Why Do I Need a Company Website?

Why Do I Need a Website?

A client asked recently: “I have a Facebook company page, so why would I need a website? I don’t want to confuse my customers.”

As this is a popular question among small business owners, I have provided a few links to articles with points for consideration in addition to what I will share in this article.

Entrepreneur.com

ConstantContact

GoDaddy

In addition to the perspectives provided by service providers such as GoDaddy and ConstantContact, I would raise the following considerations if you are weighing whether you need a website for your business.

Does Customer Perception of Your Business Matter?

There may be some small service providers in your community that provide a niche product such as children’s birthday cakes or handyman services, providers from which you really don’t need to trust them – primarily because you personally know them or there’s a common link via a homeowners association that provides a level of credibility for that business.

In general, it matters that your potential customers can trust you. Is your business properly set up? If you are here today when I place my order, will you be there tomorrow on the date I am picking up my order? You say you are a specialist in x, y, or z, but how do I know your credentials?

The decision to have a website requires a few decisions that imply permanence and continuity. You must secure a Domain Name such as BirthdayBakers.com and claim your space on the Internet with that name. You must decide what services you will provide and what you won’t provide. You have to make style decisions about your company’s appeal and look/feel.

The more thoughtful you are about the website content you publish, the greater you can influence your potential customers about your legitimacy as a small business that customers can trust.

If you don’t need to be perceived as permanent or as a ‘real’ business, then you may not need a website.

Do You Need an Internet Presence Without Hassles?

It is true that you can now rely on Facebook, Yelp, Google, and many other web platforms that are more than happy to sponsor your business on their platform. At the end of the day, however, your needs are only the means to their real drive toward getting Advertisers attracted to their platform. Those courtesy ‘free’ pages they provide come with lots of robo-calls and suspicious service providers that will constantly nag you to purchase advertising services. They mask themselves as just checking to make sure you update your business information, and then they are deep into a discussion with you about an advertising purchase.

With a website, if you choose your website hosting service carefully, you will be liberated from all of these hassles. A website hoster exists only to host your website and possibly maintain it, but their business model is simple.

Do You Want To Control Your Website Features?

Do you want to offer an online payment option? Do you want to have several different sections of your website? Do you want a means of letting customers rate your services?

With a custom website, you can easily extend the website as your business evolves. If you don’t like to use a certain Online Payment Process, you can easily switch to a different provider? You can provide a way to book appointments as your business grows?

With a custom website, you can evolve your business presence to meet the evolving needs as your services change or your business grows.

If you are relying on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other business pages, you will always be limited and will conform to whatever they have provided for you.  You will have little creative liberties you can take with those options.

Do You Want To Appear in Internet Searches?

I learned the hard way that the answer is not always yes to this question. If you just want to point customers to your site via business cards or other advertising references, then you don’t need to consider this for your site.  Again, if you are just a small company wanting to generate a bit of extra revenue for customers you are comfortable serving, this may not matter.  Also, if you show up on Internet searches, your business can become a target.  Just several months after me hiring a company to attract customers to my website, I was lured into a cyber-scam that cost me $4000.  I’ll spare you the details, but I encourage you to not unnecessarily pursue exposure for your business unless it an obvious means of attracting customers.

You can have a website that does not ‘rank’ on Internet searches, because it’s a very deliberate decision to take steps to increase your exposure on the Internet.  But it’s a decision that matters when you think about your need for a website.

If you definitely want to attract customers via Internet searches, then you really need a website.  The website becomes just one of the components that enables Search Engine Optimization for your site. To effectively achieve exposure for your business online, you will likely need to pay a specialist to help with that aspect of your business goals.

Summary

I have captured the main reasons I believe warrant consideration as you decide whether you want a company website or not, along with providing some other perspectives in the links I provided at the beginning.  I hope the content has been useful as you make your decisions.

If you are interested in a business consultation to talk a bit with my company about website development and hosting options, feel free to set up a Free Consult to discuss your questions and goals.

Social Isolation & Social Networking Tactics to Manage It

Tactics to Manage Social Isolation

Is Social Networking Driving Us Into Isolation?

