Every business needs a bright spark now and then...

Every business needs a bright spark now and then...

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Category Business Focus

Where does entrepreneurial spirit come from?

Fresh ideas sign in the skyI am currently editing an article on what  makes a successful entrepreneur and it has got me thinking. I think of myself as an entrepreneur – I have ideas, I am confident, I can spot opportunities, I will take calculated risks and I aim high.

From what the expert entrepreneur coach I am working with has said, these are all key characteristics of an entrepreneur. But I have my failings too and these sometimes get in my way.  By that I mean I have a severe fear of failure (another entrepreneurial characteristic), I don’t always follow through (classic entrepreneur trait and a bit too honest perhaps) and I don’t always view my ideas that objectively.

So am I an entrepreneur or not?
Do I have what it takes to be a real entrepreneur, a successful entrepreneur? Some times I say “YES, of course

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Marketing basics: Blogging for your business and can it get you any?

First things first.  What is a blog?  A blog is a simple, cost-effective way to get an online presence for your business.  Blogs are basically a form of website but one that is set up to be changed or added to easily so that you can communicate regularly with your readers.

And even if you have a website already they are a good way to boost your rankings – especially if you have a link back to your site on every post and people start to follow it. Most people hear blog and panic!  If that’s you (like initially it was me!) then don’t.  They are easy to set up and easy to manage.  They are not necessarily easy to keep going but like any part of your business they require commitment.

Can a blog get you business?

There are plenty of people out there who resoundingly say YES! – blogging can get you business.  I say, it depends.

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Marketing Basics: Public Relations – how to shout about your business success!


OK so Public Relations – or PR – was one of the alternatives I suggested to advertising in the last Marketing Basics post.  It is also something we should all be doing to promote our businesses.  There is so much to write about PR that this could be the longest newsletter ever.  But I really don’t want to bore you – ok – I really want to try not to bore you!

There are three main things I think you should know and remember about PR and they are what I lovingly call the Three Cs:




Here is the explanation of the 3 Cs in what I hope will be an illuminating fashion.

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Networking: Relationships or Referrals? (A ranty post!)

It’s weird… one little tweet of just under 140 characters has prompted me to write this rather ranty post. (Yes I know I am apt to rant on occasion but that’s what happens when your life is guided by passion and enthusiasm!)

I was on Twitter today (yes, again!) and I saw a tweet about what real networking is and whether some organisations have lost sight of that.  I then caught a ReTweet by another Twerson (Twitter Person) which commented that real networking was what BNI (Business Networking International) was about.

In honesty, I almost had an apoplectic fit, simply because I have been to BNI (a couple of different groups in fact) and found the experience quite deflating and incredibly uncomfortable.  It wasn’t the Monthly Minute, it wasn’t the predominance of men to women (I’m 6ft 1in, with 135 IQ and can hold my own against any pompous businessman, or woman, in fact).  It was the utter lack of focus on what real networking should be about and the almost maniacal insistence upon generating referrals.  That just made me think – you don’t care about my business you just want to see what’s in it for you.  No thanks!

Ok I understand that not all BNI groups are like this I REALLY do – perhaps I just got unlucky – twice! But it does seem that BNI’s type of networking is focused on growing business as a first-generation result of networking activity.  For me this flies in the face of what networking really is and should be about.

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Marketing Basics: Advertising, what to look for and what NOT to do

To be honest, you shouldn’t be advertising at all and especially NOT if you are on a small budget.  There are so many other things you could be spending your marketing budget on, rather than advertising, and many of these strategies have higher returns than a traditional advert.

But, BEFORE I go into what you could be spending your money on in later posts, let’s look at what to look for and what to avoid if you do decide to advertise.

Advertising – what you SHOULD do:

  • DO your research. Before you spend a penny, or even make a commitment to any publication/media source, you need to know that you are considering the right outlet for your advert.  You can do this by matching up your target audience or your ideal customer profile with the publication’s reader demographics.  All good publications/media sources will have this information in their media packs or if they don’t, they will be able to provide this information to you.  If the information doesn’t match – then don’t use this publication – it just won’t work.
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Marketing Basics: Is your website working for you?

These days most people consider a website to be all important.  Some businesses do still get by without one, admittedly, but the general consensus is that to have a successful business you need an online presence in the form of a website.

