Monthly Archives: April 2014

A Guide To Making Friendly Documentation

A good friend is supportive. Non-judgmental. Helpful. They’re there when you need them. I don’t know about you but doesn’t this sound like the kind of thing that would very much apply to good documentation?

What does good documentation do anyway?

  • When new users get lost in the details of figuring out how an unfamiliar system works, leaving breadcrumbs can help them find their way back to the basics and walk them through it, slowly this time, and at their own pace.
  • Sharing helpful tips is one way we build a community on-line.
  • Showing lessons step by step helps people learn to trust themselves as their build their skills, and develop a sense of self-reliability and accomplishment.
  • Giving strong sources lets people do additional research on their own and strengthens your position as a generous source of reliable, trustworthy information.
  • Showing people the evolution of your products — in updates and build specs, or versioning data — helps them understand what changes have taken place and can assure them that errors and bugs have been addressed.

In short: good documentation shares helpful information. Continue reading A Guide To Making Friendly Documentation

Getting People To Buy Into Change

You’ve probably had moments in your life when you stopped to take a good look at where you were going, then shook your head and picked another direction. Let’s talk about what happens after you pick a heading.

When you want to move in a new direction, who else will be affected?
You’ve seen the signs and did the research. If things don’t change, if you don’t make things change, you’ll end up a long way away from where you want to be.

  • Something’s been eating at you and you need to make things better. It’s change or get run over, change or be left behind.
  • Something needs to change, and you’re planning to take charge of the process. You’re doing this for very important reasons.

If you built a business all by your merry lonesome, well, hey, congratulations. But there are two things to consider when you’re fixing to make changes.

  • Are you really doing it alone?
  • Who else will be affected by the intended change?

A business not just a legal entity. Anything involving people brings relationships into the picture: When you’re planning changes like shifting directions, it’s not as easy as turning the steering wheel. All the parts need to work together to move a car where you want to go, and it’s the same with business.

  • What about reactions from family, partners or employees?
  • You also have people you work for and with– suppliers, for example, and customers/clients, for sure. What about them?

 

Even if you’re a sole proprietor, you work in a network of friends, family, partners, suppliers, clients, advisors and customers. You’re a member of several social groups withing your business network. You are influenced and have more influence than you think, and actions ripple out in consequences, in the networks you’re a part of.

When you want to make a change in the organization you created, you won’t be the only one affected by the change. To make it easier for everyone involved, you can to have them buy into your intended changes. But how? Continue reading Getting People To Buy Into Change

What’s Your Worst Business-related Nightmare?

Okay, here are some reasons why you built and run your own business:

  • You found that you’re really not suited to the confines of corporate culture. You needed money to live, yeah, and so you kept at it, but you also hustled on the side, and your side-line became your biggest source of income.
  • You saw someone close to you succeed at it (maybe a family member), or saw somebody make something out of himself (maybe they got featured on TV or something) and you were inspired to go after your own dreams.
  • You had an idea and believed in it so much you threw all of yourself into making it work, and it did.
  • You prefer to control your own time and live life on your own terms, even if you have to work harder than anyone else ‘with a regular job’ to make that possible.

 

You saw an opportunity that many overlooked and you ran with it. You started out with the seed of an idea, carefully nurtured it to life and you grew something real: a viable, working business. And with the experience of doing this comes the fear of something bad happening to all your work.

On-line business is hard work because the lines of communication are so varied, and are open 24/7/365. Automated responses are very helpful in handling mass emails, of course. And there are also other ways you connect and keep connected to your market, your clientele and the public. Social media platforms, a website and a blog…that’s a lot of data you’d be sitting on.

In surveys asking on-line entrepreneurs about their biggest business concerns, one wide-spread concern is losing data. And the best way to combat fear is swatting it flat with facts.

In connection with data loss, what then is the best thing to go about protecting it? What will hit you the hardest? What data is really, really important? Continue reading What’s Your Worst Business-related Nightmare?