Page 1

SmallBusiness Today’s

TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS

SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

March/April 2014

PRESENTED BY SUPERIOR BMS

GET BACK ON TRACK

Stop Slacking & Get Back To Those Goals!

The UPSIDE DOWNSIDE OF BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR Pg 33

Welcome the

Pg 13

BUILDING YOUR EXPERT

REPUTATION

Building Trust with Handy Tips from Expert Jakolien Sok

Pg 28

Pg 32

MAR / APR 2014 - Issue 03 Always Free - Always Online

Pitching to the Media

PAGE

1


Contents

TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS

SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

WELCOME CREATIVE BIZ IDEAS

More Exposure to More Content = More Business Ideas for YOU

NETWORKER?

TAX BREAKS

Be Better At Your Next Event

PAGE

2

THEIR WORLD

A Fresh Perspective on Business

12

14

IT’S TIME

For Your Home Based Biz

08

More Contribu OUR BEST ISS

Rebranding a Falling Biz

19

06


TSB TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS

SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

utors ~ More Content! SUE YET!

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

TSB

BY SUPERIOR BMS

WELCOME

TAKING THE LONG VIEW

Thank you for checking out this issue of Today’s Small Business, a bi-monthly magazine dedicated to YOU, the small business owner.

What is your contribution to the next 100 years?

It is the intention of the editor to bring you information which you can apply to your business the minute you finish the article. Please have a look to the left to see what we have to offer you in this issue.

DISCLAIMER

The views expressed in the articles presented in this magazine are those of the Authors. They are not the views of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for the opinions, statements or remarks made by the Authors.

04 11 18 26 30

16

EDITORS NOTES Feeling like you’ve lost your New Years drive?

ENTREPRENEUR Q&A The Sweet Gals Behind Sugarwish

Plus to gow your business.

24

TESTING... TESTING.. Think

Become a Contributor

EDITOR

Deirdre Baker

ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS

SOCIAL STATUS Using Google

Expand your reach with these unique marketing opportunities.

Superior Business Management Solutions LLC

http://superiorbms.com/subscribe

funding for your business.

CONSIDER CO-BRANDING

PUBLISHER

SUBSCRIPTIONS

FUNDING 101 Choosing the right

your website is ready to launch? Better read this first!

Please forward all comment to: tsbmagazineonline@gmail.com

HOSPITALITY BIZ

Dealing with Demanding Clientele

If you are interested in submitting an article for a future issue of Today’s Small Business, please view our content guidelines and complete the form on http://superiorbms.com/contribute ADVERTISING

We drastically limit ads within the magazine but if you would like about advertising rates and availability email tsbmagazineonline@gmail.com or call 888-247-5183 x704 TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS

22

A very special thank you to all of the contributor in this issue. This would not be possible without all of your insight and expertise! PAGE

3


TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

Editor

The

Corner

We enter March and I swear I was just celebrating the New Year...How about you? Does it feel like the last two months have gotten away from you? Have you started to lose sight of those goals you set for yourself this year?

Let’s Get Back

ON TRACK Review

and Reset

Around this time, many of you may start to find yourself falling back into old routines. All those big plans you made as the new year was born have started to fade. They may have lost their sparkle or perhaps your resolve is fading amidts all of those daily activities that have to get done to pay the bills. I have been there and I think we all arrive here a few times throughout the year and it can test our endurance and have us questioning if this Entrepreneur life is really something we are cut out for. WELL, IT IS...YOU ARE! They say that the test of our strength is not in how many times we can fall, but in how many times we get up and so long as the latter is the higher number, we’re good. I believe, at least for myself, when I get to the point when I feel like I’m failing, it is my brain’s way of telling me to take a break. Not quit, not question myself...just a break. A chance to clear my head, get a good night’s sleep (a rarity it seems anymore), and start over with a fresh perspective. So, as you reach what may be a plateau in your climb, I ask you to consider that you may just need to step away for a little bit. There is no shame in taking some down time. It will probably be the best thing you can do for your business. If you are not operating at your best, you are just going through the motions and that leaves no room for creativity. This week, take a day off. Have a playdate with the kids, play some video games, or just take a nap. I promise it will all seem better once you do! Then...GET BACK AT IT!

Deirdre

Here’s to the best YOU ever,

PAGE

4


TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

TSB

NOW ON AIR In January we launched the brand new Today’s Small Business Podcast. All of the same great information you see in the magazine PLUS a more indepth look into the entrepreneurs behind the stories, tips, news and so much more. Find us on BlogTalkRadio and on Stitcher. Coming Soon to iTunes.

PAGE

5


TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

Rebranding A FALLING BRAND

by Ted Karkus

When you make the decision to rebrand your business, you need to tap into your target audience of consumers because at the end of the day, that’s who ultimately drives your business. Below, I have listed six, important steps one should take when trying to resurrect a fallen brand:

Step 1: Talk to your target audience. Learn from them and find out what they want from you and your company. Your target audience can provide you with the foundation for your brand because as the consumers, they know what they want better than you do.

Step 2: Conduct focus groups: Focus groups are a great way to get opinions, beliefs, attitudes and feedback toward your

products; that go beyond just your loyal fan base. The information you receive from focus groups can be crucial because the way others view your brand and think about your products can be the difference between success and failure. The data you receive from the focus groups can guide you through the rebranding process to make sure the consumer’s needs and wants are being met.

Step 3: Reach a broader audience via the web: The internet can be an extremely powerful and efficient tool to gather in-

formation about your brand and help you rebuild. The number of people you receive ideas from are endless and could shed some light on the best ways to revamp your brand. The people you reach via the internet are ones you wouldn’t normally reach otherwise, but can have important attitudes and opinions that can help grow your business – you never know who’s on the other end.

Step 4: Utilize and Optimize: Yes, you’re conducting focus groups and research, but what do you do with all of the info?

Whether it’s positive or negative feedback, all of it is extremely beneficial. Change or tweak your brand based on what you’ve learned so far and measure results. Products are constantly changing and advancing, so keep up with the trends.

Step 5: Create new products: As mentioned above, trends are changing and the only way to stay relevant in the game, is to

sell relevant products! New products are a sure-fire way to broaden business and leverage the pre-existing product line. When

PAGE

6

In today’s society, keeping up with the economy and market changes can be challenging. Companies will have their ups and downs, but what sets a successful company apart from the rest is the ability to recognize when a major change needs to happen to rebuild, what should be, a successful brand.


creating new products, it is crucial to conduct consumer and scientific research for proven benefits. I’m constantly monitoring consumer testimonials and feedback while researching health studies and news to help our team determine the best course of action for upcoming products.

Step 6: Research, research and more research! I make research a pri-

ority in making sure my business and products are making consumers happy. Research is extremely important in not only finding out what your audience wants, but in how you portray the messaging. The way you word something can be the difference in someone wanting to buy your product, or just passing it by in the store aisles. Once the research is precise, it’s how you distribute your message to your audience that’s even more important. Every company is going to be different in how they advertise—whether it is through television advertising, print advertising, social media, public relations, marketing—depending on the audience and the product. Take time in figuring out what’s most efficient for YOUR brand and execute accordingly. Create and effective message and then market it efficiently. If you take the time and make the effort to execute the best decisions for your products, the growth of your brand will be optimized.

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

TSB

My final words of wisdom: Live in the now. Stay ahead of the curve, keep your goals in front of you and constantly figure out how to make these goals bigger and better. Don’t settle. But don’t be frivolous. Plan ahead, organize, research, and use your resources as much as possible. Marketing dollars are precious…treat them as such!

