2 BestPracticesGuide.com is a website created by Mike Mann, the founder of several successful, active, for- profit corporations. Three of these corporations were listed among the 2012 fastest growing companies in America, Phone.com, DomainMarket.com and SEO.com. A couple other additions to Mike s portfolio include PRMarketing.com andpureppc.com. In many cases his companies exchange resources, talent and technologies in their never- ending quest to deliver innovative, profitable digital products and services. Mike is also the author of Make Millions and Make Change!, a book focused on making money in business so we can better serve society. In this book, Mike has identified many fundamental best practices for any business. BestPracticesGuide.com is an extension of Mike s philosophy, which includes consistently researching and refining best practices in all aspects of business. Best practices can be researched and applied at all levels of a business, from top- level strategy to macro- level a/b testing of website elements. Innovation rarely comes from one independent idea or person. More often it comes from applying winning principles and best practices gleaned from past trial and error. Innovation results from best practices rigorously tested over time. This, coupled with honesty, integrity, and a strong work ethic is a proven recipe for success. For the latest best practices please visit the site BestPracticesGuide.com
3 Table of Contents Table of Contents... 3 Introduction... 4 Company Divisions... 4 Company Management Roles... 5 Client Service Operations... 6 Client Service Operations Checklist... 6 Research & Development... 7 Research & Development (R&D) Checklist... 8 Finance Finance Checklist Human Resource Human Resources (HR) Checklist Online Leadgen Online Leadgen Checklist Conversion Conversion Checklist Upselling, Cross- Selling, Retention & Referrals Upselling, Cross- Selling, Retention & Referrals (UCRR) Checklist Vertical and Geographic Leadgen and Conversion Vertical and Geographic Leadgen and Conversion Checklist The President The President s Checklist Layers Layer 1 Foundation for Success Layer 2 Engage Sister Companies Layer 3 Provide Added Value Layer 4 Approach Your Marketplace Layer 5 Expand Your Influence... 37
4 Introduction BestPracticesGuide.com is a developing resource that includes researched and refined best practices in all aspects of business. Mike Mann company leaders adhere to these best practices and a 5- layer process as they develop their businesses. You are welcome to share your best practices with us by pasting them into our suggestion tool. We have described company divisions below. Each of these divisions are headed by a vice president, or other appropriate leader until that role can be filled by a VP. Each division has its own set of best practices. This resource is organized by these divisions with a corresponding Best Practices Checklist for each division. Company Divisions Client Service Operations Works only with paid clients under contract, delivering the very best quality services, exclusively within company s service suite, as described online and in its business plan. Research & Development (R&D) Manages all technologies and trials internally for the company, not servicing clients. Creates apps, tech, new ideas, and A/B tests. Finance Covers business planning, projections, reports, fundraising, cash flow, A/R and A/P, etc. Helps manage VP of HR accordingly. Human Resources (HR) Manages all staff recruitment, payments, retention, documentation, training, growth and benefits. Helps manage certain aspects of daily operations under the leadership of the VP of Finance. Online Leadgen Develops and dynamically manages all social, webdev, SEO, PPC, PR/marketing, resellers, content, webinars, newsletters, and blogs for the company, not customers.
