Staying or Sliding?

Slides are wonderful things. I love waterslides – except the really steep ones of course – as you slide uncontrollably down and splash into the pool at the bottom in hysterics. It’s all a lot of fun.

However the next slide you, or at least your business, goes on may not be quite so pleasant.

Today is the day Google’s latest algorithm change kicks in and it could be a dramatic slide – for your business’ website at least. Is your website going to stay, and possibly climb, the Google rankings, or is it going to start sliding down the rankings?

There is one question to ask yourself?

Is your website mobile friendly?  You can find out what Google thinks here.

If your website doesn’t past the test and there are plenty that won’t ( I’ve seen both major retailers and web developers’ websites whose websites don’t currently pass the test) what do you do?

Google’s developer tools can be found here but in summary they are actually very simple:

  1. Is it easy to use on a smartphone?
  2. Can a user find what they are looking for quickly and easily?
  3. Does the page re-arrange as you change browser window size (open your website in a normal desktop browser and change the size of that window.  does it change?)

If you are at all worried about your website, give me a call.  I have a number of web developers within my network. Let’s talk about what you are looking to achieve with your website and we can work out who is the right person to help you out.

Lessons from a Brighton Bar

Demand generation lessons

The beachfront at Brighton is rarely a quiet place. Even in the winter, you will see a number of brave/foolhardy/daft* souls walking on the beach, the promenade and the pier.

This weekend was always going to be a busy one, with plenty of sunshine and the Brighton Marathon, but my wife and I took the kids anyway. Whether we’d remembered about the marathon or not is besides the point.  It was when we went looking for some lunch that I noticed a great lesson in demand generation.  Let me explain.

The bar in the picture is the Brighton Music Hall.  As we arrived, it looked very busy, with few tables available. What I hadn’t seen at that time was the stack of picnic benches to one side.  By not having all of their tables out, the crowd is concentrated together and makes it look busier than perhaps it really was.

The clever piece was the way they managed the addition of tables. As they saw that the turnover of guests seemed to slow, they added another row of tables that were quickly filled by new guests walking off the promenade. After all, there are few people who don’t measure the quality of an unknown restaurant by the crowd of diners.

I was looking at another company earlier today – a completely different business – who also managed their demand well. They did it by saying, on their website, that they are completely booked for April & May, but they are still happy to talk.  Again, by suggesting they are really busy, they portray themselves as providing a sought-after service.

The lessons here:

  • Keep a good eye on your customers
  • Make them think you are popular – meaning more will want you
  • Keep talking to them. Keep them informed, even when you are really busy

 

 

 

*delete as appropriate

What Mary Poppins teaches small business owners

Having small children means having to watch films and programmes you normally wouldn’t choose, but sometimes you learn something new when you do, at least, have one eye watching. This weekend somehow ended up with Mary Poppins being watched and this is what I believe business owners can learn from the lead character

  • Dress to impress

Mary never had a stitch or hair out of place and so came across as the professional she was. Whilst I’m not suggesting you need a lacy collar done up tight, you should always be dressed to ensure both you and the client are comfortable. Tatty jeans and trainers are never going to go down well – even on dress down Friday – but that doesn’t mean a three-piece, tie and cufflinks either.

Wear what works:

  • Is it suitable for the work you’re going to be doing?
  • Does it say the right things about you?
  • Would you be happy if someone walked into your office wearing what you are?
  • Know who your client really is

Whilst Mr Banks may have been paying Mary Poppins’ wages (did he actually pay her before she left?), it could easily be said that Jane and Michael were the clients, as it was their lives that Mary quickly impacted. In Edwardian London, the father:child relationship was still described as “Children should be seen and not heard” and so George would simply expect Mary Poppins to ensure this was the case. However, the children seem particularly adept at getting rid of those who displeased them, as the previous nanny would not stay a moment longer.

Remember that the person who pays the invoices may not be the person with the most influence.

  • Use the right language

Is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious the ultimate in jargon or what? It’s a word only Mary knows the meaning of and will confuse both customers and staff.

Hopefully the consultant speak, like “blue-sky thinking” and “anything outside the box” is long gone, but many people find it very easy to use their industry jargon, whether talking to colleagues or clients. Whilst it’s okay to use it in the office, remember that most customers won’t know what you’re talking about. Whether they admit it to you is a different matter! If you do this with prospects, there is a real chance they will simply buy from the company that doesn’t overuse jargon – simply because they understand them.

  • It’s not always fun

Most people start a business because it is something they enjoy doing – or they enjoy the money they expect to get – so they expect to have fun doing what they love. Unfortunately there are aspects of running a business that aren’t fun. Accounts definitely falls into that space and some people even think marketing isn’t fun (can you imagine that?) but they need to be done. Mary Poppins recommends a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. Ever wondered why you see so many business owners with bowls of sweets on their desks? Perhaps that’s the sugar?

On a more serious note, if you cannot get someone else to do it, look at how you can mix up the jobs you need to do, either in bite-size pieces or by getting the nasty stuff out the way first.

  • Get out at the right time

Mary Poppins could quite easily have stayed with the Banks family and taken their money, but the value they would have received would have deteriorated as she’d already delivered the real value she provides.

It can be easy to continue taking the money from a client when you’ve been working with them for some time. Ask yourself: are you still delivering value and as much value as you did originally?

Whilst you will often make a real impact very early on, and then settle down, be careful that you don’t get too comfortable. The last thing you want to do is get to a point where the client asks you to leave – better for you to say it’s time to go.

 

I must admit that I did watch chunks of the film, even if I hadn’t intended to – and I’m glad I did now.