15 December

Be Your Own Brand Ambassador: How to Market Your Small Business

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for decades, it’s always a good time to review your marketing strategies to make sure you’re getting the best exposure possible. With ever-changing technological advances, small business marketing efforts can evolve quicker than you may imagine, rendering your entrepreneurship irrelevant or unseen rather quickly. With a few good business practices, however, you can stay on top of the changes and become your own brand ambassador, keeping your venture at the forefront of your market.

How to Market Your Small Business

According to Forbes.com, “Marketing is a concentrated effort to push your brand across a variety of platforms and hope that enough makes it through to your customer.” Often times, your business needs to be seen a number of times before it is truly recognized and converted to business, so the more you brand, the higher your chances of a successful effort. This is Marketing 101 and likely something most business owners are already aware of. So how do you convert this concept into something that stays current?

Becoming Your Own Brand Ambassador

The most important step to marketing your brand is organization and revision. This is the process of taking a look at what areas you are currently marketing your products and services and analyzing how they are performing. You’ll want to highlight areas that are working well – are customers bringing in mailed fliers or using certain promo codes you issued? These are things you’ll want to continue, or even tweak to keep things fresh. You’ll also want to note which areas aren’t bringing in the traffic you’d like to see so you can either rethink them and try a new angle or scratch the idea altogether. This process of reviewing what’s currently going on is one that should be repeated at least quarterly in order to stay relevant and give you the best response time.

Research Current Trends

If you want to stay relevant, you need to make sure your business is growing and moving along with technology and the digital age. Doing a little research will help you ensure you’re reaching the full extent of your client base with your marketing efforts. Take a look at what related businesses are using to promote their brand: are they pushing social media platforms or improving their mobile-friendly visibility? Also, take a look at more organic resources in your area that you could tap into. Is there an up-coming local festival or charity event you could sponsor or get involved with? These should give you ideas for what is trending currently and how you can adapt your branding efforts to match the trends.

Network, Network, Network

Let’s be honest here, of all the methods an entrepreneur can market their goods or services with, few compare to the benefits of networking. Networking is simply the act of getting out into your community and/or line of business and making connections with others. This is done by attending conferences, joining local organizations such as a Chamber of Commerce or utilizing communal work spaces, sponsoring related events, and just plain being seen. By doing this, you’re expanding the potential client base by bringing awareness to your business as well as giving yourself an essentially limitless pool of future connections.

Recap and Adapt

To recap, the best thing you can do to become your own brand ambassador and increase your bottom line is to review your efforts frequently, research what’s trending, and get out there and network in your community and trade. By keeping up with what is working, and changing what is not, you’ll be able to stay on top of marketing trends and boost your brand more effectively.

1 December

How to Shop for a Coworking Space

If your current office is the corner coffee shop and you’re thinking of ways to improve your workspace without breaking your budget, you’ve likely considered trying a coworking space. You’re not alone. Coworking spaces are on the rise, and for good reason: they are flexible and affordable without compromising the necessities and functionality of a professional workspace. Beyond the practicalities behind them, let’s face it, coworking spaces are a lot more professional to present as your home base than your local barista.

Taking the leap and moving your business into a shared office environment has a multitude of benefits. Since most spaces today offer a wide range of amenities, space availability, and membership options, it’s easy to find a great space for you without breaking the bank. Imagine having access to flexible work hours, essential technology, and impressive spaces for those all-important client meetings and business conferences – without the high cost of a traditional brick-and-mortar lease. That is the appeal of the coworking space movement today.

Shopping for the Right Coworking Space

So, you’re sold on the idea of moving out of your local café and into a more professional workspace; how do you go about shopping for the right space? The best way you can find the perfect solution for your entrepreneurial needs is by taking stock of what those needs actually are. Before you can choose a space that works for you, you should have a good understanding of what it is you need from your space.

Take a look at your daily routines and make note of what items you use most and what items seem to be lacking. This will give you a good idea of the type of amenities you will want from a coworking space as well as help you figure out any potential problem areas. Keep in mind what hours you like to work and the frequency with which you meet with clients to determine the caliber of availability you will need from a communal meeting room or private work area.

Things to Consider

Once you have a good idea of what you need from your space, it’s time to consider any additional criteria that will optimize your work environment. These are things that will determine how well-suited a potential shared workspace is for you, such as its location or how well it fits within your budget. Some of these factors will be much more critical than others, so be sure to rank them accordingly when comparing them to what’s available in your area.

Give it a Try

If you think you’ve located a coworking space that’s perfect for you, but you’re hesitant to make the plunge, explore the membership options available. Many communal workspaces today offer fantastic trial offers and other flexible options that allow members to give things a try without any form of long-term commitment. Utilizing spaces that offer trial periods or month-to-month memberships can eliminate the financial anxiety of larger annual obligations by giving you the chance to walk away from them at any time if you find they don’t work with your needs or your budget.