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Category: Creative Business

The Basics of Tradeshow Marketing

Tradeshows are often the best (and sometimes only) was to showcase your items and creative business. Tradeshows are useful because they offer you a platform on which to shop your products and services to people in a position where they are ready to learn.
They are usually a hub of activity; new products to see, new market trends to learn about and services that people can’t live without. One of the great things about shows is that people go into them looking for specific answers to specific problems. Your goal is to offer those solutions.
With all the different shows and Markets available these days, how do you choose which ones are good and which should be avoided?
Research
You can’t just hop into any or every tradeshow and hope for the best. You need to spend some time looking into your available options and weigh whether or not you are a good fit for each show on an individual basis. If your product misses the mark in terms of what the tradeshow attendees are looking for, you may find that your ROI is low. Instead, find out all about the demographics of each show by requesting relevant information from the organizers. The demographics of the attendees will give you an idea of how each show stacks up against your needs, and that’s important.
Identify What You Want To Achieve
You’re looking to advertise your business, otherwise you would have no reason for attending. Beyond that, what are your goals? Are you looking to a tradeshow as a point of sale? Do you want to land custom orders or sign people up on the spot? Are you looking for investors, or simply to gain clients? Understanding your motives will help you focus your energy in the right places. Keep in mind that not all shows allow cash and carry so it’s also important to ask that question.
Be Prepared
You need to have an excellent handle on your booth; what will the space allow? What will the dimensions be? Ensure that you’re ready for a tradeshow by having handout materials made ahead of time, and ensuring that you’re highly visible. Get a large banner to attract the eye. Offer a demonstration to draw people in. Host a contest to engage your audience.
Follow Up
The idea behind a tradeshow is obviously to gain ground in your day-to-day work. If you make contact with people while you’re there, why not follow up with a thank you card, or send a sample of your work to their office. You want to convince potential customers that they truly can’t live without you, and great customer service is one way to do exactly that.
While this is just a quick post about what to look for in a tradeshow, there are LOTS of great ways to use markets and shows as your primary method of sales/growth. We will be exploring the topic further (especially as we get closer to market season) so please leave your questions/insights in the comments section so we can include those in our next post.

Looking Forward And Planning For 2019

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season begins to wind down, many entrepreneurs are caught off-guard by all of the things that need to get done for the new year. When you’re a business owner, the working world didn’t just stop for the holidays. After the fuzz of January has worn off, now come the time to plan strategically for February and beyond. Don’t procrastinate! Instead, take a good hard look at all aspects of your business.
How was your business year? Did you achieve your business goals? Exceed them? Fall short? Take a deliberate look at your business, profits, projections and marketing efforts. Are you happy with your results? Looking back, what would you change? Why?
Take a look at the things that you are most happy with. Which projects did you complete? What plans did you have in place that made these projects truly successful? What did you learn from these experiences? What can you plan to do differently?
While you’re looking at your past, think about your future. Do you need to add something to your overall ideals? Do you need to add staff to your team? How do you plan to expand your marketing efforts? Is there a way that you can better reach your clients and potential clients, both online and off?
You can jot these ideas down in a notebook, or create a vision board for your next year. If you respond well to creative efforts, make yourself a board that you can put up in your office and come back to. This should be a memorable learning activity that allows you the opportunity to implement changes to your goals and methods for the new year.
Remember that business is all about learning from your triumphs and shortcomings, and to identify troublesome habits or isolate the root of some of your frustration to experience smooth sailing after the fact. We all have some stumbles amidst our successes, and each serve to teach us where we plan to go in the future.

How To Create A Basic Editorial Calendar That You Can Stick To

An editorial calendar is a great tool for anyone who uses social media or blogs. It allows you to get a handle on your content by answering some of the most important questions about who you’re planning to reach, when you should be writing, what you have to say and where you’re going to say it.

If you’re running a site with multiple contributors, an editorial calendar will also help you keep track of who is responsible for generating content at what time. It’s likely the best way to keep publishing streamlined and organized, and to set time restraints for yourself and your team.

Use A Template

You don’t need to make a complicated calendar for your editorial needs; in fact the simpler the better. All you need to do is find something that you’re familiar with and run with it. If you’re most comfortable using Google Calendar, you can create new calendar and make that into your editorial one. If you like using a day planner, by all means, use that. We even have a weekly planner you can download for FREE!

Brainstorm

In order to create your editorial calendar, You need to have a number of post ideas that fit in with your marketing plans. Take some time to research others who are blogging in your field to get some ideas of what you feel is relevant or irrelevant to your business. Once you have a list that you’re satisfied with, you can start to plug those blog posts into your calendar.

