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Build a Business Website People Love to Visit

Create an Awesome Small Business Website People WANT to Visit.
 
It’s the gateway to your business…it’s open 24 x 7 x365…and it represents everything you have to offer.
 
It’s your website, and it likely is failing you in MANY ways.
 
I have noticed a very disturbing trend for entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses when it comes to their website.   They do not understand how to design a site that is engaging, easy to use/navigate, relevant to the firm’s ideal customers, and refreshed to remain interesting so visitors to their website want to keep coming back.
 
Fear not small business owner.  Your business website can be fixed.  Just follow these guidelines and you will have a world-class website in NO time.
 
1. Understand what your website will be used for:  Is your website going to be used for education, to entertain, or to generate sales.  Understanding what your website’s primary purpose is, will help you to understand how to design it for the maximum benefit of your website visitors.
 
2. Get your top customers involved.   Want to understand what your customers want from your website?  Ask them!   Have them involved in the content creation for your business website, and certainly involve them in the design by having a select few of your ideal customers (five to ten will do just fine) be involved in testing of your website.  Have them try to navigate around, see if the content is appealing to them.  Can they find what they are looking for in TWO clicks, or less?  If not, they won’t bother struggling to find what they need.  They will simply leave your website…and likely won’t come back.
 
3.  Update your content constantly.  While you won’t need to continuously update all the content on your site, one of the major factors in how relevant your site is when it comes to Google and search is whether you are updating your site’s content.  Information you can add/update on a regular basis include events, trade shows and conferences you attend, link your site to your blog and write a blog post every 1-2 weeks, provide links to partners, resources, case studies, white papers, industry research, and useful resources.
 
4. Video is King.   Be sure to create a videos section with 2-3 minute videos of you and your partners talking on various topics related to your core business offerings.  Google looks VERY favorably on video being included on your site.  They own YouTube, after all and it’s the second most popular search engine for a reason.   People LOVE watching videos!
 
 
5. Links to Partners Matter.  By including external links to your partner’s websites and having them link back to your site, Google will also look favorably upon your site and consider it to be more relevant than competitors that do not have links.  Understand though that your partners must be reputable firms that have an established following.
 
 
6. Embed All your pages with analytics.  Go to www.google.com/analytics and enter the link for every one of the pages of your site.   Google will create custom code for each page of your site.  You will need to embed that Google generated code onto each page of your website.   Doing so will enable you to track the traffic that comes to your site.
 
7. Pay attention to the Analytics. Spend time analyzing what the traffic figures tell you.  Bounce rate is the percent of folks that come to your site and leave right away.  How many people are coming to your site for the first time. Having a high bounce rate or high number of first time visitors will tell you people don’t like what they see when they get to your site and/or they do not come back.  You should also know where people are coming to your site from?  Are they arriving from searches, your social media pages, partner sites, or elsewhere?  Knowing WHERE visitors are coming from when they get to your website REALLY matters.   You will want/need to know how long they spend on your site (in time and number of pages viewed.)   Additional insights include: where visitors live (cities, countries, and regions of the world), and the language they are searching in.
 
8.  How does your site rank?  There are many free services that you can use to determine how effective your site is.  Some tools/resources include websites like www.Klout.com, and www.hubspot.com.  These sites look at your website and come up with a diagnostic report of how effective your website is.  go ahead and try doing this.   The results might just amaze you.
 
9. Quick hits to make a site sticky.  Have your telephone number and email prominently displayed on EVERY page, make sure your contact us page works, allow people to post comments, and have icons for your social media accounts displayed on the top of every page.  Have a very sharp logo professionally designed on the top-left hand corner of your site.   You want to have a LOT of white space (think Apple) with effect color contrast, easy to read text font and all critical information above the fold (at the top of the screen.)   Architect your site so it can be displayed with maximum visual impact on all three platforms (mobile, tablet, and laptop/PC.)
 
10. Brand your business on your website.  Make sure that your website’s branding perfectly matches your print materials, and your social media pages.
 
