Small Business Diva

October 3, 2008

Who Owns Your Content? Think Again…

Filed under: Communication,Recommendations,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 11:41 am

When you post information on the Internet it’s worthwhile reading the fine print before you get too carried away.

If you use sites such as facebook, myspace or gmail I urge you to visit the World Internet Summit Blog now and watch this Sean Roach video.

I’ve seen one of Sean Roach’s presentations before and he is so funny, but he really knows his stuff.

Here’s to your success in business…

Donna-Marie

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September 13, 2008

Handy Computer Shortcuts – Part 2

Recently I wrote about some handy computer shortcuts that will save you time on the keyboard. As promised in that post, Handy Computer Shortcuts, here are a few more for you to play with:

  • Take you to the start of that line – Home
  • Take you to the start of the document – Ctrl (control) + Home
  • Take you to the end of that line – End
  • Take you to the start of the document – Ctrl + End
  • Create a new document – Ctrl + N
  • Insert a page break – Ctrl + Enter
  • Decrease font size – Ctrl + Shift + <
  • Increase font size – Ctrl + Shift + >
  • To change lowercase text to ALL CAPS – Ctrl + Shift + A
  • To insert a date field – Alt + Shift + D
  • Delete the word before the cursor – Ctrl + Backspace
  • Delete the word after the cursor – Ctrl + Del
  • Double-click to highlight the word the cursor is in
  • Triple-click to highlight the paragraph the cursor is in

Have fun playing with those!

Here’s to your success in business,

Donna-Marie

August 20, 2008

Email Etiquette

Filed under: Communication,Office Organisation,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 4:34 pm
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I’m writing today about a topic that has been annoying me for a while now… a topic that has recently been discussed at length on a business forum I’m a member of and more recently in the latest Women’s Network Australia e-Noticeboard. I figured that while there’s a bit of talk about it, it’s a good time to bring it up here and (hopefully) we can start sending a clear message to the guilty parties. I must admit, some of my dearest friends are guilty so if you do this too, please don’t take it personally.

The problem… people who forward emails without using the BCC: field and those who forward emails without removing previous recipients’ / senders’ addresses from the message. These are particularly the case with those, “Forward to at least 100, 000 people within the next 10 minutes or your wish won’t come true” type of messages but are seen in general business emails too.

There are three main problems with this:

1. If my name is one of those on the email – whether as sender or recipient – it then gets forwarded all over the place. Some people are very protective of their privacy and would rather that their details not be distributed willy-nilly. Okay, perhaps you trust all the people you are forwarding the message to, but what about the people they send it to… or the people they send it to… or… and so on?

2. Others are concerned that their address will eventually end up in the hands of spammers, thus opening them to being bombarded with even more spam emails.

3. It just looks messy! I really dislike having to scroll down through countless ‘to’ and ‘from’ lists, complete with various, “Thought you’d like this. OMG ROFLMAO!!! See you Saturday. Love Sue,” type messages just to find a useful bit of info in the bottom two lines.

Although this annoys me, it doesn’t upset me and I certainly don’t waste time worrying about it – and I still love my friends who do this – but I’d really like it if we could collectively start spreading the message.

If you are guilty of this, please:

1. When sending messages to numerous people and it’s not necessary for them to know who else you’re sending it to, use the BCC: field (it’s below To: and CC) and stands for Blind Carbon Copy. It means that each person in that address field will receive the message but they won’t see the names of others it was sent to.

2. When forwarding a message, please delete any irrelevant information from the email before you press ‘send’ (eg previous names, addresses, messages and signature blocks).

Another suggestion is that we all start to include a message in our emails along the lines of, “Thanks for deleting my email address and the FWD in the subject line before forwarding these to your friends and family.  Hardly any spam now.”

Okay… I’ll get off my soap box now.

Here’s to your success in business,

Donna-Marie

August 13, 2008

Are You A HOT Talker?

Filed under: Communication,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 3:20 pm
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I was just catching up on some reading at the Modern Goddess’ blog and came across this great post, Are You A HOT Talker?

No, Nicole isn’t talking about how sexy you speak… she’s referring to your general conversations and what messages you’re sending out… the QUALITY of your communication and how it affects the quality of your life.

