Have you ever thought: I really want to spend tonight reading Mike’s back library but I just don’t know where to start?

Phil Rozek thought you might and wanted to make your job easier. He pored through the 2400 articles I have written since day one, drove them through the absolute best local algo (Miriam Ellis, David Mihm, Dave Oremland, Andrew Shotland, Nyagoslav Zhekov & Phil himself) to come up with a list of The Best of Blumenthal (so far).
jan-and-dean
So if you really ever did think that you actually did want to spend some time perusing my back library this is probably the place to start….. a list of articles curated by some of the best in the local search. And people that I am lucky to have met along the way and become friends with.

Now me? I am off to listen to the greatest hits of Jan & Dean.

By Andy Bailey

Most entrepreneurs are Type A personalities. They want things done now and they want them done right. And the only person in the company who does things this perfect way? The entrepreneur himself, of course. Thus, long hours are put in at the office with little reprieve from the stress of running your own venture.

While this style of (micro) management may help you feel in control, it will inevitably cause your business to plateau and maybe even crumble. No one can do it alone.

“Let it go,” let it go my friend. It is time to learn the joy of delegation and how working smarter, not harder, can help your company thrive.

  1. Work on your business, not in it. Micromanaging monopolizes time that could be spent working on your business rather than simply working in your business. When you are focused on the day-to-day operations of your company, you become reactive rather than proactive and will never move your business forward. As the saying goes, when you are busy fighting alligators, you forget that your purpose was to drain the swamp.
  2. Hire smart, direct well. Learning to delegate starts with hiring a great team to move the company forward. Then, it’s all about the way you lead them. Provide thorough training and direction so that your team has a baseline for understanding how your business functions. Discover together SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. This gives your delegated tasks a greater chance of getting accomplished.
  3. Back off your employees. When you operate as a helicopter boss, your employees can feel stifled and stressed. Take a step back from your team and let them know that you trust their work. Your employees will appreciate the gesture and feel more invested in the growth of the company.
  4. Improve your employees and they will improve your company. You must empower your team to step up in the company or you will never see employees take initiative with their work. Encourage leadership skills and foster new ideas by delegating work to the up-and-comers in the company — who knows, they may even do it better than you.

Andy Bailey built and sold a multimillion-dollar business and is now lead entrepreneur coach with business coaching firm, Petra, and president of Nashville’s EO chapter. Reach him at [email protected].

The post Get Out of Your Own Way So Your Business Can Grow appeared first on Small Biz Daily.

Custom categories, long missing from Google Maps, had retained their presence in MapMaker.  That distinction has now ended. MapMaker has announced the end of custom categories and that MapMaker would now use the standard 2500+ categories that have been available to My Business and Maps.

Hello Mappers,

Firstly, a BIG thanks for your continued support to improve Google Maps!

Google Map Maker offers you a detailed menu to add the most relevant category by providing a wide range of 2500+ categories to choose from. While we continue to expand this list, we’ve removed the ability to manually type-in the category of your choice.

Henceforth, any existing free-form categories will only be visible to the mapper who originally created them.

Once again, your understanding and patience is tremendously appreciated.

Thanks, and Happy Mapping!

Sneha

 

Googler Jade has announced in the forums that they are now going to allow instant verification via webmaster tools for many businesses.

From the announcement:

Good news — starting today, if you’re verifying a page for your business, you may be instantly verified on Google My Business if you’ve already verified your business’s website with Google Webmaster Tools. The verification will happen automatically, if applicable, when you attempt to verify a page for your business.

If you’d like to try instant verification, please make sure you’re signed in to Google My Business with the same account you used to verify your site with Webmaster Tools

Not all businesses with websites verified using Google Webmaster Tools will have instant verification, since not all business categories are eligible. If that’s the case, please use one of our other methods of verification (https://support.google.com/business/answer/2911778).

From the My Business Help page on verification:

 Instant verification

You may be instantly verified to manage your business if you’ve already verified your business’s website with Google Webmaster Tools.

Make sure you’re signed in to Google My Business with the same account you used to verify your site with Webmaster Tools. Note that some business categories may not be eligible for instant verification.

If your business falls into one of the categories that doesn’t allow webmaster tools verification, it will still be necessary to use the other offered choices of postcard and phone when it is available.

talking on the phoneWant to become a thought leader without laboring to turn your ideas into polished words? Though every business owner hears numerous times that guest blogging is good for business, writing isn’t for everyone. Writing is hard. It takes time. And entrepreneurs are always short of time. What’s more, ghost writing often comes across for what it is – a transparent gimmick. Still, no excuse to give up on blogging.

 

phoneBlogger takes an ingenious approach to creating original content and tapping into its marketing potential. Rather than provide ghost-written filler, phoneBlogger turns a phone interview into a ready-for-publication article. The ideas and words belong to the business owner, so they’re authentic and more personal. At the same time, they’ve been coaxed into presentable form by professional wordsmiths – fit to distribute throughout contact networks and media channels.

