Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Dashboards and Scorecards in Six Sigma

Dashboards, as they relate to Six Sigma, are brief summaries illustrating the health of a process or operation at a glance. Just like the dashboard in your vehicle, the viewer can quickly determine if the indicated values are within the targeted operating range. The indicators that are displayed on a dashboard are fed by a roll-up from the detailed scorecard.
A dashboard should not be confused with the more detailed scorecard. A typical scorecard will present all the critical measurements of day to day operations and is the mechanism that drives the dashboard. Both tools serve a viable function in our process measurement and the resulting reporting. They inherently have a degree of overlap, but are not the same tool.
Dashboards that are laden with all the reporting of a scorecard can easily become too cumbersome for upper management and customer use. A scorecard presented as a dashboard will likely display too much information and hinder a quick review. Scorecards are more commonly internal management tools, whereas the dashboard reporting tool is frequently shared with the external customer. Most often, it is a version of a dashboard that upper management and our customers prefer to see during their high level reviews of the operation.
During the course of a Six Sigma project, the team will identify the critical few root causes that are influencing the objective (y) of the project. In the analyze and improve stages, the team gains clear insight to the drivers known to influence the performance of the objective. Finally, in the control stage it is possible to measure the success of the implemented changes. These key influencing drivers are the critical process measurements to be monitored through the effective scorecard and later rolled up into the dashboard. A vital component in our Six Sigma process is the identification of the critical measurements and the established means in which to capture and report them in the scorecard. Once the correct measurements are in place, a dashboard can then be added with little effort and will report the successes and/or issues of the process to management and customers.
Scorecards function as early warning systems in depicting the real-time measurement of the critical drivers. The real-time nature of the scorecard tool will enhance the process manager's ability to monitor the process performance and intervene quickly if necessary. The detailed nature of the scorecard will facilitate his ability to identify in what areas he first should focus his attention. Scorecards enable a fast response to process related failures if designed properly and monitored frequently. Process owners often utilize their scorecard as the guiding light for the implementation of focused and successful process adjustments as the operating environment evolves following the Six Sigma project conclusion. They can then use the dashboard to report the overall progress and the health of the business to their internal or external customer.
Author:  Thomas Israel
Article Source:Dashboards and Scorecards in Six Sigma

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Lean Six Sigma for the Office and Service Industry

Lean Six Sigma for knowledge workers and service processes

Do you work in a non-manufacturing group? If you are applying lean improvement methods but you don’t make goods then you probably supply a service or do “knowledge processing”. Lean thinking in these areas is often called “transactional lean”, “administrative lean”, and “lean for service”.
Non-manufacturing activities where lean methods have been used successfully include the following. You may well work in one of these areas:
  • Lean six sigma trainingadvertising
  • entertainment
  • financial services
  • healthcare and hospitals
  • hospitality and hotels
  • insurance
  • logistics and distribution
  • marketing
  • online services
  • product design
  • project management
  • property sales
  • travel and tourism
  • public sector**
**the public sector (“state sector”) is 40% of the USA economy and about 50% of the UK and the EU economy.

Service industries are the largest part of Western economies

This is a table of percent of gross domestic product (GDP)
This shows that the service industries make the largest contribution to the economies of the North America, Europe and the UK.

How much information is available on lean for service industries?

A Google web search shows the following:
Six Sigma Training Brighton
This shows that there is five to ten times more information on lean manufacturing than lean for office and service processes, despite the fact that non-manufacturing is by far the largest part of Western economies. Scanning books on Lean Six Sigma, historically we see many publications and case studies of lean and Six Sigma for manufacturing. Only more recently (from ~2003) do we see some publications on lean for office and service processes, and there are few case studies published.
So, we have a paradox.  The largest target for benefits from Lean Six Sigma is office and service industry, whereas most of the tools in Lean Six Sigma have been developed for the manufacturing industry. The Lean Six Sigma tool set is historically biased towards manufacturing. On many lean and Six Sigma training courses, most of the participants are from non-manufacturing areas. We therefore need to ensure that Lean Six Sigma training is well adapted to those working in office and service industries. When this is done, the thinking processes in lean and Six Sigma have been proven to be highly effective for improving non-manufacturing processes. Application of Lean Six Sigma has raised throughput, reduced costs, increased quality and improved engagement of customers and employees.

So how do we adapt Lean Six Sigma for service industry and office processes?

