I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

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What are people searching for?

Look at your web stats and some of the keyword tools available and find out what terms people are really using to find your website.

Are they the words you expected? More importantly, are they the words you are using in the content of your site?

For example, you have an article on your site about Crimson Rosellas but discover most customers search for information on red parrots (because they don’t know the name of the bird). It isn’t hard to add red and parrots to your list of keywords in the site meta data and adjust the article itself to include ‘red parrots’ at least once. 

Having relevant keywords is good; having relevant keywords that your potential customers actually use is much better.

Have you played with keywords and seen positive results in website traffic? Share your story 🙂

Making your business independant

Following on from my posts about identifying and protecting the essential elements of your business, another way to prepare for the unexpected is to reduce how much your business relies on you.

Here are some ways to reduce that reliance:

  • train someone else to do some of the tasks, even if they don’t do it every time some knowledge will help if the key person can’t do it
  • have some written procedures so someone else can ge the job done – it may be slower but it would be done. This also helps if you want to sell the business or hire a new person for the task.
  • have critical knowledge stored somewhere other than in your head – have a document with passwords & contact details where it can be accessed by limited people. For some of my clients, I prepare a document register so they can track versions – I usually add comments about who designed thdocument so the client can quickly arrange a change if I wasn’t available. It also saves me remembering the information myself so it’s a good plan anyway
  • identify back up people for critical tasks/roles
  • ensure any staff understand the entire business and functions of other staff, and preferably be able to do a couple of other people’s tasks if necessary
  • have a shared calendar for your team – if someone is then sick for example, any appointments and deadlines can be managed
  • be flexible as much as possible – a team member who can’t come to the office for a few weeks may still be able to do some tasks at home or online, or work part time or unusual hours
  • build relationships with professionals who can replace key skills – for example, I have relationships with other writters so in an emeregency my clients’ work could still be written even if I was unable to write myself

As part of your contingency preparations, there are a few related tings yo can do:

  • test how reliant your business is on specific people – find out how long the businesscan manage without someone, how skilled others are at filling in for the key person, how many people can be missing from your team before it is critical, and so on
  • plan some altered work practicesfor certain levels of staffing – for example, if a key person is sick for one or two days, everything continues but if they’re away for a week reduce client hours or produced items by 10% and if they’re away for a month, reduce by 50%. This would be particularly relevant during a prolonged event such as a pandemic or natural disaster if you have a team
  • establish policies about how much leave staff are entitled to and how they are paid for such leave, including any leave without pay or make up hour arrangements
  • have as much information and work available on a computer as possible so that remote access is an option and back ups are also easier

Make me feel important…

“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important’. Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”
Mary Kay Ash

I just found this quote in the Small Business Diva blog and I  really like it.

From a business point of view, treating people as if they are important is a great way to build relationships and provide excellent customer service – and a good way to get word of mouth referals, too.

But more than that, it is a sensible way of treating every human being you come across – we are all unique and have our own talents and gifts that deserve recognition and respect. You never know who you are talking to – they could be the one who turns your life around or the one who desperately needs to feel valued.

So how do you make others feel important?

Click to join the clique

Although spelt very differently, click and clique are pronounced the same.

click: a sharp sound.
We could hear her coming by the click of her shoes on the wooden floor

clique: a tight group of people.
A clique is often hard to join as they are fairly exclusive.

Remember you only need a queue to join a clique, not to click your fingers!

Choosing your environment

One of the factors influencing your happiness and success is the environment you find yourself in – and you do have control over it.

I recently read a blog post by Donna-Marie which reminded me of the impact people have on your life. I honestly believe that if you surround yourself with positive people, you will have a more positive attitude and are likely to find solutions and opportunities. Which of course means that if you spend lots of time with negative, no-hope people, it is much harder to reach your potential and feel happy.

This can impact many of your choices, such as:

  • make sure you employ staff who are positive and creative rather than complainers
  • only attend seminars and networking events where you feel a positive environment – if group members are not supportive or encouraging, you probably won’t benefit much from spending time with them
  • if choosing between two suppliers, pick the one who has a can-do attitude or enthusiasm over the one who makes the project sound like hard work or an interruption to their schedule
  • only use a coach or mentor who believes in success and finding solutions

Who you associate with can even impact on your writing style – positive people use words like “can”, “will”, “value” and “ideas” which inspire you and make your writing positive, too.

Have you ever experienced an obvious change by changing who is around you?

I once knew some people who couldn’t  help themselves from lying and adjusting perceptions to maintain their view of reality. Their behaviour made me uncomfortable and I didn’t like being unable to trust them, so I made a conscious decision to not associate with them. There was actually a great sense of relief when they were no longer part of my life, and I have taken care since to choose who I spend time with whenever possible.