Tag: Business Coach

The ‘Give’ That Will Give Back

We have all heard the statement “If you give you will get back” and sometimes that is appended with “in spades”. It starts in grade school with the teaching of ‘The Golden Rule’ (do onto others as you would have them do unto you). There are several businesses that base their foundation on this idea, like  BNI whose philosophy is “Givers Gain” and eWomen Network which uses “Give First”. But what some people sometimes feel is they give and give and never see anything back (or at least not what they have put into it.) Here are some tips to make your ‘gives’ really meaningful so that others will truly see you as a giver and will give back.

Give without Expectation

This one is hard because we have been told to expect reciprocation, or that is what many of us read into the statements above, but it is not necessarily reciprocation. When we give we should not be expecting for something in return.

I worked with someone that would give all the time and then spend much of her time in tears because these people where betraying her by not giving back. Maybe she was giving to the wrong people and expected something they were unable to give, but more likely it was that she always gave with the expectation that these people would become or continue to be ongoing clients.

What would have been a better way of looking at it would be to hope that these people had the ability to help someone else out. Then this person would have been seen as a true giver and people would have wanted to help her out instead of feeling indebted to her. Being in debt to someone is a crappy feeling and is a form of payment. Don’t make people feel this way. When you are in ‘the giving place’ the gifts come back to you, often from unexpected places.

Know People’s ‘What’

When you are talking with people don’t be listening for what you can get from them, but be thinking about what you can do for them. It will put you into a true giving place and will also make you a better listen. Great listeners are often thought of as great people. We all like to be heard, so put your listening ears on and focus on their ‘What’ or their need. It will be easier for you to help them if you can.

Make an Effort

Giving takes more time than most people allocate for it. You will need to make time to contact and connect the people you have promised to help. Sometimes I’ve had to make more than one attempt to connect with someone I know but the better I get at helping people the easier it is for me to reach people. When I make a concerted effort to help someone once, they are more likely to be available for me to connect them with someone else. Remember, this is also part of your marketing so you will have to put aside not only time to do the networking, make the connections, and follow up, but also set aside time to help others reach their goals. If you are not putting aside time for marketing each day then do it now. Start with 30-90 minutes a day, schedule it in, and follow through on focusing your efforts on your marketing and the people that you can help.

Share your Goals

People cannot help you if they do not know what you need. When they have put on their listening ears and are giving you the gift of their attention then use it wisely. Know what it is you are working towards and what you need to achieve it. Be specific so they can really make the connection between what you need and what they can do to help you.

Be Thankful and Genuine

People love to help because it is like giving a gift. When you give a gift it is not only given to the recipient but it is also a gift to the giver. We love the feeling of being able to give something that makes others happy. So, when someone gives you a gift (a referral, their time, their full attention, or more) remember that it is also a gift for them. Accept it graciously and say thank you. As simple as that sounds it is often hard for us to accept gifts. Here is an easy example to see where we go wrong.

Two friends meet each other in a store.

Patty, “Hi Sue, you look amazing. I love your hair”

Sue, “Thanks, I need to get to the gym more often plus I really need to get my hair coloured soon.”

Why don’t we just say “Thank you”,  accept the gift, and keep the negative talk for another time.

When you give, make it real. Give it and let it go. Don’t spend time or energy waiting for it to come back. Give for their benefit, not your own. Genuine gifts are the ones that create a person that others will want to be in a relationship of reciprocity with. Become that person.

Aside – My friend and colleague Jackie Ramler has a program in her business that supports her employees’ giving to charity. They each get to pick their own charity and then they get one day paid a month to volunteer for their charity. That gift has given her back the most incredible team to work with.

The Importance of Writing in Business: 3 Tips to Creating Great Content

Many people may think, “I’m not a writer so I’m not going to write articles and blogs.” Fine, but if you think you are not writing for your business then you are wrong. Communication via the written word is going to be a very big component in the success or failure of your business, so you better learn something about doing it right. Let me first give you a list of the places you will need clearly understood content for your business and then I will give you three tips to help you improve your writing so you can be more confident about the content you have to create.

What am I Writing?

