Archive for July, 2012

4 Marketing Tips For a Small Business

Budgets are tight, but nowhere more than in a small business operation. You need to be creative in your thinking, be willing to spend some time developing a plan, and designate jobs to staff, hire a marketing specialist or do it yourself. It all depends on your time and your budget. The following are some tips to get you started.

    1. Write a Newsletter – You need to tell everyone why your business is better than your competition. What better way than in a newsletter. A newsletter should not just be an advertisement for your business; it needs to be about your character, policies, employees and more. Write about upcoming events, how to use your widget in different ways, or your give your staff bios. Focus an article on one employee each month. Give free tips on how to do something related to your business without selling your business. For example, if you sell shovels, there is a variety of times when they are used. In winter give tips on how you can maintain your shovels and make snow slide off quickly by spraying Pam on them before you start shoveling. Give a garden tip for using that special spade. It involves using your product, but it is a tip that gives more information.
    1. Create a contest on your website – Many people enjoy puzzles and contests. You could have a feature area on your site for specialized crossword puzzles, word searches, etc. There are even free tools on the Internet to help you create these using terms you select, which of course will be related to your business. Run a contest every quarter. You don’t have to give away anything expensive. If you have written a number of articles for your newsletter, compile them into an e-magazine and offer a free copy to the winner.
    1. Join local organizations to network – Networking online is one thing, but networking in person is better. You get a chance to meet different people from different businesses. Many will complement your business. When you speak to these people be sure to listen to what they do, what their position in their company is and how they advertise. If your businesses are in a similar niche but not competitors, you might be able to exchange web links, which puts you higher in search engine page rankings. You might even combine your marketing strategies into one mailing and split the costs.
  1. Use Creative Advertising – Think outside of the box for advertising. Small businesses usually don’t have the budget to give away a lot of quality merchandise with their name and logo on it. So you have to be more creative. Always put your logo and your website on all information leaving your office; stationery, envelopes, business cards, emails, etc. What about your vehicle? You can get a window cling for a song from a local sign dealer who also does static clings. Ask if you can put a good, quality poster in the window of a complementary business; you can offer to do the same if you have a brick and mortar store. You can create your own poster in Word and save it to a flash drive. Take it to your local print shop and ask to have it blown up to your desired size and laminated. Remember this is marketing and you have to spend a little to do this. The more you think about it, the more ideas you will come up with.

Now you have the idea. Just use your imagination to increase traffic to your store or to your web site. There are many things you can do off the Internet to get your business to the people.

5 Outdated Management Practices and 5 Updated Solutions

It’s the end of another year. In a few weeks we will welcome in the year 2013. As I look back on 2012 there has been so much that has happened. Some things changed and some stayed the same. One of the things that I see as I work with leaders and businesses is that out dated management practices have stayed the same. There are so many managers and business owners that are still stuck in management practices from the 70′s. The sad part is that they believe that they are doing the right thing, even though most of them are frustrated because their business is not growing and they employees are getting better. For your employees to get better and for your business to get better, YOU must first get better and transform your leadership. Here are some solutions to those outdated management practices that will help you get started.

5 Outdated Management Practice and 5 Updated Solutions

1. Management Visibility - Managers can no longer walk around the office to be visible and think that it’s enough.

Solution: Leadership involvement. Managers need to get involved by listening, engaging, communicating and putting employee feedback in to action.

2. Balance Sheet drives decision - this cannot be the only resource for decisions and planning anymore

Solution: People drive business through customer loyalty. Focus on developing your people.

3. Job Competency is sufficient – It is not enough to have employees who do just enough to get by. You can no longer accept the status quo employee.

Solution: Recruit “A” players. You have to find the best player, and they are out there if you take the time to look.

4. Invest in Technology for productivity - Yes, technology is important and will help in some areas improve productivity but it cannot be the only solution.

Solution: Invest in people to improve productivity. Your people could be the ones that come up with the best ideas for improving technology. People should be your most important strategy.

5. Incentives: more money to get more work – This is so outdated. Incentives are short lived and most of the time do not work from the beginning. More money do not get you more work.

Solution: Rewards; being valued matters more than money. This is what employees need, to be valued for what they do. Recognition has a lasting impact and it drives employees to want to do more. Money will not get the same reaction.

As you go into 2013, make leadership transformation apart of your new years resolution. If you change these outdated practices to the updated practices, you will see change. Happy New Year!

Copyright @2012 Small Business Ideas.