TED KARKUS has been the CEO of ProPhase Labs, Makers of Cold-EEZE Cold Remedy since June 2009. Ted was a 25-year Wall Street Tycoon, and was formerly the managing member of Forrester Financial, LLC, a management consulting firm founded by Mr. Karkus in 2001. Ted was the primary investor in all portfolio company financings and had extensive relationships with investment bankers, the media and a network of institutional investors and high net worth individuals. Ted was instrumental in assisting the turnaround of ID Biomedical, an influenza vaccine manufacturer, which in 2005 was sold to GalaxoSmithKline for over $1.4 billion. After the GalaxoSmithKline deal, Ted left Wall Street for Main Street and joined ProPhase Labs in 2009, when they were about ready to close up shop. In 2010, sales for ProPhase Labs bottomed at $14.5 mil (the first full year in which he was the CEO). Once he launched a proxy contest to become the Chairman of the Board, the company reported sales of $17.5 million in 2011, $22.5 million in 2012 (a 55% increase in sales over a two year period vs. 2010) and an additional growth of 15.8% for the first 9 months of 2013.

PAGE

7


TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS

5Top SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

due to the fact that they showed up. It’s just not the case.

Networking Tips From a Serial

Networker

But where there’s a will, there’s a way. And there are really great ways to do it. Ways that actually produce meaningful introductions. Purpose to your handshakes. You could even come out of these networking events with great connections. Imagine that. If you want to get down to business the right way, network well. The problem I see time and time again at my own Founding Moms functions is that folks expect to walk into a room and have good things happen naturally and immediately. That people will be drawn to them automatically. That new partnerships, colleagues and friends will materialize

8

Put your name tag in the right place. Yes, there’s a right way to do it. If you’re going to shake hands with your right hand, put your name tag on your right side, not your left. Why? Because when you reach out to shake hands, that person will be looking at said hand to shake it. If you’re wearing a name tag in the right place, that person’s focus will naturally be drawn to your name and the whole flow of the thing will be better for all. They may even… wait for it…remember your name!

by JILL SALZMAN

Ever wonder why folks bother to network? Networking is a dirty word. Most people don’t enjoy walking into a room, shaking hands and making small talk with strangers. It feels forced. And the purpose of the whole thing eludes an awful lot of business people.

PAGE

Wanna network better? Follow these top tips that have worked time and time again for those of us experienced enough to pass these on.


TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

TSB

Connect online before connecting offline. It’ll you’ve handed out a select number of cards, help you get pumped for the event. If you can and you’ve accepted the same select few cards find attendees on LinkedIn or Facebook before from others, you are ready to make meaningthe event, or tweet at them prior to your arful relationships out of that networking event. rival, you have “pre-friended” them and will be Meaningful connections make for better busiable to settle into the event more easily. Think ness dealings. of it as breaking the ice before any icebreakers are even necessary. And if you can’t connect Here’s to future networking events that are directly online prior to showing up? You may worth your while. They all can be, with the enjoy your own “find-that-guy” game of finding right networking skills, but they take preparathe person who looks nothing like their profile tion, thoughtfulness and time. Good luck! photo. (Ten points if you keep a scorecard in your back pocket.) Not unlike when you watch a sports game or a musical -- the more you Jill Salzman is know about the characters at play, the more currently growing her fun you have. Promise. third entrepreneurial venture, The Founding Listen more. The best networkers follow the Moms, the world’s first motto, “Less talking, more listening.” If you ever and only kid-friendly feel compelled to walk into a networking event collective of offline and start talking because you think people are meetups and online there to listen to you, you are wrong. Too many resources for mom people do this out of nervousness. It’s ok to entrepreneurs that was stay quiet. It actually helps introductions hapjust named a Top 10 pen naturally, and asking more questions rather Website for Women than answering them is the way to establish Entrepreneurs in 2013 better relationships off the bat. by Forbes. (She also just launched her fourth, Sit up front. The closer you are to what’s going The Founding Kit which on, the more included you will feel. The more helps startups get started.) A graduate of Brown included you think you are, the more participaUniversity and law school, she started a music tion you will put in and get out of it. If there is management firm and then launched a baby jewelry no “front” then sit near the VIP’s of the event. company before creating her current venture. Jill This also helps you establish credibility in the has been featured in national media outlets includroom; if you appear confident enough to put ing People Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Daily yourself that close to the important people, you Candy Kids, NBC5 and WGN TV. She is the author must be someone worth talking to. of Found It: A Field Guide for Mom Entrepreneurs, a columnist for NBC Chicago, and she gave her own Covet your own business cards. Like, don’t TED talk on 11/11/11. In her spare time, Jill enjoys hand them all out to each and every person kloofing, baking, and erasing her daughters’ crayon in the room. Didn’t talk to that gal? Don’t give artwork from the kitchen walls. her one. Didn’t establish a reason to follow up with that guy? Don’t give him one. The pickier you are with your business cards, the more purposeful you will seem at the event, and you will feel after the event. So by the time PAGE

9


TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

by Lisa Denten

How to Build a PR Campaign that Works for Your Business Relationship-building plays a large role in the success of any business. Most professionals understand the importance of online and offline networking, and it’s equally important in public relations. Whether you have a staff to handle PR or you’re adding a campaign to your to-do list, let’s dive in and discuss steps for success.

is a way to officially announce your news.

Outline Goals

Social media involves using social networks to amplify your coverage, reach a new audience and build a community.

The first step will help you write the blueprint for your entire campaign. Ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish--whether it’s a larger share of voice, an increase in sales, or positive branding, it will help set the direction and tone of your PR, and help you track your goals. Once this step is completed, decide what tactics you will use to build publicity. Content marketing, news releases, media outreach and social media are some of the most popular forms of PR and marketing, and used as the foundation for many campaigns.

Types of Campaigns Content marketing is content written for your market that helps solve a problem. For example, you could be a greenery owner who wants to help your audience decipher different types of plants, or if you’re in the B2B industry you might want to present information on emerging markets. It’s a great way to build trust with prospects and clients and nurture a relationship with them. News releases is a tactic best used for big news items – store openings, annual reports, awards – and PAGE

10

Media outreach is a way to connect with publications interested in covering the latest big news from your company. Building relationships is a key part of media outreach, as you want journalists to trust and open your emails.

Research and Preparation Once you’ve decided which campaigns are right for your brand, it’s now time to prepare! A well-rounded and integrated campaign will implement tactics from each of the above categories. To prepare for content marketing, build an editorial calendar and consider content amplification tools. You’ll want a newsroom to host your releases, and may want to consider distributing them on the wire and web. Media outreach is the tactic that will – and should – take the most research. To find the right media contacts, consider a media database or build a list by finding journalists that cover your industry. For social media, you’ll want to find and follow industry leaders and engage with like-minded professionals.

Launch and Analysis Now that you have prepared, it’s time to launch your campaign. It might take time to get the momentum going – making connections and building relationships with

the media and on social networks takes some time, but stay consistent. Continue writing, sharing news and story angles with media, and sharing company and industry news on social media, and your public relations efforts will turn the corner from building a presence to maintaining a presence. After your initial campaign is finished, you should have some metrics to help gauge success. These metrics will vary depending on the goals you set at the beginning, but some useful metrics include unique website visitors, newsletter subscribers and amount and quality of media coverage. Measuring your impact also will give you a benchmark for future campaigns, so you understand what tactics are working with your market and can gauge your progress over time.

