Exercise Challenge

This is a completely different kind of post, than I normally do. This one is very personal, but also useful to share.

As we all know, although not always act upon it, exercising on regular basis isn’t only good for your body, but it is also extremely good for your mental health. For your head. I really helps you to stop thinking about all your problems and helps you to look at things more clearly.

I used to love running. A long time ago, after my second child I started with running, got addicted to it and at a certain moment it was so bad I had to force myself to not run one day in the week. I can tell you, my mood wasn’t exceptional, but I knew I had to give myself time to recover.

This is not a post where I am going to tell you that you have to start running. Running is one of the many ways you can do to work out. There are way more options and you always have to do what you like. Otherwise, you will do it for some time and then you will give up.

I like to run. It gives me an oppurtunity to clear my head and do something else for an hour. And despite the fact that I am tired after, I also feel refresh and have more energy.

After my few years of “runners-addiction” I started to let it slip. Since then I am constantly trying to get back to that feeling I had then. Now I am at the point of getting there, but because I am so busy I forget on regular basis that I still have to run. Just plain stupid, I think, so I decided to challenge myself.

My whole life I have been running (or doing any other work out) in the evenings. I am absolutely not a morning person. More a “don’t nag before my coffee”-person. And after my coffee I slowly get into my rhythm. Just like an old diesel engine.

So my challenge for myself is covering 2 things. I challenge myself to start running in the morning (Still after my coffee though, didn’t want to overdo it). And I challenge myself to run 6 days in a row, take a break for one day and then do that again for the next 21 days. A person needs at least to do something for 21 days in a row to make it a habit, so this will make a good start for me.

Are you joining me???

Of course you don’t have to start running right away if you have never done it before. You can also do a 20 minute walk or 1 mile, if you haven’t exercised for a long time. (In that case maybe also smart to see a doctor first) Or start with something completely different. As long as it is consistently for 21 days.

Let me know if you join me or what you are going to do!!

Lost

As a business coach I know a lot lot about the feeling of being lost. Especially business owners tend to do too much at the same time and at a certain moment they loose their insight, their goals for that moment, they don’t know what to do anymore and a feeling of loosing it starts to kick in.

And I must confess, I have it too. Talking about it with my coach helps me to get me back on track again. Unfortunately not everybody with a business is able to afford an coach. Although I think a coach should be able to create a way to make it affordable, but that’s a different story.

There are a few ways you can prevent that feeling.

First of all if you are doing too much at the same time your brain will stop working. If you are trying to focus on one thing, trying to forget about other (small, but also important) things, but also get constantly interrupted, your brain will end up in a crash. And nothing else will come out of it anymore.

That dreadful feeling will kick in, overwhelm will start and nothing happens anymore. And you give up. After a while you start again, and it is so hard to get back in the game again that you wonder why you are doing it and you are thinking to giving up. Again. A negative spiral will start getting into your head.

Before you reach that point you have to find ways to refuel.

Almost everybody who has a business will say “Sorry, but I simply don’t have time for that”. My answer would be: “If you are working yourself into a burnout, what will be left of your business then?” Think about it. Is 10 minutes of your day worth the time to prevent a burnout? Is 10 minutes spend now on refueling a better investment in your business then to give up completely on your business in 2 or 3 years? Because you have to give it up, because of a burnout, because you cant handle it anymore?

So what are these ways you can prevent this?

One of them is establishing a quitting time and sticking to it. This way of giving yourself time to refuel, is something I figured out not that long ago. Now I do it every morning and it became a habit to do it. Just decide what time you will stop that day working. Spend some ease and quietness with family or friends in the time after. And even if it is just for a couple of hours, you already created something positive.

Another one, which is scientifically proven it prevents a lot of physical and mental problems and gives you a lot of advantages is meditation. Nice thing about meditation is that it doesn’t need to take you hours. Only 10 minutes just before you dive behind your computer and start your busy day working on your business, or 5 to 10 minutes during your lunch hour, will help you a lot. Especially in reducing stress.

If you like to learn more, I have a free webinar where I discus 5 ways to decrease stress and create healthy habit. Just follow the link.

Sign Up for my FREE webinar.

Are You on the Verge of Business Burnout?

A burnout is a very real problem, especially for solopreneurs. Even though partnerships can have their ups and downs, at least you have someone to handle some of the stress and responsibility. Solopreneurs are by themselves and feel the entire weight of their success on their lone shoulders. This large responsibility often leads these business owners to work 14+ hour days and lose track of what’s happening at home with their families. But is focusing so much attention on your business a wise decision?

