I have been studying websites for the past 10 years. I remember building my first website and having NO clue who would even read it. This was before Google, before Facebook, and before MySpace. My customers barely had email addresses!
I hit publish and sent it into the atmosphere. I was nervous about putting myself out there, but then again, who would even find it?!?
It's been 10 years since I built that original site, and WOW have things changed. Now we all have smartphones in our pocket and it is essential for every business or church or organization to have a website.
But how do you make sure your website stands out from all the rest?
How do you engage your prospective customer when they've landed on your site?
How do you make sure your website is actually accomplishing anything at all?
Here's what will NOT work:
1. Have a beautiful design with stunning pictures, but have no clear call to action. So your visitors just leave quietly, unsure about what they should do next.
2. Have NO contact information on your first page. Your reader scans and looks and scans again, and in frustration, hits the "back" button so they can find your phone number or address in a different place.
3. Have a big beautiful site that isn't mobile friendly. Make your visitors zoom in and pinch and zoom out and scroll from side to side until they're dizzy. Your reader abandons the site, frustrated.
These three frustrations happen to me daily. And it makes me want to throw my phone across the room. (Which is extreme, because I really love my phone!)
Here's the deal: I would much rather build you a simple, basic website that WORKS than a complex, beautiful site that causes your reader (and prospective customer) frustration and dismay.
A famous marketer, Dan Kennedy, said: "If every ad around you is pretty, be ugly. If every ad around you is ugly, be pretty." I am paraphrasing, but the point is: STAND OUT.
When we build websites, here's what we focus on:
1. Easy to read.
2. Mobile friendly.
3. Clear steps on what to do next.
I have friends who tinker in web design and they've turned up their nose at some of the sites we have built. They think they are too simple. Too basic. Here's the deal: they are artists, not a team focused on building businesses. When they are building a gorgeous website on a HUGE monitor in their office, that website IS beautiful. It's a piece of art. But are they certified in SEO and experts in systems and streamlining? No.
Here's the reality: Your reader is clicking on your website from their phone, probably coming from an email, Facebook, or Google. So let's make your site simple, clean, easy to read, easy to navigate, and most of all, let's get your prospective customers to call you, stop by, sign up for your newsletter, or buy from you. Because THAT is the point of having a website!
Having an "ugly" website that gets me new clients and new business and grows my bottom line...now THAT is a winner!
I've never loved math. But I've learned to make peace with numbers.
I always preferred music and writing and reading. Give me words before numbers ANY day!
When I started my own business, I realized two things:
1. Math with dollar signs can be FUN!
2. I am still not very good at math and this could be dangerous for my company.
It did not take too long before I decided I did not want to pull my hair out over my numbers anymore. I had WAY more important things to do with my time. I was so relieved when my husband took over my business financials and said, "I'll handle it." He could get everything WAY faster than I could and and ON TIME! I was hooked. I got to manage the parts of my business that I truly LOVED and he could handle those pesky numbers.
I still see my numbers monthly with my P&L statement (profit and loss) and he even makes me beautiful, colorful charts to help me "see" my numbers better. Happy dance! I am able to see how my company is doing, how we are growing, where the money is going, and yet I don't have to track all the daily expenses and receipts. (Shudder.)
If you're ready for more time and LESS STRESS, consider these 9 benefits of working with Never Alone Business Services to handle all of your bookkeeping needs:
1. Simple, Flat Fee Pricing
No longer will you need to question how much your bookkeeper is going to charge you this month for taking care of your books. We charge the same amount each month so your budgeting is easy.
2. Quickbooks Online included in your monthly payment.
When you sign up to work with us, your subscription to Quickbooks Online is included, no additional fees. You can check your books from anywhere, online!
3. Clear, easy to read reports emailed to you each month.
Want to know how much money came in last month or where the money you spent went to? Each month, after reconciling your books, we will send you an easy to read Profit & Loss statement that shows you exactly how much came in and how much was spent. (Ask for the colorful charts--we'll custom build them for you!)
4. Easy tax preparation! (Yay!)
When it comes time for tax season, you can simply allow your tax accountant access to your Quickbooks Online and they will be able to file your taxes without any extra time wasted. And this will actually save you money! (Trust me, accountants are busy and they love bookkeepers.)
5. Certified Intuit Pro-Adviser
Chris is certified in Quickbooks Online and can assist you in making sure you are getting exactly what you are looking for out of your reports.