Lisa Denten is the Social

Media Manager at PR software company Cision, where she leads social strategy, coordinates the blog editorial calendar and manages public relations campaigns. Follow Cision on Twitter or LinkedIn, where they share industry news and trends.


funding

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

TSB

Choosing the Right Finding Source For Your Business by Cate Costa While raising money from a venture capitalist may be the glitziest and most talked about form of funding for your startup, it’s not the only option. There are a number of funding sources available to businesses and what type is best for you depends on your business and your growth goals and can drastically impact your success. Here are the most common options:

Grants Grants from governments, universities, or other non-profit organizations can be an amazing source of funding, You get the money you need, don’t have to pay any of it back, and don’t have to give up any ownership in your company. Be careful though, because going after grants can suck up a huge amount of time and money upfront, they can be very difficult to win, and they often severely limit how you can spend the money. Often, they

simply don’t provide the necessary flexible for an entrepreneur. Be certain you know all of the limitations associated with a particular grant before pursuing or accepting it. Friends and Family Often, those close to you are most likely to believe in you and your business dream enough to offer funding to help you make it happen. They’re also, typically, more willing to give you favorable terms on an equity investment or loan. However, it can be

dangerous to mix business with your personal life. Make sure that you take such investments seriously. Treat friends and family like you would any other investors by clearly define the risks and terms and then stick to the agreement. Loans A loan leaves you with all of the control and equity you had before you signed so they’re ideal for entrepreneurs who want to maintain complete control. However, remember

that you have to pay the loan back, plus interest, whether or not your company is a success. Make sure you’re in a position to make payments, even if everything doesn’t go as planned. Additionally, business loans for companies with few owners typically require personal guarantees. Even if you created a separate legal entity and kept your business and personal finances separate, if you give a personal guarantee and then default, the bank

continued on page 20

PAGE

11


TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

Today’s Small Business Magazine is so happy to announce our collaboration with Mr. Nolan Davis and The Creative Biz Ideas Radio Show. Through our partnering efforts we hope to bring you a cornicopia of unique business ideas and interviews from small business owners and entrepreneurs around the world.

FEATURED rapidly built his business to over 18 million customers.

In each issue of TSB Magazine, Mr. Davis will provide updates on what is happening on the show as well as some resouces and news for you to use within your own business. We hope our new collaboration will help you to find some of the best news and tools so you can be even more successful in your business!

NEWS FROM CREATIVE BIZ IDEAS RADIO SHOW As we entered into the New Year, Creative Biz Ideas created a platform for business owners and entrepreneurs to trade ideas, resources, collaborate and create think tanks to overcome obstacles in business. This radio show platform is designed to build extraordinary relationships, resources, and opportunities to assist those in business development, growth and even start ups. Currently a partnership with Today’s Small Business Magazine and Creative Biz Ideas creates an opportunity for both brands to reach an even broader audience. The collaboration of the two entities, in different mediums offers dual exposure to business concepts benefiting each of their audiences. Only two months into the year, Nolen Davis and Co-host Barbara Pender have presented globally recognized guest on Creative Biz Ideas to share business concepts, and stories of their path to success, in a candid format with listeners. Recently, Mr. John Scherer was on the show. He is also known as The Video Professor, identified mostly by his step by step teaching of various software operating systems such as Windows, Word, Excel, EBay, etc., to assist individuals with the use of their computers more effective and confidently. Mr. Scherer PAGE

12

Mr. Scherer shares his success story, communicating that the development of the instructional videos was to help people having difficulty using software as computers in the home and for those returning to work was becoming more common. He tells the story of developing his business being quite difficult, with multiple ups and downs, many of the challenges in the area of finance. Mr. Scherer story is compelling to the new business owner as his insurmountable success came from computers, which he reveals on Creative Biz Ideas that he did not know how to use computers while selling the software lessons in infomercials! Mr. Scherer agrees with a caller regarding the importance of having people around that are capable of helping you through the areas where there is a lack of knowledge. His story is very transparent, and he details multiple aspects of his journey as The Video Professor. This episode aired on February 3 and is archived for review. Most notably, highly regarded motivational speaker and mentor Mr. Les Brown was the honored guest on the archived show dated February 17, 2014. Although, his birthday therefore, personal day of recognition, that did not stop Mr. Les Brown from sharing invaluable nuggets of wisdom and motivation to the Creative Biz Ideas audience. Mr. Brown spoke of the negative labels placed on him as a child in elementary school, then went on to lightly describe other events that certainly could have deterred him in pursuing his success. However, early on, Mr. Brown having


D SEGMENT established an ambitious mindset, yet, not having the academia one would expect for someone with his goals. Not to be deterred Mr. Brown shares how the concept of his future played out; making it very clear that how one perceives themselves, their personal development and ultimately, believing in oneself and “never giving up on your dream no matter what anyone says,” is key.

Continuing into the show, Mr. Brown responds dynamically when asked a fundamental question about activating ones dreams and getting started when there is no foundation for the business development in place and or no degrees of knowledge to support the goal. As to be expected, Mr. Brown provided great insight into the necessity of the right mindset in pursuing a dream. Several areas of business and personal development were tabled during the open forum, which Mr. Brown addressed eloquently.

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

TSB

As Mr. Davis prepared to introduce Mr. Brown, he shared that Mr. Brown had always been an idol to him and Mr. Davis’ appreciation for Mr. Brown and his support of Creative Biz Ideas was evident. The dynamic of pursuing one’s dreams and it coming true was a testament in itself, as the appearance of Mr. Les Brown on what is only the thirteenth episode of Creative Biz Ideas. The information the audience of Creative Biz Ideas receives from discussions of well recognized guest; includes the sharing of resources, innovative ideas and interaction with like minded individuals seeking to increase their business savvy, therefore, increasing the possibilities in growing their businesses. Episodes are archived for reference if needed. Networking events hosted by Creative Biz Ideas on the last Tuesday of the month are also an avenue for expanding ones visibility with other entrepreneurs. An exciting aspect of the Creative Ideas Biz networking event is that the event itself is streamed live on Google+ (Google hangout) by signing in to creativebizideas. com. No other networking event brings the concept of attendees actually being featured guest, answering questions and providing global attendees information that can be infused into their daily business. Tune into Creative Biz Ideas every Monday from 7:00 to 9:00am CST and listen for the featured TSB Magazine segment every other Monday. Listen online at www.blogtalkradio.com/CreativeBizIdeas or call in and be a part of the discussion 347-945-6693.

