Networking Organization we’re a Part of: BNI Massachusetts

 

Business Network International (BNI) is the world’s largest international referral organization, with chapters all around the world. Their members include all types of businesses, from local to global networks. We have had members in multiple BNI Massachusetts chapters for the past 3 years, which is why we have decided to highlight them as this month’s Network Organization we’re a Part of.

BNI’s overall mission is to help members promote and grow their businesses through structured, positive, and professional referral marketing programs. Through networking opportunities, the goal is to help develop long-term, meaningful relationships with quality business professionals. As the largest referral organization, BNI members have passed 6.6 million referrals last year, which –according to their website –has generated $8.6 billion worth of businesses for all members world wide.

The reason for this organization’s great success is because of their strong belief in, “If I give you business you’ll give me business and we’ll both benefit as a result.” Because of this, their benefits make joining the organization worth it. Some of BNI’s benefits are as follows:

  • Increased exposure to other professionals
  • Substantial increase in business through referrals
  • Various workshops
  • How to effectively communication about your business
  • Sharpen presentation skills
  • Member Success Workshops
  • Advanced Education program
  • Participate in networking meetings (52 of them per year)
  • Receiving SuccessNet newsletters with educational materials on networking, public speaking and businesses.
  • Leadership Team Training
  • And more…

If you are interested in becoming a member or in learning more about BNI Massachusetts, visit here.

How to Gain Quality Followers

It is everyone’s goal to gain a large following on social media, but it can be very hard to keep those followers after you’ve gotten them. Because of this we have gathered details on ways to gain and keep a large following.

Enhance your Profile:

The first step is to focus on the social network where your following is more likely to be and enhance that profile. You can do this by using an identifiable name and image with a clear and concise description. In order to figure out which social media is the most popular for your following, you should research buyer’s personas by asking clients which social media they are more likely to be found, conducting an anonymous survey, or use share data.

Promote Social Presence:

Even though it’s important to focus on a specific social network, it is also important to still have a presence in other social media networks, as well. After getting a profile in all the important networks, you must promote it anywhere you can; this means on your website, your print advertisements, your business cards, your email messages, and even on social media.

Share Valuable Content:

Once you have your profiles set up and some following, the next step is to offer valuable content for your followers. Your content should be relative to your company and industry. However, you should be careful not to be too self-promotional. Your content should be fresh, interesting, and engaging. Adding visual content, personal posts, and hashtags can also optimize your content.

Build a Relationship:

Building a relationship with your followers is the best way to keep with around. You should interact with your followers whenever they mention or tag you into their posts. Following and building relationships with others in your industry is also important.

Making your social network one worth following is the goal in order to gain quality followers.

Industry Specific Social Site: Doximity

For the second blog in our Industry Specific Social Site series we are highlighting a social site that could save your life! We are talking about Doximity, the number one social platform for healthcare professionals. Currently, over 60 percent of doctors and thousands of nurse practitioners and physician assistants can be found on Doximity.

If you’re thinking, “Oh great! Now doctors are going to be distracted at work,” think again! This site is exclusively for healthcare professionals in order to help them communicate quickly, urgently and securely about any medical issues they may come across. Because healthcare is an industry that has always been highly dependent on technology, this social site is simply another way to simplify the daily task of these professionals. They aim towards creating a community where healthcare professionals can collaborate on patient treatments, grow their practice, and discover new career opportunities.

Doximity has connected over half a million U.S. healthcare professionals in three years and has developed many beneficial features. One of their newest features is DoxFax. This is a free and secure digital fax and messaging service accessible through any computer or mobile device. When signing up, Doximity users are assigned a lifetime fax numbers and can even be used to communicate between offices and pharmacies.

Aside from a communication tool, Doximity also serves as a professional profile page where profiles are searchable and viewable to the public. It also serves as a news portal and, essentially, a digital doctors lounge. Most importantly, though, Doximity also serves as a digital continued medical education (CME) tool. Because of this, medical students are also allowed to have an account.

If you are in the healthcare industry as a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant, we recommend that you build a presence in Doximity. For more information on Doximity, click here.

Networking Organizations We’re a Part of: The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

This month we are highlighting the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, a networking organization we just recently became a member of! The Greater Boston Chamber currently supports over 1,500 organizations from all industries and of all sizes in the region. Their mission is to develop an economic growth throughout the greater Boston region as well as a vibrant and inclusive business community. By joining the organization, businesses are able to benefit from, not only networking opportunities but also, advocacy, leadership development, and innovation initiatives.

Strategic Networking Opportunities:

The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce offers networking events with top businesses and political leaders speakers in order for members to build professional connections, meet prominent business and government leaders, and engage in issues relevant to business community.

