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Click here for business forms
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Black Friday Preview Coming Tomorrow

Quickest blog post ever! Be on the lookout for a special email from us on Wednesday for our exclusive coupon code with our Black Friday / Cyber Monday preview deal!

Remember, you can buy yourself a gift at this busy time of year. This one gets charged to your business account and don’t forget, you can count it as a 2013 expense!

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#002: Photo Organizer Interview [Podcast]

Update 9/19/17

Join us at our new photo organizing podcast
Photos with Sherita!

BPC-podcast-art 600pxThis interview series introduces you to photo organizers around the country who share their unique stories.

Meet Julie Kessler

Julie headshotJulie Kessler, owner of Picture This Organized in Colorado, shares how she transitioned her business from professional organizing to specializing in photo organizing earlier this year. Julie is a certified member of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO). She uses a customized system with each client to help them identify the photos, memorabilia and home movies that tell the stories they want to share.

The fun part of listening to a podcast is that you don’t have to be tied down to your computer. You can download the audio file and load on your iPod/mp3 player. Here are a just a few ideas for listening while you are…

  • Walking the dog
  • Running errands in the car
  • Exercising

You can expect short information-packed podcasts that we’ll keep to 30 minutes or less because we know that we are all busy small business owners.

Click to Listen

Be sure to ask any questions in the comment section below after you listen. We love to hear from you!

If you missed the first interview, click here to listen to my interview with Rita Norton of Photovation.

If you have started your business but still don’t have professional print materials, take a look at our marketing templates designed exclusively for photo organizers. Everything you need for print and your online presence is included in one marketing set. Don’t forget we also have amazing business forms so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel AND you can present yourself to clients with a professional image. Be sure to visit the business forms page to watch the short videos with tips on how to use each form. My clients love them and yours will too!

3 Steps to Naming Your New Business

three stepsStill trying to think of name for your new business? All your favorite names are already taken? How do you find a name that you love?

Here are 3 steps to help you name your new business:

1. Keep it Simple

Don’t overthink it. If you don’t already own it, buy your own name as a domain. If you have a common name, add your middle initial or maiden last name + your married name. You can start a business by branding yourself. The idea is to get started and dive in to your new business. Some people may not advise you to use your own name if your vision is to build an empire that you want to sell later. Others like Marie Forleo, Michael Hyatt or Seth Godin might tell you that YOU are your brand. You can always add additional services and products with different domains. My point here is simple – you can spend months and months planning to be in business. As the amazing company with a unique name called Nike reminds us…”Just Do It.” Which should also remind you that a great tagline is as important as your business name.

2. Do Your Research

Write down or type a list of word combinations as a domain and see how they look together with no spaces. Prioritize your list from most favorite to least favorite. Google is your friend (or whatever search engine you prefer). Be prepared to buy a domain if it is available at the time of search. There are people/companies that are domain name brokers and buy and sell domains that they think someone would be interested in. Also be prepared that your top ten or even twenty could already be taken. Think branding and check domain availability, facebook, twitter and any other social media you know you might use.

3. Try an online naming tool

Your name is taken. All your favorite choices are taken. You have to get creative and here’s an interesting online name tool that Seth Godin called the “naming tool of the year”. Maybe Wordoid will help you find a unique name that will help you launch your new business!

Check out these other great articles about naming your business:

How to Name Your Business – MarieForleo.com
How to Pick the Right Name for Your New Business – Mashable.com
Choose Your Business Name – sba.gov

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If you have started your business but still don’t have professional print materials, take a look at our marketing templates designed exclusively for photo organizers. Everything you need for print and your online presence is included in one marketing set. Don’t forget we also have amazing business forms so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel AND you can present yourself to clients with a professional image. Be sure to visit the business forms page to watch the short videos with tips on how to use each form. My clients love them and yours will too!

Marketing Templates and Maggie

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Marketing Templates

Maggie is our new graphic designer who has designed 3 beautiful marketing template sets to help photo organizers get their business up and running in a quick, simple, and affordable way. The sets will give you instant branding for both your online presence and print materials.

Designed specifically for photo organizers and available for purchase right now. Woo hoo!

Here’s a quick overview of how you can use these templates…

  • Templates are .psd files that you can open and edit with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.
  • You should know Photoshop and be comfortable working with layers and clipping masks.
  • You can customize the set by changing colors and fonts.
  • You can print the marketing materials at a printer of your choice.
  • You can use your own photos or purchase stock photography
  • Generic photo organizer copy is included on rack card and post card.

