Welcome to the NBS Blog, where you'll gain an insight into the world of Nicola Burt-Skinner (NBS). You'll find hints and tips on sorting out your insurance and admin, details on our services, as well as some personal entries so you can get to know who
you're working with that little bit more. Enjoy!
It has been a very long time since I last blogged. Too long. There are over 160,000,000 blogs online at this moment in time. That is 160 MILLION blogs vying for attention in the great web of the t'internet! So why have I let mine slip? I can only answer that I have been too busy but is that enough of an excuse? Given the benefits of blogging, no, it's not.
So what are the benefits of blogging? Here's my top ten:
1) Boosts your search engine ranking.
Want to get high up in Google results? Then blog. Google and other search engines love nothing more than dynamic, changing content and a blog provides just that. Ensure your blog talks about topics and themes relevant to your business; place strategic keywords in the content and if this is what your ideal customer will be searching for; hey presto, you're there in the search results.
2) Attract new visitors and keep existing ones
In line with number 1, changing content will keep current visitors coming back for more as well as attracting new visitors. This in turn will lead to new client/customers if you play your cards right.
3) Establish yourself as an expert
Writing blog posts that provide answers to common questions and problems establishes you as an expert in that field and the "go to" person in that industry. SO find out what problems your potential customers are having, solve that problem in a detailed post and let them find you.
4) Gather a community of loyal ambassadors
Once people start to realise that you provide a timely and useful blog you will create an army of fans that wait for each edition and are willing to recommend you to their friends/network.
5) Spotlight a product/service
Use a blog post to detail your new product and service, share it with your network and get them to spread the word.
6) Get immediate feedback
Every blog should have a comments section. This allows your readers to tell you what they think of you, your writing, your business and/or your service/product. This helps you make changes quickly and appropriately.
7) Collect emails
The comments section is also a great way of collating emails (just warn people if you are going to use them in this way). You can then add these to your mailing list and offer further products/services to them.
8) Learn lots
Researching topics for blog posts is a great way of learning more. To write, you must read and to read is to learn.
9) Broaden your network
Asking for guest posts/bloggers will widen your network. You'll find other people and businesses that have the same and different interests to you. How can you collaborate? How does their business compliment yours?
10) Improve your writing
Writing blogs is hard but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Honestly.
So when was the last time you blogged? Share your blogs links below.
Until next time ...
Today I have worked from my Chromebook, iPad and iPhone and by 5.30pm the battery was dead on all of them. I have not stopped typing, tweeting, posting, researching. I also came across a video creator and have designed this little video to show how my poor smartphone was feeling by the end of the day. Enjoy!
A lot of requests have come through lately asking how to get the recommendation box on Facebook pages.
Recommendations are essential for getting business, if people can see hard, fast evidence that you are good at what you do then the chances that they'll buy from you are increased. So just how do you get this box on Facebook wherein your customers can rave about your services and/or products? It's simple.
1) Visit your page on Facebook
2) Click on the "about" section under your profile picture
3) Select "edit " in the "Basic info" section
4) Complete your address, including postcode (tip: if you don't acept visitors to your premises, just leave off your house number)
5) Check "show map on page".
6) Click on save changes at the bottom of the page
7) Hey Presto!!
Now when you go back to your page the recommendation box should be there in the right hand side of your timeline.
Next, post and ask all past and present customers to leave you a little recommendation.
Until next time ...
Our latest guest blog is from fellow VA, Amanda Scurr of Adminiscurr
and is on the subject of business bank accounts and their charges.
Bank Accounts & Charges
As an ex-banker (don’t hold that against me!)I thought I’d share a few tips on how to keep on the right side of your Bank and minimise charges (or chances of having to pay them!).
Even if you are a sole trader and your turnover is minimal, don’t use your personal account
for business transactions, this is in breach of terms and conditions of personal accounts.
Make sure you open a designated business account, it’s easier for accounting purposes
Don’t try and set up standing orders/direct debits on a Business Savings account to avoid
charges – the Bank will pick it up and it will be more hassle to change over when they do.
Many Banks still offer free banking packages for terms of 18 months to 2 years – a condition
of this however is quite often that there will be no cash transactions. If you are a cash
business tell them at the outset.
Believe it or not cash is really expensive for Banks to process due to the manpower involved,
security, transportation and insurance issues.
Avoid being paid in cash wherever possible – Banks will charge for paying in and
withdrawing cash, usually from 55p per £100 upwards.
Cheques are also really expensive to process – they are still collected from the Banks every
day and transported to a central point in the country to be processed cost of paying in and
writing a cheque is usually in excess of 60p.
