What It Takes to Create an Award-Winning Business

14 Strategies We Attribute to Our Recent Business Excellence AwardOut of the blue, I received an email from the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce one day notifying me that we were nominated for a 2016 Business Excellence award.Say what?Once I got past my shock and disbelief that they must have the wrong Susan… it began to sink in that someone out there thought we were worthy enough of this nomination. Wow, what an honour!Part of the nomination process consisted of a 30-minute interview in front of a 3-judge panel. Imagine being forced to actually brag about yourself for a half an hour! Talk about squirming in my seat!Fast forward to last week where the awards ceremony took place. Much to my relief, our category was up first so I could relax the rest of the evening.To be honest, I wasn’t all that anxious – I knew the odds of winning was only 1 in 7 so I waited patiently for the winner’s name to be announced, not at all expecting it to be us.But it was! We were declared the winner!Say WHAT???Shock and disbelief once again came over me as I took a moment to grasp what just happened. Walking to the stage was quite the blur but I managed to do it without tripping up the stairs to get our award.In the aftermath of winning this wonderful recognition, I reflected some more about that judge’s interview and how they deemed us the winner from the other worthy nominees in our category.With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the attributes I feel helped us win this prestigious award. Without further ado, here’s what it took for me to create an award-winning business:1) Be Passionate About What You DoWe are not the first business I’ve created; there’s been plenty others ranging from creating craft pieces to faux finish painting. But no matter what I did, I was very passionate about it.Don’t waste your time trying to run a business just to make money. You’re going to tire of it very quickly and it will be harder to make sales.But when you’re passionate about what you do, others will immediately see that and will be drawn to you like a magnet.2) Love Working With the People You Serve and Offer Exceptional Customer Service One of the truest joys I receive is the knowing how much we are able to help a new business owner get their online presence up and running. Being a part of their joy at seeing their dream materialize into something tangible gives me just as much joy.If you avoid answering the phone or responding to emails because you dread having to talk to a client, then you need to adjust your marketing so you attract the right people to work with.If you don’t love who you’re working with, then it’s hard to establish a successful business that needs to cater to your clients by making customer service a #1 priority. And that means answering the phone, responding to emails in a prompt manner, and treating every person as if they were your only client. And when you’re attracting your perfect ideal client, then this should be easy to do.Make your business about them, not you. Just remember, if you had no clients, then you’d have no business.3) Know Your StuffBefore even thinking about starting a web development/digital marketing business, I ensured I got the education I needed first. I attended the Vancouver Film School in their Multi-Media program and then later earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in Computer Information Systems (with an A+ GPA).Not to mention the countless online courses I’ve taken over the years to ensure my skills are kept up-to-date with this ever changing industry.Sadly, I see a lot of entrepreneurs wanting to start a business with not a lot of skills or experience under their belt and then they wonder why they’re struggling.Reading a book or taking one on-line course is probably not enough to reach award-winning status. But if you’re passionate about building a successful business, you’ll find a way to ensure you become as qualified as needed.4) Be CommittedIs working 15 hour days, 6-7 days a week committed enough? Yep, that’s what Daniel and I do every week. We have to in order to fulfil points 2 and 3 above.It takes a lot of time and effort to ensure your clients are taken care of properly. You also need a “do whatever it takes” level of commitment.You might not need to work such long hours as us and trust me, we’re continually working towards lessening that kind of volume but until then, we are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure our business is successful. Are you?5) Be ConsistentConsistency shows up in many forms when running a successful business. For me, it’s being consistent with my message, my brand, my Social Media presence, my newsletters, my team management, and the level of quality we bring to our clients.Do I miss sometimes? Absolutely. But being consistent in these areas are very important to me, and I do what needs to be done in order to show up the best I can for my team and our clients.Without consistency, it’s hard to create brand ambassadors (such as the ones who nominate you for an award), loyal team members, and a steady flow of clients.Whatever you have decided to commit to, be consistent at it and you’ll be amazed at how things start to flow your way.6) Surround Yourself With a Dedicated and Knowledgeable TeamI started off as a one-woman show. Because of my educational background, I was able to do the design, build and marketing of a website quite easily. I’m what you would call a “generalist”, someone who knows a lot of about a lot of things