#HASHTAG I remember someone explaining to me about hashtags sometime back in about 2007 or 2008. I just didn't quite get it, until someone ingeniously explained it's like a filing system for posts. Well, that makes sense! So when I started on Twitter all those moons ago I started to slowly use # hashtags. I didn't really understand the full purpose of them, but, hey, everyone else is using them, so maybe I should too.
Hashtags really made it big in the Periscope sphere, yes I was an early adopter of Periscope but soon waned when I realised I had to be posting videos almost hourly to get any traction. So I gently slipped out of the habit of adding hashtags, that was until Instagram came around. Now, this I was not an early adopter and not that great on it now either. For some reason I just didn't fall in love with using Instagram, I did realise however, hashtags rule on Insta!
My BIG social media platform of time is Facebook and Facebook never really used hashtags, there was no compartmentalising of posts and no one used hashtags, that was really for Twitter and then Instagram. Well, times are a changing. With Facebook purchasing Instagram there has been a slow sweep of Instagram platform-centric tools and quirks showing up in Facebook and vica-versa. Although, hashtags have been floating around on Facebook since 2013, they haven't really been of any use. Facebook have spruced up their hashtag use and have introduced a dedicated # hashtag page similar to Instagram. Use the # hashtag within your post, best placement is generally the bottom of the post so as not to interfere with your message. Use it on your video descriptions and they are also traceable in comments.
So, now, get some traction and exposure to your posts on your Facebook feed, Facebook page and in your groups and start those hashtag tags happening. You can't "own" a hashtag but boy you can make one your own.
There are also some great hashtag generators which make creating hashtags so much easier. This one is one of my fav's: https://displaypurposes.com/
What's your hashtag?
Have you been tempted to put your toe in the cloud so to speak? For me, it started off with a small Dropbox account I used primarily with a creative designer who was doing some work for me many years ago. It was easy to upload and download the work without emailing large files. It was great and I fully embraced it while the collaboration was happening and then I let it wane. Sure, I used my Dropbox account for certain things but not fully to how I could have. For some reason I was hesitant to hand over my work, my ideas, my business and all that it encompasses to the cloud. I mean where is it, where is my 'stuff'?
It is only in 2020 that I have fully embraced the use of the cloud for the majority of my businesses. The standout for me has been my Onedrive account that comes with my Microsoft 365 subscription. It is plenty of space and has basically my whole PC sitting in there. This has been amazing on many occasion. Recently, I had to send my laptop away from some urgent work, normally this would put paid to me being able to do any work for the time my laptop is away. Quite to the contrary, I used my lovely portable Surface Pro for the day (this is always on the road with me when I am out and about) and continued to work on my business projects from the cloud. No downtime whatsoever and everything that I did or changed automatically did a sync in the cloud.
The other great cloud based software has been the use of GSuite. GSuite is basically od Google's business tools in one location. Gsuite means you can have all of your documents in the cloud, this makes it so much easier to collaborate with business associates, outsourced support, clients or colleagues. I recently saw how a business used it to share paid download documents through Google Drive, I thought that was a great use of the resources. GSuite has some really cool resources for collaboration including Google Meet (formerly Hangouts) a great way to hold meetings, run training classes or mastermind sessions.
If you own your business domain name, you can also get your vanity email address via GSuite too!
So, my verdict on going to the cloud? It has been a breeze and I only wish I had listened to others and done it sooner. It has been and continues to be business changing.
Have you been using the cloud for your business? What is your experience or tips?
Do you remember the planning of a road trip? The excitement of the road trip and what was at the end of the road trip? I remember as a child travelling from Perth, Western Australia, across the Nullabor, through South Australia, Victoria, NSW and finally to Queensland, before heading back again across back to WA. The places we stopped, the people we met and the experience were priceless. Over 40 years later and I have vivid memories of seeing snow for the first time, climbing the "Big Banana" and the "Big Pineapple" eating McDonalds for the first time and seeing "The Cross". As a child my brother and I were along for the ride, my parents of course had set the trip up, planned the stops and anticipated any emergency. Taking a young family across Australia in a camper van, takes some planning. Back in those days there was no GPS but there was a map at hand and a keen eye on the destination.
We as business owners need to have our eye on the destination and set ourselves up with a business GPS. The fun and the journey of being a business owner is all in the people we meet, the experiences we gather and the opportunities that are bestowed upon us. Sometimes, it can be easy to divert for a bright shiny object, follow another person's vision, get lost in overwhelm and all other matters of misdirection. Having a good business GPS, helps us to stay on track and not divert to a dead end road or a cul-de-sac, it helps us to maintain a clear vision of what we ant our future business to look like at the destination.
A business plan can act as a GPS and also using some clear guiding questions around your business to formulate what your destination looks like at the end.
Why do I want this business?
When do I want this business to be at it's peak
What do I want it to look like in XX years?
