Today everyone is selling something on line. But there are so many choices out there that it leaves one wondering what the best method is for me?

Today we are going to be covering many of the common carts and the pluses and minuses of each.

WooCommerce– This is a free shopping cart and has been relied on for years. The issue is if you want to accept payments from someone other than PayPal, you will need to buy add on packages. Most of the common ones will cost $49 upward to $199 each. As you can see, these extensions can add up quickly. Also there is a NEW policy by PayPal that if you are a NEW PayPal customer, you will have to have all of your WooCommerce purchases confirmed by the customer before payment will be processed.  As you can imagine this could be a headache for you, and the client.

Ithemes Exchange– This is a great little plugin that is similar to WooCommerce. The plug in is free however, like WooCommerce, the add-on pack is an additional $197.00 per year. This does give you over 20 add-ons including

  • Membership Add On
  • Shipping Charts
  • Canadian Tax and US Tax Charts
  • Hook ups to your Autoresponder
  • Product Variations
  • And lots more.

This plug in is very easy to install and configure and is recommended as a great starter cart.  It also does not have the PayPal restriction as WooCommerce has.

Ecwid Shopping Cart– This cart had both a free plan with 0% transaction fees as well as paid plans up to $69 a month. Their plans are based on the number of products. You would take payments via Paypal or it supports over 40 other payment providers. It also includes a complete shipping chart so that you can ship via multiple carries.

1Shopping Cart- This is a great cart with some great features. It includes a autoresponder and a basic CRM feature in the monthly fee.  They also have no limits on the number of contacts.  They allow you to hook up your favorite merchant account to the cart. If you do not have one, you can sign up through them and get a small discount. They also will lover the percentage that they take on the sale.  In many cases this is lower than the fee PayPal takes.  The starter package runs $34 per month and the ultimate package will cost you $249 per month.  Note the starter package DOES NOT include Affiliate management, but for $34 a month, this could be a cheaper option than paying for an autoresponder program and the additional PayPal fees.

Ontraport– This cart is a nice alternative to Infusionsoft. The cost of this cart starts at $79 a month and limits your contacts to 1000. The next package will cost you $279 a month and allows you to have 25,000.  This price also include the ability to add memberships and affiliate management. Like 1shopping cart, is also includes an advanced CRM and autoresponder programs.  There is also a “If-Then” feature that will help you expand and build your sales funnels via your shopping cart.

Infusionsoft This is considered one of the best carts out there. It can be expensive and is recommend for the coach who is making at least $75K or more. The prices start at $199 a month and can cost up to $599 a month for the complete system. It is also based on the number of contacts. The starter package only allows up to 2500 contacts. For coaches that have a large email base, they would have to buy the complete package that allows 10,000 contacts. This cart allows for a full build out of sales funnels, a complete CRM and a complete Sales mismanagement feature. It is important to note here that most coaches that choose this will also have to find a VA or an Infusionsoft certified professional to manage the program and build your funnels. Support is there to help but at times this could be limited and wait times could be a little long, however if you are earning the money and making the sales, this is a great option for the higher end coach.

It is also important to note that there are other ways to accept money. Today Mailchimp, Aweber and Active Campaign allow you the option now to add PayPal buttons to their emails and allow you to accept payment via this system. Also naturally, you can use the PayPal button codes as well to accept payments. In fact, ActiveCampaign also allows you to build funnels and many of the common features of Infusionsoft for a starting price of $9 per month up to $300 a month.  Again, this is based on the number of contacts that you have on your list.

There are also other free carts such as ZenCart, OpenCart and many others that you can also choose to use. Most of these also are hooked to using the PayPal or Stripe payments.

The key to find the right cart for you is to determine what do you really need from your shopping cart. Do you want a CRM? Multiple Shipping Platforms? Affiliate Management? Sales Funnels? Multiple Payment Methods? Autoresponders? Once you know what you really want, the next step is to compare pricing and also ask for a free trial and take the time to really test them to make sure they meet your needs.

If you are needing more assistance in picking or setting up your shopping cart, we are here to help. Click here to set up your free consultation call today.

 

One of the many way coaches can increase their income is via membership sites. This can be very profitable and can used as your signature program or just as an add-on.

Here are a few items to consider before you create your next membership site.

