For many small business owners around Australia, the news of the recent upswing in consumer confidence and current low interest rates is a source of relief and invigoration.
Recent studies indicate hope is indeed slowly returning to Australia’s small business sector, with MYOB’s 2013 Business Monitor confirming more small business owners are upbeat about the economic outlook over the next twelve months compared with the previous year. To encourage the small business owners and fledging entrepreneurs in our community to make the most of this upturn, WellSpring has teamed with four experts to offer their insights on how to stand out from the pack.
Networking: Be remembered when networking at a conference
By Scott Ginsberg
Detach from outcomes
Sure, you have goals. Maybe to sell. Maybe to get in front of the right people. However, also try to focus more on the big picture. Free yourself from agendas. Develop a no-entitlement attitude. And focus on having fun, delivering value and creating a memorable (er, unforgettable) presence.
Practice strategic serendipity
Say yes a LOT more. Spend time with people in areas and around things you wouldn’t normally approach. Talk to everybody. Even your non-buyers and customers. Even the food service people. Even the janitors. Even the information booth guy. Even the conference planners. Especially the conference planners. Because you never know. And consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness.
Stressed and hurried are not approachable adjectives. Separate yourself from other attendees by not appearing overly needy and desperate for business. After all, it’s hard to sell with your tongue hanging out!
Find the cameras
Photographers, press folks and bloggers LOVE to capture images and videos of cool, fun, remarkable stuff. They also like to share those images in their publications and on the web. So, ask yourself the following three questions: Are you worth videotaping? Are you worth taking a picture of? Are you worth blogging about the next morning?
Be a rock star
Do things to enhance your celebrity status. Bring a friend to follow YOU around with a camera all day. Give a speech. Hold a pre or post event party.
Scott Ginsberg is the world record holder of wearing nametags. He’s the author of thirteen books, a professional speaker, award-winning blogger and the creator of NametagTV.com. His publishing and consulting company specializes in approachability, identity and execution.
Want coverage in local media? Play up your hometown advantage. For a women's magazine? Appeal to a female readership. Make sure to read a few back issues of the newspaper, magazine, blog or section you wish to target to ensure your pitch is relevant to their content and readership.
Make your pitch about an issue relating to your industry that you can provide comments on rather than a straight business plug which will never be successful. Setting yourself up as a credible contact may also gain you and your company further exposure down the track.
What is unique about your business or product? Is it made locally? Is it a family business? Unique to the market? Innovative claims? Highlight your point of difference in the market to stand out from similar businesses.
Make your pitch brief and to the point in an email. You can embellish in a one page attachment but make it easy for the journalist you are contacting and pop the main points in the body of an email instead of asking them to open an attachment.
Images are everything
Include images in high-resolution with your email pitch. A journalist looking for content in a hurry is more likely to feature your product or business if you supply good quality images so they don’t have to request and then wait for them.
Cassie Laffey is an experienced beauty editor with a decade of journalism experience. Cassie has worked for high profile titles including Brisbane’s Style Magazine and Scene Magazine. Cassie is currently working as a freelance journalist and copywriter.
Digital: Developing a killer website
By Angus Wurth
A successful site looks great, is easy to use and most importantly can be found through Google. The key to top Google search rankings is planning your search engine strategy right from the start. Worried? Don’t fret, it’s not that complicated. Here are five simple steps that can make a big difference to your search engine marketing campaign.
Step 1. Think about what people will type into Google to find your products or services
Google makes this search information available to you through a handy keyword tool – adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool. This tool will show you exactly how many people have searched for your products and services in the previous month.
Step 2. Select your domain name (web address)
Check to see if your desired domain name is available through mybusiness.com.au. While it is a good idea to register your business name as your domain name itself, you may also want to consider using a domain name that uses the keywords that you have identified in Step 1. When Google decides who gets the top rank from its pages, it can pay attention to the words in the domain name.
Step 3. Write your web site content
It is essential that you use the keywords identified in Step 2 generously on each page. It’s all about balance, ‘keyword stuffing’ too many of your chosen search terms into your website’s content is considered bad practise by Google and you can be penalised in the form of your site dropping down the rankings. Be sure to use your best targeted keyword in your page headings.
Step 4. Great quality images
Consider using the services of a professional photographer. Put simply, unprofessional photos don’t sell.
Step 5. Promote your website
This step shouldn’t stop once your site is live for the world to see. Try to use supporting social networks to enhance your online presence. Social media services such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and especially LinkedIn are especially useful for keeping existing customers engaged. Choose the social media platform that matches your target market.
Angus Wurth is the owner of Bonsai Media, a one-stop design shop servicing clients across Australia through cost-effective web page design and development combined with graphic and logo design.
Clever doesn’t necessarily mean costly when it comes to marketing your business effectively. Control is key when budgets are tight so consider these business building ideas that won't blow out your bottom line.
Test affordable advertising
Traditional forms of advertising can be prohibitively expensive for small business. Enter social media. With a user friendly campaign management interface, Facebook ads enable you to get very specific with targeting. If your market is females born on May 16 who like dogs and pay tennis on Tuesdays, Facebook Ads can help get the right eyes on your business quite cost effectively, redirecting potential customers to your own Facebook business page or your website. You can set and review daily budget limits, tweak your creative as often as you like and there's no minimum campaign spend.
Capture and store existing and potential customer information in a robust database...and use it! Ask your customers how they prefer to be communicated with – via email, phone or text message – and keep in touch. Low or no cost platforms like MailChimp can manage bulk email sends with decent tracking and reporting metrics.
Make yourself an expert
Share your knowledge and let people see for themselves that you know your stuff. Create a series of ‘how to’ videos on YouTube, write articles and e-books, a blog, seek out speaking engagements. Work towards having your name, brand or product called out as the ‘go-to’ in your field.
Seek strategic relationships
Approaching businesses in your local area with a special offer for them to pass on to their customers involves no upfront investment, aside from your time and relationship building skills. A discount on services or free product provides an attractive value-add for customers of these businesses, and you may also wish to consider a product or service trade reward for the referring business when they reach certain milestones, for example 10 referred customers.
Over the past decade, Dannika Patterson has supported the launch of successful products, customer loyalty programs and strategic marketing initiatives around the globe. Forming Morningstar Consultancy in early 2011, she provides tailored marketing and business development services to clients primarily in the health, fitness, beauty and education sectors.
Naturopath and Hay House author Cassie Mendoza-Jones learned the hard way about the downside of holding on too tightly and doing it all yourself in business. Since coming back from the brink of burnout and opening her mind to outsourcing select tasks, her work life is soaring. Here she shares with us what she’s learned.
When acupuncturist Adele Bishop met lecturer Jiang Man during her studies she couldn’t have imagined the impact the Chinese medicine guru would have on her future. Jiang quickly spotted Adele’s potential, becoming her mentor, lifelong friend and shaping the way she practiced forever in the process.
With Endeavour’s graduation ceremonies kicking off next month and the next wave of natural health practitioners poised to take their place in the industry, we asked a selection of established business owners which traits they’ve been most impressed by in fresh graduates.