Misspellings and Your Bottom Line

Misspellings and Grammar Mistakes cost online sales

It’s a pet peeve of mine: misspelled words in professional publications, business sites, group pages, emails, and/or blogs.  It frustrates me that the person writing the article or post could not be bothered to take the time to proofread, ensuring what they deemed important enough to write was spelled correctly.

While this topic is something on which my boss and I disagree and playfully argue, I both blame my mother and thank her for emphasizing the importance of proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, as research proves I am not alone in my lack of tolerance.

In fact, and most importantly, studies show that even one spelling error can reduce a company’s online sales in half.

With the average reader spending fifteen seconds or less on your website before deciding if he will continue reading or move on, it’s imperative that whatever the consumer decides to view in that fifteen seconds is correct. Errors in punctuation, grammar, and/or spelling repel potential consumers, who often link such mistakes with a lack of credibility and security.

I am reminded of a substitute teacher my class had in the fifth grade. On her first day, she wrote “Congradulations” on the blackboard. I did not trust her to teach me anything after she misspelled that one word. Misspellings equal distrust.

Whether you personally feel strongly about taking the time to ensure your company Facebook posts, advertisements, emails and announcements have no errors, you should feel strongly about the bottom line. It’s worth the additional time and money to have someone proofread all public communication.

Remember that even one error can cost you up to 50% in online sales!

5 Tips for Organizing Your Business

5 Tips for Organizing Your Online Business

5 Tips for Organizing Your Online Business

The following tips will help in creating goals and implementing strategies to see them realized along with maintaining the motivation to keep yourself on track while running your online business.

1. Use online resources to create a schedule.
It only seems appropriate that your online business should use online resources.  This is effective as you can keep focused on what you need to do with a click into a browser instead of switching your focus to paper, another program or another device.  This is also great for anybody that happens to use more than one computer or device for their work as you can quickly access your schedule, as long as you’ve got an internet connection, which is necessary for your business anyway.

Google Calendar is a great option for this.  You can sync Google Calendar with an iPhone or Android device and set it up to notify you in different ways of upcoming entries in your schedule.  Create a strict or casual schedule – whatever you feel is best for you – and if you tend to like the paper approach you can print off your schedule as well.  As with most Google products, it’s quite customizable to your preferences.

2.. Use online resources to create a ‘To Do’ List.
All the little jobs that you want to do or need to get done should be written down on a list.  This list will be comprised of thoughts and ideas that pop into your head, tasks to do to move toward your goals and regular tasks that you need to do in the operation of your business.  Using an online program for this has the same benefits as using an online calendar

Trello is a flexible and user-friendly option for organizing your ideas and projects in one area.  You can create many boards and different organizations, which is very helpful when you want to start a new project in your business.  A board consists of a 3 column listing of “To Do” “Doing” and “Done” (which you can change the names of) and you can add in comments, checklists, due dates, files and customize to your liking in several different ways.  You can also share a Board or Organization with other people, so you can collaborate with others on a project and see what’s been done, who has done it and what needs to be done.  It’s also beneficial to share your task list with some that can simply check up on your progress to add that bit of accountability motivation.

3. Make it official and make a business plan
Many home businesses never get the benefit of a well thought out approach to operations and expectations.  Although business plans are especially popular for those who are in search or financing, every person that would like to make money with their business should have spent the time creating some type of business plan.  You don’t need to focus on the financial details as much as a traditional plan would, but you want to create a plan of how your business will operate and what the products and/or services are.  A business plan makes you think about various parts of running a business and clarifies its viability in the marketplace.  It may also force you to think of a more viable business venture if your original idea does look as good written down as it did in your head.  The Internet is full of great resources to assist you in creating an effective business plan.

4. Make a Today List
Similar to a To Do List, a Today List is an informal yet intentional way of thinking about what you want to accomplish in your day.  Get yourself a pad of sticky notes of whatever size you would like to be able write down daily tasks.  You may want to consult a ‘master’ To Do list or some type of schedule that you have created to be aware of what your overall tasks are.  Write down short, to the point notes of what you plan to accomplish in your day then stick this somewhere where you can easily glance at it throughout the day.  You can add to this list as the day goes on as you might think of a phone call you need to make or new task that comes up.  The most important part of this exercise is the conscience thinking about your day and writing down your intentions as you begin working.  This little list should get chucked at the end of the day and don’t make any judgments on yourself about whether you did what you had planned to at the beginning of the day or not.  Start a new list at the beginning of a new working day.  If there are tasks that you want to remember to do that didn’t get done from your ‘Today List’ then just transfer them to your schedule or business ‘To Do’ List.

