make the most of your networking groups
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Make the Most of your Local Business Networking Group.

make the most of your networking groupsOne of the most common pieces of wisdom more experienced business people will share is that business networking is the quickest and most effective way to successfully growing your business. It is commonly stated and widely accepted that “people will do business with other people they know long before they’ll do business with people they find through an advertisement”.  It’s the Know ~ Like ~ Trust concept.

Your local networking efforts probably should not be centered around trying to making direct sales. (Although, clearly, direct sales would logically occur as a result.)  Through local business networking you will build your professional connections. The networking activities will help to establish trust. New business through new opportunities is inevitable.  You will increase your own personal knowledge while learning about others.  And, do not forget about that golden nugget: word-of-mouth advertising.

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Inbound15 – My Takeaways

Each year, HubSpot sponsors 4 days of truly inspiring events to over 10,000 inspired marketers from every industry. The conference offers over 170 educational sessions along with five pretty incredible keynote speakers. To my good fortune, the conference is held right here in Boston. I packed up my computer and a notebook, hopped on the MBTA and spent the second week of September at the Boston Convention and Event Center in beautiful Seaport.

Before I post my notes, you actually might be wondering what, exactly IS inbound marketing?

HubSpot describes Inbound Marketing: Sharing is caring and inbound is about creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more. By publishing the right content in the right place at the right time, your marketing becomes relevant and helpful to your customers, not interruptive. Now that’s marketing people can love.

what is inbound marketing

HubSpot illustrates Inbound Marketing

I ended up with pages and pages of great takeaways – Seriously – I could talk about this for days – so if you have some time, and want to hear more, give me a call – We can set up a time to chat.  But since less is more…. I have carved my list down to

My 9 Best Takeaways from Inbound15

 

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Empowering Entrepreneurs
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Empowering Entrepreneurs – May 2015

Empowering Entrepreneurs

Here are this month’s picks of helpful articles for empowering entrepreneurs.

1: Plan Your Way to Success

plan-for-successYou’ve probably heard the cliché that failing to plan is planning to fail. You can always change your plan, but you have to start somewhere. Having a plan allows you to better manage the choices you have. Do you know that the average worker only spends 35% of an 8-hour workday on productive work? The rest of the time is spent on any number of self-sabotaging things that keep us from being productive, such as looking for something needed, handling interruptions, searching the Internet, and reading email. Learn more from Tamara Myles Consulting.

2: 9 Habits for Optimal Brain Power – Key lifestyle and nutrition habits to keep your head in the game

entrepreneur powerRunning a business requires mental energy and stamina. Long multi-tasking days and critical decision-making skills are integral to maintaining your success. In order to meet these demands, you need to protect and preserve the integrity of your brain. Read these 9 important tips on Inc.com.

3: Make the Most of your Local Business Networking Group.

networkingOne of the most common pieces of wisdom more experienced business people will share is that business networking is the quickest and most effective way to successfully growing your business. It is commonly stated and widely accepted that “people will do business with other people they know long before they’ll do business with people they find through an advertisement”.  It’s the Know ~ Like ~ Trust concept.   Read more.

4: Get Over Being Shy and Embrace Talking to People You Don’t Know

shyIf you are introverted at heart, that doesn’t mean you have to be shy. The two are quite different, and realizing that shyness is a habit that can be broken is a big first step in understanding that you can develop social skills. As much as everyone hates small talk, it’s a necessary part of social interaction. For shy people, it can also be really helpful for getting used to that interaction—like practice for the real thing. Read more on Lifehacker.

It is my intent that you will find these articles about empowering entrepreneurs useful. Visit my Scoop.it page to view over 100 articles on this very same topic. You may also enjoy the articles I am recommending this month on the topic of Increasing Online Presence through Content Marketing.  I look forward to sharing new pieces with you every month.

I would love to hear from you on any of these topics.  I hope you will contact me with your thoughts and comments.

