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Increase Your Page Rank by Getting Links to Your Website

Increase Your Page Rank by Getting Links to Your Website

Search engine optimization (SEO) uses a number of factors to rank your page, and business analytics tools can help with both SEO and overall website/business performance. Unfortunately, you didn’t leave popularity contests behind in high school. Google only has so much space on the first couple of pages, and it’s important that your site is on there. You already know that it requires high-quality content with well-placed SEO words and phrases.

However, another way to boost your page rank is by having high-quality links. Backlinks on your website can help make or break your ranking. For example, drug rehab facilities can greatly benefit from .gov addiction counseling backlinks while chocolatiers can get a boost from backlinks to an expert’s theory on the benefits of cacao. Here’s how links can help you. 


Quality, Not Quantity


You may have heard that the more links you have, the better your search engine results (SERPs) are. That’s only true when talking about high-quality links that make sense to your page. It’s pretty easy to provide a host of spam-ridden links, but that will devastate your page rankings. This isn’t purely a numbers game.

Good links should have SEO qualities that complement your site. For example, you should only be using links that make sense to your own site. A pet store that vehemently links to everything from guitars to plantation tours in Louisiana isn’t going to get far. It’s always best to have fewer quality links than a slew of bad ones. 


Types of Links


There are two primary types of links, internal and external. Internal links are ones that you provide on your site. For example, you might link to a Wikipedia article about a certain service or product you offer. This will take visitors away from your site, and should only be used very sparingly (if at all). You might think you’re being helpful, and the link might be high quality, but you’re driving visitors away. 

External links are links that bring visitors to your site. You don’t have much control over these links. However, if you’re involved in a link exchange, you can regain a little control. Make sure you only exchange links with quality sites that are complementary to your own. Otherwise, it might read as spam and your rank will take a hit.


Know Your Backlinks


There are multiple types of backlinks, and some are more desirable than others. An exact match anchor text completely matches what your potential visitors might be typing in, such as “jewelry stores in Boston.” A partial match anchor text might be “Boston jewelers.” A URL link is self-explanatory and lists your website as a URL. 

There are also image backlinks and unrelated backlinks. Some say that it doesn’t really matter how visitors get to your site as long as they get there. However, working on quality links will up the number of people who do get there. The more people who visit (and wanted to get there), the higher your rankings will be. 


Links as an SEO Foundation


SEO is an integral part of your web presence, and no site should be designed without SEO in mind. However, how links work with SEO is more flexible than other elements (such as writing a daily blog with organic, naturally placed SEO words). Just because a link was a good, high-quality fit in the beginning doesn’t mean it’s kept that same integrity. Properly using links requires checking them and updating them as needed. 

There are many aspects of SEO that a non-pro can utilize, but links are a little trickier. It’s best to consult with an expert to ensure you get the kind of rankings you deserve. Otherwise, you might get stuck with sub-par links that do more harm than good. 




About the Author

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru and startup enthusiast.

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What Type of Payment Options Do Millennials Prefer?

What Type of Payment Options Do Millennials Prefer?

There has been a lot of focus on Millennials over the last several years. And, it’s easy to understand why. Millennials represent the largest generation in the United States, they are hyper-connected and are disrupting numerous industries -- specifically the banking and financial world.

Between being more frugal, skeptical, environmentally conscious, and tech-savvy, Millennials are drastically changing the payments industry. As a whole, Millennials are even changing to their favorite ways to get paid.

Traditional Payments Are Still Alive and Kicking

Despite the various payment options that are available, traditional payment options are still popular among Millennials. Surprisingly, 58 percent of Millennials still preferred to get paid with cash. Exchanging cash is easy, convenient, and secure. Additionally, cash is accepted everywhere, prevents spontaneous spending, and there are no transaction or processing fees.

Besides cash, traditional payment options, like checks and credit cards, are still being used daily by Millennials. In fact, 87 percent of Millennials have written a check within the last three months and 84 percent use credit or debit cards to make purchases. Another 45 percent receive their salary via bank transfer.

However, 6 in 10 Millennials don’t have a credit card and prefer debit cards “because they have many of the same benefits over hard cash as credit — they eliminate the need for a trip to the ATM and it can quickly be replaced if a wallet is stolen” and, most importantly, because they dislike debt.

Mobile Payments On the Rise

While traditional payment options like cash are still popular among Millennials, the second preferred payment option with 26 percent are payment apps like Venmo, PayPal, Google Wallet, and Square Wallet. These P2P payment apps offer a free way to transfer funds and are extremely convenient.

Instead, meeting someone in-person or going to a bank, money can be transferred to anyone in the world in real-time. Furthermore, many of these services come with features that allow Millennials to track their spending so that they can stay within their budget or split bills with friends or family members.

