100 day goals

I love 100-day goals.

Why? For the simple reason that they are so tangible and…

Achievable!

100 days is just a little over 3 months.

The reason I love working in 100-day blocks is that you can actually see how you are progressing.

There is a finite timeline, and at the end, you’re expecting a result.

Why it works

The reason is simply this…it’s not too far into the future. You do not have the luxury of taking your eye off the ball.

The focus has to be on pushing to move forward each day. This means you can actually see your progress – or if you slack off, you’ll have to rush to catch up.

Procrastinating is not an option.

100 days may sound like a good amount of time, but the reality is that it goes whizzing pass! It is also far more tangible than setting 6 or 12-month goals

To achieve 100 day goals means being disciplined.

Discipline is the secret

Think about it, it’s really easy to waste a few hours here and there.

For example, spending too much time on social media, allowing your routine to be interrupted without a valid reason, neglecting to switch your email to offline mode, and so the list goes on.

With 100-day goals, you are on a countdown timer. There is a finite amount of time and you have a set goal ahead of you.

To get there needs discipline.

No excuses.

No time to go down rabbit holes – and yes, there are a zillion rabbit holes waiting for you to end up down.

There is no time for saying could have, would have, should have.

You just need to get the show on the road by taking the steps to move towards your set goal.

Measurable, Achievable & Progressive – MAP

Every action you take towards your goal needs to be mapped out.

If you don’t follow your MAP, it is highly likely that you’ll deviate or get totally lost.

The key to succeeding and achieving is by being disciplined and setting realistic goals that you work towards one step at a time.

Daily Habits

Yes, habits. Things that you do every day.

One of the worst habits is timewasting, blaming and procrastinating. To achieve your goals these habits need to be shut down.

Good daily habits need to be adopted if you want to move forward.

Actionable steps need to become a part of your daily routine.

Breaking your business days into time blocks works wonders.

Time Blocks

Choosing your time blocks will depend on what you are wanting to achieve and the nature of your business.

The minimum blocks that ones I find myself always recommending are:

1. Me Time

Time dedicated just to you. Only you.

It’s at the top of this list because it’s vital that you have time to recharge your batteries and do what feels good for you.

I use my “Me Time” to go paddling, sit down with a book, walk along the beach or chill out with Netflix.  I schedule these time blocks into my day.

“Me Time” can also mean a short break away for a few days when I switch everything off to simply refresh, reframe and relax.

2. Business development time

This is the time that you spend on developing your business.

You need to be spending time daily on business development because it is a way of ‘feeding your funnel’ and ensuring you have ongoing connections. Don’t just do this when you are searching for new business.

Remember that people like doing business with those they know,  like and trust. So maintaining and developing relationships is essential to your ongoing business success.

For Dragon Sisters, our business development time includes catching up with former clients, spending time on social media interacting with other business pages, being a guest speaker, writing a blog post, newsletter, doing some phone catch-ups or investigating a business tool.

3.Work time

Just like it says, it’s all about getting your core business done – it’s about working IN the business.

It looks different for everyone. Some may have regular office hours, others may have flexibility. But whatever the case, your working time needs to be blocked out and you need to be sticking to a schedule.

If you’re a mechanic it means working on the cars, for a writer it’s the time you spend writing, as a coach it means the time you spend coaching or working on material, a B&B means this is the time you’re dealing with guests and making sure your premises are in tip-top condition.

4. Family Time

It is absolutely essential to be slotting in family time. What your personal blocks look like will very much depend on your circumstances.

My children are adults, so family time for me means;  a girls night with my daughter once a week, time visiting my elderly parents every couple of days when I am on Bribie Island; dinner with my kids each night if we are all in the same house.

It also means running my 16-year-old niece to basketball if I happen to be on Bribie. The driving time is a valuable bonding time. I listen as she chatters away about whatever is happening in her life/on her mind.

Family time can take many forms, but the key ingredient is being present it the moment and putting work aside.

The rest of the time is flexible – according to your personal circumstances.

It’s not easy

Yes, it can be a struggle to get the time blocks happening.

I’ve been there.

As a result of my personal experience I also know that unless you get this happening, you will continue to struggle to achieve your goals.

This is where having someone on your side who can keep you accountable is invaluable.

