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5 Last Minute Holiday Preparations You Have to Do!

tips for entrepreneurs to tackle the holidaysThe holidays are upon us.  The question is, are you ready for them?  Most entrepreneurs spend mid-December just scrambling to get it all done.  Here’s a quick checklist to help you make sure that you’re well prepared:

Set your email and voice mail to ‘out of office’.

Let your customers know when and how they can reach you.

Pick up a few extra gifts for surprise visitors.

During the holiday season, you never know who might drop by.

Plan to take care of yourself.

Schedule a massage or a spa day with the girls.  Remember- it’s your holiday too!

Make a list of everything that HAS to be done before the holidays.

Limit the list to tasks that are absolutely necessary.

Grab a cup of eggnog.

Don’t let yourself miss out on the season, enjoy a break and make the most of it… work will always be there when you’re ready to get back to it…

Happy Holidays!

 

(Written by: Karen Bivand, photo courtesy of ‘stockimages’ via freedigitalphotos.net)

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5 Ways to Use Facebook Effectively

How Facebook can Increase Your Sales for EntrepreneursMany small businesses aren’t using Facebook effectively.  They sporadically update pages.

Schedule.

Use a scheduling tool to schedule your posts.  You might not have ten minutes every day.  You might not be able to be online at the key times.  Have a scheduled time when you are actually live to answer questions.  See what time of day your posts receive the most interactions and try to post at that time.

Relevant Posts.

Don’t over post.  Make posts unique to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Mix videos and interesting articles.  Not too much self-promotion.  Doesn’t have to relate to your business if it relates to your audience.  Content they will care about.  They find engaging and interesting.  Funny images, interesting content and facts will make them feel connected to you.

Engage.

Try to engage with your audience.  Ask them to post stuff on your wall.  It may not directly relate to your business but show that you’re aware of their interests and that you are trying to connect with them.  Let them give you feedback.  Ask them to weigh in.  When someone posts on your wall you want to get back to them quickly.  Maybe go mobile.

Use pics.

Photos drive engagement on Facebook.  Don’t need a fancy camera.  Find photos that will engage and that are funny or interesting.  Relevant images.

Evaluate.

Measure analytics and Google Analytics and Facebook analytics.  See what response you get and adjust accordingly.

 

 

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Performance Metrics: Useful Tool or Dirty Word?

What are you keeping track of to ensure that your company is reaching its potential?  Performance metrics can be a powerful tool to help guide your decision making within your organization.  If you’ve never even thought about performance metrics, then now is the perfect time to try it out.  Here are some tips to help you get started:

Figure Out What to Measure.

When you’re setting up performance metrics, the most important decision that you have to make is what to measure.  If you are measuring the wrong thing, your metrics will only serve as a distraction and could possibly point you in the wrong direction.  Focus on what is key to your organization’s success.  You want to make sure that your organization’s performance is aligned with its mission, vision and goals.  Most performance metrics focus on best practices, efficiency and critical processes.  These metrics are most effective and most useful when you are measuring specific and quantifiable outputs.

Find a Process that Works for Your Company.

When developing the process that you will use to measure your organization’s performance, you need to find one that meets your specific needs.  For an evaluation strategy to be successful, it must take your industry, your organizational culture and your company’s readiness for measuring performance into consideration.  If you try to do too much too quickly, your efforts will be doomed to fail.

Talk to Your Employees.

To get their buy-in, it’s important that you involve your employees in the decision-making process right from the beginning.  Have a meeting with them and ask what they think should be measured.  When you come up with a process, ask them for their feedback.  Make sure that your employees understand that it is the processes, not their performance, that you are evaluating.

Revise and Refine.

After you get feedback from your employees, re-examine your evaluation process to determine whether or not any changes need to be made.  Are your performance metrics meeting your needs?  Is the data accurate?  Are you measuring the right things?  Remember that the way you measure your performance needs to evolve in order to keep up with your organization’s growth.

Since you’ve invested so much of your time, effort and money into your business, you want to make sure that you’re achieving your desired results.  By measuring certain aspects of your organization’s performance you can allocate your resources in a way that will allow you to meet your goals.