While mobile payments and digital wallets may not have completely killed off cash just yet, there’s no denying this is becoming the most popular preferred payment option among Millennials.

For starters, 98 percent of Millennials use a smartphone, with 97 percent also on social media. In short, smartphones and social media have become an integral part of their daily lives. Because of this, they’re comfortable with using their mobile devices to send and receive payments.

They also enjoy its convenience since these apps connect to their bank accounts and allow them to pay each other instantly with the app with just a click of a button.

“These new developments have been designed with smartphones as the focal point and the main aim is to make lives easier for consumers,” writes Jonathan Vaux, Executive Director of Innovation Partnerships, Visa Europe Collab. “With mobile payment apps, payments can be conducted anywhere on a mobile device, taking away the pain of waiting in a traditional checkout line. Likewise, biometric authentication allows for a much simpler, faster and more secure payment, without the need for consumers to remember their PIN and passwords.”

Additionally, data from the Digital Payment survey of Europe found that Millennials “do indeed interact with mobile and banking apps much more readily than older age groups.”

For example:

  • More than half of European millennials (54 percent) use mobile digital payments, compared with just 44 percent of the general public.
  • Millennials use digital payments for everyday essentials more than other generations, too – paying bills (47 percent vs. an average of 40 percent); transferring money to friends and family (56 percent vs average of 45 percent), and interacting with their banks (68 percent vs. 62 percent).
  • Four in five millennials would be interested in seeing new forms of digital payments offered in future, compared with 67 percent of the general population.

Because of these benefits, Accenture is predicting that digital payments will become the most preferred payment option by 2020.

The Bottom Line

Millennials are embracing digital payments more than any other generation because of the comfort and convenience. In fact, they’re the driving force behind making a cashless society. They prefer ecash.

However, Millennials still accept traditional forms of payments like cash and checks because they remain as convenient and secure forms of payments.

Until Millennials completely trust mobile and digital payments, and the payments occur in real-time, we’ll still live in a world where paper payments are still a preferred payment option. 


About the Author

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru and startup enthusiast.

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11 Killer Examples of Social Media Marketing

11 Killer Examples of Social Media Marketing

It’s common for brands to launch social media campaigns these days, but if you really want to stand out and connect with your prime audience then you need to focus on creating compelling and customer-centric campaigns - even if that means taking risks.

To help inspire you to great heights for your Social Media goals, here are 11 examples of social media marketing campaigns that killed it.

1. Newcastle: Band of Brands

How do you partake in the biggest marketing event of the year, aka the Super Bowl, on a shoestring budget? Follow the example set by Newcastle.

“Lacking the $4.5 million needed to buy 30 seconds of Big Game airtime, Newcastle decided to take a cue from the sharing economy that’s made Kickstarter, Uber, AirBnB and CityBike so popular,” says Droga5, the agency behind the campaign.

“Our plan was simple. We’d essentially sell ad space in our ad, asking 20-30 scrappy brands like ours to pitch in for airtime with us, and then cram all 20-30 of those brands into one Big Game ad. We called it, "Newcastle’s Band of Brands." It was a simple way to poke fun at the ridiculous cost of Big Game advertising while inserting ourselves, and plenty of other brands, into the Big Game conversation.”

The campaign relied on both Facebook ads and posts to spread the word and generate buzz.

2. Urban Decay: Coachella-Meets-Cosmetics Contest

In February and March 2014 cosmetics company Urban Decay unveiled a new collection entitled Electric. To get fans excited, the company ran a contest where they could win tickets to the sold-out music festival Coachella. To enter, people had to first follow Urban Decay on Pinterest and a pinboard called “Get Electric with UD” where they would show what they would wear at the annual music festival.

3. Land Rover UK: #Hibernot

#Hibernot is a cross-channel campaign that uses social, video and experiential marketing. The idea behind the campaign is that since there isn’t much daylight during the winter, you have to take advantage of the day as much as possible. Land Rover uses YouTube videos, billboards, and photography from Instagram influencers to show you how to enjoy the outdoors during the winter.

4. eBags: #TravelTipTuesdays

eBags is a travel bag manufacturer that uses its Facebook page to showcase their latest products and offer followers discount codes. However, the coolest use of Facebook is sharing priceless travel tips every Tuesday on everything from packing, travel hygiene, and even juicy facts like some airline credit cards allowing you to check bags for free.

5. Four Seasons LinkedIn Page

Four Seasons has been listed as one of LinkedIn’s top company pages in years like 2013. And, it’s easy to see why. The hotel and resort posts videos and readable that highlight employees, how the company gives back to the community, and employees having fun. It’s an effective way to use social media to recruit talent without seeming overly pushy.

