Savvy Customer Service – Be A Business Your Customers Can Talk To

Social Media has opened up brilliant opportunities for small business.  It’s now possible to compete with huge names and the big brands as small and medium enterprises can offer something the big boys can’t (or just don’t). Savvy customer service.
While the major brands are dealing with hundreds, thousand and millions of customers (you can’t compete in size, so don’t bother), small and medium enterprises can take advantage of the social aspects of the new media.  You can engage with your customers one-on-one and meet and sometimes even exceed their expectations.
It’s worth developing good customer service habits as they always have a positive effect on  your bottom line and that illusive – Return on Investment (ROI).   According to recent data – a dissatisfied customer will tell 9-15 people about it.  And who wants that. We all know it’s much easier, and makes more sense financially to deal with any complaint properly and with integrity. Especially as it can cost up to five times more to find new customers than to keep existing ones.
Open for business
Les Baux de Provence, France – 2007
Take advantage of your more compact size and engage with your customer base.  Use social media effectively to remind your customers you’re there for them and that you’re listening.
Strategies for getting your existing customers to love you even more and finding new fans in the process:
1.  People are now shopping 24/7 and you can be open all hours without having to turn the shop lights on.  This doesn’t mean you have to be online 24 hours a day.  It does mean you have to answer as soon as is feasibly possible with a consider response. Getting back to people in the next five minutes isn’t always necessary, but a week later is very poor.
2.  Product announcements as they happen.  Take advantage of the real time nature of social media by keeping your customers informed.  You can promote new goods and services, run contests, give always, try before you buy campaigns, etc.
3.  You can ask your customers what they want and tweak your goods and services so they’re what’s really wanted.  People like to be asked and not told.
4.  Show appreciation and support. Show your customers you care. Say hi. Give out freebies and or discounts on birthdays etc.
Cheers to excellent customer relations
Oxford, UK – 2010
5.  Respond to their concerns, comments and customer services needs.  Be prompt and considerate at all times.
6.  Provide links to recommended resources and tools. Show your customers you’re not just a pretty face but also a valuable source of information.
7.  Engage and build a dialogue that develops new relations with customers and potential fans. Exchange, interact, connect etc..
8.  Make selling your business more interactive.  Even ask your customers and fans to do something for you once in awhile. e.g.. “Tell two friends and you can get this….”, “RT this for us please…..”
9.  Careful and thoughtful use of automated messages.  It’s OK to send out a “Thanks for your message, call, tweet etc.  We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”  And then make sure you get back to them soon.  Personal messages should follow as more automated responses makes it seem like your company is run by bots and you can’t be bothered to talk to them.
Overall in Customer Service just think how you would like to be treated and treat your customers like people you want to do business with!
Finally always remember the wise words of Mark Twain:
“If you tell the truth, you don’t have
to remember anything.”
Good Luck