Business Advocacy:

The Greater Boston Chamber gives businesses a voice in economical and political situations through legislative efforts and policies, which help improve the region’s business climate and competitiveness. These advocacy efforts take place through the public policy committee, the “Advocacy Pulse,” a monthly update for all members, and “Growth Tracker,” an online resource with comprehensive economic views.

Leadership Opportunities:

The Greater Boston Chamber cultivates programs for the region’s business leaders. These include the Executive Leadership Institute, Boston’s Future Leaders, Women’s Leadership Program, and the Chamber Intern Connect, an internship website.

Innovation Initiatives:

Along with this, the chamber creates initiative designed to foster and promote the growth of the region’s economy. They also take initiatives towards showcasing innovative companies, and innovation-related advocacy.

Among all of these services, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce offers many other services. To find out more about the benefits and services available through this organization, visit their site here.

Plugins We Like: WP Job Manager

In the past we have made a post on reasons why your company should consider posting job opportunities on your website. We have mentioned benefits like saving money, easy sharing, grabbing web surfers’ attention, and more (visit the blog here). Well, today we are highlighting our favorite job listing plugin, WP Job Manager. Not only does this allow you to post job opportunities directly onto your site, but it also allows you to manage those job listings. This job manager has many features that make the plugin one of our favorites.  

An important thing to point out about the WP Job Manager plugin is that it is very simple to set up and works well with many themes. One of the plugin’s best features is that it allows fully managing, categorizing, and adding as many job listing as available. When submitting the listing, it allows you to preview it first. You are also able to link each listing to either an email or website address to allow job seekers to easily apply. Job seekers can also be alerted whenever a new job matching is available through RSS links.

We asked two of our designers, Phil and Jose, for some insight on the WP Job Manager plugin and how they felt about it. Even though this is a great job management plugin, they both agreed on one flaw: it is difficult to customize. According to Phil and Jose, once the plugin has been added, it easily grasps the theme of most templates but it can be difficult to adjust it to customized websites. However, they both agree that once it is implemented, it handles data well and does a great job at managing an unlimited amount of job listing and applications.  

Entrepreneur Tips

Being an entrepreneur takes guts, time, and a whole lot of patience. Many times, it will feel like you’re going through dead ends, but with the right guidance you can reach your ultimate vision. Because of this, we would like to give our fellow entrepreneurs some tips to becoming the best entrepreneurs they can be.

If you haven’t started your business, yet, but are thinking about doing so, ask yourself why you want to start your own business. You can’t just start a business because you want to make money. Being passionate about what you want to do is extremely important when going through your journey. (With that said…)

Do work you actually care about. Focus on what matters to you, your values and what you would want to be known for later on.

Always challenge yourself. Taking risks is important to the development of your business. Don’t miss out on an opportunity just because you were too afraid to take it.

Believe in yourself and your vision. If you believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything and always look for ways to get through an obstacle. If you believe in your vision, you will always stay focus on your goal and work through every challenge to get there.

Build a team that will represent what your company stands for. While in the hiring think about the candidates’ characters and how they will fit in with the vision you have set. Remember that you can always train skills but not character. A strong team can help you and your business succeed.

Manage your energy and your money. If you don’t manage your energy the right way, it will affect the way you manage your time. Managing your money is just as, or even more, important because raising capital can take longer and be harder to rise. So, when making purchases, make sure they are actually essential to the business rather than just a luxury item.

Always learn from your mistakes and listen to your customers. These are the best ways to succeed. When a customer has a concern or question, they help bring to light the wholes your business may have. Ask them for inputs and actually listen to them.

Get a mentor. They are crucial to have because they are full of lifetime experiences. They can help you learn things you never thought you needed to know and guide through any issues or dilemmas. You will encounter many issues, getting through them with a mentor is the best way to do it.

Networking Organizations We’re a Part of: Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce

Cape Ann was founded by pilgrims in 1623 and was named after England’s Queen Ann. Currently, Cape Ann offers big-city culture while maintaining a small-town charm, and its four communities consist of Essex, Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-sea, and Rockport. With such an amazing location and so much to offer, it’s no wonder why we have been a part of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce for two years.

As a member of this organization, we are able to express the great benefits that come from being a member – from networking and training to adding value to your business. The following are just some of the many benefits Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce offers:

In their membership directory (both print and digital), help coordinate ribbon cuttings for special business occasions, host networking events (seminars, speaker programs, board meetings, etc.), sponsor and advertise business events in publications or online.

Gain insight into their affinity program. Here your business can save up to 25 percent on constant contact discount and gain access to a variety of health plan options and providers through Health services Administrators. Your company can even save on credit card processing!

