Tricks to Smashing Goals

It’s that time of the year when so many of us are focused on setting goals for the end of the year and to kick off the next year with focus and rigor. We have all seen the social media posts and the encouragement to smash the goals and become a “goaldigger.” But what are some tricks and tips to setting goals? Most of us know about setting SMART Goals (Specific, Measure, Achievable, Results and Time). However, is there more? Are there other tips that can help us get to where we want to go.

Below are some of my quick “Busy, Bossy and Branded” tips on setting your goals and accomplishing them.

1.) Set goals that excite you! Yes, get excited. Of course we have things that we need to do that don’t get us very excited. For example, getting your taxes done is not very exciting, however if the goal is to “Organize my finances to increase my savings account” – that may be exciting! One of the action items for this may be: Create a buget or File Taxes.

2.) Put some action to it. Action items underneath your goals is critical. It can be somewhat easy to come up with a “dream” goal list. However, the power behind goal setting is the action list. When creating your action list, keep it simple. Keep it VERY simple. Try to limit your action items for each goal to 3-5 activities.

3.)holidays office Celebrate Your Successes. I believe in celebrating. There is something power about celebrating your successes, big and small. It creates momentum and keeps your mindset in a positive and growth mode.

4.) Embrace it Everyday. Your goals list should be a part of your everyday life. Put it in several places throughout your home, office and electronic devices. Look at it every day, several times a day to make sure you are moving in the right direction and your mindset is aligning with what you want.

5.) Repetition. I hope you are writing your goals down, however, in addition to writing them down, speak them and write them often. As stated in the fourth point, your goals should be a part of your everyday life. Record them and listen to them a few times a week. Repetition is the mother of success!

I hope these tips and tricks are helpful to you! I would love to hear about how you have smashed your goals and created new ones! Email me at lee@ashbyandwatts.com if you have any questions or want to share your goals.

What’s So Special about Instagram Stories?

So, have you taken advantage of the latest features of Instagram and Facebook Stories.  There has been a huge increase in viewership and use of the “Stories” features on Facebook and Instagram.  As a brand owner, you should find ways to make it work for you.  (Key point: always notice trends and think of how to use it for your brand.)  How can a small business, or solopreneur use this feature to increase their marketing and branding?

Below are 6 ways to use Stories for your branding and marketing:

1.) Authenticity:  Authenticity is key to growing your brand.  Your audience wants to

Instagream Stories

connect with you.  With Stories, you can provide behind the scenes photos or videos of your product or work, or provide a tour of your office space or business.  But don’t limit it to just your business.  What are other aspects of your life that are connected to your business and brand that you can also highlight?  Use Stories to add more authenticity to your brand.

3.) Ask Questions: Instagram has a poll feature.  What questions are you dying to ask your followers?  Simple questions that can give you more insights on future products, services or trends?  Aside from learning more about your followers, it is yet another way to connect with your audience.  People like being asked their opinion.  Use the poll feature to connect to your audience and gather more opinions.

4.) Give More Value: Do you know why they choose you and follow you?  What do they like about you?  Whatever that is – give them more of it in Stories.  Teach or talk about an important piece of your business.  Show them how to do something that will make their lives easier.  This will keep them clicking on your stories.

5.) Give them Directions:  What do you want your audience to do?  What do you need more of to grow you brand?  Use the  Stories feature to tell them.  Often as brand owners, we expect our audience to know what to do. But Stories is a great way to point your audience in the right direction.  Call to Actions (CTA’s) are great in Stories.  If you want them to click on the link and buy or register, tell them.  If you want them to listen, tell them and show them.  If you want them to watch your video, lead the way.

6.) Gain more followers:  On Instagram, always use hashtags!  Hashtags and IG go together. It helps create and pulls together your community and followers.  In addition to using hashtages, have fun with the colors, arrows, gifs and the other cool features of Instagram.

