Doing Small Business Together

The 4 Hour Work Week

The 4-Hour Work Week -- Have you guys heard of this?

I just finished his book. And yes, it really got me thinking...I'm working way too hard at this. I really need to start making smarter and "bigger" business decisions.
Contrary to popular belief, working harder is not equal to more money or success, working smarter is.

Being able to replace yourself and your duties is not only going to grow your business it's just plain smart.

Aside from the obvious reason, that it will eventually free up your time so you can spend it doing more things that matter to you, you need to be replaceable in case something actually HAPPENS to you that prevents you from working as much as you do now. 

Tim gives this scenario in his book, and asks if something happened to you and you actually couldn't work more then 4 hours in a week, what would you do?

So let's ponder this.

Working ourselves to death is not the answer. 
Automating tasks, creating systems, and outsourcing or at least delegating, is.

"working smarter means focusing on the areas in which you’re strongest—and letting go of things you’re doing for other reasons." 

A common misconception small business owners have is that they don't make enough to hire someone yet. That may be true, but it may not. You may be able to outsource to an independent contractor paying them $10/hour,  and charging the client $15/hour - just for example. Besides making money without doing any work and all of that awesomeness, now you've duplicated your productivity, since now you've freed up your time to do what you're best at or what you enjoy most about your business. 

When you really figure out how to nail this method you'll be on your way to growing your business. It's about creating "spill-proof" systems, proper training for those you are delegating to and excellent communication skills with everyone involved.

The idea behind all of this is not to replace yourself completely out of working all together so we can live like lazy bums. But as a small business owner, its too easy to get into a vicious cycle of working 10-12 hour days or more! As well as working on any days off we might have had. Greg and I totally get it. When we owned the carpet cleaning business, this was him for sure. We were hoping to see more of him, since he was leaving the oil fields in North Dakota and a rotation of 2 weeks on, 5 days off,  but after a year of carpet cleaning 12 hour days 6-7 days a week, we started to realize we actually saw him MORE when he worked halfway across the country, 8 months out of the year!

"Working smart comes down to finding the most efficient and effective ways to reach your goals. This often includes leveraging other people or resources and utilizing self-awareness to build on strengths and delegate when appropriate. The more self-awareness you gain about your work style, the more you can find ways to work smarter, not harder and finally achieve the work-life balance you desire."*

I hope some of this was helpful.

Here is a link to his website:


*Rachel Dresdale (Forbes)

Taking Back Your Time

Taking Back Your Time

Have you ever felt as if you're just living life on the defense? If you're a small business owner and/or a parent, life definitely has the tendency to feel this way.

I know I feel this way most of the time; like my list of things to do never ends. Like the waters of life are drowning me.

After dropping the kids off at school, I am left with 3 hours. 3 hours to do some chores, get a work out in. I'm a Christian, so I really needed some prayer/bible time, and of course I need most of the time to get the business work done that seems to pile up day after day. Because once the kids got home, my time to work dropped in quality. I was constantly needing to tend to them, make sure they were doing their homework, and then of course, cook and clean and be a good house-wife as well.

Let me just say that 3 hours is not nearly enough time. And since work was piling up, that was starting to take priority over everything.

And as a result many aspects of my life were suffering. My health, my spiritual time, and my time for my children.

I was drowning.

I needed a solution.

You need to control your time, or it will control you

I decided that if I don't control my time, that it will control me, as it had been doing.

And so I devised a schedule for myself.
It maps out my typical day.

For example:
From 8:30am-9am Excercise
9am-9:30 Chores
and so on..

While this may seem like an obvious and simple solution, the truth is, it has helped me tremendously.

Now when I get back from dropping the kids off, I fight my tendency to want to get right into washing my dishes and instead I discipline myself to follow my schedule and spend my first portion of time to reading the Bible. Once I'm through I can ease my OCD, and clean up the house. And so on.

The end of my days feel much more accomplished.

Instead of dwelling on what I didn't do that I wanted to, I can feel good about sticking to my schedule and checking everything off.

Will this method work for everyone? Probably not.

I'm sure there are people that just hate that rigidity or just know there's no way they would stick to it.
But I tell you if you at least try, you may be surprised at how you can control your time much more efficiently and accomplish so much more.

Do you have any suggestions for better time management? I would love to hear.


Keep it FRESH!

Keep It Fresh!

Being a small business owner typically leaves us with very little extra time. So the thought of having an employee that works for you 24/7 - namely your website, is a nice welcome relief. And it may be tempting to leave that employee alone to do it's work. But even the best of employees need some maintenance.

Neglecting the upkeep of your website can be detrimental to your Google ranking. Google is constantly seeking the best, the hippest, and the freshest content to deliver to it's searchers. Websites that are stale or simply have no new content will start to drop in ranking.

