Tag Archives: Entrepreneurs

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Unless Your Employee Is A Social Media Guru, Never Go In-House

One of the biggest mistakes a small business can do is go in-house on their social media marketing. Unless that employee or you, the business owner, knows the ins and outs of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you should always hire either a contractor or a recent college graduate who majored in marketing and has extensive knowledge in SMM. Too often, employees who are sales representatives are at the helm of Facebook accounts, and as a result you get hard selling content that’s annoying and doesn’t get much engagement. With the lack of engagement and growing number of followers, you’ll inevitably give up on social media like so many other small businesses.

The reason many companies go in-house is because they feel that their expertise in the industry is enough to get sales. However, you’re just one voice of millions, and without proper promotions and advertising, your words will fall on deaf ears. Do you know the best time to post content, how often, and who you’re targeting? Are you using hashtags, following, and reaching out to potential customers who will be interested in the products or services you sell? These are the questions you have to ask yourself and the person you have running your social media accounts.

There are small businesses who have 5 star satisfaction ratings with many customers posting long and in-depth reviews on Yelp and Google. These small businesses need to leverage that. Clearly they’re doing something right, and without social media marketing, there are many potential customers out there who don’t know of their existence. What’s more interesting is that some of these small businesses are still advertising on Angie’s List and Yellow Pages, which in 2016, might as well be considered the telegraph as those have become old-school methods in reaching out to customers.

You have to ask yourself, “Where do my customers spend the most time”? Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are the primary platforms where people post and view content, so why aren’t you taking part and being a member of the conversation? Most small businesses could easily find ways to post content three to five times a week, and by combining your knowledge with the social media marketer’s ability to effectively reach customers, your business could see a massive growth in likes and followers, which will eventually result in an increase of sales.

Social media is a dedication of time and effort, so why divert your employees’ attention from what they do best, to try marketing which is out of their skill set? Your job as a manager or business owner is to put your employees in a position to succeed, and you also have an obligation to yourself, to put all your energy in running the business instead of fretting over weeks of no engagement on social media platforms. That’s why hiring a social media manager is very important. You know your business and industry, but not so much marketing, and that is what’s holding your company back.

Your business’ success in 2016 is dependent upon a strong social media marketing strategy and presence. By not being there when a potential customer is searching for someone like you who can provide them with the best service or products, you open the door to a mediocre company taking that customer away from you because they just happened to post an Instagram photo or Facebook post that enticed the individual. Not being on social media is a very dangerous game to play, and with growing numbers of small businesses joining social media everyday, you will be at a disadvantage when customers search for businesses who can solve their problems, provide great products, or the best value and customer service in your area.

shopping @ the greenhow store

Small Businesses Can Learn A Lot From Colonial Entrepreneurs

shopping @ the greenhow store
happy via / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

If you live in or near a city that was a major hub for one of the Thirteen Colonies, there is much more history to learn that doesn’t pertain to the Revolution, but more importantly how small businesses operated in the 18th century. While I know there will be a few who will roll their eyes because there is the perception that these business methods are outdated in the 21st century. That attitude couldn’t be more wrong. The way these entrepreneurs lived and worked on a daily basis can easily be applied to how we conduct business with other small businesses today.

In the 18th century, what was marketing? There was no yellow books yet, newspapers were only a handful of pages thick at best, printing presses were just becoming the revolutionizing method of the distribution of news, and the town cryer wasn’t one of those TV marketers who yells at the screen to buy the product now. So how did small businesses acquire clients, besides being on a street with a lot of foot traffic? It was being selfless, while also looking to gain a profit for themselves.

In a day in which we all want everything, and have this attitude as to what the other person can do for me, business owners and entrepreneurs of the 18th century were more concerned about helping their neighbors and fellow business owners than we are today. Small businesses were connected through the needs that they offered and services they provided. If the butcher needed clothes, the small clothing store made them and delivered it to him; and when the clothes store owner needed meat the butcher would then help that individual.

While this sounds like one of those feel good stories where everyone in the town is all wearing smiles, there is a process to this way of business that supersedes the business transaction itself. Both stores and business owners will get exposure through word of mouth. If someone asks the butcher where he got those clothes, he refers that person to the clothing store he got them from, and the business cycle continues to spin from there. In the 21st century however, we’re more concerned about making the quick business transaction, cash the check and move on to the next client. By building strong business relationships with other small businesses as the colonials did, the endless referrals from that happy customer will be worth more than the ROI on a marketing campaign.

Even in the relative modern world, during the 1920’s and 1930’s, this way of business was still alive, and the endless cycle of helping the business owner next to him, which created referrals and exposure for both companies were highly effective. When big businesses took over, we all lost what American entrepreneurship and business was all about. Yes, it was nice to make a profit off a client, but by helping the fellow businessman, these entrepreneurs grew their customer base because the butcher’s customers would then buy clothes from the clothing store, and vice-versa. There was no need to spend a few thousand dollars on a marketing campaign when their real marketing was through being active in the local community and by shopping in local stores.

People will say that those days are over due to distribution of work and how less connected we are, despite the fact that the internet and social media were supposed to make us closer. If you’re a small business owner, and a fellow business owner asks for your services, don’t just see the cash that you’ll make, but find a way to help that business owner too. We all discuss how important it is to make a lasting impression, and by helping someone who didn’t ask, this will leave a lasting impression that helps your business and that other person’s business as well.

The key to being successful is to be selfless and give back to those who are keeping your business dreams alive. 18th century history probably put you to sleep in class, but the way those people conducted business and their lives is certainly worth looking into and learning. Just remember, without those first entrepreneurs, none of us would be where we are today.

LeBron James

Can Entrepreneurs Learn From LeBron James’ Career and Decisions?

LeBron James
Keith Allison / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Sports are often looked at as a recreational activity more than the business it really is. Owners, coaches, and players are all part of a major business; in the US the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB are the major corporations and the coaches and players are the employees or contractors. While they’re never looked at this way, players are however entrepreneur-like; they take risks, make their own decisions based on self-interest, and what option better suits them in the long run. Current and future entrepreneurs can learn from the decisions players make, and LeBron James’ career is the best example.

The average fan’s perception of LeBron is that he’s a mercenary, jumping from one team to another to win a championship, instead of staying with one team and being successful with the organization that drafted him. However, his decision to leave Cleveland isn’t too different than an employee leaving his/her job to start a business, or an investor parting ways with a company that isn’t making money. LeBron has a goal, and that is to win a championship, whether that’s in Cleveland, Miami, or anywhere else that has a chance to do something great. We all have dreams and aspirations to run a business and grow it into something bigger to be successful, so why should a player’s situation be looked at differently?

The backlash LeBron got for leaving Cleveland is similar to how friends and even family look at our own decisions to start a business, be an entrepreneur, and not go the same route our predecessors traveled. In this case, Michael Jordan’s “loyalty” to the Chicago Bulls is the standard James is held to, but instead LeBron decided to be a man and make a decision that would change the NBA forever.

Just as successful business owners and entrepreneurs have set the standard for excellence, James has created a frenzy in the NBA, and every superstar wants the opportunity to create a super team and win championships. As entrepreneurs we dream of success, and players dream of winning the championship, that’s how fans should look at the decisions stars make.

In the final analysis, LeBron didn’t listen to critics for going to Miami, as we shouldn’t listen to the doubters in our own lives, but feed off that doubt and do something amazing. We are all meant to shine in our own way. For some, like Michael Jordan, staying with one team, or being an employee works. But for that one individual who is going nowhere and not reaching their goal, the decision has to be made, whether to play it safe and remain average, or start a business, become successful, and silence the criticism and doubt.