No, not if you want to achieve a work/life balance that makes you and your family happy. Even if you’re single, making time for self-care and relaxation will improve your overall health and mental wellbeing. Let’s talk about the signs to look for that indicate you might be headed toward a burnout.

1. Insomnia. If your brain can’t shut down because you’re consumed with work, your sleep pattern will get disrupted, leaving you overtired, lacking energy, and possibly lacking the mental energy to make wise business decisions.

2. Procrastination. Do you cringe at the length of your daily to-do list? Did these tasks once excite you but now they make you want to crawl under a rock? Procrastination leads to missed deadlines and opportunities to promote your business.

3. Fatigue. The human body is only capable of handling so much stress on limited sleep. Certainly you’ve heard the phrase “burning the candle at both ends”? That’s what happens when you work yourself to the bone and don’t give your body and brain enough time to recover before starting another high-stress day. At some point your body will want to give up, causing severe fatigue and possibly other illnesses that will keep you out of the office.

4. Changes in appetite. For some people, stress causes them to overeat; for others, stress reduces their appetites. Neither extreme is good for your body. For optimal health and mental clarity, take lunch breaks away from the desk and choose natural, healthy food choices instead of fast food items.

5. Anxiety. High stress causes anxiety, which can cause crippling fear or other physical symptoms. Keep in mind: there’s a big difference between the anxiety you feel when stepping out of your comfort zone versus stress-induced anxiety that doesn’t seem to go away.

Think about this: as a solopreneur, if you are not physically able to run your business, what happens to it? Chances are, you’d have to close your doors and any streams of income you currently have will disappear. Let’s avoid this happening! Take care of your whole body, mind, and spirit. Take quiet time to relax. Get outdoors and breathe in some fresh air. Unplug for a whole weekend and live in the moment with your family. Reconnect with old friends. Start a hobby. The choices are limitless.

Follow these 5 Tips for Easy Self-care

In just a few days I’m hosting a webinar dedicated to this self-care topic. I discovered changes in my own business and my mindset once I started taking care of myself and living life outside of the office. My webinar is titled, “5 Ways to Practice Regular Self-Care, Even if You Think You Don’t Have Time” and I promise you don’t need to dedicate hours a day or make any pricey purchases. Implement these tips in the privacy of your home. Grab your seat today!

Sign Up for my FREE webinar


Are You On The Right Path?

There are a number of factors to take into consideration when prepping yourself and your company to approach the largest clients you’ll ever work with. Are You On The Right Path?

Today we’re going to start with a brief look at the three paths every business faces and show you which one is the path to success. Then we’ll talk about the mindset it takes to attract the big fish.

There are three major paths a business can take:
• Snail Speed
• Shooting Star
• Catch the Big Fish

Snail Speed
Most business owners ended up working themselves into the ground without much reward or success. This is what happens when you fool yourself into thinking you will find quick success. You may also find yourself following this path when you are afraid of change.

Shooting Star
This describes a business that shoots to the top so fast you are overwhelmed and don’t have the right resources in place to adapt. This can also happen from being overwhelmed by small clients and not taking the time to find large clients, which will sustain your business after the small client sales slow.

Catch the Big Fish
This is the path that allows you to build at a steady pace that you can manage by not allowing your customers to outpace you.

You can do this by putting these tips to work:
– Attract, keep and lock in big clients.
– Integrate “big business” culture into your company and employees.
– Acquire the expertise you need to grow.Have the courage to make changes as you grow.

Now we are going to transition a bit and talk about the “big fish” mindset. It may sound easy to just find and catch that big fish, but if you are stuck in the small business mindset, you may find it harder than you think.

Think of all the benefits of aiming at bigger clients:
• Inexpensive
• Highly Profitable
• Longevity
• Security

In order to catch the big fish, you need to believe your company can make a difference with theirs. It’s easy to get into the thought that a large company doesn’t need anything from a small business like yours, but this is entirely wrong!

Once you take a look at how big companies operate, it’s important to know which ones are the best fit with your company. One of the best ways to get in the door is by knowing someone on the inside who can put in a good word for you.

If you’re not sure where to start and feel a little intimidated about catching big fish, try our FREE test drive to get help.

For information please email me by filling in this form:

Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel

The first thought you had is probably why the title of this book? A book about loosing weight. What does this have to do with running your business?

I will explain.

Running a business is difficult. And hard. And the funny thing is, the more you are happy with yourself, mentally and physically, the better you can run your business.

