All posts tagged goal setting

How to Choose Social Media Tools for Your Business

How to Choose Social Media Tools for Your Business

When you begin to consider using social media marketing for your business, the choices can seem overwhelming. There are so many social networks out there, and will the time needed to do all of them really pay off in the long run? How do you choose what makes sense for your business?

Here’s a process you can use to help you decide and then use what you choose effectively:

  • Write down your goals for social media marketing: Are you seeking new customers, or looking to grow your mailing list? Are you interested in finding people that are interested in a business opportunity? By taking some time to consider your goals, your subsequent actions will be a lot more focused.
  • Define your target market: You must understand who you want to reach if you’re going to find them online. So spend some time narrowly defining your target market…their ages, education, income level, interests, etc. Then you can go and find them!
  • Figure out where your target market spends time online: Once you know who you want to reach, then do some research to find out where that target market spends time online. Facebook is a great place to find consumers, but if you’re looking for people interested in a business opportunity you may do better on LinkedIn. If you want to reach a more niche audience, perhaps the people you want to reach are on a more specialized network like or Don’t just assume that the “biggies” are best for your business. Take the time to do the research so you know which network will help you reach the people you are looking for.
  • Decide how much time you can devote daily: This is also very important. If you’re a solopreneur, you’ve got a lot to do already, and adding the maintenance of dozens of social networks to your plate means that you won’t do anything well. Instead, narrow your focus to one or two social networks based on the daily amount of time you can invest. Remember, doing one social network well is better than spreading yourself too thin and leaving no impression on people at all.
  • Learn the social network before jumping in: Once you’ve got a short list of social networks that would work for your business, spend some time researching them. Talk to other business owners that have used them, and ask about their results and best practices. Read the terms of service of the network so you’re clear on what you can and cannot do as a business on the social network. And take some time to observe how others use the network at a personal level. If most people use the social network personally, you want to be sure your understand the norms and cadence of the interactions there, so you don’t come in like a bull in a china shop, alienating the very people you want to reach.
  • Commit daily: Once you establish your presence on the social network, realize it’s a daily commitment. Especially in the beginning as you’re building your momentum, it’s absolutely critical that you spend time every single day connecting with the people on your social network. Share great content, talk to people, answer questions. It’s the giving of yourself each day that builds the engagement that leads to new business.
  • Add your social networks to your offline marketing: Now that you’ve got an online presence, be sure to add it to your offline interactions. Add the URL of your social presence to your business cards and signage. Invite every customer to connect with you online. Let your in-person business contacts know about special “online only” offers that you provide online to encourage them to join you there. The beauty of the online presence is that you can connect with people a lot more regularly than just waiting to connect in person. Be sure every person you work with is invited to join you online.
  • Measure! This is perhaps the most important part of social media, and the one most often neglected by business owners. It’s not enough to set up your online presence and “feel” that things are going well. You must measure. The ultimate goal of any social presence is to convert contacts on your social networks to people that help you meet the goals you outlined in the first bullet of this article. So if you’re looking to build your mailing list, be sure you’ve got a way for people to sign up to do that, and call it out regularly on your social networks. Then measure how many people come to your sign up form, and how many get to the success page after filling it out. How many do you lose? If too many people are abandoning your form before completion, maybe you need to change your form. If your goal is to get more customers, then you should be measuring how many people are coming from your social network to your shopping page (or into your store…are you asking how they heard about you?), and then how many actually make a purchase after visiting. Google Analytics will give you a lot of this information. Make sure you’ve got it installed on your website, and are looking at the data regularly.

It’s not enough to just jump on Facebook because everyone else seems to be doing it. A measured, thoughtful approach to your selection of social media tools, and then measuring the results of your actions, will bring you much closer to your goals.

What social tools do you use? Why did you choose them? How are they working for you? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments.

DSEF & CBBB: Happiness is…

DSEF & CBBB: Happiness is…

Happiness is…..

By Carol Odell

Have you ever considered that mind-wandering can affect your happiness? And your productivity?

Matthew Killingsworth discusses his findings from his research study in the article, The Future of Happiness Research in the January-February 2012 Harvard Business Review.

Killingsworth says that our mind wanders nearly half the time and that lowers our mood. We have always heard that we need to feed ourselves positive thoughts. Now, we know why. Right? If we don’t make an effort to be positive we tend to think negative or neutral thoughts, and down goes our mood.

I was floored when I read what Killingsworth says about how much our minds wander. It’s 60% while commuting, 30% when talking to someone and about 50% of our work day! Obviously, we don’t stay focused as much as we think or want.

