In Business, one thing we all have to learn is how to work with and lead people that are not like us, and normally don’t even think or act like us either.

In my experience as a business owner, its probably one of the biggest challenges that I encountered and prevented me from achieving my goals and success. I had to understand and accept that not everyone has the same goals and values that I have.

Our biggest challenges will always be members of your own family, some of your closest friends, maybe even some of our best customers, an investor and or key business partners. Working only with people like our selves will stunt the business growth. We need to understand that we may need a more diverse set of people around us that can help with innovation, and we do need to learn how to work with them.

Some key things for us all to learn! Do not presume that people not like us are intentionally being difficult, but learn to capitalize on their strengths. Trying to change people to conform to our ways is a huge mistake. People may actually change, if they respect you as a role model, or feel that you are courteous and have respect for their position, ideas and abilities. Real innovation can only come from people who think and see things differently to others, thinking out of the box is a gift that needs to be nurtured. Never generalise in conflict, but always stick to the issues that needs to be solved.

For true success, we all need to build more relationships with people who are different from us. Leading a donkey by holding a carrot in front will only work for a while, but to be truly innovative; learn to be a great leader and assemble a team of unique and different individuals around yourself. Care for them, nurture them and mentor them to become great leaders who will never leave you.

To your success.

IT Career

Changing Career

Mainly (but not only) for my students in the Edmonton area, attending the ITC program at MCG Career group. You are attending a course that will propel you into a new career, an IT career, and one that you should be excited to be part of. The following tips may help you move forward and enjoy the ride.
1. Don’t just step, but jump out of your comfort zone.2. Don’t worry too much about the first test, “IT Fundamentals”. Just focus on the content being covered each day and keep moving forward.3. You are in a class that has various levels of IT competence, but don’t compare yourself to these. The only person you have to compete with is yourself. Attend classes at all costs and concentrate on learning something new each day.4. One thing, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your instructor / mentor or teammates. Peer learning is always an essential skill builder for today’s technology workforce.5. Know your 30-second “About Me” by heart and be able to give it at a moment’s notice. This statement requires that you know exactly where you want to be and what it takes to get there. I will post more about this next week. 6. Have a short term career plan ready to discuss during interviews, and consider how potential managers and other company leaders might serve as mentors and role models to get to your goals.7. Connect and build relationships with co-students from the current class and if possible past classes to. Building a professional network should begin on the first day of class or as soon as possible thereafter. 8. Technical skills are essential to a good IT career but mastery of soft skills like communication and active listening are just as important. The critical soft skills for any IT professional are communication, collaboration, critical observation, problem solving and leadership. Possessing any or all these will set you up ahead of the crowd.9. Great interviews begin with research, so start with the companies website and document their strong points and vision statement and work around them. The interviewer wants to know that you will fit in with the current employees and not disrupt the status quo. 10. Professional organizations and networking events are a great way to network and meet potential employers. This informal environment will be less pressure to discuss potential opportunities than a formal interview.11. Great interviews are a conversation that is the result of planning and questions prepared ahead of time. 12. You are in the ITC program for a reason, so as soon as possible set goals for yourself, both short and longer term. This will help give you direction, and help you ask the right questions ahead of time.13. LinkedIn is a great career tool while climbing the IT ladder. Get a head start on establishing an online presence by setting up an account. Do remember that past achievement will be an asset no matter what industry it comes from. Recruiters are always scouring here to find new clients. Connect with others and professional groups. Be there when the recruiters or companies post or search for professionals in your area.
Reflecting on the above, you have to start somewhere, so keep calm set yourself a goal and a task list, work through it one step at a time and you will be amazed how soon your actions will get you to where you want to be. You have to remember the golden rule! you control your own destiny, if you wait on others for direction, you will never be able to really go out and have fun in your new career.

We Share Knowledge

Update content

Never set it and forget about it, connect to Google analytics and monitor success and update content when necessary.

Many small business owners make the mistake of leaving their site be after they publish it, yet website management is not a “do it once – and – done” task. Instead, you should consistently refreshing the website based on how well it’s performing. Take a lead from the web analytics (use Google Analytics). If you have a page with low traffic, you may need to find ways to link to it from other pages, this could help to it to get page hits and increase the number of visits.

Other benefits of keeping fresh content on a website has to do with SEO. Blogs and social content give small business owners the opportunity to produce fresh content, which is one of Google’s many ranking considerations. 

