eBusiness Blog

Disaster Planning for Entrepreneurs

Disaster Planning for Entrepreneurs

The ABC’s of Business Basics Series: D is for Disaster

Living on the west coast of British Columbia, we hear all the time about being prepared for ‘The Big One’, the earthquake that ‘will’, not ‘if’, strike in the near future.

Everyone from Alaska to California knows that they are neighbours with the San Andreas Fault line. It runs up and down the coast.

From time to time, it reminds us of the risk with small tremors … There hasn’t been a year go by when we read the paper and see that another small earthquake has struck somewhere out in the Pacific Ocean.

Provinces and States have programs for Emergency Preparedness and advise us all to have at least 3 days of food, water and supplies on hand. Knowing what we know, we would think more folks would pay attention to the messages and have the cupboard full of supplies.

Nearly half of all those surveyed don’t have anything ready should the big one strike. Why not? According to the experts, they don’t think it will happen to them or they simply aren’t aware of the need.

It’s the same with business.

Disaster can strike in many ways:

  • The owner can get seriously ill
  • There can be a staff shortage.
  • We can lose our biggest customer and be left with a serious cash flow issue.
  • Partnerships can split up.
  • We can lose our business through fire, or even earthquakes.

Good business planning doesn’t just plan for the best of times.

It also plans for the worst of times. Damage/Disaster control for business is all about planning steps, taking out the right insurance and identifying important measures that will minimize or curtail loss or harm.

So, here’s three reasons why a business owner needs to be prepared, by identifying and planning for as many possible business challenges/disasters as they can. Create ‘Plan B’s’ by:

  1. Identifying every possible disaster. You will, at the very least, have acknowledged what could happen and have created some form of damage control plan to deal with each one. There will be fewer surprises.
  2. Acknowledging financial strengths and weaknesses. Budget for slim times as well as flush times. Just like your emergency preparedness kit, keep a contingency fund for your finances. If and when those tough times hit, you can still sleep at night and pay your bills.
  3. Assigning different staff for different roles. Involve and trust those people in your business who will step up when really needed. Know who they are and involve them in your damage control plan. Just like on an airplane during an emergency, you need calm, assertive people making sure the emergency doors get open.

The best reason of all for your disaster/damage control plans?

If nothing ever happens, at the very least, you are prepared. You will rest easy because you know your company has acknowledged possible disasters, faced them head on and created your ‘Emergency Business Plans’.

As the Boy Scout motto says, “Be Prepared”.

How does your business minimize risks and are you structured to recover quickly? Thanks again for sharing your tips in the comment section below.

About the Author, Pamela Chatry

Pamela Chatry

Do you work too hard? Is your business in chaos? If you are struggling with business issues, contact Pamela Chatry for a complimentary assessment. Pamela has been a trusted and highly respected Business Consultant, Mentor for Women in Business, Self-Employment Advocate, Trainer and Keynote Speaker for over 25 years.

Visit www.pamelachatry.com or call her at 778-856-8970 for help in getting your business to its fullest potential.


Boost Your Website eZine Sign-Ups

Boost Your Website eZine Sign-Ups: How to Create a Professional Intro Video Using These 8 Tips and Sample Script

How to Create a Professional Intro Video Using These 8 Tips and Sample Script

Want to engage your audience and grab the attention of your website visitors?

Using an intro video is a great way to accomplish this while introducing yourself to your audience. What better way to begin a relationship and build trust than to speak from your heart in a video and capture the trust of potential customers.

Website intro videos are a great way to boost #eZine signups and build trust.Click To Tweet

If you haven’t considered adding a video to your website home page yet, using video not only helps introduce you or your company to your site visitors, it also helps:

  • Strengthen the “know, like and trust” factor with them. And since people tend to do business with people they know, like and trust, then you’re escalating the purchase process with a video.
  • Gives you and your company a personality. A video can be much more effective at this than just reading text and it helps strengthen your bond with them as well.
  • You to stand out from your competitors. Since home page videos are not mainstream, the chances are great that your competitors have not taken advantage of this excellent form of grabbing the attention of their website visitors.
  • Get more newsletter subscribers into your list. Having your video conclude with this call to action will greatly increase your website signups. (But don’t forget to actually send out those newsletters!)

One of the roadblocks many entrepreneurs and business owners face when considering adding a video is not knowing how to create one. So below are tips on what to say in your video, for recording it, and a sample script you can use as a guideline to get you started.