Callers, given the opportunity, presented Mr. Brown with thoughts and questions related to their business goals and dreams. His answers though candid were thought provoking, inspiring and instructional on how to elevate businesses to another level. Mr. Brown was amicable, encouraging the audience to contact his office for the possibility of direct mentorship under his tutelage. The audience was quick to playfully banter with each other as Mr. Brown indicated there will be twenty-one individuals that will have the privilege of being mentored by him. As, one caller put it, “let the games begin.” PAGE

13


TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

A teen perspective on business by Nicholle Baron When you think about business, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Money? A briefcase? For me, I think about the incredible opportunities that you can create for yourself when you understand the world of business and become an entrepreneur, which means to own your own business. Yes, I am only sixteen and yet business is as exciting to me as the “Hunger Games” is to my best friend. I plan to study business in college for many reasons. First and most important is my desire to be my own “boss”. Second is my strong desire to understand the technical side of the language of business. Profit and loss, balance sheet, net worth, capital; I want to be in control of my business and my financial future. Why should I have to rely on others to understand how to manage my money and how to run a successful small business? Being my own employer would be ideal for me, mainly because I would be able to work independently. I have always felt that I work better when I am working individually. When I started attending public high school I immediately found that it was hard for me. Sitting in a classroom with 30+ other kids, trying to understand what the teacher was saying, struggling to stand apart from the crowd became very tedious for me. Now, as a homeschooled student, my grades have improved significantly, and I am much better off working independently since I do not fit into the cookie cutter mold. Also, being homeschooled has given me the extra time to develop my own website brand called “13-jan” (13 is just a number) which I hope will grow into a thriving not-for-profit foundation. Aimed at preteen and tween girls, “13-jan” pro-

PAGE

14

Hi, my name is Nicholle Baron, and I am 16 years old. I have a company called 13-Jan.com. I long to leave my mark on this world. One thing my mom has always said was, “if the world was blind, how many people would you impress?” This has made me realize that it’s not about what you wear, who you hang out with, or how much you have. It’s about leaving the world better than you found it. This is what I long to do in my lifetime.

vides a positive experience where girls can find good advice, strong support and inspiration. You will only find positive experiences at “13-jan” and a sincere message to be yourself, grow-up at your own pace, and don’t feel pressured to be something you’re not. I am hoping to expand on “13-Jan” because I want to help young girls navigate through these tough years. The tween and teen years are truly the time when young minds are molded and a person’s personality, and outlook on life takes shape. The events and experiences that girls go through have a huge effect on their adult life. With all the pressures put on them by the media and their peers it can be so hard. I know, because I have had personal struggles with bullies and peer pressure. This is more than just my company; to me, this is my contribution to the world. Business is a great field to understand even if you do not plan on pursuing owning your own business. I have thought of several careers I would love to have one day, and I think it would be great to know business in every one of them. Like owning my own clothing store, or being an actress. Nobody is going to “rip me off”. I am going to understand business and finance to make certain that I invest my money wisely. These skills will help me make “13-jan” a success and to help your girls stay strong and positive in a world where confusing messages come from every direction.


TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

TSB

YOU'RE PAYING TOO MUCH FOR PRINTING

STOP THE MADNESS CALL YCI TODAY 800.773.4566 PAGE

15


TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

Taking The Long View

Marc Mertens

Our name is our ethos and we use it a a filter to see what’s truly lasting. Just outside of the scope of a lifetime, 100 years is something we can all wrap ou heads around but is still aspirational an beyond our grasp. It inspires us to rise the occasion, to take action and accele ate change in the world for the future thrive.

We weren’t always A Hundred Years though, at least not in name - but we always aspired to be a purposeful studio. When we started out 13 years ago we began by doing production work the heavy lifting for other agencies - it wasn’t purposeful, it wasn’t glamorous but it was work to get us stabilized so we could focus on our trajectory. For t past decade we’ve been taking the lon view on our own evolution - building t right team, fostering long term partner ships, and challenging our thinking.

It would be a great story to say that there was an act of god, some crisis, some huge moment when we made th switch - but the honest truth is there wasn’t one big moment. There were hundreds of little moments, like a trail of breadcrumbs and everyday we kept evolving, kept pushing, kept getting closer to the destination.

What we were in search of was a way doing business that actually aligned w our own code - a model that had room for purpose, for values and room to make decisions based on their long ter positive impact. More concretely, we li in a world dominated by a 24hr news c cle and quarterly earnings reports - tha

PAGE

16


as

ur nd to erto

o

t s,

the ng the r-

he

t

of with m

rm ive cyat

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

pace is leading business to make short sighted moves and lose sight of their bigger intention for doing business in the first place. We’re shifting this pace by guiding clients to make decisions based on how they’re going to shape a better long term future. We think the digital space is the best place to be doing this type of work. Our ultimate goal is to shift the behaviors of our culture that create and further systemic challenges, like poverty, failing education systems, over consumption of our natural resources and so on. Behavior change starts with a change of mind and heart, we use digital to influence that shift in thinking, shine a light on what matters and tell stories that touch people’s hearts. The people we’re working for are the shareholders of the future; the younger generation, the Millennials on down. This younger generation believes that the primary purpose of business is to improve society, and they consider this as more important than making a profit [Deloitte]. This is a huge shift from previous generation’s thinking about business objectives, which was always profit first. Their perspective is a more equitable, all-boats-rise way of thinking about our shared success. Put in a business perspective, this younger generation will inherit an estimated $41 Trillion over the next 40 years from the older generation [World Economic Forum] and they’ve grow up with the mind set that business should be contributing more to society, the future agenda for business has al-

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

TSB

ready been set by this expectation - the question is, who will rise to meet it? We think a lot of businesses will - many have already begun making the transition. It’s an interesting time to be playing in this arena - with so much movement in this space right now there’s a huge proliferation of thinking around business models that put purpose fist. We’re not trying to be heroes, or act like we’re the only ones doing this - we think it takes a lot of people to shift cultural mindsets and the more people working this way, the better.

As the visionary behind A Hundred Years, Marc’s greatest passion is leveraging technology to connect people to what matters most and inspire them into action. He started his first agency when he was only 16 years old in Austria and is a believer in the power of design to transform the world for the better. For over 11 years he has created immersive digital experiences for some of the world’s leading brands with his company here in the US. In addition to being at the helm of A Hundred Years, Marc also teaches Experience Design at UCLA Extension and has spoken on innovation and design thinking at TEDx Phoenix, TEDActive, the National Art Education Convention and at the Museum Next Conference.

PAGE

17


TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

3 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Google+

Google+ is the latest social media platform to get the attention in the online marketing space. However, it tends to polarize people: many love it while many love to hate it. Why is that?

Some say that Google is late to the game and that it can’t catch up to Facebook. Others argue that it is unintuitive and is a ghost-town. Why Google+? Myself and others are of the opinion that you cannot ignore Google+. It’s run by Google which is the largest search engine and research and statistics show that content shared on Google+ gets ranked quickly in search results. More traffic? Yes, please! Sure, search engine optimization is great but that is not the only reason to join a social network. Not to mention, how many other Google applications do you use? Analytics? Drive? Youtube? Gmail? Google+ integrates all these services. Google Hangouts and Hangouts On Air With Google Hangouts you can easily set up video calls with your team, or do coaching calls with your clients. You can invite up to 9 people on a Google Hangout. Why not just use Skype, you ask? Integration. With Google Hangouts you can easily share your screen, not to mention files in your Google Drive. Makes collaboration super easy. With Hangouts On Air, you can broadcast your own web-show and reach a broader audience. From the comfort of your office, you can now syndicate a show across multiple platforms where people can watch from within Google, on Youtube and even on Facebook. Bonus: the content gets uploaded directly to Youtube. Think of different ways you can use HOAs: a panel with industry leaders, or conduct live interviews or use it as a weekly “how-to” segment to grow your audience. The possibilities are endless. List Build With Webinars Not to mention, you can also use Google Hangouts On Air to broadcast webinars to your community and grow your list without having to pay expensive monthly fees to the typical webinar platforms. Communities Google+ also offers a rich community platform in which you can engage with other peers in your industry or based on interests. Like other platforms, engagement is encouraged versus link-dropping without any conversation. Relationship Building But my friends aren’t on Google+ Well, that may actually be a good thing! Because there is still much less noise (and opportunity for automated posts on Google+ you can actually strike up conversations and reach people you may not on other platforms. Think of it as Twitter but with the opportunity to dive deeper. And the cat photos? Those can stay on Facebook. Next steps? Take the time to setup a complete profile on Google+. Next start to follow people and observe how the conversations are going and find opportunities to join in. Share content on your page but also be sure to reshare the content of others. That’s the best way to engage with new people and grow your connections. Rinse and repeat