Ask your customers to pay you electronically and pay your suppliers electronically wherever
When paying cheques into your Bank account you will also be charged for every credit that
you pay in. Writing a new paying in slip for every cheque that they pay in, this isn’t cost
effective. Pay in as little as you can get away with and include as many cheques on one
credit as you can.
One final tip, not a lot of people realise this, but if you discover a direct debit on your account that
you believe has been claimed incorrectly, your Bank are obliged to refund the disputed amount
to your account under the direct debit origination scheme within a specified time frame. It is then
down to your Bank to raise a query with the direct debit originator. For example if you change your
motor policy insurer but the old company keep claiming from your account, ring your Bank and
provided that they are satisfied that yours appears to be a genuine claim, they will have to refund
you either same day if notified early enough, or certainly by the next day. They will then take it up
with the insurers.
Happy Banking and remember, your Bank Manager is only human!
Amanda Scurr, owner of Adminiscurr, has over 24 years experience in the finance sector, which leaves her well placed to find a way of making things work and that involves helping other business owners get the work/life balance right.
Visit her website: www.adminiscurr.co.uk or call Amanda on 0797 6374399
We're proud to be helping raise awareness of this event, which supports St Teresa's Hospice.
For more information on visit their Facebook
I often talk about Twitter and what you should be doing but today I'm going to explain some things that you shouldn't
do. The following are universally hated on Twitter and will cost you follows. So please don't:
Auto DM people
The "Thanks for following, please buy my stuff" Direct messages that can be sent when a user follows you are the black sheep of Twitter. Nobody likes them and using them will often result in an immediate unfollow. Instead send a public reply thanking the follower for following you and strike up a conversation. Direct messages are only to be used for private conversations, when permission has been expressly given by the follower or you want some private information that you are entitled to.
Use TrueTwit validation
TrueTwit valiation asks user to input certain information into an online form before they are allowed to follow you. Why would you want to put this wall up between you and your followers. You're basically telling them they're nor good enough for you. I don't use TrueTwit and won't follow anyone that does. Social media expert @Fondalo
explains succinctly why it is bad here
Lump all your #ffs together and retweeting own #ffs
#ff stands for follow Friday and you use that hashtag to recommend users worth following to your own followers. In my opinion there is nothing worse then seeing a tweet that begins #ff then lists a plethora of usernames. I want to know why I should follow someone that you are recommending therefore one tweet per user is best, with a short reason as to why they should be followed. Are they funny, informative or what? If you put them in with other people I don't have the time or inclination (and neither do others) to click on each profile and see if they do warrant a follow.
Additionally, retweeting the tweets that recommend you is pointless. Who are you showing it to? People that already follow you? They know you are worth following they don't need to be told buy someone else. By all means thank the person that #ff'd you and if you want to show your appreciation return the favour (obviously heeding the advice about giving reasons)
I don't like teaching a granny to suck eggs but at the same time I do like to see people getting the most out of Twitter and other social media so if I can stop the unsuspecting falling into the trap of disgruntling their followers then I will!
Is there anything that turns you off social media-wise? Let us know below.
Until next time ...
Today we welcome guest blogger, Jayson Gurney of the Social Media Consultancy Limited. We're looking at which WordPress plug-ins you should use and what they do.
5 Must have WordPress Plug-ins
One of the most frequent questions we get from our Social Media Café
members is “What plug-in should we use?”
Anyone who has searched for a new WordPress plugin will fully appreciate the time involved in finding, configuring & testing a new plugin – it’s a time consuming process that doesn’t always yield good results, so here at the Social Media Consultancy Limited
we keep a well maintained list of free and paid for plug-ins that we regularly use on our clients’ sites, depending on their individual website requirements.
Within our trusted collection of reliable WordPress plugins, there are five must have plugins that we use on every custom WordPress site we build – both for internal and external use.
WordPress Plugin #1: Akismet
Pronounced “a-kiz-mit”, Akismet, is the best way to protect your WordPress installation from spam. Once installed it automatically filters your comments and track-backs using its advanced algorithms to identify and delete spam from your comments queue.
WordPress Plugin #2: NextGEN Gallery
NextGen Gallery is one of the most downloaded WordPress plugins, and is our preferred Gallery plug-in of choice. There are plenty of customisable options including: thumbnail size, automatic resizing on upload, watermarking and no of images per page.
WordPress Plugin #3: Shareaholic
This excellent plug-ins adds attractive social bookmarking icons to your posts, pages, index, or any combination of the three. It provides you with Facebook “Like”, Tweets and Google +1 counters.
