How to Inspire Your Team by Putting Them First

Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET.  This is excerpted from my recent interview with Karyn Schoenbart, who is the CEO of The NPD Group, a global provider of information and advisory services.  Karyn is also the author of MOM.B.A. Essential Business Advice from One Generation to the Next.  For more information:  http://ift.tt/2EA2HC6.

SmallBizLady: COMMUNICATING VISION & MOTIVATING EMPLOYEES IS ESSENTIAL, BUT IT STARTS WITH “WALKING THE WALK.” WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THIS? 

Karyn Schoenbart: As a leader, it is important to set the right example and do yourself what you are asking your team to do.  For example:

  • make a commitment to seeing 50 executives at a client company over a 3-mont period
  • travel to meet with and talk with your customers, and
  • take pictures with them and post them on the company intrantet to reinforce the importance of this

SmallBizLady: YOU ALSO NEED TO HAVE YOUR LEADERSHIP TEAM ALIGNED IN ORDER TO MOVE FORWARD.  HOW DO YOU MAKE THIS HAPPEN?

Karyn Schoenbart: Alignment does not necessarily mean agreement.

It is important to have candid discussions and debate differing points of view. Ensure everyone feels heard. After sufficient discussion, you will need to make decisions and move forward.  While striving for consensus, not everyone will always be in agreement.  If they felt adequately heard and if there is mutual respect, then they know it is up to them as leaders to be aligned so that we can move forward.

SmallBizLady: A DIFFICULT THING AS A LEADER IS TO LET SOMEONE MAKE A DECISION THAT YOU DISAGREED WITH.  WHY DIDN’T YOU INTERVENE?

Karyn Schoenbart: You have to intervene if it is a “bet the company” or life and death situation.

If not, then the risk is worth it to let people feel empowered to make their own decisions. If you disagree, you will need to let them know and why, but also tell them that the decision is theirs to make.  If it turns out to be a wrong one, they will learn a lot from it.

And, if I was wrong, then I’ll learn from it too ;-).

SmallBizLady: WHEN DO SUCCESSFUL COMPANIES NEED TO SHAKE THINGS UP TO REMAIN COMPETITIVE?

Karyn Schoenbart: One of the best times to shake things up is when things are going well.

Companies need to be constantly on the lookout for disruptors in their industries and take action when they are in a position of strength.  Also, create a consistent approach and history of innovation that will keep your company relevant for years to come.

SmallBizLady: WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS WHO WANT TO MOVE INTO MANAGEMENT OR LEADERSHIP POSITIONS?

Karyn Schoenbart: Moving from a successful salesperson to a manager can be very difficult.

You will need to understand that your success is no longer based on how you perform, but how your team performs.  This requires a completely different orientation and mindset.  It will be all about them and not just about you.

After making the transition, it can be extremely gratifying to increase the value to your company from just you, to a whole team.

SmallBizLady: PART OF BEING A LEADER IS MAKING COMPLEX DECISIONS.  WHAT IS YOUR DECISION-MAKING PROCESS?

Karyn Schoenbart: Outline all of the possible options, including “do nothing”, if that is a viable one.   Then gather any relevant information, outline the pros and cons of each, solicit input from others you respect and then make the call.

Leaders have to make decisions or they will be ineffective.  I loved this quote from one of my clients, he said, “make a decision and then make it work.”

SmallBizLady: HOW DO YOU MEASURE FINANCIAL OBJECTIVES AND WHAT ARE SOME BIG PICTURE QUESTIONS YOU ASK TO MEASURE SUCCESS?

Karyn Schoenbart: I’m a fan of quantitative objectives to measure success; however, there are softer measures that are also important.  To me, the ultimate success is that at your company is healthy and growing, your employees share your vision, are engaged in pursuit of that vision and feel ownership for achieving it.

SmallBizLady:  IN DISCUSSING THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BEING A LEADER AND BEING A MANGER, WHAT ARE THE FIVE AREAS YOU FOCUS ON?

Karyn Schoenbart:  Here are the five (5) areas you can focus on:

  1. Planning
  2. Culture
  3. Developing People
  4. Organizing
  5. Metrics

SmallBizLady:  HOW DO LEADERS VERSUS MANAGERS DEAL WITH THESE VARIOUS ASPECTS OF BUSINESS?

