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Six Quick Productivity Tricks So You Can Go Home Early

July 30, 2021 | Business Development, Business Tips, Decision-Making Tips, Management Tips | 0 Comments

If you have an endless to-do list, you’re not alone these days.  Most of us are constantly looking for ways to work smarter and get more done.  Here are six quick tips to help your productivity so you can go home early.

1. Group tasks.

If you have lots of errands to run during the week, why not set aside one day or a part of a day to get them knocked out all at once?  It saves start/stop time and may also save gas and time getting dressed up (if you work at home).

You can also try grouping tasks such as personal care appointments, doctor’s appointments, sales calls, and client visits.  Your schedule will be freed up in big blocks of time so you can focus on creative projects without having to constantly watch the clock.

2. Use checklists.

Checklists are best when you have a task you need to repeat.  They’re great when you’re stressed and don’t want to forget a step (such as in packing your suitcase for a trip).  They’re also great for tasks that repeat infrequently (Now how did I do that last time?)

Stop and take a minute to create your checklist the next time you perform a routine task that you will repeat in the future.  You’ll thank yourself the next time.

3. Organize your email.

If you are using Microsoft Outlook for email, consider getting it to work as hard as you do.  As your email comes in, you can have Outlook sort the low-priority emails that come from lists, Google alerts, social media notifications, and subscriptions into folders.  Create a subfolder in your inbox called “lists.”  Then set a Rule to have that type of email go into the “lists” folder.  This one step will substantially de-clutter your inbox.

4. Delegate more.

If you’re a little wary about delegating, try this exercise:  Look at your to-do list and put an hourly rate next to each task that you are doing.  If someone paid you to do that job, what would you get on the market?  Then look at the tasks with the lowest dollar value next to them.

If you feel your time is worth more than the lowest rated tasks on your lists, it’s time to help someone else out who is unemployed so you can be freed up to use your more valuable skills.

5. Order online.

When is the last time you’ve been to the office supply or pharmacy when you know they deliver?  (Yeah, me, too. Enough said.)

6. Avoid long learning curves.

Whenever you realize a task will have a really long learning curve, then it’s a red flag that it’s time to find someone to hire to do it for you.  Here are several examples:

  • Doing your taxes and researching all the tax law changes
  • Installing a new accounting system and customizing it
  • Learning about every new social media platform out there
  • Writing a legal contract
  • Creating a report
  • Troubleshooting a computer problem

The cost of going through the learning curve can be dozens of hours of your precious time lost compared to bringing an expert on board who can perform that task in a matter of hours or minutes.

How did these six ideas compare to your favorites?  I hope you picked up an idea or two so you can get home earlier.

Five Favorite Freebies You Can Steal

July 30, 2021 | Business Development, Business Tips, Cost-Savings Tips, Customer Service Tips | 0 Comments

If you’re looking for ways to boost your productivity, technology is a great place to start.  The good news is there are many free options available.  Here are five favorites you might not know about.

1. Bridge lines.

If you need teleconference lines, you’re in luck:  there are many high-quality options that are completely free.  You can have several people, even hundreds, dial into a line and conduct a meeting or training session via the phone.  You can record the session and download the recording as an MP3 file that can be played on an iPod.

Some of the more creative ways to use these free teleconferencing services include:

  •  Staff meetings when someone is absent so they can listen later.
  • Free teleconference, providing tips to all your clients.
  • Free teleconference, allowing prospects to call in and sample what you offer or find out what you’re like to work with.
  • When you need to record anything. (You often need 2 people on the line to be able to record, but not always.)
  • To record a quick training session or how-to that can be distributed later.
  • To have a client record a testimonial you could put on your web site.
  • To record a meditation or therapeutic session you can listen to over and over again.
  • If you’re a coach or trainer, you can record the client training session and give the download as a service perk.

Our favorite:  http://www.freeconferencecallhd.com.

