Harnessing both Body and Mind for Success in Business

Knowledge and optimism are two vital fluids in the machinery of innovation and entrepreneurship. Knowledge gives us the vision to see gaps in the market where our innovation could fit and optimism gives us the drive to see those ideas through. Those heady moments when both come together to crystallize into a business idea can change the course of lives.

Starting a new business venture or embarking on a new phase within an existing business brings with it much excitement. What usually follows are many long hours in the office converting that enthusiasm and optimism into product and eventually profit.

But what effects does that hard grind have on the man or woman searching out success and profit? It’s not long before energy levels, once roused by the thought of launching your product or service, are being propped up by coffee and sodas as the sun drips under the office window leaving our hard working entrepreneur to fall asleep at their desk.

At least, that’s one version society has come to know. Perhaps some of us have experienced this personally. What can we do to ensure we aren’t inviting burn out along for the ride?

How We Burn Out

It’s easy to get lost in the process of taking a product or service to market. The idea that the race is on and not necessarily against a competitor, sometimes it’s just ourselves. We grab opportunities and connections wherever they appear. The schedule overflows leading to a pre-deadline crush and unrealistic expectations. Evenings and weekends are abandoned to get things done. Exhaustion sets in, followed by poor decision-making and we’re at the start of a negative downward slope. Symptoms start appearing, within the business or the body. It’s no longer fun and soon you’re wondering why you got into this in the first place.

It’s a sure thing that a society like ours, built on innovation and the hungry pursuit of success, won’t ever curb the appetite for hard work. So, how do we preserve the person embarking on that journey?

It’s really very simple:

Balance

  • Eat healthy nutrition-dense foods at regular intervals.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Exercise.
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Drink Caffeine in moderation.

And do these things consciously.

If you forget to eat, or drink because you’re engrossed in your work, or your body doesn’t register hunger or thirst loudly, set an alarm on your cell phone every 3-5 hours. Keep a jug of water on your desk and refill it on your way to the rest room. Go to the gym/pool/track/yoga studio before you go to the office, that way your physical exercise is done before you start your working day. Switch your smartphone or tablet off in the evening and relax. Wind down before bed.

After a few weeks of doing these activities consciously, habits will start to form and you’ll find your mind more occupied with how to apply the knowledge that brought you into business in the first place in a meaningful way.

It’s likely there will be less fires to put out on a daily basis and being in business will become more enjoyable. The goal will be clearer and you’ll be in better shape to reap the rewards when you finally reach it.

There’s a famous toast in the English-speaking world “To health, wealth and happiness.” Getting into business can bring us life changing wealth, but what good is it if we don’t have our health and our happiness.

DIY: Small Business Marketing

Many businesses launch full-blown, complex marketing plans. Some even devote entire teams to oversee the details. As a small business, you may or may not have the time, inclination or resources to divulge into such a byzantine plan for your own business. However, there are many free, online outlets that allow you to market your business in a much more efficient way.

Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram; the list goes on and on. Social Media has become a large part of human connection and interaction in the daily lives of millions globally. Becoming and remaining a visible and credible entity on several social media sites is a great way to market your business. Join communities and groups already created that focus on the ideas similar to what you offer. Share valuable information or add new, fresh views to discussions already in progress to show your value and expertise.

Email Newsletters

Forget the claims that e-mail marketing is outdated. The odds of finding someone under 40 without a valid email address is slim to none. How often they use it is their business, not yours. Sending sharp, witty and straight-to-the-point monthly or bi-monthly newsletters can keep your business on the top of your customer’s minds, even if just for a few minutes at a time. It may send them back to your website if only to figure out why they’re receiving the newsletter. To ensures fewer unsubscribes, entice your readers with discount and promo codes, as well as useful, relevant information.

Freebies

Everyone knows the way to a consumers heart is by giving away something free. And most marketers and the smart consumer realize that it isn’t also exactly free. Sign up for something and receive something valuable for free. For example, if a customer wants to purchase a diamond solitaire ring and your site offers a free ring cleaning kit, that is incentive over a site that doesn’t offer anything. Offering a product or something valuable to the consumer for free is favorable, even if it does nothing but increase traffic to your site. The goal is to get the customers foot in the door; and enticing them with freebies is for the most part, a good way to consider.

