Archive for December, 2009

Getting (More) Business From Twitter

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Twitter can be a very effective marketing tool to gain more business, more exposure, and more credibility for your company. But how do you ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward and making the most of your Twitter marketing efforts?

Well, following a few basic guidelines will help you maximize your Twitter potential. Use this checklist to see where you stand and how your efforts can be improved.

  1. Determine what you want to achieve from Twitter and develop a Twitter marketing plan.
  2. Make use of your Twitter bio.
  3. Schedule time in your agenda for Twitter marketing.
  4. Plan your tweets to maintain consistency.
  5. Keep your tweets under 120 characters to improve their retweetability.
  6. Choose your characters (i.e., words) carefully to make the most of your tweet.
  7. Use relevant hashtags in your tweets.
  8. Post tweets several times throughout the day.
  9. Don’t just post things about you and your company; share other information that is relevant to your followers.
  10. Unless you’re trying to reach an international audience, avoid tweeting at odd hours of the night when only a rare few will see the tweets.
  11. Proofread your tweets.
  12. Interact with your followers.
  13. Thank people who retweet or mention you. Unless you’re a big name on Twitter, don’t just post a general “thank you” in your Twitter stream. Instead, include the @ and the person’s Twitter name so he can see your message.

For more information on how to use Twitter, head on over to my post, The Why and How of Twitter.

About the Author: Jody Calkins is a freelance business writer who writes about business development, risk management, security protection, and business standards. Visit www.emeryroad.com for more information and samples.

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For the Solo Entrepreneur: What to Do During a Downtime

  1. Get organized.
  2. Clean your office and create a refreshing space.
  3. Determine ways to improve business performance and operations.
  4. Brainstorm new marketing strategies.
  5. Determine other areas or fields you would like to break into.
  6. Consider adding a service to expand your business or creating another business.
  7. Develop a schedule to keep yourself productive.
  8. Learn/study to improve your marketability.
  9. Keep working.
  10. Create more samples for your portfolio.
  11. Develop case studies and testimonials to promote your business.
  12. Catch up on paperwork (expense report, etc.).

What do you do during a downtime?

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How to Make the Most of the Inevitable Slowdown in Business

Having a slowdown in business every now and then can be a good thing. And a good time to catch up and re-evaluate your business and marketing strategies. Whether you are experiencing this slow phase now or just developing a plan to help you make the most of it when it happens, here are some ideas to make your time more productive and worthwhile.

Get Organized

Determine which areas of business you want to evaluate for possible improvements.

Consider New Strategies

Brainstorm new strategies that could benefit your organization. Are you using social networking sites like LinkedIn to your advantage? Could you enhance your social media efforts to increase your revenue?

Get Staff Involvement

Call a meeting with your staff members and get their input on how your business could be improved. Be open-minded and encourage everyone to voice his opinion. Create a safe place for sharing ideas and your staff will be more likely to contribute.

Evaluate Ideas

Evaluate the ideas and take a poll to determine which ones your team thinks should be implemented.

Increase the Stakes

Train your staff members so they will be in a better position to help you manage and develop your business. Give them more responsibility and a higher stake in your company’s success.

Consider making sales a weekly requirement for everyone and offering a bonus to the entire team when they generate business. For example, require 10 hours per week on sales and marketing activities.

Reduce Inefficiencies

Eliminate ineffective operations and encourage higher productivity levels.

About the Author: Jody Calkins is a freelance business writer who writes about business development, risk management, security protection, and business standards. Visit www.emeryroad.com for more information and samples.

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How to Maximize Your LinkedIn Experience

Are you utilizing LinkedIn’s full capabilities?

LinkedIn is a great tool for developing your web presence. While you may not experience immediate or direct benefits from your LinkedIn profile, having a robust profile will enhance your credibility with customers and clients.

To maximize your LinkedIn experience, be sure to take advantage of its full features. Here is a list to get you started on the right track.

  1. Set up a profile with biographical information
  2. Upload a photo or company logo
  3. Set up a company profile
  4. Connect with people you know
  5. Request recommendations from your connections
  6. Recommend others
  7. Get introduced to your network’s connections
  8. Find people with similar interests
  9. Ask or answer questions
  10. Join groups
  11. Start discussions
  12. Start a group
  13. Update your status for more exposure
  14. Post jobs
  15. Look for jobs/contract work
  16. Ask for referrals for needed services
  17. Link to your Twitter account
  18. Promote your blog or website
  19. Find events in your area
  20. Learn more about a company or individual

How are you using LinkedIn? Are you utilizing all available features?

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Your Business Continuity Plan: A Risk Management Necessity

Is your business prepared for disastrous events?

Disasters can have a significant impact on your business, preventing you from operating your business efficiently and costing you valuable time, money, and resources.

What happens when a tornado rips through your warehouse and destroys the products that were scheduled to ship that day? Or when your supplier or vendor is unable to provide the service you need to meet a deadline? How about when the power goes out? Are you still able to manage your business and meet your clients’ needs?

There are so many disasters that can have a major impact on your company’s ability to operate. Developing and maintaining a business continuity plan can help you manage your business when disaster strikes.

What is Business Continuity All About?

Business continuity is about being prepared for disasters. It’s about being able to continue business operations and minimize the financial impact a disaster can have on your business.

What does a Business Continuity Plan Involve?

An effective business continuity plan defines a set of procedures a company or individuals should take when a disaster occurs. Information to consider includes:

  • emergency contacts and phone numbers
  • a secondary location if your main building is damaged
  • a procedure for backing up important information
  • a plan for how to proceed if unable to provide service.

An Example

Take my copywriting business, for example. A power outage or internet failure could have a huge impact on my ability to work and meet deadlines. If I am up on a deadline and I don’t have access to my desktop computer or the internet because the power is out, and if I haven’t taken any precautions, I would be unable to deliver the work on time.

The Ripple Effect

What if my client were up on a deadline and needed my work in order to submit their final product? I’m sure the client would understand my situation, provided I had access to his phone number so I could reach him. But would he feel confident enough about hiring me for another writing project? Perhaps not.

So, what can I do to protect my business?

There are a number of things I would need to do in order to ensure that I could deliver my work on time, even during a disaster. True, there could be times when I really wouldn’t be able to do much about the disaster, for example, if the power went out and I got snowed in.

In order to meet my deadlines in the event of a disaster, I would need to have a recent backup of the project I’m working on. So, I need to put my work on a jump drive or send it to myself in an e-mail.

Let’s take this two disasters further and say the jump drive fails and my e-mail server is down. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue because I tend to print out my work, but what if I didn’t?

I would also need an alternative for internet access which would most likely involve driving to the library, and if my e-mail server is down, I would need a separate e-mail account and the e-mail addresses of all recipients.

So, you see, it is important that a company, large or small, have some kind of business continuity plan in place in order to mitigate its risks and help ensure it is able to operate in the event of a disaster.

What does your company need to do to be more prepared?

About the Author: Jody Calkins is a freelance business writer who writes about business development, risk management, security protection, and business standards. Visit www.emeryroad.com for more information and samples.

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