30 Ideas for using Twitter for Business – Just in case you still weren’t sure

Old style business communication and marketing
Hastings, UK 
Getting started
1.  Sign up!
2.  Complete your user profile – we want to know who you are. Be interesting and keep it real.
3.  Add a photo/picture/avatar – keep in mind real people like to see real photos – if you’re just an egg it shows you don’t care so why will anyone else.
4.  Find similar businesses to follow – start developing your community – use Twitter search for followers.
5.  Twitter is a conversation – Listen to and Talk to people about THEIR interests.
6.  Be wary Twitter is not a forum for relentless sales people. If you’re  ALWAYS selling or Promoting just your stuff, people will turn off.  Strive for balance.  Understand Twitter is a long term marketing tool.
7.  Follow people/organisations not just in your sector, you can have non-business interests too – be well-rounded.
8.  If more than one person is tweeting on behalf of the business make sure there’s a  policy/understanding in place so there are boundaries and a shared purpose.
9.  Always keep in mind why you’re using Twitter and ensure it adds to your marketing strategy. Use some of the statistical tools available to make sure Twitter is worth the time (therefore money) input.
10. When online be engaged and be helpful.
How to Tweet
11. Have other members of your team tweet if possible. It’s nice to have variety and if it’s one person’s sole responsibility they may get fed up.
12. When promoting a blog post, directing people to a website etc, give a hint what it’s about – give your followers an indication as to why you bothered to write/post it so they can be bothered to follow your link.
13. Ask questions. Twitter is GREAT for getting opinions – people love to share their knowledge and give advice.
14. Follow people who have similar interests but go a step further and see who follows them – follow their followers.  Remember you can unfollow.
15. Re-Tweet (RT) other people’s Tweet. This probably won’t directly impact your business, but you’re seen as someone who shares. Commenting on others’ tweets, and retweeting what others have posted is a great way to build community.
16. Tweet when your audience is online.  The wee hours or weekend are quite often quieter times. Have a break!
17. When you DO talk about your stuff, make it useful/interesting/fun. Give advice, blog posts, pictures, etc.
18. Share the human face of your company. If you’re bothering to tweet, it means you believe social media has a value for connecting people. Be a “human” not a “robot”. Share some personal items but nothing private.  Also share links of interesting events/people/places in your community.
19. Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back but do share your successes. Share other people’s triumphs as well. Be supportive.  Don’t single-mindedly tweet about you and your business – don’t be an ego maniac. Boring!
20. Point out things of interest things in your field.  Become an expert.  Also share links of interest about your community eg:  events/people.  Be real.
Tips for helping you manage Twitter
21. You don’t have to read every tweet.  If you want to get anything else done in a day, you can’t. And honestly, ALL Tweets are not the same.  Some of them aren’t incredibly interesting.
22. You don’t have to reply to every tweet directed to you – some are robot anyway. But its nice to respond to say a quick thank you
23. Use direct messages (DM) for 1-to-1 and private conversations.
24. Use services like Twitter Search to see if someone’s talking about you.
25. Use a Twitter management tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite These tools make it much easier to manage Twitter.
26. Don’t let Social media take over! Be prepared to miss stuff but the good stuff will come around again.
27. Use an URL shortening tool. It helps tidy up your tweets. (the facility is available directly on Hootsuite).  You can also track who follows your links.
28. If someone says you’re doing it wrong, forget it. There are no hard and fast rules for using Twitter. They can unfollow if you if they want.  However, if a lot of people say you’re doing it wrong, well then maybe it’s time to reconsider Twitter as a marketing tool or get someone else to do it for you.
29. Schedule Tweets! You don’t have to be glued to the screen.
30. You can tweet some of your tweets again.  Resend tweets out at different times of the day.  The Twitter audience fluctuates so new people can pick up your old tweets.  Don’t get too repetitive though.
Stopping now 🙂  There is more advice but this is already too much to remember. I’ll save a bit more for later.
One last point and it’s the big one.Top, number one rule (and I’ve said it before, yes, will say it again) always keep in mind when using any form of Social Media for business that:
“People do business with people they know 
and people they like”
 New style communication is on the Web
Hampshire, UK 

How To Say Thank You – Smile And Wave

Congratulations! You’ve just received a compliment. Now what do you say?

Often we say nothing and just mumble and try to get away.

Strange that we become so flustered and confused as what to do when someone says something positive and wonderful about us or our work.  We get oddly apologetic and explain our success as some kind of horrible mistake.

You know the thing, we dismiss ourselves and become all self depreciating. 

“Oh, that?  It was nothing”

“What this old thing?”

“Well, it’s not quite what I was after, but it will do.”

Why is it so hard to take compliments on board?

I’m sure there are psychological treatises galore on the subject of our general inhibitions, but I’m not going to go there.  I’m not sure what your formative years were like or what array of skeletons you have in your closet, but we’re here now. So how do you accept a compliment sincerely and with grace?

Thumbs up!  You did well!
Vancouver, British Columbia –  2011

1.   Just say “Thank you”.  Simple huh?  Straightforward always works and brevity is good.  Do not, under any circumstances, respond with negative comments.  The other person is giving you something brilliant.  Don’t throw it back in their face.  Be gracious.

2.   If your success is genuinely not a solo effort, give credit to the people who helped you.  Be magnanimous.  Also often it’s easier to talk about others than yourself.  The bonus is that  sharing success makes you generous, well thought of and more likely to receive future compliments.

