Skip navigation
1 2 3 4 5 Previous Next

General Business

860 posts

Coronavirus Resources: What You Need to Know For Your Small Business.

As countless small business owners confront unprecedented financial challenges due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19), we are developing articles designed specifically to help your business navigate these anxious times. Our team of expert small business writers will provide guidance on remote workforce management, social media sales tactics, how to host a virtual seminar and much more advice to help your business. Make sure to check out this page frequently for updates.

We’re here for our small business clients Ready to Re-Open? Here’s what to Consider How to Create a Digital Course and Become a Thought Leader The Small Business Coronavirus Crisis Guide to Reading, Listening  and Attending Virtual Conferences Grow Your Network Now by Following the Best Practices for Social Networking How to Prepare Your Small Business to Reopen Why Your Business Should Empower a High-Touch Customer Service Approach Coronavirus Playbook: How to Increase the Value of Your Social Ad Spend Coronavirus Playbook: How to Share Costs with Other Small Businesses Defeating Coronavirus Requires a Teamwork Mentality How to Set Your Business Up for Post-Coronavirus Success Manufacturers Respond to Coronavirus How to Use the Uncertainty of Coronavirus to Innovate, Learn and Lead The Coronavirus Changes How We Work. Here’s What to Consider Is Amazon Right for Selling Your Goods During Coronavirus? A Digital Strategy to Grow Your Business During Coronavirus Managing Remotely During Coronavirus is about Communication, Not Tools Managing Coronavirus: How to Cut Overhead and Not Staff Coronavirus and Your Taxes: What Businesses and Individuals Need to Know About the IRS Tax Extension Tips on Preparing for a Long-Term Supply Chain Disruption During Coronavirus Outbreak Help Your Small Business Stay Healthy with a Coronavirus Crisis Communications Plan The 7 Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for Small Businesses During Coronavirus The Small Business Delivery Options to Tap During Coronavirus Stay at Home Rules How to Help Your Employees Focus as They Work from Home A Guide to Translating Live Events to Digital Platforms

With “stay-at-home” policies widely implemented across the nation to slow the coronavirus (Covid-19) spread, delivery services are quickly becoming part of the new normal. brett-jordan-phUtWl8RyFE-unsplash.jpg

So, if consumers can’t come to you, are you prepared to bring your products to them? Here’s how:

 

Delivering food

There are plenty of existing food delivery services in many American cites to choose, and the main players are offering incentives to businesses and consumers.

Here’s a sampling of what’s available at press time:

DoorDash

 

The company launched an #OpenForDelivery campaign, reminding consumers that restaurant delivery is safe and that restaurants need orders. The campaign includes social media posts, listing DoorDash and its competitors.

 

DoorDash announced “a package of commission relief and marketing support for new and existing DoorDash partner restaurants to help them generate up to $200 million in additional sales this year.” The program includes:

 

  • Through the end of April, independent restaurants in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia can sign up for free with DoorDash and Caviar and pay zero commissions for 30 days. Merchants will not be asked to pay anything back.
  • Existing DoorDash and Caviar restaurant partners won’t have to pay commission fees on pickup orders so customers can spend less time in the store. They are “also providing additional commission reductions for eligible merchants already on DoorDash.
  • To incentivize consumers, DoorDash has added over 100,000 independent restaurant partners to DashPass, their subscription program which offers $0 delivery for consumers for free.

 

Grubhub

Grubhub is deferring commission fees for impacted independent restaurants to help “increase restaurants’ cash flow.” They are “also matching all promotions run by independent restaurants, to help make their investments in growth twice as effective.”

 

Postmates

Postmates launched a Small Business Relief Pilot program for small businesses so they can more easily use their platform. The program will temporarily waive commission fees for businesses in some markets. They are talking to restaurant associations and city governments around the country to assess how to build on this and support local restaurant corridors.

 

Uber Eats

In their statement Uber Eats says they’re “working urgently to drive orders towards independent restaurants…, to help make up for the significant slowdown of in-restaurant dining.”

