Category Archives: Business Boosters

5 Holiday Small Business Marketing Strategies for Growth

The influx of holiday decorations popping in stores in early Fall (if not sooner!) makes it known that both big and small businesses think about the holiday season much sooner than the actual holidays on the calendar. And for good reason, people want to feel prepared.

Business Owner Standing Outside of Small Business

By the end of September 2016, 14% of Americans had already started their holiday shopping, and 1 million people were already completely finished with their shopping lists. Holidays retail sales also increased by 4 percent year-over-year in 2016 to reach $658.3 billion spent in November and December, the prime of the holiday season.

Is your business ready to handle the influx of traffic? Do you have strategy to attract new visitors to your store, while also catering to your loyal customers? Do you know how to grow your business activity during the holidays? Here are 5 small business marketing strategies to increase your growth during the busy holiday season.

  1. Expand Your Product Line

    What products will you have ready for sale specifically for the holidays? If you don’t have brand new items to introduce, think about repurposing your most popular items as part of a bundle that’s perfect for gift giving. Or, think about adding a homemade element to your available products. Brainstorm with your team about ways you can use the products you have and make them more relevant for the holiday shopper.

  2. Promote a Stress-Free Zone

    In-store holiday shopping can create quite the frenzy rather than feeling festive. Create a mini stress-free zone in your store complete with coloring books, colored pencils, stress relief balls, and fidget spinners. Set up a table with refreshments inviting guests to sit down and take a few minutes to relax or let them take a stress relief item with them to go. This will invite people to linger in your store longer and find an extra benefit of adding your store on the must-visit list.

    Woman Doing Holiday Shopping Online

  3. Sell Through Different Channels

    While brick-and-mortar stores should take full advantage of the additional foot traffic thanks to holiday sales, don’t forget about promotion on your social media channels and via email as well. Set up a small business marketing strategy to keep customer constantly engaged throughout (and beyond) the holiday season. Ideas might include a countdown to savings promotion where each day a new offer is revealed on your Facebook or Instagram page. Make sure your communication aligns both online and offline to avoid confusion, meaning if you’re selling an item for 25% off in an email campaign, confirm if it’s exclusive to online shoppers or if it will be honored in-store as well.

  4. Host a Holiday Event

    Small Business Saturday is the biggest day of the shopping year for small businesses, but don’t miss out on other opportunities to get your products in front of a larger crowd. Research fairs, festivals, and pop-up shops in your city and set up a booth or co-sponsor an event to draw more people to your business. Customize a business banner special for the event and set up a table that will entice people to stop by. Holiday-themed treats, swag bags, and an eye-catching setup are all good ideas to attract shoppers.

    Even if people can’t make the event, it still puts your brand front and center when they’re thinking about their holiday shopping lists. The goal is to get more people to your store to buy your products, but it may not be from a singular communication. An invitation to a fun event is one way to draw attention to your business during the busy season.

    Small Business Storefront with Holiday Sale

  5. Have a Sale

    This business strategy continues to work because everyone loves a sale. This is especially effective if you are in direct competition with other small businesses around you. If you are selling similar products, what aspects will help you stand out? Most likely it’s going to be lower costs. Having a sale can also be a strategic way for you to make room for new inventory once the holidays are over.

Using Small Business Marketing for the Holidays

When it comes to business strategies for small businesses, the unique aspects of your business that will make the most difference. What do you have to offer that your competitors don’t? What will make you stand out this holiday season? Discuss these strategies with your team, and decide how to grow your business by applying them and making the them work for you. Stock up on customized merchandise today to help power you through the holiday season – and the days of holiday shopping leading up to it!

Tricks of the Tradeshow: Gimmick-Free Trade Show Tips

Winter is coming – and with that come the last quarter, end-of-the-year trade shows. On average, businesses attend 22 regional trade shows and 14 national trade shows every year. Rather than fight the fatigue of conference and trade show overload, embrace it and make it a successful wrap up to 2017.People Walking Through Tradeshow HallBy now, you and your team may be tradeshow pros, but it never hurts to have a refresh to deliver your best impression and make your attendance a success. You don’t have to rely on all the flashy gimmicks or over-the-top presentations. Stick to what’s worked in the past and amplify it. Give tradeshow attendees an experience that is engaging, educational, and entertaining.