8 Key Things to Include in Your Intro Video

  • ‘Pain’ question – Pique the attention of your audience by asking a question that identifies their biggest challenge or pain.
  • Who you are – Introduce yourself and your credentials in a concise, memorable way.
  • What you do – Share how specifically you help people with your offerings.
  • Who you help – Identify your ideal clients… the ones you absolutely love to work with and they love working with you.
  • Sign up for newsletter/eZine – Tell them specifically how to sign up for your newsletter. Example: “Enter your name and email to the right and click submit.”
  • What they can expect in your eZine – Let them know what you share in your newsletter. It could be blog articles, videos, exclusive interviews, motivational quotes and more that pertain to your industry.
  • Bonus gift for signing up – It’s a good idea to offer a free giveaway as incentive for people to sign up for your newsletter and this can be done by giving away a free video, audio, special report, or cheat sheet to name a few ideas. You’ll want to emphasize they will be receiving this as soon as they sign up.
  • Final ‘call to action’ – End the video with a personal well wish that shows them you care and you are grateful for their connection. Then conclude with a reminder to enter their name and email address to get their free gift.

Important Tips When Recording Your Video

Now that you have a guideline on what to say for your intro video, it’s time to record it. I recommend finding a local videographer to help you with this part so that your video is presented in a professional manner – after all, you want to give off the best impression to your new website visitors, right?

Regardless if you hire someone to help or do the video yourself, here are some key pointers to be aware of:

  • Practice what you want to say so it comes across naturally and doesn’t sound like you are reading it.
  • Say it with genuine expression and emotion. You’ll want express your personality in a big way to avoid looking dull and boring to the viewer.
  • Smile and let your passion shine through.
  • Make sure you have good lighting and audio. This is very important and can make or break the success of your video. If you’re recording indoors, you need a lot of extra lighting to make the video look normal on screen. I often recommend to my clients to do outdoors and take advantage of the natural lighting found there. Just be sure to have the main lighting source facing you and not behind you.
  • Dress for success. Do your hair,  wear something sharp, and put on makeup if you’re a woman.  All of this will make a great impression.
  • Keep it short. Aim for 2 minutes max. Anything longer than that and you risk losing the attention of your audience.
  • Keep in mind your video is going to be displayed on your website home page so it is not necessary to end it with a graphic asking people to visit your website while providing the URL.
     
    I often see this mistake where people see their video more as a commercial that can be used in other places. If you want to use your video in other places like on Facebook or LinkedIn, then create two of them – one specifically for your website home page and another that is geared to get people to visit your website for more details.

Sample Intro Video Script

Take this script and make it your own!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Would you like to lose weight without dieting? (Pain question)

HI, I am Marie Jones, a Low Carb Dieting nutritionist. (Who you are)

I have worked with thousands of people like you who are tired of starving  themselves with diets that don’t work. (What you do and who you help)

That’s why I am inviting you to join my community to receive helpful tips on how to lose weight the low carb way.

Sign up now – I’ll share powerful teachings to help you drop pounds and inches while eating healthy foods you’ll love. (Call to sign up for eZine)

You’ll receive easy-to-prepare meals with the foods you already have in your home. (What they can expect in your eZine)

Plus, as a special bonus, you’ll receive my ‘Low Carb Shopping List’ as a gift when you sign up! (Bonus gift they get when they sign up)

I look forward to helping you feel great and lose weight with your best body ever. Don’t forget to add your name and email address to the right to get your free gift today! (Call to action / sign off)

Here’s to your health!

Marie Jones

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ready, Set, Action!

Adding an intro video to your website home page will make an incredible difference on your brand positioning and list building efforts.

If you’d like to record an intro video for your home page but aren’t sure where to start, a marketing professional can help you write a script that’s the perfect fit for your business.

If you don’t have a home page video, what is preventing you from creating one?

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

How to Know If You Are In The Right Business – Law of Attraction Check In

How to Know If You Are In The Right Business – Law of Attraction Check In

You might be someone who absolutely knows that you are in the right business.

For you, the result you manifest is that your business is flowing and you have happy customers/clients who keep coming back for more and most importantly you love what you are doing.

If this is the case for you I congratulate you because your high-positive-vibrations permeate your world and the entire universe. So, thank you!

This is a universal principle of the Law of Attraction:

Energy goes where attention flows…

So it makes sense that if you are putting your energy into doing something that you love and it’s a business that is needed then you are probably feeling fabulous about your success.

Now if this isn’t the case for you and something feels out of alignment for you it may be because you have not yet recognized that it takes more than just being competent or even excellent at what you do – you must be passionate about it. When you are feeling passionate your ‘why’ you got into business in the first place is being satisfied in a big way.

You know you are in the right business for you when you are passionate about what you are doing!

