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Posted in Business Forum

What’s your thing, though?

Many of us are very familiar with other people’s things. For instance, we may have a high level of familiarity with the way another person runs their business or their household, with the way another person manages their social media accounts, or even with the way another person parents; but what’s your thing, though?

In business, there is some emphasis on looking at what one’s competition is doing and then trying to outdo them, or trying to do better, faster, with less cost to the business, or with less cost to the consumer. But what’s your thing, though? What if we began to emphasise that instead?

Whatever the other business is doing, regardless of whether their business is closely related to yours or not, that’s their thing. So, what’s your thing?

It’s all right if you don’t comprehensively answer this question right now. It only shows a need to divert your attention from external to internal; and ask, “As a business owner, what do I want to achieve? Who do I want to reach? What is my message?” It probably won’t happen all at once, but you will get the answers that you’re looking for.

It is when you shift your focus from your competition to your business and your customers, that you are able to more effectively meet the needs of your customers.

Understand that you have your own rhythm and flow, and your business has got it’s own rhythm and flow. Allow yourself and your business to flow and grow in your unique rhythm, and not in the rhythm of any other business that you may be looking at.

We’re not saying that it isn’t good to have a goal. By all means, have a goal! The error would be in trying to fit your business into the mold of another business. As a business owner, you have your own dream of what you want to achieve with your business. And the more you grow your business internally, without disregarding any lessons that you learn externally, the more you and your business will achieve your goals.

What is your dream for you and your business, today? Comment in the section below. And to check out more posts in the business forum, click here.

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Posted in Business Forum

Myth #001: Every Social Media Platform is Necessary and Valuable for Every Business

Myths Regarding Social Media for Business

There are numerous Social Media platforms available to businesses presently, and new ones being developed right now. These are all new opportunities to be accessible to and effectively communicate with your market. With every new social media platform, you may feel like your business has to immediately jump on it and get cracking or you will miss out. The truth, however, is completely different! You’re not missing out, there’s a lot more to it than being everywhere at the same time.

Depending on the nature of your business, some social media platforms may be more valuable to your brand than others (Click to Tweet this thought). We recently had a meeting with a client, and based on the nature of his business and the event that he’s organising, we determined that LinkedIn and his blog would be more effective media through which to achieve his desired results, than if we put equal effort and resources into these two; plus Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This doesn’t mean, however, that we’re ignoring the other media platforms altogether, it only means that we’re spending more time and expecting greater results for LinkedIn and his blog, for the first three months.

In order to determine what social media to focus on and have a higher expectation of results from, consider these:

1. What is your objective? Is your objective to:
> Have and demonstrate influence
> Attain greater visibility for your brand
> Ramp up an event
> Provide social proof for your business

2. Who is your target client?
Different target demographics interact with your brand’s content in different ways. The key is to meet them where they are, as opposed to trying to bring them over to where you are. Make it convenient for the person you’re trying to reach, to get to know your brand.

3. What is the nature of your business?
Is your brand B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Client)? This will help you to determine where to meet your client online. If your business is a B2B one, for instance, find out who the decision-makers and decision influencers are, and connect with them on a person-to-person level. For instance, you may send them an email and invite them to join your brand’s newsletter, with a sneak preview of what to expect from your newsletters.

Once you have selected your top three social media platforms and developed a strategy for them, it doesn’t mean that the other platforms should lie dormant and collect dust. Keep them active by posting new content, as well as checking and responding to comments and inquiries. Keeping even these social media platforms active is good P.R., and you can still use them to nudge visitors over to your more active Social media platforms and consequently, into a closer relationship with your brand.

What are your brand’s top two most effective Social media platforms? Share the reason they are your top two, in the comments’ section below.

Posted in Business Forum

Uneven Terrain

The ground doesn’t always feel level. There’re times you take a step and there’s a mountain, and there’re other times when it’s a valley. 

Recognise that these are experiences and are therefore not permanent. During these experiences, when the ground isn’t level and you feel like throwing in the towel, remember why you’re doing this. Remind yourself why you chose to be on that path, remind yourself why it is important to you; and if these still hold true, keep moving.

You’re feelings are valid, even when the feelings are negative. Deal with the feelings, don’t run from the situation. And remind yourself often, why you’ve chosen to be on this path. You’ve got this 😉 .