Here are three areas to cover before you set out on your final work conferences of the year and trade show best practices, tips and tricks to keep in mind and take into 2018.

Review Booth Etiquette

First impressions are everything, which is why your team must be on top of their game with every work conference. Even if people are casually walking by your booth, it doesn’t create a good impression if everyone has their head down distracted by their phones or computers.

  • Conduct staff training pre-conference.

    One way to prepare for upcoming events is by conducting role play of possible interactions with customers or potential clients. This will help your team feel more confident in how to address questions and represent your company in the right way. Also, schedule staff training whenever someone new is added to the conference travel team. Don’t miss the opportunity to put your best professional face forward.

  • Finalize dinners and event sponsorships.

    Coordinate how you will be connecting with your audience beyond the conference room floor. Is there value in becoming a sponsor of the conference or hosting a special happy hour or dinner with select attendees? When reviewing your fourth quarter budget, creating a more personalized experience [link to personalized experience blog] can help you stand apart from the competition.

People Manning a Tradeshow Booth

Update Tradeshow Booth Display

Your tradeshow booth setup is the first thing conference guests will see. Ensure your visual display is as eye-catching and interesting as your product or service. A poorly designed tradeshow both may indicate to a passersby that your team is unprepared or uninteresting. Visually engage visitors with well-planned trade show displays for the ultimate experience.

  • Finalize tradeshow booth additions.

    The shell of your trade show displays and all the supplies you need for setup should be ready to go, so now’s the time to add the final touches. This can include a new customized banner, updated business cards, or swag bags filled with additional personalized items to provide value for anyone who stops by your booth. Visualize the setup and create a checklist to ensure all items make it to the show.

  • Confirm shipping arrival dates.

    With any trade show, there is always last-minute inclusions or swap outs that need to make it to your final destination. Check the shipping schedule deadlines to ensure all your equipment and furniture make it to where it needs to go. If you are taking your own transportation to the show, use your checklist when packing up your vehicle.

Implement Guest Interaction Trade Show Best Practices

The way you talk with your co-workers is usually far different from how you would interact with work conference guests. Here are trade show best practices to keep in mind and relay to your team when it comes to guest interaction:

  • Friendly is key – but exude extra professionalism.

    Most tradeshow attendees are meeting you for the first time and may not relate to your sense of humor or jargon.

  • Maintain personal space.

    Although the excitement of the trade show floor can be contagious, make sure you are presenting a welcoming vibe rather than an overbearing one.

  • Introduce yourself.

    This may seem obvious but initiate a connection by introducing yourself and your company position.

  • Don’t do all the talking.

    While you may feel like you need to get as much information out as possible, take time to reflect on what those who stop by your display are saying or asking.

Expo Hall Visitors Walking to Next Exhibit

Trade Show Tips and Tricks for Success

  1. Make sure your freebies serve a purpose.

    Conference swag is a staple of the showroom floor, but is the trade show merchandise you’re giving away providing value? As an example, since winter is the height of cold season, attendees will likely be extra appreciative of hand sanitizer freebies, which you can customize with your business name.

  2. Create an interactive booth space.

    The tradeshow floor is all about interactions, so make your trade show displays inviting by offering an element that makes people want to stop by. Whether it’s a prize wheel, scratch-off giveaway, or mobile device setup to demonstrate your product/service, people don’t want to see what you have to offer. They want to experience it.

  3. Focus on quality over quantity.

    In some instances, it’s not about sharing a laundry list of everything your company provides. It could be an introduction of one new product/service. It can be focusing on one new feature or a special exclusive to tradeshow attendees. Gauge your audience per conference, and select the best of the best of what your company has to offer.

As you finalize your trade show strategy for the rest of 2017 and the upcoming winter conferences, remember to keep the experience authentic and gimmick-free.

Shop Trade Show Merchandise

Why Personalized Marketing is Essential for Small Business

Small businesses typically do not have the budget, manpower, or resources that bigger businesses have. However, if you’re a small business, you can make up for this by adding marketing personalization to your efforts.Group of People Receiving Personalized Marketing MessagesWhether your customers are visiting you online or in-person, they are looking for a personal experience when shopping. What current efforts do you have in place that speaks to your target audience’s specific needs and wants? How are you making it personal for them?

