How to Take Charge of Your Business Focus

Principle: a personal or specific basis of conduct

Identifying principles or standards that become your touch point when things are up or down in business will keep you sane. When there is a swirl of activity that doesn’t feel like it’s helping you to get more clients, make more money or see a real difference in your business results, you may ask, “What’s it all for?”

Guiding principles will serve to remind you why you do what you do and get you back on the path to the business and success you want. Here’s an example of a guiding principle and how it works for my own business. I’ll also tell you how I found it in case you want to get started designing your own…

My guiding principle: “Be a voice, not an echo.”

This principle reminds me to be and have a clear message that is my own. I have a point of view about how I want to serve my clients and the community of entrepreneurs who surround me, and it’s a valuable one born of a lot of experience and expertise. So I not only honor myself, but you as well by using my own voice and not trying to be someone else. As a result I attract more of my ideal clients and community members who want what I have to offer. This approach grows a business in a much more satisfying and fulfilling way.

How did I discover and embrace this guiding principle? I paid attention to what didn’t feel “right” about where I was going in my business. What didn’t feel like me and what was I “trying” to be instead of just “being.” And many times it came back to using my own voice. That’s when the quote by Albert Einstein showed up on a graphic in an email… “Be a voice, not an echo.” I kept seeing it in my mind’s eye and it just felt like it came from my soul.

It fit with my wanting to help more entrepreneurs clarify the path to the business and results they want and how using their own voice will bring it faster. It fit with my ability to help you discover your own 6-figure idea. It fit with helping you create the personal roadmap that spells success with distinction and without distraction. And it fit most of all with who I am… a unique, smart and committed businesswoman.

Ready to find your guiding principle?

Step 1: Pay attention to how you feel as you lead your business. What’s missing that you would find more fulfilling and satisfying. Be aware of how you feel about your clients, community and colleagues. What would guide you to make a real difference for them?

Step 2: Your guiding principle truly has to come from within you. So write about it, meditate about it, find some graphics about it, read some quotes about it or bounce some ideas around with a trusted friend. There are many ways to get to your guiding principle. You have to determine the shortest path to success. And these are just some ways to find it.

Step 3: When you identify your guiding principle, how does it line up with who you are and what you do? Is it in support of your overall goal? Does it feel like you could create a movement from it, knock down walls because of it, and know that if all else fails, you would feel confident that this was the impact you wanted to make on the world through your business?

That is when you’ll know that you’ve landed on a guiding principle that will both inspire and motivate you to the greatest impact you can make through your business.

Use these 3 simple steps to discover, embrace and use a guiding principle that deeply delivers the satisfying and fulfilling life you can truly have in your business.

How To Build Trust In Your Online Business

When somebody goes online to search for products or services, they are instinctively suspicious. This is even the case with big, multinational brands. Most people are fairly educated about the way in which the web works, and they understand that just about anybody can set up a website. Even if your business is Nike, the people that visit your website will always be on the lookout for signs that you may be an imposter.

Of course, suspicion is never helpful when you are trying to secure a sale. It is your task to convince potential customers that you can be trusted. Unfortunately, they rarely give you more than a few minutes to convince them that you are a legitimate, responsible business that can deliver on all of its promises.

If you sell products, customers want to be absolutely sure that you will dispatch items quickly and they will be received as described. If you sell services, your potential clients need to believe that you can do the things that you claim.

In both cases, customers often need to be persuaded that they can trust you with their confidential payment details.

In this article, you will discover just how crucial it is for you to be build trust on the Internet if you hope to turn your business into a success. Read on to learn why trust is so important, the disastrous consequences of getting it wrong, and some practical ways to get it right.

Customers See Your Online Business As Smoke and Mirrors

Imagine that you are walking the high street searching for books when you see a sign stuck to a door. It says ‘Cheap Books Here!’ and so you go inside, briefly noticing the name of the shop at the top of the window.

Once inside, you realise that the shop is empty. There is nothing more than a curtain in the corner of the room. A voice echoes from behind it.

“What book are you looking for?” it booms.

