Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Is your business model too rigid? Forbes Article says maybe!



By: Stan Washington
Date: December 10, 2013

Forbes Article has some wonderful words describing how people jump the gun before they have their business ready.  Take it from me, business development takes an extreme amount of time and for those who
are doing your business part time, I would suggest hiring people to do many aspects of your business as quickly as possible.

Check out the article:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2013/01/24/the-7-worst-marketing-blunders-small-businesses-make/

Here are my thoughts:

Plan to grow!
I know you have heard me say this before!  Plan, plan plan but do not go into analysis paralysis!  How are you going to get new clients? What is your real pipeline?  Social Media is nice, but are you really meeting people?

Develop new products and services
There is nothing worse than a stale one trick business.  Your clients expect more from you than one idea. If you desire repeat business then you may have to discover new lines of business.

Develop a compelling story
Are you making a compelling statement to purchase your product or do you sound like everyone else?  Why you? Why your product?

Revisit your pricing
Are you too low?  Yes I said it. People need to value your services and if it's too low they will think it is not a value.  On the other hand, be careful not to price yourself out of the market.

By revisiting your plan you can determine where you need to put your energy!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Expiring Tax Credits and Being Prepared for Year End 2013

By: Stan Washington
Date: December 04.2013

T'is the season to be jolly, thankful and prepared! Yes it's that time of year where we want to relax and enjoy in many festivities, but are you prepared to relax? I remember one year I worked extremely hard and was too busy to focus on taxes.  My accountant asked for my documents and I had a pile of garbage.

She looked at me and shook her head with a despondent stare.  Her retort was "Come back to me when you are prepared." Okay, she wasn't that harsh but it felt that way!

Start Preparing for Taxes NOW
Why not start collecting your documentation now.  Before you schedule your next party, schedule time for collecting documents and summarizing your year. I have included tax credits to prepare you for your conversation with your accountant. You should schedule a meeting before the year ends.

Expiring tax credit full document: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43124.pdf


Bank Statements
I don't know about your bank, but mine makes it easy to access statements online for one (1) year. This means you need to collect your statements from last December until now if you haven't done so already.

Other Considerations
Have you done charity work? Do you have miles listed for business expenses? Have you tallied all operational expenses? Are you missing tax credits you are unaware of? Do you have an opportunity to get a credit in the next three weeks? Are you aware of the filing date for next year? (There is a two week delay extending the start of the season to February 04, 2014). Is your hardware fully depreciated? Should you purchase computer and other hardware now?

Filing season link:http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/2014-Tax-Season-to-Start-Later-Following-Government-Closure;-IRS-Sees-Heavy-Demand-As-Operations-Resume

Being prepared will help you reduce your heartache and headaches!

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Visit http://www.careercoachoffice.com to do online invoicing today!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What comes up when you Google your company?


By: Stan Washington
Date: December 03, 2013

After Google-ing "Is Illinois..." I noticed a strange thing, the auto-complete gave me a list of suggestions asked about the state of Illinois.  Go to Bloomberg Businessweek to see what people are looking up about the state you live in. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-12-03/the-united-states-of-google-an-autofill-atlas#r=recent

After seeing what people are asking about states, I thought about small business owners who struggle to get their company recognized by the large search engines.  Their business barely shows up.  Have a friend type in the name of your business into Google and see if they can find you.  Of course you can find you, but will your customers?

Optimize your web page with SEO rich keywords
Search Engine Optimization is probably one of the most important things you can do to make people find you.  Most people only look at the first or second page of a search before giving up and changing to a new search. Use keywords on your page that will enable people to find you!

Get a Google+ Account
Yes, that's right I said it! Another social media tool you have to keep track of.  This one is emerging to be important though.  Google is positioning themselves to compete against Facebook and lifting your company's name to the front page of the search simply by having an account.  The more places you are, the more your name will show up in the search.




Use Social Media to mention your website
Place the name of your website in blogs, Facebook posts, tweets and any other communication vehicles you can. This becomes a referrer to your page and helps people find you!

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http:www.careercoachoffice.com helps people find you by giving you your own web presence page! Try it today!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Do your clients understand what you are saying?

By: Stan Washington
Date: December 02, 2013

Original Story and pictures
http://www.businessinsider.com/dialects-of-american-english-2013-12

If you would have told me there are more than 24 dialects in America before I read this article, I would have said you were crazy.  Four at the most, maybe five!  Business Insider quotes Robert Delaney who studied regional dialects in America. This map lists 24 or more dialects in America.  Read the article for more detail on each dialect.

