The coronavirus that was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) necessitated countries to require its citizens to self-quarantine for a period of one month. Businesses – except those that delivered essential goods and services – were forced to close down. Economies were held at a standstill. The businesses that remained “open” were those with remote capabilities – the entrepreneur and the employees work from home. 

The period of self-quarantine that is still ongoing as of this writing – put the spotlight on the importance of having disaster recovery protocols in place for small businesses. 

It shone the spotlight on a business development strategy we have been advocating for years. One that has its origins back in the 1970s but only came to the consciousness of private business in the mid-2000s. 

Integrating a work from home program for your small business is your best hedge versus uncertainties in the business environment. 

The Benefits Of A Work From Home Program

To be clear, we are using the phrase “Work From Home” as a blanket term for remote workers – people who work outside the confines of a traditional 9-to-5 office.

A person who works from home can be categorized as a:

  • Telecommuter
  • Freelancer
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Work at Home Mom (WAHM)

There are subtle differences between each type of remote worker.

A telecommuter is an employee who was asked by his employer to perform his duties and responsibilities from home instead of the office. 

A Virtual Assistant is a person who is hired by an executive or a company to manage specific tasks and functions from the VA’s place of work. 

A freelancer is generally a skilled professional who has decided to take his talents online and offer his services to clients that need his technical expertise. 

A WAHM could be all 3 – a telecommuter, a VA or a freelancer. She took the option to work from home to have more time with the family. 

Whether your business hires one or the other, the benefits of incorporating a work from home program for your business are the same:

1. Lower Cost of Business

According to a 2-year study that was conducted by Stanford University, a telecommuting program successfully lowered the cost of business by an estimated US $1,900 per employee.

The savings were attributed to lower onboarding costs; a reduced need to buy new furniture, computers, office supplies, and expand Internet capabilities. 

2. Increase Productivity

The same 2-year study by Stanford also revealed that the productivity level of the test company increased by 13.5%.

When you outsource tasks to remote workers – telecommuters, freelancers or virtual assistants – you free up more time for yourself. You have more hours in the day to focus on the main enterprise of your business. 

3. Improve Quality of Deliverables

Hiring or contracting the services of a freelancer or a virtual assistant will improve the quality of work because these remote workers are professionals. They have the experience and have undergone training to become good at what they do. 

Similar to freelancers, many virtual assistants crossed-over from the brick-and-mortar world to the virtual world. 

For the reason that they are focused on giving your assigned tasks their full and undivided attention, you can be assured of the quality of deliverables. 

4. Reduce Business Risk

If you had a telecommuting program in place or if you had a remote team composed of freelancers or virtual assistants, your business would continue to operate during the period of self-quarantine. 

Who would have seen this coming? Even the WHO downplayed the severity of the coronavirus’s effects. 

A work from home program gives your business a disaster recovery mechanism that protects it from events that may cause long-term interruptions in business activity. 

In business, time is money. For every second that you are not operating, you are foregoing multiple opportunities to grow your business. 

If you have clients, your remote team can continue to service their accounts. If you own a brick-and-mortar business, a remote team can manage customers’ orders and coordinate with the appropriate agencies for deliveries to conform with the guidelines of the quarantine. 

The bottom line is with a remote team composed of work from home personnel, your business would continue to run and earn money during periods of unforeseen and unpredictable events such as the coronavirus pandemic.

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How To Set Up A Work From Home Program For Your Business

Now that we’ve convinced you of its benefits, let’s get down to the meat and potatoes of setting up a work from home program for your business!

1. Identify the Objectives and Goals of the Work From Home Program

Imagine moving from a shared-space collaborative arrangement to one where tasks are distributed across remote locations within 24 hours. Transitioning from an office to a work from home setup will take some time getting used to.

Before starting Day #1, spend some time – the entire day, if needed – to identify and discuss the objectives and goals of the work from home program with the remote team. 

The purpose is to get everyone on the same page.

If you’re running a telecommuting set up for the first time, your employees may have a hard time focusing on their tasks. 

This is especially true with an event such as the coronavirus pandemic which disrupted many aspects of work and life. Employees may be distracted.

Start out by assigning them a limited number of tasks – 3 tasks to accomplish on Day #1. Don’t overwhelm them with too many things-to-do as the quality of work may get compromised.

Make sure tasks are correctly assigned and clearly explained to everyone. Encourage the team to ask questions, strictly observe communication protocols, and offer help when needed. 

2. Select the Right People For Your Remote Team

The process of setting up your remote team is similar to drafting talent for your basketball team. You want to put together a variety of talented individuals who can work together as a team.

Not every employee is cut out for telecommuting work in the same way that not all freelancers and virtual assistants are qualified to handle the job. 

For the work from home program to be successful, you have to select the right people for your remote team. Again, you have to be clear about the team’s goals and objectives. 

Let’s assume you are managing customer service for clients:

  • What customer service channels will be used – chat, inbound phone system, email or social media?
  • What are the demographics of the clients’ customers?
  • Do you need bilingual agents?
  • Will you have outbound support services?
  • Will the service be available 24/7?

Once you’ve firmed up the details, it will be easier to identify the types of talent that you want on your team:

  • Prepare the list of hard skills required for each job – qualifications, years of experience, and certifications, if needed. 
  • Prepare a list of your desired soft skills – self-motivated, excellent time-management skills, ability to manage stress, ability to work with others – these are the personality attributes that fit your intended team culture. 

The hiring process does not start and end with the resume. Have the candidates go through interviews and practical tests. Include a dry run whereby the candidates will be asked to work on a task while grouped in teams. 

3. Set Up the System for Remote Work

A system for remote work should identify the processes and tools that will be used to support its framework. 

  • How will the remote team communicate?
  • Where will the team upload its work?
  • How will you account for total work hours?
  • What are the workflows?
  • Do you want the team to collaborate on specific projects?
  • How will you conduct team meetings?
  • What are the security protocols for the system?

Creating the system for remote work may not be as simple as opening up accounts in Skype, Asana, and Dropbox for the team. There is always a better way of running things!

This is a great opportunity to collaborate with your team. Solicit ideas. If you are working with virtual assistants, you will find that many of them are highly experienced in setting up workflows. 

The same can be said about freelancers. In both cases, they acquire knowledge of setting up remote work systems from their experiences working with different clients. 

4. Stay Connected – With Your Remote Team

This is probably the key to running a successful work from home program for your business – stay connected with your remote team.

Yes, it’s great to work from home! You don’t have to worry about traffic and being late for work. You can savor your morning coffee and have more time with the spouse and kids. 

However, for those who have no experience working from home, the first morning could be tough. The shift from shared space collaboration to working alone at home can take anyone out of their comfort zone. 

Let your team know that you are there to support them. Here are some ideas you might want to implement for your remote team:

  • Schedule daily meetings such as a pre-shift or post-shift briefing.
  • Ask everyone to post photos of the individual team members on their workstation. This is a technique developed by HR experts who reverse-engineered the habit of posting pictures of family members at the office workplace. According to the HR experts, the technique has helped remote workers cope with the challenges of working in isolation. 
  • Schedule a 30-minute “water cooler” or “coffee time” break where everyone on the team shows up online with their cup of coffee and discusses everything under the sun that is NOT related to work. 
  • Encourage everyone to share information about their workspace. This way, the team will develop a greater understanding and sensitivity of the conditions that could affect the performance of other members. For example, a team member may be a parent of a newborn that is incessantly crying in the background. You might have a team member whose house is located at a major thoroughfare. That explains the constant blaring of car horns during online meetings. 

5. Track Its Progress 

You should not expect to get your work from home program right on its first day. Expect problems to come up – whether technical issues or human error. Take note of these problems and try to resolve them as soon as possible. 

It would be a good idea to anticipate these problems before you run the work from home program. With your remote team, brainstorm on the potential issues you might encounter then collectively develop solutions and alternative courses of action. 

Collect as much data as possible from the software programs and tools you are using. 

  • Is anyone on the team experiencing latency issues? 
  • Are there problems in the uploading of files?
  • Are there causes of delays in the transmission of data?
  • Is the team consistently meeting deadlines?
  • How is the quality of deliverables? Are there complaints or issues raised by clients/customers?
  • Which processes and tools are giving you problems? Are there better alternatives?
  • How are the individual members performing?

Set aside time to track and evaluate the progress of your work from home program. Once you’ve identified the flaws, come up with improvements and implement them in the system. 

Conclusion

The coronavirus experience serves as a wakeup call; a reminder that the business environment is unpredictable. What is essentially a health issue has wreaked havoc in economies across the world. 

We don’t know what other disruptor lurks in the horizon. However, we cannot waste precious time and energy worrying about something we cannot quantify. The best thing we can do is to be prepared.

It used to be the case that companies would set up offices in other regions – local or international – to function as their disaster recovery site. 

If an event occurs that disrupts business in the principal location, the disaster recovery site takes over the functions and responsibilities of the main office. 

As we have seen – and experienced – from the coronavirus episode, regional offices can be rendered useless if people cannot report for work. 

The best solution to protect your business from uncertainty could be right under your nose.

Home sweet home.

How was your business able to cope with the coronavirus? What measures did you implement to keep your business running? Please feel free to share in the comments section.

If you need help setting up your remote team, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. 

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As a Consulting company, businesses come to you for advice. You are recognized as an expert in your field. Over the years, you have built a reputation for building businesses – navigating them through periods of difficulty before finding success. 

