Tag: small business

5 Branding Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Business 3 Oct

5 Branding Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Business

Branding is so much more than just a logo!

This video highlights the top 5 branding mistakes businesses make – no matter what size they are!

  1. Being insensitive. Some companies have taken advantage of a trending phrase on social media to promote their product, but they didn’t check to see why something was trending. It was a shooting or some other catastrophe.
  2. Brazen changes. Don’t do what Coke did! Hash out all the pros and cons before rebranding or making a major change to a proven product or service.
  3. Inconsistency between channels. If someone lands on your Facebook page or your website, they should know in seconds who you are and what you do.
  4. Ignoring the follow-up. Touch base with past clients. You never know if they might need your services again.
  5. Lack of sincerity. Honesty, openness, integrity. It’s no longer about B2B or B2C. It’s P2P – person to person.

Greater Phoenix SCORE offers many different classes including branding and marketing. Check them out here.

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blow your mind and grow your business 26 Sep

3 Ways to Blow Your Mind and Grow Your Business

This article originally appeared on Loretta Love Huff’s blog.

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said,

“The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size.”

The challenge for many business owners and sales professionals is that they’re so absorbed in doing their business and hitting their sales goals that they don’t believe they have the time to think. Yet, Napoleon Hill wrote a world-famous book, “Think and Grow Rich” which implied that thought is the first step in growing rich.

so, what does it take to use thought to grow rich. I’ve identified 3 keys for  blowing your mind and then growing your business.

1) The first key is re-wiring your mindset.

Without the proper mindset, you won’t see opportunities that are right in front of you. You’ll talk yourself out of doing even simple things that could make a world of difference because you won’t believe they’ll work for you. Even if you do try, things likely won’t work to their full potential. Have you ever noticed that you do all the stuff that gurus say to do, but you still aren’t enjoying the results they promise?

The key here is to start retraining your subconscious mind by sending it new messages to replace the fight-or-flight tendencies it is organized around. It’s role is to ‘protect’ us from harm. But ‘harm’ to the subconscious mind means a ‘change’ of any sort. So when you get the bright idea to try something new, if it’s too far outside your comfort zone, your subconscious mind decides ‘that’s a bad idea’ and does whatever it can to convince you not to do it. It makes you feel doubtful, hesitant and fearful in order to encourage you to ‘leave well enough alone’ and stay where you are.

To retrain your subconscious, you must become the master of it. Set big goals, don’t succumb to the fear, feed yourself with empowering thoughts from books, audios, personal development courses, associate with people who are up to the same courageous growth trajectory.

2) Transform your relationship with money

Most people, whether they grew up in wealth, poverty or somewhere in-between, also grew up with misinformed or even warped beliefs, concepts and ideas about money. Those ideas shape what’s possible for you. They influence your career choices, your relationships, your spending and saving habits. Without close examination, the beliefs will continue to run the show.

I could write an entire article, or series of articles, on this subject alone. So I’ll have to just skim the surface today. Most people focus on the ‘negative’ energy of money…bills, shortfalls, worrying it will run out some day or they avoid thinking about it altogether.

Money is energy and demands attention. So instead, focus on the more positive aspects of it. Focus on the money that comes INTO your life. Show gratitude for money. Recognize that it has a spiritual aspect to it. As my coach often says, “Imagine that making fabulous money is part of your spiritual path.” Hmmm.

3) Have a marketing plan

Most people I know DO marketing activities (e.g. networking), but they don’t have a plan. They flit from activity to activity with not much thought to whether or not it’s the right activity. You need to know where your business is in its evolution and have a plan specifically designed to move you from where you are to the next level of success. If you do marketing activities that are designed for a business in a different phase than you are in, those activities won’t have the same positive outcomes for you. You’ll be wasting your time, energy and money and miss out on the success that could be just around the corner.

When you implement these three concepts, you’ll be well on your way to growing your business.

About the author: Loretta Love Huff

Known and appreciated by thousands of engaged and sometimes exhausted executives and entrepreneurs as The Dream Leader for Business™, Loretta Love Huff helps her clients lead courageously so they and their teams rock and they earn more money. Author of two books, frequent guest on Fox10 Phoenix and featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Phoenix Business Journal and Working Mother magazine, Loretta stands ready to shine a light on your path to higher productivity, purpose and profits.

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Love the Problem, Not Your Solution

One of my favorite business gurus, Ash Maurya, uses the phrase

“Love the problem, not your solution.”

Got an idea to solve a problemWhat he means is that as an entrepreneur the key to success is to solving problems, not the solution itself. Entrepreneurs are great at identifying problems (like the traditional taxi business provides horrible service at high cost) and coming up with solutions in the form of new businesses, and new business models (like…Uber).

But entrepreneurs are also often guilty of falling in love with their solution. Here’s what that means.

When I mentor an entrepreneur or new small business owner, I ask them first, “What problem are you solving? (the simple business model)” and “Who are you solving this problem for? (Who – and how many – and how will you reach them)” and finally, “Do they care? (Are they willing to pay you for your solution?)” These are critical questions that each small business owner must be prepared to answer quickly and succinctly and with real data.

