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Many entrepreneurs shoot from the hip and hit the ground running. Some never stop to take a chance to evaluate their past performance or changes in the marketplace until one day there has been a shift in their business. Proper planning is the key to keep your staff, clients and finances on the right track. Let’s face it there are a ton of ways to invest a budget. On occasion, I will meet with a potential client who states their plan in “right here” as they point to their head. Lets face it, a plan that has not been put down on paper is a dream with little commitment. How can a owner or manager properly communicate with the team if the plan is not written down as a blueprint for next steps. How can it be properly assessed and tweaked as an ever changing plan in your head?
Here are a few small tips to help you get started on your next steps:
• Plan early before your staff arrives at the office. Being quite helps you focus and listen to your inner small voice.
• Create a vision board to where you want to be in 2014. Cut out words and images of where you want to be to communicate with your team your vision clearly. Paste them on a sheet of paper and post it in a visible place for all to see in your work area.
• Share with your team your vision and discuss what that would look like and how it will help them in their job roles. Discuss the impact on your customers.
Baker Creative can provide an outside assessment to provide the right next steps for your business. Get started today by calling 614.836.3845.
Though we can make a new start any day of the week, there is something especially appealing about starting fresh on January 1st. If you haven’t done so yet, now would be a great time to sit in silence, reflect on 2013, and create your 2014 business bucket list. What did you do well this year and how can you improve on it next year? What didn’t go quite as you had hoped this year? How will you make sure to correct it going forward?
What are your goals for next year?
Baker Creative, want to help you with your 2014 business bucket list. Over the next four weeks, we will explore topics that commonly appear on business owners’ bucket lists. Here are a few of the topics that we will be discussing:
Create Good Content
You’ve probably heard “Content is King” more than you care to recall. Creating original content by writing blogs, using strong images, and creating compelling copy is important for attracting (and retaining) customers and driving them to take “profitable action”. You know why creating good, original content is important but do you know how to successfully create content? We’ll offer some useful tips.
Increase Brand Recognition
Does your brand stand out in the mind of consumers? Would it be recognizable to customers if they were only to look at your logo or read your slogan? Brand recognition is what every business owner strives to achieve. Whether you have unlimited resources to achieve brand recognition or if you’re working on a shoestring budget, it is possible to increase your brand awareness without breaking the bank. We’ll give you a few pointers.
Drive More Traffic to Your Business
The holiday season is often a profitable time of year for many retailers and other businesses. Now that the holidays are almost over, we’ll offer information on putting plan in place to continue generating foot traffic into your bricks and mortar location during “off-peak” months.
Increase Your Social Media Traffic
Perhaps you took the plunge in 2013 and created several social media accounts. Hopefully your social media pages took off like gangbusters but if you’re starting to feel like it would be easier to win the lotto than to get people to “Like” your Facebook page. We can help with a few pro tips to help you build your online social media presence.
While creating your 2014 business bucket list may not involve hot air balloons or an exotic, safari trip to Kenya, it is still no less exciting. A new year, filled with new opportunities to make your business shine, is right around the corner. Are you ready?
Share what’s on your business bucket list in the comments section below.
It’s the number one question of all businesses: “How useful is my product to my customers?” But ironically, most marketers are so concerned about other questions that they forget to address this major issue. With the prevalence of the internet and other multi-media channels, many businesses are forgetting that the primary focus should be on ensuring that their product or service is useful to their consumers.
Technology has completely changes the way consumers interact with each other and the products and services they use. In today’s age, the role of engaging brand stories is no longer the foundation of consumer-business relationships. We must go beyond telling great product and service stories and begin to focus on how our products and services are actually being used – not on how we wish customers would use them. Bottom line? We need to learn how to make our products and services more useful to the consumer – regardless of the original design plan drafted by us as businesses.
We can advertise and market to our heart’s content, but no amount of fluff is going to create success for what the consumer perceives as a sub-standard product or service. We can no longer count on the marketing or advertising channel to sell what we’re marketing. We have to rely on the product or service to advertise itself. We have to start figuring out what is unique about our brand – not as the business defines it, but the one which is created by our consumers in today’s society. It’s no longer about developing competition with other similar products. It’s now about discovering the consumers’ number-one driving value in the category and ensuring that those are met – and even exceeded.