PAGE

18

Sandy Sidhu is a digital strategist and idea igniter who helps entrepreneurs break down technology into simple concepts, learn the need-to-know of marketing and the web, all while helping you create community and connection with your customers. Sandy has a weekly podcast, The Business Ignite Show (http://bit.ly/businessignite), where she interviews entrepreneurs who share actionable business insights. You can connect with her at www.sandysidhumedia.com


TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

TSB

Tax Benefits of a Home Based Busine$$ Everybody needs multiple streams of income, and at least one of those streams should be from a home-based business. The main reason is this: when you have a home-based business and properly document your expenses, you can Get Your Money Back when tax season arrives. In addition, America is no longer the industrial society it was 50 years ago, which allowed baby boomers to get good factory jobs and retire in 40 years; many jobs are now overseas and America is now a service society – you have to be in the business of providing a service that is in demand if you want to make it. The wealthiest people in the world (Oprah, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet) have many streams of income . . . that’s why they stay wealthy! If you run a home based business with the intent of making a profit, there are over 440 tax deductions available to you that you can itemize on Schedule C of your 1040 tax return. Note that you do not have to actually make a profit, instead, you must have the intent on making a profit and your activity must not simply be a hobby. Take a look at what you like to do, what you are good at, and/or what you spend your time doing for fun and turn your hobby or gift or talent into a business. Start consulting, teaching, serving, or whatever you do. Most businesses do not require a license or a tax id number, but check with your local city and state commerce departments for registration and permit requirements. In order for your business to be recognized as a business and not a hobby by the IRS, you must have the INTENT on making a profit (you can have a loss and you do not have to make a profit, only the intent) and you must run your business like a business by keeping good records. KEEP ALL OF YOUR RECEIPTS. When you get a receipt, stop and write on the back: who was involved, what you discussed (if it was a dinner meeting), where you were, how much you spent (because receipts fade) and when the event took place. You don’t need a receipt for expenses under $75 (unless it’s for a hotel room) but I suggest you keep them all anyway. Put them in separate envelopes, each month, separated by meals, auto, travel, supplies, salaries, etc. Plus keep a small “tax diary” to record your daily business expenses and mileage — the IRS will rarely dispute anything in a “tax diary”. Have you ever invited people to your home to eat and have a good time? Well, if you have a home-based business, it’s called a business dinner party! Have information about your business near the food. Take pictures of people looking at your business cards. Answer questions about your business and always ask for referrals for your business. When guest ring your doorbell, greet them by saying “How’s business?” Get it? I know you do! Now, you can write off what you spent on meals, invitations, and other items related to your dinner party. Whenever people come to my home to eat . . . IT’S ALWAYS BUSINESS. Remember my mantra, for me, everything is business. And the good thing is this, my business actually grows as a result, I get to interact with people and have a good time, AND I get my money back at tax time! Finally, you can use a separate debit card as a separate tool to track all of your business expenses – keeping these transactions separate from your personal expenses like rent and groceries.

Lynn Richardson is an author, entertainment executive and celebrity financial coach who uses her quick wit and humorous presentation style to help others face their money issues and achieve personal, professional and spiritual harmony. With more than a decade of leading roles in the banking and real estate sales industries, Lynn vision is best portrayed in her books, most notably Living Check to Monday: The Real Deal About Money, Credit and Financial Security. Lynn is currently the President of MC Lyte’s Hip Hop Sisters Foundation, COO of MC Lyte’s Sunni Gyrl enterprise, and Chief of Operations for Russell Simmons’ foundation -- the Hip Hop Summit Action Network -where she oversees empowerment programs that impact the globe.

PAGE

19


TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

funding can come after your personally owned collateral - like your house - to get their money back. Peer-to-peer lending sites also make business loans and may be able to offer more favorable terms. Crowdfunding With crowdfunding, you set up a profile to pitch your project to the masses on the internet and can raise a little bit of money from a lot of people to add up to your funding goal. Make sure you realize how much time and energy it typically requires to run a successful crowdfunding campaign and do your research in advance about the best option for your project. Also be sure to read the fine print as different crowdfunding portals have different terms of service. Plan and Pitch Competitions Business plan and pitch competitions provide the chance to win cash and to promote your business, network, and get feedback from entrepreneurs, investors, and peers. These competitions can be time consuming, hard to win, and the prize purse can be quite small depending on which

PAGE

20

continued from page 11

you enter and where you place. Research the competitions that make the most sense for you to enter before committing a lot of resources.

option for you is. Consider all of the positives and negatives of each before you pursue something that may not be the best fit.

Venture Capital and Angel Investors In exchange for investment from a VC or angel, you will give up a chunk of your company. You can get big money for massive growth so this can be the best option if you truly believe your company can be the next Google with the right amount of cash up front, but it isn’t for everyone. You have to give up control of your company to investors who will be checking in on what you’re doing, be on your Board of Directors, and question your decisions. Additionally, you should be prepared to sell your company or to go public because a near-term exit is expected. This isn’t the way to go if you want to pass the business down to your grandkids. Additionally, be careful of the terms of the agreement and have an experienced lawyer explain all of the ins and outs of the term sheet to you before accept the investment. It’s important to take some time to decide what the best funding

Cate Costa is a startup coach and

consultant helping first-time entrepreneurs plan, launch, and grow successful businesses. She has experience working with startups and small businesses as an employee, founder, consultant, and investor for numerous ventures and has done


TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

TSB

PAGE

21


TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

“Remember, everyone is a V.I.P.”

In today’s fast paced and ever competitive times we live in, it can be tough to navigate the world of travel. It seems like airlines, hotels, car rentals, tour companies can be overwhelming. And in a market with so many options, how does one satisfy the most demanding traveler? There is no secret formula to how to meet the needs of your weary travelers, but we at House of Kooser do a know thing or two (or three) about what makes someone feel like your hotel is their ‘home away from home.’

ence. By engaging them in a casual conversation, you might just learn an important piece of information about their upcoming stay. Like maybe they will be away over their anniversary. This is the perfect opportunity to put a plate of sweets and a hand written note with your well wishes in their room for when they return.

Train your staff to interact with your guests and really listen to what they are saying or NOT saying. When a guest walks through the door sniffling and looking like they are on their last leg, immediately send up hot tea People like to talk, brag about and honey compliments of a deal they received, a view the Bellman. This is somethey had or the service they thing our hotels all commit experienced. Set yourself too. Each hotel has a differapart by a few simple rules ent program for their staff to that will make your brand ensure that they are all going stand out and get people above and beyond what they buzzing. need to do to make everyone’s stay exceptional. Get to know your guests; by asking a few questions to Reward your staff for a job help enhance their experiwell done! Employees, who PAGE

22


TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

TSB

How To Handle Demanding Clientele

by Greg Kooser

get recognized for going above and beyond, will be motivated to continue working hard and contributing to your company’s success and to make the guest’s experience one they will remember. The Lenox Hotel in Boston is a perfect example of this; by giving their staff an allowance that they can use to better enhance each person’s stay.

Don’t shy away from a guest complaint. It won’t be the first or last time this will happen, so instead of going into panic mode, embrace it. Whether on the phone or in person, be sure to make some uninterrupted time to really listen and take notes on what the issue is.