  • Platform: There are many plug-ins that allow you to create a membership site. One of the most common one is Wishlist. This has been trusted for years by many coaches and is one of the first ones that was created. Another great plug in is WP e-Member. If you are already an Infusionsoft user, you may want to consider using their add-on iMember360.
  • Levels: Make sure you pre-plan how many membership levels you want as well as what each level will have access to. This will making the set up a lot quicker.
  • Free vs Paid: A good way to entice people to your membership site is to either offer a limited time discount. Another idea is to offer a few pages to “free” members. This will allow them to savor what you have to offer and want to upgrade.
  • Content type: It will be important to know what content you will be sharing. Are you allowing them to view the content or download the content? Are you adding videos or PDFs? If so, make sure that they are the right size and formats. Also consider if you want to “host” the items on your website server or if you are going to use outside hosting options (You Tube, AWS, Vimeo)
  • Payment: Next you need to decide on how you are going to accept payment for your membership if you are charging. Also you will need to decide if this will be an on-going monthly price or a X-time payment.
  • Timing: Another item you will need to consider is if you want all of the access available at one time or if you want to “drip” the content. Another variation is that it is you want to move the members from one page to another. This is common for “classroom” formats. Many will have the next class “open” once the member has completed all of the steps from the previous class.
  • Branding: Most coaches will have new colors, new logos and banners for their membership site. If you are thinking about this, make sure you ask your website designer what dimensions you need to give to your graphic designer
  • Domain: Here you have the option to make a sub-domain to your main domain. This is a free option and would look like (members.yourdomainname.com). You may also want to consider purchasing a separate domain for your membership site. If you plan on buying a domain, make sure you send all the log in info to your web designer.
  • Security: This will be important now days with all of the hackers. Make sure that you have one of the many free security plug in installed or consider purchasing our favorite- iThemes Security.
  • Expiration: Lastly, you will need to consider is whether or not the content or access to the site will have an expiration date. Many programs are 3, 6 or 12 month programs allowing people to log in only during these times. Others will create a lifetime site. If do a lifetime site, you need to also decide if you are going to continually add new stuff or will it be a one-time set up and members can access the material forever.

With the proper plan and guide, you can have a membership site up and running in a few hours. The key is to have all you need in advance before you send off to your web designer. Also we would suggest talking over all of the above with them beforehand and make sure that they are needing anything else before you begin to start your site.  If you are thinking about doing a membership site, we would love to assist you. Schedule your call today and let’s talk.

Starting a business is one of the best and worst decisions a person can come up with. As much as being your own boss brings with it a level of freedom and independence, entrepreneurs are also the most stressed and harassed, having to deal with the needs of the business almost 24/7 without rest. While you can see business owners spend their weekdays doing activities they love other than business, it does not mean that they have fewer responsibilities.

Simply put, choosing to be in business is hard work and it takes a lot of commitment from a person when they finally take the plunge. Here are some ways to break into the jump and make it more manageable:

  1. Know the market.

The last thing a person can do is invest all their hard earned savings on a whim. It is important to remember that getting into business is part intuition and part calculated risk, but is never about gambling. Following one’s passion can be great, but it also makes for very risky business decision basis. Knowing your market is one of the first crucial steps that you should do when starting your own business.

Today however, an article on Entrepreneur suggests that knowing your market today shouldn’t be limited to getting details on their income, gender, ethnicity or education. Entrepreneur suggests taking your marketing strategies to the next level through personalization and customization and that means understanding the lifestyle of your customers. Understand the lifestyle of the generation where your target market belongs. You can also do your research by area. There are also tools that you can use to study your target market’s behavior, such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights.

  1. Know the underserved market.

Another good way to get into business is by knowing the underserved market. What makes your life miserable? One may be surprised to know that it’s also what makes others’ unbearable and these underserved customers are actually willing to pay for a service or product to ease off the hassle.

Being in the underserved market also makes one a highly uncontested market, something the bigger players will be very wary to get into. This translates to income at the fastest way possible. In addition to knowing the underserved market, it would also be good to think of how you can beat the competition. Jim Koch of Boston Beer co. and Samuel Adams Boston Lager says in an article published in Business Insider that your business is only feasible if what you are offering is cheaper or better than the alternatives.

  1. Prepare for the worst.

Although getting into business is a true act of faith, one must also not get into it without a safety net of at least six months. Anything is possible in business, unfortunately, including bankruptcy. If the person has a family to support, blindly getting money into a business without ensuring that they can live comfortably is a reckless move.