The Consulting company represents the years invested in the industry; a venture that gives you the opportunity to share your experience and knowledge with other businesses hoping to find success in their respective fields.

It must be exciting to see your first calling card as a Consultant! 

When you distribute your calling card to friends, associates, and potential clients, you are confidently telling them that if they need help with their business, all they have to do is to call the number on the card.

A better calling card would be a website. Not only can a potential client find your contact information on your website, but he can find all the information he needs to make a decision about hiring your services as a Consultant.

Why Does A Consulting Company Need A Website?

For the same reason that every other company in any industry needs a website – to grow their business by capitalizing on opportunities available on the Internet.  If your company does not have a website, you are undermining its potential for success. 

Businesses look for consultants who can help them get over periods of economic difficulties. A company can have MBAs and Ph.D.’s on their payroll or hire the best CEO money can buy and still – it may not find solutions to pressing concerns.

Consultants have the advantages of experience and viewing the situation from an unfiltered lens. There are no biases to overcome and consultants can draw upon years of experience to come up with the best possible solutions as well as alternative courses of action.

How will a company find a consultant for its business?

Its key officers can ask for recommendations from friends and associates who have hired business consultants. Perhaps one of the company’s directors knows someone who runs a consulting firm.

Or a designated officer can run a simple online search.

Internet searches using the keywords “top consulting companies in my area”, “consulting company in my area”, “best consulting company in my area” or “Consulting company in (the type of industry)” will yield the top URLs for those searches in the SERP or Search Engine Results Page.

How many searches can there be? 

Depending on your state, the search for the keywords “Consulting Company” or “Consulting Business” could amount to hundreds of millions of searches per month. 

If you don’t have a website for your Consulting Company, how can your business be found when it can’t participate in the searches that happen for your services on a daily basis?

Thus, it’s important for your Consulting company to have a website in order for your business to be found on the Internet. Otherwise, you will be missing out on the opportunities that take place every single day.

However, it’s not enough just to have a website.

You must have an amazing website!

3 Reasons Why Your Consulting Business Should Have An Amazing Website

According to a survey by Devrix, 60% of small businesses don’t have a website. 35% of small business owners surveyed said they feel their business is “too small” to merit a website. 

Thus, 6 out of 10 small businesses cannot take advantage of the opportunities available on the Internet:

As a business, you don’t want to miss out on these opportunities that can help grow your enterprise. 

As a company offering business consulting services, you know how important it is for businesses to have a website. 

One reason why your client’s sales are lagging is because he does not have a website for his business or if he does, there’s a good chance the website is not performing well.

To send out a strong message to your client, you must show that you practice what you preach.  If you believe that having a website is important for business, then for a Consulting company, you must have a website for your business!

Here are 3 good reasons why your Consulting company should have a website:

1. Build Your Business Brand

Let’s face it. Digital is the current reality. It is not a passing fad. Life and work are heavily influenced by the Internet and the latest innovations in digital technology. 

If you are not involved in the digital world, you will be left behind by your competitors.

Out of the 7.75 billion people in the world, 5.17 billion own a mobile device and 3.5 billion are smartphones. 

More than 4.5 billion people are on the Internet daily – searching and sharing information. 

Review our stat from the previous section:

80% of consumers – 8 out of 10 – feel more confident dealing with a business that has a website.

Think of your website as your online office or business establishment. Potential customers who want to learn more about your business will click on your URL. 

Having a website builds credibility, trust, and confidence. It shows consumers that you are heavily invested in your business. You’re not going to “go cheap” on your business by settling for a Facebook business page. 

If you don’t have a website, you don’t have an online presence. 

Having a business website also shows potential customers that you are actively engaged and updated with technology. You’re current; in with the times and recognize the importance of being accessible to customers 24/7. 

As a Consulting company you have to be in with the times because the business environment is in a constant flow of change. 

In consulting, a proposal summarizing the changes that need to be in place to initiate the rehabilitation plan is usually submitted after a business audit is conducted and evaluated.

Why will a business trust your company if you’re resistant to change?

Before anything else, sit down with a web designer such as Mountaintop and start planning the website for your Consulting company!

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2. Achieve Your Business Goals

To be clear, you need a solid digital marketing campaign to achieve your business goals. 

Digital marketing is the process of using Internet-based tools, platforms, and strategies to market and promote your business.

Social media marketing is an example of a platform that can be used to distribute information about your business, its products and services. 

The website is the center of your digital marketing universe. It is the destination point for the interest generated by your posts. 

A good analogy would be a flyer that you receive inside the mall. If the content of the flyer interests you, chances are you would visit the establishment featured in the flyer. 

If not, the flyer will end up in the trash receptacle.

In digital marketing, your post will only be read by those who are interested in your content. Those who are not, will merely skip through it. Nothing gets thrown in the trash can. 

The interested reader will ask “Where can I find out more about the company?” if your post has a link to your website, all the reader has to do is click on it. Within a few seconds, he will land on your home page.

From there, you can work on the reader and apply techniques that will help you achieve your goals.

  • Is your goal to build your business reputation? Include a link to your Blog page.
  • Is your goal to create trust? Add client testimonials on your home page.
  • Is your goal to trigger interest? Create a Call to Action (CTA) on the home page that directs the visitor to your Services page.
  • Is your goal to generate leads? Have a Sign Up Button on the home page and inform the visitor that if he signs up for the newsletter, he gets a free whitepaper. 
  • Is your goal to get the visitor to start the consulting process? Include a button on the home page that takes the visitor to the Contact Us page where he can fill out a questionnaire or a Request for Information (RFI) form.

With a website, everything that you want done can be done. The design of the website should make it easy for visitors to navigate through the website and complete the required processes.

The site visitor who is serious about getting your services will greatly appreciate the convenience provided by the website. 

3. Challenge Other Consulting Companies in the Search Rankings

As we mentioned earlier, if your Consulting company does not have a website, you will be left behind by the competition. There is a greater probability of getting discovered by your potential clients if you have a website because you will have an online presence.

With a website, you can present a challenge to your competitors in the search rankings. 

Again, this is the domain of your digital marketing campaign. A smart and purposeful digital marketing campaign that strategically uses processes such as SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising can help your website rocket up the search rankings. 

The higher up the search rankings, the greater becomes the traffic heading to your website.

A study by Chitika revealed that the number one position in the search rankings got 32.5% of all search traffic and the top 3 websites garnered 61.5% of total search traffic. 

Therefore, a website gives you the means to challenge your competitors for the consultancy market. 

The battle will shift to which company delivers well-written, highly-optimized, and engaging content on a consistent basis. Which Consultancy company can maintain a regular schedule for social media marketing? 

Which website is mobile responsive, faster, more accessible, navigable, more beautiful, and  offers more informative content?

Conclusion

Starting a Consulting company is a great idea. With the failure rate among small businesses at 20% for the first year, 30% for the third year, and 50% by the fifth year, there will always be a steady demand for your type of services. 

Business owners will rely upon your experience and expertise to help them navigate through rough economic times, survive, then thrive beyond year 5. 

To get discovered by these businesses, you should have a strong online presence and that all begins with having an amazing website. 

If your business does not have a website or if it does but you’re not happy with it, give us a call or drop an email. We will build you a website that delivers results.

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community!

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Before we dive into ecommerce landing pages in more detail, I would like us to do a brief experiment.

I’d like you to try and think about all the websites you’ve seen today. Or in the past seven days. How many newsletters did you receive? How many did you open, and how many did you click on?

Can’t remember them all?

Given the sheer volume of pages we are all exposed to every day, it’s no wonder we can only remember a tiny percent of them. This fact should drive my point home nicely – if you want your landing page to stand out and be memorable, you need to make it, well – what is it that you need to do?

Let’s explore!

Divulge the benefits

As ecommerce pages are clearly meant to convince a visitor to make a purchase, finding the right balance between sales and value can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare.

Let’s look at this page by Herbal Dynamics Beauty:

Source: herbaldynamicsbeauty.com

The hero part of the page clearly lists the most important feature: that the product is free of all sorts of harmful materials. Then, when you scroll just a bit down, you are greeted with a whole lot of information about the benefits of each ingredient, and the page ends by going into even more detail, explaining what you, as a consumer might get by choosing this product.

Customers don’t want to feel like they are being sold a product – they want to be offered a solution. By explaining the benefits and actual value of a product, you will be doing a great job at just that.

The power of design

Your pages need to be easy on the eyes and structured in a way that not only attracts attention, but is also very clear about what is what.

Here is an example by Ultimate Meal Plans:

Souce: ultimatemealplans.com

While their landing pages stick to the minimalistic use of plenty of white space, they have also integrated plenty of imagery, along with all kinds of informational boxes that detail things like pricing and benefits. 

And while they were at it, they’ve managed to stick to a clever color story, too. The fact that they have also made green their main pop of color is evocative of the actual product, providing a clear association between it and the page.

No matter how good your product or message is, if your page is cluttered and hard to navigate, you won’t be making all that many conversions. 

The power of a story

Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool you should be reaching for when writing copy for your landing pages.

Let’s take a look at the landing page of an actual story, Danielle, a novel by Ray Kurzweil.