According to research conducted by Infosys, 86% of shoppers say marketing personalization has at least some impact on what they purchase with 25% revealing that personalization significantly influences what they purchase. That’s a large chunk of customers you might be missing out on simply because you aren’t adding a personal touch to your small business marketing. Not to worry, you can fix this and update your strategies just in time for the busiest shopping days of the year!

  1. Personalize Your Message

    Think about who you are trying to connect with before launching your next marketing campaign. If you identify targeted audiences you think will find value in your products, you can better position your messaging to speak directly to them.

    For example, if you are in the salon business, maybe one of your targeted audiences is the stressed out parent who needs to take time for themselves during the hectic, end-of-the-year season. Alternatively, if you sell insurance, maybe your messaging is geared toward parents who want to protect their families.

    Rather than thinking in terms of buying and selling, think in terms of providing answers to questions and solutions to problems. When you take the “business” aspect out of the equation for a minute and hone in on what your customers need, you’ll find personalized marketing strategies come more naturally. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

    • Include the recipient’s first name in each email campaign you send out.
    • Include language that speaks to how a person is feeling across all your marketing copy.

      Examples: “Feeling stressed out? Let a [salon service] help you relax.” or “Protect the most precious commodity you have – your family –  with [personalized business products for insurance].”

    • Segment your audiences and send promotions most relevant to them.

      Of the hundreds of ads your customers will see this holiday season, an offer specifically catering to their interests is the one that will produce the positive results you’re looking for.

    Personalized messaging is essential so you can target different audience segments with the products or services they need most rather than taking a one-size-fits all approach that misses the mark.Man Shaking Hands with Trade Show Attendees

  2. Personalize the Trade Show Experience

    One of the biggest advantages of attending trade shows or open market events is the opportunity to speak one-to-one with customers who are already familiar with your brand and those who are new to your products and services. While your physical presence already makes the interaction more personal, this is an opportunity to further personalize your company, small business products, and services in way that leaves a lasting impression.

    Make the most of your end-of-the-year trade shows while preparing for the upcoming season. Also, local vendor festivals and holiday markets are popular this time of year. Add a personal touch no matter which events you decide to attend to better connect with your audience and make your brand memorable.

    • Show instead of tell.

      Set up a product demo, if applicable. Even if you’re in the business of selling a service rather than a tangible product, guide attendees through the process. Show how simple, convenient, and valuable it is.

    • Create a welcoming space.

      Host a raffle or free giveaways with personalized marketing products at your trade show booth. It will entice people to stop by and chat with you longer while boosting your brand’s visibility.

    • Know your audience.

      A convention-style trade show has a different vibe and different expectations than a local vendor show. Adjust your “presentation” to accommodate the audience you are going to be talking to.

    Personalizing the trade show or vendor market experience is essential to connect with new audiences who may not have as much familiarity with your brand.

  3. Small Business Owner Putting Together a Marketing Personalization Strategy

  4. Personalize Your Merchandise

    Decide what makes your brand memorable. When you’re a small business, it’s all about making the personal connection to encourage loyalty from customers. As Small Business Saturday creeps up, create personalized business products and create ways for people to interact with your business in a fun and engaging way.

    • Personalize tote bags emblazoned with your logo, company name, or tagline.

      Fill it with local treats, coupons, and other small items that won’t make your budget suffer and will make your shopper feel special. You can also use this giveaway as messaging to direct your online audience (via email or social media) to your physical store. “First 25 customers to visit us this Saturday will receive a free tote bag full of goodies.”

    • Customize a banner and host a pop-up shop.

      If you’re hosting an event somewhere other than your store, you’ll want the brand recognition to remain with you.

    • Create a direct mail campaign with branded stress relief products.

      Stress is common among the holidays, so why not address it in a fun way and offer your customers a promotion or offer at the same time.

    Personalized marketing through merchandise is essential to strengthen your brand presence in the market and help create loyal customers through a genuine connection.

    Small Business Personalized Marketing Strategies

    This holiday season, create a marketing personalization list and check it twice to ensure you are providing a special shopping experience for every person who interacts with your business. You can achieve this by personalizing your messaging, the trade show experience, and your merchandise.

    Continue this one-to-one connection through your interactions online, over the phone, and in-person. Rather than the one-and-done shopper, you’ll find with marketing personalization, you’re more likely to create customer loyalty for a lifetime.

