Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Ease Your Workers’ Financial Worries with Health Care Benefits

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

employee financial worries

Over the past year, small-business owners made careful financial decisions about hiring and compensation, which are likely to result in maintaining or growing sales in the year ahead. Some employees, on the other hand, have not been as strategic with their finances as their employer.

The 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report found that 56 percent of employees don’t have a financial plan in place to help them achieve financial goals and prepare for unexpected challenges or events. And only 25 percent of employees completely or strongly agreed their families are financially prepared for an unexpected emergency.

Unfortunately, many workers aren’t well positioned to cope with the financial ups and downs life has in store. Take medical expenses for example. Employees’ health care expenses continue to outpace salary increases.

What does this mean for employers? Workers are looking closely at their benefits packages to combat the rising health care costs, and a majority may accept a lower paying job but with better benefits.

How Do Employees’ Financial Worries Impact Your Small Business?

Small-business owners are faced with a difficult balancing act of offering a comprehensive set of benefits options to employees with minimal impact to the company’s bottom line. However, workers’ concerns about their financial stability affects them not only during their off-hours, but on the job too.

The Aflac study revealed that employees named “personal financial issues” as the top non-work-related issue that distracts them while on the job. Financial worries can also lead to increased absenteeism, decreased productivity and for some, a new job. A majority of workers (57 percent) say that they would be likely to take a job with lower pay but better benefits.

The bottom line is employees are on the edge of a financial cliff and it’s not just impacting them – it also has a direct effect on your business.

Offset Workers’ Financial Burdens with a Robust Benefits Offering

Since employees’ financial uncertainty can negatively affect your business, consider helping your workers protect themselves and, in turn, protect your company. Offering a comprehensive benefits package is a great first step to consider. Forty-one percent of workers who admit they’re likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months say improving their benefits package would keep them in their current jobs.

Consider adding voluntary insurance such as accident, disability, hospital and critical illness to your existing benefits options as it will enhance your offerings with no direct cost to your company. Premiums for voluntary insurance coverage are paid by employees who choose to apply. Voluntary plans help protect employees’ financial security in the event of a covered illness or injury with cash benefits that can go toward copayments, deductibles or any other health-related cost not covered by major medical insurance.

The cash benefits from voluntary insurance can even be used to help pay living expenses like mortgage payments, utilities, child care or car payments that continue to add up when a worker is too hurt or sick to work.

Looking Forward

Workers may be faced with financial uncertainty, but as a small-business owner you have the opportunity to help protect your workforce with comprehensive benefits, all while improving your business.

Now is the time to consider adding different types of benefits, including voluntary insurance, and to make it available to your employees in 2015 so your employees’ have an extra layer of protection against rising health care costs.

Health Care Photo via Shutterstock

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What Is the Best Time to Send Marketing Emails?

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

best time to send email

Email marketing can be a powerful tool for small businesses. And it seems easy enough – create content, send to your email list. But there are actually more things to consider if you want to get the most out of your email marketing efforts.

One of the things you can do is send out emails at a time that is optimized for your target audience. To do this, you need to first decide who your target audience is. And then you need to figure out when those people are most likely to read their emails.

Luckily, MailChimp’s Chief Data Scientist John Foreman recently shared some insights about the best times to send emails to various groups.

MailChimp’s research shows that the best time to send email to every age group, ranging from college students to senior citizens, is between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. People in their forties and people over retirement age were most likely to check their emails at 10 a.m., while college students were more likely to check it at 1 p.m. The worst time to send email, according to the same data, lies between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.

mailchimp-data

Foreman pointed out that a lot of the data simply backs up common sense. For instance, college students are more likely to wake up later than forty-year-olds, who might check their email within an hour of getting to work. And it makes perfect sense that no one will be reading your emails between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.

But in another way, the exact time you send out an email doesn’t matter as much as you might think. For example, no more than 7% of your subscribers will read your email in any one hour no matter what age group they belong to. So it’s important to keep in mind that everyone is different and optimizing your email timing probably won’t lead to a huge increase right away. Foreman told. Mashable:

“The data shows that the best time to send for any age group is only optimal for 6-7% of email addresses. So when we talk about the “best time to send” we should keep in mind that most people on any marketer’s list are going to deviate at least a little in terms of their email preferences from whatever time is picked.”

