Marketing with Events and Developing a Style Guide for Your Business

Tablet Readers RejoiceEdit

Its time again for another community news and information roundup. Here are the key insights from the blogs and communities we follow across the Web. It’s our weekly survey of what the small business community online is discussing. Enjoy and contribute.

Use Events to Grow Your Business (Event Supremacy)

Yes, search, social and mobile marketing are important for your business. But another very powerful yet sometimes less talked about approach is through events. If you want to learn more about how small businesses can use events to promote their brand, look no further. Rich Brooks, founder of the Agents of Change Conference, discusses his approach with host Vernon T. Foster in this podcast.

Your Organization Needs a Style Guide (Social Change Consulting)

No matter what kind of organization — business, non-profit or anything else — unless you plan to stay a solo act, you’ll need to plan for growth. One of the tricks here can be scaling your organization so that everyone understands how you do things. Here Justin P. Clark shares a technique from the non-profit world that business owners can use too. Adopt a style guide for your company.

Grow Your Business by Creating Something New (The Attorney Marketing Center)

You’ve heard the often repeated advice that entrepreneurs must work on their business not just in it. Here David M. Ward explains one important way to accomplish this simply by creating something new. Whether you are trying to grow a law practice or some other kind of business entirely, its about more than just taking care of day to day stuff.

Figure Out Your Ideal Customer (BizLaunch Blog)

Another way of growing your business is by defining your ideal customer. Here Lora Crestan, owner of Solstice Group, discusses creating a profile of the perfect customer or client your business aspires to serve. The exercise helps you direct your marketing efforts and create products and services specific to meet that customer’s needs.

Why You Need Content Marketing Strategy (Small Business eCommerce Blog)

Content marketing is an important part of promoting your business online. But, in this post, Simon Horton also points out that without a strategy your content marketing efforts are likely to be ineffective. Whether you run an eCommerce or other business, here’s a look at how to develop a strategy for those marketing efforts.

Create the Perfect About Page (Papermark Blog)

Your about page is more important than you think. It not only tells people about you and your business. It may also determine whether or not they decide to become your client or customer. Janice Hostager has more insights here and in the BizSugar community about how to get your about page right.

18 Tips for Reaching Your Target Audience (Smart Marketerz)

We’ve heard about developing a profile for your ideal customer. Here blogger Erik Emanuelli talks about reaching your target audience — and some advice about how to get it done. In the BizSugar community, Emanuelli also chats about how to define who your target audience is in the first place.

Get Some Extra Client Insight (Black Enterprise)

Beyond the importance of developing a target audience and ideal client, you should also know as much as you can about those clients. Here Carolyn M. Brown suggests Grapevine6 to give you more insight into your LinkedIn connections, for example. Think about how to get more insight into your customers.

10 Lessons to Learn About Blogging (Denise Mooney)

Mooney lists quite a few lessons learned blogging over the last year. But for small business owners, the most important one may be to treat your blog as a business. Here’s a bit more discussion on that point in the BizSugar community.

The Importance of Color in Your Marketing (SF Gazette)

You might be surprised how important a role color choice makes in Web design. In this post, Bruna Martinuzzi, founder of Clarion Enterprises Ltd., explores the psychology of color and how it can impact the success of your business. Consider the role color plays in your marketing efforts.

Drop us an email at sbtips@gmail.com to tell us what you think we should be sharing in our next community roundup. Or contribute to BizSugar.com where we go each week to find the best and freshest in small business content.

Tablet Readers Rejoice via Shutterstock

The post Marketing with Events and Developing a Style Guide for Your Business appeared first on Small Business Trends.

Two Moms Create Business Niche With Prenatal Vitamin Water

bump water

When Stacy Rauen and Amber Wilcox were going through their respective pregnancies, they couldn’t believe there wasn’t an easier way to get their necessary prenatal vitamins. Both women had difficulty with the standard pills due to their size and taste. Those factors, mixed with persistent morning sickness, made getting the necessary vitamins tough.

