Does WordPress drive you nuts?

Here’s the problem. Just about everyone recommends WordPress as the best way to run a blog (me included). I’d also recommend it to you if you’re setting up a business website that isn’t a blog.

It really is that good.

But anything this powerful does, of course, have a downside.

WordPress is so flexible because you can adapt it in virtually any way you want. You can add themes and plug ins to give you any look or feature you could possibly want – and many of these are cheap or even free. But that does mean a lot of fiddling around. Not a major problem if you’re a techy, but most of us aren’t.

So you end up doing one of three things: Continue reading “Does WordPress drive you nuts?”

How to boost sales in your online shop

Is it time your online shop had a revamp?

A makeover could make a huge difference to your conversions. After all, you put a lot of effort into getting people to your shop, it makes sense to encourage people to buy once they arrive.

So what are the most important things to revamp? Read on…

What’s above the fold?

‘Above the fold’ is the part of a webpage that the visitor sees without having to scroll down. It’s the first screen someone sees when they land on your website, which is why it’s crucial to get it right.

Everything that’s above the fold is what will determine whether or not someone will decide to stay on your site, so what should go above the fold?

Most successful e-commerce stores put their most popular products on the front page, as well as any particularly good deals.

Make sure your USP (unique selling point) is clearly visible on the front page as well. (You can find out more about USPs in this post)

If you have a user login system, another strategy is to use their recent purchases to determine what else they might be interested in.

Reduce the number of steps to checkout

The fewer steps someone needs to take to get to the checkout process, the better.

Instead of making someone fill out a lengthy registration process, make it as short as possible. Make it optional. Some of the most successful websites only have a two-field registration process: the email and the password. Everything else is just pulled from the credit card entry process.

Make sure your ‘Add to Cart’ buttons are clearly visible on every page. On every step of the purchase process, it should be crystal clear to the reader exactly what the next step is.

Increase trust

Trust is often the most important factor for determining whether or not someone buys. Certain colours like blue tend to work best to increase trust. It does make a difference what industry you’re targeting and what the visitors’ age range is, however.

If your site’s design and branding looks professional, visitors will be more likely to buy.

Adding features and products

Ask your customers what they want to see more of. Is there a product line they want you to carry? Is there an improvement or a feature they want added to your site?

Although website owners are often very intuitively aware of what their users want, they can’t always come up with the perfect solutions for their customers on their own. User feedback is critical to building a great business.

In short, start your design with the above the fold impression. Make sure it creates a sense of safety and trust, as well as conveys why your site is special. Put your best products up front. Reduce the steps to checkout and make the process as streamlined as possible. Finally, continually ask your users for feedback, feature suggestions and product requests.

If you’re just about to start your own  online shop (rather than being ready for a revamp!) you might like to get yourself a copy of my e-book, Start Your Own Online Shop.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Using your entrepreneurial skills to inspire your kids

As entrepreneurs we recognise that working for ourselves means independence and financial freedom. And because we know it makes sense to live and work in this way many of us want to instil entrepreneurial values in our kids.

What’s great for children of entrepreneurs is that they get to observe their parents working and supporting the family and as the child gets older they can also get involved in small ways.

That’s why I love school holidays. It’s a chance to have my children be around our work environment and get a sense of the focus and the energy of the business and it gives them a few little chores to do that teach them a little about what working means.

Even a young child can place a stamp on an envelope or add a sticky label. It doesn’t take much training to fold a letter, to bring the working team drinks or to file and before you know it they can be filling in a spread-sheet with marketing data or dropping off the mail. Continue reading “Using your entrepreneurial skills to inspire your kids”

Business run out of steam? Here are four ways to get it moving again…

It can happen to the best of us. You take your eye off the ball and before you know it your web traffic goes down and your profits head south too.  Maybe you’ve been busy with your family or perhaps you’ve had a new baby? Whatever the cause, your business needs a jump-start and a blast of new energy.

