By Mindee Doney

Finally it’s here! Some of us are happy, some sad, some with mixed emotions. No matter how you settle into your families new Back to School schedule it is just that = new! A change of pace and a new rhythm. More time without the kids in tow.  You have never been here before, with kids this age doing these things while you are where you are doing your things. It’s all new! The trick for me in keeping cool through transitions like this is planning, prioritizing and scheduling.  I’m not talking about the white board with dentist reminders and soccer snack captain alerts. I’m referring to how you actually spend your new found, un-kidded up, time in your business.  Just settling back into the way you always do it or just doing more of what you did this summer is not the key to keeping your business thriving.  The whole reason we do this running our own business thing is so that we can slow down and change it up in the summer when the kids are around more.  Now that we are back into the majority of our reality, we have more time for our business! Yipee!  Let’s make the most of it to fuel us all up for next summer’s slow down. 

Here are a few tips on how to go about getting the rhythm reset in your business when the kids go back to school:

Organize your Office: Get to the bottom of those piles and when in doubt THROW IT OUT! Take note of how many things you find on your desk that you never got to, you worried about but in the end never really needed you anyway– don’t you love it when that happens? Get out the label gun and toss out the sticky raisins in the bottom of your pen mug Jr made you for Mother’s Day. Take note of supplies you might need and make of wish list of supplies and new furniture equipment you might want to save up for this year.

Fill up your Calendar with the Kid Stuff: You should know when dance and practice is now, what time they need to be to school, how they will be getting home and when you need to be back on the homemaker wagon! Color code your hours for Mom Mode and Work Mode so you can better brace yourself for those weeks of in-service and teacher planning day, an extra practice, sleepovers and soccer tournaments you will be needed in full cheer mode for.

List your Business Priorities: What top 5 (not 50) things would you like to see grow or change in your business. Be specific – saying “more sales” is not acceptable here! “More sales to doctors offices in the tri-state area?” Much better!  List what’s working and what you need to keep up with at about the same level (bookkeeping, social media, blogging, product development, shipping etc..) Set some goals and objectives, print them all cutesy with some cool Pinterest inspirational image and slap those suckers up in your office so you can see them and live them everyday.

Assign Days and Tasks: Once you have cleared your mind and set your goals you can really design your schedule in a way that maximizes your time and makes you shine.  Consider making certain tasks happen on certain days no matter what. Maybe Tues and Thurs are Facebook days, bookeeping and new business. Monday is servicing current accounts and/or website development. Fridays are for planning and scheduling meetings or networking for the next week. Each day maybe has 2-3 hours of email and/or project time in it. Align the remaining time with the priorities and goals you have set so it all works together for your optimal output. A system like this will keep your business growing on a sustainable, solid foundation.

Above all show up for where you are in your new routine and keep the schedule protected as much as possible. I say it again and again GUILT TRIPS ARE GUT CHECKS! If you are feeling bad about working, you have probably not given enough undivided attention to your family that week. If you are anxious and feel overwhelmed when you are with your family, you have probably not given enough to your business. There is no magic potion of how many hours are required in each one. It’s just whatever it takes to balance your unique set of values and priorities, what centers you and allow you to show up for every moment.  Some women need more work time, some crave more family/house time. We are all programmed a little different and at different phases in our family and career. The most important thing is staying in touch with it! A solid schedule centered around your priorities is one of the best ways to do just that.

My Dad often would tell me there is a fine line between a groove and a rut. The change in routine this time of year offers us Mompreneurs a chance to find a solid groove early on and dance our way through the season! Hope these tips will help you stay out of rut! 😉

Peace, Be Well and Happy Lunch Packing!

Mindee Doney:: Author, Inventor (Boogie Wipes®), Idea Consultant.Tired of chasing her kids runny noses, Mindee herself ran with an idea she had for a saline infused nose wipe she called a Boogie Wipe ®. In 2007, she partnered with Julie Pickens and by 2011 grew her concept, to $12 million in sales, with distribution to 50,000 retail locations in 8 countries.  She managed all PR, marketing and branding herself and landed Boogie Wipes® on the Today Show, The Big Idea with Donny Deutch, Good Morning America, in People Magazine, The NY Times and countless others.  She is the author of Get your Own Juicebox – Confident Moms raising Capable Kids and consults an exclusive group of start-ups through her company Juice Box Consulting.