Greg and Suzanne at House of Kooser know that most Everyone who walks situations are easily rethrough your doors just solved by you just giving wants to be made to feel them your undivided atspecial. Remember, every- tention. If the issue is a bit one is a VIP in their mind, trickier, be sure to deliver on so why not make them feel how you promise to correct that way? Warm welcomes it, for that will make all the at check in, attentive and difference in the guest’s quick response times, follow eyes. A little understanding up on requests to make sure on how the other feels, goes the guest is satisfied, offer a long way. to help ‘beyond the borders’ of the hotel i.e. restaurant We at the House of Kooser reservations, special tour of pride ourselves as a colleca landmark, book a car to tion of unique hotels and the airport…. By being pro- residences whom all work active, you can really make by the same code of ethics, a guest’s experience go from which is to ensure that the good to GREAT! folks under our roofs re-

ceived personalized attention, as if they are the only guests in our house. The eponymous founder of House of Kooser is a leading innovator in hospitality marketing. In an era of downsizing and consolidation, Greg has created a proven formula for success: grassroots sales and marketing. The strength of the company comes from one-on-one relationships cultivated over the past ten years in the corporate, entertainment and leisure markets. Greg started in the business as Director of East Coast Sales for Californiabased Kerry Hotels. Now, working throughout the US, Europe and Australia, he has the power to get hoteliers in the door with the leading decision makers, resulting in a superb international portfolio. The consummate host, Greg loves to put on a good show, and is always whipping up creative, unforgettable ways to entertain his guests.

PAGE

23


TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

ENTREPRENEUR The Entrepreneur Q&A let’s you get inside the head of a business owner, not unlike yourself, and hear their story, good, bad or ugly. We think you’ll find these stories may sound familiar.

It seemed like everyone we knew and/or worked with was swapping giftcards back and forth for special occasions i.e; birthdays, graduations, new jobs, holidays, etc.

This month we interview the founders of

We thought, it would be great if there was an actual gift you could give (in this case, candy) that would allow the recipient the opportunity to customize their gift so they could receive exactly what they want. And that’s how Sugarwish was born.

Sugarwish, Leslie Lyon & Elisabeth Vezzani. Sugarwish perfectly combines the thoughtfulness and digital ease of sending a personal note with the promise of goodies to follow. The best part? The recipient picks their own candies ensuring they always get what they want. Sweet.

The concept is simple: You chose the Sugarwish gift size along with an eCard, they pick their favorite candies, and we ship their treats directly to their door. Sweet Happiness. Delivered. What are some of the initial challenges you faced when you first started out or even now?

TSB Mag: What is the story behind Sugarwish? What drove you to start your business? Sugarwish: Sugarwish started after a conversation we had about the lack of clever, unique and personal gift options that existed. PAGE

24

Our biggest challenge was that we introduced a completely new concept, and then we had to custom build the functionality to make it work. There was no example to look at to see the path ahead. Today, our challenge lies in the balance of running the company’s day to day operations while also strategically planning for its growth. We have definitely grown faster than expected, so we have to force ourselves out of our daily responsibilities and remind ourselves that we need to keep planning for the next phase ---because it’s coming whether we are ready or not. What do you love most about owning your own business? What drives you to want to call in sick? We’ve loved building Sugarwish from the ground


R

Q&

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

A

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

TSB

An sweet interview with Elisabeth and Leslie of

up and then seeing our idea take off. Sugarwish is all about “spreading happiness” and we’ve loved seeing how our initial concept has resonated with people. It has been incredible to conceptualize something, build the application and functionality - and then see it grow. The digital nature of the gift makes it super easy to send, and it’s a great solution for so many people who are short on time, yet want to be able to give a fun and clever gift. A Sugarwish can be ordered and delivered to the recipient’s inbox with the click of a mouse. It’s that simple. The response we’ve had to our initial idea (and the way we chose to execute it) has been unbelievable, and really keeps us energized. We don’t have time to call in sick! :) What advice would you give to someone who might be reading this and have their own idea for a business?

Leslie & Elisabeth; founders of Sugarwish Where can the readers learn more about Sugarwish? Online of course! Send a Sugarwish simply by visiting: www.sugarwish.com. We are sweet and social too:

Make sure it is something you really want to do--because (at least in the beginning), you will be eating, drinking and sleeping it. Also, keep pushing forward. Obstacles will come up along the way but you need to go around, under or through them—always try to keep your eye on the big picture. What has become your favorite business tool? What is the one thing you cannot live without when running your business? Sendgrid has been our favorite tool for business. It allows us to see when our eCards have been opened, so we can let buyers know that their gift has been received. Sendgrid has been a vital asset to our business, allowing us to provide the best customer service possible. PAGE

25


TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

Think Your Website is Ready to Launch? Make Sure You Test These Elements First by Alexander Kesler

You’ve spent months brainstorming, planning, designing, coding, arguing re-designing, writing, editing, and de veloping your company’s website, a it’s finally ready to go live. Or is it? As eager as you might be to launch you website, it’s more than worth it to tak the time to test and retest your site’s functionality and design elements. U experience, site functionality, and on page SEO are crucial elements to yo site’s ability to perform its jobs – and the areas where most small businesse forget to triple check before launchi

Before you launch your website, test these elements carefully: User Experience: Forms

Alexander Kesler is the president and founder of inSegment, Inc., a full service digital marketing agency headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. He is an experienced entrepreneur with hands-on traditional and digital marketing experience in several diverse industries, as well as over 14 years of experience in building companies from the ground up. As a digital marketing expert, he has extensive experience with website design and development, search engine optimization, pay-per-click and display advertising, mobile app development and marketing, and lead generation. Alexander is a graduate of Babson College.

PAGE

26

Forms are often the last things that p ple think about when creating webs content, and are hurriedly dashed o and placed on the website. Howeve forms are some of the most importan tools that your site has; websites use forms to capture leads and build lists of potential customers interested in the company. Before you launch, yo should check every form for the follo ing:

a. Does it make sense for the form to be on the page that it is? Is the incen tive offered (whitepaper, contact fo etc.) appropriate to the content on


g, eand s ur ke

User nour are es ing.

t

peosite off er, nt

s

ou ow-

o norm,

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

that page? b. Are the form instructions easy to understand? c. Are you asking for the right information you need on the form, and are you asking only for the essentials? For every field added to a form, the amount of users who will convert drops dramatically. Make sure that you’re only asking for the information you need to initially engage with that lead; you can always ask for additional information further down the pipeline. d. Does the collected form information go where it needs to: the right person at your organization, or into your lead nurturing system? e. Upon completion of the form, can the user successfully access the offered incentive? Is it the correct asset as promised in the form header and instructions? Site Functionality: Measurement Tools Your site won’t do you any good if you can’t measure how it’s performing. Before you launch, check to make sure that you have placed your Google Analytics or other analytics package code on the site, and that it is accurately measuring visits, time spent on

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

TSB

page, and other important site metrics. Additionally, make sure that you have set up your Webmaster tools. SEO: Live URLs Most websites are built on a development server, with a different uniform resource locator (URL) than they will have when launched. When a site is taken live, the URLs are all moved from that staging area, and change. Every single URL on your site needs to be tested when the site goes live to make sure that they work and lead to the correct destination. This is important for both a functionality standpoint and for SEO purposes. Launching a website is a major undertaking; there are hundreds of moving parts that need to come together in order to make your site a beautiful, functional tool for a business. Although there are dozens of areas that need to be tested repeatedly before your site is ready to launch, these overlooked areas are great places to start – the bugs and glitches that come from these elements are often the most damaging to a small business’s site performance, so it’s better to take a little extra bit of time testing them so that your company can avoid on-the-fly repairs!

