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7 Ways to Cheer Up About Summer Ending

7 Ways to Cheer Up About Summer Ending

7 Ways to Cheer Up About Summer Ending

Beat the End of Summer Blues

The official last day of the 2015 summer season is September 23rd, but for most of us Labor Day signals the end of summer. Does the thought of summer ending leave you feeling blue? Let's enjoy these last days of summer so that we can head into the fall season recharged and ready to perform our best for our businesses. Here are 7 ways to cheer yourself up at the end of summer!

  1. Take one last trip to the pool, lake or beach. Pack a picnic and enjoy the day.
  2. Go on a long bike ride or walk in a park. Breathe in the fresh air.
  3. Have an outdoor movie night or camp out in the backyard.
  4. Make homemade smoothies or ice cream.
  5. Go barefoot and read a book.
  6. Shop some end of season summer sales.
  7. Go to an amusement park.

Maybe your favorite seasons are fall or winter? In any case, with a little rest and relaxation, we can head back to work energized to market and grow our businesses!

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Why You Must Have a Vision Board for Your Business (and How to Create One)

Why You Must Have a Vision Board for Your Business (and How to Create One)

What is a Vision Board?

The general idea behind a vision board is that you create a visual collage of inspirational words and images that represent your dreams, desires and goals in life – they can be either personal or business based. It is a visualization tool that helps you focus and affirm the dreams that make you happy in life and business. Focusing on your vision board activates an energy which attracts the things on which you are focusing. Without getting into quantum physics, this is simply based upon the principle, "Like attracts like." When you surround yourself with positive images, your life changes to match your desires and goals.

Why You Must Have a Vision Board for Your Business

A vision board is a tool to create and manifest very specific goals for your business. What do you want your business to look like in one year, or in five years? What will your dream office look like and how many employees will you have? Who are your ideal customers? How will your business improve your personal, spiritual and family life? Are you involved with volunteer projects? How many hours are you working per week? Maybe you created a business plan that includes all of these details, but it's sitting on your shelf where you hardly ever see it. A vision board is a different approach to set goals for your business in a new way – a visual one that you can look at every day so that you can stay focused on achieving your dreams.

4 Simple Steps to Create a Personal or Business Vision Board

  1. Gather materials: a poster board, markers, magazines, drawings, and glue or a glue stick.
  2. Go through the magazines and tear out pictures and words, imagining things that you want and staying focused on the positive. Try to find images that reflect the outcomes that you desire and not necessarily the material result. For instance, instead of focusing on a pile of cash, focus on what the money will bring you. Be relaxed and open minded as you brainstorm imagery. You may even have epiphanies about things that you didn't even realize that you wanted. Maybe it's not even what you want for yourself, but ways that you can help others.
  3. Go through all of the images and words, and lay them out on your poster board. Get rid of the ones you don't really want. You must have a firm belief in the ideas that you place on the board. If you have any doubt in your images, they probably won't work. Once you have them laid out, glue them in place. Use markers to add more words and colors. Draw in words and pictures for the things for which you couldn't find an image. Make it bright and colorful. Don't get hung up on it being perfect. Have fun with it!
  4. When you are done, hang the vision board in a place where you will see it often. Look at it before you go to bed and when you wake up in the morning. See yourself achieving the things on your vision board. Be grateful and thankful for all of the blessings in your life. Acknowledge the changes that have taken place and the goals that have come true thus far. Your business will grow and prosper as you see it coming true.

It's the start of a new year – the perfect time to create a Vision Board for your business. Get started today!

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Writing Marketing Content Isn't as Scary as a Stephen King Novel

Writing Marketing Content Isn't as Scary as a Stephen King Novel

No one is a master of suspense more than Stephen King. Stephen King expertly weaves his tales of horror and keeps his readers glued to every word, gripped in fear. Many clients admit that they are terrified at the prospect of writing content for blogs, e-newsletters and social media. But writing marketing content doesn't have to be as scary as reading a Stephen King novel. We know that these forms of marketing improve your website's SEO (Search Engine Optimization), builds relationships with your clients and establishes you as an expert in your field. So what's a non-writer to do when faced with the daunting task of writing for marketing materials?

Read and Write Often

Stephen King is a huge believer in reading a lot, writing a lot and not being afraid to fail. Good writing takes practice and a leap of faith. The more you read and write, the better you will become. Research others who are doing what you want to do and see what they are doing to be successful. If you want to build a Facebook presence, check out other companies who are doing it well. You will be surprised at how many new ideas this will spark for your own Facebook page. Sometimes the hardest part is simply getting started and a fear of failure. Fear and procrastination are two things that impede the creative process. Make it a priority to set small goals every day with your writing, and it will become easier every day.

Put Yourself in Your Customer's Shoes

Are you looking for ideas and topics to cover in your marketing materials? Speak directly to your customers and answer the questions that they often ask you. What are the topics that are most important to them? Strive to address and answer these concerns in your blog, e-newsletters and social content. "How-To" articles are a great way to answer questions. It is not enough these days to simply say how great you are on your website or marketing materials. Customers want to see testimonials from other customers, they want to see details about your business and they want to be reassured that you are the best person to help them. There are plenty of other businesses in competition with yours. Make sure your content is detailed and you will come out the clear winner and prompt a call to action.

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Generate Selling Power with Testimonials

Generate Selling Power with Testimonials

Testimonials are a powerful way to bring in new business. They help generate sales in your printed marketing materials, and adding a testimonials page is one of the easiest way to improve your website. Testimonials from happy customers builds trust, offers unbiased opinions, and has the power to persuade a customer who is on the fence about a sale.

Testimonial Formats

What are some of the common formats for testimonials? Written testimonials are excellent. They are full of rich keywords (both long and short) which will improve your website's SEO. Written testimonials are also a great addition to all of your printed materials.

Video testimonials are great too. They are more personal and people connect with them. They can also be embedded or linked from a You Tube channel, which helps build your company's social media presence. Even better, the video could even showcase your product or service in use.

What Makes an Effective Testimonial?

There are many great testimonials, but some are much better than others. How can you tell the difference between a good one and a great one? A great testimonial has actual facts and figures, and is very specific about what your product or service can do for others. It would be even better if the testimonial were written by a happy customer who is in your target market (or buyer's persona) that your potential customers could relate to. A great testimonial also endorses the exact selling points that you highlight in your marketing, driving home the benefits and impact of using your service or product.

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Giver's Gain: The Benefits of Volunteering

Giver's Gain: The Benefits of Volunteering

Making a Difference in Yourself and Your Community

Meeting New People

Many lifelong friendships are formed while performing volunteer work. The people that you meet can be a great source of inspiration. You will meet a diverse group of people and learn patience and respect for people of many different backgrounds and capabilities. Some of these people may even turn into important networking contacts in the future.

Learning Something New

Sometimes when we volunteer we have to reach outside of our boundaries and learn new skills or adapt to new situations. These skills can be applied to other areas of our life.

Improve Your Health

Changing the focus of your thoughts outward to other people can help relieve depression and help you feel needed and valued. It builds your self-esteem and self-confidence. It's also a way to express thanks for help you may have received during a similar situation. In giving back, we help others learn from our experiences too.

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