3.   Engage with those giving you the compliment.  Shuffling off or mumbling will not endear you to anyone.

4.  Give a compliment back if it’s appropriate.  Be sincere, not artificial or creepy.  This is not a competition as to who can compliment each other most.  Getting a compliment is not necessarily an invitation to indulge in a mutual admiration society.

5.  Smile!  Compliments are a good thing.  Enjoy them.  This also shows the giver that you genuinely appreciate their sentiment.

6.  Online you can use the same techniques to accept compliments.  Respond promptly and with gratitude to positive comments, enthusiastic tweets, and encouraging reviews.

7.  Pass it on.  Even if you’re not comfortable receiving compliments (yet) they do make you feel great. Pass on the good vibes to others who you feel really deserve it. 

Share the good feelings
Vancouver, British Columbia – 2011
It’s not indulgent to enjoy or feel worthy in yourself or your work. Why not bask in your success?  You have undoubtedly worked hard for it and have earned it.

Always remember:

You are not a Horrible Warning,  You are a Good Example!!!!!

Later (oh and well done!)


My Insights on Social Media – after…..?! Years of Being Online

I said in a much (much) earlier entry, I didn’t expect to be giving out advice on a regular basis because: 1. there is a lot of that on the Internet already, 2. why would I expect you to listen to me, (if you know me you would!) and 3. it’s my objective and that of my small business to offer my clients practical help – the roll up one’s sleeves and get-on-with-it kind of help.  So I’m a doer not a teller.  But well, things change 🙂

After the rambling preamble, what you can expect from this blog, is a series of loose observations and some personal opinions with some nice photographs here and there.

Vancouver, British Columbia – 2005

Today I will be sharing a few insights that I have gained over the last few year as I have plunged into the world of “Social Media” primarily for business (business? That is so funny on reflection! It’s pretty personal now as well.):

1.   Social Media isn’t free.  Twitter, blogging, Flickr etc may be free applications but they have to be maintained and of course the old adage is true – Time = Money

2.   Social Media is a public forum.  Don’t say anything you’ll regret and keep this in mind triply if your using it for business.  I know many of you have been indulging in major sporting events and the festivals (it’s not just me), but I don’t want to know how much you drank to celebrate/commiserate and I really don’t want to know what intimate bits of you got sunburn!  Yes, maybe I’m old fashioned but these colourful insights will have an adverse effect on my opinion of you.  You maybe my colleague, my potential colleague but you are not my friend (yet).

3.   There is no excuse not to be polite.  Please and thanks yous don’t cost anything and you’ll cultivate a reputation for generosity, fair mindedness and integrity. When texting and Twittering, brevity is essential but being terse and rude isn’t acceptable. And yes, spelling counts!

Granada, Spain – 2008
4.   Don’t ask for favours from people (requests for links, referrals, reviews, etc) and then tell the person what to say.  Note the word favour! Keep in mind when you ask, that you might not actually know them all that well.  Social Media can engender feelings of rapport that may not be reciprocated.

5.  Remember you have real friends and real family members.  Texting, tweeting, making or taking phone calls, whatever is NOT acceptable when you are supposed to be spending quality time with live, present people who care about you.  Always use technology to support and enhance your life and business not as a social substitute.

An aside here, I have never understood in films/TV even real life, why people ALWAYS feel they have to answer the phone.  I have an answering machine that provides a very adequate messaging service.  Sometimes I’m busy and can’t deal with a call at that exact moment.  It may be that I’m not even necessarily busy.  I might be reading a book, in the shower, just back from a run and wanting a shower, anything.  When the phone goes and I don’t answer it, it’s simply because I’m not ready to have a chat.  I promise to get back to you asap.

Oh dear, my phone dilemma.  This is probably just me and my eccentricities 😦  Still I maintain that I’m in charge of my phone, not visa versa!

And finally,

6.  Always, always remember the key to using Social Media successfully, is to be yourself.  People do business with people they like.

Hope you found this helpful, I do try my best.

Right, now I’m off for a run now.  Don’t call I won’t answer.  After running, I really really do want that shower!



