Not being able to think of anything to write can be frustrating to say the least. You may feel like a failure, and that you’re never going to be able to finish what you started. This is not the case, and even the best minds get stuck for ideas from time to time. If you want to help yourself then here are a few sources of inspiration.
Love what you Do
If you don’t love writing, then there is a high chance that you’ll never create anything you’re proud of. You need to have a keen interest in the topic you’re writing about and you also need to focus on the joy that it brings you. When you do this, you will soon find that you write with more confidence and that you are able to bring the reader into the very world you’ve created.
There really is no substitute for reading. If you want to get some inspiration then you need to look at the way an author writes. You also need to see the twists in their work, how they phrase things and how they build a picture by using nothing but words. The more you read, the more examples you’ll come across and the more impactful your own work will be. If you are stuck for ideas, then it helps to start out with famous authors.
Look at Photographs
They say that a photo speaks a thousand words, and this couldn’t be more true. If you are stuck for ideas, then consider going through some old photographs that relate to the topic you’re writing about. Pay attention to the small details and look at the emotions that are portrayed too. If you don’t know where to start then search for Ernest Hemingway photographs, as he was a famous author who had a lot of stories to tell.
Sometimes collaboration can really help to replenish your creativity. If you have run out of ideas, then consider talking with someone who is just as enthusiastic as you about writing. They will most likely have a completely different point of view. This can be invaluable to your level of inspiration, and it can also help you to get out of the rut you’re in too.
It really does help to enjoy the simple things in life from time to time. Get outside and explore the great outdoors. It is also a good idea to focus on what you can hear, see and feel on your journey. This will inspire you and it will also allow you to focus more on your own thoughts.
Listen to Music
Music can be very inspiring. Sit down and put on your favourite record. Pay attention to the lyrics, the tone of voice, the pace of the music and even the meaning behind it all. This can help you to dig deeper into the emotions that you want to get across in your writing, and it can also help you to come up with new ways of exploring them.
Everyone knows that communication is key to any decent relationship. Friendship can only succeed if you stay in contact. Romance can only blossom if both parties take time to talk things through. And, of course, customer relationships only work when a business focuses on improving communication techniques.
When it comes down to it, communicating well with customers is as vital to business as talking things out is to love. You could even say that this is a business essential. At least, it should be if you want to perfect customer service and secure sales.
Luckily, communication like this is easy enough to get a handle on when you’re starting with limited customer numbers. The chances are that you were personally able to talk with each customer who came your way in the early days. But, that becomes increasingly tricky as your company grows. And, that in itself can prove to be your undoing.
The fact is that customers won’t stick around for a company which doesn’t give them anything back. Acting that way is a surefire method for getting yourself dumped. Even if you haven’t lost customers yet, then, these are some definite signs that communication issues could be well on their way to spelling the end.
Most customers understand that company phone lines can get busy. That’s just part and parcel of running a growing company. But, you’ll probably find that they’re far less accepting if they’ve been trying to call without success all week. When that happens, this can fast become one of the communication issues which we’re referring to. What’s more, it’s a problem which there’s simply no need or excuse for in modern business.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to make sure that an engaged dial tone doesn’t end all your relationships. For the most part, it’s worth noting that your customers want to know what’s going on. If they get a dead dial tone anytime they ring up, it’s sure to frustrate. Make sure that doesn’t happen by taking the time to implement a call waiting message which allows customers to stay on the line with knowledge of precisely how long they’ll need to wait. It’s also worth freeing up your lines as much as possible by turning to options like these Ivy Answering services. That way, an outside company will filter any sales or unnecessary calls, allowing you and your most valued customers to communicate far more efficiently from now on.
You’re never around when they need you
No one wants a partner who is never there when they need to talk, and no one wants a company like that either. Nowadays, it simply isn’t enough for companies like yours to clock off at five every day and not revisit emails until the next morning. With online capabilities, most companies should now aim to keep communications open until at least eight or nine a night, if not 24 hours a day. That way, you never risk not being around when customers who work 9-5 themselves need you to be.