5.. Do the small, but essential tasks first
Attending to email, making phone calls or updating your social media accounts may be possible essentials that need daily attention.  They are also things that can be distracting if you are returning to them throughout your working time so that is why it is effective to do these jobs to begin with and possibly to finish off with as well.  You will likely have other responsibilities that fit into this category, depending on the type of business you run – think of all those little things you do that take focus away from other jobs.

BONUS TIP: Don’t get caught up on getting everything perfect.
Many precious hours can be wasted on spending too much time perfecting something.  Although you want to portray a certain level of professionalism, don’t be overly concerned with getting the perfect look, the perfect words or the perfect plan.  You can always add something on your ‘To Do’ list if you’re not really satisfied with how it initially worked out.  This allows you to at least complete the task at hand and move on to other productive tasks.

Stay Relevant

Staying Relevant
  1. One of the most important attributes for success in any path is the ability to stay relevant.
  1. Relevance isn’t popularity. It isn’t dedication. And it isn’t knowledge.
  1. Relevance is simply the concept of connection between topics, ideas, things or people. To be relevant, one must be connected or in association with the topic at hand.

Story:

A week ago, I attended a conference. Like most networking events, you meet people from various fields, geographic regions and social/economic castes. I asked a group of people why they decided to attend this particular conference. One person responded, “Well, I want to stay relevant.” I quickly asked, how does attending this conference make you relevant? The person replied, “I can tell people I was here and they will think I have grasped new concepts presented at this conference.” I then asked him if he did grasp new concepts. He replied, “I have no clue what anyone was talking about, though it seemed interesting.  But, my clients and bosses don’t know that.” I smiled inside and walked away. This is an example of perceived relevance, as his bosses will believe he is connected to the information simply because of his attendance at the conference. However without being able to demonstrate his connection (remember he stated he did not grasp the information presented), his relevance will be short-lived.

Reflection:

In order to command an audience, but more importantly, elicit respect from an audience, one must possess something the audience finds valuable. Whether you are a parent or CEO, scientist or author, your relevance is defined by your audience. And whether it is a child looking to you for answers or an auditorium full of people who have traveled from all over the world to hear you speak, relevance allows you to have a direct impact on every person in your audience. Relevance isn’t regurgitating facts and proof of attendance to superficially impress peers. Or to pretend to grasp new concepts. Relevance is reality. You can’t fake it. You don’t get to decide if you are relevant or not, the world does.

Becoming Relevant:

Pick something, anything you want to be an expert at. Then along your journey of becoming an expert, learn how to communicate, either on a personal level or on a stage size of your choice. After you have developed your craft and refined how you communicate with people, put yourself out there. It’s that simple. It’s that simple because the majority of the people, like the person I met at my conference, fake being relevant. They fake their expertise. They fake their connection to the information. And as long as you can find something you unequivocally can call your expertise and as long as you can communicate that expertise, you can obtain relevance.

Relevance is relative. And whether you have 1 person or 100 or 1,000,000 who listen to you for guidance on a certain topic, the power to persuade, the power to connect, makes you relevant. Attendance does not make you relevant. Speaking in front of people does not make you relevant. But rather the power to continually convince people that you are directly connected to the information or matter at hand, implying that you may influence that information or matter due to your connection, is what makes you relevant.

Staying Relevant:

Remember when you picked something to be an expert at? Remember when you were going to pick up communication skills to better express to others your expertise? Well staying relevant is both of these things, but the ability to do them over and over and over again, never being satisfied until one day the world decides you are deemed forever relevant to a certain expertise or field. When your name becomes synonymous with a concept, topic, or thing that is how you ‘Stay Relevant’ and that is how you succeed at becoming one of the best in your field.

Got Relevance?