Paris, France – 2007

If You’re Going To Do It, Do It Right – How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

It’s another one of those, “If you’re going to do it at all, do it right” things.  It isn’t any harder to do a good job (you know I’m lying, but just a bit) on your LinkedIn profile, and the rewards will be much greater than doing half a job.
It’s also another one of those, if you put some effort into it, it will show people that you think this matters.  A great LinkedIn profile conveys the message that:- you’re a consummate professional, as you care about your image,
– you take this network seriously and have respect for the business world, and fellow professionals online,
– you know how to take advantage of the best opportunities, and
– since you know how to network online properly, this demonstrates clearly that you’re Internet savvy.Connections and future connections on LinkedIn will be impressed, and take you more seriously, rather than the opposite, which is to relegate you to Deep Web oblivion.

Being impressive and influential is what LinkedIn is about (and getting dinner invites from long lost colleagues, but that’s another story*).  You have to offer something, other than a firm handshake, to get successful and worthwhile connections.  As I said in another post, LinkedIn is for professionals and you shouldn’t be here if you’re not serious about your work and your profession.
As they say (or do they?)
Play or get on your bike
Granada, Spain – 2007
As you’re reading this, you’re serious, so here are a few tips to making the most of your profile:

1.   Complete your profile 100%.  According to LinkedIn, by fully completing your profile, you will be “40 times more likely to receive opportunities”.  Well I suppose they would say that, wouldn’t they. But even if that statistic isn’t quite that high, “opportunities” should be an incentive for you to make the effort.

2.   A nice photo please.  And look happy to be here. Yes, it will give away your age, your hair colour, your ethnicity, etc.  They were bound to find out sooner or later that you’re a gorgeous, red-haired librarian with a few freckles.  The fact is, faces are easier to remember than names and these memories also last longer.  I’m not making this up.  This memory bias is known as the Picture Superiority Effect.  Another reason to use a photo is that your face is your brand and logo.  You should be like BMW//Apple/Twitter and reinforce your brand by using this photo on multiple sites.

 3.  Include all the companies you’ve worked for, your higher education, any awards and of course all publications (if you have any).  Not only are recruiters looking for these key items but so are your ex-classmates and ex-colleagues. Make looking for you easy.  You’re on LinkedIn.  You want to be found.

4.   Include your website, blog links and Twitter feeds.  Who are you, what have you done, what do you have to say?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Besides you put all these details on the Internet, so make use of them.

If you don’t like LinkedIn you could
go retro and stick a note on this board
Ottawa, Canada – 2004

5.   Update and change your profile whenever necessary.  Your career doesn’t stay still in the real world (I hope).  You’re not stagnate.  Don’t grow moss on LinkedIn either.

6.   Write in the 1st person not the 3rd.  Since you’re using LinkedIn, it’s obvious that you aren’t royalty.  Be real and sound genuine.

7.   Acronyms.  Don’t assume everyone knows what you mean.  Please be clear and explain.  Also you never know what terms people are using for searching.  For example – CA has over 680 meanings including everything from Chartered Accountant to Cost Analysis and including Combat Aircraft.

8.   Think about the quality of your network.  Some people still feel it’s about big numbers.  I feel it’s about the quality and the productivity of the connections you have.  The 50 people you know and who would recommend you, are more valuable than 675 who barely remember you. When you start on LinkedIn, you can import your professional contacts from your email directories.  You aren’t among strangers on LinkedIn, as your colleagues/peers/even friends are here.

That’s enough for you to contemplate for now (and be getting on with).

Good luck.  Any questions, you know where I am.


Where Did The Time Go And Why You Aren’t Getting Things Done Online – How To Do Better

OK I admit it. I waste time on the Internet.  Photography and social media sites are my downfall.  According to a study by Nielson – social networks and blogs count for 23% of total time spent online – (in the US –  but it’s probably pretty much the same in most places). At least I can be comforted that I’m not alone.

Temptation at Green Gypsy Caravan
South Island, New Zealand, 2005

But it’s hard not to be diverted.  Especially when you work on your computer all day, it can be very hard not to be distracted by little, very shiny, new things.  We all know that what’s happening on any of your three Twitter/Google+/Facebook/etc accounts is so much more appealing than focusing on paid work.  And that new app/gadget/life changing device has to be scrutinized, commented on and shared immediately!