But just because there’s no exact time that guarantees 100% readership of your emails, doesn’t mean you should ignore the data. Sending an email at 10 a.m. instead of 5 a.m. doesn’t require much extra effort, and it can lead to more eyes on your marketing material.

Any time you can get more people to view your emails, you should take advantage of the opportunity. And depending on the size of your email list – 7% can make a big difference.

Image: MailChimp (via Mashable),Phone Photo via Shutterstock

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Moovd Creates Video in Two Minutes — With Some Tweaking

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

moovd videos

A lot of big companies have produced attention-grabbing ads using only text. Some have even plunked down millions to run these ads during big TV events, like the Super Bowl. (Think back to  T-Mobile’s text-only “We Killed The Long Term Contract” ad from the 2014 Super Bowl, for example!)

Si Gornick knows that small business owners don’t have that kind of marketing budget … not even close. That’s part of the reason he created Moovd. Moovd is a browser-based “kinetic typography” generator that you can use to create a similar ad or other presentation video for your small business.

In an interview with Small Business Trends, Gornick, a stay-at-home dad who created Moovd as his startup business after spending years in journalism, said:

“Moving text speaks to you. People don’t mind ads as long as they’re different. If you’re running a barbershop or are a life coach and looking to build some simple video advertising, this is a great application for you. I want to be able to facilitate small businesses using our product. You need to have effective devices for not that much money.”

There is a way to make a Moovd video for your business or personal use for free. The only caveat is that any free video will be tagged with a watermark of the Moovd logo. To remove that watermark and to use any advanced customizations — like custom background colors — takes “credits” from Moovd. Credits can be purchased for $20 a piece, but there are offers available from the site to get bulk credits at a discount.

For instance, it costs $20 to remove that Moovd watermark and $60 to customize the video’s background color or pattern and the font of the text.

How It Works

We took Moovd for a test drive. We found the tool easy to use, making it possible to create a video in a very short time, even if it took a bit of tweaking and a few tries to get it right.

Using Moovd is as simple as entering the text you’d like to animate inside a small dialog box. Each line of text you write will appear separately on the screen in the video. Your total message is limited to 400 characters, including spaces.

Moovd features technology that recognizes certain words and can assign an animated effect to them. For example, in a demo for Small Business Trends, Gornick entered the word “brush.” In the video, the word automatically appears “sweeping” across the screen.

After entering your full message (or script) there are just four more quick steps before you’re done. After selecting one of several pre-loaded music tracks, the font of your text, and your choice of backgrounds (you can also upload your company’s logo), it takes just one click to begin creating your moving text video.

When you share your Moovd video through one of your social media channels, the video is automatically uploaded to YouTube. From there, you can share and embed the video as you see fit.

Gornick says that a video can be created for your business in about two minutes. The creation tool is not complex by any stretch and you can preview any work you do before sharing it to any of your business’s followers. But while it may take just a few minutes to create your video, you’ll likely spend a little bit more time fine-tuning the final product.

That ability to create a free or relatively inexpensive video should be a big benefit to small business owners. After all, small businesses don’t have the time or money to invest in a lavish video production that will take only minutes or seconds to view and may not have the desired impact, Gornick says.

He added:

“It’s got a small learning curve. Time is of the essence. If you start spending lots and lots of money, it may not do anything for you. That’s a high-risk strategy. And there’s no point spending thousands and thousands of dollars on these things. I’m not saying it’s going to win Oscars. It’s not. It’s movement and message on a page. That’s what we’re trying to get across.”

Image: Moovd

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Our Best Tips for Marketing Your Business on Facebook

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

how to market your business on facebook

If your business uses a Facebook Page for promotion, there’s a lot more to maintaining your presence on the site than just posting updates.

Maintaining a good Facebook Page includes engaging with the public, responding to comments from your followers, and keeping the site updated with current information. There are caveats to these rules, too, of course.

How can you maximize Facebook for your business? Here are some articles that Small Business Trends has created on the topic. Hopefully, these will be resources for your small business while maximizing Facebook as a marketing and communications tool.

How to Market Your Business on Facebook

12 Tips and Tools for Better Facebook Management

This entry helps you manage negative comments on your Facebook Page. There are also helpful apps that allow you to better monitor any Facebook marketing campaign you’re running for your business. Check out these tips and tools for Facebook management for better engagement with your Facebook following.