Preparing should also include the right paper work to protect the name, the finances, and the assets of the business from unscrupulous people.

  1. Delegate.

Budget may be a concern when you are starting a new business. However, multitasking just to accomplish everything that needs to get done from accounting to financials would not be beneficial for your business. If hiring is not an option at the moment, consider outsourcing to virtual assistants. It is best to outsource tasks that are repetitive in nature, those that are time-consuming, and technical tasks that are not part of your skills set. As a business owner, it is important that you oversee all processes without losing your focus on growing and grooming the business to reach its full potential.

Coaching may be one of the most rewarding jobs out there. After all, what can be more fulfilling than making a living doing what you do best, leading others to accomplish their own goals and watching them grow and flourish as you nurture them? It comes as no surprise that coaching is also one of the fastest growing industries, with an annual revenue amounting to $2 billion.
However, the benefits of working as a coach do not come without challenges and this is where hiring virtual assistants can make a huge difference in how you conduct business. Whether you’re a life, business, health, career, sports, or a personal coach, you can benefit from having a virtual assistant. Read on to find out how hiring virtual assistants can add value to your coaching practice.
1. Increase productivity.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with business-building activities, especially when you are just starting out as a coach. You have to find the time for every important aspect of the business—accounting, administration, marketing, planning and strategizing, coaching your clients, and finding new clients. Delegating time-consuming tasks like scheduling, bookkeeping, research, managing emails, or even updating your social media pages to virtual assistants can help you maximize productivity and achieve the elusive work-life balance for busy coaches.
2. Focus on growing your business.
The more you delegate repetitive and administrative tasks to virtual assistants, the more you’ll be able to focus on growing your coaching practice. Finally, you can have more time to attend training and learning sessions for your career growth, work on growing your network, and strategize to attract more clients.
3. They can do it better than you.
The point of outsourcing tasks to virtual assistants is not just to help you save time by taking several tasks off your load, but also to ensure that these tasks are done in an efficient and excellent manner. If you hire reliable virtual assistants, you can count on them to deliver high-quality work because they specialize in the type of task you assign to them. This is advantageous for you and your virtual assistants because you’re both focusing on tasks that you enjoy doing.
4. Save money.
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of hiring a virtual assistants is it the cost-savings. This is a lot cheaper than having a full-time salaried employee. You just pay for the services you need and only when you need them.
Should you hire virtual assistants? Definitely yes if you want to experience the benefits listed above.

 

Interested in finding out more on how we can SAVE you money… Click here to make your appointment today and let’s talk.

You look at the time it’s already 3 P.M. Glance over your to-do list and see that nothing’s been crossed out!

Where has all that time gone?

Most people imagine that working from home is a casual affair that should not be treated with seriousness. However, if you are thinking about venturing into any form of home business, you have to acknowledge the fact that it requires as much seriousness as any other business. In as much as operating a home business allows you the flexibility to choose the time to work, you should always ensure that you manage your time well for you to get good results.

Some of the reasons why time management is important when working from home include:

1. It plays a big role in the success of your home business:
When you are writing down your business plan, you have to include time management. This is because time is one of the major resources that you have when it comes to propelling your business to greater heights. No matter how much capital you invest, if you have not internalized the essentials of time management, you will flop.
You need to realize that there are a lot of distractions for people who run home businesses. There will always be phone calls from friends and relatives who want to catch up because ‘you are always home’. You may also have children who reach for your attention simply because they see you around. You should find the right way to manage your time such that these distractions do not interfere with your business. First, start by 5 creating a work schedule and sticking to it. If your phone rings, you can either ignore it if it is not an emergency, or politely inform the callers that you are working. You should also let you friends and family know that specific hours of your day are reserved for working. Remember, nobody will take your business seriously if you do not show them that they need to.

2. It reduces stress:
The temptation to indulge in the many distractions at home can be overwhelming. Admit it, sometimes, you promise yourself that all you will do is to respond to a few Facebook messages or check out what is going on in the world of twitter. Then before you know it, you have spent a lot of your valuable time reading random things on the internet. Or maybe you decided to catch up with your friends, and hours later, it hits you that a lot of work concerning your business is undone. The result is instant stress! It can be very frustrating trying to make up for lost time. A lot of people who have not grasped the importance of time management always end up straining themselves in an attempt to meet deadlines and fulfill their clients’ needs. Think about how easier it would be if you managed your time well. You will get everything done on time, and get time to relax after everything is done.