Karyn Schoenbart:  Leaders inspire, they set the vision and the big picture objectives. They communicate regularly and clearly so that people understand what the goals are and how they fit in. Most people want to make a contribution.

It is best to keep the objective short and simple, so that everyone can be on the same page.

For example, my three for this year are “Growth, Quality and Culture”.

When the team is clear on where you are headed & how to get there, they are more likely to be engaged and onboard.

If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.

Here’s how to participate in #SmallBizChat: http://bit.ly/1hZeIlz

The post How to Inspire Your Team by Putting Them First appeared first on Succeed As Your Own Boss.

from Succeed As Your Own Boss http://ift.tt/2Bc6D94
via IFTTT

Are You Looking for Small Business Hacks to Grow Your Business?

Guest Article

Whether you’re interested in starting a small business, or striving to grow the one you have, you’re going to come across challenges, problems and concerns you don’t know the answer to. Small business experts Barry Moltz and Rieva Lesonsky have teamed up to write a book, Small Business Hacks: 100 Shortcuts to Success to provide the solutions and answers you need. We talked to Barry and Rieva to find out more about the book and how it can help you be a smarter small business owner.  You can get information on the book at  http://ift.tt/2FIu0dE

Q: Small business owners are always short on time. I assume that’s one reason you wrote this book. Are there other reasons?

A: That was absolutely one of the reasons. Sure, small business owners never have enough time, but they can’t possibly know everything they need to start or scale their businesses. Our goal was to fill them in, to give them enough information on a wide array of issues, so they quickly find out what they need to know—and then act on it.

Q: What are some of your favorite hacks?

A: Barry’s favorites include “How to Deal With Negative Online Reviews,” because too often small business owners ignore those reviews, when with a little work, they can turn them around.  They should follow these steps:

1—Use an automatic system like Google Alerts that lets you know when something is posted.

2—Don’t get mad. Most people will react negatively to a negative review, but that’s the worst thing you can do. Instead, apologize to the customer for what went wrong), explain you want to correct the situation, and then ask the customer to contact you—offline.

3—Don’t argue, listen. Most customers want empathy more than a refund.

4—Resolve the problem. Follow through to get the problem fixed.

5—Correct the record. If you think you’ve diffused the situation, ask the customer if they would remove the negative review.

Q: Have you ever yourself, used some of these hacks? How’d that work out for you?

A: Oh yes, both of us included hacks that have actually worked for us. Rieva just reviewed the hack about search engine marketing to create a new SEM for her business. Barry uses the hack on “How to Get a Prospect to Respond (When They Won’t), which is crucial information for small business owners so they don’t leave any potential sales on the table.  Barry favorite hack was recommended by Pam Slim. He uses this letter:

Email Title. Please Reply A, B, or C

Dear Zane,

I have been unsuccessful in connecting with you. Can you simply reply with one letter, A, B, or C?

A – I am still interested in working with you. Let’s set a date to talk.

B – I have been busy. Please follow up with me in a few weeks since I am still interested.

C – Thanks for your time. Things have changed and I am no longer interested in talking.

Thank you.

Barry

Q: What’s the best way for readers to actually use this book?

A: If you’re just starting out you might want to read it all, to get an overview of what it takes to start and operate your own business. If you’re already in businesses, it can be used like a reference book or dictionary. When you come across a challenge you don’t know the answer to, look it up in the book. It’s quick and easy.

Q: What areas of running a business do most business owners struggle with and why?

A: It’s different for every business owner, which is why we covered so many topics in the book. We cover startup information, and hacks about management, technology, money, products, HR and customer experience.

Q: Are there other hacks you didn’t include in the book?

A: Oh, there are lots. That’s why we’re asking readers to share their favorite hacks at http://ift.tt/2FIu0dE.

Q: What do you think the outlook is for small businesses in 2018?

A: In general, Rieva takes a more optimistic view of things than Barry does. But we both believe 2018 will be a good year for small business owners, whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve been in business a while

If you have a hack to share, leave a comment on this blog so that we’ll know your latest trick to grow your small business.

