Reblog: Ask an Expert: How Small Businesses Can Adapt to All These Facebook Changes

My notes:

I think people should be more careful how they advise in social media. Here is a post to which I responded and the author was spot on in his reply and I appreciate his taking the time to consider my response.
I am reblogging this because there is a lot of confusion – and a lot of rumors – in regard to Facebook changes and these matters are addressed here. While we should never expect that Facebook do its fans’ bidding since it is a free tool. Frankly, they owe us nothing. HOwever, to ensure their success, it is amazing to me they are seemingly indifferent to the discontent that is being so publicly spread.

If you are a small business or non-profit, don’t mimic big business strategy, but there are elements of their tactics you can learn from to be sure.

Enjoy!

Hania

 

How to avoid email overload – reblog

I ran across this post on Twitter and felt compelled to share it with you. I, too, am inundated with emails and am frustrated with the amount of time they consume. The tips in this article are spot on for managing your emails and your day!

Enjoy!

How to avoid email overload | Articles | Home

Damn! I don’t want to go back to my office to remember why I’m here in the kitchen!

English: Unit diagram for the free-forgetful a...
I have no idea what this all means …. but it looked like a good match for my post today! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does all this multitasking fry the brain?

I work from my home office. I have 2 monitors, a big desk, a computer desk, files, bookcase, everything to keep me focused and organized.

hahahahahahahaha :)

So with all these tools, why do I still lose my brain occasionally!?%#(*^)#*

And since my home office is in the back of the house – supposedly to help keep me distraction free :s – when I think of something I need elsewhere in the house, I tend to wait until a good time to break from working to go get it.

Why don’t I just get up and go get it? I work for myself… at home… no boss but my clients… and yet I don’t like to stop my work to do it. Can we say OCD?

ADD and proud of it? Whatever…

Problem is… when I finally get up to go to the other side of the house to get that all important thing that I had to force myself to stop working for, by the time I get there, I have thought so much about what I want to do when I get back to my desk that I FORGET WHY THE HELL I WENT TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HOUSE TO START WITH.

I have decided it’s not age. I have decided it’s not incompetence. I also have decided that it’s not … um, I forgot what I was going to say :D

At any rate, I have determined that it is simply the curse of multitasking. I wait and wait until I can take a break from all the things swirling around in my head to complete, and finally force myself to break away, and BAM! Mind block on my side mission because I want to think only of what I had to interrupt to get “whatever I needed” so badly to interrupt my work to go get it. HUH? And of course, the only way to remember is to go back to my office to trigger the memory of the need… And then the cycle starts again!

It’s obviously a habit, maybe a bad habit. I tend to refuse to break away to do what I need to do when I am on a good roll at my work – which is like, all the time and hard to stop. Like right now, my coffee cup has been empty for a while and I REALLY want some more. But, I am obviously on a roll here…. and don’t want to stop. The worst habit is not even stopping to relieve myself (i.e. PEE!) .

Is it addiction to my work? Is it hyperfocus? Is it just plain stubbornness?! Who knows.

I reallllllly need to stop and get some more coffee and … I reallllly need to make room for it! LOL

Thanks for letting me rant!

A Thanksgiving message: Thankful for my Clients and for Modern Technology

Update: I posted this in 2012, and the sentiment remains the same, EXCEPT that Whitfield Consulting is now SMB Smart Marketing! When I registered for an LLC, the name Whitfield Consulting was not available. I am grateful that this bump in the road caused me to rethink my brand and give it a fresh feel. I hope you enjoy the following Gratitude blog…

It has been an amazing journey of personal and business growth for me these last few years.

I remember in 3rd grade (many years ago!), reading a short story by Isaac Asimov set in the future. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the title. But I do remember a drawing of school age children sitting at the kitchen table in front of a computer monitor taking school lessons.

I remember so clearly looking at that picture, and hoping I live long enough for that scene to become a reality. You must realize that at that time, IBM’s computers filled entire rooms, there were no cell phones, no answering machines, no video games, color TV was just emerging, and central air conditioning was a modern convenience. The concept of the story seemed so, so far away.

And now, here I sit, at MY laptop, dual monitors, running a small business with clients from all over this great country from my home office! Arizona, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, North Carolina, Kansas, Arkansas, Illinois, Georgia, New York, ….

How did they find me here in Atlanta? Through that “magic” internet… on LinkedIn discussions, Facebook interactions, Twitter tweetchats, Quora discussions, Google+ hangouts, professional listings on various websites and affiliations, my email newsletter, and of course, personal and client referrals.

I had a colleague in disbelief when I told him I had never personally met some of my clients – that all our engagement was through the internet or phone contact. He couldn’t understand how anyone would hire me without meeting me in person!

I tried to explain they HAD personally met me – in a way!! I am more personally exposed on the internet than I ever have been to anyone in my lifetime. Details of my entire career and public interactions are all over the internet accessible by anyone at anytime.

So, back to my point: not only am I thankful for my clients, past, present, and future, but also for modern technology. Here I sit in my home office in Roswell, Georgia (Metro Altanta, GA) communicating with the world. Not only did I live long enough to see Isaac Asimov’s story, but I am living it.

It is such a pleasure getting to know so many entrepreneurs in so many different types of small businesses. They each have their own way of approaching business, but they all have such passion for their individual businesses and it rubs off on me – very inspiring. And for that I am grateful to you all.