Check out this amazing guide on social media advertising to help you scale this with your business.

6. Taco Bell: Taco emoji engine

In 2015 emojis became a big deal among social media users. Brands picked-up on the trend and started including emoji in email subject lines and social media posts. Taco Bell, who has an incredible social media presence and knows how to connect with it’s youthful demographic. The company decided to join in on the fun. Users simply tweeted @TacoBell with a taco emoji and another emoji and the brand would tweet the user back with a humorous mashup of the the two images.

7. Lowes: #fixinsix

The home improvement store has used social media to share home improvement tips. Using Vine, Lowes creates a series that covers everything from cleaning to contraction in just six-seconds.

8. Droptheweapons.og: A Different Ending

This social campaign created an invertive choose your own adventure on YouTube to help end violence. It’s powerful message that gives viewers a first person experience on the impact that their decisions can have.

9. Victoria’s Secret: #DIY Panty Contest

Victoria’s Secret is a brand known for using Snapchat to host giveaways. One example was the #DIY Panty Contest for Valentine’s Day 2016. Fans had a chance to win one of its personalized panty kits by drawing over a screenshot of their favorite pair and then send the image back to Victoria’s Secret with the hashtag #DIYPantyContest.

10. Make-A-Wish Foundation & Disney: #ShareYourEars

Disney partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation where people were asked to share images of them wearing Mickey Mouse Ears on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #ShareYourEars. For every “ear” photo Disney would donate $5 to Make-A-Wish America and Make-A-Wish International.


Believe it or not, General Electric is constantly up-to-date on the latest social media trends and channels. In 2015 they were one of the first brands to use Periscope in a marketing campaign. As explained in Co.Create, “the project will allow viewers to criss-cross the U.S. via Periscope and get a drone's eye view of some of the company's least accessible facilities where jet engines, locomotives, wind turbines and industrial machinery are made and tested to extremes, featuring interviews and expert commentary from GE scientists and technologists. It's like Shark Week for science and social video nerds.”

About the Author

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru and startup enthusiast.

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15 Best Facebook Apps for Growing Businesses

15 Best Facebook Apps for Growing Businesses

Managing a Facebook business page takes more than just updating it everyday with a post that pushes your goods or services. You want to use Facebook to make announcements, provide value to your customers, and connect with individuals who are interested in your business and what you have to say. All of these, by the way, will ultimately help you grow your Facebook advertising business.

Thankfully, there are a large number of Facebook apps that can help you grow your business painlessly. Consider the following fifteen apps.

1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is one of the most popular tools for scheduling social media posts. You can also create calendars, upcoming contests, and automated messages. Hootsuite, however, is also more than just a scheduling tool. It’s also a powerful social media monitoring tool where you can connect and listen to what others are saying about your brand and then engage with them. You’ll even have access to information like the demographics of your audience so that you’ll know how to target them more effectively.

2. Agorapulse

In a nutshell, Agorapulse pretty much does everything that you can dream of in a Facebook app. It schedules Facebook updates, monitors shares and mentions, shares analytics reports, and creates quizzes and contests. If that weren’t enough, it can even be used a CRM so that you can identify your most engaged fans and gather additional data like email addresses.

3. Heyo

Heyo provides an easy-to-use template that gives you the power to create contests, promotions, or deals that can drive traffic, leads, and sales for your business by simply dragging, dropping, and customizing your content. Heyo also works great with mobile devices so that you can reach your Facebook fans across multiple devices.

4. Woobox

Woobox is another app that allows you to generate contests, sweepstakes, polls, quizzes, deals, and coupons. In addition to this, Woobox also has tabs for Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest so that you can integrate these social channels together. Finally, you can promote your content on Facebook.

5. Pagemodo

Pagemodo offers a variety of tools that allows you to customize your Facebook page in order to attract new leads. With Pagemodo you can create a welcome page, cover photo, and run contests, sweepstakes, or giveaways. If you have a physical storefront then you can optimize maps and location. And, if you have the skills, you can customize your Facebook tabs by editing or creating your own HTML tabs.

6. Shortstack

Sure. Shortstack is yet another app that generates contests, sweepstakes, polls, and surveys. However, it can also be used to create landing pages and signup forms. You can also highlight products through its gallery-building feature and promote your Facebook page across multiple social media channels.

7. MailChimp

Speaking of signup forms, MailChimp integrates with Facebook so that you place contact capture forms onto your page. Once your email list begins to grow you can launch an inbound marketing campaign that has been tailor-fitted for your fans, and even the differences that your fans possess like interests and location.

8. Ecwid

Ecwid claims to be the number one Facebook e-commerce app where you can open-up a Facebook store that even keeps customers on your page during checkout. You can also sell your products simultaneously on other social networks, your website, and Amazon. And, because Ecwid is a global community, you have the ability to sell your goods in over 175 countries and use 40 different payment options.

