Categories: Website

Consider these 3 facts:

< In 2011, for the first time, smartphone and tablet shipments exceed those of desktop and notebook shipments. [source]

< Daily time spent in mobile apps now surpasses desktop and mobile web consumption.

< Mobile web usage is doubling every year and is predicted exceed desktop usage by 2014 [source]

What does this mean?

The online community is going mobile. In as little as 2 years, more people will see your website on a smartphone or tablet than on a large screen desktop (if they still own one). Windows wants to give us a production-capable tablet environment this fall with Windows 8 Metro, and we’ll be keeping an eye on business desktop use. Tim Cook of Apple CEO recently said, “We are now in a post-PC world”. The verdict is not out yet, but the signs are on the wall.

The bad news is: this creates a HUGE segmentation of screen sizes and web experiences. The good news is: At least we can define 3 experiences: smartphone, tablet and desktop.

Is your website “responsive” to everyone?

For developers, it’s vital to consider website widths that range from 440 pixels to 960+ pixels. If your website was built with a fixed width of 960+ pixels, it’s going to leave your mobile visitor with ALOT of pinching, scrolling and zooming to just read the text. From experience, it’s not enjoyable. So your potential client a) doesn’t mind the suffering, b) switches to their desktop, or c) leaves in frustration. We don’t want to make websites that frustrate anyone.

It’s likely your current website is too big for the small screen. But don’t feel cheated. The trend over the past decade has been to increase the size of websites to accommodate for higher resolution screens; smartphones and tablet usage is NOW large enough to seriously consider.

What do you do?

1. If your site was custom built “from scratch” without a CMS platform, we recommend consultation with a knowledgeable web developer to see if modifications can be made to bring your website to mobile.

2. If you are using WordPress, there’s a turn-key solution. Several plugins exist that can create a mobile version, regardless of what theme you started with. It will look more like a ‘mobile application’ than your website, but the important objective is readability of content.

Might i suggest:

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wptouch/
http://newwpplugins.com/premium-wordpress-plugins/ipad-premium-wordpress-plugins/

If you have another CMS platform such as joomla or drupal, they have mobile adaptive plugins as well.

3. If you are in the market for a website or want a fresh start on your old one, seriously consider a “RESPONSIVE” design. Make sure your developer is familiar with this future buzzword! A responsive website adapts like a chameleon across all platforms. You can be assured of the same look and feel no matter where your visitors come from. One design will fit a vast majority of desktops/tablets/smartphone browsers, driven by CSS. To see responsive design in action, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re here on a desktop, grab the right edge of your browser and shorten the width of it. Notice how the content automatically adjusts, assuring that you don’t have to scroll left or right… or zoom in or out… Nice, eh?

 

We beseech thee: Grab a smartphone, grab a tablet and look at your website. Get a feel for your website’s mobile experience. If you do not have access to a phone or tablet, there are a few close emulators online.

http://iphonetester.com/
http://ipadpeek.com/

Remember to be “responsive” to your clients and customers!


BONUS TIP: Do you still have Macromedia Flash on your website? Remove or replace it with HTML5 immediately if not sooner. iPhones and iPads ignore it; Android support for Flash will be gone in a year. If you use Flash for any navigation elements, your website has been rendered mobile-useless. You have been warned!

Categories: Etc. Etc.

With wedding bells and graduation caps in the air, you might feel that no one is willing to give you their time and you might has well hang the “gone fishing ” sign for a few weeks. Today, I want to share with you how this is actually a fantastic time to woo your ideal client.

You’ve heard “Be more interested, instead of interesting” ? This is your moment to shine in that. Your ideal client may have some big life events happening and to try and refocus their attention elsewhere, well it could be perceived as just downright selfish. But I bet you would love it if they thought you were the most caring, thoughtful and generous [ insert your profession here.]

Yep, I’m talking good old-fashioned rapport building.

Listen (sincerely) to what news they are sharing with you and take notes. The options are endless, but to get you started think: Would sending a card be appropriate? Flowers? A small gift? The goal is to show this person that you care about them and not just getting their business. That you can celebrate with them (or mourn). That you are relatable, trustworthy, and honorable.

These are the actions and traits that will set you apart from your would-be competition and create raving fans. You don’t need to do anything fancy (and I don’t recommend expensive), but go ahead and have fun with it. Remember, this isn’t a season of “It isn’t a good time.” It’s a season of ” I’d like to get to know you.” If you’re ever in doubt, switch perspectives and think what you would appreciate if you were in their shoes.

Categories: Etc. Etc.

So I’m finding that hiring is the most dreaded task amongst us entrepreneurs. To begin with, we’re like new parents; we don’t want to leave our “baby” with a sitter. They might neglect it, they might screw up, no one loves it like we do. But how does that work out for us? Not too pretty. (If you are a parent, this applies too. Go on a date night already!)