It’s no longer a market where success comes from discussing what your product or service does – it’s actually DOING it. Communication? It’s key. But action is what’s succeeding with consumers in today’s world. So stop focusing on selling your product or service. Instead, ensure that it’s able to sell itself.
Has loyalty started to decline in today’s business world? As budgets are shrinking and demands are growing, we often look for the best deal – which often happens to be the least expensive option. But is it going to cost you in the end?
You may feel like you got a steal, but when you don’t invest in business loyalty, sometimes you end up paying elsewhere. The value of brand loyalty tends to exceed the “deal of the moment” in today’s society – yet few acknowledge the payoff. As knockoff and imitation products and services pop up on the market, many consumers are forgetting that sometimes, you get what you pay for. In fact, it indicates a larger societal shift in the way consumers today view the importance of loyalty – in relationships, in jobs, in neighborhoods and hometowns.
But why the change? A change in brand loyalty also reflects the changing definition of loyalty itself. In today’s society, loyalty means sticking with something for as long as it benefits the consumer. In essence, this makes complete sense. Today’s generation has grown up brand-independent, trying out several brands of a product until figuring out what works best for them.
As marketers, it is important to learn how to capitalize on this concept. And the easiest way? Consumer feedback. Knowing what your audiences’ wants and needs are in a product is the easiest and most successful way to gain their loyalty. Know the consumers’ desires for quality, price, convenience, and effectiveness, and most importantly, what it is that makes your consumers switch to a similar product by a different brand. Consumers know their brands, but they’re learning to more effectively gauge their own needs and weigh them against what they truly want. Marketing products and services effectively and gaining consumer loyalty is becoming custom-tailored to each consumer. Learning how to market to all those individuals is the next step in successful company loyalty.
So your small business is in need of credibility. What’s the first thing you should do?
Some say it’s as simple as building your brand.
In the business world, your brand is only as strong as the reputation that precedes it. And when establishing credibility in your client market, one of the most beneficial moves you can make in order to understand your reputation is to become a part of your own core audience. Building your brand requires exploring your audience and gaining a better understanding of what they view. By learning what your audience values, you can associate your business with those ideals, linking emotional values to practical concepts.
So where do you start?
First and foremost, develop a clear, targeted mission statement. At Baker Creative, we align our business’ mission with what our audience values. This develops an immediate relationship before any business has even taken place. Next? We associate with companies and businesses who can lend us credibility. By working with well-respected companies, our profile and reputation immediately is linked. And finally? Employ credible people. Top credibility traits? Employees who maintain their individuality while also aligning closely with the company’s mission.
While establishing and building credibility is an ongoing process, it never hurts to start today. Establishing a foundation for your company’s reputation is as simple as dedicating a small part of your day to ensure your company and its associates are continuously working under your company’s stated mission and goals. Take small steps daily to further your credibility with your current and future client audiences. For more tips on developing small business credibility, check out http://www.allbusiness.com.
We all know that client relationships are important. Being creative and resourceful is essential to maintaining and growing your client base. Wendi McNeill, owner of Charli Jane Speaker Services, an informational web-based business for speakers and meeting planners, provides seminars and coaching programs to help small businesses foster positive client relationships based on seven simple steps.
1. Be Nice.
Okay, it sounds pretty elementary but if you really think about it, it makes perfect sense. How many negative people do you run across in a day? You don’t want to interact with them nor be around them, so why would you want to do business with them? If you’re having a bad day and can’t seem to turn it around, then don’t interact with your clients. One bad day can turn a client in the other direction, or send a potential client running to someone else.
2. Follow up.
Most people can’t seem to find enough hours in a day in today’s business world. But you have to understand the importance of following up with both potential clients and current clients. The simple act of following up will not only make you stand out from your competitors, but will let your clients know that you do care about them. Successful follow up actions can simply include an email, handwritten letters, an invitation to an event, or a phone call. You want to choose follow up actions that will fit your style and remember to do them on a regular basis. If you can consistently implement follow up actions into your business, you will be amazed at how much your network grows. Remember people are what counts, not just another sale or client to add to your list. Make them feel special and let them know you do care.