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Know, Like, Trust

I recently sat in on a presentation by Dana D’Orsi, business & lifestyle coach, motivational speaker and the creator of The Savvy Success System™.  She gave us so much to think about in while speaking about “Yuck-Free Marketing”.

My main takeaway?  “You are in the business of marketing your business”.  She told us that right now, there are people who need us.  It is our duty to help them find us! Therefore, marketing is not what you do to sell your goods or services, it’s something you do FOR your potential clients.

This made me think harder about how much I believe that becoming the resource is THE KEY for increasing social media success. We will want to be constantly be on the lookout for great pieces to share that relate to our area of expertise.  We want to have a way to let people know that when they have a question about anything in our realm of interest, we would have some information to share with them that might help.

I recently read an article on one of MY favorite resources, Copyblogger.  The article,  30 Ways to Build the “Know, Like and Trust” Factor that Grows an Audience shares 10 ways to get known online, 10 ways to build likeability online, and 10 factors that build trust with your audience.

My favorite takeaways from this article:

Get Known:

  • Once you’ve identified who your audience will be (buyer persona), make sure to use content and engagement to position yourself as the authority in your niche
  • Build relationships with key influencers
  • Consider guest blogging

Build Likeability:

  • Be authentic and real with your unique voice
  • Become involved in two-way conversation
  • Share content and promote others.

Build Trust:

  • Be consistently relevant and good
  • Incorporate testimonials
  • Give away a free taste of some of our best stuff

When everything else is equal, people will do business with someone who they

These kinds of results do not come quickly, nor do they come easily for most. We need to make sure that we are consistently providing value, positioning ourselves as THE GO TO.

I would like to share that I have found it so much easier and more enjoyable to market my self since I changed my outlook.  I am certain that the services I provide ARE what small, local businesses are looking for.  I have decided that I will NOT treat all of my clients the same, but will partner with each one separately to provide unique and individual care tailored to their own needs.  Once I made that commitment to myself and to my clients, everything else has become so much more enjoyable and effective.

I challenge you to do the same.  Become the Resource.  There ARE people out there looking for YOU.

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Who We Were, Are and Becoming

Wikipedia tell us that Job Satisfaction has been defined in many different ways. Some believe it is simply how content an individual is with his or her job, in other words, whether or not they like the job or individual aspects or facets of jobs, such as nature of work or supervision.

job satisfaction

Here is a follow-up to a blog I posted last month, Our Many Incarnations, which had been written  in response to an article that reported that the majority of baby boomers have held 10 or more jobs by the time they reach the age 46. I asked folks to take a survey to let us all know about their jobs journey.  I asked about past and present jobs, favorites and least favorites, and job satisfaction.  Here was my response to the participants’ involvement in this survey.

Fascinated! I am incredibly fascinated by the many paths we take in our journeys.

Grateful! I am incredibly grateful that folks were so very generous in sharing their experiences, comments, thoughts and feelings.

Overwhelmed!  I was overwhelmed as to how to make sense of the information in any way as a coherent blog, so I decided to present it in this bulleted list form.

Here is a brief summary of what I learned about our jobs journeys. Read more

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Suggested Reads – March 2015 – Entrepreneurs

suggested reads for empowering entrepreneurs

Here are this month’s picks of helpful articles for empowering entrepreneurs.

1. 6 Reasons Why Authenticity is the Key to Success

authenticityAuthenticity means not acting like someone else, voicing your own truths. Don’t be pressured into decisions or judgments by outside influences. Trust your heart & gut instinct.
Read more on Addicted2Success. Read more

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Group Social Media Workshops

As you may already realize, I am passionate about helping my connections create their authentic online presence.  Teaching folks who are in my ‘tribe’, my ‘circles’, my ‘network’, learn about and use the tools available to them ultimately strengthens the reach for all of us.