Keeping on track

By disciplining you will have no problem keeping on track simply by using simple techniques like lists, journals and prioritising.

If you are finding it’s a struggle you are not alone. There are different types of goal setters and goal getters.

Now here’s the thing…

The 100-day goal method works for everyone. That’s right. It really does work.  Why? It works because it is finite.

Click here for a tip sheet on choosing the right coach or consultant

Talking to a supportive manager, finding a business coach, or being part of an accountability circle are some of the best ways for developing the key skills to move you along the path to keeping yourself and your business on track.

Fly like a dragon!

Michelle

 

 

 

5 Simple Tips to Improve Your Writing

Do you love to write?

If you do, then you’re just like me!

If you don’t…. you’re not alone.

Whichever category you fall into, these 5 simple tips will help.

Before you take to writing that next piece of yours, whether it be a blog post or a business report, here are some quick tips to help you shine.

1) The Daily Habit

Get in the habit of writing each and every day; start a journal or a diary, write to a pen pal, just get yourself in the habit of writing.

It might seem like a lot of work but it isn’t.

*A really good way to practise this is to write 2 pages in a notebook each morning. Even though I am a writer,  I’ve just started utilising this tip that I learnt from a LinkedIn post and it is working wonders for me.

If you’re in business, chances are you’re already writing every day. You might not think of it as writing, but no doubt you send off countless emails each day?

2) Broadening your vocabulary

Get a word calendar or download an app on your phone like Dictionary.com.

Putting new words into your vocabulary is a great way to make your writing more powerful.

Often, when expanding your vocabulary you’ll also improve your knowledge on spelling and the correct use of words already in your vocabulary.

*I personally love learning new words and use them often to improve my personal writing.

3) Keep using those tough words.

Everyone has words they struggle to spell.  Don’t let that stop you.

I recently found a recipe book and I’d written one of the simplest words wrong.

I was mortified, but you know what? That’s just proof of how reliant we’re getting on the computer spell checking for us.

If you struggle with certain words keep pushing yourself to use them. Eventually, you’ll spell them so often that you’ll learn to spell them correctly.

*Whenever I misspell something on my computer before looking for the correct spelling I go back and try to spell it again. Nine times out of ten I’ll spell it right on the second try.

4) Don’t always listen to the computer

Microsoft Word is great, don’t get me wrong.

I’m always looking out for those red and green squiggly lines, but it isn’t always right.

Sometimes computers don’t understand the context of how a particular sentence should work, so it’ll underline the whole thing with a green line. This doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with the sentence.

Before taking on board the computer’s recommended changes always give it a second or third read over.

See if it flows.

If it flows and you don’t detect anything wrong there probably isn’t an issue.

Also, bear in mind that not every word is registered in the Microsoft Word dictionary. If a word is really old or comes from another language Word will just keep on telling you it’s spelt wrong, even when it isn’t.

5) Write it ALL down first.

I used to always edit as I went, so if I misspelt a word I would immediately change it and if a sentence didn’t flow I’d spend ages re-writing it.

However, that isn’t the most efficient way to write and edit.

The most efficient process is to write everything out and then do a re-read for editing.

Trust me it saves time.

A helping hand

If you need a helping hand with any aspects of writing or editing…

Simple emails, sales funnels, website content reviews through to book manuscripts, blogs and ghost writing are all in a days work for us at Dragon Sisters.

Need some help…..reach out to us.

To your success,

Sasha

Sasha Hanton – a graduate of Bond University with a Bachelor in Journalism. Sasha possesses high caliber skills across a wide genre of writing, editing and multi-media content creation. Sasha’s achievements include the Sally A White Award for Investigative Journalism 2013.

 

Working Smarter Not Harder – the key to succeeding

My daughter came home from school this afternoon, with her exam results. Ellie was pretty happy with them all except one subject. Though she was philosophical about the one disappointment.

Not because she has a ‘whatever’ attitude (I want to slap anyone silly who says that in my hearing), but because she knew she could expect no better, learning that the last two years of high school are nothing like what went before, realizing that, as she said, “Grade 11 is different, it’s all about time management and working under pressure.”

In other words, it’s getting into the realm of the real-life work environment. Ellie knew she had sacrificed one subject to excel in the others; moreover, she knows she can’t afford to do that.