 For many solopreneurs their business can survive for a time on their ability to be excellent at what they do having mastered the skills required to create and run a successful business.

you

Here are a few clues to know that you are in the right business:

  • your energy is high
  • you can’t wait to get started in the morning
  • you are eager to find solutions to your clients/customers problems
  • you feel on purpose and find meaning in the work you do
  • you think way more positive thoughts in a day than you do negative

Over the years of coaching women in business I’ve come to recognize that most people over the course of their life have found themselves in one of these 4 areas in their work:

EXCELLENT

You have mastered what you do and use your skills and talents to be productive.

PASSION*

This is where you THRIVE! This is your WHY where you FEEL ON PURPOSE!

COMPETENT

You can do the work but it does not bring you much joy.

INCOMPETENT

You really don’t have the skills to learn how to do something and need to let someone with the skills do this work!

Solopreneurs wear many different hats and they may not be even competent in the skills they need to create, start, run and profit in their business. Yet you are 100% responsible for the success or failure of your business.

I know that for me when I first started out I did do everything myself – marketing, sales, operations, administration, bookkeeping and then providing my services to my clients/customers.

And I also knew that I was incompetent in bookkeeping, competent in some of the administration involved with the my work, excellent at the services I offered and totally passionate about my ‘why’.

So where do you see yourself fitting into these 4 areas? Is it time to delegate and let someone else shine who is not only excellent but also passionate about their purpose?

About the Author, Dana J. Smithers

dana-smithers-ewb

Dana J. Smithers is on a mission to inspire and empower women entrepreneurs around the world. At 50 she left a high-paying corporate job and over the years launched 3 businesses earning a 6-figure income.

As a Certified Law of Attraction Trainer she you how to use LOA tools to build a business by working on your limiting beliefs. As a Certified Sacred Gifts Guide she helps you discover what makes you feel on purpose and fulfilled. As an Emotion Code practitioner Dana knows how to release your trapped negative emotions that have built up over the years and are now holding you back from moving forward. She invites you to sign up for her enewsletter for tips, insights and inspiration and her FREE ebook 'The POWER of your WORDS' at Empowered Women in Business. She looks forward to making a real connection with you on www.FB.com/coachdanasmithers. Her NEW Law of Attraction Gratitude Journal is available on www.amazon.com.

8 Strategies On How To Use LinkedIn Like a Small Business Pro

8 Strategies On How To Use LinkedIn Like a Small Business Pro

Did you know that LinkedIn is one of the premier business networking sites? It provides amazing coverage of the professional market and one that you shouldn’t ignore, especially if you are a B2B business (a business where your clients are other businesses.)

LinkedIn is the 3rd most used social media platform for businesses.Click To Tweet

Unlike Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn is geared more for business owners who have the intention of connecting, supporting and sharing information with other business owners.

Below are some basic tips and strategies to get you started in the world of LinkedIn social media marketing.

Through LinkedIn, you have the ability to:

  • Expand your personal and business brand reach far beyond your website. LinkedIn is weighed heavily in Google searches so your profile is likely to be found ahead of your website if filled out fully.
  • Find and be introduced to potential clients, service providers, experts, and more.
  • Be found by others specifically looking for your service or product.
  • Collaborate with others for JV partnerships, guest blogging and/or interview opportunities.
  • Refer your connections to others who are in need of a specific service and in return, others can refer you to their network.
  • Boost your social proof and credibility by collecting recommendations and endorsements from your peers.
  • Increase your thought leadership exposure through group participation and LinkedIn Pulse.
  • Find qualified personnel for your vacant job openings.

As you can see, there are lots of benefits to using LinkedIn as part of your daily business regimen. The more you utilize its vast array of options, the more you can become very successful.

Setting up your LinkedIn profile

When joining LinkedIn, you will want to fill out your profile as much as possible to get the best results. Strive to reach the “All-Star” level.

This includes filling out the “Summary” section fully and adding your accomplishments, experience and areas of interest as well as your education, skillsets, past and current work experience and more.

Be sure to use appropriate keywords throughout in order to get found when people are doing searches looking for someone with your offerings.

Always use a professional profile picture of you and not your logo, product picture or a selfie of you at the beach. People will connect with a real person far better than a logo or image of your product. It is also against the LinkedIn Terms and Conditions to use anything else other than a personal photo of you.

Once your profile is filled out, you will then want to expand your network by inviting others to connect with you. With each new connection, you are benefiting from their connections as well, which become your 2nd degree connections.