10 Things You Should Stop Doing On Facebook

For all the things you should be doing on Facebook to better market your business, there are just as many practices to avoid. For instance, don’t ignore comments from your followers. Also, it’s best to use your Facebook page as a place to interact with your customers, not to simply broadcast your latest news. There are other things you should stop doing on Facebook. Read on for details.

4 Reasons to Rethink Facebook Engagement

The public’s use of Facebook varies based on age and other demographics. Some users are more engaged than others. Before investing too much time and effort in updating your Facebook page, read these reminders on the latest research about Facebook engagement and learn the reasons your message may be getting lost. Then rethink your Facebook engagement accordingly.

5 Quick Ways To Improve Your Facebook SEO

This article discusses tips for increasing the chances people searching for your business on Facebook will find it. Some tips include creating links that direct back to your Page, completing your entire profile, and using your real business name on your Page. If you need to improve your Facebook SEO look no further for suggestions.

The 5 Biggest Brands on Facebook And How They Do It

Probably the simplest way to build engagement and traffic to your Facebook Page for your business is to find out what the most popular companies are doing on the site and do the same for yourself. This article on Small Business Trends examines five of the biggest brands on Facebook and looks at how they do it. These are companies whose “Likes” are in the millions and whose posts garner thousands of responses. Learn their secrets.

46 Small Business Facebook Pages to Follow

Facebook is a great resource for small business owners. It’s a place to learn about the latest trends and to get insightful business advice. And this article suggests 46 small business Facebook pages to follow in order to get the very best of those resources. Following these Pages geared toward small businesses is also a great way to join the small business community on Facebook making new connections and gaining more exposure for your business in the process.

4 Reasons Your Brand Should Avoid Facebook

Everyone’s on Facebook, right? Not true. In fact, the social media site may not be the right fit for your business for a number of reasons. Here are four reasons your brand should avoid Facebook. Is your business among those that would be better off without their own Facebook page?

20 Ideas for Facebook Cover Images

A great way to attract followers to your Facebook business page is to make it as visually appealing as possible. One way to do that is with a lively and appropriate cover photo. This list gives you 20 ideas for a great Facebook cover photo (Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn cover photos, too) on your business Page.

5 Ways to Run Effective Facebook Ads at Different Stages

Facebook ads can accomplish different goals for your business. Some ads are designed simply to get more “Likes” on your Page. Other ads can promote your products and others will promote specific posts on your wall. This article helps you navigate through the different ad campaigns you can run for your business on Facebook and identifies the 5 ways to run effective Facebook ads for your brand.

6 Actually-Useful Facebook Apps For SMBs

Facebook apps aren’t all fun and games. There are actually some great apps for your business’ Facebook Page. There’s an app that allows you to post YouTube videos on a tab stuck to your Page and also one to help you aggregate your blog content on Facebook, among others. Here are 6 Facebook apps that small businesses may find useful for their ongoing social media efforts.

Facebook Photo via Shutterstock

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Camp GLP Combines Summer Camp and Small Biz Accelerator

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

business summer camp

Imagine an event that’s one part summer camp and one part small biz and personal growth accelerator. The result is Camp GLP, Sept. 11-14, 2014 an event designed to help small business owners and entrepreneurs take their efforts to the next level. Think of it as summer camp for adults.

The camp’s founder Jonathan Fields explained in an email interview with Small Business Trends:

“We wanted to create a way for entrepreneurs, makers and aspiring world-shakers to step out of their everyday reality, reconnect with people who are going through similar journeys, rediscover play and nature, experience moments of ease and joy and at the same time get a ton of real business value.”

Camp GLP, short for Good Life Project, is a 3?-day excursion to Iroquois Springs Camp in Rock Hill, New York. It offers the full summer camp experience for adults, including classes, crafts, and even bunks (though single rooms are also available).

camp glp5

Campers have access to more than 20 business workshops covering topics like crowdfunding, visual branding, podcasting, and more. But those practical workshops are mixed in with some craft and maker driven workshops that actually offer their own type of business value.

business summer camp

For example, Fields said that the camp’s visual journaling workshop teaches entrepreneurs about mindfulness, sight, and expression. And those are qualities that can translate to improved observation and storytelling for business purposes. He said:

“While the craft/maker-driven workshops aren’t outwardly about business, in reality, they’re all about business. Because making stuff with your hands teaches you powerful business lessons.”

Another benefit of the camp format he mentioned is the opportunity to make real meaningful connections with the other campers. At traditional networking events, there’s time to exchange basic information and business cards but not much more. But campers spend days and nights with their fellow entrepreneurs, leaving more time for conversations, collaborations, and meaningful connections.

