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What You Need to Know to Master the Art of Business Networking

The first business networking meetings that I attended were something of a disaster for me. I’m naturally an introvert and am somewhat claustrophobic. Add in the ‘fun’ of being overweight, and it can make moving about in a crowd something… weird. To say that I was a hot mess navigating every networking meeting would probably be something of an understatement.

business networking

 

I realized that as part of doing business, I needed to master this skill. And being the logical person I am (some of you are probably laughing at that statement, admit it), I decided to put together a protocol and mental checklist for how to handle those business networking meetings.

I quickly realized I needed to carry business cards everywhere I go. That part was easy. I started experimenting with my 30- and 60-second introductions of who I am and what I do. Check.  

Next up was learning how to navigate a room filled with – GASP! – people.  

Did you know that you don’t actually have to talk to all 50 people in the room? Nor should you actively try to. You might roll your eyes at that one, but it was a big discovery for me. I already knew I shouldn’t try to talk to any single person for very long, but switching between groups was awkward to say the least.  

Add in the fear of “What if they don’t like me?”. Sweaty palms. UGH! Sweaty palms at a networking meeting are no good. Calm down. Breathe. Change how I think.  

business networkingI figured out how to consider it a successful business networking event for me. I decided that if I was able to talk to 3-5 people in 15 minutes and have a couple minutes of conversation with each one, I was good. Bonus points for setting up one or more 1:1 meetings with people for after the meeting.   

I had my little checklist and could do that. I’m a rule follower, so if I create my own little rule book, I’m good.

Flipping my thinking on its head has helped big time.   

Rather than going into a room and thinking, “What if they don’t like me?”, I think “Gosh, lots of new potential business partners. I wonder which ones will be the best ones”. So I started treating it as both a relationship building exercise and as an opportunity to interview and find the best of the best. In order to grow my business, I needed to find the right people who could refer potential clients to me. I also needed to find those people to whom I could confidently refer potential clients.

Once I started seeing business networking events as an opportunity to grow my business and relaxing about the whole thing, it got so much easier to use them effectively to make friends and get clients.

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Want to get more customers in your business? I’ve got just the opportunity for you!

Join us in Durham, NC, for my first ever business summit. At this live summit, on September 22-24, you’ll learn more about networking and how to grow your business. You’ll also have the opportunity to build some amazing relationships with other amazing entrepreneurs.  

For more details, please visit our Leadership Girl Live Summit page.


Have you been using Google as your business consultant?
Are you ready to start working with an expert in business instead?

Schedule a consult with me today.


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Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray

Haley Lynn GrayHaley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.

Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.

Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.

Connect with Haley:


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/master-art-business-networking/

Featured Expert: Farha Syed

Farha Syed is a certified residential interior designer. She is passionate about her work and believes in giving her clients a memorable experience in working with her. With each new project, she strives to give her best work by transforming her clients homes and lives with a design that is suited to their lifestyle that they can enjoy for years to come.

Farha Syed

Farha Syed

Q & A

Leadership Girl: What is the name of your business?

Farha Syed: Farha Syed Design, LLC

Leadership Girl: Can you tell us about your business?

Farha: At Farha Syed Design, an Interior Design company in Aldie, we work with you, our most valued and respected clients, to design your home to work with your lifestyle, creating the functionality, character and charm that make your home a true reflection of your personalities.

Leadership Girl: Who do you serve?

Farha: Busy families who do not have time, and/or who are not quite sure of how to make the room look put together and require professional help from a designer.

Leadership Girl: What is your website’s url?

Farha: http://farhasyeddesign.com

Leadership Girl: How did you get into your current business? What opportunities or needs did you see?

Farha: It is an inherited gift that has become my passion, which I would like to use to help those who seek my expertise and knowledge.

Leadership Girl: What have been your biggest challenges?

Farha: Reaching the right audience who have an understanding of how designers work and have realistic expectations and budgets.

Leadership Girl: What has been your Greatest Reward?

Farha SyedFarha: My greatest reward is an amazing coach and a support system of amazing designers who are ready to stand behind us. Happy clients who have happily referred us to others who might benefit from our services.

Leadership Girl: If you could change something, what would it be?

Farha: To have a fuller pipeline of clients waiting to work with me.