Source: danielleworld.com

The hero is catchy, gives you plenty of information without actually giving anything away, and the rest of the page provides all you need to know: enough to get you interested. This kind of hook is not reserved for literary ecommerce pages alone – you can tell a story about your product regardless of what it is.

Make sure you take your target audience and their preferences into account when writing out your story. And write for them, not for yourself.

Provide plenty of detail

Home pages can be hard to design. Not only are they often the first thing people see, but they also need to provide plenty of information, yet not overlap too much with other pages.

Pergola Kits USA have done a good job here:

Source: pergolakitsusa.com

Their hero showcases the product they sell and will instantly draw the attention of those looking to buy a pergola. Scrolling further down, a visitor can find all the information they need in one place, without having to navigate between several different pages.

This is an all-in-one page that is easy to read, provides enough imagery to keep you interested, and provides real value. You won’t need to read another one to understand what kind of product you need for yourself.

Sometimes it’s best to give your visitors what they are looking for in one place – and make sure they have clearly got the message you’re trying to convey.

Social and other proof and why it matters

People like to be a part of a group, and they like to explore products others have tested and approved. That’s why you’ll want to display all the proof you can find: social proof in the form of testimonials, big companies you have worked with, as well as award buttons, and any other achievements you may have under your belt.

Real Thread does that right in the middle of their homepage:

Source: realthread.com

They have incorporated a section that includes some of the major companies they have worked with. This instantly gives their product a boost and makes them stand out. Even though you may not have heard of the brand, you might be more tempted to give their shirts a try, now that you know which other companies they have worked with.

Be careful what kinds of awards and badges you list, though. Too many of them can cause an adverse effect, leading people to perceive you as bragging or to wonder what you’re trying to hide by listing all of these positive reviews so prominently.

The power of the hero

Your hero image is incredibly important. It should explain in one glance what the product is about, yet do it in a way that’s not boring or too showy.

The Farmer’s Dog does a good job with this image:

Source: thefarmersdog.com

It shows the product, as well as a satisfied customer enjoying it, and you’ll understand right away what the food they’re selling looks like and whether it might be something that your pet would enjoy.

The image is of a high quality, but more importantly, it is also optimized well, so as not to slow the page down and take up unnecessary space – a very important feature to bear in mind when thinking about the imagery you want to use.

When choosing your hero, make sure it is not only an accurate representation of your product, but also catchy and unique.

Final thoughts

When designing a landing page, make sure you have your target audience in mind, and stay in line with the product the page is trying to sell. Add to that a bit of creativity, and you should have a standout page on your hands. 

Digital technology and the Internet have given consumers the advantage of learning everything they can about a product or service before making a purchase. 

Looking for the best Wi-Fi router in 2020? All you have to do is run a search for “best Wi-Fi router 2020”. Within a few seconds, a list of the websites with the information you need will appear on the search results page. 

If your content marketing strategy is on point, your start-up technology retail business might just be on the list. 

Why Your Start-Up Needs Content Marketing

The objective of a content marketing strategy is to compel the reader to answer your call to action. 

What do you want your readers to do? 

  • Do you want them to follow your brand? 
  • Do you want them to acknowledge you as an expert or a valuable resource? 
  • Do you want them to buy your product or patronize your service?

According to a study conducted by Quoracreative, 75% of Internet users read blogs on a regular basis. Meanwhile, 64% of consumers who watch an advertising video will buy the product. 

And if you’ve read a social media post about the amazing Cappucino served at the new coffee shop that opened – chances are you would follow the 81% who were convinced by the review and try out the product yourself. 

Blogs, videos, and social media posts are all examples of content. They are created to trigger a response from the reader. The same can be said about other forms of content such as web copy, product reviews, e-books, and podcasts.

As a start-up, content marketing can help your business gain traction. In a competitive industry, you need maximum visibility to get the attention of potential customers. 

If people love your content, they will follow you willingly and become followers of your business. In time – and with consistency – some of your followers may become customers.

7 Steps To Create The Ultimate Content Marketing Strategy For Your Start-Up

To be clear, content is anything you post or publish. It does not mean that you should just post anything on the Internet and expect results. 

If you were compelled to act by the content you read, then you know what effective content looks like. 

For your content marketing campaign to deliver results, you need to have a strategy. 

1. Define Your Content Marketing Goal

The direction of your content marketing strategy will depend on what you want to accomplish. 

What is the goal of your content marketing campaign?

  • Are you looking to gain immediate traction?
  • Do you want to give more information about the products you carry?
  • Do you want people to learn more about you and the people behind the company?
  • Are you using content marketing to share your knowledge with your target audience so they can have immediate solutions to questions?
  • Are you hoping to generate more leads for your sales funnel?

Regardless of your goal, a well-planned and properly implemented content marketing campaign will deliver results for your business. You just need to stay focused on that goal. 

If you layout multiple goals for your content marketing campaign, your efforts will have no direction. Your resources will be spread out too thinly and the message of your campaign will be lost. 

2. Create an Audience Profile

An Audience Profile is similar to a Buyer’s Profile which many realtors create to fine-tune their marketing strategy. 

To make an Audience Profile, you list down the characteristics of the person who would be interested in your content:

  • What is the age group?
  • Are they mostly men or women?
  • Are they working or still studying?
  • If employed, do the majority of the audience hold managerial positions in the company?
  • How much do they earn?
  • Where do they reside?
  • How will they access my content?
  • What are their interests?
  • What issues concern them?
  • What are their present needs? 
  • What types of content do they like to read?
  • Do they prefer text or video content?

The questions can cover more areas – as many as you want to get a better idea of the kind of audience that would appreciate the content. 

Having a solid Audience Profile will set the process of creating content much easier. You will have an idea of the content your target audience wants to read and how to reach them.

3. Set Up Your Content Marketing Toolbox

Blogging is one of the most popular forms of content. Many marketers consider blogging as the cornerstone of content marketing. It is just one of many tools that you can include in your content marketing toolbox. 

You can use videos, podcasts, live streaming, forums, newsletters, e-books, infographics, listicles, case studies, how-to articles,  white papers, checklists, interviews, product reviews, GIFs and memes as your content marketing process. 

Your choice of process would depend on your:

  • Marketing Goal
  • Type of Business
  • Target Audience
  • Budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to content marketing. 

For example, if you are in the business of selling dress watches, you will find greater success using video content that is distributed through social media channels such as YouTube and Instagram than blogging via LinkedIn. 

Review your Audience Profile and draw up a budget for your marketing campaign. A big-budget will give you more flexibility but unless your strategy is on point, the investment will not yield a significant return. 

You can have a successful content marketing strategy without breaking your bank account.

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4. Assemble Your Content Marketing Team

Are you a gifted writer? Do you know how to do keyword research? Do you have experience in content optimization? 

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then bravo! You are capable of creating engaging content with the potential of driving traffic to your website. 

But you shouldn’t.

Content writing takes time. A 1,600 to 2,000-word blog will take 3 hours to write. That does not include keyword research, topic research, and quality control. 

Rather than writing content, you should outsource the work to a remote team of content experts. 

What skills should comprise your content writing team?

  • Content Writers
  • Keyword Researchers
  • Graphic Designer
  • Videographers
  • Content Editors

To be clear, you don’t have to hire these skills for your content writing team. Again, it would depend on your goals and budget. Add to that, your business experience. 

As a start-up, start out small. 

Get 1 content writer preferably a person who can also do keyword research and quality control. Hire a graphic designer only when your content calls for it. 

You may not need a videographer right away. Some of the best videos were shot using an iPhone. 

The takeaway in this section is: Don’t create your content. Outsource content writing to an experienced person so you will have more time to attend to the main activities of your business. 

5. Create the Content Marketing Process

If you pass by a newsstand, your eyes will search for the publications that you are used to reading. You love the content; style of writing, tone, and the topics are of great interest to you. 

Writing for the Internet goes through a different process. Think of the Internet as a gigantic virtual newsstand that has billions of publications to choose from. 

Once posted, your content will be added to the sea of publications that are already flooding the Internet. 

Thus, when writing online content, your primary objective is to get found by your target audience. To get found, your content has to be optimized for the search engines. 

An effective optimization technique is to embed your content with keywords that are popularly searched by your target audience. There are various tools that you can use to conduct your keyword research:

  • Google Keyword Planner
  • Ubersuggest
  • Answer the Public
  • Keyword Surfer
  • Keywordit
  • Google Trends

These are free keyword tools that can get the job done for your content optimization plan. 

When you have the keyword spreadsheet ready, here are a few basic rules on how to use them effectively on your content:

  • For a blog post that ranges from 1,600 to 2,400 words, choose 5 to 6 high search volume keywords. 
  • Identify the main keyword which is usually the keyword that best describes your topic. 
  • The main keyword should appear once in the title, the first paragraph, the body of the content, and the conclusion.
  • The ratio of keywords to total word count should not exceed 2%. 

With keywords ready for use, let’s come up with a simple but effective content marketing process for your start-up:

  • Review your Audience Profile and make a spreadsheet of topics your followers would like you to write about. Use your keyword list to come up with titles.
  • When you have zeroed in on the topic and title, it’s time to conduct topic research. Choose 3 to 4 reliable references for your topic.
  • Create an outline for your blog. We recommend dividing the body of your blog into smaller sections under different headings. These sub-headers should include minor or secondary keywords – a keyword that is relevant to the main topic.
  • Begin writing! For list-type articles, you may want to start with the body first to get a better grasp of the content. We find this approach makes it easier to write the introduction and conclusion to the blog.
  • After completing the blog, run it through a spelling and grammar-checking software such as Grammarly. Then, read the article and look for other errors. The software can make a mistake because it may not understand the context of a sentence.
  • Review the structure of the blog. If it looks cramped, open it up. Our blogs are a good example. Keep the paragraphs and sentences short. Space the paragraphs properly. Readers don’t like to read blogs that look cramped up.

