Feature Creeps Could Be In Your Projects

frustratedSandy is at the end of her wits!  She has less than a month to pull together her new coaching program and everything seems to be going wrong.  And to top it all, there’s little financial resources left to finish all the things that need to be done by D-Day! To an expert’s eye, Sandy’s problem all boils down to improper project planning.

The caliber of projects and the expectations of success you merge into your business can mean the difference between being in a panic stage and flying high in the market you serve.  It’s very crucial to understand the importance of planning out your projects ahead of time and avoid skirting or skipping important upfront issues from the outset.

It’s also very important to understand the concept of not over analyzing a problem or being paralyzed to a point where further action is not being carried out. A dreadful opponent may be “Feature Creep”.  This is where you keep changing your mind on what needs to done or have new ideas that you think are better ones.  Does this sound familiar to you?

Beware of feature creep as it will rear its ugly head at every step of every stage you encounter of your project. Things such as this, as well as losing focus on the core objectives will typically result in project failure because a core component or stage of the project is not able to move forward.

This is where an Online Business Manager (or OBM) can help you overcome and address these challenges.  An experienced OBM will assist in developing a project plan, a doable timetable and who is doing what.  This is utterly critical in order to prevent mishaps, and total project disasters from happening. It is better to work through all the ideas and goals of the project at the start of the plan so as to avoid conflicts later on.

Even if you want to be hands off, just by having an OBM organize all the requirements from everyone who is involved in the project that you are working on will allow you to be in control of the productivity and progress.

If your doing your own projects, then documenting the plan, even with a simple to-do list, will prevent ‘feature creeps’, minimize changes or alter existing ones.

A solid big picture view of all the project needs has to be looked at before moving forward with the actual implementation. This due diligence will take up a bit more time in the beginning but will save lots of time, money, and headaches.

Share if you’ve had a  ‘feature creep’ during one of your projects and how it changed the way you do things.  Love to hear them!

 

5 Action Tips to Increasing Your Visibility and Building Your Platform

Deborah KasowskiI would like to thank Lori Isachsen for hosting me as a guest blogger in celebration of my virtual book tour and the release of my new book “The Entrepreneurial Mom’s Guide to Growing a Business, Raising a Family, and Creating a Life You Love”.

 


Do you feel that you have hit a plateau in your business?
Are you looking to increase your visibility in a busy marketplace?
Are you trying to find a platform that helps you stand out from the crowd?

For years I truly admired the overnight successes and the one hit wonders but as I have studied how they got to where they are, I quickly learned that their success was due to months and years of long hours, early mornings, late nights and many sacrifices. The greatest lesson I learnt was that building a platform and increasing your visibility is a lot easier than a person thinks.

Believe it or not, you can become an overnight success -after you put in all the hard work that goes with it!

I can hear you laughing now.

Seriously, there are many platforms that you can build upon and increase your visibility in today’s marketplace. There are several action tips that you can do to increase your online profile as well as your off-line profile. But the true secret to success has to do with engagement – it all comes down to building relationships and making a difference.

  1. Be where your audience is both on and off-line. You need to be engaged and active in the conversations in your industry and the people you serve. You cannot build a business or a platform and wait for people to come to you. Go out and meet opportunity. Engage in online forums and networking events. People need to get to know you and your brand. You need to build that know like and trust factor with the people you serve.
  2. Take consistent action. If you say you’re going to mail out your newsletter twice a month or update your blog 2 to 3 times a week then do so. By taking consistent action, you are planting the seeds for your success. When you build a couple platforms, you have greater opportunity to spread those seeds into future opportunities.
  3. Share your resources. Follow-up with the people you meet at networking events. Do not try to sell them, instead try to find out what challenges them. Perhaps you can be the solution by offering articles, blog posts, or YouTube videos that can help them overcome the challenge they shared.

The more you are seen and off line you increase your visibility at the same time you are building your platform.

  1. Offer a free gift. Drive traffic to your website by offering an e-book, training video, or special report that people can receive if they opt in to your newsletter or e-zine. You want to start building a community of followers.
  2. Write compelling content. There are many other newsletters, magazines, and online directories that are looking for value and content that improves lives. You can also repurpose this content into tele-seminars, audio products, and videos. Writing a book gives you instant credibility.

