Are you one of the group of sceptics who thinks that social media is a waste of time and that it has no place in business?
If so, you are going to get left behind. Using social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook can help you find new customers in a low cost way and new customers means more money.
(Note I don’t suggest it is free as there is of course a time consideration but using the tools that are out there mean that your time expense is minimised)
In my role as The IT Fairy I’ve written two articles that illustrate how two quite different businesses used Twitter to find new clients.
One is an UK based insurance company and the other is tourist attraction in the US.
And if you’d like to take your social media to the next level, then let us know as it’s something we use a lot and we’d love to teach you how you can too.
The other night, as I was taking my medicine, I reflected on how easy it was to do compare to when I first started.
The medicine in question is an immunosuppressant drug called Cyclosporin. I had a lung transplant back in 2008 (rare lung disease called Lymphangioleiomyomatosis as you’re asking – see LAM Action for more on it) and I take cyclosporin to stop my body from rejecting the lung. It’s something I’ll have to take for ever.
Anyway, when I first started taking it, it was horrible. It smells just terrible. My stomach would do cartwheels as soon as I opened the package and the only way I could take it was by holding my nose. Yes it was that bad (and remember I’ve got children so I’ve done the nappy thing!) Several times my stomach flipped so much I was actually sick and so would have to take another dose of it. (The drug was originally isolated from a fungus found in a soil sample in Norway. That might explain the smell. See Wikipedia for more if you have an interest in such things)
But as time went on, I got more and more use to taking it and now it doesn’t bother me at all. If you’re at a networking event with me then you might notice me opening my pill box and quickly taking some of the cocktail of meds that keeps me alive, but it’s no big drama. I’ve got use to it and I am quite accomplished at it now.
And yes, there’s a business lesson here (why else would I be sharing this with you?!)
Think about something you have to do in business that you really don’t like and/or feel uncomfortable doing. Well, as I dish out a bit of tough love, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and do it.
Yes, you can out-source things. But there’s a cost to that and if you are just starting out then maybe you don’t yet have the resources. Or maybe you haven’t found the right company to outsource it to. Trusting someone else can be difficult.
Or maybe it’s something that you can’t outsource and you have to do it yourself. There was no-one I could out-source taking my medicine to! I just had to learn to do it.
And now I can do it and it doesn’t bother me at all.
So what tasks in your business do you dread?
Can you outsource them? If you can and the cost of doing it makes sense then outsource.
If you can’t outsource then put on your big girl (or boy) pants and just do it. Ask for help from people who can do it and learn.
You might find that the more you do it, the easy it will become and you may even learn to love it. I used to hate public speaking but I love it now. Why else would I have stood on the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square
I’ll tell you another time how I got over my public speaking fear, but in the meanwhile share with us what you want to get better at and we’ll look to running a session on it. The BWN is all about supporting your business growth.
(For another dose of tough love, read Steve Clarke’s blog called Can you please stop complaining!)
This is the core of sales: people buy from people who they like, who they feel understand them and their needs.
Previously this used to be about making a good impression when you knocked on someone’s door, or served them in your shop. A little later having a great phone manner and nattering away on a sales call was the skill everyone wanted to have.
Getting people to buy your product has never been a hard sell: it’s always been a social sell.
And now, thanks to the Internet, our social sell has just got more demanding. Now we have to show our customers what our ethos is through our website, woo them with our newsletters and tell the world what we’re like as people through blogs like these!
Social networking doesn’t have to be a demand though: it can be a key to finding out what your customers are like, and what they want. It can help you to anticipate their demands and give them what they want.
As an active twitter user, facebooker, blogger and general social media geek I’ve had the opportunity to experiment with what makes people ‘like’ you, how to communicate with your clients and how to tap into the most powerful piece of market research you can get.
If you have a following through social media, or just through a regular stream of client phone calls/ email enquiries; you’ve already got all the tools you need to find out what your clients want and how to sell it to them. People tell us what they want through their ‘trance’ words: the words that they use when they’re really expressing themselves.
Trance words are the words that make people buy.
They are the words that your clients always mention in their email enquiries, they’re the words they mention during your sales calls; and now they’re the key words from your conversations via social media.
