Let Us Bring Back Small Business By Reducing Regulation From the Bureaucracy

A few years back our think tank was discussing what we needed to do to bring back our economy and the jobs we need in the United States. We addressed the issue of our ultra-slow growth under the Obama Administration and the dismal economic recovery. One of the members of the think thank was busy listening to the in-depth dialogue and stated;

“Let’s entertain the idea that both Congress and the president’s office are conservative by a great majority. Both government branches could make all of the changes in the world to standardize business as they deem necessary and most efficient. What is to keep an extremely liberal party from taking Congress and the White House, and reversing all of the good the other party did? There isn’t really anything as long as there is a majority vote.”

She then talked about the ‘pendulum of politics’ and how one party is in power then the next and how the policies reverse over and over again and how this continues the challenges with uncertainty which slows our economic growth as money, investments and capital sit on the sidelines.

Indeed, this is true, however, shouldn’t we all agree that politics can’t keep its hands of Free-Enterprise. The Democrats want to hijack the flows of commerce; labor, efficiency, capital, and profits for their special projects, which usually involve buying votes with socialist populist gifts, and the Republicans have allowed themselves to get so deep in crony-capitalism (Democrats also) that they hardly notice they are destroying the efficiencies of choice and free-markets, while they pretend they are doing positive things for our nation.

Basically, both sides are doing good for themselves and their ability to stay in power. Yes, the system is broken, thus, the power should taken back until they all grow up, and start doing what’s best for the nation, and serving the people and this great nation and not serving themselves at our expense. But, I digress, because I am not allowed to say that, nor you or we both end up on “watch lists” so yes the system is rotten. Even good people in Washington DC are only good they say for about 18-months, the best of them maybe 36 max, as the system corrupts.

Uncertainty is therefore guaranteed, but some say that the reason that government moves so slow in the bureaucracy is because it was designed that way to protect the people from it moving too fast in one direction which is dangerous to all, including the businesses, even the future of the country’s stability, which is extremely important in complex systems.

Being Your Own Boss – Sometimes It Gets Lonely – Depression Awareness Month

(This post was uploaded in support of Depression Awareness Month)

When the idea to start your own business first popped into your head, I’m guessing a certain level of pessimism invaded the bubble. The thought of the grind ahead I’m sure became all you thought about and perhaps, for some of you, those thoughts delayed the start-up somewhat.

But over time, that urge to be your own boss overwhelmed the pessimism and you made the jump.

And here you are.

You’re the boss.

And, it’s a bit scary right?

Sure it’s got its perks. You can pick the kids up from school. You no longer have to get approval to be ill and you set your own hours.

Although…

Even though you get to set your own hours, you never really switch off. The traditional 9 to 5 that forced you to become your own boss somehow gave way to a more gruelling 24 / 7.

Okay, you get to be ill without having to convince someone you are not fit to go to work but now, when you get ill, you probably won’t get paid.

And yeah, you get the option of more time with the kids but at what cost?

With your business on your mind 24 hours a day, where’s the escape? Even something as simple as watching TV loses its appeal. Sure, you are fixing your gaze on the screen but your brain isn’t engaging with the content like it used to. You’ve got work on your mind and everything else, whether we want to admit it or not, is a distraction.

Being your own boss is lonely. You may be surrounded with staff and have a loving partner at home and kids who adore you but it’s still lonely.

There’s a pressure in being your own boss that you never knew existed. It makes you think about all those bosses you didn’t much care for. It takes you back to those moments when you thought your boss could have handled a situation better and you start to empathise somewhat.

You start to put yourself in their shoes. What kind of pressure was your former boss under? You get a bit ashamed that you never thought to ask them. You were never there for them.

Just like no one is really there for you. Not really.

I guess today’s post is about me. I have no advice to give.

The government wants us to start small businesses and employ people but as soon as we do, they turn against us. Everyone has rights but we don’t.

It feels like the whole world is against us.