To those three questions, I’ve started to ask a fourth. “If someone brings you an obviously better solution – all or in part – would you rip up your way of doing things and incorporate the new solution?” It’s very easy to become overly focused on the elegant solution you have come up with, and not the critical problem that your customers need fixed. It’s also easy to become more and more inflexible, especially after investing hundreds of hours to relentlessly pursue a desired solution. This happens to the detriment of the business model, growth, profitability, and eventually, the entire potential success of the company.

So what to do? Try the following and make it part of your daily or weekly self-examination:

  • State the problem you are solving clearly and differently from the proposed solution. Problems are problems (for your customers), and solutions are solutions (and can change)
  • State your solution as a proposal. A fluid process that may or may not solve the problem and therefore needs to be constantly tested and evaluated.

If you find yourself saying, “it seemed like a good idea at the time, but I’m glad we looked at the data and modified our approach.” Then you are well on the way to loving the problem and being open to change and better solutions.

You are an entrepreneur creating a business to solve a problem. The solution is merely a tool, not the goal.

If you have an idea to solve a problem and would like to bounce it off someone who’s been there, done that, schedule a free mentoring session with one of the Greater Phoenix SCORE mentors.

About the Author:

Andy BeranAndy Beran is the immediate Past President of Greater Phoenix SCORE and has been a mentor since 2008. Andy currently owns a medical transport company in the Phoenix area.  Since purchasing the company in 2010, he returned the business to consistent profitability and growth. During his extensive corporate career, Andy held various management positions at a leading Fortune 50 high technology research, development and manufacturing company.  His positions included Group Controller and Director of Strategic Planning.  He was a proven expert in the areas of Strategic Planning, Mergers and Acquisitions, Strategic Alliances, New Business Development, Operations and Capacity Planning, Finance & Budgeting and ROI / Productivity. Learn more about Andy here.

 

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How to market your business better one word at a time 29 Aug

It’s Not Who You Reach, It’s What You Say – How to Market Your Business

How to market your business better one word at a time…

Too many SBOs (Small Business Owners) fall into the trap of confusing marketing tactics for marketing strategy – often an expensive mistake.

Tactics, simply put, are the methods of communicating your message to prospects and customers. Important? Absolutely. Strategy, however, is the message itself. Important doesn’t cover it. The right message is critical to the success or even the survival of your business.

And here’s the kicker – Tactical Marketing usually takes upwards of 80% of a three-year marketing budget. So if you don’t have the right message, you’re often just throwing your money down the marketing rat hole and blaming whatever media you’re using at the time – TV, radio, postcards, Facebook Ads, brochures and your website.   But once you have a consistent, compelling, unique message, all your tactics will be more effective and produce superior results.

At SCORE’s September 15th workshop you will take a trip through the mind of former Madison Avenue copywriter, brand strategist and author, Alan L Tarr (www.MoneyWordsMarketing.com). You will learn how, with some information, inspiration and a few strokes of your pen (or pecks at the keyboard) to create a unique, winning message for your business or product and how to structure your marketing materials, website, advertisements, signage, elevator pitch, etc. to generate attention, interest and bring in more customers.

You will learn that “the beginning of greatness is to be different and the beginning of failure is to be the same.” By the end of the session, you may never look at marketing and advertising the same way again.

If you want more business without increasing your marketing budget, come to this workshop. If your sales force has had trouble closing, come to this workshop. If you are questioning the value of where you’re spending your marketing dollars, come to this workshop. I promise you will leave with answers – and information – that will help you reach your goals now and into the future.

About the Author:

Alan TarrAlan Tarr is a master copywriter and brand strategist. Author of Marketing Is…, The 7 Deadly Sins Of Marketing, Win The Marketing Game And Stop Wasting Money!, and Marketing Tips, Insights & Secrets From The MoneyWords Copywriter. Reach him at: atarr@MoneyWordsMarketing.com. http://www.moneywordsmarketing.com/

 

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3 Ways to Make Money with Your Business Blog

3 ways to monetize your business blogDo you run a blog for your small business? Blogs are a great way to humanize your company while drawing in new customers, engaging with returning clientele, and offering need-to-know details about your products or services. But what else can your business blog do for you?

Blogging can be a great source of additional income. Even if you aren’t familiar with writing for profit, you can still monetize your blog in a way that speaks to your brand. Here are three ways to stir up funds while still staying true to your audience.

  1. Write for your niche.

They say the best writers start by writing what they know — and the same should go for your business blog. If you’re a printing shop that focuses on creating custom T-shirt designs, you wouldn’t blog about the scrumptious lava cake recipe you found on Pinterest. Why? Because your followers aren’t looking to you for baking advice. They want the latest trends in printing and screening, where to buy new clothing, or tips for creating a fun and unique design.

Pro tip: Stay true to your business and keep your audience in mind — once you find your niche, you can create content that boosts engagement and leads to profit.

Take the time to flesh out every concept. One topic about T-shirts could turn into 20 posts about where to buy, how to shop, and best practices for custom graphics. This type of hyper-specific content is profitable because it speaks to your audience directly. You can link to individual products or services, driving your readers down appropriate marketing channels and boosting revenue.

