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What Sort of a Blogger Are You?

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So, I’ve read all the books on How to Promote your book and my head is spinning.

I have been going back through them all to make more notes – just like an exam!

Although I have written a book on “How to Tweet Your Book” Twitter is just one strand of a marketing campaign.

I use Google Plus a lot and recently bought a book after reading a great  blog by Megan Denby which I found on a Google Plus Community for authors.

Blogging seems to be a good way to promote your book without being overtly salesy.

“But what do you write in a blog?”  I kept asking myself.

This question has been hanging over me for a while now, then last week I tried out a new twitter tool and quickly fired off a blog. I literally typed it in the heat of the moment.

I posted the blog on twitter and a few Google Plus communities and within hours had received the highest number of views to my blog in one day.

Over that weekend, I gained 202 new twitter followers to my @tweetauthors account  from a combination of following about 20 people (spread out in chunks -it literally takes me seconds each time) posting my blog to Google Plus, and using the new twitter tool, Nestivity, which was the subject of my blog.

Most of my new followers are authors (my target market for the book as opposed to my main businesses) as I have been very precise in my following.

I suddenly realised that, without thinking, I had fired off the very blog that I had been struggling with for weeks.

If I had sat down to purposely write a blog to promote my book, it probably wouldn’t have happened.

I find that I write best when I am in the heat of the moment, often when I have better things to do, but my head is so full of what I want to write that I just have to empty it before I can get anything else done.

How do you blog? Do you blog regularly at set times or do you fire off a blog whenever you get the inspiration?

Author: Sara Greenfield

Nestivity anyone?

iStock_jigsaw

I have just been trying out a new twitter tool (as you do on a Saturday afternoon!)

Nestivity is a way to turn tweets into discussions.

I have a myriad other things to do but on Saturdays if I happen to give in to my work ethic and turn on my laptop, I allow myself some free range reading and learning time. Although there is a load of other work piled up, this weekend time is important for me to learn new things and experiment.

So, rather than writing blogs for my clients, updating the website, writing that next sales email, I gave in to temptation and allowed myself to get sidetracked with a new product.

So, how best to use Nestivity? There wasn’t a lot of existing content to use as a reference, so, as usual, I just dived in.

I think a lot of people are scared of doing things wrong on social media, but I think you just have to experiment. If it doesn’t work, then you just stop doing it.

I recently wrote a book targeted at authors called “How to Tweet Your Book” and have just started to market it. It’s a huge learning curve.  (By the way it’s on Amazon here)

One of the first things I did was to open a twitter account in the name of the book, so that I could target authors. (@tweetauthors)

Originally I used my personal account but then realised that authors would be worldwide and would not be interested in my many Norwich  tweets.

The downside to this is that I have written a book about How to Tweet Your Book with an accompanying Twitter account that doesn’t  yet have an amazing number of followers.

“Patience, patience,” I keep telling myself.

Having managed to write and self-publish a book when working on it only on weekends, I can’t expect everything else to suddenly fall into place.

When trying out the beta version of Nestivity I chose to use my @tweetauthors account as it is very niche, and has a lot of opportunity for discussions relevant to authors.

I love being one of the first to use a new platform or tool like this as it gives you access to thought leaders and influencers before everything is drowned out in the noise.

My first attempt at a Nestivitiy discussion was “Should you open a twitter account in the name of your book or in your personal name?

If you have any views on this matter please feel free to join in the discussion here.

If you’re interested in Nestivity then there is a good introduction here.

Author: Sara Greenfield

Non-Celebrity “Celebrity” Twitter accounts.

Something that annoys me on Twitter:

It’s not often that I get annoyed with people but one thing that does annoy me is when a person or company gets too big for their boots and unfollows most of their followers. They do this because they think it makes it look like they are someone special- in other words, they are so wonderful that thousands of people follow them, but they are too busy and important to follow other people back.

I get updates on followers and unfollowers using a tool called Socialtoo – this gives me a daily email with a list of follows / unfollows. I can easily follow people direct from this email – it saves me lots of time.

