When was the last time you actually set some goals for your business? Do you do it once a year, once a quarter, or not really at all?
It’s easy for people to get so caught up in running their small business that they don’t actually take time to sit back, evaluate and make a plan for the future.
"Failing to plan is planning to fail"
With the end of financial year approaching it’s a good time to evaluate how far you’ve come since last July, and make a plan to take you through to June 2018.
If you have a plan from last year, get it out, dust it off, and take a look at what you set out to achieve. If you didn’t have a plan, then go back over your customers, jobs and invoices or monthly P&L etcetera to review what’s been happening in the business.
By evaluating your successes and failures you can see what worked well and what didn’t work as well. Then you can start to consider what you can do to improve your success next financial year.
“To increase monthly online sales by 10% by the end of 2017.”
You may only need to set yourself five to ten goals for the year, maybe less, it’s entirely up to you. As long as they’re measurable and achievable, you’re on the right track. Once you have decided on your goals you now need to set yourself some actions which will help to achieve each goal.
For the above goal, you may need to set aside a budget for online advertising to help drive traffic to your website and increase sales. Ideally any promotion you do will provide you with enough return on your investment to cover the cost of the advertising whilst also your business profit.
Now you have the steps to create a plan for your business, it’s up to you to make it happen.
Good luck! If you need any help feel free to get in touch with us. We offer in-house training or Skype or FaceTime consultations. For more information email email@example.com.
We all want to get found and seen online. Without an advertising budget, it can be difficult to break through, but it is possible. If you’re marketing on a shoe string budget, as a lot of small businesses are, here’s how you can make the most out of your online presence without spending any money.
Step 1 You have a website, right? Please tell me you do! If not, you will need a website. You can create your own or engage an expert to do it for you. If you don’t have much money, then you may wish to engage your creative side and create your own website. Take a look at online website builders such as Weebly.com or WordPress.com.
Step 3 Speaking about Google, there are some other great tools Google offers to help you with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Create yourself a Google Analytics Account and add the tracking code into your website’s SEO. This will not only help you to be found on Google, but it will also help you to find out about who is visiting your website, how long they’re staying, what pages they’re looking at and where they come from, all useful information.
Step 4 You may also wish to use Google Webmaster Tools where you will be provided with a verification code to add into your SEO. Once again, it’s a great tool to help track of your website performance.
perhaps a Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest depending on what your business is, who your target market is, and what you’re familiar with. Make sure you make the most out of your social media and post to them frequently. Want more tips take a look one of our other blogs, 6 Essential Social Media Tools of the Trade.
Step 6 If you have a website, make sure you add links to all of your social media accounts onto your website and also link your social media to your website. The more links you have the better for SEO.
Step 7 Now to create additional content for your website and your social media platforms. Writing a regular blog is the best way to add extra content regularly to your website. For best results make sure you share it across your social media sites.
If you would like any more information or help to create a website or make use of these free tools please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We offer in house training or Skype or FaceTime consultations. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Starting up your own business can be extremely daunting. However, if you have a great idea for a new business, then why not give it a try? Before you run though you have to learn how to walk, so we have developed a few simple tips that you can follow on your road to success.
Set yourself Strategic, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely goals. Be flexible, things change, so if you need to revisit your goals and make them more realistic and achievable then do so.
"Failing to plan is planning to fail"
2. Decide who your target audience is
What is it that you’re selling? A product or a service? Who is going to want to purchase your product or service? Is it Mum’s with young children? Is it teenagers? Perhaps it’s another business. The key thing is to identify your primary target audience and develop audience personas, so you can better understand who you need to be communicating with.
3. Identify your competitors
Find out who else is working within the same space as you. If you’re a children’s clothing business, know who are all the other children’s clothing businesses around you. What are they doing? Do they have a website? Do they sell online? What are they doing on social media? Once you know who your competitors are and what they’re doing you can make sure you do things differently and stand out in the crowd.
5. Develop key relationships
When starting out with your new business you are going to need all the help you can get. Start building relationships with other businesses, networks and former colleagues that are going to be able to help you achieve your business objectives. Networking is a great way to meet other business professionals and build a rapport within the industry or community. You may also want to make acquaintances with accountants or bookkeepers, the bank manager and a marketing consultancy who can help with logo design, websites, social media etcetera.