Here are few quick ways to keep your website updated with fresh content:

Start a Blog
Exquisite Pixel Designs software utilizes, which works with your gmail account. Simply log into your gmail account and go to to start your blog. Then get started by writing about things your website visitors would find valuable. Be sure to include photos (people like that).
Once you've set up your blogger and created a post or 2, let us know, and we will embed the blog into your website.
Now, every time you create a post on your blogger, it will auto feed into your website. And voila! Fresh new content onto your website.

Social Media

Depending on the social media you are using, you can get an embedded widget into your website and it will auto feed all of your posts. We can do this with Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. (But ask us if you need another social media avenue embedded and we will see what we can do!)

With this widget embedded, every new post from your social media will show up automatically on your website. This will update your website without you ever having to log in.
If you wish to have a social media feed widget in your website, let us know!

Create a Coupon

Our software allows you to add in a variety of elements into your website. If you do not yet have the ability to log into your website, let us know, and we'll get you your log in credentials to you.
Once you're in the back-end of your site, add a "coupon" component. Make it whatever type of special you want.  And then select the option for auto-renew. This will keep this component updated, notifying Google bots that there's something being updated on your website. I wouldn't say this is the best way to keep your site updated, but it will work in a pinch!


Depending on your type of industry, you may want to consider embedding some type of rss feed. For example, if you're in the food industry, you may want to add in a recipe rss feed. Maybe a news feed with relative information would best fit your industry. Maybe just a famous blog. Whatever you want to put in, just let us know and we'll get it in your website for you. Then just let the feed do all of the work of updating your website. Really quick! Really effortless!

Just Update Content

This is probably the most obvious, but every once in a while, log into your website and update it with a paragraph or 2. Make sure to add in keywords and the area your service! Google bots love this!

For more information about keywords and SEO, read our post HERE.

You can always add your most recent photos into a gallery or slideshow. Make sure your prices are accurate. Make sure your policies are current. If you have an e-commerce site, it is very important that inventory is accurate as well as pricing. The last thing you want is a customer to buy something that's not actually for sale anymore!

Maybe you've just created a new video, put it in your website! Maybe there's an event going on in your area, add an event component.
Just acquired a new customer testimonial? Put it in your website!

Keep that 24/7 employee updated! And you'll reap the benefits.

 If you prefer not to actually log in and make these changes, no worries! Just shoot us an email, and we'll make them for you!

So there you have it. Some quick ideas to get your website fresh and fun!

Have something to add? Leave it in the comments below.


What Is SEO?

 What is SEO exactly?

Say you own the cutest shop in the world. You sell amazing items, it's decorated perfectly. There's just one're situated on a mountain top all by yourself, and nobody knows you're there.

Having the flashiest, coolest looking website means nothing if nobody can find you. That's where SEO comes in. SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is a combination of embedding keywords, sprinkling keywords throughout your content, adding alt text to your images, adding the correct kind of description and titles, and submitting your website to major search engines along with a few other things. Most of SEO is the job of your web designer.

Once you get a website, it should take roughly 3-6 months from time of launch and submission for it to be indexed by search bots. In other words, give your website at least this amount of time for it to come up in web searches.

Does this mean in 6 months your website will be listed in spot #1 in Google for your keywords? More then likely not. But it is possible that it will come up on the first page, if everything has been done correctly.

At Exquisite Pixel Designs, we build SEO into your website using the most relevant and most popular search terms for your industry and location. We have a variety of other tools we use to help your website perform the best that it can, and overall, have great success with our websites and search engines.

And while we have made the most of the content you have provided us for your website, it's important to note that bots love lots of content! So beef up the content on your website whenever you can. Stretch your thinking and start writing about what it is you offer! Insert as much information as you can onto each of your pages. Make sure to include keywords that your target market may be searching for. Update the content at least once a month! Read more about ways you can "keep your content and website fresh!" HERE.

Links from other websites that point to your website help your website reputation. When you're on a relevant blog, you can leave your website. But don't overdo this, or you'll get penalized.
You can also make sure you list your website on your social media avenues, and business directory websites. Read more about where to list your website HERE.

You can also ask someone who has a website if they can link your website on theirs and you can do the same for them! Find industries that are compatible with yours, and not necessarily your competition. This is called backlinking.

All of these are going to help with your website's SEO, aside from what we have already built in. Please be patient with your website and it's performance. Search bots are going to give priority to the websites competing with you that have been around longer and who have hired SEO companies working around the clock for them. And it is going to take some work for your website to make it's way higher in a search. But nothing good comes easy right?

And even though the basics of SEO tend to remain the same, algorithms are always changing, and it's near impossible for any SEO or web design company to know the exact secret recipe for getting and staying in the top position, so no company is going to promise this.

