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Organizing a Business Event 

If you work for a small or medium-size business, chances are that your staff does not include a professional party planner to organize those all important seminars, networking events, open houses, customer appreciation events, or company dinners. That means that planning corporate events falls to one (or several) employees that have a handle on details and can stay organized. If that person is you, read on for tips to organize your next business event. 

Corporate events can be tricky to plan since they have so many different components including the venue, budget, food, technology needed, atmosphere, guest lists, speakers, and the list could go on and on depending upon the type of event being planned. Here are some of our suggestions on how to get your ducks in a row and plan your next business event. 

Start With the Big Picture and Your Goal 

Start with what you hope to accomplish during the event. Ask yourself what the purpose of the event is and things will be clearer on how you should proceed. For example, if the goal of the event is to host an educational seminar for your clients, then the venue will be different than a black tie cocktail event. Or, if the goal is to have a social atmosphere and network with other companies in your field, then you know that you will have to find an appropriate venue for that. 

Create a Calendar and “To Do” List 

Once you know what the goal of your event is, you can plan accordingly. You will want to create a list of things to accomplish and give each a suitable deadline. This could include booking a venue if you are not hosting it in-house, finding a caterer and ordering food, creating a guest list and sending invitations, booking speakers, lining up any technology you need and, of course, staying within the budget set for you. 

Booking a Venue

Many corporate events happen outside of the walls of your typical office and finding the perfect venue is something you will need to arrange well in advance, depending upon the popularity of the spot you are choosing. Be sure to take into account travel time, how many people the venue can accommodate, and the atmosphere. When you book a space, an event planner may be assigned to your event and thus make your job a bit easier. If not, you may be required to work through even the smallest of details. 

Guest List and Invitations 

The venue and purpose of your event will help determine how many attendees your business can handle. Be sure to give ample time for a response from the people on your list. Remember that the average “no” response is usually around 20% when making your final guest list. Keep accurate records of who will be attending for a food, drink, or snack count. It will also help you when it comes time to print up any brochures or paperwork that will be a part of the event. 

Food and Drinks 

Depending upon the type of event you are having, food and drink is usually an aspect that needs consideration. Be sure to find out if any guests have allergies or any special food considerations. Venues are usually good about making special meals and will work with you on how to identify those guests when serving time approaches. As for drinks, this one is something your business leaders will need to decide. Do you want your guests to have the option to a cash bar, open bar, or are you having a dry event. All of these decisions need to occur early in the planning process as to allow for the budget to remain on track. 

Tech and other Materials 

Many events focus on some aspect of business and, as such, require technology, whether it is a presentation board, slide projector, smart board or, at the very least, a podium and sound equipment. Be sure to make a list of all the equipment and specialists you will need for your event so they can be secured well in advance. 

Presenters and Schedule of Events 

Once you have the venue, catering, guest list, and technology all set, you will want to line up who will be the master of ceremonies or presenter(s). A run through of the schedule can help ensure that things go smoothly on the day of the event. It will also ensure that small details like name tags, table gifts, and printed materials are ready to go for the event. 

Do you need help planning your events? Check out our workshop on Planning Events from Start to Finish on October 2, 2019. 

 

Best Practices for your Sales Team 

How does your sales team operate? Are they cooperative and open, or do they like to keep all their strategies secret? Chances are that there is a little bit of both going on in offices across the region. The balance can be hard to maintain, especially when numbers are measured and compensation relies on quantities sold. Here are a few ways you can encourage your sales team to maintain a healthy balance between competition and cooperation. 

Brainstorm Targeting Techniques

Criteria for Success online suggests asking your sales team a few important questions. “Does your company have a set plan for targeting? Is every salesperson on the team executing the targeting plan the same way? Want to mix things up?” Ask yourselves who your best customers are and where they are coming from. Why are they your best customers? Take some time to look at where your targets are found and what other areas can hold similar customers. 

Develop Success Stories 

Whenever someone is considering investing in a product or service, they want to hear from other customers and how they fared under your company. Create a series of success stories that can help you explain how your business has helped others succeed. For example, if your company is an IT support company, have a few short stories that can illustrate how your company has guided or supported other companies that needed IT services. Maybe a business that you have serviced has seen an increase in traffic on their website or and increase in clients of their own due to the work you have done. Stories like those can help sell your business without being a hard sell. 

Ask for Referrals 

We all have those loyal customers whom we adore. When the opportunity arises, ask for a written testimonial for your social media platforms or possibly a write up on an online review site like Yelp or Google Review. Most clients are thrilled to be able to help grow your business. These reviews or testimonials can really help the sales team when it comes time to close a deal. 

Not only can loyal customers help out with testimonials or online reviews, they can verbally refer you to other people in their field of work. It never hurts to ask for a referral or a mention to others. 