Of course, it isn’t always practical or cost effective to expect team members to stay at work overnight. Instead, you may again be better turning to outsourced services to ensure your customers always get the service they deserve. Phone services like those mentioned above may offer the chance to answer calls far later than your office hours. You may also wish to seek IT outsourcing, which can ensure a 24-hour online chat for any late night shoppers or queries. That way, your customers will never feel left in the lurch, and your communication will be much better as a result.
You’re never online
Speaking of online chats, it’s also worth watching out if you’re never online. Nowadays, we do most of our communications through online platforms. This is an easy and free method of communication which is preferable to many. When you can chat with someone online, after all, you needn’t worry about things like finding a quiet place or making sure you have everything to hand. Instead, online communication allows customers to reach out at their own pace, no matter where they happen to be. That’s why, if you haven’t yet implemented an online chat, you’re falling short where communication is concerned.
It’s now pretty essential for every successful company to include a live chat feature on their website. What’s more, it’s vital to ensure that this chat is available as often as possible. Again, 24/7 is best here as it allows late night customers to get help straight away. At the very least, you should aim to keep an accessible online chat open throughout office hours. Make sure, too, that you select a program which grants access to various members of your team so no customer is ever kept waiting.
You rarely get to the point
There’s nothing worse than a partner or friend who doesn’t say what they mean. This is a sure way to frustration and, ultimately, the breaking down of relationships. And guess what? The same rules apply in business. Communication isn’t just about being available for your customers, after all. It also comes down to how you get your information across. If you never give a straight answer to questions your customers have, then, the best communication efforts could still be letting you down.
The fact is that customers don’t want you to avoid a straight answer or, worse, try to sell them something else. When they call up with a query, they want straight talking and knowledgeable staff. The best way to make sure of that is to thoroughly train every member of your team in both your products and general customer service. That way, you can rest easy that they have all the skills necessary to provide the best information for customers, every single time.
As simple as that, you can at last perfect your communication and walk into the sunset with every customer who comes your way.
If you are having a hard time converting customers, then this could be down to a trust issue. Here are a few reasons why that may be the case.
You Aren’t Leaving a Good First Impression
First impressions can last up to 6 months. You need to think of your website as being the face of your company, and you also need to make sure that it is constructed as such. If your site is taking a long time to load or if it is not functioning properly, then this could be pushing your visitors away. It only takes around 7 seconds for your customers to develop an impression of your site, and if 3 of those seconds are spent loading, this drastically reduces the amount of time you have to impress them. If you are concerned about your customers leaving your site due to poor functionality, then you need to try and spend some time working on your website design. Choose fonts, images, colour schemes and more to create a logical flow of information. You also need to make sure that your site isn’t too busy, as this could increase the time that it takes to load up.
More and more people are now shopping online. This is great, but this also means that your online security needs to be on-point. You need to be offering products that are high in quality and you also need to make sure that you are offering a secure payment option too. If you don’t then your customers may not feel comfortable entering their details on your site and you may even find that you have a high cart abandonment rate too. If you want to get around this, offer payment methods that are widely recognised by all of your customers. You also need to offer payment options that are recognised across the world. This can include credit/debit card payments, PayPal and even Google Wallet too. Window shoppers will often take a very close look at your SSL certificate too. If you don’t have one, this is a sign that your site cannot be trusted at all.
People Aren’t Talking About You
People who shop online will almost always look up your site online before they buy from you. If you cannot be found online, or on any trustworthy review sites then this could be really impacting your sales. You need to have a lot of testimonials present and you also need to make sure that your customers feel confident in you. Studies show that 88% of people trust reviews that are written by other consumers, so encourage the customers that you do have right now to talk about you. You also need to make sure that they are rewarded for doing so as well. This will really boost your sales and it will also help with your overall conversion rate.