This is the first official year for Camp GLP. But Fields and the rest of the team have actually been working on the concept for the better part of a decade. In fact, the team runs a number of smaller training sessions, such as GLP Immersion, throughout the year that are similar in concept to the camp.

Full cost for the camp is $995, which includes lodging and meals. Specials are also available for the first 150 campers. The team expects about 200 to 250 campers to attend this year.

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Fields would like to offer a special discount to Small Business Trends readers. Until Aug. 15, 2014, enter the code SBT2014 upon checkout and get 10 percent off your registration fee.

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Charitable Startup Finds New Use for Old Cardboard Boxes

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

charitable startup

How many empty cardboard boxes do you have in your home? If you shop online, the answer is probably quite a few. But what if you had a way to take all of those boxes and do some good with them? That’s what Monika Wiela thought about when she decided to launch her charitable startup, Give Back Box.

The idea behind Give Back Box is simple. Online shoppers can use their cardboard shipping boxes to send some of their unwanted goods to secondhand charity organizations. It allows them to clear space in their homes, donate some unwanted items to worthy causes, and recycle.

Wiela first got the idea for her charitable startup, Give Back Box, when she was walking through Chicago one day and saw a homeless man with a sign asking for shoes. She didn’t have any shoes to give him, but she thought about one item that she did have in abundance – cardboard boxes. While they wouldn’t immediately help the homeless man she saw on the street that day, she did see the potential.

Wiela was already a successful entrepreneur before starting Give Back Box. She is also the founder of online shoe store StyleUpGirl. In fact, she was able to use that company to test the concept for Give Back Box for a year before its official launch.

For the test, she simply included a prepaid mailing label addressed to a secondhand charity inside each box, along with donation instructions. That way, shoppers could use the shipping boxes to send some of their unwanted goods to new homes. Currently, the program partners with Goodwill for its donations and Goodwill covers the cost of shipping to increase contributions.

During the test with StyleUpGirl, 13% of customers used their boxes to send unwanted goods to charity. Now, Give Back Box has partnerships with other online retailers like Newegg and Overstock. The company also allows other online shoppers to print out shipping labels from its website so they can use boxes from other retailers in the same way.

This program may have grown from one woman’s desire to help someone, but it makes a lot of sense on different levels. It provides an easy way to recycle and get rid of unwanted items while helping charitable organizations. And it can improve brand reputation for StyleUpGirl and the other partner retailers when customers see their focus on environmentalism and philanthropy.

Wiela explained in an interview with Fast Company:

“When I started talking to Goodwill, they told me their biggest challenge is a lack of donations. People are busier and busier and they don’t have time to drive to the store. At the same time, the big online retailers have a sustainability problem. They don’t want to see a lot of boxes in landfills. This is a beautiful solution, because it is a win-win for everyone.”

Image: Give Back Box

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Business Etiquette Still Matters in a Casual New Business World

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

business etiquette

In recent years, business has become very casual. Gone are the work days of suits, stationary, big titles, corner offices, secretaries, and power lunches. Small business is now done through email, video chats, texting, meet ups, social media and casual attire.

However, business etiquette still matters and can be a competitive advantage for you. Here’s how:

Attire

How you look still matters. While John T. Molloy’s classic “Dress for Success” maybe outdated, someone who is dressed too sloppy or casual will still not be trusted as much as a person that is dressed as well as their customer.

Appropriate attire choices also must be made for video chats, unless you want to show your customer your workout outfit.

Writing

Since so much of communication is done in a short, informal manner, there is greater chance of miscommunication. Being able to write effective email communications is still an important skill and requires increased practice.

This can be done by sending an email to a customer and then following up immediately by phone to make sure that they understood exactly what you wrote.

Dining

A lot can be learned by having a meal with a business associate. People can win or lose a deal, promotion or job based on their table manners. This doesn’t necessarily mean using the right fork, but still includes RSVPs, keeping your napkin on your lap, elbows off the table, and chewing with your mouth closed.

Not sure of your habits? Have a friend take note at your next lunch.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

More companies are not issuing smart phones, but instead are having employees bring their own smart phones. As a result, personal and business data are mixing on the same device.

It is critical to set the rules in advance as to what type of access the employer has for inspection of that device and whether it can be wiped cleaned when that employee leaves.