Sometimes we make stupid decisions. Like employing friends or family. We feel the need to surround ourselves with people we can trust yet fail to take into account that the moment we do, we kill relationships and find ourselves more alone than ever.

I’m sure there are times when employing family or friends has worked out well for someone but I’m guessing it doesn’t happen often coz there’s a famous saying floating around advising against doing such a thing.

So if you’re smart you avoid those pitfalls and make that famous Whitesnake song your own personal anthem.

Being your own boss is amazing but it’s also a lonely road that you walk alone.

It doesn’t have to be that way though; the government could make it easier for us. Sure they offer business advice initiatives but they’re all geared to growing your business which in turns adds more pressure and serves to isolate you further from the world.

Maybe the government could do more to help us job creators? Maybe they could, I don’t know, allocate a few hours per month of free counselling? Give us a safe environment where we can just talk about our problems without worrying anyone?

You see, that’s the real issue I have, as a business owner who can you really, deeply confide in?

If business is going well, who can you really share that info with? Your friends? That could illicit jealousy and could easily come across as bragging. Your staff? Well, that could just make them greedy. Your loving partner? Maybe, but is that enough?

And what about those times when things are not going so well? Who do you talk to then? You don’t want to burden your loved ones with that and you definitely can’t talk to your staff about it because more often than not what’s causing you sleepless nights is merely a blip in the grand scheme of things and sharing every blip can and will create paranoia amongst your workforce.

Fact is, you chose to be your own boss. As the boss you are a general. It’s your job to keep certain things to yourself until they absolutely need airing.

But it’s still hard.

Wednesdays for some reason have always been hard for me (this was posted on a Wednesday) I call them wobble Wednesdays. It’s the only day of the week where I allow dark thoughts. I do all my panicking on a Wednesday, the logic behind it being that I can analyse any blips and if there are any that have the potential to develop into something more substantial then I’ve given myself time to find a solution before payday hits.

I will be honest, today’s blip is not work related, well, not exactly. Today’s blip is down to me having to miss a family function this coming Friday due to work. A family member is reaching a certain milestone this Friday, it’s a big occasion, a get-together if you will, and I won’t be there because my business needs me to be somewhere else.

Let’s just say the news of my impending absence hasn’t gone over well.

Funny thing is, if I wasn’t my own boss and informed them that I had to miss the function due to my employer scheduling me a late shift the response to my absence would have been accepted. Heck, I would have even gotten some sympathy out it, but, as my family know that I am my own boss and that one of the most famous “perks” of being your own boss is that you pick your own hours, well, let’s just say that I’m not getting any understanding whatsoever let alone sympathy.

But I am my own boss. And I am alone. I guess deep down I wouldn’t have it any other way.

At least Whitesnake understands me…

Benefits Of Outsourcing Bookkeeping Services For Small Business Operators

Booking plays a vital role in administrating the various expenses that are incurred by business operators. The practice of bookkeeping keeps them updated about the mandatory transactions made by them in form of payment to the suppliers of raw materials for their business, receiving payments from clients, payment made for purchase of new machinery and equipments, necessary payments of government, salary to employees, etc. In simple words it can be said that the practice of bookkeeping facilitates the business operator to have a glimpse of the income and expenditure incurred for running the business.

At first instance, all this seems to be an easy going process as similar to maintaining monthly details of expenditure at home, but when it comes to business the scenario is totally different which is mainly due to multifarious activities performed by any organization. Business groups that are in involved in carious productive activities they have expert accountants or bookkeepers to look after various financial transactions taken with an organization. But what about small business organizations or startups who have limited funds and who cannot get their accounts managed by an expert, accountant, nor it is possible for them to look after personally towards all financial activities conducted in his business because of other professional responsibilities on his shoulder.

On the other side retaining the details of accounts is also indispensable for every business group to avoid any type of issue related with misappropriation of accounts. As all these activities are conducted on papers retaining their details manually is not only time consuming but also laborious. On the other side all decisions pertaining with business are mainly taken after assessing the financial condition of an organization, it is important to note down every little transaction to avoid any kind of error in the accounts.

