Small Business Marketing Strategy & Process Development

Small Business

Office Hours Phoenix: May 2016

on May 4 in Local Phoenix, Small Business | 0 comments

You’re invited to Office Hours Phoenix . . . where we discuss marketing issues in a group setting. Friday, May 27, 2016 7:30-9 a.m. Arizona Time (PST) Location: Virtual video call, via Zoom – Pre-registration required To register, fill out the form and select “Office Hours” To learn more about office hours, check out the blog post on time management. As always, the agenda is open. Bring your burning questions about marketing, your professional expertise, or just a smile. I’m happy to discuss marketing strategies, including the good, bad, and the ugly. This is an opportunity to get to know each other and broaden our perspectives and networks, plus get answers to YOUR marketing questions. Especially around starting or growing a service-based business as a solopreneur.  (Note: This is an informal networking and educational discussion forum so please don’t come to peddle your wares or services.) I offer these sessions to share my knowledge (and allow others to do so too) in a way that benefits everyone. It’s my alternative to “working for free.” Can’t make it? Search #OfficeHoursPhx on Twitter and follow...

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Building an Authentic Business as a Solopreneur

on March 29 in Authenticity, Small Business, Startups/Entrepreneurs | 0 comments

  As a one-person business, it can be challenging to define your brand if you haven’t tapped into your strengths, your purpose, your ideal clients, and your value proposition. Even if you did this foundational work in the beginning, if any one of these is “off” or changes, it can be hard to achieve alignment as an authentic business. Being aware of the shifts–whether they are within you or in the market–is continual work that is important but not urgent. Most of us are complex. Shaping our complexities into the right offerings (aka productizing our services) and an authentic and consistent brand is difficult to do on our own. We don’t always acknowledge or embrace our strengths and passions. We might have doubts around using everything we can potentially bring to the table. Plus, we have blind spots and distractions. We have to contend with confirmation bias. And finally we have limiting beliefs. In addition to being complex, we are providing value to complex people. We need to identify our ideal clients, understand them deeply, align our skills with their needs, and create messages that attract these people. Most often, solopreneurs or solo service providers (and sometimes even microbusiness or small business owners) feel like they must do all of this on their own! In doing so, they could miss the mark on any one of these outcomes. And in my experience, when solopreneurs are not seeing the results they expect, they don’t always solve the right problem. For example, people will say, “I need to market my business better,” “I need to get my Facebook handled,” or “We need new graphics on our website” and the list continues.  In many cases, they are assuming promotion is the answer. And throwing money at a solution before undertaking rigorous problem identification is a huge waste. Something I’m 100% against. I want to find the true problem–especially if it is foundational–and solve that. Sometimes solo service providers aren’t even aware that they need to revisit their foundations, but that’s a good first exploratory point in any marketing conversation. In 2013, I had a client come to me with totally different perceived (and mostly tactical) marketing needs. She was feeling the pressure of time-consuming marketing...

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Office Hours Phoenix: March 2016

on February 15 in Local Phoenix, Small Business | 1 comment

You’re invited to Office Hours Phoenix . . . where we discuss marketing issues in a group setting. Thursday, March 3, 2016 7:30-9 a.m. (Show up anytime in that window, stay as long as you like) Location: Sip Coffee & Beer Garage 3620 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018   To learn more about office hours, check out the blog post on time management. As always, the agenda is open. Bring your burning questions about marketing, your professional expertise, or just a smile. I’m happy to discuss marketing strategies, including the good, bad, and the ugly. This is an opportunity to get to know each other and broaden our perspectives and networks, plus get answers to YOUR marketing questions. Especially around starting or growing a service-based business as a solopreneur.  (Note: This is an informal networking and educational discussion forum so please don’t come to peddle your wares or services.) I offer these sessions to share my knowledge (and allow others to do so too) in a way that benefits everyone. It’s my alternative to “working for free.” Feel free to post below if you’re coming–and include your twitter handle–or tweet me so we can keep an eye out for you! Can’t make it?...

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Providing Logos and Images for Print Projects

on February 14 in Small Business, Startups/Entrepreneurs, Uncategorized | 0 comments

