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We’ve all heard that time is money. However, since there is no way to create more time, we all need to learn how to make better use of the time we have. Here then are 7 secrets and tips that can help you stop wasting time, and begin doubling your efficiency.

 

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1) What gets measured gets managed. Until you track how productive you are, you’ll never know where your time is going. How much time is spent on projects? How much time is spent on emails? There are many excellent time and billing programs available that can help you  track your time.

2) Turn off your computer monitor when you’re not using it. Often just having it on can be enough of a distraction to play solitaire or check your Facebook updates.

3) Know yourself and your limits. If you push yourself too hard, for too long, your productivity will actually diminish. So take a break every 45 minutes or so and do a few stretches. Taking a few minutes to decompress will actually increase your productivity and you’ll feel better too.

4) Stop randomly checking email and social media sites. It’s far too easy to talk ourselves into believing that it only takes a few seconds here and there. The truth of the matter is that starting and stopping the flow of your day will drill holes in your efficiency, resulting in a massive draw on your time and continual damage to your focus. Schedule a few specific slots of time during the day to read and answer emails or check your Twitter and Facebook accounts.

5) Without a map, you’ll never arrive where you want go. Starting into your day intending to simply “wing-it” and you’ll actually wind up wandering aimlessly through your day, losing time. Set goals, make a schedule, and have a plan for your day the night before. The small amount of time that it takes to organize your day the evening before will be more than paid for in the time you’ll save. If you wait for the right “mood” to strike before tackling a project, you may be waiting a long time. Ray Bradbury once said, “You can’t try to do things, you must simply do them.” Harness the power of habit by designing an effective daily routine and schedule.

6) Limit interruptions. There seems to be no end to those who are more than happy to interrupt you, so don’t give them the chance. Identify the tasks in your day that require focused attention. Inform others that you’re off limits by hanging a sign or sending an email. And, silence your cell phone, that’s what voicemail is for.

7) Silent procrastination is a killer. Anybody can spot the obvious forms of procrastination, like playing solitaire or checking your Facebook or LinkedIn updates. What we’re talking about here is taking up time with “busy-work”, those basically non-essential tasks, and put off doing the higher priority projects on your list. Use a task reminder or alarm function on your phone or email. Enlist someone who can hold you responsible, someone you can check in with and help keep you on track.

By treating time as the valuable resource that it is, you can be more effective throughout your day, and you will also ensure that you achieve your goals. There may still only be 24 hours in every day, but keep in mind that it is possible to get more done and double your effectiveness!

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

8 Secrets to Being Awesome at Everything
The Power of Telling Stories and Anecdotes in Presentations
Increase Your Credibility by Increasing Your Visibility
Using Social Media to Position Yourself as The Go To Expert
How to Successfully Localize Your Business
How To Increase Your Google Search Results Using YouTube.

This article is provided here for your business education and inspiration by:

The Sherwood Group, located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, has over 30 years of experience working with the graphic design, website design, and marketing communication challenges presented by clients, small and large. Clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, through every business sector, from across the street to around the world.

We help our clients to double and triple their business. Contact us by phone at 661-287-0017 or through our website so that we can help you think through your objectives and propose the best solutions for your needs and your budget.

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

Professional links:
Google + | Video Introduction | Graphic and Web Design Site | Online Printing Site

Comments: Note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Please comment only if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

We’d like to know: Which of the tips described in this article did you find most helpful?

 

Most people are good at something. However, the truly exceptional people, the leaders and innovators, always seem to be successful at whatever they do. Here then, are the 10 secrets to being awesome at everything:

 

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Whether it’s in the areas of technology, finances, or relationships, some people seem to be able to make the most of whatever resources are available to them. The greatest thing about their achievements, is that they can be replicated. That said, here are the 10 secrets to being awesome at everything.

1. Focus on your strengths. Most of us tend to spend most of our time trying to shore up our weaknesses instead of focusing on our strengths and relying on others who are strong in our weak areas to help us balance our lives. According to Tim Rath in his book StrengthsFinder 2.0 you can expect these key takeaways from his book:

  • Your talents are enduring and unique.
  • Your greatest potential for growth is in the area of your greatest strength.
  • As an organization or as an individual you can reach your maximum potential only by using your individual strengths.
  • It’s easy to match your strengths to your roles at work, home and in the community.
  • You’ll always enjoy what you are doing when you use your true talents and strengths.

