Richard Branson: Five Secrets to Business Success
By Richard Branson
I am often asked if I have found a secret – or at least a consistent answer – to successfully building businesses over my career.
So I’ve spent some time thinking about what characterizes so many of Virgin’s successful ventures and, importantly, what went wrong when we did not get it right. Reflecting across 40 years I have come up with five “secrets.”
No. 1: Enjoy What You Are Doing.
Because starting a business is a huge amount of hard work, requiring a great deal of time, you had better enjoy it. When I started Virgin from a basement flat in West London, I did not set out to build a business empire. I set out to create something I enjoyed that would pay the bills.
There was no great plan or strategy. The name itself was thought up on the hoof. One night some friends and I were chatting over a few drinks and decided to call our group Virgin, as we were all new to business. The name stuck and had a certain ring to it.
For me, building a business is all about doing something to be proud of, bringing talented people together and creating something that’s going to make a real difference to other people’s lives.
A businesswoman or a businessman is not unlike an artist. What you have when you start a company is a blank canvas; you have to fill it. Just as a good artist has to get every single detail right on that canvas, a businessman or businesswoman has to get every single little thing right when first setting up in business in order to succeed. However, unlike a work of art, the business is never finished. It constantly evolves.
If a businessperson sets out to make a real difference to other people’s lives, and achieves that, he or she will be able to pay the bills and have a successful business to boot.
10 Small Business Social Media Marketing Tips
By Ross Kimbarovsky
Capacity – especially to plan and execute effective marketing strategies – is a big challenge for every small business. In this post, I’ll offer 10 suggestions for how small businesses can supercharge their marketing efforts by leveraging social media. For each suggestion, I will discuss a basic strategy – for those who simply want to get their toes wet, as well as an advanced strategy – for those who want to spend a bit more time and go a bit deeper in their social media marketing efforts. These tips are based on my experience leveraging social media marketing for my company, crowdSPRING.
I suggest you begin by outlining clear goals for your social media marketing efforts and figuring out how you’ll measure success. Once you’ve outlined your goals, let’s look at 10 great ways you can begin to leverage social media for your marketing efforts.
Twitter has grown tremendously over the past year. For some small businesses, it offers an incredible marketing platform. BusinessWeek’s recent profile of 20 ways businesses use Twitter might give you some ideas about how you can leverage Twitter for your business.
Basic Strategy: If you haven’t signed up on Twitter yet, you should sign up today and reserve an account in the name of your business. While you might ultimately tweet in your own name, you’ll want to have the option to tweet from a business account. More importantly, you don’t want your competitors to register your business name. Twitter has put together a simple guide to help you understand what Twitter can do for business. You can also check out Mashable’s Twitter Guide.
Next, you should spend 15-30 minutes on Twitter’s homepage, doing basic searches to become familiar with the type of content available on the service. For example, if you are operating a small gift basket business, do some searches for various terms and phrases such as “gift basket,” “gifts,” “gift basket business,” etc. You should also search for the names of your competitors to see whether they’re on Twitter and if they are, how they’re using it. And don’t forget to search for your small business name – your customers may already be talking about you! Once you become comfortable with the content that’s already available and how your competitors are using Twitter, you can begin thinking about a strategy for how you’ll leverage Twitter for your business.
Advanced Strategy: To truly leverage Twitter, you’ll want to learn and use a few more advanced tools. This includes desktop and mobile Twitter clients like TweetDeck, Seesmic, and Tweetie. Desktop clients give you more flexibility and more control over your Twitter strategy than you’ll have on the Twitter website. Among other things, you’ll be able to pre-define searches (so that you can monitor certain keywords, including your business name) and group people you follow so that you can minimize the noise and focus on the real content. You might also consider using a web tool like Twitterfall, which will allow you to define (and color-code) various custom searches that you can review from time to time, and also to follow trending topics. For example, I use Twitterfall to identify helpful graphic design and industrial design resources to share with the crowdSPRING community.
7 Ways to Acquire the Right Kinds of Links to Your Site
I’ve said it here many times – winning high rankings in search engines is not that hard for local businesses. There are some categories of business that are very competitive and certainly require the investment of a high caliber SEO firm, but do it yourself type can do well if they focus on two activities.
