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The Small Biz Success Express

Why Should I Care About Stress?

By Cathy Schuttler

"So what's the big deal about chronic stress anyway? Everyone is under stress these days! Besides, I am healthy so I can handle it – why worry?"

Is this what the little voice in your head is saying?

Or perhaps you think chronic stress is the necessary trade-off for a difficult job, demanding customers, or to build a thriving business? Well it certainly does not have to be so, but let's take a deeper look at how chronic stress affects us physically, mentally and emotionally. Then we can decide if stress is even worth worrying about in the first place.

As we discussed in article number one the stress effect is actually made up of a physical, mental, and emotional component, with the emotional part being a response to a situation or perceived event. In fact what we commonly call "the negative health effects of stress" is actually refers to our emotional response to a stress trigger.

For a person in normal good health, short term stress poses no real danger unless many short term stress soars occur back-to-back. This constant barrage of short-term stress has the same net effect as long-term chronic stress. In terms of risk factors for heart disease, neglected emotional stress is a stronger risk factor for heart disease than smoking, cholesterol, or hypertension!

Another complication of unrelenting stress is that it causes an exaggerated inflammatory response. As you may know, inflammation has a huge role in many diseases and dis-ease processes.

Stress will either cause or make worse 80% of all our disease burdens. So this means that of all the diseases and dis – eases we deal with, 80% are either caused by the ill – effects of stress, or an existing disease process is made worse by stress.

Another study reports that over 75% of all doctor visits directly or indirectly relate to the effects of stress. Just think of the repercussions of these numbers. If chronic stress were controlled or eliminated we could drastically reduce a great number of doctor office visits!

What does this mean in terms of real dollars? One study estimated cost to businesses from stress – related medical complications as $300 billion per year in increased health care costs including decreased productivity.

Stress also interferes with sleep which in turn affects a person's ability to lose weight. In fact, if stress is in the picture and a person is not sleeping, there are signals being sent to the body to increase abdominal fat and interfere with satiety. This lack of sleep then starts a whole hormonal cascade leading to weight gain.

By eventually deflating a person's outlook and motivation constant stress also impacts a person's well-being and positivity . Stress confuses a person's ability to focus, maintain overall energy, and ability to thrive and be happy. In fact depression, which is very closely related to unrelenting stress, was the fourth leading cause of disease burden in 1990; and estimated in one study to be the number one leading cause by 2020.

So obviously unrelenting stress has a profound effect on all aspects of our health and well-being, and to ignore stress while concentrating on other health goals is to ignore the big elephant in the room. This is just a broad overview of how stress affects our health.

Next we will follow the domino-effect as we trace the path of events in our bodies caused by stress. Please accept my gift to help you calm the stress starting now! Stress significantly affects the development, progression and recovery from a wide variety of diseases, and workplace stress may be as bad for the heart as smoking and high cholesterol! Why wait? It's free, complements Wellness Coach Connection, creator of the Burnout Breakthrough Program for Stress Management.

Article Source: http://www.articlebiz.com/article/1051532431-1-why-should-i-care-about-stress/

Why Branding is Important for Small Businesses

By Dawn Gribble

Branding has changed a lot in recent years and is no longer just about the products that you sell or the services that you offer. While these remain a core element of branding, there is also a lot more to creating it.

How Small Businesses Can Approach Branding

As a small business, it is easy to think that branding isn’t important because you can’t compete with the big guys. You don’t have the money, resources, personnel or even the time to focus on branding. But the importance of branding coupled with the ease and affordability of services means you can have the perfect brand, even if you are a solopreneur.

Branding is crucial in an age where customers can make a selection while riding the train to work or while sitting in bed at night, studying their smartphone. Having clear branding is crucial to growing your business, increasing those sales and leads and connecting with your audience, regardless of where you find them.

Creating a strong, cohesive brand has several benefits. Here are just a few to consider.

Creating Trust

We all still have an in-built caution with things on the internet because there are so many stories of people being ‘conned’ or receiving products that aren’t as advertised. While the real world examples of this are on the decline due to systems such as feedback and reviews, it is still important to work at building trust with customers and that’s one thing a strong brand can do.

Not only does it help bring in the customers but it helps retain them. 48% of consumers say that they are more likely to make a purchase or return to a company for a repeat purchase if there is a strong brand associated.

