LightArrow Redefines Freemium Productivity Apps with its New LightArrow Organizer for Mac and iOS

Solopreneurs and Freelancers – Is Your New Year’s Resolution to Get Organized and Productive?

8 Tips to Take Advantage of Small Business Saturday 2015

smallbizsat

If you’re a small business owner and you want to boost your profits over the holiday season, consider taking advantage of Small Business Saturday. As you probably know, small businesses support the local economy in many ways, such as job creation and giving back to the community. American Express has been driving the Small Business Saturday movement since 2010 because they understand the importance of small business success.

American Express supports restaurants, retail establishments and other small businesses. Small Business Saturday is meant to help these businesses by making consumers aware of the small businesses in their local communities. It is held every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year, it’s Saturday, November 28.

For more information about Small Business Saturday:

What’s fantastic about Small Business Saturday is American Express includes free marketing materials and appearance on the Shop Small Map (if you accept American Express) to help you promote your small business. Many of the resources are free and it’s not necessary to be an American Express customer. In fact, American Express will showcase you on the ShopSmall.com home page and you can apply to get your business featured.

Keep in mind that the deadlines are reported as TODAY, November 16 for a Shop Small Listing and to apply for the advertising program.

If you want to learn more ways to take advantage of Small Business Saturday, keep reading.

1. Build an Event or Promotion

Do you want to get more people in the door? Consider creating an event or promotion that you can include when you promote your business.

Try some of these ideas:

• Special hours with discounts for early shoppers
• Free hors d’oeuvres, doughnuts or coffee
• Free exercise or yoga classes at a gym or yoga studio
• Live music
• Balloon animals or other events for the kids
• Contests for free or discounted merchandise
• Educational sessions
• Pet adoptions through a local shelter at a pet food retailer
• Social media contests with a hashtag that highlights your merchandise
• Distributions of branded merchandise, such as mugs, t-shirts or pens
• Offer product samples

2. Create a Video That Tells a Compelling Story

Creating a video that showcases your goods or services can go a long way towards promoting your local business for Small Business Saturday. Go even further and tell your audience about your connection to the local community and how this connection relates to Small Business Saturday. Your goal is to engage customers and prospects.

Upload your video to YouTube and promote it through with the Google Adwords system. Learn more about video campaigns in the following video:

3. Create an Email Marketing Campaign

Once you’ve decided on a promotion, make sure your loyal customers and prospects know about it. Assuming you’ve created an email marketing list, promote your events and offers with the subscribers of your newsletter or create a special campaign to build some buzz before your event. Include stories of how your business supports your local community. Consider adding an RSVP if you want to know of how many of your customers and prospects might attend your event. This helps you avoid any surprises that you might encounter.

If you haven’t already created a mailing list, Small Business Saturday is a great day to get one started. Train your staff to request that customers sign up for the mailing list in exchange for coupons or other discounts.

4. Create Facebook Local Awareness Ads

With Facebook, you can create local awareness ads for your business. Essentially, these ads are only shown to people who are in or near the neighborhood of your small business. You can learn more about them at: https://www.facebook.com/business/news/facebook-local-awareness.

5. Create Grassroots Awareness

Connect with other local businesses and get involved with your city’s Chamber of Commerce. Hand out flyers about your upcoming promotion to your current customers, prospects and other businesses nearby. Hang information at your local coffee shops, libraries, recreational centers and grocery stores. Advertise in local newspapers, school newspapers and at charity events.

If you use LifeTopix for contact management and customer relationship management, contact the clients and prospects that you’ve set up in contact groups and notify them of your special Small Business Saturday promotions.

6. Launch Loyalty Programs

One of the ultimate goals of small business is to build loyal customers who will promote your products. If you haven’t already started a loyalty program, Small Business Saturday is a great day to get started.

One of the simplest ways to create a loyalty program is through punch cards. Offering discounts for those who are frequent buyers, whether it’s coffee, pet food, vitamins or other goods and services, keeps customers coming back. If you don’t want to clutter your customer’s wallets with loyalty and punch cards, consider offering loyalty programs through a popular app, such as Perka.