After getting back from holiday and catching up with these emails, I noticed that a large local agency had unfollowed me. When I looked at their Twitter stream I saw that they suddenly had a lot of followers but were following very few people.

I was not surprised because their email newsletters are all about “me, me, me” – they are full of “what we have done recently” rather than giving any useful information.

I don’t actually mind people unfollowing me – I rarely look at my Twitter following, unlike the early days when you avidly watch your followers increase, hoping to get to the first hundred, then the first thousand. Nowadays my personal Twitter account seems to take care of itself and my focus is on other, newer accounts that I am growing.

So if I don’t worry too much about people unfollowing me, why was I so annoyed? I was annoyed because it is the height of arrogance for a business to place themselves on a pedestal and think they are too important to follow other people. What they are saying is that they have no interest in the tweets of anyone but themselves.

Personally I think this stance will backfire. If I look at an account that follows back very few people, I won’t usually follow them, unless they are a thought leader and I know that they tweet exceptionally useful information.

The same thing happened a few years ago. I followed someone on Twitter, re-tweeted them lots, chatted to them lots, even bought their book. Then one day they decided to unfollow everyone to make their account look like they were a “celebrity” account. Well, you can guess my reaction. I unfollowed them and stopped interacting with them. If they lost one avid fan, like me, I wonder how many other fans they lost.

The essence of Twitter is that you take an interest in other people – it is called “social” media for a reason.

Anyway, rant over – hope I’m not turning into a grumpy old woman.

I’m actually a cheerful, half glass full type person, and rarely criticise others – only when it comes to Twitter DMs and non-celebrity “celebrity” Twitter accounts!

 

Author: Sara Greenfield

A Rather Tortuous Web Journey

Bright Yellow Marketing

Bright Yellow Marketing

I seem to have been on a very circuitous journey learning about “web stuff” this week.

We are specialists in social media and local marketing, but we tend to keep away from anything  related to creating websites. My knowledge in relation to websites is fairly limited.

Our bestof Norwich website is done for us by developers at our head office, and with Bright Yellow Marketing, I work with a wonderful design graduate who set me up with a wordpress website and who helps me when I get stuck.

I didn’t have a budget for Bright Yellow Marketing – it’s our second business and has to be self-funding. I don’t want to be reliant on any bank loans or overdraft.

The reason we set up Bright Yellow Marketing was that there was a demand for social media training.

The Bestof Norwich, our main business, is all about promoting recommended local businesses and if we were offering training as “thebestof” then the implication is that we are endorsing anyone who is a client. We wanted the training to be open to anyone, regardless of whether they had been vetted as “thebestof”.

Bright Yellow Marketing also opens up wider markets. I have just written a book on “How to Tweet Your Book”, which obviously has an international niche market.

Because Bright Yellow Marketing was self-funding, I started off using a free crm – capsule crm – and linked it to Mailchimp to send out newsletters.

I found, though, that I didn’t send out newsletters very often, partly because we were so busy with our main business, thebestof, but also because of the hassle of having two separate systems.

Now that we have a more stable income from Bright Yellow Marketing, I can look at some paid for services.

The other day I bought a wordpress plugin that I thought would do a lot more for me that it actually does!

But what it has done is taken me on a huge learning journey. Learning is always a good thing.

This plugin referred to Aweber in it’s demo videos. I’d heard a lot about Aweber and thought I would have a look at it.

We have been using Swiftpage until now for thebestof, along with a bespoke crm, but Swiftpage no longer supports the excel plugin, which is annoying me.

At the same time a client asked me to source the best crm / email system for him, so my research in this area was going to help not only both my own businesses, but also a client.

I signed up for a £1 trial of Aweber.

We have used lots of email and crm systems in our time – infusion, ACT, Swiftpage, intouch, capsule, Mailchimp – so I have a good base of comparison.

