In business, improvement often leads to product innovation — which can result in better sales.
Why, then, do some business professionals feel professional improvement is an area they can afford to neglect?
Healthy relationships require constant maintenance, even that of the retailer/consumer relationship. To be the best businessperson you can be, continual education is key to your improvement. President Obama, noting the power of social media, leveraged it to propel himself toward the presidency. His opponents did not avail themselves of this trend and got left behind. Imagine your competitors leaving you behind because you are “too busy” or “too broke” to commit to schooling yourself.
And a shoestring budget is no excuse.
There are TONS (TONS!) of free resources out there. Either you need to look for them, or find someone (like me) who will tell you where some of them are. For exaqmple, Endor.se is a place where you can get recommendations from people who have experienced you or your brand, thus further building your online presence. Also,
1. You need an effective website. Find someone selling a similar product with a website you LOVE. Then, use Website Grader, which will give you a comparative SEO (Search Engine Optimization — whether or not your website will show up in search engine results on Yahoo, Google, Bing, etc.) analysis against that website for FREE (in-depth analysis requires that you sign up for their service but you’ll get the basics). I recently completed my author website, but you need your site to be operating for a while before the analysis is valid.
2. Find people who know what they’re doing and duplicate what they do. By “duplicate,” I mean “copy, but don’t plagiarize.”
Entrepreneur Magazine held a FREE business conference last year here in Atlanta (they’re holding another one this June). All it cost me $8 for parking and an entire day of work, but it was one of the best investments I ever made. I attended workshops by Starr Hall and Susan Gunelius, and others. There, they gave out all kinds of information on building your brand, social marketing, etc. Of course, some of their more in-depth offerings cost money. But, they also have blogs, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and monthly conference calls where they dole out free advice ALL THE TIME. Occassionally, Ms. Hall gives out free resources (I’ve won two of them personally), and I did nothing but follow directions.
3. Take note of these following helpful websites (I either use them or they were recommended to me and I’ve investigated them): Technorati.com lists the most popular blogs by industry. Fiverr.com is a little eccentric, but if you look through the weird offerings, you can find useful services for $5. And SurveyMonkey.com, which conducts marketing research for you.
Do better than just read good advice. Put it to good use, and then share it.
Author Brian L. Thompson is the president of Great Nation Publishing and author of the Christian fiction thriller The Lost Testament, and The Revelation Gate, due for release on June 7, 2011. You can read more about Brian by visiting his author site.