Seasonal Planning: For More Than Just Seasonal Businesses
15 October

Seasonal Planning: For More Than Just Seasonal Businesses

You may think holiday marketing doesn’t apply to your particular business niche, but the truth is, seasonal planning is for all businesses, no matter the goods or services provided. If your business is hand-crafted toys or candies, it’s quite obvious the holiday season is peak time for sales, but it’s also the same for practically every other form of business out there.

Know Your Angle

If you’re struggling to come up with an angle for your seasonal strategies, start by looking at your books. Find out what your customers have been interested in the most and use that information to anticipate what they may be needing shortly.

Remember that holiday planning isn’t all about retail sales and shopping. Consumers also have needs for specific services, practical items, and unique finds as well. Figure out what you can offer them and plan to highlight that for your campaign.

Begin to Prepare

Understanding that seasonal planning begins well before the holiday season begins, is the most important aspect of your process. It’s recommended to begin your planning months in advance – some even beginning as early as mid-summer. Why?

By allowing yourself ample time to research your top performers, study customer habits, and brainstorm with your team members for campaign ideas, you’ll give yourself the best chance at a highly successful campaign. You should always allow plenty of time for changes, new ideas and stocking any necessary supplies for the season.

Take Stock

Seasonal planning is more than simply finding the greatest marketing campaign to put out there this year. It also entails making sure you are fully stocked on any anticipated items, well-staffed for an influx of customers, and prepared for all your basic needs as well. How do you do this?

Start by taking inventory on your stock. Determine what items you’ll need to order if you are in the retail business. Plan for any additional stock items like shopping bags, receipt paper, shipping supplies for online orders, and any seasonal items like specialty flavors of coffee or printed fliers to hand out at purchase time.

Plan Your Schedule in Advance

Another key seasonal planning step is to make sure you are fully staffed to cover any potential increase in customer activity. It can help to make up schedules well in advance to allow employees time to plan for working hours around the holidays, as well as note any potential scheduling issues before they become problematic down the road.

Get Festive

Even if you’re not big into the holiday scene, getting festive at work is part of the seasonal planning process and your customers (as well as employees) will appreciate the gesture. There are a number of ways you can accomplish this – from simple decorations to planning events for employees and/or clients.

If you need ideas on how to get festive, include your team members in a brainstorming session to get their input – this is especially helpful in coworking spaces where members come from all walks of business (and all walks of ideas!). Not a coworking space? No problem – do some online research on local events to see what fun things are going on around you that you could include in your seasonal planning.

The best thing you can do is understand that seasonal planning takes time, and it’s not something you want to miss out on. Start planning early and get those festive ideas flowing to set your plan in motion!

Why You Should Have Already Begun Your Seasonal Planning
1 October

Why You Should Have Already Begun Your Seasonal Planning

It may seem like Summer is still lingering on (and in some cases, that’s quite true), but like it or not, the holiday season is just around the corner. Though it probably feels strange to be thinking about Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas decorations when it’s still warm enough for that swim suit, now is actually the perfect time to go full-swing into your seasonal planning.

Holiday Seasonal Planning, No Matter the Reason

Whether your business is full-blown retail toys or a small research firm with a streamlined consumer base, you need to prepare for the holiday season. No matter what service or product you have to offer, there’s a holiday angle for you to help drive seasonal business and you need to be planning for it – yesterday.

Why You Should Care

If you think your specific firm or business is unaffected by the holiday influx, we’re here to tell you you’re wrong. Since the holiday season is “the main time of year when people are out buying products and services not for themselves, but for other people,” Forbes.com explains it’s the prime opportunity for businesses of all walks to grasp their share of the shopping season.

Since gift-buying is vast and diverse (Santa doesn’t just deliver toys nowadays), finding ways to market your own business during this time is essential to grasping the best possible outcome. Shoppers love to find the “It” item of the season and are always on the lookout for the most unique items, so don’t be afraid to market your products and services no matter how unorthodox they may seem for the holidays.

Find Your Niche

By looking at your history, you should be able to find a pattern of top sellers and items or services that have peaked the most interest with your customer base. If you’ve never focused on seasonal planning before, start with your top sellers and run a campaign focusing on them as a starting point.

While you’re examining your historical sales, you can also familiarize yourself with customer-specific purchases. This will allow you to tailor discounts and offers to your clients, based entirely on their personalized needs and gives them an attentive message about you as a business.

Why So Early?

You may wonder why it’s such an important time to begin holiday planning, being fresh off the heels of summer. We’ll tell you why. Early planning allows for a seamless transition into the biggest spending season of the year, and it gets your customers thinking about how they want to spend their funds ahead of the season.