11. Blog, blog, blog.   In real estate it’s all about LOCATION. In building a strong online presence through your website, be sure to have a blog nested withing your site.  A platform like WordPress creates a bridge between your website and your blog so you can easily drive traffic back and forth between your site and your blog.
 
12. Re-design your website at regular intervals.  An acceptable time frame to re-design your site is every one to two years.  Certain factors may necessitate a more frequent update cycle, such as major new markets you enter, new products and services offered, new target markets pursued, any mergers, acquisitions, and/or partnerships your firm goes through.
 
13. Content is king.  I know, I know, I already said Video is king.  Sure, videos DO matter and the total content placed on your site is critically important!  How do you know WHAT content matters most to your site’s visitors?   In order to place relevant text, pictures, photographs, charts, etc. that people care about, you MUST spend time on Google adwords to learn the two to three keyword search terms that people search for every month that are relevant to your business/organization.   Once you figure out the search terms people are searching for most frequently, make sure you use those terms on as many of your pages as you can.   Not only does the content on your pages make a huge difference to your site’s overall relevance, but there is something equally important you never see ON your website and that is called “meta data.”
 
14. Information about information is “Meta data.”   Meta data are the descriptions (50-250 words) that you use to describe what is on your pages. Be sure to use all of the most critically important (relevant) terms to describe what is on your page.
 
Well, there you have it.   My list of best practices you should implement on your website, in order to create a world-class site that your best customers, employees, partners, members of the media, and potential investors will all WANT to visit.  The goal is to have the people that you want to visit your website visit time and time again, to learn more about you, your business, and what you’re up to.
 
How many of these best practices do you implement with your business website?
 
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach
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Invest in Your Business Planning, Not Running Your Business

 
Are you so busy running your business, you can’t find time to work on your business planning and GROW your business?
 
It’s the classic dilemma faced by nearly ALL start-ups and small business owners everywhere.
 
Business owners get so consumed with running every aspect of their business because they don’t have enough staff or the resources (money) to delegate by hiring others, that they don’t have time to focus on GROWING their business by investing sufficient effort in business planning.   Thus, the vicious cycle of investing more and more effort working in their business leads to diminished returns in growing their business.
 
This is where I spend the most time coaching my business clients, by introducing them to the critical notion of getting OUT of the day-to-day tasks associated with running their business, so they can set aside invaluable time to invest in their strategic business planning.
 
If this sounds a LOT like the challenges you face, here are some useful tips for how you can begin to shift your focus from working IN your business, to working ON growing your business.

 
1. ONLY DO WHAT YOU LOVE:
 
We start by my administering a self-assessment / skills inventory tool I created, so we can identify and focus on all their core competencies…the things they do really well and LOVE doing.  By extension, we are also able to determine the type of busy work that they are better off outsourcing to those folks that specialize in these services.
 
We outsource EVERYTHING else!   as their business consultant, I introduce them to other folks who take over their administrative tasks (I find them a virtual administrative assistant), get them a bookkeeper, find them freelance talent for copy-writing, social media, and graphic design and in effect outsource every single non-core competency that wastes their time.

 
2. MAKE TIME FOR STRATEGIC PLANNING:
 
Carve out a predetermined amount of time EVERY DAY that you go to your quiet ALONE place and think about your business. not the mundane tasks, or day to day headaches but the BIG PICTURE stuff.  What initiatives would you undertake, if money were no object and your resources were infinite?

 
3. WHAT’S AN HOUR OF YOUR TIME WORTH?
 
Think about the average income you generate on a “per hour” basis.  How much do you charge per hour for your services, or how much do you charge per product when you break down how much time it takes you to make a product.
 
However you set up the formula, you have to have an understanding of, and appreciation for, every hour you invest NOT selling is an opportunity cost for the most valuable resource there is…TIME.
 
4. FIND PARTNERS TO SHARE THE LOAD:
 
There are formal partnership you can form with shared ownership and financial commitments, as well as informal partnerships (more akin to working relationships) that can be sought with vendors, suppliers, contractors, service providers.  By forming both types of relationships, you can off-load your work, split tasks, focus on what you love doing and are best at, maximize your time investment, and pull out of the minutiae of running your business to focus on planning the future of your business.
 