I am offering “Small Group Social Media” sessions.  Each 2-hour session will be based on the questions pre-posed by participants on anything they would like to learn about their online presence. Alternatively, the session can be built around a particular topic, such as the samples described below.

Schedule a small group session that fits your schedule. These small group workshops are ideal for offices with a number of employees who can help your business increase online presence through their own personal brands. These group sessions are appropriate for 2-6 participants. The 1.5-hour workshop will include hands-on activities to get you and your team up and running right away. The presentation will be followed up with a detailed summary of our session and will include your top 3 priorities to focus upon to get your platforms going.  This program includes one follow up phone call 1-2 weeks after the workshop to answer questions and gauge progress.
Group Session Fee: $289

Group Social Media Sessions

Social Media Group Session Topic Suggestions:

Content curation and sharing is a key to increasing online presence. Once you have content to share, your other online platforms all fall into place – social media, online listings, email newsletters, etc. Keeping in touch with your engaged audience can convert them to your most avid evangelists. Regularly scheduled touchpoints, offering valuable information – real value – and an easy way to keep in touch with you, may be your most useful tool yet.

We will take this time to explore your own business, how it relates to your audience, and how you can use your own passions and interests to build your personal and professional brand.

As you may already realize, I am passionate about helping my connections create their authentic online presence. 

I am incredibly excited to be able to offer a significant fee reduction to those of you who are interested in having personalized social media coaching without the one-on-one consultation fees.

I am absolutely certain that the questions each person offers will open up lots of learning opportunities, not only about creating online presence but also about each others’ businesses.

Please, contact me for more info any time if you have any questions at all.

Warmly,
Susan

schedule a free 15 minute consultation

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Would You Mind Leaving Me a Review?

Not the easiest thing to ask – but it could just be one of the most useful tools you can implement when building online presence.  Think about it.  How often have you hired a service provider without obtaining at least one person’s opinion?  My guess is that you have not hired even one service provider without finding out a bit more about that person either through people you actually know, or through online reviews. It only makes sense that we want to know ahead of time if the person we intend to hire is easy to work with, knowledgeable in their field, reliable, shows up on time, completes the job at hand, provides value.online reviews build online presence

Asking clients for a review or a testimonial can be considered an integral part of your customer workflow.  You will find that your happiest clients will be only too happy to recommend you and your services, they might just need to be reminded to actually go ahead and write one.

It would be prudent to ask your client for the review shortly after finishing a project for them, or having completed a lengthy session. You will want the quality and the details of the care and expertise that you put into the experience to still resonate with the client. This will help them design the recommendation with pertinent details.

I, personally, would not recommend the use of a third-party tool to gather your reviews. How incredibly annoying it is to receive a ‘bot’ generated request for review from someone you have barely dealt with.  And it is even more annoying to keep getting reminders to send someone a recommendation.  Agh!  Turn that off!

So, what is the best way to request an online review of your product or service? Read more

personal branding
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Personal Branding for the Small Business Owner

Most of the people in my networking circles are solo-preneurs, small business owners. Realizing that a strong online presence will benefit their business, they often ask which social media and networking platforms would be the most benefit to their goals. Although they have just used those exact words, “Social Media Networking”, many remain hesitant, almost adverse, to actually putting themselves out there to be “Social” in order to “Network” on the “Media”. Often I hear these words: “I don’t want any of my personal stuff out there” or “I don’t think what I have to say matters online”. As a small business owner, your personal brand and business brand overlap on social media, whether you want them to or not.

personal branding

For a small business owner, the single most important part of building a personal brand is to be exactly who you are. Be authentic. Be genuine. (But Better!)
I say “But Better” because the online persona that you will build for your professional self gets to benefit from planning. It gives you time to edit your thoughts and offerings. Read more

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Reflections on 10 Years with the Women’s Business Network

In the 10 years that I have been with WBN I have been an artisan, a birthday party entertainer, a multi-level marketer, a quilter, a database manager, a graphic artist, a technical support staff-person, a computer files organizer, an electronic e-newsletter designer, a social media manager, an event planner, a website project manager, and a 6-foot tall monkey mascot.

