Putting Technology at the Forefront at Your Business

The technology that you’re is using is extremely important when it comes to increasing the potential of your business. Of course, it’s not exclusively about the technology you’re using. It’s also about how you’re using it; what function it serves and how adept your employees are at using it.

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It’s important to close as many gaps between business and IT as you can. You should put focus on improving both the tech in your office and the skills of the people using them. That way, you can increase the efficiency of everyday tasks. Not only that, but you also open up the potential for your business to find totally new ways of doing things!

Here are some of the steps you should consider taking.

Introduce more software

A lot of time is spent talking about the hardware that can be found in your average office. But what about the things that are on that hardware – namely, the software? After all your hardware really is only as good as the software that’s on it. (Well, it’s also as good as the person using it, but we’ll get to that later!)

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One of the best things you can do for your business is make sure you’re exploring all your options when it comes to software. Pretty much every department in your average office can use software to do their jobs more efficiently. The financial department can get bookkeeping software. HR can get human resource software. Whatever the department, do some research and see if you can’t ease their workload with some good programs!

Offer employees lessons in technological pursuits

One of the best ways to make sure your office tech is used to its full potential is for employees to fully understand it. After all, if an employee can only use a couple of a machine’s functions, then was the investment in that technology really worth it?

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There are several ways you can increase the knowledge and confidence of your employees when it comes to tech. You can have a senior member of staff dedicate some time to explaining the advanced features of the technology to other employees. You can also look into some free tech courses. From data visualization to programming, there are loads of skills that employees can learn that may help them day-to-day!

Update the tech in your office

This doesn’t necessarily mean “replace all your hardware with new iterations”. This step could be as simple as making sure you have all of your firmware and operating systems updated. But if you do have some outdated hardware, you’ll probably want to do something about it.

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Let’s say you have computers or printers that can barely do the job they were originally intended to do. They were great once upon a time, but now they’re just causing slowdown and employee frustration. In this case, you should probably start reviewing the costs of replacements! (Or, in the case of the printer, just use it less.) Remember that, if you’re stuck, then you can always look into getting some IT support for updates and fixes.

[post contributed for tamarhela.com]

Interview with Braxton Cosby, CEO of Cosby Media Productions

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(As previously seen on the HelaWrite blog.)

Any smart entrepreneur or business person alike knows that in order to succeed and further one’s career, it’s wise to take advice from other entrepreneurs/business owners. I find that interviewing successful and creative people is the fastest way to learn about how they think while learning from their triumphs and failures.

Today, Dr. Braxton A. Cosby is a guest on my blog, and he’s here to share about his new company, Cosby Media Productions. As the CEO of the company, there is much he is responsible for, but I really wanted to pick his brain in regards to what prompted him to start the company in the first place. So, grab a cup of coffee and read on.

CMP TM1000

1. Tell us about your company, Cosby Media Productions. What does your company do, etc.?

BC: Cosby Media Productions is a full-service entertainment company that focuses on new intellectual properties in the areas of management, print/digital books, music, television, and film. New content is already in the works with networking and partnership opportunities available for future endeavors. It was developed by me, the CEO, and my partner, Leon Cosby III, who is the acting COO. We truly endeavor to build and partner with other content creators to make fabulous entertainment in the same scope or even larger than the blueprint that my Uncle Bill Cosby started.

2. What prompted you to start this company?

BC: The lack of original content available for people. There is something missing in today’s entertainment. Good, original, family content that inspires people. I love stories that offer encouragement and display good role-modeling for young people to follow. I’m excited at the prospects of how well-received some of the many projects we have in development are.

3. Is it difficult to manage a company like this? What are some of the biggest struggles you face as a business owner?

BC: Not really. Leon and I make the tough decisions of deciding who we partner with, and I have the final say so on what content we run with. Bringing on partners who we feel we can trust to pass on managing one facet of the company is tough, but we believe in those people. So, with God’s help through prayer, we walk in faith.

