Easy Ways to Boost Sales

- - Adam Kidan, Business

Easy Ways to Boost sales by adam KidanWe all want to close more sales, yet sometimes that’s not the best way to make more money.  It’s actually much easier to double your sales by doubling the amount of your average sale than to double the number of sales that you close.  Quality, as the saying goes, is more important than quantity.  I recently read a report that shared three ways to dramatically increase your sales, and here’s what they had to say:

Go after the big ones: Many salespeople spend their whole careers calling on low-level prospects with small budgets.  Only go after the high-paying prospects, who have both the authority and budget to agree to large investments.  Prioritizing highly profitable sales allows you to turn down the smaller deals that wouldn’t offer a large return on your investment.  Big opportunities take just as much time and efforts as smaller ones, but have a much better outcome.  

Establish your expertise: Salespeople have a unique 30,000 foot perspective on the industry of their prospects.  To close the bigger deals, present yourself as the expert; start off sales meetings by commenting on some things you’ve observed about the current industry.  By starting out with an observation, you’ll set yourself up as a true expert, boosting your value and serving as a powerful way to build up to a larger sale.

Uncover the cost of your clients’ challenges: After talking to your prospect about the issues in their industry, ask how they’re related to them.  This helps get prospects to open up about the challenges their organization faces.  Ask probing questions that will help determine what’s really happening.  After identifying the key challenges of your prospect, ask what these challenges cost their organization, which will put a price tag on the value of your solution.  Helping clients see the value of your solution will in turn lead to bigger sales and higher profit margins.  

Balancing Parenthood and Entrepreneurship

- - Adam Kidan, Business

Balancing parenthood and entrepreneurship by Adam KidanBeing an entrepreneur is a major time commitment, and often a huge risk.  It often takes up all of your time and then some.  So many people think that it’s impossible to balance a family and a career as an entrepreneur.  It’s not necessarily easy, but I can tell you from experience that it can still be done.  I recently came across an article that shared some tips for balancing the two, using advice from several successful parents/entrepreneurs.  Here’s what they had to say:

Prioritize your commitments: With family and work both taking up your attention, it can be hard to figure out which one you need to prioritize.  You need to be realistic about what you can accomplish, and not try to take on more work than you can handle.  Even if you’re busy, make sure you stay involved with your child, keep a routine and always have a back-up plan.  

Hack your time: While most work-at-home parents can’t stick to office hours, you can always hack your time.  Various time hacks can help with your work day, such as cooking for two meals at once, shopping online, doing things in batches and having your dry cleaning set to pick-up and delivery.  Removing these distractions from your work allows you to save far more time and get a lot more done with the limited time you have.  

Outsource/delegate work: Family activities often make it difficult to make obligations, so train your staff or hire somebody who can take your place when you can’t be there.  Try online outsourcing, getting a virtual assistant, and even teach your kids about how they can help.  

Grow your parents’ network: As you meet other families through school, playgroups and your neighborhood, you grow your “parent network”, helping you earn your place in the community.  This allows you to meet interesting people you wouldn’t otherwise meet, who could turn into valuable contacts or even partners.

Famous Politicians Who Struggled with Debt

- - Adam Kidan, Business

Famous politicians who struggled with debt by Adam KidanAs the debate about Trump’s taxes and bankruptcies continues, it’s important to remember that financial trouble happens to everybody regardless of age or net worth.  I recently came across an article that discussed some politicians who have struggled with debt.  Some of the names will surprise you:

Thomas Jefferson: The man behind the Declaration of Independence came from the upper-class of colonial Virginia, who had reputations for accruing large amounts of debt due to their expensive tastes (one family held onto a debt for 150 years!).  And Thomas Jefferson was no exception; while his prestigious reputation saved him from creditors while alive, after his death his family was forced to sell much of his property to pay off his enormous debt (estimated to be between $1 and $2 million in modern money).  

George McGovern: In 1984, the former US Senator and presidential hopeful amassed around $113,000 in campaign debt, but was saved by three other contenders for the 1984 Democratic Nomination that set up a fundraising party for him.  Four years later, McGovern opened a hotel that shuttered and fell into bankruptcy in less than two years.  