5 Conversion In charge of the lead and closing down the sales cycle once it comes in the door, via online processes or appointment setting calls, i.e., they are in charge of every inbound leads that hits the phones, forms, or s, and anyone forwards them. Upselling, Cross-selling, Retention & Referrals (UCRR) Upselling (providing more of the company s core service), Cross- selling (outsourcing services in service suite within our family or an outside trustworthy source who shares the revenue), Retention (keeping a client is cheaper and this is a check and balance to service department effectiveness), and Referrals (get them to refer more new business leads to forward to conversion department). Vertical and Geographic Leadgen and Conversion These are real sales leaders or teams either employed or contracted out that generate their own leads on the phone and in person and close their own deals, not online leads unless they generated them via alternative methods outside our VP of Online Leadgen purview. All Divisions Each division and web site should hire General Managers to manage a variety of well- tuned teams in Philippines or India for any required services that fit in your business model; with each task placed in Basecamp to share, evolve and complete with other stakeholders and teams accordingly. Company Management Roles The President will control the company on a team with the CEO and the boards of directors and advisors; and delegate as much as possible to the leaders of each department. They will hire General Managers for explicit goals when necessary who will have their own accountable teams of generalists, specialists, and leaders in a potentially less structured environment to solve immediate goals and operate skunk works for apps and marketing ideas. These roles delegate all other roles and tasks down the org chart hierarchy, but are the final accountable parties for the overall plan and each action item. If any section of the org chart is left empty all those roles are naturally still the responsibility of
6 management directly above, otherwise they are properly delegated and accounted for within the completed structure. Each team will have its own Key Performance Indicators/Analytics (KPIs), budgets, P&L, and best practices to evolve through and report on, as well as many items that are shared between departments. They should have a master chart that includes every analytic they need to track, broken down by department, and report every week on changes in each tracked item. Client Service Operations Works only with paid clients under contract, delivering the very best quality services, exclusively within company s service suite, as described online and in its business plan. They can provide the actual service in house or outsource it following consensus best practices. All team working hours and services should be billable, and paid by customers under contract. Contracts all come from finance department. This team provides all services delivered to all customers at all layers, and works with heads of other teams in the natural symbiotic flow of businesses following best practices. They do not deal with leads and do not do upselling, cross- selling or reselling. To the extent it fails at retention the retention team is a check and balance. This team may provide technology to customers as part of its service suite (as developed and trained by R&D department) but does not do any R&D or A/B testing itself outside of servicing ordinary client contracts. They communicate and share with other leadership extensively, reaching consensus to dynamically optimize overall day to day operations for the interests of stakeholders; mainly working together on best practices research, customer service, and any decent profit- seeking initiatives. They are all selling and servicing the exact same service suite together within the same five layers, to the same customers. Client Service Operations Checklist 1. Identify key metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPI s) to track things for your division.
7 2. Put KPIs in your internal control panel. Use format https://internal.mydomain.com a. Track i. Total customers by service area b. Note changes in metrics since last period i. Figure out deviations ii. Distribute links to your data on schedule via and automate in Google Analytics 3. Find your preferred CRM software. Consider SalesForce, Zurmo, or SugarCR 4. Make a client list to: a. Track new customers b. Track existing customers c. List total customers by service area 5. Consider customer service tools like: a. Request Tracker b. EZ- Ticket c. PHP Ticket d. Helpdesk Pilot e. Kayako f. Revelation helpdesk 6. Contemplate product fulfillment: a. Consider drop shipping. Check out Doba for outsourced drop shipping b. Figure out if you need one vendor or multivendor xml integration c. Consider white labeling Research & Development Research and Development manages all technologies and trials internally for the company, not servicing clients. Creates apps, tech, new ideas, and A/B tests. Innovates for profits. Creates explicit custom services to add to service suite online and in business plan, and trains all staff to sell and service accordingly. (Manages networks, software, and PCs. HR department trains on commercial apps required to run our businesses like Salesforce.com, Basecamp, Harvest, etc.) This role and staff may be outsourced within our family. This department provides a Sales Engineer to the Conversion department for complex deals.
