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Posted in Business Building, Business Funnel, Business Systems, Specials And Promotions

Business Building Series: Spring Business Tips When Business Is Slow

Welcome to our Spring Business Building Blog Series!

This Spring we will help you secure leads for the Summer. Don’t buy into the hype that there are slow seasons for your business. During this series, we will show you 21 ways to secure a very fruitful Summer. Take a look at some of the topics we will cover in the next 21 days!

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Posted in Brand Identity, Business Building, Business Funnel, Business Systems, Client Relationship

5 STEPS TO BUILD YOUR BUSINESS IN THE SPRING SO YOU ARE BUSY ALL SUMMER

For so many businesses, the summer months are super slow.

Traditionally we have been trained to build our funnels based on our personal calendars. For example, everyone is pretty busy during the holidays. So as business owners we have trained our work calendars to get as much done as possible before Thanksgiving and not to expect much from anyone until after January. The problem with this concept is that it put you behind the curve and you use so much fuel getting back on track that by May you are super tired and ready for Summer. Starting the entire process all over again.

Follow these 5 steps to secure a robust business during the Summer!

  1. Take a Step Back. Redefine your goals to get you through the end of the year. You may have goals, but this time add your personal calendar. For example, I travel with my family for most of the month of July. So I know its not the best time to onboard a new client. I use July to have any corporate retreats and strategic planning sessions. I redefine company goals and confirm the systems I have in place are solid. This helps with smooth transitions as I accept new clients or current client projects.
  2. Get Trained. Sometimes the best ideas come from the opportunity to get better in your craft. Take any training that would help you do your job better, help you reset your mindset, or give you certifications your clients would appreciate.
  3. Give Back. Sometimes stepping away from what we need and focusing on what others need is a great way to put things into perspective.  I am a firm believer that the way and amount you give will be given unto you.
  4. Network On Purpose. Pick a 60-day window for intentional networking. Grab your calendar, check out local networking events and make a plan to attend. I would even try some outside of your zip code. Have a game plan when you are ready to network. Know what your needs are, identify your dream connections and be ready for what you can do to help others.
  5. Build Your Digital Presence. We all know social media is a must if you are a business owner looking for more clients or brand awareness. Just remember that your entire digital presence is required to attend in order for you to reach any of your marketing goals. Create a system to build a robust digital presence. My favorite system kinda goes like this.
    1. Blog Post
    2. Drip Email Campaign
    3. Social Media Ads
    4. Social Media Engagement
    5. Social Media Posts

There a ton of ways to stay busy but remember that you want to be productive, not just busy.

BONUS TIP! Get to the root cause of why the summer is a slow month for your business. Is it the product you offer? Just because you sell coats doesn’t mean business has to be slow. Look for international partners, look for influencers that are well organized. They would love to have a heads up on a winter trend. Use this time to redo your marketing photos. Troubleshooting is always done best when you can remove emotions and take a look without being…well…in your feelings.

If you need a little bit of help filling your Spring Funnel to Build Your Summer Business, we have a Spring Special just for you.

BLOG + DRIP EMAIL CAMPAIGN +

30 DAYS OF SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT PACKAGE ONLY

$675

If you would like to receive our extended list of tips on growing your business during the typical slow season, fill out the contact form below.

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Posted in Business Systems, Business Tool Must Have

Quickbooks. Is It A Good Fit

I am working very hard to decrease the number of accounts I have to log into just to manage my business.

I would like something that is completely all-inclusive. I don’t want to have to worry about logging in different portals or making sure that one portal can integrate with the other one. It seems like every time I get knee deep in figuring out a system, there is a major kink in the link!

UGH!!

I have decided that I am only going to use 5 portals per business. NO MORE! I have created a new Quickbook Online account that I am very excited about.

I plan to use this to its full ability. I also believe that is my first issue. I jump to a new system and use it for what I need at the time and eventually realize I need something different without diving deeper into the services provided. Quickbooks Online is offering up to 70% their plans as part of their Black Friday sale!

Grab this Quickbook Black Friday Deal Now!!

I have signed up for in-person training in December and plan to be as much of a pro as possible when January gets here. I am ready to streamline as much as possible. I am hoping that I will be able to use all of my DBA’s with just one account. I have 8 businesses and I don’t want to create 8 accounts. Fingers crossed, there seem to be some workarounds, but not sure how easy that set up will be.