To sum up, Nicole makes the following suggestions:

“When communicating, consider the following points:-

Heartfelt – Be sincere, take time to consider the impact of your words on others.

Open – Be open to others’ opinions, it never hurts to listen without judgment.

Truthful – Be honest and trustworthy in your communication.”

I think they’re pretty simple strategies to live by. If you have a minute to spare, it’s worth reading the full article – Are You A HOT Talker?

Here’s to your success in business…

Donna-Marie

August 11, 2008

What Difference Does A Font Make? Pt 2

Filed under: Communication,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 5:14 pm
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Last week I wrote about the basics of fonts and how to choose the best font(s) for your project – What Difference Does A Font Make?

Tash Huges, my friend and colleague at Word Constructions, has recently written at her blog about choosing font sizes. She makes some great points – it’s definitely worth the read. 

Here’s to your success in business…

Donna-Marie

July 29, 2008

What Difference Does A Font Make?

Filed under: Communication,Small Business,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 4:27 pm
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Three people this week have asked my opinion on what font is best for a particular project so I thought I would share some of the basics of fonts with you – which type to use when.

Very generally, for documents that will be read from a printed medium – flyer, magazine, newspaper – a serif font such as Times New Roman, Courier or Georgia is best. Serif fonts are the ones where each letter has little ‘feet’.

For documents that are more likely to be read on a computer – websites, ebooks, blogs, emails – sans serif (without feet) fonts such as Arial, Verdana and Tahoma are the best. Serif fonts on a computer screen can tend to look a little blurry and people with less than perfect eyesight may have trouble reading them.

Of course, sometimes you will want a specific font that matches your style, brand and image. Generally, cursive fonts such as Monotype Corsiva will be considered elegant; handwriting fonts such as Kristen or Lucida Handwriting give a fun, child-like feel; fonts that lean to the right imply something that is fast or energetic; Comic Sans is something more relaxed or fun; strong bold fonts such as Impact or Broadway imply… well, bold or impacting.

There are no hard and fast rules but these are more general guidelines that seem to be universally accepted.

Here’s to your success in business…

Donna-Marie

July 17, 2008

The Value Of Using Powerful Words

Filed under: Communication,Small Business,Tips & Tricks — smallbusinessdiva @ 2:59 pm
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There is a great post on the Write Powerful Resumes blog about using powerful words  to bring your resume to life.

The example given is excellent:

“There is nothing worse than saying:

– Achieved strong results due to strong ability to assess situations and utilise strong relationship skills.

Even though only two words have been changed, look at how much more powerful and interesting this next sentence is.

– Achieved outstanding results due to innate ability to assess situations and utilise strong relationship skills.”

These tips are not only useful when writing resumes but are also valuable across all types of writing. Within my business I use my thesaurus often. I also have a ‘swipe file’ of suggestions for alternate words and phrases.

It’s amazing how simply changing a few words here and there can make such a huge improvement to the quality of the text.

Here’s to your success in business…

Donna-Marie

April 4, 2008

Do You Have Tips to Share for Successful Live TV Interviews?

Filed under: Communication,Marketing Tips,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 8:15 pm
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I received a wonderful phone call from one of my clients yesterday. I recently wrote a media release for her and she was ringing to tell me that shortly after sending it out, she received a phone call from one of the major, prime-time TV shows to say that they would like to interview her live next Tuesday.

How exciting for her!

I quickly sent her a few tips to help her prepare but I would love to hear more. I know there are a lot of experienced business people who read this blog… have you ever been interviewed live on prime-time TV? Can you offer any real life tips and suggestions, particularly ways to appear confident – including how to remember your name and what your business does – when you have 1,000,001 butterflies doing a jig in your stomach?

I’d love to hear your ideas.

Here’s to your success in business…

March 21, 2008

Truth of Fiction?

Almost every day I receive some sort of email from a well-meaning relative, friend or colleague, warning me about the latest ‘shocking danger’. These warnings range from health issues, scams, computer viruses, safety issues… I’m sure you know the ones I am referring to. What’s more, these emails almost always ask you to forward the warning to everyone in your address book to make sure they’re aware of the potential dangers too.

