Why You Need A Map? – How To Get Your Business Back On Track In Uncertain Times!

Do You Have A Map?

Have you ever been traveling and all of the sudden your GPS goes offline, it goes off line and just that quickly you really have no idea what to do next, and you don’t know which direction you should be driving? That is a very frustrating experience and unfortunately it reminds me of something that happens to businesses every day. Something changes, and all of the sudden you don’t know what to do next. The conditions are not the same, the economy is not quite as vibrant, customers are looking for something new, and something different, and you may not be sure how your business fits in, or you may not know what to do next. The old way isn’t working, and you are not quite sure what the new way should look like. You feel like yesterday doing business made sense, you understood what to do next, and now you are not quite sure. It is the same thing that happens when the GPS goes offline, and you are in a new place.

Can you imagine what would happen if as soon as your GPS went down you had a map with some back-up instructions? Not only would that be nice that would be incredibly comforting, as well. Every business should have a map, and if you don’t have one, here are some steps to start making one. This is the first step in the strategic planning sessions I do with my clients.

Step One. Take a look at what is changed. Every business owner needs to take a close look at what has changed in their business and their industry before they can make any changes. For instance, it doesn’t make sense to make a boatload of changes to the way you do business if the changes that you are experiencing are temporary. There are factors that must be considered before any change is made. Is what is happening a once in a lifetime experience or is this the new normal and now you need to learn how to live with it? You have to know the answer to that question before you can do anything else.

Step Two. Make An Honest Review. There are times in our businesses when we saw the handwriting on the wall, and we just didn’t respond the way we needed to, and this is why things have slowed down. For instance, have you adapted well to change as an organization, or did you ignore things until that was no longer an option. You need to understand what you did well and what you did poorly, so you can learn from both your successes and your failures.

Step Three. Decide What You Are Willing To Do To Turn Things Around. As a business owner, you must count the cost. You don’t want to get into the middle of a project and decide that it is too expensive to move forward or that you don’t want to fix the problems that your business is experiencing because you really don’t have the energy that it is going to take to move forward. Ask yourself how far you are willing to go in order to solve the problems you are experiencing. If you are not heavily invested, don’t enter into any long term or costly solutions, so you don’t end up wasting money. Decide up front what you are willing to do, set a budget and a time frame so you can look at solutions that fit your requirements.

Step Four. Find The Right Next Steps. Now that, you have looked at the other pieces, decide what outcomes you are looking for and then find solutions that work with your budget, your time, and your skill set. This process will allow you to figure out where you want to go and how you are going to get there. Similar to a map, this will help you take a close look at your options and carefully weed out those that don’t meet your requirements. This is a tool you can use to keep you on task, and it will protect you from the shiny new thing syndrome that can capture your attention when we are solving problems. Focus on what will help your business the most and move in that direction armed with great information, and a plan that will help you get where you want to go.

You need a plan, or a map when conditions change so you can make the necessary changes quickly. When you are working on solutions you need to know what direction you should go in, and you need to consider all of the factors. Business changes are normal in our global economy, and you want to be prepared and as flexible as possible, to make sure your business not only survives, but also thrives in the years to come.

SEO For Businesses – Back to Basics

People who are starting a business on the internet for the first time hear terms like search engine optimization (SEO) and feel they might be getting involved with something that’s highly technical and best left to the professionals. They think that SEO might be the domain of experts like web programmers.

Whilst there are lots of different aspects of website promotion and search engine marketing that the average Joe will not even begin to think about or be aware of, there are a number of basics that any company doing business on the internet should make it a priority to understand.

The truth is the basics of SEO are nothing more than making sure that your website is being seen as more favorable than your competitors. Assessing your sites optimization using an algorithm is a way big search engines like Google use to categorize your website and place it in a ranking system so that people can find it more easily. Of course there’s a little more to it than that, but that’s the nuts and bolts of what some people feel is a complicated term.

Once you dig a little deeper, it’s even easier to understand what SEO is all about. Following are a few of the things you can look at on your own websites to make sure you’re presenting your selves to the search engines in the best possible way.

