In this week’s edition of Wash Wisdom, find out five regrets that most entrepreneurs have, four ways to ease the tension of a tough conversation and three ways to increase website traffic.

Don’t have these regrets

In the article “5 Regrets of a Failed Entrepreneur,” featured on Entrepreneur’s website, contributor Gordon Tredgold offers advice to business owners in hindsight. According to Tredgold, here are five mistakes many aspiring entrepreneurs make and regret:

  • Not defining your customer base. If you can’t answer the question, “Who is your target market,” then you need to step back and figure it out. Even if you can see everyone as a potential customer, narrow your target to a specific group, such as the wealthiest or the most accessible. When you know your audience, you can sharpen your marketing strategies and make them that much more effective.
  • Not using your network. While it may feel like asking for charity by trying to sell to your network base, you should not overlook it, says Tredgold. People do business with those they like and trust, and since those are probably the qualities found in your network, you should use those connections. Even if those in your network can’t do business with you, they can be a great source of referrals.
  • Not being an aggressive seller. Sometimes you can get so mired in working on the business itself that your sales slack off. But you can’t have a business without sales, so make a weekly sales target and stick to it.
  • Not pricing high enough. Don’t fall into the trap of simply pricing services based on cost. While this method is okay to use, it won’t garner you any large profits. Price your services based on the value they provide to the customer.
  • Not focusing on profit. Understand your costs before looking to increase revenue. Know what your profit margin is, and if it’s low, focus on cutting costs and increasing it before trying to increase revenue.

You can find the full article here.

4 ways to soften the blow of a tough conversation

Featured on CIO’s website, the article “4 tips for tough conversations with your employees” by contributor Sarah White discusses preventative measures you can take to keep these tough conversations as tension-free as possible. To prevent any future regrets, here are the four methods White advises:

  • Communicate your expectations. Make sure that every employee understands your expectations as close to the onset of employment as possible. If you fail to do so, conversations about employee performance or behavior can become difficult.
  • Build relationships with employees. If a tough conversation is the first conversation you’ve had face-to-face with an employee, there’s little wonder that it’ll be tough. While you don’t have to get overly personal, engage in casual conversations with employees as you see them to establish rapport. Then it will be easier to communicate difficult news with empathy.
  • Offer managerial training. First-time managers especially will need coaching in this area, since they’ve never had to deal with these sorts of conversations. In addition to training, when looking for people to promote into managerial positions, you need not always look at performance and merit, says White; look at the employee’s personality as well to determine if he or she is self-aware enough for a managerial role.
  • Acknowledge employees. When having a tough conversation, start by acknowledging where your employee excels, and then turn to ways they can improve. By framing the discussion in this manner, it turns from a lecture into a message of opportunity and will make employees feel more engaged. Make sure to give continuous feedback.

Read the article here.

3 tips to drive up website traffic

Contributor William Morrow in his article “Top 3 Digital Marketing Tips to Earn More Traffic to Your Website” on The Huffington Post discusses how to use search engine optimization (SEO) to make gains for businesses. The three tips Morrow discusses are:

  • Use Google My Business. If you have a brick-and-mortar business, use Google My Business to display your office hours, company phone number and location to customers in Google Maps search results. You can even use the “view office” feature to provide a virtual tour of your office, a tool that increases customer confidence, Morrow says.
  • Ask for reviews. Reports show that websites that display customer reviews, whether negative or positive, receive more consideration from customers in their purchase-decision process. You can be creative about the ways you ask customers to leave reviews on your site — the options are limitless.
  • Engage in off-site promotion. Off-page SEO is an important factor Google considers when ranking sites. The more off-site pages that link to yours, the more credible you appear. For instance, if you write a blog for another website, put a link in the blog to your own site.

Find the entire article here.