Social Isolation Research

In 2009, with the onset of mainstream adoption of Facebook and Twitter, Psychology Today released an article noting that social isolation is a modern plague. Therefore, one might assume that online communities might be the antidote for such a plague.

Now, in 2018, MarketWatch releases another bleak article related to social isolation in America and its impact on health.

The article confirms that social networking use correlates directly with social isolation. As the use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc goes up, feelings of social isolation follows.

So this tells us that social isolation is not merely measured by a decreased quantity of social interactions. Quite the opposite, as many of us would be the most socially healthy people in the world if measured by our Tweets, Feeds, and Timelines.

Sadly, these platforms are specifically designed to use us as consumer purchasing power rather than as socially connected people.

Defining Social Isolation & Its Sources

If you reference the word Isolate, you find that the definition of the word very much implies that an external force causes one to isolate. However, counseling articles and references will frequently imply people often isolate themselves. I would dare to assert that the truth is that many people find so many problems trying to avoid being rejected and ignored. As a result, they finally stop trying to socially connect.

To stop trying to connect in a world that is rejecting you? This sounds like a healthy survival mechanism.

Wikipedia’s reference for military strategies to isolate apply directly to what we witness in social networks daily:

Encirclement is a military term for the situation when a force or target is isolated and surrounded by enemy forces.[1]

This situation is highly dangerous for the encircled force: at the strategic level, because it cannot receive supplies or reinforcements, and on the tactical level, because the units in the force can be subject to an attack from several sides. Lastly, since the force cannot retreat, unless it is relieved or can break out, it must either fight to the death or surrender. A special kind of encirclement is the siege. In this case, the encircled forces are enveloped in a fortified position in which long-lasting supplies and strong defences are in place, allowing them to withstand attacks. Sieges have taken place in almost all eras of warfare. In modern warfare, an encircled force that is not under siege is commonly referred to as a pocket.

 

Social Isolation and Steps You Can Take

Like so many things that are less than ideal, it is up to us to improve the situation in our own worlds in which we exist each day. What can you do to thrive socially in a world where ‘Friends’ have been made a commodity and often behave like the enemy?

Avoid Encirclement: Surround Yourself by Trusted Friends

  1. Review your list of Friends & Followers
  2. Remove those friends/followers that don’t behave as if they are at a dinner table amongst true friends.
  3. Enjoy a smaller footprint of people you trust and can have real discussions with.

Defend Yourself: Close Social Network Accounts That Don’t Fit Your Personality

By being smart about how you use each separate account, you can avoid ending up in a political pit when all you wanted to do was follow NFL scores and your favorite recipes.

  1. Make deliberate decisions about each social network. Are you there for debates? Are you there to create controversy? Are you there to impact change? Are you there just to learn about companies you are interested in?
  2. Set up separate accounts for each objective. If you use Twitter with the intention of following your favorite products and not getting into controversy, then strictly only Follow the companies you are wanting to stay connected with. This will tailor that account to give you exactly the experience you want.

Contain Your Offenses

All of us should actively participate in our worlds. It gives us a sense of hope and purposefulness. However, your passions for the issues you care about may not be shared by others.

  • Consider carefully where you want to be a voice of controversy. Do you want to make your Facebook friends feel isolated by being in your circle? Be compassionate and empathetic.
  • Choose where your opinions can best be channeled toward something productive. What do you want to do with your voice?
  • Create an account on the appropriate network for your voice. Give it a path to work, not to offend.

Social Isolation & My Journey

Like almost everyone, I have done this dance myself for years now. I learned in 2007 timeframe that mixing workplace colleagues with personal friends is tricky on Facebook. In 2010, I learned that my heartfelt journey through life’s hardships was something only a couple of my ‘friends’ gave a flip about. In 2015, I learned that being single in a Facebook group of mostly married moms was a very isolating experience.