 

 

 

Posted in Brand Identity

Be So Authentic As A Business That You Don’t Have To Change During A Crisis

Today is June 12, 2020 and my email box is flooded with questions about branding and communicating during a crisis. As of today we have several to pick from. Organizations worried about saying the wrong thing, about their words being mixed up, about 30 year old rules hunting them, about offending the wrong people, about hushing their employees, about taking a stand versus not taking a stand… The list goes on and on. My response has been pretty consistent, with some minor adjustments based on the organization.

  1. Be Authentic. If you already care about something, demonstrate that you already care. If you didn’t care, but realize you should (not motivated by fear of course), start caring now.
  2. Be Transparent. Hiding what isn’t right or poorly done only leads to more problems. Also be transparent in being solution driven.
  3. Have Tough Conversations. People want to know that you hear and see them and be validated. Be willing to have the conversations that will lead to making a difference.
  4. Be Factual. Don’t make a messy situation worse. Come from a place of facts and truth.
  5. Ask For Help. Its OK to not get it right, its not ok to keep it wrong.
  6. Provide A Safe Place. Be the leader in providing a safe place for others to share and learn and grow. Hiding is not an option.

Posted in Brand Identity, Business Systems, Uncategorized

How To Develop A Crisis Communication Plan

Now more than ever it is very clear that organizations that had a clear crisis communication plan in place have been able to pivot much better than those that did not. The goal of a plan is to know what to do, before you actually have to do it. There are three phases to creating a robust crisis communication plan; Before. During. After.

The Before

The major components to The Before Phase include prep work, knowing your audience, knowing your stakeholders and identifying your crisis management team.

Lets start with the crisis management team.

Please do not place the entire responsibility of communicating during a crisis on the marketing department.

The common members of the crisis team are:

  • Public relations
  • Legal
  • Security
  • Operations
  • Finance
  • Human resources

Clearly depending on the structure of your business, you may not have all the people to fill the roles, just make sure you have the perspective from each role. For example, you may not have security, but you can put systems in place that include security or even consult with a security professional. Thinking about security could include crowd management, theft, cyber, property or information.

Next lets look at your stakeholders and your audience.

Your audience are the receivers of the message. Their primary participation is to observe the communication and changes. Your stakeholders on the other hand are the individuals directly impacted by the organizations decisions and actions. Lets say there was a building fire in the middle of the night. No one was injured, however officially when you announce next steps, the stakeholders are your employees, production and service partners and the audience is the general public.

Finally your Prep Work

Once you have your team and you know who you are speaking to and what you will be talking about. Its time to do the prep work. The prep work includes workflows, policies, procedures and templates.

Your templates should include:

  • Accidents that injure employees or others
  • Property damage to company facilities
  • Liability associated injury to or damage sustained by others
  • Production or service interruptions
  • Environmental or natural disasters
  • Product or service quality issues
  • Hyper specific industry issues (child abuse at a school)

Your workflows should include:

  • Communication approval hierarchy
  • Spokesperson organizational chart
  • Predetermined communication channels (Facebook, Mass Texts, Press)

The During

During the crisis it is critical to follow three primary guidelines. Be quick. Be accurate. Be consistent. It is far better to over communicate less information accurately than it is to under communicate false information.

Be Quick

Waiting to respond allows space and time for rumors, panic and conspiracy. The sooner you respond, the sooner you can dispel the negativity and the less you will have to do to repair for your reputation. An early response is typically within the hour of the crisis awareness. Owning your own communication platforms will prove to be vital as you can communicate without the discrepancy of the media creating their own version. A quick response shows your organizations position and control of the crisis.

Be Accurate

Identify your primary spokesperson. This person should have some experience. If not there should be training provided prior to the crisis. Posting on social media or sending a newsletter are completely different from standing in front of a room full of reporters answering questions about a crisis. Report from facts only. Don’t make assumptions while reporting. It may seem frustrating, however it is better to be accurate than take back something you said in error.

Be Consistent

Confirm that your message is the same across all platforms. If you typically share from an educational position, continue to report out that way. Keep you brand in place and remember once you send it out, its out there forever. Depending on the type of crisis, establish a communication cadence. Emails every Monday, social media post every day at 11 am, employee mass text every Friday. Think about the weather. Most stations report the weather a certain time on the hour. Building your communication around a cadence will help you build trust with your audience and stakeholders.