You will need documents for every aspect of your business, operations, sales, management, financial, and of course marketing. Some can be casual and others will need to have a legal aspect to them. Here is a list of the types of documents that you will need to write (or have written for you) to be able to run a successful business. Note that there are probably tens, if not hundreds, of more documents that could be on this list.


These documents help create the systems that will ensure that the people you hire to do work for you will do it the way you have branded your company to operate. These are critical if you are hoping to license or franchise your business.

  • Manufacturing process
  • Testing or Q&A
  • ‘How to’ documents – How to post, how to create newsletter, how to use templates, how to use the cash register
  • Cleaning, food handling, disinfecting
  • Product handling
  • Purchasing
  • Email


Your sales are one of the places in your business where you will be in direct communication with your customers or potential clients. You will want to ensure that the language you or your sales staff is using to speak to your clients is the way you want your business to be portrayed. A lot of this will tie into the marketing brand language as well. Note that you will create a guideline, but you want people to use their authentic voice to speak to clients, so scripts are to lead, not to follow word-for-word.

  • phone scripts
  • answering the phone or welcoming customers into your store
  • placing an order
  • contracts and agreements
  • email


In management you need to really understand what everyone’s role is within the company, even if every role is yours. Each person also needs to completely understand what their responsibilities are.

  • HR policies
  • contracts and agreements
  • advisory board structure
  • meeting agenda and minutes
  • employee responsibilities
  • client interaction
  • email


Financial information helps not only you understand what the goals are, what has already been achieved, and what financial requirements are needed to continue to grow the company, it also is used to speak to the governing body that can financially cripple you if you are not following the tax laws and cannot adequately explain what you are doing. Just ask Conrad Black about keeping good information: although I think he might have been in bigger trouble had he held on to the documents they charged him as removing. Who knows!

  • business plan (especially if you need to raise funds for your business)
  • incorporation papers
  • corporate minutes
  • IPO
  • yearly financial statements
  • email


This is the writing that people start worrying about and it is the easiest to find someone to help you with. If you really are not a captivating, marketing writer then hire someone that is. The branded message should be clear throughout all your marketing messages.

  • press releases
  • blogs & articles
  • interview questions
  • CV or resume
  • website content
  • speaker’s bio
  • marketing plan
  • applications for awards

3 Tips to Creating Great Content

Model Great Content

No matter what type of writing I am doing (user manuals, help systems, articles, blogging, proposals, agreements, etc.) I always start by finding something that works. I look at the manuals that won any of the STC awards, the bloggers that are world renown for their skill, articles that inspire me and millions of others, agreements that get successful businesses their jobs.

There is so much information on the Internet you can find something, but determining which is the best is hard, so ask people or follow people you know are successful and see what they are doing. Model their layout, their heading usage, their brevity, and their language use. Don’t steal or copy directly unless you plan on giving them credit for the information, or if the information is not copyright protected (e.g. legal wording for Non-disclosure agreements).

Hire Experts

When I wrote my first client contract it took me days of research to find contracts I had used or seen in the past and other companies’ contracts I had access to. I used these contracts to create the words I needed in mine to ensure I had the information I needed to create an understanding both me and my client would feel good about and would understand. If during a contract there was a misunderstanding I would change the wording of my contract so that I would not have that issue again. It was a trial and error process, but if it is a highly litigious industry you will want to hire an expert for contracts or HR policies etc. You do not want a misunderstanding that costs you your business or worse, your home and savings.


When you start writing it is not going to feel authentic or natural. The more writing you do the easier it will become. When I started blogging my words and thoughts were stiff. I tried too hard to make content interesting. It took about 4 times longer than it does now to get my ideas onto a page. It was painful.

To improve I get feedback from another person. I am a firm believer that you cannot accurately edit your own work, so ask someone else to read it over.

What are you writing?

Share with us the documents or content you have had to create for your business or any tips you can give that has made it easier for you to write.

5 Important Business Skills You can Learn from Animals

It is surprising to me where we can learn our lessons around how to behave, build,
and interact in life. I want to draw an analogy between the way animals live their lives and how business is run and I think you will appreciate the parallels between their success and yours as a business owner.

Safe Does Not Equal Growth

Have you ever been driving down the road and you see a squirrel start to cross. When it sees your car it has no idea if it is safer to continue across the road or go back. Unfortunately for many squirrels they can remember the safety of the place they just came from but they cannot perceive the value of the risk of completing the cross. Often they are closer to the other side and will still make a dash back to the side they know is safe with the result of running under a car.