Linda McMahon: In 1976, long before she ran for the US Senate, Linda and her husband racked up about $1 million in debt, partially due to a bad investment in an Evel Knievel stunt.  They made up for it later in life, with a combined net worth of $370 million when she ran for senate in 2010.  

Abraham Lincoln: Lincoln may be known as one of the greatest Presidents in US history, but he certainly had a lot of setbacks.  Early in life, he owned a general store that amassed $1,000 in debt, a massive amount in the early 19th century that brought him to court.  Lincoln was forced to forfeit a horse, and took several years to pay back what he owed.

Marco Rubio: While Trump’s money has raised questions this election, he wasn’t the only candidate with money problems.  Rubio has long struggled with debt for everything from education to mortgages.  After an $800,000 book deal in 2012, Rubio’s money problems seemed to be over, and he celebrated by buying an $80,000 luxury speedboat.  While Mitt Romney’s campaign was vetting Rubio as a possible running mate, this financially careless decision caused them to think twice.

Using Facebook For Business

- - Adam Kidan

Using Facebook for business by Adam KidanFacebook might not be as “hip” as Instagram or Snapchat, but it can nonetheless help promote your business and attract new people to your site.  Yet to do that, you need to break through the white noise of Facebook and stand out on your followers’ news feeds.  Here are some do’s and don’ts of Facebook marketing, based off of an infographic I found on Hubspot:

DO

  • Use a recognizable profile picture: Being recognizable is an important part of getting found and liked.  Choose your profile picture wisely, because it’s going to be what people see most.
  • Coordinate your cover photos and posts: Your cover photo, pinned post and profile CTA are the three most visible parts of your Facebook page.  To make sure that you maximize the engagement with your marketing campaigns, make your messaging match across all of these.  
  • Tailor your organic posts: Facebook has various targeting tools that let you to segment your organic posts by such factors as age, gender and education.  Use these to make sure you engage with the right audience.  
  • Use tracking URLs and Facebook Insights: These metrics allow you to tailor your content strategy and focus more on what works.  
  • Post strategically: According to research, posts published between 1 and 4pm get the best clickthrough and share rates.  
  • Try using a paid budget: Get better ROI for your ads by promoting content that you already know works.  Strategic advertising lets you expand your reach and attract more people to your page.  

DON’T

  • Leave the “about” section blank: A preview of your “about” section can be found beneath your profile picture; it’s one of the first places people will look when they’re scanning your page.  
  • Use a “dummy account”: Apart from violating Facebook’s terms and conditions, dummy accounts just look bad.  
  • Post too often: If companies have less than 10,000 followers on Facebook, they’ll receive 60% fewer interactions when they post more than 60 times a month.  Instead of overwhelming your customers with lots and lots of posts, try writing fewer, higher-quality Facebook posts.
  • Forget multimedia posts: Content can generate 94% more views by simply adding compelling visual elements and graphics.  Visual content in Facebook campaigns generates 65% more engagement after just one month.  
  • Be slow to respond: 42% of consumers who complain on social media expect a 60-minute response time.  Whether they’re complaining about your product or praising it, you don’t want to ignore any posts, lest you create anger or disappointment.  
  • Make assumptions: The last thing you want is for your posts to blend in with everything else on your followers’ news feed.  A strategy that works well for one company won’t always work well for the others.  

How To Recover From Failure

- - Adam Kidan

How To Recover From Failure by Adam KidanSetbacks, tough as they are, are a part of life.  The founder of Heinz was a failed horseradish salesman, and Steve Jobs was most famously fired from Apple.  According to the Small Business Administration, half of all new companies with employees won’t survive after five years.  But that doesn’t make failure any easier.  Here are some tips on emerging from failure and rejection with your confidence intact, based off an article I found online:

Wallow: Allow yourself to feel everything you need to feel.  Grieving and yearning for what was lost can help ease the suffering.  But don’t wallow for too long.  Take, for example, the story of Barbara Corcoran; initially passed over as a co-host on Shark Tank, she shame-spiraled and then got mad, writing an email to the show’s creator about what they would miss on without her.

