We believe that building a better presence for your business is a practice of constant movement. Changes don’t always need to always be made in large packages or expensive replacements, but can often be made by implementing in a tweak or modification at a time.
We call these SmallBizTracks. Depending on the level of change(s) you’re looking to make, we have three levels to choose from:
Believing that content curation is almost as important for small business owners as content creation, I tend to share this cool tool with several people to help save them time.
I call it a “Quick Click RSS button”, though I believe the official name is RSS Subscription Extension for use with Chrome browsers.
This tool allows the user as they are browsing to click on the RSS icon within the address bar and immediately subscribe to the page the feed of the site they are browsing:
This kind of “auto-discovery” icon was once prevalent, but not anymore. Some RSS publishing tools allow for browser-friendly, human-consumable previews - many don’t – and I don’t want to read code-looking language anymore than I have to, thank you.
Since I use Feedly as my main source of web-based reading, I like how this tool allows me to quickly subscribe and organize a site’s feed into my Feedly folders. By doing so, I don’t visit the publisher’s site every day – but I never miss any of the content.
Sales were down and the foot traffic into the warehouse-sized showroom was getting slower. Banner ads hung inside and outside.
Sandwich signs along the street pointed the way, but road construction had begun three blocks away and was detouring traffic.
A new on-ramp to the freeway was going in and it looked like it would take months. In the early 80′s, the only showroom was THE showroom. Websites, let alone tablets and mobile devices, weren’t in use yet.
But we had catalogs. Lots of them. As a distributor of household appliances at builder’s prices, the handheld available took both hands. A big metal catalog holder.
With things slowing down at the showroom, we took the catalog into the field. Talk about getting out from behind the counter, right? And it worked! Sales went up and a new way to reach a core part of our customer base had been realized.
These days, instead of that big metal catalog, we’d carry a tablet, right? I’d probably carry one on the retail floor, too. Bring the inventory to the customer. Selection goes up without having to add inventory or square feet.
The showroom is now much bigger – and at the same time, smaller. Are you stuck behind the counter? Or are you out showrooming with your shoppers?
No matter how you say it, or slice it, or serve it, or swallow it – it’s still a tomato.
Yet, think how many different ways there are to say it or slice it; serve it or preserve it. There are differences even though it’s the same (yet different).
With other tools and technology, there are similarities and differences. There is no shame in being different or being the same. There is no rule calling you to be or to use these tools in any single way. Rather, look for the best way for you, your business, and your customers.
With smart phones, some use it mostly as a phone. Others as a camera. Or for email and social networking. Or reading the news. Same tool. Different uses.
There is no shame in being different … or the same.
Here are three videos with points of view to assist small business owners and solopreneurs who are already digging in and feeling a bit of overhwelm, though still in the early stages of a calendar year.
John Paul Dejoria – Why I Never Use Email or a Computer (via Inc. Magazine)
Listen for this quote: “Pay attention to the vital few and ignore the trivial many.”
The Meaning of Life: How Brené Brown, Seth Godin and 27 Other Change-Makers Define a “Good Life” from Jonathan Fields
It’s almost as if this folks are still white-boarding their answer, not struggling for the meaning (they get it in their gut), but to say it in words.
You can catch more of Jonathan’s work, words, and shared wisdom on his website
”You Have a Voice” from The King’s Speech
It takes perseverance to overcome. Whether it’s fear, or a huge project, or what other may think. We all have a voice.
Our Playlists on YouTube
The feedback from our Saturday videos has been wonderful, thank you. Glad to see folks gaining and gleaning value and inspiration. With that in mind, I’ve begun creating playlists on YouTube that you can follow along with, such as this Small Business Helps playlist:
All these lists and other videos are available on our YouTube channel. I’ll link to these above and share on occasion as the population begins.
As a youth, Saturdays were filled with visual candy of cartoons in the morning and movie matinees in the afternoon. In 2014, we’ll be sharing Saturday videos from TED, subscriptions from YouTube, and other videos shared via feeds.
Productivity is on a lot of folks minds. Prismatic allows you to see how many are sharing it across social platforms. Productivity, Apps, and Emerging Markets. Those are consistently the most shared topics in my feed
… Indecision is a Decision. When you get to an intersection of ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, not deciding is a decision (in favor of ‘No’). Every now and again, a choice between Yes and No might be answered with, “Not my path.” Such is my own answer when I reach the cross-hairs of Yes vs. No. A short version of ”sounds like a great idea, just not for me at this time.” A positive no, thank you.
… I’ve finally found a consistent use of IFTTT. Actually, several. I’m using it for research triggers to email, and to collect items I post elsewhere, into a single place. Big time-saver. More next week.