6. Develop your brand
Your brand is more than just your logo. Your brand is the essence of what your business is about. Having a creative and recognisable name and logo is important too as you want people to remember your business and what you do. However true branding goes further than that, it is about creating a positive experience with your customers every time they engage with your business. Positive experiences mean positive associations with your brand and positive word of mouth which is all positive for your business.
These are all quick wins and will help your business get found on Google. Each business is different, and there many other opportunities to promote your business once the essentials have been achieved and that’s where a marketing strategy, content strategy, and social media plan can all help.
If you would like any more information or help to get started feel free to contact us, or see our Start Up Marketing Packages page. We offer in house training or Skype or FaceTime consultations.
For more information email email@example.com.
There are many tools available to help make our lives easier, and in the world of social media it is no different. We all want to do things smarter and not harder, so here are six tools of the trade that I use regularly to manage social media.
1. Create a social media plan for your business
Plan your posts and stick to the plan as much as possible. I find that having a plan helps to stick to the key messages for the business and helps to create more interesting, relevant and timely social media content as opposed to having an ad hoc approach.
2. Set up a Hootsuite or similar social media management account.
This means you can spend a couple of hours each week, or month and set everything up in advance so you don’t have to think about posting every day.
3. Sign up to Google Alerts, industry blogs and e-subscriptions
Keep up to date with what’s happening within your industry or profession with regular emails and alerts. Google Alerts is great providing you with timely notifications regarding the latest articles relevant to what you want to hear about. It’s easy to sign up using your free Google account.
4. Use an online graphic design tool.
5. Access quality free images for your website or social media
There are some great options online to access free or relatively cheap images which can save you a fair amount of money in photography or expensive stock images. I use UnSplash and 123rf on a fairly regular basis. I also have accessed others through the likes of Hubspot and Marketo over the years.
6. Create your own short videos
It’s not rocket science these days when you have easy access to apps like Ripl or iMovie. It depends how technical you want to be, sometimes I create short video posts on Ripl with a couple of good photos, you simply add in some text and choose which music you want to go with it then add it to Facebook. I have also developed my skills in iMovie (available on Apple devices) and enjoy creating longer videos with a mixture of images and video. It’s a really great and effective tool and fairly easy to master and upload to YouTube or other social media accounts.
If you would like any more information or help to get started feel free to contact us. We offer in house training or Skype or FaceTime consultations. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We all want to get more likes, have more followers and essentially ensure our business benefits from its social media presence by improving brand awareness and increasing our customer base.
So here are a five simple tips that will help your business to be more engaging on social media in 2017.
1. Be personal and personable
Create a voice or even a face for your business or brand. Don’t be stuffy and use corporate speak, make your business friendly and likable and see how your audience responds. Don't just talk about your business, be helpful and create content that is interesting and relevant to your audience.
3. Don’t over promote
If you are constantly promoting your product or service your followers will get bored. You will also find that your posts will get less traction especially on Facebook due to its algorithms. Provide your customers with a mix of posts offering advice, humour, tips, news.
5. Share the love
Like, follow and share/retweet others in your industry or locality to help improve your own credibility and add to the range of content you can provide to your own audience. On Facebook you can follow other business pages and share their posts onto your page.
So there you have it, five simple ways to be more engaging on social media and increase your reach in 2017.
If you would like any more information or help to get started feel free to contact us.
We offer in-house training or Skype or FaceTime consultations.
For more information email email@example.com.
When I think of logos and names for businesses I am often reminded of Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet and the frequently used line “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest brand names across the world. They’re not necessarily the cleverest names, or even the best logos, but it is their reputation that proceeds them.
Take Harrods in London for instance. If you haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Harrods then you have most likely heard of it. Harrods is a world famous luxury department store with designer, shoes, handbags and so much more. When you visit Harrods, it’s not just about the shopping, it’s about the experience from the moment you enter the store until the moment you leave.
The same can be said for Disneyland. It’s all about the magical experience that is created. It’s a place where dreams can come true. Even if you’ve never been to Disneyland you will have a vision about what the experience will be like.
Both brands are recognisable across the globe, but their names are simple. Harrods was named after its founder Charles Henry Harrod, whilst Disneyland was named after its founder Walt Disney.
The same can be said by many other well-known brands such as McDonalds (after the McDonald brothers), Coles (after founder George Coles), Cadbury (after John Cadbury).
For each of these brands their logos are nothing fancy, however you will recognise the Disney font wherever you see it and the same with the Cadbury purple, which is a trademark of their business.
