Billingslea Media
haute-chocolate-styled-stock-photography-marble-styled-desktop-peach-gold-1-final.jpg

Blog

The latest news and industry trends

Posts in Uncategorized
2014 in Review. Setting the standard for greatness!

image

I've never been one to embrace change. But over the past couple of years I have learned to love the changes that have emerged in my life. Looking back on the past year has given me a chance to reflect on all of the positive changes that have happened as I continued to  build my company. Billingslea Media has enjoyed tremendous growth; and the changes in the marketing and technology field are opening up new doors for endless possibilities.

A huge part of this business involves going out and building relationships. I strive to maintain my visibility in the community in order to promote my clients, learn new processes, and create opportunities to link my clients with individuals that will help their businesses grow. I've met some amazing people along the way; and even created opportunities for others outside of my industry. I enjoy seeing the look on people's faces when they realize that their dream is closer than they expected. It's the motivating force behind my company, and it drives me to dream bigger.

Here are a couple of highlights from 2014:

Substantial Magazine

In October of 2014 I was featured in Substantial Magazine. The article highlighted my journey as a businesswoman, and shed light on some of the motivating factors that led me to start Billingslea Media. Aside from being able to express my goals and achievements in the magazine article, we also held an engaging and fun filled photo shoot that captured all of the facets of my personality.

image

A month later I found myself engrossed in the mission and potential in the magazine, and published my first article as a Substantial Magazine staff writer. Joining the team has been a perfect marriage of passion, humility, innovation, creativity, and fun. In September we produced our very first awards show in which we honored the contributions of significant leaders in our community. The event garnered the support of hundreds of people across Eastern NC; including university staff members, government officials, and our very own Mayor Allen Thomas. In the coming year, Substantial Magazine will be unveiling a host of new projects and amazing content for our readers. I look forward to applying my experience as a Public Relations professional to the growth of the entire Substantial brand.

image

•LinkedIn•

Just as Snapchat is the quintessential marketing tool for the teenage beauty queen, LinkedIn is a necessary tool for the modern day professional who is looking to establish themselves and further their career. Beginning in mid 2014, I decided to increase my activity on the social networking site. I utilized the Premium features of the platform that would allow me to expand my reach.

image

Once establishing new connections, I made sure to extend the relationships beyond the home page. I engaged in conversations with my contacts to exchange ideas, establish my expertise, and even make other introductions. My complete LinkedIn profile and publishing page has resulted in connecting like-minded individuals, fine tuning my personal and professional brand, and landing a seat on the board of a local charter school.

image

•Tweet Chats•

For years I frowned upon engaging in the "senseless" activity of Tweet Chats. To me, it was a waste of time to sit and look at what other people had to say in response to a professional who was leading the conversation. I didn't have time to filter through their comments, nor did I see the benefit in talking to strangers online.

Little did I know that talking to strangers would be beneficial to furthering my career. Of course it felt a little odd at first, but once I warmed up to the idea of exchanging ideas with others who were seeking more information within my industry, the process became an enjoyable and profitable activity.

image

One of my favorite Tweet Chat series this year was the Black Enterprise Corner Office series. The series featured a wide variety of special guests who engaged with the participants and shared information about their areas of expertise. Guests ranged from Actor & Community Activist Lamann Rucker to Entrepreneur and former Apprentice superstar Randall Pinkett. Over the life of the series, Black Enterprise introduced a wide variety of experts who provided an amazing array of pertinent business and community leadership information, and even aided in the introduction of various professionals all over the country. My personal experience with the Black Enterprise Corner Office series has introduced me to several thought leaders who have challenged and encouraged me to grow my business, as well as offer resources to maximize my potential.

•Small Business Saturday

The annual American Express Small Business Saturday provided an opportunity for me to end my year with a bang! Each year, the movement grows larger and larger, and provides free resources for small business owners across the country. Their site offers articles and quick tips to allow merchants to maximize their reach and increase sales. The company also offers FREE marketing materials that are shipped to you free of charge within days. This year's goods were shipped via American Express partner FedEx, and included branded canvas shopping bags, pens, balloons, welcome mats, banners, and extra signage. Business Owners were encouraged to share their ideas and show how they used the promotional materials in their marketing efforts.

image

Because Billingslea Media is not a brick and mortar business, being creative in my marketing activities is essential. As I watched other companies and other clients engage in Small Business Saturday activities, I did not want to let the day go by without participating myself. My virtual Small Business Saturday Shopping Spree not only managed to pair several small businesses with one another and allow businesses to increase their weekend sales, but it also caught the attention of CAN Capital. I entered the CAN Capital Small Business Saturday competition, and was one of two businesses who were awarded as the winners amongst hundreds of contestants. As a winner in the competition, I was awarded a $100 Amazon gift card and a one hour consulting session with Entrepreneur, Author, and Consultant Gene Marks.

image

The achievements of 2014 set the standard for my company's vision for the coming year. As my network increases in size, I find inspiration not only to continue to service my clients, but also to expand my services and scope of influence. I look forward to the smiles on my client's faces when I show them just how wonderful their dreams can be when they trust their vision to Billingslea Media.

