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  • 05/10/2016 11:46 AM | Anonymous member

    who wants to blog like a pro?


    Let’s face it, it can be daunting to write for the Internet; especially when you’re not a “writer.” But, don’t let that stop you. Here is an easy formula you can use to create compelling blog articles you can share on social media and email.


    Let’s get started.


    First, if headlines are the thing that hangs you up, here is a list of headlines formulas to start your creative mind to thinking.


    Six Steps To Be Successful

    1. Know what your audience wants.
    2. Keep the content short and concise.
    3. Use strong words and active voice.
    4. Keep paragraphs short.
    5. Use a list.
    6. Identify a call to action.

    Blog Format

    Now that you have the basics, put your fingers to the keyboard and fill in the blanks, including the:

    • Headline
    • Subhead(s)
    • Bulleted or Numbered List
    • Call to Action

    Remember to use action-oriented words (no passive writing) to stay focused, and to chunk content so you don’t overwhelm the reader.


    Call to Action

    Now that you’re armed, what are you waiting for? Download this activity sheet and get writing!

  • 04/19/2016 1:18 PM | Deleted user

    Your website is your companys nucleus, home base, heartbeat. When serviced well, it piques customer curiosity and fuels your brand as the most efficient and effective system to funnel business.


    We live in a digital age, meaning your website is the brick and mortar of your company. Style, content, and functionality must flourish in tandem to best serve your online presence and thus everybodys favorite buzz word search engine optimization (SEO).


    But before you dive into developing a new site or launching a redesign, youll want to think clearly about the role your website plays as part of your companys overall strategic plan. Here at Hype, we dont set foot out the door without having a plan to best serve you and your team. Bring us the concept, and well flesh out the ideas.


    But captivating web design isnt just about getting you noticed, and its definitely not about taking the cookie-cutter route. At Hype, we believe in building a site tailored to the specific needs of your business: one that directs traffic, offers a clear and compelling message, and promises customers an enjoyable user experience.

    Today its not enough to just have a website you need an online presence with a serious wow factor. Heres a basic checklist we keep handy when working with clients, whether theyre building a site from scratch or upgrading their existing one to work harder and generate more business:


              Know your website goals, i.e. increase traffic to the site, generate online sales, improve functionality, grow your email list, rebrand, etc.


              Make sure your website is mobile-responsive. It should render well on all mobile devices.


              Understand that function comes first and while eye-catching design is important, it must align with the goals for your site.

              Invest in remarkable content that tells your unique brand story.

              Consider a smart SEO strategy and let keyword research guide your copywriting.

              Maintain ongoing and engaging content such as a blog, gallery, or social media pages.

              Differentiate your sites copy with graphics let word and image share the spotlight.

              Create conversion opportunities by having smart web pages and links that drive leads.

              Measure the impact of your site with Google Analytics.



    Spring has sprung, so nows the chance to let your website bloom! Take some time to consider (or reconsider) your big-picture strategy. If you already have a site, evaluate what is and isnt working. Determine your priorities and map out a plan using this checklist as your guide. Most importantly, create something that excites you. 


    What would you seek in a website?


    We might be hopeless romantics, but were betting the result will be love at first site.” I'm happy to chat with any BCPWN member anytime. 

  • 04/08/2016 11:13 AM | Anonymous member

    As a writer for more than two-dozen years, there are some writing pet peeves that give me a twitch. But, I didn’t want this to be all about me; so, I conducted a friends and family test to see what bothers other people I know.


    The Twitch List

    Some of the items make me laugh, like “intregal,” while others make me sad, such as when to use to, two, and too. In the end, this list was fun to put together.


    Incorrect Word Usage

    1. Than vs. then
    2. You’re vs. your
    3. Their, there, and they’re
    4. To, too, and two
    5. Affect vs. effect
    6. Advise when they should use advice. Loose when they mean lose.

    Made-Up Words

    1. regardless of context
    2. Anyways
    3. Fustrated
    4. Shouldn’t of
    5. Intregal, which people mash up somehow between INTEGRAL and INTRICATE
    6. ESPRESSO with an “S” and not EXPRESSO with an “X”
    7. Punkin
    8. Definately
    9. Supposably

    Grammatically-Correct Twitches

    Though these twitches are grammatically correct, several people found issue with them.

    1. Starting the very first sentence of correspondence with “I,” followed by nearly every other sentenced started with “I.”
    2. Starting a sentence with “So.”
    3. Starting a sentence with “And.”