and is a specialist in a few areas.But my one-woman show was not going to create a successful business. Especially in this technologically-driven industry. It quickly became apparent my skillset was only going to get me so far.So my first hire was someone who could offset my biggest weakness. Warren was a student at UFV and applied for my part time programmer position. He was a perfect complement to our company and the moment he came on board, I was relieved of having to do all the site builds myself. I could then take that time and focus on building the business instead.It’s tough to try and do everything yourself when it comes to running a business. Sure, there are expenses involved in hiring but if you hire smart, keep an eye on your bottom line, and know when to let go of those that aren’t serving you best, your business will escalate far quicker than if you try to struggle with everything yourself.This topic is worthy of a whole article itself so I encourage you to read How to Take a Solo-Entrepreneurship to the Next Level for more.7) Have Honesty, Authenticity and Gratitude be a Part of Your Daily LifeIt’s sad I even need to list this as an attribute but I’ve been in business long enough to know not everyone adheres to these principles.To me, this is a no-brainer – I’m not certain I could live any other way?But judging from the stories I hear from new clients about how they were treated by their previous web developer, it sounds like many people need to be reminded of this.No business will thrive without honesty and integrity. And a little secret: gratitude will not only make your business thrive, but your whole life too. Give it a try and see what I mean.8) PersevereEvery business, including ours, has its ups and downs. The key to success is to not let those “downs” overcome your enthusiasm. Pick yourself back up, learn from whatever lesson there was to be learned, and keep moving forward.If we had quit when we only had $20 credit left on our credit cards at Christmas time just a handful of years ago, we wouldn’t be award winners now!9) Invest in Your BusinessBuilding the company has been one investment after another. It never ends really.There’s always something that needs to be worked on. Here’s a short list of my recommendations on where you need to invest in your business:a.Branding & Websiteb.Marketingc.Educationd.Building a Team10) Understand You’re Running a Business, Not a Hobby.I think this is an important distinction to make and one many entrepreneurs aren’t differentiating.I’ve always looked at our company as a business and that’s mostly due to my business mind and having a business degree.But for those that simply are passionate about something and have a dream to make money off of it, it’s hard to know exactly HOW to turn that dream into a business.They end up blindly doing what they think they should be doing, all by themselves, in order to save money (or not spend money they don’t have) and hope for the best.If this sounds familiar, I’m adding another business investment to consider as your top priority: A business coach or mentor. ASAP. Otherwise, you’ll probably end up just running a hobby.11) Set up a Systemized Business StructureI’ve worked with a lot of clients over the years. Some amaze me at how organized and systemized they are. And others, well, not so much.Having a systemized business structure in place is the only reason I haven’t gone insane with my daily workload.Here’s the tools we use to be more organized, efficient and less stressed.12) Get Comfortable With SalesSales. It’s a dirty word for many entrepreneurs and business owners alike. Me too. I hate to think of myself as a “sales person” but at the end of the day, if we’re not selling our wares, we don’t have a business.Now that’s not to say you need to become a pushy, in-your-face predator. Far from it.Remember attribute #1 about being passionate? That’s what you need. People will trust your passion and will respond to it. But be careful, sometimes passion can be too intense and will turn people away.Find your sweet spot as to what resonates with your ideal clients and keep working at it. But do embrace the fact you’re selling your wares and learn some strategies that fit with your personality and comfort level that will work.13) Give BackGiving back is an imperative attribute to have when building a successful business. We give back in several ways, here’s some ideas to consider that we do:-Offer discounted prices for non-profits-Volunteer your services to community groups-Send cash donations to worthy charities you believe in-Make purchases that support worthy causes-Donate door prizes and/or silent auction items for fund raising activities-And support your own clients whenever you can14) Be AccessibleWhen new clients approach me due to being disenchanted with their existing web developer or marketer, the most often complaint I hear is they can never get a hold of the person. Either they take forever to respond to an email or never answer their phone.I think I’m going to write a book on how NOT to run a successful business based on this alone. It boggles my mind when I consistently hear stories like this. How are these people keeping a business going with such poor service and accessibility?I have a policy to answer emails within a day of receipt. I often exceed that policy but sometimes the volume is too much and I get delayed in responding. Same thing with the phone. If we’re available to answer, we do so. If we’re not, we’ll call the person back right away.Being accessible provides peace of mind to our clients; they know we care enough about them to take care of their needs in a timely manner. ’nuff said.There you have it. My honest take on what created the company to be an award-winning business. Maybe I need to write a book about this because, honestly, I could have added more but, it’s coming into the 15th hour on this Sunday night of working so I’ll leave it at that.What about you? What would you add to the list? Please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Choose the Best Designer Clothes For Your Little Boy This Season

