Taking Action for The Future

“The path to success is to take massive,

determined actions.” ―Tony Robbins

These have been strange times indeed; it’s as though the whole world chose to go crazy all at once. Terrible things have happened that have hurt us, and these occurrences have solidified my strong beliefs in building up marginalized communities by BUILDING the people in marginalized communities. Right now, we are all taking a knee for the cause, but while we’re doing that, I say that we need to mentally & spiritually STAND UP, brothers and sisters. At the rate in which hate crimes and stereotypical biases are happening, we’re going to have really sore knees soon. What we need to do is stand up; stand up to the racists and the racism, and the disrespect, and the violence, and the lies. Don’t stop the protest; I’m not saying we should, but we have been backed into a corner by people who hold on too strongly to their theories about us. What we need to do is build. FOR ALL PEOPLE.

The future needs to be inclusive of people of every gender, every color etc and we are the ones who have to build that future. Why? The math is simple: John may not be a bully, but if John has never been bullied, then he does not understand why the bullied people are so hurt, and how he can change it. We, the marginalized ones, in our myriad of colors and faiths, we are the ones who understand the problem because we have felt it, we are the ones who can change things, not the bystander. For this reason, we cannot just wait for things to change, we need to start building systems, platforms and legacies that respect and reward us for the things that we know how to do, our skills and talents, and not how we look or the things people say we typically do.

I know I hardly say things in such a serious tone, but this is #theActionAge, people. We have to make change.

We have to succeed, for today’s generation and the next. And to succeed, we need to take definite action; purposefully planned out actions. Build a business, but don’t just do it, plan for its success. Establish the brand, but don’t take it lightly; it has to succeed. In the same way that we are famous for our music and out athletics, it’s time for us to also begin to intentionally create opportunities that enable our people to be recognized for our intellectual skills as well; our technology skills, our business skills, our writing skills, our marketing skills, all the above skills. It’s time for us to build, and we have to do it purposefully as a great way to attain wealth, but also as a cultural rebrand to change the bad press.

Little girls should not just choose to be teachers or nurses anymore because they already know how hard it is to get other jobs when you’re colored and female. Our young man should be able to go ahead and plunge into any industry, knowing that there are companies that will review his resume and not mind that his name is Kwame or Ahmed. The future is happening as you read this, take action to define it the way you want. We have waited for really long to have equal opportunities; while we wait and ask for it, let us also act to create it.

In the coming articles, I will share with you how you can build a great business brand and how you can enhance your existing business with technology, the one equalizer. I will also be sharing the things that I’m doing to create equal opportunities for the people who have never had them. The time for talking is over; we’re on to the phase of action.

Building Your Small Business Big

“The great danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short;

but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” – Michelangelo

Here’s the thing; businesses are classified according to number of employees and annual revenue, not capacity, appearance or even location. So many people say, “Oh you know, it’s just a small business” and they use this to justify their refusal to grow. I shake my head! There is no such thing as just a small business; a business is a business, is a business. And if there is anything that you can do to scale up and give your business a facelift, take action.

Here are some mistakes small businesses owners make and justify it with the speech about it being just a small business;

  • No representation on digital media

Small business owners make the incredibly terrible mistake of having no digital representation at all, and depending on customers who walk in off the street. This is 2020; first, there is no one walking on the street right now; second, why limit yourself to just your community? The internet has an unbeatable reach that even a sign on the busiest street cannot trump. Digital representation is not just for “big” organizations. Getting your business online costs next to nothing, and you get the opportunity to reach millions of people who want you’re offering.

  • Inconsistent brand style

Most think a brand style means brand color but it is much more than that. Much more. Every brand needs to pick a personality; are you bright and uplifting, or somber and focused? People who are this today and that tomorrow don’t have a lot of friends, because we all want to be sure who we’re dealing with. Define your brand style; pick colors that relate who you are yes, but also a font that communicates your message best, a photography style that resonates with your tone. A brand voice for that tone!

Without a defined brand style, businesses get lost in the crowd. Your brand style is unique and says, “This is us”. Every consumer likes to be able to pick out their favorite brand from all the others. This is not something only “big” companies do, every business needs this.

  • No website

People should not have to drive to your shop to experience your business. Even if you’re trying to give off a mom and pop vibe, you can do that through a website. With a website, people can walk through your business, feel you out, and make a decision about your business without getting out of bed, and everyone wants to be able to do that. Take who you are in person, and pour it into a website, translate it in simple language, and let your target audience get to meet you. Rather than sitting at the counter, reading a book, and attending to three customers a day, you can take orders online and offline, and achieve the goal of your business.