The DMAIC Tools Map shows the DMAIC (Define Measure Analyse Improve Control) steps of the standard DMAIC method for running process improvement projects. The map contains the Lean Six Sigma methods and tools that are used for DMAIC improvement projects.
Six Sigma Training UK
Short descriptions of the tools can be found in the Silicon Beach Training Six Sigma Glossary

Ten tools for office processes

Very useful tools for office, service and transactional processes (tools that may not all be found in the standard Lean Six Sigma toolkit) include:
  1. Service demand analysis
  2. Capacity analysis
  3. Failure demand analysis
  4. Activity sampling in the office
  5. Interruptions log (multitasking analysis)
  6. Overall professional effectiveness
  7. Time management
  8. Knowledge management
  9. Theory of Constraints for the office
  10.  Critical Chain project management.
These methods are taught in Silicon Beach Lean Six Sigma Green Belt training and Value Stream Mapping training courses.
A combination of these ten tools for transactional processes together with the general tools from Lean Six Sigma (the red tools on the Map) forms a powerful weapon for increasing throughput, attacking office waste, and improving service delivery in all types of organisation.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Successful Entrepreneurs Challenge Themselves. Here's 5 Ways to Do That.

To be a successful entrepreneur in today’s world, you need to be current, mentally fit and actively involved in running your business. Even more important, you need to stay competitive. The best way to stay competitive is to actively attempt to challenge your preconceived notions.

Easier said than done, right? When things are going well, we’re tempted to rest on our laurels. Whether we realize it or not, we become comfortable. It’s when things aren’t going well that we rack our brains for new directions to take our business in. But to stay competitive, you need to be hungry.

It’s more important than ever that you question everything you’re doing. You need to find ways to challenge yourself. Questions on your mind should include: “How can I improve my business?" "Where is my industry headed?" "Am I prepared for setbacks?" "Am I prepared for the changes in technology that will inevitably come?" "Am I prepared for America’s changing demographics?” For many of us, asking these kinds of questions is difficult. We might not like the answers. Becoming an entrepreneur requires a certain kind of confidence and ego. In other words, more often than not, we think we know it all already. But your business will benefit immensely from your willingness to open your eyes to the future. That’s why you must surround yourself with people, situations and reading material that challenges you.

I rely on the strategies below to help me out.

1. Hang out with people whose age differs from yours.
My two daughters challenge me to think differently more than any other people I know. The conversations we have make me reflect upon the assumptions I hold, because our opinions differ widely so often. I have a mentee who helps challenge me in the same thing. Eric Ruiz, who is also in his 20s, opens my mind by introducing me to the technology he’s using, the business podcasts he’s listening to and what’s on his mind.

2. Read.
In the past week alone, I have read multiple articles in publications including The New Yorker and The Wall Street Journal that have caused me to re-evaluate my business plan for 2015. Seek out media outlets whose perspective differs from yours. We all have authors and magazines whose point of view we already agree with. Spending your time reinforcing your point of view is the opposite of challenging yourself. Related: 5 Tips for Seeking -- and Weeding Through -- Other People's Opinions About Your Business

3. Ask your customers what you can be doing better.
Trust me, they’ll tell you. Stop assuming that you know what they want. What do they lack? What do they wish were different? What could be better?

4. Use the latest technology.
The technology available to us today is so vast and so quickly changing, simply pondering how to use it can be overwhelming. Get over your fears and learn by doing. Play with it. Experiment with it. Whether you personally embrace new technology or not is irrelevant. Inevitably, some of your customers do, and even more will in the future. Don’t force yourself into the position of having to catch up.

5. Hire people who are smarter than you.
Give them power and let them run with it. I guarantee that they will challenge you. Don’t hire people that are going to agree with you all of the time. In the same vein, when a smart hire does challenge you -- let them! Making a concerted effort to challenge yourself will inspire you and help prepare your business for the future. As a result, you will be able to lead your company with the confidence that you’re making good decisions -- because you are.


Sunday, 21 December 2014

Reviewing the Business Case for Lean Six Sigma

SigmaPro uses a five phase approach to developing a sustainable approach to performance improvement.
Five Phase Approach to Performance Improvement
  1. Review – the Organisation to determine strengths, weakness and opportunities for improvement and establish the business case
  2. Align – thinking at senior level to ensure that there is support to take action
  3. Launch – the initiative by tackling some problems or improvement opportunities using the lean six sigma methods, either in a pilot area or across the organisation
  4. Progress – to build on initial success and start putting in place the components required for ensuring a sustainable approach
  5. Sustain – the initiative by making it part of everyday life
Phases 2-5 are described in more detail in other articles, but the first phase, that of reviewing the organisation to determine strengths, weakness and opportunities for improvement and establish the business case is covered here.