That’s when the two women put their heads together and came up with a business idea. Wilcox told Small Business Trends:

“Since we were drinking so much water, especially sparkling water, and you need more water when you are pregnant, we thought, ‘Why can’t we sip our way to a healthy baby?’ We couldn’t believe there wasn’t an easier way to get the folic acid you need during pregnancy.”

bump water

Then Rauen, Wilcox and their husbands began looking into making their idea a reality. They did some Internet research and spoke to other moms and doctors to make sure there wasn’t a similar product already on the market.

Then they teamed up with a beverage development company, since they didn’t have any previous experience in the beverage industry. They conducted tasting rounds at their homes with friends and family. They hired a branding company to take care of things like their logo and website. Bump Water was officially in the works.

The two families worked long nights and weekends to make Bump Water a reality. They even poured their savings into the project. So to fund their initial production round, the first-time business owners held fundraisers for friends and family and started an Indiegogo campaign.

bump water

Now, the business is experiencing steadily growing sales on its website and Amazon.com. They are also in talks with “quite a few major retailers,” according to the founders.

Even though they are seeing some success now, the founders said that starting a business in an industry that was new to them wasn’t without its challenges. Before Bump Water, Rauen worked as a magazine editor and Wilcox was a stay-at-home mom. So things like lead times from vendors and review time frames for major retailers were things they had to learn through trial and error.

But through it all, both founders said they are proud of their product and business plan. Even though they were unfamiliar with the beverage industry, they knew through their own personal experiences that there was a hole in the market. And they did something about it. That niche, Wilcox said, is how they were able to find success:

“Try to create a unique product that fits a specific need. We were amazed a product like Bump Water didn’t already exist, so we created it.”

Images: Bump Water

The post Two Moms Create Business Niche With Prenatal Vitamin Water appeared first on Small Business Trends.

Four Ways Smartphones can Make You a More Efficient Entrepreneur





smartphone

According to the 2013 AT&T Small Business Tech Survey, 85% of the companies surveyed reported using a smartphone for their day-to-day business. Interestingly, that same survey found that only 31% of small businesses used mobile apps, meaning most business owners were only using their phones for phone calls and email. And while smartphones are a great for staying on top of calls, they can do such more –your smartphone can actually help turn you, as well as your business, into a pinnacle of entrepreneurial efficiency.

Collaborate with Colleagues

Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you have to have an office for your business. Some of the most successful small business owners I know started their business from their living room. Logistically, however, an office-less business can be a nightmare, especially when it comes to collaboration. Your house can’t be your business 24/7, and you can’t expect to always be able to access your work computer. Thankfully, if it’s midnight and you need to finish a press release, or you’re stuck in the airport and need your partner’s input on a presentation you’re heading out to give, your smartphone can help. Cloud-based collaboration has become easier than ever with apps like Google Drive or CloudOn, so as long as you have an internet connection, you have an office.

Analyze Performance

It’s easy enough to look at your books and see how much money is coming in compared to how much is coming out, but unless you know how to use Excel really well, it can be a bit harder to track long-term performance. Plus it’s pretty difficult to lug financial records around with you everywhere you go – even if you keep all of your documents on the aforementioned Excel spreadsheet, you still have to keep your laptop on you. Luckily, there are mobile apps like Roambi that quickly create visual representations of whatever data you stick into them. At any time you can check out a breakdown of best sales by region, or your highest grossing dates. When you run a business, having quick access to financial data and analyses is a real benefit – once you have it, you can quickly answer questions, pitch ideas, and makes decisions while on the go from your office.

Network

Obviously, you can use your phone to check your Facebook or text someone you just met your number, but there are a lot of apps that making networking way easier. LinkedIn, for all its usefulness, is still a bit clunky on most mobile devices, and it can be hard to navigate. But apps like CardMunch make exchanging LinkedIn information as easy as swapping business cards, so you don’t have to stand over someone’s shoulder as they scroll through pages of search results looking for your profile. These apps can even automatically create a new contact on their own – so much faster than poring over wrinkled business cards after a conference!