This post is supported by Lane and Associates Family Dentistry. Their comprehensive approach to dental care has been helping people in North Carolina for nearly 40 years. If you are in the Raleigh area and in need of dental assistance, please check them out.

Jennifer Fontana is a colorist and owner of Cristophe Salon Newport Beach. In 2010, she and her husband took ownership of the salon located in Fashion Island. “We infused new life into Cristophe Salon Newport Beach and turned the salon around in a down economy by remodeling the space, creating a sleek retail environment and building a strong, hand-picked team of beauty and hair care
professionals,” Fontana said.

In addition to owning and operating the salon and coloring hair, Fontana launched Hairgloss “Salon Gloss to Go,” a Fontana Brands, LLC product available in eight different shades. “Formulated to retain color and shine, I created the gloss for clients who want to maintain that ‘fresh from the salon’ look in between visits,” she said. “Along with my husband, I also launched Badass Baby, a line of chemical-free baby products including shampoo, creams, baby powders and more.”

Fontana agrees that having a business and a family is definitely a balancing act. “Both are very important to me,” she said. “I think I can do it all, but I have wonderful support from my husband and parents, which makes everything so much easier! I used to work crazy hours, from open to close. Now, I am so happy working and enjoying my clients and being at the salon until 3 p.m. Once I get home, it’s strictly kid time!”

She encourages other business owners to ask for support even when you think you can do it all. And, she says “Enjoy every minute because it goes by so fast! Work will always be there but kids grow in the
blink of an eye. Don’t stress about the little things, just sit back and enjoy the ride.”

Fontana markets her salon with the help of a PR agency and online with services such as Yelp and social media. “I understand the importance of Facebook and Twitter, and use it as a way to keep a pulse on the community and interact with potential clients by offering tips and trends, and special promotions,” she said.

You can find the Cristophe Salon Newport Beach online here.

To make a significant sale, you need to get your clients engaged in what you have to offer and the best way to do this is by communicating with them.

But how do you bridge the distance between potential clients and a deal? Thanks to the online world, there’s an ever-increasing number of tools that can be used to secure sales, with specific technology and platforms catering to different needs.

Read on to find out how to land a big sale with the help of the internet

Start with a professional website

The internet provides great opportunities for businesses to present their products to the world, as it acts as a virtual shop front, but remember – first impressions count.

It’s more than likely that the first thing a prospective client will do is Google your firm to try and find out more about what you have to offer and conduct some background research before deciding to part with their cash.

Making sure your website is up-to-date with plenty of accurate content, therefore, is a great way for them to see how professional you are and how dedicated you are to your business. And if you have an e-commerce section to your site, even better – that way people can buy from you directly.

If you find this too complex to handle yourself, enlist the services of a professional content marketing organization – it’s an investment rather than an outgoing.

Use social media

Making the most of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn isn’t an option these days, it’s a must.

Not only do these platforms offer a direct link to consumers and clients, they’re also a chance for your firm to show off its personality and keep people abreast of news and offers.

At the same time, social media sites also allow customers to get in touch with you quickly and easily and with millions of users on each, if you didn’t tap into such a wide-reaching audience base, you’d be mad.

Teleconferencing

Conference calls allow three or more individuals to participate in a phone conversation and when it comes to using the service to close sales, there are many advantages over face-to-face meetings.

First of all, it allows you to reach out to clients in a more personal way than emails, phone calls or social media.

And not only is teleconferencing a cost effective method of meeting, but prospective clients will be impressed by the efforts your business is making to be carbon neutral and eco-friendly. On top of this, no time is being wasted commuting, something which is particularly important if your employees are preparing for a sales pitch.

