Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Our Top 5 Posts of the Year

With all due respect to January 1st and Times Square, now is the time of year that many of us start thinking about new beginnings, fresh starts, resolutions and goals that did or didn’t get achieved in the previous 12 months. Autumn officially started this week. The weather’s getting cooler and leaves are changing colors in many parts of the country. Kids are back to school. Offices are humming with full staffs for the first time in months, and tonight marks the start of Rosh Hashanah, the official kickoff to the Jewish high holidays.

Even if you’re not Jewish, you probably know that Rosh Hashanah (aka “Rush-a-Homa”) is a generally festive holiday for those of the Hebrasion Persuasion albeit more solemn than American New Year. Like the American New Year, Rosh Hashanah is a time to look back at the past year and make resolutions for the following year. It’s also when the Torah, (Hebrew Bible) resets to chapter 1, part 1. Regardless of your faith, why not take advantage of this short pause in the hectic work week and see if your work/life balance is really in balance and if you’re getting closer (or further away) from the reasons you started your own firm or practice.

Our 5 most popular posts of the year

Can Your Staff Really Work Effectively from Home?
3. Do You Know Why Your Marketing’s Working (or Not)?

Were You Laboring on Labor Day?

The Best (and Worst) Times to do Things at Work

Based on our web stats over the past nine months, it’s clear that time management and work/life balance are top of mind for our readers. You’re also concerned about professional networking, face to face interaction in this digital age and finding the right metrics to gauge your marketing efforts. Management guru,
Peter Drucker, famously said, “Business has only two functions--marketing and innovation. All the rest are costs." To that we’d like to add a third function—time management, as in finding the time to do marketing and innovation well.

Too busy sawing to sharpen the saw

In one way or another, most of you have told us you’re well on your way to living the true American dream. You your own boss and making a very comfortable living doing work that you find challenging and fulfilling. You’re spending most of the day with intelligent clients and co-workers that you like and respect. You’re making a difference in their lives.  But how many of you are really spending enough quality time with family, friends and community organizations—and pursuing your favorite avocations such as tennis, golf, fly fishing, chess, auto racing and triathlons? C’mon be honest.


Drucker also said, “follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”  However you do it, take a little time this week for some quality introspection. Make sure the important people in your life (and your health) do not fall by the wayside as you take your business to the next level of success. You may not have another time to catch your breath until the next set of Holidays in December.

Have a Happy New Year (L’Shna Tova).

PS: Click here if you’ve always been mystified by the Jewish Holidays, and you’ll find answers to many of the questions you’d like to ask, but weren’t sure if they were politically correct. For instance, why don’t the Jewish Holidays fall at the same time every year?

blog has more, as does the FREE Resources page of our website.

TAGS: Peter Drucker, Rosh Hashanah, time management, work life balance, self reflection

Monday, September 15, 2014

Research Shows Passion and Legacy Goals Drive Business Success

According to Infusionsoft’s recent Small Business Market Survey, there are four distinct types of business owners—Freedom Seekers, Passionate Creators, Struggling Survivors and Legacy Builders.

Most of your business owner clients fall into one of these four areas and chances are so do you. As you help clients build out their retirement, wealth preservation and charitable giving plans, it’s important to understand how they like to be marketed to. While the researchers didn’t go into as much detail as we would have liked, our experience is that successful business owners tend to be most receptive to the marketing techniques that they themselves use.

Let’s take a closer look at the four business owner profiles and see if any remind you of yourself:
1. Freedom Seekers
These small business owners started their businesses because they wanted the ability to control their fate, decisions, work environment, schedule and revenue. They are more likely than the other segments to place high  importance on “living the life I want”, “being in control”, “reducing the amount of hours I have to work” and “having flexibility in my schedule.”

With time management being their biggest challenge, Freedom Seekers are more likely than other groups to use email marketing automation, bookkeeping software, ecommerce, project management and CRM systems.

Infusionsoft’s Lindsay Bayuk said Freedom seekers want the autonomy that comes with being their own boss and that money isn't the only measure of success for this group.

2. Passionate Creators
This group loves what they do. Running their business or firm gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride. They value the impact they are able to make for their customers and the world at large. Passionate Creators are the most likely of the four profiles to mentor other entrepreneurs and to speak to audiences about small business.
  • Nearly half (48%) said they always knew they would run their own business.
  • They believe passion is one of the most important qualities for business success and are motivated to serve a target customer well.
  • They showed the most longevity and success, ranking as the most likely to have been in business more than 10 years and to report revenue of over $1 million last year.
  • Passionate Creators are most optimistic than other types of business owners—71 percent expect their revenue to be ‘somewhat’ or ‘much’ higher than last year.
  • They demonstrated the most marketing sophistication, with the highest rates of marketing spending and involvement in digital marketing, social media, email lists and content marketing
  • They are the most likely to track financial performance vs. budget, and 70 percent use analytics to support decision-making, the highest level of any segment
3. Struggling Survivors
This group is motivated by fear that’s rooted in the very real challenge of running a business.
·         Many believe that traditional jobs are more secure, and feel that corporate careers garner more respect than small business ownership
·         51% are “solopreneurs,” the highest of any category
  • They are least likely to report achieving many of the benefits associated with owning your own business, from financial security to time with family and friends.
  • They are the most likely to have considered closing their business (53%), and the most pessimistic about their five-year outlook.
According to the study, half of Struggling Survivors (51%) are the sole employee at their company. This solitary management leaves little time to implement a sound marketing strategy.