2. Do what inspires you. Mark Twain once said, “The key to success is to make your vocation your vacation.” When you’re engrossed in something, anything, that you’re passionate about, your excitement not only impels you on to further heights and successes, but also spreads to others. This attitude will also help you to endure when you meet with challenges.

3. People are your greatest asset. I once heard that we become the average of the 5 people we hang out with. By keeping company with many different types of people, especially those who are more successful that you, you increase your opportunities and expand your horizons. Whether through networking or simply providing you with opportunities to improve your communication, connecting with people is a resource you can’t afford to be without. Besides, what good is success at anything if you can’t share it with someone?

4. Don’t get bogged down in the details. You don’t have to be an expert at something to use it. For example, how many of us could easily describe the scientific principles and actions involved in electricity? Not likely too many of us. On the other hand, we’re all likely comfortable with flipping a light switch to turn on the light, aren’t we? Learn what you need to learn in order to accomplish your specific goal.

5. Patience may be a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing! We see it on t-shirts and company slogans everywhere. Never give up!  The story is told of how Tomas Edison tried about 2 thousand times before he successfully invented an effective incandescent bulb. However, with each failure, he claimed that he had successfully found another way that didn’t work. There are no failures, only learning opportunities. Keep adjusting your actions until you obtain the results you desire.

6. Focus your attention. Imagine a giant piece of chocolate cake sitting in front of you, simply begging to be eaten. That thick, sugary frosting is tempting you beyond what you can bear. Now imagine taking the time to eat the cake first, leaving the frosting for the last (I can hear the 10 year old within you gasping in disbelief!). This illustration translates into doing the hardest or most challenging part of your work first. In other words, avoiding procrastination, which has the power to stop any endeavor dead in its tracks.

7. Prioritize your “to do” list. If you are new to time management or have a system that has overwhelmed you, drop back to the basics and and follow this simple system given to steel magnate, Charles Schwab by business consultant, Ivy Lee. In his system, Lee gave Schwab a blank sheet of paper and told him to:

  • List the six most important things you have to do tomorrow.
  • Number them in order of importance from #1 to #6.
  • Tomorrow morning – start with #1 and stay with it until completed
  • Only when #1 is complete may you go to #2. Repeat this process until the end of day. If you don’t finish your list, the remaining items probably weren’t that important anyway – with this in mind, you’ll know when to say no to a new task or give it to someone else.

8. Copy from the best. If anybody has created the results that you desire, find out how they did it. Save yourself from having to re-invent the wheel, so to speak. How someone accomplishes a specific task is actually the result of a number of factors, so take all of them into consideration, such as their beliefs, values, and what they actually did physically. This will also save you time, which is the one thing that no one can create more of.

9. Maintain a positive attitude. As Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker and trainer, once said, “Your attitude determines your altitude.” There are no failures, only learning opportunities. If the results you achieve aren’t what you’re aiming for, remember that it’s just a another chance to get it right. Keep adjusting your actions until you get the results that you do want.

10. Stay flexible. In today’s world, when everything is in flux and change, flexibility has become both the means to survival, and the secret of success. So, repeat after me, “We are ALL so very flexible.” <g>

We all yearn to achieve great results in all areas of our lives, from personal relationships to leading the market in our businesses. By implementing these few simple strategies consistently, you too can realize the level of excellence you want. Indeed, you can be awesome at everything!

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

The Power of Telling Stories and Anecdotes in Presentations
Increase Your Credibility by Increasing Your Visibility
Using Social Media to Position Yourself as The Go To Expert
How to Successfully Localize Your Business
How To Increase Your Google Search Results Using YouTube.

This article is provided here for your business education and inspiration by:

The Sherwood Group, located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, has over 30 years of experience working with the graphic design, website design, and marketing communication challenges presented by clients, small and large. Clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, through every business sector, from across the street to around the world. It’s not the size or industry that defines our clients. It’s their mindset.