How Can Dialects Affect Your Message?
If you are using regional references in your communication, you may be confusing potential clients and losing business.  In Chicago we say "Da Bears" which may not translate well if I'm speaking about "Da business!" Neutralize your regional references because you are facing a national or global client.

Does Your Humor Translate?
I have read many of your articles and some of the humor does not translate across regions very well.  Connect with your friends in other regions and ask their opinion of what you are writing.  This opinion can save you from sending out something offensive.

Look at Other Regions
Where are you getting your information from?  If you are getting local information, then maybe it's time for you to read news from other cities to get a fresh perspective. Check out what's going on in different countries, states or cities to round out your communication. Your clients will appreciate your broad perspective,


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Visit http://www.careercoachoffice.com and try out our client management tool. Your clients can log on and get the custom plan you built for them! 
Not Just for coaches!
Great for any small business! 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

You Talkin' to Me? (How are you treating your potential clients?)



Original picture and Article from Mashable:http://mashable.com/2013/11/25/customer-relationships/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-bus-link

By: Stan Washington
Date: November 26, 2013

What Sales Approach Works?

I recently spoke to a number of small business owners and they had different ways to approach sales. One person was very bold and direct and another was shy and timid. Both had sagging sales and both need to consider rethinking how they handle their potential client

Pressure Cooker Approach
"What would it take to get you in one of these?" seems like the cheesiest line from the used car salesman. The pressure sales tactic leaves a terrible taste in everyone's mouth. After a while you get a reputation that you are only there to sell your house with the leaky roof built on a graveyard.

Whisper and Run Approach
"I have a product to try" whispered the shy person. When people said "No!" they ran for cover! This shows a lack of confidence in your own product. People will try to test to see if you believe in your own product. If you don't then they will run away from you and your scary service.

Bad Mouthing the Opponent Approach
"They don't have what I have! They are bad and I am good" makes the potential client ask "How can I trust you?" This approach seems slimy and uncomfortable. It seems like you will do and say anything to get my cash.

All the approaches listed above use one common style. They talk "AT" the potential client.

Build the Relationship Approach
"Let's address your problem together" is the statement that resonates with your potential client.  By understanding your clients' needs, you can provide a great solution to even the simplest problems they face.  This requires keeping notes on each potential client and client.

Yes it's easy to remember facts about 10 or 12 clients but when you get over 50 forget it! Some small business owners had 2,000 and 3,000 people they had to keep track of and there was no way to do it without software!

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Try keeping powerful notes on each potential client to land the deal with at http://www.careercoachoffice.com. Try it FREE today!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Is a BOOK in your future in 2014?

By: Stan Washington
Date: November 22,2013

Continuing on trends for 2014, one that seems to be emerging is picturesque cookbooks with easy to follow steps.  I remember the cookbooks of old... full of words and expectations that I had knowledge of how to turn on the stove.  Today this could be further from the truth. People want pictures.

Check out this article from Entrepreneur Magazine

Publishing Trend for 2014: A New Demand for Eye-Catching Cookbooks


Technology Relating to Book Publishing
What does this have to do with technology you ask? I decided to investigate and found some interesting sites that you may use to self-publish your book. In fact with a few clicks, you are a published author on Amazon!

I looked up some sources for you


Kindle Direct Publishing
https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin
This relatively easy process takes minutes to set up and you can publish any book any subject.  Please keep it professional! I suggest hiring an editor.










25 things you need to know about self publishing
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-18438_7-10119891-82/self-publishing-a-book-25-things-you-need-to-know/

CNET has some great tips regarding self publishing.








CreateSpace
https://www.createspace.com/

Yes this is Amazon again!  They are going to own the world one day. They aspire to be all things "books" and they purchased BookSurge and CreatSpace and merged them under the CreateSpace brand.  Again, very easy to publish!



Lulu
http://www.lulu.com/
Lulu has been around for a while.  They have great resources regarding writing that book and self-publishing. They even challenge you to think e-book!



In all cases the first thing for you to do is start!  You have had the idea cooking for a number of years, so why not write it down and publish it?



Career Coach Office
http://www.careercoachoffice.com

When you self publish your book why not let everyone know about it using E-Mail marketing?  This is the most cost effective way to directly tell them about your great book.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Smaller is Bigger for Marketing in 2014

By: Stan Washington
Date November 21, 2013

Original Article: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/229806

What is your primary message? Whatever it is you have to get to the point these days! With smaller devices and access from anywhere, people expect small slivers of advertising versus the dying ONE minute segment. If you can't wow the consumer in 160 characters (Text) or 140 characters (Twitter) or 6 seconds (Instagram / Vine) you're being too verbose!

