If you want to skip the tutorial and just grab the checklist, well, it may not make total sense, but it’s here for you anyway. Who are we to tell you what’s best for you?

Get your website working for you course

And if you’re really serious about making your website work for you, we’ve created a step by step course just for you. We’re teaching this live over 4 weeks, with some lovely experts, including online marketing expert Alison Rothwell. For more details and to sign up at a bargain price (you wouldn’t even have access to Alison for 20 minutes at this price, but she’s agreed to be part of our teaching team).

You’ll get lifetime access to the course materials, so you can come back again and again to re-watch the step by step tutorials.

get your website working for you

Don’t delay – the course starts 6th November, and will never be at the bargain price of £47 again, so join now and get your website working for your business in 2017 🙂

 

 

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Domain names, hosting, and servers – what do I need?

Domain names, hosting and servers what do i need?

confused about domains hosting and serversThis is a question we get asked a lot when meeting business owners, or business start ups. Even established businesses get confused about domain names hosting and servers when they are looking at revamping or upgrading their website. Here’s some guidance for you to get you more confident to make the decisions you need for your business.

Website terms

When you create a website, for the first time, or re-do a website, many business owners get confused by the terminology web developers use, or what they actually need to do. Being baffled by words doesn’t fill you with confidence when you’re working hard to get your website created, and ready to go live does it?

Domain names

You can own as many domain names as you like, and you buy these through a domain registrar. To check who owns a domain name, use Nominet, or to check who you can register a domain through, use this list here. All registrars will have different prices, so you may want to shop around to save a couple of pounds. We recommend 4UHosting.co.uk who we’ve used for the past 13 years and are UK based, with excellent support.

Website Hosting or Server Space

These terms are often used interchangeably, so don’t be alarmed if the person you’re talking to uses both terms.

Every website needs to have some server space where all the files of the website are stored. They are essentially separate coded files, which link together, (much like the links from this page to other internet pages), and are stored on a big computer. If you are sorting your own website out, you need to purchase some website hosting.

Now, website hosting comes in all shapes and sizes, and there’s no one recommendation for all sites. The questions you need to ask yourself, and your web developer if you have one, are:

  • How much space do you need (if you’re a new website, 5GB is probably enough to start with)?
  • What bandwidth do you need (this is for the traffic to your site). If you’re expecting large scale traffic from a TV advertising campaign, go large, otherwise, for new sites, 50GB monthly bandwidth is likely to be enough
  • What functions do you need on your server? Do you need a MySQL database (you do if you’re using WordPress)
  • How often does the server backup the site? What happens if there’s a malfunction – does the server set your backup site live?
  • Can the server space grow quickly and easily if my website traffic grows quickly and I need more bandwidth, or I need more space for a new function for the site?
  • What support does the company offer & is it in the right time zone for me, when I need it?

The other question you’ll need to think about is, “Do I want a shared server, a cloud server or a dedicated server?”

A shared server is usually the cheapest option, and is one where your website shares a server with many other website owners. This big computer will have lots of files and folders on it, and will have lots of traffic coming to all the different websites stored there. This can be a problem sometimes, if you’re sharing with a site which gets high traffic at certain times and leaves less bandwidth for your visitors. However, when you’re starting out, this is likely to be a good option for you. Cheapest is not always best though, as some hosting companies don’t manage their shared servers as well as others.

A cloud server is a good option for growing websites, or where you get heavy traffic, even if only for short bursts. This option will store your files on ‘clouds’, thus spreading your website across a few different spaces to spread the load, spread the risk, and have more flexibility if there are issues with a site or a server.

A dedicated server is one which only your website uses. You will secure the right space and bandwidth for you with the hosting company, and only you and your website technicians will have access to this space. This reduces all the risk of being infected by other websites on a server, and is suitable for those websites which need more space, and where your budget allows this level of support from the hosting company.

How are you creating your website

Again there’s many options, which is often why people find it confusing, especially when they are starting out.

You can start with free site on someone else’s server, like wix.com or wordpress.com, but you won’t always be able to have your own domain name linked to it e.g. mydomain.co.uk It may look something like mydomain.wix.com. If you need your own domain name, then check carefully before starting on one of these sites, as they’re all different.

Then you can use premium versions of templated sites, again, wix.com or ekm.com for a shopping site. These have templates you can use to set up your site and make it look like the image in your head. If you’re wanting total free reign on the design of the site, these options may not suit you, as web developers don’t have access to a lot of the styling of the site.

You can create your own WordPress website, on your own server space, or you can invite a web developer to set the site up for you. You can use free wordpress templates, which have elements of customisation, or you can choose some paid for themes (often one off charges), to create your totally bespoke site. There are also website developers who will create the site from scratch on wordpress for you (creating style sheets).

Obviously, the cost goes up, with each of these options. Website design is mainly about the time taken to style the site, and then add all the functions you require. A shopping site will take longer to style than an information site.

Finally, you can get a website development company to create a totally bespoke website for you. Depending on your end goal, and what you want the site to do for you, this can be an excellent option to ensure the site looks right to the customer, and the backend of the site is simple enough for you and your team to update.

Still confused? Need some help? Ready to get your website started, but not sure your next steps?

Contact us, and let’s talk you through your options. We have a few web developement teams we work with, plus our own in house web developer to help you fix those little bits which are causing you a headache! We also project manage website development projects from start to finish, or from whatever stage you need support.

We’re here to help you Manage Those Things, so get in touch & let’s get the website in your head, onto a server and live 🙂

 

website terms - domain, hosting, server and website

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