PAGE

27


TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

How To Build Your Expert Reputation To Boost Your Online Biz

O

ne of the questions I get asked the most is: “How do I start building the reputation of my online business and or services?“ This is a true concern for many of my clients and students because, well frankly, the entire social media overload has them plain freaked out! They are so blinded by everyone telling them that they “must market on Facebook” or “buy more ads on Google” or “get Joint Venture partners to get more traffic” that they shut down and often take no action at all! So what should you do to build your reputation? My advice always starts and ends with the fact that one of the most important things that any business can have, whether offline or online is credibility. It all starts with the time old tradition of? Yes, you guessed it: doing your job extremely well. There is nothing 2.0 or new about this concept is there? If your customers have experienced you and your services as high quality and high value for their money then, not only will they come back, but they’ll also give you earned marketing, which is the most valuable kind of all! They will give out your name to others and create, as I like to call it, ‘rumor around the brand’ with good old word of mouth. All en-

PAGE

28

by Jakolien Sok

trepreneurs crave that word of mouth referral like there is no tomorrow because it kind of is the true holy grail of marketing. But how do you get that reputation? With online businesses, it can be a little bit tricky to grow word of mouth recommendations, simply because your customers might be from all around the world, and thus are less likely to ask each other for referrals as compared to people in a single community are. Like everything else about online businesses, it’s very possible to get the reputation you want going, it just requires a bit of ingenuity and out of the box thinking. Seeing as you are an entrepreneur that surely will be nothing you can’t handle! A very effective way to make a splash and name for your self is to give away free content. This doesn’t always have to mean that you need to give out free products; though, certainly, if you can afford to do so, freebies are a great way to get a customer’s attention. It ties back to what I mentioned earlier. They need to experience your services or products before they can give out a recom-


TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

TSB

mendation. And there you have the famous catch 22, because people will only buy from you if they ‘Know, Like and Trust’ you. But therein lies exactly the problem, because they don’t know you yet. If you don’t feel comfortable giving away free stuff, another way to go is give them your time. You can start by giving out your advice. You can write ‘How-To’ articles addressing a problem that you know your ideal prospective client is struggling with. By the way, if you don’t have that aspect quite figured out I suggest you get back to the drawing board! You can make tutorials or maybe start a weekly or monthly podcast with coaching advice if you are in that business. Giving your time by answering questions in various methods is a great way to draw in your ideal prospective clients who may not have originally been looking for your services, but advice about how to get a solution to their problem. Mind you, these passers by can rapidly become your ideal paying client if they believe in the strength of your advice and move themselves further down the ‘Know, Like and Trust’ path.

“...one of the most important things that any business can have, whether offline or online, is credibility.” Another great way is to get involved with online forums or blogs with a large following or even a Facebook Page or Group in your niche. This is a great way to start building on your virtual word of mouth. Do make sure to actually participate and contribute to the conversations in the forum itself and don’t use it to just advertise and spam your prospective client into running the other way screaming.

Jakolien Sok is a serial entrepreneur, certified coach, trainer, speaker and author. She is the founder of Boosting Your Brand™, the online home of female entrepreneurs from all over the globe! Boosting Your Brand™ EDUCATES, EQUIPS, and EMPOWERS (aspiring) female business owners on their journey to Greatness. Helping them actualize their vision, get results and expand their impact by providing strategies, tools, training and the mindset needed to create the desired life as a successful entrepreneur! Ready to Get More Clients, Credibility and Market Your Business Successfully? Claim your F.R.E.E. eBook ‘Boost Your Biz’ HERE (http://bit.ly/BoostYourBiz_eBook)

There are also great results to be made by answering other people questions on Twitter. I have sold countless training days and services through Twitter. How do you get started? Search in the bios of Twitter users for keywords that match your niche, product, program or service. Start by following them and interacting with them. Start searching for and answering questions that fit your expertise and niche by searching on Twitter or using the #Hashtags and start building on your online credibility to further boost your biz and drive sales! Remember that a great reputation is hard to achieve and very quickly goes up in smoke if you don’t give great content, value or if you stop doing your job really well! PAGE

29


TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

A big challenge small businesses face is finding customers when the marketing budget is limited. The average small business only spends $4,800 annually(1), on marketing. If you are like most businesses, your tight marketing budget can quickly disappear with advertising, websites, search engine optimization, design, print, trade shows and special events.

How can you expand your marketing budget and still have enough money left over to run the rest of your business? Explore the idea of co-marketing partners to expand your marketing reach, create more demand and increase your brand recognition.

Grow with Co-Marketing Partners Co-marketing, the sharing of marketing resources with another business, can significantly expand your market reach without increasing your budget. Here are three common types of co-marketing partners:

1

Referral: a partnerships where you and your partner refer customers to each other. These relationships are often simple agreements where each partner recommends the other’s product or services.

2

Reseller: one or both partners resell the other’s products and services. These relationship tend to be more complex agreements with defined sales and service expectations, sales training and branded marketing materials.

3

Co-marketing: partners share the cost of creating marketing materials, advertising and events that benefit

PAGE

30

Expand Your Market Reach with Co-Marketing

both organizations. Co-marketing is an often overlooked marketing partnership that can be very cost effective for small businesses.

increase traffic and create revenue for both organizations. This can be particularly effective in business-to-consumer marketing.

Three Types of Co-Marketing

Thought Leadership Assets such as webinars, white papers and research studies are often used in business-to-business organizations where internal subject matter experts and resources from each company develop thought provoking information pertinent to their shared prospects. For example an online tax software company and a payroll services organization can co-sponsor a white paper on the “Value in Outsourcing Financial Processes”. Both organizations use the marketing asset in joint and individual marketing campaigns to differentiate from competition and bring unique value to their mutual target prospects.

There are three general types of comarketing that small businesses can use to stretch their marketing budget: event marketing, co-branded advertising and thought leadership asset development. Event Marketing is for example, a neighboring bakery and coffee shop that host a joint customer event to increase traffic to both locations. They co-develop branded marketing materials, send emails to their respective customer’s bases, and hand out flyers for the special event. Marketing expenses are shared and they each reach more people than they would on their own. Business-to-business companies often look to co-marketing at industry events. They can share expensive booth space or host joint customer receptions or golf outings where both organizations network and promote their products with shared prospects. Co-branded advertising is a great way to increase market reach and reduce costs. Sharing real estate space on both on- and off-line advertising can bring in new leads,


TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

What to Look for in a Marketing Partner There are many variations to co-marketing and choosing the right marketing partner is critical to your success. Ask the following questions before co-marketing with a partner. Is their business complementary to yours? Find companies that sell to the same demographics, titles, industries, etc. For example an organization that sells custom picture frames may want to partner with an art center that teaches visual art classes since artists are potential customers for both partners. Do they have the same marketing objectives as you? You can build marketing synergy when both companies want the same outcome from their marketing program. However if one is interested in increasing foot traffic to their store, and the other wants to increase website traffic, it may be difficult to find a cohesive marketing campaign that makes sense for both partners. Does their brand align with yours? It is important that your marketing partner has a similar customer base and standards for quality and service that harmo-