The post Are You Looking for Small Business Hacks to Grow Your Business? appeared first on Succeed As Your Own Boss.

from Succeed As Your Own Boss http://ift.tt/2ELxlaE
via IFTTT

10 Bible Verses Every Small Business Owner Needs for 2018

God put it on my heart to talk about hope for business owners in 2018. Hope is the foundation of our faith in God. This is lonely road that we walk as entrepreneurs. There’s a lot of hard work, fear, anxiety, excitement, and then you get to rinse and repeat all those emotions again and again. But you can have joy and peace despite feeling overwhelmed in your business. If you focus on hope, and the belief that God has something amazing in store for you, things will be difference. It’s your attitude about challenges that has to change. We must live beyond our feelings and circumstances. We all have to learn how to live on facts and not our emotions. Meditation on abundance! Proverbs 23:7 says “So as a man thinketh, is he.” Here are the 10 bible verses every small business owners needs for 2018.

I Peter 1:3 NIV

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

God have given us a new life through hope. When things are going wrong in your business, it’s hard to have hope, but you don’t have a choice. You must find the strength to suffer a setback and live to fight another day. When you are mission driven in your business, (that you know is your calling) you can’t let anything turn you around. You must always have hope.

Ephesians 6:18 NIV

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Don’t treat God like video on demand. Don’t pray just when you are in trouble. Pray in advance and then make your plans. Make a daily appointment to talk with the Lord, and then wait on his promise. Don’t just pray for yourself, pray for others as well.

Psalm 23 1-4 NIV

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

This is probably one the of best know versus in the bible, yet it is so often forgot.  Man is the author of nothing. While our Heavenly Father gives us free will, he allows us to experience valleys, for it is in valleys that we draw closer to him.

Job 6: 11-13

“What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?  Do I have the strength of stone? Is my flesh bronze? Do I have any power to help myself, now that success has been driven from me?”

We must be patient in life and in business. In Christ, there is always hope. Success is never a straight line to the top. When you have a major challenge, he needs us to maintain our faith to know that we are believing God, as God is always working. We must always remember that his time is not our time. When things do not go our way in business, that is his way of protecting us from unknown trouble.

Romans 15: 2-3 NIV

 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.  For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”

As Christians, we can not have a business that is just focused on enriching ourselves. We must serve the community, our customers and our employees. As small business owners we lift up communities. Consider partnering with a charity, adopt a school, give your employees time to do volunteer service. Remember, no matter what we give we will never beat God giving.

Psalm 119:64 NIV

The earth is filled with your love, Lord; teach me your decrees.”

God wants us to be known by how we love. The Lord filled the would with Peace, Joy and Love. His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are NOT our thoughts, thus we don’t know his will, but we do know that love conquers all. He’s in the blessing business and that his relief is always on time.

Zec. 4:10 NIV

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.”

When you start your own business, it’s important to learn to celebrate small wins and consistent forward movement. Realize that as you start small and stay consistent you can build a sustainable small business.

II Corinthians 4:17 (AMP)
For our momentary, light distress [this passing trouble] is producing for us an eternal weight of glory [a fullness] beyond all measure [surpassing all comparisons, a transcendent splendor and an endless blessedness]!”

In business, stress is part of the deal. But we need to always remember God is really in control. Your leadership and faith are required to rise above any tough situation that comes your way. Your business will grow into a large, flourishing plant if it is nurtured with your leadership the right way.

Matthew 21:22 NIV

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Pray your way through any challenges you face in your business. It’s such an amazing thing that we are allowed to go to God in prayer. Take your burdens to the Lord and leave them there. It’s your access to your power source. It’s critical to believe that God will answer your prayer. Your faith is required to get your prayers answered.

Isaiah 41:10 ESV

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

The one things you need to be on guard about is negative self talk. When you make a mistake learn to forgive yourself quickly. Dwelling on negative words from customers or employees will just hold you back. Use negative feedback as an opportunity to grow, but don’t hang on to it, Treat it like water off a duck’s back. Treat each day as a new start. Love yourself and be loving to others.

I pray that reading God’s word has encouraged you. I know that my daily devotional book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young helps me stay focused. It’s seems to always have the answers I need for what I’m working through in my life. If you want things to be different, it’s time to believe in what God said. It’s time to believe in what he has promised to those of us who believe. Your faith is required in order for your business to flourish and your prayers to be answered.

Please share this post with others, you can never go wrong leaning on God’s word.