 

(Written by: Karen Bivand, image courtesy of ‘2nix’ via freedigitalphotos.net)

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Five Gift Ideas for Your Clients

With Christmas around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about gifts for your key clients.  Whether you go for a classic or something more unique will depend on both your client and on your relationship.  Here are five gift ideas that’ll show your clients how much you appreciate their business:

Wine

It’s a classic because people love it.  Don’t get too fancy, just find something that most people will enjoy.

Tea or Coffee

You could either pick up a gift card to a favourite coffee shop or a basket filled with goodies.  Pair it with a mug and it’s sure to be a hit! Continue reading Five Gift Ideas for Your Clients

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5 Ways to Conquer Insomnia

Sleeping-Business-Woman-198x300You’re done for the day and the kids are asleep.  You head hits the pillow and…nothing.  An hour passes and you are still up tossing and turning.  It is the absolute WORST!  Here are some tips that will help you relax and get to sleep faster:

Decrease your caffeine intake.

If you have a coffee after 3pm, you might regret it later.

Reduce your stress.

Stress is one of the biggest enemies of healthy sleep.  Make decisions that will lighten your load and give be sure to give yourself some down time each day.

Control your thoughts.

Left to their own devices, your thoughts can resemble a runaway train.  Refuse to get carried away with it.  If your thoughts are spiraling off into a negative direction, bring yourself back to a more positive and relaxing place.

Stick to a schedule.

Our bodies work best when we keep a consistent schedule.  If you go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, your body will anticipate and crave the sleep.

Let it go.

When you’re having trouble getting to sleep, the worst thing you can do is stress about it.  Don’t count the hours that you have left until you have to go to work.  Just take the extra time to watch trashy television and catch up on some light reading.

If it’s 3:30am and you’re still wide awake, you know that tomorrow is going to be rough, but if you start to practice good sleep habits on a daily basis, you won’t have to endure the sleepless nights for long.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

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A Positive Attitude Can Make All the Difference

happy business woman attitude is important for mompreneursWe all face challenges in our lives, but the way that you interpret these challenges is what makes the difference between someone who is able to overcome them and someone who is crushed by them.  A positive outlook has the power to boost you up when you are down and to give you an extra boost when things are going your way.  It’s also important to note that optimists have a much better quality of life.  Even though the optimist and pessimist are headed to the same place, only the optimist enjoys the ride!  Here are some strategies that will help you hang on to your positive attitude even when things get tough:

Choose your lens.

How do you perceive the problems that you face?  Are they learning experiences or total disasters?  It is in your power to interpret these events.  Take control of your attitude and come up with concrete strategies to face your challenges.  Your outlook doesn’t emerge from your circumstances; it is a choice.

You are in control.

If something in your life isn’t working for you, then change it.  Don’t allow things to drag on.  Instead of worrying or complaining about your problems, take action and fix them.

Don’t let your thoughts take hold of you.

Think of your thoughts as a butterfly flitting from one flower to the next.  They can fly past you so quickly that you barely even see them, or they can perch on your shoulder and stay for a while.  Be selective of the thoughts that you decide to engage with.  If a particular thought pattern isn’t doing you any good, then just let it pass.  Resist the urge to grasp on to thoughts that are just going to sap your time and energy and bring you down.

Surround yourself with positivity.

Have you ever heard the expression ‘garbage in-garbage out’?  It holds true when you’re talking about positivity.  Pay attention to the shows you watch, the books you read and the people you spend time with.  If it’s all negative, there’s a good chance that it’s dragging you down.  Read inspirational material and biographies of people who are living their dreams.  Limit your exposure to negative media and stay away from whiners and complainers; they feel lousy themselves and don’t want anyone else to be happy.

Practice gratitude.

Even when we have amazing things happening in our lives, many of us are firmly focused on our problems.  Take the time to acknowledge what’s going well for you and don’t take things for granted.  Also, consider giving back to others; nothing gives you shift of perspective like seeing the struggles that other people face on a daily basis.

When you are running a business, everyone picks up on your attitude including your customers, potential customers, your staff, your suppliers, your investors and everyone else that you meet.  If you are giving off positive energy, people will want to do business with you and it will make the rest of your life better too.