These are small things that you are most likely doing already as part of your marketing and branding.  The key is to take it to Stories and do in consistently.  The key is to not overthink it.  Keep it fun, simple, inspiriting and entertaining. You will slowly begin to see your audience increase and your current followers become more engaged with your brand.

If you need assistance with using IG or help with your branding or marketing, feel free to contact me.

Do You Want More?

“You cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards… – Steve Jobs

 

Do you have synergy with your business or organization? Or even if you are an employee… do you naturally approach your projects with a perspective of synergy and connecting the dots?

Synergy is when the sum is equal to more than the two parts. Yes, the connection and energy of ideas meeting each other and creating something MORE. Do you want MORE for your business or organization?

When I meet with a new client, I am always looking for synergy or ways to connect theIMG_0169 dots. Below are the four ways I approach connecting the dots when working on a project or with a client.

1.) What do you value? Every company, organization or brand has something that it values. Event if you don’t notice it right away, there is something happening

2.) What are you really selling: Not your service or product. But what are you really providing and giving to your clients? Why do they choose YOU? Know this.. and the world opens up.

3.) Know Your History: Steve Jobs put is wonderfully with the above quote. You have to look back at all your dots, history and connections. With clients, I’m always looking for the foundation, how it started. What was the sentence, the experience, the event that started the ball rolling. Don’t ignore your history.

4.) Maximum effect: In addition to looking at all the above-mentioned, I also review how each action can have maximum effect. Every action or initiative that we do should have multiple purposes and functions. If one of your actions will only affect on thing, its time to either rethink the action or connect the dots. For example, if you speak at a conference, that speech or preparation should be repurposed to do something else for your brand. How can it have maximum effect?

Synergy.

Connecting the Dots.

How to Practice Intentional Marketing

How intentional are you?  Intentional is about knowing why you are doing what you are doing and making a decision to go in a specific direction.  It always comes back to our WHY.  Are you intentional with your business?  Intentional in your relationships?  Intentional in your finances?

African female executive at work

Intentional living defines your life before circumstances destroy it.

The quality of our lives should not be an accident or a mystery.  When we live an intentional life, specifically with our businesses, we don’t get as distracted with mishaps or detours.  We realize that we have been so intentional and clear on our WHY and DIRECTION, we know that we are still on the right path.  We treasure our moments and are energized with even the mundane activities.

As we begin looking at the end of the year, I want to encourage you to be intentional with your time, with your business and your marketing.

Below are some quick tips on being more intentional:

    • Set daily, monthly and quarterly goals
    • Use a calendar
    • Know what you want (many of us don’t know what we really want)
    • Write it out
    • Change your mindset
    • Practice Gratitude
    • Declutter your life
    • Master your mornings
    • Make an appointment with Lee Watts 🙂 

If you need clarity, have questions on how to be intentional with your marketing or want to set new goals for your business, email me. I’d love to help you!

Strategies for Making Time for Marketing

Woman with touch screen watchOne of the most common complaints I hear from entrepreneurs and brand owners is the lack of time they have for marketing and branding.  Marketing is so voluminous – I believe that many people get overwhelmed with the many aspects and options in marketing and its easier to become paralyzed and resort to inactivity, than to take one small step at a time.

Or we don’t understand what marketing truly entails and believe we don’t have time for “advertising” or “social media.”  However,  marketing is anything that grows your business or raises your profile.  This includes properly maintaining your referrals and building relationships with existing clients and customers.  This should be treated as a strategy for growing your business.

Yes, marketing takes time, however, it is absolutely necessary if you want to grow your business, create a brand and fill your pipeline.

Below are five points for making more time for marketing:

1.) Know what’s most important:  There are so many ways to market, brand and reach your clients. It’s important for you to be extremely clear on what works best for YOUR industry and market.  Advertising is not best for every industry; nor is social media, or events or cold-calling.  Do the research and know what works best for what you want to do and how your industry makes buying decisions.  This will eliminate random acts of marketing (i.e., being busy with marketing, but accomplishing nothing).