Use and Update

The point of an editorial calendar is to keep you organized and on task. It’s great to wake up each day and know exactly what needs to be written, or to be able to advise your staff in kind. For an editorial calendar to be effective, you need to update it on a regular basis; write, publish, brainstorm, repeat.

An editorial calendar is an excellent way to keep from feeling rushed or overwhelmed when it comes to blogging, newsletters and other outreach. When keeping up with an editorial calendar, you can sit down and write your posts for the week in a matter of hours because you know what needs to be done, and that will free up your time for so many other important things.

Leave us a comment and let us know how your Editorial Calendar turns out!

5 Ways To Stay Motivated In Business

By shaking up your approach to your career, you will find new and innovative ways to keep yourself from growing bored, and you’ll also see your business improving in the long run.

Keeping momentum and motivation in your small business are often two of the biggest challenges that an entrepreneur faces on a daily basis. When your heart isn’t in your company, your clients know it. Your sales will begin to fall, which leads to an even bigger lack of motivation.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest from the trees when it comes to inspiring growth, but it’s important to take steps towards rejuvenating your love for the craft when your motivation starts to slip.

If you’re finding yourself trapped in a place of listlessness or even bordering resentment, there are some important steps that you should take to get active in your business.

Look Backwards

You’re in this to win this; you want to be successful. Yet, losing your motivation hurts those chances for success by dragging you down. Take some times to look back on your past successes. These are the things that will motivate you most, because they will remind you how good you can be. Focusing on these achievements will serve to get you back on track and guide your way into success once again.

Try Something New

A lack of motivation very often comes from a place of becoming stagnant. When you allow yourself to get too set in a daily routine, there’s a possibility that you will lose your passion for your career. Stir things up a bit! Take a new approach to an old problem. See how you can alter your perspective and come at your problems from a new angle.

Challenge Yourself

In the same way that routine can get boring and cause you to become unmotivated, so can a lack of challenging problems in your daily workload. Set goals for yourself, whether small or large, and ensure that you work towards meeting each one. Spend your work hours creating steps of action which get you on track to be successful in your goals.

Make sure your goals are YOURS

Have you ever sat back for a minute and asked yourself WHY you’re doing this? If you have and realised that you’re doing this daily grind for someone else, then it’s time to rework things. Obviously some things are for others (feeding the kids etc.) but if your business’ main goal is to make something or someone ELSE happy, you will very easily lose motivation to keep it up.

Make your END GAME very visible

You know those “Vision Boards” everyone chats about? They work! They keep you on track and keep your goals in view. You don’t need a fancy vision board, you can have a list if you’d like or even a jot note on a napkin but the key is to have it VISIBLE to you so you can see it every day – that way you see what all your hard work is contributing to!

Above all, don’t give up! If you need to find an accountability partner, do so.. Join a group like YRCIA or get a few business friends together and help lift each other up!

How to Say NO and Why You Should Do it More Often

Isn’t life all about creating boundaries?

You need boundaries with your friends, boundaries with your children and boundaries when it comes to your business. As a business-owner, it’s tempting to hoard opportunity. You want to get experience! You want to get your name out into the marketplace. You want to be seen and cater to people who are clients or have the potential to one day be clients. In some ways, this is a clever approach to business, but if you’re not careful it can quickly slip into a matter of entrepreneurial suicide.

Let’s get this out of the way, shall we?

You cannot be everything to everyone. You can’t take on every invitation. You can’t do it all. It’s tempting to try, but this is not the way lasting growth is made.

So, now that we understand that, let’s take a look at how to start saying NO!

Identify What Works
Before you know what to decline and what to accept, take a step back and evaluate the events that you’ve seen as successes. Which events led to new clients? Which undertakings produced measurable results? Once you know which things work for your business, you can develop a list of criteria for future acceptance.

Don’t Lose Focus
When we say yes to everything, we become strained. When we’re strained, a few things happen to our business. First of all, we begin to dread getting up every day because we know how much work there is on our plate. We become discouraged when the work that we’re doing rules our life and doesn’t actually deliver us closer to our goals. We lose our focus, drive and passion, and it happens fast. Saying ‘no’ to things that aren’t directly beneficial will ensure that you have the time and energy for the things that will directly aid you in success.

