Small Fish - Small Business Tips and the Latest News

We're Learning About Google Plus - Are You In On It Yet?

Small Fish Business Coaching and Google +We all know that social media in business is something that most have started to use to promote their services and to get a wide presence on the Internet. And of course, just as we are getting used to all the tweets and posts, deciding what is even going to make people read what you've written, Google throws another social flare into the mix - Google +.

You've probably heard all the fuss about Google + for business pages. If you happen to be one of the early adopters who have jumped on board with this, great!

We’ve been working on Google + for business pages for Small Fish and quite frankly, we are enjoying it. Maybe it's because it is a fresh clean slate. Maybe it's because not that many people are using it yet and we like being one of the early ones in. Or maybe it’s because we know that Google rules the web and that frankly, if you want your business to move up in the ranks, you should probably bow down to the Google gods and do whatever they tell you. It’s not like it is going to hurt... it's only giving your business more exposure!

We're not pretending we are experts yet, but we're going to figure it out, learning as we go. If you think this is interesting and useful, go to Google + and we will include you in our circles so we can share some interesting tips and information with you as we learn. We think you should definitely jump on board.

Stay tuned for more posts to come as you come on the journey with us into exploring how to make Google + work for your business. We will be working hard on our page, so why not learn with us?

Next week I'll share our first Google+ training workshop. (I have to finish writing it first).

Lindsey Weissert
Marketing for Small Fish Business Coaching

Who Represents Your Business? Everyone

Marketing a small business can be tough and we all use as many techniques as we can to get our message out there. For a long time the big companies had their logo’s emblazoned on trucks and cars everywhere, but as it has become cheaper and more cost effective the name and phone number on the side of a car or truck has become the domain of SME’s.

A word of caution for those of you who use this form of marketing, you are now always a representative of your business and anyone who sees your car will see it as a respresentation of your business. So what does this mean? Road rage is not a good look for your business and neither is speeding or poor driver etiquette. We've all been on the receiving end of an unhappy driver letting us know their thoughts. When they have their business all over their car we immediately make a buying decision: I’m not doing business with that person. Likewise, peeling or poorly applied advertising does not create a good impression.

So if you are going to use this form of marketing be aware of the positives and negatives. Talk to your staff and make them aware of their responsibilites and remind them they are respresenting the business at all times. Review signage regularly and make sure it is appropriate and finally make sure contact details are up to date and accurate.

Nigel Hobbs
Small Fish Business Coaching Sydney

Word Play Fun

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are the winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

And the winners are:

1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle, n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent, n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men

Business Coaching And Weekly Shopping

Business coaching compared to weekly shoppingFor those who have newsletters, blogs and regularly updated websites that need new content, I am sure you can relate to the challenge of finding things to write about each day, week, month or year!

Myself, I find I go in bursts of excitement (like lots of things I do). I do none for a long time, then go BANG and write a few to stockpile. We are lucky at Small Fish in that we all share the load in submissions to this awesome weekly newsletter- partly so we don’t bore you with Jon writing every week, but more so to expose all of us regularly.

I’m in one of those BANG moments right now, and turned to my friend GOOGLE to get some inspiration on blog topics. I found one suggestion that said to make a list of how your industry compares to day to day things or to other industries.

Great idea, but then I had to think of what to compare it with…..hmmm….got it, the weekly grocery shop.

So here goes….get ready for it, here is my list for the 7 ways Business Coaching is like the weekly trip to the supermarket (riveting hey?)

  1. You might not like what you come out of there with, but you know you probably needed it in the long run.
  2. You may need to buy extra tissues just in case things get a bit emotional.
  3. The vegetable section may have items that don’t taste very good, but they are good for you, just like some of the ‘discoveries’ in coaching.
  4. Make sure you select a coach carefully, a bit like picking a shopping trolley - some are a bit wonky and may try to take you in the wrong direction and you have to feel comfortable with it.
  5. They both work better if you leave the kids at home.
  6. Price alone isn’t the only driver of value in either case. You have to feel satisfied with the overall experience and the process
  7. They are both less stressful if you have a plan and follow it.