Let me give you two examples:
Fred calls up Human Resources Ltd and Bonnie answers. Fred doesn’t get to his point immediately: he tells Bonnie about his day, the trouble he’s had finding staff, what happened to the last person he employed… Bonnie sticks with it though and eventually gets Fred to open up. Fred explains that he really needs staff that are reliable and that have a sense of responsibility. Jotting these words down, Bonnie allows Fred to talk some more before calmly and concisely explaining that Human Resources Ltd pride themselves on having staff that are reliable and responsible. Fred quickly agrees to use Human Resources Ltd.
Rachel is skimming through her company, Cookie’s Inc, Facebook friends. She is pretty sure that there’s room in the market for a skinny double choc chip cookie for professional women in their twenties. She writes a status update about this and gets a great response. Clicking on her inbox she sees a message from Katy who is enquiring about when the cookie is going to launch. Checking out Katy’s profile page she notes down that Katy is in her mid twenties and works for a PR company in London, she likes new restaurants, yoga and music festivals. She collates this data as and when Cookie Inc’s facebook friends interact with their company’s page: and before long sees trends developing between what different customers interests are and what type of cookies they prefer. She decides that doing a product stand at Glastonbury would be a great chance to trial run the double choc chip cookie; and also contacts yoga companies about whether they’d be willing to endorse its health benefits. The skinny choc chip cookie is a huge success: and Rachel gets promoted.
Knowing what your customers want has always been key to effective sales and marketing. Now social media has opened a door for us to build on our ability to listen to what our customers really want (their trance words), make better products, sell more, and know what business ventures make sense for us to take.
To get to a place where you can use these trance words effectively; you can’t just be a great communicator, you need to be a purposeful communicator.
You need to know how to get Fred to open up, how to encourage a conversation on your social media, how to close down that opportunity to network, to create business, become more confident.
And this is where I come in. It’s been my pleasure to speak and work with the BWN on numerous occasions and now I want to teach you the true secrets to negotiating low prices, effective networking, doubling your sales (or just winning an argument with your partner!) so I’m going to host an exclusive coffee morning event for the Business Womans Network.
I usually only work on events in central London but to give you this fully interactive (that means some audience participation and real learning) seminar I’m going to come to the Five Lakes Crowne Plaza Hotel in Colchester Essex on Tuesday the 24th of April 10.30am-1.30pm.
Not only will I be hosting the event in your local area, I’ll also be offering tickets at a fraction of their normal cost: with none of the hassle of travelling into London.
So if you want to continue to improve your communication tactics, make more sales, learn negotiation tactics taught at the best Business Schools, by top NLP practitioners and have fun! Please send a paypal payment of £50 to firstname.lastname@example.org by
Friday 20th of April. Just click on the button below and a new window will open to take you to paypal
I’ll look forward to seeing you again soon
It’s a funny question but it’s one that needs asking “When did I turn into a Radio 4 gal from a Radio 1 girl?”
It may not seem that relevant a question to ask a website laden with business women traffic, but bear with me here.
Seriously since I can remember I’ve been listening to Radio 1, bemoaning a change in a DJ and then falling in love with them and furiously postulating that Radio 1 would never be the same if that person left, only to fickly move on to the next one within 5 years. I’ve seen and copied every hair cut from frizzy Kylie perms and the same leggings and brogues that are back in fashion again today and it got me thinking.
It wasn’t a conscious decision. I didn’t wake up one morning and think “That Chris Moyles isn’t for me, I need a real voice to educate and inspire my mind today.” I just found the radio had other stations I could listen to beside my childhood love Radio 1 and the lovely Dave Monk (BBC Essex will always feature in my gotta listen category – he’s safe!)
And that’s the thing to remember in business. Peoples needs change, and half the time they don’t even realise they are changing. Half the time if you asked your customers what they needed they would say they are getting it. And that’s because we are pre-programmed by our subconscious to go through the motions of what has worked before. Find yourself going down certain aisles in the supermarket more than others? Why is it you never look at the top shelf? What makes you never considered a different brand?
It’s not a conscious decision, it’s a going through the motions, on autopilot kind of process. And we do it all the time. In every aspect of our lifes.
You need to bring it to the conscious part of people’s mind, why they should try you instead of their regular supplier. Why giving you a whirl could be the best decision they ever made.