 

To drive consumer orders, Uber Eats has waived the delivery fee for the more than 100,000 independent restaurants they feature and launched a daily dedicated marketing campaign promoting delivery from local restaurants.

 

They’ve also rolled out a new payment option for restaurants, allowing them “to opt into daily payments on all Uber Eats orders, rather than the typical weekly billing cycle.”

Curbside pickup.

 

Several national retailers are offering curbside pickup for products bought online. Small business can easily adopt this practice. Post information on your website that you’re offering curbside pickup. Customers order online, pay and indicate they want curbside pickup. You process the order and then send an email or text that the order is ready for pickup.

 

When customers pull up to your place of business, they call you, and their products are brought outside and, in many cases, placed immediately in their trunk. No contact is made. Some independent bookstores are offering this option.

 

Other delivery options

If you’ve previously relied on services like Task Rabbit to deliver your products locally, Task Rabbit is now “asking clients to request contactless tasks.” That can still work for your business, however, the company says, “By requesting a contactless task, clients and Taskers agree to maintain a safe six-foot separation. For example, a client can request that a Tasker delivering essential food or medications leave them in a safe place at your door. Contactless tasks can be requested in the booking details or when chatting with your Tasker.”

 

Another option

 

Local entrepreneurs can team up with other local businesses and form your own local delivery service that can be used to deliver food or other products. Contact your local chamber of commerce, city government or its economic development agency to see if they can offer assistance.

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the Rieva headshot.pngblog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah./servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/38-3367-416250/Rieva+headshot.png/servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/38-3364-414071/Rieva+headshot.png

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

To the untrained eye, working remotely looks a lot like doing nothing.manny-pantoja-P2-4kxFhvCQ-unsplash.jpg

 

We stare at our computers, sometimes typing, sometimes video conferencing with people, sometimes taking a minute to watch YouTube. But, I get much more done at home than I ever accomplished in an office with dozens of coworkers.

 

Having worked remotely for years, I’ve developed processes for getting things done. Now, because of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re almost all working from home.

 

Only these newly minted remote workers don’t have processes in place to keep them focused. Most don’t have a dedicated workspace at home, either, because they’re used to leaving home for the office.

 

This alone represents a sudden upheaval of people’s routines. Add the emotional turmoil of a global pandemic and that many people have their kids home from school and you have a less than ideal pilot program for remote work.

 

Here are tips for helping your team succeed while working from home.

 

Talk with your employees

 

To help your people thrive in a new, remote environment, schedule calls with each to see how they’re doing overall (everyone is stressed and anxious right now), then talk about some of the successes and challenges they’ve experienced so far in their career.

 

Combine what you learn from these conversations with your experience working with people in the office and look for patterns:

  • Does this person need a lot of hand-holding, or can he work with minimal supervision?
  • Does she define work in hours or by project?
  • Does he crave the daily social interaction of a physical office, or does he secretly prefer working during off-hours to minimize distractions?

 

Learn what each person needs to be productive, then provide it. Take a more active role managing people who need reassurance. Exchange regular virtual messages with more social employees to make sure they feel connected to the team. Allow a few minutes at the start of any virtual meetings to ask how everyone’s doing.

 

Once you know what people need from a management standpoint, make sure they have the tools to collaborate effectively.

 

Give Your Team the Right Tools

 

Many remote workers experience loneliness and isolation, and research shows many view remote work as an obstacle to forming friendships with teammates. Give your employees the means and opportunity to connect.

 

Here are some tools that can help:

 

 

If you’re already using these kinds of tools, make sure your licenses cover the right number of employees and that your technology can handle the increased use.

 

Get Flexible

 

Your newly remote team is going to need a little flexibility in the well-worn “9 to 5” work structure.

 

Many people have children at home with them who’d otherwise be in school or at daycare. For them, the transition to remote work is happening under the most challenging of circumstances (and with no prep time).

 

Offer employees the flexibility to work when they’re most productive. A little leeway will help reduce stress and increase productivity.