So food is an important part of your life. Food has an incredible impact on how you feel. For that reason I started reading this book. Why? I will tell you.

Two years ago I bought new shoes. My old running shoes were wearing out and it was time for new ones. For more then 30 years I used the same brand. This time I decided to change that. Big, big mistake.

First I started to have some pain in my heel and because of that, I clearly started running differently because my back started to hurt too. Over the period of months the pain in my heel got worse and worse. It took me 6 months to make the connection with my new shoes. 6 Months of taking some rest, starting again with running, taking some more rest, taking no rest, etc. You get the picture. End result was completely rest and no running anymore to repair the damage.

In my life food is important. I never have learned how to control my eating habits. I just eat. And with the running I kept overweight under control. Worked for me.

Until running stopped and frustrations started. Frustrations I got rid of, yes you guessed it right, with food. The result is that I accumulated an giant amount of too much weight, combined with a deteriorated health.

I needed to change. So the first thing I did is grabbing all these diet books and start to follow one diet after another. Some work, some don’t. They all only work for a short time. Only more frustrations were created.

So I started reading this book. Don’t know if this one is better, but the approach is completely different. Don’t diet, but add how you look at food into your life. Tiny steps at the time.

Next month (February 1) I will let you know how it worked out for me.

For now: Look at yourself. Are you happy? Happy about who you are? How you feel? Are there things you can or want to change? Then do it!! Small steps at the time.


Make big changes in small steps.

Small steps can lead to big changes.



PR Equals Free Publicity

There are 3 key areas of Public Relations you can use to boost your advertising results ten-fold over your paid advertising.

The key to public relations lie in:

  • Public relation or publicity
  • Merchandising
  • Promotions

With a solid plan in place that cover all these areas, you’ll have a great approach to use public relations in the best way possible.

Public relations include all that is the media. Don’t limit yourself. The attention of newspapers, television, radio, magazines, bloggers, etc. and more are all equally powerful. Online marketing is just as, if not more, important as conventional media.

Here are the steps to get noticed by the media:

  1. Put together a press release for your company. The press release should be relevant to your target market and address consumer interest, not just announce your business.
  2. Compact your press release to include one hook and one angle. Choose the most attention-getting to make sure the media person you are sending it to is interested in reading it.
  3. Put your press release in professional formatting. With press releases you need a dateline, the most important information at the top, facts, figures and wrap it up with contact details including who and how. Print the press release on your letterhead.
  4. Send your press release to all television and radio stations, local and metro newspapers, national newspapers, industry magazines, and any other form of media that reaches your target market. Don’t forgot to include relevant blogs, ezines, press release submission sites and to industry professionals.

More importantly than a perfect press release is to make sure you have addressed the needs of your target market in the products/services you offer and made that clear in the press release. If you are provided people a solution to a problem, a way to avoid a problem and an opportunity to enhance their life the media and public will be interested.

If you have a connection (or the ability to get a connection) with a celebrity, this can practically guarantee you’ll get attention. Make sure you are offered newsworthy information, and then follow up with media outlets to make sure they are publicizing that information.

“One of the most powerful techniques every business should use is free publicity. As the name implies, there is no cost, just the time and effort required to attract attention to your business.” Jay Abraham

Our FREE test drive can show you how to put together press releases that work! Check out how the pro’s do it and craft the perfect press releases for your business.

Learn how to generate all the leads your business can handle and increase your sales…
WITHOUT spending a dime on marketing or advertising.
www.smallbusiness-academy.com

Learn From The Big Companies!

Let’s have  a look at how the kings of industry wine, dine and otherwise  butter up prospects.

Most of successful professionals use a series of information based ads that build emotion and a call-to-action. These are much more effective than a standard company branding advertisements. The same principles that go into putting together a high impact (and, often, high priced) ad campaign can be adapted to fit your needs with similar results.