Interestingly days have gone back when all these activities were conducted on papers, in today’s scenario of computer age there are different types of software which are helpful in recording the details of all financial transactions at an ease without wasting any time. Apart, from this there is one more solution wherein you can hire the services of some accounting group which offer the bookkeeping services for small business at cost effective charges. Outsourcing the service of bookkeeping has emerged as a new trend in the business world and is flourishing at jet dynamic speed among the business operators, especially among the small business groups. Moreover, as these groups are managed by expert accountants the chances of any error in accounts are very less.

These experts not only look after your accounts, but also suggest you preventive steps which are helpful in controlling your overhead investments on various expenses. Another interesting benefit of hiring the services of expert accountants from external sources is that their services can be hired on hourly/weekly and monthly basis. Along with this, as these experts perform their duties online it is easier for business operators to check the financial position of his business any time according to his convenience.

It would not be wrong to say that the hiring of the services of the professionals for looking after the accounts of your business not only saves your time and energy, but also helps in using your energy towards the betterment and progress of your business. Moving ahead as there is not much paper work to do it is helpful in minimizing the excessive use of paper in your office. Moreover, as every activity is conducted, online it is easier to transfer the data to all business partners at the same time without wasting a single moment. Using the services of professional accountant online also facilitates you to present the details of your account in different ways according to your requirements, in the form of graphical presentation, charts, videos, power point presentation to make everyone clearly understand the financial situation of your group in easy way.

Finding The Right Professional To Help You With Your Written Work

Finding a perfect fit to give your copy editing and proofreading services is important. You never want to hire someone without first evaluating what they have to offer. It isn’t a good idea to just pay a friend or family member to give this service either. You need a professional with plenty of ability and versatility. You want your work to be original but also correct.

Experience

Find out all you can about the experience offered relating to copy editing and proofreading services. If it is an individual, they should be able to tell you about their training and education, how long they have offered such services, and their current workload. If it is a business, ask about the qualifications they must for those they hire.

This is important because you may not get the same person to work with each time. You need to feel confident everyone that works for that agency has the skills and the want to help you create the best book possible. If you find you aren’t connecting well with one person, can they assign you to another? Don’t let creative differences become a roadblock.

Communication

You definitely need to hire someone you can openly communicate with for copy editing and proofreading services. They need to be able to share with you information about corrections and why they are necessary. They need to explain details to you to allow the future of your writing to be better and better.

You need to feel comfortable debating with them when you feel something in your writing should be left alone.While you need to make sure the editing all gets done, you don’t want to lose your own voice in the materials. The changes shouldn’t change the context of what you would like book to include.

It should only change the way it is presented. They should be combining your unique style with the correct grammar, formatting, spelling, and sequence. Anyone offering you copy editing and proofreading services needs to make a commitment to complete work on time, to return your calls or emails, and to help you to do the best you can with your writing.

Logical Rather than Emotional

Your writing is going to be an emotional process, and an extension of yourself. From the point of view of copy editing and proofreading services though, it is a logical process. Their goal is going to be to check everything from that prospective. This is going to allow them to pick up on things you are going to overlook because this is your piece of work.

For example, you may be so engrossed in how you tell a particular part of the story that you overlook the details of the paragraph structure. Perhaps the tenses continue to change back and forth and not being consistent. As they go through your pages of materials, they will fix those situations. The result is going to be a book that is enhanced and very well written.

Cost

It is important to find a provider of copy editing and proofreading services who is affordable and professional. They should balance the price with exceptional services. Finding out what it will cost you to get the work done is important. They should be able to give you an estimate. Most of them charge by the hour spent on the work or by the volume of the project.

The more work that is needed, the more it is going to cost. However, you shouldn’t have to pay a fortune to get some changes done. Discuss the cost and find out exactly what you get in exchange for that payment. You should also discuss when you will meet to follow-up on the proposed changes. The entire process may include several revisions before it is completed.

