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google calling blogpost"Google keeps on calling me wanting to update my business information, and I need to pay for it." We've been hearing this a lot lately and wanted to post about it.

First, Google doesn't call businesses; they don't have time nor do they want you to save their phone number and call them back. Google only calls you if you request a phone call through their chat technical support. Generally, you have to request a call by going online, they give you a code and they call you within certain time frame (they tell you when) and you only have so many attempts to pick up your phone before they remove the ticket request for a phone call. They won't randomly call you. Then you will actually speak to a representative.

Google will also call you if you request for a Google AdWords sales representative to give you a call and walk you through setting up your account. Same thing again, you have to request the call. They won't randomly call you.

Second, when Google calls you, on your caller ID it will show it coming from phone number in Mountain View, CA (their headquarters) or another dedicated location. For example, if a person or robot from Georgia or Florida is calling and saying they are from Google and they need your account information otherwise your business listing will be removed from Google, it's most likely a scam.

Third, Google doesn't charge for a business listing online. Your account is free and your are freely able to login to your account and update your information such as your mailing address and phone number (so if you move, you can do this for free). They may send you a postcard with a code on it to your physical mailing address that you will need to go back into your account to enter and verify, but they won't call you randomly and say you need to pay x-dollars for a update.

If you are paying Google, most likely you have a Google AdWords account setup for dedicated sponsored ads online with them. You setup a profile with billing information (a credit card tied to it) and they bill you that way. They won't call and request money.

Unfortunately, in today's world there are a lot of dishonest people and scammers out there. If you're unsure, whether you are a client of ours or not, please don't hesitate to reach out to us to verify if something is accurate. Always check with your resources and never give out account information until you know who you are talking to first!

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contentcalendarWe've all been there...it's been a busy week and posting on social media accounts has slipped by. Now what? Scrambling to post something just to "post something online." Probably not the best idea right? The idea behind social media is to connect, share and build relationships with others. Forget about all that other fluff. The point is to engage. So, why not make it easy for yourself?

Consider a "content calendar." Huh? A content calendar is much like your regular work or family calendar. It maps out your plan for the month, what you need to do, what time, where you need to be and to stay organized. The content calendar for social media is the same exact thing but in a different form.

Click here to check out one of our online articles in the Gainesville Business Magazine to help with eliminating stress with social media posting and a mock-up calendar example.

Have a question? Click here to reach out to us. We can help!

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AN AWAKENING

Monday morning means the weekend comes to a grinding halt and begins a new adventure for the work week. One Monday, ours started with an unpleasant jolt. 


NONE OF US ARE FLAWLESS

Let's be honest. We all try our best to be perfect and deliver our services to our clients flawlessly. The truth, however is we are human, life happens and we are all flawed in some fashion. We fail, we mess up and sometimes we fall short on delivering our best. Or we deliver our best, live out our values and it is not really what the other person was wanting. It's OK. It's life. We ask how we can fix things, we pick up the pieces, find the lessons and move on. We had such an experience recently. The very thing that bothered this client was the very thing we hold in high regard. Inside our experience was a precious nugget of information, which ultimately led to affirming one of our moments of truth about our company...

Blu Dove is committed to treating people with genuine kindness, compassion and love, which is paramount to creating long lasting relationships. 


MOMENTS OF TRUTH

The credit of that phrase goes to John Spence, author of Awesomely Simple, a business strategist, speaker and one of my most wonderful mentors defines it as:

"...those handful of critical customer interactions that must be delivered flawlessly each and every time in order to create highly engaged, satisfied and loyal customers and then creating the necessary processes, procedures and systems to allow your employees to consistently exceed your customers expectations on your unique Moments Of Truth; the three, four or five Moments Of Truth that make or break your relationship with the customer.”

As the weeks and months have gone on, they have been filled with critical client interactions and experiences affirming for us the above Moment of Truth. It's not a new way of thinking for us, it has simply been a reminder where to keep our focus. Since then, I am now more aware of them when they happen, taking time to enjoy those moments and even where we fall short so we can make corrections. Here is just a few of those that happened that week alone and some others that have happened since then.

  • a last minute website edit for a client before the parade of homes and making them feel at ease
  • being on the other end of the phone listening without judgement as a client fell apart in tears due to overwhelm in her own life
  • attending a ribbon cutting as a family for a client 
  • a quick phone call to help with a technical problem on our day off
  • a visit with a client who first asked how was my daughter before explaining his project
  • giving our teammate the opportunity to leave work early for a special weekend with her family
  • spending a day on the water to connect with each other and with nature
  • a visit with a client learning that they are making their office family friendly
  • understanding the client dashing out of a meeting to get to an emergency dr appt for his baby girl 
  • open arms to the new mom who needed to bring her son in with her to review the website we were working on
  • celebrating a client's long time dream coming true
  • putting health above all else and the rest of us will fill in the gaps
  • crying, praying, laughing, playing together
  • a visit with a client catching up on how their business and family is doing
  • a hug from a new client excited to work with us


KINDNESS AND COMPASSION MEAN SOMETHING...EVEN IN BUSINESS

We genuinely celebrate with each other, help each other with a goal, and provide extra support at a critical moment in their business. Through thick and thin, ups and downs, failures and success, and acceptance. This is who Blu Dove Designs is and what we care about. Family. 

