When J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “Not all who wander are lost”, he wasn't talking about business professionals. If you want to grow your business and succeed you need a goal/destination and a road map of how you'll get there. Some people do this by setting resolutions. But that term is associated with excuse and lackluster performance.
So, we have some alternatives to setting resolutions that you may find more successful and empowering.
Small businesses everywhere are enjoying the trend of shopping local. Many organizations, including the Chamber, understand the importance of helping the community realize the value of small businesses. Even with this help, your local business still has two major challenges—marketing (making sure people think about you when they’re ready to buy) and convincing them that shopping local is not an expensive undertaking, especially when 69% of people are saying they’re going to reduce non friends and family buying. While pundits believe spending will increase over last year, albeit not be a large amount, the reality of that prediction is yet to be determined.
With the specter of reduced spending hanging over us to dampen this holiday season, you may be wondering what you can do to ensure customer spending is directed your way. Creating a compelling holiday offer can set your business apart and drive more sales.
As the palm fronds turn golden and the air gets a tad cooler, Halloween offers businesses a bewitching opportunity to embrace the spirit of the season and boost customer engagement. With a little creativity and a dash of spooky flair, you can draw crowds and appeal to your ideal customers. Here are some spooktacular Halloween-inspired ideas to help your small business shine during this spine-tingling season.
One note of caution: as in all marketing activities, it’s important to know your audience. A scary phantasma, for instance, would likely not appeal to small children just as talk of witches and devils may upset some adults. It’s important to understand your customers and celebrate accordingly.
Now, let’s get on with a ghostly good time.
On September 1, 2023, we lost a big name in music–Jimmy Buffet. As always happens when a celebrity passes, suddenly everyone is talking about him and his myriad contributions to entertainment. But Buffet’s popularity wasn’t because of his complex songs or his professionally-trained voice (he had neither). Buffet had something else. He became known as the king of vacation, his laid-back attitude was something a lot of people aspired to. For that reason, and eleven others, entrepreneurs can learn from this “son of a son of a sailor.” After all, he “sold” a way of life and a community that most of us find enviable.
Many small and medium-sized business owners think that workforce development isn’t in their “lane.” They leave it to the big guys to work with the chamber and community leaders to ensure the large businesses have the skilled employees they need for the future. But unless you are a business of one and plan on remaining that way, workforce development should be a concern of all sizes of businesses. Here’s why you should want to get involved:
The new year is a time of review and introspection coupled with making new promises for the future. We are often filled with a sense of control over our destiny and a desire to begin again. If you’re feeling the same, here are a few ways you can capitalize on the new year’s momentum by embracing the habits of successful people:
This year has been a little more difficult to figure out new year’s resolutions. Part of that is because we’re all still reeling from the “lessons” we learned in 2020. Even the best prepared businesses lacked preparation for a global pandemic. Still, the new year is a great time to reexamine what you’ve been doing and how it can get better. Here are a few ideas:
Maybe you read this title and thought: I don’t have time to read that. I’m too stressed! If you are, take a moment and read this anyway. If you can cut down on your stress levels not only are you less likely to get ill this holiday season, you’ll enjoy it more.
Come on. It will only take 3 minutes. Think of it as an investment in your business.
Stress is almost inevitable during the holiday. And businesses that do large sales during this time will either be stressed because they’re doing a great amount or they’ll worry because they’re not doing enough. Don’t run yourself down and risk injury or sickness. If you’re sick or exhausted, you’ll only be more stressed. Try these tips for reducing stress instead.
Use Easy Tech
Even if you’re not an early adopter, there’s plenty of easy, free or low-cost tech, that can help simplify your life. For instance, you need to be scheduling most of your social media and blog posts. You can use auto-responders to set expectations of when you will get back to someone with a question. You can even use If This Than That (IFTTT) to combine “if, then” actions for your desired results like making sure your home is toasty warm by the time you get there or that every post to Twitter gets added to your Facebook group.
Cover Your Bases
As much as tech can be a way to streamline your tasks it can also prove frustrating. That’s why for some activities it’s best to have a backup plan. With the exception of your website, never rely totally on one site, social media platform, or app to do everything for you. Create some redundancies and back-ups, at least with your data. The person who came up with the old saying about putting all of your eggs in one basket probably understood very clearly the dangers of not backing up important info and activity history.
Have Goals for the Holiday Season
Every business should have goals for the holiday season. But just as important are listing the tasks or small measurables that will help you achieve the goals. Many businesses simply state what they want to earn during the holidays, but then they fail to assess what it will take each day to get there. That leaves them wondering until the end whether they will make it or not.
Instead, break down your goals into daily, achievable tasks. You’ll know very quickly if you’re not where you should be. Plus, you’ll know if you’re falling behind while you still have time to do something about it.
Take Time for Yourself
It’s hard to think about taking time off at the holidays, especially if it’s your busy season. If you can’t spare a few days, try to take a few hours. If that’s not possible, use the time you do have at home (no matter how minimal) to carve out moments to regroup. Do something you find pleasurable during that time and practice enjoying it. Don’t be thinking about everything at your business that must be done. Take a few deep breaths and concentrate on them. Enjoy the Christmas lights. Take a walk. Whatever activity you choose, be there; not at the business.
If you need to, hire extra help for the holidays. Your chamber of commerce has a good idea of those in your community looking for work. Let them know you need help and they can put you in touch with those people who can assist you and your business.
Most people research online before they purchase. That could take the form of looking up prices, options, or educating themselves on the product or service they’re in the market for. Many buyers also use a business website to verify hours, availability, make reservations, etc. During the holiday season people are busier than ever and it’s common to check things out online before getting in a car. If your website isn’t easy to navigate, with important information front and center, you may be missing out on a host of customers. Here’s how you can ensure it’s in good shape.
10 Things You Should Do Right Now for a Better Business Website
Most of the changes below are things you can implement quickly but you should also make sure that your website is user friendly, loads quickly, and looks great on mobile. If it doesn’t meet those requirements, work on those basics first.
Make sure you have the following things clearly accessible on your website:
From Thanksgiving to Christmas there’s a battle that occurs for consumer dollars. The big guy against the little guy, the brick-and-mortar versus the online retailer, everyone is looking for a bigger piece of the pie. It’s time to start thinking about your holiday marketing.