Posted in Your Story

Tall, Regal, Resplendent

It’s a beautiful dress. Of this, there is no debate. Its beauty and style has never been in question. You bought it a few years ago and wore it to that wedding; then afterward, you wore it to a few other events. You looked resplendent in it. You loved the way it felt against your skin, the way it fit you just right, the way it felt so deliciously feminine.

It’s been a year now. A year since you hang this dress up in your closet. A year since you took it out for a ride on the town. A year since it has seen the sun. During this year, the dress has continued to stand tall in your closet; regal and resplendent, just like you knew it would. There’re times when you still think about it. While getting ready for work last Tuesday, you arm brushed against it as you were reaching for your coat. The dress caught your eye and in that moment, all the memories came back. You saw it and thought about how long it’s been since you last  wore it and that maybe you could do something about it. You were in a hurry last Tuesday because your coffee was going cold and you wanted to check in on your kids before you left for work. You were a little rushed, and so this thought was left hanging.

This is the where that thought finds a landing. For this dress, those pants, that shirt and those shoes that you don’t even remember you own, there has been a high influx of families coming in from Sudan to run and save their loved ones from the conflict in their country. They’re coming into Kenya and finding haven in camps such as the ones in Dadaab and Kakuma. They’re coming in with just the shirts on their backs, and for some, not even that. For them, this dress; tall, regal and resplendent, is so much more than a dress; it’s a valuable resource (Click to Tweet). It may be the very first piece of clothing that she has. That shirt or blouse will cover up the vulnerability of a 12-year-old girl who is at this moment, having to walk naked in a camp where there are thousands of people.

The Lutheran World Foundation has committed human and other resources to provide for the safety and needs of these families, but they can’t do it by themselves. They own a finite number of dresses, shirts, pants and shoes, but with you adding yours to the pile, the pile gets substantially more majestic. They’re even willing to come and transport the dress from your location.

For that pair of shoes and item of clothing that you haven’t worn in a year, transform it into a valuable resource and find it a home. Call the Lutheran World Federation’s Hellen through this number 0721 281 758 and organise for the dress or shirt to get picked up. She’s expecting your call.

Posted in Business Forum

Your Audience is Self-Centred. There, I said it.

When I look at a group photograph that I know I am in, the first person that I look for is myself. In the same way, when I read an article or a book, I want to know how it relates to me.

When writing web articles as a business owner, there is a huge temptation to write for yourself and to write in your language. While there IS indeed a place for all this, your web articles are not about you, but about your audience. It is therefore important for you to know who your audience is, what their wants and needs are, and what they would like from you.

Who is your audience?

First, there are demographic considerations e.g. where are they located? If your business is located in Kenya, for instance, and you want to provide your goods primarily in Kenya (and possibly the East Africa region), then that is your audience. Write for that audience. Other considerations include their age bracket, their gender, their spending and so on.

Second, and more importantly, you need to realize right off the bat, that your audience does not like you. I’m not saying that they dis-like you; I’m just saying that they don’t know you, and therefore have got no relationship-like investment in you one way or the other. The fact that they don’t know you also means that they don’t trust you. The fact that they don’t trust you, means that they are not going to give you their money; which as a business, you really want people to give you money in return for a product or service that you provide. The good news is that the very purpose of web articles is to let people in, let them get to know you and begin to trust you.

Many people make the mistake of going into business with the idea that clients are just waiting for you to set up, and that they’re lining up to give you money. The truth is that even if there is an overwhelming need for your product or service, you actually do need to invite people in. You need to let people know what you’re doing, and you need to communicate this in a customer-centric way; demonstrating that you have a solution for your audience. The fine-line is to do this in a way that is not centred on you, your income or your profit; while still making a profit and growing your business. (We’ll discuss this in future blog posts)

What does your Audience want?

There is a reason that your audience is on your website in the first place. Maybe you gave them your card and they want to check you out from sheer curiousity. Maybe they saw your ad and want to learn more about you. Maybe they bought your product from one of your distributors and want to see what you’re about. Maybe, prompted by a need that they were experiencing, they googled something and landed on your website. Regardless of how they got there, they are now on your website, and it is your responsibility to guide them and show them where to go next.