(Written by: Karen Bivand, photo courtesy of ‘stockimages’ via freedigitalphotos.net)

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5 Bad Excuses for Not Starting a Business

Have you always dreamed about starting a business but are too afraid to take the leap?  There are a lot of good reasons not to start a business, but often it’s just fear that stops us.  Remember, it’s the things that we don’t do that we usually regret.  If you are resting on one of these five lame excuses, then it might be time to get out of your own way!

I might fail.

It’s true, you might.  But you might succeed passed your wildest imagination and even if you do fail, you will likely learn something in the process.

I don’t have time.

Think about the most successful business people that you know.  They have the same amount of time as you do.  The question is what you prioritize and how you spend the time that you do have…and yes, a lot of them are mothers too.

I’m not ready.

You will probably never be ready.  It is always going to be scary and overwhelming.  You just need to take the plunge.

I don’t have the money.

Just start small and grow slowly.  What’s the rush?

I don’t know where to start.

There is a multitude of resources available for new entrepreneurs.  You can start by signing up for some workshops.

(Written by: Karen Bivand)

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5 People You Should Count as Your Friends

ID-100171728When you’re trying to move mountains, sometimes you need a little help.  That’s why the savvy mompreneur has brigade of professionals that she keeps on speed dial.  Make sure that these five people get a box of chocolates this holiday season.  You never know when you might require their assistance:

A good caterer.

You’ll be glad they’re on your list when you have to put an amazing lunch together at a moment’s notice.

Your printer.

10,000 brochures by the end of the day?  No problem!

Your daycare provider.

Having someone you trust who is always willing to take your kids for a few hours; priceless!

Your dry cleaner.

Someone who understands that you need your favourite skirt to wear to your client meeting (which is in three hours).

A computer expert.

When your files start disappearing, your computer expert is your knight in shining armour.

(Written by:  Karen Bivand, image courtesy of ‘stockimages’ via freedigitalphotos.net)

 

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Join Us on Nov. 22 – Be a SOCIALIGHT

SociaLIGHT Logo with Tagline

This November 22, join 1,000 entrepreneurs, startups, community leaders and innovators at the SociaLIGHT Conference, an event promoting leadership and business as a force of good.

Learn from internationally acclaimed speakers including Bob Proctor from the movie “The Secret” and Forbes Top 20 Most Disruptive Millennials, Miki Agrawal and more! Meet with over 30 of the top brands, organizations and businesses committed to your ongoing success!

We are proud sponsors of this event and our community gets a special rate!

Celebrate with “MOMPRENEURVIP” and get tickets for $97 or 2 day All Access tickets for $197. Hurry, this will be a sold out event!  www.socialightconference.com

socialight conference november 22 2014 with bob proctor, mompreneurs
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Are You Out of Touch?

Are you at risk of becoming a dinosaur?  It can happen more quickly than you might think.  One minute you are at the top of your game, but then you blink and suddenly feel as if the world has moved on without you.  When you are an entrepreneur this is more than an annoyance; it can have serious implications on your business.  Here are some tips that will help you to stay ahead of the curve:

Spend time on social media.

Social media is everywhere and it is current up to the minute.  By investing half an hour online each day, you will keep yourself up to date on recent news, events and trends.

Keep current with technology.

Read blogs and industry publications to get a sense of the technology that is being used by your customers and your competition.  Take a look at your work processes and see if there are any areas where more advanced technology might benefit your business.  If you are not naturally a ‘techie’ person, find a friend or a networking contact that is and see if they have any suggestions for you.

Network

The best way to find out what people are talking about is to get out there and talk to people.  Ask them what’s going on in their business.  Those with strong networks are the first to find out about everything.

Join professional associations.

Become a member and actually attend events such as workshops, trade shows and conferences.  These are all opportunities to make connections and to find out what’s hot in your industry.

Read the newspaper.

This one is obvious, but when we’re busy running a business and packing lunches for school, it might not be your top priority.  Catch up on the news whenever you can; you never know what possibilities might be hiding in those pages.

When you are an entrepreneur, there are opportunities all around you.  The problem is that if you are not plugged in, you could miss out on all of them.  Keeping yourself current should be a priority that you work at on a daily basis.  Don’t let the world pass you by!

(Written by: Karen Bivand,  photo courtesy of ‘stockimages’ via freedigitalphotos.net)