So if you do have a website the question is: Is it working for you?  (If you don’t have a website that is a different matter entirely and one which I can help you resolve.)

So, is your website working for you?
The first issue with that question would seem to be: how do you know if it is working for you or not?  How can you tell?  This just leads to more questions I’m afraid:

What is the purpose of your website?
I.e. why does your business need one and what are to you trying to achieve by having one?

Answers to this might include: selling your products online more quickly and easily than by mail order or by brochure or in a shop.  It could be that you want to be able to direct potential customers to a place where they can get more information about you so that you don’t have to spend lots of your time on sales calls or sending out expensive brochures.

Or it could be that you want a site that exists for the benefit or your existing customers, so they can interact with you and your business and access your products and services without needing to engage directly with you, therefore cutting your overheads and increasing their convenience. I am sure there are more answers to that question but those are the main three (in my opinion).

So which answer is it for you?  Make a list about what you want your website to do and achieve – be as specific as possible as this will guide you in making sure it is doing what you want it to.

Secondly, you need to consider that if it isn’t working for you – what to do about it.

Without going into too much detail, let’s take each type of website in the example answers above and go through key information they should and things to consider adding to your site to improve it.

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My Twitter Business Interview

twitter_birdieYes I know I have done quite a few posts this week on Twitter, but it really is a seriously good tool for business.  It is certainly going to explode this year as one of the most important social media marketing strategies.

I was asked, by a fellow Twitter user, to comment on how I use Twitter for my business.  It’s a great read and may impart some useful tips on how to approach Twitter for your own business.  Here is my Twitter Business Interview.

If you want to know more about Twitter then sign up the Just Too Busy mailing list and I will be covering the first steps to getting started:  Just Too Busy Newlsetter

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Loving Twitter! Are You? How to be successful with Twitter

I must be doing something right – I joined Twitter on 16th Feb (just over two short weeks ago now) and I have passed two milestones tonight: I now have over 100 followers and I have updated over 210 tweets.

If you want to know my Twitter secrets then sign up to my newsletter here: Just Too Busy Newsletter – as the article in my next issue will cover just what I did and how I am growing my follower base all the time.  You can even learn how I got my first Twitter client.

Or if you can’t wait then you can download this free ebook called “How to Get Started Using Twitter” – it’s by a fellow Tweeter called Mark Shaw and you can find this book here.

If you have any questions then just get in touch or leave a comment I will get back to you.  You can also follow me on Twitter @JustTooBusy.

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Are you a swan in your business?


Strange question I agree, but for the many business owners I meet, this is a familiar picture even if they don’t realise it until I point it out to them.

More often than not running your own business at some point leaves you feeling like a swan: gliding beautifully along on the surface – to all intents and purposes in control and serenely calm about your destiny – but underneath (where no one apart from the other half can see) your legs are thrashing madly away just trying to keep up and keep moving.

I know that feeling too. It’s not nice. So what can you do about it?  Well it firstly depends on why you are thrashing away.

If it is because you feel out of control and swamped by everything you have to do each day then you need to get organised. You can do this yourself or hire one of the most cost effective ways to do this these days: outsource the problem to a professional Virtual Assistant.

Or if it is because your business has taken a hit in recent months and you are starting to get that panicky feeling about where the next customer or sale is coming from then you need to focus.  This is the time when marketing is never more important and more often than not the time when a lot of people slash that particular budget or make impulse decisions about their marketing activity.  Both reactions are wrong.

Whatever the reason you are thrashing about in your business, now’s the time to stop.

Here are five things you can do right now to get back a bit of the glide into your life and cut back on the thrash:

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Making it short and tweet with Twitter

I have known about Twitter for some time, I think I first heard about it last July or August but didn’t really look into it as I was expecting my second baby and had a lot on my plate.short-and-tweet1

But it is becoming kind of hard to ignore. Lots of people I know are using it, lots of people I know are writing about it, so I thought I would join in.

Except, I think everyone is taking it a little too seriously. I’m definitely not saying it isn’t a great tool – it is!  But it is just another one in the series of online social media tools that have come online in the last 12 months and really taken off.

I actually LOVE Twitter.  I think it is a really great way to stay in touch with people that doesn’t make it a full-time occupation to do so (although I know some people like Stephen Fry are completely addicted!).

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