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For anybody having trouble displaying Custom Posts.  Thanks to Daniel -

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The guy who designed my website has disappeared!

[col12 animation_type=”bottom” align_content=”default”] Did you ever find yourself in that situation? Maybe your blog or website has been abandoned and now you can’t even get into it to see what it used to look like? Well, there’s a really cool website…

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Take a read of this fantastic initiative #thegreymattersnetwork

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While writing my app, I wanted my PHP to send a link to a page. The link obviously needed to contain the url and also the html tags associated with a link… but it also needed to pass a variable that would be inputted by the user. The variable had to be…

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Just in case you thought that there were any secrets about how Google ranks your business. It's no secret.

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The lovely folks at +iThemes  have issued a handy checklist that you can use for double-checking your basic info on your website. Thanks guys!

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Here's how to remove that annoying SALePlus virus from Chrome, for good. #glicklytips

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Here at Glickly, we love sharing what we know. For all you website designers out there, we’ve gathered a few of the hidden and not-so-hidden gems that are free to use, and available within a few…

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Here's a reality check from the future, a future which is coming to a business like yours in just over 6 weeks. This future is called "2015" and yes, it's coming fast. You need to get your business ready now, by offering the Celebrity Warranty on your product(s).

"As a business owner in 2015, do not stick rigidly with the 'terms and conditions' as laid out in your product's warranty. If you do, then bad things will happen. Very bad things. I should know, it happened to me." Jon Ryan

Now, I understand that not sticking with your warranty might sound counter-intuitive, after all isn't that what a warranty is for? To avoid exposure? Well, maybe that's what it was for 4 years ago. Back then, in the years prior to social media virality, it served a purpose. Now though, a warranty is not worth the paper it's written on. Instead, it's all about creating wiggle-room to keep both you and your customer happy, in the event of things going pear-shaped. You see, in 2015, more than ever before, you will need to know how to negotiate the grey-space that lies between maintaining your reputation while minimising unforecasted spend when a customer has an issue but their warranty has expired.

Let's illustrate with one example of a typical warranty term, albeit in plain English:

If your customer's warranty period expires, then you can stop helping them.

Well, isn't that nice. Permission granted from a piece of paper. Yes, you can now safely brush your customer off "because it says it in the Terms and Conditions". Time is money after all and you prefer shiny new customers, not those old ones, right? Great, at least that's covered then. The thing is, if you adopt this attitude, then word-of mouth will spread... and not the good kind either. No, that word-of-mouth will invariably portray your business as being average, at best. And average, as you well know, means that your business may as well not exist.

You see, it does not matter that the warranty information is laid out clearly on your website. Nor does it matter that the customer should have read the Warranty Terms & Conditions before purchasing their product. And as for those Terms and Conditions being legally binding? Well, yes of course that matters, if the time has come to initiate litigation. But if you've reached that point with a customer, you've already lost anything worth defending. You should have helped that customer long ago.

The reality is that customers don't read those warranty terms and conditions in the first place. They never did in the past and they're certainly not going to start now. Even though you had a nice legalese phrase in your warranty. In bold italics. Everything's happening much too fast for all that reading. What's even more frustrating (for business owners) is that when customers do read the warranty, they pay no heed to it!

The point is this; if you stop supporting your customers and cite pre-formatted responses which you've learned over the years (and which used to successfully keep your customer 'quiet'), your customers will remember you for that. They will then tell people. Lots and lots of people. That's the way it has always worked, it's just that it happens so much faster now and at an exponentially larger scale. You see, now they have their Twitter machines and their FaceTubes, or whatever you call them, for spreading the word.

Enough about the problem, let's talk about the solution and what you can do about it.

Unless it's going to cost you a small fortune, keep supporting your customer. You be the judge of when the customer is asking for more than what’s fair; don’t refer them to a soul-destroying warranty document. Please. That’s playing the corporate game, and you don’t want to lose your ‘personal touch’ advantage. I'm not suggesting that you perform any additional support for free. No, nothing's free now. But instead of chasing fees, you need to:

Let the customer know that you’re going over-and-above any 'warranty terms and conditions'
Let the customer know that you’re making a special case for them
Let the customer know that your extra dedication, while costing nothing, is not without some compromise
The customer needs to accept their role in the 'Celebrity Warranty'.

That's all fine, but what is a Celebrity Warranty? Simple. A celebrity warranty is created by treating each and every customer like they are, let me see... Beyoncé, or some such world-renowned superstar. And why wouldn't you. With the ever increasing use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all the other social media platforms, each and every customer may as well be Beyoncé. You see, each and every action that you take in dealing with your customers is now just 6 clicks away from going viral. If something happens to make your business go viral, you'll want your story to be 'viral-good', as opposed to, well, the other kind of viral.

