A lone woman typing madly on a keyboard (or ripping wax off 25 women a day in one case), up at the wee hours of the morning, without much of a break until late, late at night. There she is in her garage-turned-office or kitchen table-turned-desk. She’s just one person – but she’s got bigger dreams than this.
This is the way so many of us start, and it’s EXACTLY the way our three panelists started on their road to fully scalable small empires. What I love about each of these businesses is that they aren’t massive – they are small but mighty – still scrappy in their approach, still conscious of costs and still have the boss on the premises most days. Each of these women – from products to retail to service – started on her own with no funding outside her own purse strings.
Check out our June Master Event! This one applies to pretty much everyone…..
It’s 2013. We all get it: Whether personal or corporate, successfully building a brand hinges heavily on social media participation. But new channels pop up every day to replace the ones we haven’t quite mastered; LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+ are just the tip of the iceberg. How do you gain customer attention amid competing advice from the experts and competition from your peers? Build a following.
I found some answers at “Building a Following,” the first Boston event hosted by SMARTY, a West Coast-based membership organization for entrepreneurial women. Founder Amy Swift-Crosby rounded up an expert group of local talent for a fascinating discussion on the challenges of fostering community, gaining repeat customers, and building your business. Here are some key takeaways from the panelists.
Look at the Numbers As much as marketing is focused on creating a warm, fuzzy feeling in your audience, it’s also based on cold, hard data. You’re not going to know if your initiatives are working if you can’t trace successes. How many views are you getting and from what platform? Use a link shortener like bit.ly, hook up Google Analytics to your website, use A/B testing on your email campaigns, and learn the basics of Excel — liberal arts major aside, if you consider yourself a social media master, crunching numbers IS in your job description.
Real-Time Marketing Is the Next Big Thing
The social media world was abuzz when the lights went dead at the Super Bowl — and then bowled away by the rapid-fire responses from brands such as Oreo and Tide. You, too, can seize the marketing moment — but use The Onion‘s Oscars debacle as a cautionary tale of what can go wrong when you get trigger-happy with the publish button. Build a following.
Earn Before You Expand It’s easy for first-time business owners to get carried away by a positive response. You’ve made it past the sink-or-swim stage! Time to dream even bigger! Stop. Breathe. As Todd attests, you have to look at the numbers — and that means ensuring that you’re making more than you’re spending. Sounds simple, but it’s a fact a lot of fledgling companies ignore.
Stick to Your Vision
Whether you’re launching a website, a restaurant, or a marketing campaign, you’re bound to get feedback. When should you act on advice, and when should you stand your ground? Joanne recommends keeping an eye on social channels for feedback. If you see trends in your customers’ critiques, take heed — but don’t try to please every single person; you’ll lose sight of why you started your business in the first place.
Be Yourself, and Then . . .
People want to feel like they know the real you, especially if you’re working in a visual medium like YouTube. Sharing your honest opinion, being transparent in your recommendations, and responding to criticism respectfully are key ways to build trust with your customers. No matter how big you get, remember where you came from — and don’t forget to pay it forward by mentoring someone who’s just starting out. . . . Monetize, Monetize, Monetize
You’ve built your brand through reliable content creation, relationship nurturing, and innovative thinking. Your followers adore you. Now what? Affiliate sales, sponsorships, PR campaigns, paid guest blogs, Google ads, and collaborative projects are just a few ways you can capitalize on your success. But don’t forget the first tip: Personal integrity is still important.
Juliana Casale is Skyword’s Writer Recruiter – and a social media junkie. You can find her most often on Twitter as @attackofthetext, and at networking events across Boston.
We all think we’re pretty much operating under best practices….right? But do we really even know what that means? Best practices can be defined as the most efficient (least amount of effort) and effective (best results) way of accomplishing a task that has been proven over time.
Did you know that most of us are in violation of at least one tax or legal thing…that we don’t even realize?!?! Key relationships – like the one with your sales rep, virtual assistant or a FORMER employee can easily jump up and bite you in the arse. And for those of us who don’t think we need HR (Human Resources) help just because we don’t have any “employees” – just back right up, girl. If you’re in business, you need to know, especially if you want to be really legit.
What’s up next is a headache-money-reputation and sanity saving SMARTY presentation with Deborah Moroz and Sahara Pynes of HR at Work that will not only be a critical education for us as business owners, it’s kinda stuff we can’t afford to NOT know. Have I scared you silly? Don’t be–but don’t be a bonehead either. RSVP!
Last week I had the honor of speaking with Moe Abdou founder of 33voices. Moe has created a platform for global conversation about things that matter in business and in life. 33voices brings together the most influential thinking and thinkers on the planet to help entrepreneurs and business creators build great businesses and live great lives.
Join SMARTY, the preeminent network for women in business, for this incredible conversation between thought leaders Ricki Lake, Regena Thomashauer and Suze Yalof Schwartz. We’re about to blow the top off the “women” conversation in every way…so bring your heart, your story, your heels and your dreams – it’s gonna get hot! Get ready to talk about everything – from work, family, men, friendships, money, sex and at the top of the list: DESIRE. What do we want now? Our grandmother’s yearned for what our mothers easily inherited; our mother’s yearned for things that are now in the palms of our hands. So what do WE yearn for? What do we already have? What holds us back from even more? Where are we collectively as women? Are we going for absolutely everything we want in life…or is that even possible? Don’t even whisper” impossible” around these three – you won’t get very far. Only RSVP to this event if you’re ready to go BIG, go deep and go far, far into your truest feelings, thoughts and questions about your life and the lives of your fellow sisters. This event will be one part panel discussion, one part audience Q and A with the panelists.