Only 24 Hours In A Day

Like you and me, my daughter has only so many hours in the day to get her work done and to do it to an acceptable standard. Plus, there’s the work-life balance thing to juggle: family, friends, sport, Saturday job, chores and, just stuff.

At the end of her first term in Grade 11, she asked me, “Do you think I should give up basketball?” With travel, training and matches, it pretty much wipes out two nights a week.

Answer: “No! You just have to work smarter, not harder.”

Read: work hard but be strategic, rather than working longer.

After all, I don’t want to end up with a pale, pasty, nerdy kid, who looks, and feels, like a rat on a wheel. Time enough for that when she joins the workforce! Though hopefully, she’ll be good enough at making her own ‘luck’ by then to find work she’s passionate about, rather than put upon in a job she’s as enthusiastic about as the last lemming over the cliff.

Not just a school thing

It dawned on me that Dragon Sisters really grew out of exactly Ellie’s predicament.

Time poor people, turning to us to help them strategize and execute the most crucial aspect of their business: how to connect, convert and sell to their target market.

In other words, we found our niche market which matched up with our experience and expertise. Before that, we spent a lot of time running very hard (visualizing that rat on a wheel?), for way less results.

Once we found our niche, things got a lot easier for Michelle and I. We learnt to work smarter not harder. But back then, we thought it was normal to have not a nanosecond to ourselves. Because, as we all know, SME owner operators are amongst the hardest workers in the world, right? Right!

One of the first priorities to slip down the slippery slide of being sooo busy, is not having enough time to do a good enough job of creating and maximising opportunities for your business. Like Ellie, that’s not something you can afford. Dropping the ball on that one, translates to one thing: loss of sales revenue. Eeek!

There are many reasons that small businesses start talking to us. But the common denominator is this: they are feeling the pain.

Now, unless you’re stuck in the ‘80s and a fan of Jane Fonda’s Feel The Burn school of thought, you’re unlikely to be enjoying the sensation of pain, burn or anything else that smacks of subjecting yourself (and your business) to the less than pleasant.

The pain point we’re most familiar with at Dragon Sisters, is when you’re worried that you’re losing your market share, or that you’re not getting the results your business needs and wants, or you’re just not able to take your business to the next level successfully. We know how that feels. We’ve been there! So have many others …

A similar story

I want to share with you, an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald, by Bhakthi Puvanenthiran, last August, entitled Working smarter not harder: How to avoid small business trends in western Sydney. Mr. Puvanenthiran wrote:

The study by NRMA Business Insurance found that business owners in the west take fewer leave days, feel more stressed and don’t sleep as well at night. So how do you escape that cycle and still stay a small business person? Northmead tradie turned agent, Allen Cetinic found a way out.

“Yes that used to be me,” the former renderer told Fairfax Media.

“I used to work eight hours as a tradie and then three hours in the afternoon or evening doing invoicing, chasing money, doing website and legal claims and throwing emotional energy into that. I used to work weekends. My quality of family life was really deteriorated,” he said.

Twelve months ago Cetinic left rendering, which he had been doing for 15 years, after spotting a gap in the market.

Sound familiar? Whether you’re a tradie or not, live in western Sydney or not, (and Dragon Sisters is neither of these), the message resonates with every small business person, don’t you think?

If you want to read the full article, it’s here.

We’re all in the same (dragon) boat – from Grade 11 onward – you’re not on your own that’s for sure!

Need helping figuring out how you can work smarter and not harder? We’re only an email away.

Fly like a dragon!

Yvonne

PS – part of working smarter means having time to enjoy what you love, like walking the dog along the beach at sunset. Don’t you just love this photo?


HOW TO MAKE GREAT VIDEO CLIPS YOURSELF

Video is continuing to gain traction, and we’re repeatedly being asked about video, so we decided to repost this article with great tips from a Berlin based professional in the field – Ludwig Linnekogel.

Michelle

Have you noticed a huge trend to use video as a way to engage with your audience? Of course you have! Okay, maybe you haven’t, but take a moment to check and you’ll soon spot a trend. As an oldie and as an avid reader, I have to say that, as a rule, I much … Continue reading HOW TO MAKE GREAT VIDEO CLIPS YOURSELF

Source: HOW TO MAKE GREAT VIDEO CLIPS YOURSELF – Dragon Sisters

Coach vs Trainer – What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between a coach and a trainer? A great question.

