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Sunday, 3 November 2013

The XMAS shutdown - and how to avoid it

Many people comment, (complain), about the appearance of Christmas decorations and paraphernalia in the shops as early as September or October.

But I was somewhat astounded to hear a business owner talking up the infamous XMAS Shutdown already in October.

But another business owner in the same conversation had an interesting solution . . .

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Cover via Amazon

Before we get to that however, it got me to thinking . . .

How much do business owners actually create the Xmas shutdown phenomena just by talking about it and expecting it.

You could get all metaphysical about it and say that The Secret predicts that you will get what you most think about.

But it is even more practical than that.

When business owners literally and physically are planning for a slowdown in business, how can this not slow down business for them, and in general?

And the more people that talk about it and plan for it, the more it is going to happen. Stands to reason.

People shutdown their business over Christmas because they expect that everyone else is going to do the same.  It becomes self-fulfilling.

But what if they didn”t ?

The Solution

Well, there are several solutions.

The first and most obvious is this:

Do not talk about or plan for a shutdown!

You can plan to be busy or you can plan to be quiet. It all comes down to the actions that you take.

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Xmas (Photo credit: rsfrd)

It might mean thinking “outside of the box” and doing something different from what you would normally do.

Which brings me to the strategy taken by the other person in that conversation . . .

At this time of year, he starts running introductory seminars and promos that generate client interest in his services.

They may not be ready to buy, (especially if they are stuck in the Xmas shutdown mentality), but it gets them thinking and planning for the new year.

And of course, some will commit to a start in January.

This way, he can hit the ground running in January with clients and prospects in the sales pipeline.

Businesses that take the Xmas shutdown approach face January with an empty sales pipeline.

Where would you rather be?

Also consider this . . .

If your competitors are all closed down over Christmas, what opportunities might exist to service some of their clients during that period . . . ? ?

And possibly retain them as your clients in the new year!


Well, that is quite simple really!


What should you do now?

  1. Ask yourself – Do you really need to shutdown for Christmas?

  2. How are you contributing to the Xmas Shutdown?

  3. Want some help or ideas? Just contact us at Hotpink Websites now.



My heart goes out to all the incredibly strong kids fighting cancer right now. Hope their christmas wishes came true.
~ Unknown

Remember – The XMAS shutdown – and how to avoid it



The XMAS shutdown - and how to avoid it

Thursday, 31 October 2013

How to deal with bullies

Last week I talked about Bullying in Business and introduced our client Melinda from Applied Leadership.

Thanks everyone for all of the great feedback on this article. It really seemed to touch home with some people.

What came out of that conversation is that there are many ways to deal with bullies . . .

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Physical bullying at school, as depicted in the film Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a story about that.

We had designed and developed a really modern, smart looking website for this client.

He approved the design and then handed control over to his 2IC to manage the delivery.

This 2IC guy was a home grown “website expert”, having put together their previous website.

I think that he was a bit put out that we were called in to build the new website, because he promptly set about requesting a long series of changes to the new website that made it look pretty much like the old website again.

The upshot of all these changes was that not only did the website start looking like the drab old out-of-date website, but it was getting late on delivery as well.

Perhaps understandably, the client was not happy, but this was down to the management of the 2IC.

So the client rang and left a voice message with several F-Word expletives.

“What the F#@k is going on with our website?”

Not sure how to take control of the situation, the client resorted to bullying to establish control and dominance of the situation.

But after dealing with the 2IC guy for several months now, the fixed-price project had gone way over budget, and we were less than impressed with this outburst from the client.

So I remembered something that I had learned in communication seminar years ago . . .

Meet a Force-10 argument with a Force-9 response.

You are not escalating the argument with a Force-11 response, but you are making a stand that says “don’t mess with me”.

Bullies in Business are just like schoolyard bullies.
They usually lack confidence themselves, and use the bluster of bullying to cover their lack of confidence and get their way.

My response was along the lines of . . .

Yes I totally agree with you. I am not F-ing happy with the website either and it is all down to numerous changes requested by your 2IC. He has taken our modern design and made it look like the old website and wasted a lot of our time in the process.

Oddly enough, or perhaps not, after that we had no more problems.

So the moral of the story, and the advice for people feeling bullied, is to meet a Force-10 argument with a Force-9 response.


Well, that is quite simple in the end !


What should you do now?

  1. If you feel that you are being bullied, stand up to the bully.

  2. If you think you might be the bully, then take a deep breath and look for another way.

  3. Want some help or ideas? Just contact us at Hotpink Websites now.



Drama is Drama. bullying is bullying.
No matter what reasons people do it for, it will usually be out of self-interest or for their own enjoyment.
~ Isaiah Harden

Remember – How to deal with bullies


How to deal with bullies

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

When your customers do not understand

What do you do when your customers do not understand what you are saying?

There will come a time in your business when a customer does not understand what you are trying to explain to them.

No matter what you say, they just won’t get it. And yet it is vitally important that they do get it.

Here is what you do . . .

