I did not want the full weekend to pass by without making a few suggestions for weekend reading. I’ve found that Sunday evenings are a great time to start to get back into work mode–but only a bit. My boss at Merrill Lynch, who saw a negative-connotation to how people felt about Sunday evenings and going back to the grind on Monday mornings, called it the “60 Minutes Syndrome.” Perhaps you, as the readers of this blog, can comment on when you would like The Webvantix Suggestionator delivered; what do you think: Friday afternoon, or Sunday evenings? Let us know your thoughts and I’ll listen…here are this weekend’s suggestions:
I hope you find these posts interesting and useful. Be sure to let me know your thoughts on delivery of this post topic. Readers have told me they love the suggestions, as they are both timely and topical. Now I just have to dial in the optimum delivery schedule.
As an expert in the field of business transformation, one of my client’s goals (and therefore my goals) is to grow the company’s top line. In economic times, this isn’t as easy to do, but by applying some fundamental concepts, the result is a great growth plan in the double digits.
The great thing about these concepts, is that they are transferable to any size business, any industry and any geography. You can, and should, do them as part of your annual operational and financial review, or strategy planning sessions. It’s not rocket science, it’s straightforward and just requires some discipline to get it done.
1. Focus on your core business, outsource everything else
Most companies and business owners think that they need to do everything in house to control the work that gets done and the cost it takes to get the work done. This is not so. There are processes and tasks that you are not an expert at, but other companies are, which is how they make their money. An example is accounting. Why do you need to hire an accountant and pay salary and benefits, when you can hire an independent accountant at a reasonable rate, or an IT person? Why hire when you can outsource? Even sales can be outsourced; there are lots of companies where there are sales people for hire. Focus on investing time and money into what generates “revenue” for your company or business. New products and services are what are going to bring in the cash, so use cash to improve or develop new ones.
2. Calculate SG&A monthly
Whether you are a 2 person shop or a 1000 person company, knowing what your overhead is monthly and keeping it within 10-12% is mandatory. Benchmark says that 8% is best practice, so if you are above 16%, your business is going to have trouble making a profit. If you apply #1, you won’t have this issue. If you are a bigger company, make it someone’s responsibility to track and report on this diligently, and drill down into each dept. or function to get their SG&A, as well as the overall number. This is an area where you will see poor organization and process design show up. If you have a poor structure and poor processes, you will need more people to get things done, hence higher SG&A.
3. Don’t hire a PR/Advertising/Marketing firm, hire a Social Media expert
If you are new business or a business trying to grow, advertising and marketing is critical to your success. Many companies hire expensive PR/Advertising firms to get the word out about their product or service, but that’s a mistake. Traditional marketing programs have been
replaced email and social media campaigns, which are easy to develop and have a low customer acquisition costs. But remember what I said in item #1. If you aren’t an expert, don’t try to do it yourself, hire someone who is an expert and you will reap the rewards. Groupon, KGdeals and Living social get the word out to tens of thousands of people in one email. Yes, they take a percentage and you need to discount your service, but you will make it up in volume. And Facebook and Twitter are excellent ways to build brand awareness without ever spending a dime.
4. Surround yourself with people who “believe” in what you do:
Whether it’s a product or service, it doesn’t matter, you can tell when someone is passionate about it. They lean forward, their eyes light up and they are usually smiling. But more importantly, they can walk the talk. I don’t care if you are selling toilet plungers, the person should be excited about them and be able to present back to you the “why” toilet plungers are such an awesome product.
How do you get them to prove that they “believe” in what you do? Before you interview them, send them your website, a presentation or even a product, and let them do a 10 minute presentation to you about why they like the product or service. Can include a PowerPoint, props, or whatever they see fit. But it will let you know if this person is in it for the money or because they like what you do. This goes for accountants, programmers, customer service, it’s not about what they will do, that’s all technical and in the resume, it’s how they will perform.
5. Don’t take people’s advice
When I first decided I wanted to go off on my own and start my own advisory firm, everyone told me my model wouldn’t work. I mean, it challenged the status quo. We did everything fixed fee, we “gave” the clients the tools and processes we used and trained them on how to use them so they could do the work themselves, and most of all, we were honest and transparent. We did what was RIGHT, not what generated the most money, which is the typical model for consulting/advisory firms. I also wanted to focus on a niche market of restructuring and transformation, and furthermore, work with PE funds, since they had the most interest in cutting costs to grow profit, which was our tagline.
I knew in my gut that it was the right thing to do, and given the fact my parents always stressed to follow my gut, because it would never fail me, I left the firm I was at and started NexGen Advisors. We booked $8M of business in 8 months. Yeah, exactly.
So, do yourself a favor, and listen to your gut, not your friends and colleagues. You’ll never be sorry.
Carla Zilka is the Founder and Principal Advisor of NexGen Advisors, LLC, a global restructuring and transformation firm taking companies from Good to Great. She is the author of Business Restructuring: An Action Template for Reducing Cost and Growing Profit, and CEO Confidential, due out March 2012. (Read more about Ms. Zilka in About the Author in the sidebar)
Here is a video that shows the steps to add the Facebook Like Box widget to your WordPress site or WordPress blog.