  1. Secure sponsored posts.

Once you have an established presence online, you might be asked to write guest articles for outside sites (or you can even approach businesses of your own volition). Sponsored posts are a great way to earn extra income while still promoting your company or brand.

If you already have an established business presence, you’ll bring loads of knowledge and accountability to the table — not to mention a strong potential for followers. When it comes to blogging, making connections across the board is vital.

Pro tip: Take the time to develop and foster relationships with others in your industry, and seed your interests over time.

Don’t randomly approach someone with no prior affiliation — they’ll likely turn you down. But if you work toward a solid relationship and create content specific to your target audience, you’ll be in a position to successfully pitch your articles to those around you. And don’t forget to link back to your site!

  1. Don’t be afraid of ads.

Ads are a sticky topic. Most business owners don’t want to bog down their sites with advertisements that could potentially detract from the authenticity of the content. I get that. But in all reality, it’s your site. Your blog. You are the one in control of your content and layout. If you feel like there are too many ads, then scale it back a bit. But don’t avoid them entirely.

Pro tip: You might not know when your blog traffic is going to spike — but if it does and you don’t have ads in place, you’ll miss out on some serious cash.

Pick and choose ads to your liking. Align yourself with other small businesses or companies that you feel speak to your brand. There’s no hard-fast rule saying you have to use one ad over the other, so continue to control your space by being selective. That way, you’re not distracting your readers from the purpose of your blog while still giving yourself the opportunity to make a little extra. Next time a big traffic spike hits, your bank account will thank you.

Taking some money home

There are plenty of ways to engage your customers while monetizing your business blog. And when you’re a small business owner looking for extra ways to bring in a little cash, turning your thoughts into profit is a good way to go. Don’t have a blog yet? No worries — they’re pretty easy to start. And if you’ve got a blog in the works but need a little help boosting your traffic, you can check out these tips to get your business booming. Happy blogging!

About the Author:

Maxym Martineau Maxym Martineau is a content writer for Professional Web Services at GoDaddy and a freelance writer based out of Arizona. She’s an avid reader with a love for social media and blogging. Connect with Maxym on Google+. The world’s largest domain name registrar and Web hosting provider, GoDaddy gives small business owners the tools to name their idea, build a beautiful online presence, attract customers and manage their business. To get more tips for your small business—including articles, videos and webinars—check out the GoDaddy Training Hub.

 

 

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A Building Guide for a Successful New Restaurant

We at SCORE are dedicated to helping you get started and become successful business owners. As we continue with the “So You Want to Start a New Restaurant” series, we deal with construction. Construction is always a challenge — not matter what you’re building!

Building Your New Restaurant

Construction

Building your new restaurantIf you are going to build or remodel a restaurant, your general contractor will need a set of scaled construction documents, often called “working drawings” for submittal to your local building and health department.

Typical drawings

Here is a list of typical drawings you’ll need for your contractor:

  • Cover Sheet with site and project information
  • Demolition Plan, if applicable
  • Store Front Elevations, if applicable
  • Partition/Construction Plan
  • Floor Plan with FF&E (Furniture, fixtures and equipment)
  • Environmental Plans for Health Department
  • Finish Plans and Schedules
  • Kitchen Equipment Elevations
  • Wall Elevations
  • Exhaust and Make-up Air Plan
  • Refrigeration and Curb Plans
  • Plumbing and Electrical Rough in Plans
  • Detail Drawings for custom cabinetry and fixtures
  • Furniture and Equipment Specifications
  • Reflected Ceiling Plan
  • Electrical and Telephone plans
  • Mechanical Plan/ HVAC Plan
  • Door, Window and Ceiling Details
  • Other

Building Codes

All your plans, drawings and specifications must be in compliance with the building and health codes that are applicable to your location and be approved by the following regulatory agencies.

  • County Health Department
  • Department of Building and Safety
  • Fire Marshall

Most restaurants must comply with the “Americans with Disabilities Act” (Mossier)

Construction Costs

  • Build out cost for a new restaurant +/- $80-150 per sq.ft
  • Furniture, Fixtures, Equipment +/- $20-30 per sq.ft. , consider used.
  • New, hot location rents = $28-38 per sq.ft.
  • Tenant Improvement allowance (TI) allowance (negotiable) up to of 20% rent.
  • Build Cost should not exceed 25% projected sales
  • Caveat gray vs. vanilla shell (gray totally unfinished) as well as allowance issues.
  • Caveat concept impulse (requires high traffic) vs. destination.
  • To project income calculate number of seats ( 2800 sq. ft. -> 100 seats incl. kitchen – total build out costs & fixtures = +/-_ 450k or $160/ft. furniture & equipment = 20-22% of total)
  • Remember parking safety and accessibility.

About the Author:

Roger_RobinsonRoger Robinson, PhD has been a SCORE mentor for over 16 years. His specialties include non-profits, business planning, specifically in restaurants and hospitality, recreational and arts and Entertainment verticals. Read more about Roger here. Click here to schedule a free mentoring session with Roger or another SCORE mentor.

 

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