Do you automatically forward on these warnings?

I don’t.

I go to a fantastic website – Truth or Fiction. You can look up the general topic of the warning email you’ve been sent and nine times out of ten, it will have the exact email in its files. It will tell you a little bit about the email and whether it’s true, fiction or a combination.

Before you automatically forward those ‘urgent warnings’, have a quick look on Truth or Fiction.

Here’s to your business success…

March 5, 2008

5 Tips for Online Article Submission

Filed under: Communication,Marketing Tips,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 7:32 am
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This post on Melissa Khalinsky’s blog has some useful tips about online article submission.

If you submit articles online, this is definitely worth reading as Melissa knows what she’s talking about – she manages The RepOZitory – an Australian article submission website. I believe these tips are based on the most common mistakes she sees in articles that are submitted to them.

Here’s to your business success…

February 25, 2008

Who Owns the E-Mails?

Filed under: Communication,Employment,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 7:32 pm
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Have you ever wondered who owns e-mails that are sent to employees while they are at work?

Ingrid’s Heart Harmony blog has a great post that’s worth reading – Legal Technology: Who Wins the Fight Over E-Mail Ownership?

This post refers to recent US case laws regarding the use of private e-mails in a business setting.  Ingrid goes on to outline some good, basic policies that make a firm foundation for company email policies.

If you employ staff or are considering employing staff in the future, this is definitely worth the read.

Here’s to your business success…

January 27, 2008

How do you find Australian Business News?

Here’s a great site that’s worth visiting – and subscribing too… Plugger – for Australian Business News.

Plugger is an Australian business news website aggregating news and providing a news search engine. You can search for news on your business or industry, and if you register, you can also receive one daily email of news up-dates about your customers, competitors and other related issues from a wide variety of sources.

Plus, you can publish your own news and media releases simply by emailing Plugger (your news must be within the body of the email or a page on a website, not an attachment) or you can log-in and  post your news. Logging-in lets you track the popularity of your post.

Best of all, it’s free to join Plugger. It’s a great way to post and track your news or to monitor customers and industries.

Here’s to your business success…

January 22, 2008

Do you compare?

Filed under: Communication,Marketing Tips,Small Business,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 10:22 am
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Jacqui at Rainbow Designs has a wonderful post on comparing that I urge you to read. What she writes is so true – how often do we compare ourselves with others? Our blogs, our businesses, our homes, our… everything!

Comparing can sometimes be beneficial but generally, I find it’s much better to focus on being the best, unique you that you can be. It’s all about finding your own personal style and putting that into everything you do.

A few years ago I was part of a team who presented a publishing forum. The speaker before me was so ‘out there’ and everybody loved him. He was really over the top and the audience was so hyped and motivated after hearing him. Thankfully we had a tea break between his presentation and mine.

I was really concerned that I wouldn’t be able to live up to his style and was rethinking my delivery – how could I present more like him? And to make it more difficult, I was presenting on the legal and technical issues! How could I make that more exciting?

Well, I decided it was too late to make changes and I just got up and presented in my usual style. Surprisingly, everyone was glued to my every word, taking lots of notes. Some of the feedback we received later – and some at my prodding 🙂 – was that the audience didn’t want more than one energetic section. They liked my presentation and found it just as useful as the other speaker before me.

So there was no need for me to worry and compare. Yes, it’s good to see what others are doing, to learn from them and improve. However sometimes two people – or two blogs, two presentations, two businesses – can be totally different and neither one is better than the other. They’re just… different.

Embrace your uniqueness!

Here’s to your business success…

December 29, 2007

The secret to getting the media to come running to you

How many times have you heard people comment on how difficult it is to get a press release read by the right media representatives, or how hard it is to get good editorial and TV coverage? I don’t know about you, but I hear it all the time.

It’s true… media outlets receive so many press releases each day that many go unread. Many more don’t even make it past the headline. Would you like to know how to get your press release read or better still, how to get the media to come to you, wanting to give you coverage and promotion?

I’ll let you in on the secret…

Simply give the media what they want.

“Yeah, simple,” I hear you say. “How do I know what they want?”

