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About Stuart Livesey

With almost 40 years experience working with and in small business and over 18 years experience in web design, e-commerce, online marketing and search engine optimisation Stuart Livesey has a lot of experience to share with you

Kanban Board – an Invaluable Tool for Small Business

How many of us small business people wake up in the morning and immediately go into overload mode?

There is so much to do and so little time and we know that other problems are going to arise through the day and put us even further behind.

Just thinking about it sends our blood pressure soaring and our stress levels are beyond measuring and it’s the same every single day. Isn’t there anything … any tool … that we can use to make life easier?

If that’s the way you’re feeling then I have some good news for you. There is a tool out there that will reduce our stress and blood pressure levels and help us stay focused and achieve more every single day.

And it will also help us see just how much we do get done and being able to see that will make us feel better and more positive.

What is it?

So, what is it, how does it work and how much is it going to cost?

The tool is called a Kanban Board and it works because you get to list all those tasks that are facing you each day … and when you do that, when you have a physical list in front of you instead of buried in your brain, you begin to realise that your list isn’t really that big after all.

Now you might think that what I have described is just another ‘to do’ list but it is more than that. Sure, it starts with a list of things you want to achieve today, this week or this month but it goes way beyond that.

Let me explain how you set it up and what you do with it … beyond just listing your ‘to do’ items.

Perhaps the first thing that I should mention is the cost … it can cost you almost nothing depending on what you use for the board.

Personally, I use a white board but you can use anything from a thick piece of cardboard from a packing box to a piece of wood that you have laying around your garage or workshop.

You will also need a marker pen (if you’re using a whiteboard) or some post-it notes. It doesn’t have to be fancy … it just has to work for you.

Setting it up

So, when you have decided on what you are going to use for the board here is what you need to do:

Draw three columns on it.

Label the first column: ‘To Do’.

Label the second column: ‘Doing’ and

Label the third column: ‘Done’.

And that is your basic Kanban Board.

How to use it

If you are using a whiteboard you can use your marker to write a list of jobs that you have to do today in the first column. If you have post-it notes you use those on your whiteboard too and you should use those notes for other types of Kanban Board.

Write one task on each post-it note and stick them in the ‘To Do’ column. Now you can see all the jobs that you want to tackle and, the chances are that it’s not as big as it seemed when it was running around in your brain.

Choose the first job to do and move it to the ‘Doing’ column and get started on it. You may find that you have several jobs on the go at once so you can have more than one item in the ‘Doing’ column.

As I write this I have three tasks sitting in the ‘Doing’ column on my Kanban Board and two of those were carried over from the previous day.

When the job is completed move the post-it note that lists that job to the ‘Done’ column and move on to the next task.

By the end of the day you may still have some jobs waiting in the first column, you may have some jobs still appearing in the second column, but you will have all those jobs that you have finished in the third column.

See how many jobs you got done in a day? Doesn’t that make you feel good?

You may not have finalised all that many jobs but I bet some of them will be jobs that you were dreading making a start on and that will make you feel much more positive.

Here is a rather upmarket version of a Kanban Board, your board does not have to be as “perfect” as this one 🙂

An Easy Way to Produce Video for Social Media

Discover the easy way to produce short video for social media

Ok, I get it … the idea of producing video for social media for your business scares you witless.

You can’t do it … you freeze in front of the camera … you don’t know what to say and even if you did you still couldn’t do it.

As I said, I get it. It’s definitely not easy doing something that you’re not comfortable with … I know from first-hand experience. The video that I do for social media sucks. It looks and sounds terrible but I persist because, if I want to reach out to you guys in the future, I’ve got to use video.

I also know that no matter how convincing I am about the need for you to use video for social media there will be some of you who will never be able to do it.

So what do you do if you want to use video for social media but can’t afford to have someone do it for you and can’t do it yourself?

Well there is a solution … at least a part solution to your problem and it’s called Lumen5. I heard Darren Rowse from Problogger talking about it on a podcast yesterday and I just had to have a look.

And I have to tell you that it’s dead simple. It’s so simple that I only looked at it yesterday and already I’ve produced two short videos … you will see them embedded below. That’s how simple it is.

You don’t have to shoot any video, you don’t have to say anything and you don’t even have to upload your own images if you don’t want to. Lumen5 provides everything for you and it won’t cost you a cent.

While Lumen5 really wants to link to your blog you don’t need to have anything like that. With the first video, I made I started with a blog entry on my hobby website. With the second video, I decided what I wanted to say, uploaded a bunch of images that fitted my “script” and made a video for the town I live in that did not rely on a blog entry.

Lumen5 took the images and my blog entry … or my “script” … allowed me to choose from a lot of different types of music that I could add to my production and turned it into a video that I could then download and upload to Twitter, Facebook or Youtube … and I did upload them to those places and they did it all for free.

While I worked my way through the process without reading any instructions … it really is that easy to use … you will find helpful instructions if you’re not sure of the steps you have to take to produce a video.

The only other thing I had to do was provide a link to the relevant page / website when I uploaded the video to those social media platforms.

It took me less than 10 minutes to produce the model railway video and about 40 minutes to produce the other one … mainly because I was having problems choosing which photos to use.