Women can do that.  

Of course, men can do it, too.

But this piece focuses on women as a reflection of my 10 years of having the great honor to collaborate with an outstanding group of women.  These women work together in a variety of platforms to inspire, educate and motivate each other to be the very best they can be in their personal and professional lives. Read more

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Social Media “Tribes”

social media divasI spent this morning in the Kensington Real Estate conference room, (Thanks, Sheryle) Happy to be at the opposite end of the table from the donuts, cruellers and candy,  I sat back in appreciation, once again, of the unique learning, networking and sharing methods of a group of women who are life-long learners.  Jumping from subject to subject, we covered topics that ranged from cooking apps for our phones (BigOven.com )  to admiration for ‘paperless’ office techniques (Evernote, Cloud Computing, iPad, DotLoop) to planning Google+ Hangouts.

The Social Media Divas are an amazing group of women that decided, three years ago, to work together as a marketing team to help grow each other’s business using social media. Working as a team means knowing. liking and commenting, sharing.

Today’s questions and conversation.

How do I keep up on my blog?  

  • Use your recording feature on your cell phone to record text while you are driving home from work
  • Schedule a block of time each week and use it solely for this purpose (suggested 2 hours)
  • Ask for guest bloggers to send you some content on their specialty

Naked Brand

Getting the corporate structure to get the concept of social media.  Bolocco CEO tweets – if its too cold in one of the branches, he responds immediately.  Pepsi, UnderArnour, Zappos are other companies who have an active and responsive social media program. The culture in business  has changed.  The consumer wants to connect with the Brand.

Employees as an extension of the social media team

Engaging on Google+, LinkedIn, Vine – as each employee wants to be involved in social media – give them a new avenue.  The beauty of Google+ is its easier to use the circles so that you can control the group that sees each post.

“People will support that which they help to create” – Aileen McDonough, 3am Writers

Every time the “Divas” meet, we jump from subject to subject with incredible speed.  Each of us brings to the table a new question, a new tool, or a new observation to share with the others.

As a solo entrepreneur, it is extremely helpful to set up systems to make certain that we have an opportunity to share ideas, frustrations and new knowledge with like-minded people.  I feel incredibly fortunate to be included in this group of electric women.

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I Disagree and I Agree, Seth Godin

A recent post by marketing wizard, Seth Godin, is entitled EMPATHY TAKES EFFORT.  Seth says that when we imagine what it must be to be like someone else, that we expose ourselves to risk.  I think his message is that by putting ourselves in someone else’s point of view, we may be shaken up and out of our own comfortable way of seeing the world.  We might feel uneasy if we have to take into account factors we ordinarily choose to view differently, or ignore altogether.

I have addressed this issue in the past and have referred to it as looking at the world through a different window than the one in our own “house”.  This can be true in a physical sense – truly – I am often made aware of how just sitting in a different spot, looking out different window, can completely alter a view of the same object.   It may also be true in the personal, human sense.  I am always amazed at how one topic can be viewed so differently by so many people.  Political views, religious views, views about child-rearing – and my personal haunt – views about the value of housekeeping can vary by exactly how many people are involved in the topic at the time.   Our friends, our neighbors – jeez, even our own families – look through the windows of their own self and see one issue quite differently than the next person.

I think that without an effort to bring empathy to your self and thus, to your work, you are setting up walls which impede many opportunities to learn and grow and connect.  These walls, created by lack of empathy, seem to also create anger toward and distrust of others who do not look out of your window.  By understanding the window through which someone is viewing their situation, and by adjusting our own lenses to bring in a closer version of their view, we can better work toward completing a project at hand.

I agree, Seth Godin – It may “be easier to walk on by, to compartmentalize and to isolate ourselves. Easier, but not worth it.”

This is Great Stuff!