How do I create a successful social media campaign?

Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. What appeals to you? What compels you to act? Peer to peer impressions have more influence now than ever before. A friend recommending a restaurant, product, service, etc. can have more impact than a paid advertisement. Think about the types of posts, information, etc. that not only appeals to your customers, but they will also want to share.

The ALS Association’s “Ice Bucket Challenge” was one of the most successful social media campaigns to date. It incorporated entertaining videos of people challenging people they know to support a worthy cause. The challenge went viral and spread like wildfire. As a result, the ALS Association not only raised a ton of money for their cause, but they spread awareness of the disease and their mission throughout the United States and beyond.

Social media was meant to be “social.” Direct selling of your product and/or service through social media is not as effective as offering something of value to your customers. Consider these ideas when developing a social medial campaign for your business:

  1. Helpful tips people will want to share
    (i.e. a pest control service may want to post tips on reducing mosquitos around your home, etc.)
  2. Entertaining videos – people love to share humor so come up with a video or series of funny, short videos that demonstrate the value of your product.
  3. Contests
    (i.e. send us a 30 second video showing why you love our product; we will post and people will have an opportunity to select their top three favorites; winners will receive a prize, etc.)
  4. Live streams – Facebook Live is an example of a platform where you can transmit live video streams. Consider broadcasting “live” content that is entertaining and informative. This new feature of Facebook – introduced in April 2016 – is gaining in popularity. Learn more here: https://live.fb.com/

You don’t have to be a million-dollar company to create catchy a social media campaign that reaches millions of people. It just takes one good idea to go viral.

Your Business Facebook Page

We Offer Professional Design Services

We love to develop business Facebook pages. As registered developers at Facebook, we follow the guidelines provided by Facebook to develop a unique and effective design for your business. We’ve prepared this template (above) to guide us in developing your new Facebook business page. Contact us if we can help your business succeed on Facebook!

Designing your own Facebook page?

Feel free to use this guide to help you get the perfect look.

facebook-template

10 More Small-Business Start-Up Mistakes To Avoid

What are some of the common mistakes entrepreneurs make when starting out? Here is a list of ten more of the most common mistakes new entrepreneurs make when starting their business. Although mistakes made can be our greatest teacher, they can be time-consuming and costly. So here I want to share with you my hard-earned experiences and the insight I gained from my own lapses in judgment.

1. Making Absurd Forecasts

Is it realistic that you can bring in 60 customers in the first 6 months? Or is 6 more likely? Can you realistically sell 3,000 books of your self-published book in the first year? Or is 300 more likely? Maybe 600 in the second year and 900 in your book’s third year is more realistic? How are other books like yours selling on Amazon? You need to do some serious research and try to come up with realistic forecasts about how your services or products will sell. If you forecast unusually high sales and profitability, it indicates that you don’t have a realistic understanding of your own business and the market that you are in.

2. Relying On One Client Or One Product

That one client or one product might be enough to get your new business off the ground. But having only one certainly won’t be enough to keep your business growing. Therefore, you must constantly be trying to add a variety of new clients and new products. It is safer for your business to have many little clients instead of one giant client. Ideally, you should be striving to bring in a variety of clients of different sizes and industries. And, you should also be developing a variety of products that can be sold to a variety of clients in different industries. This variety is what will save your company when market conditions and consumer behavior changes.

3. Not Having A Unique Selling Point

Why will your customers buy your service or product? Why you? Why not someone else? What are you offering that makes your services and your products special? What do you bring to the table that the others don’t? You better have a good answer to these questions before starting your business. Most businesses start up without ever asking these questions. That’s a very big mistake. If you want to build a successful business – one that you can be proud of – then you must answer these questions before you start your new business.

4. Not Doing Enough Marketing

You can never do enough marketing. As a small-business you will be marketing yourself as much as you are marketing your services and your products. It is not uncommon for a small-business to devote more time to marketing the owner, and building relationships, than to actual sales. This will help you to make a positive impact on your customers, and potential customers, and help them trust you and remember you.

5. Lacking Proper Start-Up Capital

You must expect that your start-up costs will be much more than you initially planned on spending. A one-person small-business might have little or no start-up costs. This type of business can become profitable immediately. But if you are going to need an office, machinery, employees, supplies, etc., your start-up costs can easily soar past what you initially planned on. And if you don’t have enough capital to pay these start-up costs, you will be prevented from getting past the break-even point for profitability.

6. Avoiding And Fearing Risk Too Much

As entrepreneurs we naturally try to avoid uncalculated risk. We generally only take risks that have been well thought out. But we should not avoid or fear all risk. The real issue is that without taking risk, you cannot exploit opportunities that come to you. You can very simply live a quiet and reasonably happy life, but you are unlikely to create something new, and you are unlikely to make your mark on the world.

7. Being A Control Freak

This isn’t an issue if you are a one-person business. But as soon as you start working with others, like partners, spouses, employees and sub-contractors, you need to share the decision-making power. As the owner of the business you will certainly have the last word. And as the owner your overall vision is what is the most important. But you need to convey your vision to everyone else that you work with, so that you are all on the same page. Getting others involved in your decision-making process and collaborating on ideas will make your business much stronger.