6. Easy access to your books, anytime, anywhere
With your included subscription to Quickbooks Online, you will be able to access your books anywhere you have an internet connection, even on your smartphone! See what is going on, as well as send invoices-- and get paid quickly and easily.
7. Non-profit? No problem.
We have worked with (and for) non-profits for years and understand the complexities that come with being a non-profit and the reporting that goes along with it. We specialize in working with churches and can help with difficult payroll and other features that come along with non-profits and churches.
8. Full range of business services available in one location.
We can not only help you with your bookkeeping, but we are certified SEO experts, website builders and business consultants ready to help you streamline your business for success!
9. Payroll can be integrated into this one system.
For an additional fee, we can setup your payroll through your Quickbooks Online so that payroll can be done quickly and easily each pay period. You can also file all of your paperwork and pay your monthly or quarterly taxes with only a few clicks of a button.
Ready to stop pulling out your hair and get back to the FUN parts of your business like I did?Contact us. We're here to help!
When unforeseen circumstances come out of nowhere like a punch to the gut, and you're left gasping for breath, how do you keep going?
How do you run your business when all the adrenaline, energy and excitement are gone?
When all you want to do is go crawl back in bed (or in a dark hole) and you're the leader, how do you react? What do you fall back on?
The first thing I do is pray.
Sometimes ALL I can do is throw my hands up in surrender and ask God for help, peace, and guidance.
He is faithful to take the wheel and drive for awhile.
The second thing I do is lean back on my systems.
When grief has left me limp and lifeless and I can barely get myself out of bed, I go back to what I set up for myself in times of energy and inspiration.
I look at my monthly marketing calendar: what am I supposed to be doing today? Even if I don't FEEL like it, I can start my newsletter, send my emails, update my website, and check our monthly profit and loss spreadsheet.
Even if I don't feel like CREATING or writing anything, I can do the mundane tasks because it doesn't take emotion to check off certain items on your to do list.
If you only rely on creativity and emotion to move forward, grief and loss can sink your ship.
In the good times and in the light, map out the plan for your month (it should rotate every month) and for the week. What needs to always happen? What is predictable? For example, I send out a monthly newsletter, so every month I have to:
Huge Tip: Save your creative tasks for when you are feeling creative.
Don't waste your creative energy doing mundane things, if you can use that energy to CREATE. Likewise, if you're not "feeling" it, go back to your systems and do what you know needs to be done.
I have many, many people around me, helping things to get accomplished every day of the week whether or not I "feel" like doing those things. My job is to manage and oversee those people, and even when I'm feeling less than 100%, these things get done, because I've trained them well. If I had not trained them and clearly explained what I expect, then when I'm down for the count, those things would fall down around me.
Instead, because they've clearly been taught the system, things can run "without" me for awhile.
Tips for Delegation:
Living in perpetual crisis-mode is not healthy.
Yes, crisis happens for all of us. We must expect it, for death and disease does not pass over any of our lives--it touches us somehow, whether directly or through our friends and families.
When you have come out of your crisis, do not just push forward. Look backwards--what can you learn from the experience? What systems or people can be put in place so things do not fall apart the next time life throws you a curve ball?
Take the time to analyze what can be changed and improved upon. Take notes. Write it down. Then implement it.
Do not jump from one crisis to another. We can learn from hard times and be more prepared in the future. For more help on setting up your systems, request our 13 Secrets to a Streamlined, Organized, Happy Team!
You CAN make it through the darkness and to the other side.
Whatever you are going through, lean on God to be your strength. Surrender to Him and He will guide you through. Blessings on you, my friend.
Is your business in trouble? Are you headed down the road, or worse yet, stalled on the side of the road?
Having a flat tire on the side of the road with traffic whizzing past at 70 mph ain't fun. Actually, it's terrifying.
Several years ago, I found myself stalled on the side of the freeway with 4 little kids strapped into car seats when my tire blew out. I have NEVER prayed so hard for help. To my left, traffic whizzed by. To the right was a sharp incline--literally a cliff down to nothingness. I was terrified, and yet I had to act upbeat and confident so I wouldn't panic the little children passengers in my van.