The post 10 Bible Verses Every Small Business Owner Needs for 2018 appeared first on Succeed As Your Own Boss.

from Succeed As Your Own Boss http://ift.tt/2FCrgib
via IFTTT

How to Enjoy Your Life More as a Woman Entrepreneur

Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET.  This is excerpted from my recent interview with Dr. Sharon Porter, who is an Educator, Author, and Speaker.  She is also the owner of Perfect Time SHP LLC, Coaching and Consulting Firm, Founder of the GRIND Entrepreneur Network and Write the Book Now!  For more info:  http://ift.tt/2DPzLVr  

SmallBizLady:  WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT WHEN NETWORKING?

Dr. Sharon Porter:  The need to focus on giving rather than taking, having a clear focus when participating in networking events, and do not wait for opportunities to network, create opportunities to network.  In order to maximize your networking experience, you really should proceed with a “give then get” mentality. “In order to withdraw, there must have been a deposit previously.” Having a clear focus allows you to know exactly what it is that you are desiring. Take the initiative to create their own opportunities.  You can’t sit idle waiting on a specific invitation.

SmallBizLady:  WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ADVANTAGES OF BUSINESS NETWORKING?

Dr. Sharon Porter: Increased visibility within your industry or business, the expansion of your network directly and through the networks of others, and you can surround yourself with a cadre of individuals who will undoubtedly influence you positively as well as motivate and inspire you to always do more.

SmallBizLady:  WHAT ADVICE OR RECOMMENDATIONS WOULD YOU GIVE TO THE INTROVERT ENTREPRENEUR TO SUCCESSFULLY NETWORK?

Dr. Sharon Porter:  Plan ahead for networking events. Build in your “energy breaks” throughout the event.  Focus on quality over quantity. It is not necessary to talk to everyone in the room, but it’s important to make the most out of the conversations you have Be ready to clearly and concisely describe who you are and what you do (Practice your 30 second elevator pitch).  In the Introvert Entrepreneur, Beth Buelow writes, “Feel the fear & do it anyway”.  Networking is a must to build your biz.

SmallBizLady: IS IT STILL NECESSARY TO EXCHANGE BUSINESS CARDS AT NETWORKING EVENTS?

Dr. Sharon Porter:  Yes. The business card captures my mental and written notes – also you can use symbols that indicate the first impression. Business cards can help identify the individuals that you can add value to and those who can help your business move forward. The follow-through to begin establishing a connection and building a relationship is imperative.  Although every person you meet is not for you, you may be able to forward that person to someone else.

SmallBizLady:  WHAT ARE KEY ELEMENTS FOR NETWORKING VIA SOCIAL MEDIA?

Dr. Sharon Porter:  Interaction and engagement. In order to successfully network online, you must be consistently visible, and you MUST add value. Be intentional about expanding your network. Don’t just connect with individuals who you know personally or who you have mutual friends on social media.

As an entrepreneur, it is completely opposite.  Connect with individuals that you do not know and have mutual connections. Being consistently visible on social media can be time-consuming. Use the scheduling tools available and consider using a social media manager to assist with social media posts.

SmallBizLady:  WHY IS IDENTIFYING AND NARROWING YOUR NICHE IMPORTANT BEFORE NETWORKING?

Dr. Sharon Porter: Your focus, time, and energy should be spent on people and things that will catapult your business.  Strategically networking helps reach more of your target audience, potential clients and business partners.

SmallBizLady:  AS A DUAL OR PARALLELPRENEUR, WHAT ARE SOME NETWORKING ALTERNATIVES FOR INDIVIDUALS WORKING A 9-5?

Dr. Sharon Porter: Joining different MeetUps are a good way to find networking events. Many of the events featured are evenings and weekends. If opportunities are not convenient or made available for you, nothing stops you from creating your own opportunities.

Oftentimes, networking events are held during the day, which is definitely convenient for the full-time entrepreneur, but not so much for those who are career professional. Therefore, consider hosting your own monthly networking events.

SmallBizLady:  IS NETWORKING REALLY A BIG DEAL?

Dr. Sharon Porter: Networking is vital to your business.  To begin building relationships, you first must meet people to make a connection.  You have heard it before, but people do business with those they know, like, and trust. When you network correctly, you can establish relationships with potential clients as well as business partners.