Here is how you should prepare:

Reduce your message - Practice tweeting your message today.  Twitter forces you into a 140 character concise message. Reference material is not good for this format.

A picture is worth a 1000 words - Can you say your message with pictures? The trend is to be able to post a picture related to your material for the ever growing visual community.

Did you know pictures increase the likelihood of your message being read by 75%?

Trash the old - Your website is one of your most powerful web tools and if you have old, stale information on it, then your potential client will question your business.

in 2014, brevity will be key!  Create a marketing plan that includes smaller bursts more frequently!

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Visit us at http://www.careercoachoffice.com and start your e-mail marketing campaign today!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It's almost year end, do you know where your finances are?

By: Stan Washington
Date: November 19, 2013

Here are some great tips from the Examiner
Reference http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Career-Coach-Office-4668076?trk=groups_network_updates-h-dsc

In the current economic climate, effectively managing your business finances is more important than ever. Below are ten useful tips to help you manage your business finances:
Keep a record of your transactions
Always keep an accurate record of your transactions. Whether it’s for an annual tax payment, a yearly audit, or just assessing your balance sheet, keeping a record of your debit and credits can prove to be very important further on down the line.
Keep personal and business accounts separate
Separating your personal accounts from your business accounts will save you from confusion and protect your business in case of a tax audit. By keeping everything separate, you will be able to manage bills and taxes more efficiently.
Protect your personal assets
It’s important that you take action to protect your personal assets, failure to do so may give creditors access to personal assets such as your house car etc. to pay for any debts. Many entrepreneurs put all of their assets on the line, and if their business fails, they don’t recover anything. But there are a number of ways to minimize any risk; you can do this by formal a legal business entity that will provide you with liability protection.
Save as much as possible
You should try to save as much money as possible each month, whether it’s in a bank or assets to recoup any unfortunate liabilities which may arise in the future. Investing in assets that will provide a return will also make your money work for your business.
Plan your finances
Financial planning is more important than ever. It will determine how much money you will need to meet your financial goals and objectives.Accountants are your closest allies when it comes to strategically planning and managing your finances. If you don’t have the budget to hire the services of an accountant, consider using online accountancy software.
Know your financial situation
You should monitor the financial progress of your business on a weekly basis. You should also know exactly how much money you have in the bank, the amount of sales your making and how much stock you have left. At the end of every month you should review your financial position against the targets that were set in your business plan.
Find a reliable bank to partner your business
If you have a limited amount of capital, you should find a reliable bank that are able to provide you with the right financial help without paying high interest rates. It’s also recommended that you open a checking account. But only use the checking account for business purposes.
Charge what your worth
This can be tough for some businesses. Don’t try to undercut other businesses just to get extra work in, charge what you feel your products or services are worth.
Meet tax deadlines
Failure to submit tax returns and payments on time can be very costly as you’ll incur hefty fines and daily charges. These are unnecessary costs that you can avoid via forward planning. There are a number of ways that you can reduce your tax reliabilities and it’s important that you get the correct tax advice to ensure you take full advantage of them.
Chase any unpaid debts
If you have any unpaid debts, don’t just leave them. It’s your money that’s tied up in someone else’s business and it’s likely that you’re not in business to finance theirs. You can write your own first reminder and final demand letters, but if this doesn’t get you anywhere you may need to use a debt collection service.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Beware: Phone Scammers Impersonating IRS according to NBC Today


By: Stan Washington
Date November 07, 2013

The IRS has alerted taxpayers that the bad guys are pretending to be the IRS and are using a phone system to display the correct IRS phone number, according to NBC Today.


Avoid Phone Scammers by screening your calls
Pick up or not to pick up, that is the question. Do you have a sophisticated phone routing system? If not then you may need to screen your calls.  I have noticed an uptick in robot calls and scammers in recent months.

Take Down a Number and Verify
According the the IRS, the scammers can become belligerent and threaten to send the call recipient to jail. Remain calm, take down their number and contact the IRS or the agency they are impersonating.

How Broad is this?
There has been a report of a scam in every state. It takes a while to catch criminals like this so be on guard and be prepared. 

Here is the link to the IRS:
http://www.irs.gov/uac/Latest-News
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Please visit http://www.careercoachoffice.com if you desire safe and secure online payments, e-mail marketing and Client management all in one! Try it today!


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Can your personality dictate how much you earn?


By: Stan Washington
Date: 11/06/13

According to Time Magazine, your income is dictated by your personality type. Wait a minute!?? You mean if I'm on the far side of being a shy introvert I would earn less than the boisterous windbag extrovert? Yes, that's what this article says.