Build Relationships 

Finding customers can happen in the most unlikely places. Not all sales are made at networking events, seminars, or workshops. Many times, the sale happens months down the road after someone has gotten to know you during community events, volunteering opportunities, or through valued referrals. Building relationships and talking about your business can be something you do in many venues. You never know when someone may need your services and suddenly your name comes to mind. 

Do you need help with your sales team? Check out our workshop on September 19th titled, “Secrets of Effortless Selling.” 

 

Facebook for Business Tips 

Trying to reach your target audience through social media? Or maybe you are trying to expand your audience to include other demographics? Facebook for Business is a great place to start, especially since it now has over 2.23 billion monthly active users. 

A business page on Facebook has never been easier to create and maintain. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to do to get going on Facebook and some tips to keep users returning to your page. 

Create a Business Page 

Follow this link to create a business page. To get started, choose a Page category either business or community depending upon your needs. From there, you will be prompted to add a cover photo. We suggest something familiar such as an image of your office, logo, or products. Choose wisely because this icon image will appear every time you post. From there you will want to fill out all of the business information sections including a short description of your business, hours of operation, phone number, website address, and a link to Google Maps so customers can easily find you. 

Once the page has been created, you can customize it for your business with tabs that make sense for your field. For example tabs could include: your posts, your photos, reviews of your business, special offers, community events, important dates, or videos. Get creative! 

Posting to Facebook 

Now the fun begins! You can start posting on your page and start gathering Facebook likes, friends, and followers. Be sure that each time you post you are doing it with content in mind. You should not just post randomly and without purpose. Have a content brainstorming session that will help you come up with the top things you think your customers will want to read. For example, include links to articles in your field, pictures of your office or product, employee spotlights, specials and discounts, insider tips, or maybe infographics that can easily be shared. It’s really up to you whether you want to be informative, funny, creative, or thinking outside the box. 

Create a Social Media Calendar 

In order to not overwhelm your readers with too many posts or multiple posts a day, it is important to create a social media calendar. A simple list of what you will post on specific days will help you stay organized and keep you from over posting the same topic. Remember, Facebook allows you to schedule posts whenever you want, or you could use a social media manager like Hootsuite

Respond to Readers 

Facebook recognizes companies that respond quickly to readers with a “Very responsive to messages” badge below your Page’s cover photo if you have a response rate of 90% and a response time of 15 minutes over the last seven days. That means that you are on the page often and maintaining connection with your clients. 

Post at the Best Times for your Audience

According to research published on HubSpot  there is data out there on optimal times to post on Facebook. The best time to post on Facebook is 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Other optimal times include 12:00–1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and 1:00–4:00 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. Engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays, and weekdays from 1:00–4:00 p.m. tend to see the highest clickthrough rates. On Fridays, Facebook use spikes by 10%. Since people tend to be happier on Fridays, marketing guru Neil Patel suggests posting funny or upbeat content to match your audience’s mood. The worst time to post on Facebook are weekends before 8:00 a.m. and after 8:00 p.m., according to SurePayroll’s research.

Do you need more information about Facebook for Business? Consider attending our workshop on September 26th. 

 

Value of Video on Your Site 

How is the traffic on your website doing? Do you have visitors often? What’s your conversion rate? Looking for ways to draw more people to your site and get more traction with SEO? Maybe you should consider adding some video to your site. 

Video is quickly becoming a fantastic inbound marketing tool for websites. Viewers are consuming video content more than ever before and that trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon. In fact, 90% of consumers access the videos placed online. 

Making your site a top performer means keeping up with this video trend. Less written content and more video seems to be the way this trend is leaning. Although websites should never be lacking content, the video version is catching on. More and more companies are adding video with the intent of sharing their expertise, demonstrating a product or service, and telling a story. 

If you are wondering why you should add video to your site, here are a few reasons to motivate you. 

Videos are the Way Consumers Browse 

Face it, website browsers have an extremely short attention span. When given the option between watching a video about something and reading about it, the viewer will almost always choose the video. Take the stats from YouTube, the second largest search engine in the world. “More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month. Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year. According to Nielsen, “YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network.”

Video Helps Your SEO 

Using a video on your site means that visitors are on your site longer watching and learning. According to Vital online, one important factor on how well a page ranks in search results is how long a visitor stays on a page, the longer the visit, the more important Google thinks the webpage is.

Video Builds Relationships

As a viewer watches your “How To” or your testimonial online, they become connected to your business. In fact, businesses that use actual employees to do their videos and footage on your warehouses or offices help the public understand who you are as a brand. Those connections can create new customers and solidify the relationship with loyal ones. 

Video Helps Your Company Stand Out from the Competition

The truth is that not many companies have the marketing budget, time or energy to create custom videos for their viewers. Custom video is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competition.  