Process Payments

Only 30% of small businesses that use mobile apps reported using their phones to process payments – that means only 9% of the small businesses surveyed by AT&T were processing payment using their phone! Mobile payment processing is still fairly new, so I understand if it isn’t as widely embraced as other business solutions. However, good payment processing apps like SquareUp update your records in real time, and enable you, if you have an Android, iPhone, or iPad, to be able to sell on the run, in your own storefront, or online. You may opt to cover all three bases with your business!

Mobile-based business apps are all about making sure brands can keep up with their business and customer base no matter where they are. All of the work I listed above can be done fairly easily from your office computer, but when you’re on a train or sitting around the doctor’s office, it’s nice to be able to unlock your phone’s screen and get a bit of work done while you wait. It’s always a win for entrepreneurs – you feel more efficient and on top of your business this way. Small business owners are woefully underutilizing smartphones, so I really do recommend going onto the app store and checking out some productivity apps listed or finding some recommendations that best suit you and your company. You’ll be amazed at what’s out there and wonder why you didn’t get on this sooner!

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.

Image Credit:  Shutterstock.com





The post Four Ways Smartphones can Make You a More Efficient Entrepreneur appeared first on Under30CEO.

Two Books with Perfect Phrases to Help You Get the Job Done

perfect phrasesStrap yourself in, this is going to be a super-two-fer book review!

How many times have you been stopped cold because you just didn’t have the right words to close the sale or to make an announcement of some sort.  These are two times in the live of a small business that can really make a difference.

This week, I received two review copies of books that are in a series called Perfect Phrases.  The one that caught my attention first was Perfect Phrases for Sales Presentations: Hundreds of Ready to Use Phrases for Delivering Powerful Presentations That Close Every Sale and it’s companion Perfect Phrases for Writing Company Announcements: Hundreds of Ready-to-Use Phrases for Powerful Internal and External Communications.

Both books are written by Linda Eve Diamond and both have been a Godsend to me.  You see, even though I’m a big time talker, when it comes to making announcements or starting a sales conversation – or even responding inside of a sales conversation – I’m often speechless.  It’s like I can’t think fast enough on my feet.

Ta-Da! What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to receive these books as review copies.  Because more often than not, what stops me is simply not knowing what to say.  Both of these books solve that problem by giving you more than enough phrases that you can choose from and practice with to get you over that insecure hump and get you into the conversation that matters.

Inside the Sales Phrases Book

I’m going to start with Perfect Phrases for Sales Presentations because I suspect that this is the one you are really interested in.

First, let me tell you that this is a book you can carry in your briefcase, purse or computer case.  It’s just under 180 pages and it’s going to be your go-to cheat sheet for the next time you do a sales presentation – no matter what your level of expertise.

The book is divided into three sections. The first section is a foundation builder; mindset, attitude and who you need to be to become successful.  Part two contains the meat of the book – it’s the one that’s going to have all the dog-ears.

Part three is designed to get you into the habit of practicing, strengthening and implementing what you’ve learned here.  Ideally, the intention is to wean yourself off the book.  But if you’re like me, you’ll skip sections one and three and firmly use section two.

There are phrases for every sales circumstance; cold calls, warm calls, hot calls, when you’ve been referred. Here are just a few examples:

“I wonder if you could help me.  I have a product/service that is designed to increase internet security, who would be the best person for me to speak with?”

“Thank you for calling XYZ company, I have a note here that you requested additional information and I had some questions.  If you have a few minutes now, I can help you with that.”

This book is killer useful.  But one thing that was missing for me was the social media aspect of prospecting.  These days so many people make first connections online, it would have been nice to have these phrases customized for LinkedIn or Twitter.  That’s not to say that you can’t do this with the phrases that are offered – it’s just that it would have made the book more current for today’s selling environment.

