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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Evaluating Obstacles to Increase Your Productivity

As small business owners we juggle many tasks and must make decisions on issues that could effect the business for the long term. One of the most important assets, yes assets, to any business is its productivity. Productivity is defined in different ways, but I have narrowed it down to simply mean 'how much you can make your time work for you.' If you are a sole proprietor, this is life or death for your business because your earning potential is directly proportionate to your productivity. How can you increase your productivity? Here is the first of 7 ways you can increase your productivity which will undoubtedly make a positive impact on your business:

Assess Current Productivity & Evaluate Obstacles

Be honest. This is crucial for the remaining steps in increasing productivity as it is the starting line. Where are you now? Are you a person who works well for 4 hours and really wish you could add at least 2 more before a break, or are certain activities holding you back from really reaching your productivity goals?

If you are honest and find that you need vast improvement or moderate increase in your productivity, this is perfect timing to begin your improvements. A part of this step is to also honestly evaluate the obstacles that impede you from being as productive as you'd like. Obstacles may come off as negative, but it could be a child coming home from school, an unforeseen illness in the family that requires your attention, or just life in general. Anything that gets in the way of your productivity is an obstacle and evaluating them is the only way to mitigate their effect on your working ability.

After identifying your obstacles to productivity, I would rank them in their ability to distract you. For example, my son gets home from school at 2:30pm which is a definite obstacle to my productivity (though often a welcomed break), after identifying this, I would rate this high on my list of obstacles. Resolutions would include play-dates with other children, childcare, or me taking some time to spend with him and me returning to my work later on. If a social networking site is on your list as a high ranking obstacle, you may delete the icon from your bookmarks bar, set limits on how often you will log in per week, or go on a fast from these sites to break the habit. Set a goal for your productivity and benchmarks to measure success.

A benefit to this exercise is also uncovering obstacles that you were not aware hindered your productivity. After assessing that you are putting in 4 hours of work and you begin to look at what takes up the rest of your time you should be working, you may find the following tasks are obstacles, but you never noticed:
  1. House chores - working from home may bring to your attn chores you overlook -- DO NOT start any chores when you should be working! Even though it is a necessary and constructive task, your goal is to increase productivity for your business, not your home.
  2. Phone calls, Visits - Does your friend begin a texting conversation with you daily at 10am? That is definitely detracting from your concentration, even if you are still managing to work, and is therefore an obstacle.
  3. Impromptu visits - Does your neighbor think because you're at home, you are the perfect coffee buddy? Definitely set the record straight, nicely, of course :-)
  4. Errands - We all have them, but they must be put in their proper place OR the time missed working made up during another time
  5. Naps - Staying up late last night for your favorite television program is no excuse to call in to work, right? It is no more acceptable as an obstacle to your productivity.
My next post will reveal Tip #2 in increasing your productivity tomorrow. As small business owners, every opportunity to learn and grow will help us on the path to success.


ChrissyBiz Solutions provides clients with customized, results-driven web marketing strategies. Our primary business writing duties include: article marketing,  search engine optimized web copy, blog content, social media, press releases, and newsletters  designed to drive traffic to your website and influence buyers decisions when purchasing products and services.

Contact ChrissyBiz today to discuss the impact that web marketing copy can have on your business.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Facebook Discussion -- Your thoughts on Caps in Emails

Weigh in and address this somewhat common issue : http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?topic=236&uid=116800238366806


ChrissyBiz Solutions provides clients with customized, results-driven web marketing strategies. Our primary business writing duties include: article marketing,  search engine optimized web copy, blog content, social media, press releases, and newsletters  designed to drive traffic to your website and influence buyers decisions when purchasing products and services.

Contact ChrissyBiz today to discuss the impact that web marketing copy can have on your business.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Continuous Improvement for Small Businesses




ChrissyBiz Solutions provides clients with customized, results-driven web marketing strategies. Our primary business writing duties include: article marketing,  search engine optimized web copy, blog content, social media, press releases, and newsletters  designed to drive traffic to your website and influence buyers decisions when purchasing products and services.

Contact ChrissyBiz today to discuss the impact that web marketing copy can have on your business.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

ChrissyBiz_Productivity




ChrissyBiz Solutions provides clients with customized, results-driven web marketing strategies. Our primary business writing duties include: article marketing,  search engine optimized web copy, blog content, social media, press releases, and newsletters  designed to drive traffic to your website and influence buyers decisions when purchasing products and services.

Contact ChrissyBiz today to discuss the impact that web marketing copy can have on your business.

First Personal Press Release -- Expanded Services for Clients

ChrissyBiz Solutions Announce Expanded Business Writing Services for Business Owners

SAN ANTONIO, TX - November 2010 - Chrissy Bryant has expanded services available to clients and explains the strategic advantages that these new services provide while giving them opportunity to reach customers once out of reach. Christian "Chrissy" Bryant wants to get the word out to small business owners that the face of marketing has changed.