6. Identify Your Content Distribution Channels

Where will you publish your optimized content?

The first distribution channel on your list should be your website. If possible, use original images. Stock images are always an option but Google prefers images that are unique to your website.

For a start-up, it would be best to keep your distribution channel strategy simple. Thus, social media would be the next logical choice. After all, people spend on average two hours and 22 minutes of their Internet time on social media. 

As mentioned earlier, not all social media networks function in the same way. Choose a social media network that caters to a community interested in your type of content. 

For example, business-related content would gain more traction in LinkedIn than Facebook. Visual-heavy content would generate more interest in networks such as YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat.  

Finally, create a distribution schedule.

There are several recommendations on how often you should post content. Some say you should post a minimum of 5 times on Facebook to get results. Others say twice-a-day is enough. 

Our recommendation is to keep your strategy simple. The objective is to stay top-of-mind. Posting content once-a-day should be fine. 

If you don’t have original blogs to post, share curated content, post inspirational messages or simply post status updates. 

Another strategy would be to call on friends or associates who have websites that cater to your target audience. Propose a guest blogging arrangement whereby you can post original blogs on each other’s websites. 

7. Measure the Performance of Your Content Marketing Strategy

The great thing about digital marketing is that you can measure the performance of your campaign. Find out how your content marketing strategy is performing. 

  • Which blogs or articles account for the longest time spent on your website?
  • Which types of content are generating the highest levels of engagement and sharing?
  • Which types of content have the highest number of “likes”?
  • Where do your followers come from?
  • How do they access your content?

Website analytics will give you all the data you need to assess the performance of your content marketing strategy. Social media networks have analytics that you can use to get data on the types of content you have shared. 

By reviewing the numbers on your content marketing campaign, you can pinpoint the flaws, correct them, and strengthen your strategy to get the desired results.

Conclusion

If we got you excited about starting a content marketing campaign, it’s time to slow down a bit and understand one thing:

Content marketing takes time to get results. 

A person who reads your blog may enjoy what he has read but it doesn’t mean he will automatically follow you or sign up for your newsletter. 

Consistency is the key. 

Content is king – but you have to produce consistently great blogs, articles, videos, and other forms of content to get people to become your regular audience. 

As an entrepreneur, your time is best spent on your business. Leave your content marketing needs to us! Give us a call or drop an email. We will get you started on a content marketing strategy that will get you the results you want.

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

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To grow your business, you must invest in marketing. No matter how awesome your products and services are, no one will know about it if you don’t actively promote your business. 

There are many marketing strategies to choose from. However, not all of them are effective. Choosing the wrong ones can do more harm than good for your business. Some may blow up your budget without generating significant returns. 

In our previous blog, we discussed the 5 marketing strategies your business can’t live without. To help you avoid the costly mistakes made by many entrepreneurs, here are 5 marketing strategies your businesses can live without. 

1. Random Distribution of Flyers

In this day and age of the Internet and targeted marketing, it’s surprising to see flyers still being distributed inside malls and parking areas. 

The person distributing the flyer doesn’t profile every patron who enters the mall. He will just stick out the flyer in his hand and keep it out there until someone grabs it. 

The question is: What will the patron do once he reads your flyer? 

Will he:

  • Visit your establishment
  • Enter your establishment and walkout
  • Become a paying customer
  • Throw the flyer in a trashcan

Four options and only one of the possibilities results in the desired outcome. 

In reality, unless the person has a need for what your business offers, the flyer will end up in the trash can. 

Distributing flyers at random is a strategy your business can live without because it is not sustainable.

There is a cost to producing flyers and the return on your efforts will be quite low. Flyers are used to promote events or one-time specials. Therefore, you cannot re-use them.

Flyers are printed on paper. With most of your flyers ending up inside the trash can, the strategy is not environment-friendly. 

And while we’re discussing the pitfalls of flyers, let’s include other traditional Point-of-Purchase materials such as posters, streamers, and standees. 

All of them are expensive, result in poor ROI, and unsustainable. 

They could also serve to annoy your customers. 

How do you feel when flyers are jam-packed inside your mailbox? Do you get frustrated when flyers fall out of your Sunday paper? How about getting inside your car then finding a flyer inserted in your wiper?

If the marketing strategy is not targeted for a specific customer, the negative reactions will reflect on your business brand and do you more harm than good. 

Forget random and focus on targeted marketing strategies. 

2. Over-reliance on Print Ads

Print ads used to be the signature play of marketers. They will tell you that spending on a print ad for a publication with high circulation is an investment, not an expense. 

One time, big time. Like a home run with bases loaded. 

Print ads are not just expensive. They can be very expensive. And given the growing popularity of digital channels, the return on print advertising will not be impressive enough to justify the expense. 

It will become an expense, not an investment. 

Similar to flyers and other traditional POP’s, print advertising is not a sustainable strategy. 

You can only run the print ad once. If the ad is in a newspaper, by the following day, your ad will be just like the paper itself – yesterday’s news. 

Print ads are a form of random marketing. Are you sure the person who comes across your ad is interested in what your business offers? That is if he comes across your ad at all or pays it any attention.

In the days before broadband, putting out print ads were thought of to be the best option for marketing and promoting businesses. There is truth to this as during the pre-broadband days, consumers still relied on broadsheet publications and newspapers as sources of information.

Today, with more than 4.4 billion people having access to over 1 billion websites, using Internet-based channels are the most effective and efficient ways to market and promote your business. 

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3. Overemphasizing Social Media Marketing

To be clear, social media is a wonderful and proven platform for marketing your business; its products and services. After all, more than 3 billion are on social media every day. 

An overlooked benefit of social media marketing is that it humanizes your business by giving you a medium to freely interact with your customers and followers. 

For these reasons – and they are quite significant – entrepreneurs tend to overemphasize social media marketing in the digital marketing strategy.

Are you one of them? Here are a few signs that show you might be overemphasizing social media marketing:

  • You don’t have a website for your business because you think social media marketing is enough to build a visible online presence.
  • You have more than 2 social media accounts.
  • You spend most of your working days posting content on social media. 

Every business should have a website. Without one, you can’t build your brand, provide a showroom for your products, and your customers will not be able to find you much less transact with you. 

Social media is a great platform to distribute content for the purpose of driving traffic to your website. It cannot enhance your brand, reputation, and assist potential customers who want to patronize your business.

Further, you don’t have to open a Business Page on every social media platform.

In the first place,  having more than 2 social media accounts might be difficult to manage. Second, not all social media platforms function in the same way. Keep in mind that as a “social” platform, each network has its own community. 

For example, a Facebook user will post a different type of content on LinkedIn. 

Social media is also not a search ranking factor. Spending too much time on social media and posting multiple pieces of content will not guarantee higher search rankings for your website. 

The best approach is to invest in a mobile-responsive and fully-optimized website then, incorporate social media as a distribution channel for your content.

4. Focusing on the Quantity of Content

Content marketing should be a mainstay in your digital marketing strategy. Despite the growing popularity of video-based content, “old school” blogging remains a solid cornerstone of an effective content marketing campaign.

Here are a few statistics that validate the importance of business blogging:

  • Businesses that blog get 97% more links to their website than businesses that don’t blog.
  • 77% of Internet-users read blogs.
  • Americans spend 3x more time reading blogs than email.
  • Businesses that blog experience double the email signups than businesses that don’t blog. 
  • Blogs give your ROI efforts a boost – by an estimated 13x.

With such amazing numbers, it should never be a question of “If you should blog” rather, “When and how often should you blog?”

According to an updated study by HubSpot, if your goal is to increase brand awareness or organic traffic to your website, you should be blogging 12 to 16 times a month.

Considering that 2,000-word blogs generate the best results and that it takes 3 to 4 hours to write a blog of such length – 12 to 16 blogs per month means one thing:

A lot of writing!

The urgency to write three to four 2,000-word blogs per week creates incredible pressure on the quality of content. 

Keep in mind that writing for the Internet is a different skill set. If you scored A’s in Creative Writing, it won’t mean anything if your blog can’t be found.

To be found, your blog must be optimized. 

How do you optimize a blog?

  • The title and content should have the right keywords
  • Content must be fresh and unique
  • There must be at least one link to a reliable resource
  • The structure of the blog must make it an easy read.
  • Your information must be accurate, updated, and useful.

One of your best options is to outsource blog writing. At Mountaintop, we’ve written blogs for our clients. In fact, some of our blogs have been cited by UpCity as among the best-recommended readings for those interested in digital marketing.

However, if you want to experience blogging, start out slow and focus on the quality of the blogs instead of the quantity.

You can start out with only four 2,000-word blogs per month. Once your business gains traction, ramp up the blogging schedule by 50% of 6 blogs per month. 

If you can’t allocate more time to blogging, outsource the task to Mountaintop Web Design. You won’t miss a beat and we’ll make sure the quality is kept intact even as the frequency of blogging continues to increase.

