Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

July 2015

Recent Posts

Recently I wrote about the latest trends in blogging that make your blog more appealing to your readers (Stay Abreast of Small Business Blogging Trends to Cultivate More Readers). Although it’s important to please your reader, it’s equally important to make sure your blogging efforts net results…especially when you want to make certain your blog achieves (or exceeds) benchmarks.

My favorite inbound marketing resource, Hubspot, shared the targets their 13,500+ clients are reaping. It goes like this: companies that blog 15x or more per month get 5x more traffic than those who don’t blog. Businesses that increase the number of blog posts from 3-5x per month to 6-8x per month, double their leads. When the TOTAL number of blogs on a site grows from 20 to 50, traffic increases by 45%; spike the TOTAL blog posts past 100 and you’ll see a 59% upturn in traffic.

Small Business Blogging: Tech Talk

What makes an effective blog—and by effective I mean a blog that produces results. These are the 10 elements I include to make sure resources dedicated to blogging aren’t wasted.

1) Keyword/Keyword Phrases

  • Particular word or phrase that describes the contents of a web page (i.e., business coach, business coaching, or strategic business coach)
  • Typed into search by internet users to find what they are looking for (i.e., how can I benefit from strategic business coaching)
  • See Google Keyword Planner for keywords/keyword phrases for your business

2) Author/Blog Writer

  • Identifies the appropriate author, especially when several authors contribute to a blog

3) Topic/Category

  • Broad grouping of topics that make it easier for the reader to find multiple articles on the blog related to their interest (i.e., small business coaching, strategic coaching, benefits of business coaching)
  • Tool for organizing blog posts (i.e., content marketing)

4) Publish Date

  • Date when blog article is to be published (i.e., goes live on the website)
  • Assists with managing the publishing schedule

5) Subject/Title

  • Also referred to as “Headline”
  • Keep under 70 characters to avoid title being truncated in search results

6) Key Points

  • For research, planning, and writing your blog only (internal use only)
  • The most important points or messages to include in your blog

7) Body

  • Content of the blog consisting of 400–600 words
    • External link: hyperlink(s) that points at another domain/website outside of your website or blog; used when referring the reader to further information, referencing a resource article or site, or validating stats
    • Internal link: hyperlink(s) that point the reader to another article, blog, or page on your website or blog; used when referring the reader to further information, keep reader on website longer, build credibility
    • Use no more than two hyperlinks per paragraph (internal or external)
    • Use internal links to reference other blog pages and/or service pages on your website
    • Call-to-action: instruction to the reader to provoke a response; usually a verb such as “call now” or “find out more” or “tell us what you think”

8) Image

  • Picture capturing the essence of the blog content
  • Image Resources:,,
  • Alt Tag/Text: alternative text for an image on your blog; provides further information that assists with search; generally keyword/keyphrase used as alt tag/text
  • Example: small_business_coaching_results

9) Meta Description

  • Description of your blog article for search engines
  • Limited to 140 characters, including spaces
  • Includes keyword/keyphrase
  • Example: 

10) Social Media Message

  • Text to be used to post on social media platforms to promote blog article, increase website visits, and attract potential clients
  • Include keyword/keyphrase
  • Limit to 100 characters, including spaces, to allow for link to blog article
  • Example: Are you curious if you’re a match for #business #coaching? Surprisingly, not every entrepreneur is. (100 characters with spaces)

Small Business Blogging: The Results

It’s one thing to discuss the technical aspects of a blog but what matters most is the result.

During my first 30-day blogging challenge I put the technical aspects of blogging to the test. These are the results achieved:

  • Website visits increased 101%
  • Unique visits climbed by 86%
  • Number of page visits went from 2.11 to 4.48
  • Time spent on the site rose from 2:16 to 3:08
  • Bounce rate dropped 8%
  • Returning visitors increase 7%
  • Blog subscribers increased 27%
  • Number of leads generated increased 150%

To piggyback on these results, I continued my blogging efforts throughout the year creating an average of 12 blogs per month. (Don’t panic. October 2014 was a big fat zero.)

The second 30-day blogging challenge created an additional bump in results.

  • Website sessions increased 41%
  • Unique users increased 29%
  • Page views increase 43%
  • Average Session duration increased 42%
  • Bounce rate dropped 3%

And, wait for it…

  • Number of leads increased by 92.5%

In a nutshell, small business blogging produces results—when you meet the needs of your reader and the business!