Leadership Girl: Who are your ideal clients?

Farha: My ideal clients are those who have an understanding and respect for the profession and have reasonable expectations and budgets when hiring a professional designer.

Leadership Girl: Social Media, Yay or Nay?

Farha: Yay

Leadership Girl: What is unique about your business?

Farha: Our mission is about making our clients’ experience working with us a pleasant and memorable one and exceeding their expectations by going above and beyond in delivering our services.



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Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/featured-expert-farha-syed/

Can You Imagine a Place Where Women Exchange Ideas and Collaborate?

I imagine a world where women come together to grow their businesses. A world in which we learn and exchange knowledge for the greater good — where we collaborate and build the best versions of ourselves and our businesses.

collaborateI’ve been dreaming about bringing people together for a long time because I’ve learned that when we come together and collaborate, we are stronger and more productive. When we expand the pie, we all have more.

In part, these are the reasons I founded Leadership Girl. I saw a very real need for support, resources, collaboration, education, and funding for small woman-owned businesses.  Because we have different needs, goals and desires for our businesses.  

I know that it is possible to leverage our strengths together to really grow our businesses.  

Building a business can be a lonely exercise. People who don’t have their own business don’t understand the exhilaration of making a sale, gaining a customer, and also the desolation of losing one. They don’t understand that the world is an incredibly noisy place with people telling you that you MUST do ONE thing to be successful, that you have to follow exactly THIS PATH, and only then will you be successful beyond your wildest dreams. So you have to weed through the noise to determine who is being truthful and who is selling you a bill of goods.

That is why I created Leadership Girl — to give business owners, like you, solid, no-nonsense information — because I believe in straight shooting. That’s just who I am.

(Ask me about the time I went skeet shooting as a teenager and one of the men, after I soundly beat him, asked me, “don’t you have a tea party you need to go to?”)

I once sat in a room full of men and wondered where the women were. Why weren’t they getting the education, why weren’t they getting the promotions, where were their businesses? So many why’s and not enough answers.  

collaborateI decided to do something about it, and me being me, I don’t do anything by half measures. I decided that it would be an awesome time to start a business. So I got my url, started my blog and opened up my business.  

Fast forward a few years, and I’m starting to take the next, big, audacious steps. This year, in September, I’m running my first live business Summit, and I want you to come. I want you to show up, to network, to meet other serious powerhouses in business, and learn more about business. I want you to walk away with some new collaborations and ideas that you can implement in your business NOW to make it super successful.  

That’s exactly why I’m here… to help you become successful, to be the catalyst and change agent, and to provide the resources you need for your business.

Let’s do it together! Let’s change the world one woman at a time, because that’s the only way that real, concerted change has ever been made. By starting a movement with a goal.

In this case, the goal is to help us build the businesses and lives of our dreams, so that we can pay for preschool, dance lessons, or a trip to Disney World for our littlest princesses. (Or Karate tournaments for our warrior princesses.)

I would consider it an honor and a privilege to have you join me, and many other entrepreneurs, at the Leadership Girl Live Summit in September, 2017 — the first one ever.

Learn more about the Leadership Girl Live Summit here.


Have you been using Google as your business consultant?
Are you ready to start working with an expert in business instead?

Schedule a consult with me today.


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Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray

Haley Lynn GrayHaley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.

Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.

Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.

Connect with Haley:


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/women-exchange-ideas-collaborate/

How to Get Clients? It’s Not a Deep Dark Secret

Leads! I need leads! I need clients! How do I get clients?

get clientsIt’s a desperate cry I hear every day in my Facebook group, the Women’s Entrepreneur Network. Inevitably, when people approach me, they ask if they can pick my brain or ask me for some “tips”.  

I explain that I don’t coach for free and I don’t give “tips” for free because I’d hate to tell them the wrong things that may set them back in their businesses. Also, this is my livelihood, and I live by helping people grow their businesses – for a fee. I’m a professional with a ton of training, and while I may like you, I’m not going to starve my own family to feed yours.  

But what I really see when I watch and lurk in the background is people sitting on their proverbial behinds waiting for clients to come to them.  