How will I develop this business?
Who is my target market?
Where will I promote my business?
Guiding and open ended questions are a great way to plan your journey so you know exactly what to put in your business GPS.
Over the years I have continued to hold dear the scribbles and musings in many a hard cover notebook. My bookcase is filled with notebooks varying from training notes, business ideas, thoughts, ideas and inspiration and sometimes notes of happiness through to despair. Those notebooks filled with my words have been with me through my darkest moments and into the happiest days of my life. All of them precious.
Recently, I have gone back to my love of pen to paper. Each morning before I start my day I take a few moments to consider how I intend to spend my day. No, this is not a "To Do List" there are no numbers and no specific tasks in this particular book. I found a lovely sized notebook and each morning I write Today I intend at the top of the page. I then consider my day and how I intend my day to play out.
One of my favourite entries are
Today I intend to be kind
Today I intend to focus on the positives
Today I intend to be productive
Today I intend to get a good night's sleep
This one simple act has had a prolific difference to my days, my attitude and my mental well being.
What is your intention for your day?
As we move from one financial year to the next it brings to life an opportunity to set our business and ourselves up for success. Failing to plan is planning to fail. There are some great workshops and courses available (check the Connect Her Collective FB page for events) which can assist you on the right path. If you prefer to work on your own goals and not with a coach or workshop it is great to have some steps outlined.
Using these 5 key steps is a great start to setting you and your business on the path to success for the new year. If you are attending a goal setting workshop or have a business coach these steps will also assist you with the pre-work.
Firstly, find an area with minimal distractions, turn off notifications and your phone to silent. Grab yourself a nice coffee, tea or juice and go to the loo before you start. Nothing like setting the scene for success and being prepared. Aaaah… doesn’t that feel better?
Step One: ASSESS: Assess what worked well over the last 12 months, what could have worked better and what no longer serves it’s purpose for you or your business. Write them down in 3 columns. (it makes it easier during planning)
Step Two: RESET: Now is the time to draw a line in the sand and reset your intention and attention for the coming year. Ok, so somethings didn’t go how you thought they would, that’s ok. Some things went better than you thought, well done, pat yourself on the back, do a happy dance, you are awesome. Now it is time to wash, rinse, repeat on what went well or better than expected. ………And the clock starts NOW! Yes, it’s time to reset.
Step Three: PLAN: Take a big piece of paper (butchers paper works well for this) and plan what you want to achieve in your life, business, personal, spiritual, financial the areas you want to achieve changes or progress. Be bold, be audacious, be strong, be wise and be cheeky.
Step Four: ACTION: Now you have a plan of what you would like to achieve, it is the time to set down some actions to make sure your plan moves from a planning paper to action delivery. When planning your actions remember the S.M.A.R.T goals Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely
Be sure to write all of these down on paper (brain to hand to eye to subconscious)
Step Five: Focus: Once you have your plan, goals and actions in place break them down into weekly, monthly, quarterly goals or the bite size pieces that will suit you and your business the best and then focus on a few tasks, actions or plans a week. Keep it simple and reasonable so it avoids overwhelm. Be sure to track your achievements and celebrate your wins.
Taking some time to set up A.R.P.A.F at the end of the year or beginning of a new year is 5 simple steps to set you up for success.
What do you do to set you and your business up for success?
We have all been in the situation somewhere, sometime, somehow stuck with someone that isn’t a talker or gives yes or no answers even to open ended questions, the conversation stalls and so does your brain so you ended up talking incessantly. Maybe you have a Connect Her Connection meeting or Coffee catch up and you think, oh no, I have met this person before and I know everything about them.
Guess what? We don’t know everything about everyone. Sometimes just using a weird, strange or unusual question into the mix can open up the flood gates. It is interesting, when we use a question which isn’t quite in context of our usual ‘networking’ questions you can see the mood shift. You can almost see the shoulders relax, the face relax and a giggle or laugh emerge bringing spontaneity into the conversation.
Here are some conversation starters to get you started.
What would you like to get better at?
What made your brain grow today?
What problems or challenges did you work on this month?
What is your favourite way to feel calm?
What is one quality you look for in a friend?
What is your best client?
What is your favourite day of the week?
When do you feel you are more productive in the morning or the afternoon?
How can someone become famous?
Android or Apple?
Tell me about something you do every day?
How often do you check your emails?
What do you do to relax after a business day?
Describe your perfect day?
What do you like the most about the person sitting next to you (on the left) (on the right)?
What do you do to have fun?
If you could invite two other people to join us, who would they be?
What is the one thing that is your absolute must have for a business meeting?
With the internet and smartphones now part of everyday life, there are more opportunities than ever to connect with customers, family and friends, improving the way we do business and build relatinships. However, knowing how to take advantage of new and innovative solutions can be difficult. That’s where I can help with a few simple tools I recommend.