Consider This Before Starting a Multi-Level or Network Marketing Business

At some point in life, you will have been heard of some multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing business opportunity.

Although incentives vary between companies, it usually offers the chance to ditch your 9-5, fire your boss, sell products you believe in, establish your own business, make lots of money, upgrade your lifestyle, potentially win a car or free trips, and make new friends in the process. And who doesn’t want these?

People like MLM because its low barriers to entrepreneurship. You’ll access training, an established system, support, and ample encouragement along the way. And the overheads are low with no large capital requirements or specialist qualifications required. Being a home-based business can also provide tax advantages.

Sounds exciting, right? But like any investment of time, money, and energy, you need to be aware of what you’re getting into and do your homework.

How MLM works
A sponsor or mentor will teach you how to sell the product and earn a small commission from your sales. MLM compensates you for the sales you make, and the sales of others you recruit-this creates a “downline” of distributors and a hierarchy of compensation levels. So, the more people you recruit, the more commission you make.

Why do companies choose the MLM structure?
1. No advertising. It’s challenging for companies to get their products and services “above the noise” using traditional, expensive advertising. MLM distributors sell the product through word-of-mouth to friends, neighbours, colleagues, and others online.

2. No staff benefits. Distributors are a sales force that work without benefits-for example, superannuation and health insurance. And of course No retail outlets and overhead costs.

Four success tips
1. Keep your current job while slowly making the MLM transition. MLM is not a get rich quick scheme and success is not easy. You need to embed success habits like discipline, hard work, organisation, self-motivation, and daily actions like hard sales. Treat it like a business and listen to those who’ve succeeded.

2. Believe in the product. Don’t just do it for the money or the chance to create a business. It’s unsustainable. Ask yourself these questions:

Do you have a passion for this product or service? Has it genuinely made a difference to your life?
Is the product superior to a cheaper but comparable retail product?
Can you talk about this product in your daily life such as picnics, the hairdressers, barbeques, and even when you’re tired?
Are you comfortable mixing business with friendship? People may not want to hang out if they think you’re always going to pitch them. (My website is positioned to attract people who are interested in my offer. I try to build trust and give value by providing high-quality free information. So I don’t feel the pressure to pitch people at social events.)
Are you comfortable with the long game? Many MLM companies promote a three-to-five year plan towards financial freedom. But it could take ten years. And success is not guaranteed. Are you comfortable with that?

3. Have the time and focus on it. MLM won’t work if you’re busy with young children, already busy with another business or a demanding career. MLM is ideally suited to someone without a job or who wants a career change, but has been unsuccessful in finding alternative work.

4. Running more than one business is not a good idea. The old proverb says, “If you chase two rabbits, you’ll catch none.” Unless you’re Richard Branson-who has a huge team of support specialists-success normally comes from doing less but better. The difference with Branson is that he has the funds to invest in strong teams throughout each business.

Buyer beware
1. Before entering an MLM scheme, seek answers to these questions:

Can you make a sustainable profit from just selling the product without having to recruit anyone? (If they prefer you to recruit distributors above new customers, this indicates that products are not driving the MLM company profits.)
How quickly will you make money and how many distributors do you need to recruit to make money?
What’s the average compensation and failure rate for part-time/full-time involvement?
What’s the average expense of running the MLM company and does it exceed the average compensation?

2. Be aware of ulterior motives. Few people like being “sold to” so the MLM pitch is often dressed up as “customer service” or “sharing your enthusiasm” (like recommending a movie). But when money is involved, it’s not innocent enthusiasm. Be honest with yourself and be clear on your ethics.

3. There are significant upfront fees. Ever heard of a job that you have to pay a fee to start working? You’ll probably pay significant upfront up-front fees for education and training. Ensure you’re ready to commit or accept the possibility of losing your investment.

4. Expensive products. MLM companies often sell decent products, but they’re usually expensive (to pay for the hierarchy of distributors) and require you to sell them aggressively to family and friends.