    Want Help?

    For those who would like writing help, below are four resources that might come in handy.

  • 04/07/2016 10:05 AM | Anonymous

    As a business owner, do you ever wonder if your products or services are priced correctly for your target market?

     

    If so, you are not alone.

     

    Scenario

    You are asked to bid on a project for a new client. You interview them to find out what they are looking for and provide an overview of how you could help solve their dilemma. The potential client sounds excited about what you have to offer and asks you to provide a proposal.


    You toil over it for a few days to make sure you’ve got everything in place.


    Then comes the hard part, the pricing structure. Some companies use a fixed-price method, where the product or service price is not negotiable. Other companies used a flexible-price model, where the price is open for negotiation between the buyers and sellers. In your case, you use a fixed-price model.


    You share your proposal with the potential client, requesting a review and signatures to get started. You even invite them to be on a call to discuss particulars. To your shock, you received the signed agreement the next day.


    You wonder, “Was my price so low, they jumped on it?” Or maybe, “That seemed really easy, my reputation precedes me.”


    Let’s hope it’s the second. If it’s the first, it might be time to review your pricing model, and do some competitive research to make sure you’re not low-balling your pricing.


    Lesson Learned

    Pricing can be more complex than we realize, and we may end up shooting ourselves in the foot trying to figure out how cheaply we need to sell our wares, when in fact, consumers are willing to pay more! 


    Mike Michalowicz, author of Profit First and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, offers this great advice, “If you’re moving a lot of product at unsustainably low prices, it’s bad for your business. You must raise your prices or perish.”


    The Four-Step Profitable Pricing Model

    When it comes to raising prices in your business, you might be hesitant. Will the market and clients be able to handle the increase? How much should you increase prices? When should you do it?


    In this four-step process, you will get out of your own way and begin to make a profit path you can live with.


    Get Over It

    You are your own worst enemy when it comes to price increases. You might be afraid you’ll scare away your existing customers and deter new ones from becoming customers. Remember, you can always increase prices, and then offer a sale or lower them in the future. However, if you never increase them and inflation does increase, it will eat away at your profits. If you have a range of services, try increasing only the most high-profile or profitable ones first. Then increase the others on a schedule. The increased margin will make your bottom line shine.


    Tell Your Customers

    If you plan to increase prices, alert your customers to the change in advance. This gives them the chance to digest the change and how it could impact their bottom line, and it also gives you a chance for good will. You may be able to offer some referrals, which could reciprocate in the end. Also, explain why you’re increasing costs. There could be a valid marketplace reason for the increase, such as the cost of goods, shipping increases, or perceived value. Consider this, if you feel you’re charging a fair value for your product or service, your clients will too.


    Offer A Less-Expensive Option

    When you offer a higher-priced item, remember to offer a similar version for a reduced price. For a service-based company, that may mean offering fewer services in a package, such as a basic, intermediate, and exceptional package. If you own a product-based company offer alternatives to the product, and share why it’s offered at a lower price.


    Price Of Goods

    You make money in the margins; that’s the retail price minus the cost of goods. If you can lower the cost of goods or services, then you automatically increase the profits. Find ways within your business to decrease costs of goods or services. That may include using out-of-state vendors, creating products in bulk, changing shipping companies, and more.

    Check out the tips offered in the Accelerate: The Magazine, the Spring edition, for some creative ways several business owners are increasing their bottom line by focusing on the price of goods and services within their own companies.


    Also, download this four-step process infographic or pin it to your wall or your online pinboard for reference.

     

    Contact Me

    If you need help finding cost-cutting measures within your business, or need assistance determining your pricing model, let’s chat.

     

  • 03/16/2016 11:21 AM | Anonymous member

    When it comes to social media engagement, think of your accounting firm’s (or any company) post headlines like newspaper headlines. If you cannot grab readers with the headline, you’ve already lost them.


    Here are some social media headline formulas you can use to help increase clicks to your website, content, registrations, and downloads.

