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7 Tools To Help You Build And Automate Your Online Business

7 Tools To Help You Build And Automate Your Online Business

Online businesses can be ideal for passive income, once you get them up and running. One of the keys to making your online business successful is to make sure that as many details as possible run on their own; you don’t need to touch them every day. You can do this through delegation, if you’re a large enough organization, but many online businesses are made as lean as possible.

These seven tools will help you manage your online business while keeping your time focused on the important parts of managing your company.

Make marketing campaigns happen on time

When you’re setting up a marketing campaigns, we often suggest that you create an editorial calendar to make sure you’re not repeating yourself, and you’re covering topics in a timely fashion. Hootsuite both lets you schedule your posts for the key moment in the future to make a maximum impact, and lets you track the effect of your posts across your networks.

You can add many of the most popular networks to your dashboard, allowing you to spread your posts quickly and easily without logging in and out of everything. You may also be able to avoid getting distracted by last night’s live tweeting of your favorite show.

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Send high-quality email newsletters with minimum workload

One key in the modern era of blogs and social media is to make sure that you have access to as much of your contact list as possible. Facebook has repeatedly shown its willingness to change algorithms to make it more difficult for businesses to reach their followers. Enter Mailchimp, a great newsletter tool that allows you to access your mailing list at any time.

You can design graphic newsletters, more simple text based ones, or something in between, and when the next big social network arrives, you can easily invite your followers to join you there as well!

Events planning and registration

If your company organizes events for customers or signs people up for online seminars or classes, keeping events running smoothly can be a trial. Events Planner helps. Integrating seamlessly into your WordPress design, the plug-in lets you manage an unlimited number of events.

You can offer both individual and group registrations, see a list of attendees, send email reminders and offer discounts. You can set up your registration forms in any way you need to. You can accept a wide variety of payment types and create discounts as necessary. Plan your training and then let Events Planner collect fees and remind everyone to attend on time.

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Distribute document templates easily and seamlessly

For many businesses, branding of documents is an important element of presenting a consistent message to the world outside your company. Businesses often struggle when a template is updated, finding that people have old copies saved on their computers, or that someone can’t access the right network folder.

With Templafy, you upload a document template once, and everyone in your organization seamlessly accesses it. Problems solved. Anywhere your employees can access the Internet, they have the templates they need to do their work.

Eliminate in-office email with a team messaging app

How much time do you lose in a day to inter-office mail? If you need to quickly communicate with coworkers, a team messaging app can be much more efficient. Slack lets businesses organize their conversations around channels, making them easy to follow. Sorting through information at a later date is easier. Private channels can be created for more sensitive topics, and you can even private message someone for a quick one-on-one conversation. You can also easily share files through this platform.

Private channels can be created for more sensitive topics and you can even private message someone for a quick one-on-one conversation. You can also easily share files through this platform.

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Checking your email can easily become a frustrating time-suck, while using team-messaging keeps users more on task and focused on the moment.

Innovative printed products to offer as freebies

Many companies focus on giving away items at trade shows, prizes online, or with orders of a certain size. It can be difficult to know what types of freebies will give you the biggest boost for your buck, but if you can dream it, odds are The Printful can make it. From posters to leggings, their options are incredible. And if you want to make your company logo into a sideline business instead of a freebie, the site can even help you set up an online shop where you can sell your designs. You can also create mockups on the site which you can then use for your own marketing.

And if you want to make your company logo into a sideline business instead of a freebie, the site can even help you set up an online shop where you can sell your designs. You can also create mockups on the site which you can then use for your own marketing.

Generate leads and improve sales options

For many businesses, Salesforce is considered one of the most involved ways of automatic different aspects of following up on sales leads, tracking the sales funnel and determining what’s working and what isn’t. As one of the most expansive customer relationship management (CRM) programs available, Salesforce is accessed entirely through the Internet.

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This lets employees do their work anywhere, they have an Internet connection, inside or outside of the office. It is most well-known for its sales modules, allowing users to track opportunities and manage contacts from all over, but there are also available modules for marketing, analytics and service.

The software is also so well-known now that some companies can custom design modules to work with the Salesforce CRM, allowing for ultimate customization. Businesses pay based on the number of users accessing the app and the program is generally agreed to scale well with business size.

Business owners have a lot on their plate. They need to manage the overall business, create marketing strategies, delegate tasks and make sure everything runs smoothly.

Especially if a business is just getting off the ground, CEOs tend to wear many different hats. By automating whatever they can, they free up their time to focus on the really crucial business tasks, instead of posting social media updates and making sure that all the computers in the office have up to date forms, and of course, these are just a few of the available tools to help your business move to the next level.

What tools have you used for your business to improve the company environment and push things into a higher gear?

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Margarita Hakobyan

MBA from the University of Utah

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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