Posts Tagged ‘Business Skills’

Three ways to connect with customers during the holiday season

Published by | Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Marketing during the holidays can feel more like a “holidaze” for business owners and marketers. The busyness of the season can make connecting with new and prospective customers seem like a challenge. Since the holiday season is a unique time of year, let’s look at opportunities to make your marketing unique and authentic as well:

#1: Focus on your brand experience through service
Keep in mind, a brand, more than just a name and logo, is an overall customer experience composed of your products, messaging, promotions, pricing, points of distribution, service, and more. Customer service is an important lever through which consumers can form positive associations with your brand and products. Fortunately, a good customer service experience can turn even potentially negative brand or product experiences into positive ones, such as creating positive word of mouth and building a compelling story of authenticity for your brand.

This holiday season is an ideal time of year to make first-rate customer service a priority. Promotions via email, social media messages, and online ads create a lot of noise on the web. Instead of trying to scream above the promotional noise, look at how you can quietly step up service. Give extra attention to the customers you have in your funnel with the best service possible. Service can be as simple as emailing your customers and providing them with relevant tips for this busy season, or asking them if there are ways you can help them.

#2: Focus on building relationships
Your best customers are often your current customers. Have you critically looked at opportunities to build the business with the business you have? Take time to identify your best customers and make sure those customers feel appreciated during the holiday season. If you choose to give gifts, make sure they are meaningful gifts unique to your relationship or your company. If you don’t have a large gift budget, I have seen framed certificates with “Customer of the Year” awarded to customers, and simple team photos emailed with a personal greeting. You can make a big difference by sharing positive news on your website, blog, or newsletter that can remind customers why they chose to work with you in the first place.

#3: Say “thank you”
If you are struggling with marketing messaging, then just focus on a heartfelt thank-you. A thank-you message can be shared as a blog post, delivered as an email, snail mailed as a personally written card, delivered on social media, and posted to your website.

Make your marketing matter this holiday season and approach things uniquely and authentically from the inside out. Bridge the art and science of marketing with a little heart to warm up your marketing!

Interested in more?

• Courses by Lorrie Thomas Ross on lynda.com
• All lynda.com Business Skills courses

Suggested courses to watch next:

• Insights from an Online Marketer
• Brand Building Basics
• Sales Skills Fundamentals

lynda.com Learning Path: Learning to make sense of data with Microsoft Excel

Published by | Friday, April 6th, 2012

Microsoft Excel is well-known as the industry-standard spreadsheet program, and it is really a veritable Swiss Army knife of an application. It can be used for anything from making a quick structured chart to a reasonably powerful database. The fact that it’s hard to pin down just how people want to use Excel—anything from managing finances to data presentation—is the precise reason our library is full of specialized Excel courses. So how do you find the courses that will suit your particular Excel needs best?

What if you’re not a math wiz and you just want to learn how to manage the deluge of data that’s coming your way? You could be trying to makes sense of painstaking measurements you’ve documented for your own personal goals, or you could be trying to wrangle a collection of raw numbers from your latest auto-generated sales report. Which of the lynda.com Excel courses are going to help you analyze those numbers so that you can communicate trends, build strategies, and create the justification for a call to action? In this learning path, I’ll take you through some key Excel courses designed specifically to help you manage your data so that it is accessible and useful to you in your life, your work, and your community.

 

1. Starting from square one: I just need to learn the core Excel features and where they live in my version of the program.
First things first, you need to know what Excel can do and how to access the tools that might help your project. Whether you’ve never used Excel before or you’ve only touched it when you absolutely had to, the best place to get started is with Excel portion of our Essential Training series. If you’re using the most current version of Excel, start with Excel 2010 Essential Training, or Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training, depending on your platform. If you haven’t updated to the latest version of Excel, we also have Excel 2007 Essential Training and Excel 2003 Essential Training available. Regardless of which course you choose, you’ll find everything you need to know to get started efficiently creating your first spreadsheet.