There’s still time to launch your blogging adventure and snag results like this for your business. Check out Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Small Business Blogging Success.

It’s Saturday. My list of things that needed my attention was not only created—it was logged into my calendar complete with time projections to complete each item. Grocery shopping. Walk. Clean house. Bake cake. Create salad. Clean garage—a project started two weeks earlier. And, be ready by 5 pm for dinner and a play with my husband. Ta Dah! It was ambitious to say the least.

Although well intended, this particular day was a struggle. Grocery shopping—check. Walk—check. By mid-morning, my ambitious “to do” list had fallen apart. After a few late evenings with friends—and several early risings—I needed a nap!

In went my ear buds, up came my “going to sleep” meditation—my grand task list was history.

Small Business Owner Rode Hard & Put Out Wet

I never used to indulge in such wasteful activity. I felt guilty. Self-care, accomplished with a much needed nap, was a rare event on my calendar. As a progeny of parents raised during the Great Depression, I learned well. The subtle talent of “taskmaster” was not lost in my upbringing.

Like many small business owners, Monday through Friday was dedicated to business—devoid of any personal activities. Anything house or family related (other than preparing meals) was left for weekends. This is the pattern I learned from hard-working parents.

Time to play, have fun, or relax was for when chores were done.

This discipline served me well for decades. It taught me the importance of work and dedication to business and family. I learned self-control, commitment, delayed gratification, organization, and time management—all qualities and skills responsible for much of my business success.

Over time, I also got sick. Struggled with fibromyalgia. Walked into rooms forgetting what I went in for. Grappled to find words to express myself. Ate all the wrong foods. Indulged in a little too much wine at the end of the day to relax. Seldom availed myself of exercise. I was crabby. In a word, I was miserable—and I was making sure my husband was, too. I was exhausted!

Why? The beliefs of my upbringing caused me to push beyond my physical capabilities. Growing up in farming country, we referred to that as a horse that’s been “rode hard and put out to pasture wet.”

I love what Robin Galloway, Associate Professor at Oregon State University Extension Service, says about Don’t Get Rode Hard and Put Away Wet.

“Back in the old days, some folks reckoned an equine (horse, mule, or donkey) was just a disposable tool to get their jobs done. They might ride a horse hard, so it was sweaty, panting, and broken down. When done they would throw it out to pasture for flies to swarm and bite. Or they’d smack it on the butt and send it into the barn with saddle or harness marks plastering its stinky coat onto irritated skin. The animal would feel terrible and look horrible—it would be stiff and itchy, with sore spots. This is probably the origin of the expression to “get rode hard and put away wet.

Professionals in any field excel because they are dedicated to their jobs. This willingness to run hard often comes at the expense of our own needs and personal lives. The cynicism, depression, and lethargy of burnout can occur when you’re not in control of how you carry out your job, when you’re working toward goals that don’t resonate with you, and when you lack social support (Psychology Today, 2011). The pressure resulting from these demands can create a sense of physical and emotional exhaustion that often leads to burnout (Igodan & Newcomb, 1986). To survive this intense chosen profession, we have to take care of ourselves.”

A Small Business Owners #1 Goal: Self-Care

When I surfaced an hour later, I was actually surprised at how energized I felt. I was refreshed and eager to take on whatever was next. In fact, I looked forward to it!

As I reflected on my choice, I realized that I had truly learned to make self-care and vibrant health a priority. It was no longer something to long for—like when or if I retired. My health—and sanity —became a goal equally as valuable as any business goal. Finally!

It wasn’t easy nor did it happen over night—it happened over years.

Here are a few of the approaches and beliefs I’ve adopted that got me to the point of guilt-free weekends and weekdays!

  1. Let go of feeling guilty.
  2. Recognize the word “should” means someone else’s agenda—not mine.
  3. Set a schedule that brings out the best in me.
  4. Acknowledge that a nap sometimes IS the next best step.
  5. Align expectations (mine and others) with reality.
  6. Take my needs (and schedule) into consideration when making plans.
  7. Contemplate what is required of me before saying, “yes” to anything.
  8. Set health as a goal to be achieved complete with plan of action and calendared appointments for “me”.
  9. Appreciate that clients come and go, but without me there is no business—no family matriarch.
  10. Admit that the superhero pose doesn’t make me a superhero.
  11. Offer myself within my capacity and capabilities.