You must attend different events.  If you continue going to events with the same audience, you cannot expand your network.

SmallBizLady: ARE NETWORKING GROUPS OR ORGANIZATIONS BENEFICIAL?

Dr. Sharon Porter:  I have benefited greatly from being a member of professional associations. In professional networking organizations is where you will find potential business partners and mentors. It doesn’t matter where you’re in your biz, always surround yourself with individuals who are steps ahead of you to serve as mentors.

My business has a Three Point Thrust focus; Educators, Authors, and Entrepreneurs.

Participate in online or social media networking groups that your potential clients and target market is a part.  This not only helps build your visibility, but builds your credibility if you are engaging in the group with added value.

SmallBizLady:  IF AN ENTREPRENEUR JUST CAN’T QUITE FIND THE TIME TO MAKE NETWORKING EVENTS LIKE DESIRED, WHAT CAN THEY DO?

Dr. Sharon Porter: Really, wherever you go in your daily journey is an opportunity to network.  Your focus should be on finding and building mutually beneficial relationships in all you do.  If you are in business though, you must invest in networking.  That includes your time.  Just like money, you will need to budget it in your schedule. Make networking a priority on a consistent basis.  While weekly may be too frequent for your schedule, you can commit to attending a networking event monthly.

If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.

Here’s how to participate in #SmallBizChat: http://bit.ly/1hZeIlz

The post How to Enjoy Your Life More as a Woman Entrepreneur appeared first on Succeed As Your Own Boss.

from Succeed As Your Own Boss http://ift.tt/2D0HJ26
via IFTTT

Top Strategies to Make 2018 Your Most Productive Year Yet

Guest Article

The New Year brings fresh hopes, a clean slate, and a renewed commitment to increase our impact. It is also a time to look back on the past year and think about what habits, practices, attitudes, and relationships are serving us and which ones are holding us back. Ready to make 2018 the best year ever? As small business owners (and people who share the dream of becoming small business owners), we know that time is money. Make 2018 the year that you invest time and energy into making small tweaks that deliver real impact by exploring the powerful effects of flow.

Flow is the state of feeling and performing at your best, when your work is effortless, when you are lost yet completely present, immersed, and focused. When we are in flow, we are in the zone. When we are in flow, we are more creative and more productive. But flow isn’t just about unlocking engagement and impact at work. Flow is about our ability to take care of our wellness, our bodies, and work-life balance. Better yet, flow is associated with phenomenal results.  According to research by McKinsey and Company, when you increase your time in flow by 15 to 20%, you can double your productivity.

So, how do you get into flow and stay there more often? Below are several ways to increase flow at work and in your life in 2018.

Mindset Matters

How you think about challenges and obstacles makes a difference in how quickly and successfully you can tackle them. I’m a raving fan of Angela Duckworth’s book, Grit, and Carol Dweck’s book Mindset. While Duckworth makes a case for resilience—what she calls grit—as a key ingredient in overcoming obstacles at work and in your life, Dweck offers a deep dive in the psychology of positive thinking. Both of these insightful writers essentially offer words of wisdom with a common theme: If you approach challenges as opportunities (not obstacles), you’ll already be ahead of the pack.

Get Clear on the Outcome, Stay Flexible on the Approach

You can’t reach an outcome if you don’t have one. Personally, I like to set both short- and long-term outcomes. But that’s just the beginning. To achieve your outcomes, you need to remain flexible. I recommend coming up with at least three different ways to get the result you want. For example, if your outcome for the day is to write a blog post, your approach may involve writing it yourself, generating a draft and outsourcing the writing to a team member, or outsourcing the entire process to a team member.

A Stitch in Time, Saves Nine

While the adage, “a stitch in time, saves nine,” may be old, the sentiment remains true and relevant in our wired world. Taking critical time out to prepare, specify outcomes, collect resources, and align interests, invariably will save you time, money, and stress.  Planning leads to better execution.

Live in the Learning zone

We feel most alive, most engaged, and most inspired when we’re in the learning zone – that sweet spot when we are engaged and challenged but not over stressed. It is a productive space in which we are generating ideas, growing, changing and reaching new heights.