Creating content and acquiring the right kinds of links back to your site.
I specifically say the right kinds of links because there are still some folks out there promoting the easy way out, suggesting you buy hundreds of links, but there is no easy way out and this can even lead to getting your hand slapped or worse by the search engines.
Below are seven of the best ways to acquire those all important links.
Write a blog
Without question creating a blog and consistently writing keyword rich content is the number one SEO activity for the small business. (For any size business) This is no longer something to debate, blog content will improve your chances to compete in the search engines many times over and draw links from other blogs and sites that syndicate content.
Guest post on blogs
A variation to writing on your blog is to seek out other blogs and offer to write content that is useful and relevant to their audience. Make certain that you get to place a link back to your site in the body of the post and look for blogs that are well read. You might also look for other local blogs using a tool like Placeblogger.
Tony Robbins’s Seven Steps To Breakthrough
By DONNA MARIA
Last week, my husband and I watched some of Tony Robbins’s “Breakthrough” shows on Hulu. At one time, the site said the shows would be removed on September 4, but it looks like they’ve changed their minds. (Lucky for you!) Each of the six episodes is about 40 minutes long, and well worth every minute.
In the segments, Robbins leads guests through some various exercises designed to take them from despair to hope in 30 days. In each case, Robbins guides them through seven steps that I think can be used in our everyday lives to overcome challenges and achieve our maximum potential in life. Here are the seven steps Robbins leads people through on the show. (I am paraphrasing some of the things Robbins discussed in the shows.)
Change Your Environment. The first thing Robbins does is fly guests to his private retreat on Fiji. The idea is that genuine breakthrough is always preceded by some kind of change of scenery that provides a chance to address issues in a new way.
While it would be nice if we could all escape to Fiji, in truth, the fact that we cannot should not be an excuse. Anyone can change their environment, even if it’s a local hotel or a day at the spa. Recently, my business partner husband and I changed the environment in which we work. We noticed significant changes in ourselves and our business almost immediately.
Face The Real Issues. The next step is to peel the onion to uncover the real issues. In one case, a former professional basketball player (pictured) blamed his former coach for ruining his career. The real issues, which had little to do with the coach, were brought to light in a dramatic meeting between the coach and the player, with Robbins serving as a facilitator. It was a great scene, and I enjoyed seeing genuine healing take place.
Embrace Your Power. In moving from despair to breakthrough, eventually, confidence and a feeling of power begin to emerge. Little by little, if you are committed and working hard to move toward a better quality of life, small steps will lead to a chance to embrace your power.
Managing Your Daily Tasks
Let me ask you a question. How often has any of the following thoughts occurred to you?
“I seriously don’t have enough time!”
“Oh no, how could I forget that task?”
“How am I expected to manage SO many things at once?”
Roughly, atleast once a day huh? It used to happen to me, too. Being a part of a small business means that you will naturally have a hundred things on your mind. And when you can’t manage all your tasks and responsibilities, it’s guaranteed chaos.
So it was only recently that I discovered the value of a little something called ‘To-Do lists.’ It’s a simple enough concept, (and quite an obvious one, if you think about it) but so often, most of us fail to do it.
All you need to do is spend some time, as soon as you come to work/school (that’s right – do not check email the first thing in the morning!) to think about your day/week ahead. Trust me, you will realize soon enough that those 15 minutes are not a waste of time!
Branson on Business: Marketing in Tough Times
Top 12 Small Business Marketing Blogs that We Highly Recommend http://bit.ly/acjOr6
Small Business Big Marketing Episode #30 is now live! We chat to Facebook advertising expert Jen Sheahan about using Facebook’s powerful Pay Per Click engine to drive traffic and sales to your website.
You want to get some media visibility and publicity like big companies do… BUT YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE TO TURN… We know a lot of persons who are running very successful businesses, but they can’t seem to break through to the next level. How do you separate yourself from the pack and become recognised as the leader in your industry? By leveraging the power of the press!
From capturing the intensity of an AGM to shooting an intimate corporate portraiture of the managing director, WHYTE-HALLiMAGES, can help your business to project the right image, to the right people.