 

Now, let’s talk about you.

 

Ask yourself whether working from home feels liberating to you, or if you feel a bit unmoored without the structure an office environment provides.

 

If you need more structure, schedule blocks of time on your calendar to check in on projects or do deep strategy work. If you’re a “work until the project’s finished” type, you’ll need to set boundaries. Establish your work hours, then abide by them.

 

If you can, set up a physical space just for work, then leave it when your day is over. You might also want to try an approach like the Pomodoro technique to keep you from burning out.

 

One thing to remember: almost everyone around the world right now is in the same stressful situation. Take into account the emotional strain employees are experiencing, and be sure to cut yourself some slack, too.

 

 

About Chris Brogan

 

Chris Brogan is an author, keynote speaker and business advisor who helps companies update organizational interfaces to better support modern humans. The age of factory-chris Brogan headshot.pngsized interactions is over. We all come one to a pack. And it’s time to accept that we are all a little bit dented. Chris advises leadership teams to empower team members by sharing actionable insights on talent development. He also works with marketing and communications teams to more effectively reach people who want to be seen and understood before they buy what a company sells.

 

Web: https://chrisbrogan.com Twitter: @ChrisBrogan

Read more from Chris Brogan

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Chris Brogan to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. The third parties within articles are used under license from Chris Brogan. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

If you were already hosting live events, given the global pandemic and resulting lockdowns, you’re now faced with the new reality that you cannot gather your audience together in person. At least for the foreseeable future.black-video-camera-2041396.jpg

 

So, how can you recreate a very similar experience in the online world? With the incredible breadth and depth of technology available today, it’s perfectly feasible to simulate an experience almost as good as in person.

 

There is no amount of sophisticated technology that will ever take the place of live, in-person meetings. We can look into someone’s eyes, read their body language, get a sense of their ‘vibe.’ The next best thing is video. And, especially live video.

 

If the idea of doing more videos is scary to you, you’re not alone! Most people really don’t care to be on camera. But it really does just take practice, practice, practice. Now is the time to push through those modest fears and go for it. We’re all in this together.

 

I’ve been doing video trainings and live streaming for 15 years and I absolutely love it. I feel very connected to my audience. But it wasn’t always that way. I was super shy as a child.

 

How to Plan

 

Consider creating a series of online streaming events/webinars. Take the body of work you would’ve been sharing at the live event and chunk down into lessons. If you were having guest speakers at your live event, you can still invite them to be a part of the virtual event.

 

Start with the end in mind. What do you want to accomplish? Is this a one-off webinar for the public? Or, a private training for your top clients? Will you be on camera? Is it a free or paid session? Answers to these questions and more will determine your set up.

 

The Tech you Need

 

Decide on the tech you’ll use. (See my list of resources below.)

 

If this is new territory for you, aim to keep things super simple at first -- maybe simply doing a Facebook Live with your phone into a private Facebook Group. Or, perhaps you’re familiar with Zoom, which is a great choice.

 

To go more high tech, use your webcam or a DSLR camera hooked up to your computer and stream via a third party app (details below). I have a whole list of recommended video gear available here.

 

The Approach for Promotion

 

Create a registration page on your website. And/or a Facebook Event on your Page.

Or, just drive people to register on a Zoom Webinar. Or, you could use Eventbrite for registrations.

 

Send out emails to your list to join the webinar/live stream. Publish invitations to register on your social media posts. And, paid media is totally fine now, too. The key element is if your webinar/live stream is relevant and helpful to your audience right now. Depending on the content, it may make sense to wait a month or so if it’s not vital right now.

 

Be very organized and clearly communicate with your audience -- emotions are running high around the world just now, and the more you can present a nice, clear path forward for your audience to learn from you, the more successful your online event will be.

 

How to Reach your Community

 

This will be one of the most important aspects of your webinar or live streaming video. People will be craving connection more than ever during this time of isolation.

 

Perhaps this is a good time to start a Facebook Group, if you don’t have one already connected to your Page. I particularly enjoy using groups on Facebook to build connection and add extra value. I run separate, private Facebook groups for all participants of my online courses. And, I run a larger group open to the public to provide value and make periodic offers.