Make it Bad, Make it Better

It may sound counter intuitive but sometimes, the best way to move quickly and ramp up your productivity is to make it bad and then make it better. Freeing yourself to make it bad is one way to tap into your creativity. After all, when we are free to fail, we are also free to experiment, innovate, and discover things we might never stumble across while playing it safe. Also, despite the fact that I appreciate perfectionism (in the right place and at the right time), all too often perfection is our enemy. Sometimes, like it or not, “good enough” really is good enough to get by and move on to the next task.

About the author

Dr. Camille Preston, founder, and CEO of AIM Leadership, has over 20 years of experience helping individuals and teams reach their peak performance. A recognized thought leader, Camille is a sought-after speaker and the author of two books: Rewired and Create More Flow.

The post Top Strategies to Make 2018 Your Most Productive Year Yet appeared first on Succeed As Your Own Boss.

from Succeed As Your Own Boss http://ift.tt/2DbXrEb
via IFTTT

How to Use Pinterest to Grow Your Small Business

If you have on your new years resolution list to expand your social media marketing efforts, consider using Pinterest. This image-based social media site can to help you reach even more customers. If you have great visuals and if you want to appeal to a highly female audience, this is a valuable resource online. Pinterest users love to eat, shop, bake, build crafts or learn something new. Use these tips to drive traffic back to your small business website.

  1. Make it Easy to Pin Your Content

If you sell products, make sure to use the Pin It button on each product image on your website to make it easy to share it on Pinterest. Be sure your images are visually appealing and professional.

  1. Create a Pin for Every Post

Use your blog content to increase the number of people who view a given post by sharing it on Pinterest. The key is having a strong image that will attract people to click to your content or repin it. Use the description field to describe the blog post to further entice them to read and share it.

  1. Share Other Great Content

Your Pinterest account shouldn’t center around your business. You should share other content that’s relevant and interesting to your followers. When repining, share why you like it. For example, if you sell beauty products, you could have a board called “Body Art” and display examples of fabulous makeup makeovers from around the web. This won’t drive traffic to your site, but it does establish you as the go-to resource in your field.

  1. Ask for Repins

Simply asking your followers to repin, comment, or click in your description can increase engagement by 80%! Just stick to one call to action, otherwise you confuse people. Decide what has the biggest value for you: a click to your site, a repin to reach more people, or a comment to engage in conversation. The more repins an image has, the more it’s likely to attract an audience.

  1. Board Titles Are Key

Be creative with your board titles. The more interesting the board title to more attention you will attract. Also don’t make your titles too long, or they won’t fit in the space.

  1. Create Theme Boards

Pinterest is known to many as a black hole and time suck. You might start out searching for pins that relate to your business, but end up looking at cupcake recipes! You can stand out. Create theme boards for topics related to your business such as if you are a wedding planner, try boards best wedding photo locations, maid of honor to do list, or seating chart layouts. Create a business board for all the pins and photos related to your products and services to keep everything in one place. Also write a detailed description of the business board using keywords to increase interest from potential followers. Also search engines are indexing individual boards too.

  1. Be a Good Friend

Pinterest is a social network. That means sharing is caring and “friendraising” too. Repin other business pins, comment on them, and tag them to engage in relationship-building. The idea is that you’ll pique their interest and they’ll come see what you’re doing on your own boards and support your marketing efforts too.

  1. Consider Buyable Pins

You can sell directly on Pinterest. One of the coolest features is Buyable Pins, which allow users to buy a product with the click of a button on a pin of a product. This has significant opportunity to increase revenue since users don’t have to leave Pinterest to make purchases.

  1. Track Your Metrics

You want to track your goals on any social site. It’s important to set objectives for what you want to accomplish on Pinterest. Would you like to attract 50 new followers a week? Increase clicks to your site by 30%? Define very specifically what you’re hoping to achieve so that you can look at the relevant metrics. If you want to increase sales or traffic to your website, look at your Google Analytics to see how many visitors came from Pinterest.

Remember, only focusing your efforts on 2 or 3 social sites to build you brand, can really work. Pinterest is growing, so check out how it might help your business. Keep your efforts consistent and vary up the types of images you pin, and you’ll build a tribe of followers and major traffic to your website in no time.

