Confidence = “Business is booming!”

Sheralyn

I had a great conversation with someone recently. It was on the topic of “owning it.” We were each reflecting upon the fact that we operate a business that has more to do with creativity than any “perceived” solid, marketable skill. It’s easy for many of us to identify with what an accountant does or with the services a website designer can offer. For many of us, we also “know what we don’t know.” That is to say, I’m no good with numbers so I KNOW that I need an accountant to help me with that part of my business. But for those of us offering more creative type services, a typical response from many customers is; “I can probably take a stab at that myself,” or “I need to cut costs somewhere so I’ll (insert here – “get my friend to help” or “write my own blogs” or “take my own pictures.”) How is the budding entrepreneur in any of these creative type services supposed to market and sell to the “DIY” audience? By OWNING it! Own your skill set and service and most of all stop apologizing. Be loud and proud about the VALUE ADD that you bring to the table.

When you’re a writer for example, it can be hard to provide quantifiable evidence of your ability to add to a client’s bottom line. Is the increase in customer traffic due to great content or whizbang looking graphics or because the product or service is exceptional? If you’re a photographer, who wants to pay for your services when everyone has an iphone and thinks their shaky video is suitable for posting. The conversation with my fellow entrepreneur sparked an investigation into how creative people tend to sell their services and universally (from my admittedly unscientific research) it would appear that when we undergo the transformation from apologizing for our services to owning our strength and proudly speaking about our value to your business bottom line, that’s when people suddenly realize that YES they need you and YES, they should actually be paying you what your worth.

Owning your work is pretty simple. To “OWN it” means to be:

Out loud. To speak loudly and proudly about what you do and whom you do it for and that your fee is your fee. End of story. Project that you’re worth it and people will pay what you’re worth.

Original. Stand out from the crowd. Differentiate yourself from every one else.

Out in front of people. SPEAKING is important. Grab every chance you get to speak publicly about what you do. Seek out professional groups and opportunities to speak in front of others. Speaking lends credibility to what you do.

Own it also means:

Work hard. It’s true what your Momma told you. You get out what you put in and if you work hard and produce results for your clients word will get around.

Winning Attitude. Project confidence. Tell yourself every day “you’ve got this.” Confidence sells.

Write about what you do. Again, it’s about credibility. If people can see what you’ve had to say online you are positioning yourself as the expert and will be viewed as one.

Finally, own it means to:

Never underestimate your services and never undervalue what you do. You pay a contractor to complete a task in your home, why wouldn’t you expect to be paid for what you do? Content is valuable, artwork draws the eye to the page and a picture sometimes really is “worth a thousand words” so demand a fair rate and be open about what goes into the services you offer and why they cost what they do.

Network like your life depends on it. This doesn’t mean “selling” to folks, rather it simply means get out there and meet people, talk about what you do and treat everyone like a mutual referral source.

Without fail, the entrepreneurs I spoke with all said some variation of the same thing. The moment they stopped “justifying” their service and the price they charged and instead began proudly declaring: “Here is who I am, what I can do for you and the price you should expect to pay,” (in other words owning it) that’s when their business shifted. Change your mindset. Speak with confidence about what you do, project in your voice and actions that you are the “go to” expert and take on any opportunity to speak in front of groups.  Then sit back and watch your business grow!

“O.W.N. IT”

  • Out loud and out front
  • Original
  • Work hard
  • Winning Attitude
  • Write what you know
  • Never underestimate
  • Network!

 

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

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Just ASK – Making Photo-Legal Groundwork Add Up

ari-2

There are few mediums which can universally capture the hearts and minds of people like the perfect photo.  When updating your website, blogging or developing ads for your business, the hunt is always on for the images that say it all.  Just don’t be tempted to turn a blind eye to the origins of those perfect images and the conditions for copying them, in case you find yourself exposed because of a copyright violation.

Your exposure is no less just because you may have relied on someone else to put your website, blog content or ad together and get those little copyright details right. Your business is your business and you have the responsibility to make sure it is not threatened by wasted investment, a senseless tarnishing of its reputation and in some cases, litigation that bleeds your time and your profits. Taking the time to find photo perfection may mean digging around a bit, but in the end the effort will help you and your business stand tall above the rest.

Let’s start from the obvious – the mantra everyone knows – just because a photo can be downloaded from the internet does not mean it is free to use.

