Don’t Be Afraid of Google

Google

I recently attended a networking meeting that had a business round table format and I kept hearing two reoccurring themes. The first that a few people wouldn’t let drop was how our local Chamber is worthless. The Chamber bashing was so bad I almost got up and left. I felt uncomfortable sitting there while a member from the Chamber graciously took the abuse. But, instead, I chose to speak up and share how wonderful the Chamber has been for me and my business. My Chamber launched my writing and public speaking income streams.

The second reoccurring theme was your Google presence. No matter how it was sliced and diced the message was clear, “If you don’t follow me and do what I say regarding your Google listing you and your business are doomed.” Well, their mission was accomplished. Attendees sat there with looks of fear on their faces. The room was silent. Business owners looked to their left and their right and were met with faces registering fear.

As a psychologist and business owner, I realized very quickly what was taking place. A few members were using this networking/business round table as their stage to get clients. They were tag teaming and invoking fear and singing praises to how great Google is as a search tool for new customers who want their products. This was followed by again more beating up on the Chamber and how no one goes to the Chamber any longer for local information. In psychology, we use the term “confederate” to describe a person or people that are specifically planted in a group to sway the group regardless if they are right or wrong. Research studies on conformity use confederates and an example can be viewed at this link
https://youtu.be/-qlJqR4GmKw?list=PLB72C822FB82E1A6D

That is exactly what was happening here. Three individuals or couples dominated the meeting by invoking fear, offering a testimonial, and then offering a solution to the group. Think back to large sales meetings or conferences you attended and I bet you can recall a similar incident but didn’t realize it for what it was – a sales strategy.

Now, I am not advocating not worrying about having your Google listing accurate and up to date. But, most of you who have been with me for any length of time have already claimed your business listing and know it is accurate. You also know that if you put all your eggs in one basket and worry only about Google analytics you would get nothing else accomplished. Google is often changing their algorithm. Many “experts” will tell you not to focus on the Google analytic. I agree. Outsource this task. Focus on what you can control.

As a small business owner, you probably do not have the budget to compete with larger companies who have one person devoted to monitoring changes Google is constantly making in how it ranks who get the #1 position. But, you can focus on your lead attraction strategy. That was the missing ingredient at this meeting. No one talked about lead attraction and the things you can do to drive traffic to your website, blog, or social media accounts.

Content marketing is a great tool to use to drive traffic to your website. Content marketing helps you rank higher in Google search results. But, more importantly, you don’t have to wait for your customers to Google you. You are getting your message in front of them so they don’t have to Google you. Content marketing has many forms. It can be the publication of an article or blog post. Media releases are a great way to get your business noticed as well as radio and other guest interviews. Social media also helps you appear in search results. Host a Blab, post a video on YouTube or Pinterest. Published posts on LinkedIn are also great ways to claim your spot in your niche on Google. Get creative. Use your key words. Google rewards good content. Content marketing should be included in your marketing strategy.

Don’t live in fear of Google. Stop worrying about things you can’t control. Take control of the things you can control. You can control your lead attraction strategy. If you don’t have one call me and I will help you design one.

Q & A With Coach Jaynine

LinkedIn-Cover-ImageToday, Coach answers a question from LinkedIn

Q

• Hi Jaynine, I was wondering if I would be able to get your feedback on something since I know you’re a business owner. My wife started an IT company and is currently in the process of getting certified as a Women-Owned Business. She said that she needs me to sign a “Statement of Non-Participation” in order to get her company approved as a women-owned business. My concern is whether signing such a statement would forfeit any marital rights that I have to the retirement benefits of her business? I will be retiring from the U.S Army in a few years in which 50% of my retirement would belong to her, which is great, but I just don’t want be put into a situation where retirement sharing is legally a one-way streak because I signed away my rights. We have a great marriage, going on 10 years now and she completely understands my concern about this paperwork, so it’s not a matter of whether I think she is trying to get over on me, but rather we just don’t know what it really means for a spouse to sign a statement of non-participation. We’re not familiar with what the spouse is giving-up by agreeing to such terms. If this is a loaded question that you wouldn’t feel comfortable answering without charging a fee, I will totally understand if you refrain from responding.

Thanks,
Micaiah.
10:48 PM

A

On Jun 23, Jaynine Ray-Howard, USMC (Ret), PhD (ABD) said the following:
Good morning, Those are great questions and concerns. I am not a lawyer so please do not take what I am saying as legal advice. I do think a lawyer is the best person to get advice as I will explain below in more detail. Woman Owned – business must be 51% owned by a woman (your wife) Veteran Owned – business must be 51% owned by a Veteran (YOU) Disabled Veteran Owned Business – business must be owned 51% by Veteran who is service disabled MinorityOwned Business – depending on your state – just being a woman is considered a minority In North Carolina, I am a Woman Owned, Veteran Owned, Minority Owned, and Service Disabled Small Business – this puts be ahead of others if I want government contracts. Consider which is going to be more advantageous for your family business. It may be more advantageous to have you listed as primary. Many construction companies have the woman as head of the company because it is more advantageous for bidding on contracts. So think long term which is going to be best for the company. Another concern for many business owners is what happens in the case of a divorce. You need to have – in my opinion – a post nup – a legal document that states you get 50% of the business if you get divorced. You also need a legal document that states you get the business if she were to pass and vice versa. Typically when there are two business partners they each have insurance so that they can “buy out” the other half of the business in case of death so the deceased share doesn’t go to the “family”. I recommend keeping very accurate records on how much “family” money or your money from bonuses, inheritance etc. is put into the business. So if something were to happen again you have proof of what you contributed.

https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/forms/SBA_Form_2413_comp_0.pdf

https://www.sba.gov/content/women-owned-small-business-wosb-program-certification

These are some links so you can do your own homework. I hope these help.