2.) Know what you want to communicate:  Marketing is about storytelling.  Your brand is the story and marketing is how you tell that story.  What is the story you want your audience to know about your company or organization.  What are the key points, value propositions that are important for your clients or customers.  This is not just what you want to tell or sell, but also what is important for your audience.  What are their pain points and how can you provide solutions.  Once you are very clear on this, it will save time on how you market your business.  You will be very clear on your message.

3.) Evaluate Your Tools:  So there are two schools here… either those of you who are not using enough tools and those who are using too many tools.  In this digital era, there are platforms, apps and tools for everything. Evaluate what you are using and notice if it can do more than what you are using it for; if you can eliminate a tool or combine it with something else.  Make your marketing tools work for you.

4.) Limit Your Social Media:  What?!? Yes, I said it.  At least limit how many social media platforms you focus on.  If you are giving equal amount of energy and time to more than 3, you are doing too many.  Go back to my first point.  And my second point.  Know what is most important and what is producing the best results for you.

5.) Use Your Timer:  There is something magical about hearing your timer go off and time to put your pencils down.  With some of your marketing tasks, set a timer for how much time you will devote to that task or initiative for that day.  Not only is this good for your moral and mental health, it also helps you focus.  Focus is a powerful thing.  Anything that can help us focus on the task at hand, is essential for your marketing strategy.

If you are interested in learning more about time management and marketing, please contact me directly for an upcoming course on strategies for increasing your marketing productivity.

 

The Problem with Dreaming Big

Let me preface this by saying: this blog post is not meant to discourage you.  Everyone who knows me, knows I love a dreamer.  I believe everyone should have a dream and chase after them with reckless abandon. For me, this is the essence of a great life – dreaming big and chasing after those dreams.  The problem with dreaming big is that we eventually have to turn those dreams into reality.  And this is where it breaks down for most people.

I’ve seen it (and experienced it) many times before.  We leave the brainstorming session, the dream conversations and plans. Our adrenaline is pumping, ideas are flowing, we are ready to take on the world and live out our dreams.  We finally get home, sit down at our desk, couch or dining room table and start thinking “how in the heck am I going to do this??”  Dreaming big is GREAT.  But putting together a plan and implementing the dream is what often trips us up.  The key to having a big dream is to be willing to start small.

Taking on too much, too fast is the quickest way to run into paralysis when time for implementation. The dream is sooo big, we don’t know where to start.  We let the plans sit on our desk, or worse – in our heads.  The dreams never turn into action  Below are three ways that we can effectively dream big, specifically when looking at marketing and branding plans:

1.) Just Start.  I have seen it over and over again: we overthink our start.  We want everything to be just perfect when we begin. The colors, the logo, the tfind-work-online-fagline, the website, the business plan.  I’m here to tell you, and even rock your world a bit:  Don’t worry about perfection.  It has been said: “Perfection is the enemy of good.”  Some things will need to be “near” perfect or good enough, and that’s okay.  Discover which things are fine to be “good enough” and keep it moving.  You can correct and fix as you grow and learn.  And … you WILL grow and learn so much after your first year or two or three in business. Things will inevitably change; you will learn more about yourtarget audience, your brand, your packaging, etc.  Therefore, indeed strive for excellence, but don’t sweat the small stuff.  Just get started.

2.) Start small.  Yes, dream BIG.  I mean it.  Go for it and go for whatever God has called you to do. But start small.  Start with one piece of your big, audacious dream.  Your goal should always be progress.  Get moving and stay moving. The bigness and magnificence of your dream will come in time. Momentum is powerful, therefore starting small is also about creating momentum and great energy as you pursue your dream.  It will allow you to work out any kinks in your plan and quickly course correct and rework the plan or vision.  It’s much easier to scrap or rework a small plan than a big one.  So don’t feel embarrassed or inadequate about starting small.  Small plans quickly turn into big dreams.