To learn more- register below for a free copy of the eBook “Seize the Day”

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In today’s competitive business environment it is essential to find ways to reduce costs and increase revenues while keeping productivity and quality high. One of the best ways to achieve this is through hiring and retention of outstanding employees.

Far too often hiring managers rush through the hiring process due to being reactive rather than proactive when filling positions. With some preplanning in the hiring process and implementation of sound strategies once people join your organization, you will lower the cost of doing business by considerable amounts.

As you prepare to hire consider the following:

• What type of person are you looking for?
• What are the values that drive your company?
• How difficult is the job you are filling?
• Do you have anyone internally who can do the job?
• How long will it take to find the right person for the position?
• What are you willing to negotiate with the potential candidate?

In looking for potential candidates you may want to try more than the traditional employee search. Tap into your network of professional connections. Some of your best candidates may be working for your competitors. Be careful about hiring someone just because they are a friend or family member. Not that friends and family members don’t make good employees – often they can be fantastic. And yet, if you are hiring them only because they are a friend or family member, you are setting yourself up for some big problems. With the wrong choice morale with other employees can go down. With the right choice it is just as likely to go up.

Think through the compensation package. Are the wages fair for the job, industry and market? Make sure your benefit package is competitive for your industry. Find out what other companies are offering as far as compensation and consider matching or beating their offerings.

There are occasions when someone may take a position without thinking through income, benefits or fit. Once they have gotten settled in and are feeling comfortable with the position and the company, they may realize the compensation and the job is not all it could be. That can cause some discontent on their part. To avoid this, do your homework.

Another key to keeping good employees is to make sure they are treated with respect, dignity and appreciation. This may seem like common sense and yet, it often doesn’t happen. I consult with various types of organizations employee retention and how to gain more commitment from the staff. I often will meet individually, in private, with a cross section of the staff. I spend at least an hour with each employee in a confidential meeting to find out their view of the company. Inevitably, the areas that are most lacking for the employee to be fully satisfied are communication and appreciation.

Once the area of discontent has been identified I design programs for the company in which to address the problems. What is amazing is the problem is often on the way to being solved by virtue of the fact the organization has brought me in. A common comment is, “Finally, someone is listening to me.”

Often, a company’s problems can be lessened with some good coaching and training of management. It is amazing how many managers and supervisors were put into their position without any training in interpersonal skills, management and supervisory skills, and how to communicate effectively. Nine times out of ten the people who need the most training are the ones who think they need it the least. And, they are often the biggest obstacle to the success of a company.

In order to stay competitive on all fronts you must keep your entire team on the leading edge. By doing so you will be in business for years to come with a happy, dedicated and productive team. And that will equal profits

coachJust as your clients are all individuals who need individual approaches, strategies and motivation, so to are the many ways you can create the irresistibility factor in your Coaching Program.

1.  Create a Price Point that is Irresistible – Both to You and Your Client!

Your coaching service fees can make or break attracting the right client – but plunging your prices isn’t always the big draw you might think.  In fact, you might actually need to raise your prices in order to land the clients who will get the most out of your services.

Think about it:  Would people used to eating at five-star restaurants eat at a fast-food concession booth and expect a five-star, seven course meal?  Of course not.

And if you provided it, how could you afford to do so for a return-on-investment that barely paid for the ingredients in that home-baked brioche?

Think also about who you would attract:  People expecting hot dogs might not appreciate the delicate edge that star anise gives to your béchamel sauce.  “Where’s the ketchup?” might be the angry cry, instead.

And your gourmet dining connoisseur would pass any hot dog booth by, not even seeing that yours was different.

Your price point has to balance with the clientele you want to attract.  It has to align with their goals, expectation and budget.  And it has to be worthwhile for you, otherwise you’ll start to resent them – and the time they take.

Make sure you pay yourself well – so you’ll have less stress and more energy and joy to give your clients.

And don’t reduce your rates:  Offer installment-based payments plans instead, if you must.

Remember, give extra value – not half-price discounts.

2.  Learn From your Past Coaches and Mentors

Be observant.  Think about your past coaches and mentors.  What did they do that you absolutely loved?  What did they do that you weren’t so keen about?

