Small businesses make a massive impact on the local economy. Either by generating income and then spending it in the local area and then in other local businesses or by bringing in good trade from outside – like tourists. But when it comes to being a business owner, it will always be in your benefit to do good in the area that you do business in.
Ideally, you will begin by seeking out companies and causes that speak to you on a fundamental level. It might be a local animal shelter, it could be a healthy initiative like a walking group, or it might be a small local branch of a larger company.
You don’t have to come from a wealthy background, or even sink a lot of money into anything. Usually, time and help will achieve the funds.
When it comes to making a swift and lasting impact a lot comes down to the local government. Ensure that you are up to date with domestic policies, what will impact your business, and others that perhaps are vulnerable in your local area. Take the time to work out where the city spends its money, where it comes from, political reform organizations, upcoming changes and what you can do to support your own values and the values of others.
Each and every city has (sadly) far too many animal shelters that will always be in need of donations. Get in touch with a few and see where your business (and you) can contribute. It might be a portion of profits, it could be a Saturday morning in the kennels. Blanket collections, food, and maybe raising money for medical expenses. You might even look into helping to foster dogs when needed – and who doesn’t love an office dog?
Sadly there are millions of lonely people, and you might even be one of them. If you don’t have the cash to put into something, perhaps you have the time? Seniors, parents of young children are in the bracket that is most often associated with being alone. You could make a point of visiting people you know are on their own, or you could arrange a friendship club in the local area – church halls and community centres tend to be great for this. Bring hot drinks, cake and boardgames and let people interact. Social connects are powerful and fulfilling – so help to nurture those connections.
If you have been fortunate enough to do well from your business, then perhaps it is time to pass on that knowledge. Get in touch with local schools, and children’s clubs and see if they have anything coming up like a careers day. Go and speak about your success and failure – perhaps even pass on some of the skills you’ve learned along the way.
Whether you are starting a business for the first time, looking for ways to bring new readers to your blog, thinking about starting an online store or business, or you are thinking about taking your established brick and mortar store online for the first time, digital marketing might be something that you’ve heard about.
Digital marketing has a great many benefits. It gives you an easy way to reach a large audience, it can be much cheaper than traditional offline marketing methods, and it can help you to get noticed as a modern and up and coming business. It can also give you much greater control over your marketing methods, and the chance to try a massive range of different things. But, first, let’s take it back to basics and look at what digital marketing is, and what it could do for you.
It’s easy to think that digital marketing is complicated and complex. Most things online and in business are. But, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, digital marketing can be much less complicated than more traditional methods as you can analyze the data, and see what is working more efficiently.
To put it very simply, digital marketing is methods of promoting and advertising your brand or business, or yourself if you work as a freelancer or sole trader, on the internet. It’s growing an online presence and using it to reach a wider audience, engage with your readers or customers, gain valuable feedback and find ways to improve.
Digital marketing isn’t all about placing adverts on websites and social media. There’s a lot more to it than that. But, you don’t need to do it all. Once you’ve grown an audience, you can spend time (and money) on the methods that you feel will benefit you the most. Don’t waste your time trying to be everywhere, concentrate on being where your audience can find you. Grow your social media profiles, work with influencers, launch a blog to support your business, place adverts carefully, send marketing emails, make podcasts and videos, and explore the internet as much as you can.
Why Do I Need It?
The main advantages of digital marketing are cost and reach. You might eventually want a digital marketing team, but it’s also okay to do some of your online promotion yourself to save money. It’s also a way to get your audience to work for you. They’ll share your content and comment on your posts, helping you to get seen by even more people.
But, that doesn’t mean that it’s time to withdraw traditional marketing materials completely. There are still advantages to marketing offline and investing in traditional marketing methods.
When it comes to pitching for new business, it can be a tough job to stand out from the crowd. The potential client will have seen a number of pitches and presentations, so how can you really grab their attention and make sure it’s you that they choose? Not only will they have seen many and had more to see, but they also will have been in your shoes at some point and will know that you’re trying to impress. So what is going to make them either part with their money or choose you over anyone else?
Have Some Humility
It’s all well and good telling the people from the business you’re pitching for how great you are and why they should pick you, but remember that they have seen a number of egos so you will stand out by showing some humility. Highlight the obvious challenges or risks your business faces and show that you are prepared for this. Show that you have and know the strengths to overcome them.
