Time Management

Innovatively Bootstrapping Your Launch With Google

Armed with a dream, the willingness to work hard, and very little in their pocket, many are preparing for their big launch.  Whether it is revisiting and revamping your personal brand or introducing your small business to the market, a launch can take various forms. Keeping costs down and bootstrapping has always been a possible approach, but these days technology and social media have made it a lot easier.  Resources, a long-existing limitation for one-man shops have become more available and you now have help in doing more with less.

To that end,  Google has developed some great products that are of little to no cost and can help you maximize your efforts.  Here are some of them:

Google Email.  Gmail gives you a lot of free email space!  This comes in handy for incoming mail from customers, newsletters you sign up for, personal emails etc.  Better yet, gmail allows you to create labels which help in categorizing all your mail.  You can even have mail bypass your inbox and go directly to the folders you create.  If you have multiple email accounts to keep up with, instead of reading each one separately, gmail allows you to forward them and respond from the email address where you received the email.  You can even prioritize your mail as they come in!  Gmail offers great options, lots of space, and helps promote efficiency since you’re able to organize all your mail in one place.

Google Voice.  Google Voice allows you to set up a phone number and account where you’re able to make and receive calls.  Depending on where you’re calling, it may even be free!  Once you set up your account, you can even have calls forwarded to an office or mobile phone.  If a call goes to your voicemail, you can access it via your Google Voice account or via email after it has been transcribed.  The application also allows you to screen or block callers or have conference calls.

Google Calendar.  Google Calendar gives you multiple viewing options – by day, week, month, etc.  This application makes collaboration easy as you’re able to invite others via email to the events your schedule or even share your public calendar and vice versa.  The calendar also offers notifications whether your preference is via email or a pop up and you’re able to schedule the amount of time prior to your event that you would like to be reminded.  If your email account is linked to your smart phone, you can also easily sync your scheduled event to your phone’s calendar.  Google Calendar is great for managing your busy schedule and it isn’t complicated!

Google Documents.  Google Docs is great if you have documents that you would like to access on the go – whether these are invoices or contracts.  You can open and edit most Office documents such as spreadsheets, word documents or presentations.  It saves your work and you’re even able to share it with others.  And when you’re back at your computer, you can easily sync your documents!

Google Alerts.  If you’re looking for an efficient way to keep up with what others are saying about you, your business, or your blog, Google Alerts is the way to go.  Similarly, you can keep up with your niche market or competitors.  You can set up key words and you can choose how frequently you would like to be emailed.  You can choose the sources of your alerts such as blogs, web searches, or news stories.  As you’re able to manage your alerts, you can always change your preferences or even add more!

Google Analytics.  If your business is engaging in social media, it is important to measure and be able to speak to your return on investment.  Google Analytics allows you to see who is visiting your site and where traffic is being driven from.  Globally, you can see where your best visitors are located and you can see how people are moving about your site.  You can see your most popular content and see at which point customers leave the shopping cart.  Altogether, Google Analytics provides useful feedback and information that you can use to better serve your customers and ensure you satisfy your market.

As always, Google provides great applications to keep you efficient as your grow your business and brand.  And if keeping costs low and bootstrapping is part of your strategy, Google is on your side as a lot of these applications are free!

Which Google products have you used and how have these added value to what you do?


Maximizing Your 30 Seconds of Air Time

Time is of the essence.  And whether it is impressing a potential client or a business partner so that you get your foot in the door, you should master how to maximize your time.  Think about what’s at stake when a company finalizes and airs a 30-second commercial.  After months of ideas, discussions and the investment of time and money, that tiny frame of time does not allow for error.  Similarly, you need to do everything within your power to deliver efficiently.  It takes practice and polishing, but knowing what to do will give you an edge.

 

Here are some tried and true ways for you to maximize your time and make a good impression:

Be punctual. Being late isn’t attractive.  We always remember our precious time but we should also be mindful of other people’s time.  Be early, but not desperately early.  You want a few minutes to get yourself together, acquaint yourself with your surroundings and go over your game plan in your head.

Be professional. If you’re asking someone to spare some of their time for you, make sure you convey that you mean business.  Your level of seriousness should not be questionable.  Present yourself professionally in dress and in your mannerisms.

Be on point. Whatever your message is, nobody should know it better than you.  Make sure you have a good grasp of your subject matter and challenge yourself to know more than you think you need to.  Always be ready for that question from left field.

Be succinct. It is important to communicate clearly whether you’re writing or speaking.  Take the time to time to organize your thoughts and structure how you communicate your information so it accomplishes your goal efficiently.

Be a sponge. Be open and ready to engage and learn.  Being a good listener is key; and as much as you should be able to communicate your story, it is important to be able to step back and be the student.  There is so much we can learn when we ask questions and digest the answers.

Be humble. This may seem like a universally understood truth, but not everyone is good at this in practice.  Be grateful and appreciative for your opportunities.

 


Time For Your 2011 Resolutions Progress Report!

It is February 3rd, and we’re a full month into the near year!!  Do you remember all the excitement right before January 1 came?  And that final rush to have resolutions before the day arrived?  There is something refreshing about a new year.  It means new opportunities, new chances for change, a new start just when you need it… The list goes on!  And with any decision, it is hard to take that first step when you feel alone; but there is certainly strength in numbers when it comes to making resolutions for the new year!  It is a topic of many conversations; so if nothing else, you are swayed by the masses to have your own and be a part of the movement.

So you made your resolutions for the new year.  Ambitious as they may have been, you made them.   Now that we’re into the new year, how are things?  Are you keeping up with those resolutions?

A year seems like a long time.  And with 525,948.766 minutes, it is.  However, that does not mean procrastination should be part of the game plan.  In fact, you should make every effort to take your progress seriously on a daily basis.  Here are some things to consider:

Hold yourself accountable. You made the resolutions and these were things you wanted to accomplish. Because you don’t have anyone outside of yourself coercing you doesn’t mean you should take the goals you set lightly.  If you have a goal, make it a priority.  Let it be your motivation, with everything that you do aligned in a way that will help you accomplish your goal.  And when you aren’t in line with making progress, be honest with yourself and do something about it.

Make your goals manageable. We generally make our goals very broad. I want to build my professional network. That’s a great goal, but how do you accomplish that?  Break your goals down by the specific steps you need to take to get there.  So if you want to build your network, how many new people do you plan to meet each week?  How many networking events do you plan to attend each month?  What organizations do you want to get involved in?  Who do you plan to reach out to for help and referrals?  Focus on the small steps because ultimately they make the big steps possible.

Use progress reports.  Yes, progress reports.  Thought you left these back in grade school?  Well they are still relevant today.  They help you see how things are going along the way as opposed to waiting until the end.  If you are on track, then you’ll know exactly what you should continue doing and even challenge yourself to do more.  If you’re not on the right track and realize this early enough, then there will be time to make changes.  So once you set your weekly or monthly goals, how are you progressing compared to that?  Make sure you make pit stops to assess your progress, document it and use it to your benefit.

So really, how has the first month been with your 2011 resolutions?  We would love to hear about your progress!

have your own and

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