Alright, that's it for this post! As always, we don't stop until you are 100% satisfied, so please let us know how we can serve you!


“Yes” is the answer, what is the question

Recently I was browsing jobs posted onto Craigslist and I stumbled across a job fair for a brand new restaurant opening in La Jolla, at a high end mall. The casual chain restaurant, True Food Kitchen, caught my eye immediately with their fresh, healthy menu, though I had not planned on entering into a kitchen for work any time soon.  I decided to look at this businesses website and soon discovered a company that had a great concept developed by two men with a grand vision.  True Food Kitchenwas exploding as a company and I decided then that I wanted to be part of the hype.  As I went through the hiring process, paper work days and orientation, I quickly realized that this is not your everyday run of the mill establishment.  These people were helpful, polite, humble and ready to serve at the highest levels, and I knew I would fit in. 

As they spoke of the “Answer” I was quickly reminded of a story I heard one day while listening to a podcast, probably either The Ziglar Show or Entreleadership.  I didn’t remember the man’s name, but I remember the story very clearly.  It was about an egg, and this egg cost the restaurant owner at least $6000.  His name is Todd Duncan and he spoke of an experience at a restaurant that left a very bad taste in his mouth, and he didn’t even eat.  Todd and his wife Deb had such an awful experience at one of their favorite eateries, that they vowed never to return there again.  Now we really don’t know both sides of the story, but I will take his word for it at this point since it is a great lesson. 

I do not want to give away the story, but you can read about the encounter here.  I will say that his $6000 estimate seems extremely low, considering all of the people that have heard the story on various podcasts, through reading his book, word of mouth or any other channel.  Please be sure to stop and read at least the article explaining the situation on his website or order his book at

So back to True Food Kitchen and the reason I thought of the egg.  The management at TFK has a philosophy that goes like this, “Yes” is the answer, what is the question.  This is simple, how can I make you the most important person here right now?  How can I go out of my way to make sure that you are satisfied at a 200% level? 

You see, every single one of us is in the customer service business, and it does not matter if you have regular clients, or you see only a computer screen and sometimes a bank teller, you are still in business of serving somebody in order to get paid.  If you are unwilling to make your end user happy, then they are going to be unwilling to refer you to the gigantic pool of friends, family and others that may stumble across the story.  And to our detriment, if we are unwilling to fix the issue, whether it is a $.50 egg, a $50.00 misprint, or a thousand dollar crack in a slab, that client will let many people know that you are not a great person to work with.  That last statement is almost a guarantee and in today’s technology stage, that disappointment will go far and wide across Facebook or Yelp, very quickly. Enough of those, and your business efforts just became an uphill struggle. 
       Which brings us to the solution point of this potential problem.  I would start out by saying that in order to become the best in your field, be willing to bend over backwards (within reason), even for your most difficult clients.  If you cannot do that for them, be up front and honest about the policy you have in place and give them an opportunity to choose somebody that can better suit their needs. 

Many times we try and be everything to everybody, and that doesn’t always help our business.  Have the policy in writing and share it with them at the onset of your relationship, changing who they think you are in the middle of an ongoing project can create a downward spiral.  If things do go awry between you and your client, it would be greatly beneficial to you and your team if you had a system in place to quickly handle the problem and ease the client of their worries, concerns or complaints, before they get to the keyboard.   My service business hands out a friendly card that states we have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, asking the client to allow us the opportunity to address their unhappiness.  At the same time it asks all clients that are ecstatic about their service to please leave us great reviews on the internet. 

The bottom line is that consumers have plenty of choices amongst the sea of small businesses surrounding them on a daily basis.  If you give them an excuse, they will leave you, taking their money with them and leaving a trail of bad reviews behind them.  We should be willing to do our work to the finest possible level, while being the kindest person to walk this earth.  This attitude and walk will have your target audience beating down your door.  

Exquisite Pixel Designs

9 Free Online Directories to List your Small Business


The days when you call up your local phone book to get your business listed are just about over. Very few, people actually still do this. And that, of course, is because we now live in a digital world. We actually still had our other business listed in the old school yellow pages for a while, but after tracking where our calls were coming from, it was clear that, for the price we paid, it simply wasn't worth it. There are too many free ways to get your business out there, and they should really be taken advantage of! It takes a little time to set up, but consider it an investment.

Free business listing sites increase your company’s online exposure and help improve your local search ranking results in major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. 

This post will be your resource/checklist for getting your new business AND new business's website in the free listing websites available. Getting your business and website listed is important for the obvious reason, but it's also important if you have just recently gotten your new website up and running. The reason is because it takes time for your new website to start appearing in searches (roughly 6 months), and so, in the mean time, you'll need to do things like this to help drive traffic to your website, and also create external back links that help (a little) in bringing your website up to the top of search engines.

