[Event] Next Steps: Supporting Mothers in the Workplace

At eumom we’re first for moms and we’re always listening. That’s why we are hosting Next Steps to support mothers in the workplace in UCD on Saturday, October 10th. The event will take place from 9am to 1pm.

We have a super line-up of inspirational working moms who will discuss their work life balance including writer and model, Alison Canavan; journalist and author Emily Hourican; owner of organic baby food company, Organic Little One, Niamh O’Dwyer; lawyer & CEO of Swim Ireland, Sarah Keane; and politician and working mom Lucinda Creighton.

There will be a series of hands-on workshops from LinkedIn, Mumager and Interviewtutor.ie to provide guidance and support if you:

  • are returning to work from maternity leave or perhaps a longer career break
  • are looking to change career or upskill
  • would like to start your own business

Full details on: http://www.eumom.ie/next-steps-working-moms-event/

Tickets can be booked on Eventbrite at: http://www.eventbrite.ie/e/next-steps-an-event-for-working-moms-tickets-18474295114

Workshop A Choice (10.45- 11.30am)

Choose one of the following:

If you’re questioning whether your CV would pass the recruiter test, then don’t miss our comprehensive CV masterclass with top interview tips that will have you prepared and confident in making that crucial next step on the career ladder. Hosted by mom and founder of interviewtutor.ie, Orla Donagher, Orla facilitates workshops for Job seekers and also for Employers. She has contributed to articles in Stellar Magazine and has appeared as a career coach in the RTE 2 series “The Unemployables”

Want to start your own business but unsure of the first steps to take? This talk will explore everything from exploring an initial idea, taking action and following it through to completion. Hosted by mom, Pauline Sargent, Pauline been running Social Zavvy a digital communications business for the last five years. She also founded DigiWomen in 2012 for female makers and users of technology. DigiWomen was chosen for the IBM Global Entrepreneur Program this year. Her mission in life is to make it easier for more women to set up their own business.

We all have to have them – whether it’s a conversation with your boss about flexible working, or asking your partner to help you more at home. Discover how to deliver your message so that the other person listens – and feels compelled to change their behaviour or take action. The working mom experts, Mumager, show you how in this pro-active workshop.

Workshop B Choice (11.55- 12.40pm)

Choose one of the following:

Mom of two, Abi Williams of LinkedIn presents ‘Super charge your career using LinkedIn.’ This workshop will showcase the power of leveraging LinkedIn tools to suit your needs and advance your career to the next level. Whether you want to keep on top of topical work-related news and in touch with work colleagues while on leave, or optimise your professional brand image, Abi will show you how. Abi is a sales professional and business leader who is passionate about developing people and helping others achieve their full potential. She’s been at LinkedIn for over 2 years and fully believes in the LinkedIn vision of “Creating economic opportunity for everyone in the world.”

Wracked with guilt over being a working mum? Or feeling guilty because you don’t feel guilty? Find out how to get a grip on your guilt and feel more proactive. In this module you’ll explore practical things that you can do to take charge and reduce how guilty you’re feeling. Our talented Mumager experts will be your guide in this super-helpful workshop

Do you know what your entitlements are as a working parent? Would you like to have a more flexible work schedule or more understanding colleagues? In this module we’ll explain how to get what you want from your employer and colleagues.

Full details on: http://www.eumom.ie/next-steps-working-moms-event/

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Six Of The Most Unique And Effective Ways To Encourage Team Building In Your Business

Team building is the process of turning your team members into a cohesive unit capable of collaborating to achieve a shared goal and overcome difficult challenges. Encouraging team building thus becomes a critical goal for business owners and CEOs. Here are six unique and effective strategies for sparking that team building spirit.

Implement Regular Team Meetings

Make this a prerequisite at work, but make sure not to overdo it as staff members also need time off from their work environment. A weekly or biweekly meeting is common, but may be adjusted to fit the varying schedules of employees. During team meetings, make sure to foster an atmosphere that encourages open communication. You can serve as an example by listening to employee opinions and concerns.
Hold Social Gatherings

It doesn’t have to be a fancy field trip to a luxury resort or a party at a 5-star hotel’s rooftop. Once a week, you can order pizza or organize a potluck dinner. This is a great way for employees to decompress and at the same time get to know their coworkers better. This further promotes the feeling of openness within the workforce. Because they know each other better, employees won’t be afraid to throw in ideas and contribute to future projects.