5. Telemarketing to Prospective Customers

Whether you agree that telemarketing is dead or not, just don’t include it among your marketing strategies. You will only serve to annoy most of your prospective customers. 

Sure, you can outsource telemarketing and save money. However, telemarketing can damage your brand and tarnish your reputation beyond repair. 

Put it this way, how would you feel when you’re chilling at home – feet up an ottoman, ice-cold beer in one hand while watching the replay of Superbowl – when your phone rings and it’s a telemarketer offering you timeshares?

Despite the insistence of some quarters in marketing that you need telemarketing for your business, the risks to your brand and reputation will not be worth it.

After all, there is a good reason why the “Do Not Call” registry was created by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and why penalties for telemarketing companies violating the Telemarketing and Telephone Consumer Protection Act are quite severe. 

Instead of telemarketing, generate leads through a strategic content marketing distribution plan. Once you have an impressive list of newsletter sign-ups, embark on an email marketing campaign.

Conclusion

To better appreciate the value of marketing, you must understand that the process will not produce positive results overnight. It takes time to build a brand because consumers want to be convinced and assured before they make final decisions.

Marketing budgets blow up because entrepreneurs are sold on the idea to “Go Big or Go Home”. Spending a ton of money on expensive strategies such as print ads will not take your business above red 24 hours after the ad was published. 

When it comes to marketing, take a strategic and judicious approach. Identify your budget and figure out the most effective way to allocate your resources. 

As we shared in our article, “How To Launch A $100 Digital Marketing Campaign”, you don’t need to shell out the big bucks to get big returns on your marketing efforts. 

If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community.

And if you need help with digital marketing, give us a call or drop an email. We will get you started the right way without breaking your marketing budget. 

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Marketing has grown to become an important component of building a business. Especially in this age of digital technology, you can’t harness the power of the Internet for your business if you don’t have an online presence. 

Digital marketers have kept pace with the development of the Internet. It has changed the way consumers make their decisions to purchase a product or to patronize a business. 

The growing influence of the Internet and its various channels have given rise to a number of marketing processes each designed to drive more online traffic to websites. 

But which ones are worth your time and money? 

To avoid guesswork, we’ve created a list of the 5 best marketing processes for your business – the ones you can’t live without.

1. SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of using various techniques and tools to increase your website’s organic search ranking in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The search rankings play a key role in driving online traffic to your website. 

According to a study by Chitika, the first 3 positions in the SERP draw 61.5% of all search traffic. The website that lands in the pole position gets 32.5% of the traffic. There is a huge drop-off after the top 3 with the 10th position only getting 2.4%. 

Can you imagine the volume of traffic – or the lack thereof, of the websites that end up on the second page of the SERP?

When we describe SEO as a process of driving “organic traffic” to your website – we mean free traffic. 

SEO practitioners use techniques and strategies that entice, encourage, and compel people to visit your website because they are convinced it is a valuable resource. 

You cannot put out content on the Internet and expect them to be read by the market you are targeting. Your potential customers will run a search query using keywords that best define the information they are looking for. 

The search engine’s web crawlers track and index content that has the best ranking keywords and includes them on the SERP. Without these keywords, it will be difficult for your content to get found. 

The strategic use of keywords is just one technique used by SEO practitioners to optimize content. 

There are other techniques in the SEO toolbox such as link building, focusing on User Experience, improving website speed, the use of featured snippets, and mobile-first indexing. 

The bottom line is without SEO, your website and its contents will have a very difficult time getting discovered on the Internet.

2. Video Marketing

To be clear, video marketing is considered a component of content marketing. However, we decided to give video marketing its own section in this article because of its value to the overall digital marketing strategy.

Second, content marketing is popularly associated with text-based content, the blog being its cornerstone. In that regard, video-based content marketing is often viewed as separate and distinct with its own allocation in the digital marketing budget.

While blogging remains a mainstay in the content marketing process, more businesses are investing in video-based marketing.

A 2020 survey conducted by Wyzowl revealed that 85% of businesses are using video as a marketing tool. In comparison, the 2016 survey by Wyzowl disclosed that only 61% utilized video-based marketing in their digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketers are more optimistic about video marketing with 92% of respondents stating the process results in positive ROI. 

Here are a few key statistics that support the use of video marketing:

  • Video-based content is shared 1,200% more than text-based content or links.
  • 25% of the most searched websites have video-based content.
  • Embedded videos such as an explainer video on the home page can increase sales conversions by 55%.
  • 44% of consumers prefer using the medium of video to learn more about a product or service.
  • Businesses that incorporated video marketing in their digital marketing strategy outgrew businesses that didn’t by 49%.

Contrary to popular opinion, it does not cost a lot of money to produce high-ranking, high-performing videos. With today’s smartphones, built-in cameras can capture high-resolution videos that look like they were professionally made. 

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3. Content Marketing

Every day, more than 4 billion people are searching the Internet for content that is useful, relevant, and informative. After all, when you search, you are looking for the best solutions or answers to your pressing questions. 

Content that is frequently accessed, shared, linked to, and referenced is regarded as great content. 

Your business could offer the best solutions in the industry. But first – your business, its products and services – must first be found. 

This is where content marketing comes in – the strategic and purposeful creation of optimized content that provides useful, valuable, and informative information to a specific target market. 

The keywords in the definition are “optimized” and “target”.

Content writing is a skill. Just because you have a degree in Creative Writing does not mean you can write online content. 

The rule is: Your content must be found before it can serve its purpose. 

To be found on the Internet, content must be optimized with the right keywords. Content writers know how to find the right keywords for your industry and how to use them for maximum searchability.

Without the right keywords, the search engine’s web crawlers will not be able to find and index your content. The next steps for the search engine are to determine if the keywords in your content are used in the proper ratios and linked to reliable sources. 

The search engine will determine the quality of your content by assessing its length, structure, and backlinks. 

Lastly, for best results, content writing needs to follow a schedule:

Writing online is writing on a different level. For this reason, we recommend hiring content writers to create content for your website and social media campaigns. 

Mountaintop Web Design can provide you with top quality, high-ranking content. A few of our articles have been included among the top blogs for digital marketing by UpCity.

4. Email Marketing

Why is email marketing so effective? In a nutshell, it’s like having the door opened for you by the business owner. You can walk in, make a sales presentation, and hope your pitch is good enough to register a sale. 

Despite the popularity of social media, email remains the most utilized form of communication. 

To make a comparison, social media attracts 2.96 billion users every day. Meanwhile, there are 3.9 billion users of email on a daily basis. According to Statista, by 2023, the number of email users will hit 4.3 billion

Digital marketers love email marketing because the ROI is high – $38 for every $1 spent – or an ROI of 3,800%!

But don’t let these amazing numbers blind you into thinking that email marketing is easy. The biggest challenge to email marketing is creating a solid list of email subscribers. 

This is where having great content comes in. If people love your blogs and other forms of content, they will visit your website to learn more about you. Once on your website, the visitor might want to click on the subscribe button and sign up for your email newsletter. 

Building a loyal following takes time. A reader may enjoy reading your first blog – but what about the second or third? Creating top-quality blogs on a consistent basis will help you build a strong email list. 

You might be tempted to buy a list. If you are – don’t! Buying a list is one of the most dangerous things you can do for your business for a number of reasons:

  • The emails may belong to people who did not agree to sign up for newsletters. Your email will be flagged as spam and this is a violation that could lead to penalties upwards of $16,000!
  • Your email distribution service will get shut down.
  • Many of the emails featured in the list are called “Spam Traps” and will damage your reputation.

Go the slow and steady route and be patient with your content marketing strategy. It may take time but the results will be worth the wait.

5. Social Media Marketing

The age of digital technology has emphasized the social aspect of a business. Because the Internet has made information very accessible, it is easy for consumers to learn more about the business and at the same, find platforms to air their complaints and grievances about a company, its products, and services. 

Companies can no longer just hide behind a logo. To stay ahead of the competition, there must be a face and a personality behind the brand. Customers want to know more about you and not just your business. The best platform to use is social media marketing.

What are the benefits of social media marketing for business?

  • Improve Brand Awareness – Would you believe more people follow brands on social media than celebrities? 80% of respondents who participated in a survey by Sherpa Marketing revealed they followed at least one business brand on social media. 
  • Establish a Strong Connection with Your Customers – Social media allows customers to reach out and voice their ideas and opinions to your company. This level of engagement -whether positive or negative – creates an opportunity for you to establish a strong, human connection with your customer. 
  • Enhance Your Reputation – Another benefit of consistently producing great content is that you enhance your reputation as a valuable resource. Now, strategically distribute your content through social media channels and in time,  more people will follow your page and visit your website. 

Similar to content writing, social media marketing requires experience and expertise. 

You have to know the types of content to post, the most opportune times of the day, the ideal days of the week, as well as the frequency of posting. 

Keep in mind the “social” aspect of social media – these are communities onto itself. The online behavior patterns and profiles of Facebook users are different from those of LinkedIn.

Conclusion

Digital marketing isn’t just the present – it is the future. The world will continue to evolve as digital technology continues to innovate. Work and life decisions will be influenced by the Internet for the years to come. 

If your business has not adopted a digital-based marketing strategy, you are undermining its opportunities for future growth. Learn from the lesson of the retail giants who became casualties of the Retail Apocalypse.

Evolve or become extinct.