Okay, great, so you know that, but what about stock photos?  You may have paid for them, but you still have to read the fine print.  Not all stock photos can be used for any purpose, or come with permission for indefinite usage.  Similarly, accessing images under a Creative Commons license (e.g. through Flickr) is still a license and has terms that have to be respected to stay on the right side of the law. These are issues you have to educate yourself about, either through your own research or by asking the professional who helps you put your ad together.

And what about those photos you commission? Again, there are questions you need to ask to be sure you can put them to the uses you are contemplating to market your business:

  • If there are models in the photos, were model release forms executed?
  • Will you own the copyright in those photos? This is a question to discuss with the photographer in advance.
  • If the photographer won’t assign to you their copyrights in the photos taken for the benefit of your business, do you have a solid agreement (license) that you can rely on to use the photos the way you want to?

When it comes to getting the ‘pics’ you want for your business use, you always have to be prepared to assess your resources, seek the appropriate rights to use them and be prepared to adapt if too many unknowns are left unanswered. While it may feel like only one image can say it all, remember that neither you nor your business is one, or even two dimensional – there is more than one photo waiting to be snapped, or out there, to help capture the brilliance of your enterprise and message.

In summary, your photo-legal groundwork boils down to a simple practice – Just ASK:

Approach, get consent and acknowledge the original source of the images you use.

Substitute with other images, if in doubt about making copies of your first choice ‘pics’.

Know your options because today there are many, and there is really no reason you can’t be efficient finding the imagery you want without jeopardizing the integrity of your enterprise.

 

Ariadni Athanassiadis is the lead attorney of Kyma Professional Corporation, which provides intellectual property (IP) legal services to help your business develop and benefit from the creative efforts and assets that make it distinctive. Whether it is your brand, product, services, designs, technology or business processes, Ariadni can help design IP legal solutions which let you make the most of what you give to your business.

———————————

Ariadni Athanassiadis

Kyma Professional Corporation

T: 613-327-7245

E: ariadni@kymalaw.com

W: www.kymalaw.com

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Tips for Holiday Marketing on Social Media

 

Kelly Farrell - Teach Me Social -headshot (2)

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Social media is all a-twitter with holiday promotions, holiday party selfies and businesses competing for your business and spreading holiday joy! The social media world can become a very noisy place during the holidays, but here are a few ways you can ensure your small business can stay ahead of the crowd.

Hashtags

Using holiday trending hashtags can keep your business visible among your target audience. Choose hashtags that your target market is already using or might be following. By providing content that aligns with the current conversations on social media you can ensure that your brand will not be forgotten when people create their holiday wish lists.

Seasonal trends

Stay tuned to what’s trending this season and share content that shows your brand is in-the-know when it comes to what people are talking about.

Visual aids

Getting noticed is all about standing out. Create captivating graphics for your social media posts and blogs that are sure to grab people’s attention and make them want to click. (lighting, graphics, design, colours)

Ads / promotions

Social media ads are the most effective way to grab the attention of potential customers. You can create custom audiences of people who may have already visited your site or may already be on your mailing list. This allows you to focus directly on an audience who is already familiar with your brand and thus more likely to follow through with a sale.

Use email

Email is still the most effective way to follow up with customers and potential customers. Many email clients can connect with your online store to help you follow up with website visitors who may have “window-shopped” without finishing their order.  Try sending exclusive coupon codes to your email list for special holiday offers.

Above all, remember that there are real people on the other side of the network who are just as busy as you are this time of year. Present them with solutions to solve their problems and make their life easier. Stay social and engage with your audience online through relatable, interesting and engaging posts and make sure to take time to answer back!


To learn more about how to maximise the effectiveness of your Facebook marketing efforts, schedule a complimentary consultation with Teach Me Social. Teach Me Social owner Kelly Farrell has been helping empower Canadian Small Businesses through social media since 2012. Teach Me Social offers effective social media services which include training sessions and consulting as well as full-service social media account management.

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5 Ways to Prepare for 2017

sandra

It’s hard to believe that there’s only about six weeks left in 2016! While many use this time heading into the holidays to wind things down in their business, I find it one of the busiest times of the year. For me, it’s the time to start working on the plan for the New Year as well as work with clients developing their own plans. Here are 5 ways to prepare for 2017:

  1. Celebrate your accomplishments

Taking the time to review the current year’s accomplishments is a great way to start the New Year. We often focus on the things that didn’t go according to plan or the mistakes made along the way. If we direct our energy on the negative we set ourselves up for more of the same. No matter how much went wrong this year, there are always things that went right. Find time to reflect on what those things are.