So instead of charging the customer for any extra 'out-of-warranty' work that you’ll provide, give your customer the means to promote you. This could mean sending them a handful of website links where you ask them to review your business; letting other people know just how fantastic you are. It might be asking them to write a spectacular testimonial that you can place on your website, or theirs. It could be asking them to tell their cousin (who happens to work in the local radio station) about what you've done.

You should know all these things by now; you’ve done your customer-profiling homework after all. Haven't you?

This 'Celebrity Warranty', while shameless, can be worth a lot more to you than the fee you would like to have charged when the original 'out-of-warranty' scenario landed on your doorstep. Providing non-cash methods to increase positive sentiment towards our business is imperative. You’ll be surprised how effective it can be. I should know, that happened to me too.

Give this a thumbs-up and share if it makes sense.

If we don't lose our small business mentality, we'll remain as small businesses, indefinitely. The person with the small business mentality treats the local economy like it was a world economy. They don't care about expanding because their business is 'ticking over' and there's bread on the table. And while that's alight for the short term, it's not sustainable. Here's why.

"You buy my product and I'll buy yours".

It work's a bit like that, and it'll be our downfall. Net-on-net, it's a no-win situation for the business (or the consumer) in an economy that chooses to trade in such a manner. Businesses that are continuously performing that kind of reciprocal-centric activity are on a slippery slope. And we're all guilty of it. Unknown to ourselves, we're all on a proverbial 'road to nowhere' if we don't change our business strategy. And fast.

To illustrate this, I'll simplify... consider the following.

Let's say that our local area has a finite amount of cash resources. Let's say that there is a total of $1M spent in our region annually. There are 1,000 local businesses and 999,000 customers. Everybody's got a dollar each. Now here's the thing: not even the most innovative and hard-working business will ever be able to expand or grow when if that $1M circulates in a closed-loop. I'll elaborate.

Given the nature of the small business owner who sells his product/service locally, it could be perceived that a sale worth $1,000 in a week, is a good result. However, it means that somebody else (a consumer or a competing business) is down by $1,000. A business (or consumer) is worse off than they were before any commerce took place. That can't be right.

But you might say that the business which made the $1,000 now has more than they had prior to the transaction. Well, they do. That is until they go to buy something. So the business owner takes the $1,000 and then puts it back into the money-pool. And round and round it goes. Everybody is working (hard), everybody getting paid a (fair?) wage and everybody is spending. No problems there, right? Let's just keep our heads down and grind it out year-on-year. We won't ask too many questions about the broader scheme of things and we won't fix what isn't broken.

We've said already that on the surface, this scenario isn't really such a problem. But if you are to look at the pieces that are keeping this micro-economy afloat, you'll see that the pool of $1M is decreasing every day, by just a few dollars. It's almost imperceptible, but it's decreasing all the same.

You see, to keep this local economic wheel in motion, we need somewhere to put our money while it's moving from one person to the next. Typically we use banks for this. I don't believe that it's too much of a stretch to suggest that most people have a bank account?

So the local bank is charging a few cents here and there on all of our transactions. But, the bank isn't putting those cents back into our local economy. This means that the balance is offset by a few bucks each year. We'll the banks are not really playing by the rules then. No, they've got a different business model. It's a good one. They take a little bit here and a little bit there, but never put any of it back into the pot.

Instead, they take that money and move it elsewhere so that they can invest it, and turn that money into more money. It's worth noting that some of the money they take from us in bank charges, is sold back to us for more than it's worth. That's the product they sell, that's a bank loan right there. Ingenious. So they're the only ones who are ultimately increasing their net wealth, consistently.

Unfortunately, it's not practical to not use banks (or any of the many other institutions that are realising net-on-net profit from our trading). So what can we do that's practical, but can make things better all round for us regular Joe's and Jane's.

Next week, ensure that your business makes one transaction that is outside of your local micro-economy. Just one transaction. (And don't use a bank, use cash!). That's all it takes. It's a baby step, but it's a baby-step in the right direction.

If we all do this once a week, while our net-profits won't see a direct increase, the quantity of money in our closed-loop local micro-economy will begin to grow. The $1M that we started with in Year 1 might be $1.2M in Year 2. And so on, and on, and on. That means we have $200K more that we started out with at year end. That's an improvement no matter what way you look at it.

We just need to ensure that we keep making those external transactions and keep the resulting wealth in our hands, as opposed to letting somebody else have it.

As I said, I know that I've over simplified-- but this is just for illustration purposes. The concept remains sound, I believe.

We need to be smarter about where we get our business revenue. If we don't, we're stealing from the poor to give to the rich.
If there's a better way, just make a suggestion in the comments below. We can change things. We should change things.
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