Blogging

Blog communities are a tight knit circle of people who are extremely passionate about their chosen topics. Starting a blog in conjunction with your website can be a strong marketing tool in itself. The average company that blogs generates 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and 434% more indexed pages.Most blogs link to favorite and rather similar blogs. In doing this, the favor is likely returned by the other blogger. If a blog has 1000 viewers per day and your blog is listed as a favorite, or you write a guest post; it isn’t wrong to assume that many viewers may just click the link to view your blog and likely venture elsewhere on your site from there.

Marketing your business doesn’t have to be elaborate or painstakingly meticulous. Little things work. Tune into Twitter for personal use and start there. Send referrals about your website to gain insight and offer incentives. Be creative and stay connected.

A Guide to Advertising your Jewelry Store on Facebook

Facebook, the world’s largest social media platform, has more than 1 billion monthly active users. If someone has Internet access, then there’s a good chance they have a Facebook account.

With so many people using this platform, this is your opportunity as a retail business owner to reach out to new audiences, create a connection and even build your brand through ads. If you’re unfamiliar on how to advertise on Facebook, let’s explore the basics on how you can get started today:

The Types of Ads

Facebook has a handful of advertising options that you can take advantage of, including:
• Marketplace Ads
• Page Post Ads
• Promoted Posts
• Sponsored Stories
• Sponsored Results

Each method works in a different way, so let’s take a look at how each type can benefit your business:

Marketplace Ads

Like Google AdWords, these ads will consist of a title, a small image and a body of text. Marketplace ads allow you to link out to your website or to a Facebook page. Usually, these ads work best for those who are looking for a specific audience. So for example, if you want 40-year-old females who love dogs and diamond jewelry, you would be able to target that specific demographic.

Page Post Ads

Suggested posts, unlike most other ad types, are ads that will show up within a Facebook user’s feed. So when a user is browsing through their feed, your ad will show up, looking very similar to any other status update. This type of ad is ideal for those who are looking to gain more visibility, promote a page post or get more likes for a Facebook page. Again, with this ad type, you will be able to target any audience that you want.

Promoted Posts

A promoted post is no different than posts that were created by friends and family. The only difference that you will notice is that at the bottom, it will say “Sponsored.” Since Facebook only shows your post to around 15% of your fans, the promoted posts option will make sure that more people will see your post.

While promoted posts sounds a lot like page post ads, you have to understand the differences. Promoted posts will only be able to target fans that have already liked your page, while page post ads can target anyone.

Sponsored Stories

A sponsored story ad will show up in the news feed, promoting a specific page or website. With sponsored stories, you will able to get more likes, have people join an event and install or play an application.

Sponsored stories are a great way to increase your visibility and have your potential customers interact with your ads.

Sponsored Results

Within the search results, this ad will show up whenever someone searches for something that is similar to your ad. With this feature, you’re going to be able to target a specific audience. For example, if you wanted to promote your jewelry business’s Facebook page that specializes in bridal jewelry, you could tell Facebook to show your ad via the search results whenever someone searches for something similar to bridal jewelry. Sponsored results are a great way to get people to your page with one click.

Facebook can be a great way to reach a new audience as long as you target your ads properly in order to maximize your return for your ad spend. While it can seem tough to get into, it can provide better returns over traditional media advertising since you can target exactly the demographic you want to see your ad, and you can better measure how many people see your ad and how effective it is.

7 Tips for Projecting Credibility in an Instant

You’ve got smarts and skills in spades, and you’re brimming with potential. Still, in a high-speed, hyper-competitive business world, you have little time to make a big impression. You have to project credibility in an instant or risk being overlooked or rejected.

Today your credentials may get you in the door. Yet to really succeed, you’ve got to look credible when it matters most: in face-to-face interactions. Whether you’re meeting one-to-one or presenting to a packed audience, your credibility is immediately being assessed.

But what does credibility look like? And, more important, why do some smart, capable people project credibility, and others—who are just as smart and capable—don’t?

In studying this phenomenon with thousands of clients, I’ve identified 25 specific visual and auditory cues—explicit “codes of conduct” for posture, gestures, vocal skills, and eye contact—that affect the perception of credibility. And unlike countless other cues, such as gender, age, or physical features, these 25 cues are within your active control. What’s more, small changes can make a big difference.