These examples prove that a brand is built on far more than a name and a logo, it truly is about the experience you create for your customers and the reputation you build within the market that makes your business stand out from its competitors.
"Build a positive name for your business and your reputation will be why people seek you out, not because of some fancy name or logo."
If you would like more information or help understand your brand essence please get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you realise that most people spend an average three hours a day on digital? They’re on line, on mobile, using an app for this and an app for that.
We are becoming a world consumed by digital. Do you even remember what it was like 10 to 15 years ago, when phones were used simply to call someone?
Now we use our phones for everything from checking emails, looking at our Facebook feed, booking a holiday, playing games, checking our bank balance, getting directions and finding out what the weather will be.
We are in the age of the digital overload, and with new apps, social networks and programs being invented everyday our time spent in the digital world is only likely to increase.
With that said, it has changed the face of the marketing world at an incredible pace and with constant changes and with so many things on offer to reach our target audience at the touch of a button it can be difficult to keep up.
However one thing is, the fundamentals of marketing do not change. When using all the technology on hand we still need to remember the key things and they are:
In regards to promotional channels, you will find that the best space to be in these days is by far digital. The reach of digital is amazing, and it is so targeted, more than any other medium.
With that said, if you’re going to advertise you have to have something free or of value to give to make them stop scrolling and read on. Here’s some key things to remember:
Of course once they click on your ad and are ready to take the next stage of the consumer journey there are many other processes that need to be in place to convert and retain that customer.
If you would like more information or help to understand your target audience feel free to get in touch with us by emailing email@example.com
Can you believe how much social media has changed our lives? In the past 10 years or so it has grown from nothing to what it is today, with millions of people connecting with friends, family and businesses from all over the world every day.
In fact a recent report found that there are over 14 million Australian’s on Facebook alone, not to mention other highly used sites such as YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google Plus. All of which continue to grow in users daily.
"There are over 14 millions Australian's on Facebook,
Interestingly there are still those who refrain from the peer pressure to be ‘on’ social media, not just those in the older age group either.
More interesting though is that many businesses are still not on social media. With so many customers using it, surprisingly only 33 per cent of businesses have a social media presence.
There are more large companies on social media than small to medium enterprises. Most of these businesses manage their online presence with people in jobs that weren’t evented invented until a few years ago.
These large businesses are posting regularly (up to 5 times a week) whilst creating benefits for their followers like discount offers and give-aways, coupons, product info, tips and advice.
Small businesses need to keep up with this trend and take advantage of the fact that so many of their customers and potential customers are in the space.
"Set up a Facebook account for your business, create a social media plan and post regularly.
The best way to do this is to get started! Set up a Facebook account for your business, create a social media plan and post regularly. Mix up your posts with interesting and engaging content. Do what the big guys do and create special offers and discounts, post photos and videos, and don’t be scared of a little advertising.
Although Facebook has the biggest user base in Australia, YouTube has the second largest number of users. Linked In is growing, as is Instagram and Google Plus. Take advantage of these free networking sites and set up accounts with all of them. It is easy to manage them all in one place and schedule your posts by using an online social media management tool such as Hootsuite. It’s free to use to manage up to three social media sites.
If you need help or advice to get your business on the social media bandwagon Out of the Box Consulting offers training programs tailored to suite your business requirements. Click here for more details and to book: Out of the Box Consulting - Social Media Training.
Information in this blog was sourced from the following online resources:
This is the journal written by Tom, a year 10 student from Carrum Downs Secondary College regarding his four days of work experience with Out of the Box Consulting. He was a great student who learned tasks quickly and was a pleasure to have.
My first day working with Nicola from Out Of the Box Consulting was very interesting. We started off introducing ourselves. Nicola explained what the job involved briefly touching on everything that we were going to do for the day, showing me some tip and tricks on multimedia marketing etc and then we dived straight into the first task.
I was very impressed by the amount of effort and thought that was obviously put in to squeeze me into her busy schedule already. We started off doing some social media managing for a mechanic franchise, figuring out a clever post to hook in readers and hopefully keep readers engaged and thinking about their company. I learned that you can schedule posts using Hootsuite which links multiple accounts together or pages in this case. I was very intrigued to learn this not having any knowledge this existed.