“One of several reasons that many small businesses cannot compete is their lack of resources in comparison to their larger competitors,” Chrissy explains. The plight of the local and small business owner has not changed: providing services and goods to customers that really need them, but may not know they exist. Getting the word out about a product or service has been the most difficult task of business owners and until recently, few businesses have grown outside their comfort zones because of this obstacle. But the internet and consumers thirst for knowledge at the tip of their fingers has revolutionized the way businesses can market and reach potential clients.

ChrissyBiz Solutions hopes to reinvigorate the lost spark that some businesses have had in their marketing departments through press releases, article writing, and blog content services. The idea is not far-fetched, actually a New York times Bestseller by Robert Scoble entitled “The News Rules of Marketing and PR” has served as a catalyst for expanding services. Writing for small businesses in the past, Chrissy Bryant never acknowledged the advantage that these skills provide a company – especially one where the marketing department consists of only the owner and administrative assistant.

Social Media engagement and information that buyers want to consume is the key to reaching those customers that type in your services on Google but cannot seem to find you. While it is not an overnight success, the amount of small businesses that employ these services have exponentially increased their visibility on the web and thereby increased actual sales. “The missing link between seller and consumer can be bridged with words – words that have meaning and provide answers.” Christian Chrissy Bryant received her Master of Business Administration from Devry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management. Having worked with small businesses in the past to help construct written materials relevant to the internal or external customers, she understands the struggle small business owners deal with between dedicating time to their business versus coming up with great ideas to market their businesses. As marketing and public relations lines have blurred, the idea is concrete, but execution is key.

Small businesses can outsource several services with ChrissyBiz Solutions individually or altogether. Some companies have great Facebook and Twitter engagement but lack a content-rich newsletter that will really get their clients excited about what they do. Others may not be seeing the response they desire for their newsletters and want to dust off their dormant blog. Regardless the business writing service, ChrissyBiz has a solution.


About ChrissyBiz Solutions

ChrissyBiz Solutions is a business writing consulting firm that provides relevant, superior written deliverables for small businesses. From internal memos to external correspondences and press releases to blog content, ChrissyBiz Solutions professionally constructs business correspondences for small businesses.

For more information, please visit: http://www.chrissybizsolutions.com

Company Contact:
Christian Bryant
210-370-7589
cb@chrissybizsolutions.com

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Business Writing Essentials - Defining Tone


Defining the tone for any type of writing is essential; yet far too often the message received is not the message sent. There is need for clarification and in some cases, an additional letter or follow-up. Why is this? The tone was not defined. This is also the case with business correspondences. Mixed messages and / or room for interpretation leave the reader unsure of the ultimate outcome of the letter. Often it is called 'miscommunication' when really it is a lack of tone.

Authors should establish the tone from the very beginning, leaving no room for interpretation. This is accomplished when the author knows their audience and the ultimate point of the correspondence. (This writing should establish from the beginning that it is informative).

A memorandum explaining a major acquisition may have several "interjections" or side points, but the ultimate point is what sets the tone. The ultimate point coupled with the intended audience will help the author define the tone. While it sounds simple, connecting the relationship between defining tone and communicating is often overlooked.


Example: ( An internal memorandum)

GOOD: Many changes are on the horizon here at XYZ Corp; improving employee-manager relations being chief among them. Join this effort by voicing your opinions in the attached survey ...

Another major change mention-worthy is our recent acquisition of ABC Inc. ...

Not So Good: XYZ Corp is pleased to announce its acquisition of ABC Inc. ...
Please download the attachment to send in your comment / concerns ...

The problem with the above statement is that it sounds more like a press release to outside companies than an internal memo sent to the people responsible for helping to make the acquisition possible. Managers wonder why their employees will not voice their concerns or bring up issues. Employees wonder if they received the right letter. The tone defined from the beginning is not congratulatory to the employees at all. It is an announcement and the employee-manager relations is mentioned as a side note.

Defining the tone can be honed by:
  1. Reading things aloud. How does it sound? How would you read the correspondence?
  2. Allowing the memo or letter to rest, even if only for a moment. Walking away and coming back and reading it aloud (to yourself), will show the author what tone was set. If it is a quick memo, you cannot leave it overnight but if it is one you have time to write, definitely allow to sit.
  3. Think about how you would say the same thing to the same people -- face to face, if possible. How would you address them? How much information would be necessary?
If the desired tone is not apparent to you as the author, the reader is unlikely to get it either. Take a look at the verbiage used and the positioning of sentences. Sometimes, switching the wording is really all that is needed. These are great starting points on the road to being a great business communicator. These three steps will aid in producing more effective communications. No matter the audience, this formula works. Stay tuned for the next part of this series where establishing and maintaining tone is discussed. Equally as important as defining the tone, they too, require skill and attention to detail.



