Categories
Marketing Small Business

I Was Just Going to Call You

Martha Spelman Marketing: I Was Just Going to Call You vintage telephone

 

by Martha Spelman, Branding & Marketing Expert

 

How great is it when you reach out to someone and they respond by saying, “I was just going to call you!”? It’s music to any businessperson’s ears.

 

Their response indicates two things: first, you’ve been doing a good job marketing — staying “top of mind” with your customers — and second, they may have a need for your services.

 

When you’re consistently promoting your business on social media, in published posts and articles, with a newsletter or through some other type of marketing or advertising, you’re never far from a potential customer’s thoughts.

 

Because people are so overloaded with news and content today, it’s important to be heard from frequently – and always with valuable content.

 

>>>More on the topic: What Do Comedy and Content Marketing Have in Common?<<<

 

Get in touch, on a regular basis. In addition to public outreach, try to go for the personal as well: a phone call, a handwritten note or a thoughtful email.

 

If your timing is good and your message is engaging and relevant, the response could be more than an enjoyable conversation (though that’s nice, too).

 

Now go make it happen more!

 

Let’s talk about your company’s marketing. Get a FREE! 1/2 Hour Marketing Evaluation: Email Martha or call 310.266.6992

Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based small business branding, marketing and strategy expert. Using traditional and online marketing methods to start, grow and promote businesses, she works with entrepreneurs, Professional Services and B2B companies. Let’s chat!

 

*Thanks to Laverne Caceres, Presentation Coach par extraordinaire, of The Professional Voice, for sparking the idea for this post.

Categories
Business Strategy

When in Doubt

Martha Spelman When in Doubt Ask More Questions Business Strategy

 

by Martha Spelman, Branding & Marketing Expert

 

Whether you’re a startup or a long-established business, questions arise.

 

Questions like:

  • “Gee, we haven’t heard from Company X in a while…I wonder if they were happy with our work last time?”
  • “Where we can get this part manufactured?”
  • “I like the design of ABC, Inc.’s new website; where do you suppose they had it designed?”
  • “What CRM program we should get?”

 

As small business owners and entrepreneurs, as chief cooks and bottle washers, we’re used to figuring it out ourselves.

 

But some of the issues may be outside our wheelhouse. And we don’t want to make the wrong decision and waste time or money heading down the wrong path.

 

So what do you do when you’re in doubt? ASK.

 

The worst thing someone can say is, “I’d rather not say,” or “Sorry, I can’t help you.” But they probably won’t. They may, in fact, be flattered.

 

Whom do you ask? Reach out to others in your industry as they’ve probably dealt with some of the same issues. Wonder how a customer likes your work? Set up a call or meeting and ask for feedback (a good thing to do even with apparently satisfied customers. Your own staff may have some answers. Ask friends (because they have friends). There are even online sources like your LinkedIn groups or Quora. Want business and personal support on an ongoing basis? You may also find value in joining a peer group like Vistage, YPO, BNI or EO.

 

Go ahead and ask. It could be a positive business strategy. You’ll be that much further ahead…and someday, the person you ask might have a question for you.

 

Let’s talk about your company’s marketing. Get a FREE! 1/2 Hour Marketing Evaluation: Email Martha or call 310.266.6992

 

Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based small business branding, marketing and strategy expert. Using traditional and online marketing methods to start, grow and promote businesses, she works with entrepreneurs, Professional Services and B2B companies. Let’s chat!

Categories
Company Culture Employee Satisfaction

Mix Business With Pleasure: Ideas to Boost Office Morale

Martha Spelman Balloons Company Culture Boost Office Morale Ideas Balloons

by Martha Spelman, Branding & Marketing Expert

When business is “busy,” everyone’s jamming to get it done. Employees come in early, leave late, answer emails from home, even spend a weekend wrapping up a big project.

Busy days become busy weeks and months. Pretty soon, it’s all work and no play. Job burnout, disinterest and poor performance are just around the corner. And we all hear how important company culture is when employees are deciding whether or not to take a job…or stay at a job.

Maybe you can’t afford to provide perks like Google (unlimited gourmet food and snacks, rides to work, etc.) but you can still consider employee satisfaction by showing appreciation through an employee appreciation day and building office morale in small ways.

Of course, monetary remuneration is always appreciated but providing an experience vs. money may provide a longer-term reward.

It doesn’t take much to break up the grind and sprinkle a little fun in the mix.

Check out these ideas to boost office morale:

  • Plan small trips to nearby attractions: an architectural landmark, a museum, the botanical garden –incorporate a “best of” photo or video contest or a treasure hunt complete with clues
  • Sponsor your staff to compete in an industry softball league, compete in a 5K or a triathlon, or stake an ultimate frisbee team
  • Invest in some exciting new office furniture such as an office phone booth that promotes a strong yet relaxed work attitude.
  • Plan a holiday party that’s out of the ordinary: a cooking class, cupcake-decorating sugar-fest, craft brew tasting; make it a costume party or themed: best hat or worst holiday sweater, provide all the makings to create custom ornaments
  • Volunteer as a group
  • Have a true “break room” at work – bring in board games, a pinball machine, set up a video games, provide art supplies, paint walls with blackboard paint…think “Fun!” — if there’s room, include a ping-pong or pool table
  • Provide treats for employees in the break room. Coffee is a necessity for many, so add a Coffee vending machine into the break room. You might also occasionally bring in some snacks and goodies for people to help themselves to. Nothing brings a smile to peoples’ faces like food.
  • Celebrate every birthday – not a once-a-month group event but one that marks the employee’s special day
  • Recognize staff achievements – both work and personal – in a weekly in-house newsletter, on a bulletin board or with a small banner created just for the occasion
  • Institute Employee of the Month perks: free Starbucks for a month, front row parking place, weekly massages, gift certificates for services like hairstyling, dry cleaning or car detailing
  • Calendar a weekly group breakfast or lunch – with guest entertainment like a singer, musician or motivational speaker
  • Pass the party cart on Friday afternoons: drinks, snacks and desserts. Places like Office Monster offer catering services which you might want to utilize if you’re planning on supplying your employees with drinks and food during the day.
  • Plan a monthly potluck – have a theme and everyone contributes
  • Install a Fitdesk 2.0, treadmill desk and elliptical machine – allow 30-minute signups
  • Provide, and pay for, professional development like online classes, trip to an industry event, a subscription to Udemy or Lynda.com
  • Institute Costume Day – themes could be favorite movie, board game, best decade, favorite superhero
  • Party like a 10-year-old: have a reptile party, a cookie-decorating day, frost cupcakes, make hand-made soap, provide craft supplies. Include small “party favors” that employees take home with them.
  • Have a different kind of party: a scavenger hunt in your office building, a progressive lunch or dinner, hang a piñata that’s filled with “good” candy
  • Have employees bring in something for “Show and Tell”
  • Bring in a speaker, career counselor, presentation coach or well-known author
  • Put on a weekend retreat with all the bells and whistles
  • Change the office environment – rotate the artwork, bring in flowers, paint some walls, put up some motivational messages, create a blackboard wall
  • Take employees on a mystery ride that ends up at a harbor cruise, picnic in the park or afternoon at the movies
  • Give an award for “best decorated office”
  • Start a book club

Acknowledge the value that good employees bring to your company. Create a Company Culture Committee and repay your staff with fun, recognition and appreciation. If having one person in charge is overwhelming, get everyone involved – create teams or have a recognition board that directs activities and recruits help.

When you boost office morale, you boost business.

Get a FREE! 1/2 Hour Marketing Evaluation: Email Martha or call 310.266.6992

Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based branding, marketing and strategy expert. Using traditional and online marketing methods to start, grow and promote businesses, she works with startups, entrepreneurs and small- to medium-size companies. Let’s chat!

Categories
Brand Documents Brand Strategy SWOT Analysis

Why Your Business Needs a SWOT Analysis (and Free Templates)

Martha Spelman SWOT Analysis

 

by Martha Spelman

 

In this age of acronyms and internet slang, SWOT might sound like just another organization or lazy way to say “It’s What?” to a friend.

 

In fact, in business-speak, SWOT Analysis stands for:

 

  • Strengths

 

  • Weaknesses

 

  • Opportunities

 

  • Threats

 

A SWOT Analysis looks like this:

SWOT Analysis. Martha Spelman

 

>>> Download FREE SWOT Analysis Template  

 

Many companies often skip the step of creating a SWOT Analysis (much like they might have also neglected to create a Mission Statement, Vision Statement, Value Proposition, etc.). Like those documents, a SWOT Analysis is invaluable in moving forward with a new company or with a company’s new idea.

 

A well-thought-out SWOT Analysis allows a company to grow — to focus on what positive brand attributes should be promoted and what negative issues should be addressed. As well, once brand opportunities are determined, whether internal or external, steps should be taken to exploit those opportunities. Of course, any threats, for example economic, regulatory or from competition, needed to be addressed.

 

SWOT Analysis Process:

 

Information is best gleaned from both staff and customer input — their perspectives may be quite different:

 

  • Interview staff from all departments (operations, finance, marketing, sales) as the SWOT Analysis may indicate issues across the company

 

  • Get feedback (Ask!) from customers as to their perception of your company — the good, the bad, the room for improvement

 

  • Once feedback is collected, prioritize the points in each section — what positives and negatives come up more frequently?

 

  • Limit the list to 3-6 points for each section initially — the idea is to focus on the most universal comments, not list everything that came up

 

  • Keep the points simple (in terms of wording) — and actionable

 

  • Don’t bury the bad stuff — you’ll have to face it sooner or later

 

How to Develop a SWOT Analysis with Action Steps:

 

Once you’ve finalized your SWOT Analysis, decide what actions you’ll take to either build upon the positive (Strengths/Opportunities) or counteract the negatives (Weaknesses/Threats).

 

A Swot Analysis with Action looks like this:

SWOT Analysis With Action. Martha Spelman

 

>>> Download Free SWOT Analysis Template

 

A SWOT analysis is an internal document and is not one-and-done; it should be revisited periodically, along with new research, to see if issues have been resolved, positives have been promoted, negatives mitigated and to determine if there are new points to add or resolved issues to delete.

 

  • Here are examples of Strengths: Brand Strength/Recognition, Good Distribution System, Large Market Share, Excellent Financials

 

  • Here are examples of Weaknesses: Out-of-Date Technology, Rising Competition, Minimal R&D, Lack of a Succession Plan

 

  • Here are examples of Opportunities: Possible Acquisitions, Expanding Market, Decrease in Competitors

 

  • Here are examples of Threats: Increasing Competition, Economic Downturn, Regulatory/Compliance Requirements

 

Whatever the age of your company, or if you’re launching a new product or service, being prepared for eventualities, good and bad, can help you avoid a troublesome situation or take advantage of one that’s positive. A SWOT Analysis, especially one that includes Action Steps, is a “roadmap” that can guide your business through those “What If?” situations.

 

 

Get a FREE! 1/2 Hour Marketing Evaluation: Email Martha or call 310.266.6992

Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based branding, marketing and strategy expert. Using traditional and online marketing methods to start, grow and promote businesses, she works with startups, entrepreneurs and small- to medium-size companies. Let’s chat!