 

Get Down to Business with Your Startup

Get down to business with your startup

When you’re first starting out in creating your own business, it’s both exciting and at times, overwhelming. You know why you started and what you want to do, however the many steps it takes to get to where you want to be can seem daunting. The following steps can help you get down to business with your startup while keeping focused on the important tasks at hand.

 

The experts or gurus will tell you that you need to find your niche and most importantly, a niche market that will pay for your product or service. And while they are correct – it’s not always straightforward.

 

When you start out, plant your business seeds far and wide. Be prepared for failures and non-starters, and rather be disappointed, use these as a guide to narrowing down your niche and create a base for building your business. This base will be your target market.

 

Finding customers at the beginning can be a challenge. Using your personal network (friends, family, colleagues, etc.) is a great way to start spreading the word, especially if you have a consumer-focused product. Word-of-mouth won’t get you far when you’re just starting out, but it will get you started, so don’t be shy when it comes to spreading the word or asking for personal favors with your new business.

 

Balance is key when offering free options. Allowing people to sample your product with no financial risk to encourage them to sign up for the paid service is a great way to build your customer base. When offering free services, keep two things in mind: 1. Your free offering has to be of value to the customer 2. You must hold enough back to make people want to upgrade.

 

Knowing and understanding your customer is vital to creating a product or service that basically sells itself. Whether responding directly to every comment on social media or customer support, or following review sites, use each of these situations as a chance to survey your customers on their wants and needs. The better you know your customers, the easier it is to tailor your products and services.

 

Happy customers (which you’ve created with your stellar customer service and tailored products) are the best salespeople. They know the value of your product and feel taken care of. Incentivize customers to share (sell for you) by giving them a reason to get other people to sign up or purchase your product.

 

Once you start receiving traffic to your website, you’ll need to focus on converting visitors into customers. From website design to product pricing, many factors are involved in determining your conversion rates. To determine what works best, you’ll need to test, test, and test again. You’ll find that the most successful entrepreneurs never stop testing and never assume. They’re always running split tests or A/B tests to determine the best conversion rates.

 

Starting your own business isn’t an easy task, which is why 9 out of 10 startups fail. As GI Joe said, “Knowing is half battle” while the other half is having a product that meets the needs of your customers and working diligently, intelligently, and consistently.

Rarely do successes happen overnight. If you really want to succeed in your startup business, take the tips offered above, hunker down, and get to work.

Stuck in the Learning Rut

Studying-Learning

Today I am compelled to write about the Learners verses the Doers. Over the weekend, I questioned myself, was I trying to learn too much and telling myself that I still had to understand more before I actually attempted anything, or was I truly properly preparing myself for what I needed to do? I was getting the feeling that maybe I was letting the fear of failing convince me that I did not understand enough and then my first sign came.

  1. Sign number one was a video that appeared on my newsfeed of Seth Godin’s “Quieting the Lizard Brain” where he talks about the fear of failure and never actually delivering the product because one is stuck trying to reach perfection.
  2. The following morning, I watched a webinar where the number one killer of business was “not taking action” or sitting around not doing anything and focusing on learning rather taking action and doing.
  3. My final sign came this afternoon when Donna Merrill used Periscope to discuss “Procrastination: Fear of Failure”.

 

“I pay attention to the synchronicities in life” –Gabriel Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie App

Yes, Universe, I hear you! Yes, I pay attention to the synchronicities, and yes, it’s time to take action!

 

You know what I’m talking about when I say perpetual learners, right?

  • The people that hold 5 or 6 college degrees, but no other job than being a TA.
  • The people that are always signing up for webinars and purchasing “How-to” products, but never actually implement the action of doing what they’ve learned.
  • The people that have read every book on said topic, but have no actual experience in implementing what they’ve read.

 

So what is the difference between information hoarders and action takers? One word: FEAR.

 

“Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will” – Suzy Kassem

 

So what do you do to overcome the fear of failure and start taking actions toward progress?

 

The first step is understanding what exactly it is you’re afraid of. The word “failure” isn’t enough. You’ll need to further define what that failure is to you. More than likely you’re afraid of under-delivering, not beating your competition, and/or appearing to lack knowledge in the area of your expertise. So what do you do other than to continue studying and learning? You take action, that’s what!