All of these little nuggets allow me to better aim for the objective of healthy living. And, does it ever feel good.

Alas, it’s not always smooth sailing. Occasionally I need to prompt myself, calm myself, and get myself back on track. However, as the saying goes, I’ve come a long way.

Have you been able to shake the guilt of being everything to everybody all the time? How did you do it?

Employees are the backbone of any business. That’s why disengaged employees are a death sentence for your company. But how do you, as a business owner or manager, make sure your employees stay committed to their work, their coworkers, and your business, in general? Believe it or not, your competition can teach you a thing or two about employee relations. (Tweet this) School’s in session for employee engagement.

Things to Imitate

While we certainly don’t suggest copying your competitors (after all, you need your own unique HR solutions to set you apart), there are times when it’s beneficial to learn from their success. Great employee engagement practices are an example of this. Here are some “dos” to take away from successful competing businesses.

  1. Do make specific goals and stick to them. Those small businesses that have the right environment and staff didn’t get that way by chance. Define the culture you want within your organization. Keep that culture in mind when interviewing job candidates and creating employees’ workspaces.
  2. Do hire people with the right qualities for your company’s culture. Skills can be taught, but getting someone to mesh with your vibe is a difficult task. This may mean hiring the less-skilled candidate because s/he has the right qualities.
  3. Do let go of some control. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Give your employees room to grow. Sure, they’ll make mistakes, but that’s often the best way to learn. Put HR solutions in place that track progress, so employees come to trust each other.
  4. Do consider company values in all decisions. Making decisions based solely on financing isn’t always in your best interest. Decisions based on core values lets employees know you stand for something. It helps them better engage in those values, too.
  5. Do act without dramatic emotion. Mistakes happen in every business at one point or another. When situations arise, responding calmly and rationally greatly improves employee relations by showing workers they can comfortably come to you with problems.

Things to Avoid

Just as successful businesses can offer insight into the best ways to improve employee relations, unsuccessful ones can show you what not to do. Check out these “don’ts” of good employee engagement.

  1. Don’t create an Employee of the Month Program. While it may seem like a simple way to boost morale, it actually leaves employees, except one, feeling unappreciated. A better alternative is to let the team vote each month, and call it “Colleague of the Month.”
  2. Don’t stop at free food for everyone. While bringing in breakfast or providing a staff lunch boosts morale, it’s not enough to reward each employee for their contributions. So, by all means, give away food, but don’t consider that the bulk of your employee engagement program.
  3. Don’t ignore work efforts when offering rewards. If one employee continually goes the extra mile, and another simply completes a task on time, don’t give the latter a more significant or equal reward. To avoid this disaster, put goals and programs in place with specific rewards for each step completed.
  4. Don’t assume employees want to wear something with your logo on it. This applies to t-shirts, motivational jewelry, etc. When purchasing employee gifts, consider products that will have significant value to the recipient.
  5. Don’t undervalue employees. If you’ve just been recognized as the best business in your niche, for example, a simple free coffee for staff members won’t suffice. Match the reward to the achievement.

Employee relations are crucial to the success of your business. Reward workers for a job well-done, cultivate and maintain a specific company culture, and recognize achievements to strengthen employee engagement. Remember, engaged employees help your business soar. Take a clue from your competition and put your own spin on employee engagement. (Tweet this)

This article first appeared at M.J. Management Solutions, Inc.

MJ Management Solutions, Inc., is a human resources consulting firm that provides small businesses with a wide range of virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. From ensuring legal compliance to writing customized employee handbooks to conducting sexual harassment training, businesses depend on our expertise and cost-effective human resources services to help them thrive.

My Fitbit buzzed the start of my day. When my feet hit the floor I didn’t see the usual rays of sun filtering over the hillside. It was gloomy and gray. A dense marine layer shrouded the area.

We’ve been known to have early morning fog along the ocean, but this was different. The neighbor’s house—a mere 40 feet away—was invisible. The heavy, wet fog saturated the ground. In the distance, the low moaning of foghorns bellowed.

The dense marine layer reminded me of the experience many business owners face—when the ability to see clearly is murky. Each step is taken cautiously, if at all, because business is blurred. Confidence fades and stress fills the void.