In business we are sometimes like squirrels. We are more comfortable making decisions that will result in us staying in a mode we are familiar and comfortable with.  Taking risk sometimes means making a step towards the unknown. Once there, we may think, “why didn’t I do this sooner?”

Staying where it is safe will not get you change or growth, it will only get you more of what you have always had. To grow we have to look for that new path.  Unlike a squirrel we can more easily predict our future path.

Break it down to one road crossing at a time and then the entire trek to somewhere new will become much easier. Worded another way; “Break down your big goals into one step at a time.” Completing each step will be easier than trying to jump right to the end goal. You have to know how to get to your destination to ensure you take on as little risk as possible.

Evaluate Risk

OK, still on the road you see a crow standing in your path some yards in the distance. It has interest in whatever is on the road and has determined that it is safe enough to be where it is. Somehow the crow is able to judge the rate at which you are approaching in the car and without effort or anguish the crow steps to the side of the road so you can pass. They don’t even necessarily fly away. They know how to avoid your car by the minimum amount of distance as to reduce the amount of time they are away from their ‘road-treasure’.

In our businesses we need to know what types of risks we have. Doing and understanding your SWOT analysis will help you visualize the things that may occur in your business. Anticipating issues helps keep them in perspective so that you can avoid them with as little disruption to your business as possible.

Manage Change

Beaver manages changeWhile paddling across the water to enjoy the beauty of the Canadian Northern wilderness we came across beaver lodges. What was interesting was to see the holes that went into the lodge above the water level. Earlier in the season the water had been quite high and much of the area was flooded so the beavers had started their lodges at that level. But as the levels fell, so did the entrance to their homes. The lodge stretched down the bank until it was unreasonable to continue in the same lodge and then they would abandon it for a new location.

In business we often have to stretch our ideas, time, perseverance, attitude, and dollars to continue to do what needs to get done. At some point, after the change is too significant to continue with the same process we need to re-evaluate to determine if it is better to start over with something else or somewhere else.

Business is always changing. There is never a time when we should not be looking at what has to be done and where next to build. If a business is not growing it is dying.  You must be looking at growth and change just to maintain the same level of profit. That said, if you want a significant level of change in your profit you need to look at a significant level of change in your business.

 Competition can Change the Landscape

In Ontario we have recently seen a resurgence of a species of Cormorant that was nearly wiped out earlier in the 20th century. Given space the species has increased in numbers. Some would say too many, but others would applaud the gains they have made in their ancestors fishing grounds.  The reduction in pesticide use and the fact that they are protected is credited to their return.

If you have ever crossed the Burlington Bay- James N Allen Skyway into Hamilton you will have witnessed this change. Once an empty, industrial bay of dark water it now is home to thousands of cormorants sitting in the small trees and shrubs along the side of the water’s edge.  So many in fact, the trees look black.

What makes them so successful? They are experts as fishing in a way most other predators, besides humans, are capable of doing. So successful I’ve heard fishermen curse them because they are taking away their catch.  Fishermen and cormorants are competitors for resources. Being an expert and focusing on their niche expertise has given them an edge.

In business you need to keep your eye on what is changing so you can successfully compete. As laws and behaviours change so do the needs of your client. If you are not following these changes then someone else will come in and take away your clients by meeting their needs in this newly created market.

Find your Niche

Why do we find mosquitoes almost everywhere in the world? Why are they so successful? There are over 3500 species around the world and there are surprisingly few predators. The greatest predators to this pest of humans are animals that live or have part of their life cycle in the waters where the mosquito larvae grow.

There are two successes here; one is that the mosquito focuses its life cycle on places where it has a lot of warm, standing pools of water. The second is the predictors that focus their eating niche on the abundance of this one prey.


In business you need to know what your company has as its expertise and then you have to focus on the client it can best help. Once you know exactly who you are targeting you can determine where you are going to find your client in the most concentration. The more focused you are, the easier it is to get more clients.