If you haven’t done so yet, please connect with eVision Media here: http://ca.linkedin.com/in/evisionmedia

If you are new to LinkedIn, it can be a bit daunting getting your way around all of these different areas. Here’s some tips to help get you started.

8 Tips and Strategies For Using LinkedIn

  1. Be strategic about what you feature and post on your profile so that it meets your business goals and reflects your values.
  2. Use effective keywords that relate to your business and industry in order for those doing searches for your expertise can easily find you.
  3. Use the “recommendations” feature by recommending others that you know and have worked with and by also asking your clients and associates to post a recommendation for you.
  4. Join LinkedIn groups that are focused on areas of your interest and/or where you know your ideal client is hanging out in order to build your connections and credibility.
  5. Use the InMail paid feature to send news and articles to your network connections.
  6. Post consistent updates to share brief tips, informative articles and other tidbits of information that they will find useful and valuable.
  7. Build your connections offline such as when out networking, going to workshops and attending seminars and conferences, etc.
  8. Add a LinkedIn button on your eSignature and website for maximum opportunities and exposure to get lots of connections.

Once you have your personal profile created, your next step is to create a company profile for even more brand exposure.

If you’re unsure on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile to best results, consider joining my monthly Social Blast group membership program where I provide hands-on, step-by-step training covering the social media and online marketing world.

Do you use LinkedIn on a consistent basis?

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

How Judgment at Home Can Lead to Happiness

How Judgment at Home Can Lead to Happiness

What is Judgment?

We are all familiar with that voice inside our head and the conclusions it draws as it encounters life. A judgment is merely a personal perception, an evaluation that includes complaint, perhaps criticism and often blame. It may also involve some form of self-defense.

Judgment and its connection with the mind

Our mind has a natural ability to review, discern, calculate and evaluate since it is functioning from a space that is designed to protect us. Thus judgment is an extension of a mind conclusion, aimed at helping us.

The paradox is that with judgment poorly resolved, conflict and misery follow too, so instead of feeling protection, we often feel vulnerable when we have judged another. In defending our position, our buttons get triggered, misunderstandings arise, and emotional wounds evolve.

All family strife is a by-product of some judgment that has arisen and subsequently been mishandled.

Purpose behind judgment

Family strife alone, is motivation enough to eradicate judgment but how many of us actually know how to do this effectively?

I for one, had no idea of the jewel that exists to transform differences in an everlasting way. I found after an arduous journey of misery, that judgment could only fall away permanently through another mechanism that assists the mind to discern differently and this mechanism is called self-awareness.

Self-awareness is a very important quality that if encouraged in the family home, ensures that conflict and misery can be transformed dramatically.

I have three children, aged 14, 19 and 23, and had I not been introduced to practical principles of heightening self-awareness back in 2008, my communication and honest relationship with them would not have been as effective as it is today.

I am separate and I am different to you… and that is what I am protecting when I stand in judgment of you!

Ironically, all the while a person is judging a person outside of them, they are guaranteed to be judging themselves internally too…causing inner angst, unhappiness and division. Often the inner voice is even harsher towards “self” than it is towards others, fuelling the miserable idea of non-acceptance of oneself!

This becomes the saddest human phenomena- striving for a mis-conceived idea of perfection, instead of embracing full acceptance of our own presence and beauty as it stands each day!

This is thus the real purpose behind judgments: to help us to be aware of our own inner division and help us to take responsibility for this state so that we might dissolve the angst, and learn how to become truly happy again.

Feel complete inside and embrace our worthiness

With growing self-awareness, a new form of happiness evolves, which disregards what is flowing outside of us. This happiness is generated from our own inner voice that miraculously drops stress, worry, shame or guilt naturally and becomes friendly, life affirmative, creative and truly blissful.

Imagine what it would feel like to have a family life in which everyone embraces one another, where mutual respect and love takes precedence and conflict dissolves swiftly as each person begins to work together!

Where each person becomes willing to be vulnerable, and honest, avoiding suppression of thought, and yet still succeed in remaining united.

Once we consciously embark upon the journey of transforming our judgments away, we simultaneously claim our individual gifts too and learn how to be truly compassionate towards one another. This is what happens when our inner voice finally accepts itself, without judgment.

Our Soul’s natural ability is to feel love

At the core, each of our souls recognize the truth of unconditional love, and we have all somewhere agreed to be on a journey that helps us to evolve from a state of incompleteness, back into wholeness.

We are continuously being presented with the opportunity to embrace the idea that we can move up the human ladder of evolution, by finding the tools to advance our awareness so that we might learn who we truly are. With this a chance to feel euphoric by experiencing the unconditional love we are seeking outside of ourselves stands as our prize.