Be honest: With clear eyes, map out what went wrong and why.  If you need to, call on somebody you trust to offer an outside perspective.  Acknowledging any mistakes you’ve made can be painful, but it’s essential to ensuring that they don’t happen again.  But more importantly, forgive yourself if you do make mistakes.  

Find what makes you happy: If you have a hobby you love, then embrace it.  Positive thoughts can ward off depressive tailspins during hard times.  Negative emotions can hinder the process of recovery, making it difficult to find broad solutions.  However, positive emotions can expand your horizons.  

Count your blessings: In the words of Monty Python, always look on the bright side of life.  Every day, write down what you’re grateful for.  If you face a setback, you have access to a stack of lists that prove how much is going right in your life.  And even if you’re likely to be pretty consumed by your setbacks, recall the successes that you have achieved.

Help somebody: In the wake of failure, look for ways to be helpful.  Thinking about helping reframes your thought process, and gets people more excited about working with you.  You should be focused more on helping than winning; if you play to win, you’ll feel worse when you do face setbacks, and probably won’t learn much on the way.

Look for the opportunity: Setbacks are stressful, but there are ways to cope.  To manage your stress, think about what opportunities are being created.  Finding that opportunity will help you move forward faster.

Think big: Some studies have shown that visualizing success allows you to “trick” your brain into helping you make something possible.  The next time you’re working toward something, it might not hurt to visualize that process to success.

Think small: There’s virtue in persistence, but you also don’t want to lose sight of other opportunities on the way.  Instead of a riskier bet, try on a smaller one; small steps can help you test and plan your way back to success by giving you a lot of small, information-rich experiences from which you can learn.

This too shall pass: Setbacks can feel personal, yet don’t personalize your loss and remind yourself that things will change.  Failure isn’t a black mark on your permanent record, and you’ll be more resilient if you know you can change your lot.

Be consistent: When you’re ready to get back into the swing of things, come up with a consistent, realistic game plan for networking.  Daily work toward your goal is key to building momentum, and making working toward your goal a habit will lessen the impact of individual setbacks.

Don’t isolate yourself: After a failure, you’ll want to be left alone, but being alone with your thoughts won’t help you get past anything.  Start small, spending time with your friends and family, then go to networking events to connect with new people.  

Try again: Just because you fail doesn’t mean you can’t try anything again.  When you do get a great idea you want to put aloft again, however, be prepared to explain how and why your new venture will be different.  

Myths About Content Marketing

- - Adam Kidan, Business

Myths About Content Marketing by Adam KidanContent marketing is an essential technique for marketers, allowing companies to raise brand awareness, increase leads and elevate their status.  Yet despite such benefits, there are still misconceptions about content marketing.  Here are 11 myths about content marketing, based off an article I found online:

Your audience won’t fall for it: Consumers aren’t interested in reading a sales pitch, they want to form long-lasting relationships by interacting with brands.  Take a look at Millennials; 62 percent of them have reported that they feel a connection with a brand when they see or read about it online.  And if the brand’s content isn’t sales-y and feels authentic, a third of them have reported that they’re willing to buy a product.  

Content marketing won’t work for your business: Not every brand is as exciting as Red Bull or Coca-Cola.  Yet this doesn’t mean that they can’t succeed in content marketing.  Take, for example, GE.  They’ve been using visual content, which has allowed them to let go of the brand and become part of internet culture.  

It’s too expensive: There are costs associated with content marketing, but it’s a lot more affordable than traditional advertising.  You do need to hire writers and pay for ads online, but leading marketers are very good at repurposing content without much cost.  

It’s free: While it’s cheaper than traditional advertising, content marketing won’t achieve the required goal for free.  The idea is of course to let your content grow organically, but you do sometimes need a little push to make that happen.  

People don’t read anymore: People still read.  It isn’t always from a book, but they still read, particularly if the content is valuable, informative, solves a problem and isn’t promotional.

You don’t have the resources: Not being able to create enough content is one of the biggest challenges faced by marketers.  To address this, try repurposing content, using social media scheduling and monitoring tools and hiring freelancers.