    1. 8 words plus a link: example, “Free Webinar: Awesome Quickbooks Payroll Tips and Tricks yourlink.com”
    2. Social proof headlines: example from the AICPA, “Studies show people w/ flexibility to work where they want performed as well as employees w/ a traditional schedule http://spr.ly/6017Bd8BW”
    3. Threat headlines: example from @IRSNews, “Don’t let the April 18th #tax deadline sneak up on you! Get your taxes done for free #IRSFreeTaxPrep. http://go.usa.gov/cXuqJ”
    4. Gain headlines: example “Read this an in 5 minutes you’ll know how to reconcile more than one bank account in #Quickbooks. [link]”
    5. Question headlines: example from @MarketWatch, “Guess which 65-year-old billionaire put this at the top of his reading list? #WorldBookDay on.mktw.net/1LCj3v2”

    Bonus Tip

    Rather than making a headline a statement, jazz it up using one of these tips.

    • Include “how to” in the headline to draw interest.
    • Communicate an aspect of time in the headline to create a sense of urgency.
    • Add fascination to tease the reader with curiosity.

    Now that you have the formulas, which will your firm begin using?


    Additional Resources

  • 03/15/2016 9:26 AM | Anonymous

    I recently listened to the Daymond John interview on LIVE with Kelly and Michael about how this high-powered Shark and American entrepreneur started out, and was amazed at how his story sounded so much like many of my clients and other business owners I knew.


    I waited to hear the ah-ha advice he had for those looking to expand their business and wasn’t disappointed. Below are some of his tips about becoming a successful business owner, plus his insights on how to get out of debt.

    Realistic Tips For A Successful Business Owner

    Daymond said in the interview, that if you’re afraid to fail, you might not be passionate about your business. Because when you’re passionate, you may fail, but you’re also going to learn and grow. He had these other tips for business owners who want to be successful at what they do.


    1. Surround yourself with good people.


    2. Leverage other people to help expand your business, other people’s money, marketing, manpower, and manufacturing when you can.


    3. Read your goals every single day, and prepare them for review at six months, five years, and twenty years. Also, be sure to include goals for your health, family, and business.


    4. Look to long-time business owners in your community as a mentor. They have been through everything – recessions, gas shortages, and competition.


    5. Take affordable steps to move forward rather than large sums of money, especially if you haven’t sold anything yet.


    6. Surround yourself with like-minded people.


    7. Understand you’re going to fail more than you’re going to succeed.


    8. Know that the business you start may not be the same business you end up with.


    Tips About Getting Out of Debt

    During the interview, Daymond confessed he nearly went broke due to his lack of financial intelligence. Here are several tips he shared for staying out debt and avoiding going broke.


    1. Have separate checking accounts for the important parts in your life, such as children, vacation, mortgage, etc.


    2. Keep the small things in check. For example, if you buy three coffees every day, that’s maybe $3 – $4 each, that adds up to $10 per day, $50 per week, $200 per month, and $2,400 per year, plus tax, that’s $3,500. If you make just $40,000 per year, that would be eight percent of your annual income – on coffee!


    3. Take affordable, small steps and learn along the way. Avoid taking out huge sums of money to pay off debt. Chip away at it.


    One of my favorite parts of the interview was when Daymond was talking about failing. He reminded us that you should take affordable steps and learn along the way. That’s exactly what a business is. You’re going to have moments of failure, but you’re going to learn from them and you’re going to grow.


    Gather your passion and make the business of your dreams. Use these tips and find a mentor or two along the way to keep you focused, energized, and educated.

    What’s your business dream and how do you plan to get there?


    Additional Resources

  • 02/15/2016 4:52 PM | Anonymous

    When it comes to retirement, one of the first things that comes to mind for most people is saving for the future. Many of us start thinking this way, especially in our 40s and 50s, we take a deep breath and begin to wonder, how are we going to pay for that?

    One of the ways, of course, is to begin saving now.


    Another overlooked way is to focus on wiping out debt, such as credit cards,  once and for all.


    After spending decades on Wall Street, I know there is good debt, like having a mortgage (a fixed rate with the ability to deduct the interest!), and bad debt, like credit cards and abused lines of credit that can impact your overall wealth.


    Most minimize the impact of debt.


    Bottom line:  Debt kills growth.


    What does this look like?  When interest rates go up, you will start feeling the pinch. Most lines of credit are not at a “fixed rate”, therefore, that minimum payment could DOUBLE.  Talk about a slow leak in your boat!


    “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” — Benjamin Franklin


    Here is my six-point system to start becoming a debt destroyer.  