Contact us by phone at 661-287-0017 or through our website so that we can help you think through your objectives and propose the best solution for your needs and your budget.

 

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

Professional links:
Google + | Video Introduction | Graphic and Web Design Site | Online Printing Site

Comments: Note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Please comment only if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

We’d like to know: Which tips in this article did you find most helpful?

 

You’re at a business meeting, and the presentation is up to you. What kind of presentation are you going to give? A dry one that presents just the facts or one that’s alive with stories and anecdotes?

 

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Your choice, of course, depends on whether you want to inspire and engage your audience as you inform them, or whether you want to just give them the information and be done with it. If you want to give a presentation that will be remembered, it’s best to choose the stories and anecdotes to illustrate your points.

Why is that? Why do anecdotes and stories make a presentation easier to remember? According to Nick Morgan, a nationally-known communication theorist who blogs at Forbes Magazine, it’s because the brain processes stories completely differently than straightforward facts. Stories are processed in an area of the brain where one’s emotions and memory work together to preserve information. Straightforward facts, on the other hand, are stored in an area where emotional connections are not made and things are forgotten fairly easily. In other words, engage someone’s emotions and they’re more likely to remember what you tell them.

Okay. You’ve got a presentation, and you want it to be memorable so you’re going to tell a story. What now? According to Mr. Morgan, there are five kinds of stories you can choose from that will automatically forge a connection between you and your audience. Using one of them will almost guarantee success.

  1. The Quest – This is the story where something must be conquered. It’s not an easy process. Strength and determination are going to be stretched to the limit and beyond. It can encourage the audience to persevere and keep going, striving for the success that waits just down the road.
  2. The Stranger in a Strange Land – This story sees everything turned upside down and our hero learning how to cope with a new reality. It can encourage the audience to master new conditions and learn to thrive again, even though the world around them has been turned upside down.
  3. From Rags to Riches – This story is about the hero making something of himself. He starts from humble beginnings and is “king of the mountain” by the end. It can inspire the audience and give them hope that they too can be kings one day.
  4. The Love Story – This story is about falling in love, losing your way, then finding each other again. It can provide a good analogy to help your audience understand the ups and downs of a merger or partnership and help them adjust to the bumps that are sure to occur along the way.
  5. A Tale of Revenge – This story is about settling a score and making things right – getting justice for the wronged. It can provide a rallying point for the troops in the face of competition and keep them fighting till the bitter end.

So what kind of story should you choose for your presentation? That depends on what your goal is. If it’s simply to present the attributes of a product, something simple like a real-life example of it being just the right tool for a job might suffice. If it’s to provide motivation for a complicated situation, one of the above story types might be more appropriate. Whatever the situation, just remember your goal: To entertain, engage, inspire and inform your audience – in other words, to connect with them and engage their emotions. That’s when your information will be remembered.

If you enjoy this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Increase Your Credibility by Increasing Your Visibility
Using Social Media to Position Yourself as The Go To Expert
How to Successfully Localize Your Business
How To Increase Your Google Search Results Using YouTube.

This article is provided here for your business education and inspiration by:

The Sherwood Group, located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, has over 30 years of experience working with the graphic design, website design, and marketing communication challenges presented by clients, small and large. Clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, through every business sector, from across the street to around the world.

We help our clients to double and triple their business. Contact us by phone at 661-287-0017 or through our website so that we can help you think through your objectives and propose the best solutions for your needs and your budget.

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

Professional links:
Google + | Video Introduction | Graphic and Web Design Site | Online Printing Site

Comments: Note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Please comment only if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

We’d like to know: Which of the tips described in this article did you find most helpful?

 

It should go without saying that, if you’re a company competing in social media, offering your audience incentives is the way to go. However, it’s surprising that so few brands using social media actually take full advantage of a site’s features. Facebook Promotions, for example, offers a wide range of options one can use in order to bring in the business, but many companies simply overlook them.

 

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One of the best features of Facebook Promotions isn’t a single feature per se but rather the option to put a wide range of apps on your page. With the right third-party software and a little creativity, you can easily create an attractive, enticing promotion to increase your fan base and to boost your brand’s profile.