The people will come as you offer value and interact with them. Take time to follow-up from a place of service and ask for the opportunity to help them. Business growth takes consistent action and compounds. At some point, the scales will tip and you will be the overnight success – do not give up! Get out there and take action.

What are some ways that you have built your platform and increased your visibility in the marketplace?

EntrepMomGuide_epubcovDebra Kasowski is the author of The Entrepreneurial Mom’s Guide to Growing a Business, Raising a Family, and Creating a Life You Love. Visit her blog and upcoming blog tour events www.themillionairewoman.com

Debra is a professional speaker, avid blogger, and business strategist/coach is known for provoking thought and inspiring many women and men to take action and live their life rich from the inside out!  You can purchase this book at www.amazon.com/author/debrakasowski

 

 

Goals to Success Technique Secret

goal-pyramidI’ve gone to networking events and attended many conferences and at almost all of them, the speaker on stage will ask the audience…”What do you need in a business to be successful?”  Many responses will come from the audience like money, time, customers, passion, etc. But watch them puzzle when they are asked WHY they want to earn money or have that extra time.  Any John Doe can say he wants to make money, but why?  Is there something in particular he wants to buy?  Something he wants to do with that time?

The secret to being a successful entrepreneur is very, very simple. It is called “Measurable Goals”. It might sound complicated, but when you have finished reading this article you will completely understand what it means – and why it is so important.

Once you establish WHY you want that extra time or money, you have just taken a big step towards success. You now have a goal. For example, you want that extra money to buy a house. Buying a house is your goal. Now comes the Measurable part.

How much are you going to spend on this house? $250,000? $1 million? You need to come up with a dollar amount or time amount, something of quantity, to properly set your goals. That way, once you earn that $250,000 or gain those 3 hours, you have essentially attained your goal.

But waking up one morning and deciding to earn $250,000 doesn’t make it happen. So how do you achieve your long-term Measurable Goal? By breaking it up into smaller, medium term quantifiable goals.

For the example we have been using, buying a house for $250,000, your medium-term goals would most likely be monetary. You could set goals to complete two projects that would each bring you $125,000, or even 10 projects that would bring you $25,000, or break it down even further.

But what good are these goals anyway? They are still difficult to achieve, and how do you know what to do to achieve these goals?

Well, you break each of your medium-term measurable goals into short term goals. For example, if you chose to get two projects with a price tag of $125,000 each, your first goal might be to think of what kinds of projects you can do that would bring that kind of money in for you. Your next goal would be to close the sale on such a project, and then to complete the project, and finally to collect payment. That way, each medium-term goal is broken down into manageable tasks.

At this point, you want to break everything down into a flow chart to help establish your goals. Put your business measurable goal at the top on its own piece of paper. Then, put each of your medium-term goals on their own paper in a horizontal line directly beneath your business goal. Then directly below each medium goal, fill a sheet with the short term goals that it will take to achieve each medium term goal.

This method will help you visualize what you are working towards, and how each step is necessary to achieve your dream.

Now you’ll want to check off each short term goal as you complete it, completing one sheet at a time. By doing this, you will be able to visually SEE your results progress quickly. Each time you complete a short-term goal, you are one step closer to completing a medium-term goal, which brings you one step closer to completing your business goal.

Now that you know the secret, what are you going to do about it? I suggest following the visualization techniques given, and build yourself a “business pyramid” on a wall that is visible while you are working. Glance at it every so often, and it will keep you on track. Reward yourself when you complete your goals – from the smallest achievement to completing the entire pyramid. It will most likely be the most positive experience in your life to see that pyramid completed – and the construction process of the pyramid itself will set you on the right path.

Share your comments below if you really do use a technique to set your business goals and how it has worked for you.  If you don’t measure your goals or have never considered it, share below what you are going to do today to change that.

