We use all different tools and tips to help us be more productive, do better work for our clients, work from anywhere and because some of them are just COOL! You will find links to some PDF’s that we have written and also to past blog posts that give you more details about the product, service or idea. A few of the products and services listed below include our affiliate link. We want you to be aware of this and also know that using the links gets you the same exact price as directly from the company’s website. There are no products listed here that we do not use ourselves so if you would like more info give us a call. We hope you will find a lot of useful information and products that you can use too. A Analytics are a must for your website. There are many different types of software you can purchase to monitor and track your analytics but we almost exclusively use Google Analytics, which is free software you can register for with a Google account. Analytics can help you see what is working on your website and what is not. All you need to use Google Analytics is a google account, which is easy and free to set up and your unique code installed on your website. If you need help with accesses or installing your code give us a call. Get more details about studying your analytics. B Blogging is a great tool to give your business a more personal face. We have been blogging since 2009. Both our 19th Hole Blog and our Biz Blog are well read and let our clients and potential clients know that we are real people. We are approachable. And we like to share what we’ve learned or experienced. Blogs can help your website by keeping your content fresh and can also show your customers your authority on certain topics. Blogs can also give your staff a chance to speak and your customers a chance to get to know them. Blogs make a connection between your business and your customers. C Constant Contact is our email marketing tool of choice. It is easy to use and allows for visually appealing templates. The survey tool has become a favorite of ours and allows us to survey client databases easily and often without having to use a separate software program. Constant Contact is a monthly fee service paid in US dollars so does fluctuate with the exchange rate. There is no free option but they offer a free trial and credit with first sign up. If you are just starting out you should also consider Mail Chimp which is free for up to 2,000 contacts. We do use Mail Chimp for some clients but move them to Constant Contact once their databases increases and/or they need more features. Sign up for Constant Contact D Dropbox is a file hosting service that lets you access files from a website or mobile device. We use dropbox to share documents, images and videos with our designer, clients, associates and family. We also use it ourselves when we are working on a document together so that we can both access a file when we need it. We use the dropbox app for iPhone and iPad when we are traveling to quickly access files without having to open a laptop. Basic Dropbox is free for 2GB of space. It is also easy to set up and use. (Mom even uses it so we can easily share photos and videos.) You can get more free space by referring friends. There is also a paid Dropbox Pro version available that gives you 1TB of storage space. E Erath Pinot Noir Our list could not be complete without a few references to food, wine and travel. While they are not part of our core business they are part of how we run our business from various locations depending on the time of year. And a little wine after work is good for anyone! So E is for Erath, our current favorite producer of Pinot Noir. Erath is available at BC Liquor stores and some specialty wine shops but is a bargain across the border. Read our Blog about Erath Pinot Noir. If you are interested in more of our food, wine and travel recommendations (and some NHL hockey talk too) then check out our 19th Hole Blog which we try to update at least once a week. F Facebook is the most important social platform for your business. Even if you do not like using Facebook personally your business MUST have a Facebook page. As of Q1 2016, Facebook had 1.65 billion monthly active users. And you cannot discount the value of the Facebook search engine or the recommendations of others on Facebook as a way for potential customers to find you. Facebook advertising is also always evolving and can be a very targeted way to promote your page and/or to advertise a specific product or service. We are not big fans of the fact that Facebook is basically forcing us to pay for eyeballs but at least we can say it works. Read about Facebook Best Practices and Facebook Ad Campaigns. G Google+ (Google Plus) is a tool created by Google to add a social layer to its other services. Because Google+ is owned by Google it is an important piece of an internet marketing strategy. Google+ posts can show up in Google search results and since Google continues to be the most powerful search engine in the world we believe you need to have content on Google+ to maintain (or improve) relevancy on the internet. We use Google+ for ourselves and our clients to post similar content to the other social platforms. H Hootsuite is a social media management system that allows you to manage Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ (plus a few others) from one dashboard. We primarily use Hootsuite for Twitter and Google+ as we still prefer to use Facebook directly but we find Hootsuite to be the ultimate tool for managing multiple Twitter accounts and/or following many Twitter streams. It is also cool that Hootsuite was developed and is still based in Vancouver, BC just down the road from us. The Hootsuite owl is pretty cute too! Hootsuite offers a free plan that lets you manage up to three social profiles and a Hootsuite PRO plan (that we use) which includes up to 50 social profiles and enhanced