If you have multiple representatives presenting a pitch to one client, the individual talents of each can be used to close the sale during a teleconferencing meeting without having to weather the costs of sending each to a face-to-face rendezvous across town, for example.

What’s more, as the technology allows you to make low-cost international calls, the opportunity for global growth is more realistic.

 

Monika Labbé started a part-time photography business in 2002 when she worked full time in corporate America. But when the housing market crashed and companies started laying off, she suddenly found herself at a crossroad. Should she try to look for work as more and more companies downsizing or should she try to grow a business in the worst economy ever. She chose the latter.

The answer, although not an easy one, was born out of necessity. As the digital age progressed and people were putting profiles on sites like Linked in, there came an opportunity to provide a service. There were more networking events then ever and suddenly people needed photos for all kinds of things. Since 2007 Creative M Photography & Creative M Studios have met the needs of consumers and small businesses.

While Creative M Photography specializes in weddings, engagements, families and children, Creative M Studios handles the commercial side. Helping small businesses grow. The studio side handles everything from headshots, to products, to interiors and corporate events. It was easier to split the commercial side from the rest of the photography, as it was confusing for consumers. This way each side and website is brand specific and each caters to a different audience.

In addition to running two very different businesses, Monika is a mom to four adult children; the youngest is 19, then 21, 27 & 30. The oldest two are additions from her recent marriage to Matthew, who is the love of her life and her best source of support. Balancing work and family is a lot easier now that the kids are all grown but having set goals, planning things in advance and setting priorities early on, help things run smoothly.

“My goal from the beginning is to really listen to each client and meet their needs in a way that is both creative and engaging. Many times people are not sure what the process is and what it involves and I lead them through it step by step. My work varies weekly. I am often creating portrait sessions with families, those are very personal and I ask a lot of questions, not just about the family, but about the home environment and what they are looking for the end product to be. Sometimes it’s a canvas, sometimes a grouping of images for a wall. Often I go to the clients home and look at their walls, colors of their home, and lifestyle in general to determine the best location and time of day for their portraits. We talk about wardrobe and I get to meet the children long before we have a session together. In this way, I provide a complete 180-degree experience for my clients. Following up to make sure the products they purchase meet & exceed their expectations.

When working with small business owners the process is generally the same except we discuss, not just their product but what they would like to achieve with those products. More sales? Promotions? Showcasing different products during various times of the year, in different ways, and often taking headshots of the business owners in their own environment helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page. It helps that as a businessperson my approach to photography is from a business perspective. It’s not just the technical side, but the business side that sets me apart from my competitors.”

You can find Creative M Photography & Creative M Studios online & on Facebook. Use code MarketMommy for 10% off your session fee!

 Having been a professional photographer for over 13 years, I feel very blessed to have been published in numerous books, magazines, and websites. For me, seeing how my photos touch others, whether they bring a smile, a chuckle, or a tear, is what I consider truly priceless. I welcome the opportunity to bring that to you and your family. For more information regarding photography services, please contact me through my website,or email me directly. ~ Monika Labbé, Visual Storyteller

Businesses need to understand what methods are best for reaching their target audience if they are going to be successful. There are plenty of promotional and advertising opportunities out there but finding the right blend of marketing tactics is essential.

Print, promotional products and TV spots are among the options open to companies looking to build a brand and attract more customers. However, depending on the size of your business’ budget and objectives, certain methods may be better than others.

Promotional products can outperform TV

Research commissioned by Promotional Products Association International – and carried out by researchers at Louisiana State University and University of Texas at San Antonio – looked at the effectiveness of promotional items compared to print and TV. As well as this, it tried to deduce what each consumer’s preferred medium for finding out information about a product or brand is.

In terms of the effectiveness, promotional merchandise outperformed television across the board. Despite long being accepted as one of the best ways to advertise a brand, the findings highlight how TV ads no longer have the same ability to influence customers as they used to.

