Sunday, April 19, 2015

Instagram for Small Businesses

Instagram has been gaining popularity each year with businesses, artists, photographers and pretty much anyone who loves taking photos. It is perfect for small businesses for so many reasons:
  1. Ease of Use – It's so easy to use and takes minimal time to post pictures.
  2. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – Pictures are always the bests way to sell product. They make the customer fall in love with a product before even seeing it in person.
  3. Simple – The format is super simple and pleasing to the eye. Pictures are organized and make your business look great.
  4. No Bullshit – You don't have to deal with the craziness of other social media sites like complaining, reading essays about someone's day or reading your friend's daily play by play. I went to the store, I bought grapes, I like bagels...etc. No one cares, sorry.

Instagram has now turned into the best tool I have been using for my business. It is the only social media I actually enjoy using. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Don't Write Essays

Here's the deal, we only have a few seconds to catch a customer's attention so make it quick. If you're reading a story you want to read the fluff, not when you're finding out information.

  1. Use Bullet Points – Visually pleasing
  2. Get to the Point – Who, What, Where, Why, When, How
  3. I am Bored – If you don't get to the point right away, no one is reading it.
  4. Busy – I'm too busy to care about reading anything
  5. Attention Span – Thanks to the ever changing marketing and media around us, I now have the attention span of a fly.

Don't bore me with your bullshit. Get to the point and answer my question. If I'm reading a story online about a robbery that took place don't tell me the color of the guy's underwear. Tell me who did it, where they live, where the crime was, what the crime was, if they were caught and if everyone is okay. Just the necessary things.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Quality Control

Quality Control is a difficult thing for any business.  Even though you may not be producing these items it directly reflects upon the business.  It's what the customer knows and where they purchased a product.  

1.  Speak Up - Don't feel bad saying something if it's not up to par.  It needs to be to sell products and to keep customers loyal.
2.  Get Rid of it - If the product isn't as great as the others then stop selling it.  It just makes the other products look bad too.
3.  Test Products - See what you can do in your shop, drop the product or whatever the case may be to see what the customer will see.

Make sure your quality is always at it's best and customers will notice.  They have no problem paying a little more money for a superior product.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Gray Areas in Business

When working in a small business there are many gray areas that you will encounter.  They will test you morally and ethically. Here are some things I've learned along the way.

1.  Stick to your gut.  If it doesn't feel
right then don't do it!
2.  If you can't seem to trust someone get rid of them immediately, it will only hurt you in the long run.
3.  Keep your reputation in tact.  You never want to spread bad word of mouth throughout the community.
4.  Be good.  This is a great business and personal tip.  Just simply be a good person.  

Sometimes staying on the good side isn't as profitable as crossing over to the bad.  In my opinion I would much rather be poor than sacrifice my integrity.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Trunk Show Promotions

Some really fun ways to promote products or get rid of excess inventory is to have a Trunk Show.  These are usually used to generate sales on old or new products.

Here are some tips to get you started:

1.  Pick one artist or one type of product to showcase.  
2.  Come up with a great tagline for the event.
3.  Have extras like pop or snacks to give more incentives.
4.  Have a giveaway to increase even more sales.
5.  Come up with special pricing for the event to make sure customers purchase the item right away.
6.  Invite Guests.
7.  Have Fun!

If you have any tips from your Trunk Shows or anything at all please let me know! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Promoting Your Small Business

Now a days there are thousands of ways to promote your business. It's very time consuming but amazing at the same time. Make sure with each of these you are tracking your progress. These are the best four Social Media sites to promote your business. I'm sure you've heard of them, but trust me you should be on there and they do work.
  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Instagram
  4. Linked In

If your business isn't fully utilizing these options then you're missing out on tons of potential customers. Start all four and then track your progress.
  1. Are you gaining followers every week?
  2. Are your followers engaging with your content?
  3. Have any followers turned into sales?

