4 Essential Tools To Do Business Anywhere
As a writer, there are only a few things I can’t live without when it comes to plying my trade. My Macbook with WiFi, Scrivener, and a hefty dose of morning coffee about sums it up.
Honestly, I use other tools as well, but those are my do or die biggies. Especially coffee.
No coffee, no workee.
I know that’s not the case for everyone though, so here are a few more ideas on some of the tools I use, and some of the tools I know others use to run their businesses remotely. Your mileage may vary.
These tools are in addition to my Macbook and Scriv of course, and I’m assuming you already have Wifi, especially since you’re reading this post.
Cloud Based Storage
I happen to lurve Dropbox, but that’s just moi. They are reasonably priced, they have little ways you can add more storage to your account for free (for instance, if you sign up using my link, I earn more storage, muahahaha), they’re reliable, and I can sync my Dropbox across all my devices, as well as pick and choose specifically what folders I want to sync where. Which is handy, given that I store a lot in my Dropbox, and I don’t necessarily want all of that also stored on my laptop as well.
A Payment Processor
I use Paypal, but only because I started using them forever ago, and I’m resistant to change. I hear they can be a little arbitrary in their dealings with more hefty earners, holding funds and whatnot, but I can’t speak to that with any authority as I’ve never had it happen to me. I’ve always had a good experience with them, my money comes and goes without a hitch, the fees aren’t totally atrocious, and hey… it’s easy. I love when something makes business easier.
An E Sig App is Handy
No, I’m not talking electronic cigarettes here. If you’re running a business, I’m sure you’ve got things that need signing. Tax forms, contracts, legal documents, and what have you. Enter the electronic signature app. It makes signing those documents easy peasy, and makes all that printing, scanning, faxing, and other laborious work pretty much obsolete. Cudasign is one that comes to mind, but there are plenty of others to choose from these days as well.
Budget Tracking Software
I know, I know, sounds daunting, right? I hate budgeting and tracking and number crunching. It makes my eyes cross and my brain hurt. But alas, it’s a necessary evil if you want to keep track of where your moola is coming and going with any sort of organizational prowess. Plus it makes things so much easier for you and your accountant at the end of the year when tax time rolls around. My personal preference is a software called You Need a Budget, or YNAB. Yes, I get a kickback if you purchase using my link, but don’t worry, I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t love it. There are plenty of others of course, but YNAB has been my fave for a couple of years now.
Over to You...
In a Web 2.0 society, personal branding is intrinsically linked to the Internet, especially when it comes to personal websites and social media profiles.
As the face of your business or service, it makes good marketing sense to build an authentic, personal relationship with your audience.
However, when doing so, you need to keep in mind that you’re giving out information to a lot of people that can be a potential headache and possibly even become harmful if you don’t have some safeguards in place. That said…
Be a Safe “Dividual”
People have varying criteria for safety. Locations, children’s names and favorite pets are a way to emotionally engage an audience for some people but others would consider this a violation of boundaries.
To make your personal brand safe, you will need to decide what individual data you want to place in front of the population at large and what information about you can be gleaned from your campaign.
Called a “dividual,” a clever combination of the words “divide” and “individual”, the information offered to people reading your website or Facebook posts can either be helpful or harmful to your image and safety.
Offering something like “all of your cats are named after Girl Scout cookies” can be a significant bonding moment with your readers but it can also introduce information that can be used to hack your passwords, since many people also tend to choose pet names for said passwords. (Ps… don’t do that.)
Protect yourself by using a system to identify cybercrime and right it quickly while being cognizant of the potential use of any information that you write.
Know Where Your Brand Begins & You End
In Don Miguel Ruiz’s universally applicable book of Toltec wisdom, one of the four agreements is do not take anything personally. This can be difficult when you are your brand and someone is attacking it.
Yes, you are your brand but your brand is not you.
Twisty, I know, but try to keep up.
You are your brand because you are sharing parts of you, but parts of you don’t make up the entirety of you. Your brand is merely “parts” of you.
And since authenticity is a key component to branding in the digital age, it’s vital to create an exit strategy in case things things get hairy. Create rules on your personal website and social media pages outlining exactly where the lines will be drawn.
Let everyone know when and why a comment will not be tolerated then follow your own rules. Entertainer of children and activist Miss Lori uses her rules to separate out appropriate comments, including such rules as “no hate speech” and “own your words”.
Review Everything Side By Side – IMC
According to the American Marketing Association, integrated marketing communication (IMC) is a primary goal of good marketing, being defined as a process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or...
It is the age of the Internet, and every business – established or start-up – needs to have an online presence that makes it easier for customers to know more about its products and services.
But does that mean just any old website will do?
Um… no. Definitely not.
AddPeople, a popular Internet Marketing agency in the United Kingdom, recently published this enlightening infographic. Here you’ll find the 10 tips on the basics every website needs in order to be a success.