 

Don’t Forget: Follow up

 

Again, keep that nice flow of communication going. Send out the replay by email. Connect with your audience in the Facebook Group. Encourage peer support. Be sure to answer all questions. Consider doing a follow up to address FAQs. Conduct a post-webinar survey and invite candid feedback. Run a poll in your group and find out what else your audience would like to learn from you.

 

Resources for Conducting an Online Event

 

Virtual Meeting Tools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live Streaming Tools for Facebook (and other Social Platforms)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video Tools

 

  • InVideo.io— special 50% offer for friends of Mari (Full disclosure: Mari Smith is a paid brand ambassador for InVideo.io)

 

 

 

Helpful Articles

 

 

 


 

About Mari Smith

 

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A

mari headshot.pngDay. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Mari Smith.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  Equal Housing Lender.

 

© 2020 Bank of America Corporation.

 

Bank of America, N.A. is providing these third-party websites and/or other sources only as a convenience, and does not monitor or maintain the information available on the external websites mentioned, nor represent or guarantee that such websites are accurate or complete, and they should not be relied upon as such.  Bank of America provides informational reading materials for your discussion or review purposes only.  Neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

For businesses of all sizes, but especially for small businesses without large cash cushions, the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) will be enormous, affecting cash flow, sales, jobs and business survival rates. communication plan pic.jpg

 

As a small business owner, I know how, where and when I communicate with my clients during this crisis will greatly influence how my business will fare during the crisis and when it is over.

 

Take a moment to go over this small business crisis communications checklist to help your business remain healthy.

 

1. We are here! We are here!

 

In the words of Dr. Seuss in Horton Hears a Who, you need to let your customers know you are still running your business and making every effort to keep your services/products available any way you can. You can’t assume your customers know you’re still operating (even in a diminished capacity), so make sure you tell them right away what you’re currently offering and that you’re working on a longer-term game plan.

 

Emailing your customer list is likely the quickest and easiest option. If you send out a regular e-newsletter, include your message in there as well.

 

2. Going on hiatus?

 

What if your business is closing—temporarily? Some businesses will have no choice but to close their doors. I’ve gotten a lot of emails from retailers announcing they’re closing for several weeks. All have mentioned their websites are still operating and many have eliminated or reduced shipping fees. If you’re in retail, now’s the time to ramp up your e-commerce business, and email marketing, again, seems like the fastest way to spread the word. Also consider social commerce, selling via your social media channels. 

 

3. What should be on your website?

 

Where are your clients going to check first for information about your business? If you said your website, you are right and so you should have already posted information about any changes to the business such as new store hours, delayed deliveries and the best way to reach you. It’s also a good idea to acknowledge the crisis, offer advice and words of comfort. To be really helpful, post links to resources for more information on the crisis.

 

4. Email to stay in touch

 

After your initial outreach to your customers, it is imperative you keep the lines of communication open. If you’ve been communicating primarily by email, continue to use that channel. If you’re open for business, whether you’re selling products online, meeting with clients via telecommunication tools (Skype, Zoom, etc.), or selling food via takeout or delivery, consider emailing your customers and clients weekly. Customers will be bargain-minded, so offer incentives and promotions to persuade them to buy.

 

Many people are encouraging consumers to help out local businesses by buying gift cards now, for use later. This gives the businesses an influx of cash. So make sure you offer gift cards and visibly promote them.

 

Think about what your customers want to hear from you, in addition to discounts and other promotions. Can you offer information to help get them through the next few weeks or months? My hairdresser already texted me instructions on the right way to trim my own bangs. Depending on the type of business you operate, consider offering relevant tips, such as how to be productive working from home, tech tools, ways to entertain the kids while you work, best music or movies to help pass the time, favorite recipes, exercises, etc.

 

Consumers are stressed right now and would welcome hearing from a familiar business owner once or twice a month.

