Monthly Archives: December 2012

5 Signs of Business Passion

One of the first elements I consider when meeting with a prospective new client is whether they have passion for their project or business venture.  Without it, the process of creating successful business and market strategies becomes an uphill struggle that often winds up in the ditch, especially with existing companies.

Think of it this way:  If your car is stuck on a hill in a foot of snow and you have to get over that hill, passion and determination must be necessary to get the job done.  If you give up and tell yourself it’s futile and not worth the effort, your car (and you) will stay stuck in the snow or slide off into the ditch and stay there for days.  You will be frustrated, stranded, and discouraged because you never got to your destination.

You would be amazed at how many entrepreneurs wind up that way.  They have a great idea but get stuck and lack the determination and the passion to go any further, to get beyond that hurdle and achieve potential success.

The driver with passion takes the time to think through the solution to the dilemma, then acts with determination.  The snow is removed from under the tires and the car may be backed up a little, but eventually a slow, steady climb gets the vehicle over the hill – maybe with a little help – and then it’s on to the next challenge.

Are you passionate about your business?

Here are symptoms that will identify the level of your passion:

  1. You don’t consider that you have to go to “work” every day because you enjoy it;
  2. You enjoy solving your customer’s problems and helping them in the process;
  3. You value your employees because they seem to share your passion;
  4. Your employees enjoy coming to work and take good care of your customers; and
  5. You spend less time working in your business and more on how to make it better.

One of the five C’s of credit that banks consider in loaning money to business owners is Character.  The major element of that character they evaluate is passion.  The bank, or any investor, wants to know how passionate you are about the business, your customers, and the products and/or services you offer.

We recently counselled a client who was passionate about opening a franchise restaurant as a family-owned business.  The passion was dampened when the franchise allowed another franchisee to open within the territory being considered.  We opted for an independent yet similar business and the family-owned aspects of creating their own concept drove the owner’s passion to new heights.  And the banker was impressed with that determination to succeed.

Keep in mind that passion is important in business, but should also be instrumental in everything else we do in life.

Creating Relevant Content

Too many business owners believe that more copy on their website is better than just a little.  A few years ago that may have been the case.  Today, in this age of instant gratification, it is far more critical that the content – the copy and images – on your website is relevant.  Relevant to your business and relevant to your potential consumers, the web users searching for your content.

Key Words.  Let’s assume a potential customer is online because they had a party and their carpet needs to be professionally cleaned.  What are they likely to key into the search engine, whether it’s Google, YouTube, Yahoo, or Bing?  Probably the key words “carpet cleaning” or “professional carpet cleaning” and possibly their city, but the search engines are intuitive enough to automatically search for those services in the general vicinity of that computer’s location.

Relevant content on your website needs to include “carpet cleaning” in a title page, and “professional carpet cleaning” in the hidden page description as well as among the key words coded into the html language.  The actual page seen by the potential consumer also has to have relevant content about the fact you provide carpet cleaning services and that you provide professional carpet cleaning services.

Keep in mind that users are unlikely to spend a lot of time on your site looking for the information.  Some recent research suggested that time is in the nano-seconds.  The more prominent and easy it is for users to access, and the more relevant it is to their search criteria, the greater likelihood you will get the call to provide the services.

Call to Action.  This is content that is often overlooked.  Do you want a visitor to your web site to do something once they find you?  Do you want them to call?  Send you an E-mail?  Click for more information?  Stop in at your store?

What you want them to do is the call to action that should be a relevant portion of your website’s content.  If you are a hair stylist or massage therapist, you probably want your online viewers to call for an appointment, so make that a headline on  your site:  Call (123) 456-7890 for an appointment today!

Users may ignore the call to action.  The point is to make it was easy as possible for potential customers to choose you.

Format.  How the content is presented on your website is also relevant to increasing and driving traffic.  It’s less about numbers of visitors than it is about visitors who become customers because of what they’ve found and how long they look at the information you provide to them.  Think about the last time you went to a website and found a massive block of copy for its content.  Did you read it all?  Or were you gone in seven seconds?  How you format your content can be critical to the success of your web presence.  Make it easy to find information that is relevant to their search.

Users love bullet points and numbered lists, such as the top 10 reasons to use your services (maybe it’s the top 7).  Headlines, clickable graphics, pictures, and other eye appealing elements – as long as they’re relevant to your business – can increase the amount of time visitors spend exploring your site, learning about you and your business, and considering using your services.

Create room on your site for a Facebook reader so the content changes every time you post to Facebook, or make a video that links to YouTube from your site.  The more activity that gets noticed on your site by the spiders, the higher your search engine ranking will be.  Keep in mind that the search engines are becoming more and more sophisticated, so you and your web developer need to stay on top of the factors that can elevate your site in the rankings, or demote you.

Theme.  Along with formatting, having a consistent theme between all the pages on your website adds to the relevancy of your content.  Adding copy or graphics to fill space can create confusion to viewers.  Often, less is more attractive, especially if it pertains to the message you’re trying to convey.

That brings up another point.  Do you know what your message, or brand, is?  Are you conveying it correctly in your web content?  It should be part of the overall look and feel, or theme, for your business and its website.

Spelling & Grammar.  How your business appears to the online consumer is critical.  Misspelled words, such as spelling a key word hidden in code as “capret cleaning” instead of “carpet cleaning” can mean the difference between your site being found in the search engines.  Extra care must be taken to avoid spelling errors and grammatical mistakes.  Abbreviations may be fine for txting, but are inappropriate for reflecting the image you wish to portray of your company.

Your potential consumers want reliable, trustworthy information for them to feel comfortable using your company and its products or services.  Be careful in using spell checkers, too, since it is difficult for them to discern where “their,” “they’re,” or “there” is the appropriate terminology.

Last thought, if you’re unsure about how relevant your web content is, consider using the services of a professional.  If they can help you move from page five of the search engine responses to page one, it will be worth the investment.