Video Helps Deliver Your Message 

Whether you are making a story video, how-to, or introducing a new product, your video will easily deliver your message with a personality attached. 

Keep an eye out for our workshops on making videos to driving traffic to your site. 

 

Succeeding in Business: Who is Your Audience?

Google search “marketing strategies” and you will find hundreds if not thousands of marketing tips, strategies, and ideas that could keep you reading for a lifetime. One thing you will find that all the sites have in common is a section on “getting to know your target audience.” Why? Because, fundamentally, every business owner should know their audience inside and out if they have any hope of succeeding in their field.

Knowing this, how exactly do you get to know your audience? What are some ways you can gather information about who is buying your product or using your services? Take a look at these methods that may help you connect with and retain loyal customers for years to come.

Do Market Research

Start getting to know the different demographics you want to target in your ads and marketing strategy by doing market research. A number of tools are available to help you here, some of which are free — like American FactFinder, which uses United States census information to help you find out key pieces of information about specific demographics.

Examine Your Competitors

Doing your research on the audience you hope to reach is important, but so is examining your competitors. Check out the social media, blogs, digital marketing, and print media of your closest competitors. Who are they targeting in their email lists? Who are they aiming to appeal to in their print and digital ads? Are they missing a group or do they have a group that you have forgotten? This extra layer of research can help you stay on track and know your audience compared to your competition.

Get to Know Your Consumers

If you have a storefront or visit clients often, get to know them personally. Find out what they like, and dislike about your products or services. Go the extra mile by trying to address their concerns. These personal insights may help you adjust your marketing to appeal to their needs or wants.

Monitor Reviews and Customer Feedback

The way to really get to know your audience is to listen to what they are saying on surveys, in reviews, and even to your face during interactions. Check out your company on Yelp, Google Reviews, and other online sites to know what clients think about your company. Adjust your marketing, products, and services accordingly.

Do you need help getting to know your audience? Check out our seminar called, “What is Your Business, and What Will It take to Succeed?” It is being offered on June 5 from 8:30 to 10:30 am. Check out our website for more details.

 

A Quick Guide to Presenting

Whether you are a first-time speaker or someone who does this regularly, presenting can be nerve-wracking and stress inducing. The old advice of “picture them in their underwear” does little to allay fears and nothing to improve your speaking skills. Instead, we offer a quick review of things to do before and during your next big presentation. Don’t worry, you’ve got this!

Be Prepared

No matter what the topic of your presentation is, be prepared. Have your presentation deck organized, technology all set, and handouts ready to go. Know your content inside and out to the point that you don’t even need to look at your slides. Go deep into your research so if questions are asked you will have the answers.

That takes us to the next way that you should be prepared – know your audience. Take a serious look at who your audience is and why they are coming to your presentation. What are their needs and what do they hope to get out of it? Obviously, a presentation to a group of CEOs will be dramatically different than one to first-time clients.

 

Start Strong

There is nothing worse for an audience member than hearing a speaker drone on from the start to the end of a presentation without showing passion or a love for what they are discussing. For this reason, start your presentation off strong. We live in a world of immediate gratification and constant entertainment. Start your presentation off with a bang and get their attention from the very start. Start by connecting with the audience through a story, an engaging slide, or information that they may not have heard before.

Keep It Simple and Straightforward

Most people in the business world have limited time as it is, so stick to a core message. It may help to tell the audience what the three main things are that you want them to take away from your presentation. Tell them upfront what you plan on talking about and then get to it. Try not to take a detour and chat about irrelevant information.

Be Personable

Smile, make eye contact, and speak naturally. These are three things you can do to relate to the audience and be personable. This can build rapport and actually make you less nervous.

A Word About Slides

Many great orators use slides, while others just talk. If you are going to use slides to complement your presentation, Guy Kawasaki of Apple suggests that slideshows should:

  • Contain no more than 10 slides;
  • Last no more than 20 minutes; and
  • Use a font size of no smaller than 30-point.

Giving a presentation doesn’t need to be unnerving. Following these simple steps can get you on the path to giving professional presentations. Need more information on being confident when presenting? Check out our seminar on “Presenting with Confidence” with Jim Ognibene on May 28 from 6-9pm.

 

Facebook Advertising

The numbers are in and, believe it or not, Facebook is closing-in on 2 billion users! Due to this, Facebook’s unparalleled audience gives it an “insurmountable competitive advantage,” according to Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush. This competitive advantage means Facebook advertising is an excellent investment that will get your business, services, and products viewed by thousands daily, if not more!