9. Boast

Boast is a platform that gives you the chance to easily collect, manage, and display customer video testimonials and star ratings from your customers. With the Facebook integration you can then display these testimonials and ratings onto your business page for all to see.

10. LiveChat

LiveChat is handy tool for all of your customer service needs by coming equipped with features like visitor information, automated greetings, after hours forums, chat windows, and reports for chat and tickets. Since it integrates with Facebook, you can now chat with your fans on your business page or through Messenger.

11. Livestream

We all love video content. That’s why Livestream is such a promising tool for your business page. It allows you to post video content onto your Facebook page in order to grab the attention of your customer’s. For example, you can host a live workshop that showcases your product in order to inform customers more about your business.

12. Static HTML - Thunderpenny

Since 2011 Thunderpenny has been offering a Static HTML: iframe tabs Facebook application that allows you to construct any type of content that you want inside your tab. Since this is a simple HTML editor by just dropping and dragging, you don’t need to be a programming whiz to get started. The company also creates contact forms, coupons, adds a Google Map location, and inserts a PayPal buy button.

13. Networked Blogs

Networked Blogs can be useful for two reasons. For starters, if you add your blog onto the site, your content will be automatically published on Facebook and Twitter - which means that you’ll be increasing the chances of getting discovered. The other helpful feature is discovering blogs that are relevant to your industry and sharing their content on your Facebook page in order to connect with influencers in your niche.

14. Simply Measured

Simply Measured takes you beyond Facebook Insights by uncovering information like your Fan Page amplifications, reach, content, and engagement trends. It can even determine how your fans are liking, commenting, and sharing your content. Simply Measured also lets you compare your Facebook performance against your top competitors.

15. Sprout Social

With Sprout Social you can plan and publish across social media networks, as well as monitor any mentions or messages from your fans. You can also view user profiles and Facebook analytics for you to discover how effective your campaigns are, and how to determine when the best time is to post and what type of content your audience prefers.

About the Author

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru and startup enthusiast.

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6 Must Read Sales Books for Growing Businesses

6 Must Read Sales Books for Growing Businesses

As a salesperson, you have to overcome a number of challenges, like discovering and securing leads, handling angry customers, staying updated with the latest industry trends, and finding the drive to get out there everyday and work - even when you’d rather throw in the towel. That’s why reading is so vital - because a well-written book can help you overcome some of those heavy challenges whether you’re a seasoned vet or just entering the world of sales.

You may want to get a few of these book offerings on audio for inspiration as you commute to and from work.

While there are no shortage of business-related books that offer strategies and inspiration, are are six that every salesperson must absolutely read.

1. “Growth Juice: How To Grow Your Sales” by John A. Weber

John A. Weber (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin), is an Emeritus Professor of Marketing at the University of Notre Dame and has worked with companies like General Electric, AT&T, IBM, 3M, and Federal Express during his career. In “Growth Juice” he turns his experience from all of these companies into practical examples that you can put into immediate action and the concise writing of the book provides a number of sales solutions that you can use during your entire sales process.

2. “The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change The Way You Do Business” by Clayton M. Christensen

This best-selling book by Clayton M. Christensen has been described by Michael Bloomberg as “Absolutely brilliant. Clayton Christensen provides an insightful analysis of changing technology and its importance to a company’s future success.” More importantly, however, it’s an insightful book that describes the importance of changing our perceptions on how to conduct business, (especially in regards to new technologies) if we want to build a sustainable business.

Not only is this a must-read book, it’s an essential addition to your library.

3. “Little Red book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness” by Jeffrey Gitomer

David Dorsey of the Wall Street Journal said, “This isn't just a red book; it's a 'Red Bull' of high-energy sales tips & counsel.” And, I couldn’t agree more. Gitomer, a salesman and author of the “Sales Bible,” provides the best techniques to use and the attitudes you should consider working on, that will inspire you to become the best salesperson possible, such as asking power questions. This book gets right to the point and is a full of phrases that will keep you motivated when you need a morale boost. It also has many ideas worth sharing with your sales team.

4. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

This book was suggested by Miranda Marquit. Marquit says that “This book is written by a psychologist who won a Nobel Prize in Economics.” She adds, “It’s an amazing look at how we make decisions, and what goes into our makeup. I love this book for its ability to encourage introspection. If you want to change the way you think about money and business, as well as life, this book can bring new perspective to the way you think and react.”