I also have had the pleasure of acquiring new colleagues through social media. Professionals I have never met personally, but who check in on me and my progress as I check in on them. We share ideas, ask each other questions and offer moral support.

And of course, if it weren’t for my family and friends supporting me, I couldn’t have done it at all. I thank them and love them all.

So that is my message of thanks to everyone for this Thanksgiving day. I wish only the best for you and yours today. It is a great pleasure to be a part of your lives and your successes!

Sincerely,
Hania

Imho – What is the #1 reason for business failure among small business owners?

I ran across this question by www.linkedin.com/in/davetteharvey in LinkedIn Answers

English: Findlay, Ohio, September 20, 2007 -- ...
English: Findlay, Ohio, September 20, 2007 — Gilbert Yingling, a representative with Small Business Administration (SBA) makes calls to local business owners from a local chamber of commerce business directory as part of an SBA outreach program. He then follows up with person to person meetings with the business owners. John Ficara/FEMA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Although there has been an increase in support services for entrepreneurs and small business owners, the percentage of business failures in America is still pretty high. Across industries it is averaged that 56% of businesses will fail within the first four years. In some industries, it is estimated to be as high as 86%. All of these businesses may not have had outdated products or underperforming services. Again, what do you think is the number reason for entrepreneur and small business failure?”

As I work exclusively with small businesses, I chipped in with my own answer because I see how many of these failures could have been stories of success. 9 to 5 has done a lot of harm to those of us with entrepreneurial potential. Being an employee for someone else can push you to forgo your own ideas for someone else’s in many cases. You may get used to letting go of responsibility in many ways, as in some companies, you are actually penalized for thinking outside the box, and are asked to settle into the status quo of the management mentality.

What does that mean in regard to these failure rates? In my opinion (I have a lot of those!), many a creative, entrepreneurial minds have been dumbed down by the “Peter Principle” experience of corporate work. So even when those same minds finally break loose and go on their own, they have ingrained habits that keep them in an employee mentality. That is why I wrote this answer to Davette Harvey’s question in LinkedIn Answers and hope that by sharing it with you, it will help one less SMB from failing.

Here is my response to Davette’s question. I’d love to hear what you think as well.

“If you own a small business, and don’t think beyond today, then you are nothing but an employee of your own business.

I used to train new retail franchisees as part of my corporate job with a franchisor and so many of them stunned me in regard to the lack of due diligence they executed before purchasing the franchise. In addition, very few of them had retail experience. Coming from a desk job, no matter how high the level, is not immediate qualification for running your own business.

Now I consult for them – and often they call me in far too late.

Yes, passion can take you far, but if you are like many small business owners, the inability to delegate the details is where you begin to lose the passion that drove you there to begin with.

Start out of the gate with lining up the right people for the various jobs and it will be the best ROI you can imaging. If a business owner tries to do it all, they lose the momentum of the opening due to being sucked into the daily operations that should be handled by those best suited. You need to have continued vision, oversee those who work for you, and market your business through networking and planning. If you are working in your store full time, you cannot do any of that.

The perceived lack of funding to delegate to employees is a result of waiting until business slows to recognize the errors. Customer service suffers, control over inventory suffers, marketing suffers… it all suffers including the owner who, by that time, is burned out.

Think of your well chosen staff as an investment in your business just the same as the brick and mortar building and the inventory or tools you placed in it. Then you will be free to oversee and grow it, you will prosper.

All too often I see the staff is the first to go when things slow down. They should be the last tier of the business to be let go. Check your operations, customer service, inventory, scheduling, etc.

And most of all, ask the staff, they know more than you oftentimes. Most common observation I hear from staff? “if the boss would just get out of the way and let us do our jobs…”

Please feel free to share your opinions….

I Can, I Can, But Do I Have the Time? Technology Offers Too Many Options!

Rotary phone

Frequently I get on my laptop, pad, phone, whatever, and read about or see all kinds of things I CAN do with the various platforms, software, apps, gadgets, widgets, etc…

But I thought of something today. Maybe I CAN, but I don’t have the time!!

No. There is just not enough time in the world to learn, use and play with all the coooooool stuff out there. Much less the incredible productivity tools.

The ironic side of the productivity tools is they take to long to learn to use – therefore I am either a) not using them, or b) only skimming the surface in terms of their capabilities.

I know I am not the only one suffering from technology overload!

BUT

There is a cure from these time eating distractions!

  1. Unsubscribe from newsletters that update you on the latest technology (in other words, all of them…)
  2. Unfollow all social media accounts that tweet and post on technology (in other words, all of them…)
  3. Cancel all printed subscriptions that mention the latest tools and gadgets (in other words, any printed media…)
  4. Stop watching any show on TV that tells you about the latest trends in technology (in other words, all TV news, infotainment and shopping channels…)
  5. Stop watching any shows on TV that has anyone USING the latest technology (in other words, the rest of them…)
  6. Stop going to any place of business that has a TV or WiFi (if you are in a major metro area, looks like you aren’t going anywhere…)

Now that you’ve done all that, you don’t need your:

  1. data plan
  2. Smart Phone
  3. gadgets
  4. TV
  5. desktop, laptop, pad, etc…

Ummm – What did we used to do before we got tricked out with technology?

Oh, yeah, we talked about all the time we would have when we modernized and advanced into the age of technology… :-)

Nevermind…

P.S.  How do YOU manage it all?