8 Research & Development (R&D) Checklist 1. Set up Basic Software Tools a. Accounting Software. Consider Quickbooks i. Chart of Accounts ii. President s user access b. Basecamp for project management software c. Harvest for billing software d. SalesForce.com for CRM software 2. Set up internet presence a. Acquire domain and host Check out DomainMarket.com for domain names and b. Google account i. General administrator address ii. President address iii. Consider setting IMAP or POP3 with Outlook or other program iv. Secure and other data transfers with SSL v. Encrypt sensitive s 3. Look into application development tools. Consider: a. Codeigniter b. Zend c. Use Webkit to integrate with a number of mobile devices. 4. Figure out how to dynamically deliver your site content to various users and subscribers 5. Develop with: a..net b. C# c. VB d. LAMP e. PHP f. Java g. JSP h. Ajax i. Flex j. Ruby k. Dojo
9 l. RSS m. XML n. XSLT o. Flash p. Silverlight q. HTML5 6. Put encryption on your site, try: a. TRUSTe b. thawte c. Verisign 7. Outline your long term plans for hosting and bandwidth, consider: a. Amazon AWS hosting service 8. Figure out your longer term network infrastructure needs 9. Determine if you need: a. Backups b. Redundancy c. Monitoring d. Code repositories e. Version control 10. Choose PC Management a. Acronis True Image b. Carbonite c. Backup Exec 11. Select a way to share and/or store larger files for remote access, consider: a. YouSendIt b. GoogleDrive c. TeamViewer d. LogMeIn e. GoToMyPC f. yousendit g. DropBox h. File Dropper i. Copy.com 12. Get virus/firewall control, consider: a. ZoneAlarm b. Norton
10 c. Kaspersky d. McAfee e. Comodo 13. Create flash tour storyboards 14. Create flash presentations 15. Document your testing including: a. Methodology b. Functionality c. Load d. Performance e. Stress f. Volume g. Security h. Usability i. Localization j. Data migration k. Automated tests 16. Ensure your domain is up- to- date 17. Figure out if there are ancillary domains for protection 18. Discover if there are any other IP dev or protection 19. Learn if you have control and backups of all your code and intellectual property 20. Figure out if you have the ability to sublicense or reuse for other sites 21. If you will manage a mail server for your site, look into Spam Assassin andsorbs lists 22. Use Phone.com to help you set up your office phone service 23. Look into ecommerce tools you may consider the following: a. Shopping Cart / Store Solutions i. X- CART ii. Ubercart iii. Zen Cart iv. Magento v. oscommerce b. SSL Certificates i. DigiCert ii. Instant SSL c. Merchant Accounts / Payment Systems
11 i. TransFreedom ii. Google Checkout iii. Authorize.Net iv. PayPal v. Amazon Payments vi. x.commerce vii. PaySimple d. Coupon Solutions i. RetailMeNot ii. Coupons.com iii. SmartSource 24. You will want to back up your site, this is very important in case you have a server failure, database corruption, virus, natural disaster or a number of other issues. We recommend using the following with your site if using wordpress a. BackUpWordPress Simple automated backups of your WordPress powered website to backup files only, your database only or both at schedules times set by you. Receive a notification when a backup completes, if the backup is small enough (< 10mb) then it will be attached to the . b. WordPress Importer Import posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, tags and more from a WordPress export file. c. WP- Migrate- DB Exports your database as a MySQL data dump (much like phpmyadmin), does a find and replace on URLs and file paths, then allows you to save it to your computer. d. WPTwin.com A paid service that makes back- ups. They do it all for you and even makes a clone of your wordpress site for you. e. PMC Edit Lock Marker Marks the posts or pages on the edit.php page with a red background that are currently being edited. 25. Implement WordPress plugins that will make your site more effective 26. Implement SEO plugins 27. Decide if GeoIP tagging is useful for your organization 28. Leverage your applications 29. Leverage widgets
12 30. Leverage middleware 31. Leverage APIs 32. Install viral software a. Place viral links at key points on your web pages, s, and other user interfaces. Try Open Inviter. b. Link within: c. Signup pages d. s e. Internal control panel spots f. Newsletters g. Blogs h. Unique PPC landing pages i. SOE landing pages Finance Finance covers business planning, projections, reports, fundraising, cashflow, A/R and A/P, etc. Helps manage VP of HR accordingly. All finance and HR related services can be outsourced to IntegratedFinancial.com or completed in house. All completed paid client contracts in good standing come from this finance department go to the VP of Client Service Operations. They also tell each other well in advance if services need to be discontinued to any customer so their teams use proper procedures and precautions. Finance Checklist 1. Set up Financing Agreements a. Loan agreements b. Shareholder agreements i. Board and decision maker process 2. Mergers and Acquisitions a. Part of your Business Plan may include acquiring new companies as well as merging with another company as an exit strategy. Use a checklist when investigating companies you may want to acquire. Here is a Due Diligence Checklist 3. Set up Banking Relationship a. Bank account b. Online access