Without adding 6 hours to your day, how do you tear yourself away from all that sparkles on the Internet and devote yourself to paying work?

No painless answer.  Sorry. The brutally honest truth is that it’ll require giving stuff up and some discipline on your part.

1.  Ditch the myth of multitasking (I am absolutely not a believer, you just set yourself up to fail).  No you can’t do more than one thing at the same time successfully.   If necessary write a to do list and cross things off.  Make a point of completing tasks before delving into something else.

2.  Focus on the small goals that support your big goals.  Get rid of the distractions that aren’t motivating you or helping you achieve your end goal.  Are you using all those gadgets and online tools properly?  Do they duplicate activities or make you pointlessly update more services?

 3.  Assess your use of Social Media.  Are you really getting something out of it?  Does it have a significant place in your overall marketing scheme and are you using it effectively?  Be honest about this (and it’s hard).  Often it’s more fun to chat and share than get any actual work done.  Make sure your Social Media activities are (yep that dreaded but appropriate phrase) “fit for purpose”.

 4.  Be disciplined about your time.  If you have to – draw up a chart, make a schedule, create a timetable and stick to it.  Get a real clock and don’t rely on the tiny clock on your computer.  Make sure you have a big visual so you are aware that those 5 minutes do go sailing by.  

Tempus Fugit
Musee d’Orsay, Paris, France – 2007

5.  Stop playing games! Solitaire, Farmville, World of Warcraft, whatever.  Those little treats you let yourself have as a break. Only after hours!  Yep, you have to be a grown-up now (but only to a point!)

6.  Chatting.  Yep, stop talking so much.  You have to be friendly and personable even online but be aware how long those conversations are going on for and be clear as to what is your agenda.  Are you bored, flirting or is it really work?

All these tactics will require you to be conscientious and truthful about your working habits.  The good news is, when you resolve to take back control of your time you will (oddly but ultimately) have more to spend it how you like.

So more time for wielding a big sword on WoW!

Or just kicking back on a beach 🙂
Rabbit Island, South Island, New Zealand – 2005 

10 (Plus 1) Random Golden Rules To keep in Mind When Using Social Media

Ta Dah!  An actual useful, “how to…” post.

The following list is a few choice tidbits on dealing with Social Media – focusing on Twitter and LinkedIn (I’m a long time non-fan of Facebook.  How much time do you have? Yes I’m there but not yet entirely comfortable.).  Of course accompanied by the usual disclaimer – “In my humble opinion the following is very good advice…”

1.  Remember it is a public forum.  “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, does not apply.

2.  Social Media is yet another tool and will not replace any of the tools you are currently using.  You will have to pick your demons carefully because you do not have the time to be brilliant on all platforms and you have to do them well. Choose wisely.

3.  LinkedIn – This social networking site is less about how many than about how good. You are expected to know your contacts and to be able to recommend them to others.  Remember people want to connect to you to use your reputation and access your contacts.

4.  Use LinkedIn to keep in touch.  Supposedly these are your most essential business colleagues.  Make sure they have your most up-to-date details.

5.  Consistency is king! If you use multiply forms of social media, say the same thing on all.

6.  Twitter might be a daft word and tweeting a seemingly frivolous activity.  Still, make an effort to be interesting, informative and real or no one worthwhile will follow you.

 7.  As much as possible (for your own sanity) try to use one social media platform to populate another.  Examples;  Tweet your latest (or relevant) blog posts on Twitter to drive traffic to your blog and website.  Use Tumblr to add content to your blog.  Post your Twitter on your website/LinkedIn. etc

8.  If you don’t want to tweet/blog/connect/follow and you still feel it is an integral part of your marketing plan (because it should be), hire someone else to do it. Delegating is OK, getting help to manage it better is OK too.

9.  THERE ARE NO OVERNIGHT SUCCESS STORIES!  Those people who say they made 3 million pounds in 18 months with their blog, yes they are trying to sell you something!

10.   If you decide Social Media doesn’t work for you, you really don’t have to stay.
How To Permanently Delete Your Account on Popular Websites – Here

Plus 1 – Finally – Always remember:

People do business with people they know and 
people they like!
So you are assured I don’t take myself too seriously:
Me as the reigning queen of Social Media
Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland, Australia – 2005

Following and Followers on Twitter – What’s the Big Deal?