Then, to utilise the new plugin, I also needed to be able to create a new wordpress page with a shopping cart or a “buy now” button.

My wordpress lady had added a light shopping cart plugin, but then I got sidetracked wondering whether I would need the better, paid-for version, and trying to work out what the difference was.

After much thinking, I realised that what I actually needed was a “buy now” button rather than a fancy shopping cart.

Before I could even add this, I needed to understand a bit more about PayPal.

By this time my brain was about to explode.

It seemed that every time I thought I was nearer an answer, another question popped up – so many new systems to get my head around – Aweber, paypal, wordpress plugins, crms, shopping carts….. so I did what I usually do when I’m struggling to understand something….

….. I drew a mindmap.

Suddenly I realised that I actually had 3 strands of research and learning:

1. Working out exactly what my “product” was, so that I could add the relevant wording to the website (I’d been mulling over ideas for a few weeks)
2. Finding the right email system / autoresponder system/crm and deciding whether to change from what we currently use.
3. Working out how to take payment online

That took me on a journey to:
1. Get to grips with Aweber to see if it answered my needs

2. Compare it with other email systems that we use

3. Find out more about Paypal, compared to eg Google Checkout, and then learn how to set it up and link it to Aweber/my website. (if I was going to use Aweber)

4. Work out whether to use a shopping cart, and if so, which one. It turns out that you can’t just import the PayPal code for a “buy now” button on a wordpress website.

5. Work out how to use the shopping cart plugin and add the code in the right place.

6. Work out what my “product” was going to be – come up with the right wording and add it to wordpress

7. Check that all these various systems that I was planning to use, did in fact integrate with each other!

8. Putting it all together to get a finished product.
And I have done it!

Looking at the resulting very simple wordpress page, it is amazing that it took so much work.

You may wonder why I went to all this effort over a weekend, when I could have outsourced it.

I outsource as much as I can, but actually this learning experience was very useful.

It also means that the next time I want to add something to my Bright Yellow website I will know how to do it and be able to make the change immediately – whether it is midnight on a Sunday or the middle of the week, rather than waiting for someone else to do it for me.

Putting in a lot of work now will save me huge amounts of time later, especially as it will enable me to automate a lot of things – handy for book sales – and will make it easier for people to buy training or other products from us.

And I have come up with an interesting solution for my client – something I would not have thought of if I hadn’t been trying out all these systems.

Well, that’s my argument, and I’m sticking to it!
What systems do you use and what do you think about them?

What are your favourite products?

Feel free to leave a comment.

Today I was bamboozled by a monk!

NorwichThere is a certain spot in Norwich where the council allow charities and such like to collar people for donations.

For years I have managed to run the gauntlet and emerge unscathed, but today, to my surprise, I got caught.

Now, I’m all for giving to charities, and I always buy a Big Issue – I just don’t want to be accosted in the street by a person I don’t know.

I got suckered this time partly because I had just been with a client who introduced me to someone as “the lovely smiley lady that you see everywhere.”

So, when this gentleman snagged me by saying

“You’re a smiley lady,” something went awry in the wiring of my brain and linked the two together. Stupidly I paused in my stride long enough for him to stop me altogether.

Then he hooked me in by saying “I’m a monk and I’m looking to make people happy.”

The implication being that because he was a monk he wasn’t trying to take money off me. I could trust him.

At that point he thrust a book in my hand.

Now giving me a book is a bit like giving a chocoholic chocolate. I can’t say no.

Then he thrust another book in my hand!

He said “I am giving you these as we want to spread happiness in the world,” or words to that effect.

Why would I even be interested in a book, you may well ask. Well, I am always intrigued to learn about different things – I will read most things, just to broaden my knowledge and ideas.

I often go into the library and pull random books off the shelf and borrow them to read.

The cynic in me was saying “where’s the catch? You don’t get something for nothing.”