A personal story, anecdote or reference will be unique and something that no one else can offer. This can humanize the experience and give the potential clients something they can relate to.
Simplicity Is Key
Don’t overwhelm people with graphs, charts, data, and jargon. Make sure your presentation is visually pleasing by using presentation software. Be selective with the data that you show and keep your charts and graphs readable.
Get To The Point
Get your most compelling points across early as you won’t have that much time in the pitch, so you want the panel to learn the two or three most important things early on. Not only will this keep them interested but will mean that you won’t forget to include them.
Including a brief demonstration of what your offering is can be really useful if it’s done right. Not some cheesy role play, but something where you can involve the potential new clients will definitely make you memorable and stand out from the crowd.
Do Your Research
Read up on who you’ll be pitching too and align your pitch with the strengths and weaknesses of those people. Make sure you keep strong eye contact throughout the pitch and use whatever prior knowledge you have to your advantage. Show them that you are interested in who they are, without; sucking up’ you can still show admiration for work they have done in the past or interest in something you know they have been a part of.
Practice, Practice, and Practice
You need to know what you’re saying, not just learn it, but know it. That way you will know the answer to any questions and just know what you’re talking about. Look for inspiration from events where entrepreneurs, experts, and venture capitalists meet. You can learn from watching other pitches and researching the tactics and strategies that are needed for you to hone your skills and perfect your pitch.
When you run a small business, one thing that you really need to focus on is brand exposure and raising brand awareness. You want your brand to fall into the spotlight. You want everyone to notice it. After all, the more people who notice your brand, the more sales you will make in the long run. But nowadays, we are operating in an increasingly saturated market. It feels like almost everybody is trying their hand at creating products and selling them to the consumer market in a bid to escape from the rat race and employed positions building someone else’s dreams on their behalf. Who can blame them? There’s no need to be intimidated or put off by this competition if your products are actually good. It’s just a matter of getting your brand to stick in consumers minds, so that they come to you time and time again. How can you achieve this? Read on to find out!
Think of how much time the average person spends on their smartphone a day. We tend to take them everywhere with us. We’ll pick them up at any opportune moment. Whether we’re keeping ourselves occupied by watching a video on the way to work while we’re sat on public transport. Whether we’re replying to messages from friends while we’re walking down the street. We’ll probably give someone a call when we’re sat with little else to do. Then there’s the hours the majority of us spend aimlessly scrolling through social media feeds. Now, whether this is all healthy and productive or not, it’s what most people do. So, if you’re looking to grab people’s attention, it’s probably a good idea to set yourself up as a permanent feature on their phone’s home screen. This way, every time they unlock their phone, you’ll be in the back of their mind or they’ll be reminded of your brand’s existence. Now, very few people are so dedicated to any given brand that they’ll set its logo as their lock screen. So, how can you get into this space? The answer is to develop a custom, branded app that customers and potential customers can download to their phone. Your logo will appear as an app icon on their home screen and they’ll see it on a daily basis. The actual purpose of the app can also benefit you and you have a lot of choice when it comes to deciding what your app will provide consumers with. They could purchase products through it, it could serve as a digital loyalty card, or it could simply be a form of catalogue or look book that lets people browse your products. The main focus for now, however, is simply getting your logo in a space that customers will look at multiple times a day!
Free Gifts and Promotional Merchandise
You’ll have definitely come across branded free gifts or promotional merchandise at some point in your life. The majority of small businesses will engage with this tactic at some point or another. Essentially, by giving customers something free with your name on it, you’re making a loss in that you’re giving something away for nothing (despite not getting it made for free yourself). However, when you hand this item over, customers are likely to use it or keep it in their homes and are going to be exposed to your brand name and logo every time they use or look at the item. So, if this sounds like something you’re into, choose your items wisely. Think of things that many of us inadvertently look at on a daily basis. Something like custom car air fresheners would be a great example. We see a car air freshener every single time we get in our vehicle. It’s there for the duration of every trip we take. We glance at it every time we look in the rear view mirror. So, if it has your brand on it, people are going to look at it multiple times a day – during their commute, when they head out to get groceries, when they do the school run, when they head out to see friends… the list goes on and on. Other items that are useful are items that will also be seen by other people. Think of tote bags. People are much more likely to use tote bags nowadays in a bid to reduce their plastic consumption. They’ll take tote bags with them to the store and they may simply use them on a day to day basis to cart their belongings about. But when they are using a tote bag, they are generally taking it outside of their house. They are carrying it along on their shoulder, outside of their outerwear like a coat. So, everyone they pass sees it. If your logo or brand name is on it, this person becomes a walking form of advertisement for your brand!