It doesn’t work that way. I don’t care how good your mindset is, if you’re sitting on your couch or bed or wherever in your home, and you’re not interacting with anyone, then you’re not taking that inspired action to get clients.  

A good friend of mine, Leslie Flowers, once said “What you want to manifest is moving towards you at the same velocity with which you are moving towards it. If you are sitting on the couch, so is it. If you’re running towards it, it is moving towards you at the same speed.”  

The real cure for “I’m broke”, “I don’t have money” or “I don’t have customers” is to do the work and deliver the goods. I’m not talking about working yourself into the ground, but rather focusing on doing the right things to get clients in your business instead of whining.  I swear, the whining is going to drive me to drink… Okay, maybe only Dr. Pepper.. But still, drinking.

Don’t get me started on the numerous people online who will take your money and half- deliver what they promised. That’s a whole ‘nother rant, but you need to deliver what you promised. Preferably OVER-deliver what you’ve promised to your customers, because no one likes to be stiffed. Unfortunately, I’ve had way too many experiences where people are quick to take your money and then slow to deliver on their promises. That’s not a good look for anyone! No wonder people are hesitant to trust!

how to get clientsIn the famous words of Yoda, “Do or do not, there is no ‘try’”. Whining never got anyone any clients. Sitting around hoping for clients to magically find you or people to fall from the sky to join your team just isn’t going to happen. You know it.  

You either really want something to happen and are going to make sure it happens, or you don’t. There really isn’t any in-between. You don’t “sort of” want something to happen. If you complain that “nothing” is working, most times I can point to what you’re not doing.  That is – not talking to people, not engaging, not being consistent. I know this because, well, I’ve been there, done that. When I’m not talking to people, not engaging and not being consistent, I’m not getting clients either. Funny how that works.  

Oh, and the whining thing? Everyone of us has situations that we’ve had to overcome, and some of us have faced tremendous adversity. It is just life. You either decide you’re going to think positively… or think negatively. Like when I was driving a few weeks ago, and the wheel came off of my car while I was driving. Yes, that sucked, but the good news is that the damage was minimal to my car, and it was easily fixed and no-one was hurt. I have good guardian angels!

So, my challenge to you is this: What steps can you take today to go out and find yourself some clients? How can you start getting leads consistently in your business? Chances are, I could give you 50 ways to do it, but unless you decide to take action and actually do the work, you’re not going to see the results.


Have you been using Google as your business consultant?
Are you ready to start working with an expert in business instead?
Schedule a consult with me today.


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Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray

Haley Lynn GrayHaley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.

Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.

Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.

Connect with Haley:


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/how-get-clients-not-deep-dark-secret/

Building a Pipeline: 5 Ways to Get a Consistent Supply of Customers

Building a Pipeline: 5 Ways to Get a Consistent Supply of CustomersImagine this – May was your best month ever in business. By July 1st, you are trying to figure out where all of the customers went. I’ve heard it, seen it and lived it – over and over again. Feast and Famine. What happened to that consistent supply of customers?

What if you could change things up a bit? Change things so that you have a more consistent supply of customers in your business?  

That’s where building a pipeline comes in for your business. Sure, you can turn on ads and get leads that way, but that can take time and tweaking to get just right. It can also be extremely costly, and depending on the value of a client to you, it may not be worth it.

So, what is this mysterious pipeline, and how do we get one?

Funny you should ask that question. Pipelines can come several ways.  

Here are 5 ways to build a pipeline with a consistent supply of customers:

1. Affiliate Programs

With this type of program, you can get people to help market your products or services in exchange for a percentage of the revenue.

2. Referral Partners

By building partnerships and a strong network, you can feed your business. This works well for certain types of businesses such as realtors, insurance agents and mortgage brokers, but also for other types of service based businesses, like non-medical home care.

3. Facebook Groups

Done correctly, a Facebook group can be one of the best pipelines for your business, but it can be somewhat tricky to manage. With a Facebook group, you are constantly balancing engagement with time commitment, investment and more. This is something that I love helping clients with because it can be incredibly fun and rewarding.

4. Your Website

With proper SEO, backlinks and the like, you can turn your website into a fantastic lead generation pipeline for your business. It takes time, energy and a really good strategy to grow, but over time you WILL see great improvements.