By strategically planning your holiday marketing campaigns, you will be planting ideas into the minds of your consumers, allowing them to prepare for how they’ll be shopping that season.

There’s also another important aspect to keep in mind: online sales. Since we are seeing a major shift toward online shopping in recent years, earlier seasonal planning allows consumers to use their favorite medium to shop (i.e., online shopping) while still allowing ample time for shipping before the holidays.

Holiday Strategies

If you’re looking for a unique spin on your holiday planning, try looking at what is available in your area. Perhaps you could do a collaborative work with a related company (think discount party catering with office rental space promos for corporate Christmas parties) or offer certain charitable donations to area shelters or fundraisers with a portion of their funds.

There are endless ways to market your goods and services for the holiday season – the key is to find the right angle for you and figure out what motivates your customer base. Above all, the most important thing you can do for your holiday planning is to begin now.

 

Coworking Spaces: So Much More Than a Rental (and Other Myths Debunked)
15 August

Coworking Spaces: So Much More Than a Rental (and Other Myths Debunked)

If you’ve ever considered trying out a coworking space for your business, you’ve likely heard several “myths” surrounding them. There seems to be a lot of misconceptions and confusion out there in regard to shared spaces, but the truth is, most offer invaluable benefits when compared to traditional spaces. To better understand what coworking spaces are (and if they’re right for you), it helps to know what they aren’t. Here is a look at some of the most common coworking myths and why they are debunked:

Myth #1: Coworking Spaces Are Only for Millennials and Freelancers

Since coworking spaces are a relatively new (but rapidly expanding) concept, it’s easy to understand how some may be confused as to what they are and who they are for. Somewhere along the way, coworking spaces have gained a reputation for catering only to those who are freshly entering the working world or only in specific areas of interest.

The truth is, coworking spaces are offered across the globe in record numbers and cater to all individuals and businesses. In fact, most spaces pride themselves on incorporating a highly diverse group of professionals in their spaces. Keeping a workplace community with individuals in all stages and areas of business offers members an unparalleled set of resources in the same space.

Myth #2: You Must be a Social Butterfly to be a Member

While it’s true that coworking spaces provide fantastic social and networking opportunities on a daily basis, you don’t need to worry about privacy or space to work on your own. Since most spaces offer private office spaces, cubes, or designated quiet areas, there’s always somewhere for those who wish to have a more solo experience as well.

Myth #3: You’re Limited to Access the Things You Need

Many people assume that a coworking space will limit their accessibility to things they need. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth.

With coworking spaces, you’re free to come and go as you please – meaning, you create your own hours. As you continue your coworking membership and get to know others in your shared spaces, you will begin to mesh out a schedule that works best for you and doesn’t interfere with anyone else in the space.

Myth #4: You Must Sign a Long-Term Contract or Lease

Another myth is that coworking spaces run like rental properties and leases, requiring you to sign a designated contract ensuring you’ll stay for a specified length of time. Since this can be quite a detraction for those who need flexibility, many swear off coworking spaces before they even get inside the door of one to check it out.

The truth? While there are likely some spaces that operate that way, most coworking communities are designed specifically to help those with flexibility needs. Meaning, the majority of shared spaces offer many different tiers of membership options that allow you to utilize the space only as you need it. In other words, most offer simple pay-as-you-go options that require no long-term contracts.

While all spaces operate under their own policies and procedures, you’ll never know if they’re right for you unless you chuck the myths and check them out on your own. Ask someone who participates in coworking spaces or take a visit of a nearby shared community – those are the best ways to debunk the myths and find what works for you.

 

Keeping Start-Up Costs at a Minimum: Tips for New Business Owners
1 August

Keeping Start-Up Costs at a Minimum: Tips for New Business Owners

When you’re contemplating a start-up, few things are as vital as budget and costs. In fact, often times a budget can either make or break a decision to begin your venture – but it shouldn’t. If you find yourself fretting over your start-up bottom line, rest assured, there are ways to keep your costs under control.

Keeping Start-Up Costs in Check

Chances are, if you’re looking at budgets and start-up costs, you’ve already done your fair share of research on what to expect. You’ve also likely heard that you need to have a solid plan in place in order to give your venture a clear shot at success. So, what does that mean exactly?

For starters, yes, you need to create a budget that takes as many factors into consideration as possible – but that’s not all. When it comes time to putting your budget and plan in motion, there are ways to be smart about your spending that will help you keep your costs in check.