5. CREATE AN EXIT STRATEGY
 
This is a really important requirement for clients that I coach that are just starting out.   They are so intent on forming their business that asking them to think about their legacy is often a challenge.
 
But by thinking of what you want to leave behind, and setting up mile markers with benchmarks for achieving everything you set out to accomplish, you will know when it is time to step away from the business to focus on the next chapter of your life.
 
By committing this to writing, you will define your legacy in such a way that you can document your desired organizational culture, the values you want your organization to represent type of people you want to work with, the ideal employees to achieve success with you, clients you wish to land and serve, the type of social corporate responsibility and contributions you want to make to your community and society.
 
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach
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Choosing a Business Partner

How to Find the IDEAL Business Partner.
 
One of the most common challenges that entrepreneurs can face when forming a new business is deciding whether or not to bring in formal partners that they commit to by signing a formal partner agreement.
 
It is important to note that I am NOT talking about forging informal partnerships with vendors, suppliers, providers that you might barter with one another to provide services to each other, in lieu of payment.  We are talking about forming a legally binding partnership arrangement.
 
Whether you are forging a formal partnership agreement or forging loosely defined partnerships, there are certain strategies you can follow to ensure success.  you can start by answering the following questions BEFORE you begin to seek potential partners.
 
Define your needs.  Ideally you should find someone whose skills, background and experience complement but not necessarily overlap your own. You want to seek people whose skills  complement your own. For example, if you are highly analytical, detail-oriented and introverted, an ideal partner would be gregarious, and a “BIG PICTURE” kind of person.
 
Do they share your values?  You also want to make sure that any person that you decide to partner with shares your values, belief, and commitment to your start-up business.
 
How much time are they willing to invest?  One of the sure-fire ways that you can get angry at a partner is when you feel that they are not investing the same amount of hard work as you.  I see this all the time in my business coaching work with entrepreneurs, start-ups, and small business owners.
 
Anything in their background that should give you pause?   Do your due diligence and research their background.  Run a Dun & Bradstreet report on them, to see if they have ever been involved in any lawsuits, judgements, bankruptcies, or liens. how is their credit history?
 
How committed are they?  Do they have any outside family issues that would prevent them from giving your business start-up the focus and attention it will demand?
 
How well do they respond to adversity?  No matter how ideal your partnership union, or how smoothly your initial honey moon phase goes, invariably you and your partner(s) are going to face challenging times. The true measure of a person is how well they respond to adversity.  Do they fold like a cheap tent, or will they have the fortitude and mental toughness that is required to remain committed to you achieving your short and long-term business goals together?
 
What standing do they have in their community?  Namely, what type of reputation have they forged with people who know them?  Are they kind, caring, thoughtful people?  Do they get involved in community activities?  Do they lend their time and effort for the greater good of COMMUNITY?
 
Will they commit to the partnership IN WRITING?  Are they going to willingly put everything that you agree to in your partnership in writing?  At the end of the day, you will need to hire an attorney to help you craft a partnership agreement that covers you both.  So, how willing are they to commit their commitments to you on paper?
 
Do you REALLY need a partner?  What exactly are you looking for in a partnership? When I formed my business consulting firm, I wish that I had found partners, to help lighten the workload.  Partners can assist in the financial investment in the firm, and lastly (but certainly NOT least) can provide emotional support through the sense of shared mission that comes from being IN IT together.  It always helps to have people by your side.
 
However, there are people who will prefer to take a “go at it alone” approach.  To those folks, having a partner is not a viable option.  These independent types would only see partners as obstacles that get in their way.  If you are that type of individual that is absolutely fine. Just know that forging a partnership may not be the right course of action to pursue.
 
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach
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Rekindle Your StartUp Business Passion

What Does Your Business Legacy Mean to You?
 