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An optical illusion. Square A is exactly the same shade of grey as square B. See demonstration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This happened to me just recently when Bob the Jeweller, (name changed), contacted us to get a new website.

The conversation went something like this:

Bob: Can you build a new website for us please?
Me: Sure, let’s get together and discuss what you need, etc.
Bob: What do you suggest that we do next?
Me: I suggest that we meet to discuss your requirements and what we can do for you.
Bob: We are very busy. Can’t you just build a website for us?
Me: I do need to get some information from you about your new website.
Bob: We just want you build a website for us. Can you just do it . . .

Clearly I wasn’t getting through to Bob.

A website should not be an “over-the-counter purchase”.

If it is, then you are not getting the best service, or the optimal website for your business.

How I Turned This Around

The solution for this and many other miscommunications is to use METAPHORS.

I knew that my dad was going to push me to do some stunts . . . he was pushing me to the very edge.
If we were to use a metaphor, my feet were sliding off the rocks of a cliff and I had my toes hanging over the edge.
~ Jaden Smith

A metaphor is a figure of speech that says that one situation or scenario is another different situation or scenario, so we can use fewer words.

It makes the reader or listener find the similarities between the situation or scenario you want then to understand and a situation or scenario that they may be more familiar with.

The English word metaphor is derived from the Greek word metapherin  which means “transfer”.

So you are transferring the meaning of one thing to another thing.

Simply put – use a story that matches with the situation you are talking about, but in a scenario that the client can understand.

Here is what I said to Bob.

OK, so I come to you and say, can you make a ring for me.

You say, sure, what type of ring, what stones if any do you want in it, what sort of design, etc?

But I say to you . . . No time to discuss that, can you just make me a ring!

Is it likely that I am going to end up with a ring that I like?

With this simple use of METAPHOR, Bob immediately understood why it was important that we spend some time talking about what he wanted to achieve in his website.

A web developer who is not willing to spend up to one hour to meet with you before committing to buying a website probably is not going to get the best result for you!

How could he/she get the best result for you, when they do not understand your needs and wants, the nature of your business, etc?

That’s why at Hotpink Websites, we always start off with a “get-to-know-you chat”.

By the way, using METAPHOR also works well in personal, non-business situations. Give it a go next time you get stuck in a conversation where you are not conveying your message clearly.


Well, that is quite simple really!


What should you do now?

  1. Learn how to use Metaphor in your business and personal life and watch for the rewards.

  2. Want some help or ideas? Just contact us at Hotpink Websites now.



Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.
~ Oprah Winfrey

Remember – New Blog Template



When your customers do not understand

Monday, 28 October 2013

Give Apple some feedback

Ever wondered how to give Apple some feedback about their products?

Well, here is a simple link to do just that . . .Apple silver logo

I’m not sure what Apple do with the feedback that they receive.

Some would say that they ignore it  LOL

But hopefully, your contribution will somehow sway future releases of Apple products.

However, do not expect to get a reply.

Well, that is quite simple really!



What should you do now?

  1. Click the link and give Apple some feedback.

  2. Want some help or ideas? Just contact us at Hotpink Websites now.



At times, creating opportunity requires turning negatives into positives, turning failure into feedback.
~ anon

Remember – Give Apple some feedback


Give Apple some feedback

Sunday, 20 October 2013

What do you do?

It’s a question that every business owner should be asking themselves. What do you do?

The answers vary, of course. Some people reply with the . . .

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English: Toyota Camry Hybrid taxi from EnvironCAB of Arlington, Virginia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

. . . name of the industry that they work in.

For example, hair dresser, travel agent, coach, mechanic, taxi driver, whatever . . .

Some will reply with a somewhat more enlightened response, identifying the actual service that they provide. 

They are distinguishing between the title of their industry, and the benefits that their customer receive.  This is very good for marketing.

For example:

  • We help people to look great and feel great

  • We organise the best travel experiences you will ever have

  • We keep your car running efficiently and safely.

  • We get people safely to their destination

But very few business owners say that they are cleaners and lawyers and book keepers and website developers.

So why do they insist on doing these things themselves?

Why do they insist on going the DIY route, when it clearly costs more and does not give a professional result in almost all cases.

Ever tried cutting your own hair !! LOL

This just makes no sense at all, and it often shows up in the websites that they end up with which:

  • Look old and out of date

  • Are not easy to read

  • Do not generate new or repeat sales for the business

  • And are not used at all to market the business



Added to that is the real cost of DIY.

Think about the first time that you drive to a new destination in a new city, especially if you go without a map or GPS.

It inevitably takes much longer than if you caught a taxi or limo service.  You take wrong turns, get stuck because you don’t know the bottlenecks and short cuts, and you probably cop a fine for unknowingly doing something wrong!

The professionals are experienced and know their way around.

They get you there in a fraction of the time and cost. Because you are not DIY driving, you will not make mistakes and get tickets and fines.

You will arrive safe and relaxed at your destination ready for whatever work or play awaits you there.


The same thing applies for any task in your business for which you are not professionally qualified.

