How does your small business generate more sales? Marketing initiatives? Sales incentives? Referrals? Cold calls? All of the above? While each of those tactics play an important role in any business growth model, as a small business owner, there are some other not-so-obvious ways to increase your sales and expand your market. Check out these five catalysts for business growth – creative ways to grow your market presence in your local community and ultimately increase your sales. Don’t overlook the value in stepping outside of your office and into your back yard. As a small business owner, it can be any one of these unique approaches that might ignite the fire that blasts your business into the marketplace.
1. Engage: Join local small business groups. Whether it’s your local Chamber of Commerce or a more casual setting, actively participate in your community by facilitating relationships with like-minded folks. Developing a “tribe” of supporters in your back yard can serve many purposes. They can help spread awareness by word of mouth, offer pointed advice and experiences, and empathize with the struggles of small business. Stay motivated with the help of others and show genuine interest in their endeavors and they’ll be sure to return the favor.
2. Research: Pay attention to your local market. What are other business owners doing? Are they successful? Any recent failures that you could learn from? Acknowledging your competition is healthy and can help you gauge where you might be missing the mark. Read local newspapers and business blogs. See how your community reacts to certain strategies by watching and learning from established business owners.
3. Learn: Attend local conferences or seminars. Stay up to date with regional events and explore leadership programs. Any opportunity to hear words of wisdom from those who have gone before you is a sure-fire way to be sure you are always challenging yourself in new ways. You can also make great connections with other attendees. Be sure to follow up on new introductions with a proactive phone call or email. Don’t let the opportunity die when the conference is over.
4. Volunteer: Showing value for your community and marketplace by giving back is a wonderful way to establish your presence as a company that cares. Making an effort to serve others instead of selling others shows your client base that you know it’s not “all about you” and you general care and want to meet their needs. Beyond meeting local people in need, other volunteers and the good feeling that comes from helping others, you are developing respect and admiration for yourself and your business.
5. Socialize: Make an effort to make friends everywhere you go. Whether they are in your target market or not, you never know when a friendship will pay off in a referral or positive recommendation. Develop genuine relationships, be approachable, smile and laugh. If your market consists of business owners who love to kick back and hit the golf course on their free time, make it a point to play a round with new people once a week. Chat people up in the doctor’s office, coffee shop, supermarket. Be happy and share that happiness with others. A social business owner is a successful business owner. Engage people because they are human, not because they are prospects. Wait for them to ask about your business. Treat them with genuine interest and authentic interest.
These simple catalysts for business growth often go overlooked, especially in the frenzy of trying to get a business off the ground. Be diligent about setting aside time to slow down and focus outward. After all, your small business isn’t about you. You’re providing some service or meeting some need for someone else. Take the time to look outside your door and engage what’s right in your back yard. Your key to success might be right there and you don’t even know them yet!
Social Media Scheduling 101: The Basics
Why is social media scheduling important?
Today’s culture, both personally and professionally, is driven by real time transparency. There are any of a million ways that we can interact with the world and share our life journeys, which has been the doorway to maintaining friendships, keeping family from afar close and celebrating life with like-minded individuals. But on the other hand, every time that phone blips that a new message has popped up, we’re driven by madness to look. It’s exhausting!!!! And ultimately incredibly time consuming. As a small business owner, the drive to build a following can be intoxicating and the pressure to be available to your clients 24/7 is crippling. How do you actually “do” your business if you’re always distracted by social media? Social media scheduling is the very best way to continue to curate and share content with your audience, while allowing yourself to focus on higher priorities in your personal and professional life.
If I schedule social media am I lying to my followers by “pretending” to be online when I’m not?
Any way that you can automate your workflow to save time and develop a routine, you are being true to yourself, your clients and most importantly, your family. The key is to appear to be accessible during high traffic times, but not actually be sitting there glued to your phone or computer hanging on every word uttered to the social media gods. Social media scheduling allows us to cater to multiple audiences at their individual peek times, gives us the opportunity to stay active and engaged while on the go and makes sure we have time to focus on what really counts.
Where do I start?
I have two go-to programs that can work for even the most basic new learners (and have lots of advanced features for those in the know). And bonus…they’re FREE! What we’re moving towards is organized strategy. Social media scheduling allows you to develop a marketing strategy for your business and then execute it. You simple couldn’t do that properly on the fly and would get lost in the weeds. These next two tools can help put you on the path to a social media presence that translates to growth and long-term sustainability.
If you’re just digging into the social media behemoth, let’s put a simple tool to work for you while you get your bearings. Similar to how Instagram can cross post to Twitter and Facebook, Friends + Me can take your Google Plus posts and push them to several other platforms. I personally post to Google + and it carries over to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. One action = 4 social media networks.
I’ll admit, this tool can be visually tricky and take a little getting used to if you’re heavy handed with links and tags. Once you get comfortable with how your posts will appear in the different feeds, you’ll tailor your original content to work across the board. It’s a fantastic way to save time by not having to manually cross-pollinate your content to each and every platform individually. It’s a great way for new learners to “phone it in” while you up your social media knowledge and a stellar way for a seasoned social media vet to knock out a task list for simple content shares.