 

 

 

Leading Successful E-classes

Phone-ConferenceEverything in today’s world has shifted with a focus on getting digital information. It’s an information age where individuals share information as a commodity and learning new things seems just as important as spending that quality time with families. Furthermore, those new things that we’re learning are of a digital format. For example, eBooks are a great way to give people more information about something. On the same note, e-classes are used through a teleconference in order to hold a seminar or meeting about a specific product or class. E-classes can usually be combined with e-books that go along with the course.  This article will focus on those e-classes, however, that have a great deal to do with the internet.

Why E-classes are Popular

One of the reasons that e-classes are so popular is because it gives the learners and the teachers of the teleconference a chance to interact in real time. Instead of just listening to a previously recorded presentation, the host of the teleconference is able to explain things more clearly, as well as answer questions about the presentation he or she is conducting.

If you are someone who is going to be holding an e-class through a teleconference about something then there are very important guidelines to adhere to. These include not keeping your guests waiting by actually showing up on time to the teleconference room, not being rude during the meeting (i.e. not answering your cell phone), as well as knowing when to stop the teleconference meeting.

Finding the Topic of your E-class 

There are actually an unlimited amount of topics that you can focus your e-class on. Many people use e-classes if they are a professional in their field in order to make more money.  In order to figure out what your topic is going to be, you have to have a purpose or goal.  Without this you are not going to be able to bring value to your attendees.   Do research on what your target audience wants to know will go a long ways to saving you time and narrowing down the topic which you choose.  Typically, most online businesses will host an e-class to provide the solution to some problem the audience faces.  You can discover your topic by writing down the obvious pain or pains that people face when their expectations are not met.  Another way to find your topic, if your a coach or a consultant, is to go back and find out what your clients repeatedly need your help withl.

With all the new internet technology that is being handed over to teleconferencing software then it is pretty much realistic to do just about anything that you would normally do at a group meeting. Web cams can even be used with smaller e-class groups, that adds a different dimension to the experience for attendees.  The art of sharing has definitely become more popular over recent years due to the teleconference. The main point here, though, is that specific niche groups, have been more and more involved in using teleconference software in order to share information. These are great ways to involve every single person of the group and provide a better alternative than physically meeting at a place where it may not be possible for all group members to be present.

Indeed, e-classes, e-presentations, and the use of teleconference software are very important in today’s digital product age revolution.  They are a great way for businesses and individuals to be interactive with each other in order to learn more about what they came to hear. Teleconference meetings have been used for a very long time, and they will be continued to be popular.  Not only are businesses able to profit from this technology, but many more people are able to take part!

 

Here’s my recommended teleconference software, which is easy to use and get started with:  InstantTeleseminar.com

Share why you use e-classes and any software you use.

Focus and Stay On Track

Business-Focus-300x300Every day we work hard as entrepreneurs, our mind is racing a hundred miles an hour because we have lots of business ideas and it’s hard to stay focused.  We are helping people solve some problem and have much to share to our audience, our customers.  So each day you begin walking down the track, with much of your focus on details.  You look at your calendar to see what’s on the schedule today, you deal with your emails, post on social media and comment on others, and have already decided that you will work on the business revenue generating tasks right after you work on your blog.   Then BAM a big truck bears down on you, forcing you to stop or change directions.

Has this ever happened to you?

Today, I recieved a frantic call from one of my clients.  She was feeling completely overwhelmed with trying to get things ready for her next online event, a new coaching program, and didn’t know how she was going to do it, especially since she had let her assistant go.  Her business life was in utter chaos.  There was copy to write for her sales page, attend a local networking event (which she was speaking at), send out her weekly ezine (which she still have to write) and her list went on and on.  At the same time, she wanted to discuss doing a teleseminar within the next two weeks, so that she could sell her next product (which wasn’t completed).  Whoa!  Put on the brakes baby!   Let’s break it down, organize and prioritize it.  After 45 minutes, we accomplished a clear path for the next two weeks.  No overwhelm…just a nice steady pace.  She knew exactly what she was going to focus on, why she was focusing on it and when she needed to focus on it.