Here is a list of where you should start a (typically) free account, and list your business. Click on each one to be taken to the page.

1. - Here we have the digital version of the paper book we used to receive on our doorstep. I'm not really sure why one would opt to pay (several hundred) to be listed in the book, when you can claim your free listing online, but, to each his own.

2. -Manta is a nice, user friendly listing website that allows you to list your business. The receive 30 million visitors per month. You can claim your listing, add your logo, your photos, and don't forget to add your website link!

3. - Yelp is the go to for consumers, and also tends to appear towards the top of searches, so it is very important to start a listing with them, and work hard to get amazing reviews!

4. google - Google receives nearly 6 million searches daily, so this should be a priority to get listed with. You can add your logo, photos, coupons, see site stats, and respond to customer reviews.

5. Bing - Bing is the 2nd most popular search engine, so it's important to list your business, and website link here. You can also upload photos, deals, menus and more.

6. Mapquest - If you own a brick and morter, you'll want to get onto listing websites like mapquest. (Note, this may require a subscription)

7. Superpages - Superpages is an online business directory offering local business listings, reviews and advertising solutions. 

8. Merchantcircle - Merchantcircle is an online business directory specific to small business. You can claim your listing, add coupons and more.

9. Angie's list - Angie's list has 2 million paying members who read and review. If you fall within certain categories you can claim your free listing. Angie's list is ideal for home improvement, auto, health, pets or other various services.

This is just some of the listing websites out there. There are also many more for specific industries. For example a restaurant may want to get listed with Zamato , Openmenu , or Zmenu.

For information on how to build your social media, please check out our post on 3 important points - Social media for small business

That's all for now. Please feel free to leave any other helpful information in the comments below

Small Business Owner Struggles

It is the hope and mission of Exquisite Pixel Designs to bring you great looking, user friendly websites that will help you grow your business by getting your message out to a larger audience.  We also care about you as a business owner and know that it isn’t easy.  That is why we will bring you great resources that will help you figure it out.  Please enjoy this quick read and if you know anybody that may need this information, feel free to pass it on. Read More...

3 Reasons Websites are VITAL for businesses via

First Impressions Count 

Let’s face it – we live in a world where people Google before they shop, visit online review sites like Yelp before they buy and “check-in” via Facebook as they go about their days. Because of this, you want your first impression to be the best it can be. Read More

Why Do I Need A Website?

Reason #1 – Online brochure
Companies spend millions creating brochures and distributing them. By having a website you can skip that entirely. Read More

Isn't a Facebook page enough?

Facebook recently announced there are currently 40 million active small business pages on its service, which shouldn’t come as that big of a shock to anyone. Creating a Facebook business page is free and provides you with access to a user base roughly the size of the population of China.

Armed with this knowledge, it is reasonable to assume that many small business owners would forgo the effort of building a website and simply rely on what the largest social media network of all time can give them at no cost. But is a Facebook page really enough?

Well, let’s explore that idea. A Facebook business page does have some limitations. Granted, it’s an excellent way to engage with your user base, as long as they want to engage with you. If you can get someone to “like” your page, that’s great. You’ve clearly shown enough value to your customer that they want to hear more about what’s going on with your business – at least in the short term.

However, if someone begins to grow weary of seeing your posts, doesn’t engage with them, and stops visiting your page to learn about the latest goings-on, Facebook will begin to take your posts out of your previously-engaged customer’s News Feed. Once that happens, you need to start paying to promote posts to people who have liked you, or begin advertising (which of course, isn’t free) to engage new users.

Another limitation to a Facebook business page is a lack of brand control. Yes, you can put your background photo on it, and yes, you can have your logo as the profile picture. Your posts have your voice and the photos show off who you are and the services you provide. But it’s still a Facebook page and will never give the complete brand experience that a dedicated website will.

Also, valuable information isn’t always readily available right when a user lands on the page. Your address may be there, along with your phone number and a Yelp page, but that isn’t necessarily enough. Many potential customers want to learn a little more about who you are and what you’re about. In comparison, a dedicated website enables you to completely control your brand and acts as a main hub on the web where interested, potential customers can go for all the information they’re looking for.

A dedicated website also has Google search on its side. It’s true a Facebook page can be found via a search engine, but it doesn’t provide the same comprehensive SEO control of a dedicated website. This point should not be overlooked. A website enables you to tailor your content to the exact kind of phrases and keywords your potential customers are searching for, compared to a Facebook page that is limited in this aspect. Showing up as highly as possible in online searches is a critical component of any business’ acquisition strategy.

In short, should you have a Facebook page for your small business? Yes, absolutely. It’s free and it’s brand exposure. Is it enough? Probably not. To create the kind of digital presence that is required for a small business to succeed in today’s world, a dedicated website isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity.

(Reference: Itai Sadan, AdWeek)