5. “Guerrilla Selling: Unconventional Weapons and Tactics for Increasing Your Sales” by Orvel Ray Wilson

What’s unique about the approach in this book is that it doesn’t pressure or motivate you to become a salesperson, though sales is what the book is about. Instead, it’s a clearly written book that can be used by those of us who have to sell and how to become more competitive through unconventional ideas that are easy to implement.

When reviewing this book Brian Tracy, president of Brian Tracy Learning Systems, said, ''This is a fast-moving, action-packed book on selling, full of practical tips and ideas that anyone can apply immediately to increase their corporate sales and personal income. Every salesperson in today's competitive market should read this book from cover to cover. It will give you the winning edge over the competition!''

6. “How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling” by Frank Bettger

No matter what you’re selling, there’s no doubt that you’ll find Frank Bettger’s story of going from a failed insurance salesman to owning his own real estate company. This book is not just informative, it's inspiring. Bettger, who was mentored by Dale Carnegie, achieved his success by focusing specifically on the power of enthusiasm; how to conquer fear; the key word for turning a skeptical client into an enthusiastic buyer; the quickest way to win confidence; and the seven golden rules for closing a sale.

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5 Habits the Wealthiest People in the World Share

5 Habits the Wealthiest People in the World Share


Money isn’t always the main indicator of success. But, when you’re one of the wealthiest people in the world, you’re obviously doing something right. What exactly are these wealthy people doing that you’re not? It’s most likely that they are using one of the following five habits.

1. They Work For Themselves

Here’s an interesting question asked by Tucker Schreiber? Do you think “it’s risky to start something on your own?” For millionaires, that’s not the case. Schreiber explains that “There’s a certain drive, hustle and itch that these entrepreneurs just have to scratch.” He goes on to say, “They can’t work for someone else - not because they don’t want to, but because they always need something to do on their own.”

2. They Set Goals That Are Attainable

According to author Tom Corley (via Inc.com) who spent five years researching the habits of the world’s wealthiest people, they “consistently set specific, attainable goals.” For example, instead of saying, "I would like to earn $1 million this year," a more realistic and specific goal might be: "I will bring in an additional $25,000 this year by increasing my production capacity."

Corley goes on to write;

"If you want your wish or dream to come true, you need to create goals around them, pursue those goals and achieve those goals. You need to break your wish or dream down into manageable tasks that you are able to perform. The accumulation, over time, of the completed goals will move you forward toward realizing your dream. You will still need outside help and outside influences, but luck has a way of finding the prepared and the persistent."

3. They’re Frugal

Wealthy individuals are frugal. Just how frugal? Here’s eight examples of how carefully they spend their money;

  • They live below their means. Warren Buffett still lives in the Omaha, NE home that he purchased in 1958.
  • The rich prefer to shop at Walmart, Target, or Home Depot instead of Tiffany’s or Brooks Brothers.
  • They cut out unnecessary expenses.
  • They either rent or sell the possessions that they’re not using.
  • Wealthy individuals like T. Boone Pickens make shopping lists and only bring the cash that they'll need.
  • They don’t fall for get rich quick schemes.
  • They go green.
  • They work side jobs.

4. They're Generous 

Despite being frugal, the wealthy are still extremely generous. And, I do mean extremely generous.

Bill Gates, for example, has donated more than $27 billion during his lifetime. Warren Buffett has donated $21.5 billion, George Soros $8 billion, and Azim Premji $8 billion. But, this isn’t a recent occurrence. The wealthy, such as Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, were also known for their generosity. Start watching the wealthy people you know - they are generous.

5. They Take Care of Themselves

Corley also found that the rich take care of their bodies and minds. For example, “70 percent of the wealthy consume less than 300 junk food calories per day.” David Murdock, chairman of Dole Foods, is 93 years old and still practices yoga, weight trains, and rides horses.

On top of eating a healthy diet and exercising, the world’s most successful people also mediate, wake-up early, read instead of watching TV, and reduce stress by saying ‘no.’

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6 Secrets All Young Millionaires Share

6 Secrets All Young Millionaires Share


What does it take to become a millionaire today? Is it luck? Passion? Hard work?

While these distinctive attributes definitely play a part, young millionaires also share the following qualities that have helped them achieve success.

1. They Have Emotional Support From Their Families

We all know that Mark Zuckerberg is the founder and CEO of Facebook. But did you know at the age of 12 he built his own messaging software called "ZuckNet?" Even more inspiring, the software actually worked and his father used ‘ZuckNet’ in his dental practice to alert him whenever there a was patient in the waiting room.

It turns out that many young millions have emotional support from their families at a young age. In fact, Nick Tart and Nick Scheidies interviewed 25 young entrepreneurs and discovered that with the exception of one, all received emotional support from them families that encouraged them to follow their dreams.

I personally have buy-in on every decision I make by my wife. If you don't have your family onboard with what you're doing, it will be very hard to push through when times get tough.