Facilitate Exercises

Choosing the right team building exercise is just as important as enforcing it. A good example of an exercise that encourages team building is pairing your employees into groups and then letting them know eachother’s strengths and weaknesses. The activity should have a positive effect, whether it is to increase trust between coworkers or draw out the potential in each of them.

Sign Up For A Room Escape

Houdini’s Room Escape is a one-of-a-kind experience that can help develop a team’s ability to identify and solve challenges. Different escape rooms offer their own unique challenges, from decoding secret messages hidden in files to searching high and low for tools to unlock the next step. This is a fun way to get employees to build trust and learn to use eachother’s strengths.

Set a Time Limit For Team Projects

Having a time limit for making decisions encourages groups to work together to come up with the best possible outcome before the clock runs out. If you let them work on projects individually and without any time restrictions, they will likely turn to Google or some other online source for help.

Delegate Challenging Tasks

If you delegate easy tasks every time, your employees won’t have a reason to collaborate with coworkers for advice and feedback. Giving them challenges outside of their comfort zone also encourages them to take alternate roles and hone the areas where they are weak.

Use these six unique yet effective approaches for encouraging team building within the organization. Not only does this benefit each employee’s growth but also your entire brand as well.

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Complacency – The Death Knell of Small Business

Let’s look at how complacency effects business.

1. True Customer Engagement
What do I mean by true customer engagement? I mean not just firing information and content to a regular list of current and potential customers, but more importantly, it means listening to what they have to say. It means a consistent engagement, across your customer journey timeline.

There are many tools available to allow you to listen to your customers and your competitors customers online; – Talk Walker, Google alerts, trip advisor, Facebook, Twitter, etc. But one of the most successful is one of the oldest – sitting down with your existing clients and asking for their opinion. This request needs to be authentic, genuine and heartfelt. Be prepared for and to act upon uncomfortable feedback. MAKE SURE YOU THANK THEM FOR THEIR FEEDBACK.

2. Innovate
It is possible for every product or service to be innovated, switched up or turned on its head. Combinations with other providers to create collaborative ventures can initiate something that is unique and a major differentiator from the market.

Use your consumer feedback, market research and have regular innovation meetings with staff and maybe even include your customers, with the sole objective of making your proposition better.

3. Keep Your Focus
Never lose sight of what solution your customers are purchasing from you, rather than what you think you’re selling.

Convenience, quality and speed may be some of those reasons. The why someone does something is more important than the how. If you take time to understand your clients or prospects “why”, it will be the key to unlocking your success and avoiding complacency.

4. Value your customers
Everyone wants to feel important and that the business they bring to you is valued by you.

Recognition can come in the form of loyalty vouchers and discount but one of the simplest and most effective methods is to tell them in a genuine manner. Where achievable, not by email or telephone call, a handwritten note/letter, lunch, coffee or in way that is personal to them, e.g. tickets to that show they wanted to see will have a long lasting impact.

5. Consistency
Deliver a uniform customer experience across all aspects of your business.
I know this may sound strange, especially in line with my comments on innovation. But once a client has gotten to know you, they almost certainly want to know that they can count upon you and that you are reliable. The smallest of hiccups can have the largest of impacts.

If you endeavour to make these elements a part of your customer experience design process, you will almost certainly keep ahead of the competition and provide solutions for your clients that will ensure their long-term loyalty.

As always I appreciate your comments, your feedback and the sharing of any of my blogs.

The Business Therapist – making your business better.

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Accelerate your business

Do you want to grow and scale your business? Do you have an idea you want to make a reality?


Entrepreneurial Spark and Ulster Bank would like to invite you to our Accelerate Your Business event to showcase start-up and entrepreneurialism in Northern Ireland and to give you the details of the Belfast Hatchery.

Commitment to support the country’s entrepreneurs and pro-actively help them grow and develop

RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank recently announced a commitment to support the country’s entrepreneurs and pro-actively help them grow and develop. A key part of this announcement was a pledge to set up a network of business accelerator hubs in partnership with Entrepreneurial Spark, the world’s largest free business accelerator – located in cities across the UK known for their entrepreneurial dynamism, including Belfast.