So… if you are troubled by low conversion rates, high bounce rates or a website that just fails to draw folks in… you’ll know what to do!
This is a guest post courtesy of Ana Silva.
We are moving towards a future that values real human qualities in brands and big corporations. In today’s world, customers are increasingly turning to brands that they can really believe in and trust, building relationships and extending communication channels.
Breaking down corporate barriers and humanizing your brand is the best way of developing and maintaining a solid relationship with a consumer base. Your customers want to be having active conversations with you and they want your communication to be genuine, clear and above all, human.
Here’s the how, and the why, to doing it:
3 Reasons to Humanize Your Brand
Manage risk online & protect your reputation: Any crisis nowadays will quickly move to an online crisis; being vulnerable and open online enables you to defend your brand in a real-time world.
Enables brands to be part of customer’s lives: The best brands don’t just sell a product or service: they sell a lifestyle.
Builds greater trust and reliability: Encourage people to develop real connections with your brand by ensuring your communication stands out from that of your competitors.
5 Ways to Humanize Your Brand
Personality: Own your own.
Don’t be afraid to be an individual; it’s the best way to differentiate yourself from your competitors, however scary it may be.
An online personality involves three key areas:
Developing your identity uniformly across these areas strengthens your brand vision and helps your audience to understand who and what you are.
Show us people’s faces.
Frankly, your customers don’t really care who the CEO is, or how many companies he’s owned. What they do want to know is who is speaking to them via your social networks or customer support system.
If you have a community manager or even just one person handling your social channels, make sure you introduce them and share pictures of them working and being themselves.
Also, ensure they always sign their real name on any communication via email and social. This demonstrates that you’re serious about engaging with people on a human level and not just as a marketing tool.
Be real; be open; be honest. Be your humble self.
Authenticity is important because it validates your brand; just like authenticity as a characteristic validates you as a person. Be confident about who you really are and your customers will become brand ambassadors for you, following you wherever you go and however the market landscape changes.
Don’t conceal important information in a digital world. The likelihood is someone somewhere will find it. When they do your customers will look to your brand and wonder what you had to hide.
Be who you say you are.
Alongside authenticity, integrity is invaluable as a brand...
With social media emerging as one of the most powerful marketing tools that we have today, more and more companies are taking to Facebook and Twitter to increase their fan base and improve brand loyalty.
The below infographic from Maximillion shows us how event managers use social media networks to promote their events, but it also has some valuable tips for all budding entrepreneurs looking to increase their brand’s presence and connect to a wider audience.
For instance, did you know that Facebook updates with images get 53% more likes and 104% more comments?
Infographic created by Maximillion.
Whether you work from home or commute to an office, odds are you spend a sizable chunk of your valuable time in your workspace. I should know, I spend an inordinate amount of time in mine. Mine also happens to be my bedroom, so there is that.
That being said, decorating your office can have more of an impact than you think, both on you personally as well as your staff, clients and potential customers who enter your space. A space that feels good and conveys who you are as a professional or what your brand represents is well worth the effort.
Note: this likely means you should not work out of your bedroom like I do. Although to be fair, I do have a home office. I just prefer my nice comfy bed.
Regardless, before you dive into redecorating said office, you’ll have a few key things to consider.
Everything from colors and decor to layout and design can make an impact. You also want to be aware of how incorporating your branding into the decor will flow seamlessly into the overall look of your office.
Where to Start
Good question. First, it’s important to plan ahead. Make time to sketch out what you are planning in every area of the office. Do the rooms and hallways flow together? Did you leave ample room for traffic and social interaction? Did you take into account possible future expansion or growth? By asking yourself a few simple questions, you can save time, energy and money in the long run.
Next consider how to best take advantage of your particular space. If you have multiple rooms in your office, make sure you are putting them to their best possible use. Reception areas should be open and inviting with comfortable seating.
Hallways can be designed with your brand in mind instead of just a solid color, and if done well, can make a great first impression on your clients as you lead them to a meeting room.
Finally, remember to think outside the box. When planning out furniture and accessories, allow room for creativity.
Floating or wall-mounted desks offered at stores like Overstock are an affordable way to add creativity while saving space. Custom roller blinds from The Shade Store add a unique look while still being functional.
And don’t be afraid to take advantage of color. Whether you are looking to match your brand and logo, or give employees a mood boost, color choices can have a significant impact.
Most offices have a variety of departments and areas: finance, customer service, research, design, implementation and meeting spaces. Unless of course you freelance from home. Then you might have your kitchen, your bathroom, your… but I digress. hehe
The employees in each of these departments might have a drastically different idea of how they want the rooms to look, and it always pays to keep your staff happy. (Or your hubby. Whatevs.)
Companies like Drum celebrate the diversity of their employees with fun wall designs in the creative department space and a mural in the meeting room, highlighting their...