If Photoshop isn’t your “thing”, you can pay to have your set customized with your business name and personal contact information as well as the colors of your choice.

Because we want to keep prices affordable for the start-up business owner, no other customization other than what is listed is available at this time.

Click here for all the details about the marketing template sets we currently offer.

More about Maggie

Maggie has been a graphic designer for over 14 years and is also a professional photographer. Since she is a small business owner herself and the mom of three, she “gets it”. She knows what it takes to run a business from home and her skill and expertise coupled with her passion to help women in business make this a great fit for Big Picture Coaching clients!

We really clicked from the start as she understood my vision to help women in small business and how we can offer additional services that help with all those decisions you have to make. We are excited about this new partnership and look forward to adding more design services in the near future.

We’re thinking you might like to purchase seasonal marketing postcards or some stock photography. We have a running list of future services already started but we really want to know what you want.

Let us know in the comments what are some of the things you wish you had but don’t want to have to figure out how to make yourself!

P.S. My two favorite forms are now available in the business forms shop! Watch the video tutorials for the forms which include the Individual Timeline Form and the Family Timeline Form. These interactive forms designed by Rita Norton of Photovation are AMAZING.

Staying Ahead of the Game

Kodak Brownie HawkeyeKodak’s employees were watching the market, collecting information, designing and discovering the technology of the future, but they couldn’t get the management and marketing arms of their company on the same page at the right time to leverage a place for themselves in the new and rapidly changing marketplace. Kenny Suleimanagich researched and wrote about the rise and fall of a photo giant, Kodak. The blame ultimately came down to “the disconnect between manager and engineer.”

So, how are you supposed to stay ahead of the game? If a company with the resources of Kodak can’t do it, how can you and your small business resources hope to navigate the waters of ever-changing technology?

A positive to being small is your ability to adapt and change. You don’t have a room of board members or managers to convince when you want to try a new technology or just keep up with the latest photo technology. But how do you keep informed without losing your day to the results of an online search?

3 Research Tips

  1. Make sure to use reputable online sources
  2. Ask other professionals in your network of industry experts
  3. Schedule a start AND stop time for research

As the old saying goes, “Leaders are readers” and reading and staying informed will help you to become a leader in the photo industry. But please, don’t get lost in trying to learn everything you can before you market yourself and your business. Become an expert skimmer!

3 Resources

Skim these information-rich sites and read a few articles that catch your eye or are about something you’d like to learn more about and perhaps even specialize in. You can subscribe via email. Or read through an RSS subscription using an app like Feedly or Bloglovin which will allow you to schedule a daily or weekly reading appointment with yourself. Clip or save the best of what you read to Evernote in a reference notebook that you can access on your computer, smartphone or tablet. (Look at all that technology you will be using!)

  1. Library of Congress – The Signal: Digital Preservation
  2. PMA Newsline – Daily Photo News
  3. Your Digital Life

Bonus tip: Cut your facebook reading time in half and use that “extra” time to read industry specific news.

Set a timer to stop reading and start your next task…

Maybe next on your list is this:
Develop a marketing strategy to get the right clients!

Psst…did you hear the internet is here to stay?

Love it or hate it, technology and the digital age is not going away. Are you embracing it and helping your customers wade through the endless choices they have with just one Google search? One of the best ways you can WOW your clients is to help them by narrowing down their choices based on your research.

What are you favorite technology tips you share with your clients and your colleagues?

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Radical Business Forms and Rita

Today is the BIG day

The first big reveal that I promised you last week is here! I will try to control my use of exclamation points but I’m not making any promises.

If you are an APPO member, you should have received an email announcement with the preliminary details of the Picture Perfect Profits conference which is Appo’s 2nd annual conference in Dallas, Texas on February 12-15, 2014.

I’m excited to be hosting a pre-conference intensive session with Rita Norton of Photovation. We have an agenda that is filled with content and training that will take your business to the next level.

But that’s not what this big reveal is about today.

One of the things I’ve worked on all summer is to create a place where photo organizers can come and get premium resources as they grow their business and are ready to invest in additional business tools.

BPC Photovation resources smOur services will include all the things you wish you had time to make yourself or don’t have the mastery or desire to learn and would rather just buy. This gives you more time to focus on what’s important; working ON your business instead of IN your business.