Jim Duffy

Hearing from Entrepreneurial Spark’s CEO (Chief Executive Optimist) Jim Duffy, the session, specifically designed for Northern Irish start-ups and entrepreneurs, will:

  • Explore what it takes to make your business successful
  • Look at typical pain points and challenges for start-ups and entrepreneurs
  • Explain how Entrepreneurial Spark works and how it supports businesses
  • Hear from Dane Ralston, CEO Losstek, on his entrepreneurial journey


Working on mind-sets and behaviours, with a focus on an action orientated #GoDo mentality, Entrepreneurial Spark has an enviable record in making start-ups a success with 82% of the businesses they work with still trading a year later, compared to the usual 40% rate. Since 2012 they have supported 350 businesses with a combined turnover of £41m – creating over 1,000 jobs.

Looking for 80 companies

The unique accelerator and partnership with Entrepreneurial Spark will provide office space, mentoring and access to fundamental startup support in bank premises. We’re looking for up to 80 companies or budding entrepreneurs to join this 6-18 month programme of hands-on coaching and mentoring, an initial #GoDoBootcamp and regular workshop events. Thanks to Ulster Bank this support is completely free of charge to entrepreneurs, regardless of whether they bank with Ulster Bank or not – and taking no equity.

When? Thursday 8th October 9am 9.30am – 11am

Where? Lombard House, Floor 6, 10-20 Lombard Street, Belfast, BT1 1RD

Who? This is for all aspiring entrepreneurs – from idea stage to operational. Anyone who wants to make their business dream a reality and for those stakeholders interested in hearing more.


9:00am Event kicks off with Breakfast

9:30am Showcase from Entrepreneurial Spark – What is it? How can businesses apply? Why Belfast?

9.45am Dane Ralston, CEO Losstek and Entrepreneurial Spark Alumni

9:55am Panel Q&A

10:10am Pitching Competition

10:30pm Close and networking

Numbers are limited and are expected to be snapped up quickly – register now to Accelerate Your Business with Entrepreneurial Spark. #GoDoBelfast

You can find out more and apply now for the February intake by visiting www.entrepreneurial-spark.com

Book your ticket here 

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Word of Mouth on Steroids, an Opportunity

Tomorrow morning one of our Bookbuzz clients, Graham Fagan of BT, will review “Chief Customer Officer 2.0: How to Build Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine” by Jeanne Bliss on Newstalk.

This is what we made of the book

The landscape of customer service has fundamentally shifted. 80% of all buying decisions are now researched online, with customer reviews as the main source. It is truly word of mouth on steroids.

Other authors

One of our favourite authors, Brian Solis has written about this extensively in “WTF” and “The end of business as usual” .  So has Guy Vaynerchuk in “The thank you economy”.

Social customer service

Our favourite book on CRM is “Social Customer Service

Jeanne Bliss

And now there is “Chief Customer Service 2.0” by Jeanne Bliss. Jeanne Bliss is the Founder and President of CustomerBliss, and the Co-Founder of The Customer Experience Professionals Association.

She is one of the foremost experts on customer-centric leadership and the role of the Chief Customer Officer. A consultant and thought leader, Jeanne Bliss guides C-Suite and Chief Customer Officer clients around the world toward earning the right to business growth and prosperity, by improving customers’ lives.

Jeanne Bliss pioneered the role of the Chief Customer Officer, holding the first ever CCO role at Lands’ End, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker and Allstate Corporations.

She takes a corporate perspective to the issue of particular large corporations becoming truly customer centric, instead of just playing lip service.

Five core competencies

She has identified 5 core competencies

  1. Treat customers as the most precious asset
  2. Focus on providing an experience that is most desirable to the customer
  3. Listen to customers to learn how to improve that experience
  4. Make customer experience development as important as product development
  5. Sustain proactive customer leadership at all levels and in all areas

When these five competencies are embedded into the organisation with leadership behaviour, they are so clear that they become the work of the organisation.