5. Don’t mix with your existing business. Introducing MLM to an existing business client base is usually a bad idea. It can make people think you’re not interested in your normal offering. You’ll lose focus on what you’re probably good at (remember what happens when you chase two rabbits). You’ll also lose some friends and clients in the process, regardless of your success.

6. You’ll probably lose money. Most people who join an MLM scheme, only a few earn more money than they spend.

7. The tax advantages are overstated. Many people wrongly assume that losses can be offset against other income in Australia. The ATO generally only lets you use these losses to offset future business profits-not other income such as salaries and wages.

In summary
Hundreds of MLMs exist-some good, some bad. So do your research, find an MLM company with quality products, and a sustainable, fair compensation plan.

What’s Your Story? How To Create and Turn Your Business Story Into Profits

Let me ask you… What’s your story?

I mean…

Do you and your business have a story? How did you get to where you are and why did you create the business you have?

We get so used to all the “guru’s” and others preaching to us that no one cares about you and only is interested in themselves.

This can be true to a point. We’ll get to buying triggers and selling your benefits like a pro later, but for now…

Let’s dive into creating your story.

Here’s something I found interesting and you may too…

I was looking at Google analytics on one of my websites (basically page views, what people looked at and how long they were on my site).

It turns out the page that was my story was visited by over 70% of new visitors to my site.

Guess how many percent of new visitors entered my testimonial page?

Only A Little Over 50%.

This means that more people wanted to learn about me versus results I generated for clients. Now results and proof all matter.

But the point is…

Your Story Can Be Extremely Powerful.

If didn’t think your story matters or not sure how to create or express your story, then you’re in luck. Why?

Because I’m going to give you some quick tips so you can begin creating your story and letting people know about your story.

But first…

Want to know something you can add to your emails, sales letters or any other sales message and causes more people to read your message?

Something that can keep your prospect moving from one sentence to the next-in a smooth interrupted manner.

What is it?

Using the same thing we’re talking about. If you haven’t uncovered this or tried using stories for yourself, then you’re in for a treat right now.

Using a story or stories in your messages can be a great way to draw people into your message. Plus…

A good story can easily do the selling for you as well.

There’s also an extremely simple and easy way to increase the chances of someone reading way more of your message and story as well.

I’ll get to that in a minute, but first let’s talk about why stories are great for selling or talking about your product, service and or business.

Stories can be used to sell products or even ideas.

Stories can be used to entertain or even teach.

Here’s a perfect example of this…

Guess what the most famous book in the world is?

The Bible. It’s full of stories.

Some of the most successful and famous ads of all time involved stories.

A copywriter by the name of John Caples wrote what most call the “20th century most successful mail order ad”.

The headline was…

“They laughed when I sat down at the piano But when I started to play… ”

There is a part of you that wants to see the underdog win.

This headline hooks you emotionally.

You want to know what happens and does he freak out or win over the bullies. Does he actually play good or fall flat on his face?

In this ad, they could of just talked about music lessons, but the story puts a twist on another music product.

In other words, you dive into the story which is really the ad. The story does the heavy lifting and selling for you.

As a matter of fact…

People always love good stories.

From the time we were kids, we listened to and enjoyed stories.

Even as adults, you’re at a family event or party and you’re drawn into a crazy or interesting story.

Maybe your buddy called you and told you the funniest or most interesting story you’ve heard all day?

Maybe your husband or wife just told you the “horror story” from work or a crazy incident involving their friend and the latest gossip?

The point is…

Stories can not only get people involved in your sales message more, but also…

Stories do the “heavy lifting” of your sales message or goal like we spoke about.

Everyone loves a good story and if you can combine your story with some entertainment and value, then you have a winning combination.

Oh by the way, you probably wanted to know what I mentioned a little while ago-you know when I said there was one easy way to have people read more of your message and or story.

That one way is through…

Cliff Hangers or Teasers.

Like when I said “I’ll get to that in a minute”.

