Researching Great Examples of Business Role Models

Blog Post: Week 2

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Honest Soul is where I did my teacher training in Virginia. With positive action phrases painted on the wall of ‘Lead with Love’ and ‘Transformation Starts Here’ has a very active and growing community of yogis. In fact, the owner has built her business from a one-room studio to a three-room to three locations within five years of opening her doors.

Watching this studio grow makes excited to open my doors and jump in! Though I am working on getting by business plan and strategies worked out for success.

I first became aware of Three Trees Yoga was from a few of my Yogis that have visited their studio. Their feedback was great about their experiences. Though I have not been there yet, I have been researching what Three Trees has to offer.

Three Trees has put together thoughtful and inspirational classes and teacher training programs. The owners have put a lot of thought and care into their yoga community.

Starting a New Life with Passion and Core Values

I would not say I lived in a household were core values had meaning for raising a family. There definitely was a time when the adults decided that the responsibilities of being married or parents were done. So how I decided I still needed to graduate high school while couch surfing, I do not know since no one else seemed to care. Late in life, I was determined to find what my own personal strengths were to help design my new life as a forty-something divorcee. I was desperately searching for guidance to discover my core values. My fundamental principles that define the person that I now am. Also, how these values could be the foundation for designing my future yoga studio to create a community of teachers and yogis for lifelong relationships.

Chaos in My Head

I wanted to find my true passions in life, core values, and build a life I love. I began my journey by walking and listening to motivational speakers, TedTalks, and YouTube videos; to hopefully empty my brain of fears and negative thoughts that were dominating the space. I was searching to find anything that resonates with me. What I found to remove layers of well; bull-sh*t in my head and to live a simpler and happier life was Sarah Knight. Sarah’s TEDx Talk on “The Magic of Not Giving a F*** and Get Your Sh*t Together” was hilarious and such a simple message to work with.
In this Ted Talk, I was enlightened with powerful words on how to declutter and detox my brain to find the things in life that make me happy and find my passion.  Sarah explains how to let go of the extras that steal your time, energy and money, to get back to your joy. This was the beginning of finding my true path to who I am now…

Warning: Strong Language

Stripping to My Core

Words that have resonated with me was integrity, courage, loyalty, fun, be yourself, honesty, humility, play with your edge, always be changing, random acts of kindness, pay it forward, and community. Though what I keep coming back to is integrity, loyalty, and courage. Now I understand why these words have a meaning that runs deep with me explained by Dom ( no last name given) the creator of the blog ‘mindcoolness – Let There Be True Will’. In Dom’s article ‘On the Importance of Values in Life’ Dom explains where values come from and how these values speak to our human needs in a particular social dynamic. Where my values echo is with a tribe identity.

Dom’s list of social identities and the values that tend to live and breathe within these groups, speak to the purpose or motivation of creating the sense of belonging to these groups.
Maybe these raw views of getting to the root of what is essential speak to me in finding my values, are to remind me to K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) and enjoy life!

I want to invite you to share your passions and core values for life!

I would love to read your thoughts or comments on this topic!

Feel free to drop your links into the comment box!

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Explaining the modules, I liked from this class in learning about techniques and strategies for effective technical writing for the web, and how to use typography, color, and layout influences in marketing materials for business and marketing.

I feel learning the basics of the elements of effective marketing and web design has all been valuable for  creating a better experience for the user to any type of marketing piece.

Technical Writing:

Learning that technical writing for different formats of providing information to different audiences, is a practiced skill to utilize for creating content, to have a great R.O.I. in social media platforms. The critical element for technical writing is providing valuable information within a short amount time to catch the attention of the user.

How Users Read & Process Info and Content:

How users gather information through a website, mobile, or social media platform is critical to understand in creating content for marketing. One size fits all does not work in designing content. Since businesses have found having creative and informative content strategies across all social media platforms is essential in advertising and growing their user reach, utilizing practices in all media is essential for R.O.I.

Email Marketing:

Another great way to send personalized information and promotions for marketing your business is one of the better ways of creating brand loyalty and converting leads to customers. Learning to design effective email marketing campaigns using color and typography to grab your customer’s attention. More emails are read on mobile devices, and people tend to believe the content from an email more than from a social media platform, this is a great way to catch your target audience on the go!


Summarizing a Few Key Points for Online Marketing


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Summarizing a few key points for online marketing:


Learning the basics of creating an E-commerce site for business has excellent value in reaching a broader audience than a brick & mortar business. Since customers are  investing more time shopping and comparing products on the internet,  designing a robust marketing strategy for your e-commerce store is worthwhile.  Also, take into consideration the money saved  on overhead.

User-centered design knowledge:

Learning about design aspects that turn off users and cause them to leave a website has immense value. Just knowing you have seconds to grab the users interest to create a potential lead any business with a website should be aware of this information.