2. Begin With Something That Can Be Executed

If you take a closer look at young millionaires you’ll begin to notice that most of them got their start by making money off of something that was manageable. For example, review this list of 40 successful entrepreneurs who made their money before the age of 20 by John Boitnott. A majority of them started out small.

  • Juliette Brindak, founder of Miss O And Friends, launched a social network for tweens.
  • Sean Belnick started an e-tail shop that featured items like trading cards.
  • Adam Horowitz founded the mobile marketing tutorial program Mobile Monopoly.
  • Nick D'Aloisio developed an app and sold it to Yahoo!
  • Tyler Dikman started repairing computers in the eighth grade. He started his own business, Cooltronics.
  • Fraser Doherty made homemade jams using his grandmother’s recipe.
  • Madison Robinson created Fish Flops at the age of 15 and has since branched out to create complementary apparel.
  • Dominic McVey imported scooters from the U.S. and made a profit by selling them locally in London.

3. They're Honest and Personal

Speaker and author Jayson Lo states that being honest is one of most important traits that millionaires share. “Honesty is not just the best policy. Honesty will bring you people’s trust, which is the foundation of all relationships.”

One example of being honest is from Niall Harbison, founder of Simply Zesty. After losing three of his biggest clients in just three days, he penned 30 personal letters to his other clients thanking them for their business. He told the Telegraph “I’m currently writing 200 personal notes to go into books for certain people.”

4. Use Their Imaginations and Dream Big

Kelly Hoppen, founder of organic clothing, Earth Couture, says, “Visualize where you want to be every day and imagine what your life will be like when you get to that point. Every week I say to myself, ‘This week I want this or that to happen’ and I visualize it in my mind as if it were reality.’” Hoppen adds, “I was 30 when my bank balance reached the £1million mark. I remember looking at my bank statement and instead of feeling that I’d made it, I felt I could do more. Nothing is too big, and nothing is big enough.”

To get started, Tumblr founder David Karp suggests that you,“Find a space where you can be creative and a place where you are open for free thinking, you want to enjoy what you are doing and do what you are best at.”

5. They Were Told That They Wouldn’t Be Successful

It shouldn’t be a secret that most successful individuals have had to overcome an adversity. Whether it’s being rejected, tackling a health crisis, or handling a traumatic personal crisis, overcoming these hurdles helps keep us driven.

But, what if you were told that you weren’t going to be successful at all?

Michael Dunlop experienced this as a student with dyslexia. After being told by his teachers that he wouldn’t amount to much, it’s easy to understand why Dunlop dropped out of school and started blogging with Incomediary.com. Dunlop was able to retire by the age of 21. Dunlop knew he was worth something and then he did something about it by taking action.

6. They See Themselves As Self-Employed

Brain Tracey wrote, “The biggest mistake that you can ever make in your life is to think that you work for anyone else but yourself. You are always self-employed.”

Whether they’re trade penny stocks, designing websites, or running a multi- millionaire company, young millionaires may take the advice from their family members or mentors, but ultimately they’re going to make their own decisions based on their values and dreams.

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Accounting For Everyone: Alternatives To In-House Money Management

Accounting For Everyone: Alternatives To In-House Money Management

As a business owner, it’s important to have your company’s finances under control, but logistically, this can be a challenge. Maybe your business is too small for a full accounting department, too big for basic software, or simply short on the knowledge needed to manage your books successfully. Under such circumstances, you may wish to consider alternatives to in-house accounting to help you out. 

Every business needs an accounting solution that fits their specific needs – and there are plenty of options to choose from. Among the small business set, these two primary options are typically the most popular, offering great organization for a reasonable price.

Let It Go 

Setting up an accounting department, or even hiring a single full-time professional, can be costly for a small business. If you directly employ an accountant, you’ll need to supply the software, provide office space, and pay for employee benefits and payroll taxes. Ultimately, you’ll spend a significant amount before the accountant has even done any work. For cost reasons alone, many companies choose to outsource their financial management needs.

Another reason small businesses often outsource accounting activities is because the company is too small for the full-time services of an accountant, and many accountants aren’t interested in a part-time position without benefits. Rather than pay an individual for time they aren’t working, the businesses choose to send the work out to a dedicated accounting company. 

Software Success

There are many accounting software solutions on the market today, with some better suited to business management than others. Before settling on one, it’s important that you do your homework. With a very small business, for example, appropriate software options include Harvest and Wave Accounting, but if you expect your business to see significant growth, it’s best to skip these in favor of a more powerful program.

QuickBooks is a universal favorite for business accounting, and for good reason. Since it’s both powerful and popular, QuickBooks is easily integrated with other business programs for better management. Used correctly, the program is also a timesaver, eliminating the need to enter data twice, and putting the most important financial tools right at your fingertips.