Travel

More small companies are doing business in different countries. They need to be aware of various business and dining customs, business hierarchies, displays of affection and alcohol use. Important customs vary by country and culture.

Social Networking

Many small business owners and employees have separate social media sites for business and personal use. However, their brand image on both sites need to be consistent since customers will do a Web search that will cover all of them. Personal and professional lives can no longer be practically separated.

Also, remember that different generations will prefer different etiquette. This will add to its overall complexity. A great guide for the small business owner is the 2014 version of Emily Post’s, “The Etiquette Business Advantage.”

What business etiquette is most important to you?

Republished by permission. Original here.

Clown Photo via Shutterstock

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13 Tips for Improving Your PR Pitch to Editors and Journalists

Monday, July 21st, 2014

improving your pr pitch

Advertising on social media has proven to be a lot more cost-efficient than placing ads through traditional media. It could be more effective, too.

But that doesn’t mean you should abandon the power of the traditional media. Instead, you can take advantage of your local media and other outlets by gaining some valuable and free publicity for your small business. And in some ways, your social media marketing and public relations efforts will work hand-in-hand.

To write the most effective press releases and make pitches to editors and journalists that will get them writing and talking about your business, you need the right approach. So we asked several media and public relations professionals for some advice.

Before you start dialing up your local newspaper or TV station or firing off emails looking for media coverage, check out the tips below. Make sure you’ve figured out your PR pitch.

Here are the tips our experts recommend:

Crafting Your Pitch

Keep It Simple

Marie Alonso, an online marketing and media specialist with Miles Technologies tells Small Business Trends:

“Pitch the facts and the engagement opportunities for readers. Editors don’t want to review long paragraphs filled with rambling information. Pitches that are concise, and sharing just the facts, allow for an immediate engagement with the editor or reporter. Always think of the READER – not the editor or reporter. The reader is always the goal.”

Avoid Industry Jargon, Buzzwords

Write in straight forward language that’s easy to understand. This requires avoiding jargon and buzzwords that mean nothing outside your industry.  Amanda Eldridge, director of strategic channels at PR Newswire, adds in an email interview:

“Colorful language isn’t substantive, and can be a turn-off to journalists.”

Provide Interesting Data, Tips, Facts

Pitches with unusual facts or a numbered list of helpful tips help the writer come up with an interesting story angle, says Eldridge.

In the news business, timeliness is critical, our experts agree. Getting your message out at the right time — and giving reporters time to prepare — will increase the likelihood your public relations pitch will be heard above others.

Keep It Timely

The timely pitch will be the pitch editors act upon. Connect your news to current events or reactions to a recent report or study. Find ways to make your pitch relevant  and timely to create a sense of urgency, suggests Alonso. Capitalize on news of the day and ways to boost your pitch with timely, educational or even entertaining tidbits that allow editors to not only cover your news, services or activities, but, more importantly, utilize your news to create a bigger story!

Be Proactive AND Creative

Sometimes a successful pitch requires a certain amount of creativity…and a willingness to go the extra mile to help journalists construct their story. American University School of Communication Assistant Professor Gemma Puglisi tells Small Business Trends:

“Send the reporter spokespeople they can contact for major stories that apply to a client. Let’s say the story is about the heat/weather. And let’s say your small business is a boutique. As the owner, you could talk about what is appropriate to wear for the office … and outside the workplace.”

Give A Head’s Up

Help journalists plan ahead by providing advance notice of upcoming events. If you’re pitching an event or have a specific timeline for when you need coverage, don’t wait until the week of the event, says Eldridge. Journalists often plan their content in advance with an editorial calendar.

Don’t Overhype

Finally, Eldridge suggests, do not create a false sense of urgency in order to get noticed. Harassing journalists for an immediate response will only serve to paint you as an unreliable and often excitable source.

Connecting with the Right Person

Now that you’ve got a solid pitch to dangle before editors and reporters, our experts concur that getting heard by the right people is key. This prevents you from being a pest to journalists that don’t cover your type of story and also keeps you from wasting time making pitches to them.

Identify the Right Writer

Business owners should take the time to compile a list of journalists who only cover the types of news or topics they are pitching, suggests Eldridge. This will let them know who to pitch their story to when the time comes.

Know Who You’re Pitching

This has always been the rule for pitching, says Puglisi. More than just having the reporter be a name on a list, read stories the reporter has covered. Be sure to mention specific examples of similar types of stories they, or their news outlet, have written in the past. Then explain why your story would fit into the mix.