You respond into the air.

“Yes, we’ve got that one. £10 please.” A hand creeps around the curtain, waiting to take your money.

If you’re anything like me, you wouldn’t give your money away that easily! You haven’t seen the item, the person who is selling it to you, or any proof that this is the kind of business you can trust.

But this is the same experience that customers get when they decide to shop online for products or services. They are expected to pay for something that they haven’t physically seen, to somebody that they don’t know anything about.

Your business may be honest and upfront. You may have the best products in the world and the best service to back them up. But everyone says that.

Why should your visitors believe you?

Three Trust Building Features Of The Best Online Businesses

If there is a simple answer to the complex question of building trust as a business, it is reputation. If the potential customers that visit your website can read feedback and comments from satisfied customers, they will be more confident in your abilities to do what you claim and deliver quality products and services.

There are many ways that you can leverage the power of customer feedback. Here are just three to get you started:

1. Use Customer Testimonials On Your Website

The easiest thing to do is just publish a long list of testimonials on your website from existing customers. If you are doing good business you will receive a lot of positive feedback naturally, but always ask for permission to publish the review along with some customer information.

Many online businesses publish testimonials without saying where they came from. This is a particularly spurious way of doing business, and will probably raise more concerns than having none at all.

So what do you do if you have no existing customers to quote and are just getting started with your business? A great technique is to ask reputable online organisations and individuals to help you out. Perhaps you could send a free sample of your product to niche bloggers, and ask them to provide testimonials in return?

2. Sign Up To An Independent Reviews Website

Once you are more established, do not assume that the need to build trust disappears. In fact, as your customer base grows and you have less time to concentrate on each individual visitor, it can become even more difficult to spend time on bolstering customer confidence.

There are many external websites and business directories that include business reviews, and these are great tools for building trust and also winning new customers.

At FreeIndex, the leading UK business directory, you can create a listing for your business free of charge. This public profile will contain information on what you do and how people can get in touch.

But FreeIndex also offers the capability for customers to post reviews and increase your overall rating. As your number of reviews increases, you can add a badge to your website. This has two significant effects – you can show potential customers that you have received lots of positive feedback, with the added authority of an independent website.

Some other great places to get your business reviewed are Yelp and Google Places.

3. Give Your Customers A Voice That Can Be Heard

Finally, if you have enough customers to support it, integrating discussion with your website is a highly effective way to build trust.

A message board, or forum, gives visitors the chance to start their own conversations about your business, your products, and the wider industry. As these individuals discuss your services, potential customers can quickly see that you have lots of happy customers.

Of course, starting a message board opens the door to negative comments. Hopefully, you will not receive any of these! If you do, though, turn them into positive opportunities by being professional and supportive. After all, this is your chance to show potential customers just how brilliant your customer service is!

Your web hosting provider will usually be happy to tell you which options are open to you when it comes to launching a forum on your website. Usually, you can install a message board like phpBB – which is free – automatically with a script installer that is included with your plan.

Several plugins are also available for WordPress that offer message board functionality. You can explore them at wordpress.org/extend/plugins/tags/forum.

Security For Your Online Business

Of course, reputation is only one side of what makes a trustworthy business online. People don’t just need to trust that you can provide great products and services – they also need to trust you with their confidential information including:

  • Credit Card Data
  • Address Details
  • Passwords and Logins

The first thing that people check when parting with this kind of sensitive data is to look at the security features of your website. All confidential data should be sent through Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL. The way that you prove your trustworthy nature when it comes to this information is with an SSL Certificate.

SSL Certificates are issued by companies that vouch for the security processes that you have in place. Your web hosting provider should support SSL, and can help you to get an SSL Certificate for a small fee.

Although there are alternative ways to take payments online including Paypal, an SSL Certificate does more than tell customers that data is being transferred securely. It tells them that you are a trustworthy company overall, responsible in the way that you conduct business online.

Be A Real, Accountable and Reachable Business

Finally, perhaps the most important thing of all when it comes to building customer trust is just being a real person, not a faceless business name without connections to the real world.

