Poker, Angry Orchard and Dreams of … #Movember? Why Small Business Should Be More Social.

Tag: Small Biz

Poker, Angry Orchard and Dreams of … #Movember? Why Small Business Should Be More Social.

I had a dream and in this dream…no not like Martin Luther King. At least I didn’t think it was a dream of a better world but in a weird way it kind of was. When I say weird, I mean it. I was dreaming of social media hashtags…one in particular that was mentioned casually at a friend’s house during Poker night and apparently got stuck in my head.

FYI: This post is not really about a weird dream but about trending topics for small business and the influence of social media in our culture and how entrepreneurs can capitalize on it for success. (So please stay with me here.)

I had seen vague references to the hashtag #Movember over the last couple weeks but had been too busy, with web designs and keywords for a new law firm client, updates for other various websites, and numerous other day-to-day tasks of running my small business, to look into it.

TrendingTopicTuesday750Why was it in my head now then, two weeks into November?

That is where the Poker and Angry Orchard came in.

During the banter of that friendly poker game in the basement of a friend, one of the players made another vague reference and specifically said “hashtag Movember” … I was about to ask what that was all about but then the topic quickly moved onto things like Monday Night Football and Sci-Fi Movies.

Then at around 2:30am I woke up from a weird dream that would not leave my head…a dream revolving around hashtags, specifically #Movember. I don’t know why I was dreaming about this one stray comment, I can only guess that maybe it was my choice of adult beverages, Angry Orchard instead of the usual Stout or Lager.

Still wondering why I am writing about a topic I don’t know much about? Good Question, it gets to an important idea I am familiar with, the influence of social media and how small business can benefit from it in a variety of ways.

Social Media is not like marketing materials like the Yellow Pages, a brochure or a Flyer, it is about the connection to the community. Social Media for business is now a mix of both sales and marketing, it is more of an online business card exchange or an interactive seminar with Q&A.

Social Media can give small business owners a window into the lives and interests of their prospects and what the current trends are that can be leveraged for increased sales and to strengthen business relationships.

BransonLifeEducation650I have been on Social Media for quite a while and this is a lesson I am still learning. When you see vague references to something like ‘Movember’, unlike what I did, take just a couple minutes and do a quick online search to see what it is about and if it might be relevant to your customers or your business. There could be some great opportunities to become more active in your community which could build stronger long term relationship and win you some lifelong clients.

Some topics on Social Media can indicate the interests and needs of your customers which can help you adjust your products and services or your sales process. I will admit there can be a lot to sort through on social media to find the things that are relevant to your customers and your business. However, if you can find the pulse of your consumer, isn’t that really priceless?

About 10 years ago you needed a website to make sure you were found by your prospects, then as more competitors got websites you needed SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to get noticed by prospects. Your business website had limited interaction and you usually paired it up with an email marketing list to convert your prospects into clients. Now the trend is interaction with your prospect on Social Media.

Do you still need a good website with SEO? Absolutely! However, your competitors are also on Social Media and if you are not talking to your prospects on Social Media then your competition will.

SocialMediaNews500The key is to find the social media platforms where your prospects go; so you can be part of the conversation, or at least see what the discussion is about. For example, if you are B2B it could be LinkedIn, if you are targeting younger consumers you might want to use Snapchat or Facebook Live.

I could go on all day on this topic, but my point here is to pay attention to your community of prospects. They are most likely on social media somewhere looking for information related to their business and maybe even sharing their priorities. You can then let them know about all the great benefits you provide with your products or services that help them solve their challenges or that focus on their priorities.

Today, start asking your clients if they are on any social media and how they use it. As they say ‘birds of a feather flock together’ so learning about how your clients use social media and joining the conversation can help you both strengthen those relationships and find prospects that are similar to your current clients.