Did we convince you to go digital? Give us a call and we’ll put your business on a digital marketing campaign that will get you growing over the next few years.

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community!

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If the Home Page of your website answers the “why” of your business, then the About Us page tells customers the “who” of your business. 

The Home Page is where your customers will find the company’s BVP or Brand Value Proposition – a short statement that tells them within 6 seconds why they should choose your business over the competition. 

For this reason, businesses tend to focus more on the Home Page than the other pages of their website. After all, it is the landing page of your website. Once you click on a URL, you will end up on the Home Page. 

The About Us page is often designed as an after-thought. 

Check out a few websites at random and visit the About Us pages. Most entrepreneurs and top-level executives view the About Us page as a resume on a website. 

All you read are their academic achievements, positions they’ve held in previous companies, the number of businesses they own, and awards won in the industry. 

Sure that looks good on paper – but how will a resume of your accomplishments convince your website visitor that your business has the solutions to his problems? 

At Mountaintop, we have a unique approach to designing the About Us page of our clients. 

Instead of creating a design that shows “who” the business is, our approach is to highlight the “why”:

Why you are the best person to handle the customer’s problems, concerns, and needs.

Thus, instead of designing an About Us page about you, we create one for the most important people in your business.

Your customers. 

Why Is The About Us Page Important?

According to a 2015 study, 52% of website visitors click on the About Us page. 

Why is this so? Shouldn’t prospective clients click on the Services page to find out your pricing?

Put it this way, if you were at a networking event, would you sign up for the services of a business owner after exchanging “Hellos”?

Chances are, you would use the event as an opportunity to learn more about the business owner:

  • Why did he get into this type of business?
  • What experiences in life motivated him to start the company?
  • What is his approach to managing clients?
  • Do we share common values? 
  • What is his vision for the company?

In short, what is his story? 

A purposeful About Us page can create an immediate strong connection with the site visitor if he sees that the story of the company is actually the story of the customer achieving their goals – The company needs to invite them into their story. You share a similar story. 

He reads your About Us page and he thinks to himself, “This guy – gets it!” 

It gives assurances and confidence that yours is the right business for the job!

How To Write An About Us Page That Gets Customers

Finding the right client or customer isn’t just about your skills, educational attainment, and years of experience.

Customers want to know if you are someone they can relate to. This means sharing experiences – stories – that resonate with the site visitor. 

But it comes down to your story – why your experiences, knowledge, and history make you the best, right-fit choice for the customer.

You have to establish that connection – and the About Us page is an effective way to get it done!

Here are 5 tips on how to write an About Us page that gets customers excited about your business.

1. Tell Your Story 

Everybody loves a good story. Especially those that trigger emotional cues with the reader. 

If you’re a business consultant for small and medium scale enterprises, share your stories of struggle. 

Let them know your humble beginnings – how you overcame failure and the lessons you learned that motivated you to become a business consultant. 

Small and medium-scale business owners will relate because they are probably in that situation right now. Your story will give them hope and the assurance that it’s possible to overcome failure and find success. 

How?

If inspired, they might click on your call-to-action and connect with you right away!

2. Write With the Customer In Mind

Core values… mission vision… our purpose…

These are all great. It’s nice to let the customers know you place high regard on your core values and that the business has direction and pre-defined objectives. 

But they will not convince the customer to patronize your business. 

The customer wants to know how you can help them by understanding why you are the most qualified person to handle the job.

When writing the About Us page, keep the customer in mind:

  • What are his persistent problems and pain points?
  • Which of my products or services are best suited to resolve these problems?
  • What issues are my customers interested in?
  • What types of solutions are my customers looking for?
  • Where do my customers come from?
  • How is the customer dealing with the problem right now?
  • Which of my experiences can my customers strongly relate to?

Let’s go back to our example of a Business Consultant who is creating an About Us page on his business.

A good example that would resonate with the readers would read like this:

“As a lifelong entrepreneur, I understand the challenges you face.

My first business venture failed – I lost $10,000. I thought I had learned my lesson, but my second business venture lost $100,000. 

Failure is part of life as an entrepreneur. But instead of being fearful of failure, embrace it – and learn from it.

My third business venture? We’re in our 10th year and going strong!

Let me show you how to overcome failure and succeed!”

This type of About Us content combines #1 – Tell Your Story –  with #2, Write For Your Customer.

Don’t you think the About Us copy will get the customer excited about doing business with you?

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3. Compel the Reader to Act

Now that you’ve gotten the reader interested, what do you want him to do? 

  • “Go to our services page – right now?”
  • “Give us a call or an email and we’ll get on it right away!”
  • “Click the ‘Get Started’ button – and let’s get started!”

Your website presents a great opportunity to get clients for your business. If your About Us page is spot on, the customer may not want to waste a single second and sign up with you immediately. 

Make the process easier by adding a CTA button on the About Us page. If you noticed, we ended the CTA with a strong sense of urgency. Don’t be shy about your intentions. Let the customer know what you want him to do – right now!

4. Converse – Don’t Lecture

What would you think if the person you are talking to at the networking event kept framing his sentences as:

  • “You should have done this…”
  • “You should have done that…”
  • “If I was in your position, I would have…”
  • “You shouldn’t have done that…”
  • “I wouldn’t have done that. Instead, I would have…”

You should also avoid using technical jargon or terms that may not be understood by the reader.

For example, if you provide online forex trading services, don’t try to impress the reader by writing in this manner:

“In 2005, I was able to capture the failed fifth of the move from 38 to 43 and retraced the 61.8% Fibonacci ratio which covered the move from 43 to 41. This allowed me to enter a buying position at 39.22 which terminated at the conclusion of the truncated fifth wave.”

“What? You lost me at ‘2005’!”

Write in your own voice. Don’t try to impress by getting technical. Instead, write in simplified terms.

How would you converse with your customer if you met him for the first time? 

Even if the reader hasn’t met you, being authentic allows them to hear your voice through your content.

5. Add Great Images

So you’ve written a great About Us copy that shows customers who you are. It doesn’t end there. To know you is to see you. Customers want to see who you are. 

Having a nice picture of you on the About Us page adds a face to your business. If you believe that you are your business and your business is you, then it only makes sense to add a nice picture of you on the About Us page. 

Conclusion

The About Us page can add plenty of muscle to your website. Don’t ignore it. A well-conceptualized, well thought out, and purposeful About Us page can effectively entice the visitor to strongly consider your business. 

If our article made you re-think your current About Us page, give us a call or an email. Let’s work on it right away!

And if you enjoyed reading this article, feel free to share it with your community!

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To get straight to the point – Yes, you should include social media as part of your digital marketing strategy in 2020. 

Over the last decade, social media has evolved from a platform for connecting with social circles and sharing daily updates to a powerful medium for influencing choices with the targeted distribution of optimized content, the active promotion of thought leadership, and purposeful engagement with the community. 

Thus, social media is an effective medium for sharing content. It is a proven platform for building your business’ brand and reputation, promoting products and services, and creating strong and sustainable relationships with your customers.

If social media was part of your digital marketing strategy in 2019, read on! The tips we provide will make your 2020 strategies more relevant, effective, and impactful. 

And if you haven’t included social media in your digital marketing strategy, it’s not too late! 2020 is as good a time as any to start your first campaign. 

Why 2020 Is A Good Time To Launch Your First Social Media Campaign

In 2019, there were an estimated 3.484 billion social media users worldwide – a 9% increase from 2018. 

The increase in the number of social media users goes hand-in-hand with the number of Internet users. The more accessible the Internet becomes, the more people will venture to social media.

In 2018, the Internet was accessible to 3 billion people. In 2019, the number of people on the Internet was estimated to be 4.4 billion people. 

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the growth of the Internet will slowly catch up with the growth of the population. 

The group forecasts that by 2021, 75% or 6 billion of the projected population of 8 billion people will have Internet access. By 2030, 90% or 7.5 billion out of an estimated 8.5 billion people will be online. 

Based on these trends, we can reasonably expect that as the population grows, so will the number of social media users. 

If you are still thinking of including social media in your digital marketing strategy, remove your “thinking” cap and put on your “working” cap. It’s time to get social!

7 Social Media Trends To Watch Out For In 2020

Social media is in a constant state of evolution because people’s interests, tastes, and preferences are always changing. The strategies that produced results last year may no longer be effective in 2020.

Here are 7 social media trends that could shape your digital marketing strategy in 2020.

1. Less Focus on Getting People to “Like” Your Content

Social media is no longer just a platform where the objective of posting content is to generate the highest number of “likes”. 

Getting a “like” will do wonders for your ego but very little – or nothing at all – for your business. It could just be a sympathetic gesture from friends who want you to feel good. But clicking the “like” button does not mean people like your content. 

People are looking for content that has value. They want content that addresses a specific need, compels opinions and ideas to be shared and helps members of the community arrive at the best decisions. 

For this reason, social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter are putting less emphasis on “vanity metrics’ – like the “like” button and the number of followers. 

Digital marketers feel that the pressure to garner “likes” only succeeds in affecting the person’s mental health and does little to strengthen the brand or put the product at the forefront of the consumer’s consciousness.

Instead, the focus should be on the quality of content and the rate of community engagement. 

What good would it do your business if you have 1,000 followers but only 10 members regularly engage with your content? On the other hand, your page could have only 100 followers but 50 of them could be actively engaging with each other in your posts. 