You can’t prove the ROI: Content marketing should be based around goals and objectives; you can track increased traffic by seeing how many visitors originated from Facebook or Twitter.  If you set these goals in the first place, you can absolutely prove the ROI of your content marketing.

Results are fast: Content marketing takes a lot of time, trial and error.  Everything from conducting research to actually creating content to analyzing its results takes months, even years.

Your business can’t compete: While you have a lot of content to go up against online, people still want to see content that serves a purpose.  If your content is valuable and can make the lives of your audience better, then there’s plenty of room to compete.

Traffic and shares means success: Just because your video has 20,000 views doesn’t mean it was a success.  A popular video won’t necessarily drive traffic to your website, obtain leads or catch the eye of industry leaders.

Your content can’t be published anywhere else: Scour the Internet long enough and you’ll notice that content gets republished in multiple places.  If you want to tap into a large audience, republish your amazing content, whether that’s on LinkedIn, Huffington Post, Business2Community or any other medium.

How Your Ego Can Hurt Your Business

- - Adam Kidan, Business

How Your ego can hurt your business by Adam KidanLet’s say that you’re a novice entrepreneur who gets lucky and makes it big.  Chances are that will go to your head.  I recently came across an article by the entrepreneur John Rampton, whose early success created an ego that damaged his later work.  While an ego can be a great confidence booster, it can also harm you.  He spoke of eight ways that his ego killed his business, which I’ve listed below:

You won’t realize you need to learn: A lot of leaders think they have every answer out there, and admitting they could improve by learning is a sign of weakness.  Don’t be afraid of being judged for asking stupid questions, and jump onto opportunities to learn from others.  

You’ll ignore opportunities: While you might think that ego makes you push towards greatness, but in reality it’s fairly complacent and resists change.  If you have a big ego, you don’t think you need to do anything new because you’re so great.  Yet this will prevent you from seizing innovative opportunities which could have helped your business move forward.  

You over-estimate your abilities: Business owners are expected to wear multiple hats, but nobody can wear every hat.  Self-confidence in your abilities is important, but you’re setting yourself up for disaster if you tell yourself that you’re a master at everything.  Learn enough to get started, but recognize when it’s necessary to hire a specialist.

You micromanage: Being the head honcho in charge is a lot of pressure, and you often feel like you have to control everything.  You want to care about the details regarding your business, but expectations won’t always be met.  Being overbearing and critical tells your team that you don’t trust them, which will hurt performance.

You won’t want to ask for help: Every great entrepreneur had assistance to get to where they are today.  You want to have a mentor that can teach you from their own experience.  Whether it’s bringing in a partner, seeking out a mentor or coach or polling your team, asking for help is essential for success.  

Every decision revolves around you: Your business should never be about you.  It’s about your customers and how you can enhance their lives.  If you aren’t thinking about your customers and what they want/need, they won’t continue to support your business.

You can’t back down: Your ego will always want you to be right, and if you get into a discussion, you won’t back down until you’ve gotten it your way.  True leaders understand when they’re wrong.  

You set impossible goals: Your ego will often lead to your setting impossible goals for yourself, and when you don’t reach those goals, you’ll just beat yourself up.  As a business owner, you need to set attainable and realistic goals.  You’ll accomplish less if your mind is crowded with unrealistic expectations.  

Using Social Media For Business

- - Adam Kidan

Using Social Media For Business by Adam KidanRegardless of how you feel about social media, it’s an essential aspect of a successful business in the modern digital age.  Figuring out what kind of social media platforms work best for your business can be hard, yet here are five important aspects to consider, based off an article I found online:

Broad audience platforms: There are two basic categories for when you’re deciding which social media platforms to use for your business: broad audience and niche platforms.  It’s a good idea to have an account on at least one broad audience platform, such as Facebook or Twitter.  There are also several advertising options, most of which are user-friendly.

Niche platforms: Once you’ve set up your Facebook and Twitter accounts, consider which other platforms would work well with your business.  For one, you need to make sure you have a firm grasp of your audience, which will let you determine which social media platforms are best for reaching them.  