Branding builds trust by making your company memorable. When we read things online, typically we only retain around 10% of what we see and that only stays with us for two or three days. Yet when this information is paired with an image, we retain around 65% of what we see. This is why almost three quarters of social media marketers make use of images in their messaging, ahead of blogging and even video. People remember images.

In fact, your imagery can become your brand in a way that people automatically know who you are by seeing them. This high level of customer awareness then allows the brand to grow organically as its reputation spreads – people see the imagery, know who you are and tell their friends about you.

Building a Positive Reputation

Building trust is one thing but reputation is an ongoing process that is compiled of all the interactions your business has with customers. This is everything from how you reward customer loyalty to how you respond to social media messaging and it is crucial.

That reputation built around a strong brand can even encourage people to make a purchase when this wasn’t their aim. 91% of consumers say that they are more likely to purchase from a brand if they perceive it as ‘authentic’ and that can encourage purchasing even when they weren’t shopping for the item or service.

Building and maintain reputation isn’t something that happens by itself and that’s where having access to a skilled marketing team can help. They can monitor mentions of your brand, check review and feedback sites and see how social media interactions are going. They also allow the personalisation of content that means your company seems like it is talking to people, rather than at them and 78% of consumers see this as meaning a company is trustworthy.

Leads and Sales

Of course, a good brand can build your leads and sales. By having a clear audience defined and a strategy about how to reach them, you will generate those enquiries and leads that then become sales. All the content created is within the brand and features the brand voice to help continue the process of building trust.

This trust then turns leads into sales because the people that you are attracting to the brand are genuine customers – people who really want what you have to offer and feel connected to your brand.

Employee Connection

Another benefit of strong branding comes from your employees. Motivation is key in any job because demotivated staff don’t usually have anything positive to say about the company, don’t have the enthusiasm you would want and can even harm the brand reputation.

So how do you encourage staff to make a connection with the company – by the brand. By having a strong and popular brand, staff can believe in what the company stands for and feel proud to work for it. This will reflect in all of their interactions with potential customers, creating friendly and natural interactions that build that crucial reputation.

That enthusiasm can also help when it comes to bringing investment into your business. According to a study by Reuters, 82% of investors think that brand strength and name recognition are crucial factors when considering a business and helps them in their investment decisions.

A recognisable and trustworthy brand helps everyone from staff to customers and even investors to recognise your company and to engage with it.

These are just a few examples of the benefits of a strong brand with a well planned and optimised strategy behind it – all of which can lead to growth and success for your company.

Article Source: http://www.articlebiz.com/article/1051640463-1-why-branding-is-important-for-small-businesses/

Free Advertising Demystified

By Daniel Dunoo

Doing something without advertising is like winking at a beautiful girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but nobody else does" –S. H. Britt

Is there such a thing as free advertising? There sure is but sadly many are unaware of where and how to leverage on free advertising. Some are even unaware of the possibility of advertising for free. It is common knowledge that many companies the world over spend huge sums of money on advertisement via both the electronic and print media. Owing to the benefits of advertising, many media houses are making lots of money off the backs of many companies. It is also an open secret that even global brands such as coca cola do not take advertising for granted. Their adverts still run on television screens. They have a clear comprehension of the value of advertising.

Advertising is obviously so essential and yet there are business start-ups, small scale businesses and individuals venturing into entrepreneurship who have little to no capital to invest into conventional advertising, as in paid-for advertising. Sounds like a quandary? Should not be so. This article is written particularly with this category of businesses in mind. Running your business in obscurity is a recipe for business failure. The reality however, is that there is a sure way out of running your business in obscurity. Permit me to share some thoughts on free advertising that have proven to work for me and for many others.

Volunteer your services:

Many do not like the idea of volunteerism especially in business circles since it brings in no immediate profits in monetary terms. However, I dare say it’s a feasible idea for start-ups and individuals whose line of businesses are unknown. What it does is that it exposes your expertise, skill or service to the market you want to reach. In creating exposure and visibility, profitable business connections are made and your skill-set is sharpened. Before you know it, you are being paid for your services.

Provide quality products and services:

Be the best at what you do. Hone your skills. Provide products and services that meet client specifications and excites them. A happy client is most likely going to recommend your product or service to others. This is what is termed grapevine. Client base will increase and so will sales in the long run. Never for once take clients for granted.