In fact, it was a question that popped up on the Dragon Sisters Facebook page when I shared my last post . That’s what prompted me to write this article.

Coaches and trainers are used in both sport and business.

Although the titles are sometimes interchanged, there is actually quite a difference between the two roles.

Business coaching has gained traction in recent times, and as I said in my last post, there seems to be an abundance of business coaches popping up everywhere.

A coach is not a magician.

Each coach has their own style of working. There is no wrong or right way.

Different coaches will suit different individual.

Choosing the right coach to suit your needs is essential.

All good coaches will hold you accountable. They keep you on track.

Where you need to do additional learning, they will often suggest, and sometimes even provide resources to help you on your journey.

So what exactly does a coach do?

A coach helps you achieve your goals. If you are confused and unsure of what steps to take next, or unsure of which direction to head in, then a coach can help you sort through the chaos and confusion.

Having a coach will help you achieve more in a faster time space.

Your coach will move you forward. Of course, before starting off , it is important to know and to share what your goal is with your chosen coach; even if you goal is just to gain clarity!

Your coach will help hone your game plan.

When you have the right coach, you are increasingly motivated and more importantly, confident, that you are stepping in the right direction. This is especially true for solopreneurs and small business.

With a coach supporting you, it is easier to develop or hone new soft skills and put them into practice.

Why is a coach so valuable?

Because your coach helps you to understand different perspectives.

A good coach helps with clarifying your thinking. This allows you to start becoming more focussed on what steps you need to take and in what order.

When you’re working with a coach, you gain clarity, develop priorities and thereby increase your productivity.

A good coach will not tell you how to do things. Instead, they will be supporting you to work through your planning and decision-making processes.

When you use a coach, you are paying for their service for a fixed contract period. During this period there will be specific outcomes that you wish to achieve. Your coach’s job is to help you get there.

It is important to note, that as you grow and develop your skills, you may outgrow your coach.

A good coach always aims for their clients to grow to the point where they are surpassing their coach. It is at this point that you need to start to look for another coach to take you to the next step.

So what’s a trainer do?

A trainer imparts information. They train you in a specific way of doing something. In business, almost everyone has attended or experienced some kind of training course. These are usually delivered by an accredited trainer who frequently works from a manual set down by a higher authority.

Trainers work to a specific formula. For instance, a first aid trainer, an induction course, training on a new piece of equipment; it could be as mundane as a new photocopier or the very latest fighter jet. It’s training to a formula. A set way of performing specific tasks.

In a nutshell

A coach helps you to gain clarity – in your own way. The role of a coach is to help facilitate the journey from lots of bright ideas/your raw talent to a systematic, yet highly individualised approach to achieve your goals.

A coach will help you soar to the heights and fly like a dragon – free of a keeper.

MichelleDragon_Michelle.png

PS – You’re welcome to join me in The SMART Circle, our private Facebook group, where you can gain support, ask and have questions answered – it’s FREE – our way of paying it forward.

Michelle Hanton is a multi-award winning bespoke business strategist, working internationally as a consultant, coach, speaker and writer. She has a keen interest in the not-for-profit sector and is the former CEO of Lifeline Top End, and founder of Dragons Abreast Australia, a national charity dedicated to the promotion of breast cancer awareness.

 

 

#1 Barrier to your business growth

The #1 Barrier to business growth is frequently lack of customers. Does this sound like your barrier?

Me – I’m an ‘80s YUPI throwback – and it shows.

Like when I was asked what Michelle and I do, and gave the flippant reply, ‘We’re business barrier busters’. My equally long-in-the-tooth friend said, ‘What – like Ghost Busters?’, and he began to laugh and sing the movie theme song, ‘Who ya gonna call? Ghost Busters!’

Anyhow, it stuck.

I liked it, more than the dry corporate speak, ‘We’re business strategy consultants who blablabla …’ We even named one of our programs Barrier Busters. Because it exactly describes what we do.

So who do we help?

We mostly help small business and NFP’s identify the barriers which are holding them back. Barriers that prevent them growing to their full potential.

Then we help bust down those barriers.