3.) Write it Down. You may have it in your head, but it also needs to be on paper. Not just buried in a random notebook in the back of your car, but always before you, within reach. There is immense power in writing down your goals and dreams.  It is one more step toward making it a reality and watching it cometo life.  Write it down with as much detail as possible.  And read it often.  This is another version of practicing affirmations.  You are watching, writing and speaking it into life. Keep the dream before you.

All these steps are essential whenworking on your marketing and branding plans. Marketing and branding can be overwhelming. There are so many aspects, strategies and tactics involved.  However, the goal is to just get started.  Put the dream in motion.

Do you have a big dream?  Have you gotten started? What’s stopping you?  The moment of perfect timing or finances, or whatever it is, may never come.  Start now.  Start small. Get going!

If you need assistance with developing the first steps with your marketing or branding plans, contact me for Get Started session.

Can I Trust You ?

Trust is a big deal.  We know this is true in friendships and with our love interests, however it is equally true with our brand and our business. We often focus on creating a img_7842nice product to sell or doing great work for our customers or clients.  This is good and absolutely necessary. Everyone wants good service and a product that will do what we need it to do.  That is the basics if we have a business.  What is monumentally important is if we are creating raving fans.  Just like sports teams have loyal fans that will cheer them on and tell others about them, do we also have this with our brand.  Do you create loyalty and trust among our clients and customers?

Why Trust?

The world is full of talented people. People who write or speak better than you. People who create that product better than you.  People who can do whatever you do… better than you. So what make someone choose you over another business, service or organization.  Sometimes its price or convenience, but often it comes back around to trust.  People want to trust the people around them.

Building Trust 

Thought Leadership

One way we are able to build trust is to demonstrate that you know your stuff.  Do you know what you are talking about?  Do you know your industry and the things that are important to your industry?  If you know it, then its important to show that you know it.  This is content marketing – becoming a thought leader in your industry or community.  Are you consistently producing or promoting content? In order to build trust and expertise, share your knowledge with your audience by platforms such as: blogging, podcasts, videos, posting, etc.  Content is still king and helps build trust with your audience.

Fix it Quick

How quickly you address issues and deal with problems will either build or diminish trust with your audience. We’ve seen it with various large brands in crisis (Subway, United Airlines, Samsung, etc.) How quickly do they address their public relations crisis? How quickly do you address conflicts or complaints within or about your company or organization?  Have you ever completed a survey or client feedback form and provided negative feedback, yet no one called you to address it?  Trust diminished. When you demonstrate that you are open to dealing with problems, it show your authenticity, which builds trust.  Even if it is a problem that you created. Deal with it head on and watch your clients/customers trust in your brand rise.

Focused

Trust also comes when a client sees that you are focused.  We have all heard the term: “Jack of all trades, master of none.”  As a brand owner, your job is to always show yourself as a master.  Being too spread out with your expertise, products or services dilutes your brand and ultimately the trust a client has for you.  We have all had this sentiment when we walk into a business that says its an expert at one thing, and then you also see them promoting something in a completely different industry.  For example, you walk into an Italian restaurant for a good plate of spaghetti and then you discover they are also selling Chinese food. It is unlikely they are doing both well. Master your trade and stay focused on what you are truly providing your clients.

These are just three simple ways to build trust. There are many other ways that you can build trust for your brand.  The first step is realizing that trust matters in marketing and branding.  It is the key to developing business and creating loyalty with your audience.

If you need any assistance with building trust with your key audience, feel free to reach out to me at lee@ashbyandatts.com I will also offer a webinar on this topic in May.  If you would like to join the webinar, please email me to be added to the invitation list.

Are You Mentally Tough?