The first stage is to assess the organisation to determine current status and identify opportunities for improvement. A tool such as value stream mapping is useful to do this, and SigmaPro’s maturity assessment tool can also be used. Cultural mapping can also be carried out so that the culture can be compared with those of more mature organisations. As recommended in previous articles, it is best to do this by involving people rather than alone.

Suppliers, Customers and others in the organisations industry may be good sources of information to provide insights into how they improve their own performance, and their experience with using lean six sigma methods and tools.

If the people carrying out the business review are not familiar with lean and six sigma approaches then the organisation may wish to consider involving a Lean Six Sigma (LSS) consultancy or attending training to find out more about the approach.

Once the organisation review has been carried out, the business case can be properly assessed by evaluating short to medium term opportunities with the costs involved in training people and running projects.
The generic case for six sigma is well established. Research from Mikel Harry in the year 2000 found that Six Sigma projects created on average around £100,000 savings for the organisation. This was across 3,000 projects. SigmaPro research more recently has found similar results with an average project value in Europe of £121,000 per project.

Each Black Belt is expected to run around 4 projects per year if operating full time, and typically 1% of employees will be full time Black Belts. Therefore the total savings can be worked out as somewhere around £400,000. If belts are to operate part time then this number of projects can be reduced pro-rata. Green Belt projects should be expected to contribute far less than this, and there is less data around to quantify these, but in our experience a Green belt project delivers around £25,000, and GB’s will run on average 1 project per year as it takes longer to carry out due to part time working.

A rule of thumb is that around 1% of employees become Black Belts, and 5% become Green Belts.
It costs around £7,000 to fully train a Black Belt to a recognised level of competence, and a Black Belt salary is somewhere around £45,000 per annum. Green Belt training is around £4,000, but because Green Belts carry on in their existing roles and work part time on improvement their salaries are not included in business case calculations.

For a 100 employee organisation, there would typically be 1 Black Belt and 5 Green Belts. The salary costs and employee costs would be £72,000 for the first year. Benefits would be £262,000 in the first year (assuming that it takes six months before the first projects are completed). So there would be a clear business case at a generic level for a payback within the first year.

But of course many organisations are reluctant to accept such broad generic business case figures, on the basis that their own situation may well be different, for example more or less opportunities for improvement, different level of maturity and so on.  A further indication of the potential financial benefits can come from the level of maturity. SigmaPro research has confirmed that as maturity increases the Cost of Quality (COS) reduces as a percentage of Cost of Sales (COS). For low level maturity organisations (level 1) COQ is typically around 25% of COS, so for an organisation with a £10M COS COQ will be £2.5M. For a more mature organisation, COQ will reduce to around half of this or £1,25M. That is a £1.25M improvement, so the opportunity will be there to achieve financial savings

The full answer of course is to carry out a comprehensive business review on the organisation and determine the specific opportunities that exist and estimate the financial savings that can be made.
One other factor that needs to be remembered is that research has shown that there is a clear correlation between success and how well goals are deployed throughout the organisation.

Strategic Objectives 

Effective programmes are most often seen in organisations with effective goal deployment strategies. So, effective goal deployment needs to be a clear part of any overall programme plan.
The next decision that needs to be made is where to start in the organisation. Most organisations will find it easiest to start in manufacturing or operations, as this is where there is most financial opportunity short term, and most performance measurement. Over time the improvement approach can progress through administrative areas and ultimately into all areas. Most difficult is in Research and Marketing areas as these areas tend to resist being structured.

Level of Difficulty 

The steps involved in carrying out a business review are as follows:
  1. Assess the Organisation to identify opportunities for improvement - use VSM or similar approach
  2. Estimate financial values for the opportunities
  3. Determine what would be required to realise the improvements
  4. Assess the Infrastructure that already exists for improvement
  5. Estimate the costs associated with making the changes
  6. Make the Business Case!
Once the business case has been established, and assuming that it makes financial sense to progress it, then support for the changes required needs to be built. Getting support within the business requires concentration on the people side of things. It should be remembered that in almost every organisations the financials are important, even non-profit making organisations need to demonstrate best value and balance the financial books. The language of organisations is therefore money, and the business case needs to be expressed in monetary terms. Having said this, it is important that the vision for the future means something for the people as well, and paints a picture of a better working environment for example, or better customer satisfaction.