    Knock it out once and for all with these powerful tips:


    1. Money Leaks –  do you know what you are spending every month? Daymond Johns made a comment on a recent appearance on LIVE!(™) with Kelly & Michael stating that one of the keys to his financial success is sticking to a budget his whole life.  Look at your credit card statements to start piecing together where you are spending and how much every month. Then look at your income to see how much you are overspending. 


    2. Pull The Plug – are you subscribing to a service you are never using? That could add up to well over $1,000 a year going out the door.  But look at smaller “gotcha” expenses that are so small, that you don’t feel the pitch in the short term.  Let’s start with those 2 Grande Lattes a day.  At just say, $4 a pop –  that is $40 a week, almost $175 a month and over $2,000 a year!  Start looking at what you can cut out completely or cut back to to balance that budget.


    3. Rally The Troops – create a list of all of your credit cards.  Include the current balance, minimum payment, interest rate.  Most people will tell you to attack the card with the highest interest rate. Resist…lower the bar for yourself, and focus on paying down the lowest balance credit card first.  Make the minimum payment on the others, and put the rest on smallest one.  That’s a faster path to victory.  Once that is paid off, take that payment and apply it to the next lowest balance, and so on.  Small victories will keep you in the game longer.


    pay this off first

    4. Secret Weapon – when large lump sums of money come into your business, don’t purchase the next shiny object. Once your bills are paid for the month, put that lump sum of cash toward the debt to help destroy it.


    5. Commit And Don’t Quit – As with any goal, it won’t work until you implement. As General George S. Patton once said, “Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”


    6. Get help – If you need help, ask!  This is the first place we work with our clients to cut expenses, crush debt and free up some desperately needed cash.  It’s life changing…and preserves the longevity of your business. 


    Where can you find the extra money immediately?  Your line of defense is this…Focus on cutting expenses and balancing your budget. Avoid letting money burn a hole in your pocket as soon as you get it.


    Brandon Ballenger, a freelance journalist for Money News, writes, “Unless you can make your goal more powerful than your existing habits, nothing will change.”


    I know what my next steps are. Do you?

  • 01/15/2016 3:30 PM | Anonymous member

    There are a lot of moving parts to a content strategy and content development.

    Here are a few reasons why you should also consider a content development marketing strategy.

    1. Increase leads to your website at a low cost
    2. Become a thought leader in your industry
    3. Build relationships / excite influencers
    4. Move leads through the sales funnel

    In order to define where to go for content, as well as to determine the type of content you need to create, you must first know:

    • Where your buyer/customer gets his/her information—Internet, email, video, social media, stores, reading, radio, television, newspaper, networking, etc.?
    • What the buyer’s pain points are and challenges about getting a product like yours—price, availability, access, convenience, etc.?
    • What your key marketing message is when speaking with this persona? Focus on each persona when writing for that audience.

    Where can you get content and content ideas?

    Now that you know you need to create content based on platform type, buyer persona, and media, here are several ways to begin collecting content to help drive your development cycle.

    1. News aggregators, like SmartBrief
    2. Google and TalkWalker alerts
    3. Comments posted from others on a blog you read often spur an idea
    4. Current events
    5. Tips sent to clients in email
    6. Best practices and How To’s
    7. Ranked lists
    8. Comparisons
    9. Question of the week
    10. Interviews

    Posting Formats

    When posting the same content on each platform, vary the post style, such as a question, statement, or comment. Buffer offers this resource on how to write a social media update by platform.

    • Facebook posts usually have question or engagement element, such as a fill in the blank, content that is relatable from a human perspective, rather than just for informational purposes only.
    • Twitter is great for sharing quick updates, activities, information, and links to other content related to a conversation stream, i.e., hashtag.
    • LinkedIn is the “professional” platform, so sharing information about your favorite sports team may not be best use of this platform. Keep things informative, professional, and “linkable.”
    • Pinterest has beautiful imagery about topics of interest, such as fashion, cars, technology, homes, etc. The goal here is to entice people to like you’re Pins, but to also visit the link associated with the pin.
    • Instagram is similar to Pinterest in that it too is a photo-centric platform. That’s where the similarities may end. This is a personal platform as much as it is a business tool. One thing that sets it apart is its availability on mobile only.
    • Google Plus combines the efforts of Pinterest and Facebook. You want pictures associated with every post, but also make things informative. Ask engaging questions to entice the G+ audience to follow a conversation stream.

