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Common Mistakes of Start Ups

According to Forbes Magazine, 9 out of 10 start ups fails! Other studies, such as the Harvard Business Study, are more optimistic in stating that only 50 percent fail in the first year. They all agree, however, that making it past five years is a milestones that may mean you are solid enough to survive the horrible stats about start up survival. What are the stumbling blocks that make new businesses so risky? Well, honestly the list could go on forever, but here are a few of the more common mistakes of starting your own business:

 

  • Cash Problems – One of the largest mistakes new owners have in launching a successful small business is the cash issue. Running out of cash can have many causes including not understanding the market, losing investors, pricing problems, or financing issues.
  • Motivation – Starting a new company is possibly one of the most time-consuming and stressful events for any human being. Keeping the motivation going can be difficult, especially if key leadership dwindles or is also not motivated.
  • Product Problems – Many new companies rely on one or two services or products. If one of those fails, so does the company. New businesses need to broaden their offerings and target larger audiences to stay afloat.
  • Lack of Support – New businesses need employees and leadership personnel that are versatile and can handle many roles at once. Young companies many times do not have the cash flow to hire such individuals.
  • Failure to Handle Feedback – In our society and social media-crazed land, feedback on poor job performance is almost instantaneous. With numerous review sites, your company can be ruined with negative reviews or the inability to react swiftly to feedback from clients and employees.

 

There are numerous reasons why good companies go under. Continue to read our blog as we follow these reasons over the next few months.

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!

The Business Logo

American society is filled with logos that shape our buying and encourage consumers to return to the same products time and again. I bet if I asked you to envision the logo for Nike, Lego, or FedEx that you would have no problem. Therefore the logo that your company uses is extremely important because it is the first thing a consumer sees when considering your business, service or product. The logo is the face of your brand. It should be easily recognized and tell the consumer something about your business and personality. Take for example, Apple. Most people recognize the one bite out of the apple regardless of color or size. It stands for innovation and the evolution of technology. Is your company’s logo easily recognized like Apple Corporation or do you still have work to do?

 

Here are a few tips for creating or choosing a logo that will fit your company.

  • Keep it Simple – The more detail the harder it will be to recognize. A simple concept will allow consumers to identify your brand quickly whether it is on digital media or print media.
  • Be Different – Obviously some big name brand companies are doing it right if they bring brand awareness with a logo. Do not copy them. Instead be unique and true to your brand, locale, and personality.
  • Be Relevant – If your business is a courier service certainly don’t pick a turtle as your logo but rather something that will tell the consumer about your speediness and accuracy.
  • Avoid Trendy – You want your logo to last a long time and be recognizable over many years. Avoid font types and colors that are popular now but many look dated in a few years.
  • Use Color – Many businesses are identifiable just by the color they show. For example, Coca-Cola is known for its red and white cans. Make your choice in keeping with your business.

 

Professional Presentations

Whether you use Powerpoint, Google Slides or another presentation software, having captivating and informative presentations for your clients can mean the difference between making the sale and losing a client. Add some creativity that will captivate your viewers with a clever presentation, images and content that will keep them listening from beginning to end.

  •  Be Well Versed – One thing that completely turns off an audience is having the presenter read directly from the slides. Know your topic well enough that you do not need to read every word but rather can talk freely and interact with the audience.
  • Use Quality Photography – Sharp and custom photography can really make your presentation pop. Use images of your business when possible instead of stock photography. Make the images unique and interesting to look at.
  • Choosing Slide Backgrounds – Many presenters go for flashy or eye catching backgrounds but others rely on solid backgrounds that make the content stand out. Either way you choose, make sure your colors are eye pleasing and that bullet points are easily readable in a font that matches the tone of the presentation.
  • Be Clear – Make each slide clear and to the point. Use bullets but do not overwhelm your audience with too many points to consider on each slide. Instead break up major topics into smaller ones so that your audience can follow your train of thought.
  • Use Humor – Your presentation has an ultimate goal for your company. Using humor to maintain the attention of the audience can help you get to that goal. If your audience is bored they may stop listening. Keep them laughing with personal anecdotes or common situations that your listeners can relate to will keep them on task.

Helping Grow your Business

Success! Your small or medium-sized business has made it through the first few “lean” years and has managed to thrive. You know it is time to take steps to grow your business but you are not sure what direction to take. We suggest first meeting with your financial advisor to find out just where you can stretch yourself and where you should play it safe. Here are a few ideas from the Small Business Administration and other entrepreneurs on areas where you can begin to grow your business.