This progress won't happen over night of course, but it will in the long run. It is defiantly well worth the time investment to keep these going.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Tips on Selling Your Work

A great way to sell your products is to start with small businesses in your area. Customers & businesses love to support local artwork. It's a win-win for everyone. Here are some good guidelines to follow:

  1. Don't be annoying – Contact the store and tell them about your product. Follow through with them a few days later. Do not instantly contact them. It looks bad for you and they get annoyed.
  2. Contacting them – Call and email them is perfect. Once again be proactive by following through a few days after you send an email. Your products will be fresh in their minds.
  3. Pictures – Send lots of pictures, get the business excited about selling your work. Don't just tell them that you make hats for example. Hats are different to everyone. Send them what you do so they have visuals.
  4. Do not Stop In – Small business owners have a lot going on. Stopping in with a box of your products might not be a great idea. They have other things going on. If you want to stop in do not put the business owner on the spot, stop in to talk and mention it.
  5. Do not contact them at busy times - I always get artists contacting me at the most inconvenient times, like during a Farmer's Market with a line of customers.  Please use your judgement.  The businesses want to work with you, but if you don't make it easy for them they're less inclined to help.
  6. Be personable – Business owners are people too and love someone to talk to first. If they like you then they are more likely to purchase your product.
  7. Quality – Make sure your products are sellable. Would you purchase the item yourself? Is the quality up to par with other online and local stores?
Marketing your products are easy when it comes to Small Businesses, they want to work with you and support local.

Remember Small Businesses talk. If you get a bad name it will only hurt you.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Promoting Your Work

If you love to make things and want to turn it into a business, it's not as hard as you think.

Great ways to locally showcase your work are:

  1. Small Businesses – Call them or email them and see if they're interested.
  2. Art Shows – Start small and get larger. This is a great way to get feedback from customers.
  3. Parades – Have a booth at a parade. Usually these are much cheaper than art shows.
  4. Fairs – Enter your county fair or any local fairs. They are always looking for booths & artists.  
  5. Online - Start an online shop through Facebook and Etsy.  They are great for showcasing local artwork!

These are great ways to promote your work since the customers are already there. You don't have to go out and find individual customers. It costs money but can really help in the long run. Another bonus is if you don't reach your break even point then you just spent the money on promotions. Sales & Promotions help any small business grow!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Twitter Tips

Twitter can be really useful for business, especially a small business!  Here are some tips on how to make it work for you.

  • PR - Use Twitter to share all of your press.  Share pictures of events and articles about your business.  You should spread the word on the great things your business has accomplished.
  • Sales - Use Twitter to share pictures of your products or what you can offer your customers.  You can use it to quickly tweet promotions like the next 5 people who stop into the shop and tweet about it get a free button.
  • Customer Service - Use Twitter to educate your customers.  Is there something they do not know about your business or something a customer always asks?  Give the answer to everyone!
  • Gain Exposure - Posting tweets helps you gain exposure within your community.  Readers will become more interested in what you have to say.
  • Get Loyal Customers - By gaining exposure you will create loyalty.  Customers will read what you're writing and you begin to create credibility with your readers.  They will trust what you're saying and trust your brand.

Twitter can be very useful for small businesses.  Do you have any tips?  Send them to me!

Friday, August 3, 2012

5 Tips for Your Linked In Profile

Things You Need to Include in 
Your Linked In Profile:

1.  Education - Make sure you put the highest amount of education you have completed.  Don't exclude it at all because then it seems like you never went to a school.

2.  Experience - Put in the most important stuff first.  The stuff that gives you the skills you need today to succeed at your goals, or the experience you are most proud of.  Don't put down your high school part time job if you have been in the workforce for 10 years.

3.  Connections - Make sure you start connecting with people.  If you aren't doing this then you are using Linked In wrong.  Start finding people through your email or Facebook page and then expand from there.

4.  Resume - You should import your resume.  It can't hurt you, only help you.

5.  Summary - This is the most important element in my opinion.  This is the first thing that anyone will see when they view your profile.  Keep it fun and short while including your skills. 

Whenever working with Linked In it is very important to
Keep it Professional!!!