The text instructions are pretty straightforward:
Term (from Dropdown)>Facbook Like Box>Search
Find Facbook Like Box Widget>Drop into appropriate place in Sidebar
Adjust Settings>Copy and Paste Facebook Page URL
Adjust Additional Settings Desired>Save
Go your site>Refresh>Facbook Like Box should appear (adjust width if necessary)
I hope this little video and the instructions have helped you get the Facebook Widget onto your site! (Feel Free to “Like” Webvantix over in our sidebar, if you like
Be sure and let us know if this worked for you, or if you have any problems!
One of the things Robert Scoble (@scobleizer, Scobleizer) mentions from time to time is how amazed he is at how many bad websites there are out there–and we are right there with him. There are too many that are just terrible!
Here’s a thought: If you were going to hire an estate attorney to ensure that your financial wishes were carried out and you arrived at his office and it was in a beaten up building, with a florescent light bulb flickering as you walked down the hallway, you probably would not be that impressed. Same thing with businesses websites!
Like it or not, our websites are a peek at the soul of our companies. Often potential customers will judge you, rightly or not, by first impressions, and now where do your potential customers first go? To your website, of course.
When Global Disposal of San Diego hired Webvantix they had a great deal of trepidation as to whether or not we could create a new look for them that was up to their expectations. They wanted a site that was going to knock it out of the park, look clean and professional and set the standard in their region.
So, what’s your opinion, did we deliver the goods?
Global Disposal BEFORE Webvantix
Global Disposal AFTER Webvantix
Obviously a much cleaner, fresher look that is much easier on the eyes. The idea of the page is that it systematically directs the site visitors to select three specific Calls to Action (Cost Reduction Services, Express Valet, Intelligent Management), that will then ‘silo’ those visitors to the most appropriate page that suits their needs.
The idea of “Siloing” your visitors to the page that is most appropriate for them is to:
Minimize Bounce Minimizing the number of people that land on your site and do not go any deeper than the one page they landed upon.
Give the People What They Want Get your site’s visitors to the absolute most appropriate information they are seeking at that very moment.
Dramatically Increase Conversions By helping your site visitors arrive at the page that most suits their needs.
Turn Site Visitors into New Business Leads As your site visitors have then easily and quickly found exactly what they are seeking, offer them a Call to Action (“Request a Proposal, “Let’s Work Together, or “How Can We Help Your Business”) that turns them into a new business lead and and a new revenue source!
In my opinion, there are too many companies out there that ignore their websites, and don’t utilize them as a tool to leverage more revenue.
What’s your opinion? Did we knock it out of the park for Global Disposal?
Want to learn more about “Siloing Visitors to Landing Pages? Take a look at this post/video HERE
I literally just got this book and have started it. The premise seems very interesting, that there are ways to begin to measure the return that social media gives your company.
If you’ve read it, what did you think–the reviews are a bit mixed. I got it on Kindle for $9.99. It’s also on iBooks, yet for some strange reason, it’s literally twice as much. When I’ve read it all, I will offer a much more comprehensive review, as this is an important topic for most business owners, right now.
In my previous life, working on Wall Street, my firm wanted us to learn about insurance. Not the most thrilling of subjects, but one idea that was imparted has always suck with me: People don’t want insurance, until the need insurance. And as I’ve moved from my 20s, through my 30s and now in my, gulp, 40′s I have realized how incredibly accurate that statement is; it’s simply, spot-on.
For most people, securing their blog is exactly the same. I’ve heard “my blog got hacked” on several occasions, and my first question is, what did you do to secure it? I always get a stammered response–”secure it?” “How do I do that?” At that point its too late to close the barn door, as the bull’s already in the pasture!
So, here are five more, highly-rated, security oriented plugins (with links directly to the plugin’s website) that you should check out, they won’t cost you a thing, and no insurance salesman will be knocking on your door!
WP Security Scan A great plugin that scans your blog and highlights any vulnerabilities. An absolute must have.
I was recently speaking to a customer whose doggie daycare website we just completed. She indicated to me that her existing customers love the new site, as it gave them the ability to quickly make a reservation for their pet online–a feature their previous website had (contact form), but it was not set up from a “Call to Action” button(learn more about Calls to Action here).
Essentially, she indicated to me that customers and potential customers were doing exactly what we had created the site to do–selecting the Call to Action button “Make a Reservation” and, here’s the interesting part, instead of being taken to another page, and having to wait for that page to load (risking losing a reservation), we created an overlay that instantly appears with all the query information for the client or prospect to fill out.
(Here’s an example of one of the interior pages “Doggie Day Care.” Notice the “Make A Reservation” Call to Action button)
Copyright Webvantix, LLC
(When the “Make A Reservation” button is selected, the overlay instantly appears!)
Copyright Webvantix, LLC
So, did we reinvent the wheel? Absolutely not, but what do customers HATE to do? Answer: Waste Time! Not only do they not want to dial the phone, go through the selections (Push one for____), or even worse–leave a message, customers don’t even want to wait for a new page to load. So why not minimize the risk of losing a customer?
A few weeks ago I wrote about Spoon Feeding your site’s visitors, and this is just another way to do that. Give them exactly what they want, let them find it easily, and give them fast access. Then they’re off to the next thing on their to-do list, and you’re website is generating income for you! Yes, Ma Bell is dead, and because of the pace at which we live, we are all to blame!
Is your website turbocharged for your customers? Do you want your site to give you faster conversions? Click Here, and perhaps we can help!