Wow that wasn’t too bad…so as you can see shopping and business coaching are very similar! Can you think of some comparatives for your business? Would love to see them.

Have a great week.

Tony Ozanne
Small Fish Business Coaching Canberra

Testimonials - Why They Are So Powerful

Testimonials - Why They Are So PowerfulIn the current climate, consumers are becoming more and more skeptical. They have heard all the claims from the snake oil salesmen and they no longer buy it, it is too easy to go online and check out the deals and see what is real and what isn’t. Therefore the customer needs more convincing than ever, before they will give you the most important element of every sale – trust.

One of the tools we must use in order to establish trust is the testimonial. When it comes to selling our goods and services, there are two powerful reasons why we should all use testimonials at every opportunity.

  1. They give the intending purchaser some comfort that they won’t make a mistake
  2. Testimonials can be used to defuse common objections. It is very powerful  to see some of their peers mention their similar concern, but then report a positive outcome.

I believe that testimonials should be used by everybody who has a customer base and who is actively looking for more. They are an absolute must if what you are selling can not be proved easily. For example, becoming smarter or earning more money.

So how can you go about getting these powerful testimonials:

  1. Call repeat buyers and ask them why they repeat
  2. Talk to long term customers and ask them what they like about the product or service
  3. If you have a happy customer who is having trouble writing the testimonial, offer to write it for them!
  4. The trick is to ask, ask for a testimonial. Begin with the words “I wonder if you may help me?”

Nigel Hobbs
Small Fish Business Coaching Sydney

7 Ways To Motivate Your Team... Without A Pay Rise

7 Ways To Motivate Your TeamI was reading an article recently saying that 1 in 4 small business employees globally feel depressed and uninspired by their bosses. Read further at Perth now.

It can be costly to believe or have a mindset that giving more money or a pay rise to your team members equals happy employees.

Believing this is costing you valuable time, revenue, employees... Cash will always be a major factor in motivating people and a solid plan is critical to attracting and keeping key personnel. But the key is that additional cash is not always the only answer, and in many cases not even the best answer.

I have compiled some quick suggestions. Let's look at 7 non-monetary motivation tips that can be implemented today...

  1. Recognition/Attention. When your employees accomplish something, they have achieved something. Your recognition is appreciation for that achievement. Managers and owners don't give enough recognition for a good job done. Recognition is free! Do some spontaneous on the spot praise and of course a “Thanks” goes a long way too.
  2. One-on-One Coaching. Coaching is employee development. Implement a regular Performance review meeting.

    Document personal development needs and feedback from your team. Your only cost is time. Time means you care. And remember your people don't care how much you know... until they know how much you care.

  3. Training. This ties in with personal development. You can never over train your team. As they learn and develop, so does your business. It might take some time and effort, but the benefits of training will continually enhance the performance of your people and the productivity of your business.

  4. Career Path. Your employees need to know what is potentially ahead for them, what opportunities there are for growth. This issue is a sometimes forgotten ingredient as to the importance it plays in the overall motivation of people. Set career paths within your organization. Do you promote from within? I hope you can answer yes to that. Although specific circumstances require you to look for talent outside your company, you should always first consider internal personnel. If you do this you are sending a very positive message to everyone that there are indeed further career opportunities within your organization.

  5. Good Work Environment. I heard of a recent industry study where employers were asked to rank what they thought motivated their people, and then employees were asked to rank what really did motivate them. Employers felt "working conditions" was a nine (or next to last) in terms of importance. What did the employees say? Number two! Working conditions are very important to the way employees feel about where they work. Some things to consider or ask yourself are: Does your office look nice?, Are there pictures on the walls, plants and fresh paint among other features that generally make people feel good about their environment?, Does their work space have enough room or are they cramped in a "sardine can?", What about furniture? Is the desk the right size, chair comfortable?, Is there file space and do they have the miscellaneous office supplies needed for maximum performance?, Is the temperature regulated properly so they don't feel they're in the Amazon jungle one minute and the North Pole the next?

