Since I have stepped out of real life to go back to school to take business and social media marketing classes, I possess a collection of websites and resources for future use. So I have concluded to stop hoarding and share of my favorite links!
I am going to pay-it-forward and share the hard work these authors put into their articles!
Some the links I did not know how to obtain the information it provides. Other links I was totally unaware of how valuable the knowledge was they offered. Others I stumbled on that defiantly was worth keeping for future use.
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, youtu.be/r0A6IW2TFFI.
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.
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:
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.
Compile and Analyze the Data: To efficiently determine a course of action, you need a thorough understanding of the problems.
Identify The Alternatives: Let the client know you are willing to work with them to find an acceptable resolution to the issue.
Evaluate the Alternatives:
What is the most efficient way to solve this problem?
Which are the most effective options for solving these problems?
Will the options being considered solve the problem and satisfy the customer?
Will the selected alternative create new issues?
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.
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.
I did find podcasting beginning from 2015 on BlogTalkRadio. Listening to the messages given was useful content about healthy food, the science of working out, and tips for working out. The messages from what I listened to could be “timeless” in a sense, that nothing within the conversation could be “dated” revealing to the listener it was 2 or possibly more years old, which could be recycled on a later date.
The turn-offs, literally I mean, I needed to turn it off because the audio sounded like a phone call into a radio station. The recording was rough, just not pleasant to listen too.
I cannot tell from Blog Talk Radio if using this platform worked for bringing in potential new clients. I would have a tough time being committed to listening to their messages because of the audio recording of the talks.
9Round is using YouTube to share information with ‘how-to,’ examples of workouts, and press interviews. Their videos are answering questions for people interested in trying out their circuit training program.
9Round videos categories:
9Round workout video
9Round hand wraps
9Round pad drills
9Round has many videos of people that shared their experiences of going and trying the workout.
9Round has done well with their videos in their marketing to educate, inform, entertain, and advertise their company. As for their Podcasting strategy, I could not tell if they considered this a success for ROI. Many studies have shown that the use of Podcasting in marketing plans can be beneficial, 9Round should consider moving their Podcasts to the more popular APPs like iPod.
Young Entrepreneurs Forum has put together ten key areas to work from in developing your business strategy. Designing a solid business plan will help to separate reality from expectations. In starting a new business, you need to be well informed about your industry, competition, and potential opportunities.
These simple vital ideas are a great starting point for me to develop a business plan. I would take each of these concepts and put into a binder. Each key point would become a section to work on developing the necessary information in creating a business plan. From those areas I can research by asking questions, surfing the internet, also reading books and articles.
“10 TIPS FOR STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS in 2017.” YouTube, Young Entrepreneurs Forum, 15 June 2016, youtu.be/wxyGeUkPYFM.
Video Links #2
The top 7 things NOT to do when starting a business
Taking Evans talking points into account that they are areas of business I feel is beneficial to put thought into before you are stuck in a bad situation. Looking at business partnerships as a marriage, before going all in, to try working on small projects together to see if you are compatible with working together 24/7. Get out and hustle, having creative ideas to use for building a business before you spend, such as using interns. As for limiting your beliefs, I will always be open to learning from other people or resources. To find success remember to be fluid in finding answers.
Carmicheal, Evan. “The Top 7 Things NOT to Do When Starting a Business.” YouTube, Evan Carmicheal, 13 Jan. 2015, youtu.be/QsNdXC_2b1o.
Video Links #3
How To Write a Business Plan To Start Your Own Business
Young Entrepreneurs Forum has put together nine essential steps to begin writing a business plan.
The explanations of each critical point are explained well enough to grasp the information you are gathering for a new business. I would go on clarifying the necessity of each step for a business plan will do more than just preparation, but possibly help to determine if your business concept will be viable.
I feel this is a relevant source for the beginning stages of a business plan. Again I would take each of these concepts, make them a topic of research in a binder.
“How To Write a Business Plan To Start Your Own Business.” YouTube, Young Entrepreneurs Forum, 29 June 2016, youtu.be/Fqch5OrUPvA.
Video Links #4
Small Business Marketing 101: Creating a Marketing Plan
Dragons Awakening has put together essential marketing questions you should ask before diving into a marketing plan. With a plan well-designed marketing plan, you are driving business in all phases of ups and downs in revenue.
Having the answers to these questions will be my roadmap to designing a marketing strategy plan. I found the questions for understanding your marketing need to be the focus from startup and forward on, as apart of operations to continue acquiring new customers, retaining customers and how to win back a lost customers. Remember your customers are online looking for answers!
“Small Business Marketing 101: Creating a Marketing Plan.” YouTube, Dragons Awakening, 5 Mar. 2016, youtu.be/12ELgUPG4D8.