  • Quickly devise a plan for removing each of your fears. For example: if under-delivering is a fear, determine how you can ensure customers are happy with their purchase. Maybe that is adding an additional product that compliments your original product at no additional cost to the customer. Consider PLR products, or short 1-3 minute videos from other experts in your field with knowledge that would support users of your products, and offer great customer service to answer questions your customers may have after purchase.
  • Shift Your Perspective – Your idea of perfection is generally different from others ideas of perfection. If your product (or service) can aid others or act as a solution for a problem others have, does it need to fit your idea of perfection? Most people would answer ‘no’ to this question. Most people would simply be happy that there was a solution or service offered that does, in fact, help others.
  • Continue to Perfect AFTER Delivery – Experts never cease learning, that’s how they remain at the top of their fields. As you continue to learn, you can continue to offer better solutions and services. These solutions and services should be upsells and/or giveaways to loyal customers. Perfection is an illusion while evolution is not. As you continue to learn and grow and put that knowledge into action, developing more products and services for your clients, your business evolves and remains relevant to the times.

 

 

Don’t stay stuck in the learning rut, but rather continue to learn, act and repeat. You’ll not only feel more accomplished, but your customers will be grateful.

 

 

 

 

Girl Power vs. Guy Code

male female sign

Why Females Always Usually Lose

Today I’m voicing my opinion on why women are each other’s biggest obstacles and why if we could live by the rules of Guy Code and support each other, we would, as a sex, be far better.

The advantage is ours. We outrank males on so many levels. Women are the smarter gender: we invest better, we tolerate pain better, we live longer and healthier lives, we are cleaner, and a recent study has even revealed that we are evolving more beautifully while men are staying the same.

To me this news as nearly as exciting as pulling a pair of jeans out of the dryer and finding a five dollar bill in the pocket – talk about a score! YES to found money and YES to being female! Unfortunately though, with all the things we excel in, there are a still few things men not only beat us in, but women will never be able to overcome.

 

The most obvious advantage men have is strength, however this really isn’t a problem as women, being the smarter sex can easily convince a man to move any heavy object when needed. Let’s face it, even a smart man who knows he is being manipulated will allow this to happen if he enjoys any aspect of the female. From looks to conversation, if a guy is intrigued, he most likely will willingly help the physically weaker sex out and if not because he is interested in the female, because his ego will kick in and he will assist with the heavy lifting simply because he is able and likes to prove it. If not interest or ego, the guy will assist because he is a gentleman and holds his own set of standards. EASY!

 

The real advantage men have, however is GUY CODE.

Guy Code/Man Law/Bro Code/Man Etiquette is a universal, innate understanding, shared amongst men all over the world. By the laws of Guy Code, men do not provide any information that could ever incriminate their male friends when questioned, they never betray their male friends, a wrestling match or rock-paper-scissors can truly be used to settle an argument without that argument resurfacing hours or days later, and most importantly, a guy will never go behind another guy’s back to his mother, girlfriend or wife, to talk about a problem he has with the other.

Ladies, here’s the kicker – guys never have to be told that these are the rules as they are born knowing them! If we are truly the smarter gender and we aren’t born with Girl Code and yet still have understood that we’d need to create our own code, how in the world did we come up with Girl Power, rather Chick Code? How have we not taught ourselves not to hate other women because of their size and shape, or to control our natural, jealous, envy-filled, other-women hating instincts? Holy Cow – we are our own worst enemies!

 

Here’s where we fail ladies: We, all of us, are at times jealous of other women and we let that jealousy get the best of us.

Of course there are some of you who will immediately deny the statement above and I can tell you, honestly, that you are only fooling yourself. Even if you rarely get jealous, or behave in that irrational way that is known as “typical female”, and even if you have many female friends and a strong base of male friends who tell you that you’re the most sane female they’ve ever met, you are still guilty of not having Chick Code and you have still been threatened by another woman at some point and done one of the following:

  • Called a woman who is clearly not overweight “fat” and “ugly” because she has somehow upset the balance of your fragile emotional self
  • Gossiped with your friends about how another female received a promotion, was hired for a job, graduated early, affords things you cannot, is married while you are not, is more successful than you, is dating a guy you wish you were dating, is pregnant or has a family when you do not, or in general possess something you wish you had.
  • Displayed passive aggressive behavior – posted confrontational or rude statements intended for another female to view on Facebook, Twitter, or other forms of social media, forgotten a females coffee order when you offered to pick up coffee for the group, or any otherwise expressive, aggressive behavior in a non-assertive, subtle way.
  • Intentionally undermined another woman’s self-confidence

 

Now before you female readers get mad and start calling me names and saying I’m the reason women are held back in this world, take a minute to remove your emotions, think about this logically, and keep reading.