 

And make sure you let your customers know when you might be open for business again. When my dentist called to cancel my upcoming appointment, they rebooked me for a month from now, but added they’d be in touch with regular updates.

 

5. Start a dialogue on social media

 

Isolated consumers will be turning to social media for news and to make social connections. Start with the social platforms you usually use to engage you’re your clients and customers. But explore other social channels to find out where the conversations are. Ask open-ended questions to get a conversation going and make sure you answer questions customers have for you.

 

What you do not want to do is act the expert on the coronavirus. Refer people to the CDC website for the latest information.

 

6. Get creative

 

Now may be a good time to try communication channels you haven’t used before. Consider live streaming to show customers how to use your products, starting a podcast, or beefing up your YouTube channel.

 

What about holding virtual meetings with your clients over video chat, especially if your customers want face-to-face interactions, or you need to show charts or other visuals? Consider hosting webinars so you can interact with many of your clients at one time.

 

How are you planning on keeping communication going with customers during this global pandemic? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

 


 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the Rieva headshot.pngblog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah./servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/38-3367-416250/Rieva+headshot.png/servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/38-3364-414071/Rieva+headshot.png

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2020 Bank of America Corporation

Yes, we are in seemingly uncharted territory with COVID-19, but the good news is that the operative word here is “seemingly.” While the coronavirus outbreak is a disaster unlike any of us have seen, there have been other unique disasters and we have recovered from them all.

 

man-in-black-holding-phone-618613.jpgBecause the unexpected can in fact be expected, companies and governments have become far better at being able to help in these times. As such, if you need financial help getting through this crisis, here are your resources:

 

The Small Business Administration

By far, your best bet right now is emergency relief from the Small Business Administration. In the first of what is expected to be several relief bills signed into law, the SBA announced a Coronavirus emergency relief fund of $7 billion.

 

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: According to the SBA, “The SBA will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.  Click here to apply for a Disaster Loan at SBA.gov/disaster

 

Some states may be eligible for additional funds resulting from natural disasters.  Click here to see what programs are available for your state, and to apply directly for available programs.

 

The 7(a) Loan Program: The SBA’s 7(a) loan is its primary program for assisting small businesses. It offers loans from $25k to $5 million and repayment of up to 25 years (if you utilize an SBA Preferred Lender). Note that Bank of America is a member of the SBA Preferred Lender Program and may provide additional benefits such as fee waivers, discounts for veterans, and 24-hour approvals.


Additional Funding Resources

CDFIs: also known as local loan centers – provide capital, mentoring and financial advice supporting small businesses. Through these innovative partnerships, Bank of America is making more loans available for people and communities, and helping address important economic and social issues.  We created a searchable directory to connect small business owners to more capital. Click here to search the directory to find a CDFI that fits your needs.

 

Kiva: Kiva.org is a unique non-profit. Starting out as a lender making microloans to impoverished people around the globe, it has grown into a crowdfunding platform that has expanded into the U.S. Presently, Kiva is making 0% loans of up to $15,000 to qualified U.S. businesses.

 

Facebook: Facebook just announced that it is making $100 million available in small cash grants to 30,000 eligible businesses.

 

State and Local Resources

Check out these benefits that might be available to residents of specific states, counties, or cities.

 

Check with your city and state to see what may be available in your area.

Advertising and marketing are so much better today than even a decade ago, and woe to the small business that is not taking advantage.digital marketing pic.jpg

 

Example: I know a chiropractor who used to offer free “pain relief seminars.” He would run expensive advertisements on radio, TV, and in the newspaper, get people to the local Holiday Inn to hear his schpiel, and then hopefully convert some into paying clients. The whole thing would run him about $5,000 to host and he might make $10,000.

 

Last month, he did the same thing, but he advertised on Facebook using pay-per-click ads. The entire campaign cost him a tad over $1,000 and he still made more than $10,000.

 

The difference: he now advertises to a specific audience as opposed to a mass market. These days, he only pays for clicks from the people most likely to respond to his ads, as opposed to hundreds of thousands of TV viewers who have zero interest in pain relief.