8. Not Anticipating Your Customers’ Needs

Anticipating what services or products your current customers will need after your initial sale can greatly increase your company sales. It will also create a greater bond between you and your customers. Let’s say for example, that you install HVAC systems in residential homes. You can easily return every Spring and Fall to do a tune-up, change filters, etc., on the system and charge $200 for about 20 minutes of work. The customer will be grateful that you take good care of their system and keep it running perfectly. They get to see you in person and chat with you. You ask them to please give your business card to anyone looking for HVAC work in their home. You get to keep your customer happy, make an emotional connection with them, and go home with an easy $200. If you didn’t come back every Spring and Fall, the customer would need to find someone else to take care of their HVAC system.

9. Believing The Flexible Hours Myth

Starting a business will take up a huge amount of your time. Even if you start a small, part-time business, you will expend a lot of time and effort to get it going. But the more time and effort you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Therefore, you better choose a business that you love to work on. The more that you like what you are doing will make it much easier – even make it a joy – to be spending so much time, effort, and money, on building your business.

10. Ignoring Your Customers

This is a big problem for all businesses. But as a small business one of your biggest selling points should be personalized service. There is always another business desperately trying to take your customers. The minute your customers feel ignored or neglected by you, they will be more open to talking to other businesses. They will feel less affinity for you and your company. Therefore, you must find ways to create an emotional connection between your company and your clients.

10 More Small-Business Start-Up Mistakes To Avoid

By Joseph C Kunz, Jr

 

10 Small-Business Start-Up Mistakes To Avoid

What are some of the common mistakes entrepreneurs make when starting out? Here is a list of ten of the most common mistakes new entrepreneurs make when starting their business. Although mistakes made can be our greatest teacher, they can be time-consuming and costly. So here I want to share with you my hard-earned experiences and the insight I gained from my own lapses in judgment.

1. Starting Without A Business Plan

If you are serious about making your new business a success, you must have a written plan. It can be as simple as one page to get started. Writing it will force yourself to think about how you plan on making your business come to life and also become profitable. Force yourself to honestly answer such questions as “Who will my customers be”; “Why will they buy from me?”; “How much will I charge for my products and services?”; “How will I get the word out about my new business?”. Be realistic about the costs of running your business. Your business plan will act as an ever-changing and ever-improving guide for you to follow.

2. Having No Management Experience

As the founder of a small business, you will be directly responsible for all aspects of management – finance, marketing, sales, employee relations, dealing with sub-contractors, and bathroom cleaning, etc. But if you are starting your business because you are great at your particular skill or service, and want to devote all of your time and energy to doing this, maybe a family member or partner can handle most of the management of the company. This person must share your vision and goals for the business.

3. Hiring Help Too Soon

Do not hire employees until it is absolutely necessary. The expense of hiring help can financially drown your small business very quickly. When you do hire someone, make sure that they are hard-working and honest. Only hire people you need, not people you like. At our home-based small-business, we only hire sub-contractors that we know and trust. And for some of the work, we rely on our family to do some of the smaller jobs.

4. Not Hiring Professional Help

Do not skimp on hiring professional advisers like an accountant and attorney. Interview several and find advisers that you are comfortable talking with. Do they understand what you are trying to accomplish? Are they quick to share their experiences and knowledge with you? These professionals can save you many headaches and lots of money.

5. Not Using the Cash-Method Of Accounting

Under the “cash method”, you record business income when it’s received into your bank account. And you record an expense when it is paid out of your bank account. Most of us use this cash method for our personal finances because it is much simpler and less time-consuming. This is also the ideal method for the small and home-based business. Under the “accrual method”, you would record business income when it is earned, without regard to when you may get paid for the product or service you sold. And you record an expense when it is incurred, without regard to when you will get around to writing a check to pay for it. This accrual method is too difficult to keep up with for a small and home-based business.

6. Not Keeping Track Of Your Money

You must track your income and expenses every month so that you know where your money is going. You can do this yourself with inexpensive accounting software, or simply download your monthly statement from your bank and credit card. Cash-flow is the life-blood of a small fledgling business.

7. Not Doing Enough Market Research

This is a very common problem with start-up businesses. Market research can take many months and lots of research to do correctly. You must know who your competition is, and who your customers will be. You must understand all aspects of your industry – inside and out. Read all the books and articles you can find about your particular type of business. Talk to others that are in that industry.

8. Not Doing The Correct Marketing

Every business must have an online presence. It does not matter what business you are in, you must be online. It is now possible to do extensive and sophisticated marketing for no cost – free. Whether is it a simple website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, or an online telephone-book listing, you must be online.

9. Spending Too Much Too Soon

If you are on a tight budget, do not start out by spending thousands on business cards and letterheads. Do not spend thousands on paying a company to build your website when you can very quickly build a great website on your own. Keep using that older computer until you have the cash-flow and the actual need for a new computer. Before very big purchases, like a new truck or machine, get advice from your accountant.

10. Giving-Up Too Soon

A major part of being an entrepreneur is having stamina, drive, and determination. Not giving up your dream because of a few bumps in the road is an essential part of entrepreneurship. Developing the intestinal fortitude to weather the tough times is essential if you ever want to achieve any kind of success. Don’t believe anyone that tells you that starting and managing a business is easy or simple. It also takes time, effort, faith, and a vision.

10 Small-Business Start-Up Mistakes To Avoid

By Joseph C Kunz, Jr

Google Plus Introduces Giant Cover Photos

Google Plus introduced giant cover photos this week along with several other features in an effort to make their social network bigger and better.  The new larger photos occupy nearly half the screen.

The cover photos aren’t the only changes on Google Plus. The “About” tab is redesigned, and “Reviews” now compiles all of your reviews from Google Local.

These new Google Plus improvements are still rolling out, so not everyone can see them yet.

If you need help getting your cover photo ready, just contact us.