Jingles are one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to getting something to stick in consumers’ minds. It is a short and extremely catchy song or tune that is played at the same time as an advertisement, encouraging listeners to associate the sound with a particular company or brand. As you can imagine, they are most commonly used in either television commercials or radio commercials. So, if you have a little larger budget, this could definitely be an area worth investing in. While many of us automatically assume that jingles are a little old fashioned, they really do work to the same extent today. If someone says or whistles to the tune of “bada ba ba ba”, others will automatically say “I’m lovin’ it” and all involved will think of McDonalds. Some companies have even managed to rework classic songs to be associated with their brand. Cornetto managed to rework traditional Neapolitan song “O Sole Mio” so that many people now sing along “Just One Cornetto” rather than “O Sole Mio”. Many people can no longer hear the Rocky training theme song “Gonna Fly Now” without singing “118, 118” and thinking of two branded characters running around in training gear promoting a directory enquiries provider. In fact, studies suggest that the average person spends around fifty hours a year with a jingle stuck in their head. They are specially designed to infiltrate your memory and stay in your mind for years to come!
These are just a few different areas where you can really take control and imprint your brand on consumer minds. Each will entail a fair amount of work. You will have to invest time, effort, and money into these ventures to bring them to light. But collaborating with web developers for apps, designers and manufactures for merchandise, and musicians for jingles will prove all more than worth it in the end! Consumers really will begin to associate your brand with more than the products you sell alone. They will associate it with their smartphones. They will associate it with a lovely smell when they get in the car or saving money and the environment with an eco-friendly tote. They will associate it with certain musical notes that they hear. When it comes down to it, you really can use all of these things to create positive associations with your brand and to help your brand to maintain a regular presence in consumers lives. This can all help towards raising brand awareness, establishing yourself as a major player in your specialist field, and even making more sales!
Being a manager of any level can be extremely stressful. Not only does it cause stress while you are at work, but it can also cause you to be stressed at home, and long hours can put a strain on personal relationships. Sometimes it is helpful for managers to get some support through therapy to learn how to cope with their stressful existence.
However, especially for managers getting counseling might prove to be extremely difficult. With most in-person counselors working typical business hours, it can be extremely difficult to find the time or inclination to actually follow through, even if you know that a therapist can help you. For this and many other reasons, many managers are turning to Telehealth for counseling.
Scheduling is the number one reason that managers do not follow through with seeking out a counselor or therapist. When you work a lot of hours and most of those hours are during the typical business day, it can seem impossible to make time for therapy. In addition to your management responsibilities you also likely have obligations in your personal life to consider.
Telehealth counselors are often available much more frequently outside of business hours. You may be able to meet with your therapist through telehealth before your work day starts, or after your work day is over, regardless of when that may be. You may also be able to get help on a flexible schedule that allows for the occasional missed session time due to unexpected management duties.
Some people prefer that no one knows that they are seeing a therapist, and managers are even more likely to have this point of view. If you are a business owner or have a prominent position in your company and community, you probably don’t want people to see you entering the building of mental health professionals.
With telehealth counseling you can see a therapist from literally anywhere. You can lock the door of your office, sit in your car in an abandoned parking lot, go into an unused meeting room, or go into your bedroom or office at home. All you need to participate in counseling through telehealth is a smart device like a phone or tablet, or a laptop, connected to data or the internet. Most managers have these tools available to them at all times and locations of their choosing. If you’re using a business device for the session you can delete your browsing history when the session is over for additional protection.
Many therapists prefer to keep patients in therapy for several months or more. However, with telehealth you have much more flexibility. It is very easy to use telehealth to talk to a therapist to get advice on a certain situation in your life without committing to long-term therapy services. This is often the most convenient way for managers to get help during particularly stressful periods, such as around the holidays.
Marie Miguel Biography Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.