5. Pinterest

Yes. Pinterest. By using a few techniques to create pins and drive traffic back to your website, you will generate a LOT more traffic and leads. You can also drive traffic back to a landing page or opt-in and get tremendous traction that way.

Building a pipeline doesn’t have to be super painful, but it does require consistent effort and building to make it work to the best of its ability.

Have you been using Google as your business consultant?
Are you ready to start working with an expert in business instead?
Schedule a consult with me today.


Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray

Haley Lynn GrayHaley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.

Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.

Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.

Connect with Haley:


 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/building-pipeline-5-ways-supply-of-customers/

NEVER Put Your Home in Jeopardy to Hire a Coach

NEVER Put Your Home in Jeopardy to Hire a CoachOne of the big scams I see running rampant in the online community are so-called coaches who walk people through selling their assets so that their targets can afford to pay them.  

People pull out their credit cards, ready and willing to buy a dream. It’s like crack or cocaine. They figure if they just hire the RIGHT coach they’ll get the results that the other coaches haven’t gotten them so far. Unfortunately, they put themselves and their financial futures at stake when they sign up for some of these programs, which can easily range in price from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

These coaches are selling a dream. They are selling the magic. If you just do “X” in your business, then you are going to be wildly successful. Some will pull out hard sales techniques, even when it means that the prospect may lose their home, have to declare bankruptcy… or worse.  

It must be a crime, you’re thinking. Actually, it might not be. People are signing up for programs they can ill afford on the chance that learning how to do this one thing, or “fixing their mindset”, is somehow going to magically catapult their earnings into the stratosphere. Consumer protection? Well, that is a legal question for an attorney, but good luck getting too far, unless your coach really doesn’t show up.  

It’s on you, the consumer, to decide how much to spend for coaching. I am not saying you shouldn’t spend money on coaching, rather, be mindful of your budget. There are many coaches in a wide variety of price ranges who can make a massive difference in your business. They can help you grow your business and really get great results.  

I know that this isn’t a sexy post, and some people who are reading it may be wondering if there really are people out there desperate enough to hire a coach like this. The answer is yes, unfortunately so.

You just need to be extremely aware of what you’re spending your money on. And if you’re feeling pressured in a way that feels intimidating, it’s time to cut the cord. Run in the opposite direction. Seek legal counsel if you feel a need, but don’t go risking your home to pay for any coach.

I’ve heard too many stories around this, and it breaks my heart. Coaches aren’t magic makers, we are advisors and consultants who have some experience. With that experience, we can suggest changes to your life and business that can help you make great strides, but only if you actually do the work.

That’s the real kicker – actually showing up and doing the work. When you do that you will be invincible.


Have you been using Google as your business consultant?
Are you ready to start working with an expert in business instead?
Schedule a consult with me today.

Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray

Haley Lynn GrayHaley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.

Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.

Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.

Connect with Haley:


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/never-put-home-jeopardy-hire-a-coach/

Why Your Facebook Group is Dead

So, how does a savvy business owner improve Facebook engagement in their Facebook group?

When I talk to other entrepreneurs, they often mention that they want what I have in a Facebook Group: a place where people go to hang out, get information and generally have an interesting experience. People come onto social media to be social, to hang out with friends and have a good time. They may decide to buy something, but they definitely don’t come online to be sold to.

Why Your Facebook Group is DeadMost people choose to lurk in the background waiting for an invitation and the inclination to comment on others’ posts. If you don’t think people are watching, try posting a silly question and see how many people respond out of nowhere.

When I first started my group, it took me months to get good engagement going. It was frustrating to say the very least. There were times when I wanted to pull my hair out because people were joining the group in droves, but it still felt like a ghost town. I’d post something amazing and thought provoking… and NOTHING. I was lucky if I got a ‘like’ on my comment. I had to figure out why people weren’t reacting to my posts and why I wasn’t getting the kind of Facebook engagement that I wanted. And I had to figure it out FAST, because this is my business — and my livelihood!

I mean, why do some people get good Facebook engagement while others get almost nothing? It can be beyond frustrating and seriously make you want to howl at the moon. Truthfully, I was there  at the monitor wanting to scream and shake my fists at it because I’d put up these carefully thought-out posts, and NADA! Zip!