Holiday Prep for Small Businesses

santa shopping cart

“How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”

Dr. Seuss

It seems like every year the holidays approach us even faster than before. I remember years ago being able to actually enjoy every single season in its entirety before having another one being shoved down my throat. But today major retailers like Target, Nordstrom, and Victoria's Secret are already rolling out their holiday specials. If you are in the business of retail, you had better get going if you want to compete with the big boys.
Unfortunately, today's fast paced digital environment doesn't allow for us to take our time with introducing our next great idea. Preparation for competition in the open market takes a fair amount of dedication and detailed planning. If done correctly, your holiday selling season can be more successful than your entire fiscal year. Here are some tips on preparing for a busy holiday season.
1- Treat the next day as if it were your first day
Sometimes it's important to take a step back and reevaluate your business and the goals you want to achieve. What worked for you in the beginning may not work anymore now that your business has grown. Preparing for a busy season is a great time for you to begin to reevaluate the lessons you've learned along the way, and implement new practices. Take a look at your products and services and see what works best for your business goals. Add new information to your business or marketing plans. If possible, meet with a mentor, financial adviser, or even a fellow entrepreneur for tips on how to improve the flow of your company.
2-Take a good look at your inventory
Go over inventory and see what has been working for you. What are your best sellers? What are the worst? There may be some items in your inventory that you absolutely love, but your customers see as mediocre. Be honest with yourself about poor sales. Is there something that you can do to improve these products, or is it simply time to let them go for good?
Its also a good time to bring out new items you may have been mulling over. Introduce new products with a "limited edition" tagline or offer them at an introductory rate that will only be available for a short time. Hold a flash sale to get rid of old stock, or include them as a "gift with purchase" when people buy new items. Implement a strong marketing plan to make people aware of these new products and services.
By all means do not sell yourself short, but pick a few items that you can afford to offer at a discounted rate. If discounting these services are too much of a financial burden, perhaps you can offer this to only a select segment of your customer base. Holiday gifting suites are also increasingly popular. Run a special for every 10th customer you receive that day, or offer free items to go along with specific sales items.
3- Prep your employees
A retail business can thrive or fail based on it's level of support. Many businesses make the mistake of losing touch with their employees as their business grows. Not only do employees need to feel appreciated, but there also needs to be an appropriate level of communication between the owner and their staff. You can't expect for your staff to have the same goals as you have when it comes to your business. You also cannot assume that they are aware of your goals. Be sure to keep the lines of communication open so that everyone remains on the same page.
The holidays can be increasingly stressful for retail managers and staff. Learning new products and new sales methods can be incredibly frustrating; and feeling unappreciated can cause an employee to lose their enthusiasm. Teamwork is key to having a successful holiday season. Take the time to make sure that employees are well aware of all sales, VIPS, and company goals. Also, encourage them to give a little bit extra in terms of customer service as shoppers tend to become more cranky during holiday shopping.
4- Be Personal

When all else fails, Show up! As the owner of a business, especially one with local popularity, it is important to show people who you are. People identify more with companies who show their personal side. People will appreciate you and are more likely to tell a friend when the owner of a business shows their appreciation. You can also gain more insight from valued customers by engaging in conversation and observing their purchasing patterns. Taking the time to be more hands on with your customers may uncover customer needs that you didn't even know existed.
Don't Quit

inspiration jars As entrepreneurs it is easy to lose focus, get frustrated, and want to throw in the towel. Although it is our talent, background, and skills that bring us to new heights in our careers, sometimes we need a simple word of encouragement to get us through. Don't Quit

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, When the road you're trudging seems all uphill, When funds are low and the debts are high, And you want to smile but you have to sigh.

When care is pressing you down a bit, Rest if you must, but don't you quit. Life is queer with its twists and turns, As every one of us sometimes learns, And many a failure turns about, When he might have won if he'd stuck it out.

Don't give up, though the pace seems slow - You may succeed with another blow. Often the goal is nearer than It seems to a faint and faltering man; Often the struggler has given up When he might have captured the victor's cup.

And he learned too late, when the night slipped down, How close he was to the golden crown. Success is failure turned inside out - The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.

And you never can tell how close you are - It may be near when it seems afar; So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit - It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit. - Author Unknown