Personalize Your Email Pitches

The editor or journalist you are pitching to is not just a faceless media representative waiting to do your bidding by writing a story from your latest press release. That person is a human being with his or her own wants, needs, point of view and agenda. So make sure you connect as a human being and acknowledge their part in the equation. After all, without their help, your news will not get out. Mention a tweet of theirs you recently read or an article they recently wrote, Eldridge says. Introduce yourself before stating the nature of your story. Then explain why you’re contacting them in a brief, succinct message.

Following Up

Of course, once you’ve got interest from a member of the media or a news outlet, your actions in following up and being responsive to media requests are just as important.

Be Available

Remember, you are on their time, Eldridge stresses. Though you may not grab their attention at first, they may need you later down the road. And when that happens, be ready. When they call, answer. Whatever they need, get it.

In journalism, reporters are taught the “afterglow effect.” It refers to the value of information you glean from a source after the interview has essentially ended and everyone is less guarded. The same can be said for cultivating relationships with reporters and editors and getting more attention for your small business in the future.

Connect Socially

Channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus can help you build relationships with local and national journalists and editors simply by replying to a tweet or status update. Having a journalist recognize your name can be a major advantage in getting your pitch chosen over another, says Eldridge.

Share their content with industry peers on social media or reference articles in a blog post. This shows that you share an interest in similar topics and that you are familiar with the journalist’s work.

Maintain the Relationship

The relationship doesn’t stop after you’ve had your news covered. How a brand interacts with journalists or media outlets after a story is reported could help or hurt future outreach just as much as the initial pitch does. A short email thanking the journalist is courteous, as is sharing their post (and other posts) on your social media channels, says Eldridge.

We hope you’ve found these tips helpful. In an era of social media when everyone has their own mini news outlets, it’s easy to forget how powerful external press coverage can be. Often times, getting this coverage simply requires the right approach and a bit of planning.

Reporter Photo via Shutterstock

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5 Likeability Lessons Learned From LeBron James

Monday, July 21st, 2014

likeability lessons

LeBron James surprised and thrilled his hometown fans in his choice to move back to his humble roots in Akron, Ohio to play for the Cavs. His bold decision generated unprecedented positive media coverage and gave an immediate booster shot to his personal brand.

As the best basketball player on the NBA league and the most recognizable athlete on the globe, James’ revised decision could offer some useful career lessons on making a career change and on how to improve your reputation when you change your mind.

The front page of the WSJ cheered his return to Cleveland as a ‘second coming’ and James said that his relationship to Ohio was “bigger than basketball.” He admitted to the world that his departure from Cleveland was a mistake and he doesn’t hold a grudge for the slanderous attacks assailed at him by the Cavs owner and the fans he slighted. He learned from his experience in Miami how to be a “better player” and was true to his feelings about wanting to raise his children in the Midwest.

LeBron’s revised decision has likeability lessons for business owners and employees across all industries.

Humility

If you admit to your mistakes and do it with sincerity, it could demonstrate your confidence and your willingness to grow. James showed humility by publicly acknowledging that his choice was not an easy one because his wife and mom still felt spurned by fans who attacked him for his earlier choice to leave Cleveland.

His decision to leave Miami and return to Cleveland was based on his firm belief that Northeast Ohio would be a good environment to raise his growing family. Regarding his sentiment towards those who ridiculed him for leaving James said, “Who am I to hold a grudge?”

This statement makes him more likable as it shows he recognizes his own fallibility and his emotional maturity. In a subtle way, James communicates to his fans that he too is imperfect and experiences frailty – and is lucky to have achieved the fame he has.

Gratitude

James acknowledged in a press release that he missed the town and the people who made him famous.

Don’t be Afraid to Change Your Mind

LeBron made a pivot in his career as swift as the ones he makes on the basketball court with his feet. He adeptly improved his image in Cleveland by being contrite. Based on his praise for Cleveland, the Cavs, his old fans and expressing his need to have left in order to appreciate what he had – his fans now see a different side to “The King.”

He now will be known not only for his exceptional gift as a basketball player but as a relatable, likable guy who cares about his family, appreciates his fans and remembers the place and the people who helped make him famous. There’s no shame in changing your mind. In fact, sometimes people will respect you more when you show accountability for your life choices.