7. Connect Through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Your Blog

Getting the word out about your Small Business Saturday promotions through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and your blog are vital for success.

Create a blog post that talks about your events and promotions. Ensure you embed the video discussed earlier. On Twitter, take advantage of the #SmallBizSat and #shopsmall hashtags and schedule tweets to create buzz about your promotions. Combine these with your own special hashtag for your promotion to build momentum. Or you can go the extra mile by utilizing zip code targeting to reach your local audience. On Facebook, get the word out about your event or promotion on your Facebook page by creating an event or offer.

Encourage those who visit your local visit to post pictures with your merchandise in order win free or discounted merchandise with your special hashtag, #SmallBizSet and #shopsmall hashtags.

8. Run Pay-Per-Click Ads via Google Adwords

Google Adwords is a great platform for local Pay-Per-Click advertising. Using Adwords, you can set a budget and only pay when consumers click or tap your ads. For Small Business Saturday, drive consumers to a web landing page that supports your Small Business Saturday promotion or offer, which is optimized with keywords you select for Small Business Saturday, but you can also direct them to your website if you wish.

What’s great about Google Adwords for small local businesses is you can target your ads in regions, cities or by a designated distance from your business. If you need help with Adwords, contact a Google Certified Agency or take an online course.

Photo credit: “Pearl Street Mall” by F Delventhal, used under  CC BY / modified from original

Multitasking the Sane Way – 10 Tips to be a More Productive Entrepreneur

Multitasking the Sane Way

Whether you’re a full-time entrepreneur or you’re starting a new business on the side, you typically find yourself filling multiple roles and juggling a variety of tasks. On Monday, you’re the CFO; on Tuesday, you’re the CMO; and on Wednesday, you’re the VP of Engineering. Does this sound familiar?

In spite of the many research studies that indicate multitasking worsens most people’s ability to get things done, you still find that it’s a necessity in your busy line of work.

Become a “Super Task Manager”

Have you heard the term “Supertaskers?” According to research published by Jason M. Watson and David L. Strayer from the University of Utah, only 2.5% of the population are effective multitaskers. Performance of tasks performed simultaneously is degraded for the majority of people.

I know many of the entrepreneurs who are reading this are thinking – yep, I’m a supertasker! If you think so, here’s a test from David Strayer that enables you to confirm your theory.

Multitasking is inevitable at times, so how do you survive in our multithreaded world? For the majority of the population, we recommend you become a “Super Task Manager,” rather than a multi-tasker. This doesn’t require genius-level, supertasker brainpower, just a bit of discipline.

Do you want to become a “Super Task Manager?” Follow the tips and tricks we’ve outlined for you today and you’ll be on the road to success.

1. Do a Daily Brain Dump

I don’t care if you won last week’s Jeopardy match; I still believe when it comes to remembering things to do, your memory is terrible. Not to mention, when you keep your to-dos in your brain, it creates stress and doesn’t leave room for creative thoughts.

Every day, when you start your workday, record all your tasks into a to-do list; this is your brain dump. Consider this the birth of your important assessment of daily tasks. This begins the process of deciding what’s most important for moving your business to the next level.

LifeTopixAgenda

LifeTopix App

2. Grasp the Needle-Movers

Your business has goals – whether you want to increase profits, grow sales, widen awareness or increase customer satisfaction. Decide which of your tasks will move the needle toward those goals.

80% of what’s on your list is probably busywork and 20% of those tasks are needle-movers. Think about your long-term goals and outcomes and get these needle-moving tasks to the top of your priority list.

3. Be an Obsessive Compulsive Scheduler

When you schedule everything you need to do, you know exactly how many tasks, meetings, etc. you can fit into your daily schedule. In fact, research says that mental fatigue is reduced by better control of work scheduling.

When I say schedule everything – I mean EVERYTHING – not just events. Include your to-dos in your schedule; add meetings to your calendar; add lunch to your schedule; even add social media time to your calendar. Do you want to watch “Dancing with the Stars” or “Monday Night Football?” Then schedule it, as well.