Undoubtedly, each of us has days when we’re a bit muddled. You get up in the morning with priorities and direction a bit jumbled. But, by noon, the fog burns off to reveal the crisp countryside. This type of mist is so light that you move quickly and easily forward. There’s no need for foghorns. You think, see, and act with clarity, calmness, and confidence.

The type of fog I’m referring to is different.

It’s dense and long lasting. Try as you may, you’re unable to find a clear path to your destination. The stress builds. You sound the alarm. Your foghorn signals that you’re out there in the impenetrable fog—by yourself—and need guidance.

This is when business coaching becomes vital.

Business Coaching: The Fog Lifter

How does business coaching provide clearness to what feels nebulous? It happens in a variety of ways.

  1. Design fresh new ideas or approaches.
    In as early as 1546, John Heywood knew the power of coaching when he coined the proverb, “two heads are better than one.” More effective solutions that produce better outcomes are created when we avail ourselves of collaboration.
  2. Find clarity.
    We know what we do, what we want to achieve, and where we want to go—intuitively. Yet, we lack the right words to describe those elements with precision. A good listening ear and a coach’s extended vocabulary, equips us with the language needed to fully express our desires.
  3. Diagnose obstacles.
    “We have met the enemy…and it is us.” In many situations, we are the masters of our own demise—without realizing it. We need a fearless coach who can caringly point out barriers in our path, especially those to which we are blind.
  4. Pinpoint strengths and skills.
    When we’re in the middle of the murky waters, its difficult to see our assets. Rather than placing attention on what’s wrong, a coach focuses on strengths, abilities, and capabilities. And, helps create a plan to develop business skills needed.
  5. Bring opportunities to light.
    When encased in confusion, it’s difficult—if not impossible—to recognize the good fortune that is within our reach. “Colluding” with a coach opens us up to unanticipated opportunities.
  6. Extend support.
    Knowing, with unequivocal certainty, the best resources to tap into is challenging when business is a bit cloudy. A qualified business coach avails themselves of vital resources, like strategic service providers, to save us countless hours and unnecessary stress.
  7. Render analysis.
    Someone needs to keep their head about them—and, this is your coach. When knee-deep in perplexity, a coach provides objectivity, investigative scrutiny, and reasoning that allow us to unravel what’s before us.
  8. Furnish encouragement.
    Floating aimlessly in the fog—alone—is challenging, at best. It’s reassuring when someone, who believes in you and your goals, comes alongside while you maneuver through the maze.

Add these together and enthusiasm and optimism is restored. The fog lifts. The horizon is within view. And, the path is clear.

There’s no better way to travel…

Have you worked with a business coach? If so, tell us how your coach helped you achieve the clarity you needed? Inquiring minds want to know…

What entrepreneur hasn’t launched their enterprise with enthusiasm and optimism for the future? Little did you suspect you would one day awake with a groan. After hitting the snooze alarm for the third time, you blubber “I don’t want to go to work today.” You sound like a snotty-nosed first-grader dreading school.

What makes this situation hairy? You own the small business you dread working at. Yikes!

(Do you want to banish resentment from your business once and for all? Click here to speak to a strategic business coach.)

What happened? How did you go from slaying giants to pondering a gig at Starbucks? Well, like many, you began working long past the hours you intended for challenging clients for a smidgen of what your business needs to grow. Before you realized, resentment crept in. Sound familiar?

Potential Cause of Resentment

Frankly, if you silently relate to what I’m talking about, you’re not alone. Many of the small business clients I coach have secretly expressed the same exasperation. In fact, I’ve experienced it myself. It sounds a lot like this (using your best whiny voice):

I don’t want to go to work today.
I hate my work.
This is just too exhausting.
I should just pull the plug and get a job.
If I have to look at one more email, I’m going to (fill in the blank).
Oh, it’s her/him again! Let it go to voicemail.

You wouldn’t be normal if some of these thoughts hadn’t danced across your mind a time or two.

Resentment doesn’t magically appear overnight. It occurs over a period of time. While unsuspectingly humming along growing your business, resentment creeps in and spreads like measles at Disney.

How did you get there? Let me count the ways:

  • Burnout including working weekends, 12–14 hour days, seldom taking a full day off without checking email, and non-stop stress makes “Jack a dull boy.”
  • Underpricing which impacts underearning. Combined with long hours, it’s the perfect equation for exasperation.
  • Overwhelm including over commitment, lack of prioritization, unrealistic expectations, and foggy goals eventually backfires and fuels dissatisfaction.
  • Working with the wrong clients and add taxing, challenging, low-paying clients for a picture-perfect grudge.
  • Excess demands whether requests of others or ourselves, feeling “piled on” leads to bitterness and annoyance.
  • Lack of results for resources expended fuels cynicism and pessimism for what’s possible.