Yes, we care very much about our clients' success, and we do so holistically. All the success in the world without family and friends is rather lonely, don’t you think? Success without a deeper understanding and compassion for life and looking for ways to serve our customer as a whole would leave something lacking. A person's business is their livelihood, which ultimately supports their family so family should never be left out and cannot be mutually excluded.

Constantly making sure our clients know we value their family as we would expect them to value ours is a key value at Blu Dove Designs. Our goal is by honoring that value for us, other individuals who hold that same value will recognize that shared value.


OUR CLIENTS ARE FAMILY

We are grateful for family. Just as families don't always get along, or agree on 100% of everything, we probably won't either. However because we put that relationship in such high regard, we will always find ways to work things out. We have relationships that have lasted the entire 11 years we have been in business! That's how we view our clients. That is how we want you to view us. As an extension of your business and someone who cares deeply about your success, your livelihood and your family. After all, these are not independent of one another.

As you go through your daily activities of your business I invite you to think about the following questions.

1) What critical client interactions are leading you to your moments of truth?
2) How do your interactions make your client returns to do business with you and stay loyal?
3) What are you doing to ensure you deliver flawlessly each and every time you interact with your customers?

widget book1*One of my mentors and my inspiration behind this post is John Spence who is a well-known, business strategist, international speaker, trainer and author. Please visit his website or blog for awesome resources for your business!*

Want to learn more about the moment of truth concept?

http://blog.johnspence.com/category/accountability-2/ 

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mapRecently I've been asked by many about their business local listing not showing up on Google maps (in the A-G map pinpoints for example) and how to make that happen.

There are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Make sure your website has correct contact information (address, phone, email, etc.)
  2. Make sure your social media accounts have matching information (if your website and Facebook Business Page have different phone numbers listed that's going to confuse the search engines).
  3. Make sure you're keeping up with your social media accounts and posting - that's important for the search engines to see you're remaining active
  4. Make sure your Google+ / local listings through Google have correct contact information again and all matching
  5. Lastly, if steps 1-4 have been meet and you are still not appearing, please reference this information from Google regarding search relevance and proximity. https://support.google.com/business/answer/7091

It's important to note that you may see your map listing bounce around (appear and not appear). That's completely normal with Google. Try not to focus on it daily but rather as a whole. Are you providing enough info online (and accurate) for people to find you? Is your SEO in good shape? Is your website mobile-friendly? All these pieces go together as a whole to make the search engines happy.

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2000px WWW logo by Robert Cailliau.svgDid you know the world wide web is 26 years years old this year!? As I began researching to write a blog about the history, I decided instead to focus on the inventor and a little article I found.

Most non-techies identify the web as THE place to go when you want more information... whether it's the restaurant you need directions to or the business your friend told you about or those shoes you must have! Most of us techies, use it for those purposes, and then we also dig deeper and are always finding ways to utilize technology to improve the world around us.

In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee proposed the first World Wide Web project, while working at CERN!! The first documented website was launched on August 6, 1991 by Berners-Lee and explained the World Wide Web project, how to set up a website and set up a server. Check it out here - a very basic text site -  - http://info.cern.ch/.  CERN has now started a project to preserve the historical digital assets of the World Wide Web - http://first-website.web.cern.ch/. We sure have come a long way in 26 years! 

Responsive Web Design

As I continued my research I ran across a rather interesting article paralleling the history of architecture with that of website design. I appreciate architecture and so it made sense to me to compare building and website architecture. I found it interesting that the author mentions we could be headed back away from the rigid, orderly, display that responsiveness has given rise to in today's designs. Time to start branching out!

So instead of my own recount of history - Here is the article:

https://medium.com/@sall/the-future-of-web-design-is-hidden-in-the-history-of-architecture-1cc93ea854d0 @sall/the-future-of-web-design-is-hidden-in-the-history-of-architecture-1cc93ea854d0 

Here's another interesting little place to explore if you'd like to learn more:

http://www.evolutionoftheweb.com/

This is Tim Berners-Lee from 2014 (the 25th anniversary of the world wide web), talking about where things are now...

This one is from 2009 but still very interesting. I love how he tells the story of the birth of the internet

What do you think? Where do you think we are headed? What have you noticed over time as you have navigated as a consumer?

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Recently I’ve been asked, “what do I post on my Facebook Business Page. blog fbhelpI get tunnel vision and stuck.” My suggestion, use what you already know and have. Use your tools surrounding you. I’m sure you have a website (if not, talk to us), some type of informational brochure or handout, email newsletter or maybe even a blog. Pull information from there and put little “bites” on your Facebook Business Page to educate your audience. More than likely your customers are coming to your Page because you’re either (a) interesting (b) resourceful (c) educational.

You don’t need to be plastering information on your Facebook Business Page just to have something there. Remember the key is quality content. So maybe in a typical week you post three times. A team photo of your group in a meeting or working (something interesting). You share (still considered a “post”) information from one of your connected up partners on Facebook – maybe it’s a tip on how to speed up your computer processing (resourceful). Lastly, an informational tip from your services page on your website (educational).