Times Are A Changing A BIG Happy New Year to you and yours. I really feel 2013 is a year for greatness and year for growth for all. From November of 2012 I spent countless hours revising my business over the last 12 months. I checked out what worked, what could be improved and what was a challenge. I do this every year in my business, I almost go into a hibernation state as I work through the ups and the challenges for the last 10 - 12 months. You will notice the newsletter has had a change of colour and layout. You may also notice the heading has significantly changed. My reevaluation of my business and core strengths invited me to re-access my business style and service. I now have incorporated the areas of my business under one umbrella making it easier to distinguish each part. This was a huge challenge and exciting at the same time. Are you in the process of re-evaluating your business and your life? How did you go about the process? Are you still in the process? If you are stuck and would like to share your challenges please contact me for a complimentary 15 minute action traction session.
The ABC's of Great People SkillsI am a very fortunate person, I am surrounded by amazing people who have come into my life just at the right time. One of those people is Dawn Billings, CEO & Founder of Heart Link Network International and renowned Author. One of the books Dawn co-wrote is the ABC's of Great People Skills a great read that is to the point and an easy read. I really wanted to share the A-Z with you. When you read each line it really starts you thinking. Such a timely reminder as we start our journey into 2013.
Please enjoy this small excerpt from Dawn Billings:
Consider other’s feelings.
Don’t make fun.
Envision the future.
Forgive dumb people.
Hate or Hope.
Keep your faith.
Make room for diversity.
Push yourself, not others.
Stop the Violence.
X-pand your views.
Yes you can!
Zero is a number, not a name.
How do you communicate with your customers?
Do you send thank you cards to your clients?
Did you know that not saying thank you to a customer hurts your business more than saying thank you helps.
Let me say that again.
Not saying thank you hurts your business more than saying thank you helps.
What I mean by that is our customers and clients expect to receive a thank you; especially if they spend a lot of money with us. They expect us to at least acknowledge and thank them.
If I buy a house, I expect a thank you.
If I buy a car, I expect a thank you.
If I buy a Snickers I don't necessarily expect a thank you.
Big ticket items = increased expectations
If you don't send thank you cards to your clients, do you know what they are thinking?
They are thinking you don't care about them!
Studies show the reason why we lose 68% of our clients and customers is because they don't think we care about them.
Here is a simple solution I found to let my customers know I care about them.
For $5.48 a year I can send 4 custom greeting cards to my clients to keep in touch with them and let them know I appreciate them.
How much is one dedicated, loyal, and happy client worth to you? Is it worth $5.48 a year?
If so watch this 3 minute video for more information:
Once you watch the video, email me back and I'll be happy to help you get started.
WHAT is the value of appreciation? Lee Cummins believes a simple “Thinking About You” or “Thank you for Your Business” could lead to anything from a smile to increased profitability.
Cummins, is a local Snr Manager, representing the US based online greeting card company, SendOutCards
Unlike other online card companies, which allows users to send an internet link to a personalised card on the internet, SendOutCards users get to personalise one of the 17,000 card options or even create their own cards using their personal photos, which is then mailed to the recipient, anywhere in the world.
Once a user logs on to SendOutCards subscribes to the service, they can create their own secured account where they can store information like names, addresses, birthdays, anniversary dates or reminders along with photos to send appreciation messages.
Users receive emails to get their cards out in time for these occasions. There is also an option to send gifts or gift cards, which can be selected from options on the website, along with the card.
The card is printed within 24 hours after the user completes their order. Cards of the highest quality standards and printed on recycled paper. Mailing time differs according to the postal service within the country in which the recipient lives.
Receiving an emailed link to an on-line e-card does not compare to going to the mailbox and seeing a card among all the bills and windowed envelopes or whatever else is mailed. Another benefit of SendOutCards, is it is more convenient than heading to a store to purchase cards, lining up at the post office or worse, not remembering to post the card.
SendOutCards makes it hassle free. You can access it at any time from a computer with internet access, no matter where you are. You could choose from the wide selection of cards or make your own. The cost of the card is cheaper than most of the options available at card shops.
The service is utilised in the United States, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, UK and Singapore by businessmen, businesswomen and companies, including real estate agents, dentists, doctors, mortgage companies and other businesses which rely on customer- based earnings.
People feel underappreciated. 68% of customers move away from a business due to percieved indifference.
This is a simple tool to show appreciation. It is inexpensive and time saving. A lot of companies take business from people and do not say thank you. The experience is not personalised. This little tool could help many expand their business.
SendOutCards has also been used to teach school aged children appreciation and can be used as a fund raising initiative.
To raise funds, organisations such as schools or churches, can become distributors themselves and encourage parents or members to take out subscriptions to the service.
Therefore every time they send a cards or gifts from the website, the organisation will receive the profits from these sales and raise much needed funds.