Here are some ways to put together and execute a professional, effective ad campaign:

  1. Put together a short report that’ll you’ll automatically send to prospects when they contact you. This should include a short description of your business and what you specialize in. Don’t forget to include case studies, samples or other proof of your success.
  2. Develop value-oriented yellow page ads.
  3. Consider newsletters as a way of educating and informing customers about your industry and services offered.
  4. Offer a free seminar, webinar or other lecture to build awareness of your business, but make sure you make the information pertinent to your target market and find speakers who are respected and known in the industry.
  5. Buy an existing business, introduce better marketing and grow this new business faster than a “from scratch” business.
  6. Always test different versions of your ads to find the most effective ones.
  7. Use direct mail marketing to grow your business.
  8. Put together a database of previous customers and send them new information.
  9. Offer incentives such as frequent purchasing benefits, loyalty programs, referral programs or others.
  10. Approach large firms who may need your services and negotiate a deal to be their exclusive expert in your field.
  11. Offer a 24-hour information line with a regularly updated recorded message. Make this available to all past and future customers/clients.
  12. Donate time or materials to local charities to show support in your area.
  13. Offer public clinics for the general public to come along and discuss what they need that’s free and approachable.
  14. Organize seminars your customers/clients can pay to attend by putting together a high-perception value package.
  15. Approach local newspaper by offering to write a weekly column  about your area of expertise. Don’t ask for money, just a byline and bio.
  16. Develop a weekend or other destination seminar for customers/clients, not only does this give you an action-packed weekend with the most important people, it gives them a tax-deductible business adventure.
  17. Take a good seminar and turn it into written form as a home study, member site program, audio or video program.
  18. Approach large companies and offer to give seminars to their employees, investors or management.
  19. Be proactive with your marketing plan.
  20. Barter for your marketing. Offer products or services in lieu of payment.
  21. Be willing to bring in new clients, even if at an initial loss because it will likely pay off later.
  22. Regulate your marketing budget to maximize the potential income from them to hit the next year and try to push back advertising costs for the next year to offset your expenses.
  23. Make offers to target markets or target market businesses to pay them for referrals or shared databases.
  24. Offer loaner products to replace equipment that’s be repaired or refurbished.
  25. Give away something free to everyone who brings in a print version of your advertisement. This is a great way to see which ads are giving you the most bang for your buck.
  26. Continually consider what new products/services you can offer to current customers/clients.
  27. Develop a mail order division of your company.
  28. Offer a proposition to your competitors to trade customers/clients you were both unsuccessful in selling to.
  29. Use different marketing tactics as an excuse to attract new customers/clients with new offers and goodies.
  30. Offer a “you-choose-the-price” program. This is especially good for product you just can’t seem to sell.

So, there are 30 great ways to market to other professional and businesses. Some other great ways to get your name out there for little or no cost are:

  • Get involved you in your community-volunteer, donate to local events, etc.
  • Join your local Chamber of Commerce and attend the networking and other activities throughout the year.
  • Join a local, state or regional professional associates for further networking opportunities.
  • Become a board member of a local organization.

Advertising should never be your only method of marketing, there are a myriad of ways to get your name out there in a way that feels personal to potential customers/clients.

“Effective advertising…must be used to get your name out to the public. If your name is not familiar to people, they will not come to you.” Jay Abraham

If you’re not sure where you start with your marketing plan or how to reach out to your local community, competitors, customers/clients and others who could influence your business in a highly positive way, try our FREE test drive to experience the tools and resources we have to boost your business to the next level and beyond.

Learn how to generate all the leads your business can handle and increase your sales…
WITHOUT spending a dime on marketing or advertising.
www.smallbusiness-academy.com

Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash

How is Your Relationship With Your Vendors?

It’s extremely important to build good relationships with your vendors and those around. They bring in new customers/clients and increase awareness of your company branding.

The people you work directly with on your products or services are really the ones with the most to gain when you are successful. By taking the time to get to know them, you’ll find a lot of new opportunities you didn’t realize were even there.

To grow your business, you have to find ways to reward your vendors for helping grow your business and everyone wins. One of ways you can do this, is by offering performance-based incentives that are much larger than their normal charges.

Here’s the step-by-step process to putting together a partnership with a vendor:

  • Approach all the vendors you work with and offer an incentive based on performance.
  • Put a generous incentive plan together from their perspective, even take suggestions.
  • Develop a clear, concise and easy to track incentive plan. This will increase competition between vendors and therefore higher performance levels.
  • Encourage subsequent sales instead of focusing only on the initial sale. By doing this you can give away more of the profit from the initial sale to your vendors and make higher profits off the back end products. Encourage:
    • Future sales
    • Upsell better and more profitable products/services
    • Cross-sell to additional products
  • Create an incentive plan that’s irresistible to your vendors by offering generous, exclusive compensation.

Think of all the vendors you work with and the creative ways you can put together a plan that tempts them to be part of your business. Use their talents, capabilities and connections and you’ll both be winners.

Putting together an incentive plan doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Use our FREE test drive to come up with some great ideas and put your incentive plan together for maximum results.