The post How to Use Pinterest to Grow Your Small Business appeared first on Succeed As Your Own Boss.

from Succeed As Your Own Boss http://ift.tt/2D7IJOv
via IFTTT

How to Brand Your Small Business in 2018

Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET.  This is excerpted from my recent interview with Yali Saar, who is the is the CEO of Tailor Brands, an automated branding agency. He is a former creative for BBDO & Chief Creative Officer for Raising the Bar.  For more information:  www.tailorbrands.com.

SmallBizLady: As 2017 ends, why is it important that entrepreneurs create a strategic plan for the upcoming year?

Yali Saar: Influential branding can really make the difference between a small coffee shop failing or becoming a multibillion dollar franchise. Branding is really the difference between customers paying $5 or $15 for the sandwich you make. It’s a name, a reputation, an image that sticks with you and in some cases, it can even be a state of mind.

SmallBizLady: HOW CAN SMALL BUSINESSES AFFORD THIS HIGH LEVEL OF BRANDING?  

Yali Saar: You’re right, good branding can be costly, and it’s hard to compete with the spending budgets of top tier brands. Like most businesses, they recognize this problem as “time + talent = money”, so they will need to decide to remove the time factor from this equation.

This is where automated design comes in, to level the playing field and allow small businesses to create unique and memorable branding. The solution – an algorithm that could “think” like a designer, essentially translating the world as a designer would see it.

SmallBizLady: WHAT EXACTLY IS AUTOMATED DESIGN?

Yali Saar: Automated design is the process in which a program enables us to mechanize design functions that we were previously performing manually. The machine-based learning algorithm creates a logo and design assets in a matter of minutes based on a series of preferences chosen by the user. A logo is really just a combination of a font, a typeface and a style, so once all elements are chosen by the user, the system can automatically generate the results.

SmallBizLady: HOW DOES THIS WORK FOR THE USER? 

Yali Saar: A user will first input the name of their business and share a little bit about the nature of what they do. Then, the program starts a little game, trying to make the experience as similar to working with an actual designer. The user would be shown a couple of images refereed to “this or that”, pick their preferences based on style or font type. Users can also choose a specific icon, initial or structure for the design.  After a few questions, the system will generate about nine logos for the user to choose between. Once the logo is created, users can further customize the design and change certain elements so it matches what they had imagined.

SmallBizLady: WHY WOULD A SMALL BUSINESS CHOOSE AUTOMATED DESIGN INSTEAD OF HIRING A GRAPHIC DESIGNER?

Yali Saar:  The beauty of an automated platform is that the system will utilize this design on all branded assets, eliminating paying extra for each item a la carte. The logo should become the basis of your marketing efforts and the advantage of using an automated service is that it can be easily transferred into different designs. All of your assets will become branded since you can seamlessly place your logo on business cards for each employee as they join, daily social posts for your Facebook page and a banner for your business at a tradeshow. Since automated design is a true technological output and becomes smarter each day, you can create all of these assets without relying on any templates in the background. It’s the combination of the quality and product range of an agency with the speed and price of an automated platform.

SmallBizLady: WHAT TYPE OF LOGO DESIGN DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR SMALL BUSINESSES WHO WANT TO CREATE A RECOGNIZABLE AND TIMELESS DESIGN?  

Yali Saar: There are timeless logos and there are trends. I would recommend a plain text logo, or as it’s called a typography logo, since these type of designs are generally very timeless and never go out of style. Some logos that come to mind are Dior and the New York Times as these designs are comprised of just a simple yet elegant font.

SmallBizLady: WHAT KIND OF LOGO DESIGN SHOULD BUSINESSES AVOID WHEN DESIGNING THEIR BRANDING?

Yali Saar:  Avoid dynamic logos, which are logos that change every time you use them, confusing the customer and lacks consistency. Pick a logo that can withstand the years, and continue being timeless like the Ford logo while accepting updates without becoming completely transformed. A logo is something that you live with for a long time – you really have to take a hard look and decide, this is what I want to go with.

SmallBizLady: CAN YOU IDENTIFY ANY TRENDS WITHIN THE BRANDING AND DESIGN WORLD THAT WILL BE HELPFUL FOR USERS WHEN CREATING THEIR LOGO?

Yali Saar: Yes, the current trend is the simplification, i.e., understanding how recognizable a logo can be. Take the MasterCard logo as an example. In their latest rebrand, they changed their logo to just two circles, without the word MasterCard in the middle that they have had for years. The fact that people can just recognize the brand by seeing one circle in red and the other circle in yellow – that’s the aspiration of any brand.