Perfect Phrases for Announcements Focuses on an Often Ignored Communication Opportunity

Let’s jump into the next book about phrases for company announcements.  I say that this is an ignored area of company communication and one where people tend to get – how shall I say – LAZY.  This is why it’s often the brunt of radio shows and jokes where people read silly emails and corporate announcements and focus on the poor phrases and flat out miscommunication.

I also call this a communications opportunity because internal announcements speak very loudly about the unstated culture of a company.  For example, it’s not unusual for organizations to say that “people are their most important asset” and then to put out announcements that give the opposite impression.  Internal announcements are a critical component to maintaining and building corporate culture and morale – and deserve more attention than they get.

Like Perfect Phrases for Sales, Perfect Phrases for Writing Company Announcements is divided into three parts and follows the same structure; introduction, phrases and an implementation section. Below are just a few phrases that I found really useful.

Here is one praising a team for winning an award:

“We didn’t win the state award for Best Restaurant because we have the best chefs, waitstaff, bus crew or bar tenders – we won because you are all the best at what you do and you work as a team to give our customers and outstanding dining experience, Congratulations everyone – and thank you!”

And here is one talking about restructuring, certainly a more difficult topic:

“We realize our new product line reflects a shift in the company’s overall philosophy.  We appreciate your support over the years and hope you will continue to be as enthusiastic about our new direction as you have been along the way.”

About the Author

Linda Eve Diamond is the author of several books in the areas of education, self-help, motivation, teambuilding, business writing, and poetry. Listening is a critical skill is a central theme throughout her diverse work.

After writing and teaching indication skills in a corporate training setting for nearly 15 years, she decided to find to her focus on communication by exploring the importance of listening from the inner to the interpersonal.

She’s written more than seven books on these topics and has co-written Perfect Phrases for Writing Company Announcements with her mother, Harriet Diamond, who is also an accomplished author of several training books.

If you’ve been looking for some handbooks with ready-to-use phrases to get your conversations started and move them forward, these two are a great addition to your library.

The post Two Books with Perfect Phrases to Help You Get the Job Done appeared first on Small Business Trends.

Detox Tips for the Busy Professional

Master Cleanse, green juice detox, yoga cleanse, lemon water. Huh? How do I cleanse when my workload is so time consuming? Do I cleanse for a day? A week? A month?

We are always on the go and therefore, need to properly fuel our bodies. It’s much easier to grab a burger than to plan out a balanced meal and that is exactly why cleansing is important. But let me make myself clear: Cleansing should never replace healthy and balanced living.

Cleansing should be seen as a system reboot that should be implemented at least every three to four months. As the seasons change, so do the chemical process in our bodies, leaving toxic waste behind.

Why is detoxification and cleansing necessary?

When our bodies become “toxic,” it means that our bodily functions of flushing toxic chemicals – accumulated through stress, chemicals in food and environmental pollution – have exceeded it’s maximum potential of metabolizing itself. From our head to our toes and everything in between, toxicity makes us ill and moody!

How do you I know when it’s time to detoxify and cleanse?

You can usually tell it’s time for a reboot both inwardly and outwardly. You’ll begin to notice patterns of feeling “blah” and or you’ll see a difference in your physical appearance.

Here are some symptoms that may reflect a toxic body:

· Skin rashes and breakouts

· Chronic headaches

· Insomnia

· Persistent fatigue

· Muscle aches and soreness

· Food sensitivities

· Weight gain/difficulty losing weight

· Hormonal imbalances

· Constipation

· Irritable

· Sugar/carb cravings

· Change in body odor

· Short memory/ attention span

What’s the best cleanse for a busy professional?

The best cleanse is a cleanse that consists of proper nourishment. Cleansing is NOT ever equivalent to starvation. A cleanse should leave you feeling rejuvenated not drained and irritable.

Here are five detox tips to get you started:

1. For seven days, limit your dietary intake to veggies, fruits and water.

Omit dairy, meat, coffee, sugar, white carbs, soda and grains.