2. Video Content Will Be King

Bill Gates once famously wrote, “Content is King”. Today, the billionaire-founder of Microsoft would willingly amend his statement as “Video Content will be King”.

A 2019 study that was published by Social Media Week revealed the following eye-opening numbers about the future of video content marketing:

  • 82% of all online traffic will be composed of video-based content.
  • 78% of daily Internet users spend their time watching videos.
  • 72% of consumers prefer video as the medium for learning about a company’s products and services.
  • 95% of consumers retain information better with videos.
  • 54% of consumers want more video-based content.

Video marketing is an effective driver of content because it appeals to the senses of sight, sound, and can potentially trigger powerful emotions that can compel the audience to comply with your call-to-action. 

Today’s smartphones have cameras that can capture good quality videos. Start a YouTube channel for your business and upload video content about your products and services. 

How do they work? What problems or issues can they fix? You can also post videos about your personal life to give the audience an idea of who you are and what you do outside of work. 

At Mountaintop, we recommend having an explainer video made. You can post it on YouTube then embed the link on the homepage of your website. An explainer video will get more people to stay on your website and check out your products and services.

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3. Social Media Audience Segmentation Will Play a Bigger Role

Social media gives you the advantage of targeting consumers who may be interested in your products and services. Even if you’ve acquired a good-sized following, they remain part of a community – your social media community. They followed you for a reason.

People follow you for different reasons. Yes, most will probably follow you because they are fans of your business. They love your products and want to stay updated on future developments.

There could be those who followed you not for the products you are selling, but for the tips you provide in your blogs. Maybe they are not interested in your products but they value the insights you provide in the industry. 

Keeping track of who engages in your content; the ones who ”like” or share your blogs, and reading through the discussions in your posts can give you valuable insights on the market segments you are attracting.

You can use social media analytics to give you key data on the types of content that are generating the highest levels of activity on your page. Take note of who they are, where they are coming from, and how they are accessing your content. 

Use data to create specific buyer profiles of your customers. Having data-backed information will help you customize the types of content that will target specific market segments. 

4. The Continued Rise of Social Shopping

If you’re a retailer, having an e-commerce website is a key component in maximizing online opportunities. The website is where interested parties go to view your product and transact with your company.

On the other hand, social media platforms have become effective in generating inbound traffic to your e-commerce website. 

Research has shown that social media has significantly contributed to the growth of e-commerce in the United States in the last decade. 

Posting images and information about your product on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest has been proven effective in influencing the buying decisions of consumers.

Publishing blogs on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google Plus about your business, industry insights, opinions on current trends, and providing useful tips that solve common problems will do wonders for your online reputation as a valuable resource. 

To get people to visit your website, always include a link with your call-to-action in your blogs and other types of content. 

5. Public Sharing Will Give Way to a More Personalized Approach

Privacy remains an issue on the Internet. Other than the constant threat of cyber-attacks, you want to manage the risk factors that you can control. When engaging in social media, it’s a good idea to take full control over your personal information. 

Concern over the security and integrity of personal information is one of the major factors that have contributed to the popularity of messaging apps such as Messenger. 

For example, if a follower of your Facebook page asks for details about the price of your product and preferred mode of payment, you can just send the person the information via Messenger. 

Another example is dealing with customer complaints. 

If a customer posts a complaint on your Facebook page, you can shift the discussion from the public thread to Messenger. This is a great way to manage your online reputation and at the same time personalize the approach for your customer. 

6. Greater Dependency on Authentic Content

The Internet is rife with online merchants offering a wide variety of products and services. Unfortunately, you take the good with the bad. 

While there are e-commerce websites that you can trust, the Internet has its fair share of businesses that have malicious intent as their primary objective. 

Also, there are businesses with the “take it or leave it” mentality. They only care about the sale – not the customer.

In a sense, social media has tipped the balance of power toward the consumer because it has given him a platform to air his opinions about a business. It has given consumers a valuable resource for getting information on a product or service before making the decision to patronize the business or not. 

Think about your own experiences. If you liked your dining experience at a particular Italian restaurant, wouldn’t you take pictures of the food you ate and post it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?  

In contrast, if you had a rough encounter with the customer service people of a telecommunications company, wouldn’t you post about the incident on Facebook or LinkedIn?

Powerful emotions compel people to write reviews about a product or a service. This is why consumers value them. They are content that is perceived as sincere and driven by purpose and therefore, authentic. 

Invite your followers to post reviews and comments about your products and services on your social media pages. 

Your willingness to leave your business vulnerable to the risk of getting scathing reviews shows your confidence in your offerings. We will continue the discussion in the next section!

7. Social Media Builds Meaningful Relationships

For businesses, product reviews and other types of customer-generated content are a win-win situation. Yes, getting bad reviews can be good for you!

In the first place, there is no such thing as a perfect product. Consumers have different tastes and preferences. 

Perfect service is the goal but it is not realistic to expect it 100% of the time because people are human and there are days that they can be off their customer service game.

If you get a negative review, don’t ignore it. Act on it right away! Use it as an opportunity to show your other followers that you care by addressing the issue directly on the thread.

For example, a customer named Matt posted a complaint on your Facebook page that the Wi-Fi router he bought from you did not last 2 days. 

A good response would be:

“Hi, Matt! Thank you for calling our attention to the router. We are sorry about your experience. I am Roger and I handle technical support. I just messaged you my email address and contact number. Kindly email the details and let’s schedule a phone call over the next 24 hours. Rest assured, we are committed to making you a customer for life!”

When you respond to a comment, it will not matter if the customer is irate. For sure, he will appreciate your immediate attention and timely response to his concern. 

And if the customer is happy, an appropriate response will show that you value the relationship and not just the business. 

Conclusion

The “social” aspect of social media refers to its dynamic nature. As people change, so do their online behavioral patterns. You have to keep track of these changes in behavior and apply your findings to your strategy so you can stay ahead of the competition.

Social media will remain relevant, useful, and valuable in 2020 and beyond because it gives your business more than just an online presence. 

Social media humanizes your business. It creates bridges that connect you with your customers, followers, and potential end-users. 

In combination with a thoughtful, purposeful, and engaging content marketing strategy, social media will give your business a personality that consumers can connect to and develop a strong, long-lasting relationship with. 

For consumers, it’s not just about “What” your business is – it’s about “Who” your business is. 

Let us help you get back on track with your social media program! 

Give us a call or drop us an email. We can design a smart, data-based digital marketing strategy for your business that will optimize our content-driven social media marketing campaign. 

And if you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it with your community!

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Whether you’re stuck in traffic or headed off to a long drive, it would make the journey more pleasant when you have something to listen to. Sure, having your favorite singer blaring in your headset or the car’s sound system provides a welcome respite from the monotony of the moment. But why not use the time to jumpstart your knowledge, pick up new ideas, or stay updated on the latest developments by listening to a podcast during the commute?

The Growth Of The Podcast Community In the United States

According to the latest report published by the Infinite Dial, more than 50% of Americans have listened to at least 1 podcast and one out of three Americans listen to at least 1 podcast per month.

In comparison, the number in 2018 was one out of four Americans.

Another interesting statistic that was revealed in the study was more young Americans were listening to podcasts. 40% of Americans aged 12 to 24 have been listening to podcasts compared to 30% the previous year.

What makes the report from the Infinite Dial compelling is that the increase in the popularity of the podcast the past 2 years was markedly significant. There has always been a steady growth in the popularity of podcasts but the increase from 2018 to 2019 was a clear jump-off point. 

A podcast can be entertaining, yet informative. Although the content of podcasts are regulated and have to subscribe to guidelines set forth by the Federal Trade Commission, discussions come across as more authentic. 

The banter between the host, the guest, and the audience – the call-in listeners – is freewheeling, sound unrehearsed, and extemporaneous. 

That does not mean the content is not researched! 

In a podcast, the show invites well-respected and highly competent resource people as guests. You can be assured, more or less, that the information you get from a podcast is updated and valid. 

If you’re not yet part of the podcast community, it’s not too late to join in! 

To get you started, here is a list of our favorite podcasts to listen to during the commute.

1. Building a StoryBrand with Donald Miller

Marketing can often be frustrating for many businesses because the campaign doesn’t produce the expected results.

In an effort to get answers, entrepreneurs and marketers tend to over-analyze the problem instead of focusing on the building block of every marketing campaign.

Its message.

Donald Miller and his team understand the power of storytelling and how to harness it for maximum results. People love to hear stories. But not everyone is an effective storyteller.

If you want your market to patronize your business, your story must be compelling enough to get them interested in the products and services that you offer.

Listeners of his podcast love the way Donald shares helpful tips on improving the message of your marketing campaign.

His approach to delivering content on his podcast best represents his idea on the most effective way to tell your story.

Keep it simple and easy to understand!

Put it this way, if people don’t understand your message, how and why will they talk about it to others?

If you’re unsure of your ability to tell your brand’s story, don’t worry. Listen to Donald’s podcast and he’ll put you on the right track so you can connect much better with your market. 

2. Creating Disney Magic: Lessons in Leadership, Management, and Customer Service by Lee Cockerell

Lee Cockerell was the former Executive Vice-President of Operations for the Walt Disney World Resort. He spent 10 years managing 20 resort hotels, 2 water parks, 4 theme parks, a shopping and entertainment complex, the sports and recreation facility of ESPN, and more than 40,000 employees.

