Category: Articles

Spotlight: Southwest Veterans Chamber of Commerce

Southwest Veterans Chamber of CommerceIn honor of Veterans Day this week, we’d like to spotlight the Southwest Veterans Chamber of Commerce.

Founded in 2012, the Southwest Veterans Chamber of Commerce is…

“a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve business opportunities and enhance the economic environment of Veterans, Veteran Owned and Veteran Supportive businesses in the Southwestern United States. The Southwest Veterans Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)(6) organization where all funds other than operational costs benefit selected partner charities.”

Southwest Veterans Chamber of Commerce
At every lunch, members stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, then a moment of silence.

At present, they have 3 Chapters: Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Glendale and they are starting a 4th in Chandler. They are also working to start chapters in Tucson and Las Vegas. Each chapter meets monthly for a networking lunch and they hold other networking events, some in conjunction with other chambers.

Every December, they hold the Patriots Ball, which is their major fundraiser as well as a popular social event. Event proceeds fund the Southwest Veterans Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, and Chamber of Commerce member programs, scholarships and veterans support programs in Arizona.

You don’t have to be a veteran in business to join. Non-veterans may join as a “patriot”. There are many leadership opportunities as well as business sponsorships.

Their vision is…

“to be the most Veteran supportive organization in the state of Arizona and for Arizona to be the most Veteran supportive state in the nation.”

Compared to other Phoenix area chambers, their annual membership is very affordable.

“I am honored to be a “patriot” member of the Southwest Veterans Chamber of Commerce. Each member embraces and expresses, patriotism, integrity and good business ethics.” ~Giselle Aguiar, patriot member.

Click here for more information on the Southwest Veterans Chamber of Commerce.

 

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Veterans Small Business Week 31 Oct

Boots to Business: SBA Celebrates Veterans Small Business Week

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a “Transition Mission” – special programs for Veterans who are transitioning back to civilian life to help them start their own businesses. It’s called “Boots to Business”. And the week of Oct. 31st – Nov. 4th is National Veterans Small Business Week.

Here’s the video story of a Navy sailor and his wife who took advantage of the SBA and SCORE to start Brewery.

He took a hobby and turned it into a business. But he didn’t wait till he was out of the Navy, he started while still on active duty.

“It’s takes a year, 2 years, 3 years to get a business started. So, don’t wait till your retirement party to start figuring out what you’re going to next.”

The SBA has several online sources and there’s a special free event at the SBDC:

#MyVetBiz: Phoenix Boots to Business- REBOOT
Monday, November 7, 2016 – 8:30 am
Free
GateWay Community College
108 N. 40th St. South Building
Phoenix, AZ 85004

Boots to Business: Reboot is an entrepreneurial education program offered to veterans by the U.S. Small Business Administration in partnership with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF). The program provides assistance to veterans exploring self-employment opportunities by leading them through the key steps for evaluating business concepts and the foundational knowledge required for developing a business plan. Participants are also introduced to SBA resources available to help access start-up capital and additional technical assistance. Who: All honorably discharged veterans and their spouses are eligible for the program and can register for the free two-day workshop. Registration required click website link above.

Many of the SCORE mentors are Veterans and their mentoring is absolutely free! Click here to schedule a free mentoring session with a mentor in a location in the Greater Phoenix Valley.

Also, check out the Southwest Veterans Chamber of Commerce.

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All the World's a Stage: Secrets for Building a Platform for Success 31 Oct

All the World’s a Stage – Build Your Platform for Success

What is a Platform? Shakespeare wrote,

“All the World’s a Stage”

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy WorldMichael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, puts it this way in his book, Platform: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World

Very simply, a platform is the thing you have to stand on to get heard. It’s your stage. But unlike a stage in the theater, today’s platform is not built of wood or concrete or perched on a grassy hill. Today’s platform built of people. Contacts. Connections. followers.

Your platform is the means by which you connect with your existing and potential fans.