To me this is struggling against the flow and focusing on the turmoil of your own business.  You do have a choice and each choice you make affects your outcome.  We’ve been conditioned to be busy all the time and that it will bring rewards.  So not true!  Being busy doesn’t bring money or success.  We tend to fall victims on focusing on numerous details.  When, in fact,  what we should be really focusing on is understanding the people who make up our pool of potential customers and what they want.

Ask yourself this one question, “What is the ultimate goal of my business?”

This may require you to step outside yourself and into the hearts and minds of other people, your customers and potential customers.  Think about, what is the one thing I should be doing to achieve my goal.  Do you need to plan a webinar so my customers can experience what I have to offer?  Is this the time to connect with potential speakers and do an interview teleseminar so your list can grow?  Have you got an information product that you can sell and is filled with what your customers want?  Connect and let your audience, your prospects, your customers know who you are and what you offer so you can continue to reach your goals.

You can adjust to any kind of chaos and deal with it gracefully, or you can allow it to stop you or force you into costly and time consuming detours.  The details are not your business they are merely the steps you take to stay on the track toward your goal.

What do you think?  Share your comments below.

 

Product Launch Boo-Boo’s to Avoid

product launchInformation products are an excellent growth tactic and they can be introduced at any point in your business development.  Launching your product is a big job and involves lots of creating and planning.  You may spend months getting the actual product ready, which means you’ve invested your time, money and energy into the product.  Plus, there is the additional task of mapping out your marketing strategy, which you’ve hopefully done, so you can reach your sales and traffic goals.

Before you jump in and launch your information product, I want to give you that extra edge.  Here are some common boo-boo’s that many online entrepreneurs make and how to avoid them.

Editing Your Product

You want to make sure your product is top notch before you do your product launch.  It’s a reflection of you and your business.  It’s important that if your product is an audio it should have good sound.  If it’s a video it needs to have good lighting.  If you’re launching a print product go over it with a fine toothed comb for grammar and spelling errors.  No one is perfect. However, the more errors you can catch and correct, the better, so make the time.

Are Your Links Working?

Most information products contain links, which are usually internal.  These can either be to other websites and resources or to your own business website.    If the link doesn’t work, you’re running the risk of losing the impact of your product.  Make sure all of the links work.  Check them and double check them again.

Honesty through Transparency

Too often this piece is forgotten during a product launch.  Be up front with your policies and procedures. This includes the price of anything, how you charge, what happens after a person buys from you and who you are.  By being clear and honest it builds a level of trust.  Transparency is important in online marketing and it’s particularly important when selling information products.

Secure Your Product 

There are always those individuals who will go to extra lengths to infringe on your copyright.  However, you don’t have to make it easy for them to copy your product.  Make is secure so they can’t change it and repackage it as their own.  In addition to copyrighting your information product, make sure to also deliver it in as secure a method as possible.

For example, if you’re delivering a print product save it as a secure PDF file. Password protect it so no one can copy or change it.

Don’t Complicate the Delivery System

Do you like it when you buy a product and you have to opt in six times and then you receive ten download links?  It’s confusing and painful!  Your customers shouldn’t have to continually click just to get access to something they already paid for.  Prevent frustration or unhappiness with your paying customers.

Streamline your process and make the delivery as easy as possible.  Test your delivery system, or have someone else try it out, to ensure this is a seamless, uncomplicated transaction.  If you have double opt ins, let your prospect or customer know what to expect in advance.  Be as transparent as possible.

Product Downloads are too Slow  

You know how frustrating it is to have to sit at your computer and watch your cursor spin, for what seems like forever, while a product downloads.  Take measures to minimize the file as much as possible.  You can achieve this by compressing it in a zip file or minimize the graphics as much as possible.  Ideally, information products will download in less than 60 seconds. If it takes longer, a simple solution is to be sure to let customers know this in advance so they can be prepared.

No Customer Support

Not all your customers are tech savvy and there will be instances where someone has difficulty downloading your product.  You want to make sure that you have systems in place to address any download difficulties.  Either a phone number, email address, or a ticket system should be readily available.  Don’t make your customer jump through hoops to get their product.