Key Considerations

Before choosing an accounting method, all businesses would do well to consider the worst-case scenarios and how they would handle them. With outsourcing, for example, companies have been known to prioritize cost over quality, assuming that all accounting services are essentially equal. Then, when something goes wrong – a check bounces or the tax audit comes back with errors – they try to pass the blame to their chosen accounting firm. Under such circumstances, it’s important to remember that you chose the company and you are ultimately responsible.

Similarly, if you tend to be controlling about how work is done, and you think outsourcing work will help you save time, you need to think about how much effort you’ll put into communication and double checking the work of an external company. Would you save more time and have greater peace of mind if you chose to hire someone internally, whom you could check in with regularly? Using your time wisely is important, and outsourcing shouldn’t cause you to spread yourself thin. 

Though at times it may seem like an external function, at the end of the day your business is only as successful as the accounting department. Go with an option you can trust, and don’t be afraid to invest in quality software and knowledgeable staff. Saving money through outsourcing works well for some, but having that extra degree of control matters more to others, and you didn’t get to this point in your career by compromising on core business practices.

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Online Sales Tactics for Startups

Online Sales Tactics for Startups

You need to build a solid foundation before beckoning your audience. Whether you’re selling a tangible, shipped product or advice, begin with a solid web site. A good designer is essential. A clearly defined “about us” section, testimonials, a short online video, and witty, succinct web content is critical. However, a “good” website isn’t enough, especially when there’s so much competition. How can you stand out?

Once the basics are in place, it’s time for search engine optimization (SEO). SEO helps your site move up the search engine rankings so that you’re easier to find and the right SEO company can help you get there. Ensure that a clear call to action is done tastefully and entices visitors. If someone can’t quickly click to buy immediately, they’ll move on. 

Along with SEO is proper analytics, which can be customized based on industry. For example, call center analytics will be wildly different than the analytics needs of an e-tailer. Analytics help you keep track of site visitors, what they’re doing, where they’re going, and how they’re shopping. This means reduced risks, more revenue, and a streamlined approach to your website. Almost no business is too small for analytics, and your needs will change as you grow. Whether it’s Instagram analytics, Email Analytics or Twitter analytics, every business should track analytics on every platform.

Old School Tips That Still Work 

Your potential customers need to know (or think) they’re getting a bargain. Discounted prices marked in red are easy bait. They want to get their item quickly so featuring expedited shipping and/or free shipping sweetens the deal. A money-back guarantee is still a tactic that helps build trust. Plus, an established website with markers of security like an SSL certificate give your shoppers the peace of mind they deserve.

Offering free tips and advice makes them feel like they’re already getting something for free. Converting a blatant advertisement into an engaging story or article can tap into your visitor’s emotions, and white papers are often used for this purpose. This can be a how-to on installing a new window or an inspirational weight loss story. Create your copy in a way that makes readers feel they’ve already purchased and benefited from the product or service. 

Get Personal 

Online shopping may have made life easier, but people still want a personal touch on their own terms. Offering a phone number, email, helpdesk and/or live chat can help ease a person’s wariness. When purchasing something online, you don’t get to see it in person first. Knowing that there is a live person available is comforting. This is also where social media comes into play, as does live chats and video conferencing.

If your target market is on Facebook or Twitter and you have the time to commit, it’s time to get social. Offer special deals only to your friends and followers. Remember to keep it simple. Some businesses can provide daily tips or a blog with truly useful information. Posting and inboxing your business gives people more ways to connect with you, and increasingly shoppers are going to social media instead of pro websites first. 

Choose Wisely

Titles and meta tags are short but critical so make sure you engage your audience and choose every word wisely. Utilize H tags in source order, not visual order, to maximize exposure. If you use an ad service like Google’s AdSense, only do so if you’re committed to optimizing and tracking your click through rate. Play with them, change them up, and make them interesting.

Don’t skimp when it comes to high quality web content. When possible, hire a professional web content writer who has a background in SEO. This can optimize your newsletters, e-mail blasts, blogs, product descriptions and landing page content.

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6 Ways to Give Better Feedback

6 Ways to Give Better Feedback


Feedback is an important task for true leaders. But many leaders seem to cringe at the thought of giving feedback to their team members in fear that they may take the advice too personally, or get their feelings hurt.

However, if you follow these six pieces of advice, you can deliver better feedback that will grow fruitful results.

1. Supply Specific Information

Authors John Hattie and Helen Timperley found in their 2007 published work “The Power of Feedback” that criticism, and even praise, isn’t as impactful as pointing out the specific information regarding how a learner is performing a task. In other words, feedback is more valuable and effective when it shares information on what the individual has been doing correctly and what they’re doing differently now that has been beneficial.