Practice Makes Perfect
Saying ‘no’ isn’t easy at first, which is probably why you’re tempted to avoid it. Still, like most things, saying ‘no’ will become easier with practice. Design yourself a quick two sentence decline, thanking the inviter for the opportunity and asking them to consider you again in the future when opportunities arise. Becoming a master of this decline is an excellent way to make a good, albeit different impression on other entrepreneurs and marketers. You establish yourself as someone who values their time and who gives great consideration to your business, which is an admirable quality.

Have you found yourself taking on too much? Have you decided to say NO? How did you go about getting out of the rigorous grind and what was your experience once you said NO?!

Creating Your Circle Of Support

No matter which line of work you’re in, it’s easier to be successful when you’ve got a support net that you can lean on. For many, finding those with similar interests and experiences makes all the difference in getting through the harder times, and celebrating the great ones.

You may have heard business people talk about finding a tribe, and a circle of support falls into the same kind of an idea. When you’re an entrepreneur it becomes especially important to create a core group of people with similar business values that you are able to lean on and learn from. The question is, where do you find them?

A circle of support is a mutually beneficial relationship that allows members to come together and help reach goals. How often you meet is completely up to you, and may be dependent upon your members and your current goals. Circles don’t have to consistently be the same, and can shift as your situations do.

To create your own circle of support, first you must get an idea of who to include. It’s likely that you already have a network of people that you lean on personally, but this group is going to be a little different. You’re going to want to put together a circle of people with expertise in business, or in a particular field.

After you’ve decided who you want to gather, you have to pitch the idea. This is important, because you’re representing your idea and making a lasting impression. You have to convince your peers that they want to be involved, and show them the benefits that they stand to see by doing so.

A circle of support is a planned meeting of the minds with the intention of brainstorming and learning. Together, your circle of support will work through business challenges, profit stalls and other common business problems. You will learn from and celebrate one another’s triumphs, while also creating deeper connections within your industry.

Why You Need to be Creative in Business

What is creativity? It’s the ability to come at an old problem from a new angle. It’s about being able to entice people to buy your products or services by breaking down perceived barriers. It’s an act of translating ideas into innovation.

It’s no wonder, when we look at creativity from this perspective, that the most creative campaigns and companies have now become the most successful.

For a long time, those with creative minds were considered to be subpar entrepreneurs. It was almost as though creative people were destined to a life of being employed by someone else. Today, things have changed. With companies making huge strides in the now viral field of creativity, there is not just a hope for creative folk in the business world, but an expectation of being able to think outside the box in production as well as marketing.

The internet and other new technology have changed the face of business for the better. Highly creative, engaging, customer focused campaigns have become the norm, meaning that there’s a need for creative leadership within companies in the market today. This means that entrepreneurs need to work towards creative campaigns, but also that business-owners would do well to pay attention to the creative ideas of their employees.

Being able to recognize a brilliantly creative idea is the first step to successfully launching a creative platform, but the buck doesn’t stop there. After you’ve caught wind of an innovative idea, you have to find a way to channel that idea and make it a reality. This takes a special kind of creativity of its own, but it can lead to brilliant business results.

There’s an inclination shared by most business owners in the creative world today; they want to become market leaders, but many are afraid to take the risks necessary to do so. It’s scary going out on a limb, but when it comes to translating creativity into profit, trailblazing is a must. Risks need to be taken in order to see rewards from your creative mind, or the ideas of your staff and colleagues. Timing is often the difference between a successful creative campaign and one that falls short.

3 Steps to Combat a Copycat

Copycatting. Plagiarism. In our growing technological world, these practices happen more often than we would like. In the business world, copycatting can be our worst nightmare. When someone imitates us, it’s supposed to be flattering, but when someone imitates our body of work it can become angering, fast.

The unfortunate thing about success is that it breeds plenty of copycats. When people like your product, they will sometimes try to revamp or improve it to make money from your idea. When people like your content, they’ll sometimes take it and plug it into their own website. When people see a marketing strategy that works, they’re bound to try their hand at a similar method. It’s unfortunate, but it does happen.

Copycatting is annoying, but it happens. If you’re in business for yourself, the likelihood is that you’ll come up against this issue at one time or another. So, what should you do if you feel that you’re being plagiarized enough to take action? (link http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/stopping-internet-plagiarism/2-contacting-a-plagiarist/ )

Start Small
The best way to handle this type of conflict is to address it directly, wherever possible. This works in two ways; it makes you identify whether or not you truly believe you’re being copycatted, and it makes you more real to the perpetrator. Reach out and express your concern; explain the trials and tribulations that you have faced in designing your strategy, and offer some advice for someone just starting out. Ask the copycat respectfully to alter their course, and hope for cooperation.