You will find Lumen5 at and you will have to register but after that you have access to everything you need to produce your own short promo videos.

What Happens When You Die?

What happens when you die - are you leaving a mess for some other person to clean up?Despite the fact that you don’t like to think about it, your death is inevitable. It will happen and nothing you can do will prevent it so now is the time to start thinking about what happens to … and with … your small business when you die.

Will you leave behind a business that your family can continue on with … or sell … or wind up … without any hassles or will you inflict more pain on them and leave behind a mess that no one can sort out?

Death is inevitable and it could come tomorrow

Don’t dismiss the idea of your death as something that you will think about later because you don’t know when it’s going to happen and you may not get much advanced warning either.

Right now, as I write this, a good friend of ours is in hospital and in the final days … maybe hours … of his life. Ten weeks ago, he was fit and healthy and the slight pain in his back was probably there because he picked something up the wrong way.

Today we know that the slight pain was the first warning of pancreatic cancer … one of the most aggressive cancers anyone can have. Four weeks ago it was finally diagnosed but by then it was too late for him to do anything about his business because the massive doses of morphine that he needed to combat the pain were clouding his judgement.

Fortunately for our friend … and his family … he had sold his small business just a few weeks before that first twinge of pain. Everything had been finalised by the time the cancer was beginning to grow so he has had nothing to worry about and no mess to leave behind for his family to sort out.

His taxes were paid, all his accounts had been finalised, all the equipment leases had been transferred to the new owners. Everything was taken care of.

Are you keeping your business records in your brain?

But what about you? What would you leave behind if you suddenly died tomorrow? Would your loved ones be able to walk into your business and take over? Are your financial records in order? Is everything easy to find and easy to follow or is it a total shambles?

So many of us run our business from the filing cabinet in our brain and our financial records are nothing more than an old shoebox filled with invoices and receipts. If we have employees then of course we know who they are and how much we owe them in wages, commissions or payments for work done and we make sure that they get paid.

But what happens if we suddenly leave the building? How do those who have to clean up the mess you have left behind know who was working for you?

Of course, if you’re running a bricks and mortar business the chances are that your loved ones will know who you employ and they’ll probably have some idea of how much you pay them but what if the people who work for you work remotely?

Don’t leave a mess for someone else to try and clean up

Would your loved ones know of them? Could someone tell from your email inbox who was currently working for you? Would your loved ones know how much your remote workers should be paid? If all that information is filed in your head then where does that leave your remote staff if you’re suddenly not with us anymore?

If you’re not keeping good records then you are inflicting even more pain on your loved ones. It will be hard enough for them when you go and trying to sort out a mess that you’ve left behind will make it so much worse for them … so don’t do it.

Prepare now for when you die. Make sure that all that information you have stored in your head is taken out and placed somewhere that those that come after you will find it.

Keep your financial records up to date. Keep a record of the people who work for you and how much you pay them … and how you pay them.

Accept the fact that you are not going to live forever and now is the time to prepare for your departure so that you don’t leave a horrible mess for you loved ones to clean up.

If You Want the Rewards …

If you want the rewards you have to do the workBeing an entrepreneur, a seniorpreneur or a small business owner can be a rewarding experience … especially here online. You can make money … a lot of money … just ask all the successful people online who want to sell you their secret for success.

It’s not hard to find one of them … you don’t have to look far … they’re everywhere and they almost infest Facebook.

“Infest” … makes you think of fleas doesn’t it? Hmmm in some ways that’s just what they are like. They’re hopping about and popping up everywhere and, while they may not want your blood, they certainly want your money.

Of course, they’ll give you something in exchange for the money you give them. They’ll teach you how to be just as successful as they are … and they are successful. Just ask them and they’ll tell you that they started with nothing and now money is just falling of the forest of money trees they have planted in their backyards.

The fleas of the Internet

And you can be just like them. You don’t have to work hard … you don’t have to do anything except take their course and you too will make a fortune … retire wealthy … never have to work again.

It certainly sounds wonderful doesn’t it? All you have to do is pay a few bucks … maybe as little as $97 … just to get under that $100 psychological barrier … and you will be laughing all the way to the bank.

All you have to do … once you’ve parted with your money … is sell your key-to-success course to a bunch of suckers just like you.

Whoa! Did I just call you a sucker? If you believe that all these get-rich-quick-schemes that people try to sell you are genuine then I sure did call you a sucker.

If you want the rewards you have to do the work

You see, the fact is that the only person who makes money from selling courses is the person who sells the course. You pay him … you get the training … and then you have to go out and do the work if you want to make money.

Suddenly you discover that you have to work and that makes the promise of easy money sounds about as hollow is it should have sounded the first time you heard it. There simply is no easy path to riches and success … there are no rewards without effort.

If you want the rewards then you have to do the work … hour after hour … day after day … week after week … month after month … year after year. There are no short cuts … no easy path to riches … there’s just hard and unrelenting work so don’t be fooled into parting with your money.

Don’t listen to those who want to separate you from your hard-earned cash with promises of easy money.

If you want the rewards then do the work and you will get what you deserve. Keep looking for the fast way to easy money and all you will end up with is and empty wallet and empty bank account.

Sadly I have seen quite a few people … young and old … who have chased the dream of easy money and ended up with nothing.