Through my research, I learned a few things. In a nutshell, you need to do the seven things I have listed below to encourage people to start engaging and posting in your group. They aren’t so hard, but once you start learning to do them consistently, your group engagement will go way up.

1. Post questions in your group regularly.

Post thought-provoking questions, or, if you need some ideas, you can borrow from the list of conversation starters that I shared in my blog post.

2. Encourage people to post in your group.

You can do this by messaging them privately and asking them to post. People love to know that their viewpoints and ideas are valued. And they are generally flattered if you ask them to post.

3. Comment on other people’s posts.

Make sure you reply when others post in your group to encourage them to post more. People appreciate getting feedback and love from the group owner.

4. Thank engaged group members via private message.

When someone posts something in your group, take the time to message them and thank them for putting a post in your group.

5. Post good content in the group.

It doesn’t have to be your own content, but you should aim to have at least 3-5 items posted in your group every day.

6. Use Facebook Live to your advantage.

Make sure you use Facebook Live to your benefit. You don’t need perfect hair, perfect make up or to lose 20 pounds before you do it. (I mean, seriously, if that was necessary I wouldn’t be doing Facebook Live all the time). With the way that Facebook’s algorithms currently work, you get seen by more people and are seen as more interactive. Announce in advance when you’ll be going live to give people a chance to hop on and interact with you.  

7. Host regular challenges.

Initiate challenges frequently in your group to encourage people to get results in their lives or in their businesses. People love a good challenge.

Focus on these seven steps with enthusiasm and consistency, and you’ll be growing one of THE best sales funnels ever for your business.

Have you been using Google as your business consultant?

Are you ready to start working with an expert in business instead?

Schedule a consult with me today.



Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray

Haley Lynn GrayHaley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.

Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.

Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.

Connect with Haley:


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/why-facebook-engagement-dead/

No Ideas? 11 Steps to Organizing a Successful Brainstorming Session

No Ideas? 11 Steps to Organizing a Successful Brainstorming Session
We’ve all been there – in need of that one great idea and the brain failing to play ball. Some days, no matter how long I sit and think about a problem, that elusive solution won’t come into view. On those days, usually after I’ve spent a fair few hours berating myself for my lack of progress, I regroup and decide to do a brainstorming session. It’s a great way to ease a mental block and get some ideas flowing. 

Whether you’re going to be brainstorming as a team or doing it solo, here are my eleven steps to organizing a successful brainstorming session:

1. Pick the Right Venue

Alone or in a group, conducting a brainstorming session at your usual desk(s) isn’t the best idea. You sit at your desk each and every day and it’s generally a place of mundanity rather than of inspiration. Have your brainstorming session take place in a different room where new patterns of thought are more likely to emerge.

2. Create the Right Environment

Make sure you (and your team) are relaxed and de-stressed during your brainstorming sessions. Stress can really hamper creative thinking. If you work in an office, try to create an informal environment for your team; consider bringing in snacks and turning on some music. Make sure that the room is well-lit. Include all the resources or tools you need at hand. Remember about refreshments to avoid people getting distracted by running to the kitchen. If you work alone, a walk around the block before sitting down to your brainstorming session can work wonders.

3. Think About Brainstorming Strategies

You can create the perfect environment, but sometimes you need a bit of structure to prompt some new thoughts. Try and think about the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. Or imagine there are no constraints in terms of budget or resources. Or come up with as many questions about your topic as you can and then set about answering them. There are more ideas here if you need a starting point in order to get going.

4. Prepare Your group

Prepare the information for your team. Include just enough information to inspire them, but not too much – it can easily limit the creative potential of your team during a brainstorming session. Also, consider who you’re going to invite to the meeting. If you pick team members who are like-minded, you’re not going to get many creative ideas. That’s why you should aim at building a diverse group of people from different departments or disciplines – they’re bound to have different thinking styles.

5. Establish ground rules

For the discussion to proceed smoothly, you should establish some ground rules at the beginning and stick to them throughout your brainstorming session. Remind your team that the session isn’t about competing for ideas, but coming up with a solution to a problem. Let them know whether they should raise their hand before they speak or interrupt someone – that’s how you ensure smooth communication.