  1. Review what’s working and what isn’t

You know the saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The interesting thing is that many of us keep doing things the way we’ve always done them expecting that if we do more of it that the results will be different. When we don’t get the expected results, we find ourselves frustrated and disillusioned. Of course there are things that we’re doing that do work for us. We need to identify them and see how we can leverage them moving into the New Year.

  1. Identify required resources

We all need help of some sort to make our goals a reality. If things didn’t go according to plan, then it’s time to think about who or what you need in your business to get you where you want to be. What help our resources would have made life easier for you in 2016? Make a list of what you need and make a plan to obtain it.

  1. Set 1 or 2 primary goals

We often don’t achieve the things we wanted to in a year because we overestimate what can be done. We end up feeling overwhelmed with all the things we want to do and the result is that we do even less than we planned. Instead of having 10 goals that you want to achieve in 2017, pick one or two major goals that you want to focus on. Consider what goals if met, will make it easier to achieve other smaller goals. It’s all about finding that goose who lays the golden eggs!

  1. Schedule time off

All work and no play doesn’t just make us dull, it sets up fertile ground for burnout! Make sure that you schedule time away from your business or work so that you can relax and recharge. Achieving work/life balance doesn’t have to be mission impossible. Remember, you didn’t start your business to spend all your time working; you did it because you wanted freedom. Hard work does pay off, but we all need to take a step back so we can come back with fresh eyes and rested brains!

It’s never too late or too early to start planning your year. It’s important to give yourself the time to reflect on the year that has passed and consider what you want to achieve in the one coming. It’s about preparing a foundation to plant seeds that have no choice but to flourish. What are your plans for 2017?

Sandra Dawes is a certified life coach specializing in helping women who feel unfulfilled with their 9-5 follow their dreams and pursue their passions. She holds an Honours BA, an MBA as well as a certificate in Dispute Resolution. She has completed her first book,Embrace Your Destiny: 12 Steps to Living the Life You Deserve!

Connect:

www.embraceyourdestiny.ca

www.facebook.com/embraceyourdestiny

www.facebook.com/embraceyourdestinythebook

www.twitter.com/sandradawes

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Power of Women

FB Pic

I spent the weekend at a Plan Your 2017 Retreat and it reinforced a thought that I have believed in all along: the power of Women.

As we sat in a picturesque cottage in a little town called Kimberly just north of the GTA, we all had one major goal in mind – to make a plan for success in 2017.  On day one, we were 4 women of different backgrounds, different professions and completely different goals.  By the end of the weekend, we became 4 women with one goal – to help each other succeed.

Bringing women together to uplift and support each other is a game-changer. What did we learn this weekend?

  • No matter how different we are, we have more in common than we think.
  • Empowerment can be misinterpreted
  • NO is a powerful word
  • Emotional support is a necessity
  • It’s OK to be selfish once in a while

 

Coming together with other women, in whatever format, can be beneficial to your business.  Retreats, Mastermind Groups, Networking, Accountability Groups, Workshops or any form of “togetherness” is an important part of building your network.  Having these support systems can help you achieve your business or personal goals.

Dwania is the Founder and Executive Director of Canadian Small Business Women Contact Canadian Small Business Women:

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Why Female Entrepreneurs Need To Stop Apologizing

CHuntly

It’s no secret that women in positions of power often have to get there on a different track than their male peers. In 2011, only 15.5 percent of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses were owned by women. And that number doesn’t include solopreneurs who are trying to make their way on their own. The majority of those female entrepreneurs also have no business growth goals. Even if they do have growth in mind, female-owned businesses in Canada have lower growth rates than male-owned businesses.

Why is that? Well, as female entrepreneurs, we’re constantly having to apologize for appearing too harsh, too soft, too emotional, too masculine, too feminine, too unstable, too… everything. Of course, there are also women who want to own a business while having a family. We are constantly accused of wanting to have it all, but who says we can’t have it all?

As a business owner, I am constantly keeping myself in check, re-reading emails dozens of times before hitting send even if it’s a routine invoice reminder, a quick question about a project I’m working on, and just generally worrying that I would offend someone or, horribly, someone doesn’t like me.