Yet lately, with the development of social media, you can get something almost for nothing. PeerPerks give you free perks in return for an e- mail address and the promise of a tweet if you like their product. Just this week, I got 10 free films to rent from Blinkbox, I got whisky the other week, and am often invited to events and venues free of charge, so I was slightly less cynical than usual. There is a growing culture at the moment in marketing to give away products.

There is also a little part of me, even having spent years as a hardened Londoner, that hopes that someone might someday be genuinely wanting to do good and help people, expecting nothing in return.

As a business We often help people if we can, so we live our own lives trying to help others.

Then my bubble of innocence dramatically deflated.

The “monk” pulled open his large leather bag and said:

“Of course if you would like to make a donation, you are welcome to put something, no matter how small, in here.”

What to do? It would look crass to hand the books back, having accepted them. (Raising the interesting question as to why I was worried about offending a stranger!)

But there was the black gaping hole waiting for it’s return “gift”.

Luckily, I only had a few coins on me.

He saw me reach for a coin and quickly said “most people donate £5 or £10.”

So “enlightenment” came at a price, did it?

I briefly wondered what he would do if I said “I’ll just take the books thanks”

How keen exactly was he to spread happiness around the world?

He quickly took the books off me and slipped me a smaller book instead.

And that’s how I found myself one pound lighter and in possession of “Chant and be Happy”

And of course, on getting home, I see the famous “Krishna” name on it. All those years avoiding the chanting, bell ringing, orange robed krishna’s in Oxford Street, and I get caught in Norwich. I have nothing against any religion – in fact I stopped to talk to him as long as I did because I am always interested in learning more, but rightly or wrongly the krishna movement has had bad press in the past, and this experience has only validated my previous impressions.

The whole transaction was a study in great salesmanship, but salesmanship that left the participant feeling inadequate. I would now feel no trust for this organisation, and would certainly never want to have anything to do with them. In business terms I would not be a repeat customer!

They used some very clever techniques – giving you something to force a sense of obligation and building up false trust. I think he might have tapped me on my elbow or touched my arm, which is a technique to build trust, he got three “yes’s” from me and even though I was aware of all these techniques, he still suckered me into giving him some money!

This lives up to most people’s impression of salesmen. It is what gives salespeople a bad name.

Every business person is in essence a salesperson, for without sales there is no business, but people hate the thought that they are in “sales”.

Even if you have brilliant sales techniques, if people feel they have been “sold to” rather than chosen to buy, if there is no trust, then there will be no repeat business.

Surely better to build trust and help people to buy the right product from you when it is right for them, where both parties come out of the transaction feeling good.

Of course, my excuse today is that I wasn’t really suckered, I was just studying his sales techniques, in the same way that I once invited that double glazing salesman into my home!

Ps (update as at 28 Jan 2013) Here’s an example of people giving things away, albeit as part of a very clever ad:

http://www.businessinsider.com/ad-of-the-day-coca-colas-lets-go-crazy-2013-1?nr_email_referer=1&utm_source=Triggermail&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Advertising%20Select&utm_campaign=Advertising%20Select%202013-01-29&utm_content=emailshare

Yes, Google Plus does work for business!

I loved Google Plus when it first came out, and knew it inside out – I even recorded some training videos on how to use it.

Then they changed the layout, and I fell out of love with it for a while.

Now I remember to visit it occasionally, just fleeting visits, begrudgingly, as you would an elderly aunt who can’t remember who you are.

On one of those visits, I noticed that one of my followers came originally from the same city as I did – we both studied in the same locality and starting reminiscing about the concorde engine tests which used to disrupt our lessons and make the whole building shake. Oh happy days (not!)

That was quite some time ago, and to be honest, it had almost slipped my mind.

Then I went to a networking event the other morning and a gentleman came up to me and said “Are you Sara?”

“I thought you were. We were chatting on Google Plus. I thought I recognised your profile”

The penny dropped – he was the person who also “enjoyed” the sound of engine testing whilst growing up.

He had recognised me from my profile picture and obviously has a much better memory than I do.

He runs a fantastic local business and we will probably meet up at some point.