As a result of my own journey, these are the steps I have taken for a much better life surviving online:

  • Twitter is a GREAT platform to use your voice. Creating an anonymous account on Twitter and Following all of the controversy and issues of the day, I have a voice that I exercise regularly. The benefit of Twitter is it is completely open, so it is a primary place for our leaders and companies to keep a pulse on public opinion. Twitter is a battlefield. I am deliberate with who I follow and why.
  • Facebook is my place for people that can all sit down with me for dinner – together. My Friend connections are deleted quickly if they choose to be the troublemaker intent on offending my other ‘dinner guests’.
  • I separate professional colleagues from family/friends. Stakes are too high not to.  Also, there is very little I would share that would be of interest to both groups.
  • I maintain a whole separate group of accounts dedicated to a small side business I dabble with.
  • In the case of social networks, less is not more. Having more accounts, each with a specific purpose, is what I have found is the most helpful.

I hope some of these tips are helpful or inspire you to think of your own strategies for letting social networks work for you. Until the platforms evolve to the complexity of our psyches, we are left to take control and find ways to prevent  Facebook and others from diminishing our lives.

Need Help with Social Isolation?

If you landed here because of your own struggles with feeling disconnected or isolated, do not hesitate to get help from a licensed counselor or a trusted friend that will listen.

WebMD Reference

Psychology Today Directory

I am happy to meet with you if you need assistance finding the right path forward. You can read a bit about me here and book a free consultation with me here.

Tutoring – Technology & Math – Grapevine, TX

help tutoring Grapevine, TX

Tutoring Needs in Grapevine, TX Area?

Tutoring selection is a highly personal decision. Therefore, I look forward to meeting with you, sharing a bit of my personality and background, and determining whether you feel I am a good fit.

Experience & Qualifications

Tamra is eligible for teaching grades 7-12. Also, she has the following credentials:

  • B.S. Biomedical Engineering (Texas A&M)
  • Technology Industry – Software Services – 25 years
  • Passed Texas TEA exam: TExES Math Grades 7-12
  • Business Owner – 2009 to Present – Education in Residential Technical Support Services
  • M.S. Counseling Psychology (Tarleton State University) – a ‘natural helper’ geared toward listening & helping people
  • Certified PMP – Project Management Professional (PMI)
  • See Full Professional Profile – LinkedIn

Why Me?

I don’t have a crew of accredited tutors in a tutoring center. However, I do have a passion for people development, career development, and igniting passion and confidence in children and young adults. I love to see them experience those moments where they move from “I can’t…” to “I did it!”.

My interest goes beyond helping a child make the grade. In fact, by teaching a child to learn and master learning, he/she can develop the skills that will provide the resiliency and adaptability required for the coming decades of change.

Tutoring Specialties – My “Sweet Spots”

While I can ramp up on any topics to help your child, the areas I can expand and provide rich learning experiences and examples would be in these areas/subjects:

  • Algebra
  • Physics – Mechanics
  • Calculus
  • Technology & Computing
  • Statistics
  • Project-Based Learning

A natural extension of the academic tutoring is providing project-based learning. In the realm developing project skills, I can facilitate a rich learning experience in various applications of technology to business.

Tutoring – My Availability

I maintain my tutoring availability via my Bookings page. You can directly schedule an introductory phone call or set up a tutoring session.

Tutoring Next Steps –

  1. Do you live in the Grapevine, TX area? I do face/face tutoring in Grapevine, Euless, Colleyville, Southlake areas.
  2. Set up a free phone consult with me to talk about your needs? Book my time directly here.
  3. We’ll discuss you or your child’s needs and whether I’m a good fit.
  4. Pricing is custom, depending on the goals of and the duration of our sessions. Starting at $30/hour.

Start a Business, Let Office 365 Do the Work!

Start a Business? Overwhelmed at the Thought?

There are just a few basic steps to start a business. But then what? How will you attract customers? What services will you provide? Will you let another company’s brand be yours, or do you want your own brand? As a new company, how will you keep up with the backoffice side of things, scheduling and paying bills and invoicing customers, while also finding time to deliver your services?

The Rise of Micro Businesses & Unique Value of the Cloud

Micro businesses are defined as businesses with 0 to 5 employees. Many micro businesses exist today and have no employees – consultants, freelancers, and multilevel marketing reps. If you are a micro business and plan to be for the long haul, chances are high that you will just exist as a Sole Proprietor and possibly file a Doing Business As | DBA to represent yourself as your brand.