So instead of telling someone “Great job!,” be more specific like, “Your report on the ten most important KPIs was extremely valuable to this company. Could you come-up with five more?”

2. Create Safety

Kevin Ochsner, a Columbia University neuroscientist, claims that individuals who receive feedback actually only apply it around 30% of the time. The reason? People may feel too uncomfortable, which means that the feedback is unproductive, not even heard, or even more likely, the employee has been criticized so frequently that they had cast up a wall to protect themselves from your severe censure, or continual faultfinding.

Speaker and best-selling author Scott Halford says in Entrepreneur, “If you don't have the kind of buddy relationship with a colleague or employee that allows you to say virtually anything to each other, then I suggest you add civility and safety into your feedback approach.” Halford adds, “Don't be mean-spirited. Your feedback usually won't be productive if it's focused on making the other person feel bad or make them look foolish in front of peers.”

When creating safety, start by creating opportunities that can build their confidence and trust in you. And, make sure that it’s one-on-one. Nothing can destroy that trust like criticizing someone in public.

3. The 3x3 Rule

“Psychologists Dr. John Gottman, Dr. Barbara Fredrickson and organizational psychologist Dr. Marcial Losada have proven that a ratio of at least 3 positives to 1 negative statements is necessary to create a successful relationship in our personal and business lives,” says Richard Riche on LinkedIn.

Leadership consultant and author Bert Decker, however, takes this a step further by creating the 3x3 Rule. This rule basically means that when giving feedback you identify three positives and three areas that need improvement. This method provides balanced feedback that can guide the person when making corrections.

4. Plussing

How has a company like Pixar achieved so much critical and commercial success? One important factor is that they developed their own feedback system. Peter Sims, author of “Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries,” says that this system is known as ‘plussing.’ Sims adds that the point is to “build and improve on ideas without using judgmental language.”

Here’s an example of this system and how it was used during the development of “Toy Story 3.”

“Instead of criticizing the sketch or saying ‘no,’ the director will build on the starting point by saying something like, ‘I like Woody’s eyes, and what if his eyes rolled left?”

As opposed to saying words like ‘but,’ use ‘and’ and ‘what if’ when making suggestions. This will keep the creative juices following.

Additionally, language does matter when giving feedback. Carole Robin writes in a post for the Stanford School of Business;

Avoid attributions or labels such as “you are insensitive.” Do not make up stories about why they act in a certain way, such as “you don’t care.” Use “I” language instead of “You” language, but remember that saying “I feel that you are insensitive” and “I feel that you don’t care” is cheating.

5. Develop Concrete Suggestions to Meet the Goal

As Robin writes, “The purpose of constructive feedback is to encourage the other to move into a problem-solving conversation with you, not to ‘change’ for you.” To ultimately meet his goal, the Daily Muse suggests you, “Give a small number of actionable suggestions (ideally only one or two) that the other person can take in the future, to change this behavior. They will appreciate that you’re giving them the first step to improving the situation.”

Consider dropping language in your feedback that repeats the tasks the individual is already doing. By reiterating their current tasks, it appears as if you are criticizing their entire job, or saying they aren't doing the job in the first place.

6. Encourage a Feedback Culture

“Most organizations start by teaching managers how to give feedback effectively. The logic follows that if they have the skill, then they’ll go around giving all sorts of helpful feedback to readily receptive employees who will use it to improve and pay it forward in a never-ending positive spiral of development and enrichment,” writes Ben Olds. The problem? “It doesn’t work.”

Olds says the main reason this doesn't work is because even “the most skilled provider in the world will have a miserable conversation with someone who doesn’t want feedback, and/or doesn’t know how to receive it.” Because of this, you should create a feedback culture by;

  • Educating team members “on the value of constructive feedback, and seek out and destroy habits that erode psychological safety.”
  • Teaching employees how to hear feedback without getting defensive.
  • Informing leaders on how to properly deliver feedback.
  • Encourage leaders to give more feedback.

Generally, even the CEO at the top needs an education on how to give and receive constructive feedback. Did you notice the word, "receive." It is difficult for an employee to continually hear the top brass doling out the "helpful hints," section of the day (especially if the top person has never done this particular job, and has no idea what it takes to accomplish it).

There are also many ways that you as a business owner can get feedback. One personal way that I do this is using Desk.com’s helpdesk software. This helps my customers leave unfiltered feedback or request help where they need it the most. It’s helped me become a better boss, build a better company and help my customers more.

If you have created a safe environment of honest give and take, and taught the correct manner in which to have a respectful conversation in the work place -- it should not be difficult to create a better feedback culture in the workplace.

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