The After

After a crisis the focus is on repairing anything the crisis destroyed, including apologizing, corrective actions, compensation, and brand reputation.

Your Apology

A true apology does not include the word “but”. “But” automatically cancels out an apology, and nearly always introduces a criticism or excuse. A true apology keeps the focus on your actions—and not on the other person’s response. A true apology needs to be backed by corrective action. A true apology requires that you do your best to avoid a repeat performance.

Corrective Action

Corrective action is not meant to be a knee jerk response to a crisis. Corrective action requires a thoughtful response. It needs to make sense for the organization on all operational, financial and sustainability levels. The last thing you want to do is resolve one issue and create another. Yes, lowering a price of a product or service sounds appealing, but what are the ripple affects?

Compensation

Although this seems like a no-brainer depending on the crisis, consider the risk of appearing heartless or providing hush money. If compensation is the best response, be sure that it complements the crisis. Compensation can also come in the form of payroll or additional benefits.

Brand Reputation

Resorting your brand’s reputation actually happens during and after the crisis. Your reputation can be restored using various strategies such as Defeasibility, which is the lack of information about events leading to the crisis situation. Simply put, you didn’t know. You announce what measures you will put in place so there isn’t any additional miscommunication or lack of communication moving forward. You continue to communicate thr status of the newly placed policies and be transparent. Don’t run or hide or even assume that people forgot. Stick to you communication plan.

Here is a quick checklist of everything mentioned above:

  • Identify your crisis team members
  • Identify your stakeholders
  • Identify your audience
  • Create your prep work templates
    • Accidents that injure employees or others
    • Property damage to company facilities
    • Liability associated injury to or damage sustained by others
    • Production or service interruptions
    • Environmental or natural disasters
    • Product or service quality issues
    • Hyper specific industry issues (child abuse at a school)
  • Create communication workflows
    • Communication approval hierarchy
    • Spokesperson organizational chart
    • Predetermined communication channels (Facebook, Mass Texts, Press)
  • Be quick
  • Be accurate
  • Be consistent
  • Craft your apology
  • Create your corrective action plan
  • Understand your compensation options
  • Have multiple brand reputation repair strategies in place
Posted in Uncategorized

Business Before Breakfast: Creating A Business Plan

Many people are overwhelmed with the idea of creating a business plan. Especially the kind that require a business and law degree, not to mention having an accountant in your back pocket. Try creating a business canvas model. It is simple, to the point, and makes you think about your business from a global perspective, instead of a task driven one.

Image result for business canvas model template
Business Canvas Model From LucidCharts

This image above is what it traditionally looks like. I really helps you answer questions that you may not have been thinking about before. The questions are simple, but require some deep thought and energy to execute.

Try answering these questions to create your own Business Canvas Model.

KEY PARTNERS

Who do we need to work with in order to produce and deliver our solution?

KEY ACTIVITIES

What do we need to do (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually) to produce, market and deliver our solutions?

KEY RESOURCES

What do we need to have in order to produce, market and deliver our solutions?

VALUE PROPOSITION

What problem do we solve in our own special way and how do we solve it.

CUSTOMER RELATIONS

How do we talk to out market about our solutions and how do we get more customers?

CHANNELS

How do we deliver our solution and where will our customers find our solution?

MARKET & CUSTOMER SEGMENTS

Who needs our solution? Who needs it right now? Who will eventually need it?

COST STRUCTURE

How much will our key activities, resources and partners cost us?

REVENUE STREAMS & PRICING MODEL

How much will we charge and how will we get paid for the solution we provide?

Take your time and answer each question with your goals in mind. If you know you want to move out of your mother’s basement, make sure your pricing model is a reflection of that.

Would you like to join our Business Canvas Model Webinar Series? Drop your contact info below!

Posted in Uncategorized

Hello Bonsai Review

As a Freelancer, we are often putting our business together much like a puzzle. This leaves many pieces missing as we work on and in our businesses. As I come across new systems, I find that they can make the system just as complicated as the work that needs to be done.

In this month’s Monthly Series “Is The Juice Worth The Squeeze?” I share my review of Hello Bonsai, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

What Is Hello Bonsai

Hello Bonsai is an all-around suite of tools designed with freelancers in mind. It’s got a ton of amazing features, including project management, proposals, billing document creation, time tracking, and more.

