From Our Members

As a business owner, you manage all sorts of complexity in your work. Goals, expectations, and the people who help you meet them may change. But even though things constantly change, you can still adapt, thanks to smart and focused business planning. After all, if your company couldn’t adapt to change, it likely wouldn’t be as successful as it is today.

Read more: Change is OK: How Planning Makes You Focused and Flexible

Your website is very important, not only because it is a marketing tool, but because it reflects on the brand of your company. Anyone who tells you otherwise is living in the past. Of course, there are many different types of websites, and if you are running a small business you may have a small budget and limited resources to really grow the website. But there are still simple actions you can take to improve your web presence.

Here are three basic things you can do to improve your website’s reputation with customers and search engines.

 

One: Secure all the URLs of your website.

This may super technical, but it doesn’t have to be. You can enlist the help of your web hosting company to assist you with this.

Remember that little lock icon in the browser? Have you ever visited a site that says “not secure” in the top corner of the browser? If your site is one of them, that is not a good look. As technology has continued to upgrade, especially on the computer and browser level, security standards have just become stricter. It doesn’t matter if you don’t sell anything directly on your site; you need security even if you do not have an e-commerce catalog.

The goal here is to get the nice little “secure” indicator to glow for your site, no matter which page in the site people visit. To do this, you need SSL installed on the hosting server. Most of the time, the hosting company you use provides this service. Just contact them to order an SSL certificate and get the process started.

The other half of the process is to ensure the configuration of your website is actually recognizing the new SSL security certificate and making your primary URL for the site begin with https:// in front. That little “s” is very important. With URLs that only begin with http://, the site is lacking security encryption and will not be detected as “secure” by any browser. If your website software doesn’t have a settings area to automatically change to the secure URL, you might need to request the help of your web developer to tweak it.

The result is well-worth it: customers will be able to visit your site without errors, and search engines will favor the site over non-secure sites.

 

Two: Customize Your Homepage Meta Tags

To search engine optimization professionals, this is a basic step. But it is very common to see thousands of websites that still have poorly written meta tags on their homepage. That’s not surprising to me, because many content management systems for websites have a simple template approach to auto-generate these tags. The result – the homepage title is just “Home” or “Home – Business Name”. And the meta description will be similar or missing entirely.

The meta title and meta description tags influence what you see in the search engine listing for a page. The title impacts search engine rankings and visitor conversion. Think about it: Would you be compelled to click on a link that just says “Home”?

If you are using a self-manageable content platform like WordPress or Shopify, edit these meta tags ASAP.

Customize the meta title to include a solid description of your business with a good keyword for your service or product. Nix the word “Home” completely. Based on current standards, I recommend keeping the length of this title to 70 characters.

Make sure the meta description field is not blank, and fill it out with a unique description of the web page. This size of this description can aim for about 150 to 160 characters.

As you grow and acquire help from an SEO specialist, they can help you rewrite quality meta tags for all of your pages.

 

Three: Audit Your Content and Delete the Duplicates

There are some nifty tools available that help you scan the Internet for any content that is copied from your site. One example tool is Copyscape. The scanning results will show you if there is any content from your site considered “duplicate” to another website. Sometimes it is just a business directory that has an exact template of your bio pasted into it. Other times it is a site you are not familiar with (maybe even a competitor) that has copied your blog content.

Duplicate content is very frowned upon. Search engines like Google want to see that your website contains unique content that is relevant to the people you serve. Therefore, you need to regularly check up on this and prune your website as necessary.

If the sites that have copied content are editable by you, such as a Linkedin profile or a directory, you may choose to edit the information on those sources and leave your original website unedited.

But if there are third party sites that you cannot control with duplicated articles on them, it may be best to unpublish them from your site and start a new revised version.

With these three goals achieved, your website will have a stronger foundation for your online reputation.  Learn more about these areas of technology and marketing from our digital agency, WEBii.

Planning for a successful future without your business is a smart strategy. One of the traps that business owners commonly fall into as they begin planning for their successful future without the business is seeing what they need to do and trying to do everything all at once. However, much like your business didn’t spring into success overnight all those years ago, future-oriented planning doesn’t need to be a one-and-done proposition.

Let’s look at how a phased approach to planning can help you get the most out of your efforts and make the process more manageable.

You Can’t Catch the Fish Without Throwing in a Line

Bill Burns was ready to go fishing. Over 40 years, he grew what was originally a one-man logistics consulting agency into a mid-sized inventory management services business with 15 offices. His daughter Katie and longtime employee Lester Clay played big roles in the company’s growth through a proprietary software they’d created in the early years. Bill knew exactly how much he needed to retire with financial security. But he didn’t know how to go about getting it. He originally wanted to sell the business to Katie and Lester, but he knew they didn’t have the kind of people skills he had to attract new clients. He worried that if he sold to an outsider, they’d just buy for the proprietary software and lay his employees off. Plus, he wasn’t even sure what he’d do in retirement other than fish, and he was afraid he’d get bored.

Bill felt overwhelmed with how much he had to figure out. He shared these thoughts with Glen, his most trusted business advisor. “I think the most important area to focus on is making you inconsequential to the business,” Glen said. “You’re the rainmaker now, and to get the money you need, you’ll need to replace yourself.”

After reconfirming that Bill’s financial security target was accurate, Glen told Bill something that took much of the weight off his shoulders.

“Since Katie and Lester are comfortable sticking on the operations side, we can bring in a professional management team to help develop skills on the sales side. That’ll open up a lot of different paths for you to reach your personal and financial goals. It may also give you some leverage when you decide to sell.”