4. What are some of the benefits of owning your own company?

BC: Building and controlling you own content. We love the fact that once we get these projects funded, we will be able to keep the originality and purpose of the content intact, without compromising the messaging.

5. What kinds of projects are taking place at CMP right now?

BC: We have 5 divisions: management, film, tv, print and music. We have just finished completing deals that will ensure that our print and music divisions get the authors and singers the attention they deserve, and we are shaping out the animation and live action film and tv projects for first tier development. Action, story, and messaging are our focus, and it is paramount that they blend together smoothly.

6. Is there a “dream project” you’d like to work on?

BC: PROTOSTAR. I really want the trilogy to make it to the big screen and it will. But, it will require time to bring the pieces together.

***

I’d like to personally thank Braxton for taking the time to share a bit about his company and his heart behind the creation of Cosby Media Productions. Also, DID YOU KNOW? I am the Chief Editor for Cosby Media’s Print Division. We have already put out some great books this year, and are looking forward to the future projects for 2015! 🙂

To find out more about Braxton and CMP, visit these sites:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Braxton Cosby headshotBio: Author, actor, entrepreneur. Multi-Award Winning Author Braxton A. Cosby is a dreamer who evolved from concepts on pen and paper to pixels and keyboards. He tells stories that evoke emotions and stimulate thought. Protostar: Book 1 The Star-Crossed Saga, and The School of Ministry: The Windgate, are currently two Young Adult series he created. Braxton is the CEO of Cosby Media Productions, a full-service media company with five divisions focused on developing Intellectual Properties that will “Entertain the Mind and Inspire the Soul.” He lives in Georgia with his wife, three children, and a troop of crazy African Cichlids. 

You’re Doing it Wrong: Networking on Facebook

(As previously seen on the HelaWrite blog.)

It’s Friday! Awesome! Today, let’s look at networking on Facebook. There are many things that annoy me about Facebook (thank goodness for the unfollow feature), but there are some specific networking faux pas that irk me the most. Let me break it down for you:

1. Friending (ya, that’s totally a word now) for the sole purpose of selling your crap.

-Friending is one thing; networking is another. Networking still involves building a relationship, just like friending does. However, with networking, it’s not pure sales–at least, not right away. In networking, making the connection first is important. If someone doesn’t know you yet, why would they want to buy your stuff? Gimmicks of days past just don’t work anymore. Consumers want to know you first before they invest in your product.

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2. And if someone does accept your friend request for the purpose of marketing: Posting your sales pitch to someone’s Facebook timeline. NO!

-This actually has happened to me before. Not often, but it does happen. I accepted a friend request from a fellow writer, in order to connect, and he posted his book stuff on my timeline as soon as I confirmed the request! What did I do? I hid the post right away and unfollowed him (but still kept the connection). An action like that is like going on a blind date and then proposing at the end. Don’t. Do. It.

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3. Sending unwarranted DMs (direct messages) on Facebook to someone’s personal account.

-Remember Mr. Real Estate from my “You’re Doing it Wrong: Potential Clients/Leads” post? He was on my “no-no” list with his methods of reaching out to potential leads–namely, my sister. After my sister unsubscribed to his newsletters, he not only reached out to her via e-mail, but ALSO sent her a DM–same message–on Facebook! Do not do that! It’s rude, it’s desperate, and it’s annoying.

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So, what is it okay to do?

1. It’s okay, within reason, to reach out on a fan page.

-If you have something relevant to a fan page, go ahead and reach out. Sometimes, I receive messages on my fan page, asking for a reciprocal like. And you know what? If the message is nice, I usually return the favor. We’re all trying to build our networks, and if someone is supporting me, I’m happy to help.

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2. It’s okay to reach out in promo groups.

-Promo groups on Facebook are AWESOME. I am part of some great communities on FB, and the members are extremely supportive of one another. When you reach out or post a promotion, just make sure you are following the rules of each group. Some groups don’t care for self-promotion and others are cool with it. And, I’ll reiterate: READ THE GROUP RULES before proceeding with your promo campaign.