Hire an expert: Small business owners and entrepreneurs often try to save money by doing everything themselves, which doesn’t always end well.  It’s a good idea to consider hiring somebody to manage your social media, who can frequently post high-quality content and attract new viewers.  

Develop meaningful content: Social media is filled with business profiles, and unique content is the best way to be heard over the white noise.  If all your posts are sales pitches, nobody will listen.  Yet if you post content that’s actually valuable to the reader, you’ll be able to improve your company’s image.  

Be persistent: You need to constantly be creating new content and finding additional ways to engage your audience.  Social media is constantly changing and evolving, so you’ll need to keep up with and adapt to the changes around you.

Why Your Employees Quit

- - Adam Kidan

Why Your Employees Quit by Adam KidanJust because somebody’s satisfied with their job doesn’t mean that they aren’t looking for new opportunities.  Therefore, it’s critical to keep up with your employees’ needs and continue to motivate and challenge them.  According to a report by Careerbuilder, 21 percent of workers plan to leave their current job this year.  Any employer knows how difficult and expensive it is to hire and train new employees.  Here are some reasons employees quit, and how you can resolve them, based off of an article I found online:

They are disrespected/undervalued: No matter how much you love your job, you’ll be more likely to quit if you feel underappreciated.  Recognizing the efforts of your employees will go a long way; even if you can’t give them raises, try organizing things like employee recognition luncheons or bonding activities such as games.  

Lack of upward mobility: The idea of doing the exact same thing for a long time is hardly appealing, and is something ambitious employees will dread.  Some employers favor family members and friends above somebody that’s more qualified.  That will create resentment among employees and encourage the best ones to leave.  If your employees don’t think they’ll be given equal access to promotions, they’ll start to look elsewhere.  Create opportunities within your organization to move up the ladder, and provide training and educational opportunities for them to upgrade their skills and network with others.

Lack of recognition or reward: Employees want to feel like you appreciate their hard work.  This can be shown in different ways, whether that’s a heartfelt thank you, a small bonus or a simple plaque.  Create opportunities to excel and be recognized and give bonuses of great work.

Discouraging employee input: Help employees feel like they’re an important part of the company by listening to what they have to say.  Otherwise, they may feel alienated and non-essential; hold weekly or bi-monthly meetings and include your employees in the decision-making process where possible.  

You don’t give them responsibilities: Employees need to know that you trust them enough to work on their own; micromanagement won’t promote any trust.  Excellent managers encourage their employees to be independent and take on extra responsibility.  

Low morale: To boost morale, encourage your employees to get involved in community projects.  Healthier employees tend to be happier as well, so offer them all sorts of health and wellness benefits.  

Sharapova’s Harvard Break

- - Adam Kidan, Business

Sharapova's harvard break by adam kidanAfter testing positive for the banned substance Meldonium at the Australian Open, tennis star Maria Sharapova received a ban set to last until Jan 26 2018.  Although Sharapova is in the midst of an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to shorten this ban, this isn’t the only thing she’s doing with her spare time.  Yesterday, she posted a photograph on social media of herself in front of a sign for Harvard Business School with a caption that read “can’t wait to start the program”.  According to Associated Press, this “program”, which takes place in the summer, is two weeks long and involves two courses.

This might not seem like much, but even a little bit of time at Harvard Business School can offer plenty of business insight.  Apart from her work as a tennis superstar and one of the highest-paid female athletes of 2016, Sharapova is the founder of the candy brand Sugarpova, so she may very well earn some valuable business skills to boost her company.  As of yet, it isn’t clear if Sharapova will earn any certification from the courses she takes, but adding the Harvard brand to her resume could help her re-enter the good graces of fans and companies; her doping scandal has already cost her promotional deals with both Nike and Porsche.  

Sharapova is hardly the first celebrity athlete to attend Harvard; in 2005 the school has developed a certificate program that’s geared towards professional football players to help them evaluate and learn potential business opportunities.  Some notable alumni include NFL cornerback Domonique Foxworth and model Tyra Banks.