 

It is our hotbed of insecurity issues that makes our estrogen-laced gender the weaker sex and why we, as intelligent females need to throw away the days of Girl Power and adopt a more stable set of gender laws: Chick Code. If we cannot learn to control our jealous and envious tendencies, and truly support other females in their achievements and found happiness, we will forever be the lesser gender. It’s time, as females, we stand beside each other, not allowing pettiness to come between us. It’s time we acknowledge our own insecurities and stop our passive aggressive, social networking, name calling posts.

It’s time we stop incriminating our own sex, stop calling a foul when someone legitimately out plays us, and learn from their moves, rather trying to belittle them.

 

If we aren’t going to challenge our female friends to an arm-wrestling match to settle our differences, then we need to accept defeat when a female ‘levels up’. If we cannot that easily move forward, we need to invent our own pissing-match tiebreaking method. I personally suggest a kicking contest because I’m good at it, but I’m game for whatever you ladies prefer. I’m a winner and I keep proving that each time life knocks me down and I not only get back up, but also rise above my previous status. I’ll accept any challenge presented, but I’d like to rise to the top alongside other great females. It’s possible ladies – look at the US Women’s National Soccer and Volleyball Teams and The Radio City Rockettes. If these groups of women can complete their seasons as a team and be successful, so can we as a gender.

 

Girl Power has proven to be ineffective. I’m offering up a new strategy called Chick Code, who’s in?

What Companies Can Learn From The Rockettes

Rockettes Team Work

When most people think of the Radio City Rockettes, they think of glamour, sequins, leggy ladies, and Christmastime and to be fair, that’s what you’re supposed to think while feeling nostalgic. The Rockettes are an American icon bringing world famous eye-high kicks, but that’s not all they do.

The Radio City Rockettes have mastered the art of working as a team, something every business should learn, but doesn’t readily know how to do.

Having first-hand experience, I’m going to share with you the inner-workings and secrets for building such a strong team that ranks highest in its industry in the world.

 

  1. The Rockettes aren’t just talented ladies, they’re intelligent women.

The casting directors are masters of hiring women that aren’t only talented dancers, but are also fast learners who are able to take direction and apply it immediately. The stage is a grid where each Rockette has multiple marks to remember. Depth, spacing, and numbers on the stage grid accompany every turn of the head, angle of focus, step, and arm movement. The amount of detail that goes into each movement is immense and the Rockettes must take them all in and immediately apply. Oftentimes the strength and intelligence of the Rockettes can be overshadowed by the glamour, but that’s a misconception. Many of the Rockettes hold graduate degrees and work jobs outside of the dance industry after the holiday season.

  1. The Rockettes respect each other.

Unlike other companies I’ve worked for, the Rockettes are welcomed into their first day with both the admiration and responsibility of the Rockettes Legacy. Every Rockette, from former casts or present, has been indoctrinated into this group of strong, classy, and intelligent women and is aware of their responsibility to uphold the standards and traditions of this amazing company both publicly and internally. The sense of pride and incredible amount of respect each Rockette holds is palpable.

  1. The Rockettes take direction.

The chain of command is not only thoroughly laid out, but also made clear from the first day of rehearsals. This not only makes it easy to know who to take direction from and when, but also ensures the company as a whole runs smoothly at all times, both onstage and off. There’s an enormous amount of responsibility that comes with every position within the organization. Each Rockette knows not only her own responsibilities, but also those of the roles surrounding her. From the publicist, to company and stage managers, and the directors, the Rockettes know whom is leading, when and where they are leading, and how to take their direction to keep not only the show, but the company running perfectly.