In all honesty, most areas of the media – print, radio, television, Internet – are always looking for good content to give their readers, viewers and listeners. Start by listing your target market and what publications they read; what shows they watch; what radio stations they listen to.

Next, read those publications, watch those shows and listen to those stations. Get a clear idea of what their style is and what they might be looking for. Now, how can you provide what they are looking for?

Most publications aren’t really interested in a new business because there are new businesses every day. But if you can show them HOW your business can BENEFIT their readers/listeners/viewers, you’re in with a chance. You need to find a unique story angle. What problems might their readers/listeners/viewers have that your product or service can solve? For example, there has a lot of talk around here recently about how easy it is for children to go missing. Let’s say you specialize in a product that can reduce the incidence of a child going missing, or that can help track them quickly. Write a press release that highlights the issues surrounding missing children, focusing on the emotions involved, rather than adjectives about how fabulous your product is. Then go on to state that there is a product available that can help minimize these incidents and give information about your product and its benefits.

Do not use your press release as a chance to advertise your product. That simply won’t work. You need to demonstrate a solution to a problem.

Next, make the journalist’s job as easy as possible. Journalists are very busy people. The easier you can make their job, the more inclined they are to cover your story. Give them good quality information; include a quote or two (journalists LOVE quotes); make sure you provide clear contact information for yourself, or whoever they should contact for further information; let them know that you’re available for an interview.

Once your story has been published or aired, send a brief note or email to the journalist involved to thank them, and let them know that you’re happy to help them next time they need information regarding your area of expertise. Once the journalist knows of your expertise and experiences how easy it is for them to work with you, they’ll come looking for you.

This is just the tip of the iceberg but I hope it helps you. Good luck – please send me the details of all the media coverage you get!

Here’s to your business success…

November 30, 2007

The value of giving clear instructions

Filed under: Communication,Small Business,Work from Home — smallbusinessdiva @ 4:43 pm
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I recently outsourced a particular business task and when the work was returned to me – and perfectly done, I might add – the contractor commented on how easy the job was given the clear, detailed instructions I provided her with.

Personally, I know how much easier it is for me to do a client’s work well when they have given me clear outlines of what they are looking for. In the example of writing an article for someone, it’s much easier to do when they outline the length of the article, the specific target market (i.e. who they want to read the article), the style, keywords, spelling (e.g. Australian, US or UK), article’s purpose, their image… the list goes on). It makes it so much easier to write – and write well – than when someone doesn’t have a clear picture of what they’re after.

So whenever you outsource or sub-contract work, aim to provide a clear, detailed brief. In most cases, a good service provider will ask you appropriate questions to gather this information but if they don’t, make sure you provide the details and ask them if there’s anything else they need to know to make their job easier.

You’d be surprised at the difference it can make to the quality of the work that is done for you.

Here’s to your business success…

November 14, 2007

How do you send large files over the Internet?

I am often asked how to send large files over the Internet as quite often there is a size limit or timeout limit on general email accounts, particularly if you are using a standard home-usage account.

I love two companies – Send This File and You Send It for this type of thing. Please note: I don’t get any commission for recommending these companies, I just do so because I love the service they provide.

They work much the same way. Basically, you select the file you want to send, click a couple of buttons, then your file is uploaded to a private area on their site and they will email a message with a download link to your selected recipient/s. The recipient of the file will receive this email saying that their file is ready for download; they click on the link and download the file. Easy!

This is fantastic when you have a file containing lots of high quality graphics, audios or videos.

You can sign up for a free account to trial both these companies and for many, the free account is all you’ll need. However if you find yourself wanting to use the service more and more, there are various upgrades that may be more suitable.

Check them out now… once you’ve tried them, you’ll use them wherever possible!

November 13, 2007

Cross Gender Communication

Filed under: Communication,Small Business — smallbusinessdiva @ 8:01 am
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I’m all for equality between the genders but at the same time, generally speaking, there are some clear differences in the way males and females think and act.

When I came across this clip on You Tube I just had to share it with you. Juliet Funt is giving some tips on cross gender communication. As funny as it is when she says it, she actually makes a lot of sense. I hope you enjoy it.

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