Favorable attitudes

Respondents, who were all aged between 18 and 34, preferred advertising based on the distribution of promotional products over TV ads in five different areas. Firstly, in terms of their positive attitudes toward the ad (41 per cent  to 18 percent), their purchase intent (54 per cent to 33 percent), their positive attitude toward the product (20 per to 16 percent), their referral value (26 percent to 16 percent) and message credibility (54 percent to 33 per cent).

Promotional gifts were also found to generate favorable attitudes in all cases. For example, the credibility attached to a print and TV campaign was only 31 per cent, but this increased to 60 percent for a message delivered through print and promotions and 70 per cent for a combination of TV and promotions.

Positive effects

This demonstrates how there are a number of positive effects associated with introducing promotional items into an advertising scheme. Not only does it boost credibility, but it will also lead to a higher referral value. Indeed, 84 per cent of those questioned said the use of this method helps to create a good brand impression – higher than both TV and print (31 percent).

In terms of integrating promotional products into an advertising campaign, companies should always be looking at their target audience. For example, an office supplier could distribute promotional mugs to its clients, as most office workers will have a cup of coffee or tea in the morning. As well as being a popular and refreshing way to display your logo, you can be sure the gift will get a lot of use because of its practicality.

The research highlights how promotional products can work as an effective standalone tactic or as part of a wide marketing mix. Promotional merchandise is seen as both likeable and pleasant, while it has also been found to increase interest in a brand. If used correctly, companies should be able to attract more consumers by developing a long-lasting impression with them, which should eventually bring about an improvement in customer loyalty further down the line.

by Stephanie Shaterian

Using video to market your business is HAWT right now, and it’s only going to get hotter. Online video traffic is projected to be 55 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2016. (Cisco) Consumers are not the only ones who love video. According to Forbes Insight, 59% of senior executives are more likely to watch a video than read text and about 65% of those that do will follow up with a visit to the marketers website. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, experimenting with video marketing techniques makes good business sense.

Making marketing videos on a budget can be done. Let’s take the ultimate DIY approach and talk about some ways to shoot and edit your own videos using your smartphone or webcam. All it takes is thoughtfulness and creativity. Focus on brief (no longer than 2 minute) videos that provide value to your audience. Here are some suggestions for how to get the best DIY video results:

1. When you’re using footage that’s shot on a phone or webcam, play into the intimacy and immediacy of that context. I.E. You were out and about and you just HAD to share this great tip. You were just working with a client and wanted to share a discovery, etc. – This “explains” the quality of the footage for a viewer. It’s not because you didn’t want to sit down in a professional studio, but because you couldn’t wait!

2. Make sure you are well lit from the front (natural light is best) and that your sound is as clean as possible (minimal to no background noise).

3. Practice looking through the camera. This is an actor’s trick and hard to do with those tiny little lenses. Imagine that deep inside that wee lens is someone’s eyes, someone who needs the information that you’re giving. This trick could make the difference between a flat snoozer of a video and one where the audience feels immediate connection and engagement with you.

4. Script it and/or do multiple takes. Some people work better with a pre-written script they can memorize, for others it can come off stilted and wooden. Some folks love to work off the cuff and others are scared silly by it. Play around with both and find what works for you. Either way, be prepared to do multiple takes of the same material to minimize the “uh’s” and get the best delivery.

5. Take the time to familiarize yourself with an editing program, both PCs and Macs now come with basic video editing software for free. Make clean cuts at the beginning and end of your footage or if you’re into it, do some internal edits. Creating an intro and outro title screen or graphic with music automatically elevates simple DIYs

Utilizing these five simple suggestions will put you well on your way to making effective DIY marketing videos for your business.

Stephanie Shaterian, owner of fLO Content Marketing,  is the consummate online actress, taking on the identity of any brand and creating winning, witty content that helps companies and non-profits build loyalty and top-of-mind awareness among clients and prospects. Stephanie has worked with a diverse range of clients including: consulting, advocacy, retail, greentech, commercial furniture, medical, performing arts and animal boarding(?!). She also helps parent entrepreneurs get a handle on their social media marketing with her quick and affordable Coach fLO program