If you are a micro business, you can uniquely reap advantages from looking at the many services offered in the Cloud today.

The Fundamentals – Legal Stuff!

The basics to start your business would include the following tasks, at minimum:

  • Business Formation -Services such as LegalZoom make it very convenient to create your business entity.
  • State Sales Tax Permit – Determine whether you’ll need to collect sales and use tax for your products and services – most companies will need to get this permit to operate in their state. (Reference: QuickBooks Article)

Technically, at this point, you are in business! Now for the hard part….

What’s My Business Plan?

Do I need a plan? The answer is always yes! However, you may need very little formal planning. For example, if you plan on acting as an Associate for Scentsy or Rodan+Fields and you are just primarily in business to connect in your community and make a few extra bucks, then you can likely just dive in.

The reality is that most people start a business to make money, even if it’s supplemental income secondary to a primary job. If you are in business with a need for income, you need a business plan.

A business plan will minimally cover these topics:

  • What will I sell?
  • How will I sell it?
  • Who are my customers?
  • How much income do I need?
  • What combination of services/products can I sell to make the needed income amount?

A business plan will range in complexity, based on the structure of your business, risks in your business, etc. A great resource is offered here by the US Small Business Association (SBA).

Attract Customers

When you start a business today, there are so many options to engage with your customers:

  • Do you want to just network directly ‘old school’ style with business cards & cold calls?
  • Are you hoping for exposure in your local community via the local Chamber of Commerce?
  • Planning to attract customers to your business website via Google Search, Bing Search, etc?
  •  Do you like to reach customers through email campaigns offering discounts and coupons?
  • Do you plan on Social Networking presence – LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc?

The options are endless. You could waste a lot of time and money on marketing. Be deliberate with your decisions in this area.

Office 365 and Attracting Customers

Microsoft introduced the Business Center available in the Office 365 Business Premium plans.

In the Business Center, the following apps can be used to generate sales leads and new customers:

Microsoft Connections for email campaigns.

Outlook Customer Manager for customer relationship management tailored for micro and small business.

Microsoft Listings for maintaining your business listings on Yelp, Facebook, Bing Places and Google My Business to keep business hours and contact information consistently updated.

Operations & “Office Work”

Office 365 offers Business Center apps for the following ‘back office’ roles every business needs:

Microsoft Invoicing for billing customers (Accounts Receivable)

Microsoft Bookings for customer online appointments and scheduling.

Need Help or More Information?

Book a free consultation to learn more or discuss your business ideas for feedback!

A Business About Community.

Book an Appointment

Need Help? Develop A Plan for Change.

 

Need Help?
Need Help?

Career Coaching & Life Change

Industry research provides evidence that active planning & life change can promote better long-term health.

Need Help? I have the Passion.

With 10+ years of management and a Masters in Counseling, Tamra has a passion for helping people that need help to navigate their careers & optimize their lives. As a result, she focuses on all opportunities to assist others in career planning and changes.

Need Help? I Have the Experience.

We live in unpredictable times with changes coming. Therefore, most people will need assistance exploring career options that match their interests, goals, and financial needs.

Tamra is driven by her life experience and is equipped through education and job experiences. As a result of years of providing services to all sizes of business customers, her focus on coaching through career change is a natural fit.

See Professional Profile on LinkedIn.

Need Help? I Have the Training.

Life Coaching emerged with an emphasis on the partnership of client and coach around problem-solving rather than a medical diagnosis.  Therefore, it is an alternative to counseling.

Many job dissatisfaction issues spiral into more serious problems such as anxiety and depression. Therefore, coaching is a proactive way of resolving issues early. Develop a plan now.

Tamra has formal training as a counselor and respects the boundary where assisting a client may require partnering with a counselor.

Need Help? I’ll See You Through It.

Tamra offers Business Services that align perfectly with many client needs as a natural outcome of coaching and consultative work together. The realities of our digital economy are pushing more people toward entrepreneurial interests, often by necessity. With a plan, you can hedge those risks by building early.

Tamra has services that take you fully through the assessment of your skills/interests, plan development, and plan implementation. She believes the most common sources of personal dissatisfaction for US populations will center around career and income problems that can be solved with technology and planning.