So how do you take a stagnant business and revive it? Here are four ideas for you:

Find someone new

Could you bring someone on board who would be excited about the business? That excitement could well be infectious and bring back your own sense of excitement. Sometimes you need new ideas and energy to come from the outside because it’s too hard to do it alone. An outsider could bring you a completely new perspective.

Take a look around your network for someone who complements your skills and personality. It could be the best business move you’ll ever make.

Increase your hours

Your business stagnation could be down to simple neglect. Most mums with businesses seem to be running multiple businesses all at the same time. And maybe a part-time job , too! Sit down and work out how many hours you spend on your business in a month. Is this really enough to give you the results you want? If not, now is the time to fix that.

It’s hard, but sometimes we have to drop a few projects so that others can have a chance at success. Do you need to let one business go so that another can get the attention it needs?

Decide how much time you want to put into this business and put it in your calendar. Then tell other people about your new commitment so you have an incentive to stick to it.

Sometimes, all a business really needs to flourish again is attention.

Set fresh goals

Can you remember a time when you were very excited about this business? Can you remember when you used to dream about its success and what that would be like?

It’s time to get back into that state of mind. Without it, you’re just keeping your  business ticking over, rather than taking it forwards. The world and business are moving so fast now, you need that excitement and energy just keep up.

So focus on what you really want from this business and set a few new goals. Make sure they are measurable and have a date when they should be met, otherwise you’re unlikely to reach them

What do you want to accomplish? Why? How would it change your life if you succeeded?

Get back in touch with that reason why. That’ll really help you to succeed.

Commit

The most important aspect of jump-starting an old business is just committing to its success again. At some point in the past, you probably lost your commitment and that’s where things started to slide downhill.

And if that doesn’t work…

If you’ve tried your best but you know deep down that you can’t get that feeling back, then perhaps it’s time for pastures new? One thing that is guaranteed when you’re working around young children is that things change. Working through the ideas in this article will help you decide if you want to revive your business or if it’s time to move on.

If you’ve successfully revived a flagging business, I’d love to hear from you in a comment 🙂

And if you enjoyed this post, why not make sure you stay in touch by joining  my mailing list? I’ll also send you a copy of  my e-book Running a business around a family: 9 steps to success.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to cope when you miss your child’s event (and why sometimes it’s a good thing)

I have a fab post for you today by working mums’ coach Elinor Wilde. One of the big reasons that mums start up in business is to give us the flexibility to go to events like school sports days. But what happens if, despite your best efforts, you still can’t go? Over to you, Elinor…

Running a business when you have children can mean some pretty tough choices. At the end of recent call, a client of mine dropped into the conversation that she had been really looking forward to going to a friend’s 40th birthday party. It had been in the calendar for months but she wasn’t going because her daughter had just been invited to perform at a dance concert. Now this mum has seen her daughter perform at many concerts, this wasn’t the first and it wasn’t a competition, but she wouldn’t allow herself to miss it even though she admitted she was gutted to be missing the 40th.

When you decide to run your own business you hope you will have more flexibility to be with your children and attend their events more easily than if you were working 9-5, but you will still have conflicting choices to make whether they are to do with business or social arrangements. Obviously you want to attend your kids’ events to support them and share in their pleasure, but here’s the thing – you don’t have to be there EVERY time and feeling guilty about it can be a sign of the perfectionist trap we mums can fall into. Here’s how to cope:

If, like my client, you feel consumed by guilt at the thought of missing a child’s event, consider why.

• Are you worried what other mums will think? Remember you’ve got nothing to prove to them. This is your life and your family.

• Are you mind-reading and making assumptions? Are you scared your child will be upset if you are not there? This is really down to how you handle things. Be factual, don’t over explain or over-dramatise and above all don’t ask for permission! Explain that you already have something organised and can’t go, describe whose mother will be there instead and that you are really looking forward to hearing how much they enjoy themselves. Don’t get drawn into a long conversation about it or over-explain. It’s this that can make your child anxious.

Are you worried what other mums will think? Remember you’ve got nothing to prove to them. This is your life and your family.

Continue reading “How to cope when you miss your child’s event (and why sometimes it’s a good thing)”