13 c. Debit card d. Order check stock 4. Identify key metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPI s) to track things for your division. 5. Put KPIs in your internal control panel. Use format https://internal.mydomain.com a. Track i. Revenue by service area ii. Gross margins iii. Free cash flow b. Note changes in metrics since last period i. Figure out deviations ii. Distribute links to your data on schedule via and automate in Google Analytics 6. Create a financial report including: a. Revenue by service area b. Gross margins c. Free cash flow d. ROI by lead source Human Resource Human Resources (HR) manages all staff recruitment, payments, retention, documentation, training, growth and benefits. Helps manage certain aspects of daily operations under the leadership of the VP of Finance. HR department teaches itself and trains everyone on apps required to run our businesses like Salesforce.com, Basecamp, Harvest, etc. This can be outsourced within our family to ProHR.com or provided in house. Human Resources (HR) Checklist 1. Set up Payroll a. State unemployment account b. State withholding account c. Secure payroll provider 2. Set up Business Insurance a. General liability insurance
14 b. Workers compensation insurance 3. Set up Employees in Payroll a. Supply employee information to payroll provider 4. Set up Employee Benefit Packages a. Medical insurance b. Dental insurance c. Vision insurance d. 401k plan e. PTO policy f. Supplemental benefits g. Company stock option plan 5. Set up Human Resources a. Hiring plan - Top 10 Universal Hiring Best Practices b. Recruiting plan. Consider using a site like to post your job offerings consider the following when posting jobs: i. GlassDoor It costs $99 per month to post on glassdoor.com ii. Craigslist For San Francisco the fee is $75 for one job For New York & South Florida the fee is $25 For the Philippines, FREE iii. Indeed Pay Per Click They give you $50. Most clicks cost between $0.25 $1.50 Set your Maximum cost- per- click and budget Philippines: Free Job Posting iv. LinkedIn San Francisco & New York: 1 Posting $295 for 30 days 5- Job Pack $230 per job 10 job Pack $175 per job Florida: 1 Posting $195 for 30 days 5- job Pack $155 per job 10- job pack $125 per job v. Monster Post anywhere for 30 days in one location $375 2 locations $365 each 3 locations $355 each 4 locations $335 each 5-9 locations $305 each
15 vi. Simply Hired 15 days $69 per post 30 days $99 per post or 30 days with maximum visibility for $100 per post vii. SkillPages.com (FREE for ALL) viii. CareerBuilder.com (for one month, multiple edits allowed)1 Job $ Jobs $ Jobs $ Jobs $ Jobs $ Jobs $ Jobs $ Jobs $176 ix. Vault.com Free to post jobs on this site x. JobsDB (US and Philippines)Standard Rate: 1 Job Posting (1month) $86.15 (Php 3,360) Post all you want: Unlimited Job Postings 1 month = $287 6 months = $1, months = $2, xi. 50statejobs.com For NY Locally, you can post free of charge to and will be seen on NYJobSource.com xii. sanfranjobs.com For San Francisco, the website charges $275 per post for 60 days. Also San Francisco Chronicle (Paper) which uses Monter for their classifieds. xiii. The Sun Sentinal For the south of Florida, looks a little expensive with one posting for $419 and 2-3 for $390 each. xiv. Jobstreet.com 1 Job $ for 1 month (Philippines only) c. Consider hiring overseas such as the Philippines i. Check out Steven s Experiences in Philippines ii. Consider using documents like these 1. Freelancer Contract 2. Regular Employee Notice 3. Staff Contract 4. Company Policies 5. Company Rules
16 6. Sick Leave / Vacation Leave d. Standardize i. Offer letters 1. Sample Part Time Offer Letter 2. Sample Full Time Offer Letter 3. Sample Executive Offer Letter 4. Sample Contractor Letter ii. Non- disclosure, Non- compete and Operating agreement 1. Sample Consultant Service, Confidentiality, and Non- Compete Agreement e. Employee Handbook 6. Create a staff directory with job descriptions Online Leadgen Online Leadgen develops and dynamically manages all social, webdev, SEO, PPC, PR/marketing, resellers, content, webinars, newsletters, and blogs for the company, not customers. Each area should develop its own team with leadership, and best practices to create and measure extensive evolving leadflow. Greater number of leads each day in each service area, and a higher conversion rate each day is the goal. Some functions may be outsourced. Online Leadgen Checklist 1. Find a public website CMS. Consider WordPress or other open source content management systems 2. Create a call to action (CTA) for your: a. Company b. Website c. Brand d. Special offer e. Landing page 3. Find what products and landing pages lack clear calls to action (CTA) or offerings and why