Now you have three easy things for you post on your Page without giving yourself a headache.

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squirrel webMy business partner's husband recanted a story to us of a drive to work one day - He saw 2 squirrels crossing the road. One of them ran all the way to the other side and the other one couldn't decide what to do, freaked out, turned in circles and well....

So it got me thinking how that relates to decisions we make (or don't make) within our businesses especially since we work with a variety of businesses every day.  

As business owners we all go through it. We have decisions we have to make, some easy, some more challenging. Some worry what the effects will be, research a decision to the ends of the earth only to continue to stand in the middle of the road going nowhere. Some already have their mind made up and go running forward!

Like the squirrel, you have 3 choices:

1) Continue to play it safe and go back to the original side
2) Take a risk and run forward to the other side 
3) Do nothing and remain status quo ... you may get squashed

So what are we saying here?

Perfection is great, don’t get me wrong. Playing it safe is good too and weighing out all your options to a degree. However, procrastination will kill any business; there comes a time when you need to “Make a decision or move on” (there's another phrase I'd like to use here but won't to be polite). Doing nothing in business is really no way to run a business and certainly will not move you forward... in fact, you may end up squashed.

If you look out there in the world around us, it's the risk takers that have soared and made a difference. Some of the greats have even experienced massive fails yet they picked themselves back up, continued to take risks and succeeded.  

The truth is, if you don't make a decision, your competition has probably already made up their minds two times already! So now you’re behind the game and run the risk of losing market share.

414XFwBh3yL. SY300 Let me put it to you this way, so you have this new marketing idea and got all the pieces in place and ready to move forward. However, you’re not completely sure about everything 100% and need some time to think about it and make sure it’s "perfect." Then you get busy at work because well its work, and we’re all busy. Now you need a vacation because you’ve been working a lot. You come back from vacation and need a vacation from a vacation. You’re playing catch up. Then you get busy with work again. The holidays come around the corner, and now 6 months have gone by and you’ve done nothing with this fabulous marketing idea in place and ready to go. And really, what have you done for your business to grow it… nothing.

So what’s the price you pay for all that waiting, indecision and perfecting? A high probability of getting squashed. You can't be so afraid of making a mistake that you do nothing.

So be the one that ran like crazy to get out of oncoming traffic - that made it successfully to the other side. Take that leap of faith. Take the shot!  

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b2ap3_thumbnail_flower_newlife.jpgEaster holds many different meanings for a lot of us, depending on your individual journey.  Most importantly for me, it’s about new beginnings and newness of life. It is full of freshness and hope.

April 1 was our 11th year anniversary, I was baptized at an Easter vigil service as an infant and Easter is Sunday, April 5th. All of those special new life events combined so closely together this season, seemed an appropriate time to launch something new. So here begins my first entry and my fearless first step.

For me, Easter is the most special and sacred time of year. Everything about the season symbolizes death or the passing away of the old and the creation of new life… even more than the New Year. 

From the fresh leaves on the trees, bright green grass growing, bugs beginning to buzz to the beautiful blooming flowers and the pollen seen layered on our cars!  Most importantly [for me] it is about the rising of the Son, Jesus, after being crucified on the cross.  It is a reminder of how he loved us with such abandon that he suffered and died in order that we might live. Furthermore, it's a reminder to embrace life without fear.  You may or may not believe or share the same faith and that is perfectly ok. In fact, I’m grateful that I live in a country where I have the freedom to live out my own faith and you have the freedom to live out yours.  

Every year I spend a great deal of time in reflection, and asking for what I need to bring to the cross to surrender; what part of me must “die” in order that I may live? 

b2ap3_thumbnail_fearless-jpg.jpgThis year, it’s fear.   

Fear is powerful.  It can stop you in your tracks, delay you on your journey, make you second guess yourself and your decisions and generally wreak havoc on your goals. This year I am letting that go.

Regardless of your beliefs, I encourage you this season to ask yourself, what am I holding onto that is keeping me from moving forward personally and professionally? What is keeping me from my goals? All of us have something holding us back in some area. It’s what we choose to do with it that matters. Identify what it is, reflect on it and bring it to the cross, write it down and then rip it into shreds, or just talk to someone.  The point here is to do something to let it go; to let it die so you can blossom and come into a newness of life. Hanging onto it serves no purpose.

This Easter as you celebrate life with your loved ones, hunt for eggs and candy, attend church or watch a sports show; whatever you believe, whatever political party you reside in or whatever your thoughts and opinions are - Let this be a time of renewal professionally and personally.  Let us appreciate our differences, strive to understand the other perspective and begin anew with love in our hearts.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

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Phone: (800) 875-0380
Gainesville: (352) 275-5813
Orlando: (407) 413-9846
Email: sales@bludovedesigns.com
Support: support@bludovedesigns.com

Blu Dove Designs
4635 NW 53rd Avenue, Suite E-205
Gainesville, FL 32653

(Behind Publix in Bristol Park office complex)

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