  6. Casual Dress Day. This will apply more to the Business-to-Business world, based on the difference in normal dress codes from the Business-to-Consumer arena. For those required to "dress business" every day, a casual day becomes a popular desire. I encourage Casual dress Fridays for example. Retail outlets use holidays to create theme colour casual days, such as red and green before Christmas, or black and orange prior to Halloween. Major sports events are a perfect opportunity for casual days to support your local or favourite team with appropriate colours, buttons, and logo wear.

  7. Time Off. Implement incentives that earn time off. People will compete for 15 minutes or 1/2 hour off just as hard as they will for a cash award. Put KPI’s (key performance indicators) in place and when these goals are reached by individuals, teams or the entire staff, reward them with time off.

  8. Additional Responsibility. Encourage and support more responsibility and accountability from your staff. You will be surprised on how they will rise to the challenge and it will make them feel more as part of the team.

  9. Food days. Every now and then bring in or organise pizza, popcorn, or cookie days that will help break up that everyday routine and help people stay motivated. Because it is a natural tendency for people to get excited in anticipation of something, structure some of these days in advance. Then buy some pizzas or different cookies or even whip out some different types of popcorn.

LEVERAGE Your Way To Success

Paul Duncan

Small Fish Business Coaching Perth

What Hat Are You Wearing Today?

Being a small business owner means that you have to wear many different hats. You are not only the owner, but the marketing manager, IT specialist, book keeper and workplace trainer etc.

The success of your business depends on your ability to wear all the multiple hats needed to keep the wheels of your business turning. At times, the dizzying pace needed can turn even the most capable person into an overwhelmed manager wearing too many hats. As such you need a plan and you need to work that plan. Some simple pointers are:

1. Identify your separate roles

The first step is simply putting down all the varied aspects of your business that you are currently in control of. This includes both income-generating tasks (sales, marketing and customer service) as well as operational ones (managing the team, stock control, finances etc).

Are you successful in all these roles – do you know what is needed to be successful?

Effective goal setting is key to success in any business, and you should set individual goals for each aspect of your business and measure your results.

Make time to work on your business (not just in your business)

It’s all too easy to get lost in the daily grind of your business (working “in” your business) or only doing the things you enjoy and put off strategic, long-term planning (working “on” your business). If you find yourself in this situation, you need to make time in your calendar each week to consider your business, think about potential opportunities and do some long-term positioning. Stay disciplined: You’d never put off a meeting with an important client, so don’t slide on this critical strategizing time, either.

Bring on help

Many business owners end up wearing multiple hats because they wait too long to hire additional staff or outsource some of the roles such as IT and book keeping. Wages are usually one of the higher costs in the budget, but skimping on staff can have a detrimental effect on your business’ ability to grow, support customers and take advantage of new opportunities.

Before looking to bring on help, you should sit down and objectively assess your own strengths and weakness in each of the roles that you do. What areas of your business do you love? Where do you need more discipline and development? When hiring as a small business owner, it’s always best to try to capitalise on your own strengths and fill in gaps for your weaknesses, rather than just hire for what you’d consider “lower wage” work.

Empower those around you to do more

It can be difficult to relinquish control of day-to-day details to others. But it’s critical to let go. Successful business leaders don’t micromanage what everyone else is doing. Rather, they empower people around them to do their jobs.

Make sure you’re giving your workers the freedom to make decisions (even make mistakes and correct the mistakes themselves). In the long run, you’ll have a wiser, more confident, more effective and more capable workforce. And you’ll be able to focus on the strategic aspects of your business.

Always stay close to the customer!

No matter how big your business gets and how much staff you bring on, talk to your customers one-on-one. This is the best way to truly understand customer needs and how your company is doing. And helping customers is probably why you started your business in the first place, right?

Most importantly, embrace all the many hats you wear in your business. Because one thing is for sure; you’ll never get bored!

Mariejan Bigby
Small Fish Business Coaching Toowoomba