February 27, 2011

Click of the Week: Audio Acrobat


Enjoy one of my favorite internet resources – this one I’m a huge fan of. Audio Acrobat has a ton of different uses in my solo business. I’ll share just a few ways you can enjoy it.

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10 Back Office Systems Every Solopreneur Should Have


MP9004224581 150x150 10 Back Office Systems Every Solopreneur Should HaveI’m a systems-thinker.  I know, I know…systems are boring.  But guess what?  We need them to keep ourselves from throwing our hands in the air and saying, “I’m done!”

What I mean is that you need a way to organize and manage repetitive tasks you have to do to manage your business effectively.  Think about it – the last time a new client hired you, what steps did you walk them through?  Did they get some type of welcome packet?  How do you know they got it?  Did you miss a step?  See!

As solopreneurs, we really don’t have a lot of time to waste. Every move should be intended for growth of our business.  We can’t do that if we are constantly playing catch-up.  So here’s the scoop. I’m sharing with you my 10 favorite back office systems that frankly, I think every solopreneur needs to consider – especially coaches, consultants, and the like.

Here is my list of 10 Essential Solo Back Office Systems:

1.  Prospect Engagement System

How do suspects become prospects then clients then advocates?
What is the entry point – e.g. optin form, free article?

2.  Appointment Scheduling System

How do prospects/clients connect with me?
How do potential joint venture partners connect?
How do I protect boundaries of personal time (so that I have some)?

3.  New Client Intake System

What steps do I provide for incoming clients when we start to work together?
What information do they need from me?

4.  Product Sales System

What is the process for selling my products?
What about services?  Is there a difference?
Do I use a shopping cart?  What else to automate this process?

5.  Billing System

How do I manage billing – one-time, recurring?
What about special arrangements that don’t fit into my usual program billing cycle?

6.  Time Tracking System

How do I track the amount of time I am working on a project, or client appointment?

7.  Product Launch System

What steps do I take to launch a new product?

8.  Customer Service System

What is my process for handling complaints?
What about case studies and testimonials?

9.  Event Marketing System

How do I promote an upcoming event – virtual or on location?

10.  Social Media Marketing System (or maybe you call it Online Relationship Management)

How do I automate social media systems to promote my activities & stay in touch with my tribe?

And here is a bonus once those are in place – what is my Virtual Assistant/Outsource Training System – What do I delegate?   What resources do I use to train my delegates to operate?

Most solopreneurs don’t have an eye on every single one of these, but I propose that maybe you should.  It should be part of your overall business branding and marketing plan to know what your process is in these areas. That way, you can clearly talk about how you do business with any prospective client AND it will make your life a whole lot easier, saving you the time of having to figure it out as you go.

WANT TO RE-POST THIS ARTICLE ON YOUR BLOG OR USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE, E-NEWSLETTER OR WEB SITE? You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

About the Author: Tanya Smith of Be Promotable is a premier personal branding & marketing coach.  Her creative genius has unlocked the potential of many women solopreneurs, helping them to reinvent themselves as power players in their startup business.  Claim your free instant access to a free video download, 5 Secrets to Developing Your Unique Brand Proposition at: www.bepromotable.com.

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Click of the Week: Twiddla.com


This click is a team collaboration tool, an online whiteboard you can use to share your screen. Great way to discuss projects, or anything you need to talk about using a visual boost so that everyone sees the same information. Check out www.twiddla.com.

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Brand and the NLP Logical Levels of Change


MP9004385661 Brand and the NLP Logical Levels of ChangeI’ve had a number of conversations with people about reinventing or reinforcing their brand to attract more clients, earn more income, etc. and I love it – it’s what I help my clients do.  There’s only one problem – some people want to do it in 15 minutes or less.

I’ve found that the average person may not recognize that there are usually deep-seated beliefs and behaviors that are often the root of their current state.  And when it’s taken more than 15 minutes to create these beliefs and behaviors, it takes time to make  transformations to an identity.

A model I learned about with NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) years ago taught me about “logical levels of change”.  This model was first developed by neuro-linguistic expert and anthropologist Gregory Bateson. It was further developed by Robert Dilts, an NLP pioneer.  Here’s a high level overview:

Most NLP experts will talk about 6 logical levels of change.  Each level of change relates to how you think about situations and each will give you different information to help you determine where you may be having difficulty moving forward, or where you can focus on change work.  Imagining that you’re looking at a ladder, the first bullet will be the bottom rung:

  1. Environment (external factors) – How does/can my environment support me? Where? When? Who else is involved?
  2. Behavior (performance, actions, reactions) – What do I want to do or say, and what will I do or say?
  3. Capabilities (knowledge, skills, competencies) – How does this draw on my capabilities? What can I draw on now or further  develop?
  4. Beliefs & Values (what you hold true, right or wrong) – How does this either fit or reinforce what is important to me?   What must I believe in order for XX to happen?
  5. Identity (how you think about yourself) – How does this fit with who I am (or who I am becoming)?  **Your brand is here and incorporates how others think about you too.**
  6. Purpose/Spirituality (big picture of life) – What am I doing this for?

