7 Tips – Maximise Your Linkedin Profile

Whether you want new customers, a new job, a promotion or just to be found; here are 7 tips to help you build a better profile for yourself using your linkedin profile.

In this digital age, if you cannot be found on the web I personally begin to wonder what you are hiding or do you not want to grow your business?  If you are still holding allegiance to the tribe of anonymity and you have a front line position in a company (sales, marketing or owner) then I would suggest seeking a new profession or shutting your business down. If  you have more customers, opportunities and wealth than you can handle – then by all means operate in stealth and ignore the tips below.

 7 Linkedin Profile Tips   linkedin logo

  1. Add your photo
    Many people are poor at remembering names. Your face is the best form of recognition we still have. Make it visible to everyone. Don’t use logo’s or diagrams. Better still if you can clear cut it (edit the background out).
  2. Load your contact details – Phone, email and website
    If you want to be contacted then put your phone, skype an email address in and make them visible. Linkedin is better than the white or yellow page directories for getting up to date contact details. People who want to connect with other busy people (read successful or great potential clients) publish cell phone no’s.To access someones contact information, click the contact info envelope  at the top of their profile (highlighted below) and it will expand out to show their full contact information.
    MJR linkedin contact info
    The other day my wife and I found a wallet full of credit cards, office access keys and other personal stuff on the street. We then set off in a major social media stalking exercise to find and contact the owner – her hours of anxiety could have been reduced to minutes if she had put her cell phone no or email address in her linkedin profile.
  3. When sending a connection invite – add a relevant comment
    Don’t just send connection requests without at least a simple “this is why I want to connect with you” or “this is how I know you” line. This way you turn your cold call to a warm call.I meet lots of people in my business life, many from speaking gigs – when someone from the audience attempts to connect with me with a little note I generally connect. People with big networks will more than likely accept your request.
  4. Get some recommendations
    Linked in is a great way to build personal credibility – get personal recommendations from people you respect to build your credibility.  Because its in the public its more likely to be authentic.
  5. Put some history
    Make sure you list more than your current role on Linked in. As a general rule cover the last 10 years of your business history.
  6. Use your linked in network for marketing
    You can very easily export your linked in database to a csv file that you can use outside linked in eg starting an email newsletter list. Go to connections page – click settings – its in the panel listed as advance settings.
  7. Delete Duplicate profiles
    If you have duplicate profiles – delete all but one. If you have lost both password and the email account it is linked to contact linked in support. Linked in now have a service that will merge multiple accounts into one.
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7 Ways to Stop Wasting Time

Is your business focused on your Value Proposition?

How much of your business activity is focused around adding value to your clients – i.e delivering your value proposition. The base logic behind  Kaizen is removing waste, while optimising value to your clients.

Prior to commencing the valuable process of eliminating waste I suggest getting great clarity around your core value proposition and what target market you are taking on as well as your strategy to maximise it.

Kaizen or “Lean” has been popular in large business for some years now. Most of the evangelists like John Cook from Stainless Design in Waikato all come from the larger end of SME or big corporates.   After attending an inspirational seminar with Julie Hazelhurst (Kaizen guru), she has got me thinking about the implications of this thinking to the smaller end of SME.

Waste (Muda) comes in 7 forms

  • Motion – people movement, searching
  • Waiting – stalled customer processes
  • Transport – Information and material
  • Storage – Information and material
  • Defects – rework
  • Over producing – doing more than client pays for
  • Over processing – over engineering, more precision

Julie’s premise was “if you’re running short on time and money in your business perhaps you should tackle your waste first and maximise the value out of your talent in your team, before looking at taking on more staff”. She took us through the basic process of mapping your internal value chain and observing the “waste” processes  typically interleaved with the activities that your client values.

Its interesting that in Business Dominoes we use a similar focus on value chains to spot new market opportunities and strategic alliance partners outside the business, where Kaizen uses the internal value chain to focus process improvement.