We reach a point in our business where not hiring is not because we’re bootstrapping until we’re steady, it’s because we’re nervous and really don’t have a clue about how to go about it. There’s work that needs to be delegated but how should you find that right person? Linked In? Craigslist? Monster? And then who shifts through all those resumes?

Ok before I send you into orbit with more questions, I think I’ve found a cool solution. It’s an online software called ClearFit. It helps you create your job listing and then posts it to the places you choose. Applicants are than ranked by cultural fit and experienced and you receive the results along with personalized potential interview questions and their resume.

Sounds neat, right? We haven’t used it yet, but plan on taking it for a test drive in a month or so. I do want to add that this shouldn’t be the final decision maker. The hiring process it just that, a process. No matter how streamlined, it’s important to map out the gauntlet the applicants need to go through. And yes, it should be a gauntlet. As an entrepreneur you sweat and bleed for your business, you want people who demonstrate the same passion.

To hear more thoughts on a effective hiring process, check out the Entreleadership podcast, Hiring with Clint Smith.

 

 

Categories: Etc. Etc.

For those of you who don’t know, I home-school my 6 and 4 year old sons. This morning during an art project(where I was really trying to sneak away to write this) I completely undid my 6yr old.

I had given him green construction paper, his favorite color, but when I noticed he was going to need more, I gave him orange paper. His eyes welled up. His lips quivered. He started to tremble. He began protesting that green was his favorite color and for a moment, I was going to give in, but I just couldn’t. Not that I enjoyed seeing him distraught, rather, I believed it to be more important that he learn to adjust and be open to both different perspectives and experiences, even with something as small as color.

We can get like this with our businesses. So blinded by our personal “favorites” and habits that we miss opportunity for growth. Coming off the recent series exploring branding,  I’d like to challenge you today to try something new in your business. If your designer is suggesting a new color or your coach is encouraging a new angle on your message, whatever it is for you, I dare you to try it.

You just might like it. And if not, well, that isn’t the end of the world either. Just remember, the sky is the limit, as long as you haven’t installed a ceiling.

Categories: Etc. Etc.

Did you finish your niche exercises? (Creating avatars is my personal favorite) If you haven’t, be sure to finish it by next week, but you’ll still be able to move ahead through the final segment today.

Brand Consistency

This area is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. Just earlier this week, I received an email and this person’s signature had at least three different social media profiles plus their website. And every single url was different!

www.suzyQ.com
linkedin.com/SusanQ
facebook.com/SuzyQSexy
twitter.com/SuzieHelpUSparkle
(This is just an example.)

I promised myself I wouldn’t rant so I’ll just breakdown some basic guidelines to Brand consistency.

  • Dance to the beat of your own…drummers? If you are playful, don’t do a 180 and write a serious tone blog. Having personality and style doesn’t make you limiting; it means you know who you are. Inconsistency in this can cause your audience to distrust you.
  • Zumba, Creative Writing and Marketing Whatever your unique angle/skill is, please stop trying to add to that list. (Ever heard “Jack of all trades, master of none” ? ‘Nuff said.)
  • Going to cocktail hour in your swimsuit. You can be under or over “dressed” depending on the social media platform. Choose your social media profiles based on your business and your target audience. This ensures that you aren’t wasting time somewhere your audience isn’t and keeps you from looking…well, silly.

While initially it may take a few tries to find your niche, do not hop from group to group. In trying to serve everyone, you will neglect the ones who need you most. Everything your business does should be intentional and in alignment with the brand perspective you are trying to build. If you are ever unsure or even want to try something new, run it through the litmus test of: Is this my voice, is this in line with my area of expertise, is my ideal client interested and is she at this “location” ?

If you’ve enjoyed this series, would like to share your experience or just rant (maybe about my typos), we invite you to post on our Facebook page.
If something in this series struck a little too close to home, don’t worry, the ProfitGeeks are a sensitive loving bunch. Give us a ring or shoot an email and we’d be happy to chat.

Categories: Etc. Etc.

I hope you’re enjoying reading this as much as I am writing. Let’s dive in!

Last Thursday we talked about your voice. What it sounds like to what you’re saying about you, working with you and the value of those. Now let’s figure out who you are saying it to. That’s right, I am asking you to entertain the idea of narrowing down your target market to a niche.

Here’s 2 great reasons why:

  • The people who are your people want to hear from you and buy from you. They are the ones who are already looking for you and who will become raving fans once they find you.
  • When you know who they are, you can focus your time and your marketing dollars (which saves you more than a few pennies.)

 

Start by making a short list using these simple qualifying questions.