These issues hold back many businesses and they don’t reach their potential because the owners think small means gingerbread house. There is so much that you can do with your small business, opening yourself up to opportunities and leading your target audience to you. This is #theActionAge, and I’m here to help you take action. Follow the articles in #theActionAge series, and get ready to make moves. Which of the listed mistakes have you been making and what are you going to do about it?

Tech It Up a Notch

Enhancing your business with technology

Technology is the one single people equalizer. With tech, everyone has the same opportunities and the same abilities. And that is why, you cannot keep running your business the way your father’s grandfather ran his business.  Oh, no you can’t. I won’t let you.

In this age, the difference between the thriving business and the floating-along business is “how” you do business. I’m not talking about whether you’re a nice person and you smile at every customer, whether you’re honest and you never take advantage of people, whether your counters are clean and you play soothing music, or whether you have a business model and keep records. I’m talking about how you make the lives of your customers easier.

As a business owner, one of your many concerns should be to make transactions with your business as easy as you can afford to make it. Everything from the first hello to receiving the product or service should be easy. People have a lot of frustrating things to deal with every day (the bank, the network provider, the cable company), your business should not be one of them. No matter the size of your business, technology can help you attract new customers, gain more loyal customers by making them happy to do business with you, and of course, increase revenue. Even if you think your business is already pretty accessible, you should still read to the end. There is always a way to make a system better.

Here are some of the areas you can tech up your business so your customers can better enjoy doing business with you;

Communication

With technology, you can make it easy for your customers to communicate with you, whether they want to make a purchase or they want to browse around and find something they like. With a website and an email newsletter, your customers can look through your catalog/portfolio, request a quote, get to know your company goals, and even meet your employee of the month, all without getting up from the couch or leaving work early. To make communication easier, get a good website, and your customers can ask their questions and get quick answers without going through any stress at all. With the right web hosting service such as www.hostandbrag.com and an enthusiastic professional web developer (such as myself), this really does not have to cost much. In fact, you may be surprised at just how inexpensive it is. Customer support and care can be so much easier when you work with tech solutions.

Digital Marketing

With technology, you can reach the people in the world who need your product or service. You can use social media to reach so many people while they’re at home or at the park and scrolling. With email marketing, you can get right in their mailboxes and convince them to buy from you. With SEO, you can be right there when they search for your services, making it easier for people to find you, whether they’re looking or not. This is not the type of reach you can get with a sign spinner or brochures at the airport.

Payment and Delivery

So, you think you’re doing great because people can pay for your products via POS machine? Well, it’s not super delicious enough until they can pay without showing up. Automate payment and delivery. People should be able to look through your shop in Texas, place an order, make payment, and have it delivered to their location of choice, from London or even Africa. Automating payments is so easy now, and it is one of the best things that you can do for your business. Don’t just accept checks and cards, make payments clickable, and make deliveries available.

Technology can put you on a level playing ground with the big boys of the industry. Your business can be side by side with big corporations if you maximize technology. You may not have many employees or a huge bank account, but there is so much that your business can gain from technology; you can increase productivity and get all kinds of professionals on a short term basis to bring your projects to life from websites like www.urrgent.com. I am encouraging you now to start looking up ways to upgrade your business with technology. I’m not just encouraging, in fact, imagine I’m following you about and clapping in your face, “You. Have. Got. To. Up. Grade. Your business.” That should help visually.

It does not matter if you operate from your kitchen counter, your business can be so much more with tech. 

What technology solutions are you most interested in for your business? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll try to give you a hand.

Creating Content for Your Business

Get Out There

 “Create something people want to share.” John Jantsch

Picture this;

Shop 1:

“Hey! I sell stuff. Come. Buy.”

Shop 2:

“Hi! How are you? How are you finding the weather today? Hotter than you expected, right? I know. You must be having trouble remembering all the things you want to buy. That’s why I never go shopping without a list. It saves me a lot of trouble, and a whole lot of money. Without a list, I could need fruits and cereal but leave the store with canned soup and a puppy!”

Which of these shops are you buying from? Definitely the one with all the conversation, unless of course you’re a robot/alien. Everyone wants to feel seen, and heard. Have you ever bought something you didn’t need because you liked the store or the store owner? One of the biggest mistakes that business owners make is thinking that all you need to do in marketing is marketing. It’s not enough. The most important part of your marketing plan is content. Without it, you’re just wasting money on ads and design. People want to be spoken with, and not just spoken to. Content is conversation, and you need to start having some.

Why do you need content for your business?

Content helps to build trust.

What helps people, helps business.Leo Burnett

Until you’re saying something to people, you’re still just a business to them. When you start to share content and actually make effort to talk to them, you become a person, or people. The more content you share, the more relatable you become, and the more your target audience trusts you.

