Why Every Small Business Owner Should Use Grammarly

 

Every small business owner is a de facto writer. Think about it – you write emails, product descriptions, sales letters, web copy, your business plan. The list is endless. Part of good business writing is clear, concise sentences and effective editing. It can be embarrassing and costly to send out business information that’s rife with spelling and grammar errors.

One of my favorite tools to help you self-edit is Grammarly. Grammarly is online software that checks spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It comes in free and paid versions. The free version is robust enough to handle everything from emails to social media posts to print and e-books. The paid version catches more complex errors and also includes a thesaurus.

You can add either version as an extension in Google Chrome. The paid version can be added to Microsoft Word and other word processing applications. Grammarly runs in the background and automatically check everything you write. That includes social media posts, emails, ads, etc.

Fun fact: Once your brain knows what’s supposed to be there, your eye will often see it even if it’s not actually there. Weird, but true!

Grammarly also has a cool blog. Check out their posts on increasing writing acumen, writing resources, the correct use of hyphens and more. Their blog is humorous and helpful for small business owners and anyone else who writes on a regular basis.

Text-speak and hard-to-decipher abbreviations may be taking over, but not in the business world. For small business owners, it remains vital to put your best foot forward with error-free spelling and grammar.

Sloppy copy can cost you more than mere embarrassment. It can turn away customers and cost you sales and profit. Head on over to Grammarly’s website and sign up for an account today. Your business and your clients will thank you.

 

Tips For Avoiding The Dreaded Scope Creep

Let’s not beat around the bush. Scope creep is a real as the rest of the struggle. Scope creep is what happens when continuous and ongoing changes alter a project after it’s already begun without adding to the project’s bottom line. In short, it’s what happens when a client pays for one thing and adds changes and modifications until it mushrooms into something else. Here are two purely hypothetical examples of scope creep:

  • A client requests a 500-word blog for $XXX. By the time the project is complete, the blog is written, an image is sourced and inserted, the blog is scheduled to post automatically to their blog, and social media blurbs are written and scheduled.
  • A client requests a complimentary discovery call with a Life Coach. By the time the project is complete, they’ve had a discovery call, a complete list of next steps, a plan for the next quarter, and a handful of workbooks and done-for-you documents.

The things about scope creep is that it’s entirely avoidable. When these five missteps are avoided, projects are easier to manage, and your business avoids unexpected and often costly delays. There are the five reasons scope creep usually happens.

  1. No clear stopping point is defined
  2. The client is aggressive and intimidating
  3. The full scope of a project is not clearly defined
  4. The small business owner is afraid of losing income
  5. The small business owner is afraid to disappoint a client

Scope creep is that dreaded thing that happens when a client signs up and pays for one project, but slowly creeps into add-ons that increase your workload without increasing your pay. Small business owners simply cannot afford to get lost in scope creep. It’s a dangerous precedent to set. After all, it’s easier to tell a client their project includes A-C from the onset, than to explain why Project One included A-Z, but Project Two only includes A-C. Trust me – avoiding scope creep right from the start is a smart move for you and for the client.

 

 

Helpful Tips For Creating An Effective About Page For Your Small Business

The About Page is one of the most frequently visited pages on most websites. Make sure you get the most out of yours by including a few beneficial features your target market will respond to. Your About Page is vital because potential customers look there first to find out what you’re about and how doing business with you will benefit them.

As a copywriter, I’m always a bit amazed at how many small business owners request an About Page that’s focused solely on them. See, I think it’s almost incorrectly named. Yes, your customers want to know about you, but what they really want to know is what it is about you that makes you the go-to expert for solving their problem – because every small business in existence solves a problem for its ideal client. With that in mind, here’s what you need to include in your About (The Customer) Page

  • DO use the first paragraph of your About Page to tell your clients and potential clients the features and benefits your business offers them. Be sure to use “you”, rather than “I” language. Making your ideal client feel important right from the start is just, plain smart.
  • DO tell your customers why you’re uniquely qualified to do what you do. Establish your expertise and lay out your credentials in the second paragraph. Avoid using industry jargon and big words. Instead, opt for everyday language that lets your audience feel a connection with you – because people do business with people they know, like, and trust.
  • DO add an opt-in form right on your About Page. Make sure it has an attention-grabbing headline and a compelling call to action that helps you build a profitable email list. An email newsletter is a valuable tool for engaging with your people on a regular basis.
  • DO break up the text on your About Page with photos and graphic images that enhance your story. That can include products photos, an awesome headshot, pictures of you working behind the scenes, or photos of events you’ve hosted or attended.
  • DO include smart hyperlinks on your About Page. Your clients should be able to link right to purchase URLs, to your social media profiles, and to your contact page.

Remember, your About (The Customer) Page introduces your business to potential customers, reassures existing customers, and tells them quickly and precisely how you can help them. Optimizing your About Page for your ideal clients builds rapport, instills trust, establishes your expertise, and increases your bottom line.

 

7 Outrageous Writing Tips For Bloggers & Small Business Owners

1.   Write Every Day. Journal, blog, newsletter, freelance. Just do something that forces you to keep your writing chops sharp and hone your craft.

2.   Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. In between these proofreading, sessions make sure you walk away from your writing. This allows you to come back at it with a fresh eye.

3.   Keep A Dictionary and Thesaurus At Hand. They may seem like old-fashioned writing tools, but they can be found in online versions quite readily.

4.   Join A Writer’s Group. Groups of like-minded individuals with a shared passion for writing can offer camaraderie, helpful critiques, and invaluable input.

5.   Practice With Writing Prompts. These can be found all over the Internet and provide a great way to practice writing outside your typical genre.

6.   Protect Your Writing Time. Turn off social media, close your office door against distractions and temporarily turn off the phone.

7.   Read. Writers learn to write not just by writing, but by reading other writers.

What’s your favorite writing tip? Share it in the comments. I’d love to know what spurs you to write, helps you polish your writing or serves as your muse.

Happy Blogging!!

7 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before You Write Your Next Blog Post

1.   What did my readers love about my last blog post?

2.   Can this post become an extension of my previous post?

3.   Can this blog help me turn my previous post into a series?

4.   What were my best social media outlets for my previous blog post?

 

5.   Is this blog post an original and not just a reworded version of the previous post?

Asking these seven questions can help ensure that your second (or next) blog post compliments your first. Your next blog doesn’t have to be the beginning of a series, but your brand and voice should start to take shape in the eyes of your reader. If you’re working on your second (or next) blog, drop a link to your first blog in the comments section.

Happy Blogging!!