    Scheduling Posts

    Now that you’ve been creating your own content, and collecting content from other resources, it’s time to figure out how to schedule posts so you’re not tied to your computer. There are many scheduling tools on the market. Find the right one for you based on price, functionality, platform access, and convenience.


    Remember scheduling posts does not mean you forget about them. You need to be monitoring comments, liking people’s comments, encouraging conversation in the posts, and thanking people for their engagement.


    If you have content development tips you’d like to share, please add them in the comment below.


    Your Turn

    What is your biggest content development challenge?

  • 01/15/2016 3:24 PM | Anonymous

    As a Profit First partner, with Mike Michalowicz, I am happy to share these highlights from one of his recent blog articles.

     

    Analyzing your competitor’s revenue is a helpful tool in measuring your own progress and potential. So how much are your competitors taking – or raking – in, and how do you find out?

     

    If your competitors are public companies, than you get to read all about their top line and bottom line in the annual audit report available to investors. Of course they’re not always truthful (surprise!) 

     

    But some companies are honest about it – they’re not going to tell you how much they make and that’s that. It was nice of you to ask, but it’s none of your business. Okay. Fine. Time for Plan B.

     

    To get to the truth, you’re going to have to do a little spying, but not as much as you think. 

     

    1. Find out how many full-time employees your competitor has.  Most people will not dodge this question or fudge the number.  If you have trouble getting the information, just call and ask the receptionist if she’ll participate in a three-question survey. Come up with two other benign questions she wouldn’t be afraid to answer, like “Where do you buy your office supplies?” or “Which crappy chain restaurant do you use for holiday parties?” Then ask the big one, “Approximately how many full time employees do you currently employ?”
    2. Multiply the total number of employees by $125,000 and then again by $200,000. The company revenue is likely between these two numbers.
    3. If your competitors are in trouble their top-line revenue is on the low end, and if they are doing well, it will be on the high end. If they are kicking ass and taking names their revenue will be above $250,000 per employee. I know one small private company that is bringing in $1,000,000 plus for each full-time employee – that is AWESOME!

    How can you tell if a competing company is in trouble? That, my friend, is a spy lesson for another day.

     

    Why does this calculation work? Because generally, when revenue increases so does the workload. For many business models, revenue is dependent on employees, such as agents for real estate firms or other sales staff.

     

    Soon you’ll be calculating top line revenue in seconds flat. 

     

    What about your competitors keeps you up at night?

  • 12/28/2015 8:14 PM | Anonymous

    As a heart-centered entrepreneur, you just want to do good in the world.  You want to be able to help people at a super high level, and make a difference.


    You started your business, then realized you get tongue-tied when it comes to selling your services to potential clients.


    Why does this happen?


    Well, let’s see if we can start by re-framing what sales is for you.


    As one of my mentors, David Neagle says, “Sales is not something you do ‘to’ someone; it’s something you do ‘for’ someone.”


    Now, there is a difference! Going into a conversation thinking you have to “convince” someone to do something is setting yourself up for instant failure. NO ONE does anything they don’t want to do. And you will never convince or sell someone something they don’t want.


    And that my friends, is where the gold lies. This is where sales gets really fun, and you get to do something “for” your prospects.


    Picture it…a box with a big, red bow on it.


    Now, here is what lies inside. People are coming to you for a reason. It may not be explicit, but they are there for some reason. They have a problem they feel that you may be able to help them solve. And they can’t get to the solution themselves. So, what do they need from you?


    Clarity.


    Welcome to Sales 101 ladies! It all starts with the “Gift of Clarity”.


    In the initial sales conversation with prospects, it’s all about understanding three things: 

    1. What they want.

    2. What’s getting in the way of what they want.

    3. What’s their level of commitment to getting what they want.


    People start a conversation with you confused, and leave that conversation with the big “ah-ha” moment of clarity. That gift of clarity is seamlessly starting to create the roadmap of how you can work together to get to what they want.


    No one else is doing this for them. It’s all you baby!


    As the heart-centered entrepreneur, sales is a gift you give your prospects. Because when your prospects don’t have clarity, they are living in a land of confusion. And being stuck in that state of confusion is not serving them. It’s causing them discomfort and even sometimes physical pain. They know it. That’s why they are talking to you.


    So, congratulations. Keep on trucking with your sales conversations and starting out the relationship on the right foot.


    Giving people the gift of clarity will put sales in your pocket; but, for your clients, it’s absolutely priceless.

                                                                                                            
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