Branding Your Business:

In a well thought out brand design, so crucial in creating trust and loyalty from your target audience. Having a reliable branding voice is also vital to creating loyal employees. This gives them something to believe in and stand behind. Your brand is built through your business, logo, website and social media platforms.

Website Creation Process:

Learning what is significant about a user-friendly website is essential in generating new business to increase traffic and lead generation. Having good navigation that is quick and easy to find answers that new user to your website is essential for capturing a new lead. Reinventing the wheel is not necessary with web design, following already established expectations to how a website should function is key. Definitely, putting in efforts in implementing usability tests is crucial for customer satisfaction on your website.

Marketing Strategies for Your Budget


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Facebook paid to advertise:

Implementing Facebook for paid advertising has a higher reach for marketing campaigns to more people, than your immediate Facebook audience. This will help in building brand awareness, increase traffic, more engagement, and sales. In creating more exposure for your businesses website, users will be able to download a mobile app for your company or make purchases.


Google AdWords:

According to Google for every $1 spent on Google Adwords generally, businesses make an average of $2.  Creating a PPC (Pay-Per-Click)  ads for marketing using Google AdWords, so optimizing this resource for your marketing goals is beneficial for finding new users to your website.


Display Advertising:

There are many benefits for generating leads with display advertising, such as building brand awareness. Using display advertising especially on Google, ads will appear on diverse types of websites within the Google network such as; YouTube, blogs, Gmail and many more sites. To help build your relevant audience, you can target specific demographics, zip codes, and interests.

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According to recent research about Email marketing, this is a useful tool for attracting and retaining customers. Take into consideration that your target audience is checking their emails both on desktop and mobile; this is an efficient tool to specialize your message to your audience.

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Mobile marketing is a tremendously useful way to promote your amenities, raise brand awareness and boost loyalty because you can reach your audience instantly. Taking advantage of the increasing dependency people have on their smartphones, that most text messages are opened in a matter of minutes, that companies should exploit this ‘instant’ factor in marketing strategies. Companies can execute location-aware marketing campaigns that cannot be utilized through other channels. Also, consumers are ‘opting-in’ for information, coupons, and discounts which makes this resource very useful.

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Since Instagram works very similar to Facebook with paid advertising, reaching larger targeted audiences because they are run by the same company. So to  better utilize this platform, link your Instagram and Facebook accounts together.

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Content Marketing:

Content is the groundwork for any respectable marketing plan; a business needs good content to support your advertising. Companies using customer-centric content saves money, increases direct sales, generates leads, and improves brand loyalty.


Research Summary on ‘How to Facilitate a Usability Test”


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Research Summary on ‘How to Facilitate a Usability Test”

How to Conduct a Simple User Test with Jakob Nielsen

Published on May 28, 2010

Usability pioneer Jakob Nielsen is interviewed on how to conduct a simple user test.

Performing a Usability Test is valuable to business both big or small for understanding just what potential customers to your  business are experiencing when visiting the website. For conducting a usability test, a business does not need a lot of participants, just testing 5 people can give useful insights into the user experience.

The first goal with testing participants is to decide on practical tasks to be performed as a ‘customer.’ Prepare by deciding which tasks to test,  have  the participant  proceed with one task at a time.

As the participant works through tasks, the facilitator will sit next to them.

Remember this is to watch how the participant goes through the process of using your website, so as the facilitator you give no directions because you are looking for the experience of the test subjects.

You are also looking for a running monologue of the user’s experience with the test scenarios.

Other important factors to track in conducting your usability test is recording keystrokes and visual expressions for each task. When the test is done, then going through the data collected to decide what was a failure in user experience or a winner.

The video relates to the usability test that I worked on designing this last week, well its an interview with Jakob Nielsen, the usability guru. Also, I am going to be performing a ‘simplified’ usability test on a peer from my class to practice what I have learned.


“How to Conduct a Simple User Test with Jakob Nielsen.” YouTube, 28 May 2010,

Prepping for Usability Test


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Collecting Data on a Usability Test:

Record Your Sessions: This creates the opportunity to exam the session again to go over critical issues to analyze how the participants went through the task.

Video or Audio Recordings: Either will help to break down the tasks after the participant has left. Also, this will is a powerful tool to show anyone in the company that needs to view the findings.

Post Task Questions: Talking to the participants immediately after finishing the tasks, while the experience is fresh in their minds, to get feedback about the experience is an excellent opportunity to add more unbiased notes to the final report.

Time on Task: The length of time takes the participant to complete the task. When multiple participates are used then find the average length of time for each task.

