Business Ethics & Mistakes you should avoid!

Business Mistakes

As an individual that works very hard at maintaining relationships and attempts to help anyone at anytime he possibly can, I see some pretty interesting mistakes that people make, DAILY! Sometimes, I have to admit, I’ve made the mistake of burning a bridge or two at past companies, just by the simple fact of not understanding how important it was not to hurt a relationship. But, I now know that there are some things that you should NEVER do…and I mean NEVER.

The Obvious One: There is never a reason to “out a website”:

There was a lot of chatter about this back at the end of April about how no one should ever out a website. I think this point has been beaten down your throats quite often. I commented on this a while back in that there really is no reason from a business or financial perspective to actually do this.

Todd Malicoat wrote an excellent post about what is your SEO Code? So, what is your SEO Code? Or, even better, what is your business code of ethics? Think about the following before outing another website:

•    What could you gain by outing another website or company?
•    How are you benefiting your businesses or growing as an individual by doing so?
•    Who are you HURTING financially in doing so? Think about it, the site you’re about to out and that could quite possibly be banned, could very well be a friend of yours. Do you want to be the reason that your friend or possibly even their kids don’t have food on the table?
•    Would you want someone to out your website publicly and possibly cost you a loss of income or some sort of financial burden.

Think through this before actually outing a company or reporting another site. When in doubt, also, you might want to ask a friend privately, they might be able to provide some insight or talk it through with you. Again, at the end of the day, you don’t want to out a site that could cost someone his or her livelihood.

Battling for Profits: Never publicly talk about companies paying too much for a service:

We are all in business in some way or another at the end of the day and we are all out to make smart business decisions. I’ll admit that I’ve scored some pretty sweet contracts back in the day where I’d made a decent amount of money and didn’t really do much. Other industry professionals can vouch for this as well. In fact, recently at Revenue Bootcamp, Neil Patel and I have talked about this before and es“If I charge you 20k to increase your traffic and I do it, and its worth it to you, it shouldn’t matter how long I spend, if I did it in 1 hour, then better for me!”

What you might call “overcharging,” I call a “smart business move.”

If you find out that someone is charging a client a lot of money for a service, you should never use a medium like Twitter to talk about how much people should or shouldn’t charge for a service. If you are competing that market, go out there and try to win the business.

Stop Talking

There are too many factors that go into the rates of a consulting agreement that might not be obvious right up front. Things like the overhead of an agency, resources, services provided, etc. And, at the end of the day someone might have made a smart business deal and/or they have a client that is now going to question his or her consultant and create headache for no reason at all.

Don’t get all high and mighty and publicly talk about rates and charges over the Social Web, again, you never know if you have a friend or even business partner that you just cost a lot of money.

Secrets are Secrets: Secrets are meant to be private, keep them that way:

A lot of the sharing of secrets that have been heard at conferences and/or things shared in private aren’t being made as public anymore. But, that said, with the Social Web being ever so increasing, talking about things you hear at conferences becomes compelling.

Don’t do it!

Lots of us have websites, profiles on the Social Web, and/or businesses that we run that are meant to stay private. Revealing any of this through any social medium could cost someone a loss of income or, for some of us, our entire livelihood.

Also, if you’ve heard someone say something in passing or you could take out of context or you are attending a conference session where an individual asks you not to share or tweet about the information he or she is currently talking about, don’t share it. Remember the post by Brent Csutoras, “we know it’s social, but stfu already“…that will always be true.

Remember, if its questionable, it probably shouldn’t be done, and, at the very least, ask someone what they think before doing it, they will probably agree that you shouldn’t share it.

Burning a Bridge Can Will cost you in the long run!

broken relationship

People make this mistake too many times and I’ve even made it a few times years back. Whether its a co-worker that leaves on an angry note, someone you just dated that ended badly, or someone that is in your industry that you just happen to feel you just don’t “need” anymore.

The point: Everyone and anyone is valuable at some point. That bridge you just burned could be your future boss, future consultant, future investor, and/or someone that could bring your consultancy/agency new business. Remember, that you shouldn’t treat people as contacts, create relationships instead.

Granted, yes, there are going to be people that you just don’t get along with in business and personalities that don’t work together. But, rather than burning the bridge, separate yourself from the situation and at the end of the day, don’t be rude and or don’t personally insult people. That is where you REALLY start burning bridges and losing relationships and even contacts.

Building Traction with Search and Social Media Visibility

 

Over the last few months I’ve seen an interesting cross section of startups to large brands and marketers to developers that are all running businesses. There has been one thing that ties all of these people together, and that is gaining traction and visibility to your website or business online.