2. Eat detoxing foods like spinach, kale, ginger, onions, apples, chard, garlic, collards, pineapples, beets, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, grapes, oranges, blueberries, kiwis, cherries, cabbage and carrots. Play with different herbs and spices like cumin, turmeric, bay leafs, ginger and cinnamon to spruce up dishes and smoothies.

3. Replace coffee and or sugary drinks with cleansing herbal teas like dandelion, milk thistle, mint, and lemon balm. Enjoy infused water by adding cucumbers, fresh mint, lemon, limes and oranges, which also alkalize the water. Alkalizing balances your body’s PH and provides oxygen.

4. Prepare and plan your lunch in advance. If you bought steamed spinach and a green smoothie, make a commitment to stick with that.

5. Journal during the process. Find time to write down your feelings and note your physical and spiritual change. When cleansing is done correctly, it will lead to positive results that often lead to a more permanent healthier lifestyle.

With any dietary changes, do research. All cleanses and detoxing systems aren’t created equally. And every system reacts to change differently. For more information on cleansing contact me directly: Coachp@herbalosophy101.com

Coach P. is a Holistic, Nutrition and Green Living Coach. She is the chief editor of  Lavish Green Life. In 2013 she founded Herbalosophy101- A holistic health and wellness practice that specializes in nutrition coaching. Follow her on Twitter @CoachPCare

Lookout Uses Selfies To Catch Your Smartphone Thief

Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint sensor

Phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 have built-in security measures, like fingerprint sensors, to keep would-be thieves out.

If your smartphone is ever stolen, you could have a picture of the thief waiting in your inbox.

According to Recode, mobile security company Lookout is rolling out its Theft Alerts add-on to its consumer products, making it easier to track your stolen phone and get a good look at the culprit.

In a press release, Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder and CTO of Lookout, talks about the growing number of phone thefts. “From the day we started Lookout, we’ve dedicated ourselves to fighting smartphone theft,” Mahaffey says. “Today, the problem has grown so large that nearly 70 percent of phone theft victims never get their phone back. This is not right.”

Lookout, for Android and iOS, is constantly running in the background, monitoring apps and alerts you when malicious software tries to access your phone. You can back up your contacts and photos, lock down your phone, and even wipe your data when it gets stolen.

Apple offers a very similar service through its Find My iPhone app, though it doesn’t take a photo of the perpetrator, or alert you when it gets stolen.

Lookout’s new Theft Alert is an add-on to the company’s premium plan, which costs $3 per month. The Android version is more full-fledged than its iOS counterpart, though. Apple’s devices will not send photos of the criminal to you, thanks to its more closed operating system. It also only alerts you when the device goes into Airplane mode, or when its SIM card is removed.

Of course, if you are the victim of a robbery, reporting it to the police and providing them with your phone’s GPS information should be a priority rather than using it to track down the thief yourself.

 

First-Daughter Malia Attends Prom: Date “Classified”

Boy, time sure does fly. Why? Well, first daughter Malia recently attended her first prom. But who her date was, that’s “classified” information.

It’s still unclear whether she had a date or whether she went with friends. She hasn’t turned 16 yet.

The president was asked about it during an interview on ABC‘s “Live! With Kelly and Michael.”

Like every parent, the president was a little shocked to notice his little girl had suddenly grown up so quickly. He said, “Malia did have her first prom … I think it’s fair to say that the first time you see your daughter in heels is a little bit jarring, she’s lovely. She’s beautiful.”

But when they tried to push him to dish up more details he declined, telling them, “I think this is all classified information.”

Now it should take some extra courage for any teenager to show up at the White House and ask to pick his daughter up, but Obama begs to disagree. He insists he’s “not too intimidating.”

According to the AP, “The president said he and the first lady were worried that growing up in the White House would give their daughters ‘an attitude.’ But he expressed pride that they have remained respectful, kind, and considerate young women and gave credit to his wife.”

Malia turns 16 on July 4. Her little sister Sasha, she turns 13 this month. We’ve been watching them grow since the Obamas moved into the White House in 2008.

You can check out the full interview with Kelly and Michael here.