Systems and workflow is high on the list of what photo organizers want to improve in their own business. As certified Appo members ourselves, Rita and I are actively developing those things for you!

Rita’s Radical Business Forms

I challenge you to show me better and more professional forms than the ones Rita has designed. When she revealed them to me and let me beta test them with my own clients, I could barely contain my excitement. These forms are amazing!

Exclamation count: 4

Yes, I love forms and I’m betting you do too. Hello? We have organizing in our blood. But not everyone has the technological skill and even more importantly…the TIME to develop what Rita has created! Don’t squint – there is a video for each form and more details on the business forms page.

©copyright Photovation, LLC    Copyright © 2013 Photovation, LLC. All Rights Reserved.    BPC Photo Inventory Form

Okay, it’s obvious I’m a raving fan. How about I give Rita an opportunity to tell you a little more about how she’s developed her forms and systems and her background in her own words?

Here’s Rita…

Thanks Sherra, I am equally excited to be hosting the Photo Organizer Training with you and even more excited to share the tools to make life easier and business more successful for all photo organizers.

Let’s get right to the good stuff. I was inspired by my clients to develop tools to make their photo organizing projects more efficient. I had noticed a pattern, I am sure you do too, that I was tasking each client with the same type of homework. In addition, I was reinventing my process and steps even though the client project was reasonably similar. Does any of this sound familiar?

After numerous revisions and testing with a select group of clients the result was a series of forms (and more in the design phase) that improved my productivity and client satisfaction. The forms are all pdfs that work with free Adobe® Reader software – but here is what makes the forms very unique – they are editable and interactive. What does that mean? Imagine a form where you can input photo and family information and the form is designed with formulas and special coding that generates important information based on that specific client. Think spreadsheet, but much smarter and prettier!

Here’s a quick look at one of the checklists we’re introducing today.

Here are the key benefits that implementing professional business forms in your business will bring you:

  • More time to spend with your family or creating other components of your business that you are more passionate about
  • Improved customer satisfaction as a result of your professional system and consistent process
  • Branding and Marketing tool: the forms can be branded with your company name and number in the footer
  • Make more money by managing more clients as a result of an effective systems and workflow process
  • Elevated confidence with your clients will result in attracting more of your ideal clients

Feel free to email me at forms@bigpicturecoaching.net with any questions or requests for forms that you need.

Click here to check out the 3 business forms we’re introducing today.

P.S. Note from Sherra…Two more interactive forms are coming by October 1st and they are my personal favorites! Be patient if the site is slow – we’re working on that too.

Google Voice and Talkatone App

GoogleVoice-LogoWe got rid of our land line and home phone number over 5 years ago. We’ve never looked back as it was a monthly bill we didn’t need. Our decision was based partly on the fact that we had 3 teenagers in high school who needed cell phones more than we needed a land line. I’ll save my editorial on cell phones, Sprint, and our service for another day.

I’ve been using Google Voice for almost two years. It works well for me since the bulk of my days in my home office are spent on the computer and on the phone with coaching calls during business hours. I dial from my computer and it saves me from using my prime time cell phone minutes. One feature that I really like is that I have my Google Voice number set to forward to my cell phone and it “translates” voicemail into text messages and email – the translations can be pretty entertaining. You can also record a separate voicemail greeting with your Google Voice number. It has some great features.

The few difficulties I’ve encountered are really no different than cell phone problems. Sometimes there is a bad connection which can also be dependent upon our internet connection and not just Google’s service. My Mac laptop has some cooling fans with their own personalities which can rudely interfere with the audio connection.

I’ve been working on several big projects that have required literally hours on the phone. On Friday, Sprint sent me a friendly text that I was almost out of minutes. This motivated me to do a little weekend research to see if I could use Google Voice on my smartphone without the minutes counting on my cell phone plan. Surely someone had already invented this and I just needed to learn how to use it!

I read about several different apps, their functionality and consumer reviews. You can make voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calls with your smartphone and some tablets.

Talkatone App

Talkatone app icon Hello Talkatone! They had me intrigued from the first sentence on their website…

“Millions of people use Talkatone to call and text over WiFi or a data connection without using cell minutes.”

Talkatone does exactly what I need. I’m using the free version and so far, so good. We did laugh at the potential of taking calls on my iPad. Don’t worry, I use the earbuds with the built-in microphone.