You’re Far too Mysterious
There is a high chance that your visitors are curious about the features of your product, and that they also want to learn about your services too. They might also want to know more about your shipping rates, and conditions. If they cannot find the information that they need then there is a high chance that they won’t buy from you. If you want to stop this from happening then you need to have complete transparency. You also need to make sure that you have a solid FAQ, and that you don’t leave your visitors hanging. It’s also worth investing in UX research software as this will give you the chance to find out exactly what your customers are looking for.
You’re Hard to Get Hold of
There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to connect with a business. If you are keeping your contact information hidden, or if you have a form and no email address then this can give your customers a bad impression. If you don’t want to appear unfriendly then you have to make sure that all of your contact information is accessible. You also need to take note that some customers would much prefer to contact you by email, or even phone over chat. If you want to make sure that your customers are getting the service that they need then make sure
that you are offering various contact options simultaneously.
You’re not on Social Media
We live in an internet world. If you have an inactive social media account then this can send the wrong message about your business. Customers may believe that you are no longer in business or that you are not interested in connecting with them. Either way, this will have a detrimental impact on your business and you may find that it costs you loyalty too. If you want to get around this, you need to keep your channels active. If you do not have time to do that, it may be worth you hiring a social media manager. When you do this, you can count on them to help you with the posts that you want to go live, and they can also help you to track your results too, so there are plenty of benefits. You also need to make sure that you are responding to any comments and questions that your followers are leaving. If you don’t then your customers may feel as though you don’t care about what they have to say or even that you are not concerned with their opinion. Again, this can impact your business, so take the time to respond to every single person who posts on your page and also make sure that you are putting in the work to maintain those good client relationships.
By following the above tips, you can be sure to boost the amount of trust that your customers
have in your site, and you can also boost your sales too. If you are still struggling to get your customers to trust in your business, then it may be worth analysing your competition to see how your service offerings differ.
Running a business comes with a lot of different challenges, and it’s usually the owners who have to sort it out. No matter how hard you work, the time you throw into learning about business, or how many people you have surrounding you, there will always be jobs which slip through the net. Internet and network security are some of the most common lapses found in modern companies. To help you out with this side of your company, this post will be exploring some of the different work which can be done to protect your network from threats on the outside.
Training & Rules
Humans are one of the easiest access points for a piece of malware, with computers rarely causing errors which can result in this. This means that the right training could be all it takes for you to start the process of securing your business. You team should be trained in areas like web browsing, email management, and downloads, giving them a good idea of where threats they have to avoid might come from. Alongside training, though, you should also make some ground rules. Passwords, for example, should be changed every month or so, as this will make it impossible for a brute force attack to gain access.
Most business have a computer for each of their team members, nowadays. Some will have more, and some will have less, but they all need to make sure that these machines are secure. Companies like Microsoft have made it easier than ever before to keep large groups of computers up to date. By using smart deployment methods, you can have all of your machines updated every night, ensuring that none of them are at risk. Your antivirus software should be one of the first things you think about keeping up to date like this.
The Networking Hardware
This is where this area will start to get a little complicated for a lot of business owners, as it’s time to start thinking about the hardware you have in place to protect you. If you use the internet, you will at least have a basic router, and these machines often come with firewalls and other protection tools built in. Having dedicated components for these sorts of jobs is usually more secure, but isn’t something which every company can afford.
Alongside the typical networking hardware you find in a business, it can also make sense to look for tools which offer more dedicated protection. Secure browsing servers have gained a lot of popularity over the last few years, with countless companies taking on this sort of resource. By stopping threats before they reach your network, hardware like this can prove to save huge amounts of time and money, especially if the attack you’re facing is a particularly nasty virus.
Taking It Online
Over the last few years, cloud services have taken the world of business by storm. Offering the chance to store all of your work on the web, along with providing access to crucial software, these sorts of tools can be perfect for a small business. By using this sort of service, you will take the security work out of your hands, giving it to a business with far more expertise than you have. Examples like Office 365 have proven to make small businesses far more secure, making them worth looking at when you’re trying to improve security.