Recently I wrote a blog describing four words I though people should be careful using. There is one word I forgot to mention. If I could banish one word from the business person’s vocabulary it would be “everyone”. No one company can focus on helping everyone. You need to hone your message and your intent down to your specific target market, set your path, know your risks, keep building, manage change, so when asked, “who is your target market” the answer will never be “everyone”.

What is the Importance of a Great First Impression?

Chances are you have been told many times in your life it is important to make a good first impression. We have been told by our mothers to dress appropriately, brush our hair, smile, sit up straight, etc. to give that good impression. What truly is the importance of giving and leaving a good impression, especially a first impression?

In law, a first impression refers to a case that holds a completely original issue of law. Wikipedia explains, “Since the legal issue under consideration has never been decided by an appeals court and, therefore, there is no precedent for the court to follow, the court uses analogies from prior rulings by appeals courts and its own logic.”

When we look at a first impression like this for our business we have to realize that a person or company meeting us for the first time, or hearing about our product/service for the first time, may have no reference point to make a judgement on our value. They may actually incorrectly apply the biases or prejudices from other experiences to your business.

In psychology (as explained in Wikipedia), “a first impression is the event when one person first encounters another person and forms a mental image of that person.”

When we apply this to our business we recognize that how we are seen in our business and how our business is accepted can depend on how we were perceived by the other person forming that impression.

We have control over the image we put off and the information we share but not how it is perceived, so we must work hard to make sure the impression someone forms about us on our first meeting will help us easily make a second connection with these people, especially if they are a potential client. So let’s look at three things that can be affected by a great first impression.

Time and Money

No one wants to be judged based on someone else’s past poor experience. It is up to you to make a first impression that says, “I am likable and worth knowing”, so that people will more quickly recognize your brand and potentially purchase from you or refer your business.

If it typically takes 7 marketing touches to get your business brand remembered by your potential client then you don’t want to lengthen that by first having to undo the wrong information (if you even get the chance). In marketing, the shorter your sales cycle the less money and time it costs you and that is always a great thing in business. Starting with a great first impression will potentially save you a lot of  time in your sales cycle.

I have found that, when speaking with someone for the first time, being very clear about the business benefits for the client and offering help instead of jumping to ‘sales mode’ creates a trusting first impression that gives people a feeling that you know what they need and you are willing to help. This is a much better first impression then coming across like a pushy sales person.


When creating marketing material for advertising many people you will reach may be getting their first impression of you through different media. Your message must have a consistent brand image (not just logo, but language, and feeling). The same rule as above applies. Show benefit and offer to help. You want people to become aware of you and your value to them as quickly as possible. They will ignore you if you have no brand or perceived value for them. They will take note of you when you are amazing and they will take note of you when you are incredibly irritating. It is just as detrimental on your business to be ignored as to have to undo a negative impression first. Always aim to be amazing.


It is known that it is easier to do business with people that know, like, and trust us. If we create a great first impression we can sometimes jump to a sale, particularly if the sale requires a lot less trust (e.g. purchasing a commodity like flowers or baked goods). If you are in an industry that requires a lot more trust before someone will purchase from you, like a financial planner, accountant, or general contractor, your potential clients will most likely come to you through a referral. A great first impression can help your potential clients get to the same level as if you had been referred to them. Be open and genuinely honest with them. Again, sharing your knowledge to help others in a way they can recognize you as having something they need will help you more quickly build trust.

Only One!

Don’t wait to make the perfect first impression. You only get once chance to do this, so, consistently make an effort to always create a great first impression and you will spend less time and money generating positive awareness of you and your business.

Working from Home with Kids Around Equals More Support

If you are like me you are working from home because you chose to be more available for your family. I have three kids, 13, 11, and 9 and now they are home for the summer. What a gift I have to actually be able to share their summer memories with them. We live in a beautiful city with 4 public beaches and 20 km of parks along the water front. It is a dream-come-true for me.

So how do I get any work done during the summer when it can be so easy to be distracted by the needs of my kids? Let me share my three favourite strategies for enlisting my kids to help me with my business so I can have time to do things with them and for them during their break.

Get Their Buy-in

Don’t assume just because they are kids they won’t understand about responsibility and commitment. This is your opportunity to teach them what it really means by modelling the way.

  • Talk to them as if you expect them to understand.
  • Ask for their input.
  • They will have lots of questions so don’t hold back on the answers.