Make an actual, two-column list with the two questions as your headings:  Then decide which technique, action, communication style in the “Absolutely Loved” column would work well with your coaching program.  (Make sure you’re absolutely clear on why these things would work for your clients.)

Analyze your current style – and make sure it contains no habits from the “Weren’t So Keen About” column!

3.  Be Prepared to Learn Something New Every Day

Take courses.  Go to workshops.  Train with your own mentors and coaches.

And read, read, read.

Top coaches are never complacent.  While being well aware of their own assets and skills, they never assume they have nothing left to learn.  They are able to put ego aside while looking for new methods, new opportunities, new tips and new ways of doing things.

They are innovative, open-minded – and they keep on top of their industry and niche.

Business coaches can be a powerful tool for any business environment. They can help business managers in innovative companies to understand and take the next step in solving a specific technology or business development. A business coach can help your company reach the next stage in product development.

When business coaching is done on a one on one basis it can be offered in many forms such as weekly or monthly and each session can last from a couple of hours to a full day. Monthly programs tend to work well with small to mid size businesses where there is only one owner or one partner. The company’s commitment to business coaching should be long term. On average 9 to 12 months is the commitment period. Most business coaches can create custom packages for you.

ROI for the Business Owner
Using the unique approach of having a business coach work with your management team or other employees, can be highly beneficial to your ROI. The increase in profitability using a business coach is well documented. Business coaching can result in a larger market share, improved talent retention, lower operating costs, improved marketing, faster methods to get the product to market, greater customer satisfaction and overall streamlining. The use of personal that’s from outside the organization can help you to see things differently and help you to grow and prosper.

Continue Reading…

We hear a lot about business coaching these days, but you may not actually understand how it works and what it’s really all about. In fact, you may have considered business coaching, but then changed your mind because you weren’t really sure your company needed it.

Business coaching will apply the essential coaching principles to every part of a business or organization. It will follow meticulous and detailed methodology to ensure both facilitative coaching processes and management consulting tools are employed and put into place in the manner they should be.

It is acknowledged just how important the role of employee productivity is to any business or organization. Therefore, it is also interesting and important to know about the productivity components and their role in the business success.

Employees at every level of the organization must have the proper skill and the skills they have must be properly used. Employees need to be motivated in order for optimal productivity to occur and for the corporations or organizations’ vision to be fulfilled.

Continue Reading…

Every business demands growth, and double-digit growth is the dream of every dedicated business owner, even when lackluster results show up at quarter’s end.

Most entrepreneurial business owners need a guide to navigate their way toward substantial, sustainable growth.  It can be done even in a slow economy as demonstrated by such companies as Harley Davidson, Starbucks, and WalMart.  Even smaller companies such as Paychex and Oshkosh Truck have been able to make gains in revenue, gross profits and net profits.

Here are 5 disciplines of sustained growth:

  •  Retain Your Customer Base:  Keep the growth that you have already earned by coaxing customers into complex relationships that make it a hassle for them to switch to your competitor.  Tailor your products/services using data gleaned from your customers giving you an advantage.  Proactively managing customer defections will help you anticipate and pre-empt them. Bonding with customers wherever emotion is tied to an interaction is another great way to retain them.
  •  Gain Market Share at the Expense of Your Rivals: Give customers a reason to abandon a competitor’s product/service for yours.  Do what it takes to lower the switching costs.  Pulling customers away from a competitor can be difficult, so you must devote many resources to raiding their customer base.  Offering higher value and quality are crucial to this end.  Buying a competitor is another way to do this.
  • Exploit Market Position:  Show up where growth is going to happen by spotting it early.  This can be done by watching the industry for shifts in buying criteria, product or service innovations, and population trends.  You must be able to spot positioning opportunities to make the most of them by continually using a systematic approach to the process.
  • Invade Adjacent Markets: Before moving into a nearby market, decide whether it offers significant long-term growth and profitability.  Determine whether you have an advantage over a competitor, and ensure you can match its standards of quality and value.
  • Invest In New Lines of Business:  If you take this approach, never overpay for a new line.  You must find simple strategies instead of complex ones, and partner with the new business by assessing its leadership team and balance sheet

Although a successful growth portfolio might not include all five of these disciplines, it must contain more than one.  Only a balanced growth portfolio can keep an organization growing when the market shifts dramatically.

 

In closing I wish a happy and safe Memorial Day to all my entrepreneurial buddies and readers. Drive carefully!