7 common waste areas that I continually see SME’s wasting time on:

  1. Potential & current clients not in your target market Get clear about what is and isn’t an ideal profitable customer. Create a bullet list of their characteristics : eg revenue, location, ability to “get” your value etc
  2. Distractions of activities off “piste” Get clear about your business competencies and larger goals, then “stick to your knitting”. Too many businesses never achieve anything because their visionary leader is always chasing the next big idea. Put some structure around your business and then say NO to stuff that will not achieve your goal.
  3. Poor performing staff. Failure to deal with non performing staff will scare off the bets performers. Despite the hassles of our employment law – act now.
  4. Over engineering products and services, rather than selling Get the balance between engineering and marketing spend right. Know when you have that minimum viable product and then go sell, sell, sell. Craftsmen are never satisfied and continue to tinker with the machine when they should be bringing in revenue. If you have zero sales stop everything and validate your market before progressing.
  5. False economy of not having or having  a low performing professional service providers  Get some great outside help to challenge you on your big decisions and to have a shoulder to cry on as well as celebrate success with. If you have zero budget start with a fellow entrepreneur and meet them for a coffee once a fortnight.
  6. Inefficient accounting systems If you are not using auto bank feeds to avoid entering transactions – try Xero with bank feeds –use bank accounts that auto feed transactions into your accounting system -link your credit card as well. Learn how to do your own GST return, it takes minutes and you get a  great check point on your business.
  7. Outdated IT systems If technology is not helping your business you are doing it wrong – get a new IT supplier.  If you have less than 50 staff throw out your email server and replace it with office 365 (a great cloud computing service). Share electronic contacts and calendars around your organisation and embrace smartphone technology.

What’s your biggest area of waste?

Add a comment below with the big saving areas that you have made in your business.

Redefining – employee commitment and work life balance

Pigs or chickens?

Too many employee’s have an entitlement attitude and its killing business owners – who’s fault is that the employee or employer?

The employee owner – divide is a constant challenge for business owners. How do you motivate your employees to go the extra mile and behave more like owners? Mastering the art of people leadership, is the toughest of all talents a business leader must acquire if they are to be successful and not die of a heart attack due to “staff issues”

Owners and employees are as different as the pig and the chicken in the “bacon and eggs” business – the pigs are committed and the chickens are involved.

Are your staff pigs or chickens?

 One of my biggest observations after working with business owners is that most people have never worked for an “inspirational leader” or in a “high performing team”.  As such they have no role models or experiences to reference to, or emulate.

 Are you an Inspirational leader and do you have a high performing team?

Yes we need to recognise that employees will never behave exactly like owners mainly because they will never have as much on the line as owners do but …

as business owners it is our role to lead and develop a culture where we can get the best out of people.

Too often I hear business owners complain about the performance of staff, in particular well-paid senior staff, yet as leaders they have not been clear and upfront with what they expect from their staff.

In my blog post on Daniel Pinks – book Drive I referenced one of his concepts that has stuck with me has been the concept of “pay people enough, to take money off the table as a motivator” and “replace it with purpose”.  Its we worth watching, RSA’s Daniel Pink Drive 10 minute video summary of the book– it is great at positioning money is not the best motivator.

A well-crafted BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) is a great way to clarify with your team the purpose. For tips on this read my BHAG blog post.

So lets set the record straight: what do we actually expect from our staff and in particular our staff paid more than $70K a year. My guess is to many people are being held ransom by their employees and are not clear enough on expectations.

 Redefining “work life balance”

One of my pet issues with “employee” logic as a opposed to “owner” logic is the distorted and biased view of work life balance.

I quote from the Department of Labour website – which typifies employee logic:

Work-life balance is about effectively managing the juggling act between paid work and other activities that are important to us – including spending time with family, taking part in sport and recreation, volunteering or undertaking further study.

Interesting all the examples on the DoL are about employees getting rather than giving.

Here is my redefined definition of work-life balance

Work-life balance is acknowledging that modern work and home life are integrated with each other and cannot be separated. 

It means: just as its ok to have time off to go watch your kids athletics, or bugger off early on a Friday to go on that Mountain bike trip with you mates, its ok to check you emails in the weekend, stay late at the office because we have a deadline.