Kids love to be taken seriously and allowing them to know that they are a key part to your success gives them great pride in what you are doing. Don’t forget to praise them when they are doing things right (not just when they are causing distractions). You will be surprised how much buy-in I get from my kids as they grow up in my business.

BONUS – I will even hire my kids to shred paper or organize things on my desk to get them completely involved. This is a real win-win-win scenario. They get responsibility and a little money for completing work, I get help and my business gets potential business partners for the future. It may not be my business they get into, but they will certainly think about business as an option when trying to figure out where they fit in life.

Set Boundaries

If you want your time respected by others you first have to know exactly what it is you want them to respect. Let your kids know where you work, when you are working, what work they can interrupt and what work they cannot interrupt.

My work day is set from 8 am to 5 pm. This is not specifically when I work but this is the boundary I’ve set for my kids. If I’m in my office they are not allowed to just barge in and start talking. They have to wait until I acknowledge them. This is important because I spend a lot of time writing and once I’m in the zone it’s easy to get distracted and hard to pick up the thought again.

I also have a simple solution for no interruptions. It is the door on my office. If it is open they can come in and wait to talk to me. If it is closed I am unavailable. I tell them it is the same as Daddy being at work, you can’t just barge in to his office. They get that.

My kids will now police each other around respecting my time and space. I will hear someone giving instructions on what can and cannot be done, as if I was not even in the house, during my focused work time.

BONUS – You need to set focused work times for yourself. You will be most productive if you have several uninterrupted 90-minute times during the day. This way you can give yourself time to renew and open the door to be around your kids often.

Rewards for Them and You

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from one of my favourite mentors, Donna Douglas. First she let me know that “even a 2-year old will scrub a toilet”. The insight in this statement was that my kids will help when asked, and it was true. The second was a strategy she used, which was to pay her kids 1% of her income from her company for their support of her in her business.

Their job was to not bother her while she was working, and like I described above, she had boundaries around what that meant to them. It does work. When you say to them, “if I have to stop to help you right now I cannot get my work finished and I won’t get paid”, they know it affects them as well.

BONUS – get them a bank account as soon as possible so you can transfer money directly from your account to theirs. This way they will also learn about saving, credit, and debit early in life. The sooner you introduce them to the tools they will need in business and life the sooner you can start on your succession plan.

They will grow up so fast. If you are as lucky as I am to have this opportunity to really spend time with your kids, then don’t miss out.

Your Story

There are so many other really great strategies, from getting the right support to part-time nannies. Let us know why you love working at home with your kids and your favourite strategy for dealing with your time and theirs effectively.

To Grow Your Business, First You Have to Grow Yourself: 3 Ways to Invest in Yourself

Do you want to stretch in your business? The best way I have found to quickly become more successful in your business is to take yourself to the next level and really stretch your limitations. Investing in your own growth will help you eliminate things you see as challenges when you do not have the knowledge to see the opportunity and path to implementation.
Here are 3 different things you should do to help you increase your scope and reach in your business.

1. Education (Take a course, workshop, program, get a certificate)

One of your best investments is to become a life-long-learner. Just because you are an expert at what you do does not mean you will have the skills or knowledge to tackle and manage all the challenges your business will require you to know. As the leader of your business your people will be looking to you to model the way.

Make sure you have the basic understanding of all administrative, legal, management and operational aspects of how business works. If you are a solo-preneur consider going to a conferences and workshops where you can get expert training on marketing, sales, mindset and so much more. An additional benefit of this is you get to network with like-minded people and run your ideas by them.

Many people offer free teleconference calls. This way you can get some information to start the process and then when you find the program that will really help you kick-it-up a notch, put your money into doing the entire program. Don’t be afraid to spend money on learning, it will have both short-term and long-term payback for you and your business.

2. Work with an Expert

If you are a couple of years or more into your business you will be in ‘Do’ mode. This is a great time to engage a coach or join a professional mastermind. These experts and peers can help you quickly identify the things that are not working best for the growth of your business and make suggestion you could implement immediately.

Create an advisory board or engage a mentor to meet with you regularly. It is important that you are getting an outside look at you and your business so you can see what is working well and what is not working, without the bias you will have when you evaluate yourself.

