10 Years 10 Business Tips – #8 – Don’t get stuck in the box

Think outside the box.

What box?

Who cares about a box?

Even thinking about the box puts in boundaries, forget it even exists.

Dare to be different.

Dare to be YOU.

Dare to challenge the norm.

Dare to change.

Do away with labels. I’m not a ‘marketing consultant’, that constrains me. I am who I am and do what I do in order to benefit my clients.

I refuse to be constrained.

I refuse to be normal.

And that’s what sets me apart, that’s what gives me a competitive edge. I have remained a small and agile company for a reason!

Are you stuck in your box?

10 Years 10 Business Tips – 7 – Develop your network

This is one of the oldest tricks in the book but is also one of the most important.

The first step is to identify similar businesses which share your customer demographic. The trick is to be really clear about who your ideal customers are, where they hang out, what they like to do etc?

Once you know who your ideal customers are you can then identify similar businesses which do not compete with you directly but share the same customers.

Examples that have worked really well for me are:

  • Video production companies.
  • Business coaches and consultants.
  • Training and education businesses.

In some instances I’ve been approached by these businesses looking to share common interests with me, other times I have approached them.

The key is to have something which is mutually beneficial to offer both your clients, that way you get a win/win situation for both your business, their business and all of your clients!

It’s about looking for commonality between businesses and then helping each other.

An example could be that I could approach a video production company and ask them to give me some top tips on how to produce videos for a business website. I could then reciprocate this and write them some top tips on how to market and attract more customers to a business.

We could reciprocate these articles, perhaps on our own blogs.

The video production company gets some excellent content helping their customers with their marketing.

My customers get some excellent content helping them with their video production.

It’s a win/win/win for both companies and all customers.

Working together like this also engenders a sense of friendship, trust and community and I found the building my business based on these values has been both sustainable and beneficial.

Begin working together… Sharing together… And building the rewards together!

10 Years 10 Business Tips – Tip #6 – Save for tax

Sounds a simple doesn’t let you? But so many people just don’t do it.

From the word go, and yes I mean my very first month in business I began saving for tax, even though I knew I had 18 months in order to pay after my year-end because I was a new business.

Being incorporated meant I could easily work out the business tax of 21%. I simply took my profits each month and put 21% of it into a savings account.

I do exactly the same today but include an additional 20% for VAT [thanks Mr Taxman, I really enjoy being a revenue collector for you… NOT].

In all of my 10 years in business I’ve never once worried about tax due dates as I’ve always had the money in advance.

It’s a very stressfree way to manage your finances.

I earn money out of HMRC

Yes, you read that right. I pay my corporation tax early and earn 0.5% interest! The earliest HMRC will usually pay interest is from 6 months and 13 days after the start of your accounting period.

So there’s even a financial benefit from being organised!

Find out more about HMRC interest rates for late and early payments

Live frugally

10 Years 10 Business Tips – 5 – Live frugally

I’m now privileged and humbled to have been in business for 10 years. April 5th 2019 sees 10 years since I set my company up.

This series of blog posts gives you my top 10 tips to surviving in business… This isn’t necessarily how you should do it, but it is how I did it!

Live frugally

I do this in my business and in home life.

Business

Many businesses think they make a profit but they don’t.

Profit is what is left AFTER the owner has taken out what they want from the business.

Profit is what remains with in the business each year, it can be used for a variety of reasons but it is not drawn by the business owner.

Keep your drawings and costs under control, whilst keeping turnover high to ensure you make a genuine profit.

Home life

I draw the minimum I can out of the business, I keep costs at home as low as possible while still enjoying the lifestyle I want to enjoy.

This allows me to keep the maximum amount of profit in the business, this can be used to make calculated and planned investments.

As a small business owner, personal finances are inextricably linked to our business. If we always live to our means the reality is that we will push ourselves and live outside of our means.

Stay humble. If you can’t afford it you can’t have it.

Just because you run your own business or have X profession doesn’t mean that you should earn a particular amount. If your business doesn’t generate it then you don’t own it!

I remember once being called into a practice, the practice owner told me they were in desperate need, their business was about to fall apart, they were about to make their team redundant, they were about to lose everything… Apart from the brand-new Mercedes AMG parked in the driveway.

I’m not suggesting that they shouldn’t have a Mercedes AMG, but I’m suggesting that that may be a symptom of why their business was in such disarray, perhaps they just spent too much!

Keep it under control.

Stay humble.

Only buy what you can genuinely afford.

Invest in technology

10 Years 10 Business Tips – 4 – Invest in technology

I’m now privileged and humbled to have been in business for 10 years. April 5th 2019 sees 10 years since I set my company up.