17 4. Fix the products and landing pages to include a clear branded call to action. 5. Identify key metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPI s) to track things for your division. 6. Put KPIs in your internal control panel. Use format https://internal.mydomain.com a. Track i. Website visitors ii. Unique visitors iii. Search visits iv. Search Keywords v. Contact form hits vi. Lead source vii. Leads by lead source and page viii. New visitors verse returning visitors ix. Track goal conversion x. Top Content xi. Top landing pages xii. Bounce rate xiii. Top traffic sources 7. Note changes in metrics since last period a. Figure out deviations b. Distribute links to your data on schedule via and automate in Google Analytics 8. Try out several inexpensive usability reviews for your website one at a time, and fix the site based on the feedback. Try: a. Benevolabs.com b. UserCentric.com c. UserTesting d. UserVoice e. Usability Institute f. Boagworld g. LiveBall h. Vertster i. UTest 9. Start marketing campaigns by using one of the following: a. ConstantContact b. MailChimp
18 c. GetResponse d. AWeber 10. Ensure your site is easy for consumers to find what they want, when they want it, for any product 11. Consider WordPress for your website, which contains thousands of pluginsand themes you can use for free Here are some additional theme websites for WordPress for you to check out: a. StudioPress b. ThemeForest c. MonsterThemes d. Woothemes e. Press75 f. OrganicThemes g. ThemeShift h. ElegantThemes i. Templatic j. ThemeSnack k. WPZoom l. Templatic m. PremiumThemes n. obox o. WPNow p. UpThemes q. Acosmin r. GraphPaperPress 12. Remember the following with your website: a. Layout b. Functionality c. Wire d. Framework e. Ontology f. Navigation g. Taxonomy h. Sitemap i. Your favicon j. UI
19 k. Search and browse l. Cross browser and mobile compliant m. Administrator modules n. Control panels o. APIs p. Widgets q. Design database, consider building your database of images by using the following royalty free image sites: i. istockphoto.com ii. depositphotos.com iii. shutterstock.com iv. dreamstime.com r. Timelines s. Approval processes t. Staff assignments 13. You may want to consider outsourcing your initial website design and programming 14. Review content sources including: a. Constant- Content b. Shopping.com c. Associated Content 15. Check cross- browser compatibility with: a. Internet Explorer b. Firefox c. Google Chrome d. Safari e. Mobile browsers 16. Make your mission on your site clear 17. Figure out what you want website users to do 18. Create an end goal for website visitors 19. Integrate partners and charity logos/text 20. Optimize your site for semantic web. Refer to Schema.org for syntax requirements 21. Review video creation tools such as: a. Animoto b. VIVE.LY 22. Put case studies, called Successes on your website
21 38. Consider content generating ideas with partners 39. Look into syndicated content to drive traffic and conversions 40. Consider cross linking partnerships 41. Productize everything with unique landing pages 42. Consider a media gallery like Cooliris 43. Figure out which of the following is useful for your organization: a. Conferences b. Communities c. Groups d. Profiles e. Games f. Comments g. Messaging h. Calendars of events i. News channel/ticker j. Video archives k. Classifieds l. Search of site m. Polls/surveys n. Ecards o. Secret shopper p. Gift certificates q. Contests r. Sweepstakes s. Celebrity endorsements t. Athlete sponsorships u. Groupon.com collective buying v. Gift/Wish list widget w. Ad specialty trinkets x. Print advertisements y. Bookmarking sites z. Business cards with special coupons aa. Wikipedia listings bb. Webinars cc. Seminars demographic questionnaires with incentives 44. Educate yourself on leveraging webinars, consider: a. GoToWebinar b. Adobe Connect