2. Why did you launch this business?
I’m definitely an accidental entrepreneur! Just 4 years ago I was clinically depressed, horribly addicted to alcohol, and planned a date for my suicide. Being pinched to the point of deciding between life and death, I felt like I was literally broken open and rewired. I ended up quite unintentionally developing what I call 3×3 Meditation (3 minutes, 3 times a day) – a highly focused visualization process that I came up with solely because it was physically impossible for me to sit still for longer than 3 minutes – where I first visualized and then physically experienced complete healing from alcohol and food addictions, lost 7 pounds in 10 days, lowered my cholesterol by 50 points in 3 weeks, and transformed the way people treat me. I’ve created unique 3×3 methods I call Intuitive Eating and Pre-Forgiveness, among others.
3. What gives you your greatest pleasure in your business?
There is nothing more satisfying then letting my innermost self, the highest wisdom and inspiration I have access to, flow through me to reach, uplift and inspire others. I absolutely LOVE being a coach! I’m living a dream I never even knew I had.
4. Where have you run into challenges in your business?
The biggest challenge I’ve had is letting go one by one of each fear as it has surfaced. I’ve released fears around writing a great book, supporting myself financially as an entrepreneur, filling and conducting teleseminars, speaking in front of large groups, and of course, fear of what other people think!
5. What is a key resource that has helped you? Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul) was one of the first people who believed in my ability to write a book and earn an abundant living as a coach. He has become a friend and major supporter of me and my 3×3 Meditation process. I highly recommend reading his book The Success Principles and attending one of his live trainings if you are looking for inspiration and connection with like-minded people!
How come Apple consistently does well? And, as entrepreneurs, what can you learn from them to make our businesses even better? 3 things. That’s it.
Justin Krane is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professional and the founder of Krane Financial Solutions. He’s known for his savvy, holistic approach to financial planning, advising his clients on how to unite their money with their lives and businesses.
Hear more from Justin. Join him for two-and-a-half hours of soul-saving advice – for FREE. December 5th in Hollywood Ca, 6:30pm “Fund Your Goals and be a SMART Entrepreneur!” Register here.
What is one of the BIGGEST, fastest growing, most EXCITING industries to be in right now?
It’s the business of Health and Well-Being. Whether you’re a life coach, a nutritionist, a relationship advisor, a food or health blogger, a speaker, an author, a fitness instructor or studio owner, a therapist or even just a fan and follower of all things healthy and well, you will NOT want to miss this SMARTY Master Event featuring four fascinating thought-leaders in the business. We’ll be talking about trends in health and wellness, fitness, nutrition and spirituality, in addition to the BUSINESS MODELS that support these industries in various ways.
On October 1st, we (the family and I), relocated for our year in Manchester by the Sea, Massachusetts. The goal? To slow down. To be in nature. To spend more time as a family. To launch SMARTY in Boston. To be closer to where my husband regularly travels. The reasons go on…but what I’ve noticed about the transition is how much spaciousness has come into my life. Despite boxes and car delivery delays, living with my generous in-laws for a week longer than anticipated, sleeping on a mattress on the floor, children vs. time zones, suddenly there are more hours in the day. I’m not running hectic to meetings, trying to beat the clock to make it home on time for my nanny – rushing the kids from home to school to activity. This spaciousness has not only been personally pacifying, but amazing for business.
I can think!
I can dream up!
I can do short-term AND long-term planning for the company!
I can connect with Members!
I highly recommend the occasional change of venue….
Here are some snapshots of what we’ve been up to:
The view from one of my run/walks and where my husband takes a mid-day surf (in October, yes!).
A local farm where we picked up pumpkins, 14 different varieties of local apples, fresh cider (and warm cider doughnuts!), enjoyed a hayride and fed goats, horses, chickens and pigs!
A fall afternoon at our beach.
In New York City with Christy Turlington Burns and the Ergobaby team, launching the Guest Designer Series I facilitated. So fun!
Last month we read Seth Godin‘s Small is the New Big for Business Book Club. I emailed Seth to tell him how his book affected me, and in our email exchange (yup, he wrote back), I realized that he doesn’t just espouse marketing brilliance, he lives and breathes it. By replying to a ‘fan’ like me, with hundreds of other emails he must be handling, he inspired me to write this blog, which is now reaching thousands of you with a positive message to buy the book. A few clicks of his keyboard created a grassroots marketing campaign. Smart(y) guy!
One thing I loved about this book is that it made me feel good about my “size”…no, not that size! As business owners we continually strive to be bigger but what if instead we really leveraged our smallness? SMARTY isn’t big in the sense of millions, but we, as a community of small business owners, are incredibly influential. And who really wants to be big when you can be powerful instead? Does that resonate with you, too? Are you small but mighty? Do you make a play in your market and people listen? Don’t feel bad about where you are in your business. As I told someone the other day, if you went from zero to sixty in your business you’d have know clue what to do when you GOT to sixty. You have to do 20, 30, 40 and 50 first to avoid missing opportunities or looking like a joker. Highly recommend this book…good beach reading, too.
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