6. Guide the discussion

When you’ve had all the team members share their ideas, it’s time to start a group discussion. That’s how you allow your team to develop the ideas of other people and come up with new solutions. Encourage everyone to contribute to the discussion. Make sure to discourage any forms of criticism – the idea behind brainstorming is to boost creativity, and criticism doesn’t help to do that. Remember that your role is to support the team, so don’t share your ideas all the time. Guide the discussion by sticking to one idea at a time and refocusing your team when they become sidetracked. Arrange many breaks to help your team concentrate as well.

7. Motivate your team

To spark the interest of your team in the problem, use this smart brainstorming trick. Ask your team what is the opposite of what you want to achieve. For example, what is the worst web design? That kind of question will instantly engage your team because it will force them to consider the problem from an unusual angle.

8. Nothing is too Stupid/Insignificant/Irrelevant to Be Written Down

Often, one of the reasons behind a mental block is over-thinking. We doubt our ideas and this stymies the flow of one (maybe not so great) idea leading onto another (maybe much better) idea. Starting from a point where nothing is to be discounted is a great way to get the brain into gear again. Write down each and every new idea and you could be surprised at the different perspectives and trains of thought that follow.

9. Give Yourself Time

Whilst having an open-ended brainstorming session can be counter-productive, you don’t want to put yourself under too much time pressure when it comes to creative thinking. Not only do you want to remove the stress a time constraint can create, you also want to allow time for the to brain wander. Being bored can actually help you come up with some great ideas!

10. Collect Your Ideas

Before your session, plan how you intend to collect the ideas you come up with. An old school whiteboard is tried and tested, but you should also consider the incredible selection of programs and apps designed to make the brainstorming process that bit easier. You can make your brainstorming ideas visual and engaging, create a mind map to share with colleagues or even conduct a brainstorming session remotely.

11. Plan Your Follow Up

No brainstorming session is any real use unless you have a way of putting your ideas into action. Decide on your objectives before you start, and then make sure you’ve completed them before you draw the session to a close. Make sure you end your session knowing how you’re going to proceed. This could be further research into a selection of your ideas, implementation of one of them or plans for further brainstorming.

With a little preparation and the right follow up, brainstorming can give a huge boost to your creativity. I hope your next brainstorming session sees you on your way to that next big idea!


Meet the Author: Anne Grobler

Anne Grobler is a business blogger who enjoys sharing her tips and suggestions for building a healthy work environment. With a background in marketing and communications and a huge love for writing, Anne is currently supporting OpenAgent, experts in the field of real estate.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.leadershipgirl.com/organizing-successful-brainstorming-session/

What’s All the Hubbub About a Sales Funnel? How Do They Work?

Okay, so what is a sales funnel anyway? Sales funnels are just about the hottest thing in marketing these days. People throw around words such as lead pages, landing pages, drip campaigns, webinars, and email blasts like they’re candy or something.  

Mostly they are really interesting sounding buzz words, but until you start to understand what all the components are, how they go together and why what you really need is a good strategy, all these words are just going to be alphabet soup.  

sales funnel 

First, let’s start with some terminology typically associated with a Sales Funnel.

1. Autoresponder

This is email marketing software that automatically sends out emails after someone opts in or buys a product from you. It can be smart or relatively simple. Smarter software would include platforms like Ontraport. Less sophisticated software would be something like MailChimp. If you have multiple lists, multiple opt-ins, etc, you need to get and implement something like Ontraport. That will allow you the more sophisticated “If-Then-Else” coding to make sure that no one ends up getting multiple copies of the same emails.

2. Video Conferencing Software

There are SO many video conferencing software options out there. My current favorite is Zoom because I can get the Pro version and do webinars. With the Webinar version I can have up to 100 people on the call, or I can do Facebook Live to my business page or Facebook Group. The opportunities for this are endless.

3. Drip Campaign

This is typically a set of emails that are delivered over a period of 7-21 days that encourage contacts to buy. They come with delivering an opt-in or product. You might sometimes see  the terms “autoresponder” and “drip campaign” used interchangeably.

4. Email Blast

I’ll confess, I don’t like this term. It leaves the impression that you are just throwing stuff out at your list to get them to buy. Of course you do want people to buy from you, but blasting it in their face is not necessarily the best way to nurture your list so they’ll want to continue receiving emails from you. So, I avoid the term “blast” as it has negative connotations to me.