Nicola then showed me how to manage and design a website using Weebly giving me the basic tools and knowledge so I could then make a slide show using Weebly for one of her clients Mim’s Boxing. She then showed me what a favicon was, having little prior knowledge I was fascinated to know that you could link something to your home page like an icon not really knowing what it was. I was even more fascinated to learn how create one using a favicon website.
After tinkering around with the Mim’s Boxing website and creating a favicon I was the introduced to Canva a website for designing cool photos and making ads. After having a little play around with Canva I was then set a task to make an ad for Mim’s Boxing focusing on advertising a kid’s party. I found myself very engaged at the task at hand not realising I had gone into my lunch break.
After finishing my lunch I moved onto making a second ad which I spent a lot more time on it, not being happy with my first copy I made a second one which took a lot longer than I expected but I was very happy with the finished product.
We started off doing a review of day 1 and touched on everything we did with Nicola making sure I understood everything. I was still very interested and looking forward to meeting a Google Partner who does similar work to Nicola with web design and SEO that gets your website higher on the Google search. I was disappointed to find out the meeting was cancelled. I went straight into writing my blog/journal and before I knew it I had finished writing my first day.
Today Nicola showed me the grid rule for a Facebook ad which could only have 20% writing thus I could do my ads without any help only approval. I was eager to jump into some more design in Canva where I had to redo one of the Mim’s Boxing ads but was happy to do so. I felt pretty happy with the ads end result and so did Nicola. But when we compared it with the Facebook grid rule it was too large. I soon learned that this was all a part of the job and sometimes these things happen and there is nothing you can do about it. I finally finished the ad and I was very pleased with the final copy.
Our next client was 3X Personal Training who had requested a progression video for his business' two year anniversary. I was tasked with designing some famous quotes and putting them with a background that represented something meaningful this took me the majority of the rest of the day to complete.
After having an amazing day at the Frankston Arts Centre and Cube 37 for my day 3 we went over to Rapid Click to start the day. I was looking forward to meeting Chris who does Google advertising and web design. We discussed how he did the SEO wording, Nicola and Chris talked about social media and how they would incorporate it for their clients and then I got a proper introduction to web design. I got shown various examples of how to manage a website and I was shown an in progress website and a finished product which was fascinating because I had only really done some basic website design.
Back at Out of the Box Consulting we changed some quotes and touched up the image for 3XPT to suit the clients requirements. This was a quick and easy fix that didn’t take us to long to complete. Nicola then got me to work on my blog/journal where I spent the remainder of the day completing. I took a short break while I was introduced to a webinar about phycology in marketing I was very interested to see how people brains work when buying things or making a decision which is 90% unconscious. Unfortunately we couldn’t hear the webinar properly so I let Nicola plug in a pair of headphones because she needed to listen. She then summarised the whole webinar I found this to be great general knowledge that I can use in everyday life and maybe for a future job option.
Today we worked on a 3XPT post for social media which I put in Canva and worked my magic for a food called Omega ABC spread which has almond, hazelnut and cashew in it. I where I edited the post and wrote down a quirky and engaging post for the reader. I jumped straight into some Hootsuite where I truly learnt how to use it and learnt how to schedule social media posts in advance. I learnt what times are good and what times wouldn’t suit particular audiences. I had no idea that about some of the times people above my age would go online with social media. This was all great knowledge I could take into my everyday life and how I use social media. Nicola then asked me to finish my blog/journal where I really sat down gave it some thought. That concludes my week of work experience with Out of the Box Consulting.
Work Life Balance - it’s what many of us strive to achieve but not many of us actually get. We may think we have it because we work part time (school hours) and close to home, but seriously, do you really have it?
"You get up, go to work put in your eight hours plus the rest, go home, cook dinner, go to bed, get up and do it all again."
After my second child I cut down to four days a week so I could have some extra time with my baby. However that ‘day off’ was spent running around, grocery shopping, washing, cleaning and even working. So much for spending quality time with my baby who was growing up so quickly.
In 2013 I decided to start my own business, ‘Out of the Box Consulting’ in the hope that perhaps I could have some real work life balance. However at the time I was still working in corporate. I managed to cut down my four days to three days, school hours and worked on the business on the other two days, after work and on weekends. I still didn’t have the work life balance thing sorted out though, but I was a step closer to where I wanted to be.
Ten months ago the opportunity arose allowing me to work in my business full time, and to be honest I haven’t looked back.
Here are my Top 10 benefits of running my own business and having work life balance:
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