22 45. Develop a press plan 46. Create a PR distribution strategy, consider: a. PRWeb b. PR Newswire c. Business Wire d. MarketWire 47. Develop a list of reporters in your market space for interviews and press releases. a. Track progress in SalesForce b. Subscribe to HARO 48. Report on top new prospects for affiliate channel building to get leverage a. Update marketing material for prospective channel partners b. Develop a system for distributing this material. Consider a company wiki. 49. Look into relevant affiliate service bureaus like: a. Commission Junction b. LinkTrust c. LinkShare d. Tradedoubler e. Omnistar f. Clickbank g. Clickbooth h. Oddcast 50. Study free advice from web marketing communities such as: a. MarketingSherpa b. MarketingExperiments c. MakeUseOf d. Mashable e. MarketingProfs f. Digitalppoint.com g. WebTalkForums h. WebmasterForums i. Warrior Forum j. The V7 Network k. 5Star Affiliate Forum l. Mediabistro
23 51. Consider a competitor keyword finding service like SpyFu.com. SpyFu exposes the search marketing secret formula of your most successful competitors. Search for any domain and see every place they ve shown up on Google: every keyword they ve bought on Adwords, every organic rank, and every ad variation in the last 6 years. 52. Consider applications or opportunities for: a. Search engine optimization (SEO) b. Pay per click (PPC) c. Cost per action (CPA) 53. Select an SEO expert to improve volume and quality of traffic for your site.consider SEO.com a. Figure out an approach for backlinks b. Decide on a content distribution strategy 54. Check out different PPC management tools such as Finch 55. If you plan on using PPC, develop relationships with: a. Google b. Yahoo c. Microsoft d. ReachLocal e. Oversee f. Skenzo g. Thought Convergence 56. Leverage your applications 57. Leverage widgets 58. Leverage middleware 59. Leverage APIs 60. Install viral software a. Place viral links at key points on your web pages, s, and other user interfaces. Try Open Inviter. 61. Link within: a. Signup pages b. s c. Internal control panel spots d. Newsletters e. Blogs f. Unique PPC landing pages g. SOE landing pages
24 Conversion Is in charge of the lead and closing down the sales cycle once it comes in the door, via online processes or appointment setting calls, i.e., they are in charge of every inbound leads that hits the phones, forms, or s, and anyone forwards them, maximizing best practices of SalesForce.com and sales practices at MakeMillions.com and BestPracticesGuide.com) (this person manages completed forms and abandoned forms, A/B conversion tests, responses, salespeople speech and text, and other conversion ideas and tests; manages inbound phone bank and systems) They do not deal with existing customers at all. They mostly receive leads from VP of Online Leadgen and VP of Retention and Referrals. Greater number of leads each day in each service area, and a higher conversion rate each day is the goal. All signed contracts go to finance department. Conversion Checklist 1. Identify key metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPI s) to track things for your division. 2. Put KPIs in your internal control panel. Use format https://internal.mydomain.com a. Track a. Lead conversion to opportunity b. Total leads c. ROI by lead source d. Conversion rates e. New customers f. Newsletter signups b. Note changes in metrics since last period. Figure out deviations a. Distribute links to your data on schedule via and automate in Google Analytics 3. Make sure your staff can clearly explain all products, services and special offers 4. Make your messaging clear, simple, and convertible on your website 5. Make your messaging clear, simple, and convertible on all printed materials 6. Make your messaging clear, simple, and convertible on all digital materials
25 7. Follow up with new leads 8. Create a PowerPoint presentation explaining your business to prospective clients (Check out Useful Rules for Presentations) 9. Create a list management policy and strategy for mining out leads 10. Create theories for conversion funnels 11. Make sure your Salesforce customer relationship management system is integrated with your website 12. Make sure your Salesforce is integrated with your PDAs 13. Make sure your Salesforce is integrated with your PCs 14. Manage uncontacted and unqualified leads using remarketing software like Treehouse 15. Tie your remarketing system to Salesforce, consider:. Batchbook a. Pardot b. Direct 16. Track your business contacts and share them with your team 17. Track your social networking contacts and share them with your team Upselling, Cross-Selling, Retention & Referrals Upselling (providing more of the company s core service), Cross- selling(outsourcing services in service suite within our family or an outside trustworthy source who shares the revenue), Retention (keeping a client is cheaper and this is a check and balance to service department effectiveness), & Referrals(get them to refer more new business leads to forward to conversion department). All signed contracts go to finance department. Upselling, Cross-Selling, Retention & Referrals (UCRR) Checklist 1. Upselling 2. Cross- selling 3. Retention a. Document past customers a. Document why the relationship ended