The Responsibility to find unity and drop judgment

As judgment is effortless for the mind to engage in, and the soul has a natural ability to recognize unconditional love, the question that arises is “How can we bridge the gap between these two states?” so that the heart might override the mind and we can take responsibility to find that bridge.

The mind is effectively our ego personality, our idea of a separate existence. All too often, we find solutions that engage the mind, without realizing that it is the mind itself that is the root of the problems, and thus it cannot get us out of trouble!

This is where I went wrong for many years, until I had the good fortune to fall into the wisdom of the mystics. They work with meta- psychology, ie they bypass the mind in their solutions and achieve truly profound and everlasting changes.

They help us to embark on the task to find out and become aware of all the different faces we have, and as we unearth each mask and see what fear or otherwise was driving us to behave a certain way, we become increasingly compassionate towards others.

Kindness always kills inner angst and helps the journey away from judgment

Pretending to be kind, where we have been wronged and forcing yourself to forgive, only creates greater inner division and inauthenticity, even if it is what society has enforced on us.

However in true kindness, where we respect, love and accept ourselves fully, we are able to then truly accept everyone around us without judgment too. For this to happen we need to see our humanness, our jealousy, our insincerity, our rage, our fears, our desires, our misplaced thoughts, and our changing volatile emotions.

True kindness arises when we have embraced the shadow side of our personality but also our shining side too.

When we have accepted our own uniqueness and our own gifts, our talents, and grace, and when we know we are living our life on purpose. True contentment arises and true thriving arises, beyond any fulfillment that can be defined by material success.

Ego Personality separates because it is afraid of thriving!

However, we all need to mindful that the ego personality is afraid in circumstances of unity, happiness and true joy… it is truly afraid of expansion and ecstasy! It is this deep fear that prevents many from making the journey of self-exploration and self-awareness in the first place.

So despite the existence of this fear, I invite each of you to reclaim the great heights of unity and joy that reside within you, and consciously take steps towards heightened self-awareness.

  • Do you experience conflict in your home?
  • Do you wish to have better communication with your children?
  • Do you wish to have your partner be more supportive and loving?
  • Do you wish to have a family life, where each is confident, empowered, self-motivated and joyous?
  • Do you want existing judgment to lead you to happiness?

If you have found yourself answering yes to any of these questions I invite you to come forward for a free 30 minute, no obligation, revitalization consult, and lets together determine a new practical pathway to happiness.

About the Author, Kindi Gill ACA

Kindi Gill

Are you extremely responsible but tired and wish someone could now nurture YOUR needs? Is your family life in need of a boost and ready to be revitalized into unity? Is there room for improvement in your relationships at home so that your work-life is better supported? If you are struggling with adversity, contact Kindi Gill for a complimentary 30 minute consultation.

Kindi is a CEO, Revitalization Consultant, Inward Leadership Mentor and Keynote Speaker. She has 30 plus years of experience in leadership, is trained as a Chartered Accountant and is a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. Kindi is also one of 11 people trained as a facilitator of the Self Healing Dalian Method, an evolutionary tool that bypasses the mind, created by a modern day mystic, Mada Eliza Dalian who revolutionized Kindi's own life back into wholeness.

Call her at 778-558-5110 for help in getting your life and vibration back on track to achieve its natural potential, so that your gifts can shine, and the rain can eventually stop.


7 Tips to Protect Your Website from Hackers

Website Security: 7 Tips to Protect Your Website from Hackers

We have all heard in the headlines about major companies like Chase, Target, and Home Depot having data breaches with Ashley Madison being one of the latest high-profile victims.

The threat to small businesses on experiencing attacks by hackers is very real and not something to ignore.  In fact, according to a 2013 survey by the National Small Business Association over 44% of small businesses have had their systems hacked.

The Dangers of Not Protecting your Systems

It’s easy for a small business owner and entrepreneurs to say “Oh it won’t happen to me.”  Or because they are too busy with the day-to-day operations of the business not to make website security a top priority.

But the dangers of doing nothing are alarming.  Hackers can:

  • Break into your database and steal customer information.
  • Deface your website and put inappropriate pictures or text on it.
  • Submit malicious code through forms to deliver viruses and other harmful code to visitors who enter your site.
  • Log into your email server to send spam through your server.

As a business owner, it’s important to understand these dangers and know what needs to be in place in order to minimalize your risk of being compromised.

How To Protect You And Your Website from Hackers

  1. Keep your Website Platforms and Scripts Updated. If you use a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla etc., it’s important to install updates as they become available.
     