Semper Fi,
Jaynine
7:39 AM

You, Your Business & Corporate Social Responsibility

corpsocresresponCorporate Social Responsibility is defined as “the obligation of organizations to take an active part in improving society” (Muchinsky & Culbertson, 2016, p. 268). You are probably familiar with Tom shoes and that when you buy a pair of Toms they donate a brand new pair to someone in need. As their company has grown and offered other products to the consumer so has their giving program. In addition to shoes, they now donate eyewear, exams, and surgeries as well as fresh water where needed. What does your business do to help others in need? Do you donate time by volunteering in your community?

Over 90% of Fortune 500 companies run employee volunteering programs. Employers encourage volunteering and provide paid time off to employees who volunteer with nonprofits in their community. As a small business owner, you too can design a corporate social responsibility program. Your community thrives when people step up to volunteer.

Steps to Designing Your Business Social Responsibility Program

1. Review your budget – this means not just money but time. How much time can you afford to offer your employees each week or month to give back to the community through volunteering?

2. Select an organization that aligns with your values or has a mission you want to support. This is a link to get you started http://www.onslowcountync.gov/Administration/VolunteerOnslow.aspx If you do not live in Onslow County you can do an online search for volunteer opportunities in your community.

3. Decide if you will close shop and volunteer as a group or if you will honor individual commitments.

4. Create a simple form to record the employee and volunteer opportunities.

5. Let your customers know what organizations benefit from your Business Social Responsibility Program. Share this information on your website, social media platforms and in a media release. Take photos and share.

Other ways you can be socially responsible is by engaging in environmental sustainability. This means honoring and conserving our natural resources. Does your business recycle soda cans, in cartridges, and used or unwanted equipment? Do you use green products that are environmentally friendly and safe for our water systems? I challenge you to take the time to think about this and see what modifications you can make to how you do business that will not compromise the quality of services you deliver. One way my business is conserving resources is by not printing documents that I want to read. I am a paper junky. However, I am curbing the printing and saving the documents online. Printing client files requires not only the use of electricity, ink, and paper but it also requires the use of cardboard or plastic when storing the files.

I invite you to be a change agent for your industry and business. Adopt a corporate social responsibility program. Give back to your community while conserving resources.

Is Your Website ADA Compliant?

accessI’ve noticed lots of buzz around ADA Compliant websites, have you? Technological advances make using a computer and working, browsing, and shopping online assessable to everyone regardless of their disability. You do not want to risk losing a customer because he or she cannot navigate or view your website. You also do not want to risk getting a hefty fine for not being ADA compliant.

Below you will find exerts from various articles I’ve read to help you understand this new topic circulating.

New legal landscape is taking shape
The DOJ’s proposed amendments to the ADA, expected in April 2016, would “require public entities and public accommodations that provide products or services to the public through websites on the Internet to make their sites accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.” The DOJ is careful, however, not to suggest products and services currently offered through websites are excused from ADA compliance, despite the fact that amendments to that effect are currently being proposed.

Thompson Information Services published an ADA Compliance Guide Newsletter in late 2014 that suggests the DOJ will likely adopt the most recent version of WGAC 2.0 — written by theWorld Wide Web Consortium, an international community that develops open standards for the Web — as the standard for accessibility. The newsletter holds: “Costly or not, and the lack of website regulations notwithstanding, DOJ is pressuring companies to modify websites and mobile apps to meet WCAG 2.0 technical standards.”

In support of this prediction, the DOJ reached a settlement agreement with edX Inc., a provider of online courses, in April 2015. The settlement resolved “allegations that edX’s website … w[as] not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities … in violation of Title III of the ADA.” In the settlement, edX Inc. entered a four-year agreement to make its system “fully accessible within 18 months.” The agreement also requires edX Inc. to provide training for course creators, appoint Web Accessibility positions, solicit feedback, and “retain a consultant to evaluate conformance of the website, platform, and mobile applications.”

Read more at http://www.technologylawsource.com/2015/06/articles/information-technology/the-focus-of-the-ada-turns-to-websites-in-the-digital-age-is-your-website-compliant/

Who Does This Apply?
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that businesses and nonprofit services providers make accessibility accommodations to enable the disabled public to access the same services as clients who are not disabled. This includes electronic media and web sites. While the ADA applies to businesses with 15 or more employees, even smaller businesses can benefit from ensuring that their websites are ADA compliant. Doing so opens your company up to more potential clients and limits liability. Web developers should include ADA compliant features in the original site and application plans.

This is particularly important when working for a government agency or government contractor, as these organizations must follow web accessibility guidelines under Section 508 of the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Although ADA and Section 508 compliance are different, the published checklist for Section 508 compliance offers insight into ways to make websites accessible for people with disabilities, and thereby work toward ADA compliance.

Learn more at http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/web-designer/creating-an-ada-compliant-website/

Test Your Website
Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools – I did test several of these and they flagged what I or my web designer needs to fix to be compliant.

http://achecker.ca/checker/index.php – this one offered an explanation in language I understood and seemed very specific with an explanation how to repair the offending item.
http://wave.webaim.org/
https://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/tools/

I recommend you contact your web developer or designer and inquire about making your website ADA Compliant and continue to educate yourself on this topic.

Resource
ADA Best Practices Took Kit for State and Local Governments – this is an excellent resource to learn about why you want an ADA Compliant website and some common problems and solutions.
http://www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/chap5toolkit.htm

Example on a Website Showing Compliance
http://www.right.com/wps/wcm/connect/right-us-en/home/info/accessibility