This series of blog posts gives you my top 10 tips to surviving in business… This isn’t necessarily how you should do it, but it is how I did it!

Invest in technology

I appreciate that is not always possible to do this in every single industry and every single sector, however the principle remains.

A great example of using technology is that each month I wanted to report to my clients on where they were found in their Google search results.

I had multiple phrases for each client e.g.

  • Dentist in -location
  • teeth whitening – location
  • dental implants – location
  • and so it went on…

When I first started I simply took these phrases, typed them into Google and put where the client was in the search results into a spreadsheet.

But as I grew I realised this was taking SO much time.

So I invested in technology, I purchased some software which did this for me.

I now pay around over £10,000 per year on various pieces of software, all of them help me stay effective and deliver a service to clients which is not possible manually. I now regularly track over 50 words for each client and plot them against where they are with their competitors… A task which is simply not possible to do by hand.

Maintain your customer database

Since the word go I’ve also used Sage Act! It’s absolutely fabulous. I maintain my entire database of every single person that I’ve ever spoken to, I know what I said, who are said to, what was said and what the next steps are.

It’s shown me that sometimes it can take many years for a client to come to fruition… My record so far is 7 years!

So my advice is to look for ways to utilise technology to manage your clients, even if it’s just managing your relationship with your clients then do it… It will make you more efficient, help you deliver a better service and help you grow.

10 Years 10 Business Tips – 3 – Help other people

I’m now privileged and humbled to have been in business for 10 years. April 5th 2019 sees 10 years since I set my company up.

This series of blog posts gives you my top 10 tips to surviving in business… This isn’t necessarily how you should do it, but it is how I did it!

Help other people

Many businesses have their primary objective is making money or selling.

I firmly resolved to make my businesses primary objective to help patients find local dentists and to do that by helping my clients reach patients in need.

I knew that if I did that extremely well then money would be an outcome of that, rather than an objective in itself.

I remember I had one particular dentist who continuously contacted me asking for advice.

I can remember sometimes getting frustrated,. How was I going to make money out of simply helping people on Facebook all the time? Doesn’t this person know that I have a business?

But I stuck with it, clearly there were boundaries but after a little while this person asked if they could pay me to help.

Client number 2 was now on board.

What I began to realise now was that I needed to up the amount of FREE resources and information that I put online. I doubled my efforts to create free content by way of downloads, blog posts and social media updates.

The result was that people could now find lots of information themselves which cut out this initial continuous contacting stage.

By the time client number 3 came on board it was simply then contacting me to say that they had read lots of my content, liked what they had seen, had tried lots of stuff already but now wanted me to help further.

Client number 3 came on board after a 10 min phone call!

10 Years 10 Business Tips – 2 – Fake it till you make it

I’m now privileged and humbled to have been in business for 10 years. April 5th 2019 sees 10 years since I set my company up.

This series of blog posts gives you my top 10 tips to surviving in business… This isn’t necessarily how you should do it, but it is how I did it!

Fake it till you make it

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but do you remember Roland Rat Superstar?

He just turned up on TV one day and announced that he was a superstar.

That’s exactly what I did!

When I first started out I knew I had a passion for marketing, I knew I had a passion for helping small businesses, I knew I had a passion for dentistry and I knew I had a passion for connecting dental practices with the local community.

But I had absolutely no history. No credibility to back up what I was saying. No clients. No testimonials.

All I had were my credentials in dentistry and an MBA (Not to be sniffed at, I agree)

So I just started writing blog posts, Facebook updates, creating YouTube videos and doing free webinars.

Initially I was talking to know one, no one saw what I wrote or listened to me.

But I started telling everyone that I was the expert.

People started to follow me.

People started to like what I was saying.

People started to read my blogs.

People started to follow me on twitter.

People started to contact me and ask if I could help them.

My business was born, I had my first client!

I used the Roland Rat Superstar approach and fake it until I made it… But I guess that’s what many businesses do 🙂

10 Years 10 Business Tips – 1 – Plan the business backwards

I’m now privileged and humbled to have been in business for 10 years. April 5th 2019 sees 10 years since I set my company up.

This series of blog posts gives you my top 10 tips to surviving in business… This isn’t necessarily how you should do it, but it is how I did it!

Plan the business backwards

Sounds weird right?

But this is exactly what I did.

When I set the company I worked out what I wanted/needed to earn in a year.

I then worked out what all my costs for the year would be.

I then calculated how much retained profit I would want to make each year.

Earnings + costs + retained profit = necessary sales

I then knew what my sales needs to be in a year.