 Explain the process of reporting data from the usability test:

  • After the test sessions, take time to make notes of observations and which problems arose that need to be addressed. Also what steps are going to be implemented to fix the issues.
  • If multiple participants were used, then gather all the notes to make a collective list of issues to address.
  • Now organize the list into the top 10 most pressing
  • Rate the list with #1 being the most critical to be addressed first.
  • From the list:
    • Brainstorm fixes for each issue
    • Who’s going to make the fix
    • Any resources that will be needed for the fix

Recruiting for a Usability Test:

When recruiting  participants for a usability test, there are many clever ways to resource people like Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms. Other possibilities are your local Facebook community groups, ask friends and family, or parents from your kid’s sports/scouts group.

Talking to Participants:

I would follow Steve Krug’s recommendations for prepping the participants in the test. Have Steve’s script in hand to facilitate the session and begin with letting them know the test is not about them but the website, to put them at ease.


What is the “Reciprocity Principle” of marketing?


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What is the “Reciprocity Principle” of marketing?

This has to do with the psychology of relationships, otherwise defined as a human need, that we are compelled to give something back when a gift is received. So using this concept in marketing, when the buyer receives something free from the seller, the buyer feels indebted to do something back such as making a purchase.

Though to best utilize this principle in marketing, is for the business to create a ‘gift’ of significant value for the customer. This is a powerful way to introduce your business to new audiences but also to create loyalty for your already established customers/clients.

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What 9Round currently uses for their reciprocity principle is 1 free workout to try their services. If I was to implement a new marketing strategy, I would change this offer to “Try 9Round 10 days for free!”

With just one free workout that is 30 minutes, there is no way that the all many potential best benefits of using 9Round could not be experienced within the 30 minutes to convince the new person into committing to a membership. The conversion rate from 1 free trial to a life-long member, could possibly not be the best numbers that the owners are hoping to achieve.

With 10 days free, the customer will get more time to meet other staff members, meet members of the gym and begin to develop relationships within their community. As the 10 days go along, they will begin to develop a new habit of incorporating 9Round into their daily routine. The customer will see more value in committing to this ‘community’ than just paying for a membership.

Customer Service in Problem Solving


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For this assignment, we are given a scenario; that as a web designer significant issues are discovered in the testing. The client does not want to pay any more to fix the problems and just “roll” with the site as it is. How would I deal with the problem?

In my Customer Service class, a student had described a company’s service he had received as “Customer Service on Steroids.” I took his point as a mantra I wanted for future business.

So, I will be referencing the steps I have learned in that class.

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First of all, I would like to say; I am hoping to make any situation as a “win-win” for all involved. To best resolve issues by keeping everyone’s dignity intact, and also have all involved feel that there is some sort of satisfaction for the end results.

The Problem-Solving Process:

  1. Identify the Problem: Begin the problem-solving process with apologies for any inconvenience that they have felt caused by you or your organization. Taking responsibility will show your client you are aware there is an issue, and you are working to resolve the situation. Then gather information about the issues at hand that need to be dealt with to resolve.
  2. Compile and Analyze the Data: To efficiently determine a course of action, you need a thorough understanding of the problems.
  3. Identify The Alternatives: Let the client know you are willing to work with them to find an acceptable resolution to the issue.
  4. Evaluate the Alternatives:
    1. What is the most efficient way to solve this problem?
    2. Which are the most effective options for solving these problems?
    3. Will the options being considered solve the problem and satisfy the customer?
    4. Will the selected alternative create new issues?
  5. Monitor the Results: Once a decision has been made, monitor the effects of the results. Do not assume that your client is satisfied, especially if any negotiation has taken place to resolve the issues.

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Also, keep in mind, that rolling with the site with issues, could become a calling card of the work you did, and could possibly affect future business. So finding a win-win situation to find a solution for all involved is critical for their business and yours.


Lucas, R. W. (2015). Customer Service Skills for Success(6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Education.

Something From Nothing


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My experience of making “something from nothing” begins with my learning curve! Creating can be fun when I understand my goals for what I have been given as a task. Sometimes, the process can feel like I am asked to rewire car and just go with it…well then, I will find the development hard to get started.


Finding my voice in how I want to share my ideas

When the creative juices are flowing, all craziness can kick in because there are no limitations to the method. Many times, I will look for images related to the task at hand, for inspiration in the project. I will write some phrases or sentences to key points I want to make sure is added to my project.

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I will then take a break from the project, clear my head and come back to see if what I was brainstorming still makes sense for the point I was trying to make.

Then the process goes into organizing the craziness into something that has a function.

Usually, when I reread the instructions and realize I have gone off track, it is time to reign in thoughts that are out of focus or take out content that does not serve any purpose. Usually, some research needs to happen for when I am looking for better understanding of the project or the statement I want to come out of the process.

As the design begins to fall into some sort of organized structure, the light comes on. As I work out the bugs, polish up the words, and began to feel I have accomplished my goals, you can’t help but feel success!


Can you relate?… What are your thoughts?…