Feedback as you Develop your Business

As  you structure and develop your business keep in mind the importance of feedback from current customers and all those you come in contact with.   At times our own views and outlook on specific facets of our product or service need a little boost from outside to liven things up.   We narrow in concentrating on small details and quite possibly can lose sight of the big picture.  

Periodically, it is a wise move to ask the opinion of others.   You may create a panel or committee merely for answering questions on a color design or even for taste testing your creations.

Just this past week I posted this picture on Wordless Wednesday and had the caption “Chocolate” under it.   I noticed some of the comments were unsure if it was actually chocolate or soap.   I then changed the caption to ask just that question – Is it chocolate or soap?   Not sure if the word Handmade caused the confusion or the fact that it does look like a bar of soap was the reason.   Regardless, this confusion could have resulted in loss of sales if I were selling the item.  

Actually for those still wondering … It was Chocolate!   Another interesting point dawned on me ….. a good description.   You would never had known 1) first of all, if it actually was chocolate and 2) what was inside.   Along with a eye-catching photo of your product, you need to paint a jaw dropping description to entice viewers to want what you have to offer.

A rich, creamy Chocolate covered treat!  Let your senses delight as this  mint- flavored crunchy snack takes away all the stresses of the day!

As long as you are asking for feedback from customers or volunteers, go ahead and ask advice on a good description.   Brainstorm … throw words out there and find the perfect words to convey your products and services.

One word could make all the difference ……. Chocolate or Soap?

What does your “About” Page say?

I just finished reading an article from Inc. magazine regarding the importance of an “About” page on your website, blog and business material.   Simply stated the article emphasized the relationship factor involved in on-line interactions.   No longer are relationships merely business to business dealings instead they are on a more people to people level.   Potential customers visit your page interested in your product or service but they also want to learn more about you.   They want to like and trust you before they commit on a financial basis (purchasing what you offer for sale).   Reading about the company history, the founders and what inspired them lends a human touch to the business.   It is this human touch that is often lacking on-line.  Making sure you offer this in your on-line presence will help ensure return visits to your blog or website.

Think of your “About” page as a sales tool, and quite frankly, it does work as a sales person.   It represents your business with the added benefit of being open 24 hours a day.   Even if you are not running a small business your “About” page can personalize you, helping you appear more like a human being and not just a computer screen.   Showcase your personality – make it serious or funny, happy or light-hearted.   You could even go as far as making a video so your viewers can see the “real” you!

I am sure after reading this post and acknowledging the importance I am passing along regarding the “About” page, you will glance around looking for mine.   Well … I honestly didn’t realize the potential or the significance it held.   I guess you can say it is much like an open invitation to your audience to come on in and get to know you.   I will have to spend some time creating my personality on paper since I definitely do not want to appear boring and dull.   I need to portray myself as fun, happy and always smiling …. I wonder if I can muster up some writing skills and paint the picture of who I am?

What does your “About” page say?

(Afterthought … I actually do have an About page out there, on another blog and it doesn’t sound half bad!)

Crafting a Business

I purchased this book several months ago and read it rather quickly.   I Love It!   Not because of the information it contains, but the strong feeling I get when I see what these women have accomplished.   The book portrays 28 successful small business owners who strive for more … who have a calling to unleash their passion and they are doing just that.   The book does not give detailed information on” how to” but rather it profiles these 28 women and gives a brief description of them, their business and dreams.

It held my interest and still does (as I sit here flipping through the pages again).   I listed a few of the businesses featured so you can get a feel for what I am talking about.   They went beyond selling to their friends and/or just an online community … they focused on the bigger picture.   Creating a Big small business and I find it very inspiring.