So, perhaps I will be visiting that “great aunt” called Google Plus a little more often now, and a little less begrudgingly.

Remembrance Day Parade

Yesterday I was watching my son join the Remembrance Day Parade with the scouts. It’s his last year in the scouts and as I saw him march down the road, one of the tallest in the pack, and then looked at the tiny cubs holding hands and skipping down the hill behind them, it was hard to believe that when we moved here, he was just a tiny cub himself.

I know it is a sombre occasion but it’s great to see so many people out in the town.

Before we moved to Norwich we stayed in Norfolk for a weekend, looking at properties to rent, and I remember catching a glimpse of a Remembrance Day parade as we drove out of a village, on our way back to London.

I remember being surprised.

I’m not sure why. Maybe it was because in London we have the obvious big parades, but you don’t get the local events, a coming together of the local people, like you do in a village or a town.

In the same way, I remember coming across my first glimpse of the Boxing Day Hunt in Norfolk.

I wandered into town on Boxing Day and lo and behold, there was the hunt with all their majestic horses, the hounds baying and the towns people out in force.

I couldn’t keep my eyes off them as they cantered down the narrow street of wattle and daub houses, where we had first lived.

Whatever your views of the hunt, you can’t help but admire the scene on Boxing Day.

But these events, although they are community events, can be a very lonely experience.

When you are new to an area, without family close by, it is at community events like this that you feel their absence the most. You see families walking around, meeting up, and this is when the loneliness of a new place, a new life, hits you.

It’s funny, when you are in London at a big event, you somehow don’t feel lonely. There are so many different people from so many walks of life, that you don’t notice any family bonds or long standing friendships. Everyone is part of the huge city.

We know loads of people in Norwich, and are always being invited to events, but uprooting your life and moving to a new place, where you know no one and have no family nearby is a huge life event, and there are times, in spite of all our contacts, and the fact that I love what I do, that I have felt very lonely.

This year, however, was one of the first years when I attended the parade and was not desperately looking around for “friends” to keep me company. It was the first year when I felt comfortable, just being me, just being part of the community.

As I cut through the back road to avoid the crowds getting to the Abbey for the Remembrance Service, I watched the sun slanting through the graveyard, catching the ancient Abbey ruins in it’s rays. A scene of beauty.

It was the Abbey that drew me here in the first place. Knowing nothing about Norwich when we moved here, I had been trying to find somewhere to live, near a good school, and set up the business.

I looked all over Norwich but was struggling to find somewhere (now of course I know loads of places I could have picked!).

One rainy dark January afternoon I decided to stop off at Wymondham on my way home. I had seen the signs every time we drove down and had been wondering what it was like.

The shops were all closed, the bedraggled Christmas lights were just about still hanging in the market square, swinging in the wind, but I saw the Abbey in the skyline, and fell in love.

I am not a religious person, but the Abbey as a building, and a landmark is so beautiful that I never tire of looking at it.

Its twin towers were like a beacon – a beacon shouting “live here, live here” and so we did. And here we are.

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Neighbourhood Cats and Neighbourhood Fences

Our house is quite unusual in that although we live in a market town, we don’t have a road outside our house.

All we have is a path for pedestrians.

All of our gardens front this path and have no walls or fences, so as you are walking down the path to your house, you see a wonderful expanse of open gardens.

When I look out of my front windows, I get a fantastic uninterrupted view of the trees in my neighbours garden and spend many a pleasant morning  eating breakfast whilst admiring his cherry blossom or watching the sparrows in his tree.

We don’t feel overlooked – there are a number of bushes to give us a feeling of privacy even though we face each other across our gardens.

When we first moved here I was worried about having people walking along the path which separates our garden from our neighbours. It is a shortcut for people further up the road to get to the town centre.

Now that we are used to it, I would find it strange not having people walking past our house. We have got to know most people by sight and if I am out in the garden, I often spend a good ten minutes chatting to people who we have got to know because they often walk past and say hello.