3. Give Yourself.
Most people today think about what they can get from other people, how they can advance in their careers or grow their business. Let’s turn this around and consider what you can give your clients and your network that will help them grow or help them solve a problem. Give from your heart – not expecting in return. You might be amazed at the results. Keep in mind that building relationships is a two-way street that begins with you. Always approach relationships in a generous, giving, and positive manner.
4. Establish trust.
Yes, this is an important one. People will not do business with someone they don’t trust. Start your relationships off in an honest manner, giving what you promised and always keeping your word. First make yourself known to your audience and your network, and then build those relationships to the highest level of trust. Always work with integrity!
5. Make Eye Contact.
If you want to form a relationship with clients, make eye contact when speaking to them. Don’t talk to the ceiling, or the walls, or the floor – speak directly to them. You will be surprised how quickly you can set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd by simply smiling and making eye contact.
Build stronger relationships by giving. I don’t mean literally buying business or new clients. If you know a client is sick or going through a difficult time, send an email or pick up the phone and give them a call to let them know you’re there if they need anything. Remember to have a giving attitude and not expect anything in return, except to know that you have made someone’s day.
7. Be Yourself.
You will get much further in life and be so much happier in your business just by being yourself. When doing business and developing relationships be authentic – it will work to your benefit. Don’t brand yourself or your company in a false light – it will waste more time and effort than you realize.
There are numerous ways to build client relationships and many of them tie into each other. Just remember to be kind, be pleasant, and be yourself, and always work with integrity. Remember to treat your clients the way you want to be treated. It’s the Golden Rule – and it’s really that simple.
Wendi offers valuable tips and advice on marketing and growth strategies providing speaking leads, speaker services, and resources that help boost their business both online and off. To learn more about Wendi visit her online at www.wendimcneill.com.
This is not a new subject. There are countless resources touting the benefits of good PR, but still some people seem to miss the message. I just want to know what goes through the minds of those who work with celebrities or the celebrities themselves.
A high school friend of mine posted a status update this morning on here Facebook page referring to Lindsay Lohan’s lawsuit suing E-Trade for $100 million for allegedly using her likeness in a Super Bowl commercial. My friend mockingly incited a fake conversation that may have taken place between Lohan and her lawyers about the need to generate some publicity and cash since she has not been in any major films in some time.
While reading her post, I pleaded silently to myself that no public relations professionals in her camp advised her on the benefits of doing this.
There IS such thing as bad publicity, and it takes lots of time, effort and money to recover a damaged reputation.
Lohan is no stranger to bad PR and this time seems no different. A quick look at Twitter Search conveys that sentiments in the court of public opinion are not in her favor either.
Perhaps rather than filing a lawsuit against E-Trade, Lohan should use this moment as a reality check to see what her career has become and take steps to turn it around.
I have seen in several instances lately about my local politicians or movie stars sending out a PR blast and even a local press conference to let people know if they are either getting a divorce or in Rosie O’Donnell’s case ‘working through’ issues.
While I understand the importance of reputation management, does this technique really work? Or does this just bring more more light to an already tough topic to make more public? My local mayor in our city called a press conference and stopped local programming to let everyone know he was getting a divorce. I am sympathetic, but also wonder did my tax dollars pay for him to stop the local programing to tell us that? If so, wouldn’t a simple blast or Tweet been enough? If things are so mutual between both parties why did he have to come out in person to announce it?
On the other hand, celeb websites get this information and run with their own version anyway. There are hundreds of instances where you hear celebs say hey it’s just really isn’t true. So where are their publicists ? What do they actually do? In short, they accentuate the positive and downplay the negative. Say a celebrity gets caught lip-syncing, or has a very public breakup, it’s the publicist puts a positive spin on the event. Once you really take a chance to notice, it’s pretty difficult to read the gossip pages without seeing their influence. Oh no he wasn’t drunk on that talk show it was jet lag. Who knew jet lag was the end all explanation for all so much. Hey she wasn’t slurring her speech during that award show, she is exhausted from work. Most of the time, the truth eventually comes out about what had happened. So why not just come clean about what happened and apologize. After all that’s what a publicists would eventually tell you to do.