It is not about clock watching and collating time in lieu, it’s about being part of many winning teams : at work, at our sport and  family – all simultaneously.

 Signing up staff to a new commitment contract 

How would your staff react if you asked them to sign up to a commitment pledge?

Commitment contract

I agree that I get:

  • Fair compensation for my contribution to the company?
  • An opportunity to share in the upside of the business? (profit share, bonus, promotions) 

 I commit to:

  • Being as passionate about work as my non-work life.
  • Not switching my phone or brain off as I leave the building:  So I am constantly thinking about how our business can be improved and do better , sharing my ideas with other team members
  • Spend company money as if it was my own
  • Not clog up our finance system with petty little expense claims (items less than $100) – noting it costs most organisations more than $100 to raise and settle an expense claim
  • Go the extra mile on a regular basis including doing extra hours over and above 40 hours per week

What else would you add ? …

Smart Promotional Spend – Avanti Show the Way

I see too many businesses blowing mindless money on trade shows. Typically inviting their customers to attend big tradeshows where all their competitors are exhibiting. Having spent a number of years in international telecommunications marketing I have seen this big time with businesses spending $100K plus and getting nowhere.

 The better alternative is to run a dedicated customer event, in a location where you can either entice your customers to go, or in their back yard. 

At Stratex we ran dedicated 2 day customer events in exotic locations like Phuket and Biarritz at a quarter the price with twice the impact, we could create a presence at CEBIT or communicasia. The customers left having had a fantastic time, all referenced direct to our brand, not the industry.

 Thursday night I saw an excellent example of getting customer engagement right, from a local company. Avanti backed their dealer conference with a great showcase event with their 2012 product range open to the public. The event was attended by a huge number of bike enthusiasts.

 I would rate it as one of the better customer events I have attended. Plenty of product specialists with plenty of time to talk to you, in fact most customers I saw were so engrossed in the product the bar was near empty.

 So for the bike enthusiasts among you here are some of my highlights: 

  • Di2 is a must for anyone into bike bling – Check out this video clip if you are not up with the play
  • Di2 bikes for under $7,000 retail – the Di2 ultegra range this year is going to rock
  • Di2 Quatum team (picture below) took my fancy – Extra Di2 remote shifters by the hoods allow for gear shifting of rear derailleur when not riding in the drops – so cool …it’s on my shopping list.
  • The growing trend in Cycle-cross and 29er range
  • The new Ultegra – range wiring system and up to 28 tooth rear sprockets could be a great Tandem upgrade.

 Great show Avanti – and thanks for being such a great support to Pure Black Racing (NZ’s first UCI Pro Tour team in the making). Looking forward to the 2012 bike info being up on their web site and more importantly in-store.

Managing change or riding the wave? – Lessons from a futurist

Are we managing change or adapting to it? 

Success in the future will be determined by your ability to ride the wave of change. Not on the false premise you create change.

That was my big takeaway from an inspirational session with David Houle – self claimed futurist, at an open TEC event this week.

David spent the first half of our time together building the scene: giving us a technology history lesson and then motivating us (NZ)  to get our act together with broadband.  To be honest the warm up was a bit slow for me (maybe I am an impatient bugger) , but then came the really good thought-provoking stuff.

David labels the current decade (2010 – 2020) the Shift Age, with three main characteristics:

  • Flow to global
  • Flow to individual
  • Accelerated connectedness

 David describes a futurist as someone who helps transform shape and form of business. Stating there is always opportunity in danger.

 The main takeaways from this event for me were:

  •  Don’t kid yourself we can no longer manage change – we can no longer be change agents – we live in a world of every increasing change – future winners will be the leaders who can read and adapt to it, rather than attempt to control it. Effectively riding the wave of change.  We need to become a “morph corps” – how well structured for constant change is your business?
  • Forget traditional office environments – we need to separate the concept of place and work.  Modern workers need space to collaborate and cross fertilise. So how about pulling down cubicle farms and create thinking rooms – for staff to get together and collaborate in. Then let them to work at home for the rest of the time? It’s interesting us baby boomers still cannot get our head around teenagers working with distractions around (music, tv, etc) it is time we consider how the new generation thinks and creates best.
  • The new high touch – tech world – “hugging is in” – check out the teenagers – look at the Apple retail concept “the temple of cool” – designed to  get people using stuff. How are you integrating this concept  into your business?
  • Future wealth will be defined by Intellectual Property (IP) – interpreting his case studies my take on this was that it will be  IP + Brand Experience that will drive future wealth.  The emotional attachment to brand experience is real and consuming in this modern world. David gave a great example of this  “whose kid wants a HP or a Dell Laptop?” “Apple is the cool one” – Hell my daughter is fixated on her new ,MacBook experience this year.
  • Watch out for the “digital natives” those young ones coming through – who have no experience of the pre digital world – they are different – adapt and find ways to maximise their talent.
  • People hold the power not traditional corporations / structure – the individual needs to be engaged with. Interesting to still hear people failing to adapt to the new channel of customer/stakeholder communications of social media.

A great morning of inspiration:  If you are interested in more of David’s theories, he does have a book – “The Shift Age”. By all accounts he is another American who has fallen in love with Australia and NZ , so I am sure we will see him as a regular visitor on the NZ speaking circuit. Well worth a listen to.

How to write a book in less than 48 hours

Writing a book in less than 48 hours …
Sounds like an impossible task, but that’s what Lawrence excels in, braking paradigms.

Who said writing a book needs to be an arduous long drawn out process?
Key to his model is rethinking the book process as an entrepreneur rather than as a traditional suffering “writer-author”

I have just spent the weekend attending an insightful workshop lead by Lawrence Green, who has completely opened my mind as to what is possible with limited time. More importantly he  has certainly broken the procrastination loop I was stuck in on this personal goal (to write a book). Hell taking his technique there is no reason not to bash put a couple.

Fundamental to his process – is mapping how he maps the book out – using a drill down process of 3’s  ( 3 main ideas, 3 sub idea’s , 3 sub-sub ideas), focusing in on the purpose and audience, but most importantly not losing the power you have in your natural way or voice. We live in world of the spoken word, so why not just speak your book. The key was in using a smart interviewing techniques with great guidance of a thought out map. 

His interviewing process and audio recording technique, combined with the use of modern elance.com outsourcing for transcription and editing process puts your book creating process on steroids. What blew me away was that you can get 4 hour transcripts (dictation) written up mass at market prices of  sub US<$100.  Lawrenece’s attitude is “why should I write up stuff when I can get others to do it for me”“let me focus on the important part of idea creation and making a difference”.

Often when we commit to written word we miss the passion and true “voice”  of our message. The interview process is powerful – because it unleashes the true self, allow our true message (and value add) to come out.  As Lawrence said “when I review by recordings I found I said things, I didn’t know I knew ”

The weekend catered to a variety of attendees some stuck with writer’s block others part way through the process. Every one left inspired, encouraged and in most cases with a full map of their book and no doubt with another 48 hours they will have it written. For me, I arrived cold no prep, I have left the weekend with core map complete for book no 1 and looking forward to making the next major step over the xmas break – watch this space!

For those of you who have a plan to write a book in your life plan, then this is must attend weekend. He inspires all to break hang ups and reasons not to start, provides frame work and tips on how to get the task done.

Contact Lawrence about reserving your spot on his next weekend retreat.  http://lawrencelewisgreen.com/  or twitter @LLGNZ

What impression do you give your clients on first contact?

Are you one of those businesses with your caller ID blocked?

One of my pet peeve’s – is businesses that block their caller ID or worst still, who do not reply to “contact us” on their web sites.

  • Caller ID “blocked”? – for me, it says that you have something to hide or be ashamed of.  You want to hide behind your anonymity.
  • Answer web site enquires? – If you do not want to enter a dialogue with your clients then do not put “contact us” on your web site. If you do then answer them in a timely manner.

For tradesmen who want to grow businesses here are my tips:
1:  Have a web site – you will stand out
2: Respond to those of us who are busy and like to use email or cell phones
3: Remove the blocked ID from your PABX or telco.