 

The secret is micro-targeting.

 

On Facebook or Google, and actually, on any other similar digital medium, you can now specifically and narrowly locate, target, and reach people who are most likely to appreciate your ad, click on it, and move into your sales funnel.

 

For small businesses, the days of mass selling to mass audiences are (or should be) over.

 

Back in the day, my chiropractor friend would have no choice but to blanket the market with his ads, hoping that a few of the right people would see, read or hear it. Now, he advertises only on Facebook with an ad seen only by people in his zip code, who were upper income, who were older, and who had an interest in alternative healing.

 

See how that campaign had a far greater likelihood of success?

 

Fewer eyeballs, yes, but these were the people most likely to be interested in his seminar. That is the value of specific audience messaging vs. broad marketing.

 

Here is how you can join the online advertising party:

 

1. Choose the right outlet: While there are a lot of options, your best is either Google or Facebook as that is where the traffic and results are.

 

2. Set a budget: Advertising and marketing is an ongoing process. If this is your first foray into pay per click advertising, start slow and small. Test ads, budgets, calls to actions, audiences. Both Facebook and Google make creating an ad and a budget super easy.

 

When you go to create your ad campaign on the platform(s) of your choice, there will be a place to set your budget. Like I said, start small, say even $100 for a week or two to start. See if it is getting clicks and what the cost per click is.

 

3. Figure out the ad: The different platforms have different options.

 

 

4. Target your audience: This is the best part in my opinion. Your audience can be as large or small as you want, and as specific as you prefer. But  remember – the greater the reach, the more you will pay. You want the audience who sees your advertisement to mirror your ideal customers; that is, the people most likely to buy from you.

 

This is where the magic of pay-per-click comes in.

 

5. Test the ad: This is key. It is unwise to simply create an ad, check out, and come back two weeks later to see what happened. Test, review, tweak, and see what works.

 

6. Roll it out: Once you know you have a successful ad, go for it. Spend more and run it often. It can become your cash cow.

 

 

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Asksteve strauss headshot.png an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss./servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/38-3359-412423/steve+strauss+headshot.png

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Money is the scorecard of business success. In honor of National Women’s Small Business Month, we asked women business owners to share their best advice about managing business and personal finances. women owners tips couch pic.jpg

 

What’s your best advice about business financial management?

 

Rachel Braun Scherl, Managing Partner/co-founder, SPARK Solutions for Growth, a company that designs and implements practical strategies for accelerating business growth

 

Often you are going into meetings where the men in the room assume you won’t be on top of the financials. Be rock solid in terms of the business drivers and numbers of your business. Know your P&L, balance sheet, lifetime customer value and other key numbers backwards and forwards.

 

Joanna Sobran, CEO, MXOtech Inc., an IT consulting company based in Chicago

 

Negotiate multi-year contracts with your customers. This has given my organization long-term financial stability, allowing [me] to plan for the future and form a foundation for strong relationships. In 13 years, I have not had to borrow money.

 

Deborah Sweeney sold her business, MyCorporation, to Deluxe in 2018 and still runs the division.

 

Be keenly aware of the ROI on all investments and business initiatives, whether that is hiring, marketing, investing in technology or taking on a new business partner. Understand your measurements of success. Do more of what gets you a higher ROI; cut the lower ROI initiatives.

 

Donna Miller, founder, C3Workplace, a provider of coworking, consulting and educational programs for B2B professionals

 

Understand what your numbers mean and how they can be leveraged to drive the growth of your business. Learn to (or hire the skill to) think in Excel. All business decisions should start with solid financial data (which will allow you to find the most profitable projects and markets consistent with your company's products and services) and marketing data (which will allow you to determine the proper demographics, psychographics and trends that align with your company's products and services).

 

Felicia Kelly, founder, Cyrus Anointing Consulting, a personal and professional development company

 

Double your expense projection and cut your sales projection in half. This is not to say you should lower your goals. In fact, this method gives you the opportunity to always come in below budget and above revenue projections so that the time it takes to turn a profit is significantly shorter.