Do you agree?

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Career Coach Office helps you market you business no matter what style you have. Visit http://www.careercoachoffice.com and try it today!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Do I need cash to start my Start-Up?


By: Stan Washington
Date: 11/05/2013

On a recent radio program I was asked the question "where do I get money to start my business?" My answer to him was "start your business before you get the cash!"  This shocked the audience and the radio host! She paused and regrouped and asked me the question "Start your business before you get funding? What do you mean?"

Here is what was behind my answer... Too many people jump into business for the wrong reason or without having a plan or by thinking it's an escape from corporate.  They think of a nice business idea without thinking through the financials of what it will truly take to operate their business on a larger scale. Here are my thoughts

Before investing a large amount prototype your concept!
Take your concept before a very small audience on a much smaller scale to see if the concept works.  It is worth the investment to understand all aspects of your business concept before you send your concept out to a large audience.

Work out the kinks before you ask for money
There is nothing worse than making a lot of noise about your product or service and having it fail the day you open the doors. By starting small, you can work out the bugs in your processes while understanding the landscape.

Fully understand your spend
What is the true total cost of ownership?  Have you looked at all costs of your business or have you only figured up how things will work in a perfect world? You may need help here to determine all costs you may run into for your business.

Consider crowdfunding
Many people are raising capital through grass roots efforts and bartering.  Sites like Kickstarter have become a way of raising capital from many sources.  Make sure you know all terms and conditions before jumping in.

How will you pay your investors?
Once you raise money, remember... It's NOT yours! Yes you now have room to breathe but you must track all investors and determine a way to pay dividends in your company.  They invested in order to make money off of your concept so make sure you factor this in before you seek cash!

Listen to the full broadcast on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpsG2viMA7I


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Please visit us at http://www.careercoachoffice.com as a low cost investment to running your small business! Instantly start growing your business today!


Friday, November 1, 2013

Business Over the Phone



By: Stan Washington
Date: November 1, 2013

I laughed as I tripped over a piece of archaeology in my driveway last month.  I picked up the relic and removed it from its bag. It was a phone book! It brought forth memories of when gas was 50 cents and travel agents existed.

This relic reminded me that the use of phone has changed over the years.

 I actually had a conversation about home line versus cell phone versus business lines and here is what we ran into.


Are Toll Free Numbers still a viable option?
I would say it depends on the business. In the 80's, 800 numbers were a must for businesses, but so were the yellow pages. Ask yourself, does it save my customers money? Vanity numbers could be a draw and it depends on the size of your business whether you need to have a toll free number these days.

Should I get rid of my land line?
I have seen more of a movement to drop the expense of a land line and move to cell phone only business.  Again, it depends on how many people are in your business and do you need to share the phone number?

How do I get on the No Call List?
visit https://www.donotcall.gov/ and register your number.  Please note that you can only register so many numbers and there may be other limits.

How do you communicate with global clients?
Global reach can be expensive.  Many people are trading in their phones for web conference communication, but the meeting has to be set up in advance.  Voice over IP (VoIP) has many groups that offer free service as well as paid. I like VoIP but do you have to speak to the person? Can you go to web technology instead?

Should I use a virtual number?
Virtual numbers are nice especially when you don't have a brick and mortar business. They offer messaging services that can send the voice mail as an audio file to your e-mail. Is your business ready for multiple numbers? Do you have sales, support and other departments?

How should I use call routers and voice-mail?
Brevity is key!  It's annoying to call a business with a long message with twenty routing  options.  Keep messaging and routing options simple. Please drop the temptation to oversell while your client is on hold but mention upcoming products.

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www.careercoachoffice.com



Friday, October 25, 2013

Career Coach Office Featured on Naperville News Channel 17 (Business Connection Show)


In a recent interview, Stan Washington (Founder and President of Career Coach Office) revealed the latest version of the software is now open to small businesses of all types. He also mentioned workshops and consulting for small businesses especially start-ups.

Twitter - @CCoachOffice
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/CareerCoachOffice
Website - http://www.careercoachoffice.com

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Honestly we can't find you on the web!


By: Stan Washington
Date: October 22, 2013

I recently added about 50 contacts and in my usual way, I visit their website and social media presence.  Out of the 50, a dismal 8 people had Facebook pages, 17 had Twitter accounts, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube were nonexistent. I went to a popular search engine, typed in a person's business name and their site did not show up.