As managers, employees, spouses, parents, and/or friends, staying focused is important and we need to improve. Killingsworth suggests that when we get up in the morning we should ask ourselves, “What am I going to do with my mind today?”

Reflective listening helps me stay focused when someone is talking. In other words, I rephrase what the person has said, and say it back to him. When I am working or reading, I repeat thoughts out loud or read out loud to stop my mind from wandering.

What do you do? We all need tips to keep focused and happy.

Killingsworth also talks about happiness on the job being more about our moment-to-moment experiences rather than a high salary or a prestigious title. Once again, we are hearing it’s the small things that count.

What are the small things that make a difference in your day or happiness? Pass your thoughts along and you could help make a difference in our happiness, too.


DSEF and Council on Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) fosters honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers—instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

About the Better Business Bureaus
As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. for more information.

How to Follow Up Better

How to Follow Up Better

Think about how many faces you see and how many people you interact with in a typical day.  It would be impossible to remember each one…unless, of course, that person followed up with you by phone call, email, or handwritten card and reminded you how you met as well as what you discussed.  You would definitely remember that person then.  Improving your follow-up can have a tremendous effect on your bottom line.  Read below for some practical tips to making follow-ups a priority in your business.

  • Don’t underestimate the power of a handwritten note.  We live in a world where technology is everywhere, almost all of our communication is completed via electronic means.  Because of this, people really appreciate the thoughtfulness and time it takes to write a note by hand.  Writing a thank you card or other kind of follow-up note doesn’t have to take an extremely long time; many services are available on the internet, such as  Just tweak them to fit your situation.  Another advantage of the handwritten note:  people tend to keep them longer and then act on them immediately when going through paperwork or paying bills.
  • Do make follow-up calls within 24 hours.  This is the optimal window in which to make a call, especially one in which you are following up with a lead.  You want to make contact while the original meeting is still fresh in your prospect’s mind.  Furthermore, follow-up calls accomplish two important things: offering good customer service, and providing a call to action.  When a prospect receives a call, it begins building that essential relationship upon which a good business is built.  The follow-up call also gives the prospect information about what to do next.  Sharing your business is great, but sharing alone will get you nowhere.  Following up promptly with a phone call is a crucial part of increasing your sales.
  • Be persistent.  Sometimes it takes more than one follow-up gesture to continue the relationship.  Did you send a card a month ago and haven’t heard anything?  Consider sending a quick email or Facebook message to check in or ask a question.  Did your prospect say she’d call and never did?  It’s okay to make that call yourself.  Without being a nuisance, be persistent and consistent with your follow-up methods.  Showing your customers that you are committed to building a mutually beneficial relationship can be as simple as reaching out to them on a regular basis.
  • Build it into your regular schedule.  Following up with prospects and customers can be a daunting task, not to mention ineffective, if it’s only something you do once in a while.  Put it into your regular work schedule, such as daily or weekly.  Once you commit to following up regularly, it will become habitual, and you can begin reaping the benefits of building better business relationships.
  • Connect socially. Try to connect beyond doing business. Many of your clients are your neighbors. You may have similar interests or have mutual friends.  A lot of times in business it’s who you know that gets the sale. Reaching out and developing friendships is the ultimate way to follow up better.

Small businesses and direct sellers have the unique opportunity to interact with their contacts on a more personal level.  Getting there begins with the follow-up.  How do you follow up better?  Please share your ideas with us in the comments section below!

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!

Positive Self Talk Helps You Succeed

Positive Self Talk Helps You Succeed

Have you ever noticed how positive people are often more happy and successful? How do they do it?

Imagine a coin that helps you decide how you will perceive your world. One side represents negative self-talk and the other side represents positive self-talk. Most people go through their day flipping this coin and allowing the flip of the coin to dictate their self-talk. Successful people flip the same coin, but if they get the negative side they simply keep flipping it until they see the positive side.

The characteristics of positive self-talk are a can do attitude, attractiveness to others, the ability to see more possibilities and an empowering mind set. Here are some tips on how to get started.