Contribute to the community. By being a member your business can contribute to Business Education Collaborative to enrich the education and career development of students, to Businesswomen’s Committee that helps create a strong network group for women, to Government Affairs Council in creating a healthy business climate for the community, and to the Tourism Council, which works to promote Cape Ann as a premier visitor destination.

Gain access to other exclusive benefits like access to over 900 chamber members, office referrals, Cape Ann certificate program, and Discounts on local media advertisements.

To find out more about these benefits, or others, or if you are interested in being a member visit their website here

Plugins We Like: Events Calendar by Modern Tribe

The latest version of the Events Calendar by Modern Tribe is Sperling Interactive’s go-to calendar plugin for our clients’ website. When researching the features of this calendar you may find a lot of great aspects including: its saved venues and organizers, its inclusion of Google map, the list of upcoming events, the option to export events into Google Calendar and iCal, its responsiveness from mobile devices to desktop, and its availability to internationalize and translate the descriptions.

Of course, when researching anything you may come across many positive and negative reviews, so I decided to ask one of our developers, Andrew, what he thought about the plugin to get more information.

When I asked Andrew how he felt about it, he said it was the best calendar plugin out of the other free options. He also said that aside from reviews claiming that it is a highly customizable option, it isn’t as customizable as one would think. “It works well as a template and it’s customizable in the way you view the events and the different templates options,” he said, “but making small changes to the templates can be a difficult.” According to Andrew, in order to make changes to those templates many other plugins need to be incorporated.

When I asked Andrew what were some things he liked about the events calendar he mentioned how once the plugin is installed it immediately incorporates the existing theme or color of the website. He also likes how the pieces to customize the calendar are all there, even though “getting them to where you need them takes more work.”

Overall, Andrew said he would recommend this calendar plugin to others because “for a free plugin it’s extensive” but to “be weary that needing super extensive things might be a little more challenging.”

Unconventional Tips for Content Creation

When creating content, whether it’s for a blog, social media, or anything in relation, we may get stumped or get writer’s block more often than we’d like. Many times, when it happens, we tend to just write down anything we can come up with and end up creating content of  lower quality than we’d like. Because of this we have searched and come up with some tips to help free our minds and make space for more creative ideas. If interested in these unconventional tips, continue reading.

Tip 1: Recite what you want to write before writing it.

Many times, when we recite the next sentence we want to write down in our heads we end up forgetting or “losing our spot” in between. By vocally narrating before writing we can keep track of what we are writing and get our complete thoughts down. Using a recording device or app can help with this tip.

Tip 2: Notice what sparks ideas throughout the day.

When doing regular day activities there are times when certain ideas strike us at random. Paying attention to what actions or things trigger those ideas can be helpful; it may help spark future ideas.

Tip 3: Save the editing for the very end.

When you’re on a writing streak, stopping in the middle of it to go back and edit something can make you lose focus on what you are writing and take too much time switching back and forth from editing mode to writing mode. Writing down everything that comes to mind first and saving the editing for the very end is a more efficient way of getting the job done.

Tip 4: Get on a writing schedule.

Focusing on your daily rhythm and the point of the day where you are more energized and focused can help you create a writing schedule that is more efficient for you. This can also help you create quality content!

Tip 5: Take short breaks while working.

When working for long periods of time we can get bored and lose focus or concentration on what we’re working on. This is why taking few minute breaks throughout the day can help improving your productivity and help you creating quality content.

Tip 6: Create an outline.

Create an outline and work backwards on it. Start with the point of your post and develop an outline from that point. This way the content you come up with can connect to the overall purpose of your post.

Making Business Decisions with Analytics

If you aren’t using or paying attention to your analytics when making business decisions, then you may not be making the best decisions for your company. Analytics are extremely important for knowing and understanding your customers. They can help us assess the outcomes over target standards and goals, the relationships between factors and outcomes, and understand what improvements and changes need to be made. Let’s look at the ways in which analytics can help make better business decisions in details below:

There are different types of analytics that focus on different areas of our businesses to help us better understand our business overall. They help us determine what our business objectives are, translate those data into goals and create project assessments and new plans.

Predictive Analytics is a type of analysis that assesses all current and historical facts of our business to help us predict what our future outcomes will be. It identifies patterns through record numbers to help identify the risks or opportunities that may come to rise. This is called Data Mining. It also helps model the relationships between the different factors that can be of risk or bring opportunities for our business.

Descriptive Analytics looks at past data information to help assess and understand why there was success or failure in our business’ strategy. This is important to help us learn of areas where improvements or changes need to be made in our strategies.

Overall, having the right analytics tools can be crucial to our business decisions. Not only do they help us to better understand our clients and business but also, they are extremely useful for creating reports and summarizing the overall data. They collect the initial data, describe them, and help verify the quality of the data. By using analytics you can save half the time and effort in creating reports.