Personal Mid-Year Review: How to Finish the Year Strong

The end of 2017 is quickly approaching and what do you and your company have to show for it? Have you met the goals you’ve aimed to achieve? Have you improved your branding efforts throughout the year? And, have you made the changes needed to make a significant difference both internally and to your client base?Person Using Calendar to Plan End of YearFinish the year strong by performing a mid-year review and challenging your company to end on a high note. Take inspiration from The Weekender to see how you can incorporate the work-life balance necessary to succeed. Get the creative juices flowing and have everyone motivated throughout the remaining months of the year.

October – Make Time to Play

Make time for play to increase productivity and boost company morale.

All work and no play can make for some very disgruntled employees. Disgruntled employees typically translate into slips in productivity and progress. Make time at work for play. This can be anything from a creative brainstorming session with snacks and conversation to out-of-the-office team building events.

By making time to incorporate a little fun and lightheartedness into the workplace, you can increase employee satisfaction, which in turn, will benefit your company. Although it varies by level of position, the cost to replace an employee averages to about 6 to 9 months’ salary. Isn’t it worth it to keep good employees rather than trying to train new ones?Coworkers Having Fun and Creative Brainstorming Session

November – Do Something New

Create innovations for connecting with customers that will encourage more loyalty to strengthen your brand.

One of the biggest competitive advantages any company has is their unique value proposition. Decide what makes your company uniquely you. If you’ve spent the year going through the motions of tried-and-true, now is the time for innovation. Customize the way you are promoting your products and selling your services. According to Pew Research, majority of adult, American consumers say they are more comfortable using familiar products and brands.

What new thing(s) will you introduce in these last months that will carry over into the new year and put your brand on the forefront of people’s brains (and purchasing decisions)? Think about hosting an educational workshop, creating a loyalty program, or event that focuses on the needs/wants of your audience.Employee Connecting with Customers

December – Reconnect

Personalize your messaging to make real connections with your customers.

The purpose of any business initiative should be connecting with customers. Make sure your mid-year resolutions reflect changes you want to make to ensure this happens. Reconnect with loyal customers by sending them a personalized calendar that will help them plan out their next year. Add your own customized touch with a company newsletter, handwritten note, gift basket, or holiday card. Alert them to upcoming specials, deals, and/or new products on a monthly basis to give them a reason to stay engaged with your brand.

End of Year Inspiration

While the last months of the year are typically focused on generating revenue and hitting quarterly goals, it should also be used as a time to reflect on the successes and setbacks you’ve experienced throughout the year. Set up some time for a yearly review to gather feedback from both customers and employees to freely share what processes were successful and which more challenging. Were there any steps that were missed? What took longer than expected? Most importantly, did you discover opportunities that you didn’t see before?

By planning ahead and disposing of old methods that don’t work, you’ll finish the year strong and be ahead of the game come January 1st, feeling rejuvenated and ready to go.

Download the Weekender

How to Turn Your Desk Setup into a Work Sanctuary [Infographic]

Header for desk sanctuary infographic

Each person is acclimated to their own desk style, but are all desk styles conducive to feelings of calm and relaxation? According to a recent article published by Entrepreneur.com, an average office employee spends more than an hour a day “looking for things.” A cluttered space can result in haphazard workflows, misplaced documents, and a lack of ability to focus because everything is fighting for your attention at once. Lack of organization usually means lack of efficiency, which can result in an increase of stress. Simply put, more mess leads to more stress.

But all is not lost. There are ways to bring more Zen into your work day. It’s all about how you keep things organized for your office desk setup.

Read More…
“Sanctuary” may be the last word you think of when it comes to your desk space, but it may not be as far-reaching as you might think. For starters, the placement of your desk can align with the benefits of feng shui to introduce a good energy flow around where you work. Who wouldn’t want to create an environment more prone to prosperity and creativity?

For balance and clarity, place your monitor near the back of your desk and keep things tidy near the center. Additionally, keeping a journal or sketchbook situated in the front right section of your desk helps generate more creative vibes.

Continue to build your desk sanctuary in other ways by making it more personal with photos. Add your family, pet, or a travel scene to your desktop. Bring in a plant or include some splashes of color or new lighting to brighten up the space. By incorporating some simple touches to the area typically known for housing only a computer, pens, and notepad can make it feel more Zen.