Here is what you should do right now:

1. Google Your business name - If you don't show up then your "Web Presence" is too low!

2. Have your friends search for your business name in Facebook. It took me several tries, but I finally found some of you! You will always find you because your page is connected to you.

3. Put your big girl and boy pants on and grow your network!  Get on social media and increase your web presence!

If Social Media isn't in your plans, you may want to rethink your strategy. Your clients will be looking for you in some interesting places. Check out this Forbes article:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2013/09/24/the-top-7-social-media-marketing-trends-that-will-dominate-2014/2/

Get your FREE "Web Presence" page when you sign up at http://www.careercoachoffice.com


Monday, October 14, 2013

Tech Biz of Coaching: De-cluttering my home office made me productive

Tech Biz of Coaching: De-cluttering my home office made me productive: by: Stan Washington Date: October 14, 2013 Working from a home office has its rewards but can be distracting at times. The ava...

De-cluttering my home office made me productive



by: Stan Washington
Date: October 14, 2013

Working from a home office has its rewards but can be distracting at times. The availability of "home" stuff like television, neighbors and errands used to find their way on my daily to do list and distract me from executing my daily business plan, but not anymore.  The main distraction seems to be organization. 

I don't know what has happened over the past year but I seem to be getting more paper than ever before!  Here are a few tips:

Clean my house in the morning - The first thing I do is clean my kitchen. I wipe down every surface and put away everything in its place. I do this before I grab my morning coffee!

Online Banking - I have switched over to on-line banking and I receive my monthly statements on-line. I can download my statement and e-mail the information to my accountant. I pay for business related items online and I don't remember the last time I wrote a check.

Handle a piece of paper twice - I was actually taught that I was only supposed to handle a piece of paper once, but who am I fooling?  I still get mail, paper invoices, articles, doctors' instructions, periodicals and statements from companies who haven't moved their processes on-line.  I look at the information to make sure nothing is pressing.  I then file the documents in their proper place on Friday. 


Create a directory structure that makes sense - I know this is tiny but many don't do it.  I have folders for everything on e-mail and I have the same folder structure on my computer.  I also back up my information in the cloud or on an external hard-drive. (I just bought a 1 TB drive for $60 and backed up all my files.
Company Name
           Accounting
           Marketing
           Projects / Workshops
           Client Documents

Delete or trash old files - Ask yourself... "Do I really need the file from 1997?" If you haven't looked at it this year, then the idea or thought is probably old. (I'm giving you a lot of leeway here)!  I finally got rid of an award certificate from one of my first companies in the 80's. I chose one or two memory items and chunked the rest.

Time box decluttering efforts - I only give my decluttering efforts 2 hours. I usually wind up making phone calls and doing other administrative tasks during this time but I can definitely benefit from scheduling this effort.  I can think better when I'm not cluttered!






Visit http://www.careercoachoffice.com and organize yourself today!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Your clients can sense your loneliness from your website!

By: Stan Washington
Date: October 11, 2013

I make it a point to visit as many websites as possible on a daily basis.  In fact this year I believe I have seen over 3000+ sites and I have observed a very "lonely" group of people!  How can I tell they are lonely? Just by what they say and their lack of "web presence."


Twitter - I visited someones twitter page and they had ONE lonesome tweet from last year which showed a lack of commitment to this social tool. People are interested in your current information.

Benefit - Quick concise messages with reference links help people find information quickly increasing your presence.


Pintrest - On the other hand I saw some interesting business ideas on Pinterest. Some have taken pictures with their smiling clients holding their product. I don't know why, but I felt this business owner wasn't lonely rather quite engaged with their client.

Benefit - Cool points with your clients if you can swing it. Oh and don't forget brand recognition.




Facebook - Where are you?  I went to some websites and couldn't get to several Facebook business pages. When I arrived on some of the pages I saw pictures of great grandkids and the dog eating chicken soup. Please keep your business page professional!

Benefit - Maximum reach! With over a billion people using Facebook, this cannot be ignored as a tool that will assist in your growth.





Google+ - Someone said to me , "I'm already on enough social tools." My response... "They already have too much business and it must be time to hire and expand, otherwise get on as many social tools as possible."

Benefit - The more mentions your company has within Google's suite of applications, the higher you appear
on their search engine results.


LinkedIn - The grandad of all things social has truly added some nice business apps that enable small business owners to tell people about their company every time they post or connect with someone.

Benefit - Viewed as the most professional way to connect with clients and potential clients.




YouTube - Here is another avenue where people are missing. I noticed a lack of video presence from many small businesses.  Just point a camera in front of yourself and say hello.

