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Small Business Advice: Are You Enlightened?

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I was reading from Lao-tzu’s Tao Te Ching last night when I ran across an interesting quote:

He who knows others is wise;
He who knows himself is enlightened.

The passage made me stop and contemplate my own life. How well do I know myself? I went down that path for a bit of time; looking at my aspects and considering what I might be blind about.

Naturally, I soon turned to business. I thought about how much of marketing is focused on the consumer or the client. I wondered what I might learn about my business if I applied Lao-tzu’s words to marketing. So I rewrote the passage to say:

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7 Reasons Not to Link with Click Here

Do a Google search for click here. What you’ll find is around 1.7 billion (yes billion) instances in Google’s database where website owners have used “click here” as linked text on their website. Let me guess, that includes you, right?

But click here is seldom the best option for linked text. Take a look at these two examples:

To find out more about how I can help you grow your business, click here.

or

Find out more about how I can help you grow your business.

Which link tells you, as the site’s visitor, where you’ll go when you click the link? Isn’t it clearer in the second example that the link will lead you to how I can help you grow your business?

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Is Your Business About Relationships? …and Why It Should Be!

What is your business about?

Is it about branding and marketing? I’m sure it is. Is your business about sales and profits? I sure hope so. And is it about making some difference in the world? Ideally, that would be nice.

But branding, marketing, sales and making a difference require one thing – relationships. Ultimately, business is about relationships. Doesn’t matter whether you’re selling products or pitching services, ultimately people buy because they trust you. And trust comes from developing a relationship – even if that relationship is built from content on your website.

Whenever I work in my business, make plans etc, I always think about people. I remember that it’s people that I’m doing business with not some segment of niche market (though I may use the terms). And I remember that my own clients hire not my business, but me; they hire me. While they may like, want or need what I know or can teach them, ultimately they’re working with me because of the relationship we’ve built – and are building.

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How Could Someone Think That?

Is it right to abuse people in your businessIs it wise to use your business to hurt people?

You’d probably agree with me that it’s certainly not wise to hurt your customers or potential customers. That seems pretty clear, doesn’t it?

But what about the people you work with or who work for you? Is it okay – is it appropriate – to hurt, abuse or cause your staff, peers or partners to suffer simply because they work with you?

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Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid of The Economic Crisis

If you’re paying attention to the media you know that we’re are headlong into some hard economic times. Banks are failing, investment firms are in financial trouble and the housing markets across the nation are suffering.

Things are so bad here in Michigan, the state with the worst economy in the nation, that General Motors is talking about buying Chrysler – the Big Three become the Big Two.

So are these such terrible time economically? For some, yes. For others, and I’m not talking about the extremely wealthy, no. But that’s not how it’s being talked about. If you just pay attention to all the Henny Pennys writing for newspapers, magazine and the web and listen to their banter on TV and radio, our economic sky is falling.

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SOBCon08: Recap – Live Blogging and Reports From The Event

Most of us at SOBCon08 are bloggers, right? So you had to know that we blogged the event. Now I say we collectively as I was too busy jotting notes to live blog and too engrossed in conversation to blog at the event.

So what about the evenings…well, if I was getting to bed before 2am, perhaps. But I wasn’t.

Yet plenty of people either wrote reports from SOBCon08 or were live blogging as it happened. We even had a Twitter feed going at one point. The conversation behind the event didn’t stop – even during it.

So if you missed something or lost your notes at least you can find what you need from the vast resources below.

And if you couldn’t make it to SOBCon08 this year, you’ll find a great list of content that was written during the event. Having gone through all of these posts, photos and videos, there’s enough content here to make it feel like you were there – just without the smiles, hugs and handshakes.

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