What’s the best way to schedule everything? The LifeTopix app is a great app for recording and scheduling a variety of different types of things, while on the go. Many LifeTopix customers are busy freelancers, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs and real estate professionals.

4. Learn to Let Go

Entrepreneurs typically like to take control of everything in their business, but sometimes they need to let go. Now that you’ve assessed and prioritized your tasks, you have a fantastic idea of what can be delegated.

Cloning yourself is not realistic, so if you have a team of employees, take the time to train them to complete tasks that are not highly strategic to your business or hire people who are up to the task. If you’re a solopreneur, outsource business tasks or items in your personal life to make more time for your business.

5. Hack Distractions and Interruptions

The problem with distractions and interruptions is you lose your momentum. Some small business owners and entrepreneurs manage distractions by blocking out their time to focus. However, distractions indicate your business is healthy and thriving because you’re supporting various employees, prospects and customers. Being accessible to answer questions and provide support keeps the business moving along at a healthy pace.

One simple hack to effectively manage these distractions is to record your thoughts (whether through audio or writing) at exactly the point when you left off each time you’re interrupted. This way, you’re not taxing your brain by trying to remember where you left off; and then you can easily switch back to the task at hand.

TooManyTabs

Too Many Tabs

6. Get Online-Savvy

Using the Internet for research and everyday tasks is a necessity for freelancers, business owners, solopreneurs and entrepreneurs. But many don’t realize there are helpful tools, such as browser extensions and add-ons, to manage open pages and prevent online distractions.

Entrepreneurs typically have numerous tabs open on their browser. “Too Many Tabs” on Chrome and Firefox is a helpful extension/add-on that arranges your tabs in an easy-to-read format and also allows you to suspend tabs to release memory, which improves browser performance.

Another helpful tool to manage online distractions from advertisers is AdBlock, which allows you to surf the web without seeing the ads. And now, with iOS 9, developers have provided a variety of ad blocking apps to work with Safari on your iPhone or iPad, which are available at the Apple App Store.

7. Take Advantage of Background Tasking

One of the great advantages of modern computing is the ability to run processes in the background. You can run reports, compile code, run virus checkers, and more while you do other important work. By now, you understand what can run in the background and what cannot.

Like computers, we, as humans, can also run processes in the background. We quickly understand what type of tasks we can do simultaneously and when we must focus on a more complex single task.

Smart multitaskers make use of waiting time, such as doctor’s appointments, public transportation rides, long lines and while commuting (safe tasks only, such as Podcasts!). They also know which types of tasks can run in the background while they’re completing important projects, such as running a sales report while making cold calls.

8. Utilize “Thinking Time” in the Background

Everybody needs leisure time, and sometimes this time can be used strategically. When you’re playing golf, running, hiking, biking or knitting, take this time to think deeply about your business.

For example, imagine you’ve been invited to the opera, but you secretly have a distaste for opera music. You can use this time to think intensely about your business. Sometimes, stepping away and putting yourself deep into thought is a great way to find a new perspective, set goals and to unleash your creativity.

9. Harness Your Willpower

Have you ever noticed that your willpower is stronger during particular times of the day? Typically, your willpower is strongest in the morning, and you really propel forward when deadlines are quickly approaching. Take advantage of those times to get things done.

Moreover, much of willpower is simply about forming desired habits. According to research from the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes approximately 66 days to develop a new habit – and then it becomes automatic.

For example, if you have a habit of watching YouTube videos first thing in the morning as a form of procrastination; instead, focus on making a to-do list for at least 66 days in a row. Once this habit is solidified, you’ll never think about those silly cat videos again.

10. Resurrect Good Meetings

Being a “Super Task Manager” requires that you make the most of meetings. How often have you attended a meeting where participants are secretly responding to email, tweeting or completing work? They’re attempting to effectively multitask, but ultimately they’re performing two tasks at the same time very badly. This is a sign that the wrong participants are in attendance or the meeting is unnecessary.

Providing a good agenda is the best way to conduct useful meetings. Currently, a popular agenda format called TTOG is being used to improve the state of meetings. TTOG stands for Topic, Time, Owner and Goal. Essentially, it ensures that the subject, time spent, task owners and goals are clear to the participants. Once these guidelines are established, you and the team can move onto your important tasks.

