How to Use Google Alerts for Small Business

Google Alerts is a free service by Google where you receive email updates about keywords of your choice as and when they appear online – in news, blogs, websites etc. Google Alerts help you keep track

of your industry, your competition and most importantly the websites that talk about your company. has a comprehensive article that suggests 10 ways of getting the best out of Google Alerts for your business.

#1. Personal name, Business name, Domain name – Set alerts for these to know about who is talking about you, your business where.

#2. Blogs – If you blog or submit articles to other blogs, you can keep track about where your articles are appearing.

#3. Industry & Competitive Research – You can know about the current happenings in your industry and know what your competition is upto.

#4. Client Research – You can create alerts to find who is looking for the services you provide. You can also keep up with the activities of your existing or potential client

How To Find Content For Small Business Blogs

“You are what you publish.” is the new age mantra for all small business owners. Blogging is like golfing on the net.

Not only do you get to network with prospective clients who are looking for services you offer, it is an important search engine marketing tool as well. Search engines index, categorise and rank a well documented blog. But the question “How to Find Content for your Business Blogs?” remains. Cynthia Trevino has outlined some ideas here that could be considered.

# 1. Look for what the competition is writing about.

# 2. Pick up topics from networking sites.

# 3. Ask your customers about their problems and offer solutions.

# 4. Ask your sales team about frequently asked questions.

# 5. Share your passions and once in a while, blog about your personal matters.

“Good quality content is just another basic business requirement these days.  It’s not a nice-to-have. Especially for small businesses without large marketing budgets.  Writing compelling, interesting, helpful content and posting it online can help you to be more “findable” when buyers are searching for solutions.”

For further insight into blogging, you can also read this.

Joe-The Runner

Please feel free to share this video with your friends or put it on your blog.

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If You Want to Make It, Look for a Mentor

If You Want to Make It, Look for a MentorFor me, thoughts about mentoring started from this article: “Everyone Who Makes It Has a Mentor.” (Collins & Scott. 1978, Harvard Business Review) Having a mentor is helpful because someone who has already been there and done that can shorten your learning curve saving you time, money and failure. 

Because mentoring is a social relationship, a one-on-one bonding with a senior, who continues to believe in your abilities whatever the odds, you will discover that most successful people in this world have always had a mentor in their lives.

Who Is a Mentor?

Let’s not look for definitions. If you felt that you needed guidance from someone so you can avoid mistakes and get into a higher orbit, that someone is a mentor.

Any trusted advisor can be your mentor and serve as your sounding board. The litmus test for a good mentor is that instead of being overtly concerned with your short-term welfare, a mentor would always be more interested in your long-term, personal growth, even if it comes at a price. One mentor on that LinkedIn forum confesses, “I have to hold myself back from actually writing business cases or marketing materials and stick to the role of advisor/coach/friend/mentor.” 

A Mentor Listens, Probes, Clarifies and Advises

If You Want to Make It, Look for a Mentor“Mentors may be thought of as teachers. They may develop their protégé’s intellectual and career skills. They model, inform, confirm or disconfirm, prescribe, or question. Mentors may also act as sponsors, assisting protégés in developing and sharing their own network of personal contacts. They protect, promote and support. Mentors may act as counsellors, providing advice, guidance, and moral support and nurturing. They listen, probe, clarify and advise. The mentor may act simply as a host or guide, sharing an informal social network with the protégé. Mentors may serve as exemplars to their protégé. The mentor may provide a standard of excellence that the protégé will aspire to surpass.” (Source: Mentoring for the New Millennium)

A mentor is someone you can offload all your problems to — both personal and professional. A trouble-shooter, he or she is someone you can use for

validating information picked from a variety of sources. You cannot check the veracity of each of these sources, but you can trust your mentor.

Mentoring Works

The benefit of having a mentor in your life is that you do not have to re-invent the wheel. He or she can pave the path for you. Above all, mmentoring is a continuous process of evaluation and guidance. Remember that a mentor will never thrust his own ideas on you. He will be more interested in polishing the diamond that’s inside you.

