Posted by Beverly on
April 22, 2010
- Is it simple, clear and fast—think of your homepage as a billboard. Tell them exactly what they need to know up front.
- Leave plenty of white space around text. A simple font on a light background works best. Separate wide blocks of text into columns.
- Sub-headings make for quick reading. Make sure pages are easily skimmed.
- Let your best customers sing your praises. Display their testimonials prominently on your site.
- After each update, click through your entire site. Mistakes or broken links will only send visitors away.
Posted by Beverly on
January 14, 2010
In the wake of the happenings in Haiti, this is an important post. As a woman in business, you must be prepared for just about anything because on any given day some type of disaster could strike in your community and create havoc in your business and personal life.
You must recognize that your business can suffer a natural disaster. Small businesses the world over have been affected by disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and fire.
Develop your recovery plan before disaster strikes. Make sure everyone in your company(if you have emplouees)—and your immediate family—is familiar with the plan and knows what steps to take in emergencies.
Have adequate insurance. You’ll need coverage not only for property damage and loss (including inventory), but also for business interruption.
Draw up a list of telephone numbers for all employees if you have any. I would also recommend maintaining a customer list as well. Assign certain employees (or family members) to call others if disaster strikes. That way, you can learn who is all right and who needs help, and you can quickly communicate instructions about your business.
Calling your client base is also a good idea to let them know what has happened—especially if you have projects you’re working on for them or have products to be shipped, etc.
Don’t forget your computer system. Keep backup programs and duplicate records (accounts receivable, client information, and the like) at a different, safe site.
Brought to you, in part, by SCORE, America’s small business mentors, at www.score.org.
Posted by Beverly on
May 11, 2009
Working for yourself can be great, but it can also be frustrating, especially if you don’t feel that your self-discipline is in good working order. Self-employment gives you more flexibility to decide when you will go to work, what your priorities are, and when you need to take a break. But running your own business generally requires more self-discipline than you would need if you worked as an employee.
Thing is, self-discipline is critical. It is easy to get distracted or procrastinate. Family interruptions and our own resistance-especially when it comes to tasks that we don’t like doing but that still need doing-can get in the way of making steady progress. Without a boss and coworkers around to help keep you focused, it will be easy to spend too much time eating, sleeping, watching television, golfing, or even working. You must be disciplined.
Here are some initial suggestions to help you increase your work discipline:
1. Treat the business as a business. Simply having this attitude can easily eliminate many problems. When you treat yourself like a real business, others will too.
2. Keep office hours. A realistic daily schedule fosters discipline. For many loan officers, discipline means getting to the office by 9 a.m. and putting in a full day of work. Decide what your standard office hours will be and stick to them. Break an hour or so for lunch as you normally would, but treat it like work.
3. Make a daily task plan. Plan what you are going to do in the course of the day, and when you will accomplish each task. Consider making a rule that when you are done with the tasks on that day’s schedule, you are done for the day. This will help avoid workaholism or burnout.
4. Know your rhythm. Some of us are morning people, some are best in the afternoon, while others thrive at 3 AM. It is important to use your most productive time wisely. Determine your best times of day, and arrange your schedule according to those times as well as to the demands of your work-if you rock and roll at 3 AM, for example, there will be some tasks you can do then, and others (like calling a client) that won’t be practical.
5. Set rules for yourself. Decide the circumstances under which you will take time off to play, read or watch television, what interruptions you are willing to allow, and when you will do household chores.
6. Create “company policies.” In addition to setting rules for yourself, it is equally important to set policies so that family, friends, and business associates know what to expect from you and how to behave. For instance, you may find that your spouse or a neighbor expects you to do chores while they are at work. You may want to do this, or you may not. Either way, having policies that include this kind of thing makes such decisions easier.
Posted by Beverly on
March 14, 2009
Spring is here. As a woman in business, that means it’s time for some spring cleaning. How much dust, disorder and clutter have you allowed to accumulate in your business since the winter?
Here are some tips for cleaning up your business this spring and getting a fresh start:
1) Clean out your email box: At the end of 2008, I had more than 1200 emails accumulated in my email box. Why? I call myself saving them so I could sort them into different categories. Of course that never happened so I decided it was time to let those old emails go. That’s what you have to do also. Go through your e-mail box and find everything that’s important — agreements, contracts, and legal documents. Save those in proper files on your computer (as well as print a hard copy and file it), and then hit DELETE for everything else.
2) Update your database: It’s time to open up your database and get rid of all of those email addresses and regular addresses that no longer exist. You should also get rid of any names that weren’t good prospects.
3) Review your business plan: Take an honest look at where you are with the plan. Are you on track to meet the goals you’ve set for this year? Also, be sure to update your plan with realistic objectives.
4) Clean up your work space: If you are constantly searching for important documents or other information, it may be because your workspace needs tidying up. A clean and organized work space can cut down on wasted time and boost productivity.
5) Update your marketing strategy: If you didn’t achieve the financial goals you set for yourself in the last quarter (or come close), then you may want to go back to the drawing board and re-vamp your marketing plan. It may be necessary to review your image. Keep what’s working and discard the rest. You may also want to ask your existing clients what sold them on your business or service and implement their feedback into a new marketing plan.
Remember, your business is a reflection of you. How you choose to represent it depends solely on how well you maintain it.