It is not your audience’s responsibility to figure out what to read on your website, it is yours. (Tweet this thought)

We have already established that at this point, your audience does not know, like or trust you. This means that:

  1. You need to capture(!) their attention as soon as they land on your website. To begin with, if your page is loading too slowly, they are going to leave.
  2. You need to guide them to the next action. For instance, if your audience has landed on your Home Page, once they have finished reading it and have gotten the information that they had come for, they have no reason to stay. Unless of course, you provide them with a guide at the bottom of the page, linking them to another page that will be of interest to them.

Even if they came to your Home Page and didn’t find what they were looking for, they are likely to leave anyway, if only out of frustration that it wasn’t easier to get what they needed. To help with this, it is important to ensure that all your website’s tabs are clearly displayed in order to make navigation easy. It is also important to have a prominently displayed ‘Contact’ page/ tab.

What will your Audience Gain from getting to know you?

To answer this question, do not solely consider the products and services that you’re offering. Look beyond that and into: what sets you apart? What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? What do you offer, that differentiates you from any (or most) other similar enterprises? Take your time with this one and once you figure it out, it will launch you into your marketing sweet-spot because you will use it on your website articles, your blog, and Social Media. (Tweet this thought)

Haven’t figured out your USP yet? No pressure. Work with what you have, and talk about it with somebody whose opinion you trust. They may be able to see the brilliant, awesome, fireworks’y things about your business that you are not able to see, because you are too close to it and experience the challenges as well. Listen to the things that your customers say about your business, your products and/or your service. Your USP could be the customer experience that you provide, it could be that your product is all-natural, it could be that your product makes your clients nostalgic of their momma’s cooking… The list is extremely expansive. Write that list down, whether it has got 2 items on it, or 200; and develop it over time. Take your time and figure out what you would like to be known for. Then, use it!

When writing web articles, your audience is your top-most consideration. Your customer’s experience with you begins before they have even begun to interact with you directly. It begins when they are still looking around online and checking you out.

In the upcoming Newsletter issue, I’ll be sharing the essential keys for your Home and About pages; providing a vehicle through which your audience will know you,  like you, trust you, and buy from you.

If you haven’t already, you may receive the newsletter here.

Check out more blog posts here, and click here to receive blog posts directly into your inbox.

Posted in Believe Good Things

Dominion in 2016

2016 lies ahead; to be taken, to be lived, to be dominion’ed.

I feel like a lot of us go into new experiences with the idea that they need to stealthily check the corners to see whether there are harmful things ready to jump them and bite them in the bottom. New experiences in general but mostly, the New Year.

May you go into this New Year triumphant; with the knowledge that goodness and mercy is pursuing you always: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Every. Single. Day.

Stride confidently into the New Year; confident that your Father has got you in His arms and that He answers your prayers exceedingly, abundantly, above all that you could ever ask or imagine. And considering how big an imagination you’ve got, that’s a whole lot!

There may be things up ahead about which you are uncertain. There may be things that you would have liked to accomplish this year and didn’t. There may be new experiences that you want to delve into in 2016 and yet feel hesitant because they are new and sometimes ‘new’ can be scary. Your life may have entered/ or may be entering a new chapter….Whatever it is for you this year, delve into it, confident that your Father loves you.

We often hear that phrase, but I don’t think that most of us really know and believe it. To be honest, I really didn’t, until I bombarded my senses with this truth. When you know that God loves you, when you see God as a Dad, when you see that God is always on your side, when you see that God is ever present and that you do not need to go to Him as an unapproachable force who may or may not hear you; when you know and believe that God wants you to succeed and be well, even more than you want to succeed and be well… When you know and believe that your Father loves you, every fear releases its hold over you. (Click here to Tweet this Thought)

For many, your relationship with your earthly father tends to colour your vision of your relationship with your heavenly Father, to some degree. If your view of your father is that of a man whose love and acceptance you have to earn, then you are likely to try and earn God’s acceptance and love. But God gives all things freely. Consider this: He gave you Christ, before you were born, before the foundations of the earth were in place, God had already given His own Son as a sacrifice for your sins. He decided that He didn’t want to have a Heaven without you. Did you earn that? Nope. You weren’t even born, yet. The earth hadn’t even been made yet (Rev 13:8), when He made the provision for your acceptance.

In the same vein, He embraces you without you having to earn it. You can approach Him without ceremony; you do not need to wait until you have “behaved well”, you do not have to wait until He “is in a good mood”. When you are in Christ, God looks at you and sees Christ. He looks at you and sees you righteous. He loves you. He loves you the same way that He loves His Son, Jesus. That’s big time love.