Benefit - We are in a very visual time. The more you can present yourself and your products in a visual way the more it will be received.



Career Coach Office - I noticed people were not using a database to keep track of clients and potential clients.  How in the world can the small business owner keep track of all those facts?

Benefit - CRM and Client Management on steroids! Invoicing and E-mail marketing are included and there is a free "Web Presence" page that increases the visibility for those who have a website and provides an inexpensive immediate solution for those who do not.





All of these applications are now expected by your clients.  Start using them today to maximize your web presence!













Thursday, October 10, 2013

Is Technology Too Confusing to Use?

By: Stan Washington
Date: October 10, 2013

After meeting with a number of small business owners, it became very apparent they were not using technology to it's fullest. No offense to the dinosaur tools of paper phone-books and newspapers but I can't remember the last time I used either for my business needs.

Technology is supposed to make our lives so much easier, but is it making it more complicated?


I did an informal poll at a conference of small business owners and found some surprising results around technology.  This is my world and according to my narrow thinking, everyone was using it to its fullest! Well my technology utopia was shattered when I talked with people.



Business Website - I was thoroughly surprised to find a whopping 38% of the people we polled still have not invested in a website of some kind.  There are so many tools to build sites yourself, but then again we believe in technology!

Facebook Page - I was not as surprised to find 45% of those polled still did not use a Facebook page. Content tends to be the issue. Many small business owners don't like creating their own content to post.

Twitter Account - The low number of 43% of our poll takers using a Twitter Account was not a surprise.  Since they are afraid of generating content for Facebook, then they feel the same way about Twitter.

LinkedIn Page - Some of our poll takers did not even know this was an option for them.  They confused having a business page with being part of a discussion group.

E-Mail Marketing - This was another surprise to me.  Those who did not have a website used E-mail marketing to spread the word about their business.  I still wondered what they are using as a landing page to discuss their products and services.

We have seen as much as a 40% increase in business awareness of those who use e-mail marketing campaigns over those who use referral only.

Online Invoicing - Word documents converted to PDF was the prevalent method of doing invoices.  Many were still concerned about the cost of using credit/debit cards. What is the cost of not accepting this form of payment? According to CreditCards.com:

Credit card users surveyed in 2012 who used their cards to buy:
    Clothing: 67 percent
    Gas: 64 percent
    Food: 64 percent
    Travel: 62 percent

Credit and debit cards are here to stay.  Cost avoidance may mean business avoidance.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) - E-mail phone-books and lists were still the tool of choice.  Some said they tried CRM but felt it didn't do much for them. Our experience is different.

Jobs and business deals have a common number... 80% are found through relationships. Managing relationships through a contact management system keeps information organized and available.

Please visit us at http://www.careercoachoffice.com today to make sense out of technology.



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Be-Attitudes of Small Business









Be-Attitudes of Small Business
by Stan Washington - October 08, 2013





  1. Be Creative - Many who know me understand I love creativity.  Business owners face incredible problems and issues that need resolutions. Think! Be creative instead of boxing yourself into the "it can't be done" abyss.
  2. Be Persistent - I have seen too many people give up at the first glitch. Learn! Grow up and stop whining when something goes wrong and develop a plan.
  3. Be Engaged - Have a hands on approach to your business and your clients. Relate! Building relationships is key to any successful business.
  4. Be Above - Petty thinkers usually get into petty fights. Lead! Treat your customers, employees and those who aren't supporting you with respect and be above their pettiness to win business.
  5. Be Faithful - Fearful thinkers lose their faith in what they are doing and think of new ideas too before the others have fully run their course. Resist! It's tempting to abandon ideas that aren't working so well. Analyze the issue and develop a mitigation plan to address the issue


Please visit us at http://www.careercoachoffice.com to "BE" the business you desire!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Google has 7 New Tech Hubs (Chicago is one)!


It's been a while since I have blogged!  Sorry about my absence!  We have been rather busy ourselves with the official launch of Career Coach Office (http://www.careercoachoffice.com) where your small business "IS" your CAREER. Okay... enough advertising.

Google is creating 7 Tech Hubs around the nation.  We don't know what this means for entrepreneurs here in "the middle" but I would only assume that is will be great. Check out Google Tech Hubs.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Usability expert finds Windows 8 on a PC confusing


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I must say I found this article to be interesting!  We are quickly working through interface updates to streamline processes not confuse customers.