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

TSB

nize with your brand. If for example one partner sell inexpensive children’s party favors and the other sells rare wines, the two brands and audiences are disconnected and will result in a disparate marketing message. Can you trust them? Ultimately you have to trust your marketing partner to follow through on their time and financial commitments, share the information they agree to, and always uphold your brand promise to potential customers. Co-marketing partner relationships can expand your market reach, create more demand and increase brand recognition. Look around and identify all of the businesses that compliment yours to see if there is a co-marketing partner in your future. (1)Bright Local, SMB Internet Marketing Survey, 2013

Denise Baerg, MBA, Founder and Managing Director of Autumnwood Consulting Group, brings more than 20 years of co-marketing and channel experience to businesses of all sizes. Denise helps companies increase their revenue by developing innovative marketing strategies, creating effective marketing communications for traditional and social channels and leveraging co-marketing partners to expand customer reach. Connect with Denise at : dbaerg@autumnwoodconsulting.com

PAGE

31


TSB

TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

An Insider’s Guide to Pitching the Media Ever wonder what a producer or reporter does when they get an email press release? They delete it. Even if the press release is announcing the most amazing new product/brand/concept . . . they still delete it. That’s because they just don’t have the time or bandwidth to read it. And because they get tons of press releases every day, on top of the hundreds of actual work emails, they assume it’s junk mail and clear it off their plate. That’s why great PR executives know that it’s all about relationships -- having a personal contact or even just the right email address to get a foot in the door. If you do get your foot in the door, and a producer/reporter actually reads your email, you want the story of your business/brand to be as strong and compelling as possible. As a media consultant and trainer, I work with clients in a variety of industries, but regardless of whether they work in fashion, pharmaceuticals or technology, one of the first areas I always focus on is determining my client’s narrative. What’s their story -- who are they and what do they do, what need do they fill, how do they do it differently than their competitors, and how do they come to fill this need (back stories are best when they’re personal and poignant). Secondly, I help them find a “hook”. A hook is how to make your business/personal story relevant and interesting to a larger audience. Some hooks are evergreen (they can be pitched anytime of the year), but often hooks can be tied to a larger news story. You need to be on the lookout for that news story all the time, ready to jump

PAGE

32

and get your brand narrative out into the wider world. As a producer at ABC News (20/20, Primetime, World News) I was constantly searching for my next story, and used a huge variety of sources to find it. Sure, sometimes it came from an outside contact who sent me a personalized email with a catchy subject line. But more often than not, my stories came from other media sources . . . local newspapers, blogs, small online magazines. We’re living in a constantly evolving media landscape. As recently as ten years ago, the majority of us got our news from a handful of large, national news organizations . . . but that’s not the reality today. Now everyone’s news is customized to their particular interests and content needs. We get our news on Facebook and Twitter and blogs we hand pick to follow. So, yes, all small business owners (and large business owners for that matter) want their product on Good Morning America, but a small blog with an incredibly loyal audience can actually be an equally powerful media opportunity. Small is no longer small. Producers, reporters, content generators are out there mining new stories from millions of different “small” sources all the time. So if you’re a small business trying to get media coverage, my recommendation is to figure out your narrative and who might be interested in hearing it. Then find all the relevant content sources: blogs, reporters covering your topic, local news sources that might have an interest in your area, and start following them. Send an idea to your local reporter (thru a personalized email), start your own blog, create

a page on Facebook, pitch small journals/magazines/online communities (there is an online magazine/community for every single topic out there . . . trust me, I’ve researched some random topics!). It might not be as exciting as getting on a national morning news program, but it’s a start. And in today’s media world, a start is all you need to get the proverbial ball rolling. Good luck!

N

aria Halliwell is an awardwinning network news producer with 15 years experience booking, writing and producing news. During her many years at ABC News, Naria produced everything from breaking news to hour-long documentaries to Diane Sawyer Specials. Naria has prepared hundreds of subjects for television — helping them craft their message or story for millions of viewers. After leaving ABC in the spring of 2012, Naria launched Halliwell MediaWorks. Naria works with authors/experts/industry execs who need to improve their skills before media interviews (TV, radio, print, online), and professionals who need help with their public speaking — whether to clients or an audience of hundreds.


TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Tony Dungy profoundly stated, “The first step toward creating an improved future is developing the ability to envision it. VISION will ignite the fire of passion that fuels our commitment to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to achieve excellence. Only VISION allows us to transform dreams of greatness into the reality of achievement through human action. VISION has no boundaries and knows no limits. Our VISION is what we become in life.” At the ideation of success we often laud over the glitz and glam of entrepreneurship and shun the very stench that dwells in the brow sweat of struggle. Ultimately, we must embrace the brass tack reality that success and struggle operate as catalytic partners sculpting us into extraordinary leaders of influence.

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

TSB

Kristie Kennedy, Women’s Empowerment Speaker, Small Business and Leadership Development Coach provides simple success strategies to overcome everyday challenges, internal conflicts and confidence killers. www.kristiekennedy.com

The day my world changed dramatically, was the moment I decided to grant myself permission to live magnificently in the face of adversity. I started my first official business, two days after I was laid off due to a company-wide budget cut. The stark reality of having my money mat snatched abruptly from under my feet without a single notice was the best wake-up call I could have ever received. In that instant, I became keenly aware that I never wanted to be at the mercy of someone else regarding my financial future.

THE UPSIDE DOWNSIDE OF

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

by Kristie Kennedy

Whether you are contemplating the creation of a new business, struggling in your current endeavor or reaping hard earned rewards of your labor, you either have or will taste the bittersweet ups and downs of building a vision from the ground floor. Countless individuals buy into the false notion that success occurs overnight. Yet in actuality, it evolves in phases and stages throughout the course of a lifetime. As a result, you must be willing to endure the process of painstaking progression no matter how long it seemingly takes. The very definition of entrepreneurship is derived from an old French term entreprendre meaning to undertake. Additionally, it is defined as a person who organizes, operates and assumes the risk for a business venture. A true entrepreneur is always thinking of fresh and innovative ways to discover and develop ideas into opportunities for the purpose of contributing significant value to society. One who is called to entrepreneurship is in constant pursuit of unseen possibilities to capture them above and beyond limited resources. If you desire to enjoy steady and long lasting success keep the four pillars of entrepreneurship in perpetual view: 1) Plan- A clearly defined path to assist you in remaining focused during periods of uncertainty. 2) Purpose- The pure reason and impenetrable intent behind the initial establishment of your vision. 3) Passion- The flame that fuels you moment by moment to accomplish the inconceivable. 4) Perseverance- The inner fortitude to tread through the trenches of trouble until triumph is discovered. During the adverse winds of difficulty rely on creativity to clear away the chaos. Always remember change is a personal choice that is readily accessible to enhance your chances for success above and beyond any struggle. PAGE

33


TODAY’S SMALL BUSINESS SuperiorBMS.com/tsbmag

Issue 03 - MAR/APR 2014

Become a Contributor! Email Us

Today’s Small Business

TSB

Get Fresh Small Biz News With Every Issue! • Articles From Small Business Owners Like YOU! • Exclusive Offers • Great Tools To Add To Your Entrepreneurial Toolbox

Want to advertise your business on our next issue? Give us a call today!

To subscribe and get your FREE issue each month, please visit our easy online subscription form:

(888) 247-5183

http://superiorbms.com/subscribe

PAGE

34

Presented by Superiorbms.com

Today's Small Business Issue 03  

Welcome to Issue 03 of Today's Small Business Magazine, an ONLINE ONLY digital magazine catering to Entrepreneurs, Micro and Small Business,...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you