But there are some factors you should be aware of before creating a promotion. Unless your Internet marketing game is great all around, able to attract a large base, then even the best promotions aren’t going to have the effect you’re hoping for. It’s a numbers game in part that you should privy to.

Understanding the Numbers Game

The brands on Facebook that do the best with their promotions usually already have established fan bases and have an ample number of  followers. The more fans a brand has, the more likely it is that a great coupon from a promotion will be shared with members of their network. So to that end, the numbers do play a large role. However, even smaller brands can have ample success as long as they put the time and effort into actually getting things right.

A proper promotion is a process. You can’t simply throw an app together sloppily offering a few percentage points off and hope to attract business. And that’s not even dealing with the fact that Facebook has a lot of rules out there that need to be adhered to.

Running a winning promotion requires:

  1. Reading, understanding and following Facebook’s promotional guidelines
  2. Selecting the right third-party software to create the application
  3. Targeting customers through a promotion with the same detail they’re targeted for products; i.e. catering to a niche’s need with a solution
  4. Creating an offer that’s enticing enough to not only get those likely to be interested to click-through and participate in the promotion, but also making it enticing enough to share
  5. Keeping your promotions sporadic and exclusive in order to give a true “sale” feeling to your company
  6. Ensuring that the promotion you’re running is very representative of your brand

When it comes to promotions, you can select from simple discounts and coupons, prizes and sweepstakes, or you can even hold trivia contests, photo and video-based contests, and much more. It all depends on how creative you are.

You just cannot expect a promotion to be that miracle conversion-inducing step. You have to remain realistic; and realistically speaking, you should be able to see a spike in conversions if you’re offering an enticing promotion that meets the needs of your fan base. You should also see your numbers grow slowly as more people start to share your promotions with others. It will help build trust and engagement with your brand.

Why Brands Should Choose Facebook

So out of every social network you could choose from, why choose Facebook? Is it only because of the promotions you’ll be able to host from the site? Well, that’s certainly one of the reasons, but it’s far from the only reason to focus on this social networking giant.

You have to understand that Facebook is far and away the biggest and most popular social media site out there: a billion users, and they’re growing more every single day. The site also offers a mobile version of Facebook, which is great for your marketing efforts.

Facebook can act as the hub for all social media for your brand. By advertising on Facebook, you can post a wide range of promotional material, you can interweave your entire Internet presence, and compared to traditional advertising methods, social media marketing is a very low-cost way to get your message out there.

Even if you only wanted to use Facebook to hold promotions, it would still be worth it. But with so many great features on the site, you can build up a thorough following and leverage promotions in order to up your conversion rates significantly.

Author’s bio:

Eric Taylor works as a freelance writer and business developer for a Facebook ad tool – Qwaya. The company’s goal it to provide extensive information, tools and up-to-date news about social media marketing strategies, most specifically in Facebook. (BTW, The Sherwood Group posted this article because it offers good information and ideas for the business community, not because we were paid to include it. 😉

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

6 Ways To Assure That Your Website Is Getting New Business
How To Keep Your Website Customers Coming Back
Increase Your Credibility by Increasing Your Visibility
Using Social Media to Position Yourself as The Go To Expert

This article is provided here for your business education and inspiration by:

The Sherwood Group, located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, has over 30 years of experience working with the graphic design, website design, and marketing communication challenges presented by clients, small and large. Clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, through every business sector, from across the street to around the world. It’s not the size or industry that defines our clients. It’s their mindset and the value they place on great creativity.

Contact us by phone at 661-287-0017 or through our website. We can help you think through your objectives and propose the best solution for your needs and your budget.

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

Professional links:
Video Introduction
| Graphic and Web Design Site | Online Printing Site

Comments: Please note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Only comment if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

The number one reason for having a professional website is that it becomes an extension of your business, and will be getting new business for you 24/7, even while you sleep.

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Rather than opening up a second branch or store, a well-designed website will serve nicely as a second place of business, a storefront in cyber space.  There is no better way to access the vast numbers of people that visit the internet during a typical day looking for answers to their questions.