Cliff Hangers can be powerful in messages.

Just think about your favorite television show, maybe were really getting into it and then here comes the commercial or the end.

You can’t stop watching it now, you need to know how it turns out.

The news is notorious for this. You know the old…

“There’s something in your house right now that could be harming your family, but first let’s go to Mr. X for the weather” or…

“We’ll talk about that harmful thing tonight at 10!”

Why wouldn’t they just tell you now?

Because they want you to come back or to stay tuned.

Teasers or cliff hangers can be powerful and explosive when combined with stories and or messages.

If still not sure if you can come up with your sales message story, then this quick tip below could make your next story so much easier to create and write.

A while back I heard a drop dead simple formula for coming up with a story.

Want to hear it?

O.K. since you said yes.

In a great book by the name of Pitch Anything… the author talks about this formula and it go’s something like this…

Put a Man In The Jungle. Have Lions Attack The Man. Does He Survive and If So, How?

It’s not exactly like that, but that’s it in a nutshell pretty much.

I know you may be thinking that’s way too simple. But think about any good story or even movie you’ve seen. It all follows the same formula.

Let me put it another way for you real quick…

Character is put into an intense situation.

Some drama or action takes place.

The character is defeated or most likely-overcomes the experience and you see this all unfold before your eyes.

That’s it.

Try using this drop dead simple formula the next time you need to create a story.

Now liked we spoke about…

The story you are telling could be about your business. Your product. Your customers experience…

Or even a story that somehow ties back to your sales offer.

We talked about stories for selling. What about what we started to speak about in the beginning?

Creating your business story. One you can use on your site or marketing.

Let’s first start here…

How did you get to where you are?

You obviously didn’t just start your business today. Or even if you did…

What made you get to the point where you absolutely had to open your doors or set up a business website?

What ignited your passion and made you start?

If you really think on this and tie it into why you really created your business and how your passion helps your customers experience better value…

Then this can be an important part of your business story.

A quick nugget about “your story” though…

I’m referring to where on your website you have a bio or my story page or a tab.

If using a sales page or medium, keep your story short, list why they should listen to you and then…

Continue how your product or service… Is For Them.

Speaking of your product or service story…

Here’s a great profitable story that may be exactly what you need to make sure your next promotion or launch is successful.

There’s a fantastic story about a direct response copywriter by the name of Claude Hopkins.

In the 1920’s, he was put in charge of improving the Schlitz Beer advertising campaign.

They were all the way in fifth place in the beer market at the time.

After being hired for the job, Hopkins toured the brewery to get to know the product.

He discovered an elaborate filtration process in which the beer was sterilized and cooled in a special way over frigid pipes – All in a plate glass room in which only filtered air could enter.

When he asked the person giving him the tour…

Why they weren’t telling people about this…

He was told that “every brewery filtered beer this way”.

What Was Hopkins Response?

“But others have never told this story.”

This beer production story injected into the new advertising campaign took Schlitz beer from fifth place in the beer market to being tied for first.

You See…

Even though they weren’t original in their process, by them telling the story first, it drew people in and turned them from just another beer to a leader in the industry.

Another great example…

Joe Sugarman (great direct response copywriter and marketer) actually built an entire company off of one story ad.

Have you ever heard of BlueBlockers?

Yes, those sunglasses.

He placed his ad in some airline magazines and other sources.

This ad launched the company and he turned that success into infomercials and massive QVC selling sprees.

Actually, they sold over 20 million pairs of those puppies.

This one page ad that started it all not only told a story, it provided education to the consumer and…

Used his own skepticism of the product to the selling advantage.

A lot of people will tell you…

The blockbuster story ad I’m speaking about is one of the most successful direct response story ads ever written.

I thought that blockbuster ad I’m talking about now is such a great example of a story selling a product, that I included a copy of this ad in this section.

Before that story example though, what about the customers you’ve dealt with and their experience?

Do you have any testimonials or feedback that can be turned into a success story?