It almost goes without saying that your website should tell visitors everything that they need to know about who you are and how you can be reached. By publishing your phone number, a mailing address, and a company registration number if applicable, your visitors can get in touch to check you out before they make their purchase, and be confident that they could reach you if something went wrong.

There are many reasons that people shy away from giving out this kind of information their websites. Some people expect to receive nuisance calls the moment they put their phone number online. Others don’t like the idea of publishing their home address, but do not have a business address to use.

These are understandable reasons, but let them go. If you want customers to give you their trust, you’ll need to give them something in return.

Be an open, honest person and visitors will see your business as open and honest too. Show them that you are a real human being that they can trust and they will always put their trust in your online business.

7 Best Things You Can Do With Amazon Echo

Do you have a new Alexa device? It might be the Amazon Echo, the Amazon Echo Dot, or the Amazon Tap. The Amazon Echo has earned tremendous acclaim since its launch last year. It’s important to know the features of your new smart assistant. That’s how you can exploit it for all its benefits and use it up to its full potential. The Echos’ virtual assistant, Alexa, can do a lot of amazing things on your command. Now, there are two ways you can use it. You can either waste your precious productive time fooling around with it or read the top benefits right here.

Here we list the 7 best things you can do with the Amazon Echo.

1. Call Your Contacts

Amazon Echo brings the traditional landlines back into business. The assistant allows you to call any number in your contact list. You can use your Alexa device to make a voice call to any of your contacts who also have the device. Additionally, you can even leave a message if the person doesn’t respond. Currently, the assistant offers no option for blocking specific numbers.

2. Grab Your Meals and More

Echo isn’t confined to just placing orders on Amazon. You now can use Alexa to order other things as well. It incorporates the two-hour daily delivery system of Amazon. For now, the service is only available in some selected cities and is valid for items of daily needs and other household items. However, there are some cities where you can place an order for food and even alcohol as well.

3. Plan Your Day

This is unmistakably the topmost feature. Yes, Alexa can help you plan your day. How? The modern smart assistant tells you about the weather outside your house and the happenings around the world. You can have a complete overview of the day and a quick recap of the news around you. Additionally, you can also check your to-do list for the day. Utilising these features you are able to plan and choose your clothing and events according to your schedule.

4. Make Your Home Smarter

Amazon Echo can easily turn your home into a smart home. The Alexa is equipped with a smart home tool to let you master most operations of your smart home. So, now with Alexa, you can switch your lights on and off and even change the colors of your lights. Additionally, you can change the temperature of your room according to your preference. Also, you can control all the door locks of your home easily. And, that’s not all. Alexa can control anything that’s smart in your house.

5. Read Without Reading

Alexa can help you to “read” several books without truly having to read them. Another Amazon-powered feature packed in Alexa is ‘Audible.’ It reads audio books for you while you’re occupied doing other things. The book stays in sync across various devices to let you start from the point where you left off at the last time. You can play or pause a book, advance or turn it back by 30 seconds and even set a timer for the play or pause functions.

6. Play Your Choice of Music

Alexa can play nearly any music or song that you feel in the mood for. Although the default music player for Alexa is obviously the Amazon player, Amazon isn’t that stubborn. Alexa allows you to set your own music services like Spotify or other such apps. So, all you have to do is just set your favorite music service as the Alexa default, and you’re ready to rock and roll. Your assistant is smart enough to find and play your favorite music or song from its catalog.

7. Make It Do Anything

Alexa connects to a lot of devices, but not all. There are quite a few devices that aren’t compatible with your smart assistant. But that doesn’t mean you can’t control them. You can train your assistant to do more. The feature that enables your Alexa to connect with unsupported apps, devices, and websites is called IFTTT. Even though unsupported devices can’t be controlled with voice commands to the Alexa, you can still program your assistant for various tasks using IFTTT.

So these are our picks for the best things your Amazon Echo can do for you. Apart from these, the assistant has a plethora of functions. You can get to know them all over a period of time using it. So, get smart, and get the Amazon Echo.