Stating the obvious

In her view a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) is successful when he or she can simplify how the organisation works together, to achieve customer-driven growth, engage the leadership team, and connect the work to a return on investment, grounded in caring about customers. To me that sounds like stating the obvious

Not obvious for the big boys

However in large corporations it is not that obvious and she gives the full road map to what she calls a customer driven growth engine where you do achieve the word of mouth on steroids.

Large companies are defined by project plan movement rather than customer life improvement. CEOs and boards want to be customer focused, but without an explicit connection to growth. Many consider the work to be:

  • A leap of faith
  • Expensive.
  • Deterrents to the “real” work.

Understanding the real numbers

They do not know how many new customers did you bring in this quarter, by volume and value (power of your acquisition engine); how many customers were lost this quarter, by volume and value (power of the experience and value perceived); how many increased their purchases; and how many reduced their level of engagement with you?

The key here is to express these outcomes in whole numbers, not retention rates, so the full impact is understood—these numbers represent the lives of customers joining or leaving your company.


They do not know  “WHY?”  Why did customers stay or leave, buy more or less, or actively use your productsRead more at location 452

The customer journey

To be customer centric you nee to understand the entire customer journey, Which is why you need a customer journey framework that will provide a disciplined one-company diagnosis into the reasons behind customer asset growth or loss.

The story of the client

You need to be able tell the story of your customers’ experience based on feedback volunteered from customers as they interact with you, survey and social feedback, ethnography, and other sources of gathered input are assembled into one complete picture, presenting customer perception and value, stage by stage. Using as many sources you can, including social media. Creating a customer’s listening path, mapping all the touch points. Ultimately the job of a CCO is to be the company storyteller of your customers’ live. And the trick is to make it human.


And belief it or not, it is very difficult to get that implemented. Silos, wrong metrics, wrong emphasis, wrong culture, wrong leadership.

Silos is a big thing

For example, billing is a challenging customer experience not just because of what the billing department does. Communications, sales, marketing, operations, IT, and billing all play a role in what the customer ultimately experiences. Customers experience a company across the operation, not down the silos.

Did we earn the right to customer growth?

What would change in your company if every executive meeting started with “Did we earn the right to customer growth?”  Embracing customers as assets shifts the attitude of leaders and ultimately the organisation, because the purpose is to earn the right to growth by improving the lives of customers. When you improve their lives, the high scores will follow.

It starts with the metrics (and assets)

  • Customer Asset Metric 1: New Customers—Volume and Value
  • Customer Asset Metric 2: Lost Customers—Volume and Value and Reasons WhyAdd a note
  • Customer Asset Metric 3: Do the Math—Net Growth or Loss of Your Customer
  • Customer Asset Metric 4: A Simple Set of Customer Behaviours Indicating Growth or Loss of Relationship

Customer asset metrics are needed to engage executive leadership in a customer-centric transformation. They become engaged in the conversation because of the simplicity of the metrics and their connection to earning the right to growth.

The map

Leaders who use the journey map to diagnose the experience and its impact on the growth or shrinkage of the customer asset are most successful. Ultimately your customer journey map becomes your business decision blueprint. And again stating the obvious, for this work to be successful, it must connect to leadership language and accountability and communication. Clarity of purpose is helpful too (duh!).

For example, billing is a challenging customer experience not just because of what the billing department does. Communications, sales, marketing, operations, IT, and billing all play a role in what the customer ultimately experiences. Customers experience a company across the operation, not down the silos.

And here is the kicker

It is about social media and experience reliability. You create  customer growth when you deliver a reliable experience and you will start earning the right to your customers’ story through word of mouth. There is a 300 percent revenue gain to be had by focusing on reliability versus the wow moments.

The moment of clarity

Chief Customer Officer 2.0 reminds me of “The moment of clarity”. Give me that book any time over this one. In my view the book is full of repetition (repeating the 5 principles over and over again), stating the obvious. Hated it.

Other reviews

I am obviously wrong as the book has gotten fantastic reviews. I guess, that if you are inside these large organisations, a road map like Jeanne Bliss gives in this book, is very useful. As an entrepreneur this screams opportunity, as I am presuming that you are much closer to your customers, that you do use the right metrics, have the map and that your culture is truly customer centric. If not, you need to read this book.