Now if you have some generic testimonials or some that are lacking some finesse, then this is where you can inject some drama.

Always be honest with your marketing, but…

If your testimonial or customer experience can be spiffed up and everything is legit then why not add some of the drama and excitement needed.

Let’s say you’re going to put a client success story in your next campaign.

The problem is…

The testimonial just says… “You were great. Thanks”.

(Now I included your own testimonial generation letter with this system, so you’ll be receiving top notch feedback before you know it and never receive something like… “nice work”)

Now… if you remember that customer told you before they bought your product…

He or she was online for hours searching for this product…

Fiends all had it and they have been wanting it for months…

Searched 5 different stores and finally found it at one store, but way too expensive…

Then their car broke down on the highway, then finally…

Found your store and you actually had the best value.

It was worth all the hassles.

You can share all this and talk about his adventure and all the drama they experienced.

You were the hero. This is a quick example.

But the point is…

You just took the same old boring testimonial and now transformed it into some drama and excitement.

Remember, if you’re rewriting a testimonial or ever putting a customer in marketing, always get permission to use their info and or story.

Always have them sign off on any changes or things you wrote for them as well.

If it’s honest and they agree, then go for it.

But again, only if legit.

Now… What About You?

What do you do outside or inside of work that people may be interested in?

Do you have weird hobbies or maybe other things you’re passionate about?

Travel to interesting places? Have funny pets? An interesting family?

Do you have a dramatic or exciting experience that brought you to here right now?

You may think no one cares, but your story can not only make you “more human” than others…

It also can build a better rapport with your customers.

You, Me, Our Customers and Everyone Else Is All Entertained and Drawn In By Stories.

Business to Business – Look For the Less Glamorous Accounts

As a former franchisor and service sector operator I have an important piece of advice to discuss with you today. You see, these days I do a bit of consulting and thus, am constantly reading business plans for small business start-ups. One thing I always find is smaller companies always seem to want to immediately go after high-end clients, consumers and customers – and, if they plan on doing business-to-business contracting, the young and often naïve entrepreneurs tend to go after big brand name corporate clients. Still, I recommend a different tactic in this realm, let’s talk.

Sure, it makes sense to go after the high-end customers and name brands, but do not dismiss the less glamorous businesses to do business with. Have you ever heard the saying; “Sell to the masses and live with the classes?” Makes sense right. In fact, when operating my companies we never forgot this strategy. I find many entrepreneurs want to get their product into Home Depot, Target, Wal-Mart, Sears, etc. Or they want to partner with Starbucks, Apple, Nike or Google, but be careful, those companies have the pick of the litter, everyone wants to do business with them, so they always get the best price, meaning you’ll make less money and have to work on volume to make a profit, and you’ll have to invest big to upgrade just to handle the account – so in essence you are buying the account, not just getting the account.

In my previous company we did on-site contract cleaning and had sales teams and worked off of a Bonzai-Blitz Mission marketing strategy, one which works for any company doing B2B services. What we found was the less glamorous type accounts; cleaning garbage trucks for instance actually paid the most money because no one else ever bid on the account.

Indeed, we ended up cleaning all sorts of things that no one else was competing for such as cleaning off Solar Panels, Restaurant Patios, Garage Doors, Awnings, Rain Gutters, Driveways, Gazebos, Artificial Drought Resistant Grass, Jacuzzi’s at Hotels, Storm Drains, Locomotives and Rail Cars. It was truly amazing how easy it was to secure a strong cash flow without ever having to lower our bid to get the work. That’s not to say that becoming a vendor for a large company will not be lucrative, it surely can be, but also realize how many companies have gone broke trying to perform with razor thin margins as a vendor of Sears or Wal-Mart.

Why Social Media Is Important to Your Small Business

1: It finds your customers and builds clientele

Many of us use Social Media on a regular basis. We use it to stay on top of what’s trending, follow our favorite businesses, post our personal beliefs and so much more. I’d like to think of Social Media as the new “office water cooler” — People are out there talking and they are waiting for your business to show up so they can discuss what you have to offer.