You see we are all on that autopilot slowly turning from Radio 1 girls to Radio 4 gals. We are unconsciously having decisions made for us. Rarely do you see an 80 year old saying “Loving this Radio 1, the lyrics are just divine”, and why?
Because taste change the whole way through our life.
Would you say you are tapping into that?
(On that note remember peer group pressure – my kids get in the car and I get “Ergh Mum, get this old folk radio off, put Chris Moyles back on, and I enjoy it just as much. I’m enthused by my kids to remember being younger, on the cusp of life and ready for anything and a slight hint of a desire to stay that way, encourages me to keep the radio tuned in.( There’s something to remember in your marketing there – getting those feelings, and emotions flowing! Why do you think products aimed at your age group has music that you like from your teens years blasting in the background?)
But then without even being aware of it, like when you drive along and don’t remember the last mile of your journey, the music to the Archers starts playing.)
As I’m running The Business Womans Network while founder Mandie Holgate takes a sabbatical for her health, I found myself saying to someone “I’m being Mandie”
On the way home that day I asked myself what did that mean and realised it had some important lessons for anyone in business. Here’s what I learned.
I can’t be Mandie.
Mandie is Mandie and to try to be Mandie is ridiculous. We share a vision for The BWN but we have different approaches.
So LESSON ONE is Be Yourself.
It’s no good going into to a meeting, thinking “So and So would say this and do that”
If you try to do something that isn’t you, then people will spot you as a fake.
Next, I need help to be Mandie. Yes I know I’ve just said I’m not going to be Mandie, what I mean here is to do the things that Mandie does that make The BWN such a success.
One of the things that people tell us that they love about The BWN is that there is always a new blog to read. Now I love writing, but as I have my own business to run as well as being a mum, a school governor, on the PTA and on a charity executive committee there is no way I can write as much as Mandie. So I’ve asked the other co-ordinators to write blogs and have reminded all Business Premier Pack Owners that they can write blogs. (which has the added bonus of raising their profile)
So LESSON TWO is delegate
Too many business owners try to do everything and are reluctant to hand over any responsibility to anyone else. But if you have a team then use them. It’s a bit of cliche to say “There is no i in team” but it’s so true. Working together for a common goal makes sense.
If you work by yourself, you may be saying “OK clever clogs, what do I do?”
Well for my own business I do work by myself, so I have answer for this! Which takes us nicely to Lesson 3
Surround yourself with experts and ask for help. Just because you are running a business doesn’t mean you know everything about business. You may be the world’s expert on making purple flowers that sparkle and remind when your next meeting is (patent pending!) but that doesn’t mean you know about marketing, on contracts (what do you do if the sparkles you’ve ordered don’t sparkle like you thought they would), on employment law, on websites, on SEO, on bookkeeping, on tax returns….you get the picture
But there are people out there who love doing those things. So use them. Yes you’ll probably have to spend a bit of money but if you work out how much time you’ll save and what you could be doing in that time, it makes sense.
So as I’m “being Mandie” I’ll be asking people who I know do things that Mandie excels in for hints and tips. There’s nothing wrong in saying you need help. It’s the smart thing to do.
So there you go, three simple lesson that are true no matter what you want to achieve in business.
Now share some of yours! (see how I’m putting lesson three into practise!)
It’s almost the end of the tax year and some of you may be wondering how to deal with those receipts that come in around this time of year and how to account for them. In accounting terms this problem is known as ‘cut-off’ and literally means to look at your receipts and make a cut off point and decide which tax year they fall into.
This equally applies to limited companies whenever their year end falls, as the principle is the same.
The trick is to work out when you ‘earned ‘the receipt. So, if you did the work relating to the receipt on the 28th March 2012, and raised the invoice then, but your customer didn’t pay you until the 28th April 2012, this would be treated as income in the tax year ended 5th April 2012 because it was earned then, even though you didn’t get paid until the next tax year.
Whilst this may seem pedantic, it makes sense really, as otherwise no-one would raise any invoices towards the end of their financial year, because of the additonal income and hence potentially higher tax bill as a result, and of course it can amount to tax evasion which as we all know is not a good thing.
The only exception to this is where the amounts are small in relation to your total income as they would not make a significant difference to your accounts.
This guest blog was written by Lorraine Dale from Rightway Accounting Services