Your Turn

With these simple hacks, I believe you’re on your way to being the “Super Task Manager” you wish to be. Good luck, and please share your multitasking and time management tips and thoughts.

Successful Students Know These 8 Things About the LifeTopix App

Student Using LifeTopix

With the new school year quickly approaching, students and teachers are gearing up with the best tools and apps to manage and organize their busy education schedules. Lucky for them, LifeTopix is available to manage school and life in one place. This amazing app unifies contacts, calendars, projects, documents and other related information in one app, which allows students to focus on what matters – their education.

LifeTopix is based on 12 topics, which include: Tasks + Projects, Shopping + Gifts, Events + Appointments, Travel + Places, People + Services, Health + Goals, Finances, Home + Assets, Education, Notes + Files, Lists, Media and Bookmarks + Lockers.

How Do Successful Students Use LifeTopix?

Keep reading to learn how successful and organized students use LifeTopix to get ahead.

1. Organize Education Checklists

When starting a new school year, there’s usually a ton of to-dos – forms, shopping, making calls and arranging finances are just to name a few.

With LifeTopix’s built-in checklists (shown below), keeping track of these details is stress-free. And what’s great about LifeTopix’s checklists is students can quickly email them to parents to let them know their status on getting things done.

LifeTopix Back-to-School Checklist

LifeTopix Back-to-School Checklist

2. Manage Class Schedules

Keeping track of classes is always a hassle, especially when you’re a new freshman at a university or high school. Getting a handle on schedules is imperative for success. Luckily, with LifeTopix’s ability to create custom schedules, as shown below, it’s easy to create class schedules. For example, repeating classes that start on different days of the week, such as Monday, Wednesday and Friday can easily be recorded — which is not possible in many calendar apps.

LifeTopix Custom Scheduler

LifeTopix Custom Scheduler

LifeTopix Student Schedule

LifeTopix Student Schedule

3. Plan Back-to-School Shopping

Students and parents are turning to smartphone apps to help them manage their back-to-school shopping. Whether they’re shopping online or at the physical store, apps can help students, teachers and parents make a list of things you need to buy.

With LifeTopix, students can create lists by either creating a shopping list in the Shopping topic, as shown below, or they can create a LifeTopix checklist. With a LifeTopix shopping list, it’s easy to add prices and deadlines to assist with budgeting.

LifeTopix Back-to-School Shopping List

LifeTopix Back-to-School Shopping List

4. Organize Class Subjects

LifeTopix includes built-in features for students or anyone else who is furthering their education. One of these useful features is “Subjects” in the Education topic of LifeTopix.

With LifeTopix’s Subjects, students can keep track of Assignments and attach supporting information, such as tasks, appointments, reminders, notes, checklists, files, bookmarks, expenses, services, audio, photos, videos and drawings. Essentially, students can add bookmarks to Spanish to English translation sites and their class’s webpage; add recorded audio of class lectures (if allowed); add class notes; include any class expenses; etc. All of this is neatly organized into one place, as shown below.

Organizing Class Subjects in LifeTopix

Organizing Class Subjects in LifeTopix

5. Take Class Notes

LifeTopix includes built-in note taking and students can sync class notes with Evernote. However students choose to keep track of notes, it’s simple with LifeTopix. Moreover, students can easily organize and locate notes by using categories, notebooks, context tags, and date tags in LifeTopix. Additionally, they can hand write, record audio and take video within LifeTopix notes, which makes the note-taking process even easier.

The screenshot below shows an example of a LifeTopix note before and after it’s synced with Evernote.

LifeTopix Class Notes

LifeTopix Class Notes

Evernote Note Synced with LifeTopix

Evernote Note Synced with LifeTopix

6. Stay On Top of Grades with Goals

Successful students and business people alike know that setting goals gives them motivation. If you want to make the most of your life, setting goals is essential for achieving your dreams.