You are in total control of what icons are displayed and in what order.
WordPress Plugin #4: All in One SEO Pack
All in One SEO Pack is a simple to use but powerful and essential Search Engine Optimisation plug-in, with over 12 million downloads to date. Once installed every-time you create a new page or post options for Page Title, Description and Keywords are displayed.
WordPress Plugin #5: Google Analyticator
This must have plug-in requires a valid Google Analytics account which is freely available at www.google.co.uk/analytics. Once installed and authenticated with your Google Analytics account it displays a widget on your WordPress dashboard –displaying key performance metrics for your site: visits, page-views, bounce rate, time on site, top pages, top referring websites and top referring keywords
Currently there are more than 24,000 plug-ins available for instant download – giving you plenty to choose from when compiling your own top 5.
Guest Author Bio
Jayson Gurney - Managing Director, the Social Media Consultancy Limited
. The Social Media Consultancy Limited is responsible for the regional Social Media Cafes in Darlington, Durham, Bishop Auckland, Barnard Castle & Hartlepool, plus the Social Media Support Groups
. We also provide Social Media Account Management and Social Media training workshop at our Newton Aycliffe office.
DO you know how FAB you are? Do you know how FAB your business is?
No, this is not some sort of motivational exercise it's a proven method of marketing. Get to know your Features, Advantages and Benefits so you know how best to sell your product and service to your ideal client/customer.
- facts and info.
What does your business do/provide? These are the features.
For example NBS Admin Assist provides admin support. Simples
Advantages - elaborate on your features (explain how they can help)
So you know what your business does but how does that help your customer. Tell them.
By NBS Admin Assist doing the work, the client doesn't have to.
Benefit - Results of those advantages to the client.
SO given those advantages, how does this benefit your client. Elaborate further. Tell the story, draw them in. How can they refuse what you're offering if you can show them how beneficial it is?
NBS example: Clients have more time to spend with their customers or family
So how FAB packed is your business?
Until next time ...
On a thread over on the Inspire Network's Facebook Group
we were discussing work/life balance and I said that housework can wait in favour of building a business and quoted the anonymous quote: "
Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”
Here are so more quotes about entrepreneurship:
The best reason to start an organization is to make meaning – to create a product or service to make the world a better place.”
– Guy Kawasaki,
Entrepreneur, Investor, Author
Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain,
What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?”
– Robert Schuller,
Televangelist and Pastor
You must fall in love with what you do, because being an entrepreneur is a lot of hard work, and overcoming a lot of adversity. From that love will come the dedication that will get you out of bed at 4 a.m. because of a great idea you just had and get you to work till 11 p.m. and not feel tired.”
– Ken Field,
Real Estate Magnate
Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
– Theodore Roosevelt,
26th President of the United States
Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
– Albert Schweitzer,
Theologian, Organist, Philosopher
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
– Winston Churchill,
Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”
– Henry Ford,
What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
– Napoleon Hill,
The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.
– Vince Lombardi,
Choose a job that you like, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
– Confucius ,
Thinker and Philosopher
Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.
– Jim Rohn,
Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker
Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph: a beginning, a struggle and a victory.
– Mahatma Gandhi,
Political and Spiritual Leader
Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.”
– John F. Kennedy,
35th President of the United States
Some people dream of great accomplishments, while others stay awake and do them.”
The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake – you can’t learn anything from being perfect.”
– Adam Osborne,
A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”
– John C. Maxwell,
Author and Speaker
Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
– Albert Einstein,
In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”
– Bill Cosby,
Comedian, Actor, Author
You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”
– Zig Ziglar,
Author and Speaker
A goal is a dream with a deadline.”
– Napoleon Hill,
Vision without action is daydreaming and action without vision is a nightmare.”
– Chinese Proverb
The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
– Walt Disney,
Director, Writer, Producer, Animator, Entrepreneur
I’ve always worked very, very hard, and the harder I worked, the luckier I got.”
– Alan Bond,
I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
– Michael Jordan,
Professional Basketball Player
Money won’t make you happy… but everybody wants to find out for themselves.”
– Zig Ziglar,
Author and Speaker
If you think you are beaten, you are. If you think you dare not, you don’t! If you want to win, but think you can’t, It’s almost a cinch you won’t. If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost; For out in the world, we find success begins with a fellow’s will; it’s all in the state of the mind. Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger and faster man, but sooner or later, the man who wins is the man who thinks he can.”
– Walter D. Wintle,
What's your favourite quote? Share them below.
Until next time ...