With the contract your employees have to sign and the rules you have in your office, it should be easy to avoid having data leaked on purpose by these people. In reality, though, it’s hard to know who you can trust, and it’s always worth keeping on your toes with this sort of issue. Your employees should never have the opportunity to take data out of the company, and it’s becoming increasingly common for companies to ban devices like phones from the office floor to avoid this sort of issue.
External threats aren’t always obvious when they first attack your company. Viruses will often lie in wait until the opportune moment to strike, and this can make them extremely hard to deal with. To get around this, performing monthly clean ups is always a good idea. This can be handled as an automated process, making it take up barely any of your time. Of course, though, you’ll still need to make sure that people are using the machines correctly afterwards.
With all of this in mind, you should stand a far better chance of keeping your company’s network secure. A lot of people struggle with this sort of work, finding it hard to know whether or not they should get help.
People have been debating online privacy for a very long time. This field is broad and complicated, with loads of rules which restrict the way that data can be managed, but most people don’t really understand the mark they leave online. To give you an idea of what the web knows about you, this post will be exploring some of the different areas and tools which are responsible for holding your information, along with providing you with some tips to keep yourself safe.
Online adverts are one of the most shocking examples of personal data being used to help a business. When ads change to things you’ve looked at recently, it can be easy to assume that private information is being accessed, but all of this work happens locally. Rather than businesses being given access to your search history, an advertising platform is given hints towards the searches you’ve made, and will build the adverts they show you around this. This is one of the least intrusive forms of personal data access on the web, making it a shame that so many people are worried about it.
On the other side of the coin, most people are perfectly happy to use tools like social media to post about their lives, assuming that these sites are safe. Unfortunately, though, as history has shown time and time again, companies like Facebook have a very loose grasp on your personal data, and it can easily be leaked. You don’t need it to be leaked if you’re posting it publicly, though, as people can access content like this without even having a Facebook account. This sort of concern can be overcome by being careful on social media.
The Deep Web
If you’ve spent a lot of time on the internet, you’ve probably heard about the deep web or dark web. While these names sound scary, they cover sites which aren’t addressable using DNS, and can’t be picked up by normal search engines. There are loads of perfectly reputable deep web sites, and even more which are doing absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, though, there are also plenty of databases which are filled with passwords and other personal details.
There are websites which let you scan the deep web for instances of your personal details. You won’t be able to have these details deleted, but you will be able to change passwords, bank accounts, and anything else which might be compromised. When data is found like this, it is usually for sale, and this means that it could only be a matter of time until someone uses the details they have saved for you to do something bad with them.
It’s easy to find yourself sharing information with companies online, with ecommerce transactions demanding this sort of data. While you should be able to trust large businesses, though, it’s always worth being careful, as data leaks can impact companies of any size, and the big players are often targeted the most. When you make an order on a website which unlikely to use in the future, it makes sense to delete the details they have saved for you. This will limit the chances that you will be involved with a leak, while also making it easier to keep track of who knows what about you.
Tying It All Together
As mentioned in the beginning of this post, personal data privacy has long been the subject of public debate. People don’t like their information being spread around the web, but this fragmented approach can have some serious benefits. If you’re applying for a job, for example, your prospective employees could use a service like Checkr.com to get an idea of your background. This would make the process of getting the job much faster, while also giving the employer a true insight into your strengths as an employee.
Personal data is something which people are always going to struggle with. As one problem is solved, more pop up, with the advances in technology keeping lawmakers on the edge, and public awareness growing far beyond what it used to be. This is good for normal people, as it means that their data is kept at the forefront of discussion. Unfortunately, though, it also means that things are going to change, and people all over the world are going to have to choose exactly how they want their data to be used. If you don’t want your information to be spread around the web, you should avoid putting it there in the first place.