Wondering how to get started on Facebook advertising? Here are a few things to consider:

What is the goal of your advertising campaign? Do you hope to meet new customers or hope to retarget the customers you already have? Do you plan to increase brand awareness or have consumers download your app or possibly click on an ad that brings them directly to your landing page? This decision will give your advertising campaign a goal that will be measurable.
Who do you hope to attract in the advertising? More specifically, who is the audience? With Facebook advertising you can choose: location, age, gender, or any number of demographics to target a certain group according to your campaign goals.
Decide on the location of your ads. Facebook offers different types and locations of ads that can increase traffic and bring brand awareness to your services and products.
What is your budget? Decide on a budget that is in keeping with your marketing strategy. With Facebook, your company can set a budget for daily clicks, pay-per-click, or other options. But first, decide on what you want your amount to be so that you can strictly adhere to it.
How do you want your ad to appear? Do you want one image, multiple images, or even a video that can highlight your business? Images can beautifully display your services and products, and can increase traffic to your website.

Once you have made some of these decisions log into your business page and get started on reaching your share of those 2 billion users!

Facebook Advertising

More than one billion people are active on Facebook. Let that number sink in a bit. One billion people! When it comes to marketing and advertising, therefore, Facebook is too big to ignore. Managing and leveraging your social media account with Facebook advertising becomes essential. In addition, Facebook Ads can transform your business’s social reach without hurting your budget. Let’s take a closer look at some of the basics of advertising with Facebook and some tips from Facebook experts. 

  • Use Facebook’s tools to find the right audience easily. You can choose your audience based on demographics, behaviors or contact information. That means, you can really pinpoint the group you really want to see your Ad.
  • Pay attention to the analytics on Facebook. The Ad Reporting Tools show you how your ads impacted your business in visual, easy-to-read reports.
  • Follow guidelines set out by Facebook that help you choose the right format for your images and guide you through content formation.
  • Include a Call-To-Action. Adding a Call-to-Action to your Facebook Ads might not increase your click-through rate or make your ad more engaging, but it’s likely to improve your overall conversion rate and decrease your cost per conversion.
  • Use social proof such as testimonials to give your brand and company credibility.
  • Test multiple designs. No matter what your level of expertise is, or how long you’ve been advertising on Facebook, always test both your ad’s design and its targeting. Ad Espresso online suggests, “Coming up with at least 4 different Facebook Ad Designs and then test each one. For example, you might test two different images with two different copy texts (2 images x 2 texts = 4 variations).”
  • Ad Espresso also suggests, “Put the right ad in the right place.” Correct placement of your Facebook Ads is critical and, ideally, you want to optimize your design for each placement. For example, you can choose from Desktop Newsfeed, Desktop Right Column, or Mobile Newsfeed.

BLS Provider CPR (1-day Initial or Renewal Course, multiple sessions available)

(Initial or Renewal Course based on the 2015 AHA Guidelines)
Basic Life Support (BLS) is the foundation for saving lives after cardiac arrest. This course teaches both single-rescuer and team basic life support skills for application in both in-facility and prehospital settings. This course is designed for healthcare professionals and other personnel who need to know how to perform CPR and other basic cardiovascular life support skills.

In addition, BLS training can be appropriate for first responders, such as police officers and firefighters, as well as for laypeople whose work brings them into contact with members of the public, such as school, fitness center, or hotel and restaurant employees.

Students must pass a written exam and skills test in order to qualify for a BLS Course Completion Card.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will receive a completion cad valid for 2 years.

Conveniently scheduled on Saturday, please choose the session that works best for you.

REGISTER NOW!

Key Components of Logo Design

A logo is a memorable, eye-catching symbol of your company’s brand. A great logo is one that hooks your intended consumer within a few seconds of viewing. Sounds simple enough, right? The professionals sure do make it look easy but it is anything but. There are millions of logos out there every day bombarding consumers at every turn. The ability to create one that is iconic is no easy feat.  Here are a few suggestions from the design experts.

  • Keep it Simple – Logos need to be very adaptable to size, so the simpler the design the easier it is to identify no matter what size it is being viewed. We suggest you test your design on all sizes such from as large as billboard size to as small as a business card or ad on Facebook. If it has too many details it may not view well in smaller scales.
  • Make it Memorable – Some of the best logos have the ability to stay with the consumer and almost imprint on the brain. The goal should be to grab the attention of the viewer with a simple design that makes an impression and stays with them.  For example, the Nike symbol or the McDonald’s arches are simple and easy to remember.
  • Versatility – A good logo can be altered and still easily recognized. For example, the logo should have the capability of being viewed in color or black and white – yet still be easily identified as your brand’s logo. Versatile also means that your logo should be identifiable in small and large scales.
  • Timeless – If your logo is trendy, it might be perfectly fine for right now but a few years down the line it may seem dated and out-of-style. Stick with logos that are classic.
  • Color and Font Considerations – Be careful with color and font selection. University of Loyola, Maryland, published research that showed color can increase brand recognition by 80 percent. The underlying reason being there is a strong correlation between emotional responses and color, implying that the selected color will determine how your brand is viewed. In addition, select a font that translates well across different media and sizes.