The Remedy for Resentment

Now that you’re thoroughly bummed, with your finger poised to call Starbucks, let me reassure you—there is a way out.

Ready to get started? Of course you are!

  1. Set boundaries.
    Decide the hour of day you open and close your business. Do it now. Mark it as such on your calendar. And, set your phone to ring only during business hours.Consider how you’ll keep projects within their scope, or receive compensation for additional work when scope creep raises its hand.
  2. Stick to your boundaries.
    Move beyond merely thinking about boundaries. Implement the boundaries outlined with others—and yourself. (Yes, it’s true. At times, we are our worst boundary violators.)
  3. Adjust your pricing.
    Price your product or service in a way that is fair to your client, your business, and you. Proper compensation for your expertise infuses a business with palpable happiness and optimism.
  4. Work with your ideal client.
    When working with your picture-perfect client, you do your best work—and bring joy to your business and everyone it touches. Just ask the folks at Everett Andrew Marketing. Their clients are excited to work with them.Download the buyer persona and create your perfect client.
  5. Schedule time off—stick to it.
    Whether it’s a long weekend or 10 days in Japan, time removed from your routine business environment adds a fresh, new perspective. And, renewed enthusiasm for your work. Who knows? Your business might succeed on a 25-hour workweek.
  6. Track results and change course to get results.
    Metrics are a small business owner’s best friend. They reveal what’s working—and what’s not. Let them excite and inform you of the next best steps to your destination.
  7. Disengage digitally at the close of your business day.
    Turn it off. Shut it down. Let yourself disconnect from all things business-related. Your brain—and your family—will thank you.
  8. Align expectations with reality.
    Understand the reality of your small business’ capability and capacity. Underpromise to ensure expectations and reality remain in sync.

You don’t have to resent your business. Although, it won’t be easy. (Easy means with little or no effort.) However, you can’t just read this, bookmark it, and promise you’ll get to it later.

Stop what you’re doing and implement these changes immediately. Otherwise, whether it’s tomorrow, next month, or next year you’ll feel the same way…. and its not worth it—especially when there is an effective fix for resentment.

Need some support, tools, techniques and accountability to put resentment to rest in your business? Contact a strategic business coach today.

Have you experienced resentment toward your small business? What did you do to overcome it?

It’s no secret that I’m a voracious reader. And, to avoid looking obsolete and irrelevant, most of my reading is keeping up with best practices and trends…one of which is blogging for small business.

Recently, I came across new blogging trends. Knowing what I like—and don’t like—when reading blogs, I was intrigued.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that my excitement was mixed with intimidation and trepidation. Not being a formally trained writer/blogger, I questioned my ability to integrate the up-to-date views.

Would you still love me tomorrow, I wondered? It was then I realized—we’re friends and you would tell me, in no uncertain terms, if the latest intelligence worked or wrecked my blog.

Why Blogging Succeeds for Small Business

More and more consumers turn to the web for information. In fact, today’s consumers are more sophisticated in their buying approach. With 329 million people reading blogs, 97% conduct research online for products and services before they buy.

First of all, over 70% of buyers prefer to get to know a business through (blogs) articles rather than ads. That’s a shocker (unless you’re the consumer). Typically, 57% of a purchase decision is made before a client ever speaks to a business. That’s Why We Love Small Business Blogging.

In fact, businesses who write just 3-4 blog posts per month get 20 more monthly lead submissions, 800 more monthly site visits, 60 more Twitter followers, and 50 more Facebook Like’s than those who only write 2 blog posts per month.

What Lurks Inside the Mind of a Blog Reader

We already know that blogging is good for business. All the same, do we know what influences a reader to pause long enough to read your blog and take action? The latest trends reveal some intriguing insights into the mind of your readers.

Readers love blogs that include these points:

1) Headlines matter (i.e., the enticement)

2) Once upon a time (i.e., the hook)

  • Opening your blog with a story leads to 300% more readers.
  • Use a personal anecdote or moment of transparency.