Unless Graham comes up with some compelling arguments, this is not a book we will be featuring at our Bookbuzz MBA in day. The other books mentioned will be. You can still book your place.

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How To Turn Your Confidence ON!

One of the most fascinating aspects of mindset is that it encapsulates many components, and that each of these can be taught and learned. That’s one of the things that attracted me to this field because you can learn and master any of these components to impact your life, career, and business.

Let’s look at one of these integral mindset components: confidence. Your confidence (or lack thereof) has a direct impact on your success, and I will share some of my favourite strategies for you to boost it, so that you can maximise your success.

This is a component very close to my heart, and as I write I’m drawn to my old self, a few years back… I want to share to remind you of what is possible: back then, if you had told me I would become the person I am today, there is no way I’d have believed you! At that time to say I was not confident was an understatement! My lack of confidence directly impacted all areas of my life, and people around me often said “Ah, she won’t do much in life.”.

Then, I discovered you could learn confidence. And I realised that confidence is not something you are born with or without; it is something that you can acquire at any point in time. You see, confidence is a state of mind and one that you can consciously step in to every single day. Confident people are not born with confidence; they don’t just have it: they have it because they apply confidence strategies, and as a result, are described as confident.

Confidence is not something you are born with or without; YOU can learn & acquire it at any point in time.When talking about mindset and its various components, I often refer to a switch button, one of those you can turn ON and off. Well, this is it: here are ways to turn your confidence ON. These strategies are sorted into 3 sections as I believe that you are confident when you think confidently, feel confidently, and act confidently.

Think Confident

  • Have a robust plan of actions: people lacking confidence are uncertain about their plans, so confidently map out your steps, goals, and milestones to where you want to go,
  • Control your inner voice: people lacking confidence tend to listen AND believe their negative internal dialogue, so confidently control your thoughts by ignoring the negative, and embracing the positive,
  • Remind yourself of your greatness: people lacking confidence tend to dismiss their past achievements and disregard their current progress and successes, so confidently list these.

Feel Confident

  • Watch out for your physiology: people lacking confidence tend to slouch, look down, and cross their arms, so confidently stand up, look up and open up your chest,
  • Take care of your image: people lacking confidence tend to hide behind colourless clothes, so confidently pick outfits that make you feel ‘like a million dollar’,
  • Be proud of your body: people lacking confidence tend to dislike their body, so confidently love your body, whatever body shape it is; what matters is that you love it (and if you don’t, do address your vitality and fitness goals).

Act Confident

  • Pay attention to your walk: people lacking confidence tend to walk at a slower pace, so confidently walk like you are walking with a purpose,
  • Concentrate on your breathing: people lacking confidence tend to breathe erratically and at a much faster pace, so confidently breathe at a normal pace, grounding yourself,
  • Focus on your speech rate and tone of voice: people lacking confidence tend to talk quietly and fast, so confidently speak up at a slightly slower speech rate while easily articulating your message.

Apply these confidence strategies over and over again; they will soon become habits, and you’ll naturally step in that confident state of mind. I’d even (strongly!) suggest you create your very own confidence routine, and work on it daily.

Do not let a lack of confidence hold you back. You can do anything. Decide today that you can think, feel and act confidently, and go for it. Only you know how much you are going to achieve when you think, feel and act confidently!

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you! Which one(s) of these confidence boosters will you apply from today onwards?

Please leave a comment and join the below conversation!

Until next time ;-)

To your Mountain Moving Mindset,
Frederique Murphy

If you liked this article, I invite you to join my inspiring (and free!) online M3 Power Community and start climbing your own mountains as you receive a wealth of mindset resources!

Specialising in Inspirational Leadership, Frederique Murphy is a mindset strategist who inspires leaders to believe and accomplish the extraordinary. With her Mountain Moving Mindset (M3) platform, she equips you with scientifically-based strategies to take your life, career and business to a whole new level.

She has over 15 years of experience in corporate change for large multinational organisations. She has a proven track record in business transformation, including as a dynamic communications leader migrating businesses all over the world to create a $4 billion trading company. As a consultant on organisational design, culture development and stakeholder management, she knows how to instil change. Frederique earned a bachelor’s degree in communications with a major in social psychology; she is a master practitioner of neurolinguistics, hypnosis and quantum linguistics with expertise in positive psychology, neuroscience, and behaviour change.