Advertise on free classified websites:

There are numerous sites that provide the platform to advertise your products and services for free. Sounds implausible? Such sites are easy to find and access. Websites such as tornaton.com, oxl.com, businessghana.com, bebree.com, global-free-classified provide the platform to literally advertise your products, services, and businesses to a global market, all for free. You simply register with them, as in create an account with them and you are ready to go, simply by following simple steps to have your adverts posted.

Advertise on social media sites:

Whereas others may be more concerned about socializing via social media, business start-ups, small scale enterprises and individuals venturing into entrepreneurship will do well if focus is fixed on promoting their goods, services and expertise. You may advertise freely using your account on Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and many such social media sites. Also worth-noting is the fact that some of these social media sites offer users the opportunity to create "pages" to promote a variety of causes, businesses, products and services, all for free. It ought to be established that all these sites I have mentioned have some services that can only be used for a fee (charges are relatively low) but truth be told, you can do without those services, at least for now; your adverts can still be placed and can still reach large segments of your target audience if it is done well and overtime.

Join professional websites:

Join professional sites in your area of expertise, business or industry and that offer free membership opportunities. These platforms provide professional networking opportunities. Over time, the more one is involved with these networks online, the more exposure one gets. Some offer free advertising opportunities on their platforms. If you are a writer for instance, you may join writers.net, faithwriters.com, booksie.com, short-stories.net and the likes. The above suggestions are by no means exhaustive. The world of free advertising is an ever growing world. One must keep abreast with the times. Do Google searches periodically. There is so much more you can discover and implement to showcase your brands not only locally but internationally. Meanwhile the more you make use of the various avenues I have identified, the better you become at optimizing your adverts for better results. I wish to also state that for greater impact and for a wider reach, it will be advisable to employ several avenues of free advertising and this can be done concurrently. Wish you the best in your bid to showcase your business, goods, services, expertise and brand to your target market.

Article Source: http://www.articlebiz.com/article/1051635277-1-free-advertising-demystified/

The Advantages of Having a Company Website

By Shane Walters

The Internet has become an important component of a firm's promotion strategy as it provides a new way to reach people and deliver the company's message. The marketing managers of many firms use the Internet as part of an integrated marketing communications mix by which to position themselves in a variety of geographic and demographic markets. Websites in particular can be an effective tool in raising the virtual profile of a company. A professional Online Marketing Agency can help a firm establish and expand its customer base.

A website can be seen as a mix between direct selling and advertising because it can generate awareness, provide information, and demonstrate the product. Also, a website may be viewed as complementary to the personal selling effort by business-to-business suppliers and advertisers of consumer products. An important aspect of marketing is to establish an ongoing communications program with desirable customers.

Some companies carry out this communication task by building websites that focus on keeping customers informed and providing ways for customers to communicate their opinions, thoughts, and questions to customer service and sales. The websites of such companies provide links to other sites for additional information and technical help as part of their service offering. Some of these websites obtain the visitor's name and use it to greet the visitor with new information related to the visitor's interests every time he or she returns to the site.

A professional online marketing agency can assist firms with Internet-based marketing mix strategies and can even show executives how to establish and manage their brand online. An online marketing agency can help companies set up websites by which they can attract new customers and form relationships with old ones. Such an agency can also help firms with various online marketing activities, including email marketing, content writing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization.

Marketing online has many advantages but many retailers are discovering that with the number of websites proliferating, it takes an enormous amount of spending to convince online customers to visit their website let alone to get them to make a purchase and subsequently retain them. Many retailers spend between $100 and $500 or even higher amounts in some cases to acquire a new customer. Internet companies also use banner advertising that promotes a firm's website and provides links to the company's website. Many companies promote their site by registering it with several search engines and directories such as Google and Yahoo!

A necessary requirement for e-business success is to establish two-way communication with online customers. Effective two-way communication involves communicating with customers and allowing them to easily contact the company. Company initiated communication involves e-mailing customers with information about items they may be interested in purchasing. Many such efforts are rejected by people as a nuisance if they realize that they are automatically created through some database technology but lacks personal touch. On the other hand, information that is valuable to customers such as upcoming events or new products, special offers, and personalized information could be of more interest to people and probably will not be rejected.

Article Source: http://www.articlebiz.com/article/1051559893-1-the-advantages-of-having-a-company-websites/

Why Social Media is So Important

By Paul Elliott

In an ever changing world, it's becoming more and more apparent that social media is extremely important for businesses both large and small. While outbound marketing techniques were once effective, they are now giving way to inbound techniques that appeal to a more precise demographic. At the forefront of inbound techniques is the social media branch of online marketing. With that being said, let's discuss why this form of networking is so integral to the success of businesses.