Hootsuite is the other tool I rely heavily on. In short, it’s a one-stop shop for me to manage all of my profiles on the various platforms that I use. In its most basic form, I schedule all Twitter activity (content sharing) in here or via their Hootlet (content curating). I can tell you it’s really the Hootlet that is life changing. This little plugin is ridiculously awesome. It allows me to wrap up items of interest in a nice little box with a beautiful little bow instantly and schedule directly from my point of interest. I can open it up from any source and schedule a tweet/share from any of my accounts instantaneously without having to copy/paste links or images into Hootsuite itself. That save of a few clicks is amazing!!!
– Google Plus (2 business profiles)
So. How does this ultimately save time? Have I just traded time spent manually posting for time spent scheduling automation? The key here is to carve out time and stick to it. Don’t be scheduling all day! It defeats the purpose. Here are some quick rules to keep in mind:
- Set a specific day each week (or even an hour each morning/night if that’s better for you) that is devoted to scheduling the next weeks’/days’ tweets/posts/etc. Make that a calendar time in your routine. Stick to it! I do all of my scheduling first thing in the morning. That way my social media profiles are working in the background while I am completing my normal business day and any activity can just be responsive.
- Commit to a time each evening that the phone/computer gets put away. For example, clients at The Studio now know that our business booking hours are Monday – Friday from 8AM – 5PM. If they email us during that time, they expect a response. But if they email outside of that time, they know they’ll hear from us during the next business day. We’ve educated them and we’re training ourselves. Now, when that email dings with a new inquiry, I don’t look at it if it’s after hours. They know, and I know it will be there tomorrow.
- Give yourself a break! Cut yourself some slack! It’s ok to take a break from time to time on social media. It’s ok to not post every meal, every night out, every stylish outfit. Let go of the pressure to perform. Focus on enjoying the interactions with people and sharing your heart. You’ll find it not only comes more naturally, but more purposefully. Be IN your life.
Pin this to your Small Business Tips & Tricks Board or your Blogging Resources Board! Don’t have one? Follow me!
Did you like this post? Check out How to Create Hyper-Linked Email Signatures in Gmail!
IBA Blog Conference – October 12-17, 2015
Mark your calendars!!! I have some very exciting news to share!!! The International Bloggers Association is hosting their very first IBA blog conference! The IBA Network-a-thon will be hosted online October 12th – 15th. Yup, that’s right! A virtual conference! You don’t have to worry about travel expenses, child care, vacation time or anything! Just you, me, the IBA, our computers and some amazingly awesome Google Plus Hangouts.
Want to hear the very best news? The IBA blog conference is SUPER affordable. Only $10 for your ticket! Even more exciting? Use the code KATY to receive a special Chaos & Kiddos discount! You’ll get $5 off. 50% off! At that price, there’s no reason to miss out on what will be a fun week of networking, learning and blog sharing. The IBA blog conference will be a great opportunity to discover your tribe of blog supporters, learn new tips and tricks, and dig into blogging professionally. Don’t miss out! $5 is less than a cup of Starbucks coffee! Woot! Click on the big IBA right below or click on “Buy this on Selz” to grab your 50% off discount ticket now! Don’t forget to use the code KATY! See you in October!
24 Super Awesome Articles for Busy Working Moms
You may have noticed a bit of feast or famine over here at Chaos & Kiddos. Why? Because we’ve been sharing the love all over! Yup, that’s right. When we’re not here actively posting, it’s usually because we have the great honor to share our voice on other platforms. We thought you might like to keep up with where we’ve been! So…check out these 24 super awesome articles for busy working moms. Enjoy!
Need a little parenting pick me up? Look no further! Grab a cup of coffee and kick back for a good read. Pick up a few tips and tricks, and give yourself a pat on the back, because you’re doing an AWESOME job.
Tell the truth…We bet you’re working too hard! It’s ok. We all do. Let’s band together and give ourselves permission for a little TLC, a whole lot more community and the opportunity to thrive professionally and personally, being our best selves for those we love most.
Tips for the Working Mom: How to Excel in Both Worlds
Our very favorite!! Sharing the tips and tricks to help your business grow, the creative ideas that are making big waves in the entrepreneurial and those little reminders that get you back on track as a motivated, focused small business owner.
Get More Instagram Followers and Grow Your Business
Health and Wellness
Last, but certainly not least, the most important part. Staying healthy and being well. The journey towards balance is just that…a journey. Join us as we walk together towards a more meaningful, enriched life.
Do you have any super awesome articles for busy working moms? Share them below in the comments! Let’s face it, time is a hot commodity around here, and most of us don’t have time to blog hop! So…if you’ve done us the great honor by taking time out of your busy day to stop here, then THANK YOU! From the bottom of our hearts. And if you have a resource to share, please do so! Any opportunity we have to connect a resource with a need, whether it’s our information or not, is a big win for us, and for YOU!
And that’s why we’re here. For you. XOXO