Learn how to generate all the leads your business can handle and increase your sales…
WITHOUT spending a dime on marketing or advertising.
www.smallbusiness-academy.com

Turn Prospects into Customers Overnight!

Today I’d like to talk about how to turn prospects or leads into customers and keep them on your list for future marketing too.

While, your marketing is doing its job, and your list is growing, you need to be working on turning those leads into customers. There are a few ways to this. To have them buy your product or service and create a sale.

To be able to do this you need to be:

  • Inviting
  • Informative
  • Enjoyable

The biggest fear of most new customers is “buyer’s remorse“. You want to avoid this at all costs and this should be lessen or decreased when you provide a quality product/service that delivers on the marketing claims you’ve made.

However, this “buyer’s remorse” isn’t always taken away by what you offer. There are two ways to deal with this and give your buyers a good feeling:

  • Offer to refund money-no questions asked
  • Offer a bonus they can keep, even if they return the product

These offers alone create a feeling that the customer can trust you more, just for offering these things.

There are number of other ways to turn a prospect/lead into a customer:

  • Offer a special price as an opportunity for you to test the market.
  • Offer a lower price with the reason of pushing inventory to pay a bill, for your kid’s’ braces, or another tangible reason. Customers love that this makes you feel so much more human.
  • Offer a referral incentive.
  • Offer a smaller, more inexpensive product first to build trust.
  • Offer package deals.
  • Offer to charge less for their first purchase if they become a repeat customer.
  • Offer extra incentives-longer warranties, free bonuses if ordered by a set date.
  • Offer financing options, if possible.
  • Offer a bonus or discount if they pay in full.
  • Offer special packaging or delivery.
  • Offer “name your own price” incentives.
  • Offer comparative data or other comparison tools.
  • Offer a trade-up or upgrade to something they already have.
  • Offer additional, educational information to help them make the decision.

The options really are as limitless as you make it. You can use these or other ideas to find what works the best for your business, products/service and target market. Remember this…

“By making it inviting, easy, informative, non-threatening, educational, inspiring and fun to do business with you, you’ll loft your company above the competition.” Jay Abraham

Need help with figuring out the best strategy for converting prospects into customers? Our FREE test drive gives you exclusive access to the mountain of resources and tools, along with information from some of the greatest marketing minds on Earth.

Learn how to generate all the leads your business can handle and increase your sales…
WITHOUT spending a dime on marketing or advertising.
www.smallbusiness-academy.com

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

Make your Message Pop!

There are 5 major components to good advertising or blog copy: (The order of these is essential to success)

  • Command Attention
  • Showcase Benefits of Products/Services
  • Prove the Benefits
  • Persuade People to Embrace the Benefits
  • Call to Action

People don’t like to be sold products or services. But they like it when a problem is going to be solved for them. Even when they didn’t realize they had a problem.

So, when you make a blog or advertisement, you need to think about the unique benefits your products/services offer and showcase that in a persuasive way. You need to emphasize results, not features.

Let’s take a minute to talk about each of these components:

  • Command Attention: This is usually accomplished with the headline. You need an attention-getter that makes people want to know more about your products/services. The best headlines give a vivid portrayal of the benefits or show how a problem can be avoided with your products/services. The headline is the advertisement for the advertisement.
  • Showcase Benefits: You have to showcase the benefits of your products and services and, more importantly, show how they will solve or prevent a problem. They need to know what’s in it for them. Include useful, factual and clear information to show precisely what the benefits are and how they are going to help the customer.
  • Offer Proof: This is where you prove what the advertisement is offering. You need to establish you have a method to deliver. Consider information that establishes credibility and past performance.
  • Persuade: You need to add compelling reasons for your potential customers to purchase your products/services. Use a hard sell approach and create scarcity. This will enact your potential customers to feel like they have to act now. Which leads into the last component.
  • Call to Action: You need to compel your potential customers to DO something. They need to check out your site, sign up for your newsletter, purchase your products, contact you about services…something. Offer a freebie-a booklet, sample, product, bonus, demo, consult, limited time price…the list goes on. There are lots of ways to get potential customers excited about ordering and help them feel like they are getting an amazing deal.

Good advertisements include all of these components and are not complete without any of them. You can sit down and think through any one of these components, then figure out how to best place them together for the most effectiveness. We can help you with this too.

Try our FREE test drive to learn how to put together great advertisements from some of the best in the business.

Learn how to generate all the leads your business can handle and increase your sales…
WITHOUT spending a dime on marketing or advertising.
www.smallbusiness-academy.com

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash