Business tips for business owners to make your life and business run more smoothly, so you can focus on the things you love.

Business tip articles, resources, tricks from other business owners to help you grow your business in the right way for you.

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Kick start 2018 with a free coaching session

Free coaching session giveaway

One of my business goals for 2018 is to support more people, businesses and organisations to achieve their goals through listening, business coaching and training. We’re offering one person the chance to have two hours free coaching session with Tracey-Jane Hughes this January in our kick start giveaway.

free coaching session giveaway

We know that many people don’t fully understand the benefits of coaching, and often see the expense of paying for a coach, unnecessary, especially in a cash strapped small business. So, we’re offering one person the chance of spending 2 hours (in one or two sessions, whichever is best for the winner), with experienced listener, coach and business owner, Tracey-Jane Hughes in January to get their year kick started in a free coaching session.

 

“You are one of the most skilled coaches and listeners with brilliant commercial knowledge I have met.

Brave business owners who are ready to do something different and mind set changing in 2018 get in touch with Tracey-Jane Hughes”

Coaching client & business owner

Benefits of having a coach

Some of the well known benefits of having a coach are:

  • Establish and take action towards achieving goals
  • Become more self-reliant
  • Gain more job and life satisfaction
  • Contribute more effectively to the team and the organization
  • Take greater responsibility and accountability for actions and commitments
  • Work more easily and productively with others (boss, direct reports, peers)
  • Communicate more effectively

Institute of Coaching

Personally, we’ve benefited from having someone to talk to who isn’t a close family member or friend about ideas, or frustrations, and working things out with someone outside the situation. This has been extended in more recent years with our knowledge of listening and how beneficial it is to have someone really listen to you well.

Tracey-Jane’s husband was offered a coach through work as part of a work re-organisation package, and whilst he was sceptical to start with, he found that by having a coach helped him stay focused, and achieve more during the time he was working with them. He’s also found that his understanding of himself increased which has stayed with him after this period of time.

Self awareness is one of the major areas a coach can help you with. They ask questions you often don’t want to ask yourself, and that’s exactly what they’re there to do. Help you ask yourself difficult questions so you can look at an issue from all angles. Once you’ve looked at the issue, you can then work out different ways of dealing with the problem, and your coach will help you ensure the actions you talk about taking are clear, specific and manageable in the time you have available.

If you suffer from having ‘mind monkeys’ sitting on your shoulder talking in your ear, a coach can offer a different way of listening and quietening them down, so that you work out for yourself what you want to do.

Coaching can help with many areas of life and business, and some people we know have different coaches who support different aspects of their life – health, sport, career, business development.

What a business coach isn’t

A business coach isn’t:

  • someone who will do the work for you
  • someone who will talk to that annoying person in your office on your behalf
  • someone who will tell you what to do
  • someone who will tell you off if you don’t do something you said you would

A business coach is

A business coach is:

  • a person you feel comfortable talking to about anything that’s on your mind
  • a person you respect and feel is able to help you get to where you want to be
  • easy to talk to. Who listens and asks questions which make you think for yourself
  • keeps you on track when you want to stray and talk about something else – because you set goals at the start of the coaching relationship which you want to achieve
  • a key supporter and cheerleader of everything you do, who doesn’t judge what you do, don’t do, or how you do it

If you’ve had a coach in the past and it didn’t work out for you, maybe they were the wrong person for you?

If you’re wanting to do things differently in 2018, but not sure how you’re going to keep on track, maybe a business coach will be the right person to work with you and help you achieve?

If you’re business is going really well, but you need a bit of personal coaching to get your life back in balance, or your health back on track, then a coach can help you with this goal.

To enter the giveaway to win the prize of 2 hours free coaching session with Tracey-Jane, follow the instructions below:

[giveaway id=1406]

 

Learn more about Action Learning Sets & how they can help you explore issues with an experienced listener, coach and facilitator, if personal coaching doesn’t feel right to you at the moment.

 

 

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Are you kind to yourself?

when we feel love and kindnessToday is World Kindness Day. A day for being extra kind to others. We’re encouraged to carry out random acts of kindness as a reminder that this kindness will make our world a happier place to live. It’s a day for paying it forward and showing kindness to others in all we do.

We love helping others. Individuals in our organisation offer support to others through volunteering, supporting and encouraging in different ways, both to other individuals and organisations. Sometimes we’ll just offer some time to someone who’s struggling with something to give them a bit of encouragement and support. Other times, kindness is more planned, through volunteering opportunities.

However, we often see business owners doing things for others, but not being kind to themselves.

Are you kind to yourself?

By being kind to yourself, we mean, looking after yourself. Ensuring your needs are met before you help others. This is often hard for parents who are business owners, as they juggle to look after children, as well as the business needs. Often the parent / business owner’s needs seem to come last and this can lead to exhaustion, or not enjoying life.

  • When you set your goals for the week, as a business owner, do you ensure your personal and family needs are on that list too?
  • Have you assigned time in your diary for your walks or the activities you want to do for your mental and physical health and fitness?
  • Have you specified at least one day off (or two half days) in the week?
  • What are you doing for fun this week that will make you laugh?
  • When are you catching up with friends?
  • Have you got a date night fixed in the week?

However you assign your tasks for the week, ensure that your whole life is considered. If you’re not kind to yourself, how can you be kind to others? You may have heard the expression, “fill yourself up first”? Well, we believe that you really must be kind to yourself so you are healthy, enjoying life, and then you can give to others.

We’ve learnt from some of our life challenges that however much you want to help others, it’s kinder to them to help yourself first.

Do you make a point of being kind to others? What do you do? Let us know below.

If you need some time to help you reflect on how to prioritise things in your business and life, then let’s talk. We understand where you’re at, and we’re here to help you manage those things in your life and business.

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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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Do you use Google Webmaster

When you create a website, you want it to be found, don’t you, so google webmaster tools are there to help you become more visible. The free tools which Google have made available to everyone, within what they call, Google Webmaster Tools, are perfect for beginners and experienced techies alike.

Use the checklists Google has created for you, watch the tutorials, and action everything on your list. It’s advised that you check your google Search console at least monthly, (maybe weekly if you have a busy site), to fix any issues it finds. Google is your friend, and it wants you to be found online. Use the free tools available to you, and don’t be fooled into paying out for services you can do for yourself, for free.

 

google webmaster tools search console checklist

From search console

There’s a wealth of information and support for everyone available within Google Webmaster Tools, with tutorials showing you how to do things. Most of us are able to work through these to get our websites found by the google search engine. However, if you need help, or support, find someone you know and respect to help you.

How do you find using google webmaster tools? Confusing, or straight forward?

We’re here to help if you need support, getting visible online.

 

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Getting organised Tips

When we’re trying to juggle lots of things, the most important thing to ensure we get things done, is to get organised.

Many of us use online organisers and notebook systems, like Evernote, or google calendar, (yes, we’re an android/google house here) to manage reminders of tasks, meetings, and capture information for using in the future.

I’m personally a fan of writing things down. It helps me remember things I need to do, and process those things into pockets of time, or slots in my head and then my diary. My friend recently bought me a “List Book” with sticky notes, and list pages which has been perfect for the way I work.

We’ll look at CRM systems, (Customer relationship management), in the future. Today is just about the basics.

 

Getting organised tips

Whilst this isn’t an exhaustive list, it should help you work out a system for you, and your team, to get organised and get the tasks completed on time:

  • Have a diary which is accessible to your team and/or family and ALL use it. If you use a hard copy and an online calendar, make sure they are the same at least once a week.
  • Have one, yes one, To Do list. The master copy if you like. Ideally break this down into smaller tasks, and have headings for each part of the business or family life it affects e.g. Finances, Website, Customer service, Shopping.
  • From the To Do list, prioritise one thing each week from each heading.
  • Create a weekly activity planner and add your priorities into this planner. Ensure the planner has all your meetings, time out, children’s activities and dentist appointments in it, so you have slots of time to schedule your tasks into.
  • If you manage a team of people, assign tasks from the priority lists with the day and time they need completing. Set reminders on your phone/calendar to follow up the work has been completed.
  • If you use an online task planner, at the end of each day, update it.
  • Using a paper planner, cross things off as you do them.
  • If a task hasn’t been completed, ensure you write it on another day’s planner to complete, or assign to a team member with the deadline for completion
  • Don’t beat yourself up if the tasks don’t get done because of an unexpected emergency. Simply reschedule & update customers, if it may affect them. Customers are humans too, and whilst we do our best to complete work on time, life does sometimes get in the way. They usually understand if they’re made aware at the earliest point in time

What are your getting organised tips to make this work around the house and in your business?