In case you came here to read about Movember or were still were wondering what it is all about. I finally took my own advice and did a little research…here is the story of #Movember (www.Movember.com):

mobromovember300“The Movember Foundation is the only charity tackling men’s health on a global scale, year round. We have one goal: to stop men dying too young.
From humble beginnings in Australia in 2003, the Movember movement has grown to be a truly global one, inspiring support from over 5 million Mo Bros and Mo Sistas around the world.
Movember’s success can largely be attributed to the strength of the global community. Regardless of the city in which we live, we’re part of something bigger, united by a commitment to help change the face of men’s health.”

Basically, it looks like good cause to help improve Men’s Health around the world, where men grow Moustaches (‘Grow a Mo for a Bro’) to start a discussion and therefore raise awareness for physical and mental health issues; including suicide prevention – something that has affected my personal and business life…losing some loved ones and even valued clients to suicide.

I hope you found this article informative and somewhat entertaining. The moral of the story here is to pay attention to the trends in society there are a lot of things we can learn from each other in life and in business.

Please join our conversation with any feedback or how you applied any of the tips above meant to help you Make Your Business Bloom!

Stop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!

rose

Tag: Small Biz

How Small Business Entrepreneurs Can Develop New Revenue on a Small Budget

The Lean Startup (@leanstartup) by Eric Ries (@ericries) is a great book for any small business owner whether you are just getting started or have been long established. Small businesses are constantly reinventing themselves, improving their products and services to better serve their customers so they can keep growing their business. This book covers some important principles and techniques for staying ahead of the competition while being efficient with time and money as technology continues to change quickly.

LeanStartupERW500The key is to use a “Build-Measure-Learn” feedback loop to chart actual progress and viability of a product or solution.

“Before building the prototype, the company might perform a smoke test with its marketing materials. This is an old direct marketing technique in which customers are given the opportunity to preorder a product that has not yet been built. A smoke test measures only one thing: whether customers are interested in trying a product. By itself, this is insufficient to validate an entire growth model. Nonetheless, it can be very useful to get feedback on this assumption before committing more money and other resources to the product.”

A concept called Minimum Viable Product or MVP, which can apply to physical products as well as services is a key to determine, on a small batch basis, whether your new product or service will succeed.

“…new technologies are allowing entrepreneurs to build small batches of products that are of the same quality as products made with injection molding, but at a much lower cost and much, much faster.” … “The ability to learn faster from customers is the essential competitive advantage that startups must possess.”

By using smaller batches and testing early and often the budget you spend is much lower than trying to reach economies of scale before you know what is going to sell. Also by testing in the real world you are generating new revenue as you test the concepts. You are not hiring a focus group, you are selling different versions of your product or service to bring in money while you figure out what is the most efficient and most popular version or features.

The author addresses a concept called validated learning. While you can learn a lot from your mistakes in business, mistakes typically won’t pay the bills. Validated learning is not after-the-fact rationalization or a good story to hide failure from employees or investors.

“…for every successful entrepreneur who was in the right place at the right time, there are many more who were there, too, in that right place at the right time but still managed to fail.” … “What differentiates the success stories from the failures is that the successful entrepreneurs had the foresight, the ability, and the tools to discover which parts of their plans were working brilliantly and which were misguided, and adapt their strategies accordingly.”

If a business “builds something that nobody wants, it doesn’t matter much if they do it on time and on budget.” The goal of the small business owner should be “to figure out the right thing to build-the thing customers want and will pay for-as quickly as possible.”

The key aspect to keep in mind is to run real world tests of products and services both early in their development as well as throughout the improvement process, this ensures that your business is providing solutions to real life market demands. You don’t want to spend years perfecting a product or service only to find out there wasn’t actually any demand or a new product has already solved the problem and saturated the marketplace.

There are some good real world examples from business including Eric Reis’ personal lessons in business as well as other well-known businesses embracing these techniques. If you want to read the specific strategies, techniques and real-world examples then I recommend you read The Lean Startup; How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries.

I hope this information was of value to you, I would be glad to share more thoughts on this book and how it applies to small business. Please let me know if there are specific areas of this book, marketing or small business you want to learn more about in my future articles.

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