Dare I say that most of the struggles we face are because we do not know and believe how much God loves us. When one feels loved, they are unlikely to go out and look for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. When one feels loved and treasured, they are more likely to see and treat themselves like the treasure they now know they are.

So my challenge to you is this, bask in the Father’s love for you. Call Him Father; call Him Dad; call Him Abba; call Him Daddy God. Approach Him as you would if you knew for certain that He loves and accepts you the way you are; and is willing and able to give you all things. (Considering He gave you His only Son to go through the worst experience ever so that you’d get to hang out with Him in Heaven, this really isn’t a stretch). Listen to anointed music that focuses on His love for you. Listen to anointed teachings that focus on God’s love for you and little by little, you’ll come to believe it more and more; and with this knowledge, you will reign in life.

Click here to check out previous issues of the Newsletter, and if you like, join our mailing list to receive it every time it’s sent out. 

 

Posted in Business Forum

Getting it right the first time – The Myth

Right out of high school, I got a job at a place whose motto was ‘Get it Right the First Time’. We were making fishing flies, so it was important to get it right the first time so that we could make a lot of them and ship them out within the expected timelines.

I think it’s a good thing to strive to be good at what we do. I also believe, however, that ‘Getting it right the first time’ is mostly a myth. It is the exception. If we get too obsessed in getting it right the first time, it is possible that we’ll miss out on some truly exceptional experiences in life. Like learning a new language, learning to swim, learning to drive, learning to bring a new recipe to life, learning to play a musical instrument and so on. Every new experience is a learning experience, we are likely to falter, and it is likely to take some time to grow into.

Consider the child who’s just learning to walk. Their motivation is not to get it right the first time. In fact, if this was their motivation, they would likely give up after the very first time they fall on their bum. But no, they fall, we wince, they chuckle, they get up, and again put one foot in front of the other. The same holds true for a child who’s learning a language. They don’t care whether or not they sound awkward. They pronounce the word, use it in the wrong context, get corrected, use the word again, and so on and so forth.

Running a business works in exactly the same way. There are things that you know now, that you did not know when you were starting out. There are errors that you have made in the course of running your business and growing into the business owner that you are today. There may be monies that you have lost, partnerships from which you have learnt much, partnerships that you probably wouldn’t get into again, transactions that were of great benefit to you, transactions that you probably wouldn’t engage in again, and so on.

I have learnt that it is important to see your business as a dynamic, growing, learning enterprise. Do not be afraid to err. Do not be afraid to not get it right the first time. I’m not advocating for getting into a lion’s den with reckless abandon; I am actually a strong advocate for wisdom in business. What I am saying though, is that we, as business owners, need not shy away from opportunities for growth, just because we can see that we won’t get it right the first time. Don’t be afraid to err in business. When you err, learn from it, adjust, and then go again. (Click to Tweet this Thought)

For many years, I thought of myself as a freelance writer, and that is exactly how I would introduce myself to people when we met. It wasn’t until recently that I started to see my business as a business. Seeing myself as a business owner has set me on a new course in which my mind is more open to seeing opportunities. Seeing this as a business has enabled me to define it more clearly. When I meet a business owner, I am able to clearly articulate what I can provide for their brand on their Social Media, YouTube channel, website and print media. I am able to see past the actual task of writing a post for them, to the greater value of helping them to better define their brand and target audience. 

Now that  I see my business as a business, I am better able to put systems in place, to ensure that the business runs and grows efficiently. Systems such as:

  • Work hours (and what to do during these)
  • Vacation days
  • Set rates for services
  • Target market
  • Marketing budget
  • Number of hours spent marketing
  • Cost of Customer Acquisition
  • Books of accounts
  • Feedback channels for customers
  • Business registration
  • Agpo registration
  • NSSF and NHIF registration
  • and so on.

The more I see this as a business, the more opportunities there have been to grow it as a business, and the more I am able to clearly speak about it as a business.

I wholeheartedly believe in the now. I believe in being present. I believe in being where we are right now. While it is important to learn and grow from our past, there is no profit in spending time agonising about how we should have done things differently. Realize instead, that you have a right now, and right now is your opportunity to do things differently for your business and yourself, if that is what you are inclined to.

Right now is your opportunity to soar!

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