analytics. I Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing (up to 15 seconds per post) and social networking platform. It was built for mobile use. While you can view Instagram profiles on a desktop posting and commenting was meant to be done on a mobile device. Many businesses underestimate the power of Instagram. It helps create content for use on your other platforms and great, unusual or interesting photos create a buzz. Hashtags also work well on Instagram and can put your photos and your business in front of it’s 200 million and growing users. J Jim Treliving wrote a great book called ‘Decisions’. In it he references golf as a tool to get to know someone – especially someone you are thinking of doing business with. “I have never been wrong about someone I’ve played golf with”, says Jim. The book ends with an entire chapter about golf and business but it is Jim’s story that makes this book inspiring and his tips on decision making that make it a great read for anyone. Read our Blog about the Book. K KLM is a great airline for flights to Europe. Flights on or operated by KLM are available out of Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal in Canada and of course many US departure points. We recently flew on KLM from Vancouver to Amsterdam on our way to Rome. The KLM service is great but relaxed. It reminds us a bit of our favorite Canadian airline (Not Air Canada). We have not paid for the upgrade to Economy Comfort but find the regular Economy seats comfortable. We also like the seat layout of their Airbus 330-300 which is 2-4-2. It is perfect for us because one of us likes the window and the other likes the aisle. Guess which?! L LinkedIn is the most business oriented of the social platforms. (Some say it is the most professional but we think that depends on how many spammers you are connected with.) LinkedIn allows you to create a professional and detailed profile of yourself and of your company. The value of LinkedIn is that it helps people find you and your business if they do not know or cannot remember your website. It also shows customers and potential customers what you know and who you are connected to and creates an opportunity for more visits to your website. The keys to using LinkedIn effectively are to make sure that your profile is fully complete and always up to date and that you share relevant (but not spammy) content with your connections. LinkedIn is also a good way for your business to check in on perspective employees and suppliers. M Meetup.com describes itself as the world’s largest network of local groups. Attending a Meetup is kind of like speed dating but in a buisness and networking setting. We have attended many Meetups over the past 8 years in Vancouver. Some have been lead by a speaker or two and finished with networking and a beer and some cut right to the beer stage and let the networking begin! The key to getting value out of a Meetup is walking up to strangers, sticking out your hand and introducing yourself. We have met contractors who we ended up doing a project with, people in other industries who provide a great service that we have used and lots of new friends. You never know who you are going to meet. N Next Issue is a subscription based app for Apple, Android and Windows that gives you access to 100+ online magazines at the same time. As part of our goal to be paperless and more mobile we said goodbye to paper magazines in December 2014 (and their $$) and hello to nextissue.ca. (There is also a US version with 140+ magazines at nextissue.com). For $10 per month (Canadian) we get 100+ magazines, including back issues and access on up to five devices. We select ‘favorites’ which download automatically when the next issue is available (and we are on wifi) but can access the other 80+ magazines anytime from the home page of the app. Some magazines do a better job with their online edition than others but most have extra content, high resolutions pictures, videos and other pluses that are not available in print. It took a few months of getting used to swiping the pages instead of the feel of the paper, but now it’s AWESOME! O Online News sources are how we keep up to date with world news, internet marketing, tech trends and of course celebrity happenings, style and other such nonsense. In trying to go paperless we have stopped buying books, magazines or printed news papers. So here is our list of required tools and sites: entrepreneur.com – a fantastic resource for a variety of business best practices garyvaynerchuk.com – great blogs and vlogs. Gary Vee always speaks his mind mashable.com – the latest a greatest in Tech and Social Media news socialmediatoday.com – things you need to know to improve your social media efforts vancitybuzz.com – breaking news, upcoming events, new restaurants, fun activities or any other happenings in Vancouver Jeff uses his MacBook Pro for most reading. In addition to the sites above he uses ‘Hootsuite Suggestions’. This is a free tool. You enter the topics you are interested in and Hootsuite puts 20 at time into your home feed. Tara prefers to read on the iPad. The most used app on her iPad is nextissue.ca – see letter N. P Podcasts are a great way to absorb information when you can’t read – walking, biking, driving – or are just too tired or lazy to read. Our current favorite flavor of podcast is travelling entrepreneurs. They offer great insights into internet marketing tools and provide tips that are essential for a nomadic lifestyle but that are also very relevant for any business wanting to improve their online presence. Here’s what we are listening to right now: Suitcase Entrepreneur – twice weekly (30 min interview and 15 min business, lifestyle or mindset tip) Travel Freedom Podcast – Money (how to make it or save it while travelling) & Travel (where to go, what to see, what to do), 20 to 40 min. They’re pretty hilarious too. #AskGaryVee – Podcast and video