3) Less words—more pictures (i.e., the mind’s eye)

  • Readers remember photos 6x easier than text.
  • An image at the top right/left of a blog makes it easier to comprehend.
  • Image strategies: use an average of one visual image for every 350 words.

4) Words, words, and more words (i.e., the scan ability)

  • Readers read only 28% of the words in a blog post.
  • Writing strategies:
    • Write short paragraphs of 2-4 sentences per paragraph
    • Write short sentences
    • Use words/language commonly used by your readers
    • Use subheader(s)
    • Use lists and bullets
    • Average blogs are 400-600 words; some are 1500-1600 words

5) It’s a wrap (i.e., the big finish)

  • Add a call-to-action (CTA) that requires action such as “call” or “join” or “tell us what you think” or “contribute your thoughts”.

Interesting information, isn’t it? Blog readers have spoken. They’ve shared their wants, needs, and desires with us. Now lets see if they’ll take action. 😀

So, how did I do? In the true spirit of “following the rules,” contribute your thoughts below. What works—or doesn’t work—when you’re reading blogs?

Employees are just as important to a business as the products and services being sold. This is why it’s so vital to carry out effective recruitment tactics. Surprisingly, it is possible to segment potential workers based on certain characteristics and specifics. Here’s a quick look at few myths about employee recruitment that prevent you from finding the best workers.

Myth #1: The best employees will come to you

If only! Wouldn’t that make life easy? Occasionally an ideal employee might discover your company, but generally, the best workers have no problem securing a job. This is why you want to recruit them.

Myth #2: Only big businesses should recruit workers

It doesn’t matter if your company employees five or 5,000 employees, each worker influences the overall success of your company. When you don’t take the time to recruit quality workers, you end up with employees who don’t know how to provide top-notch outcomes. This, of course, leads to poor performance, inefficiencies, and a drop in your profit.

Myth #3: Not every position requires recruiting

You might think that the janitor position isn’t worth carrying employing recruitment strategies. Think again! All positions should be carefully evaluated. If there is a role within your company that needs to be filled, take time to recruit a worker who can fill the role with the utmost effectiveness and efficiency. Not only does this decrease overhead, it also boosts productivity and profits.

Myth #4: Employee recruitment is too time consuming

Did you know that using recruitment software can fill positions before they become open? This means all applicants are unbiasedly compared according to your desired preferences, and the software shows you which applicants are best suited for each position within your company.

Myth #5: Recruiting software can do all the work for you

While recruitment software is of benefit, keep in mind that software isn’t human. It doesn’t have your intuition. After evaluating the applicants, if your hunch suggests a certain candidate, carefully consider the role of your intuition. Your instincts can be spot on.

Myth #6: Employee recruitment scares away applicants

Many small businesses believe a recruitment process scares away applicants who are potentially good workers. On the contrary! Talented individuals expect to go through a recruitment process. And, most times, a recruitment process significantly simplifies hiring for your HR department and the applicants. (Tweet this)

Myth #7: Quality workers are too hard to find

If you’ve had trouble recruiting quality workers in the past, rest assured—good employees are out there. You simply need to let them know you’re looking for them. This involves posting on social media, marketing the position on your company website and job boards, and through good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth advertising.

Myth #8: Employee recruitment is ineffective

Employee recruitment is effective, regardless of what you’ve heard in the past. In fact, Jobvite found a 49 percent improvement in the quality of applicants when using social media recruitment tactics. Unbridled Talent discovered over 300 million job searches conducted each month. Recruiting employees is effective when using the Internet properly.

The Takeaway

If you consider implementing employee recruitment strategies, take comfort in knowing your efforts will net good results. From a reduction in employee turnover to enhanced customer service, recruitment takes your company to the next level of success. MJ Management Solutions, Inc. can provide HR solutions that ensure your recruiting strategies succeed.

This article first appeared at M.J. Management Solutions, Inc.

MJ Management Solutions, Inc., is a human resources consulting firm that provides small businesses with a wide range of virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. From ensuring legal compliance to writing customized employee handbooks to conducting sexual harassment training, businesses depend on our expertise and cost-effective human resources services to help them thrive.

Small business growth is on the rise as evidenced by the most recent infographic published by IndustriusCFO. With advancements in technology, better data for small businesses, and smarter tactics, growth no longer has to be a struggle or overwhelming.