My husband goes out at night with his telescope and many a neighbour has stopped to look at the stars on their way home from a night out.

My neighbour across the road now feeds our cat when we are away, and even popped over to mend the brakes on my bike. In return, I give him my spare cat food and any spare food I have when I have bought too much – he tried Salmon for the first time the other day because I had bought too much at the market – well, actually, my family decided they didn’t like salmon any more so I found myself with too much for one person.

My son and his friends love the garden arrangement – they have spent many an afternoon chasing each other down the lane and across our garden. The openness means that they have a bigger area to play in.

A little further down the lane, people have fenced in their gardens and what a difference it makes. The lane feels dark and I’m always slightly scared about who might be lurking in the shadows when I walk around at night. Fencing in the gardens has actually made that area feel more dangerous.

A classmate of my son lives just around the corner – she arranged to meet him at the corner of the lane one Sunday. He waited and waited, but no sign of her. It turns out that her parents wouldn’t let her go out of the garden without being accompanied.

I know you have to be careful of your child’s safety but it seems to me that their six foot garden fence has created fear rather than protection.

When my neighbour calls his cats in each evening, my son often runs out to have a chat with him. We don’t have grandparents living nearby and it’s great for him to have someone like this who he can talk to.

And talking about cats, this area is a haven for cats – and hedgehogs.

Nearly every house has a cat or two. My neighbour has five. All of them have come to him as strays and now live with him. One found his way back to this area after his owner moved away. He walked all the way back and had been sitting outside his old home down the road until our neighbour found him and started feeding him. When his owner was traced, she visited and decided that the cat would be better with our neighbour as he would only try to find his way back again from her new house.

Last winter  an old cat turned up. He could hardly walk. His fur was all matted and he just about managed to wobble to our tree each day to sleep in the grass. Every day it looked as if it would be his last. He started sleeping in my neighbour’s shed and I offered our brand new cat bed for him to use. With piles of blankets and the odd hot water bottle to keep him warm at night, the cat made it through the winter.

It turned out that his owners around the corner had bought a dog and the cat (Harry) had decided he would rather live outside than in a house with a dog.

Our neighbour used to see him sitting on the garage roof covered in ice.

This summer, I happened to bend down and stroke the cat, and he decided there and then to adopt me.

Every time I go outside he follows me – all around the garden, out to the bins, down the lane – hobbling along with his arthritic legs. Even though my neighbour was feeding him, he was so thin that you could feel his whole backbone sticking out. I started putting out the odd bowl of food, and it got lapped up as if he was starving.

We couldn’t let him in our house as our cat was scared of him, so all summer I’ve been worrying about how he will survive this winter.

Our odd bowl of food turned into 4 or 5 bowls a day and he still seemed ravenous, but he had put on weight and was looking more sprightly.

A lot of the people who walk down our path know all the cats by name, and as well as stopping to chat to us, they often stop to say hello to whichever cat happens to be out and about. The cats love the company – when we’re chatting over the garden path, they all come out to join us.

One of the ladies from a few doors down showed an interest in Harry, the stray, and confided she had bought some packets of cat food in case he passed by – so I hatched a cunning plan. He should move in with her.

Chatting to my neighbour yesterday we realised that Harry, this “hungry” stray, is now having at least four breakfasts each day.

If my husband is up early he will often give him something (how can you resist that face peering through the cat flap!) then Harry has breakfast with my neighbour  at 7am, then he arrives back on our doorstep when my son’s friend arrives for school at 7.50am, then he trots down to the lady down the road who gives him another bowl of food. The same thing happens in the evening.

We have only just worked this out, although to give him credit, I think it’s only a recent thing.

We’ve all agreed that if this lady takes him in, all the neighbours will chip in to cover the vets bill in getting his toes clipped, worming him again and getting his leg checked.

I don’t think any of that would have happened if we had six foot fences between us.

3 great things I have done this year

I know it’s not the end of the year yet but over the summer I was thinking about all the things we’ve done so far this year and there are three things that stand out from a personal point of view.