LifeTopix includes a topic for focusing on health and goals, which is perfect for students. Everyone understands it’s important to make good grades. The goal recorded in the LifeTopix app below is set up to focus on getting an A in Spanish. With this goal, students can log their grades to get an idea of where they are daily, weekly, monthly or for the entire semester. And what’s great is they can view the grades in a graphical format (shown below). This is a great motivator to keep students on track in their studies.

Education Goal Recorded in LifeTopix

Education Goal Recorded in LifeTopix

Logging of Goal Metrics in LifeTopix

Logging of Goal Metrics in LifeTopix

7. See School Agendas at a Glance

Every type of item that’s added in LifeTopix is picked up by the daily agenda and calendar views; however, students can filter these items as they wish as shown below. Keep in mind that the LifeTopix calendar works with the calendars that the iOS device supports, so students can choose which of these items sync back and forth from their favorite calendars (Google, Yahoo, etc.). The flexibility is fantastic.

LifeTopix Education Agenda

LifeTopix Education Agenda

LifeTopix Calendar Filter

LifeTopix Calendar Filter

8. Organize Education Items By Context Tags

Everyone has lots of things to do in work, school and life – and sometimes it’s helpful to see the commitments that are associated with each part of life.

This is one of the reasons that LifeTopix includes context tags. For example, most of the items mentioned in this article were tagged with the context tag @school. This way, students can view anything related to this tag in one single list, as shown below. They might also use tags such as @work, @social, etc. to organize or divide those items into one view.

Organize with LifeTopix Context Tags

Organize with LifeTopix Context Tags

Bear in mind that these are just of the few of the many ways that students use LifeTopix to help them achieve success in school. Above and beyond the features listed here, other features include managing finances, logging fitness items, keeping track of social events, managing documents, tracking passwords, recording travel and more.

Are you ready to get organized? Find LifeTopix at the Apple App Store by clicking the link below.

app-store-download

GTD Basics – Methods for Reflecting and Weekly Reviews in LifeTopix

LifeTopix is an all-in-one productivity app for iPad and iPhone. We have many customers who follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done® (GTD) method and use LifeTopix to stay organized and productive. Many of these customers ask about the most efficient ways to use LifeTopix for GTD® and our best practices.

GTD, LifeTopix, Reflecting and Weekly Reviews

David Allen rewrote the “Getting Things Done” book for 2015 and beyond, which was originally published in 2001. In addition, LifeTopix has evolved since we first published the popular post, “Best Practices for Getting Things Done – Weekly Review” in 2013. We strive to keep our customers up-to-date and hope you enjoy the new information we’re providing for you today.

We previously published three posts described below. We encourage you to read those posts before diving into this one:

Master Reflecting and Weekly Reviews

In Allen’s book, “Getting Things Done,” he dedicates a chapter to “Reflecting”. In this chapter, he stresses that you must review your system on a regular basis to ensure it is current and functional. He describes what to look at and when, and he communicates the power of the “Weekly Review.” The video below explains, in detail, how you would use LifeTopix to perform the actions he describes in this chapter of “Getting Things Done.”

Watch the Video

More to Come

In the next few weeks, we’ll be posting more videos and tips to assist you with utilizing LifeTopix for GTD. Please subscribe to the Life Blog to stay up-to-date.

GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. LightArrow Apps are not affiliated with or endorsed by the David Allen Company.

8 Tips and Resources to Help Small Businesses Thrive

Small-Business-Thrive

Starting and owning a small business can be demanding. At LightArrow, we have first-hand knowledge of the challenges that entrepreneurs, founders and startups face. Today, we’re sharing some of the top 8 problems that small businesses face and tips for overcoming these challenges.

1. Grow On a Shoestring Budget

No matter what type of business you’re in, marketing is essential to grow your business. Plus, having a website and a social media presence is crucial for small business success. A website is the core of your marketing efforts and social media builds credibility, generates leads and improves your website’s rankings.

Many startups and small businesses are on a shoestring budget, but this shouldn’t stop them from effectively marketing their products and services through a website. Building a website without a web developer on staff may seem daunting to non-technical entrepreneurs, but it can be easier than you think.