Bill was tentative at first. No one had ever outsold him at his company. But after seeing the professional management team that Glen and a new recruiting firm helped put together, he felt more confident, and for good reason.

The management team formalized his company’s sales process. Profits began to increase year over year because Bill wasn’t the only one capable of making big sales anymore. The management team used the additional profits to attract strong managers and operations people, which led to even more increases.

With more people helping to grow the company, Bill had more free time. He found hobbies he liked in addition to fishing and found himself spending more time away from the office doing them because of the strength of his sales team. He built a new plan for the future based on his new interests and goals.

Best of all, the expanded advisor team that Glen helped assemble had the expertise to negotiate with potential third-party buyers. Sales performance had finally caught up to the cutting-edge developments in operations, making his new team, including Katie, Lester, and new managers, just as valuable as the software.

With a strong management team and encouragement from Katie and Lester, Bill sold the company to a large international buyer, achieved financial security, and protected his employees.

Phased Planning Can Make the Process More Manageable

Like many business owners, Bill saw how much work he had to do and felt overwhelmed. When you’re responsible for your business’ success, it’s not uncommon to feel this way. Fortunately, with advice from a planning-oriented advisor and his new advisor team, Bill learned that he could do his planning in phases and didn’t have to be everything to everyone.

Phased planning allowed him to focus on the most important actions he could take and work through the initial challenges in a more limited area. His success in one portion of planning led to success in other areas over time, which also allowed Bill to move forward with planning for his personal future once the business future was clear. By committing to phased planning, Bill reaped the benefits, proving to himself that he didn’t have to tackle everything all at once.

We strive to help business owners identify and prioritize their objectives with respect to their business, their employees, and their family. If you are ready to talk about your goals for the future and get insights into how you might achieve those goals, we’d be happy to sit down and talk with you. Please feel free to contact us at your convenience.

https://outlook.office365.com/owa/calendar/IndependencePlanningGroup1@glic.microsoftonline.com/bookings/

The information contained in this article is general in nature and is not legal, tax or financial advice. For information regarding your particular situation, contact an attorney or a tax or financial professional. The information in this newsletter is provided with the understanding that it does not render legal, accounting, tax or financial advice. In specific cases, clients should consult their legal, accounting, tax or financial professional. This article is not intended to give advice or to represent our firm as being qualified to give advice in all areas of professional services. Exit Planning is a discipline that typically requires the collaboration of multiple professional advisors. To the extent that our firm does not have the expertise required on a particular matter, we will always work closely with you to help you gain access to the resources and professional advice that you need.

Any examples provided are hypothetical and for illustrative purposes only. Examples include fictitious names and do not represent any particular person or entity.

Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS). Securities products and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. Financial Representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian. Independence Planning Group is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. The Guardian Network® is a network of preferred providers authorized to offer products of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY and its subsidiaries. Independence Planning Group is an independent agency and not an affiliate or subsidiary of Guardian. ©2021 Business Enterprise Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

How can you build muscle naturally?

Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand. If you incorporate exercise and a balanced diet in your daily routine, you will enjoy increased energy levels, a stronger immune system, be in control of your weight, prevent chronic lifestyle diseases, and improve your overall well-being.

Now, attempting to gain muscle mass is why some people go back to the gym. For men, it makes them feel stronger and attractive to women. But building muscle is not a walk in the park. It takes time and effort.

But how do we build muscle effectively?

Gaining muscle requires a combination of diet and exercise. And if one of them is not efficient, the results won't be as expected. Therefore, some folks who are under the impression of doing the right thing don't progress as fast as they would like.

  1. Craft Your Workout Plan- Consult a fitness trainer if need be.

Incorporate both strength training exercises and aerobics. For example, yoga is great, but you should not count it as part of your strength training exercise. You need to add more challenging exercises to your routine if you want to see results. Here, no pain no gain makes more sense than ever.

Also, target for those exercises that work multiple joints and muscles at once because they help you lift more weight. Make sure to engage all major muscles in the body each week. Some of the exercises that must be in your routine are squats, bench presses, push-ups, lunges, chin-ups, pull-ups, dips, reverse crunches, and planks.

Your workout routine needs to be carefully planned because exercising too much might lead to muscle injury. Take it slowly at the beginning. The goal is to build up your fitness level and let your body rest from time to time to prevent injuries. Keeping track of your progress and it is essential not to let your body get accustomed to a certain routine and not to over-exercise because such a mistake can prevent you from gaining muscles fast.

  1. Diet

A balanced diet is important too. It can help your body perform better and recover faster after each workout. Optimal nutrient intake before exercise will not only help you maximize your performance but also minimize muscle damage.

A diet for a bodybuilder must include plenty of proteins because they are the ones that build muscle mass. Good fats and good carbohydrates are also important. To gain muscles, you need around 3000 calories a day split into more than three meals to ensure an appropriate level of energy during the entire day. A larger portion of it though should be proteins.

  1. Hydrate

Drinking plenty of water also is a hack to increase muscle faster. Water flushes away toxins and keeps the muscles properly hydrated.

  1. Get enough rest

Sleep is also important because it offers your body the recovery time it needs.

  1. Join a Fitness Community online or locally

Joining a supportive fitness group can help you stay motivated and achieve your goals because you don’t want to be the first one to quit. You’ll also see what is working for others. If you have posted on Facebook about your fitness journey for example, you have so many people watching and you can’t afford to quit and disappoint everyone including yourself. This will force you to work towards your goal.

  1. Work with a Fitness Coach.

If you have the budget for it, this is the best route to take. You want to work with someone with vast experience. They will help you reach your goal faster because they know what works, what doesn’t and can help personalize your program.

Follow these guidelines and soon you’ll start smiling every time you’re near a mirror.

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