Customers need to trust a business, service or product before purchasing. People tend to trust their friends and loved ones more than anyone else. So, if your customers hear from someone trustworthy, about your product or service, it is reasonable to believe that they are more likely to purchase what you are selling. You could very reasonably market your products and services using, mostly, word of mouth.

Best way to promote your ideas on Social Media is by having your friends and family help you. They can share your business posts/pictures/videos on their accounts and your business will potentially be in the hands of hundreds of new customers. “Sharing is Caring”, Right?

2: It gives you an idea of what people are saying about you and your business

You can keep an eye on what people are saying about you and your business and respond to all posts, good and bad. You can use Google Alerts (www.Google.com/alerts) to see who is talking about you and your brand. On Google Alerts you can create “alerts” with keywords like your name, business name, etc. and when Google finds those in the search engine, they will email you the sites that match those keywords. This is a great way to see what people are saying about you across multiple Social Media Channels.

3: Allows you to get to know your audience and customers.

Social Media opens up the line of communication between business owners and millions of potential customers. Wow! Millions of people could possibly become your customers, that kind of marketing would have been hard to do in the offline world. Communication is key, this is how you will get to know who your customers are and why they fit into your target audience.

You will be able to generate a variety of content to market your products and services. When you are creating great content, your customers will take notice. They will start commenting and reaching out to you. This is your chance to interact with them, have a conversation in real time.

Your goal with content is to get a response from your customers, so you can build a relationship. You can create content such as polls, surveys, contests, videos, Live Q&A sessions, and so much more!

4: It’s an easy and natural way to get your name out there! It introduces your brand and builds awareness.

For the most part Social Media is FREE. What? Free Advertising/Marketing? Yep!! You should be on a variety of Social Channels and create and post engaging content. This will allow your customers to see exactly who you are and what your product / services do for them.

Your business is more accessible this way, think 24/7! People can find you at all times across Social Media. An accessible business means a more trustworthy business, meaning customers can start to build that relationship with you when they can find you.

• You can create customer testimonial videos and add them to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and more.

• Let people know about new products, giveaways, partnerships, sponsorships, discounts coupons, etc.

• Brag about yourself! What are some of your business achievements? Your potential customers want to know about them.

• Create buzz! Get the word out there by creating a recognizable identity for your product, service and brand.

• You should establish yourself as an expert. Use forums and message boards to answer questions professionally, honestly, and correctly, which will earn you respect as an expert in your field. People will then look to you for answers. You can even use a variety of apps such as Periscope, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Instagram to run “Live Q&A” sessions.

5: Go where your customers/clients are! We all use Social Media – we can engage in two-way communication in real time.

Oh my, how many people are out there using Social Media? A LOT!! I say that Social Media is the new “Google Search”. People are using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to find and follow local businesses. It’s quicker and easier to engage with a business on Social Media than actually taking more time to do a Google Search and visit your company website.

So, go where your customers are! Your competition is already using Social Media to market their business, so don’t get left behind. Check out the list below to see how you can get people talking and sharing on Social Media.

• Share industry news, upcoming events, new hires – what can you share to get people talking?

• Great way to promote upcoming client events. You can let your customers know who you may be partnering with, spread the word about other local businesses too.

• Make it easy for potential customers who see your content recognize you as someone who can help them.

• Share links to interesting articles, websites or videos. Use words that grab the readers and encourage them to click the link.

• Talk about an event that you attended or are attending. Invite your audiences.

• Be Helpful: Produce content that presents new knowledge or assists in professional decision making.

• Be Interesting: Spark conversation around a news event, cover the latest posts from an industry influencer, or create an infographic about your business. Just keep it fun and fresh!

• Help them help others: We want information that we can share to our network. Sometimes the information that you put out there may not pertain to your actual customers, but they may know someone who may need what you have. Hence, sharing! They share to their friends and family, and your business now has the potential to help even more people, maybe even new customers.