To get started with a website, research content management systems such as WordPress to find one that’s appropriate for your skill level. Take advantage of resources such as Lynda.com to learn how to properly set up a website. Research effective information architecture techniques to ensure you’re delivering material in a way that’s easy to consume.

Once your website is built, add new content to it regularly through a blog or forum that’s suitable for your audience. Drive traffic to your website through Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Social Media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Quora and LinkedIn.

Investing time and energy into social media is crucial, but many new business owners believe that it isn’t necessary for success. However, social media is vital for building brand and awareness. And in fact, according to Hubspot, 71% of people are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals.

2. Improve Your Working Capital

In order for a business to thrive, it needs working capital and proper money management is among one of the top qualities of successful businesses. It’s important to calculate your working capital needs by finding the difference between current assets and liabilities.

In some cases, you might find your sales are not what you expected and working capital might be an issue in order to keep your business running. Or, your business is able to use cash on hand to fund operations, but it needs more cash to invest in advertising, product development, software, inventory or other resources in order to grow. If working capital is an issue, consider using an online provider of business loans, such as Kabbage to grow your business. They offer loans ranging from $2,000 to $100,000 for small businesses.

3. Build Good Customer Relationships

80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers. -Gartner

Never underestimate the power of your satisfied customers. Happy customers are your best salespeople. And, just like in any type of relationship, communication is the key to success. Timely follow-ups after purchases to check customer satisfaction, to offer free content for customer empowerment and to provide rewards through programs can increase customer satisfaction.

However, managing these types of follow-ups can be difficult so many small businesses use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. If you’re a freelancer, real estate agent, single entrepreneur, or if you run a microbusiness, you can utilize LifeTopix to manage your follow-ups with customers. You can learn more at: Successful CRM Recipes for the Small Business Owner.

If you require an automated and cost-effective way to communicate with existing customers, you can utilize an email marketing platform suitable for small businesses, such as MailChimp, Aweber or Constant Contact.

With email marketing software, you can create personalized welcome programs for new customers and nurture programs for potential customers. If you use Ecommerce, you can automate customer retention programs by integrating your email marketing with your Ecommerce platform.

4. Use Time Management Techniques

When you become an entrepreneur or run a small business, you say goodbye to the 40-hour work week. You’re on call 24×7 and good time management is vital for success and it also prevents burnout. Goal setting, planning, prioritization, delegation and focus are time management tactics that are vital for a successful small business.

When setting goals, they should be S.M.A.R.T. For example, they should be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based. Once you’ve decided on your goals, record them and put an action plan into place.

An action plan or follow-through strategy should include projects, tasks and the necessary resources. Define the work that’s required to reach your goals. Break the work down into tasks and assign those tasks to the resources who are available.

Effective entrepreneurs and small business owners have mastered delegation. They understand that some projects and tasks don’t require their supervision. They’ve learned that they can delegate these tasks to others in order to focus on strategic goals, relationship building and priorities.

Finally, focus is very important for entrepreneurs. Customer requests, advice from investors and advisors, employee demands and changing markets are just a few of the distractions that leaders balance every day. It’s important to stay on a clearly defined path and to avoid running off of course. Take advice from lean startups and get laser-focused your priorities and eliminate what’s not essential.

5. Hire the Right People

Hiring the right people for your small business or startup can be challenging. It takes a unique personality and set of skills to thrive in a lean, small business environment.

Consider that the people you hire will be working close together so they need to fit your company culture like a glove. They need to be willing to push up their sleeves and do the work themselves. It’s best to hire people who know how to do the job, not just how to manage the right people. Generally, they should have a wide variety of skills, rather than to be focused on a specific, niche area.

Startup and small business hires need to know what to do and when to do it without being asked. Hire senior employees and team them up with junior personnel.

Most recruiting firms are cost prohibitive for small businesses. Stay lean by taking advantage of your own informal and formal networks, LinkedIn and local job boards to find employees. Attract new employees by offering incentives that larger companies cannot, such as flexible work schedules, work from home days and stock options.