  1. The Rockettes work as a team.

In order to maintain the precision and perfection the Rockettes are famous for, the women work as a team. If one person is off, the entire line is affected. The Rockettes know the importance of working together as a team and support each other both onstage and off. There is no room for hierarchy or egos.

  1. The Rockettes are always evolving.

From the 1930’s, to the years I was a Radio City Rockette, to the ladies that are currently cast into this sisterhood, the Rockettes are always evolving and keeping mainstream while upholding the standards that existed from the very first cast. Whether performing “The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” which was choreographed in 1933 and performed annually, or dancing to “Fireball” alongside Pitbull, the Rockettes keep relevant while upholding the traditions and class of the first Rockettes.

 

Being a Rockette is more than simply putting on a smile and good show, it takes class, talent, intelligence, superior work ethic, amazing physical form, respect, and the ability to adapt to change immediately. More companies should take a page from these leggy-ladies book and learn to not only work as a team, but to build an environment of mutual respect amongst all employees, leaders, and owners.

 

Here’s to a great season ladies. I’ll see you on Opening Night!

Beat Distractions – Avoiding the Social Media Time Trap

Procrastination

How to Stay Focused when You Work on the Internet

Distractions are part of life, especially when you decide to do something important (you know, like earning income). The things in the surroundings grab more of your attention than the task at hand. This happens frequently when you have to work on the internet. Even in the office where there are fewer distractions around, the internet itself becomes the greatest medium of interruption and you find yourself browsing the web, checking out Facebook, watching videos on YouTube or simply checking your email.

You convince yourself that you’ll focus on the work at hand once you’ve watched one last Jimmy Fallon skit, or scrolled down your newsfeed just a little further and checked in to see what your ex is up to (otherwise known as stalking), and before you realize it, another hour has passed.

Once you learn how to stay focused on the task you’re doing, you will realize that you can complete your work very quickly and end each day with a sense of accomplishment.

It has been found that in the office employees get distracted after working on the internet for about 15 minutes. That means, on average, only 15 minutes of work is completed before countless hours of wasted time perusing social media sites. If you’re working for someone else and they haven’t fired you from your lack of productivity and you’re complacent with where you are in your career, keep on keepin’ on. However, if you’re your own boss and your income depends on your output, remember that procrastination is the biggest form of self-sabotage that exists. Are you in it to win it, or simply along for the ride? The choice is yours.

Here are some tips to help you stay focused when you have you work on the internet either from home or at office:

  • If you don’t require the internet, turn it off while you are working to concentrate more on the task at hand.
  • Plan ahead what you want to achieve during the entire day at office or at home. This way you will be aware of all the tasks before even starting the work.
  • Complete hour-to-hour gut checks. Set a reminder for every hour and ask yourself if you’re doing the most productive thing possible at this point. If not, you have a decision to make to either redirect your focus towards productivity or continue on, knowing that you’re sabotaging your own success.
  • Close all irrelevant windows on your computer to pay attention to what is important.
  • Working for hours at a stretch is not possible for anyone no matter how workaholic a person is, so take a break every now and again, eat something to boost your energy level and then get back to work to stay more focused.
  • Use helpful tools to keep time-draining, productivity-stealing, actions at bay:
    • StayFocused is a Google Chrome extension that helps you stay focused on work by restricting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites. Best of all, if you change the settings to increase or decrease time allowed for waste, it gives snarky little comments. When I reduced my time for Facebook, I received a celebratory slow clap. It’s like they know me!
    • Kill News Feed is another Chrome extension that prevents you from being distracted on Facebook. You’ll still get your messages and notifications, however news feed posts won’t distract you.
    • 1Password and LastPass are password managers that integrate with your web browser to automatically log you into websites. They can also enter credit card information and complete registration forms. These apps are huge time savers and keep you from stressing over remembering passwords for less frequently, but still vital websites.
    • Google Drive – When you’re working with others, Google Drive is a great place to not only store images and documents, but to work on them together in real time.
    • Asana – The ultimate task management tool that allows teams to share, organize, plan, assign tasks, and track progress.

There are many other timesaving, productivity-increasing applications like Evernote and Dropbox that are essential to organization outside of the paper and pen world.

What are your favorite productivity apps and how do you prevent yourself from procrastinating when working on the internet?