The first is setting up better follow up systems.

We are rubbish at follow up – we are so busy organising networking events, exhibitions, print runs, blogs, updating the website, keeping in touch with clients, social media, training …..that we forget to follow up sales leads!

Yes, I know – sounds daft!

This year I took my ipad into the office between meetings and sat and focussed on writing follow up e-mails and setting up automated systems.

This has been one of the best things I have done this year in terms of business productivity.

 
The second best thing that I have done this year is join a running club. The last few years have been difficult for most people, but joining Dynamic Fitness running club has made me feel healthy and happy, which has a knock on effect on the business.

It gives me a positive mindset and also happens to get rid of those horrible aches in my shoulders that I get from sitting too long at the computer.

It took me a whole year to pluck up courage to go to the running club – I am not a sporty person and don’t like group activities much, but now I’ve joined, I love it. The people at Dynamic Fitness are great – very patient and good fun.

 
Finally, we went on holiday. We have taken holidays locally and have met up with family over the past few years but it has been about four years since we went abroad.

Chris’ father died this year and his one regret was not taking our son on holiday to Disneyland.

Our son isn’t too fussed about Disneyland now, but he was overjoyed to find that we’d booked a last minute holiday on a Greek Island.

I have a funny child – he doesn’t like beaches much – it’s usually us saying “let’s go to the beach” and dragging him there. He loves swimming, though, so we booked an apartment on a hillside with a swimming pool and stunning views.

It was the most perfect holiday you could wish for, even down to the fact that it had permanent shade for me – I hate following the shade of the umbrella around all day and coming out with red bits from where I forgot to move.

So those were the best things I’ve done this year.

Added to that, of course would be all the other things that we do as part of the business such as a marquee at the Norfolk Show, running a B2B exhibition, co-running three networking groups, social media week Norwich, national marketing campaigns, organising outdoor media, running training courses, tweeting a book, blogging about our clients, and much more, all of it great fun but exhausting – hence the holiday!

Now I’m back, raring to go with a new website and loads of new things planned.

We went to our national conference with our the bestof franchisors this week, and they have some stunning marketing for us to utilise. So, having been on the radio this morning and run up a hill three times today with a client, I’m back on the laptop ready to leap into action and implement all our new ideas from the conference.

What has been the highlight of your year so far? What have you implemented this year that has helped your business or private life? It would be great to hear.

Sara Greenfield

The Best of Norwich

Bright Yellow Marketing

Do you turn down business?

I met a client for breakfast the other day and he mentioned (in a nice way) that he was surprised I had turned down some work that he was offering me.

Looking back, I have actually turned down quite a lot of work.

It’s not that we don’t need the money- we do!

It’s great that people want me to do their work because of their confidence and trust in me as a person, but over the past years of working for myself I have relished my independence. – being able to pick and choose who I work for and what work I do.

The reasons I have turned down work?

Last week it was because I felt there was a slight conflict of interest with other clients. This comes from years of working in the law, where it was an ingrained principle that you didn’t act for someone if there was a conflict of interest.

When it comes to thebestof, we have turned away business because we did not feel we could truly recommend someone, or they were too close geographically to an existing client. We are very protective of our clients.

At other times I have felt that I wasn’t the best person for the job. I have suggested other people who I think would do a better job for that particular type of work.

It is nice to think clients would rather I did the work than someone else – that is such a compliment – but I know I do a better job when I am doing something that I enjoy.

Having my own business means that I can take a long term view of things rather than looking for short term results and quick returns – after 6 years of building up the business and the trust of local people, last month was our best month ever.

And my client? He realised it is better to have a number of people working for him, all focussing on the areas they specialise in and enjoy. He has built up a strong team of people with specialist skills.

What do you think?

Do you think it is right to turn away business?

Do you think it is a good idea to have a team around you all specialising in their own areas?

Sara Greenfield

The Best of Norwich
Bright Yellow Marketing

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