A key tactic when your content is shared on social media

A key tactic when your content is shared on social media

Don’t lose your manners when using social media

Quite often when I am using social media, whether on my own personal pages or in a group, I see people asking for recommendations.  This could be someone asking for a personal trainer, a graphic designer, a virtual assistant or something else to help them personally or in their business.

If I know of someone and have used them myself, or have heard good things about them, I am all too happy to recommend them and tag them in a post.  What is then lovely is when the person I recommend puts a quick thank you for the mention in a subsequent post or private message to me.

This takes them seconds to do but lets me know that they value my support.

But what about those who fail to use basic manners in thanking someone for their help?  I have recommended a particular business on a few occasions recently and tagged them.  They have then seen this tag, and subsequently joined in the conversation to take advantage of the mention and to try gain business for themselves.  But no thank you or acknowledgement of my support was forthcoming.

Now call me picky, but I personally take this as blatant bad manners.  If I was at a dinner party and I introduced someone to another person who I thought would be a good contact for them and they totally ignored me, I would feel rather insulted.  And the same goes for social media.  Don’t forget the social part of social media.

What actually flabbergasted me this week was a small business whose posts I have been sharing and I have recommended to a few people, actually took the time to private message, not to thank me for my support but to tell me (not ask) to share and promote a new range of products they now have.  No thank you.  Just a demand for more support.

Do you think I am going to help them?  No, I am not.  I simply take it as incredibly bad manners.

So remember that social media is about building relationships.  Nurture those people who are effectively doing free marketing for you by sharing your content and tagging you in posts.  A few seconds to say a simple thank you can go a long way.  By having good manners you can gain yourself more future free marketing from your supporters who are likely to continue sharing your business with others.

Just don’t miss the key tactic of good manners when your content is shared in social media

Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity

Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity

I have been catching up with the latest episodes of Dragon’s Den.  Whilst I appreciate the show is heavily edited, I am still amazed at the number of people who enter the Den without a clear understanding of their figures.

So many have no idea of the difference between turnover and profit.  The episode I have just finished showed a woman who was so proud of her £20,000 turnover but could not understand why the dragons were aghast when she said she had a negative figure for her gross profit.  She was questioned about her understanding of what gross profit was and she obviously did not have a clue.

Therefore, let’s clear up the key meaning of turnover, gross profit and net profit in case you are unsure.  And if after reading this you still don’t understand, please don’t bury your head and feel scared to ask for fear of looking stupid.  These figures are imperative to your business success so seek advice and explanation from your accountant.

Turnover:  This is simply the total amount of your sales income over a specified amount of time.  VAT is excluded from this figure if your business is VAT registered.

Turnover = income received from sales

Gross profit:  This is the money that is left from your turnover once you have deducted the direct cost of making your product or providing your service (such as raw materials) but not the general indirect running costs of the business (such as insurance, salaries etc).

Gross profit = turnover – direct costs

Net profit:  This is the money that is left once you deduct the indirect running costs of your business such as marketing, insurance, salaries etc from your gross profit.

Net profit = gross profit – indirect running costs

 

A simplified example:

Mary makes luxury cushions.  She sells her cushions at £50 each.  To make each cushion she needs to buy £7 worth of material, cotton, stuffing etc.  The running costs of her business for insurance, telephone, personal drawing, marketing etc are £1500 per month.

Over the last 12 months Mary sold 500 cushions.

Her turnover was £25,000 (500 x £50)

The direct cost of marking the cushions was £3,500 (500 x £7)

Her gross profit was £21,500 (£25,000 minus £3,500)

Her indirect costs were £18,000 (12 months x £1500)

Her net profit was £3,500 (£19,000 minus £18,000)

That’s it in a nutshell.  If you need any more help, pop on over to The Small Business Kit and drop me a line.

Why perfection can be your worst enemy

Why perfection can be your worst enemy

Have you got your website up and running and all your marketing material finalised and out there working for you?  Or are you still working on it and waiting until you get it perfect?  Are you holding back until the time is perfect to release your new product or service?

All too often we wait before moving forward until we have the perfect website or until the timing for launch is perfect.  But do you know what?  That perfect website and perfect time is never going to happen. You are simply going through the motions of procrastination in the name of research and development.

Life is not perfect.  It is full of imperfections.  If you start to put unnecessary pressure on yourself to be perfect in whatever you do, you run the serious risk of being severely disappointed and never getting where you want to be.  You will continually find flaws which will again delay your forward movement whilst you strive to fix things that are unlikely to be the deciding factor in your clients buying decision.

Whilst you continue to fix and tweak, your potential customers are out there buying a similar product or service and building relationships with your competitors that you are missing out on.

You may have your big dreams and big plans and feel that every single angle has to be covered before moving forward, but in the business world and in personal life also, a single tiny step that you take, even if a stumble, is far better than any grand dream sat waiting in the planning room. You simply will not get things off the ground and moving forward if you continually sit and wait for things to be perfect.

Don’t get caught up in perfectionism.  Save it for when you really need it such as providing excellent customer service.  Just decide to do as well as you can with what you have and then continually look to adapt, improve and tweak as you go along and fix things that you discover are broken.  This way you have far greater chance of being on the path to great results.

As Mark Victor Hansen is quoted as saying:

“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what… Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.”

Just get out there and do it!!!

How to beat your competitors hands down

How to beat your competitors hands down

I believe I have found a way for you to beat your competitors in a guaranteed way.  This is just by delivering what you promise to do.  Simples!!

I never cease to be amazed by the appalling service that so many companies still think is acceptable.

Just this past week I have encountered the following:

Laura Ashley promising delivery within 3 working days and yet 10 days later still no order received.  Their customer service is non-existent with emails being ignored and a wholly incompetent customer service representative on the other end of the phone when I eventually got through.

I have booked flights with British Airways and encountered numerous problems on their site when trying to enter Advanced Passenger Information and reserve seats.  Again, emails ignored until I took to social media.  I then get an email telling me to follow the links on the website.  But they don’t work!  This was followed by no less than 8 failed attempts to speak to them by phone as after following the automated service it either went to a constantly engaged tone or cut off altogether.

I went to enquire about a new car from Nissan only for the salesperson to say he would email what they had and the prices.  Why?  I was there in the showroom potentially ready to buy.  Was it because I was a lone woman and he didn’t believe I was serious without a man by my side?  I emailed Nissan to complain about his attitude, got an automated response saying someone would be in touch within 48 hours and never heard from them again.  Appalling!

Finally, a dodgy estate agent who is lazy beyond belief waits until the last minute to negotiate with the vendor on items he promised to do on day one.  He then uses the cop out line that the vendors have changed their mind.  I have reason to believe he lied through his teeth to get the sale and was just too incompetent to do his job properly.  Suffice to say, when I come to sell in the future, this agent will be last on my list.

All of these instances I wish I could say were rare but are unfortunately all too common.  Tradesmen who don’t return calls, or who come and give an estimate never to be seen again.  If they don’t want the work, just say so.  Cleaners who come to the office full of promises of how good they are only to leave a half done job that has to be redone.  Financial advisors who promise information to be sent only for them to have to be chased continuously.

So if you want to beat your competitors hands down, try focusing on customer service.  At the very least do what you say you will.  And if you can go the extra mile, I bet those customers will be so impressed they will come back to you time and time again.

 

I am now going to start noting good and bad customer service and writing about examples of these.  If you have any of your own that you would like to share, please pop over and add them on the Facebook page.