You think you’ve got a great product or service, and that it will sell itself. Nope. Here’s why:

  1. Competition has never been greater. (Related article: What’s Your Competition Doing Online?)
  2. People are more distracted than ever. (Related article: Social Media Competition)

Why should YOU build and nurture your platform? Michael Hyatt offers 4 main points:

  1. No one knows your product better than you do.
  2. Nobody is more passionate about your product than you are.
  3. No one has more skin in the game than you do.
  4. Nobody is likely to do it if you don’t.

A platform is your online following. Your fans (Likes) on Facebook, followers on TwitterGoogle+ and Instagram, and connections on LinkedIn.

So, does that mean that you have to do everything yourself? Well, not exactly. However, you need to educate yourself before you hire an “expert” or “specialist” to make sure that the expert does everything correctly. What you don’t know can hurt you! (Related: Outsource or Hire: What Makes a Good Social Media Manager)

You probably find social media marketing overwhelming. Nevertheless, it’s today’s media and most of it is free! And it can be very powerful when you know how to leverage it properly and effectively. (Related: 10 Steps to a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy)

The secret is you need to plan everything out.

  1. Set Goals.
  2. Put a Strategic Plan together on how you’re going to accomplish those goals.
  3. Put a Tactical Plan together on how you’re going to implement the strategy. It’ll either be a to-do list and calendar for the solopreneur or a game plan for a staff or team.

A SCORE mentor can also be of great assistance in every stage of your business and they don’t cost anything! You can search for a mentor with experience in your particular industry or just general business experience.

About the Author:

Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media WizGiselle Aguiar, founder of AZ Social Media Wiz is a social media, inbound and content marketing specialist & trainer helping small business owners learn how to leverage the power of social media marketing, increase traffic to their websites, generate leads, increase brand awareness and establish themselves as experts in their fields. She’s the official social media, newsletter and blog manager for Greater Phoenix SCORE and teaches once a month at SCORE. She recently launched the Social Savvy Solution offering online, on-demand, easy-to-understand social media marketing tutorials. Helping the little guy get social savvy! You can connect with Giselle online at LinkedIn or on Google+.

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How to start a business in 10 days. 24 Oct

How to Start a Business in 10 Days

What! Start a business in 10 days?!

Yes it can be done! However, you really have to be motivated to start a business.

Follow these steps from Entrepreneur Magazine and in 10 days you can have a business running.

(Whether you quit your day job right away, is up to you.)

Here’s a rundown of the steps to start a business:

  1. Create a business plan – whether on a napkin or complex software write it down!
  2. Study the market – define your target market, do some research on them and the industry.
  3. Build your brand – it’s more than just a logo!
  4. Incorporate (make it legal) – at least create an LLC to protect yourself. (No lawyer needed)
  5. Set up a lean machine – keep costs down initially
  6. Tell everyone you’re in business and have something unique to offer – spread the word!
  7. Work the media – and not just print and broadcast.
  8. Fake it to make it – think BIG!
  9. Work on your business – focus on income generating tasks
  10. Party, thank everyone and get feedback

But even BEFORE creating a business plan, attend one of the workshops/seminars that Greater Phoenix SCORE has to offer. Click here for the schedule.

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Is your website just a fancy online brochure? 24 Oct

Is Your Website just a Fancy Online Brochure?

Is your website truly working for you? It should be — 24/7. It’s way more than an online brochure.

The most beautifully designed website, whether it’s a WordPress site or other platform, is of no use if it doesn’t have the following:

  1. Fresh, relevant content, no more than a week old, written, grammatically correct, for your target audience — this converts your static website into a dynamic website. Google ignores static websites. It looks for the freshest content that matches a searchers’ request — that’s what comes up on the first page of Google search. Blog at least once a week.
  2. A reason and a way for visitors to opt-in to your email list — this turns a visitor into a lead. It’s then up to you, with some email, sales or marketing automation system, to turn that lead into a sale. Give them something of value — a free ebook, a coupon, etc. — so they’ll give you their email address. Then deliver on the promise of a monthly newsletter. Note: if you have an e-commerce site or online store, make it easy for people to shop, if that’s your main objective.
  3. An easy way to contact you or set up an appointment — if you want a phone call, the mobile version of your site has to be responsive, so people can all you with one tap. If you want them to contact you via email, have a short contact form. Don’t ask more than 2 or 3 questions. Just what to you need to qualify the lead. Make it easy to set an appointment. Use an inexpensive service like TimeTrade — saves a ton of back and forth emails when setting appointments.
  4. Make it easy for people to follow you and share your content.Social media share and follow buttons — you have to make it easy for visitors to follow you on the networks and for them to share your content with their friends. And don’t put them just in the footer!

So here are a few don’ts:

  • Don’t make people hunt for what you want them to do.
  • Don’t make your site so flashy that it takes too long to load.
  • Don’t forego design for search engine optimization (SEO).
    • The most beautiful site in the world is useless if no one can find it.
  • Don’t hire a web designer who doesn’t know about proper SEO and social media marketing. It’s part of the online marketing package. You need to know what to look for. Be wise and be educated.

In a nutshell, having a static website is like a billboard out in the middle of the ocean. Sure a passing ship may see it, but that’s it.

About the Author:

Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media WizGiselle Aguiar, founder of AZ Social Media Wiz is a social media, inbound and content marketing specialist & trainer helping small business owners learn how to leverage the power of social media marketing, increase traffic to their websites, generate leads, increase brand awareness and establish themselves as experts in their fields. She’s the official social media, newsletter and blog manager for Greater Phoenix SCORE and teaches once a month at SCORE. She recently launched the Social Savvy Solution offering online, on-demand, easy-to-understand courses. Helping the little guy get social savvy! You can connect with Giselle online at LinkedIn or on Google+.

 

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Understanding the consumers' buying journey is important. 17 Oct

The Consumers’ Buying Journey: From Discovery to Sale

Today’s consumers’ buying journey isn’t like it used to be. They have everything at their fingertips.

They’ll…

  • Google a problem to find a solution.
  • peruse Pinterest to find the right gift or the latest style.
  • ask their Facebook friends for suggestions.

So where do you come in with your product or service?

First, put yourself in your target market’s shoes. See everything from their perspective.

Second, study this graphic:

Understanding your customers buying journey is important.

There are 3 basic types of consumers and each with their own buying journey

  • The Impulse Buyer – this person sees what she wants and goes for it without doing research, or reading reviews. She can afford to buy and may have done some research before hand, but once she decides on something, not much can stop her from buying. She’ll see trust and credibility right away.
  • The Explorer – this person needs to research and read everything. He’ll watch videos, read reviews and read blog posts. He has to be confident that he found the right product or service before he spends his money. He needs some convincing, but he’s not ready to make first contact. He’s not ready to trust. When he is, he’ll buy.
  • The Engager – this person will ask questions. She may have done some exploring on her own, but now she has a question that your website hasn’t been able to answer. She’ll contact you via your contact form on your website, Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn or even Twitter. Whichever network they are comfortable with. She’ll be confident in buying after she communicates with a real person.

Here are some questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Do you make it easy for the Impulse Buyer to buy on your website?
  • Is there enough content to convince the Explorer to trust your product or service?
  • Is it easy for the Engager to contact you from several different places online and will they get a quick response? (We’re talking hours here, not days!)

A SCORE mentor can help you in answering these questions for free! Click here to schedule an appointment.

About the Author:

Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media WizGiselle Aguiar, founder of AZ Social Media Wiz is a social media, inbound and content marketing specialist & trainer helping business owners learn how to leverage the power of social media marketing, increase traffic to their websites, generate leads, increase brand awareness and establish themselves as experts in their fields. She’s the official social media, newsletter and blog manager for Greater Phoenix SCORE and teaches once a month at SCORE. She recently launched the Social Savvy Solution offering online, on-demand, easy-to-understand courses. You can connect with Giselle online at LinkedIn or on Google+. Get a free ebook!

 

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