Hello Bonsai Features

  • Read-receipt notifications
  • Auto reminders
  • Client management
  • Project management
  • Secured messaging
  • Multiple currencies
  • Data export & import
  • Chat support
  • Weekly reminders
  • Send a W-9 to Clients
  • Easy Template Set Up
  • Limited Customization

I am certain that there are many more features and I didn’t even touch on the integrations you could set up. But I have to tell you. That’s what I liked most about Hello Bonsai. It’s Simple. I have enough complicated and complex platforms that I have to manage, so I was relieved that I didn’t need to take the weekend to learn how to effectively use Hello Bonsai. In fact once I downloaded the app, I was able to manage my time much more effectively. It gave me great insight as to how much time I really spent on projects, even if the projects were all inclusive and not by the hour billing.

BONUS!! We can both win on this one. If you decide to give Hello Bonsai a try we both get a free month. YES! But let me just say, I would absolutely pay full price for the platform.

Get Hello Bonsai Free For One Month

Do you have a system that you love? Let’s hear about it!

Posted in Uncategorized

7 SEO Tips For Beginners. What is it and Why Does It Matter?

What Is SEO?

Short for search engine optimization.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.

SEO Can Increase Sales and Leads

With a winning SEO campaign, your business will have an increase in leads and sales. You must have a product or service of value to marry your SEO campaign.

Don’t advertise your storefront and have empty shelves or make it hard for people to purchase from you.

SEO Traffic is More Likely To Convert.

Search traffic has the best conversion rates for most websites. By positioning yourself on search engines, you are positioning yourself to win more conversions.

SEO Pulls In Search Traffic

People are searching for the problem you are solving.

You don’t have to advertise to persuade people to buy.

People searching for your solution are already interested.

SEO Can Decrease Cost Per Acquisition

SEO is FREE!

SEO is Trackable. You know your return on your investment.

If you advertised on a billboard, how would you track your conversions? How many people came to your website because of your billboard?

Size Matters!

More Content=More Depth

Posting a blog that covers more information is more likely to be shared and most likely search for again, because the content was of value.

If you would like to learn more about leveraging your social media with a strategic SEO plan, leave your info below.

Posted in Brand Identity, Business Building, Business Systems, Specials And Promotions

Spring Business Building Series: Update Your Business Pitch

Update Your Business Pitch

This one is a super easy task. Long gone are the robot-like commercial introductions about you, your role or your business.

Repeat after me, I am human. Guess what, the other business owners, they are human too! *Mic Drop*

Fill in the blanks:

My name is ________________

I help ____________ with ________________.

My name is Nisi and I help entrepreneurs simplify their social media goals.

My name is Karen and I help non profits write grants.

My name is Eric and I help young athletes get ready for college.

My name is Juanita and I help new veterans transition out of active duty.

Here is the truth, we are all here to solve problems. Some people have the problem that you are trying to solve, some don’t.

Posted in Business Building, Client Relationship, Freelance, Uncategorized

Stop Over-Giving To Clients That Do Not Understand Your Value

Your value is determined by what you can provide for the client not by the rate in which you charge.

It is highly critical that from the very first conversations everyone is clear about what matters most to them. For the client and for yourself as the consultant.

What does success look like to you So Me Digital Bloom

What does success look like to you?

I recently experienced a client that wanted to have BIG numbers. It didn’t matter what those big numbers were or where they were they just wanted to constantly see that arrow on the chart move up. This client in previous years had not done any record keeping of lead generations, they were not showcasing everything their business had to offer or generating revenue from social media. So when I started the conversation about what they were in need of I needed to include this one question.

What does success look like to you?

I’m learning that companies can have tons of needs and gaps that they would like to use digital marketing tool for. Digital Marketing can help fill those gaps very well, but if it doesn’t look and feel like what success looks and feels like to them,  you have failed to deliver.

In this particular case, I was giving a fraction of their digital marketing to cover. Let me explain…In a typical digital marketing plan, there are about 8 primary elements to implement.

  1. VALUE MESSAGING.
  2. CONTENT TYPES.
  3. MARKETING AUTOMATION. 
  4. SALES ENABLEMENT. 
  5. CONTENT MANAGEMENT. 
  6. SEO STRATEGY. 
  7. SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY. 
  8. ANALYTICS.

Each of these elements has a second layer. For example…

CONTENT TYPES INCLUDE:

  1. Blogs. 
  2. Videos. 
  3. Infographics.
  4. Case Studies. 
  5. eBooks. 
  6. White papers. 
  7. Checklists. 
  8. Interviews.