4. Legacy Builders
Business owners who fall into this profile see small business ownership as a practical economic choice. They believe that small businesses are more ethical than larger corporations, and believe most people would start their own business if they could. They started their business to bring something new to the marketplace that no one else offers. They take tremendous pride in the business they’ve created and plan to run it for the long haul.
  • They are the least likely of the four profiles to have a website, and even those that do have a site are least likely to use email, content marketing, SEO or marketing automation to generate leads
Researchers said “Legacy Builders are pragmatic. For them, marketing tech may be fairly new and may not be the most practical investment of time and resources.”

This group is the least likely of the four to have a website (45%). Many legacy businesses are driven through word of mouth. 

Fortunately, most of you are Passionate Creators and Legacy Builders. Successful people tend to surround themselves with successful people. Chances are your clients are, too.

Our blog has more, as does the FREE Resources page of our website.

TAGS: Infusionsoft, Passionate Creators, Legacy Builders, Freedom Seekers, Struggling Survivors

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Were You Laboring on Labor Day?

We hope your re-entry into the real world hasn’t been too painful today. Tuesdays that feel like Mondays are always a bitch. Not to mention all the recurring tasks, reports and housekeeping chores that rain down on you whenever the calendar page flips over to a new month. Not fun.

Admit it. Many of you snuck in some work over the long weekend to get caught up or to preempt a crisis from hitting this coming week. Not surprising.

Most of you have been around the block a few times. You know you can’t just saunter into the office tanned and relaxed and expect everything to go smoothly after a long weekend away from phones, emails and your desk. It doesn’t matter how great your team is or how “self-managed” you think your firm is.
That’s the joy (and stress) of being an entrepreneur and/or being in a leadership position. You may be out of your “place of work,” but work-related issues (problems and opportunities) are always lingering in your subconscious while friends, family and neighbors are having a carefree time at the pool, beach, lake or barbecue.

How the other 90 percent get by

I bring this up because I finally got around to reading Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich’s gripping account of what it’s like to be among America’s working poor—a group of workers that’s unfortunately growing by leaps and bounds. Without pity or hyperbole, Ehrenreich brings you inside the life of a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing home aid and Wal-Mart associate. She didn’t just write about those jobs while working undercover and then go home to a plush home or condo. She lived the life 24/7 trying to eat and pay rent on her low-wage income. Her health, not just her psyche, took some hits for this book.

We know many of you have risen from modest upbringings to achieve great academic and career success. But, if you haven’t lived the low wage life since high school or college, give Nickel and Dimed a skim.

Here’s what got to me. It wasn’t the lousy work conditions as much as the LACK OF AUTONOMY. You’re told when you work and when you don’t. You’re told when you take your meal and bathroom breaks, what to wear and when you’re permitted to talk with colleagues (almost never). If you’re lucky enough to be hired, you’re also presumed to be a criminal or drug addict until you’ve proven yourself trustworthy. Then there’s the issue of “time theft” in which the overtime hours you didn’t want to work in the first place mysteriously disappear from your paycheck.

We may have demanding clients, employees and vendors who drive us crazy. But most of us know the times of day and days of the week in which we do our best work. We can schedule our hours within reason to work when we’re most efficient. We can schedule or vacations (or mental health breaks) when it’s most convenient for us and our families—not when “the man” says we can go. Sure relationships with spouses, family, friends and communities can suffer when we’re under deadline or traveling a lot. But at least we’re not a slave to a disgruntled supervisor or an outdated HR policy.
Can you say PTO day!


Five years into the economic recovery, the stock market and corporate profits are at record highs. But the number and quality of jobs are still lagging for most Americans. As a New York Times editorial noted yesterday, “Wage growth has not kept pace with productivity growth, resulting in falling or flat wages for most workers and big gains for corporate coffers, shareholders, executives and others at the top of the income ladder.”

We’re lucky enough to make our living, directly or indirectly, from the top of ladder. Respect your perch. HB

Our blog has more, as does the FREE Resources page of our website.

TAGS: Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed, time theft, post Labor Day blues