Thinking further about how to implement, sometimes people are reluctant to accept ideas from others, but most people will think about what any change in the business means to them as well as what it means for the organisation as a whole. It is a good idea to work out in advance what benefits there will be for different groups of people within the organisation, for example if customer service is better it will make it easier for sales to generate repeat business. If this benefit is communicated to sales management they will want to support it.
In summary, building the business case can be done at a generic level first and if this makes sense, a more detailed study can be done. Once this shows a good indication of the benefits support can be sought to start the process of implementation. 

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Improving Business Processes

Improving Business Processes

Streamlining Tasks to Improve Efficiency

Process diagram and magnifying glass
Map processes carefully before making changes.
© iStockphoto/s_john79
You probably use dozens of business processes every day.
For example, you may go through the same steps each time you generate a report, resolve a customer complaint, contact a new client, or manufacture a new product.
You've likely come across the results of inefficient processes, too. Unhappy customers, stressed colleagues, missed deadlines, and increased costs are just some of the problems that dysfunctional processes can create.
That's why it's so important to improve processes when they are not working well. In this article, we'll look at how you can do this.

About Business Processes

Processes can be formal or informal. Formal processes – also known as procedures – are documented, and have well-established steps.
For example, you might have procedures for receiving and submitting invoices, or for establishing relationships with new clients. Formal processes are particularly important when there are safety-related, legal or financial reasons for following particular steps.
Informal processes are more likely to be ones that you have created yourself, and you may not have written them down. For example, you might have your own set of steps for noting meeting actions, carrying out market research, or communicating new leads.

The Importance of Efficient Processes

These different kinds of processes have one thing in common: they're all designed to streamline the way that you and your team work.
When everyone follows a well-tested set of steps, there are fewer errors and delays, there is less duplicated effort, and staff and customers feel more satisfied.
Processes that don't work can lead to numerous problems. For example:
  • Customers may complain about poor product quality or bad service.
  • Colleagues get frustrated.
  • Work may be duplicated, or not done.
  • Costs increase.
  • Resources are wasted.
  • Bottlenecks can develop, causing you to miss deadlines.
In this article, we focus on incremental process change, aimed at improving existing processes. If you need to start again from first principles, see our article on Business Process Reengineering  .

Improving Your Team's Processes

When you encounter some of the problems mentioned above, it may be time to review and update the relevant process. Follow these steps to do this:

Step 1: Map the Process

Once you've decided which process you want to improve, document each step using a Flowchart   or a Swim Lane Diagram  . These tools show the steps in the process visually. (Swim lane diagrams are slightly more complex than flowcharts, but they're great for processes that involve several people or groups.)
It's important to explore each phase in detail, as some processes may contain sub-steps that you're not aware of. Consult people who use the process regularly to ensure that you don't overlook anything important.

Step 2: Analyze the Process

Use your flow chart or swim lane diagram to investigate the problems within the process. Consider the following questions:
  • Where do team members or customers get frustrated?
  • Which of these steps creates a bottleneck  ?
  • Where do costs go up and/or quality go down?
  • Which of these steps requires the most time, or causes the most delays?
First use Root Cause Analysis  Cause and Effect Analysis  , or The 5 Whys  to trace the problem to its origins. After all, if you only fix the symptoms, the problems will continue.
Speak to the people who are affected by the process. What do they think is wrong with it? And what suggestions do they have for improving it?
Then look at other teams in your organization. What tactics have they developed to deal with similar situations?

Step 3: Redesign the Process

You're now going to redesign the process to eliminate the problems you have identified.
It's best to work with the people who are directly involved in the process. Their ideas may reveal new approaches, and, also, they're more likely to buy into change if they've been involved at an early stage.
First, make sure that everyone understands what the process is meant to do. Then, explore how you can address the problems you identified in step 2 (Brainstorming   can help here). Note down everyone's ideas for change, regardless of the costs involved.
Then, narrow your list of possible solutions by considering how your team's ideas would translate to a real-life context.
Start by conducting an Impact Analysis   to understand the full effects of your team's ideas. Then, carry out a Risk Analysis   and a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis   to spot possible risks and points of failure within your redesigned process. Depending on your organization's focus, you may also want to considerCustomer Experience Mapping   at this stage.
These tests will help you to understand the full consequences of each proposed idea, and allow you to make the right decision for everyone.
Once you and your team agree on a process, create new diagrams to document each step.

Step 4: Acquire Resources

You now need to secure the resources you need to implement the new process. List everything that you'll need to do this.
This could include guidance from senior managers or from colleagues in other departments, such as IT or HR. Communicate with each of these groups, and make sure that they understand how this new process will benefit the organization as a whole. You may need to prepare a business case   to demonstrate this.