I’m still testing the different features and I’m experimenting with another app I bought for $2.99 called GV Connect. Some people say it has a nicer interface than Talkatone and they can work together – I’m not convinced yet.

I always try to find apps that are for both iOS and Android as we are a house divided with our technology choices. Cross platform compatibility is important for my family. It also helps me recommend things to my clients since I’ve heard people are still using Windows computers. 😉

Have you tried Google Voice or any other phone apps? I’d love to hear from you – leave a comment below.

Flexible Summer Schedules For Small Business Owners

You might think I took the summer off since you haven’t received a blog post since late June. That’s one of the best things about being small business owners – the flexibility to set our own schedules.

carnival

But alas, I did not take the summer off. In fact, I’ve been working harder than I’ve worked in a very long time.

It’s been a wild carnival ride. Minus the ride because just thinking about spinning around on a ride makes me queasy.

My family has been extremely patient and loving while my work hours have been a little crazy.

Understanding the seasons of our business and our schedules is helpful when we decide to climb aboard a wild ride and it helps to know the ride will end. In the short term, in a phase, in a certain season of our business – it is important to know that extra work and that feeling of being out of kilter is not permanent and will help us with our long term business plan.

Grand Re-Opening

I’m back! I’m very excited to share some fabulous things happening and I can’t wait to show you what’s coming to Big Picture Coaching very, very soon. While I wasn’t writing blog posts, I was behind the scenes getting some exclusive things ready just for photo organizers.

Through my coaching calls with clients and staying connected with Appo members and being a certified photo organizer myself, I have a pretty good idea of what kind of business tools and systems would make your business life easier.

In keeping with my mantra that we do our best to not “overwhelm the overwhelmed” including ourselves, I’m going to reveal a few new things…

One at a time.

Starting next week.

Just giving you a heads up so you have something to look forward to!

Summer is NOT over

According to my stellar math skills and if you are reading this today, September 10th, we have 12 days of summer left.

The first day of autumn happens to fall on a milestone birthday for me this year. Ahem. I tell you this because I’m not rushing the end of summer.

Hope you will enjoy these last days of summer with your family and friends! Especially if you live in the Midwest and have been enduring an unseasonably long heatwave. Hotter than Atlanta. That’s crazy hot.

This also means that it’s still way too hot for baking apple crisp and pumpkin bars. Let’s not rush this, okay?

I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and share what you did this summer…even if it wasn’t work!

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P.S. Add info@bigpicturecoaching.net to your email contact address book so you won’t miss any updates and they won’t accidentally be hiding in your *spam* folder. 🙂

3 Tips to Measure Your Marketing Results

tape measure

I ask every client I work with…

“How do you keep track of your clients and your client prospects?”

The answers range from a notebook to a spreadsheet to customer relationship management (CRM) software.

If you don’t currently have a system, you are not alone.

More often than people like to admit, the response is “I don’t really have a good system.”

In the business coaching process, we start working immediately on developing a system for measuring results.

3 tips for creating a simple system to measure marketing results

  1. Keep two lists – one for clients and one for prospective clients (note how you got their name)
  2. Keep track of when (date and time) and how (phone, email, in person or social media) you contact each person
  3. Review your list on a schedule (weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually)

By reviewing this list on a regular basis, you will begin to see patterns that will help you with your marketing strategy.

An example of measuring results could look like this:

  • Passed out 50 marketing postcards at 3 networking events
  • Received 25 business cards from people who expressed interest
  • Called 15 people; left 12 messages and talked to 3 people
  • Sent 10 emails; followed up with 5 phone calls and 5 facebook private messages
  • Scheduled 2 client assessment appointments

Now you can see if the postcard special yielded results. You can make decisions on how you contacted people and what methods are most effective.

It is always important to know where your existing clients came from, who to continue to follow-up with and how you will spend your time getting new clients.

Bonus! 3 ways to keep your list

  1. If you use Gmail and want to try out a free CRM that integrates with your email, try Streak.com
  2. If you like spreadsheets, try Google Drive’s spreadsheet which you can access on any computer
  3. If you like good old-fashioned paper and pen, use a notebook or binder specifically for client info

Keep a list – seems so simple but I’m constantly surprised by how many times this step is skipped. Don’t over-complicate this. Pick a method that makes sense for you and start your list today!

How do you keep track of your clients and prospects so you can measure marketing results?

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