In the long run, it is always cheaper and quicker to get the professionals in to do the job.

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English: Findlay, Ohio, September 20, 2007 — Gilbert Yingling, a representative with Small Business Administration (SBA) makes calls to local business owners from a local chamber of commerce business directory as part of an SBA outreach program. He then follows up with person to person meetings with the business owners. John Ficara/FEMA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And sometimes as a business owner, even if you are professionally qualified in a particular area, it is much better for the business overall for you to step back to keep oversight of the business.

To stay one step removed from the process.

“Not always possible in a small or fledgling business”, I hear you reply!

True that. And . . .

Unless you aim to step back and delegate, that small and fledgling business will remain that way.

Start with small steps

Find ways to claw back a few hours here and there that you can invest into working ON the business and growing the business and generating new revenues to pay for more time that you can delegate.

I know that this is a big challenge for business owners, so if even one business owner takes action on this post, then it will have been worth writing.

I would love to hear what you are going to do . . . better, what you have done.

Well, that is quite simple really!


What should you do now?

  1. Take a look at where you can delegate some small task that you now do yourself.

  2. And then find someone to delegate it to.

  3. Want some help or ideas? Just contact us at Hotpink Websites now.



A king, realizing his incompetence, can either delegate or abdicate his duties.
~ Marlene Dietrich

Remember – What do you do?


What do you do?

What do you do?

It's a question that every business owner should be asking themselves. What do you do?The answers vary, of cours ...

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Opportunity + Reward = Desire

As with many things in life, Opportunity + Reward = Desire.

And no more-so, it seems, than when it comes to crime in local businesses . . .

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Robbery not allowed (Photo credit: Arenamontanus)

The local copper turned up at our Chamber of Commerce meeting today and asked us, “Are you inviting crime into your businesses?”

He reported the sad truth of crime happening in local businesses, many of which we just do not hear about in the media.

Here are some quick tips . . .

Opportunity + Reward = Desire

When a criminal sees the Opportunity and the Reward, the Desire increases exponentially . . . and the result is a crime.


The Police call this the Crime Triangle.

So, every little deterrent is important . . .

For example . . . check your business for these:

  • Cash register (POS) clearly visible to passing traffic

  • POS clearly visible to other staff members

  • Posters and advertising and huge displays help with marketing, but they also help to conceal crimes in progress

  • High shelves, and cluttered walkways

These all have the effect of increasing the Opportunity factor in the Crime Triangle.

Our copper sited an example of walking into a shop at night to find the staff counting the money on the counter in plain view.

Talk about Opportunity + Reward !!

And since this happens regularly at the same time every day, it makes it so easy to plan a crime. 

Actions that happen regularly at the same time every day increase the Opportunity Factor.

Get some help

The Police are more than happy to help you with identifying and fixing things in your place of business that could attract or create crime.

After-all, each crime prevented is a better result for them – less work and a safer community.

Well, that is quite simple really!


What should you do now?

  1. Take a commonsense look at your place of business.

  2. Take a commonsense look at the daily routine in your business

  3. And then, call in the coppers if your are not sure.

  4. Want some help or ideas? Just contact us at Hotpink Websites now.



Don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t sell drugs.
The government hates competition.
~ Hussein Nishah

Remember – Opportunity + Reward = Desire


Opportunity + Reward = Desire

Opportunity + Reward = Desire

As with many things in life, Opportunity + Reward = Desire.And no more-so, it seems, than when it comes to crime ...

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Getting paid while mobile

Most businesses would love to know about Getting paid while mobile; especially tradies and the like.I know this ...

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Business Networking Tips 14

Many business networkers have trouble coming up with their 30 second promotional or elevator pitch.

Here is a hot tip that will make this Sooo EASY . . .

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Elevator Pitch: Ezra Goldman (University of Copenhagen), Willem Boijens (Adaptive Path) (Photo credit:

When I was told about this simple system at a networking meeting this morning, I thought . . .

WOW !  How easy is that !

So I quickly wrote it down and tried it out then and there.

I found that it is even easy to make up something on the spot without a lot of deliberation.

Here’s what you do.

Just fill in the blanks in these 4 lines and you will have the perfect, well timed 30 second promotional.

I help . . .
Achieve . . .
So they can . . .
And I can . . .

This might look something like this:

I help . . . brides
Achieve . . . their ideal wedding
So they can . . . relax and enjoy their special day
And I can . . . show my creative flair

. . . or . . .

I help . . . small business owners
Achieve . . . a powerful website platform
So they can . . . generate repeat sales and find new customers
And I can . . . share my systems and marketing knowledge

Now, you can vary the words at the start of each line to make it flow more, but you get the idea.

Give it a go !

Well, that is quite simple really!


What should you do now?

  1. Write down these 4 lines or memorise them.

  2. Prepare one to use at your next networking meeting.

  3. Want some help or ideas? Just contact us at Hotpink Websites now.



If one elevator button has a star on it, I’m pressing it.
~ BJ Novak

Remember – Business Networking Tips 14


Business Networking Tips 14