Notice the word ‘help’?

How do we help bust down barriers?

By showing how to do it. Like ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves’ by Eurythmics – another 80s icon (now I can’t get that tune out of my head) – is a song all about empowerment.

We’re a bit empowerment mad (better than being power mad, right?).

That’s how we get testimonials like these:

‘Dragon Sisters coaching has helped me with my business in practical and visible ways. I put the techniques into practice and got amazing results – I got four appointments with new clients all in one afternoon! I was so excited I had to ring up my DS coach and tell her, “Wow! This really works!!’
Karen, Business Development Manager, Qld

“Prior to working with Dragon Sisters, I went to a lot of expense and effort to strategize the marketing for my business development – with no real results. I had folders full of information, but not the detail of how to translate this for my own business.

Now, I am able to get the strategic positioning, content creation, marketing and business development support, for the specific outcomes and results I want and need for my business. Within 7 weeks I could see measurable, significant improvement. Finally, someone understands me and my business! Michelle has been the angel on my shoulder.” Dee Waterson, Ignite Yourself

Did you notice that Michelle has achieved angel status?!Image courtesy of Prawny at FreeDIgitalPhoto.com

Funnily enough no one ever calls me an angel …

The Rolling Stones ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ pops into my head (now that’s even older than me).

If you’re having the devil of a time working out your number 1 business barrier – not getting enough customers – you might like a copy of our e-book, just drop us a note and we’re happy to share, FREE!

I’m off to listen to Annie Lennox singing ‘There Must Be An Angel’, while Michelle polishes her halo …before jetting off to Bali tonight for the Refresh, Reframe & Relax retreat.

Yvonne

PS – if you would like to learn more about our services check out our website

Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.

 

HOW PERSONAL DO YOU NEED TO BE?

How personal does personalizing your brand need to be?

Answer: not that personal!

If you read our blog last week, you’ll know what this is flowing on from. By the way, yes, Claire the Client is still speaking to me …. I can put my Diplomatic Dragon hat on when I need to.

Credit to Claire, she hasn’t been scared off her Facebook page because of one blunder.

It’s not untypical to blur the lines between personal and personalization.

What’s the difference?

If it’s such a potentially blundersome burden, why bother?

Sure, it’s far simpler to just keep to safe, boring, banal business marketing messages, and if that worked, that’s all any of us would be doing.

The down-side of being an SME, solopreneur or boutique business is that you don’t have vast marketing collateral, budgets, and resources.

What you do have is access to the same digital and social media mediums that every business (and every consumer) around the globe has. Businesses as big as Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin brand.

Did you know … ?

The brand name “Virgin” arose when Richard Branson and Nik Powell formed a record shop. They considered themselves virgins in business. Branson has described the “V” in the logo as an expressive tick, representing the Virgin seal of approval.  Source – Wikipedia

Virgin has come a long way since those early days. But it’s always been synonymous with Richard Branson, who from the beginning personalized the brand as his own. And he still does. Anyone who follows him on social media will see a great deal of personalization still goes on. He mentions his family fairly frequently, alludes to his early years, shares his experiences, life and business lessons, his causes and his philosophies.

Small Operators & Personalization

The up-side to being a small operator is that it is far easier to personalize your brand than it is for a huge conglomerate unless they have a personality like Richard Branson heading it up with an inspiring story behind the brand and the man.

You might think, yeah, great, but who’s going to be interested in me – I’m a solopreneur, not a corporate giant. I sell pool pumps not rock star record labels. Which is exactly what is in your favour.

You are small, independent, agile!

It’s far more attainable to create brand personalization for you than it is for ABC Inc. – Absolutely Boring Corporation Incorporated has a marketing department and advertising agencies trying to create a point of difference between them and their close competitor Marginally Less Boring Inc.

One of the biggest challenges marketers face is how to create customer engagement with their ABC or MLB brand. Thousands and millions are spent on trying to humanize and personalize their brand to create some sort of connection with their prospects and customers.

That connection you have available at your finger-tips. Literally, with meaningful, personalized, creative content, you are a click away from growing your brand and your business. The faint-hearted can be heard heckling, you’re also literally one click away from crashing and burning with one wrong post or one adverse comment.

