Category Archives: Online businesses

You’re in the Business of Happy


It doesn’t matter what business you’re in; your number one goal should be to make customers happy. Happiness brings customers back again and again. It makes business relationships easier and makes your work more meaningful. It gets people to talk about your product or service with others.

In turn, it means higher profits for you and satisfied customers who are grateful to you for making their jobs easier, more efficient, and profitable.

It sounds so simple and straight forward. But how do you know if you are doing a good job at making your customers happy?

For large corporations, you can measure happiness through customer satisfaction surveys, CSAT (customer satisfaction) scores and Net Promoter Scores (NPS). You can also monitor customer sentiment on social media, via your customer service team, or online user forums.

But for small businesses, especially if you are selling a service, these best practices can be costly and require resources that you just don’t have right now.

Instead, the fastest way to measure if you’re customers happy, other than repeat business, is through word of mouth.

As a freelancer, my business is 100% reliant on my clients being happy with my work for them. The best leads I get, no matter what other marketing initiatives I am working on, come from my happiest customers — simply passing my name along to a colleague.

Positive word of mouth is paramount. If you have to prioritize one marketing initiative above all else while you boot up your business, start there.

It costs a lot less than investing in social media and a beautiful website. Yes, you need a web presence but it doesn’t have to be perfect to start making money. And you can grow a lot faster as a small services business if you just make your existing customers happy.

So, if you are getting calls from your customers’ contacts, you know you’re doing something right. If not, it’s time to start asking yourself and your customers (an old school phone call or face to face meeting will do the trick) what’s up?

If they are happy but not passing your name along, you can be so bold as to ask them to do so. Just be sure to reward them in some way for their efforts. A Starbucks gift card, thank you note, or lunch will all do the trick. It doesn’t have to be fancy or cost a lot.

If they’re not happy, it’s time to rethink how you run your business. Can you scale down services to focus on what you do best? Can you do more to make your customers feel valued? Again, simple and scrappy solutions to determine how to fix them problem are fine in the beginning.

Nothing is perfect when you first launch a business. But you’ll be a lot happier, and less stressed, if you focus on what’s most important. After all, “happiness is a by-product of an effort to make someone else happy.” — Gretta Palmer




Playing Nice in the Inbox: CASL Exemptions for B2B Communications

As we celebrate our nation’s birthday on July 1st, the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) Email spamwill launch to make it harder for spammers to inundate our inboxes. As a small business owner, I thought I’d share a few links that help explain the exemptions for reaching out to business contacts:

1. Deloitte’s “Canadian Anti-Spam Law: Key Exemptions” has a great summary.

2. Business Vancouver also recently published a helpful article entitled “The ifs, ands and buts of new anti-spam legislation.”

Both summaries indicate that “there’s an implied consent to receive emails from a business when there is an ongoing relationship.” But you must also provide an unsubscribe option and contact information if you send out a message with commercial intent.

In addition, businesses with direct contact relationships need to be aware that “while implied consent has a shelf life and will expire, express consent does not expire once granted.” That’s where things get a little tricky. And small businesses like mine, who use a free platform like WordPress, need to get creative in re-affirming that consent.

Since this blog promotes my business, I want to make sure that all of my readers who have opted-in to receive my posts via email are ok with receiving them the future. I really value your readership and hope that you will continue to follow my small business journey.

But if you no longer wish to receive blog posts from me, WordPress offers an unsubsribe option at the bottom of every email post that goes out. If you are a WordPress blogger, you can also remove blog posts from your inbox via the “blogs I follow” section. If you ever have any trouble, you can email me at (or respond to the email that goes out with every blog post) and let me know if you need me to look into the matter further.

I also welcome your feedback on how I can make these blog posts more useful to you to keep you reading every month. I want to play nice in your inbox.

Thanks again for your continued support. I hope that everyone in Canada has a great long weekend. Happy Canada Day!


How to Save Your Customers Time With Better Web Copy

So, you’ve launched your small business or startup and you’re ready to tell the image with words like strategy and successworld about it on your new website. With so much to say, it’s tempting to include everything you could ever tell your customers about your product and your company in the copy.

But too much copy can be a turn-off. That’s because Internet users are very impatient and want to find exactly what they are looking for when they arrive at your website. And they want to read it in as little time as possible.

Below are some tips for making your website copy easier to digest.

Keep it short and scannable.
You should aim to keep your paragraphs short – just a few sentences. The same goes for your overall copy.

If you can say it in 200 words, rather than 500 words, do so. You’ll be helping people to find the information they need to make their purchase decision faster.

Use sub-headings to break up text.
By highlighting your key points with sub-headings, you will help impatient readers get the gist of your message without having to read all of the copy.

Highlight important information with bullet points.
It can be tempting to write about your company’s key features and benefits as one, long paragraph. But if you want your customers to understand why they should buy from you in as little time as possible, it’s better to separate the information with bullet points.

Say it with an image, video or diagram.
It can be tempting to explain everything about what you do with text. But keep it mind that it might be easier for the user to understand your product through diagrams, images or explainer videos – especially if you sell sophisticated software or anything that takes a long time to explain with text.

Do you have any other tips for helping web visitors to make quick purchase decisions with short and snappy copy? If so, please share in the comments section below.