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Here is the article from NBC's website
http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/gadgetbox/usability-expert-finds-windows-8-pc-confusing-954680


Though Windows 8 is winning rave reviews for its touch-friendly tablet experience, many feel that the operating system’s “Modern-style” UI makes life more difficult for PC users. Count usability expertRaluca Budiu of the Nielsen Norman Group among these critics. Though she has not conducted any formal studies on Windows 8, the former Xerox PARC researcher and user experience  specialist has used the new OS enough to conclude that, for productivity tasks on the PC at least, Windows 8 is less user friendly than its predecessors.
Budiu explained to us why the design principles Microsoft used don’t make sense for PCs and have the potential to confuse desktop users and slow them down.
Laptop: Is Windows 8 more or less user-friendly for PCs than previous versions of Windows?
Budiu: It’s hard to say without doing an in-depth study, but at least for some tasks, the usability is worse. There are things that you can do more easily in Windows 8. For instance, it’s easy to share a news story through email or with friends on Facebook. But, I am not sure that these are the tasks that people do most often on a PC.
Windows 8 is optimized for content consumption rather than content production and multitasking. Whereas content consumption can easily be done on other media (tablets and phones), production and multitasking are still best suited for PCs. Windows 8 appears to ignore that.
Laptop: How will switching back and forth between different environments (Modern and Desktop) affect PC owners? 
Budiu: Users will need to remember two different interfaces. They will learn Windows 8, but won’t be able to forget Windows 7. And they will need to keep track of which app goes with each framework. [It's] definitely a cognitive burden, but not an insurmountable one.
Laptop: Is it a mistake to force people to relearn an interface that has been popular for 20 years?
Budiu: So it seems, at least if we talk about desktop computers. There are several reasons:
  • The learning curve is going to be steep.
     
  • The duality of Desktop-Metro is likely to confuse at least some of the users.
     
  •  Most important, while Windows 8 embraces some important mobile design principles (such as giving priority to content), not all these principles are well suited for the larger non-touch screen of most PCs or laptops.  
Many apps waste a lot of space for huge images and give little space to text. The idea of hiding the controls to give priority to content may make sense on mobile, where screen space is so limited, but it doesn’t make that much sense on a large screen, especially if users have to work harder to access hidden features. For instance, to expose the URL bar or the list of tabs in the browser you will need to click the right button of the mouse. The back button is not visible either, but if you hover on the left hand side of the screen, it becomes visible.

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Courtesy of Laptop
Laptop: If you are in Windows 8′s desktop environment and want to launch a new desktop application, you must return to the tile-based Start screen to click a shortcut. One could argue that going to a different screen is no more time consuming that opening up a Start menu that overlays on top of the screen. Was Microsoft really wrong to remove the  Start menu?
Budiu: The advantage of the overlaid menu is that it preserves context. Cognitively, there’s more of a burden when you have to switch context twice (desktop->start screen; start screen -> desktop). There are reasons to force users to switch contexts, especially in the tablet or phone environment, where screen real-estate is a lot more expensive and a menu is forced to use only part of the (already-small) screen. In that situation, a separate page makes better use of the small screen space.
There are fewer reasons for a separate page on a desktop – the start menu is a cheaper interaction than the start page. Microsoft probably does it for the sake of consistency – they want you to start an app in the same way, regardless of whether you are in the desktop environment on a PC or laptop, or in the Metro environment on a PC or on a tablet, or on a mobile phone.
For the PC case, I think that if you are going to have two environments, consistency is important, because otherwise people will always have to keep track of which action to use in which environment – which is an extra burden on their memory. So although the start menu is the cheaper solution (in terms of interaction cost), not using it in the desktop environment is probably the right thing to do, given the choices already made by the Metro interface.
Courtesy of Laptop
Lap2
Laptop: The Windows 8 Switcher displays each Modern style app as its own thumbnail but folds all the desktop apps into a single thumbnail because it considers the desktop itself to be an app. Is this a usability problem?

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Laptop: When using Windows 8 with a mouse, you must hover for half a second over the upper left or right corners of the screen to bring up key menus (the Switcher, the Charms menu). Does hovering slow the user down?

These hidden menus also have zero affordances on the desktop, which makes them hard to discover for the first time. And even if you discovered where to click, being able to correctly remember which menu goes with location on the screen will require a fair amount of practice and continuous usage.
And yet another problem of these menus in the left and right corners is that they interfere with scroll arrows in some apps. The scroll arrows at the bottom of the screen are very close to the bottom corners of the screen, which are supposed to expose the menus. In general, it looks like the corners of the screen (the top, too, presumably, since this is how you close the app) are no longer good places to position controls.


using a menu does slow users down, but that’s not the major problem. The fact that the menus are hidden is primarily what slows users down – remember that what’s out of sight is out of mind. In our studies with mobile devices we found that whenever a menu was not in plain view, even users who knew about the existence of that menu (that is, they had discovered it in the past) didn’t use it as much or took a longer time to think to use it than if the menu options were all visible. So it’s not only the hovering that slows users down – it’s the lack of visibility that makes these menus less available.


try us at http:/www.careercoachoffice.com

Friday, March 22, 2013

Starting a business can seem slow as molasses!