Buy Smart

It may seem like a no-brainer, but before you go writing checks for your start-up needs, make sure you shop around. Just like you would take advantage of holiday sales or special discounts for everything else in your personal life, you need to do the same with your business.

Research area businesses that may be having a close-out sale, or maybe a going-out-of-business sale can help you score some quality used pieces on a budget-friendly purchase. It’s always good to check tag sales and estate sales or auctions for items you may need as well. Remember to keep things in check by ensuring you’re truly buying what you need, and not just what is convenient or something that lured you in for “extras” you could really do without right away.

Start Simply

In the beginning, you’ll likely have a difficult time keeping up with the expenses of bringing on a full-time (or even part-time) staff. One way to help off-set this expense is by avoiding it altogether. How? Try subcontracting work out on an as-needed basis.

There are plenty of sites and sources for employees looking to work on a contract-only basis, meaning you simply pay for what you need without all the overhead for insurance premiums and salaries. As time goes on and you get more established, you can look to add more permanent staff members later.

Alternative Spaces

Being budget conscious about your start-up equipment and staff needs are a large part of the puzzle, but there’s another one you need to focus on as well: your business space. Starting your own business doesn’t mean you need to go out shopping for primo store fronts or the typical brick-and-mortar buildings.

There is a plethora of options out there for those just starting out in their business ventures today (and even for those well-established ones who are looking for a more budget-friendly avenue). Many choose to carve out a space in their residence to help cut costs that way, but there’s a third option to consider as well: coworking spaces.

Coworking spaces can be a great way to keep your start-up costs in check because they offer a fantastic business setting without the fantastic pricing. Essentially, you share a communal office area that comes complete with all your basic needs (so you’ll cut down on equipment expense as well) and offers a professional atmosphere to present to clients.

Overall, there are a number of ways you can stay under budget on your start-up, you just need to be smart and resourceful about it. Do your research, stick to what you need, and explore options that give you the most bang for your buck.

Conference Room for Rent? Wowing Clients with Professional Spaces
15 July

Conference Room for Rent? Wowing Clients with Professional Spaces

As the coworking movement continues to trend, entrepreneurs are beginning to see more and more of the advantageous benefits of their memberships. Among them is the ability to wow prospective clients with amazing professional spaces on a budget. Some of the greatest advantages to coworking spaces and conference room rentals is the minimal overhead and maximum utilization.

Professional Space Memberships and Rentals

If you’re unfamiliar with the coworking trend, it’s essentially a shared office space which allows freelancers and entrepreneurs alike to work alongside others in a professional setting with minimal costs. It’s catching on quickly, in large part because it allows business professionals to work in some amazing (and fully equipped) spaces with very little overhead expense.

With several options available today, memberships range from full-usage, unlimited access, to conference room rentals for specific meetings. These spaces are designed specifically to meet the needs of any business professional while allowing for budget-friendly flexibility and accessibility.

What Conference Room Rentals Offer

There are a number of reasons you may find the need for a larger meeting space. Annual budget meetings, conferences, or even just to impress a specific client – whatever your need, conference room rentals might be a great option.

Many people think of these areas as hotel meeting rooms with closed off panels and outdated décor. It’s difficult to make a good impression with outdated surroundings weighing in on the meeting. That’s where the coworking movement and conference room rentals come in. Today, there are several options available for coworking spaces and conference room rentals in much more elaborate (and fully equipped) settings.

The Benefits of Conference Room Rentals

Whatever your reason for considering a conference room rental, there are numerous benefits to the rented space options. If you’re considering a conference room or meeting room rental, here is a look at some of the greatest benefits to keep in mind:

1 – The Wow Factor

Perhaps you don’t have the space in your existing office environment to accommodate a larger meeting, or maybe you just want something with an impressive view. No matter what your reasoning, renting conference rooms can offer you the chance to truly impress potential clients with functional and updated areas. Particularly, if you’re conducting business out of a small home office, professional conference spaces can supply you with a much more professional atmosphere for meetings.

2 – Fully Equipped

It’s difficult to host a meeting if you’re lacking specific technology and equipment. Depending upon your current office situation, it may be quite costly to purchase items such as multiple phone lines, projection screens, interactive whiteboards and other tech needs. Renting conference rooms offers all of the technology you will need to hold a successful meeting without the ridiculous overhead expense.

3 – Convenience and Budget-Friendly

If you’re a budget-conscious entrepreneur (and let’s face it, we all are), coworking spaces and conference room rentals are a fantastic way to stay in the black. By keeping costs to a minimum and offering flexibility of usage, these shared spaces are a great way to conveniently take care of some of the basics of your business needs.