TeamBeachBody has leading coaches Bonnie Engle & Amy Silverman to explain how to build your personal brand and grow your audience through your social media. This would begin with thinking about what attracted you to the business. Was it the lifestyle, friendships, the ability/freedom, fun, or finding solutions to peoples answers? So how do you craft your messages, so your audience feels the same way?
I am happy to find this message structured for the fitness industry; it will better serve me to finding a branding voice. They continue to talk about finding a voice that feels natural to you and how to translate that into your social media content.
“Creating Your Own Personal Brand.” YouTube, TeamBeachbody, 13 Oct. 2016, youtu.be/a-te19fAIis.
Planning how to deliver your social media messages are essential for a business & marketing strategy. Warren starts with the importance of understanding your target customer to be able to convert them to a loyal customer.
Links are provided to different analytics or research to go into each platform to find best uses as it pertains to your business.
I feel staying up to date on how social media platforms are being used in the industry is vital to be able to stay on top of current trends, also to be aware if your message is not appropriately focused to your target market.
Benjamin gives you steps that will help the new business owner narrow down options as you create the perfect name. But having a name is not the only part of the process, the critical step is finding out if you can legally use the name because of federal trademark laws. Don’t worry if you are struggling; companies change names all the time.
I feel would I use Benjamin’s steps in preparing for marketing strategies. I would also use the links provided to government agencies and domain registers; this will give the feeling of something real is happening for my startup business plan!
Careful consideration is necessary of what your business structure is going to be since they are creations of state law. This is another area that needs the business owner’s attention because of the implications it will have on how IRS taxes your business profits. Andrew provides brief explanations of each type of structure with links to follow for more information.
In choosing my business structure, words that caught my attention was “what’s your tolerance for risk to personal assets?” After reading on, taking into consideration how I will set up a business structure is important because of the potential of lawsuits.
Understanding the process of taking out a business loan can seem intimidating, so having a guideline of what the bank’s expectations are and how to prepare to meet with the banks is provided in this blog.
Making sure I have a detailed qualified business plan prepared since it is often apart of the financing application, I would work on correctly putting together a knowledgeable plan that will have added benefits if financing is necessary. I feel this information is valuable in understanding the loan process, options and types of loans, gathering your documents, and expectations from lenders are broken down into manageable information put together to guide any business owner looking into financing.
Marketers are using Facebook Graph as a powerful marketing tool. Christian Karasiewicz breaks down the many uses Facebook Graph for developing and building your audience for your services/products on Facebook. Learning about the fans on Facebook, the business can use this information in communicating more value to them.
For building a more significant audience before opening a new business, the opportunity to have begun developing content to speak to this audience is powerful in predesigning posts for scheduled posts. I could identify potential local competitors, find out peoples interests, and increase brand awareness.
By Nicole Fallon, Business News Daily Managing Editor
Nicole Fallon has put together a practical step-by-step guide for digging into entrepreneurship.
Areas that Nicole shared explanations, options and some resources that I will focus on:
Assess your finances
Determine your legal business structure
Register with the government & IRS
Purchase an insurance policy
Choose your vendors
This article has multiple links throughout to government agencies to help with putting together a solid plan for starting my business. Nicole is straightforward in talking about how easily these details can slip your mind, or you will deal with later, that these important details should not be neglected.
Barbara puts out thoughtful questions that any new entrepreneur should ask themselves, to have realistic expectations about themselves since opening a business is time-consuming.
Questions to consider about yourself:
Are you a self-starter?
Can you get along with diverse types of people?
Are you risk-tolerant?
Flexible and self-disciplined?
Taking into consideration my personality type, work ethic, and expectations will guide my process of starting a business. These considerations will benefit in understanding my limitations. Working through the relevant links provided for resources, I could consider what would be better to hire for consultations or to handle the work necessary for the business.
This article breaks down areas of budgeting with explanations of the financial needs of the business. The article also gives a list of questions that a startup needs to address in budget planning.
After reading the list of questions, I felt stress about how to budget for financial obligations, I think a good beginning is figuring out the areas that I understand how to get the answers, then continue with researching the unknowns. Then following their guidelines for preparing for long-term budgeting and scheduling a time to work on continued budget planning throughout the year will be a better plan for success.
In running operations of a small business, it can be overwhelming, the number of apps and Software-as-a-Service (Saas) tools from competing service providers.
Megan Totka helps to begin to narrow your search down to:
Research and Development (R&D)
Sales and Marketing
For each of these areas, Megan clarifies what it means to business then reviews apps and software accordingly. I would focus on the areas of business that needs improvement so I can determine where to get the most “bang for the buck.”