And age can be no barrier to find a mentor at any stage of your life. In fact you can find different mentors at different stages of your life. There’s a very tale of how a 50-year old Auckland-based businessman, Mr. Warwick Kendon, climbed the ladder of success at that age through a mentor.   He said mentoring allowed him “to unlock the potential of his business and get into a much stronger position in the market.” Another example: Joyce King Thomas, the chief creative officer at McCann Erickson Worldwide’s flagship agency in New York cites mentoring benefits.

It’s a Two-Way Learning Process

A point to bear in mind is that the flow of learning in a mentor-protégé relationship is always two-way, the mentor benefits as much from the relationship as the protégé, otherwise it’s a static relationship. In my own experience (I have been more a mentor) sharing knowledge and helping others succeed gave me a lot of satisfaction.

Share Your Mentoring Experience

If you haven’t found such a mentor yet, I suggest that you begin your search as soon as possible.  If you were involved in mentoring, please share your experiences.

If You Want to Make It, Look for a Mentor

Picture credits: Sridgway Korean Resource Center

(part-2) Building Trust with Your Customers Helps You Reach Your Goals Faster-2

(part-2) Building Trust with Your Customers Helps You Reach Your Goals Faster-2In the previous post, (Building Trust with Your Customers Helps You Reach Your Goals Faster-1), I talked about benefits of building trust.

Elements of trust

Everyone wants to be trusted – especially sales persons and consultants. You want your customer to come and listen to you. However, not many achieve in being trusted. I was amazed when I read a book called “Trusted Advisor” (affiliate link – p2w2 gets paid if you buy), I realized that there is a pattern of behavior that helps generate more trust in your relationships.
If you look at page 4 (using “look inside” feature of Amazon) you will see “traits that our trusted advisors have in common.” In that, I like the following:

– They are consistent (we can depend on them)
– Help us think things through (we make the decision, they don’t force their recommendation on us)
– They stay calm
– Are reliably on our side and always seem to have our interests at heart
– We can rely on them to tell us the truth

Who do YOU trust?

(part-2) Building Trust with Your Customers Helps You Reach Your Goals Faster-2

Take for example, a car dealer. Which dealer do you trust? It’s likely that you the person:
• Is pleasant and polite to you
Asked for your needs and heard you patiently
Empathized with your need
Respected your time and attended to you promptly
Understood your need
• Gave all the options you have
• Let you make the decision
Follow up and deliver on all the promises

Trust is a natural outcome when they know that you keep their interests in mind.

Trust gets generated from experience; not testimonials

No matter how good a marketing material you can generate, it can never generate trust. At best, a customer can try you. But she will start trusting you only after trying out your product or service and after she is satisfied.

Before we close…

Log on to Trust Quotient self-assessment quiz. I recommend this quiz because that tells you where you stand on the trust question. Here are some of

the questions it asks (you have to select between Never, Rarely, Often, Almost Always and Always):

1. My word is my bond (I keep and deliver on my promises; I see keeping my word as a matter of personal integrity)
2. I work to make sure there are no surprises when I’m around
3. People tell me me I’m honest and open
4. I am consistent and predictable
5. People confide in me (they tell me things they often don’t tell others)

You might actually learn many traits that you love and give you ideas to enhance others’ trust in you.

This quiz computes your trust quotient (TQ). With this quiz you can do your own assessment of your credibility, reliability, intimacy, and self-orientation. The quiz, based on the work of Charles H. Green, who defines TQ as:
(part-2) Building Trust with Your Customers Helps You Reach Your Goals Faster-2


TQ = Trust Quotient (trustworthiness)
C = Credibility
R = Reliability
I = Intimacy
S = Self-orientation

Remember that can be a fabulous economic strategy—the strategy for our times.
But if your only reason for winning trust is to make money off others, nobody is going to trust you.
That’s the paradox of this trust thingy.
If you’d like to know more about the “T’ Factor in a business relationship, I would recommend that you begin by reading by David H. Maister and Charles H. Green’s Trusted Advisor.

About the author: Chaitanya Sagar is an expert in small businesses and is the CEO of, an online marketplace for services like writing, business consulting, research, software, online-tutoring etc. You can find good service providers and collaborate with them on p2w2.

(part-2) Building Trust with Your Customers Helps You Reach Your Goals Faster-2

Picture credits: Mijita Janielianne hbp_pix