… After a decade or so of not reading fiction – just too busy – I’m enjoying the escape once again. The past few months, I’ve been reading fiction a 15-30 minutes or so a day. Disciplining both minimum and maximum time limits. It’s a great release and refresh.
… Beacon technology is something every small town chamber of commerce or neighborhood merchant’s association should keep an eye on. The reach of the devices could transform an old town square into a destination place quickly. More valuable for visitors, shoppers, and business owners.
… Conducting interviews is a great way to simultaneously create and curate engaging content. Ask Larry King, a master at asking conversational questions and capturing thoughts.
Yes. Yes he was. Fred Astaire was a content marketer. If we could ask him, it is doubtful Fred Astaire wouldn’t argue the point, though he might look at us quizzically at first, then make us smile by using the term as a prop to dance with as if it were his partner.
In a recent piece, Anna Farmery poses the question, What is Content, Really? in which she also offers a solid definition.
“It is content that demonstrates why they should buy from you, rather than how to buy from you”
So I asked her if Fred Astaire was a content marketer. Or Hans Zimmer. How about the Boston Red Sox? Or Oprah Winfrey? And what of the butcher, the baker, or the wonderful quilt maker?
Yes to Fred Astaire! Anna also adds that his content was “…selling happiness, the ultimate vitamin for feeling better,” and “…putting the viewer first.” Indeed!
As I talk with small business owners, the term “content marketing” rarely comes up. The term would surely get the quizzical looks, and it is doubtful anyone would start dancing across the floor (though I’ve thought about it on occasion).
What is your content? What does your content demonstrate to your customers and prospects?
Facebook changes, practices, and redesigns continue to be a wrestling point with businesses and marketing folks. I’ve had people tell me they are quitting, giving up, going to put their eggs elsewhere.
My suggestion has been and will continue to be: Throttling Back is Better Than Talking Smack.
A large portion of the USA is going through some pretty heavy snowfall this season. It’s new to some, tiresome to others. Rather than speed up, the best thing is a slow and steady pace.
Slow for control. Steady movement so as not to get stuck. Changing lanes, honking horns, and becoming aggressive on a snowy road only makes things worse. Quitting altogether won’t get you anywhere.
Similarly, when a social platform makes changes, slow down. Gauge the change at a manageable pace. Positives up ahead? Accelerate. More curves down the road? Throttle back.
Don’t talk smack. Your customers might not come back.
Two folks I recommend often are Jon Loomer and Amy Porterfield. They work hard and are generous in keeping us up-to-date with Facebook tips and changes.
I share a lot of list posts and articles on social media and in emails to clients, prospects, friends, and peers. Some folks loathe lists while others love them.
In the spirit of the list, here are six (6) reasons you should love articles and posts with lists:
Sharing: As I said above, they’re really easy to share and most people find at least one point that resonates or shares new information.
Small Track Ideas: From a “one track at a time” perspective, you could look at the list and decide to implement one small thing that will improve your business.
Content Curation: You can save a list article (Pocket is a great app for this), and then curate many lists together into on very valuable resource library.
SCAMPERing: You can combine multiple lists, then eliminate items that don’t pertain. With the remaining items, write descriptions in your own words (or use the original author’s words and give them proper attribution). [More on SCAMPER as a creative tool]
Resources: Use the tips above (or any combination) and create an E-book offering or a slideshow to share.
Time Saver: When time doesn’t allow for either writing or reading, lists are a real time saver.
Whether you love them or loathe them, lists work. They get the clicks, they get the magazines into hands, they get shared, they get saved. And hopefully, some items on the list gets applied.
Homework assignment: Look around your store, office, or desktop and find a short list of things to share about your business or how your work helps the folks you serve.
On occasion, one of us likes to have a bowl of cereal. Not often, but it’s always good to have on hand for a snack or to calm down a stomach.
My wife likes hers with a bit of almond milk (and blueberries when we have some). I like mine dry and snack on it like chips.
It’s rare that we eat cereal – but it’s always on hand. A cupboard away and seconds to start.
Perhaps there are some social media tools like that.
Maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve uploaded a YouTube video. Or pinned an image to Pinterest. I was reviewing my Tumblr page the other day and wondering if it might be EASY to restart (undecided yet).
Just as already having cereal on hand is a convenience for those rare occasions we eat it, having a small presence on the popular platforms – even if simply to own your name – makes it easy to use on those rare occasions you might have something to share. It’s good to have ready andalways on hand.
One “track” you might consider for a popular platform is to reserve your name, build your profile – and place it in your cupboard. It will make it easy to use when the situation calls for it. You’ll also be in a position to lend an ear in the crowded space as you see if there’s a signal there.