 

The service was developed to help legal professionals – overly dependent on word-of-mouth referrals to grow business – use the Internet to attract more clients. Started as a favor to existing clients, phoneBlogger spun off into its own profitable business. Co-founder Vik Rajan tells us about building phoneBlogger and why doing without VC funding is the only way to go:

 

What’s your company about? What do you do? Who are your customers?

Partners of boutique law firms & CPA firms grow their clientele through word-of-mouth referrals but are often too busy to stay top-of-mind with their past clients, colleagues, and other attorneys (who are their best referral relationships). Out of sight, out of mind. So we interview these partners (our clients) over the phone and turn their words into polished blog articles (reflecting their personalities and expertise). With their approval, we then promote our clients’ blog posts via LinkedIn, Google+, etc. and email excerpts as an email newsletter from our client’s email address to their contacts. Thus, we use the Internet to boost their word-of-mouth referrals.

 

 

landing

 

 

What’s the greatest thing about your company/website? Why is it better than the competition?

Our ghost-blogging truly reflects our client’s voice, because we begin by audio recording our client’s words. Our clients can then tweak and approve their articles. We believe it’s our client’s personal brand and personality that must truly be conveyed, not just accurate expertise. This is why phoneBlogging is better than generic, pre-written, canned content or the “go research & write” processes of typical ghost-blogging methods.

 

What time do you usually start work each day? How many hours a day do you usually work?

I’m emailing by 6:30am. I stop doing official work email around 7pm. But I’m highly connected and read/write at odds hours… it’s 2:42am right now (had just slept for 3 hrs).

 

When’s the last time you went on vacation and where did you go?

My wife and I do a lot of traveling to disconnect. January 2014: safari in Kenya and Tanzania, then Zanzibar beach. Next Friday & Saturday, going inside the Capitol and the White House. May: Seville (Spain).

 

What’s the very first thing you do at work every day?

Check, delete, prioritize and answer emails. Rinse. Repeat.

 

 

When do your best ideas come to you?

After a good meeting or presentation.

 

How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?

My partner, Mark. Our first phoneBlogger (still with us after our humble beginning 3 years ago) is a friend of a client. The next 2 are close college friends of mine. We now contract with 7 other freelance phoneBloggers, who work ~20 hrs/week.

 

A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually go after yours?

We first started doing this as a favor to clients. They started getting referrals, new clients, and speaking invitations that we knew were inevitable. A few recommended this idea to others. That’s when I needed to come up with a name and pretend that it was an actual business. And so, we started charging!

 

What’s your office environment like? Do you listen to music? Watch movies? Play video games?

My home office overlooks Fifth Ave with views of the Empire State Building, Central Park, Morningside Heights, Riverside Church & Marcus Garvey Park. I love working from and living in East Harlem. My business partner lives and works on Long Island. He has an office to escape the “Honey-do” list but prefers his home office, as the rest of us do.

 

How do you picture your company in 5 years?

“You still write your firm’s blog? We’re all phoneBlogging it nowadays! way more productive.” We’ll have over 1000 subscription clients and will be capitalizing on planned aspects of our business model.

 

Who or what inspires YOU? Role models? Quotes? Running? Video games? Snack food?

Richard Branson. Russell Simmons. Robert Kiyosaki. Primal Branding (book). The occasional TED Talk or Pando interview. And while not McConaughey per se, I relate to being inspired by my future self and business (aka, vision).

 

How’d you fund this venture?

Self-funding. We’re profitable. Most businesses don’t need VC. They just need to sell to a real customer, sell some more, price well, and reduce costs (a credit card helps). Oh, and did I mention sell?

 

Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?

Get away from the computer and discuss the idea with potential customers. They’ll give you all the marketing copy you need.

 

What other advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get started?

Do people need and want the benefit (of your product/service)? At what price, cost, ROI to them?

 

Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur? If not, what’ll make you feel successful?

I’m getting there. My company will inevitably be a multi-million dollar business (revenue and then profit). It doesn’t need me on a day-to-day basis now. When I replicate myself in the Sales & Marketing process and launch some other business (or aspect of phoneBlogger.net), I’ll then know I created a sustainable entity. That’s when my brainchild has all grown up; I’ll then be a successful entrepreneur.

 

Number 1 country you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t yet? (And why that country?)

Norway: fjords. And they’ve got tech stuff too.

 

Three people (other than you) we should follow on Twitter and why?

  1. One Thing Well, @onethingwell – because they practice what they preach
  2. Bill Maher, @billmaher – because he tries to practice what he preaches
  3. Harvard Biz Review, @harvardbiz – because we all want to sound smart

 

Please share some specific numbers (funding, revenue, visitors) that highlight your growth.

We have over 70 clients who pay us around $580/mo on average.

 

To have a phoneblogger turn your words into business magnets, visit phoneblogger.net. Learn more about the company and Vik on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Photo & Video Credits

phoneBlogger | Scott Raymond

The post Talk Is Cheap, Which Makes It A Great Tool For Growing Business appeared first on KillerStartups.