"It's going to be okay," I said in a high-pitched, sing-songy voice. "We are going to be JUST fine!" I promised with false bravado. My hands were shaking, but I had to keep smiling, keep nodding, and KEEP THEM CALM. All the while, I am glancing desperately out my window, hoping nothing will hit us, hoping help was on the way.
Car trouble always brings a sense of dread. The cost! The bills! What would they find? Sometimes I cling to false hope: Maybe the problem will just go away?? Unfortunately, in most cases, when I've ignored a transmission problem or delayed my oil changes, I've only made the problem worse.
Last summer, I heard a horrible FLAPPING noise coming from the front of my minivan. Trouble was, it would only happen occasionally. And of course, NEVER when my husband Chris was with me. So naturally, he thought I was hearing things.
On a particularly hot summer day, I was leaving my music studio and the noise was so awful and so horrible that I drove immediately to the nearest auto shop because I thought we were all going to die. I'm sure I looked like the typical frantic-crazy-woman: "There's something wrong with my van! It's horrible! I don't want to stall with 4 kids in the car again! You have to look!" The guy sighed patiently, attempted to calm me down, and then told me drive up on those strange wedge blocks so he could look under the engine. I was so scattered and scared that I couldn't do it. I got out and made him drive up the ramp.
After looking under the van and in the engine, he declared: "There's nothing wrong."
"What?!?! But there is a horrible flapping sound! You HAVE to find something wrong! I can't drive this thing!"
I drove away despondent. I KNEW something was wrong, and yet no one could find anything. I wracked my brain, listened to that stupid flapping noise, and then inspiration hit! Maybe the sound was coming from the ROOF of the van! As soon as I was home, I climbed onto the side of the van, and looked at the luggage rack. Nothing.
And then I saw it. The source of the flapping: the rubber that encased my windshield glass was loose! The hotter the sun, the more the rubber loosened and flapped in the wind, when I drove at high speeds!
I was elated! I knew there was a problem, I identified it, and now I could get it fixed!
Did I have the tools or the knowledge of HOW to fix it? No. But I could call the glass company and THEY knew what to do!
It's the same in your business.
You may have the knowledge that something isn't working right, or you may have panic that something is seriously wrong. You may have even identified WHAT is wrong. But now you need the tools and know-how, so you can get it fixed.
When I was stranded on the side of the road with my flat tire, with my little kids in the backseat, I have never been so happy to see my brother-in-law before or since, when he pulled up behind me to change my tire.
"Thank you! Thank you for coming!" I exclaimed.
I'll never forget his response: "Of course. That's what I'm here for."
His calm and assurance literally still brings tears to my eyes every time I pass that spot on the freeway.
He came to my rescue. He had the tools and the knowledge to fix my flat. He was calm and steady, and he got it done.
Are you bravely putting on a smiling face, keeping everyone calm around you, but inwardly panicking about all the danger around you? It could be a small problem, like a flat tire, but if you stay stranded, it could turn into a much worse situation.
Or, your "flapping noise" could be a perceived HUGE, HORRIBLE problem, when it can actually be fixed with something very simple.
You are the driver. You know where you're going. But you may need an expert to help diagnose and fix the problems you are facing.
I don't know much about cars. But when the engine in my van starts making strange noises, I bring it into the shop.
I don’t pop the hood and start tinkering around on my own—I have no idea how all those parts work together! But I can bring it to someone who does, and who can help me. I need my vehicle working properly so it will get me where I'm going.
If you're tired of ignoring the warning signs, and realize you may need help, here's where to start:
1. Get help. It may be time to hire someone or recruit more volunteers to get you out of this rough spot. Remember than the focus you are placing on your problems is wasting more time and money than a new hire. Don't automatically say: "We can't afford it." Sometimes you can't afford not to.
2. Invest in resources. Pushing through for a season is sometimes required, but it may be time to spend some money to take this huge load off your shoulders. If you're thinking: "There's gotta be a better way," there probably is. Start researching what is available out there--you may be shocked how many tools could ease your heavy burden!
3. Seek Support. Share your struggles with like-minded friends and get their input and feedback. You shouldn't suffer alone--be man enough to share what you're going through. Help could be just around the corner!
Is it time to "pop the hood" of your business and do an engine check? You may need a new transmission or you just may need an oil change. Stop ignoring the warning signs--it's time to find out! Request your free call to talk with us today. Together, we can diagnose what is going on!
About the Author
Hi, I'm Jen Hickle!