In Summary

Use common sense while networking on Facebook, and if you’re not sure, ask a friend (or e-mail me). Networking with others should be fun, helpful, and courteous. Don’t make yourself look like a social media ogre. It’s just not pretty. Done the right way, you’ll generate leads and build some important relationships for furthering your career.

Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to Facebook networking? Leave a comment!

 

You’re Doing it Wrong: Potential Clients/Leads

(As previously seen on the HelaWrite blog.)

Last time I checked, there are still absolutes in this world. If I throw a rock at your head, it’s not a feather pillow just because you call it so. And, guess what? Your head will hurt, unless you’re completely numb or drugged, etc. I know that’s an extreme (and violent) example, but this world is so full of opinions and methods that are…well, wrong. The world is also full of opinions and methods that are right—very right.

Therefore, I’ve created a series titled: “You’re Doing it Wrong.” This series is not meant to degrade any one person or any one practice, but to simply shed some light on many wrongdoings in “work world.” However, be warned: I can get pretty sassy. (Perhaps you have already read my Twitter post in this series.)

Today’s topic? The wrong way to pursue potential leads/clients.

My sister bought a house this year—yay for her!—and while she was looking, she subscribed to a few local real estate e-newsletters and such, in order to better educate herself about the current market. When she found an agent she liked and wanted to work with, she decided to let the agent take over, and unsubscribed from all the annoying real estate emails she was receiving way too often.

Rather than find a nice “unsubscribe confirmation” email in her inbox, she was surprised to find a somewhat desperate email about her action of unsubscribing from a particular firm. The guy just couldn’t let go. He even encouraged her to go and like his Facebook page and view his YouTube channel.

Look, I’m all for giving people great resources, but seriously?

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This is the WRONG way to attract potential clients/leads. It’s the old skool form of marketing—direct marketing, and specifically, a cold call (cold email, in this case). I’ll tell you how to remedy this at the end of this post, but first, I’d like to share the actual email from Real Estate Man that was sent to my sister.

Take heed if you have ever done something to the effect of the email below:

Dear [removed],

Thank U for your feedback. I am sorry to see you have chosen to unsubscribe from my exclusive home search website, but I just wanted to make sure I had every opportunity to help you since you subscribed recently with the info. submitted.

Its a very challenging market right now with limited inventory, rising prices & rising intereste rates. Its not a market for the “faint of heart.” Pls feel free to get back to me if I can be of service to you or someone near & dear to you as well in the not too distant future. Thanks so much again. Sincerely, [removed]

p.s. I also invite you to check out & “LIKE” my FB Biz page that is full of Great info., current community events & pertinent market data & info.

(I removed all his other PPS additions, because he added his social media links.)

My problems with this communication piece:

  • Not spelling out words. Be professional and craft a better form of communication, especially if you’re trying to attract clients.
  • Send an auto unsubscribe confirmation email and leave it at that. Asking for feedback as to why someone has unsubscribed from your materials is appropriate, but leave them alone after that.
  • A first time home buyer does not want to hear that the market is not for the “faint of heart.” If you’re a good real estate agent, I’ll hire you to do all the dirty work, and I need to know that you’re going to be my partner.
  • Check your grammar and sentence structure before sending out a “professional” communication. I know I’m picky because I’m a writer and editor—and trust me, I make mistakes, too—but I am always turned off by people who don’t invest in bettering their communication materials. If you’ve been selling houses for a while, I know you have enough money to hire a proofreader to catch glaring mistakes.
  • Don’t ask me to “like” you on Facebook or watch your videos, especially if A) I don’t want to receive your communications any more, and B) I don’t even know you yet. It’s like going on a blind date and then proposing. Things are moving a little too fast…buh-bye.