5. Newsletter

Companies often send out newsletters anywhere between once a day to once a week, or even once a month or quarter. Sending out fewer than one email per month will make it difficult to maintain contact with your list. Emails should be simple and include relatively few graphics. In fact, most businesses with larger lists tend towards very short teasers, with the rest of the information on their website. They may not have any graphics at all in their newsletter either! All of that lives on the website.

Content is an integral part to a good newsletter. Be helpful, interesting and informative, and you’ll have clients for life!

Types of Funnels

There are many different kinds of sales funnels. They can range from building a large Facebook Group and doing regular Facebook Live sessions for your group to building a large email list and sending emails to your list. I agree that these are useful, but they are also fairly simple to use and implement.

You can also build more formal sales funnels. There are two main types of funnels I see used extensively in the online world.  

1. Webinar-Based Sales Funnel

sales funnelThese funnels are typically implemented by running Facebook Ads, Banner Ads and Google Ads. They traffic users to a sign-up for a webinar or free training. You get people to sign up for your free training, then you sell them your product. Once you’ve perfected the process, you can set it up so that it is fully automated. Then the webinar will run on its own with minimal human intervention. 

In the beginning, you will have to hold webinars on a regular basis. One reason I was able to grow my Facebook group so quickly in the beginning was because I held webinars on a weekly basis for months. When people registered for the webinar, I invited them to join my Facebook group on the ‘Thank You’ page. Then, at the end of the webinar, I again invited those who attended to join my Facebook group.

2. Freebie to Product-Based Sales Funnel

These are fabulous funnels because you can put so many pieces together. You will need a much more sophisticated email marketing service for this, such as Ontraport. If you have a single product, it isn’t an issue, but the point at which you have a multi-tiered sales funnel, you must have one of these services. It works like this: you run traffic to an opt-in (ad traffic, Pinterest traffic, etc). Then, when someone opts in to receive your product, on the ‘Thank You’ page you can offer them a low-cost product. I like $7 as my low-end product.

By adding in a series of emails through your autoresponder and your landing pages, you can get up-sells, down-sells and cross-sells, depending on the prospect’s behavior and what actions they take. It requires some programming of the conditions so that you don’t end up going in a circle or having other programming related issues.

There is, unfortunately, no single right way to build your business. I’ve seen people spend too much time trying to develop the “perfect” sales funnel, and freaking out because it wasn’t all perfect.

Don’t spend too much time driving yourself crazy on this point. Build your sales funnel or give us a call to help you out. And know that it is a process that requires setup, sales copy and testing to get to a completed state and ready to launch.


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Meet the Author: Haley Lynn Gray

Haley Lynn GrayHaley helps female entrepreneurs create a strategy plan for their businesses – so they can make enough money to spend quality time with their family, pay for their children’s dance lessons, pay bills – and not worry about where the next client is coming from.

Haley is a serial entrepreneur and founder of Leadership Girl. She helps other entrepreneurs build their businesses by sharing the benefits of her business education and experience through Business Coaching.

Whether you want to get a new business off the ground or expand an existing business, Haley can assist you.

Connect with Haley:


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Featured Expert: Leslie Flowers

Leslie Flowers is an authority on guiding women to ask for what they deserve … and be paid. Through seminars, workshops, high-performance masterminds, and her best seller Champion, she teaches a hallmark combination of various time-tested philosophies, distilling down the process of achievement and performance as the key to women having a successful business while living a life of abundance.

 

Leslie Flowers

With more than 10,000 hours teaching timeless universal principles and law, focusing on building confidence through performance and consistent achievement, Leslie is uniquely qualified to articulate complex concepts into bite-sized applicable nuggets, allowing women to find the motivation needed to take action toward their goals and start right away on their big dream.

Her 2014 Amazon Best-selling book Champion: 21st Century Women: Guardians of Wealth & Legacy in Women & Business, provides the how-to’s for building confidence and setting goals that are achieved with consistency over time, and how to start your own mastermind group.