The areas that I would investigate finding Saas/apps for my business would be:
There are many “startup to-do lists” for getting your business up and running. Well, she is adding another list to go through, that is knowing about business laws.
The more you know, is always better for protecting yourself, take for instance the email law, this is the CAN-SPAM Act. Another area that I feel is important for any business that is collecting customers information for their computer systems is Privacy laws requiring Data Security. Among many of the business laws that are expected; such as business licenses, Federal Equal Employment Opportunity laws, and taxes.
Furgison, Lisa. “20 Business Laws Every Entrepreneur Should Know About.” Bplans Blog, 12 May 2017, articles.bplans.com/20-business-laws-every-entrepreneur-should-be-familiar-with-in-2015/.
Embedded or Linked Slide Presentations, Book Reviews, Social Networking Sites
Your logo can create a lasting impression on people. It is important to understand how your logo speaks to your brand with the messages it sends to your customers.
The messages you could focus your logo to ‘say’:
Exude expertise & professionalism
Exude confidence, spirit, or playfulness
A sense of nostalgia
Focus on a niche in the market
The takeaway is a logo should be adaptable and effective. Taking time to study other logos for the impression people get from those logos will hopefully fine tune the message I want to send with my logo, brand & business.
Amy teaches how to put a marketing plan together in 3 phases:
Businesses should always be looking to attract new people, using a Graph Search is very valuable to get to know the business’ fan base already on their page. This will help you find out where people are spending their time.
I would work on building a solid marketing plan for my business and put time into developing a great Facebook page, creating enjoyable content and posting consistently. If your fans know that you always there and able to answer questions you become a resource, they trust.
Host Racheal Cook interviews Francesca Cervero on Yogipreneur Radio.
Many new studios start with spending a lot of budget for branding, imagery, photoshoots, and expensive websites are where the initial budget does not need to be the priority. These expenses do not start to pay for itself in the beginning. There needs to be a focus on how they are going to do business first.
I appreciate the point of view these experienced ‘yogipreneurs’ explaining transitioning your yoga career to business owner of a studio? What expenses do you need to focus on now and what expenses could wait? Creating a sustainable, livable income should be considered when switching from teaching on the side to opening a business.
Cook, Racheal. “How Much Does It REALLY Cost To Start a Yoga Business?” The Yogipreneur, 24 Aug. 2016, theyogipreneur.com/episode29/.
With so many details involved with starting a new business, finding a location needs careful consideration in the plan. This means to figure out what you can tolerate in finances but also is the location ideal for the business you are planning to open. This part of the process is tedious and exciting but is an essential step. Some mistakes in a startup can be corrected later; location is sometimes impossible to repair.
I would take into consideration the demographics of potential locations and if there’s sufficient population of my target audience to support my business. More to consider in finding a location is foot traffic and parking. What is my competition in the neighborhoods of potential locations? This slideshow breaks down 10 key points that I would use as guidelines for finding the ideal location.
Luke Tucker gathered a collection of tips for starting a business from successful investors & entrepreneurs. Luke identifies these tips and follows up with an “actionable” tip to use the advice. These tips I found are filling in the finer points in the critical areas of starting a business. As going through the process of putting together a business design, these tips are useful in expanding the research for better clarity to the plan.
In preparing for starting a business putting in the time to work out the unknowns of the business plan is time-consuming but well worth the efforts to finding success. I have found there are many common factors shared in all the resources I have gathered for my “Personal Learning Network.”
Find your passion in what you are looking to do, because starting a business takes a lot of your time and it will be more beneficial if you love what you do!
Take time to assess yourself in understanding the demands involved with opening a business.
Sweat equity, find resources and answers, ask questions and do research to limit costly mistakes.
Continuing education about business, social media marketing, other aspects of business is essential to preparing, maintaining and growing your business.
Get advice, consultations, and find mentors for guidance.
Know your market, demographics, economics necessary for your industry.
Remember, customers are spoiled with choices for their answers, products, or services, so excellent customer service, branding, and a grand marketing strategy are necessary to build customer loyalty.
There are many ways to increase the usability of a website for the potential customer’s experience better. One way is to use breadcrumbs in the design strategy. Providing Breadcrumbs is vital for the user to navigate through a website with a vast database and feel lost in the information presented on web pages.
Pierce College Website:
Pierce uses tabs as a form of breadcrumbs to show where you are on the website. You can see that you are on the Academic Catalog page, also that you can still return to the homepage or other categories that are within the site.
Creating for usability is customers to be able to navigate the website to answer their questions. The design should have in place clear signs to the content they will find. If the design is not user-friendly in the organizational design, the user will leave the website.
Pierce College Website:
The stop signs on the Pierce website has the search box, access to MYPIERCE, CANVAS and the ABOUT US. Along with more areas that are related to your college education. The stop signs are apparent to the information that will follow when you access those groups.