The premise is that change is usually easier going from the bottom of the ladder (environment) and working up.  If you change something at a higher level, it will usually impact lower levels but not always the other way around.  Therefore, you may be struggling with change at a higher level because you still need work at another lower-linked level.

I think an example is an order.  Say you want to reinvent your brand (identity) – instead of thinking of yourself as the public relations professional who has worked for a corporation 18 years, you now want to become an entrepreneur who provides motivational speaking and coaching services.  You’re used to working in an office, on a set schedule, you take direction from your leadership, write reports, attend public relations networking events, and so on.

Using the levels, it is not likely you will transform into a superstar entrepreneur overnight – it might require that you  build certain skills and knowledge, that you perhaps change your circle of influence to spend more time in the space of successful speakers and coaches.  Depending on your desired outcomes, you’d have to determine what changes are needed and at what level.

The neat thing about this model is that you can use each level to ask yourself powerful questions (like the ones I listed) to determine starting points for change.  Still feeling stuck? Get the help of a coach or accountability partner to work through this ladder so you reduce blind spots for yourself.

WANT TO RE-POST THIS ARTICLE ON YOUR BLOG OR USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE, E-NEWSLETTER OR WEB SITE? You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

About the Author: Tanya Smith of Be Promotable is a premier personal branding & marketing coach.  Her creative genius has unlocked the potential of many women solopreneurs, helping them to reinvent themselves as power players in their startup business.  Claim your free instant access to a free video download, 5 Secrets to Developing Your Unique Brand Proposition at: www.bepromotable.com.

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How to Write An Online Brand Marketing Plan


iStock 000004466938XSmall How to Write An Online Brand Marketing PlanCreating a branding strategy is probably the last thing on the mind of a solo business owner when they are juggling so many different things.  BUT I promise you it can be the one thing that turns your business around from lackluster to golden.

I often have people ask what it takes to put together a branding strategy. So in today’s post I’m going to give you a 7 step formula for developing your own brand marketing plan.  Mine is 33 pages long and I can go back to it any time to find things I need when I’m preparing to promote my business through a radio show, on a sales letter, in an in-person networking event, and more.

If you take the time to complete the sections I’ll describe, you will be amazed at how much clarity you have to move forward.  Oh, and if you’re having any trouble, you can always hire me to help you fill in the gaps (shameless, unabashed plug here icon smile How to Write An Online Brand Marketing Plan …only because I really do love this stuff).

Why is it a great idea to have a brand marketing plan?  Because it can help you understand where you are now, how you want your brand to be seen, and what it will take to get you there.

7 Parts of an Online Brand Marketing Plan

  1. Executive Summary – a one page overview of the main points of your brand plan; this is something you want to be able to view at a glance when you go back to look at it over and over again, reminding yourself of the type of brand you want to portray
  2. Personal Brand (Mission) Statement - here is where you outline why you are doing what you’re doing in two to three sentences; it covers who you are, what you do, who you serve, and how you serve them (see one of my previous posts on Creating a Fabulous Personal Brand Statement)
  3. SWOT Situational Analysis
    • Strengths & Weaknesses – this is a reality check, a snapshot of your current brand situation; where are things right now – e.g. market, current customer base, products/services line, distribution channels, competition, overall environment
    • Opportunities & Threats – competitive analysis, where you can be different, what is holding you back, what environmental advantages you can dig into to better position your brand
  4. Goals – what are the quantifiable things you want to achieve with your brand; include dates, times, frequency – as much detail as you can muster for the objectives you are pursuing
  5. Brand Marketing Strategy – big picture of your brand marketing (probably the lengthiest piece of what you’ll write); includes information about your strategic position, target market, your ideal client, your product & services line, pricing model, distribution channels, administrative systems, current and intended online activities, visual elements
  6. Action Plan - step by step activities to move forward; tactical moves you will make to accomplish #4 goals
  7. Budget – what you expect to bring in monthly based on activities, sales, etc., how much you will spend on business resources, net income goals for the next 12 months

Sound like a lot?  Well, it can be if you try to do it all in a day.  Remember, good planning and strategy takes time.  Look at it as a worthwhile investment in the future of your business brand.

It can also take the help of a great accountability partner to give you honest feedback.  As a solopreneur, we are not always positioned to have a full team of resources.  Tap into someone you trust to review the plan as you go – a trusted advisor, a mentor, a coach, mastermind group – find someone to partner with you in your brand success.

This is the path to brand excellence!

WANT TO RE-POST THIS ARTICLE ON YOUR BLOG OR USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE, E-NEWSLETTER OR WEB SITE? You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

About the Author: Tanya Smith of Be Promotable is a premier personal branding & marketing coach.  Her creative genius has unlocked the potential of many women solopreneurs, helping them to reinvent themselves as power players in their startup business.  Claim your free instant access to a free video download, 5 Secrets to Developing Your Unique Brand Proposition at: www.bepromotable.com.

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Click of the Week: Unilyzer.com


You may be hearing a lot about metrics these days.  In one of my previous corporate roles, I actually spent time as an analyst.  This click of the week will share 3 tips you can use to apply data with this nifty tool – www.unilyzer.com.  Very neat dashboard for your website and social media interactions.  Don’t miss this one!

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