Want to learn more about turning your workspace into a desk sanctuary? Get inspired and get ready to update your desk with the tips from our infographic below.

Benefits of handwriting vs typing

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Rise with Fall: How to Embrace the Changing Business Environment

Every industry has its ebbs and flows in business, typically gauged by quarterly reports and monthly revenue goals. Embracing the inevitable changing business environment equips you with the right tools and mindset to tackle any hurdles that may arise, thus setting you up for success.
Board Meeting to Discuss Business Environment

In order to keep the pace with the ever-changing business climate, your company must know how to be agile enough to ride the ups and downs. Let’s review three ways to embrace the change of seasons and highlight how you can end the year strong – even with both predictable and unpredictable industry change.

  1. Adopt and Embrace an Offline and Online Marketing Strategy

    Users want to see a tightly aligned message with a company’s online and offline marketing strategy. According to the Data & Marketing Association, direct mail customer response rates increased by 43% year-over-year, according to 2016 statistics. If your current offline strategy involves the use of direct mailers, include customized products your clients can use year-round. These may include personalized calendars, pens emblazoned with your logo, or business card magnets they can hang up in their own office or at home. However, while direct mail still is successful for most industries, don’t forget about the industry change of an ever-increasing mobile audience who may prefer to receive their messaging electronically.

    According to a 2016 report analyzing over 1 billion emails, there was an open rate of 24.88% when averaged across all devices and sectors. This scrapes by the average email marketing open rate of 22%. People consistently rely on email to receive information. If you’re not utilizing both offline and online strategies to align with each other, you may be, quite literally, sending your customers mixed messages.

    How to embrace the changing business environment: Don’t abandon tried-and-true offline methods. Just make sure they match what you’re presenting online as well, and test which performs better per campaign.
    Market Research for Industry Change

  2. Put on the Blinders and Live Out Your Own Mission (Don’t Follow Competitors)

    It’s still recommended to do market research and keep on an eye on your competitors to help gauge your place in the industry. But, you may also want to pay close attention to what sets your company apart from others. Brand identity is crucial for a small business, because marketing budgets most likely can’t compete against the bigger brands. Live out your own mission by engaging your entire team to be an advocate for your brand.

    Do this by becoming a “walking, talking billboard” at the places that matter most, such as trade shows, local events, conferences, and other opportunities where it makes sense (and is expected) to promote your brand. If your budget allows for it, sponsor a well-attended event and set up a booth to sell your products or services.

    Once you have finalized your calendar of events, equip your staff with promotional merchandise to give away. Items should include your company’s name, contact information (phone, email, and/or social media), and a tagline, if applicable. Customize note pads, water bottles, drawstring backpacks, and other swag-worthy items to pass out at your next event. It will give people a reason to stop by and learn more about your company, buy your products, or schedule an appointment for your service.

    How to embrace the changing business environment: Stop focusing so much on the competition. When it comes to promoting your company, sometimes you have to ignore the industry chatter to hone in on your specific goals and audiences.
    Small Business Team Meeting to Define Goals

  3. Think Big and Stay Small

    The term “small business” is defined by the number of employees and amount of revenue generated. These numbers range by industry as outlined by the Small Business Administration. Whether you are a small business of 25 employees or a company of 250, you must always be willing to think big to keep up with the changing business climate.

    Thinking big, though, often refers to looking at goals that go beyond revenue. It involves asking questions like: How do you want to present yourself in the industry? What kind of opportunities can you provide your employees? Are you a company that encourages leadership and advancement? Maintain open communication within your company and have scheduled internal brainstorming meetings or quarterly initiatives to further your company’s culture and value. What goals would you like to see your company achieve?

    How to embrace the changing business environment: Define your company by more than revenue; find out what else motivates employees. This will help reduce turnover and improve loyalty within your company, which in turn saves company hiring costs.

There will always be climate change in business, especially as technology shifts and audience mindsets evolve. As a small business, it’s important to stay relevant among industry change. Ensure you have stability internally, so you can maintain your business goals among your clients and new audiences. Empower your team to be flexible and adaptable through industry changes.

Want to gain a new perspective and learn how to embrace change? Download a free copy of our Weekender Guide, a work-life balance calendar, to help you set goals for your entire team.