  • Who would resonate with my unique voice, really appreciating it?
  • Who do the benefits of my work impact the most?
  • Who already sees the value of my service and has demonstrated interest or buying in this general area already?
  • If money were no object, who would I hire as a client? (As opposed to them hiring me.)

 

Next, create a max of 3 avatars of ideal clients going in detail of where they live, employment, hobbies etc. Find and assign a picture that embodies each one. Lastly, put it aside and revisit on another day to see if you still feel the same way and they meet the criteria you are looking for.

Need an unbiased opinion? Contact Profit Geeks for a complimentary strategy session!

Categories: Etc. Etc.

You remember last week when we talked about branding?

Identify your voice. Identify your niche. Be consistent.

I think those are “wake up at 3am problems” and that makes them worth digging deeper into. Lets start with your voice.

While you probably aren’t losing sleep over those exact terms, “If I could only get people to understand…” sounds familiar, doesn’t it? If we don’t know our own voice, our own stance, how can we convey it to a potential client?

Everything depends on it.

Speak your uniqueness. My mentor often says, “The world doesn’t need another life coach. But it does need you.” Whatever it is, you’ve got something different. It can be a your approach or even a different belief or reason you do it.

Your graphic design on the web or on printed business cards is a great visual way to share this.

Speak their language: WIFM. Everyone is asking “What’s in it for me? Your ideal client wants to know how they benefit from choosing you.The copy of your website should open with the leading benefits and results your work offers them.

Adding testimonials to different webpages and e-newsletter is a great way to share your benefits and increase your credibility.

Talk value. Help your prospect verbally paint a picture of what their business or life looks like if they work with you. (This technique also works in the reverse.) I’m not advocating exaggerating, but don’t be afraid to go deep. Focus on the transformation your clients experience when they work with you.

Write your copy so that your website visitor will instantly identify what their life or business looks like after working with you. Get personal and always talk one on one, instead of at an audience.

Categories: Etc. Etc.

If what you’re doing in your business isn’t working, admit it, then go change.

Am I being harsh? I don’t think so.

Last week at Be The Change Event 2012, Suzanne Evans shook (and shocked) some doey-eyed entrepreneurs back into their businesses with  these 3 truths.

Branding…It Matters! It matters on your website, on your business cards and everything else you present your business on. Why? Because technology has raised the bar and the consumer expects professionalism and high level service. Make sure your branding is consistent on all your platforms and accurately represents your business style and value.

Message…Tell it like it is! Clear and straight to the point messaging makes it easy for a potential client to determine if you’re the right fit for their needs. It should make it clear what you offer, how it addresses their problem and have a call to action, ideally contacting you.

Sales…You aren’t in business without it! No skirting the issue here; you need to sell in order to keep your doors open. But I LOVE how Suzanne teaches sales and I hope it’s as revolutionary for you as it was for me. Sales is service. You cannot help the people you are uniquely gifted to, unless they buy from you.

If you want to be the change in your industry,  have a Brand that stands out and offers value, a message that attracts your ideal clients, and ask everyone to work with you. Because it is in your work with your clients, where that change happens.

Do you need help creating profitable change in your business? Take action NOW and contact the ProfitGeeks for a complimentary strategy session!

845-809-3757 or erica@craftwerks.com

Categories: Thoughts

In recent years cell phones have morphed into mini-computers, or “smartphones”. Phones can tweet, facebook, manage clients, pay bills, and even let you update your website. There seems to be no limit to what it can do.

If you’re new (or even old) to the world of smartphones, it can be a daunting task deciding which of the hundreds of phones on the market will suit your business today… and tomorrow.

A client asked me recently “I want to get a smartphone, but should I get an Android or an iPhone?”  A good question. For those who are not tech-savvy, it’s not easy. I know when I don’t really understand a product, I just gather “specs” from the website and pick the best match.

But what do you do when they all look the same? Consider this: each hi-tech product is more than just “specs”. Some technologies like phones and computers grow with us over time. Understanding the development of a gadget can give us clues on how well it will complement our “technological personality”, and thus serve our needs. It’s all part of being a Geek.

In the next 3 installments we’re going to take a look at the two major forces in the smart phone market: Android, an operating system developed by Google, and Apple’s juggernaut the iPhone.

Note: Windows new device launches in a few days, so for now we’re just comparing Android and iPhone.