  • Trade Shows – For the first couple of years, you may have been too busy to attend trade shows so start making a name for yourself now. Trade shows are a great way to expand your market. This is also a great time to increase your community activities.
  • Expand your Product or Services – Now that you have successfully gotten your business off the ground, you may want to consider expanding your product line or services. Consider services or products that align with your current offerings.
  • Open Another Location – If your current location is running smoothly and your employee numbers are growing, you may want to consider expanding to another location.
  • Merge or Partner – Many growing companies that have proven that they can be successful find that growing their company may be more successful with a partner or merger with another company potentially in a similar industry.
  • Expand Area – Local businesses often think about expanding the area that they service. This may mean opening a franchise opportunity or seeking funding to open a regional office.
  • Expand on the Web – Your website may need to be updated or expanded if you plan to grow your business.

Email Marketing 101

Email may seem a bit old-fashioned but, for now, email marketing is still around and very effective.  According to experts at CopyBlogger and Constant Contact, the return on investment is amazingly cost effective. With an ROI of around 4,300%, email practically pays for itself and saves a tree or two. Email is a direct line of conversation with your consumers so use it wisely instead of the annoying sales pitches of the last generation of email newsletters. Here are some smart ideas to get you started on the right path of email marketing. 

  • Have  a Strategy – Instead of randomly sending out an email that will be one of millions in a readers “inbox” have a plan. Decide on the frequency of the emails whether it is weekly or monthly. Plan a newsletter that has interesting content and a call to action, possibly with a coupon or coupon to get consumers to act.
  • Use Visuals – We are a society that likes images and graphics. Avoid lengthy content and rather choose visuals that can catch the attention of the reader. Keep in mind that the images, logos and color palette should be in line with your brand. An interactive element such as a video or survey can keep readers on your newsletters longer.
  • Don’t Forget a Call to Action and Contact Info – Many readers scan emails and look for the bottom line so don’t forget your call to action and methods for readers to easily contact you. Calls to action action should include words such as: shop,  buy, click here, look, find out more etc.

 

Writing a Great Press Release

A press release is a short, compelling news story written by a public relations professional or marketer and sent to targeted members of the media. The ultimate goal of a press release is to pique the interest of a journalist or publications enough so they print your company’s news. This means free advertising as well as brand name exposure. These short releases, known as PR, can be a wonderful bonus for companies to be recognized by trade papers, journals or even local newspapers. So what should be put into a press and release and how should it look in order to catch the eye of the intended media? Lets’ take a look at the components of a press release. 

  • Contact Information – Right at the top of the page include your contact information including the name of the company you are writing for and the email/phone number. This is important because anonymous releases are a “no go” in the publication world. Make it easy for each publication to know who you are. Include the data as well so they know the information is current.
  • Be Short and To the Point – No journalist has the time to read lengthy press releases so get to the point in the first sentence. Let the reader know the big news right in the opening and use all pertinent facts, so if they do choose to run with the information they will have the correct facts, names and information. This is a good idea as it is an attention grabbing way by having a strong headline.
  • Give Statistics – Give the reasons why your announcement is important and who it will impact. Many PR firms suggest doing this by giving statistics or percentiles that show off just how important the information is.
  • Use Quotes – Save the journalist time by including a human element.
  • Be Precise – Proofread the release so there are no grammatical mistakes.

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!

How to Grow Your Small Business

So you started your own business? Each sale, each new client and each business connection you make grows your small business just as you dreamed right? But maybe you want to continue to broaden your client base.  There are many options to consider when thinking about expanding and growing your small business no matter what field you are in.

What are some of the most effective small business expansion tips to grow a business beyond its current status? Let’s take a closer look at steps you may want to initiate to grow your small business. 

  • Social Media – If you are looking for a fairly cost effective and easy way to reach more of your targeted audience try a social media campaign. Do some research on which social media platform attracts your  demographic and start posting in that medium. The more your name is seen the better.  Social media can be an invaluable tool for engaging with consumers and expanding your brand recognition.
  • Open Another Location – This is often the first way business owners approach growth. If you feel confident that your current business location is under control, consider expanding by opening a new location.

  • Merge With or Acquire Other Businesses in Your Market – There are bound to be other companies in your field who may have similar goals. Explore merging, partnering or possibly even acquiring those companies as a way to expand. 

  • Stay Competitive – Technology changes so rapidly these days that it would be easy to be left behind if your new company does not keep up with the latest and greatest technology. This is especially true if your company is in anyway related to the tech world or relies on technology to provide a product or service.
  • Target Other Markets –  Your current market is serving you well. Are there others? Probably. Use your imagination to determine what other markets could use your product.
  • License Your Product –  This can be an effective, low-cost growth medium, particularly if you have a service product or branded product

  • Diversify –  Small-business consultant McGuckin offers several ideas for diversifying your product or service line:

    • Sell complementary products or services
    • Teach adult education or other types of classes
    • Import or export yours or others’ products
    • Become a paid speaker or columnist

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.