When providing logos and images for print projects, there are a few things to keep in mind. Not all logos are created equally. We are looking for Vector files or HIGH-RES images only. Here’s a brief rundown so we can efficiently move forward with design for you, and meet your deadline. Logos and Images for Print Projects That Will Definitely Work (aka the Ideal): Vector files, which can be scaled. These are created with mathematical formulas vs. raster files, which have a fixed number of pixels on a grid. Vector files will have clean lines, even when blown up, and will not lose their image quality. Look for the following file types that signal a vector file: .ai .eps .PDF* *Not all logos derived from PDF files are ideal; for example, PDF logos created from JPGs or GIFs – low resolution images inside PDFs are simply using the file as a “container document” which does not change their image quality. Other ways to tell if you might have a vector file: You can’t open it. Zooming in very high (>500%) on the PDF file does not seem to change the logo image quality (logo does not look blurry or pixelate) Note: It is best to screen for what will definitely work vs. try to assess what might work based on the criteria below. When in doubt, request an .ai or .eps file from the designer who created the image or the company’s marketing department and/or download from your partner portal or branding site. We are happy to obtain logos that are readily available on the web for you; many of the logos that indicate a status and are granted to certain channel partners only must be provided. Logos and Images for Print Projects That Might Work: Raster images that are at least 300 dpi. This is especially important for printing, as 300 dpi is ideal for most printers. Lower DPIs will result in lower quality prints, and sometimes, unintentional shrinking. To be a possible candidate for print, look for your image/logo to meet the following criteria: Has a .psd file extension OR Has a .jpeg, .jpg, .png, .bmp, or .tiff file extension WITH a file size greater than 1MB...

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What’s Networking Worth to You? ROI Explored.

on January 27 in Authentic Networking, Authenticity, Small Business, Startups/Entrepreneurs | 0 comments

In talking to solopreneurs and microbusiness owners, I’ve heard many approaches to networking. Some people don’t like to spend money on it. Some think it’s a waste of time. Others understand and believe in networking as a valuable concept, but find the actual activity (or existing options) to be poor investments. Many have had mixed experiences with membership-based leads groups, but I’ve heard from a few raving fans. Some resent the pressure of “putting on a show” or projecting someone else’s (limited) idea of professionalism at networking events–and feel this is a major “expense.” What is networking really worth? Exploring Networking ROI Let’s look at the hard costs of networking first. In Phoenix, there are so many opportunities for networking events. THE place to go for event listings is NetworkingPhoenix.com. Here, you’ll find the most common event registration fees are $10-20, with the highest fee at $79. The average cost for a networking event comes to $39.50. We may also factor in gas, dry cleaning (if your idea of professionalism requires it), and, depending on the venue – food and drink. The value of your time (opportunity cost) may also be added. Now we might have an estimated cost of investment to plug into the traditional ROI formula: Gain from investment -Cost of investment Cost of investment GAIN is the hard part. Especially since traditionally this might be measured in volume–of business cards, interactions, meetings set, etc. But does that really represent GAIN? What we might measure instead is the depth of the relationships formed. But how do we put a value on the relationships we hope to create (or have initiated) at these events? This relationship value seems difficult to measure in traditional business terms for a number of reasons. Mainly, business deals or referrals don’t (always) happen automatically. So what kind of time frame do we allow for measurement? It’s not like email marketing, for example, in which you know the results quickly and there’s a window for measuring success. Specifically, in the first two days after an email is sent, 85% of open rates have occurred (Alchemy Worx). But, how do we factor time into this networking equation – particularly when someone we met long ago has now...

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What is a Microbusiness? Do You Own One?

on June 25 in Small Business, Startups/Entrepreneurs | 0 comments

Here is how the term microbusiness–and related terms–are being defined. Number of Employees in a Microbusiness According to the Sam’s Club/Gallup Microbusiness Tracker, a microbusiness is defined as “a business with five or fewer workers.”  AEO defines it the same way (see image “Bigger than You Think“) but adds “including the owner.” Wikipedia, however, identifies a micro-enterprise as a “small business employing 10 people or less.” Wikipedia has an international slant, which may account for the difference. This entry also attempts to distinguish between microbusiness and the related term microenterprise, which “have the same meaning, although traditionally when referring to a small business financed by microcredit, the term microenterprise is used. Similarly, when referring to a small, usually legal business that is not financed by microcredit, the term microbusiness is used.” (Note: Wikipedia isn’t the most viable reference; it can be updated by anyone. It doesn’t represent a comprehensive, unbiased view of this topic. We use it here only to make a comparison and open the floor for further discussion.) For more specific information about microenterprise, the impact of microloans in the U.S., and the microenterprise development programs that support these businesses, visit the Microtracker.org and its Field Trendlines Series Issue 8 (May 2015). Revenue Financial circumstances for microbusiness are improving. Quarterly reports throughout 2014 show less need for entrepreneurs to dip into their personal saving and/or struggling with cash reserve. (Source: Sam’s Club Report – The State of Microbusiness in 2015. A Year in Review) Current Sentiment The Sam’s Club/Gallup Microbusiness Tracker study of microbusiness owners is conducted quarterly. At the beginning of 2015, the research reported that microbusiness owners are starting the year “in higher spirits and with higher expectations than one year ago.” According to the Vistaprint Small Business Happiness Index, 77% “report being happy or extremely happy that they work for themselves.” Reason for Being Here are noteworthy reasons why microbusiness owners started their businesses, according to The State of Microbusiness in 2015. A Year in Review: 1% of business owners said it’s always been a dream of theirs to start their own business. 7% of microbusiness owners were motivated to be their own boss. Only 18.4% chose to start a business due to lack of desirable job options. This is more attributed to sole owners (20.8%), than those...

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