2. FileZilla.

The FileZilla client version allows you to transfer large files between computers that are connected to the Internet using FTP (File Transfer Protocol).  It’s handy for many reasons:

  •  When you need to load large files such as videos or audios to your website
  • When you need to upload something to an artist, a transcriptionist, a warehouse, or other supplier
  • When you have documents such as white papers that you want people to have access to but don’t want to have to keep contacting your webmaster

Download the FileZilla client and find out more here:  http://filezilla-project.org/

3. Gmail.

It’s just a great idea to have a backup email address in addition to the primary email address you use.  Gmail is perfect for this.

Go one productivity-boosting step further, and make your gmail account the one you use for all that email you don’t need to read as frequently.  This could include notifications from social media like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, blog notifications, list posts, Google alerts, and any other nonproductive email, you don’t need to respond to.

Open your Gmail account less often than your primary email (even once a week if you dare) and gain that productivity boost.  You’ll have freed your inbox from a bunch of clutter and can focus on your clients’ and employees’ emails instead.

Visit this site to find out more:  https://mail.google.com

4. WordPress.

WordPress is free blog software that you can install on your web site or blog site.  Once installed, it’s super-easy to use for both blogging and a website.  You can add photos, graphics, white papers, videos, and audios to the library to put on your blog or your site.

It’s also great for search engine optimization; the search engines love it and will rank you higher when you blog and post fresh content.

Visit http://wordpress.org/ to find out more.

5. Ning.

Ning is a community platform where people can come together and post a profile, participate in discussions, join a group, and interact.  Not all business models will benefit from Ning, but many of you are involved in a club, church group, nonprofit organization, or community where Ning could be very helpful.

Ning is almost free, at $19.95 per year or $2.95 per month, but it’s such an amazing platform, I include it here.  Whenever you’d like to have a private (or public) community of people who are joined by a common interest, Ning can provide that extra online community connection that can help you group interact and bond even more.

Find out more about Ning at http://www.ning.com.

What are your favorite freebies?

Create an Easy, Head-Turning Elevator Speech

July 30, 2021 | Business Development, Business Tips | 0 Comments

You’re sitting in a room with 30 other business entrepreneurs.  Each of you has one minute to introduce themselves to the group.  You are number 25 to speak.  Will anyone listen?  What can you do or say to catch your peers’ attention, be memorable, and have them approach you for business?  Most importantly, what can you do to get every business card in the room wanting what you have (so you can go to fewer networking meetings and get back to running your business)?

The good news is you don’t have to be a poet, a writer, or a great speaker in order to attract attention and desire.  All you need to do is put yourself in your potential customer’s shoes for a minute.  What is it about your business, your products and services, and you that would interest a potential buyer?  Why should they care?  Why should they stop what they’re doing from their busy life and listen to you?  It’s easier to answer than it sounds.  Here’s a formula to help you along.

“I help “my ideal client” “get a certain result” through “my products or services.”

Let’s fill in these three blanks by using some examples:

“I help “young families” “find their first house” by “providing mortgage lending services.”

“I help “people with broken pipes” “keep their homes dry” through my “plumbing services.”

“I “protect families from financial disaster in times of crises” by providing “insurance services.”

“I help “women who want to have beautiful hair” “keep their hair healthy and vibrant” with “my all-natural, organic hair salon services.”

Now fill in the blanks for your business.  You may have to try a couple of variations until you hit on the perfect one for you.  But this formula beats saying “I’m a hairdresser,” “I’m a plumber,” or “I’m a mortgage lender.”

This is a great start to your elevator speech, but just a start.  Now add a second sentence that describes a project you just completed with another client similar to the one you’re talking with.

“For example, I just closed on a home last week with a mom, dad, the cutest 4-year-old twins, and a yorkie.  They got a great rate, and their payment is low enough so they can afford to start saving for the kids’ college right away.”

One more sentence and you’re done.  This one’s your call to action.  What do you want interested prospects to do, and how can they sample your product at a low risk to them?

“I have a free report, “10 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Your First House.”  If you’d like a copy, please hand me your business card and I will email you the details.”