6. Improve Your Online Reputation

Online ratings can make or break a business. How often do you check Yelp before you visit a restaurant, salon, yoga studio or other business? Do you check the rating of an app or other product before you download or purchase it? Consumers regularly use online reviews to check the quality of a business or product before purchasing it.

The best way to avoid negative ratings and reviews is to have open communication with customers and solve their problems before they write negative comments. You should always provide a way for them to easily get in touch with you and subsequently deliver exemplary customer service.

No matter how wonderful your product or service might be, there will always be someone who won’t like it. It’s just the nature of doing business. When a negative review surfaces, it’s important to do everything possible to win that customer over.

Monitoring and responding to reviews is essential to keep ratings up. For example, I left a 4 star review on Yelp for an establishment that provides food and mentioned that the quality of the food had decreased. The manager contacted me directly and asked me specifically about the issue, provided coupons for free food and his note was friendly and kind. After this, I raised my review to 5 stars.

Check review sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Google Reviews, and Yahoo Local reviews regularly. Respond to every review for sites that allow it, including both negative and positive reviews. In addition, you can set up Google Alerts to notify you of any online activity about your business.

7. Compete with Larger Companies

Many small businesses are competing against the big guys, who have enormous marketing budgets, connections with top public relations firms and can hire the best talent. Nonetheless, you can still succeed if you maintain focus. Focus on a specialty that the bigger companies are spread too thin to cover. Devote your time and resources to that niche and grow when the timing is right.

As a small company, focus on your pricing models. It’s possible that you can provide better products and services at a lower price than the larger companies if your company is running lean.

Above all, big companies tend to lose touch with their customers. Be a customer-centric company. Go above and beyond to ensure your customers are satisfied. Like I said before, your customers are your best salespeople; therefore, this strategy will pay off.

8. Optimize the Supply Chain

Recently, I discovered the small clothing company, American Giant who became an overnight success when Slate ran the article, “This Is the Greatest Hoodie Ever Made.”

What’s exciting about American Giant is they have redefined the supply chain by selling their products directly from the warehouse to the consumer, thus, investing in the quality of their clothing and passing the savings to their customers. Essentially, they’re shadowing the same model that software manufacturers have followed for years, which is direct-to-customer. They’ve removed unnecessary steps in the supply chain, which eliminates overhead costs associated with most clothing manufacturers.

The lesson learned? Don’t be afraid of creatively solving problems related to your supply chain. For small businesses to thrive, it’s vital to deliver quality products or services to your customers in a timely way. By identifying, reducing or eliminating non-value added activities in the supply chain; you can optimize profits and gain a competitive advantage.

Your Turn

What are the biggest challenges facing your small company? How have you overcome these problems? Please share your story or ideas in the comments below.

GTD Basics – Methods for Organizing Actions and To Dos in LifeTopix

LifeTopix is an all-in-one productivity app for iPad and iPhone. We have many customers who follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done® (GTD) method and use LifeTopix to stay organized and productive. Many of these customers ask about the most efficient ways to use LifeTopix for GTD® and our best practices.

GTD, LifeTopix and the Organizing Phase

David Allen rewrote the “Getting Things Done” book for 2015 and beyond, which was originally published in 2001. In addition, LifeTopix has evolved since we first published the popular post, “Best Practices for Getting Things Done – Master Organizing” in 2013. We strive to keep our customers up-to-date and hope you enjoy the new information we’re providing for you today.

We previously published two posts described below. We encourage you to read those posts before diving into this one:

Master Organizing

The video below discusses the “Organizing” phase. When you organize actions and reference material, think about how you would sort these items into various areas. In an earlier post, we discussed using LifeTopix to define each collected item as actionable or non-actionable. Once you’ve completed clarifying items, you can begin organizing them (or this may be done simultaneously in LifeTopix).

Watch the Video

More to Come

In the next few weeks, we’ll be posting more videos and tips to assist you with utilizing LifeTopix for GTD. Please subscribe to the Life Blog to stay up-to-date.

Learn about the next phase: 

GTD Basics – Methods for Reflecting and Weekly Reviews in LifeTopix

GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. LightArrow Apps are not affiliated with or endorsed by the David Allen Company.