Krug, S. (2014). Don’t Make Me Think Revisited (3 ed.). (E. Bayle, Ed.) New Riders.
Just like a good recipe we borrow from mom, you can make it your own, but you still need to know the basics that make it a good recipe.
When designing a website, sometimes we get caught up in trying to be everything to everyone, which speaks volumes when you have frustrated everyone.
So start with a purpose, decide what the critical information is to your target audience. When you are clear about that, then make it clear to your audience.
Make everything that is essential to say on the top half of website or above the fold. Your homepage does not have a lot of scanning time to make a good first impression, so make sure you got your best bra on!
Keeping Life Simple
Sometimes the best answer is using what your audience already understands as the basic functons of using a website. To get a user on a website and quickly navigate is the best answer for good design.
Make obvious clickable buttons.
Make the homepage clear what the website is about.
Eliminate clutter, not everything is essential.
Group things logically in a clearly defined
If it is important use headings and subheadings.
Just like the fashion advice, take the last piece of accessory off before leaving the house. If the website is busy, complex and full of distractions, step back and take another look. Visual noise can take away from the user engaging with the website.
Everything That’s Not Apart of The Solution Must Go:
Clutter, clutter, clutter…let it go!
Is there more visual distractions than information?
Shouting! This is too many invites to buy, exclamation points, and pop-ups take away from the content.
Disorganized…I like the word “ransacked.” A good visual word to explain, “You are making my head hurt.”
When correctly put together, the website will not only be appealing to users but will encompass the message of trust and loyalty.
Writing for the web is breaking the rules of what we learned in school!
When people are using the internet to shop, find content, or researching a topic, we are scanning versus reading information. Using the internet is a wealth of information, users do not read sites at leisure like reading a book.
If the website material is not answering the user’s questions in a format that improves scanning and revealing essential topics clearly and early, the user will move. The user is not aware that the writing rules for the web are designed to enhance the experience, but out of frustration will leave to find the answers to their questions elsewhere.
Tips for writing on the web:
Headings and subheadings
Headings and subheadings break down the material into a “Table of Contents” of information, which guides the user to pertinent topics. Subheadings make the page scannable.
If the user has extended paragraphs to read, most likely, you will lose a customer.
MAKE BIG & BOLD
Should be no longer than 8 words
Don’t be clever, get to the point
Remember the goal is for scanning, keep them short, sweet, and to the point.
So keep paragraphs to 3-5 sentences. If you can share the information in 1 sentence, that will work for web writing. This works best for scanning if your information can be shared in is just 1 sentence.
A 1 sentence paragraph helps to make reading onscreen easier for your user.
Do not write out numbers, for scanning use with 1,2,3, & 4.
Use familiar words with no more than 2 syllables
Avoid filler words
Conclusion & Editing:
Editing this page:
I removed extra words in sentences.
Reworded sentences to be shorter and more clear.
I used bullets points to enhance scanning.
Put the subject first in sentences.
Eliminated unnecessary sentences.
Keep headings & subheadings consistent throughout the page.
Making pages scannable for the user is a skill that will benefit you.
Project management is completing a project with a team of people by design. Project management is positioning together with a proposal of knowledge, skills, resources, tools, budget and time. The project management process is structured by initiating, planning, executing, directing, and finishing a specific set of goals to achieve to the final project.
Designing a website should be looked at as a series of tasks that should put into a project management process for the creating process. The creating process can be overwhelming with the many options available that can be implemented into a design. Also, having a set goals or tasks broken down into steps will help the process in two ways:
Having tasks simiplifeid can help keep the team on track on a set timeline.
Breaking down areas of creating a website can help the team determine whose strengths will be best utilized for which tasks.
Having a project management plan in place can help to prevent communication breakdowns with the team or the client. Brainstorming and designing tasks such as within a kick-off meeting can help the members of the team understand the relevance of specific tasks that need to happen before other steps can follow.
For the creation of a website using the strategies of project management would make the difference between implementing and completing a well-designed website from a DIY looking website.
As I am in the process of redesigning my entire life as a single person and my children are grown and have moved out, I have decided to start with finishing my education. My goal is open my own business and be able to support myself and create jobs. So part of my crazy plan was to learn how to social media marketing as an essential element of my business plan.
Information Design for Business is part of the Social Media Marketing Certification. This class, I honestly had no idea what this had to with marketing. Since Information Design for Business is part of the curriculum, well I figured I would soon know what it means to the certification. Coming in with no expectations or concepts to the class, then everything will prove to be found a valuable resource for my toolbelt! Anything that helps with making social media a valuable resource to enhance a business plan is essential in this era of technology.