Done right, your launch will help you meet and possibly exceed your business goals.  No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes.  Cover your bases before you begin your product launch by avoiding these common boo-boo’s.  Launched effectively, your information product can help you achieve just about any business goal.

 

6 Steps Before You Plan Your Online Event

planning processKnowing what to do before your online virtual event will help to make the big day very profitable and successful. So how do you have a great, successful, low-stress event?  Planning the process is crucial. During the planning process aside from knowing your content, the message and your audience, it is important to recognize ways to be prepared. If you pay close attention to, and are mindful of the following before your event and you will create a successful virtual online event.

Market through all channels — If you don’t market your event, no matter how great the information and content is, you won’t have any visitors or only your friends will show up to support you. Use all means, from blogs, to article marketing, to affiliates, to Pay Per Click (PPC) to get the word out about your virtual event.

Choose the right Technology — Do your due diligence and choose the right technology to ensure that it has all the functionality that you need and want. Test out several platforms taking advantage of the fact that most services offer a free trial. Don’t skimp and only use the cheapest service, use the best system that does what you need it to do that you can afford.

Learn the Technology — Learn how to use the platform you choose to use. Watch the training videos if they exist, and ensure that you know how to use the system no matter what happens. If you don’t want to learn the technology, hire someone who does know it to run the event. There are many service providers who specialize in online events.

Test the technology — Do a run through of the entire event with the speakers (or stand-ins for the speakers if you can’t get them) and even a limited test audience to test audience participation tools and features. Ask for feedback from everyone. For the best feedback create a form or survey using a service like surveymonkey.com.

Technology Glitches Happen — No matter how you prepare remember that glitches will happen. Don’t stress out about it too much because most people who use technology realize that things happen. Just do your best to anticipate as many eventualities as you can so that you can be prepared.

Notify Participants — Send out a reminder to the participants, speakers, organizers and attendees before the event more than once. Sometimes people get confused about times, directions and time zones, by explaining everything to them more than one way, more than one time you will eliminate most problems.

Be on time — It is essential that the organizer of the event and all the speakers / presenters are on time for the event. In fact, it is best if they arrive 5 to 10 minutes early in order to greet guests before the start of the virtual event.

If your looking to learn more of the steps you need to comfortably implement online events into your marketing plans, check out the Virtual Event Game Plan Video Training Series.

Virtual Event Sales Page

Every virtual event you decide to host within your business should have a web site sales page.  Why?  Your web sales page is your main promotion.  This is where your target market is going to go to learn the details about your event and ultimately, make the decision to register or pay to attend.  A sales page is an important aspect of promoting any product or service and a virtual event is no different.  You need to spend the time to create an attractive and effective sales page with the right keywords, and right information.

As part of your planning process this should be right near the top of things to do.  There doesn’t need to be a high level of skill and you don’t need to be a copywriter (although if you have one or want to hire one this is a great resource to have).  Try doing a small event, such as a teleseminar, that you might schedule to do every month.  Look at other web sites for coaches, consultants, speakers, online businesses, and others, who host virtual events regularly and see how they do their sales pages.

Here’s a glimpse into my virtual event sales page checklist to help you out and an example to view:

1)  Decide where to put your sales page.  By this I’m referring to where your web sales page will be.  There are a few options here and only you can decide what is best for you.  If your doing a teleseminar or webinar, for example, you could just add it to one of your already existing web pages.  This may be something like an Event web page that you already have.  Or you may decide to create a new page within your website specifically for the event, so you can customize the page itself.

2)  Create the text content for the web page.  This is definately one piece that I recommend you do.  Not only are you the only one that knows what your event is going to include but it will actually help you with compiling your promotions and really clarify what information you’ll be sharing with your guests.

There are a some critical pieces that you should minimally have:

  • a good title, preferably with key words
  • the date and time of your event (I’ve seen this missing on many web pages and there is nothing more frustrating than this.  Don’t make this mistake!)
  • what the event is about. This should be related to your title and it should be cohesive and relevant information for your target audience.
  • list at least 3 or more benefits of your event so guests know if this is right for them (you want to let them know what pain you’re going to help them with or the solution you’re going to provide them with)
  • list a minimum of 3 or more outcomes (or what guests will learn) at your event. (give your guests a reason to want to attend so they can decide for themselves)
  • have a call to action to make them want to sign up or pay for your event
  • Don’t forget the opt-in box or your purchase button.