If you are fashionable by nature and prefer being well dressed then it is only natural that you would want to dress your children the same way. Children look adorable with smart clothes and trendy outfits that have been exclusively prepared for them. Keeping this in mind more and more designers are coming up with clothes line meant exclusively for children. The list of designers has both established names like Ralph Lauren and other newcomers who are making their presence felt. Earlier most of these designer clothes were created keeping in mind the baby girl, but nowadays there are various options for the boys too. Trendy boy’s clothes are very much in vogue and you have various options to choose from.Clothes for young boys include t-shirts, track pants, denims, dungarees, cargo pants, and capri pants amongst other things. There is also an entire range of sports clothing that are popular amongst boys gear. This includes baseball t-shirts and football t-shirts. There is also an entire range of baseball shoes and football shoes for boys which are immensely popular amongst the young boys. The most popular types of clothing for young boys are:T-shirts – bright and comfortable t-shirts are one of the most comfortable types of clothing for young boys. They are available in various colors and prints. The various prints include animal prints, cartoons, popular icons, scenery, graphic designs, or sports logos and graphics. These tees are available in both crew neck and polo neck versions. T-shirts for boys are fashionable for all occasions and look very smart when worn in layers. You will also find t-shirts with messages written on them like “Dad’s favorite” or “Mama’s angel” which make them look very cute.Shorts – young boys are mostly found in denim shorts or corduroy shorts that make them look fashionable. You will also find cotton shorts for your toddler that is loose and airy to give him the comfort when playing around for longer hours. Just like the corduroy shorts look classy, the cotton ones come in various prints like jungle prints, solids, or graphic designs.Outerwear – there are a variety of hooded cotton jackets available for children. These add more style when worn over a simple t-shirt or a shirt. These jackets look best when coordinated properly with your child’s outfit. The best option is to go for a denim jacket which looks good with all outfits in general.

Discount Travel and Dynamic Air Fares

Today Air travel is one of the most widely modes of travel. Unlike in the past nowadays even the less affluent people have also begun using the Air Travel to reach distant destinations. The discount travel and the Dynamic Fares have helped air passengers in flying at a fraction of the original Fares.Since the maintenance of Aircraft is very expensive the Airlines fix large amounts as Airfare. But this automatically reduces the number of Passengers traveling by Air. This naturally reduces the Cash flowing in to the AirlinesThis rigidity in Air Fares makes them less remunerative and reduces the amounts they receive for their Services. This is reason for many Airlines to stop their Crafts flying. Keeping this in mind, many Airlines start offering low priced fares so that many people can travel and the profit will be increased by increasing the total amount of Money received.Dynamically Priced Fares are the best thing that works best both for the travelers as well as the Airlines Companies. In this concept of Dynamic Fares the rate for a Seat in the flight increases or decreases with the seat availability and the closeness to the departure times. That is the Airlines alter the price according to the number of passengers have booked the ticket.To be more clear, if a flight is going to a particular place after a week and the ticket is not fully sold the Airlines sets a price little low so that it will be full with in a week’s time. The main idea is to fill the Flight, though a few people pay less amount, many pay fully and the Airlines are satisfied that they can maintain their expense.The Discount Airlines are another one which is smaller, more economical, so that the Flight will be full easily, and comparatively the maintenance will be easy. These Airlines carry few people to a selected destination so these Airlines manage to cope up with their expense even during tough times.On the other hand the regular Airlines need to compete with these Discount Airlines to fill their flight, so the only way to do so is to use the DPF formula. That is the only solution for these Airlines to maintain their Flights.Earlier travelers went after the Travel Agencies to book their Air Tickets, Hotel, Car rental etc, but now the internet has changed a lot of these things. The Travelers are able to find out the availability of Seats and Flights through Internet.The Dynamic pricing fare is made easy through internet. Travelers are able to find out the availability of seat and they try to wait for few days and then book so that their amount can be reduced through Dynamic pricing fare.