If you are a large brand, you already have that visibility, but it is hard to continue to be nimble and build quickly, therefore, you are typically left behind. While startups run into a different kind of problem, they are able to create cool cutting edge products, but, does anyone see these products? Many times, they are not visible and have no traction. I’ve talked to a number of developers, product guys, and “startup dudes” that all run into that problem. The reason being:

People don’t realize that just building a great product is not going to bring you buzz, traffic, or growth, it doesn’t work without visibility.

So, what do you do to solve this problem? There are a few things that you can do if you are a startup or your just a humble guy trying to make a living off a website that you own.

Search Visibility

SEO seemed like such a 4 letter word a few years ago. And, lately I’ve had interesting conversations around getting traffic in general, where I’ve been the SEO Evangelist, talking about how targeted and the high ROI of Search Traffic. It’s been exciting talking people and businesses that understand or are beginning to understand the importance for Search Visibility.

Creating Search Visibility is created by building Search Friendly websites that are authoritative to a given Search Engine.

How do I know what people are looking for?

A lot of people jump into SEO and try to build sites and throw popular phrases into h1’s, titles, etc. It’s important to understand the industry you are in and do the research that is required to know what it is people are searching for, this is called keyword research. For example, the knowing that people search for “cars” rather than “automobile.” (yes, I know that’s a crude example, but, you get the point!). SEOBook has a Free Keyword Research Tool to do this for you.

What is a Search Friendly Website?

A search friendly website is a website that is built so that a Search Engine will index and crawl their content, while adding importance, relevance, and authority to that sites content. Many times organizations will make mistakes by building a flash site or an Ajax site that is entirely unable to be indexed or crawled by a “search engine spider.” There are tips and tricks on on how to build Ajax SEO Friendly websites out there.

Creating authority is the key to visibility!

At the end of the day, no matter how much you’ve researched the keywords and how great you’ve built out your site so it is search friendly, you need external links. Without links to your site from external resources, you will not rank nor get search traffic, bottom line. Getting links isn’t an easy job either, it is the crux of the SEO problem. (i.e. It’s why we get paid the big bucks!)

Building links is an interesting mix of many different cross-functional skills. Whether it is the sales pitch to websites asking for links, the biz dev angle of partnering with other sites or buying links (while, I would NEVER condone that, wink wink!), or the art of building buzz around your content, product, or service through the Social Web.

Social Media Visibility

Ah, Social Media, the buzzword amongst all buzzwords across the web now at days, it’s amazing how much it is talked about. Amazingly enough, Social Media has become a part of the general web presence and we are moving away from it being a piece of the business, so to speak, but rather, the a fully conversational and connected Social Web.

Okay okay, I’ll get to the point: Getting visibility via the Social Web is done by being conversational, engaging, and invoking emotions.

Social Media news sites like Digg

Creating content that creates a conversation around a particular topic, whether it is hilarious, sad, resourceful, etc. Creating content like this is all about invoking the emotions. You want to create content that a user is going to want to Digg. You want to have a page that is going to make someone stop while “stumbling” through your site. But, it doesn’t stop there is still another really important factor of gaining visibility:

If influencers within the Social Media space do not know about your content, then guess what, it is not going to be made visible. People and the masses follow the influencers (and I’m not just talking about twitter) by watching them and seeing what they are talking about, they create the “water cooler conversations.” It is similar to Search in that you need to build a site that the search engines can not only see, but is authoritative.

Create conversations and engagement about your brand

Remember those conversations that I talked about, well, pay attention, because the conversations are happening all across the Social Web. But, you can do things to create those conversations and create engagement that is tied to your brand or your site.

Be insightful, engaging, and provocative when creating a conversation

Don’t be a feed, creating a twitter account and throwing your RSS feed is not participating in the Social Web, it’s a feed and nothing else. You want to create a conversation, think of ways that you can create conversations about your brand. If you are a sports site, talk about upcoming events, like the NBA Draft. If you are a political opinions site, then you might want to ask questions on the Social Web about legislation and elections.

When you create conversations and people are engaging with you and your brand, then you are essentially creating visibility.

The Visibility of Trends

Since moving more into the Publishing and Media side of the business from E-Commerce and Product Centric websites, I’ve learned a ton around insights around trends. Understanding trends gives you insight into the topics that are “buzzing” around a certain category or vertical. You can use a tool like Google Insights to give you that knowledge.

So, you’re sitting there going, “great, who cares what is buzzing!?”…fine
, you probably aren’t. That said, this is extremely important to understand, because, creating content around these trends can create the Search and Social Media Visibility needed to grow your business.

Don’t be good, be GREAT!

Remember, your product or content will not survive on it’s sheer awesomeness (even though I’m sure it is!). Make sure that you are considering the visibility of your product and content: ONLY THEN, can your Product and Content be truly considered GREAT!