Content is the information you create, publish, promote and share with your specific audience. It is the only way that a business can show their target that they care about them. Ok, it’s one of the ways, but it’s very important. Educational content shows them that you know what you’re doing, and engaging content shows that you know them and you would like to hear from them.

The value that you create with content without asking for anything back makes your audience feel that they can trust you with their patronage. The tips, the advice, the inspirational words, the how to’s, the DIY’s, all of these make people feel that they can trust your intentions towards them, and consequently, your product.

Content helps you to capture attention and keep it.

If you’re not saying something, your target audience is not even going to know you’re there. But with content, you are putting out something for them to see. No one walks into a store without a referral or a sample in the window, just because they thought it might be nice. Your business cannot depend on the actions on “chance”.

Creating and publishing good content is like placing samples in the window, it makes people want to come in and take a look. In this case, good content makes your target audience want to click on see more. More importantly, content gives people the sense of a personal connection with you or your business, and it makes them want to come back, even when your product is not-so-great. People want connections, and these emotional connections can move the wallet more than most things can. Of course, this shouldn’t make you sell products that suck.

No matter the kind of business you do, content will help you immensely. Put up quality content on your website, blog, social media and everywhere else, and you will find yourself with loyal customers, the kind that recommends you without being asked to. Create content that teaches and touches; show people that you care about more than just their money, by giving them something they don’t have to pay for. Start now to create relevant content for your business.

What are your problems with content creation? Talk to me about them, and I’ll do my best to help.

How to Start and Finish Your Project Without Staff

Working with Freelancers – Shout out to www.urrgent.com

Fact 1: You can’t do everything.

Fact 2: If you have to wait until you can gather a team of professionals and put them on a monthly salary, you may never get your project off the ground.

Some people have the funds to get their dream projects started. Some people can get loans to start their projects and finish them. some others from the same side of the street as myself have to make do with the available resources, and that is hardly ever a blank check or a startup loan and a handshake.

Working with freelancers can boost your business greatly and cost effectively. For every business, there are dozens of goals and scores of tasks that need to be done to achieve those goals, whether the business is just starting or has already started. At this stage, hiring staff may mean that you have to hire many staff, pay them, provide onboarding packages, and host (digital) office parties where the same staff would get drunk and confess that they hate their jobs. This is why the best way to get projects done is by working with freelancers.

Here’s something you should know about freelancers; their business depends on their reputations, so they have to be nice to you. They give you great service, you give them a great review and pay their fee. It’s a win-win situation. Freelancers are generally happy people, mostly because they don’t have probation, suspension or termination hanging over their heads. Freelancers mostly do only work that they like and think they will enjoy, and the experienced ones know when to turn down projects. So, when a freelancer agrees to work on your project, you can be sure that they intend to give it their 100% and make sure you’re satisfied. Freelancers don’t complain about work hours and uncomfortable environments, because they work whenever and wherever they want to. If you had that, you would be pretty chill too.

Here’s how to start and finish those projects that have been on your mind for years;

  1. Outline the project

Before you start to put anyone to work on a project, you need to outline it clearly. Point out and mark the exact deliverables that you will be needing to get it done. A lot of times, people fall out with the freelancers they hire because they do not think their expectations were met. Meanwhile, it usually turns out that they were not clear about what they wanted. This is why it is important that you thoroughly map out the project. Your project should have a clear timeline. If you do not create a timeline, you just might be “finishing” forever. You need to set a timeline with your outline so you can actually meet your goals and on time too. With a clear outline, you know exactly what you need to hire for, the exact things you need to get done, and how much time it should take.

  1. Select a freelancer

Go to a freelancing site such as www.urrgent.com, and sign up. When you have done this, search for the services you want, and scour through the list of names and faces until you find that one that clicks; it’s like shopping.

Tip: A large number of reviews does not always mean that the freelancer is the best.

When you have selected a freelancer, send him/her details of the project, and give them the opportunity to clarify any missing links. It is also important that you communicate with your freelancer regularly to ensure that you are on the same page. A good freelancer is like a ninja; no fluff, no buzz, they just get things done, fast and affordably.

With a clear outline, and a good freelancer or freelancers, you can get anything done, you can even form a team of freelancers who can help you get stuff done in short time. Freelancers aim for excellence, so that they can be called back for another job. They are the butter to the bread of a new business.

Whatever you need to do, you can do with freelancers; they are assets to every business and small businesses especially. If you’re ready to check out some freelancers, you can find them here on www.Urrgent.com.

What has been stopping you from starting your project? Did this article help?

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