Step 5: Implement and Communicate Change

It's likely that improving your business process will involve changing existing systems, teams, or processes. For example, you may need to acquire new software, hire a new team member, or organize training for colleagues.
Rolling out your new process could be a project in itself, so plan and manage this carefully. Allocate time for dealing with teething troubles, and consider running a pilot first, to check for potential problems.
Keep in mind that change is not always easy. People can be resistant to it, especially when it involves a process that they've been using for some time. You can use tools such as the Change Curve   and Kotter's 8-Step Change Model   to help overcome resistance to change.

Step 6: Review the Process

Few things work perfectly, right from the start. So, after you roll out the new process, closely monitor how things are going in the weeks and months that follow, to ensure that the process is performing to expectations. This monitoring will also allow you to fix problems as they occur.
Make it a priority to ask the people involved with the new process how it's working, and what – if any – frustrations they're experiencing.
Adopt continuous improvement strategies such as Kaizen  . Small improvements made regularly will ensure that the process stays relevant and efficient.

Key Points

A business process is a set of steps or tasks that you and your team use repeatedly to create a product or service, reach a specific goal, or provide value to a customer or supplier. When processes work well, they can significantly improve efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction.
However, processes that don't work can cause frustration, delays, and financial loss.
To improve a business process, follow these steps.
  1. Map processes.
  2. Analyze the process.
  3. Redesign the process.
  4. Acquire resources.
  5. Implement and communicate change.
  6. Review the process.
Keep in mind that you'll need to improve most processes at some point. New goals, new technology, and changes in the business environment can all cause established processes to become inefficient or outdated.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Business Strategy Based on Knowledge Instead of Belief

Business Strategy Based on Knowledge Instead of Belief

Is your business strategy based knowledge instead of belief? If you are like most entrepreneurs, you are not collecting enough external data when making your business decisions, and it will cost you millions over your lifetime. It may even cost you your business. “Why?” you might ask. The answer is that too often we make decisions based on “belief” instead of “knowledge.” This is a very important distinction.

Knowledge vs. Belief

Knowledge is indisputable “fact”. Belief is your opinion about what result any given course of action will produce, and much of what you believe about your business many times is wrong. Are you acting on facts that are no longer valid, or on beliefs that you have held for a long period of time despite contrary evidence all around? In my experience, you probably are. Worse, when people present you with facts, you may be doing everything you can to hold onto your erroneous beliefs by finding any random inconclusive data to support them.

You Need to Communicate With External People

I spend more than 100 days per year conducting planning sessions. I watch leaders make decisions without collecting data from customers, prospects, or past customers. Even when they have collected data, they are not looking at and analyzing that data. Many times they are looking only for data that supports their existing opinions. Often the data they collect does not help them with their decisions because there isn’t enough, or what they have is anecdotal or too generic.
Are you collecting information on a weekly basis about people that have chosen not to do business with you, people that are customers, and people that you want to have as customers to really analyze why you lost customers? You will notice I chose “people” and not businesses, clients, customers, or any other word. You do business with people. They have needs, wants, problems, concerns, opinions, challenges, biases, etc. The world is constantly changing, so these factors are always shifting, thus causing the need to continually collect the information to keep your offering competitive and relevant. Failure to do so results in business strategy based on “belief” instead of “knowledge.”

Start With Customers

The obvious place to start is with your customers. You are probably thinking, “I know my customers” because you do business with them every day. It is a common mistake to confuse a system for collecting information with daily exchanges. Without a systematic process you will fail! In your daily exchanges, you are concerned with delivering your product or service, and the customer is focused on receiving it. At best, you get anecdotal information and only focus on problems and challenges. During daily exchanges, your front-line staff is not thinking about the company’s business strategy or worrying about what data you need for making future business decisions. In many cases, a staff member who receives what could be useful information may filter it or not report it at all.

Collecting Unfiltered Information From Your Customers

Collecting unfiltered information from your customers should be a priority for every company. This is usually easier than you think, and the only reason it has not happened is that you have not made it a key priority. Benefits you can expect:
1. Identify reasons to charge existing customers more for existing products and services.
2. Identify new products and services to offer.
3. Increase retention of customers that you did not know were at risk.
4. Turn existing customers into a referral engine.
5. Strategize based on knowledge instead of belief.