ChrissyBiz Solutions provides clients with customized, results-driven web marketing strategies. Our primary business writing duties include: article marketing,  search engine optimized web copy, blog content, social media, press releases, and newsletters  designed to drive traffic to your website and influence buyers decisions when purchasing products and services.

Contact ChrissyBiz today to discuss the impact that web marketing copy can have on your business.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Business Email -- Quick Tips


The day has long past when business emails were considered an informal way to communicate with colleagues, customers, or management. Business people must accept the fact that emails are commonly used but are also a formal and even legal form of communication. How can you make sure that you represent your company and yourself in a professional manner without being too "stuffy?" Here are a few rules to keep in mind:

  1. Do not ever use all caps in an email. Using all capital letters in business emails is about as appropriate as walking into your bosses office unannounced and yelling at him. It does not matter what you are saying -- you're delivery is off!
  2. Try and stay away from "..." and exclamation points. Again, these can relay the wrong message and send a message that you were not intending to send. Misunderstanding in email is already common, you don't have to complicate it.
  1. Remember that there is no tone or inflection of voice in email, so you should always read your emails aloud to make sure they sound correct to you. If they sound confrontational or unclear to you, the reader will be just as confused.
  2. Try to stay away from overuse of smiley faces and emoticons. In business, if you are speaking to a colleague, this may be acceptable, but practice makes perfect and you do not want to send a reminder invoice out to a customer with a smiley face attached. Wrong message.
  3. Keep it simple. If you are using the thesaurus and dictionary to come up with words that sound intelligent for an email about an upcoming training, stop right there. Communicate just as you would face to face; odds are that you probably are not going to pick up a dictionary mid sentence to announce a mandatory training.
These are just a few simple rules that if followed, can make your business communications more effective, concise, and clear. Remember that you are a professional but you don't have to cram every word you learned in grad school into your email to get your point across.



ChrissyBiz Solutions provides clients with customized, results-driven web marketing strategies. Our primary business writing duties include: article marketing,  search engine optimized web copy, blog content, social media, press releases, and newsletters  designed to drive traffic to your website and influence buyers decisions when purchasing products and services.

Contact ChrissyBiz today to discuss the impact that web marketing copy can have on your business.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How To Use Your Vision and Mission To Create Your Internet Marketing Strategy


Few things are more important to the success of any business than their vision, mission and strategy. These statements are like compasses for a ship at sea as they guide and direct the organization in uncertain times and keep the business on track when confronted with decisions. Vision, mission and strategy also play a major role in small business internet marketing strategies.

There was a time when companies proudly displayed their vision and mission statements on their website. This trend has become less and less popular, though I am unsure why. So why should you write down your vision and mission, and what does it have to do with your web marketing?

Vision

The vision statement of your company is where you want to be and where you see yourself in the future. What do you envision for your company, for your customers, for yourself?

Without vision, it can be very difficult to come to decisions within your organization. Whether you are a solopreneur or a part of a small operation, vision is just as crucial. The vision statement does not need to be elaborate, just clear.

Example: ChrissyBiz Solutions will provide valuable internet marketing solutions for small businesses and nonprofit through it's one-stop-shop business model.

Mission

Mission is equally as important as it narrows down why you do what you do, and what you hope to accomplish by doing it. 
  • What is your mission? 
  • What motivates you to do what you do? 
Your mission is what motivates your operation even when times are difficult or you are confronted with a decision. Mission statements should be inclusive, honest, and purposeful.

Example: To offer affordable, professional, and result-driven solutions for small businesses and nonprofits.

Strategy

With the mission and vision now clear, you can begin to develop your strategy for marketing your products and services online. Where you see your organization and why you do what you do can be very helpful in determining where you will invest most of your time and resources for internet marketing. 

For example, nonprofits may want to invest more time on Go Fund Me than small businesses because of the way it is designed. Though it is crowdfunding for anyone's use, nonprofits have more success rates there than small businesses looking for startup funds. Similarly, LinkedIn is geared more toward professionals and a growing social network for business people. 

A good internet marketing strategy incorporates the vision and mission so that time and resources are maximized. It is also invests resources so that all is not lost if something fails. 

Tools for your internet marketing strategy may include:
  • Pay Per Click Ads
  • Email Marketing Campaigns
  • Blogging
  • Newsletters
  • Social Networking Sites
  • Offers
Your written mission and vision statements should be where you can easily access and see them daily. The internet is a massive place, growing at lightning speed, but your written plan gives you direction and puts you at an advantage. 

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