First of all, it should be known that traditional advertising through TV commercials and similar outbound mediums have become increasingly ineffective. When companies try to promote a small niche product or service to a mass audience, it often ends up becoming intrusive and annoying. For example, a company who sells beauty products might advertise with a TV commercial where only a small percentage of viewers are interested, while a large percentage may have no interest whatsoever.

Consequently, money is being wasted on ineffective advertising that is essentially cramming information down the throats of uninterested consumers. In terms of online marketing, email campaigns have also lost momentum. Sending out bulk emails only results in 4% actually being opened and is simply a nuisance for many people.

On the other hand, social networking is significantly more effective for a few reasons. One of the biggest benefits is that nearly any business can utilize this medium for branding purposes. For example, any business can create a page on websites like Facebook and Twitter. When this happens, it helps the business achieve a unique identity with customers which inevitably results in more credibility. This is essential because branding can help a business establish and sense of trust with its target audience. As a result, this makes it easier to acquire new customers and build long term relationships with loyal customers.

Another reason why social media is important is because large numbers of people use it on a daily basis. While people often disregard TV commercials and send emails to their spam folder, many naturally want to connect through networking. In fact, the rate of people using this medium is climbing above 80%. Basically, these individuals can pick and choose which businesses they follow, develop a sense of trust and are more open to advertisements from those businesses. Consequently, deeper relationships can be formed with businesses and consumers, and the odds of long term success are increased.

Article Source: http://www.articlebiz.com/article/1051553623-1-why-social-media-is-so-important/

The Silent Killer of Business Success

By Laurie Hayes

It's not what you think. Not a scary monster or evil force, but arrives in the disguise of good intention. And although it seems innocent, it will rob you of time, productivity, and ultimately profit... but only if you let it.

It seems harmless and innocent enough, but its crippling effects run rampant in the business world. Entire days are lost, projects sloppily thrown together, and work pushed aside as entrepreneurs become slaves to its hypnotic pull. It was designed to make life easier and speed up communications, but instead has become the nemesis of the already overextended business owner.

Have you guessed what it is? If you're reading this, there's a good chance you're also a victim of the cursed 'email.'

How many times a day do you check your email? How much time to spend each time you visit?

During a recent mastermind call, a colleague discussed challenges he was having with productivity and event management. As we broke his day into segments, we discovered he was spending 15 minutes of every hour checking email - the majority of which is spam.

Another member then shared the fact that he too had fallen into the email trap and had recently started a stat sheet. In one day alone, he checked his email 21 times! He was trying to curb his habit but was still struggling.

Several more of us chimed in confessing we had "slipped" in our email discipline efforts and were checking it more often than we should be.

Before the call ended we made a pact to check our email no more than twice a day and for a maximum of 10-15 minutes only. We will share our results at our next meeting.

An analogy one of our members shared really helped put things in perspective. Would you as a responsible business owner walk to your mailbox 10-15 times a day to collect bulk mail and advertisements? If not, why would you do it at your computer?

These challenges are not reserved for home business start-ups and amateurs. My mastermind colleagues who were discussing these difficulties are six and seven figure earners. Email infatuation does not discriminate!

My own coach, a multi-millionaire who has built several companies, recently discussed his obsession with email and the impact it was having on his productivity!

It's an ongoing dilemma and all you, I, or any of us can do is be aware of it, keep our activities in check and do whatever it takes to stay the course.

This time I have taken extra steps to remove email from my mind. I open the application between 11:30 and noon and between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m., take care of business then shut it down.

Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, defines email as, "The greatest single interruption in the modern world" and recommends weaning yourself down to one visit a day. He's actually reached the point where he checks it once a week.

If anyone needs you badly enough they will pick up the phone and call, and if they don't, how important could it really have been?

Are you ready to get a handle on the silent business killer? If discipline is an issue, find an accountability partner or state your intentions to your mastermind group or peers. If you can't do it yourself, have others rally around you.

It takes 26 to 30 days to create a habit. Stick this out - create productive, winning habits and once you've mastered the monster, you'll be on the fast track to business success.

Article Source: https://www.businessknowhow.com/growth/emailtime.htm