 

Construction Management: Tools of the Trade

The digital age has proven we can get things done efficiently and effectively online. But when it comes to construction management, there are processes and business needs that require a good, old-fashioned, pen-to-paper mentality and construction management tools.

Group of Construction Workers Standing on Worksite

To ensure a smoothly run construction company, there are several pieces that must work together for the process to be successful. There are internal processes, marketing, and operations to think about, but there’s also the actual project management required to handle several construction jobs at once. Although there are several online apps and tools necessary to keep everything organized in a centralized place, especially if there are multiple collaborators, there are those office supplies you’ll always need no matter what new technology is introduced over the years.

Day-to-Day Operations

From invoicing to memos to attending conferences and off-site meetings, you’ll need a few office basics to make sure you have information and materials posted where they’re most visible to your team. Every construction office will most likely have:

  • Pens

    Whether to use on-the-go, give to customers, or use internally, you can never have enough pens.

  • Notepads

    Use these to jot down ideas, notes to enter into a database later, or self-reminders when you don’t have access to an online portal.

  • Wall calendars

    While it’s likely you’ve gone digital with your project timelines, seeing upcoming projects at a glance are still nice to have for everyone to see. It helps paint a broad picture of timelines and scope of work being done.

  • USB flash drives

    If you need to transfer several files or blueprints at once between team members or to clients, a flash drive is a useful and practical way to get the job done.

Construction sites may have fewer office supplies than most, but there are still essentials required so that day-to-day tasks may be achieved in a timely manner. By having the basics in stock, it prevents any unnecessary, operational setbacks.

Table with Blueprints and Construction Tools

Construction Management Specifics

Construction management projects require time and attention given to many moving parts in order to see the final result come to fruition. The actual management of the project is ints own category, but there’s also budget, time, safety, and quality assurance components to consider.

The use of construction management software helps align these different categories to follow the scheduled timeline and achieve the required goal. The software you choose will be based on the size of your construction company, how many projects you handle at once, and the extent each project requires, among other factors such as price and usability.

Capterra has listed its top construction management software picks, but review each on its own merit to see how it could work best for your company. Software options such as CoConstruct, NoteVault, and Smartsheet all receive high consumer reviews for their capabilities offered.

The Digital Era

Back in the day, it was all paper invoices and tracking receipts. Now most paperwork is kept more organized with cloud-based systems and other ways where several people can be logged in at once to view the status of a project and leave notes that relate to the progress.

Companies range from using sophisticated software systems that house all their materials and project specifications, while others use different platforms to organize documents and information. Some of the most commonly used programs and software includes:

  • Google Docs

    Google Docs make accessibility easy for anyone who has WiFi and a Gmail account. You can share, view or edit permissions, leave notes directly on the document, and refer back to previously saved versions.

  • Dropbox

    Another free tool is Dropbox, which is a place to house all your shared documents and images and organize them into labeled folders. There is an upgraded version available for $9.99 a month that expands your storage availability, which is great for those who have a lot of digital media being passed back and forth.

  • Skype

    Even with central offices, it’s most likely many of your employees are working remotely or rarely in the office. Skype is a great way to keep in contact with each other and create specific groups for different constructions projects where everyone can chime in. This can help get quick answers and keep the process streamlined so everyone is on the same page.

  • GoToMeeting

    GoToMeeting has proven to be a valuable resource when you need to gather several people for a conference call. The service allows you to easily share your screen in order to demonstrate walk-throughs or present visuals for your team to better understand your projects.

Construction Worker Using Construction Management Software

Marketing Opportunities

The construction world relies on putting forth a positive reputation in the industry. If no one has heard of you or know what kind of work you’ve done, it’s less likely for a company to immediately agree to have you come in as the construction lead on any project. Make sure you are being competitive and properly branding yourself, whether it’s at a tradeshow or in person for kickoff meetings.

Carry professional business cards with all pertinent information to make it easy to contact you and make yourself known within your industry, not only among potential clients, but associated vendors or associations. Next time your company is in a position to network, make sure you carry:

  • Business Cards

    Include your company logo and contact information so clients have a way to get a hold of you always at their fingertips.

  • Business Bags

    Whether you carry a laptop or briefcase, here’s a prime opportunity to spotlight your brand in a way that makes sense. The idea is to subtly remind anyone who sees your bag who you are and what you do.