I then looked at the number of days that I wanted to deliver my service each week, how many hours in each day I wanted to do this, what I wanted to do for each client and therefore worked out how many clients I could deliver extreme quality to in a year.

I deliberately use the term ‘deliver my service’, because that’s not the same as number of days worked. I planned in time to work ON my business from the word go, so from the outset I was only ever delivering my service 4 days per week and working ON the business 1 day per week. The calculations were therefore done on 4 days, not 5.

Necessary sales/clients I can cope with = revenue per client

So now I know how much I need to charge each client.

Research

I then began researching how much marketing agencies were charging and whether my expected fee per client would fit.

It didn’t!

However, because (being the eternal geek) I had all of this in a spreadsheet, I simply manipulated the variables until it came to a reasonable amount to charge each client.

The spreadsheet allowed me to manipulate what I wanted to earn, the costs, the number of days per week I was delivering the service and the number of clients I had.

By manipulating these variables I came up with a plan.

Plan

I then replicated my spreadsheet for the next 5 years, I planned in growth of the number of clients and growth in costs.

Then, and only then was my business ready to get started!

Oh yes, I did all of this prior to taking on my first client!

I’d very much like to hear your thoughts on this process, please do let me know in the comments below.

How to get Facebook events onto your Google calendar

How to get Facebook events onto your Google calendar

Here’s the problem.

You use your Google calendar to synchronise Calendar events across multiple devices and yet, each time you click interested or going on a Facebook event you have to manually enter that event into your Google calendar.

No more!

Here is how to automatically bring your interested or attending Facebook events into your Google calendar.

Step 1: go to events on Facebook

Open your Facebook profile, scroll down on the left-hand side and you will see events, click on it.

Step 2: Grab your event feed URL

Scroll to the bottom of all of your events, look on the right-hand side and you will see where you can add your events to other applications.

On a PC, simply right click on the upcoming events and ‘copy link address’.

Step 3: Go to your Google calendar

Head on over to your Google calendar and click on the settings gear wheel

Step 5: Add a new calendar

On the left-hand side open up the menu to ‘add calendar’ and click on the ‘from URL’ Option.

Step 6: Paste URL

Paste in the URL that you got from your event section in Facebook. Then click on the add calendar button once it has gone blue from grey.

You are done!

That’s it. You should now see your Facebook events turn up in your Google calendar, not only will you see the time and date of the event but you will have a clickable link for the venue and see all of the details that the event organiser has put in the description.

Good, innit!

Please do let me know your thoughts…

Google Florida 2 core algorithm update

Google Florida 2 core algorithm update & what it could mean for you

Google periodically updates its search engine algorithm, many updates are specific such as the Medic update which went live in August of last year, this was an update which targeted medical related businesses, of which dentistry was one.

The latest Florida 2 core algorithm update doesn’t target any specific segment specifically, rather it is a generic update to Google’s algorithm.

What difference will it make?

I’m noticing client websites already seeing the effects of this update, although this is almost 100% positive across the board.

Here are a couple of client websites which I track, you can clearly see the algorithm update on 15 March indicated by the Google logo along the timeline at the bottom.

In both cases traffic has started to increase since the update as can clearly be seen.

Will your site be affected by this?

Almost certainly yes, but the key to knowing whether the effect will be positive or negatives is that there are two different types of Google updates.

  1. Those which are designed to stop the system being gamed.
  2. Those that are designed to understand humans better.

If we understand how Google’s algorithm works it becomes possible to game the system, we can play to its strengths and weaknesses to get a website to rank, this is typically how search optimisation works. It involves a deep understanding, gained through experience and testing, of how the Google algorithm works. The danger with this is that in one moment we can be gaming the system and getting good search results, yet in the next moment Google works out that the system is being gamed and penalises you!

Companies which optimise websites using this technique get good results in the short term, but poor results in the long-term as Google’s algorithm continuously updates.

The Florida 2 core update is not this type of update, it’s an update designed to understand humans better. It’s an update designed to ensure that Google gives people far better quality search results based upon the nature of the query.

It’s a humanising update. It’s Google understanding humans better.

So the reason I think clients of mine have seen an increase in traffic since the update is not because we have been focusing on trying to game the system, it’s because we have been focusing on creating the VERY best content for our readers… Google is now better able to understand that we have been creating great content and has rewarded us for doing so.

The key therefore to ongoing search optimisation is to understand these algorithm updates, understand what the very best type of content is, understand what people want to read online and what information they want and then create this content in a way they want to digest it.

If we do that then we will ultimately be rewarded by Google… And the proof is in this latest update.

Google, I thank you 🙂