    The makers of these platforms often find and fix security holes that will leave your website vulnerable to attack.
     
    Wordpress is especially vulnerable due to the extent of its popularity.
     
    Same applies for shopping cart systems or plugins and scripts that facilitate extra functionality on your site.
  2. Be Careful with User Uploads.  While allowing users to upload an avatar, picture, or other file to a website or form can add interactivity, it also allows a way for malicious scripts to be uploaded to your server.
     
    Ensure security measures are in place that check submitted items from users to check if they are safe before uploading them to your website server.
  3. Protect Your Web Forms.  It is possible for hackers to fill out a contact form and place malicious code into the name or email fields.
     
    Having a tech person review your website can protect you from leaving this opportunity open to hackers.
  4. Set Up Strong Passwords.  While many people are learning the importance of strong passwords, some still leave their usernames at ‘admin’ or set simple passwords like ‘password123’ or use the same password for every online account they have.
     
    Passwords like first names, pet names, and simple words are easy to guess. There are algorithms hackers can use to easily figure out your user ID and/or password when either are very simple.
     
    Adding numbers, symbols, and capital letters to a password makes it harder to expose.  Plus, many password management programs can help you generate a random hard-to-guess password.
     
    This may seem inconvenient to have to memorize a more complex password but doing this to avoid being hacked is very much worth the effort.
  5. Lock Down Your Directory and File Permissions. It’s important to have someone with technical expertise review your hosting server directories to make sure the read, write, and execute permissions are set in a way that allows for maximum security.
     
    Look at folders, directories and individual files to review their settings to ensure your website is as secure as possible from harmful attacks.
  6. Set Up A Generic Website Error Page. If you have a portion of your website where users need to log in with a username and password, be careful what information you share on the error page.
     
    For instance if someone is trying to log in and gives the wrong username, it’s better to have a generic error message that says “wrong username and password combination”. This way, you’re not providing would-be hackers any clues to guessing the login credentials.
     
    Having the ability to lock a user from trying to log in after too many failed attempts can protect your website as well.
  7. Use A SSL Certificate. If your website has a shopping cart system, a membership component, or collects sensitive personal data via online forms, it’s always wise to get a SSL certificate installed.
     
    A SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate will protect the data that is being submitted into your website by encrypting it as it travels from the web browser to your web server, making it much harder for hackers to intercept and malign.
     
    Not only does an SSL protect your data but it also invokes a sense of security for your customers when they go to purchase. You will probably lose sales if you don’t have an SSL installed.
     
    Additionally, Google gives a small SEO ranking benefit to websites with SSLs installed.

Make a Point to Review Your Website Security Today

If you feel uncomfortable doing a security review yourself, hire a “techie” to do it for you.

Plus, when you are hiring a web developer, making sure they are aware of security issues and take a proactive approach to protecting you is important. Ensure they give your website the regular security updates it needs can keep your business website safe.

Has your website ever been hacked?

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Entrepreneurs: Whatever Happened to Your Newsletter?

Entrepreneurs: Whatever Happened to Your Newsletter? Why NOT Sending Regular eZines is Hurting Business and What To Do About It

Why NOT Sending Regular Newsletters is Hurting Business and What To Do About It

When I talk to entrepreneurs about all the benefits of adding a newsletter/eZine sign up form to their website, they are usually quite enthusiastic and commit to sending out a regular newsletter at least once a month.

Sadly, this rarely comes to fruition.  Months, if not years go by and nary a newsletter gets sent out…

Are you guilty of this too? Has your website been gathering names and email addresses of people who literally want to hear from you and you have hardly ever gotten around to sending anything out to these people?

So what happened? Why aren’t you taking advantage of this fundamental marketing strategy that could make a huge difference in your business success?

After reading this article, you’ll not only be reminded of why it’s so important to have a regular eZine/Newsletter in your marketing plan, but I’ll also provide tips on how to get you into the routine of fulfilling that plan.

Firstly, here’s a quick reminder of why you wanted to start a regular newsletter to begin with:

  1. To keep in touch with your followers. The reason why keeping in touch with those in your database is so important is to avoid them from forgetting about you!

    Since it’s rare that a first time visitor to your website will immediately make a purchase decision, a newsletter is a way for you to keep in touch and remind them about your offerings.

    As a result, they will automatically think of you when they need what you provide or will think of you when a friend or associate needs your services.

  2. To showcase your expertise. People like following those that know what they’re talking about, especially if they have a desire to learn more about your industry.

    They very well could be shopping around for someone with your product or skill and need to be confident that you are the best choice for them. A newsletter provides an excellent way of doing this.