  • Customized Lanyards

    When you attend any conference, you can use and give away branded lanyards. This is especially useful if you sponsor or host an event.

  • Banners

    Banners are great for marketing if you’re at a tradeshow, at your job site, or even in the office. Make sure you have a logo, tagline, or other relevant company information that will keep your name in mind for new and long-standing clients.

With any industry, organization is key to ensure projects are done on a timely and cost-efficient manner. Are the right resources in place? Is the project on track for delivery? What are potential challenges and how can they be minimized or avoided altogether? The right construction management tools will help you stay efficient, on track, and relatively sane for the duration of your project.

Building Your Brand – Turning Your Idea Into a Business

You’ve done it.  You’ve finally decided to launch your business.  Now to get your name out there so you can have customers.  You have all these skills, but running a successful business requires more than just knowing the service you provide, it requires getting your business brand out there.  ready. Set. Go.  Here’s what you need to start building your brand!

Name

“Keep it simple stupid,” The saying our mom’s have been telling us our whole lives.  A name should be easy for your customers to remember, and even easier to spell.  Anything more and anything less and your customers will either never find you or not remember.

Logo

A lot of money has gone into studies about colors and shapes, but realistically, your logo should reflect your company. The best thing to do is think about all your favorite brands, gather up images of their logo and ask yourself what comes to mind when you look at their logo.  Do you think the person who created this logo wanted you to feel this way?  From there, write down what you like and try to incorporate it into your logo.  Once you have a prototype, think about investing in graphic design help from a professional.  Meet with them, tell them your vision and list out the qualities that inspired your prototype and w3atch them bring your logo to life.  Try to give them as much detail and direction as possible to keep cost down and money in your pocket.

Business Mantra

What solution are you providing? If you’re a lawyer, are you helping win cases?  Of course, you are just like all the other lawyers out there!  So what makes you different?  Is it your pay as you go pricing or your ability to communicate the law to the average Joe?  Think about the solution you provide, how you are going to deliver it and why they should choose you.  Write it down, and more importantly, make sure your business practices this every day, from you the business owner, to every employee who represents you.

Start Small, Build Big

If you are a lawyer, everyone you know and interact with should know you are a lawyer. Going to the grocery store and you strike up a conversation with someone, give them your card.  If you can’t sell your service to the people around you in your daily life, then throwing money at high dollar marketing plans will be risky.  If you say things like, “they won’t buy from me because they know me too well.”  Well then ask yourself, why they don’t trust you and work on yourself to build your brand and gain their trust.  Sometimes convincing the people that know you best will be your toughest test, but overcome those obstacles and you will set yourself up for success.

Do It yourself Marketing vs. Paid Marketing

There’s time to go cheap and there’s times to spend the dough. Knowing when to and when not to can be tough.  But like step 4, start small and test.  Exhaust all your free options and take the lessons learned from them to figure out a solution for paid marketing techniques.  Perhaps contract work out to test again new theories you are not experienced with.  When you find someone or something that works, invest smartly and capitalize.  Many programs these days offer simple, easy to use paid marketing techniques for business owners looking to develop this skill set.  Watch the videos, contact the company and soak up as much knowledge.  Facebook business offers simple solutions but find someone with success using their programs so you can know what you are getting into.

There’s probably a million more things to list and even more to do, but starting with some basics to help you develop a roadmap to success will keep your wallet full and your knowledge growing.  Good luck!

Selling for Business Owners Running a Business

You wanted to open up a mechanic shop, a photography business or restaurant.  You love working on cars.  You can find the beauty of how light should reflect off the subject you are photographing.  Your friends have been raving about your chef skills for years and you never have leftovers after a night in the kitchen because everyone eats it all like it’s their last meal.  Whatever your skills are, you have now accomplished the dream of opening up your own business.  Now to keep that dream alive, you realize, you have to sell that dream to investors for money, your coworkers to work hard and your customers because you need their consistent business.

In this article, you’ll get the basic fundamental tools you’ll need to learn, or at least get comfortable selling for business owners. 