Leslie’s three-year high-performance online business mastermind for women is based on her work, The 8 Essentials of Performance and Achievement, developed over twenty years. Her clients enjoy her online program as a rich resource for building their businesses. Her program, YourAccountabilityPartner -dot- Com allows women to work directly with her every week to stay on track toward their goals, no matter what.

Retired after forty-five years in corporate, Leslie calls herself a “Nana-preneur,” living in Cary, NC by a small lake dubbed “Swan Lake” (because it has a swan on it, of course) by her third of four grandchildren, all of whom live just ‘over the river and through the woods’ from her home.

Q & A

Leadership Girl (LG): Tell us about your business.

Leslie Flowers: I facilitated an ongoing, annual high performance women’s business mastermind. I’ve done more than 60 multi-week mastermind studies since 2008. I also provide accountability services at YourAccountability.com as many women want the accountability to keep them on track. I facilitate workshops and seminars, I’m a certified speaker (CS), a certified coach and consultant (LSC), and an inspiring and motivational speaker, having majored in drama at San Francisco State. I serve primarily women entrepreneurs and small business owners, yet my corporate fast track program has yielded wage gap crushing results by women moving up the corporate ladder.

LG: Who do you serve?

Leslie Flowers: Women who are already up at bat swinging. They have achieved a level of success; it’s simply not consistent or predictable. They have confidence and are looking for more. They not only want to succeed, they are willing to do whatever it takes, without violating the rights of others. They are coachable. Her clients understand 1) that their results exceed or match their level of investment in their own personal development and growth, and 2) are hungry for continuing to learn the information they know will take them where they want to go.

LG: What is the name of your business?

Leslie Flowers: Leslie Flowers Enterprises, LLC

LG: What is your website’s url?

Leslie Flowers: www.Leslie-Flowers.com

LG: How did you get into your current business? What opportunities or needs did you see?

Leslie FlowersLeslie Flowers: While already an expert in many personal development arenas by 2008, I wanted to work with the best and went into business with Bob Proctor, likely the most savvy thought leader in the area of principles of success and universal law. In 2013, I moved my mastermind studies and trainings to women when I discovered the results of a study by IWPR (Institute of Women’s Policy Research) for North Carolina revealing it would be 2054 before women and men would earn the same fee for the same work. I knew that women were stopped from being successful because they had no clue about what it took to become successful in business. Women must be successful in spaced intervals over time by executing their own directives in growing a business.

LG: What have been your biggest challenges?

Leslie Flowers: Helping women who believe they are my ideal client and who really want to work with me and succeed, yet are not willing to do what it takes based on fear and resulting lack of confidence.

LG: What has been your greatest reward?

Leslie Flowers: For fourteen quarters, I have trained and watched women set and reach their goals through the power of mastermind. My reward is their successes. Last year I guided twelve women through their money stories to invest $1,000 dollars in an event serving entrepreneurs and small business owners focused on moving their business from great to extraordinary. They didn’t know the results and had faith and confidence in themselves to execute the event. The best part was that I got to write a check to twelve women right after Thanksgiving … the event proceeds. This was THE biggest thing they had ever done in their lives.

LG: If you could change something, what would it be?

Leslie Flowers: That people choose to continue learning as I believe learning is our unique gift as humans and it serves as the ‘miracle grow’ for our minds.

LG: Who are your ideal clients?

Leslie Flowers: Who I serve is the same as my ideal clients: Women who are already up at bat swinging. They have achieved a level of success; it’s simply not consistent or predictable. They have confidence and are looking for more. They not only want to succeed, they are willing to do whatever it takes, without violating the rights of others. They are coachable. My clients understand 1) that their results exceed or match their level of investment in their own personal development and growth, and 2) are hungry for continuing to learn the information they know will take them where they want to go.

LG: Social Media, Yay or Nay?

Leslie Flowers: Yay!

LG: What is unique about your business?

Leslie Flowers: I am a rare woman authority on the timeless principles of success spelled out in the #2 best selling book of all time, Think and Grow Rich, and laws used for 200 generations by men to establish our current context for success. As such, I am uniquely qualified to teach women these principles in bite sized nuggets so they learn and apply the work quickly, leading to the ability to “ask for what they deserve, and be paid.” I have 45 years in corporate and 20 years studying a vast variety of disciplines and a rich resource and membership site to fortify the learning every week. 


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