 

Lozelle Mathai, CEO, Closing Your Books LLC, a financial accounting consulting firm focused on women-owned businesses

 

Have a yearly budget broken out monthly. The budget should be in line with business goals, should include a significant reserve, and should be reviewed monthly. This ensures all facets of the business are financially on the same page.

 

What’s your best advice for personal financial management?women business owners pic.jpg

 

Laura Spawn, CEO and co-founder, Virtual Vocations, the largest hand-screened database of telecommuting jobs online

 

Pay yourself first. Without a traditional job that provides retirement benefits and easy ways to save, it’s even more essential for business owners to plan for the future. Whether your business is flourishing or whether you’ve hit a plateau, make sure you add something to your savings account, IRA or other retirement fund every month.

 

Sobran: Set yourself up for success by not putting all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your investments with the help of a financial advisor who can help you make more informed investment decisions. I have put together a “life plan” with my financial advisor, creating a holistic approach to my finances that balances my life and business goals.

 

Kelly: Understand that starting a business does not solve your money problems. How you handle money is typically exposed and amplified once you start a business. It’s important to master your personal money management upfront, or your business finances will be just as much of a burden as your personal finances.

 

Miller: It’s low tech, but it’s life-changing: Establish a firm budget that allows you to live within your means.

 

What’s your best advice about getting outside financing?

 

Sweeney: Maintain a strong [personal] credit score. The way you handle yourself personally is also how you will likely handle the finances of your business. You are a much more creditworthy candidate for financing when you can show that you can manage your personal finances well.

 

Scherl: Raising money is about telling a story that is motivating to your funding targets. Your audience will be listening from their own points of reference, areas of expertise and investment thesis, so one size does not fit all. Your passion for the business, knowledge of the market, awareness of competitive opportunities, points of differentiation and business strategy should be presented with awareness of and through the filter of your audience’s specific perspective.  

 

Sobran: When you apply for funding, you don’t want to be another name on a piece of paper. Create relationships with your bank and other financial institutions. When I was building my business and needed outside financing, I made sure to consistently communicate all business updates with the organizations I worked with. I was transparent on my business growth and overall vision. I expressed my commitment and made sure to show my sincere character. It made all the difference because I formed relationships with people who believed in my organization.

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the Rieva headshot.pngblog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

As Facebook continues to prioritize privacy, small- and medium-sized businesses can look at it as an opportunity to deepen relationships with prospects and customers.facebook privacy login.jpg

 

In January, Mark Zuckerberg solidified his vow to create safe, digital experiences for Facebook users in his annual vision post.

 

“Being part of such a large community… makes us crave intimacy,” Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook. “When I grew up in a small town, it was easy to have a niche and sense of purpose. But with billions of people, it’s harder to find your unique role.

 

“For the next decade, some of the most important social infrastructure will help us reconstruct all kinds of smaller communities to give us that sense of intimacy again.”

 

Over the next few years, Facebook plans to rebuild more of their services around the following principles: private interactions, encryption, reducing permanence, safety, interoperability, and secure data storage.

 

The 3 Keys to Small Business Success on Privacy-Focused Facebook

 

There are three specific areas of the Facebook family of apps that already thrive on privacy … and are at the focal point of this initiative. As small business owner, these are where you want to double-down.

 

1. Private Messaging

 

Privacy on Facebook’s three messaging platforms - Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram Direct - is high priority. Facebook Messenger is the No. 1 messaging app inside the U.S., and WhatsApp is the #1 messaging app outside the U.S.

 

Small Business Strategy: Integrate Messenger Automation with Chatbot Marketing

 

Since people in the U.S. are using Facebook Messenger as their primary point of individual and small group conversations, this is the first area SMB’s should dive into.

 

The recipe is simple: Use Messaging and Messenger automation via chatbots and integrate email and SMS! Chatbots can be used for lead generation, pre- and post-sales communication, improved customer service, and so much more.