With strong business acumen and strategic vision, she makes change happen. The secret weapon in her arsenal is her ever-growing mindset expertise. If you are one of her 150,000+ M3 Power Community members, you know that she is constantly sharing her mind and brain expertise, whether it’s writing for publications like The Small Business Owner Magazine, being interviewed on radio shows around the world, providing advice as a SAGE Business Expert, training up-close and personal, adding another resource or article to her trove of treasures, connecting with her remarkable community, or as a speaker delivering her most popular keynote ‘Lead Beyond the Edge’ across the globe.

Frederique is a passionate and charismatic speaker, who captivates audiences – when she takes to the stage, sparks fly! With her ‘practical magic’ she excites audiences and awakens the neural paths in their brains so they suddenly see that the extraordinary CAN happen. With Frederique as the guide, you embark upon your M3 journey where beliefs, attitudes and behaviours will be instilled to create lasting change.

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What All Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Working from Home

As a budding entrepreneur, working from home might feel like a dream come true. You won’t have to worry about long commutes, and you can even save on daycare expenses, right? But it may not be so simple. Take a look at this list of considerations all work-from-home entrepreneurs need to think about before taking the plunge.


When you are home, you can be distracted by events that would normally not happen in an office setting. For example, if your dog barks at the mailman, the laundry goes off every hour, or if your neighbor calls to ask you to watch her child after school, your attention is being pulled away from your work. This can lead to a lot of wasted time over the course of a workday.

To work at home effectively, you need to set boundaries. Set up a home office for yourself and set firm, but not rigid, work hours. One boon of working at home is flexibility, but you need to be careful that your time is not too flexible. If you make that mistake, you may find yourself falling behind and working into the night.


One particular distraction has to do with the youngest members of your household. If you currently have childcare for your little ones, don’t be so quick to end your arrangement. Small children require a lot of your attention, and if you plan to work from home, you need it focused on work during your set hours. You can try to get everything done while they are in school, but you may need an extra two or three hours in the afternoon after they get home.

If you want to take your kids out of daycare, consider hiring a nanny to care for them at home while you work. Another option is to work a shift opposite of your partner’s. Make sure they are able to handle all childcare while you are working.

You Will Need Your Own Equipment

When you work in an office, you normally get to use your employer’s computer, printer, paper, copy machine, and other office equipment and supplies. This is not the case when you work from home. Be sure to build room in your budget for things like printer ink, postage, and file folders. Save on office supplies by finding online deals and discounts on everything from 4inkjets promo codes to in-store coupons for pens and staplers.


The bad news about being self-employed, is you are now responsible for an additional self-employment tax. The good news is, you can take deductions for your business as allowed by the law. Count on hiring an accountant to walk you through the process of determining which deductions you can legally take, and be prepared to pay taxes quarterly. Having an organized system is the key to keeping your at-home business on track.

Becoming a work-at-home entrepreneur can be rewarding in many ways. Just be sure you plan ahead and understand what will and will not change about your situation. With foresight and a can-do attitude, you should be able to clear the hurdles that go along with starting a new business out of your home.

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How to Create an Inventive Marketing Strategy on a Budget

We’ve all been faced with a situation in life when we haven’t necessarily got the funds to simply buy what we want or need. Being canny with a budget and creative in our approach is an important part of life. Having these skills in the business world is an essential requirement.

When it comes to marketing it can be daunting to deliver a strategy on a modest budget. Traditionally making a big noise required the budget to back it up. Large print ads, TV commercials, celebrity endorsements, radio jingles, billboards – all tools in the armoury of marketing departments and all relatively expensive.

Yet the modern world – and the technology that the world is obsessed with – plays into the hands of those looking to be canny and creative. There are essentially three things you must do to create an inventive strategy when on a budget: plan properly, embrace new technology, and share your wisdom.


If money is tight then you need to get it right. You need to be specific and you need to plan everything properly. How much money do you have exactly? What does your strategy have to achieve? Who does it need to reach? Ask yourself important questions and ask important questions of your target market so that you are clear before you begin.