=> Content Is King: Although you might have heard that phrase before it’s one of the axioms on the internet you need to be aware of. It’s important to have a steady supply of original content on your website that also has keywords in it so the search engines like Google will take notice. The keywords you have on your page need to be the ones you customers are looking for so make sure you research this thoroughly.

=> Internal Linking: Internally you also need to take a good look at the kind of the links you to have on your website. These are the keyword phrases that light up when you point your mouse at them and take you to another page when you click. Terms like click here and more info will not help you, use anchor text that is relevant to the page you are pointing to.

=> Backlinks: It’s important here that you get as many relevant back links as possible to your website because that creates the kind of online spider web important to SEO. It’s important to have quality anchor links as well that represent the services or goods you offer for example, if you offer construction services a link that says Joe Blogs and Son is weak where as a link that says Joe Bloggs and son Construction Services is much more powerful. Make sure you site is reasonably optimized though before embarking on large link building campaigns.

=> Company Blogs: Try using blog marketing. If you have a website where the content is quite static and you don’t want to change it to a content management system (CMS), you might want to try using a blog on you site as a way of increasing your SEO potential as these tend to draw the attention of the search engines. They are also an excellent way of keeping your site up to date and also to provide news or business wins and case studies to increase customer confidence.

When you’re focusing on keywords and links, as a business owner you should be able to work SEO to your advantage as you understand your business better than most, but the reality is any small business owners who run Internet based businesses don’t have the time to look after the SEO themselves so they find a search engine marketing company that can do the work for them. If this is you then try ensuring that any SEO company you employ has at the very least an understanding of your particular market sector.

Your E-business – Back Up, And Back Up, And Did I Mention Back Up?

Unfortunately at one time or another everyone runs into the nightmare of hard drive failure, or some other computer disaster in which the end result is that your computer has become nothing more than a really large paperweight. Do you have a back up?

In the event of this happening what are you going to do? If do not have some sort of back up program in place you are going to be dead in the water. If you are operating an online business then that can mean certain death for your business or something close to it.

So what is the solution to this dilemma? Everyone is aware of the need to back up, but up until now nobody has come up with a really “set it and forget it” process to make backing up your system something easy to do. Nobody wants to think about the dreaded crash, so they put it off to the back burner and continue on with the ten thousand other things they need to do, and keep their fingers crossed and hope for the best.

Well I want to tell you how I have solved this problem. This may seem like a plug for this company and I guess it is. But they have saved my butt on at least 4 occasions now since I signed up with them and in my opinion nobody who owns a computer should be with out this service. And it’s cheap enough that anyone who can afford a computer can afford it.

The company is called Carbonite. Carbonite offers unlimited online back up protection, for $49.95 a year. You heard me right $49.95 a year. That comes out to about .13 cents a day! You just head on over to their site and sign up, download the software, install it, run through the set up choosing what you want it to back up, set it, and you are done. They even offer a 14 day Free Trial.

Carbonite runs in the background and initially it will take a day or two to back up your system depending on how much data you have to back up. Then after that it just does incremental back ups on new or changed files which only take a short period of time each day. And that’s it. You just go about your business and forget about it. How much simpler could it be?

And if you have the dreaded crash, or say you break down and buy a new computer, ever wish there was a simple way to transfer all the stuff from you old computer to your new one? You just log into your account with Carbonite, choose the option re-install Carbonite on this computer, download and re-install the software, it automatically puts you in recover mode, you say HELP restore my files, and that’s it. It once again may take a day or two to completely restore your system. But you will get all your files, pictures, etc. back.

You won’t see an affiliate link anywhere in this article for Carbonite or in the author box below. I just want people to know there is a solution out there. For unlimited back up, at $49.95 a year, that you can set it and forget it? In my opinion this is one service / program that should come pre-installed on every computer sold. You can just Google Carbonite to get to the site address. Go check it out, don’t wait until that dreaded disaster happens to you!