Enjoy these latest statistics and then pat yourself on the back for doing a bang-up job showing big business how small business is achieving BIG things! (Thanks to IndustriusCFO for the shoutout to Synnovatia!)

Courtesy of: IndustriusCFO

I’ve been blogging for 5+ years. Given that, understanding the technical nature of an effective business blog is second nature (almost).

Recently one of my clients asked me to facilitate a blogging workshop for his colleagues. Participants were in varying stages of small business blogging—from having read a blog to actually writing one that was wedged in draft.

What made it interesting was to unravel what had become part of their blogging beliefs…and had them stuck in neutral. Their anxiety was palpable and I found myself holding my breath in unison.

As we chatted about what prevented them from blogging, three common fears emerged.

  1. What will I write about?
  2. What do I have to say that’s important enough?
  3. Will it be good enough?

When you considering blogging for your business, do you experience a similar uneasiness? (Psssst, just a hint. Do you notice how many “I’s” reside in those concerns?)

Anxiety Reduction 101

You’ve likely heard the mantra, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” That was never a very effective strategy to work through my fears. It feels like driving my head through a knothole in a fence.

Discussing fears, concerns, and angst—whatever you want to call what holds you back from launching your business blog—is an excellent way to expose them to the light.

Here are the highlights of our discussion that soon had their fingers flying across the keyboard and on their way to becoming blogging aficionados:

  1. Get out of the way.
    To put it bluntly—blogging isn’t about you. You’re not blogging for you. Admittedly, your blog is a business asset and a way of showing off your chops. However, your blog really is for your reader. Don’t focus on yourself. Rather, think about who might discover your small business blog and what they hope to learn.
  2. Start with what is of interest to your reader and passionate for you.
    Affection and fervor for a blog topic unleashes the blogging genies out of their hiding place.
  3. Commence writing your blog.
    In the recently launched Chase Masters commercial, the US banking business explained how “It took tennis legend Serena Williams, fencing champion Tim Morehouse, and the world famous Rockettes years to master their craft.” Guess what? I’ve yet to meet a born blogger.
  4. Be kind and gentle with yourself.
    Sadly, most bloggers carry on an internal conversation that would make a mother blush. Keep your expectations—and perfectionism—in check. Be proud of the fact that you’re actually blogging for your business!
  5. Avoid editing and writing simultaneously.
    It’s stressful to be creative while being critical.

To borrow a phrase from the world-renowned sports apparel giant, Nike, the next time you sit at your keyboard to blog, reframe your fears and just do it.

What has been most helpful to you in erasing your blogging fears?

On Sunday, July 5, 2015, the U.S. Women’s Soccer team captivated a proud nation. Following the painful defeat to Japan in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2011 and a grueling four-year wait, the U.S. Women’s Soccer team came to win. The most historical game in women’s soccer proved to be a first-rate education for entrepreneurs on how to #liveyourgoals.

This isn’t the first time these fiercely competitive women have inspired entrepreneurs to transform their goals into reality. During their 1999 win against China, followed by their pain-staking loss against Japan in 2011, the U.S. Women’s Soccer team continues to uplift us with their enduring example. (Read my previous thoughts on Top Ten Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Women’s Soccer.)

As I sat glued to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Club, it was obvious—there’s much that entrepreneurs can learn from the performance of these elite athletes. Here are a few of my impressions:

  1. Come ready to play.
  2. Make undying determination your constant companion.
  3. Face your foe with ferocity.
  4. Execute smart moves early in the game.
  5. Don’t ever become so comfortable that the competition outplays you (even if you are ahead).
  6. Strategic scoring is a real game-changer.
  7. Seconds count.
  8. Know where your competition is at all times.
  9. Fresh legs (i.e., periodic rest) are critical to game play.
  10. Stretch yourself in all directions—up, down, left, right.
  11. No matter how long you’re in the game, play full out.
  12. It’s not only scoring that matters, its how you move strategically.
  13. Share the glory regardless of your position.
  14. Aim high enough to break records.
  15. Take time to soak in your win.

It’s apparent. The devastating loss to Japan in 2011 proved to be a great teacher for the US Women’s Soccer team. Throughout their calm, steady, consistent implementation of the lessons they learned, they achieved their goals. It’s not only in winning—but also in losing—that wisdom is gained…as long as we continue to use our head.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. What did you learn from the U.S. Women’s Soccer team that helps you to #liveyourgoals?

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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