All these experts will stretch you and your beliefs around what is possible.

3. Look After Yourself

This investment is the key to great results. You only have one of you and if you get worn-down or sick you cannot help grow your business. Look at these three areas to get your best personal results.

  1. Get and stay healthy
    • Lose weight if you need to
    • Eat well
    • Exercise daily
  2. Spend time with family and friends.
    Laughter has great health benefits and what better way to get your required dose of laughter then sharing time with your friends. Remember, your down-time should be business free and focused on you.
  3. Treat yourself
    • Have a night out
    • Take regular vacations
    • Go to the spa
    • Play golf of another activity that you love

Finding time to do things for yourself not only creates a better, more healthy you, it also shows others that you are doing the right things in business and you have created a life worth living and sharing.

Future Proof Your Business: Create “The Big Picture” NOW!

As many of you know, my background is in technology and for the past 15 years I’ve been working in technical writing as an employee and for the last 6 years through my own company ClearComm Information Design Inc. There is so much to know as a technical writer, not just writing, but research, development, project flow, software use, usability, audience evaluation, not to mention requirements and regulations (like FDA or ISO). I’ve learned and written for tens, if not hundreds, of proprietary software programs and hardware configurations. I’m telling you, the big picture is not about the pieces but more about how the pieces create the final outcome. So how do we draw this line between the pieces of development for a product that will equate to $ sales in our businesses?

What does XML have to do with my business?

“Recently I had a call with Don Bridges the Sr. Accounts Manager with Data Conversion Laboratory, Inc. Bridges’ industry is all about converting content to XML format. Don’t worry that you don’t know this industry, I think you will get my point here. In this industry the increase in value for larger companies or those that must meet specific regulations like those for the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) when implementing this type of content is multiplied by the decrease in how much time is required to manage content across their business and ensure accuracy.

The point here is that if you have created something that you must manage, update, keep current, review, send out, share, train, or implement over and over then you need to be thinking like the XML industry. If you don’t think this is you then you are wrong. The Big Picture  here is – preparing for XML = less time and more accuracy. Every business has processes that must be repeated. Doing the same thing more than once costs time and dollars and introduces error. I’m not suggesting you use or even know about using XML, I’m saying you need to use the principles of reuse to streamline your content.

Bridges refers to this as “Future proofing your data” and I’m going to change this slightly to “Future proofing your business”.

How do I see the “Future Proof” my business?

Here are two exercises that will help you learn to look at the big picture first.

  1. Start at the end

    Here is a great exercise to help you do this. Start by imagining your product. Now get a journal or paper and start drawing what it looks like. If it is a service then write how it looks. Don’t stop with the obvious physical aspects of the product, talk about its actual size, colour(s), where you display it, how do you sell it, what does it smell like, where do you host it, how do you market it, how is it shipped, what does the store look like that you sell it in, how do your employees interact with your customers, how does your customer find you, where do you buy your supplies. Picture your costumers’ actual experience finding you, connecting with you, evaluating your services or product, deciding to purchase and then delivery. Don’t stop there, remember to picture the follow-up and customer support part of your business as well.

  2. Envision what this would look like

  3. Now close your eyes and visualize yourself and your business already having this product or service. Imagine you are in the future, your product is successfully selling. Spend a few moments bringing the images of the items you mentioned in the first exercise into your vision.

    Now ask yourself, “How did I get here?

    Use the vision to answer your question. Did it take the sale of one seminar, hundreds of hours, or thousands of products? Did you have to get a joint venture partner to get into your market. Did you have to build a larger manufacturing department? Did you have to outsource, hire, train, educate, purchase or certify yourself or anyone else in the company?

Now that you know what your client’s experience is going to be like in the future you have a road-map for all your marketing copy and branded documentation. Always keep the Big Picture in mind when creating anything new for your business and then reuse the main pieces over and over so that the consistency of the brand is carried through everything you do from this day forward.

What’s the benefit?

Why do you want to see the big picture? Well in the XML world, there is a lot of cost involved in converting traditional data and content to an XML format. If companies take Bridges’ advice and “Future proof their data” by creating their information with the goal that somewhere down the road they will need to make this conversion,then  they can reduce their costs and time it takes to make this change.