Mobile device friendly

Today all websites should be built to accommodate mobile devices

The fact that in todays market, 30% of all website traffic originates from handheld devices like a mobile phones or tablets, yet 90% of small business websites are not designed to cater for these devices’ screen sizes. Failing to have a “responsive” site template or one optimized for these devices can drive away customers and hinder your search engine rankings and look unprofessional.

To check if your small business website is responsive ( for mobile devices) optimized, or needs a little tweaking, use Google’s mobile-friendly test tool.

  • Enter your site URL.
  • Google will rate your website’s mobile-friendliness using handy color-coded guides. 
    • A green light shows that your website passed the Mobile test,
    • A yellow light, there is potential for improvement,
    • A red light if you need a lot of help.
  • Google ranks everything from mobile page speed to screen capacity and resolution.

Verifying that your site is Mobile friendly and that your certificate is current and secure are an essential parts of the requirements.

The conversion factor

Do not let creativity (or design) outweigh the conversion factor

Cosmetics do not be = conversion. 

Your website has a function or role to play. It needs to present people with the correct information, any next steps to take and be user-friendly. Developing your content, layout, and page or site design to support that purpose will assist and encourage customers into a higher conversion rate leading to increased sales. 

Your website shouldn’t be thought of as a digital signboard with a super flashy design. Instead, it should be a lead-generating machine that supports your business’ bottom line.

Action Items

There are no well-defined prompts for visitors to take action

On a business’ website, clearly state what you want customers to do when they visit the site. Strange as it may seem, people actually want to be told what action to take!

Complete the following exercise…

On each page of your site, think about where and how you can add a call to action. Layer in conversion opportunities like pop-up forms, alert bars, and timed or exit pop-ups. Any lead forms should be prominent and click-worthy. (Remember: the goal of your small business website is to capture leads and nurture them to become customers.)

If you think that people may not actually want to leave personal information with you, providing something of value that’s for free, its something that makes people more willing to share personal info like their name or email address in return.

The branding and vision

The website design doesn’t reflect your branding and vision

There are times that you may see a discrepancy between a small business’s brick and mortar business and the online footprint. It may be that the branding is different, or their website doesn’t reflect the professionalism of their brick-and-mortar store. Whatever the case, you need to create an impact with the online website design.

“The visual layer of a website, when informed by strategy and user-centered thinking, can elevate the entire brand experience,” says ElementThree.com.

“Design decisions can greatly influence the effectiveness of digital content and connecting with your intended audience, and help solve complex problems within the website. A great web design can also aid in telling a story to the customer, and when paired with useful, relevant information, it can educate, entertain, and delight while achieving business goals.”

A simple website design is vital to having a profitable small business website, an overly complicated website doesn’t convert site visitors into customers but may turn them away. To many stimuli on a website leads to confusion, and when a visitor is confused they quickly leave.

Be pragmatic in the use of colors, font types, and design elements. And use white space to your advantage, as it draws eyes into the important elements on a page. Stick to a main design theme and don’t stray from it.

Website strategy and goal

Never Start creating a website without a strategy or goal

Everone knows what the common denominator of a profitable website is? A website strategy is started by creating a website plan helps a company define their goals, audiences, content, and even a measure of the performance. The website plan should answer the following questions:

  • Who is the audience?
  • What is your website’s goal or goals?
  • What functionality does the site require to achieve these goals?
  • What information do you need/want to present to the website visitors?
  • What other web properties will your site connect to?
  • How will you measure your success?

Defining a website strategy will help you not only balance having a beautiful site, but accomplish something for your business, too!

Relinquish control

Relinquish control by outsourcing web tasks

Many small business owners think that to outsource web development tasks to expensive agencies or contractors will save them time. It’s sometimes helpful to delegate some small business tasks on others, in this case it might not be the best idea for your website to be one of them. 
Reasons? For starters, outsourcing your website makes it difficult to effect changes when and where you want. Paid programmers work on many sites and will always chase the best money. You may have to go through multiple hoops — or even wait weeks at a time to get a small website tweak made.

If you are considering or are already outsourcing, you are or have given away the control over your OWN site, this could result in added cost, delays, and headaches.
An example: 

You need to change the telephone number on your website. So you contact your outsourced web developer, but they could be away on vacation or busy with another customer for the next two weeks. You wait two weeks to hear back from them, and when you do, they quote a small change of $500.

 Cost. Time. Headache. Can all be avoided!