Fundamentals and Philosophy

Android:
So what IS Android? Android itself is not a phone. Android is the name of the operating system Google develops for cell phone manufacturers like HTC and Samsung to run applications on their devices. Android is open to anyone who wants to put it in their tablets or smartphones. The result? Lots and lots of Android phones. Awesome? Almost.  It is up to each manufacturer and phone carrier (ie. ATT, Verizon, Sprint) to decide how Android is going to run on their phones. They determine how it looks, how you access applications, how you configure your phone or even what kinds of services you are allowed to install. Unfortunately, not every feature of Android makes it to a phone because Android phones ultimately serve the interests of the Phone Carrier. For example, Google recently came out with a reported “Pure Android” phone, the Galaxy Nexus. Verizon trumped Google and didn’t allow Google Wallet on it because Verizon is developing it’s own payment system. Plenty of politics and in the Android community.

iPhone:
What’s an iPhone? It’s Apple’s phone that runs on their proprietary iOS operating system.  Every version of iPhone runs exactly the same user interface, with minor differences between updates. iPhone is created, developed and manufactured by only one company: Apple. Carriers have negligible power over what features can or can’t be installed on iPhones, so you get the same iPhone experience no matter whom you pay your phone bill to.


What does this all mean?
By it’s nature, Android offers variety to the masses. There are infinitely more options of hardware and user interfaces. EVERY model of Android phone is going to be different in some way from another. They have a basic foundation, but you’ll need personal curiosity to find a phone that matches the way you use it. You can get models with keys, small screens, big screens, flip screens … the hardware options are there to suit your physical needs. There should be an Android phone for every taste and “technological personality”. But what happens when your Android doesn’t work quite right?

In technology I believe “with variety comes chaos”. You simply cannot have 100 different ways of doing one thing and expect the same result. Sorry to say there is no consistency of quality, reliability or experience between Android phones.

The biggest problem right now with Android phones is the total lack of upgrades and major bug fixes. For 95% of the Android community they don’t exist. I can almost guarantee the version of Android you buy with your phone will be the one it dies with. Whether or not you get an Android OS update lies on the promises and good faith of the Manufacturer. You may hear that “Android” is coming out with a new version, but don’t count on it coming to the phone you just bought.

If your Android OS is really buggy, or the phone suffers a physical ailment , you’ll need to negotiate with your Carrier for a return, refund or repair. Unfortunately there are no set protocols on what to do with a broken Android.

As for the iPhone? Knowing that Apple has control over every aspect of production, you’ll be guaranteed at least 2 years of operating system upgrades and bug fixes. As long as Apple feels your phone can handle the upgrade, you’ll get it.

If anything happens to your iPhone within the warrantee period: Call the nearest Apple store and make an appointment. You’ll walk out of the store with either a repaired phone or a replacement. Few questions asked, no matter who your carrier is.

Owning an iPhone may seem like heaven, but must agree to conform . If you want choices of hardware, Apple will disappoint. There is only one iPhone. If you can’t type on a touchscreen, you’re out of luck. If you want a bigger screen, too bad. Apple’s philosophy is to do one thing and do it “right”. Your single choice is:  Are they are “right” or not?


In Summary so far:
Android encourages choice and independent development. However, Android is only as good as the Manufacture and Carrier who makes it. Grab your pith hat and machete, find your favorite Android, and enjoy the ride on your own.

iPhone is one with their universe. You’ll be a part of a family that stays with you till the very end.  Just don’t ask for ham when they serve turkey on Thanksgiving.


I’m sure that’s alot to digest for now. Next time we’ll compare the nature of iPhone and Android applications…

Cheers,
Rick
ProfitGeek CTO

Categories: Etc. Etc.

I scrapped the original paragraph here. It was too much what you’ve heard before, so I’ll get straight to the point.

You need to delegate tasks in your business because you can’t do it all, you don’t want to do it all and doing it all will suck the time and passion out of your business. You didn’t start your business to be your own secretary, web designer or any other profession other than your unique gift.

You know this, so why haven’t you done it yet?

Because delegation is scary. It means you have to relinquish some control and you have to trust. (Funny, just dawned on me this is parallel to marriage too, but that’s another conversation.) The truth is delegation involves relationships whether it’s an assistant or a hired professional.

Virtual Assistants(VAs) have become the popular resource to solopreneurs in recent years, but often I encounter stories of negative experiences. Usually, it’s a result of unmet expectations ranging from trying to micromanage to not giving enough direction. (Actually, this also happens when working with a  graphic or web designer.)

Aside from reminding you of the crucial importance of delegating tasks within your company, I want to give you some tactical resources to help.

  • Time tracking: If seeing how time is spent is particularly important to you, trying using a time tracking software such as Klok or the time tracker in Freshbooks.
  • File Sharing: If being able to keep tabs on a project or security of documents is a focal point, I recommend using cloud storage. Dropbox safely stores your files and allows you to “share” or give access to specific ones simply by emailing an invitation. You can view the file and contents at any time from your browser, smartphone or desktop.

Delegation only works when you invest the time to find the right person and when you are efficient at giving the directions and stepping away. Be when you step away, you can actually step back into making money doing what you love.

Need to delegate your website? Consult a ProfitGeek at 845.809.3757 or email erica@craftwerks.com