Happy Spring! I hope that you all have have been enjoying the first glimpses of Spring. Some of you are still experiencing some cold weather. 
During my busy time, my head has been swirling with so many marketing and brandingsmall steps.jpg topics and issues. However, this month, I want to focus more on a leadership issue.  Since starting this business, I am amazed at how much mental tenacity it takes to launch and continue a business or any initiative. Yes, I’ve had other businesses and projects that I’ve started in the past, but I was fortunate to have a partner or groups of people to help me stay encouraged.  Being an entrepreneur is a lonely place.  When you have those moments when you are choosing between sleep and work, paying a bill or investing in a client or your business, quitting the gig or keep trucking along. It is a constant mental game to just stay in the game.  I’m sure I will eventually get to a level where I coast along, but right now, I am relying on the five things below to help me stay focused and mentally strong during these tough days.  If you are in a similar struggle, I hope these points will also help you.
Remember Your Why:  We have heard this many times, but it can’t be stressed enough. When things get complicated, tough and overwhelming, your why should keep you motivated.
Seek Balance: I recently read a quote that is slowly changing my life and giving me life: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” (Vince Lombardi). When we are exhausted, we give in to our fears and anxiety.  Get proper rest so that you can make good decision and have the mental strength to deal with issues that my come your way.

Expect Failure:  Wait, what?  Yes.  Not every decision will be a great decision.  Not every risk will be a smart one.  The more you fail, the more it shows your willingness to keep trying and taking risks.  Would we like to avoid failure at all costs?  Sure.  But that would mean you are playing it pretty safe.

Celebrate the Successes:
  Every single one of them.  It may be small successes for you, but its important to acknowledge your progress, no matter how small or slow it may be.

Let it Go:
  I suffer from wanting to control things that are completely out of my control.  As a leader and entrepreneur, you have to let things go.  If not, you will spend precious time, energy and mental strength on things that cannot be changed.  Let it go.

I hope this has helped you!  Please let me know if you have other tips or advice for the mental state needed for entrepreneurs.

Does Your Website Work For You?

Almost everyone has one, but very few people know what to do with it.  Your website.  It is one of the first things we purchase and create when we start our business, but one of marketing tools we put the least effort in.
There are many purposes for a website, from branding your business to selling your find-work-online-fproduct.  Ultimately, one the primary things your website should do for your business is generate leads.
Below are 10 ways you can make your website work for you:
  1. Your Contact Info:  Your contact information should be throughout your website. Make it easy for people to contact you, either via email or phone.
  2. Create a landing page:  A landing page gives your visitors somewhere to “land” when they have an interest regarding something on your website.  It may be a white paper, an event, anything that will lead them to a lead generation form.  This will also help you get an idea about what is effective on your website or selling well in your company.
  3. Nurture your leads: Place leads into a workflow once they fill out a form on your landing page so they don’t forget about you, and deliver them valuable content that matches their interests.
  4. Talk to Your Audience:  Videos are a great way to tell your clients what is going on with your product or services.  It helps establish credibility and promotes your brand promise. Videos are extremely effective, they attract 300% more traffic and nurtures leads.
  5. Add testimonials:  Testimonials add a reference for people to see and establishes credibility.
  6. Make sure you have a call to action:  What do you want a visitor to your website to do? Call you? Email you? Schedule a meeting? Order your book? Register for a conference? Whatever you want to ultimately happen when someone visits your website, you must create a path for them to do that.
  7. Be careful on the homepage: Some websites put all the weight on the homepage. Make your homepage simple, yet still communicates your brand.  Give people a reason to use your navigation and discover your website.
  8. Don’t forget to blog: Blogging is effective for generating leads. It is content that establishes trust, and it also helps increase organic searches if you incorporate the right language.  You should also create call to actions for your various blog posts.
  9. Watch your words:  Be sure to use words and phrases that you know your audience is searching for on the internet.   This will increase the likelihood that you will be discovered during a web search.
  10. Quizzes and Assessments:  This is a great way to generate leads and obtain new email addresses for your mailing list.
    If you need assistance with strategies on how to generate leads, please schedule a complimentary 15 minute consultation with me.