Now this is the article where I show my true colours as a Social Media Heretic.  

I’ve written a number of articles about following on Twitter and you have asked me how to, why to and mostly what to do.  First off, please understand these are entirely my own opinions.  I don’t run a complicated stats package and I don’t use studies or fancy algorithms to back up my insight.  My Twitter advice comes from 20+ years working with people and establishing productive working relationships with them in the flesh and online. I do know what I’m doing.  I was manhandling online information before Twitter and before Mark Zuckerberg had any friends.

What you get from me is straight talking.

If you have read any of my previous articles, you’ll know that my advice is primarily aimed at small and medium business enterprises.  I want to help you develop and maintain an engaging, open and positive relationship with your clients.  All my advice is based on my mantra (yep here we go again):

 “People do business with people they know
and people they like.”

However, I’m not exclusive and any and all my advice can be taken on board by anyone.  It’s good stuff!

I probably spend more time on Twitter than most because I want to get under its’ skin and find out how it works for those of you in the real world.  It’s my job to sort it out Social Media for those of you who want to part-take but haven’t got the time or necessarily the inclination.  I would like you to be able to maximize your opportunities and enable you to use your time online productively.

“I like work; it fascinates me. 
I can sit and look at it for hours.”
Jerome K. Jerome
Not us though!
Paris, France – 2007

So back to being a Social Media Heretic. 

For SMEs (and most of us) I sincerely believe that it’s not about big numbers but quality numbers.  This is why I don’t adhere to the more is more plan of action. I don’t slavishly follow everyone who follows me. Honestly I don’t understand why some people do follow me.  They obviously haven’t read any of my tweets, visited this blog or gone to my website.  They usually leave before the week is out.  Yes, confession time here.  People leave me in droves!  OK a minor trickle, but it happens.

I don’t care. (OK it’s very nice to have loads and loads of followers.  I do enjoy having a fan club that may or may not listen to what I have to say.  I’m human, I want to be liked!)

What I do care about more is the people I follow.  And yes many followed me first and I liked what I saw and followed back. The others I discovered myself.  I’m choosy not a ego manic.

“Oh, but you’re so mean because that’s not very nice”, I hear you cry.  Not so.  I’m sure the other 189, 999,301 plus accounts on Twitter will find their own fans (in some cases I wish they would just go away but…).

Come on!  Who has the time? 

Really is it important to be followed by everyone including the cat’s brother?  Wouldn’t it be better to develop a solid core of interesting and engaged followers who actually know who you are?  People and businesses you can talk to/sell to/rely on/are interested in?  My answer is yes.  Your most effective use of Twitter is as an integrated part of your marketing scheme.  So use it to it’s best advantage to find your particular niche audience.

I say this because I feel that you must always keep in mind the “Social” aspect of Social Media and this require dialogue, interaction, exchange.  You know – being social. And yes, to use Twitter really effectively you have to do this.

Coffee or tea with chat works nicely too
Buonconvento, Italy – 2009

The formal lingo for developing a compatible/useful/involved following is called “Organic”.  Because it’s a selective process, takes a lot of time and yes you have to wade through some decomposing natural products to get there (nice euphemism eh?).

In the long run (and do keep in mind that all Social Media is for the long run, it’s not an over night quick fix), developing your home grown organic followership will be much more rewarding than 1,500,000 followers who only need you to make their numbers look good.

It’s not just a popularity contest.  Twitter is a business platform.  Seriously.

Hope this helps clear up a few things.  Any ideas, objections, insights……you know where I am.



FREE! 10 Organising Tips For The Office That Cost Nothing – Guaranteed To Improve Your Life

Another top 10 list (because you asked so nicely).

1.  Keep your stationery drawer filled with things that you use regularly and that work.  Ditch the dry pens, the used staples, the bent tacks and the dried up glue stick.

2.  Organise and label wires: a) So you don’t unplug the wrong device when backing up (see 7) and b) if you move around the equipment in your office or take electronics off your desk you know what wires go with what item.

3.  When arranging your desk, put the phone in the opposite corner to your dominate hand.  For righties on the left for lefties on the right.  Why?  So you can grab a pen and write notes!

