Have you run across the term Systems Thinking? First, let us drop the concept that this is about systems like procedures, or manufacturing systems, or systematizing something. While these all have something to do with Systems Thinking, what we are really talking about are living systems. Like our bodies, for example, like our families as living systems, and yes, like our businesses as living systems.
We need to apply the concept of looking at these living systems systemically, meaning not only how the systems are organized and run but also what environment they live or operate in. Our businesses are living systems that operate within other systems, such as our local market, our regional and national market, our customers’ and suppliers’ systems, etc.
Social Media is a powerful tool for gaining feedback on initiatives from staff and other stakeholders. Create private groups to build an internal community, communicate initiatives and results, and inject fun into the workplace. Contests and rewards also help to engage people in fun ways.
Peaks and Valleys are normal and natural in life and work. Create a sensible vision using all five senses and then follow it to move out of the Valleys. When in a valley, ask yourself: “What is the truth about this reality?” To stay longer at the Peak, find ways to be of greater service to others and more loving to your family and friends.
Every thought we have is sent out into the universe and becomes a reality for us. If we only think negative thoughts about how difficult or unfair life is or how unhappy we are with our current job or life circumstances, then we continue to create that reality. If, on the other hand, we stop to think “what is the lesson to be learned here” or “how might this reality be different,” we are taking stock of our situation and facing the truth of that reality.
LivePlan is an intuitive tool for business planning that can be both simple and complex. The latest version also has AI built in to help with writing the plan. The financial forecast feature makes it easy to fairly quickly build your revenues and expenses and then automatically create your Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss and Cash Flow statements. As certified LivePlan professionals, we make this tool available to clients free of charge as we assist them in creating their business plan and 3-year forecast.
While many web developers prefer to use WordPress because of the extensive number of templates and plugins, we find that most clients aren't technogically proficient enough to use this effectively. As tech savvy as we are, we also find it less intuitive to use than other simple drag and drop or comprehensive editing platforms.
For many clients we recommend Wix because of its drag and drop features, SEO optimization, and extensive templates and integrations.
IONOS Website Builder
A new one, and the platform we used to update our own website, is the website builder on IONOS. It has AI features built in making it fast to create a simple website for you based on the template you choose and the information you provide about your business focus. Then you can customize it with your brand colors, add pages, images, and videos. The site also includes more than 17,000 royalty-free images you can use or you can upload your own. It's a fairly intuitive website builder once you understand how to use it. And they have 24/7 live customer support via phone and chat.
This is a sophisticated and intuitive platform to create emails, newsletters and events with landing pages, surveys, and social posts. It has a free integration with Canva, as well as thousands of free images and paid Shutterstock images you can use. Additionally, you can connect your social platforms to automatically post once you've created an email. There are a wide variety of features built in to help you create polished emails and newsletters. One new tool is an AI content generator to help with writer's block. You can use this as a CRM as well to manage your mailing list, tag your contacts, and create special segments so you can design and send targeted messages pertinent to specific audiences. This gets better results than sending broadcast messages to everyone. There are several levels to explore from Lite to Standard to Premium which makes available more and more tools. Automations are available in all three levels and get more sophisticated as you upgrade from Lite to Standard or Premium. The Lite package has only one step, a Welcome email. The Standard level gives you 10 steps in the campaign and the Premium version provides unlimited steps in building an automation campaign.
This is a fairly simple to use platform with a variety of forms. There is a free option for up to 1000 subscribers that includes multiple forms (pop up and embedded) that you can use on your website, as well as automation campaigns. It is possible to create landing pages for events and special promotions with actionable forms to encourage people to sign up and join your list. Additionally, they do have a website building tool, although we did not find it as easy to use or sophisticated as the IONOS website builder.
This platform is useful if you are comfortable with automation campaigns and working with a team who create and send emails. It has a fairly easy to use email builder, a comprehensive CRM, and you can build landing pages and websites within the platform. The free version (up to 1000 subscribers) is a great starter package if you are just building your list. The more you upgrade, the more features you have access to and the more team members you can include in your account. You can only remove the Mailchimp branding by upgrading to at least the Essentials package.
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