2. Sorting basics: I know how to create a spreadsheet, but I haven’t ever explored the key sorting features.
If you’ve only performed the most basic of A>Z sorts, then our course on Managing and Analyzing Data in Excel will help you understand Excel’s quick and sophisticated options for sorting your numbers. For instance, you can teach Excel to recognize non-numerical information like months, days, or other human-centered data. Here’s a movie from the course on sorting based on the order of data in custom lists:

3. Investigating new perspectives: I know how to perform basic ranking and sorting functions, but I need to quickly see the data from different angles.
When you have data that needs to be quickly analyzed from different perspectives, by year, by company, or against some other variable, a pivot table helps you dynamically rearrange your table data to find the answer you need. Our Excel 2010 course on Pivot Tables In Depth shows you how this powerful feature works. Even if you’ve never created a pivot table before, this course will walk you through the process. Check out this movie to see how they work and why they are so powerful for data analysis:

4. Preparing data for efficient and accurate analysis: I know how to use the tools, but the raw data I’m getting is inconsistent and in multiple formats.
Sometimes you get handed automatically generated, or humanly created information that comes in formats that Excel doesn’t quite know how to read efficiently, if at all. To get some important tips and workarounds for making sure this data is consistent enough to sort, check out Cleaning up Your Excel Data. Here’s a great example on how to create Excel-readable dates from an inefficient mixture of raw date formats:

5. Ensuring valid results: I can perform all the key analysis functions, but my file is huge and I don’t have a way to check my results.
Our Excel: Data Validation in Depth course is designed to reveal the various ways you can command Excel to double-check your results for accuracy. In this course, you’ll see how to use features within the program to perform validation on your outcomes. Check out this introductory video from the course to see what Excel tricks you can learn from Dennis Taylor:

Of course, beyond these five jumping-off points, there’s still an incredible amount to be learned about Excel, and we have a wide variety of courses to help you take your next steps. In the library, you’ll find that courses also have alternate options that coincide with earlier versions of Excel, so there’s a little bit of something for everyone. Speaking from personal experience, even as a Mac user, I know that sections of these courses have come to my own number-crunching rescue many times.

What sorts of tasks do you want to do in Excel? How can we help clear a path for you to get to that knowledge?

 

Interested in more?
• See all the Microsoft Excel courses available on lynda.com.

New interview format: Insights from a Business Coach

Published by | Friday, April 6th, 2012

We just launched Insights from a Business Coach and are eager to hear how you like its interview format. In the course, veteran business coach and author Dave Crenshaw answers common questions about starting and growing a business, including the basics of entrepreneurship, ways to foster great customer relationships, social media marketing tips, pitching to investors, and planning ahead.

Which tips did you find most helpful? What kinds of questions would you ask a business coach? We look forward to your comments and feedback!

Announcing lyndaEnterprise multi-user solution

Published by | Saturday, March 17th, 2012

LyndaEnterprise multi-user experience

Recently lynda.com released lyndaEnterprise, the newest lynda.com multi-user solution. lyndaEnterprise is an opportunity for any kind of company, whether you need to help designers keep their skills sharp, or your focus is more on smooth software transitions.

With lyndaEnterprise, employees quickly set up their own accounts from the company’s network without any setup administration. Members then get unlimited access to lynda.com anytime, anywhere, on PCs, Macs, tablets, and smartphones.

Intended for both beginners and experienced veterans, lyndaEnterprise allows employees to choose what to learn, set their own pace, and track their usage with course-tracking reports (which are available company-wide as well as individually).

 

If you’re interested in lyndaEnterprise or any of our multi-user products, use the Contact Us form on the lyndaEnterprise homepage to reach a Sales representative.

 

 

Developing your business savvy to become an invaluable team member

Published by | Friday, February 10th, 2012

Have you ever wished you knew the keys to excelling at your job, understanding your market, or connecting meaningfully with your customers? In our second course in the Invaluable series, Invaluable: Developing Your Business Savvy, Dave Crenshaw teaches you how to become a student of your company, your market, and your customers.

Business savvy is surely something we all intend to develop as we go about our daily jobs. But in the bustle of heavy workloads and demanding responsibilities, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the things that define long term excellence, customer connections, and a clear picture of the market.