3)  Now you can structure the design of the sales page.  The look and feel of the web page from fonts, to colors, adding pictures, to placement of your opt-in box or purchase button.

4)  Make sure that you have enough lead time to get the web page up and running so you can promote your event without feeling a time crunch.  There is nothing more stressful than having to rush this, whether you are adding this to your web site yourself or you have a web person on your team to delegate this to.

When planning your next virtual event make sure to add this piece in your checklist of to-do’s, preferably right near the beginning.  Without a web sales page, you have no link to use in your different online promoting avenues.  People need to see your sales page and you’ve got to make this a steller page for each and every event so people will want to register.

Do you set up your own sales pages for your virtual events?  Share your tips, triumphs or challenges!

Striking Balance

You’ve set up your online business and you have a website.  Now what?  Just getting through this process probably didn’t come without painful moments.  Learning web/internet lingo and wrapping your head around the many questions that needed answering, are thankfully over and it’s time to move full steam head.  But how can you do this with a limited budget and do it all by yourself?

Even the best prepared among us will struggle to do everything and remember everything.  Many creative people have great business ideas, but their approach to planning is ineffective and eventually flops.  It isn’t always feasible to employ an assistant, a web person and graphic designer and any other workers needed in the daily running of the business. So, we need to be able to diversify when you are the one wearing all the hats.

The best piece of advice anyone can give you to help is to make the most of the widely available business tools on the market.  There are proven process that are necessary to start off with and implement in your business.  You may have received emails, listened to teleseminars, attended virtual conferences or live events and been overwhelmed with everything you need to learn.  There’s things like social media promotion, planning a sales funnel, having a list of subscribers, autoresponders, advertising, legalities, customer service and the list goes on.  Well, you do need to know these things to have a successful business but what they don’t tell you is that you can learn this knowledge in degrees, so each round or layer builds firmly on the previous one.

As an aspiring solo-professional I believe it is imperative that you know how to reach prospects through email, you’ve got to know how to plan a sales funnel, and implement the strategies that are best for you.  But it’s by mastering the basic essentials, focusing on those few strategies and marketing necessities that will make a difference.  Knowing the right pieces strikes the balance in laying a good, solid foundation that will help you build your powerful sales funnel and rock-solid business plan.

If you’d like to help yourself succeed quickly, with confidence, faster than you suspect is possible, then take the next step and gain the tools you need  Striking Balance with Online Marketing

Successful leaders don’t let technology give them the excuse to ignore that we live in an information age. If a company is in business, it is in the technology business.  Empower yourself by gaining the knowledge to propel your business on your terms.

 

Spice Up Your Marketing

For many of us, focusing on what to do next after setting up your business online can sometimes be a major obstacle to growing, not to mention keeping everything flowing logically.  No one likes getting overwhelmed by details.  So what’s the right approach?  Having the right action plan and the tools to make it happen quickly!

You’ve set up your website and some content but there’s something missing.  Website visitors are pretty darn savvy these days.  So set an intention to spice up your marketing and your bottom line.

Many, many businesses offer free content as part of their advertising.  You have even probably received a free report, ebook, audio, or video, in exchange for your email address.

Freebies work because most people are willing to take them, or download them.  For you, as an entrepreneur, your prospects and customers need to feel attracted to you.  Adding a freebie to your action plan and implementing one, or more, into your business will increase awareness, strengthen your brand, build your list plus more.

Have you got an irresitable free offer on your web pages?  If not, then you are missing out on a crucial component and leaving money on the table.  It’s not hard to have a freebie for small business if you know the steps to take.

Check out this must have biz tool “How to Profit from Freebies” and master this subject without overwhelm.  The Biz HOW Team put this simple how to together that will help you build your powerful sales funnel and rock-solid plan with your freebies.

I’ve used this tool over and over again for each of my freebies and I know it will work for you.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE DETAILS