  3. To market your business inexpensively. It costs pennies to send out newsletter and your return can be immense.

    And since a newsletter article can also be a blog article, you now have two ways for you to expand your market reach by sharing the blog article to your social media followers.

    And don’t forget about the SEO benefits of adding a new blog post to your website too!

  4. To develop lasting relationships with your readers. The more you write and share about your expertise, the more your subscribers will get to know, like and trust you.

    The more they do this, the more likely they will want to do business with you or refer you to others.

It’s clear why a newsletter is important to have, but I know, there are lots of “reasons” why you may not have one…

  1. Don’t have enough time
  2. Don’t know what to say
  3. Don’t know how to write well enough or like to write at all
  4. Don’t think you have anything of value to share
  5. Don’t want to “bother” people by emailing them all the time

I’m sure you can think of more, but these are some of what I hear most often.

So let’s examine this list of reasons and see what solutions can be found.

  1. Not enough time. I used this one all the time, everything else was far more important than our own newsletters so they didn’t get sent out.

    My solution? Simply make the time! And this is done by making a commitment to this important task.

    Get started by scheduling a couple of hours into your calendar and stick to the appointment you’ve made for yourself. Honour your commitment by staying on task and not letting other things take priority.

    You only need to do this once a month but if possible, every two weeks is much better and some experts will say once a week is most effective. (We started sending out weekly newsletters over a year ago and it’s made a big difference.) I think it really has to do with who you are writing for – what are they wanting and how often would they love to get your valuable information.

  2. Don’t know what to say. This one can actually be as simple as listening to your current clients and remembering the questions they ask you. Or do similar listening on Social Media – what problems are people having that are related to your industry?

    If one person is asking, then the chances are many others are also seeking the same answer. Keep a log of questions you get throughout the day and then write an article about your response.

    It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out answer – short and informative is all that is needed.

  3. Don’t know how to write / don’t like to write. This can be solved a few ways. Believe it or not, there are people out there that actually LOVE to write and would be thrilled to help you out!

    There are virtual assistants, students and even us here at eVision Media who offer copywriting services for clients.

    All you need to do is write out the general outline of what you want to say and let the copywriter put it together for you.

    Another idea is to record your thoughts using a free recording service and have it transcribed by a Virtual Assistant.

    And if writing it not your cup of tea at all, create a video instead! All you need is a blog to post the video onto and then send out a newsletter telling people to click on the link that takes them to your blog post to watch.

  4. Nothing of value to share. Ok, tough love here… STOP THAT! Of course you have something of value to share! You wouldn’t be in business if you didn’t!

    Your clients love you for your expertise so never undervalue what you offer. Don’t let your lack of confidence filter through because people don’t want to hear from someone who doesn’t think they are very good. Do you?

  5. Don’t want to bother people. I get where you’re coming on this and it can be used as an easy scapegoat to avoid the whole newsletter thing.

    However, you’re forgetting one critical fact – these people signed up to actually RECEIVE a newsletter from you!

    If they didn’t want to be bothered, they wouldn’t have signed up or will unsubscribe. In fact, by asking people to sign up for your newsletter and then never or rarely send one out sends a negative message– that you can’t be counted on to follow through with what you promised you would do. Think about that for a moment…

On a final note, it’s important to realize a Newsletter is NOT a form of advertising and should never be the main focus of your email (unless it’s a separate sendout and is not part of your regular Newsletter.)

So go ahead and take out your calendar right now and schedule a time THIS WEEK to write your next newsletter. Give yourself at least 2 hours to do some research and write down your thoughts.

If you don’t want to write the entire newsletter, then arrange for someone who will be gladly do it for you. If you are still unsure of whether a Newsletter is of value for you, schedule a consultation with me to help you come up with a game plan.

To your success,

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Entrepreneur eTip: How to Build Your Brand Exposure Through Commenting

Entrepreneur eTip: How to Build Your Brand Exposure Through Commenting

Today’s eTip offers one of many ways to help build your brand exposure.

As an entrepreneur, you want to always be thinking of ways on how to get yourself in front of your ideal target market.

One way to do that is by leaving comments on other people’s blog posts.

If you share a comment of value, visitors to these blogs will follow the link back to your blog to see what other brilliant insights you might have.

The benefit to doing this not only gets you more visibility but also provides people with a reason to go back to your website and check you out.

The trick is to post comments on blog posts who’s owner shares the same target market as you. This does not mean your competitors’ blogs but someone who would be in a complementary industry as yours where you would each be reaching out to the same market through different product or service offering.