For example, how would you answer the following questions?

  1. What does my company want from me?
  2. Where is my company headed, and how do I fit with its direction?
  3. What’s happening in my field, and how does that affect me?
  4. What’s my competition up to?
  5. Who is my customer, and how can I serve that customer?

When I took some time to ponder these questions, I was pleasantly surprised by the volume of insights I gleaned in a short amount of time. Whether you’re beginning a new career or hoping to grow in your current role, you’ll find that Invaluable: Developing Your Business Savvy is full of practical tips to help you explore questions like these.

The quest to become an invaluable professional is one that’s full of self-discovery, tough questions, and big rewards. Please let us know how you’re enjoying your journey in the comments section.

Becoming an invaluable asset: new five-part professional development series

Published by | Thursday, January 12th, 2012

We’re excited to kick off a five-part professional development series this week designed to help you cultivate the traits of an invaluable professional. With the help of author and business coach Dave Crenshaw, we built the series around five tangible goals: developing your abilities, becoming a student of your profession, focusing on the activities that bring high value to your company, improving your professional networking, and positioning yourself as a leading expert. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a new hire, this series is designed to help you unearth your full potential to contribute, innovate, and add value to your organization—right away and in the future.

The first segment of Dave Crenshaw’s Invaluable series, Invaluable: Unlocking Your Abilities, focuses on putting together a personal action plan that allows you to harness your natural talents, match your job responsibilities to those talents, and assess your performance. With an overarching focus on self-improvement, Dave shows how to develop yourself so that you can provide genuine and ongoing value to your organization.

Why not make 2012 the year you become the asset your organization can’t live without? Leave us a comment and let us know your aspirations for the coming year.


For more on Dave Crenshaw’s 
Invaluable series, watch out for these four upcoming installments:

February: Invaluable: Developing Your Business Savvy
March:
Invaluable: Making Yourself Irreplaceable
April: Invaluable: Building Professional Connections
May: Invaluable: Becoming a Leading Authority

 

 

Interested in more?
• The full Invaluable: Unlocking Your Abilities course on lynda.com
• All business courses on lynda.com
• All courses from Dave Crenshaw on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:
Creating an Effective Résumé
Effective Meetings
Time Management Fundamentals
LinkedIn Essential Training

Business presentations in PowerPoint: How do you think they can be improved?

Published by | Thursday, September 15th, 2011

As a follow-up to PowerPoint 2010 Essential Training, we’re working on an intermediate course that covers business presentation design and delivery with PowerPoint. We’d like to hear what you want improved in the presentations you’ve participated in, either as a creator, presenter, or an audience member.

1. Neon colors, background images, cartoonish fonts: what’s attractive or fun to the creator might give the audience a headache. In terms of design, what kinds of things make you cringe as an audience member?

2. If you create business presentations, what aspects of design do you struggle with?

3. Some presenters make you sit up and take notes. Others make you watch the clock. When it comes to the delivery of a presentation, what are your pet peeves—and your best memories?

4. If you give business presentations, in what ways would you like to improve your delivery skills?

Please share your thoughts on any or all of these questions in the comments, and your suggestions and questions will help shape this upcoming course. Thank you!

Creating an Effective Resume: A conversation with the author

Published by | Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Today we’re pleased to announce the release of a new course designed to help our members market their job skills, Creating an Effective Resume. In the course, lynda.com author Mariann Siegert shares insider recommendations—based on her experience with her own resume service and her interviews with numerous recruiters and hiring managers—for creating a resume that stands out from the crowd. The course covers how to target your resume toward specific employers; how to write your resume so that employers will want to read it; how to choose from the different ways to organize your resume and format each section; how to write titles for online searches and upload to resume banks and job sites like Monster.com; how to write cover letters and thank-you notes; and much more.

In the following video, Mariann answers resume questions that blog readers sent in or posted as comments. As you’ll see, Mariann is passionate about helping people, a passion that is reflected in all the useful tips and techniques in this course. Please let us know what you think!