Your website also makes it easier for your customer’s to find you and your solutions to their problems.  The internet is probably the first step most of us will take in our search for a supplier or vendor.  Even in the middle of the night, when most office phones are silent, you can find the information you need and a way to follow-up during normal business hours.

These are six areas where you can focus your efforts to insure that your website is serving the needs of your customer or your business.

  1. Optimize, especially for mobile devices, will lead to a frustrated customer who will quickly move on to a site that looks good and functions smoothly on their mobile device.
  2. Building your own website may seem like a good way to save money but the potential for missed sales, if the customer feels “lost” visiting your website, is not worth the trade-off.
  3. Grabbing and holding their attention is the best way to gain an internet customer looking for information.  Enlist a few friends or colleagues to run a test when you are ready to take the website live and get some honest opinions.  Take that information to your website designer.
  4. Go find your customers because waiting for customers to come visit your website is time you could be spending using very specific methods that will work to increase conversation and drive traffic.
  5. Advertise on soc

If you want to keep your website customers coming back, they need to be entertained, engaged, inspired and informed. Here’s how:

 

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Whether you use search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising (PPC) or some visitor acquisition strategy, the reality is that getting new visitors to your site can be expensive.

You should of course have your site fully optimized to maximize the potential of any new visitors, but you should also have a strategy in place to encourage repeat visits. Rarely do e-commerce sales take place on a first visit; therefore it is not a bad idea to optimize for repeat visitors anyway.

So how do you keep potential customers coming back again and again?

Make Sure You Know Your Target Audience. Just as Google has shown us that relevance is what makes a site truly useful, relevance is also what generates conversions. To have relevance you must first know who your target audience is, what their problem is, and how your product or service can provide a solution. Relevance also requires focus.

Focus On Your Customer’s Problems. Assuming your site is already tightly focused to solve your customer’s problems, you can further endear them by implementing content based on the following tried and true concept: entertain, engage, inspire and inform your audience:

Entertain by providing thought provoking information in a light-hearted manner. Not all your content needs to revolve around your product or industry. Write about Zen or e-mail etiquette or any other useful topic which is relevant to your customers but is not product specific.

Engage a visitor with relevant information and fresh content on a regular basis. Date your content so that visitors can see a predictable flow of information. Provide solutions to relevant problems with a new twist or utilizing leading edge technology.

Inspire with real stories of success. Seeing how others succeed is uplifting, provides fresh ideas and makes everything seem possible. If you can manage to inspire someone, to make them feel upbeat after visiting your site, they will most likely keep coming back.

Inform (selflessly with useful information):

  1. Become an expert.
  2. Inform without a sales pitch.
  3. Develop trust.
  4. Provide free e-books or white papers.
  5. Make sure you are very accessible via e-mail, chat or a social site.
  6. A blog is a great way to inform and develop a community.

Visitors are always looking for sites which not only address their issues, but whose content is fresh and informative. Visitors who find more than two or three articles with relevant and useful information are very likely to bookmark your site and use it as a future source of information. Trust is an absolute prerequisite for any sort of conversion action; therefore any strategy which successfully develops it should be nurtured and encouraged.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Design Your Email Newsletters with Pizazz
Using Social Media to Position Yourself as The Go To Expert
How to Get More Business by Using a QR Code on Your Business Cards
How to Stay Out of Spam Filters AND Run a Successful Email Marketing Campaign
4 Time-Saving Ways to Generate More Online Sales via Email
The Secret Source of Never-Ending Customers and Clients
How to Successfully Localize Your Business
Use Google+ And Improve Your Search Engine Rankings

This article is provided here for your business education and inspiration by:

The Sherwood Group, located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, has over 30 years of experience working with the graphic design, website design, and marketing communication challenges presented by clients, small and large. Clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, through every business sector, from across the street to around the world. It’s not the size or industry that defines our clients. It’s their mindset.

Contact us by phone at 661-287-0017 or through our website so that we can help you think through your objectives and propose the best solution for your needs and your budget.

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

Professional links:
Video Introduction
| Graphic and Web Design Site | Online Printing Site

Comments: Please note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Only comment if you have something of value to share with our other readers.


© 2013 - The Sherwood Group
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