To get started, consider these seven dos and don’ts:

1. Do keep your head level.

In the dog world, renowned trainer Cesar Millan has exceptional “executive presence.” Dogs recognize his alpha status by the way he carries himself. In the business world, one of the best ways to project such presence is to keep your head level when speaking—no raising or dropping your chin, which can appear aggressive or submissive. The power of this one skill—to literally be levelheaded—can be transformative.

Fast Tip: Lengthen your spine and level your head. Now, moving only your head, like a camera on a tripod, scan your environment while keeping your torso still. Stillness is an authoritative behavior, so try not to let your shoulders twist with the movement of your head.

2. Do keep your hands in the gesture box.

In poker parlance, a “tell” is a subtle signal revealing the strength or weakness of a player’s hand. Similarly, in meetings or presentations, your gestures alone can be telling to others. The most effective hand gestures happen inside the “gesture box”—no higher than your sternum, no lower than your hips, and no wider than your shoulders. The sweet spot is your navel, where gestures tend to look the most natural.

Fast Tip: A common tell of self-consciousness is when your mouth is engaged but your body language isn’t. To appear comfortable, get your hands involved immediately, reaching out to your listeners with interactive gestures. In short, if your mouth is moving … so are your gestures.

3. Do speak with optimal volume.

If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you surely remember the infamous “low talker.” Likewise, in business settings a common problem with volume is speaking too softly or dropping volume at the end of sentences. The good news is that volume is the easiest vocal skill to adjust. First, however, you must know the difference between adequate volume and optimal volume. Most people err on the side of merely adequate. If you want to be a powerful voice, speak with a powerful voice.

Fast Tip: Your diaphragm, the small muscle separating your chest and abdominal cavity, is your engine for volume. Strengthen this muscle with five minutes of isolated exercises a day. One such exercise: Say the days of the week in a single breath, drawing out the vowels to prevent your diaphragm from resting between words. Later, move on to the months of the year.

4. Do hold eye contact for three to five seconds.

“Eye contact is the best accessory,” says writer Takayuki Ikkaku. It is also a key indicator of confidence and credibility. Still, there is a difference between making eye contact and holding eye contact. Duration is critical, and in the Western world, holding eye contact for three to five seconds is considered optimal.

Fast Tip: As you converse with coworkers, try speaking one phrase to one person. Then, when you reach a natural pause, speak the next phrase to someone else. Continue in this way, letting the structure of your sentences guide your rhythm. You may look away momentarily, but keep your eyes on the horizon—no looking up or down—and each time you come back, hold eye contact for three to five seconds.

5. Don’t use speech fillers.

Speech fillers are superfluous sounds or words, like “um” and “you know.” Today, such fillers are pervasive in our culture, including the business world. A smart, young technology CEO recently said to his team, “So, I actually sort of passionately believe that we have an opportunity to, uh, you know, sort of really take this platform to a new level. So we just kind of, uh, need to jump in, you know, with full force.” He wanted to fire up his people, but his fillers extinguished his passion.

Fast Tip: Embrace the tactical pause. Instead of interjecting fillers, simply pause while your mind searches for the next word.

6. Don’t make extraneous movements.

Extraneous movements—such as jiggling your knee, bobbing your head, or shifting your weight—weaken your personal power. You might say, “I can’t help myself. I just can’t be still.” Truth is, excessive fidgeting is a self-comforting behavior. Stillness sends a message that you’re calm and confident.

Fast Tip: Test your ability to literally have a level head. Fold a thick pair of socks and balance it on your head. Try talking for several minutes without losing the socks.

7. Don’t make yourself smaller.

If you’re like most people, when you feel intimidated, you make yourself smaller so as to avoid being an easy target. You might place your feet closer together, tuck your arms to your sides, dip your chin, or pull back on your volume. Any or all of these behaviors say, “I feel threatened.”

Fast Tip: Practice optimal standing posture throughout the day, not just in important situations, to help make it habitual. Balance your weight over your feet, lengthen your spine, and elongate your neck.

About the author: Cara Hale Alter is president of SpeechSkills, a San Francisco–based communication training company, and author of The Credibility Code: How to Project Confidence and Competence When It Matters Most (Meritus, 2012).

About Vishinda: Vishinda is a NYC wholesaler of fine cut white diamonds, and offers a calibrated diamond service for sourcing matched pairs and layouts of ideal cut diamonds according to mm size.