How did Lee manage all the responsibilities required of a Senior Operating Executive of the world’s most popular vacation destination?

The first syllable of the word “Leadership” is pronounced “lee” and the word is synonymous with Mr. Cockerell who is a big proponent of leadership within an organization.

In his podcast, Lee shares the lessons he learned on leadership, management, and customer value during his time on the “happiest place on earth”.

Lee pulls no punches and gives his unique perspective on the challenges of making it in the big world of business. He discusses why having substance is of more importance than the image you present.

For Mr. Cockerell having an MBA degree and wearing the nicest, most expensive suits amount to nothing if you don’t respect the culture of the organization. To learn how to manage people, you must learn how it is to be managed.

Take 20 minutes to learn valuable tips on business from Lee Cockerell. 

 3. Seth Godin’s Start-Up School

Seth Godin is one of the most respected experts in the field of marketing. In 2018, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the American Marketing Association. He has also authored close to 20 books. Many of his books, such as Free Prize Inside and The Dip have become must-have in every entrepreneur’s must-read list.

If you haven’t read Seth’s works, you can listen to him in Seth Godin’s Startup School. Think of this as a “reality podcast” where Seth takes 30 entrepreneurs through a master class on how to start and grow their businesses.

Under Seth’s guidance, these entrepreneurs learn to appreciate and apply concepts that may not have been taught in school such as managing your fears, trust, motivation, and how to effectively manage cash flow. 

4. The EntreLeadership Podcast

EntreLeadership is a podcast hosted by Alex Judd. Alex is an in-demand Leadership Coach who believes you can only get better at what you do if are willing to operate outside of your comfort zone.

As the host of EntreLeadership, Alex shares his thoughts and ideas on leadership and gives valuable tips on how to cultivate the best qualities in you. The show regularly features guests who have made an impact on their respective fields.

On any given day, you may find yourself listening to career-defining insights from Mark Cuban, Simon Sinek, Seth Godin, and Jim Collins plus the most reputable persons from the world of medicine, politics, sports, and the sciences. 

5. Lead To Win with Michael Hyatt

New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt hosts the Lead to Win podcast which focuses on topics that help entrepreneurs, managers, employees, and everyday people gain knowledge on improving personal development.

Michael knows what he is talking about in the podcast. He used to be the Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers before making a successful tenure to life as an entrepreneur.

His entrepreneurial pursuit was included in the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies. Within 3 years, Michael’s business grew by 330%.

Listen to Lead to Win and learn useful tips for holding productive meetings, staying on track with your goals, co-existing with co-workers, choosing a business coach, improving mental fitness, and increasing your level of productivity. 

6. HBR IdeaCast

HBR Ideacast is the perfect podcast to listen to for people who are motivated to move up the corporate ladder. If you’re looking to find ways to become a more effective manager, listen to this podcast on the commute to work.

HBR editor Sarah Green Carmichael leads a team composed of HBR staff members to engage valuable resource people from different industries in lively banter and insightful interviews.

Although the show is categorized as a management and marketing podcast, it covers more ground than advertised. You will gain knowledge and insights on diverse topics such as science, health, and politics. 

7. The Liberator Podcast

GIANT Worldwide is a world-renowned company that strongly advocates leadership development. The company creates amazing programs and publishes top quality content designed to help anyone – entrepreneurs, office workers, and corporate executives – harness the skills to become effective leaders.

The Liberator is a podcast that has become popular because it is a wonderful resource for learning useful tips on leadership and personal development. Hosted by GIANT co-founders, Steve Cockram and Jeremie Kubicek, the Liberator has helped many of its listeners become more productive and actively involved in the progress of their business and people.

In every session, Jeremie and Steve introduce the latest developments in the world of business as well as new concepts, ideas, and methods in developing leadership skills. 

8. The Pitch

One of the limiting factors in starting and growing a business is funding. For many entrepreneurs, borrowing from a bank is out of the question because of the credit requirements and high-interest charges. Funding through interested investors has become a preferred option.

But what are the risks of getting venture capital? How will it affect your ownership of the business? Are having venture capitalists onboard your business worth it?

More importantly, is your business worth the risk for the venture capitalists?

The Pitch is a show that will answer all of your questions about venture capital. Hosted by entrepreneur Josh Muccio, the podcast is loaded with tips on how to sell your idea to investors, maintain good relationships with them, and make the arrangement prosper. 

9. Side Hustle School

If you’ve been thinking about augmenting your monthly income with a side job, listen to the Side Hustle. This is a podcast that’s worth a listen for anyone who’s thinking of opening another stream of income through a sideline occupation.

The Side Hustle is hosted by Chris Guillebeau, a bestselling author who has written several books and written blogs on the topics of entrepreneurship and personal development.

Every podcast show will feature resource people who have gone through the experience of starting a side hustle. Learn valuable tips on how to succeed – as well as how to avoid their mistakes.  

 10. Dear HBR

Dear HBR is a must-listen-to podcast for those who embrace the daily 9-to-5 grind at the office.

The excellent hosts led by Harvard Business Review editors Alison Beard and Dan McGinn talk about the issues that matter to everyone who works at an office – from the newest recruit to the company CEO.

Alison and Dan provide wonderful insights to all of your questions. Nothing is off-limits! Dear HBR makes it a point to invite renowned topic experts as they handle each question with thought and objectivity.

Dear HBR will also give you updates on the latest research on management, productivity, and valuable tips on motivation and dealing with toxic employees. 

Conclusion

As you have read, most of the podcasts we recommend are focused on entrepreneurship, personal, and leadership development. We acknowledge the value of small businesses not just in America but in the entire world. 

In America, 99.9% of businesses registered are categorized as small – 30.2 million businesses in all.

The sad reality is that more than 50% of these small businesses close down after 5 years. 

Can you imagine if we can improve the success rate of small business America to 55%? Our economy will be more robust and progressive!

Listening to these amazing podcasts is not a guarantee that you will turn your business around. But the tips and insights they share will give you the necessary knowledge to give your business a fighting chance to survive – and thrive!

If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your community.

And if you want to know how we can help you manage and grow your business through website design and digital marketing, give us a call! 

Keeping on top of all the assignments that stem from running a company can be challenging – even when you have a whole support system behind you. But when you’re a solopreneur, it all comes down to how much you can accomplish on your own. For the most part, this means maximizing your effectiveness and minimizing distractions.

If your goal is to bring your small business to the next level (and maybe even expand), you will need to find a way of staying in control of all the challenges you face daily. The following strategies help you do exactly that. By implementing them in your daily work routine, you’ll find the perfect way for you to achieve your goals without losing precious time, energy, or resources.

Strategize

If the word strategize reminds you of going into battle, then you’ve already got this whole business thing under your thumb. Because that’s exactly what business is – a war for survival in a cruel, dog-eat-dog world. The only way to make it out alive is to know very well what you’re doing. 

For most entrepreneurs, this means putting a lot of effort into their products or services, designing a great website, maintaining a strong social media presence, and paying close attention to customer service and quality control. And although not many like to think about it, it also means creating an effective exit strategy that you can implement in the case of unexpected circumstances (or simply more exciting projects on the horizon).

A good business plan can also help you determine your goals, and even more, turn them into to-dos you can tackle on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Finally, don’t forget about the importance of your calendar and good project management software.

Don’t underestimate the beneficial effects of rest

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs tend to make is that they work themselves to the bone. In the long term, this can lead to some pretty serious consequences. Burnout affects up to 44% of workers, which is alarming when you think about the negative effects it has on physical and mental health. 

To avoid it and achieve a better work-life balance, it’s important that you get enough downtime. This means limiting the hours in your workweek, taking the occasional vacation (even a staycation will do), making sure you’re eating healthy, exercising on a regular basis, and practicing some form of meditation. Aside from getting you to take regular breaks from your company, these habits are also beneficial because they can help you sleep better.

Keep your eye on the prize

Sometimes, the easiest thing to do is lose focus. And as a solopreneur, you definitely won’t be short on everyday distractions that will require your immediate attention. This is especially important if you work from home –a concept that always seems so convenient until you find yourself sitting at your desk at 2 AM because you haven’t been able to get any work done during the day.

Practicing self-discipline is key. Be conscious about removing distractions. For some, this will mean scheduling a specific time of day for replying to emails. For others, it’s silencing their phone or cutting down on multitasking. 

Another great thing you can start implementing today? Setting short-term and long-term goals. Defining these will help you focus on the big picture, while still allowing your vision to be flexible enough to embrace any positive surprises you encounter on the way.

Use all the tools (and help) you can get

Although, as a solopreneur, you don’t have any employees, there are still ways in which you can save time on mundane tasks. 

For example, you can use automation tools for things like invoicing, tracking expenses, or social media strategies. Even basic programs such as Microsoft Excel can go a long way in helping you get things done more efficiently, and often more accurately.

Another thing you might want to consider would be to outsource menial tasks or assignments that need a skilled worker such as an accountant. While you could take care of all your finances on your own, perhaps there are better ways to spend your time than going through receipts each month.

Conclusion

For your business to succeed, it is important that you approach it with both wisdom and willingness to do hard work. 

Luckily, as a solopreneur, you already have the drive and passion that are at the core of a satisfying career. Combine them with a few smart productivity practices, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming not only effective but, more importantly, satisfied with where your business is headed.