So give it a try! Find some blog posts and leave a comment to get engaged with the readers and give yourself some extra exposure.

I’d love to hear what you think – do you already leave comments on blogs or are you comment shy? Share your thoughts in the comments section or if you have a question, I’d be happy to answer.

To your success,

P.S. New to online marketing or you find it overwhelming and confusing? Check out Social Blast: eMarketing for Entrepreneurs. It’s a monthly group coaching program for those just starting out or wanting more advanced strategies to help with their online marketing and social media efforts.
CLICK HERE: www.socialblastcoaching.com

About the Author, Susan Friesen

10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and grab your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

How To Be A Shy Entrepreneur To Your Advantage

How To Be A Shy Entrepreneur To Your Advantage

I met an entrepreneur a few months ago that has a personal life coaching business and has published a book. I really liked talking with her.

She was able to articulate her ideas and we were having a lively conversation. She was talking about the need to ‘be quiet’ and ‘to listen’ to her clients. And then, she described herself as ‘shy’.

Shy can be a negative word in business; defining someone who is anxious, awkward, fearful, inhibited or timid. But, shyness can also be related to other traits such as being discreet, self controlled, thoughtful, and sensitive.

So, what did she mean when she described herself as ‘shy’?

Shy people are often sensitive people, and tend to like doing things by themselves. They can become stressed trying to function around too much noise and too many people.

To be socially introverted (or shy), does not necessarily mean you don’t like people, it likely means you prefer fewer close relationships rather than a large circle of acquaintances.

In a work situation, both introverts and extroverts perform their job duties with commitment and confidence.

After work, being exhausted from a full day, even some extroverts will avoid socializing, shopping and other activities. Being ‘quiet’ or ‘recharging’ is not being shy, nor is it something to apologize for.

Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D, author of ‘The Highly Sensitive Person’, reports that ‘shyness’ is manifested from childhood. Parents can decide that the quieter child, overshadowed by the others, is shy.

Once labelled as ‘shy’, a child will place themselves in that box because it is safe and it makes sense. And, referring to themselves as shy can be a self-fulfilling; living in other people shadows and confusing feelings with self-esteem.

Stanford University hosted a psychological experiment where they recruited women who described themselves as ‘extremely shy’ and others who were ‘not shy’. The women were placed in a study supposedly about noise bombardment.

Many of the shy individuals expected to become stressed and overwhelmed by the noise. When conversing with men in the loud environment, the shy women believed that their pounding heart and racing pulse was due to the loud background noise. They had become less shy because they had assumed there was another reason for their reactions, rather than their interaction with the opposite sex.

Interesting, the men involved were unable to distinguish ‘extremely shy’ from the ‘non-shy’ women. ~

In Feng Shui I talk about matching people and their strengths with the right job description. ‘Shyer or quieter’ individuals have the same opportunity to climb the ladder of success.

In business, extroverts can be inclined to over-react or rush through tasks, while introverts know when to back away from drama to keep sane.

Quieter people have finer tuned observation skills and can choose when to step in. They arbitrate conflict with statements like; “We can finish this discussion later.” Or, ‘Can we talk about this when you are not so busy?”

Introverts need to learn how to handle noise and chaos if they anticipate becoming stressed in certain situations.

For example:

  • If the convention hall is to too loud and rowdy, mingle with a few people you’re comfortable with, rather than feel pressured to ‘work the room’.
  • If you need to address an issue at work, it may be better to meet with a number of smaller groups than with a single large group. This doesn’t really translate to ‘shyness’, it may simply be good judgement in how to address the situation.

It is okay to be ‘quiet’ and it is okay to excuse yourself from activities that are going to stress you out.

But, let’s find another word to use to describe this behavior, one that instills or promotes confidence, self-sufficiency and power, rather than suggesting shyness.

Before you describe yourself to others as ‘shy’, try out some other words like:

distinguished, cultured, stylish, classy,

well-grounded, philosophical, idealistic,

realistic, perceptive, analytical, sophisticated,

refined, mature or eccentric.

You may still believe you are shy, or have shy tendencies, but choosing to label these traits in terms of positive values may give you the confidence, and the edge, you need to step out of your box.

About the Author, Kathryn Wilking

Kathryn Wilking

Kathryn of Kathryn Wilking Designs is a Professional Member of the International Feng Shui Guild, and Author, Teacher and Feng Shui Consultant and is available for innovative talks for workshops and Lunch 'n Learn programs.

Sign up to receive a FREE copy of her "Bucket or Chuck-it" PDF report as well as monthly tips on creating a healthy and happy environment at www.kathrynwilking.com