After three years of development our team finally got excited of the release of our new software, Career Coach Office.  The initial tests with experts in the field stated everything would go well. On launch day we had technical issues that were minor, but still issues nonetheless.

It seemed like it took forever to correct the tiny issue not displaying a client's  picture correctly and fixing the dreaded "un-styled" tax update form that was buried way in the invoicing tool.

Let me just say every business has it's obstacles that must be overcome.

1. Expect that there will be obstacles and deal with them as they come.
2. Don't freak out when something goes wrong. All the planning in the world won't eliminate issues.
3. Break your issues down to small components so they can be addressed in a timely fashion.
4. Don't give up! When the going get's tough, you know the rest!

What seems like an incredibly slow period to you is really a short period of time to your consumers. They have no idea how many sleepless nights you've had so relax and fix the issues in an expeditious orderly fashion.

visit http://www.careercoachoffice.com and tell us what you think.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

5 Reasons to hire an IT Career Coach

12 Enterprise IT Resolutions For 2012

Here is a great story I found that I believe applies to any career coach industry, not just IT.

http://www.informationweek.com/global-cio/careers/5-reasons-to-hire-an-it-career-coach/232800033

by Cindy Waxer |March 30, 2012 12:34 PM

 
12 Enterprise IT Resolutions For 2012
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Silicon Valley might be known for its brilliant tech executives, but even they need a little career help every now and then. Enter the IT career coach.Although career coaches have long helped workers in a variety of industries set realistic goals and pave career paths, an increasing number of IT execs are recognizing the value of a career counselor.

 
"Within Silicon Valley, there's now a much greater awareness that just because you're smart about technology doesn't mean that you know all about human interaction, management development and leadership skills," said Michael Shur, an executive career coach and an assessment specialist at CareerPlanner.com, a career counseling firm in San Jose, Calif. "IT professionals, especially when they reach an executive level, require more career coaching."  A career coach can run as high as $250 an hour. What's more, because the majority of career coaching's benefits are 'soft,' calculating a return on investment can be difficult. Yet there are certain rewards IT professionals can expect to reap from hiring a career coach. Here are five critical areas a good career coach should be able to address:

1. Mentorships. A career coach doesn't need to know Java script to counsel an IT professional. But if technical skills are at issue, a career coach should take the necessary steps to help you find the mentorship you need. "Career coaches generally don't have IT specialization," said Shur. "However, a career professional can encourage and work within an organization to establish a mentorship program to assist IT professionals from a managerial and technical perspective."

2. The future. Many IT professionals have a tendency to live in the moment. A good career coach can help broaden that vision by working with clients to create a five-year career plan. With the proper guidance, an unwelcome administrative task today might start to look like a much-needed skill set down the line. "A career coach can help IT professionals see themselves as part of an ecology of growth so that they become less resistant to saying, 'Why should I help out with customer service? I'm an IT guy,'" said Shur. After all, he adds, customer service experience might come handy when that IT professional reaches a management level.

3. Dual career needs. No matter how technical the job, many techies split their time between monitoring networks and satisfying employees. "IT professionals often have dual career tracks," said Shur. "One for technical specialization and one for management." A career coach can help bridge this gap by encouraging both certification courses and networking opportunities such as conferences and seminars.

4. Conflict resolution. Today's IT shops often are rife with multi-generational strife stemming from millennials' and baby boomers' disparate approaches to work, life, and interpersonal relations. The good news is "a career counselor can help with personality conflicts," said Shur. "A lot of it centers around helping the IT professional understand how they process information and how their preferred way of working may be radically different from how other generations like to work." Understanding these differences "can help individuals realize that it's nothing personal," said Shur.

5. C-level prep. You'll need more than a new briefcase to prepare for executive office. "Certain competencies need to be developed for the CIO's office as C-level executives are expected to be more team-oriented with an increasingly global and strategic vision," said Shur. The trick is finding a coach that best meets your position. "There are some coaches who are better for more junior members and then there are the more experienced executive coaches who specialize in advanced skills and sensitive transitions." said Shur. Find one that's right for you.

Coaches, feel free to visit us at http://www.careercoachoffice.com .

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