4. Date your work as you go because, no you won’t remember when you did “that” part.

It doesn’t always have to be
Take steps now to improve your working life 
Kidsbooks, Vancouver, British Columbia – 2011

5.  Put stuff back as you go. Keep organised so you keep your work under control.  Much easier and less painful than an emergency panic driven sort out.

6.  Projects you have completed, old tax documents etc – store elsewhere (labelled and dated of course).  You don’t need this stuff looming at you everyday.

7.  Back up! Back up! Back up!  – Do this regularly i.e. daily! No explanation needed I hope.

8.  Your desk is not a giant in-box.  Straighten your desk at the end of each work day.  Not necessarily a clear desk, but a state of organisation that you won’t be inclined to avoid. Clutter is an indicator of indecisiveness not lack of time.

9.  Take all your personal mementos and “executive” desk toys off your working desk.  On the wall or a free shelf is OK.  You can keep them in the room but you need the space to work and not distractions.

10.  Eliminate homelessness from your office. If there isn’t a place for something, do you really need it?  Honestly assess how big (and how useful)  your “just in case” collection is. You can keep it, but you don’t need to give it room in your office.

 Achieve a better life balance
Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Canada 2011

Bonus – Make peace with yourself.  You are most likely your harshest critic.  Keep in mind who you are trying to “impress” and give yourself a break.

I hope this help and if you have any ideas to organise your office for free, let me know.  I’d love to add to my list 🙂


What’s the Point Of LinkedIn? 7 Tips for Enlightenment

Congratulations!  If you’re reading this, you’re probably getting (or already have) to grips with Social Media.  Some formats are easy to embrace as they are by nature chatty and entertaining.  Everyone from your friends and relations to the neighbour’s dog (honestly Dogs who Twitter) and your favourite celebrity (——– name here), are accessible in the virtual village.
LinkedIn is a little different.  Not that it’s unsociable or unfriendly but it’s where grown-ups go to talk about work.  For some the “fun” factor may be missing, but if you’re not using LinkedIn to promote you and your business, then you’re missing out on a critical opportunity.
LinkedIn has been around since 2002 and it’s a business-oriented networking site used primarily for professionals to “connect” to each other.  Currently there are over 175 million registered users, spanning more than 200 countries.  And it’s a heavily visited website.  As of writing this article,  LinkedIn was the 12th most accessed web site in the UK (see for even more details).  That’s a lot of traffic.
And the answer….
Manchester, UK – 2009
If that’s not enough incentive to use LinkedIn, here are 7 more reasons why you should stop ignoring it:
1. Do you want to be seen?  A LinkedIn entry ranks very highly on both major search engines Google, and Bing. “Google” someone you know (or yourself if you’re already there) and see for yourself.
2. Increase your visibility.  As I mentioned above, this is a professional networking site.  It’s not for YouTube junkies, students etc. This is a site for proper professionals so reputations matter.
3. Improve your connectability.  By using LinkedIn effectively, you can make who you know, and who knows you, work a lot harder for you.  Flaunt your popularity.  You’re a professional, you should be over that wallflower stage by now!
4. You can do your research early, using LinkedIn to look up company information and viewing people’s profiles.  LinkedIn can be used as a sort of pre-reference check even before you make any formal contact with the company or person who interests you.
5.  Looking for a new job?  There are great job searching tools on LinkedIn.  Not only are there job postings but you can also check out the markets locally, regionally and globally in your fields of interest.
6. Did you get an interview with someone listed on LinkedIn?  Then you can ensure your interview goes more smoothly because you can check them out beforehand.  You can dazzle them at the interview by having something sensible, interesting and relevant to talk about.7.And lastly (for this list anyway) LinkedIn is a great reference tool. There are industry experts on here, ask them anything. You’ll be surprised by the  knowledge base that’s available and how much people love to help.
If you’re serious about your profession and your future and you haven’t signed up to LinkedIn, then you’re running out of excuses.
Finally – HINT HINT – complete your profile as completely as possible.  But that’s another article!
Once you’ve completed your LinkedIn
profile, then you can treat yourself
Mount Buffalo, Victoria, Australia – 2005