  • Commit to listening to your positive self-talk. Many of the obstacles we face in life and limits we put on our abilities have been placed there by us.  Remember that flip of the coin; you have the choice between the two.  Which will you choose?  Self-talk is that internal GPS that will keep you on the right path and help you reach your destination.
  • Recognize and replace the negative. Catch yourself in the act of negative talk and replace it with a positive pep talk. Acknowledge that you can work through this, learn from it and ask yourself how you can make the most of it.
  • Practice makes perfect.  It might feel strange at first to feed your mind with confidence boosters and little cheerleaders.  Anything new feels strange at first, but the more you do it, the easier and habitual it will become.  Positive self-talk is especially useful when you have a lot riding on something, such as a big presentation or an important networking event, and this type of internal coaching will help minimize your nerves.
  • Create a mantra.  Mantras are meant to be repeated over and over to put one in a meditative state.  The purpose is to focus one’s mind and clear out anything else that might get in the way. Consider coming up with a mantra that can be your go-to phrase whenever you need an extra vote of confidence or when you catch yourself thinking negatively.  Read more about the use of mantras in business here.
  • Embrace your new power. Only you can control your self-talk; no one else can. There are and will continue to be people out there whose actions and words can make you second guess yourself. Don’t let them.  Remember, you can only modify your own behavior, not the behavior of others.

Understand that your experiences are represented by that coin and that you will always have two sides to choose from. You have the choice. You have the power. With this great new power comes happiness and success.

How have you used positive self-talk to succeed?  Please share your ideas below!

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!

How to Get Yourself Focused Every Day

How to Get Yourself Focused Every Day

If you’re someone who is easily distracted, you’re not alone.  Whether you work from home or commute to an office, most workplaces are breeding grounds for diversions.  The good news is that eliminating these distractions can be as simple as turning off your cell phone.  Read on for a step-by-step guide to focus yourself and become more productive, two essential characteristics of a successful entrepreneur.

  1. Organize your work space.  Nothing promotes efficiency like a neat, tidy, and organized office, cubicle, or desk.  Create an organizational system that is suited to your business and style, and make sure everything is put away at the end of your work day.  You will then be able to dive right in tomorrow without the added task of finding what you need in a pile of papers or mis-labeled files.
  2. Break down goals into smaller benchmarks.  Most of your goals involve multiple steps that need to be done over a longer period of time.  For example, re-designing your website can seem like such a monstrous task that we don’t know where to begin…so we never do.  When writing down your goals, break them down into smaller, manageable tasks that can be completed in a few hours.  You will be finishing them regularly and you will know that you are on the path to overall goal achievement, which can be an incredibly motivating factor.
  3. Prioritize.  There are so many possible tasks to be working on over the course of any given day, so by prioritizing them, you relieve the pressure of having to complete every single one.  Identify just a few important and/or time-sensitive tasks and forget the rest.  Once your work is completed, revisit the list and prioritize again for the next day.
  4. Say goodbye to distractions.  A ringing cell phone, the high-pitched text message alert, the ping of the email notification, your multiple social networking profiles, your instant message window…these are all  taking time away from your task at hand.  Yes, those things need to be attended to, but silence that phone or disable the internet connection while working on other things.  Schedule a specific time during your work day that is dedicated only to catching up on email correspondence, for example, or checking how many times your blog link was retweeted.  Knowing that this time is earmarked, you won’t stress out about how many messages you may be missing while you go about your day.
  5. Give yourself a break.  Our brains use lots of energy while we work, so it’s important to take even a quick break every 60-90 minutes of continuous work.  Have a healthy snack, get up and stretch your legs, or listen to your favorite song.  Anything that helps you recharge will be a valuable asset to your stamina, which is crucial to continuous productivity.

Getting productive and staying that way certainly takes a large amount of self-discipline.  You most likely already have that in you as a small business owner.  Embrace your strengths and use them to make the most of your precious time. How to you focus yourself every day?  Please share your suggestions in the comments below!

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!

Sell What Customers Need

Sell What Customers Need

You may have an outstanding product line. It has amazing features and benefits. You’re in love with it. But if a customer doesn’t understand how your product meets her needs and wants, then you won’t make any sales. It’s that simple.

So how do you make sure a customer understands how your product meets her needs? It’s all about focusing on a customers needs and wants.

  • Ask questions. Don’t begin any customer interaction with a sales pitch. A sales pitch is about you. But until a customer knows that you understand him, your sales pitch won’t resonate.
  • Match benefits to needs and wants. Once you understand what motivates someone, you are much more prepared to offer an effective sales presentation. Focus on the features and benefits of your product that match what the customer has told you about what he needs and wants, and your presentation will be a lot more successful. You can do this even in a party setting. Begin the presentation by asking questions of the guests…what they do, what their concerns are…and probe those areas that you know your product can help. Then, when you’re sharing products you can focus on those specific benefits of your product line.
  • Listen online. Social networks can provide a tremendous amount of information. Before meeting with a customer, check out her profile online on sites like Facebook. Zero in on what she talks about, what bothers her, what she loves. Include those elements in your face to face presentation and you’ll find you have better results.