Overly Attached GF FB-email

I know there are worse emails out there, but this one struck a nerve with me. Plus, my sister later told me that he contacted her again! There comes a point where, if you reach out too often to people who clearly don’t want to use your services, your methods can actually become a form of harassment. You are in danger of becoming like those telemarketers who call people every night during dinner, asking if they want to save the earth by purchasing stuffed honey badgers. Just. Stop. (Not to mention that someone could very possibly take action against you and who has time for all that legal stuff?)

How could Mr. Real Estate have done things better?

  • For starters, he could have simply respected my sister’s choice to unsubscribe. Plain and simple. She’s probably not in his target market anyway, and focusing your efforts on leads like that is a waste of your time.

Grumpy Cat Unsubscribed

  • He could have used a proofreader or editor for his communication. Hell, just spelling out you rather than using U would have made a vast improvement.

Spell out you

  • Moving forward, he should reconsider his marketing efforts and brush up his knowledge on Inbound Marketing—marketing, basically, that brings leads and clients in to you rather than you figuring out how to reach every single market through cold calls, etc. Click HERE to read an article about defining Inbound Marketing, via HubSpot.

Inbound Baby

Takeaway: Don’t be that guy. Don’t be pushy while reaching out. Instead, read some marketing books and current articles, change your old ways of thinking when it comes to building your customer base, and for the love of everything that is professional—proofread your emails!

Stay tuned for next Friday’s “You’re Doing it Wrong” post.

BONUS: Awesome Marketing/Copywriting/Writing Blogs to help you become a better professional:

HubSpot

Copyblogger

Writer’s Digest

AWAI

Jeff Bullas

You’re Doing it Wrong: Twitter

(As previously seen on the HelaWrite blog.)

When I joined Twitter in 2009, I didn’t understand how to navigate it until I attended a Twitter webinar in 2012. By learning some tips and tricks, I was able to grow my following and begin to utilize Twitter as a valuable marketing and brand-building tool. There is incredible power to be harnessed through Twitter if you know what to do and what not to do. Let’s break things down.

1. Having a confusing Twitter bio.

Have you seen Twitter bios that are just plain confusing, especially the ones that make the handle’s owner seem like Superman? For example: Coffee aficionado, French fry king, innovator, master of sales, parachuter, and world peace wisher. I totally made that up, but I’ve seen many a Twitter bio looking like that. If it’s a personal handle, then do what you want. But if you’re trying to build a brand, sell a product, or increase your platform, your bio should be clear. 

Here’s mine:

Chief / Freelance Editor, , & Consultant / Creator of /

California

Notice I used #s so people looking for a writer, editor, or YA Fiction can easily find me in a search. I also included a URL shortlink to my Amazon Author Profile, so that people can click on it. My bio says what I do and what I’m about, giving people a pretty good idea of what they can expect if they follow me. If you have a website or blog, make sure you put the URL!

2. Tweeting a sales pitch at someone who does/doesn’t follow you.

Since I’ve grown my following on Twitter, this happens more often: Someone will tweet to me to either follow them back (they’ve followed me but I have yet to follow them) OR I follow someone and almost immediately, they tweet me their book, product…whatever. Talk about a turn off!

Engage with your audience first, before you try to sell them something. Tweeting a sales pitch to all your followers is okay; tweeting directly (unless warranted) is not okay.

3. Wearing out the same tweets.

I started using tweet automation this year and have come to love it. I’ve seen it used badly, and I’ve also seen it work really well. When tweets and URLs are varied, appropriate hashtags are used, and the content is interesting–that’s when automation is golden. When it’s the same tweet over and over again, day in and day out, it becomes spam-like and your followers will wonder if you have ANY interesting content.

If you’re going to use an automator, plan out your tweet content, make sure you shorten your URLs, and keep it interesting. There’s nothing more annoying than seeing the same “inspirational” quote over and over again. And don’t forget to actually interact with your followers (lists are very helpful).

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Hopefully you’ve found these examples helpful as you navigate the Twitterverse.  Are there other Twitter “no-nos” that bother you? Feel free to share by leaving a comment.