Greet

More than just hello, the greet starts as soon as the customer sees you or your business. Clean appearance, dressed for the occasion and an organized look even before saying hi will get you started on the right foot.  Make eye contact, shake hands sternly, and say “pleasure to meet you!”  After pleasantries, the most important aspect is to ask an open ended question, meaning, ask a question that can’t be answered with a “yes or no” response.”  For instance, if you’re a photographer, and someone ask what are your rates, before answering, get the customer invested by asking some simple question such as, “what kind of pictures are you looking for me to take, who are you giving them to, and what inspires you to take these?”

Understand

When the customer answers your questions, don’t interrupt, but listen. Absorb as much as you can and find things to build on.  Find what the customer truly wants from her interaction and experience with you and find a way to deliver the desired results.

Evaluate

Think, think, think – it’s okay if you don’t have an answer right away, just make sure you are asking questions to drill down as deep as you can to find what your customer wants. Gather all the info, confirm you have everything correct and then think about how you can match your service to her expectations.

Suggest

Now you have a few options to suggest and suggest away! It’s best to give customers a few options, at different price tiers so they can make the decision on how much to invest. Perhaps you baseline package offers what the customer wants, but a premier package solves a customer’s future issues making it easier for them in the long run.  Always suggest based off what they ask for and mention as valuable to them.  Never guess or assume what they need or don’t need as you are still trying to gauge a customer’s level of interest and readiness to buy.

Take Action

You’ve listened, you offered different packages and now you know what the customer is interested in. Time to take action.  This is the step most people are often afraid of.  They don’t want to come off as pushy and aggressive, but at the same time, you know you’ve offered a great deal and the customer just needs some reassurance.  To go along in our mock example, a suggestion could be during the negotiation process, to start snapping a few fun photos of the person on the spot. Show, sample and give them the fun, light hearted feeling of working with you.  Show the pictures to them share some more ideas and ask “what day do you want to take pictures?” or “a deposit today will lock in your date, do you want to use cash, check or card?”

Re-evaluate

The customer still isn’t ready. That’s okay!  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  If it still doesn’t work, list out the entire customer’s request again, and explain how each request is solved by your product and service.  Suggest they look up your reviews.  Offer them a low cost incentive for purchasing today or within a 24 hour period.  Tell them to talk it over with their spouse but make sure they have all the info in a clean offer letter with an incentive to purchase sooner rather than later.

Referral

Great news, they purchased. Your work isn’t done yet.  After fulfilling your customers request and making sure they are satisfied comes round 2. Ask them if they know anybody who could use your service.   Perhaps even offer a discount or finder’s fee.  Ask to be tagged in their photos on social media.  And last but not least, ask them for a review of your services on your website or social media accounts.  Always ask for a referral.

How Premium Gifts Can Uplift Employees

Premium gifts serve the basic purpose of your standard gifts, to reward good behavior and encourage your employees to strive for more.  Encouraging this type of behavior will make your employees feel respected and appreciated.  It will also help determine who wants to develop their career for the long term. Here are some reasons to give your employees the not just gifts, but Premium Gifts!

Thank you gifts

Numerous studies have often said employees love when their manager tells them “good job!” A thank you gift can go a long way to improving employee morale. It doesn’t have to be over the top or too expensive either.  It just simply has to display how thankful you are to have them on your team.  Consider a pen and journal set with a special thank you message.

Top Performer Gifts

everyone knows the saying of “Show me the money” but sooner or later, your staff will want to be recognized as the top worker bee.  Reward the person, the department or the company who performs the best.  Maybe it’s a special coffee mug, stainless steel water bottle or portfolio for them to show off around the office.

Most Improved Gifts

Keep morale in the office high by showing you notice the people putting in effort, trying to develop their skills and taking on challenges they once hid from.

Consistent Award Gifts

They show up every day, rain or shine, with the same can-do attitude. They put out the “fires” at work and find ways to still make the office life enjoyable for the people around them.  Need them to work a little late and they have no problem.  They are your consistent performers who you cherish.  Show them why you love to have them in the office.  Deluxe Lunch bags or ice coolers that resemble them grabbing their “lunch pail” and hard hat for a great day of work is a gesture to show how much they are cherished by your organization.

Team Award

Did accounting figure out a way to save on spending?  Customer Service find ways to keep customers coming back for more?  Or maybe sales knocked their quota out the park?  Reward the departments that show the best results and let their team celebrate together. Its important to foster an environment of winning together and rewarding the victories.