A lesson I am learning on a daily basis as an entrepreneur is that not everyone is going to like you or how you run your business. Rather than dwelling on those people, focus on people who appreciate you. To stand out, female entrepreneurs need to stand up and use our voices. It’s OK to have an opinion. It’s OK to have ideas that are better than those of your peers. And it is definitely OK to talk about why you are so great.

The reality is that all business owners, men and women, should conduct themselves with a certain sense of tact and business etiquette, but stop apologizing for wanting to be a successful, female business owner. Set high goals for yourself and do what you need to do to get there.

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.

Connect with Candace

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Websites and the 5 W Principle

Sheralyn

Are you looking to do a refresh of your website? Is it time for an update or perhaps a wholesale change to your content? Today we talk tips on creating short, snappy website content that resonates! Similar in nature to when we looked at blogging for business, we’ll take a brief look at the “5 W Principle.”

To begin, keep this in mind:  Treat your website like your resume and engage in TARGETED MARKETING.  Like a resume, what do people most need to know about you? Do they need to know every job you’ve ever held, from that very first day working on the fry line at a fast food chain or do they only need to know that which is most relevant to the business you are engaged in now? Certainly you should talk about any relevant prior experience but brevity is key. No need to share your life story, just clearly talk about your product or service by answering the “5 W’s” – the who, what, where, when and why questions. In doing so, you’ll create an edited version of your skill set that still sells you and your product or service, just like a resume “sells” you to a potential employer.

Here are your key considerations:

Be targeted (or very specific) in narrowing down your potential audience. You do this by answering the question “who x 2?” That is, who are you and who is your intended audience? It’s actually not limiting your business by weeding out potential customers before you even speak to them, rather, its good time-management. You’re preventing unwanted, time-wasting phone calls from people who will probably never do business with you anyway.  To help with the “who” question, you also need to clearly identify your “why?” Why do you do what you do? This is where your passion for what you do will come through. Use thoughtful, engaging language that helps others understand why you are so passionate about your business. Sharing your passion is what engages potential “right-brained” customers. By addressing the questions of WHAT and HOW (how do you do what you do) you will engage with potential left-brained customers who both need and want specifics in order to determine whether to do business with you. Providing some level of detail will appeal to them. Answering the where and when is easy and somewhat self-explanatory. Finally, I’ve said it before and I will probably say it again as it comes up in all of my seminars; always make sure that your website content is “CORI” content. That is create content that is:

  • Current
  • Original
  • Relevant
  • Interesting

By creating and maintaining content that’s fresh and relevant to your industry – you are demonstrating that you are “on top” of industry trends. Keep your website updated by blogging, posting specials, providing seasonal information and by sharing tips and tools that matter to your customers. Give information away for free to establish goodwill and credibility. But always remember, don’t be that annoying person who shares and posts constantly just to be heard because you risk being ignored or “unsubscribed” instead! So when it comes to websites, practice the “5 W Principle” for a wonderful website that works.

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

writingrightforyou@gmail.com

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Reaching for the Moon – Entrepreneurship and the Alchemy of Ideas and Relationships

 

ari-2In the coming months, I plan to cover those indispensable tips for working with various forms of intellectual property (IP) in your business, such as copyrights and trademarks.  To set the stage, I would like to touch on the desire we have as entrepreneurs to protect our “ideas”.  At the risk of bursting some bubbles, the reality is that the legal system is really not designed to protect ideas. Instead, the whole premise behind having IP legal regimes is to promote the conceptualization, application and exchange of ideas. So if this is the case, why have IP legal regimes or “protect” anything in the first place?

 Before going down a rabbit hole, let me back-up for a moment and try to clarify what I mean when I use the word “idea”. To me an idea is what comes from inspiration, like the epiphany in the mid-20th century that we could fly to the moon. Examples of innovation and creativity around this idea are everywhere, and include everything from Sinatra’s classic rendition of “Fly Me to the Moon,” to NASA’s Apollo missions, to today’s quest by Branson and others to make private space travel a reality. Our drive to innovate is so core to our humanity it bubbles up everywhere, all the time, in all corners of the universe, in all arts, fine or technical, and in all human enterprise and cultures.