Faint-hearted never won fair mother lode. The mother lode is an engaged target market that likes your brand enough to buy into it. They like You!

Here’s a comment from one of our blogs last year, which demonstrates the point perfectly:

Kyleigh McCollam says:
September 17, 2016 at 5:01 pm
It’s so true! People don’t buy the products, they buy into the people or brand selling them!!

Thanks Kyleigh of C’est le Style for your feed-back 

So back to personalization – people like to know who they are dealing with digitally – the same way they would in a person to person interaction.

Why Personalize

Personalization is about giving people enough information about yourself and your brand to help them to feel comfortable that you and your brand are authentically aligned to their expectations, interests and values.

Being Personal is what you do on your personal Facebook page, and even there, there can be an element of getting too personal. Who hasn’t read posts popping up on their newsfeed and cringed? Thinking, too much information (gak!), or somebody hasn’t taken their med’s today before hurriedly scrolling on.

Facebook is a publicly, globally accessible platform. Besides, there’s a big data revolution going on and a lot of changes; who knows what might ultimately end up where. Microsoft just bought out LinkedIn. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

How to stay safe

It’s really pretty easy to stay safe, though. Just post or publish authentic representations of Brand You with one question front of mind:

Am I happy to own this no matter who sees it?

Warm Wishes

Yvonne

Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.

When you want to head-butt your client….

This blog should maybe have been titled Confessions of a Dragon due to the bit of truth-telling I’m about to ‘fess up to. I’m not sure that this will get past editorial censorship. After all, it’s probably not a good thing to admit that you’ve wanted to leap across your desk and head-butt a client.

Yesterday, I could have been mistaken for a real-live dragon. A dragon with steam coming out of my ears, breathing fire, fang-snapping, snarling ….the whole bit.

But hey, I’m only human.

Except when I’m being a dragon.

And not the noble nerves of steel kind. More of the oh-boy-you’re-getting-on-my-last-nerve, cranky kind – being a real old dragon – the sort that school kids and parents run and hide from at Parent Teacher meetings.

Is the client in question still a client of Dragon Sisters after yesterday?

Let’s see, shall we …?

Here’s the back-story

This client, let’s call her Claire the Client, is one of our Smarketing clients. What she’s interested in is connecting with her target audience, converting them to serious business prospects, to sell them her product.

Claire’s progress has been great in nailing down her target market and connecting with them – mostly digitally and largely through Facebook. Her FB following has increased, her database and her subscriber list have grown enormously.

Fantastic!

Claire’s now ready to really move into converting. She knows there’s plenty of interest in her product. All she has to do is keep doing what she’s doing.

Why?

Because you never let up on keeping and growing connections; that’s your sales funnel, and she’s just started implementing her conversion strategy.

I spend a lot of time on Facebook. Checking up on client pages, especially when they’ve just started flying solo, i.e. been let loose on managing their own page. At Dragon Sisters we aren’t fond of managing FB pages, so most of the time we’re teaching folk how to implement Smarketing on that platform for themselves. And as I mentioned, Claire has been going great guns.

Until yesterday, when she shot herself in the foot.

BANG!

Social media suicide.

Claire should have been hopping around toeless, yelling her head off for a doctor.

Preferably a spin doctor.

Yet she wasn’t.

Because she was blissfully oblivious to the impact of the post she’d put up. A post which over 11,000 of her target market followers would see – and not be impressed with.

The first rule of social media marketing for business is you are your brand.

One of the things we stress about Smarketing is that social media success, in terms of branding for audience engagement, is that personalization is key.

Professional personalization

This means that carping is the equivalent to committing hara-kiri, not death by disembowelment, but rather, death by disengagement. The post Claire had put up was a personal rant which put a severe dent in her brand credibility.

Seeing this I wondered if Claire’s brain had been anaesthetised. The joke post I’ve seen on Facebook “that wasn’t me texting last night, it was the wine” sprang to mind.

How do you ask a client if they’ve been drinking on the job?

It was very tempting to ask Claire that question the minute I got hold of her. Since no sane or sober person spends months building a seriously engaged following, only to shoot it out of the sky just when it’s really beginning to fly.

I also couldn’t ask a client have you lost your mind? No matter how crazy they were making me!

The moral of the story is this: you can’t get cocky, careless, or complacent, no matter how great you think you’re doing.