For each content type, there needs to be a focus and call to action.

For this particular client, the focus was an annual trade show and the call to action was registration.

Broken down, I was only providing marketing for an eighth of a marketing plan.

 The numbers were phenomenal to have just one-eighth of the elements to post and share. However, the only thing the client understood was the numbers were much higher with their previous social media manager.

The previous social media manager was able to cover all eight elements from the digital marketing plan. Covering one-eighth, my numbers were just lagging by 8 to 12% on any given platform. So when they compare the numbers from last year and all eight types of content to this year and one-eighth of the content they felt like the numbers were extremely low.

I tried to explain, often, the difference between a whole pie and an eighth of a pie. But they didn’t understand because to them success looks like bigger numbers than last year.

We added a registration portal for their largest annual event that wasn’t included in previous years and we were able to collect data about their attendees for this registration event to help us create highly effective social media post to get other attendees registered.

We engaged in messaging and tagging and emailing attendees and exhibitors for the event.

We also added an email marketing campaign that reached out to their very large membership population that included information about their annual event.

We started to collect data, and not just numerical,  but we asked questions like “What’s your number one reason for attending? OR “Why did you come back? OR “Is this your first year and how did you find out about this event?” And yet, the fact remains every week they were disappointed when we had to present numbers of one-eighth of the pie.

Many hours were spent being strategic about the one-eighth strategy, that did not have any value to the client. They gave us a $500 a month ad budget. That I was determined to provide the same benefits for below budget. We reached thousands and thousands of people, more importantly, thousands of people that had never heard of the organization or this event. We knew that because of our strategic methods to engage and questionnaires. Our numbers would be amazing.

We were able to provide information that they would not have had had we not included it in our marketing campaign. And yet every week they were stressed when it was time to present numbers to the board because they were comparing apples and oranges or in this case a whole pie and one-eighth of a pie from last year’s data.

I could have saved a ton of trouble and simply paid for likes and impressions and engagement while maxing out on their budget each month.

By not asking the question and making the answer part of the contract and weekly discussion, way too many hours were spent providing analytics in different formats, defending the quality of work and stressful conversations.

Please make sure that when you are asking questions during the initial consultation, to ALWAYS include… 

What does success look like to you?

Have you ever had to over give to a client that didn’t understand your value?

When you look back do you feel like the real issue was a lack of communication and understanding?

Posted in Business Systems

Spring Business Building Series: Clean Your Office

Business Spring cleaning tip from So Me Digital Bloom.
Spring Clean Your Office Using 5s

It might not be KonMari, but this Japanese cleaning technique really works. Ok, this seems like a no brainer, but most of us, myself included, I don’t do a very good job of tidying up. Having an unorganized physical space can create internal chaos. When its time for some Spring Cleaning in my office, I use a Lean Six Sigma Technique called 5 S.

To 5s your workspace follow these simple steps.

1. Sort. This is more of a SORT and PURGE step. If you have a huge inbox like me, I put out 5 baskets on my office floor and I sort through each paper or file. If I know where it goes immediately, I place it in the right basket. If I know its trash, I toss it and If I am not sure, I place it back into my inbox for a second look.

2. Set In Order. Arrange things in a way that makes your day flow. If you only use a hole puncher once a week, it should not be on your desktop. If you use your stapler every day, all day, it should be where you can easily get to it. Do this for all of the functional items on your desktop and then move to your filing system. I am a fan of binders over the hanging files because I feel like I can organize and categorize my items much easier.

3. Shine. Wipe and polish your space. Air dust your keyboard, wet wipe your phone, clean your screen. Use the appropriate polishing items to remove dust. Its not good for you and its not good for your computer.

4. Standardize. Schedule a time every day, week, month and quarter for cleaning. I try to tidy up first thing in the morning when my computer is warming up. Its only a couple of minutes, but its a huge help. Once a week I purge my inbox. I am usually carrying my inbox in my work bag, so when it starts to get heavy, its time to purge. I save my monthly cleaning for the deep stuff. Going through old boxes and cabinets and storage shelves remind me that I don’t need to order another box of paperclips. Take things one step further with your quarterly cleaning. Give yourself a day to take you time and make sure everything is clean.

5. Sustain. DO WHAT YOU SAID YOU WOULD DO! I know it seems simple. It is so easy to say…I’ll get to it later. Make this time as important as any other meeting on your calendar.