Sisters on the Fly – www.sistersonthefly.com

Tiddlywinks & Scallywags – www.britkid.com 

Amy Butler Design – www.amybutlerdesign.com

Found Cat Studio – www.annacorbastudio.com

Lucinda Rooney – www.lucindarooney.com

Confetti Cakes – www.confetticakes.com

Warm Biscuit – www.warmbiscuit.com

The deep meaning that I find in this book is this – you can create a craft business and sell your products on-line or at craft shows or even a storefront, but.   The” but” is what captivates me.   Each and every one of these individuals aimed high.   You have to take your mind and put it into focus … focus on where you are going, live and act like you are already there and you will be before you know it.   Go after the big picture!   These brilliant ladies did it and they are telling their story!

Stay Unique with your Business

Standing out in a crowd is usually something we don’t strive to do; most times, we just want to blend in and go with the flow.   This is fine when standing in line at the bank or sitting in the audience at a movie theater, but not so when running a small business.   These days the internet is saturated with business sites, small and large, and standing out in a crowd is a necessity.   A small business not only has to grab our attention but also give us reason to return to their site.   Our initial contacts over the internet are quick and if our interest is peaked, we will bookmark the site for further research.   If this doesn’t happen the site is usually lost in the vast world of the internet.

If we have a name or logo that is easily remembered chances are we can be found again without much effort.   A simple, yet unique name along with repetition, will up the odds of our business site being found again.   Repetition is key.   The more an individual sees or hears your business name the more likely they will be to search you out and make sure to add you to their bookmarks.   Make it a point then to become involved in groups and forums, giveaways (have one yourself), challenges such as the Post a Day 2011 currently underway by WordPress, comment on blogs and fan pages and make sure you are real.   Don’t just zip through a list of blogs and leave the same comment.   Find blogs that interest you and be honest when leaving feedback and remember to stay positive.

Along the lines of a giveaway, you can also offer tips and advice in your field of expertise either as a page on your blog or website or offer to mail a free booklet along with an order or have a downloadable version available.   Make it easy to obtain with no requirements or hoops they have to jump through to get the information.   I see quite a few individuals using the free ebook format and as you read on you get more and more but you have to do more or pay more.   For me that approach doesn’t work and I usually leave the site never to return.

I spotted this article on Twitter this past week and found it loaded with great tips and valuable advice… Creating An Irresistible Brand.

Participating in the WordPress Post a Day 2011 Challenge!

Small Business Sites and more Post a Day

I created a page Post a Day Challenge on my blog and a tab appears above.   This is a breakdown of the topics I will be posting about each day of the week.   I also created a Facebook group for those of us participating so we can share our posts with each other via Facebook.   Others can join us in our daily or weekly challenge and I am sure we will meet some great fellow bloggers and learn some fun new things along the way!

Today (according to my daily breakdown for Sunday) the topic is “small business”.   I am no expert on small business but I do have some experience in this area since we have owned a small business in the restaurant industry for almost 15 years now.   We came to a point along the way where we made the decision to stay small instead of expanding and we do hope to retire in the next few years.   I have also dabbled in a few direct selling lines, real estate and most recently have opened an online shop at Zibbet selling some of my handmade creations.

I am always on the lookout for social sites to network with others and I love the concept of marketing.   At the end of the year and beginning of a new year alot of companies will create recaps of “the best of the year” and this is a Great resource to find a list of small business sites that come highly recommended.   Here are a few small business sites that offer wonderful advice and tips for those interested in learning more about small business or who already run a small business of their own.

Inc.com       Entrepreneur.com      SmallBizTrends.com      Mashable.com

Business Done Now has a great writeup and video on Social media websites for 2011 to keep on eye on … it’s worth checking out!

There is a wealth of information at each of these sites and you may spend many hours reading and learning.   If you are thinking about starting a blog for your small business, I highly recommend WordPress .  I have created several blogs over the years and find WordPress to have that sophisticated look I want for my writing and sharing.   Earlier today I posted a recap of my blog stats they emailed to me so I can see how I did and this is just one of the great ways they motivate and stay connected with their users.   Give WordPress a try; definitely a great business tool!

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