That applies to me too. So, I didn’t leap across the desk and head-butt Claire.

Probably because you can’t do that on Skype.

Warm Wishes,

Yvonne

Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.

Your Reputation Matters – Check Out Who You’re Trusting With It!

Your reputation is affected by those who you surround yourself with.

I had an interesting little experience on LinkedIn and I thought I’d share it with you.

Maybe you’ve come across the same thing?

I was asked to connect with an individual on LinkedIn by another connection. This was an overt network expansion request to help generate interest in, this unknown to me potential connection’s, business.

Let’s call this individual, Larry.

Now, I’m not precious about my LinkedIn connections and who I let into my network. Ordinarily.

After all, if I can give a leg up to another business, then I’m usually more than happy to do so. That’s how networking works and our Dragon Sisters philosophy has always been to help out for no gain – the pay it forward concept.

That doesn’t mean I was born yesterday.

With many more yesterday’s behind me than I like to count, naturally I checked out my soon to be LinkedIn pal, Larry.

I’m a nosey sort and I really am interested in other people’s business.

Not in the curtain-twitcher way! (I’m not that nosey).

More in the what we might have in common way.

At first, I couldn’t figure out why my connection – let’s call him Bob – was raving about Larry.

Larry’s LinkedIn profile and information looked like he’d landed in LinkedIn Land a nanosecond ago.

Kind of the man with no past.

He’d been at the company he worked at only a few brief months. He claimed over a decade in experience and achievement in his sector, but there was nothing to bear out the claim anywhere in his summary or experience.

And I mean nothing.

With over 400 connections Larry had 4 skills endorsements and no past experience history.

Not that I count on vanity metrics, but still, given the dearth of information about the guy, that made his claims more than a bit tenuous.

His company website linked to nothing more informative than an opt-in landing site.

Oh-oh! Had Bob already parted with hard-won cash?

I had a nasty feeling he had. And Bob is a talented, hardworking, solopreneur. I didn’t like to think he’d been gulled.

So, I dug down a bit.

Actually, I drilled down like a manic mole. ‘Til the early hours, when I should have been in LaLa Land with the Sandman and a flock of supine sheep.

But I was intrigued and in full rat-up-a-drain-pipe mode.

Plus, as I said, I’m nosey.

The whole ‘curiosity killed the cat’ thing doesn’t wash with me. Not when it comes to business or handing over cash.

Larry’s claim was that he had the expertise to monetise Bob’s LinkedIn presence for Bob’s explosive business growth.

Really fast and really impressively.

Kind of like a LinkedIn networking guru who could turn LinkedIn into lots of lovely lolly for Bob.

First up, Larry would transform Bob’s profile and presence on LinkedIn into amazing guru-hood for Bob’s specific business sector. Bob’s new profile looked more gnu-like than guru-like. I was about as impressed as a kid at Christmas getting a stocking full of coal.

Bob has paid for this?! My high school kid has a better profile than poor old Bob. And that includes her Saturday job as wait staff.

Talk about being under-whelmed. Larry had done nothing for Bob’s professional reputation. Worse. He’d made Bob look like a complete numpty. And Bob is no numpty. In his field of expertise he’s a star.

My mid-night digging led me to the parent company of Larry’s business. It had been registered just last year. I dug around for the CEO of Larry’s company and that Big Cheese’s other business interests and his partners.

I looked at everyone associated with those businesses on Google, other social media sites and of course, on LinkedIn.

I checked out the company registrations. I checked out the glowing recommendations. Some of which were the same people (on various Big Cheese individual profiles) vouching for (different) businesses which hadn’t existed at the time of writing those gushing this is the go-to guy testimonials.

I found links to defunct websites (with domains registered to the Big Cheeses). To past events promising get-rich-quick schemes.

Most weird of all, was that the people in business together didn’t transparently acknowledge any relationship with each other. They all came from the same background. They all made lavish monetising promises, in different guises and under different companies over the years.

None of them had achieved rich list status themselves. And the way they were scrambling for business, like a pack of hyenas over a bone, had me worried that Bob had become the bone. Humble, lovely Bob, who had trusted his reputation to them and I suspected was on his way to trusting more of his hard-won cash to some under the radar business interests. And not in his business interests.