Do you still possess the same intense “fire in your belly” that you had, when you first launched your business?
 
When was the last time you stepped back from being “IN” your business, to ask yourself why you started your business in the first place?
 
As I talk to and consult with more business owners who are stuck, the question that arises more often these days is: “What happened to their passion?”
 
It is the single most important question that a business owner can ask themselves, to truly understand their long-term goals.  There is no other way of unsticking their business when their growth flat-lines.
 
So, why did you decide to start the business you chose to launch in the first place? What were those grandiose goals?   How were you going to change the world?
 
You most likely chose the business you did because that was the industry you possessed the most background and experience.
 
The choices you made were based in large part on the contacts you had and the products and services that you were most interested in offering.  In short, that was where your passions lay.
 
BUT…what are the long-term goals you hope to achieve given TODAY’S reality?
 
purpose
 
 
What do you want your legacy to be?   When all is said and done, what is it that you hope to leave behind?
 
Are you living in the NOW all the time, focused only on your weekly, monthly, and quarterly sales goals?  What happened to your vision?
 
Are you focused on mere survival?  If so, you are likely operating your business in the most short-sighted manner and you’re missing out on many opportunities by not broadening your horizon?
 
Ask yourself these highly difficult questions:
 
* Are you happy with where you are now?
 
* How often do you take tremendous risks with high potential rewards?
 
* Do you truly empower your employees?
 
* Do you have a five or ten year plan?
 
* What is your exit strategy?
 
* What is your plan to find,  recruit and keep TOP talent?
 
* Are you operating off the same business plan that you developed years ago, even as many aspects of your industry have changed significantly in recent years?
 
All of these considerations should be factored in as you attempt to unstick your business and get back to achieving double-digit growth.
 
Are you doing today the things you were doing years ago that brought you the greatest satisfaction.
 
If not, then I urge you to rekindle the passion that you possessed when you first started out.
 
THAT rekindling of the passion you had when you launched your business will drive you forward in these challenging economic times.
 
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach
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Dare to Achieve Sales Success

 
You CAN Achieve Effective Selling. Just Don’t SELL!
 
One of the things that I’ve noticed with entrepreneurs and start-ups is, just because they have a great idea for a product or service that they chose to cash in on by commercializing their idea, they don’t necessarily always understand how to achieve sales success through effective selling strategies.
 
herb tarlek wkrp
 
Sales Video from TV’s Greatest Salesman, Herb Tarlek, WKRP
 
Which is why I urge my clients to start out with their new business by understanding they shouldn’t try to “sell” IF their goal is to be successful in their ales efforts. Instead, I suggest they implement strategies that lead to building strong relationships based on trust, full disclosure, and a fervent commitment to serving others. Once you achieve these lofty goals, your sales will naturally evolve out of / come from those powerful relationships.
 
* Don’t Sell, Serve: Rather than pushing your stuff on people, you need to figure out how you can provide solutions to resolve the specific challenges they face. Once you are able to provide solutions to the key business challenges that keep your customers up at night, you will achieve sales success. People reward others handsomely who can provide solutions and deliver value. That’s what effective selling is ALL about!
 
* Be Empathetic: In order to be effective serving clients, first you must care about people enough to want to help them. When you can help them to make purchase decisions for them that is adding real value. In the world of business Networking International, a clutch phrase practiced by all members is “Givers Gain.” That is the essence of effective selling. By delivering value to others, you will be rewarded by people purchasing from you.
 
* Listen…listen…LISTEN: There is a tremendous power that comes from listening to someone.
 
* Create Value For Others: It’s not very easy to get your customers to give you their money. By creating value they’ll gladly pay you for your services.
 
* Be Passionate and Exciting: Do you REALLY care about what you do? do you believe that what you have to offer will change people’s lives for the better. If you do, you’ll be able to achieve all of your sales goals because people will WANT to do business with you.
 
* Get to Really Know Your Clients: Not just their birthday but REALLY understand what their motivations are, what their career aspirations, what challenges keep them up at night.
 