For businesses it means we need to know what we want to create so that when it comes time to make it we don’t have to start all over again. Recently I came to this conclusion:

If you want to go on vacation but you don’t tell your travel agent where you want to go, you can end up spending a lot more time and money on a place you did not want to visit.

It is the same for business: If you don’t tell your team or make the goal clear to yourself you may never know where you will end up or how much extra time and money it may take you to get there. Clarity on the “Big Picture” will reduce your costs and time to make it a valuable part of your business and increase your profits in the end.

Make Your Life Easier – My 3 Favourite Time-Savers!

There are so many things we are responsible for once we are in business, especially if we are a solo-preneur or a small company where everyone has more than one job responsibility. Coming up with new ideas, writing new proposals, creating new documents, and developing new language for your marketing and operations is time consuming and it can also be very difficult for some people to easily do. It can cost you a lot of time, stress, and even money if you have to pay someone to do it each time.

To make your life easier start building your business around the things you have already done. Here are my 3 favourite time-savers.

1. Systems

If you have already made a sale, ordered supplies, done a follow-up call, responded to customer inquiry or issue, or outsourced work, you have performed work in your business that will be repeated over-and-over. For any task in your business that you have to do more than once you should create a process. It does not have to be fancy, a simple list is fine.

  • Record the steps of a process as you do it.
  • Create an opening description that tells the reader when the appropriate time to use this procedure would be.
  • Give the file a name that you will be able to remember (e.g. ClientFollowup.doc)

Additional Benefits

When you have systems in place it:

  • Makes it easier to be consistent with your business brand and process
  • Helps you to remember what you did, so you can make systems better
  • Creates a process you can re-assign this to someone else as you grow

2. Templates

I am very savvy with Word Processor applications, but you don’t need to be to create simple, functional templates. I recommend you have at least one basic template created in MS Word (or whatever Word Processing software you use). This template should have your logo on the top, your contact information and tagline on the bottom and you may opt to put a page number in the header or footer as well. You can get someone to help you create this, and once it is set up you can use it for every new document you create. The key will be to remember to not overwrite the original template.

The second template you should have is your email signature. Make it match your branding, insert your logo and use your colours for that as well.


There are two really helpful things you can do to make a template even more functional. First is to create styles that match your branding. This way every document you create will have the same headings, indents, spacing, and colours and you won’t have to fool around with the formats as you write. Second is to save the template as a Word .dot file. This way you will never worry about overwriting your source template.

Additional Benefits

The biggest benefit of creating templates is the consistency in your branding. Every document will look like it comes from you. You will also save time setting up your documents every time you need to create something new. If you are savvy enough to implement some of the advance suggestions, you will save even more time creating and maintaining your documents.

3. Folders

Have you ever written great marketing copy and then you cannot remember where you put it? Having a good naming system for you folders and files will help you find your past content quickly. I often write great marketing copy in emails or in a description for a posting. I know that if I have to create that content again I will get something different and it might not be as powerful, so I will create a file, give it a name that fits my naming standards and put it in a folder that is specifically for that type of information.


Recently I was speaking with someone on the phone and described my mastermind and coaching programs in a way that was really compelling to the potential client. When I got off the phone I created a file with the information, called it “MMProgramDescription.doc” and saved it to the directory “BLITZ/MarketingCopy”. I have more than one company so I do not want to search through marketing copy for my other company to find this information.

There is of course many different ways to set this up and maintain it. You can get an expert, like a professional organizer to help you with this.

Additional Benefits

Being able to find what you created will not only save you time, it will allow you to easily reuse and re-purpose your great marketing copy (or other document information) for new uses which can reduce your stress when something has to go out “Right Now!”

Prove It!

Over the years you will create thousands of words (if not hundreds-of-thousands), concepts, descriptions, processes, etc. If you cannot find them then you will end up having to recreate them. You will never have consistency in your brand or your operations. Clients, contractors, partners, and employees will not know what to expect from you when the instructions are never the same and the look is unprofessional and unpredictable. Michael E. Gerber in his book The E-Myth Mastery goes into great description of how to define and set your systems to create an exceptional business. I often recommend to my clients to read this book.

Consistency of systems is the sign of a great entrepreneur. Start with these three time-savers to get lots of other benefits for your business.