Spooky, isn’t it?

Dragon Sisters are big advocates of how to Connect. Convert. Sell.

There are ways to go about connecting authentically. This wasn’t one of them. Least ways, not one that works for Bob. Next time he’ll be checking out the reputation of who he’s trusting with his reputation. And money!

Warm Wishes

Yvonne

PS Do you need support deciding who to trust your reputation to? Download our Top 10 Tips by clicking the box below:

Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.

When no one likes selling, but we all want sales

Happy New Year!

A brand new year is always so exciting, isn’t it?

It definitely is, if you, like us at Dragon Sisters, are a small to medium business or an entrepreneur. We are the lucky ones because we get to do what we love, and love what we do!

For most of us, this means we haven’t dragged our sorry-for-ourselves self into an office full of similarly sorry souls, all wondering how the holidays went by so fast, that we could be forgiven for thinking we’re in the realm of a cruel Doctor Who Tardis prank.

Hey presto!

Here we are back at our desk, with our 2018 stacked in-tray still in front of us, an email inbox that seems to have some sort of cell-splitting capability. How else can you explain emails that seem to multiply the moment you turn your back on that darned computer?

And a boss behind us cracking the whip….perhaps in the nicest possible way, but hey, a whip’s a whip, designed to whip up our enthusiasm and productivity, which, after a few weeks kicking back guzzling eggnog and other festive treats, can be a bit of a rude shock to the system.

Unless you’re lucky enough to be one of us!

So, here we are, we intrepid entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and SME owners, jumping into 2019 at the warp speed of the Starship Enterprise. Beyond excited to be launching our new dreams, schemes and all things fantastic.

2019 is going to be our best year ever, right? Not least because we are fully committed, in the immortal words of Captain Kirk, to make it so.

Whether you’re a widget designer, a creative consultant, a reiki practitioner, a pooch pampering professional, or a funeral director, you and I are in exactly the same business – we are in business to sell our super service or stupendous stuff.

No matter how brilliantly shiny our (new or existing) product or service is, it’s not going to sell itself.

We need to sell it! And a lot of it!! Which means, all the time!!!

This is the part where I lose a lot of you, dear fellow Intrepid, because once we start talking sales and selling, many often cringe, fidget and generally look about as comfortable as a duck during the shooting season. Most of us will do anything to dodge the sales bullet.

Not many of us enjoy being sold to. Fewer still of us enjoy doing the selling.

That’s because we view selling as an unwelcome imposition. It’s intrusive. It interrupts us when we are busy and we are always busy, especially our solopreneurs.

Half the time people are trying to sell us stuff that we really don’t have any interest in. Thanks, but no thanks! We hang up, log off, switch off.

When it comes to selling our own service or product, we definitely don’t want to get the same treatment.

We don’t want to be a pain in the posterior either.

We’re nice people. We don’t want to impose upon or interrupt anyone, the way we hate it when that happens to us.

That being the case, how are we going to make it so in terms of making this year a storming sales success? Because like it or lump it – 2019 is not going to be great shakes if we don’t get our revenue rocking.

The good news is that there are lots of routes to sales: on-line, off-line, in person and they all work.

Not only that, but they all work the same way. And it doesn’t have to be painful!

Even the shyest, least people-person amongst us, can get the results they need and want.

Just choose the medium which works best for you and for your business and get Smarketing.

What’s Smarketing? It’s how you …

CONNECT. CONVERT. SELL!

If this is something you have struggled with, then our Smarketing Chart explains how you can make Smarketing work for you.

It’s pretty self-explanatory, but if you need any help, drop us an email.

We’ll be blogging regularly to help you out with more ways to connect, convert and sell your way into a sensational 2017.

Here’s to your success!

With Warm Wishes

Yvonne

P.S. If you haven’t checked out our new website yet, there’s some good free stuff on there for you to help yourself to.

Yvonne Toering is a business development consultant who has worked with leading organisations and brands including Securicor Group, Vodafone Group, ASDA as well as most of the UK’s major high street retail chains including Marks and Spencer Plc, the National Health Service, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mars UK, and the Grand Metropolitan Group, owners of Burger King, Smirnoff, Samuel Webster Brewers, Haagen Daas, Cinzano and other iconic brands.