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The latest news and industry trends

Posts in small business
March Goals

 

The beginning of the year came and went like a flash of lightning. It’s hard to believe that it’s already March and we are getting close to the end of the 1st Quarter. If you haven’t hit all of your business goals yet, don’t worry...there is still time to regroup and accomplish some valuable things for the sake of your business.

A lot of people get overwhelmed because they either create goals that are unrealistic for completion within a certain time frame or not specific enough to keep you on track for completion. As the age old business model says, Goals should be S.M.A.R.T : Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely.  Declaring that you want to make $100,000 for the year is totally doable. But saying “I want to make 100,000 this year” but not knowing what products and services you are going to sell, how much you are selling them for, and who you are selling them to is unrealistic and sets you up for disappointment.

Even your small goals should be realistic. They should be related to the overall bottom line within your business. If your goal is to move to a brick and mortar location, it should be tied to a “why”. Will moving to a physical location help increase your sales? Will it give you more foot traffic? Don’t make a plan to move to a physical location just because you think it “looks” like a good idea. Create the goal to move because it is tied to something that benefits your business. Once you’ve decided on that goal, figure out the action steps to get you there, and make sure that they are SMART goals.

This is the perfect time for Spring Cleaning your business. In the next couple of days take an assessment of your business, its operations systems, and how well your products and services are doing. Figure out what areas need improvement, and what you can do to ensure that growth is taking place. Engage in activities that are strategic in helping you fine tune your business.

What things do you need to spring clean in your business? What areas need some special attention?

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4 Tips for Women's Business Success
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There are over 11M Women Owned businesses in the US. They make up 40% of new business owners and generate over $1.7 Trillion in revenue. So how can we make sure that these businesses are profitable and sustainable?

  • Collaborate

Collaboration (even with those you may feel are competitors) can open the door to more clients, more sales, and an increased presence in the business sector. Seek out entrepreneurs who match your focus and want to grow the same way.

  • Educate Yourself

Although women are building businesses at astronomical rates, we are often overlooked or denied when it comes to funding. Depending on your industry, startup funds and money for payroll may be an essential necessity for your business success. Find out what investors and banks look for when allocating funding, and find out what skills you may need to brush up on to increase your chances of success. Organizations like your local SBA will often offer FREE education on a variety of business topics.

  • Re-evaluate your business structure

Do you REALLY need that many staff members? Does that new software system serve your best interests? Comb through all of the elements of your business to see what elements are truly necessary and what elements are optional. You may find areas where you can cut back on expenses, or even raise your prices on certain products and services.

  • Don't give up!

No one ever said business would be easy. Be resilient in your quest to become a success. The pros will outweigh the cons once you've achieved your goals.

On October 24th The Women's Business Center of Charlotte is hosting its 2nd Annual Heart of a Women Conference. This conference will cover all of the areas of your business AND your personal life that will help you propel towards success. The breakout sessions are full of amazing educational gems and success stories from women just like you.

Session topics include:

  • Doing Business With The Government

  • Conquering Marketing & Branding

  • Nonprofit Management

  • Healthy Living Tips

  • Staffing Tips

  • Strategic Planning

This year's keynote speaker is Ms. Jacqie McWilliams, Commissioner of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), Ms. McWilliams will share her success secrets that landed her a position as the first female African-American Commissioner of the CIAA.

 

Early Bird Registration ends soon, so purchase your tickets today!

 

Will You Accept This Rose?....And Will It Make You Happy?
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Everyone won’t always love you, and that’s okay.  

Sometimes you won’t get the final rose, and that’s okay. Not everyone is meant to be your customer. When I first started my business, I was so afraid to be completely open with my branding. Ironic, considering the fact that I was preaching that very thing to my clients. Trying to be everybody's "friend" was not helping me build a sustainable business. I had to throw away that please the whole internet mentality and just be myself - flaws and all. Did I lose a few people along the way? Absolutely. But the ones who were a good fit stayed, and we grew together. I also found other awesome people to work with who challenged me, helped me grow, and understood my vision. In order to get the right clients who fit well into my business, I had to get the right mindset for my brand.

 

The problem that many of us face is that things in the business world can change so fast, that we get lost in the shuffle. The information overload saga is absolutely ridiculous. In this day and age EVERYONE is an expert (*insert MASSIVE eye roll here*), so the amount of information, both positive and negative is insane. As an entrepreneur, you have to know what information to digest and what information to leave right where you found it. You have to be able to find your own brand voice that fits in with YOUR Vision. Just because a fellow business owner offers the same products or services as your business offers doesn’t mean that you have to build your brand the same way. The “Final Rose” won’t always look like you expect. And that’s okay too.

 

If I knew what I know now, I would have had way less headaches along this journey. But I didn’t know. There was no way I could know everything so early on in my business. I want to share with you all what I’ve learned along the way, and the resources you can use to make SMART business decisions.

 

Join me for the Your Vision, Your Way Webinar. It’s a FREE webinar built for busy entrepreneurs who are serious about building amazing brands. Register today and save your spot for this awesome clarity training.

 

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3 Benefits of a Written Marketing Plan
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Developing industry specific marketing plans can be difficult to achieve with little to no direction. Just like a business plan gets you set up for strategic growth, a marketing plan serves much of the same purpose. While some may think that you can mix and match marketing methods as you go along, it is always much more efficient to develop your plan of attack well in advance. Your marketing plan should serve as the companion piece to your business and financial plans.

Marketing plans are not a one-size fits all scenario. Your plan should be specific to your industry, as well as your time in the business. It brings you clarity, structure, and most of all - more effective marketing. Here are a couple of the benefits of having a written marketing plan for your business.

Gain Clarity

  •  A written plan helps you gain the clarity you need to expand your business with effective marketing strategies. It takes your original business plan and stretches it out in a way that shows your creativity in a structured manner. As a companion piece to your business plan, it lays out the specifics of your business plan and assigns a marketing task to each area. It also shows you where your challenges may lie within reaching your target market, and how you should address a financial plan of attack.

Track Your Methods

  • A lot of people approach marketing without a strategy. They throw a couple of things at the wall and see what sticks, then get frustrated when they don't see a return. A written marketing plan helps you keep track of what you've done. It gives you a clear view of what has worked, what hasn't, and how much time and money has been put into it. Are you delivering things to your target market that actually address their wants and needs? If not, how do you change that? What new techniques can you use to better serve them?

Establish Company Culture

  • What better way to help your employees learn about your company culture than to have it in writing? Although you may think that you've expressed the core of your company culture and brand values, it is can easily be misconstrued by an outside party. Instead of assuming that employees know how to represent your brand, why not feel comfortable in knowing that they are clear on how to represent your brand. You can even ask for feedback through meetings and forums, and incorporate that data into a working plan for your employees. 

No matter the industry, your marketing efforts should be tailored to fit your specific needs. Just because a similar business has had success with a given marketing tactic doesn't mean that your business will enjoy that same success. It takes time, introspection, and documentation to get together a proven formula for success that can grow with your company.

Don't take chances on missing the mark with your marketing. Contact us today for a consultation on developing a targeted marketing plan for your business.