Often by focusing solely on the essential goals you can deliver a focussed campaign that is successful. By setting out a good, well-researched plan you can track performance and monitor costs at all stages.

You also need to plan in advance. Rushed, last minute campaigns are likely to attract greater cost.

Digital can disrupt

One of the very best things about the technological advancements of recent years when it comes to marketing is that they have greatly reduced the cost of getting your message across.

Expensive print runs for big batches of flyers can be replaced, for example, by sending out a large batch of SMS messages. It’s quicker too. If sending too many SMS sounds like it’s going to be painful for your thumbs don’t worry. Technology exists to send hundreds or thousands of messages in seconds. People much prefer a text, too, to a leaflet pushed through their door.

Videos no longer need to be made for television or cinema screens – YouTube and social media have reduced the barriers to getting these to your customers.

You should harness social media well. This is your chance to show a human face for your brand and create content that can be shared by your customers who, in this scenario, act as ambassadors for you. It’s powerful, effective and does not come with a big cost.

In general you should think about how digital technology can deliver some of the traditional marketing methods at a fraction of the cost. Stage a virtual trade show, for example, use eye-catching poster images on Facebook instead of billboards and pay for web banners instead of print ads.

Share wisdom

Don’t confine yourself to the short term. One way to boost your marketing efforts is through content. Set yourself up as a thought leader through sound, well-written blog posts on your own website and offer your services as a guest writer for good, relevant industry websites.

In the long-term being a thought leader will establish your brand as something to be respected and will help you to have greater authority when marketing new products, services and practices. If you have a flair for writing and interesting thoughts to share, this can be a lucrative long-term way of extending your marketing efforts in a cost-effective way.

Plan properly, embrace digital and use content smartly and you’ll deliver a winning creative strategy at a cut price.

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Improving Efficiency Through Business Processes

Invoices, receipts, and business communication are one of the most voluminous bodies of writing going back all the way to the civilizations of Sumer and Egypt. And while there are also many different business methodologies tried out over the past 4000 years, it still surprises people that it has only been in the last 20 years or so that the technological business infrastructure necessary to directly improve results through BPM has been in place. In this post we look at improving efficiency through business processes…

The internet browser changed the business world

Of course even 20 years ago, projects and products were being created and completed by companies that were utilizing software as a tool to enhance their results and increase efficiencies. But due to technology limitations, it wasn’t either as easy or as apparent how to leverage technology to collaborate better.

Into that world stepped Netscape, a company that created an internet browser and had a secret goal of turning the world into a place where all business tasks were accomplished through the browser. Netscape was not completely successful during its lifespan as a company- yet today, their distributed computing model is what the majority of companies use, making geographical barriers obsolete.

Adding more intensity to your work day

With the technology barriers dropping, integrating BPM into the lives of all workers became a matter of porting philosophies and process methodologies into software that could utilize the internet or intranet and several companies sprung up that did this well. Not only did BPM models get integrated into project management software, business tools that were designed to manage everything from assets to software development began incorporating traditional business process management steps and procedures into their software packages so that greater efficiency at work could be part of their sales pitch.

For workers, greater organization and greater flexibility in communications meant that greater benchmarking could be done- making them more efficient over time because what they were capable of on a regular basis became much more of a known quantity. At the same time, benchmarking allowed management to add intensity to employee schedules for the same reason: what was being accomplished and what was possible were now much more transparent.

It’s a Matrix!

After the popular film series the Matrix was released, even Americans that didn’t go to business school began to appreciate what matrix management was all about. Still, the one person, many masters approach can be both complex to understand and murky to accurately get ROI from. The great debate, therefore, at the beginning of the 21st century was whether multi-tasking were to be cultivated as desirable or not. Experiments were run to determine what the limits of an acceptable work day was for many workers and the data that was collected found its way into new benchmarks that more accurately assessed what was possible.

While this was going on in parts of America, more true business process change started to take place when General Electric started to share their Six Sigma quality program with the rest of the business world. Six Sigma rapidly became one of the driving forces in the technology industry and gained a toehold in many other industries.

Am I therefore more efficient?