So it is not the ideas, but the innovation that flows from them that is addressed by our society. One way this is done is reflected in IP legal regimes. These regimes speak to what happens when an idea is being translated into a result and made accessible to the public. This can only happen in the co-creative processes that take place in relationship with one another. In these relationships there will be intersecting interests and layered rights that arise and are engaged. Innovation in business is no less personal or fundamental to our existence as it is in other areas of our life, and like many other social imperatives can be supported by guidelines and frameworks for balancing interests and contributions to it. While the debate is always open about whether or not existing frameworks help or take away from achieving the best balance, society will always seek to find harmony through constructs for managing relationships.

The two primary issues that IP legal regimes address are who benefits from intellectual endeavour and how. In general terms, the various regimes create economic rights for creators/innovators and rights of use for the public because, after all, the governments and legal systems that grant rights in the form of patents, trademarks, copyright, industrial designs and trade secrets (confidential information) are there for and on behalf of the public.

So when NASA decides to release a chunk of its patent portfolio (under certain terms and conditions of course –http://www.sciencealert.com/nasa-just-released-56-patented-space-and-rocket-technologies-to-the-public) we are witnessing that the way things may have been done in the past can change and adapt to the way they need to be for the future, shifting the balance point in the relationship between governments, the marketplace, and the public interest.

At the end of the day, innovation is fueled by a continuing tradition of alchemy between ideas and the relationships which shape and mould them. In my experience, the ideas can be relatively easy to come by, but the magic comes from what we do in relationship with one another on our quests for the philosopher stone, or perhaps, just a little moon rock.

Ariadni Athanassiadis is the lead attorney of Kyma Professional Corporation, which provides intellectual property (IP) legal services to help your business develop and benefit from the creative efforts and assets that make it distinctive. Whether it is your brand, product, services, designs, technology or business processes, Ariadni can help design IP legal solutions which let you make the most of what you give to your business.

———————————

Ariadni Athanassiadis

Kyma Professional Corporation

T: 613-327-7245

E: ariadni@kymalaw.com

W: www.kymalaw.com

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Planning for success

sandra

We’re already at the half-way mark of the month of October! The last quarter of the year always seems to go much faster than the first three for some reason. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just me because I always feel the need to end the year with a bang😉

One of the things on my current to-do list is to complete my plan for 2017. In the last 5 years or so, I have dedicated time in the fall to reflecting on the present year as well as putting together the plan for the upcoming year. I’m sure we’ve all heard it said that a goal without a plan is just a dream. I know that I personally haven’t been able to accomplish anything of real significance without a plan to make it happen.

Whether everything went according to that plan is a completely different story! If there’s anything I’ve learned in planning my goals and helping clients with their own, it’s that things rarely go exactly as planned. The reason for this is that we make the plan with a limited understanding of what’s possible, no matter how open minded we are. As we take action on our goals, receive guidance from others and test the waters, we learn new things that often alter the course, but never the final destination.

An important part of the plan for me is taking the time to celebrate our accomplishments to-date. We can sometimes downplay the progress we’ve made because we’ve set such high expectations of ourselves. I know from personal experience that it’s when we take the time to acknowledge the small wins that we can focus our energy on attracting even bigger ones.

Planning before the start of the year helps us set the tone for 2017. With an established plan now, we know exactly what to do when the New Year starts! It also gives us the opportunity to share our plan with people we know will support you and hold you accountable. It’s about really setting ourselves up for success, not only with the creation of the plan, but making sure that we have everything and everyone we need in place to support us in achieving our goals.

Take the time to start planning your New Year. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did! This doesn’t have to be a chore; you can have fun with it. Plan a girls’ night in and make vision boards. Do a family exercise where everyone shares one thing they want to achieve for the year and everyone brainstorms (in a positive supportive way) different options to make those goals a reality! Planning for 2017 is about creating your future, what can be more exciting than that?

If you want some support in creating your plan for the New Year, join me the weekend of November 11-13 for the Jump Start Your Year Retreat in Blue Mountain! Visit http://bit.ly/jumpstartyouryear for more information.

Sandra Dawes is a certified life coach specializing in helping women who feel unfulfilled with their 9-5 follow their dreams and pursue their passions. She holds an Honours BA, an MBA as well as a certificate in Dispute Resolution. She has completed her first book,Embrace Your Destiny: 12 Steps to Living the Life You Deserve!

Connect:

www.embraceyourdestiny.ca

www.facebook.com/embraceyourdestiny

www.facebook.com/embraceyourdestinythebook

www.twitter.com/sandradawes

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