“I offer a free risk analysis so you can see if you have any major risk exposures.  To set up an appointment, hand me your business card, and I will get you setup free of charge.”

Put all three parts together and you have a very nice elevator speech.

“I help young families find their first house by providing mortgage lending services.  For example, I just closed on a home last week with a mom, dad, the cutest 4-year-old twins, and a yorkie.  They got a great rate, and their payment is low enough so they can afford to start saving for the kids’ college right away. I have a free report, 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Your First House.  If you’d like a copy, please hand me your business card and I will email you the details.”

Don’t be surprised at the flood of business cards that will come your way when you put this in action at your future networking meetings.

Seven Ways to Wow Your Clients

July 30, 2021 | Business Development, Business Tips, Customer Service Tips, Management Tips | 0 Comments

One of the main reasons clients leave is because they feel ignored.  The cost of ignoring clients is high; you have to do more marketing and replace those clients when they leave.  The antidote to this is easy:  just stay in touch more with clients, and let them know you care about them and their business.  Here are seven ways to stay in touch with all your clients and especially your long-term customers.

1. Pay a compliment. 

Sometimes when we’re in an “all-business” mode, we forget the simple things.  Take a minute to look around and find something to compliment your client on.  What have they done to support you?  What are they a natural at?  What traits do they have that you admire?  Tell them; they will appreciate it because it won’t be expected.

2. Rejuvenate your service with long-time clients. 

Recall the first week that you signed a new client.  You were both excited about beginning your relationship, and your service was likely top-notch.  Now take a look at the service level of clients you’ve had for a while – for months or maybe even years.  Is it the same?

If not, consider putting the spark back into the relationship!  Long-term clients deserve a higher service level than new clients; yet it’s often the other way around.  Take a look at what you can do to spice up your service level, whether it’s returning calls and emails faster or delivering the work earlier as a surprise.  Your long-term clients will appreciate it and know that you’re making an effort not to take their business for granted.

3. Acknowledge referrals quickly.

Clients that pass you referrals are taking two risks when they refer you: 1 – that you will do a good job, and 2 – that their friend will like you.  Help them feel like it’s worthwhile by responding quickly to the referral as well as acknowledging and thanking your client for the referral.

This is best done by a thank you card or a phone call.

4. Send a newsletter.

Keep clients informed of tips, discounts, new services and products, and events with a newsletter.  There are many ways to create a newsletter, and the most important aspect is to make sure it’s as relevant as possible to your clients.

A newsletter does not have to be elaborate or time-consuming.  At its simplest form, it can consist of a single, short article.  As you further develop it, you can add in components such as a brief company description, a quote, a testimonial, an events calendar, a customer spotlight, a greeting, additional articles, a poll or survey, and special offers.

5. Celebrate birthdays and/or anniversaries. 

Everyone loves to have their birthday acknowledged.  Send a card to your clients in their birthday month.

The best birthday cards are just that, real birthday cards without company logos or sales pitches.  If appropriate, consider a surprise twist on the birthday theme:  send cards to your client’s kids, spouse, or pets.

Another great twist to acknowledge clients is to send an anniversary card on the date they first started doing business with you.  This is a great option if you don’t have clients’ birthdays recorded.  And it’s a great surprise because clients do not see it coming!

6. Offer longevity or loyalty discounts.

It’s common practice to offer new clients discounts.  It’s less common to reward loyalty.  Give current clients better breaks in your prices than new clients.  This incentivizes clients who already like your products to buy more.  The more they buy, the more likely they are to keep doing business with you.

You can also surprise long-time clients with periodic bonuses and gifts.  Don’t do it too often, because it will be expected.  For best results, the bonus should come completely out of the blue.

7. Express gratitude.

Say thank you to current clients every chance you can.  Thank them for their business.  Thank them for their loyalty.  Thank them for paying their bill on time.  Thank them for being easy to work with.  Thank them for being flexible.  Do this by sending cards or emails for no reason other than to thank them.

These positive interactions with your current and long-time clients will strengthen your relationships with them, help you say what’s often not said enough, and improve your client retention.

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