A Simple Starting Point

A great historical example of how this can work for you is when IBM had its top 200 managers talk to 5 customers and employees every week and review the information every Friday. This was an incredibly simple way to collect live market data weekly and then share it with key leaders in IBM. It helped increase sales, overcome customer roadblocks, and also added energy to the teams.
We recommend you and each leader on the leadership team have at least one conversation each week with a key customer. We have found these four questions will provide you will a wealth of information:
1. How are you doing?
2. What’s going on in your industry?
3. What do you hear about our competition?
4. How are we doing?
5. (Bonus Question…when appropriate) Do you know of anyone else that would like to be as happy as you are?


Marketing Your Small Business

Buying In On Branding

Everywhere you look, from brick-and-mortar stores to the Internet, you’re constantly bombarded with advertisements, logos, and messaging in effort to get your attention and earn your business. For most business, including small business, building brand awareness can’t be accidental – it has to be intentional. There is tremendous value in supporting a product or service by not only offering a valuable commodity, but also by attaching that commodity to a recognizable, and ultimately business-supporting, string of thoroughly
developed and easily-identifiable marketing practices.
Small businesses in particular should be aware of how building a strong brand around their
company can impact their sales in the short- and long-term. However, finding the right way
to build your brand into something consumers not only identify with, but flock to, can feel
like a daunting process. For this reason, we want to reach out to small business owners with
a few tips on how to effectively construct a brand from the ground up, and begin to establish
a place in their industry.

Research the Rest

Take a moment to think of all the brands you’re currently familiar with. Now, think further
about the brands relevant to your own business – those already in the same field your company
will be competing with for customers. Many of the large players in your industry have likely
been part of this niche for a long time. Yet, there are always new brands inserting themselves
into the mainstream – so what about these particular brands that stands out to you? Do they
have a distinct and noticeable logo united with a strong tagline? Is the “voice” of their brand
 messaging on point with what consumers are looking for in your business category?
Far and away, most companies spend a great deal of time putting together a solid marketing
and branding plan from the beginning. Why? Because they don’t want to wait until after their
product or service is launched to begin thinking about how to differentiate themselves among
their competitors, what they want consumers to experience upon visiting their store or website,
or be tinkering around with several different logo designs when they should instead be focusing
on growing their business.
Yet, even if you’re already established as a business, you can always get a fresh start on your
brand. First, start by researching what elements have helped larger companies build their
presence in consumer’s minds; second, look into the core messaging of the strongest brands
in your field of expertise and see what’s working for them; and third, brainstorm ideas on your
own company’s identity and guidelines in order to build a solid brand.

Get Social

Once you’ve established your brand elements, and sculpted your logo and messaging into a
fine piece of marketing art, it’s time to hit the ground running with your new campaign. With
so much of business making its way to the internet, there is no time to waste dillydallying
when it comes to building out your online profile. Let’s face it – Google loves brands. Therefore,
you as a small business owner should spend a day (or however long it takes) opening up social
media accounts, updating your website, and tastefully inserting your brand into every nook and
cranny of the internet. This will not only give your customers somewhere to gather for insight,
tips and up-to-date information your company, it will serve your business by pushing you up the
search engine rankings towards page one – which is where you’ll ultimately want to be. And stay.
There are other sites outside of traditional social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,
etc. – to push your small business’ branding onto the web, but neglecting the big players may
mean you are shortchanging the reach of your marketing efforts. Also, make sure after you’ve
created these outlets, you keep them constantly updated with new product or service offerings,
as well as taking the time to speak directly to your customers on their concerns and personal
victories regarding your company.

Tell Your Story

Now that you’ve got your brand pretty well disseminated all over the web, it’s crucial to keep
the storyline going beyond social media interaction and the continual fine-tuning of your brand messaging. Demonstrate your company’s brand by offering your customers something beyond
the sometimes forgettable marketing ploys that initially enticed them to your organization.
One way to do this is by starting a blog on your site where you can write about topics that relate
to your company, even if they are only mildly relevant, because even topics outside of your expertise
are still of interest to your audience. This blog is an example. We help small business owners with
investing and consulting, but we also want to establish ourselves as authorities in the whole category,
which means our blog posts don’t exclusively focus on one or two subjects – we make sure to cover
everything of interest to business owners, large and small.
Aside from a blog, you can also spend some time crafting interesting tidbits about your products and
services, both by telling your company’s story in a well-written “About Me” page, and by sharing
reviews from customers from around the web. However, make certain that no matter where you
center your efforts, you are thinking about how it will impact your brand and what impression it will
leave on new visitors to your site – then you’ll really be a star player in the game of branding your
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