Even though you may think it takes more time to learn about a customer before offering your products, you will find it actually saves you time, because you only need to highlight the features and benefits that meet the needs of that particular customer. So be sure to understand your product line intimately, so you’re prepared to offer those features and benefits that best meet a customer’s needs.

How do you find out what a customer needs? What questions do you ask? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

DSEF & Money Wise Women: Developing a Spending & Debt Reduction Plan

DSEF & Money Wise Women: Developing a Spending & Debt Reduction Plan

Today’s highlighted post from Money Wi$e Women Get Smart Teleseminar Series:

Developing a Spending & Debt Reduction Plan

Becky House is the Quality Assurance and Education Manager for North Seattle Community College Foundation dba American Financial Solutions. She has over fifteen years of experience in training and education development with non-profit organizations. Within the last ten years, Becky has specialized in developing and presenting financial education throughout the greater Puget Sound area. She presents classes for community resource agencies, for private employers at local colleges and universities such as the University ff Washington Law School and the University of Puget Sound. She currently serves as the vice chair of the Asset Building Coalition of Kitsap County and is the secretary for the Kitsap Housing Coalition. In June of this year she was honored by Governor Gregoire for her work on financial education.

DSEF proudly sponsors the free Money Wi$e Women Get Smart Teleseminar Series hosted by Marcia Brixey, Founder and President of Money Wise Women Educational Services and author ofThe Money Therapist: A Woman’s Guide to Creating a Healthy Financial Life. The series covers topics related to business and finances and provides women the opportunity to learn from professional experts in a safe, comfortable environment.

To find out about upcoming teleseminars, visit

How Are Those Goals Working For You?

How Are Those Goals Working For You?

Many of our goals are similar to those of our neighbors, friends and family. Most of us would like a nice house, a new car and more stuff. But are these things what dreams are made of? Are these our true goals? Or are we following what everyone else wants?

Sometimes it’s important to stop and ask yourself: How do I know what I really want? How do I find my OWN purpose and passion?

Here are some practical steps to help you get started:

  1. Don’t be afraid to dream. Give yourself a few hours today and daydream about what you want to accomplish. Visualize, imagine success, and write down those activities and/or achievements.
  2. Make a list of what makes you smile, delights you and gets your heart pumping.
  3. Review your list and pick one to focus on.
  4. Briefly, write down what it is and clearly describe how it looks, smells and tastes like. Use this process to turn your vision into words and bring it into your reality. Give it life.
  5. Now that you have a rough idea of what it is, do some more research. Answer who, what, when, where, why and how.
  6. As you continue to define and think about your new goal, start to get yourself excited and make it your own.
  7. Once you have a concrete goal, follow a plan to achieve it. Here’s a simple way to create a plan:

Accomplishing goals that really matter to you will not only bring you true success, but offer deeper personal satisfaction. Like with any journey, the beginning is filled with excitement, you’ll open greater opportunities along the way, and in the end you’ll create a lifetime of memories.

So, what’s your purpose and passion? How’s your journey going? We would love to hear about it. Please share your thoughts and insights in the comments below.

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!

The Power of a Plan and 30 Days

The Power of a Plan and 30 Days

There are shelves and shelves of books written to help people succeed. Countless speakers from every persuasion that will show you the “secret to success” and coaches will make sure you get there! Many of them are legitimate. But even with all the help, you will have to do the work yourself to make it happen.

So are you ready to get started? Here are some basic steps, without the bells and whistles, to reaching your goal, along with a plan to help you reach a goal in 30 days.

Step 1 – What do you want or don’t want? Answering this question establishes your goal, either to achieve something or to avoid something. Write it down!

Step 2 – Identify and write down the joy you will feel when you achieve what you want, and identify the pain of not achieving it. This is your why and purpose. Make your why statement part of your business mission.

Step 3 – Take a break and watch this video clip about the possibilities in 30 days!

Matt Cutts: Try something new for 30 days –

Step 4 – Start today. Break down your goal into 30 days. Write down at least one step necessary to achieving your goal every day. If your plan requires more than 30 days to accomplish it, then start with the first 30 days, and then keep going until you achieve your goal. Give yourself from 5am until midnight (or whatever your schedule is) to accomplish your task(s) every day. This is your plan.

Step 5 – Include time to savor your journey and think about your experiences.

This simple process will create change and help you build momentum! You can do it! Remind yourself why every day.

How do you create the discipline necessary to achieve your goals? What would you add to this list? We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!