Forgive Those Who Come Around

Let’s face it, most people who turn around and return to their previous employer may not be as well received as LeBron James. After all, he put Cleveland on the map for seven glorious years and in his departure, Cleveland hit a real low in their basketball ranking.

But the lesson everyone can learn from forgiving someone who made a reversal is that there is often more to gain in letting go of the past than to holding onto a poor situation. If the person has changed and has redeemed himself, you might stand to benefit more from giving him a second chance. Don’t stubbornly hold onto a position based on principle. Evaluate the situation and assess what the advantages could be for letting someone back into your firm (or into your life) if she really shows sincerity and is capable of making a contribution.

Don’t Burn Bridges

James’ PR agent did a brilliant job in assisting him with his career transition. His remarks were tactful. He expressed gratitude for his current employer and acknowledged his positive feelings about their city and the experience he had there. His favorable remarks allow him to move forward without burning any bridges.

James said he learned from his experience of living four years in Miami about how to be a better player and discovered what really mattered to him in life. LeBron equated his stint with the Miami Heat to a “college experience.”

“These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.” All of James’ comments show appreciation for his current employer. This approach could minimize hard feelings and limit the negative press around leaving that could damage the good will attached to his name.

Lebron’s career change has been positively received in that he focused on ideas, which made him more relatable. He showed vulnerability and conviction for holding fast to his values which focused on giving back to his hometown and finishing his career in a place where his family could thrive. From this, we could learn that you can always change your course if you realize there’s a better way, or superior options, that you might have overlooked earlier on.

There’s no shame in admitting you’ve made a mistake. In fact, you might even gain more respect for taking ownership of your life choices. For those who consider holding onto a job or to a position fearing embarrassment or retribution, you may later regret not taking the risk to reach for the opportunity that is a better fit.

There’s no glory in continuing on a path where you’re unfulfilled, stifled or unhappy in your personal life. Changing your mind requires strong self-esteem and is sometimes necessary in order to find a more satisfying career and a place where you’ll feel more in your element. What’s right at one stage of your life may not be right for another stage.

Learn from LeBron to be flexible and adaptable and hopefully you too will find others receptive to your new position. And above all, even if you’re the best in the world – it takes time to become a champion and build a winning team.

Republished by permission. Original here.

Image: Wikipedia

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Twitter Now Offers Analytics Even to Those Who Don’t Buy Ads

Monday, July 21st, 2014

twitter analytics tool

While brands that advertise on Twitter have long had access to analytics within Twitter’s ad platform, now the rest of us get our hands on the good stuff too.

Twitter recently announced that all “advertisers, Twitter Card publishers, and verified users” now have access to these rich analytics. Here’s what a Twitter Card is, in case you were wondering:

twitter analytics

There’s some great data here.

First, you can see how many impressions a single tweet reached, as well as the number and percentage of engagements. And then you can get data that compares to last month. So perhaps your retweets might be up 43% this month over last, while your link clicks are down 17%. You can also learn whether tweets over a few days old are still gathering impressions, for example.

So What Does This Data Do for YOU?

Analytics are nice, but what’s the point of all this information? Well, if used correctly, it can help you strategize your Twitter efforts, increase engagement, and grow your follower base.

Pay attention to those engagement numbers. That’s where the gold is. If a tweet about a free ebook got a decent number of retweets, shares, clicks, or comments, those are the types of tweets you want more of. So you can build that in to future updates. Those that didn’t see any activity, well, you don’t have to repeat those again.

You can also:

  • View Twitter performance in real time.
  • See how many Retweets, replies, favorites, follows, link clicks, and embedded media clicks each Tweet received.
  • Export performance metrics into a CSV file.

Twitter’s a Team Player

Twitter’s trying to help businesses leverage the social site as well. In the official post on the Twitter Advertizing Blog announcing the new feature, Buster Benson, Analytics Product Manager explains:

“…we saw that brands that tweet two to three times per day can typically reach an audience size that’s equal to 30% of their follower base during a given week.”

So this tells you that tweeting multiple times a day can help you reach more people. That’s really valuable when your time to tweet is limited, and you’re not sure whether more actually equals better. Using the analytics, you can determine what frequency is ideal for your audience, as well as what time of day helps you have the biggest impact.

It’s certainly a benefit to small business users that Twitter is no longer withholding great tools and data like this from non-advertisers.

The post Twitter Now Offers Analytics Even to Those Who Don’t Buy Ads appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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