Going Above The Copycat
When the plagiarism or copycatting is obvious and undeniable, and direct contact has no impact, the time may be upon you to go above their head. The next step with any online copyright infringement is to contact the host. Send a quick note to shed some light on the situation that you’re in and ask for the host’s help in convincing your copycat to cease. The host has far more leverage than you do.

Seek Legal Advice
If nothing else works, it may be time to consider talking to a lawyer. Keep in mind that plagiarists are plagiarists through and through and they’ve likely poached the work of others as well. If you can find other victims and form an alliance, you may get further in your journey to have your content pulled.

For more information on how you can protect yourself, Plagiarism Today is a great resource.

Have you ever been copied? How did it impact your business or make you feel? Were you successful in taking the copycat down? Leave us a comment so we can learn from your experience.

When and Why to Revise Your Business Plan

You know that business plans are important, but as a business owner, you also know that figures and strategies can often change. You’re probably aware that you should revise your business plan once a year, but there are times when an annual look just isn’t enough. If you’re unsure what constitutes revising your business plan, here are some scenarios where you should take inventory to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Scheduling is All Wrong

When you’re consistently behind schedule, it’s not good for anyone. Clients feel like they’re not important, and you feel like you’re stressed to the max. When you notice that your big projects, or all of your projects are falling behind schedule, your business is in dangerous water. Take some time to re-examine what is happening and make some changes.

Employee Attitudes

Every company should run like a well-oiled machine. If your employees are slacking, losing motivation or lacking in focus, it’s probably time to address something within your business. There are a number of reasons that employee morale can slip, but it’s up to you to find out what is at work and to fix it.

Being Outsold by Competitors

Sometimes your business plans are thwarted by new or suddenly aggressive competitors. Often unexpected, this can feel a little personal; remember that it isn’t. Your competitors are out to make money and retain clientele, just like you are. Instead, sit down and really think about what you can do to stay afloat, but don’t wait in this instance. Address it fast!

Sales Figures Drop or Projections Are Off

When your sales and financial projections are off, it’s a definite indication that your business plan needs to be revised. The positive to this is that you should have a better idea of your clientele and sales than you originally did. That means that it will be easier to forecast realistically.

When it comes to your business plan, the main thing to remember is that it’s an imperative part of your success, and that problems will not fix themselves. Pour time into revisions when you come up against problems and get your company on track and where you’d like it to be.

Are You Left or Right Brained in Business?

You’re a problem solver. You take a look at every obstacle that you are facing and find the quickest, most efficient way to tackle it. Everything is a puzzle waiting to be solved, and you like it that way. It’s organized, comfortable and strategic. You rely strongly on your left-brain.

…Or not.

Maybe you’re creative! You can visualize the most stunning settings and collaborate in intensely creative ways. You’re able to think outside of the box and get things done in a way that many others could not. You’re the right-brained kind of person.

Many people believe that the business world is for left-brained people, while right-brainers should be left to designing business cards or sandwich boards. More and more often in the business world of today, right-brained people are finding their niche and making their way to success.

Right-brained and left-brained people aren’t generally interested in the same things, but even when they are they tend to approach these things in completely different ways. Typically, one would expect to find a left-brained person in industries such as medicine and law. Right-brained people are more likely to lean towards things in the arts or design, but anything can be creative if you can look at it from a unique perspective. It’s unlikely to find a right-brained accountant, just as it might become hard to nail down a left-brained expert in musical theatre. Depending upon your wiring, your passions will vary, and those variations will carry over into your career choices.

No matter your persuasion; left or right, if you decide to enter into the entrepreneurial world, you can successfully do so as long as you put some tested tactics into place. In business, it is always important to have goals, both lofty and immediate. Set your sights high, but aim for small, achievable goals right out of the gate. This is the best way to feel encouraged, measure your success and also ease yourself into the stress of owning a business. This also works to keep your tasks simplified, which helps you to focus on one thing at a time, no matter your goals. Focus on your immediate goals, and as you achieve them, regroup and move forward.

When it comes to creative business ideas, integrate them slowly and responsibly. Don’t jump too far ahead of yourself too quickly, or you’ll find that you overshoot your target. Make note of any of the methods you’ve put in place, define whether or not they have been successful, and then look for more of the ones that are.

Whether left or right-brained, there’s room for you in the business world. When you’re in doubt, don’t hesitate to turn around and take a look at the starting line; you’ll easily be able to see how far you’ve come.