* Answer Client Questions Directly & Clearly: Don’t beat around the bush, make excuses, or speak in riddles. Be prepared to answer any and all questions directly and with complete clarity (plus conviction.)
 
* Humor is a VERY Powerful Tool: I’m not saying you need to craft a stage act like Seinfeld, Chris Rock or George Carlin. But being funny actually does bring down people’s barriers. Try to be more affable, friendly and engaging by being humorous. NOTE: You either have it or you don’t. Don’t force yourself to be something you’re not.
 
* You Can Always Get Better: Don’t just assume that because you’ve had success selling in the past doesn’t mean you can’t perfect your craft. We can all get better.
 
* Set Aside Time Each Day for Prospecting: One strategy that you can employ to invest sufficient time in sales prospecting, is to set aside time each day to invest in your sales prospecting.
 
* Show Up and Deliver: Always arrive on time, and show up for every sales meeting totally prepared to address your client’s specific concerns by doing your research on them,
 
* Always Have a Close: In any sales activity it’s important to have a strategy for how you are going to close. Will you send a follow up sales deck/presentation? Do you plan on offering 30 day trial? Give them 3 for the price of 2 if they sign up today. Always have a viable plan to close every qualified lead to first time customer.
 
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach
 
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Lies We Tell Ourselves, and Others

 
Optimal business performance demands we be honest with ourselves…and others!
 
I recently read an article about a recent survey that was conducted by Deluxe Corporation of small business owners, which found that more than 80% of them consider themselves more a leader than a follower, AND more than 75% identify as a doer rather than a delegator.
 
These numbers are so far removed from what I experience as a business coach/consultant, that they border on delusional.
 
This got me to thinking about the lies that we tell ourselves and others on an almost daily basis, in the course of our jobs or running a business. These lies reduce our workplace productivity, hinder our professional development, AND weaken our bonds/relationships with others by lowering the trust they have in us.
 
You know what I’m talking about. How often have you heard people say or said yourself:
 
* All our clients (vendors, partners, suppliers, EMPLOYEES) love us!
 
* I will start going to the gym next month. 
lying to ourselves
 
* I’ll start eating healthier soon.
 
* I will definitely call you back!
 
* I’ll get to that tomorrow.
 
* I’ve done enough planning to make a Go decision on my new business?
 
* My relationship with my business (relationship) partner(s) is just fine.
 
* I can plan, launch, grow this business on my own.
 
* I am a GREAT boss – I’m a LEADER, not a “manager.”
 
Two questions that beg asking are:
 
1) WHY do we do this so often; and
 
2) How can we hold ourselves accountable to ensure we don’t do this.
 
I suggest we are all guilty of this because we HATE coming face to face with the hard truth that we may be deficient/lacking in some capacity. Why do we have distorted views of our own reality? Why do we put off the uncomfortable tasks, encounters, meetings, follow-up calls that sit on our calendar and we keep putting off on our To-Do lists?
 
As an entrepreneur, business start-up or small business owner, being able to have complete truthfulness and self-awareness in our abilities, values, and behavioral
patterns is absolutely critical in planning, launching and growing a successful business. It’s of central importance in ensuring our professional development, career mobility, and interpersonal business relationships.
 
Lying To Ourselves – It’s Called Cognitive Dissonance.
 
This is such a prevalent aspect of our human nature that there is a huge body of psychological research and field of study called cognitive dissonance.
 
Social psychologists studying cognitive dissonance are interested in the way we deal with two thoughts that contradict each other – and how we deal with this contradiction. So if we think things about ourselves we don’t like or contradict our self-perception, we must reconcile the difference and that’s called Cognitive Dissonance. Don’t believe me? Read this awesome article on why we lie to ourselves.
 
The lies we tell others come back to haunt us. Often, as start-ups, entrepreneurs, or small business owners our word and how we act, treat others has a direct immediate impact on our personal and professional brand. The lies we tell add up and do much to destroy our reputational brand.
 
What do you think. don’t tell me you LOVE this…unless you mean it.
 
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Coach
 
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