Even the scientific management people 100 years ago knew that by providing mechanisms that give attention to people doing their job, they could positively impact performance. So when it comes to understanding whether the plethora of systems like Six Sigma or Lean are actually helping to drive efficiency gains, company results that are not subject to bias due to the additional attention effect- are hard to come by.

Theoretically, workers are more efficient. More gets accomplished during the day than ever before. But are technology gains masking true worker efficiency gains? One study by Imaginot LLC found that workers at a very large company that had their ROI measured to determine the efficiency of a new system were very efficient at performing the tasks that were measured. The problem, if there was one was that when the workers, who were largely autonomous, were measured against a benchmarked utilization number, their efficiency dropped precipitously- making the the management challenge one of providing a system that not only measures and rewards workers for task efficiency, but also for utilization efficiency.

Overall, BPM theory and practices have advanced quite a bit over the past couple of decades. They certainly have become much more integrated into the toolset of managers, which has been a positive for the firms that they work for.

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Website Builders Empower Small Businesses

Small businesses benefit dramatically from a solid web presence and the rise of Etsyin recent years is just one indicator of how the Internet can boost their sales. But for many small business owners, creating a customized website seems daunting. The process can be costly and lengthy and many business owners don’t know where to begin.

DIY Website Builders Mean Any Small Business Can Have a Website

The recent boom of many do-it-yourself website buildershas helped to empower small businesses by reducing the barriers to entry into the digital market. To build a professional, well-designed website today requires tens of dollars rather than thousands, or sometimes nothing at all.

Building a website doesn’t have to be complicated. Most small businesses don’t need websites with an encyclopedia of bells and whistles; they need nothing more than a simple “business card” website which includes important details such as services, contact information and social media links. But even for those small businesses with extensive product lists and dozens of options, many popular website builders can provide them with just what they need. In fact,today’s website builders offer such a range of functionalities and design options that for most small businesses they are a better choice than hiring a dedicated developer.

Choosing the Best Website Builder for Your Business

There are many options on the market today. From the website builder by Wix, a platform now boasting more than 70 million users, to Weebly, Squarespace, Jimdo and dozens more who are all vying for market share.Each one has its pros and cons, but at the end of the day most charge a nominal fee for a website (from being absolutely free to $300 a month) and allow users to drag-and-drop page elements where they want them without needing to know code. Building a website is as easy as playing a game on your smart phone, so small business owners can go from no website to a live version in just a few hours.

Add Endless Functionalities to Your New Website

Whether a small business needs impressive eCommerce features which can track the inventory of a brick-and-mortar store, email newsletters, secure check out, or the ability to advertise specials in social media, website builders have really begun to push the envelope in terms of offering great tools which used to prohibitively expensive.

Here’s a breakdown of some of thesmall business tools website builders are providing… sometimes for free, thus saving businesses thousands of dollars in development costs.

  • Shopping Carts:It might seem strange to hear, but shopping carts are technically difficult to code and have many different variables where things can go wrong. But website builders provide easy-to-use shopping carts for their clients, often at no additional cost, or for just a small percentage of sales.
  • Secure Payment Gateways: Having a shopping cart is one thing, but accepting various forms of payment quite another. It used to be true that unless they were willing to shellout big bucks, small businesses with websites were limited to payment options like Paypal. But today businesses can choose from many payment options and website builders handle all the security issues for the small businesses.
  • Great Design: No one wants a template-looking websiteand several of the top website builders allow such a depth and ease of customizationthat almost no two websites will look similar. No matter how unskilled a user is, the final site can look terrific.
  • Business Emails:Setting up an business email account can be a costly headache even with the help of a developer, but website builders have taken the hassle out of the equation, and most offer an affordable business email solutionfor clients.
  • Reaching Clients: How can a business owner make sure that customers will see their new website? Today, many website builders offer great tools and information to help their users learn best practices in everything from PPC to SEO, banner advertisingand social media campaigns. Proud of your new website? The right website builder will help you promote it and bring in traffic!

Small businesses are often short on resources and also often face steep competition. It can be challenging for them to compete on the web for potential clients. Luckily, the do-it-yourself website builder platforms have helped to level the playing field, putting many of the same tools, tips, and tricks that larger companies use in the hands of start-ups, individuals and small businesses.

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