series, random dates, send a marketing, social media or entrepreneurship question to #askgaryvee We also enjoy audiobooks when we have to be in the car and have just finished listening to Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week. Q Pinterest allows users to upload, save, sort, and manage images and videos – known as pins. (We know that Pinterest does not start with Q but we really wanted to mention it and what starts with Q anyway?!) Pinterest’s focus on goods is unique in the social media landscape and gives it an advantage in some ways. It’s users (women in their 30s with young families) have made it into a shopping network of sorts. Users can go straight from a Pinterest board to a sellers website. For now we are using our Pinterest page to share our blogs and to save some ideas, inspirations, favorite things and bucket list items but we see the opportunity for businesses to promote their products and services in a visual, appealing and engaging way. R Rewards Programs may often seem like a pain to join and use, but we have found a few that help us with work and play with some good deals. Best Western (and their Plus category of hotels) is our hotel of choice when we are on a road trip. We collect points for each dollar we spend. The points can be redeemed for hotel nights but we have found it easier to use the points to buy gift cards. After 10 nights in a year there are bonuses that make the points accumulate faster. Marriott is our choice for city or resort stays. They have some great properties and in addition to the room rate we also accumulate points on food and beverage charges at the hotel. Bonus. Visa Avion lets us collect points on every thing we buy. Both our personal and business credit cards accumulate points on the same account. Points are collected at a rate of 1 point for each $1 spent and are redeemed at 1% as straight $’s towards any flight we want. No blackouts and no flight restrictions. You can even pay the airline taxes with points. Easy peasy. Starbucks does not make the best tea or coffee but they have really good wifi and lots of seating. They do not care if you spend hours in their establishment and their ‘Stars’ program plus bonuses means a free drink every 10 or less. We spend a lot of time in Starbucks working. S The Suitcase Entrepreneur, Natalie Sisson has been the inspiration for our new found desire to travel more and even try a nomadic lifestyle for a while. She does a great twice weekly podcast that gets to the heart of some key internet marketing questions by interviewing successful online entrepreneurs and sharing her own experiences and business lessons from the road. Her book “The Suitcase Entrepreneur” is a practical guide to being a digital nomad. It has terrific tips for anyone working on the road even if just for a short time and some cool tools and resources for any traveler. She also created a terrific BYOB series (Build Your Online Business) that has tips that will work for anyone. T Training/ Sales/ Speaking & Coaching are three key elements we feel are essential not only for your front line staff but also for your Managers and Supervisors. Who doesn’t have time to learn a new skill, see a different way of doing things, challenge the status quo and improve efficiency with their team? Want to hear more, check out the webpage for more information or contact us directly. We’d love to chat about how we can help improve your businesses bottom line. U Universal Adapters are key for us to stay productive and ‘plugged in’ on the road (and also to keep our wine & beer cold)! We have a few essentials… Skross makes a PRO Plus USB World Adapter that adapts the power connection in 150+ countries and charges two USB devices at the same time! We travel with three but being able to charge two at the same time is awesome! This was a lifesaver for our month in Italy. We also have a travel cooler that plugs into the cigarette adapter in our car. We did not know how much we would use it but it turns out – ALOT! It is a Koolatron 36-Quart Cooler and now we don’t leave for a road trip without it! V Vacation is an important time to relax and recharge the battery. It is important you and your team are firing on all cylinders at all times. We don’t take a lot of traditional vacation days or weeks off but living location independent and working with clients in different time zones has meant that we have had to find a work, life balance. We think we have done it, some weeks better than others, but the balance is more or less there. We get to travel and have adventures, but with good scheduling we have managed to work and play in same day never dropping a ball! Business is important but not the only thing in life. Find your work, life balance and you will be more successful at both. W Work for our clients to improve their bottom lines is what we do and what we are passionate about. Our most recent projects saw a golf course losing $500,000 per year each and every year for a 7 year period. In 18 months they are breaking even, in 36 months they are now working on a six figure profit. Another client lost $200,000 a year ago and will show a $125,000 profit after 15 months. This is what we do, improve the ROI of your business. We do this by working with your team and following our core values. For more information contact us anytime for a chat. X X is a score you never want to see on your scorecard during a round of golf! Y Y do you need a content calendar to manage your web, newsletter and social content? Our favourite Social Media dashboard, Hootsuite, wrote a great blog about ‘How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar: Tips and Templates’. You can read that blog here. We also wrote a biz blog on our website explains why your business needs to blog You can read that here. Z Z – The End. But if you’ve gotten this far it’s time to contact us for a FREE chat about how we can help you make more money.