SmallBizLady: HOW CAN BRANDING MAKE A SMALL BUSINESS SUCCESSFUL?

Yali Saar: It’s about recognizing the brand’s jingle, tagline or color scheme long after the advertisement is over or your car has passed the billboard. Successful branding is more than just a logo, it’s a process that extends to every aspect of your business. It is building strategy, keeping your social presence active and so much more. These things have always required large budgets, which sets a barrier of entry for many projects and small business out there. This is where automated branding comes in to really break down these barriers and give everyone with an idea a fair chance.

SmallBizLady: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS WHO ARE JUST GETTING STARTED? 

Yali Saar: There are two points to remember. First, the brand and design should truly project what you’re trying achieve – what action you would like your customers to take or to acknowledge in the product that you’re setting forth. Secondly, stay consistent across your marketing material and brand message. Utilize the same language and maintain brand continuity across all platforms. This will allow your customers to identify you, become followers and eventually convert.

SmallBizLady: When should small businesses begin to grow their presence online?

Yali Saar: Immediately. When you’re building up any brand, the first line of defense towards your credibility is your online presence. Once customers are interested in your business, the first thing they will do is type your name on the web and search for your business. If you don’t appear there, any outreach or anything that you make, including any email that you have sent, is less credible. Even if you can’t start a website, just start a Facebook page with that logo and start posting there. It would give your project so much more credibility when you’re trying people are looking to connect with a business, and that is priceless.

If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.

Here’s how to participate in #SmallBizChat: http://bit.ly/1hZeIlz

The post How to Brand Your Small Business in 2018 appeared first on Succeed As Your Own Boss.

from Succeed As Your Own Boss http://ift.tt/2CDeSji
via IFTTT

Who’s on #Smallbizchat December 2017

this-week-on-smallbizchat200pxh

#Smallbizchat is a weekly conversation where small business owners can get answers to their questions. The focus of #Smallbizchat is to end small business failure by helping participants succeed as your own boss.

Please join us live on Twitter every Wednesday 8-9 pm ET. Here’s how: follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter and follow the hashtag #Smallbizchat and click here for directions to join the weekly conversation.

In January, we’ll be talking about branding, small business financing, team building, creative intelligence, and maximizing imbalanced schedules. 

Here is a list of who is on #Smallbizchat in January.

January 3rd – How to Brand Your Small Business in 2018, @tailorbrands

Yali Saar is the CEO of Tailor Brands, an automated branding agency.  He is a former creative for BBDO & Chief Creative Officer for Raising the Bar.   Find out more at www.tailorbrands.com.

January 10th – Ten Secrets to Business Financing, @IamDrSharon

Dr. Sharon H. Porter, Educator, Author, and Speaker is the owner of Perfect Time SHP LLC, Coaching and Consulting Firm, Founder of the GRIND Entrepreneur Network and Write the Book Now!  Learn more at http://ift.tt/2DPzLVr.

January 17th – How to Inspire Your Team by Putting Them First, @KarynSchoenbart

Karyn Schoenbart is CEO of The NPD Group, a global provider of information and advisory services, and author of MOM.B.A. Essential Business Advice from One Generation to the Next.  Learn more at http://ift.tt/2EA2HC6.

January 24th – How to Unlock Your Creative Intelligence, @arienneonline

Georgianna Pinto is CEO and Creative Director of ARIENNE, a creative studio for unique lifestyle brands. Arienne helps entrepreneurs combine their passions without compromising their creativity. Learn more at  http://ift.tt/2DOciE4.

January 31st – How Leaders Can Maximize and Balance Their Schedules, @SueHawkesYESS

Sue Hawkes brings over twenty-five years of experience to her clients as a bestselling author, keynote speaker, Certified EOS Implementer, Certified Business Coach, WPO Chapter Chair, and globally recognized, award-winning seminar leader, and CEO of YESS! Learn more at  www.suehawkes.com.

 

The post Who’s on #Smallbizchat December 2017 appeared first on Succeed As Your Own Boss.

from Succeed As Your Own Boss http://ift.tt/2DLVMV5
via IFTTT