 

Messages from Messenger can get open rates as high as 80 to 90 percent. Plus, their click-through rates are significantly higher than email. To get an even better return on your investment, combine chatbots with email and potentially text messaging, too.

 

Currently, chatbot platforms such as ManyChat and MobileMonkey, integrate with Facebook Messenger, email, and  texting.

 

Watch for both Instagram Direct and WhatsApp opening their respective APIs for chatbot integration at some point. Facebook is bound to roll this out for all its messaging apps sooner or later.

 

If the future is private, messaging apps are an extremely powerful and effective channel for B2C or B2B communication.

 

Recommended reading: Facebook Messenger Chatbots Give Small Business Owners an Edge

 

2. Stories

 

Zuckerberg has stated on numerous occasions that, “Stories are the future.”

 

Stories engagement has never been public, and that in part likely inspired the hidden like-counts and engagement on Instagram and Facebook. Since engagement on Stories are private, and they disappear after 24 hours, people are more likely to engage with them. In fact, there are currently over 500 million daily active users on Instagram Stories, and the same number using Facebook and Messenger Stories combined.

 

Small Business Strategy: Create More Stories

 

If you’re not already doing so, publish Stories on Instagram and Facebook regularly. If you’re not sharing organic Stories daily, at least consider making use of the Stories product via ads. If you use automatic placements in Facebook Ads Manager, you’re likely already doing Stories ads. Now take it a step further and create native Stories ads with the full, immersive 9:16 videos.

 

To increase engagement on your Stories, make good use of the poll, quiz, questions or group chat feature. People love to touch their phones!

 

Another strategy is to encourage DM replies. This helps develop and sustain relationships with your audience. And with Instagram DMs accessible inside your FB Page Inbox - and Instagram DMs coming to desktop - it’s easier than ever to start and continue those private conversations.

 

If your clients and prospects feel more comfortable communicating in private ways, such as engagement and replies in Stories, give them ample opportunity to do so.

Recommended reading: Bringing Your Small Businesses to Life with Facebook and Instagram Stories

 

3. Facebook Groups

 

Facebook has placed major emphasis on the groups product for the past couple of years. Perhaps Facebook’s biggest display of commitment is its Super Bowl ad featuring groups. Groups are instrumental in developing community among devoted fans, prospects and customers. While you can create public groups, private groups provide your community with a safer, more inclusive level.

 

Small Business Strategy: Create Private Groups

 

Develop one or more groups, linked to your Facebook page, and be sure to have a strategic purpose. For instance, you can create groups for niches within your specialty, groups for training, etc.

 

Use groups to go deeper with topics you present on your business page. For example, do a Facebook Live on your business page. Then, at a later date, host a Watch Party in your group for an active Q&A. This will also allow you to reach parts of your audience that may have missed the original stream.

 

Use your group to add value, supplement your page’s information, and create deeper connections. Other things you can do in your group include:

 

  • Do Live video broadcasts just for group members every week or even once a month

 

  • Conduct polls

 

  • Make offers periodically for building leads

 

  • Crowdsource user generated content

 

  • Do an ask me anything

 

  • Create a think tank or focus group to provide feedback on new products/services

 

Recommended reading: How to Use Facebook Groups to Grow your Small Business

 

 


 

About Mari Smith

 

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A

mari headshot.png Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Mari Smith.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  Equal Housing Lender.

 

© 2020 Bank of America Corporation.

 

Bank of America, N.A. is providing these third-party websites and/or other sources only as a convenience, and does not monitor or maintain the information available on the external websites mentioned, nor represent or guarantee that such websites are accurate or complete, and they should not be relied upon as such.  Bank of America provides informational reading materials for your discussion or review purposes only.  Neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

It’s easy to see why we forget about podcasts. Screens dominate our lives. We watch Netflix and YouTube on multiple devices. We skim (never read) articles on our phones (sometimes while watching Netflix or YouTube). Whenever we have access to the glowing glass, our eyes turn in that directionpodcast pic.jpg.

 

But here’s the beauty of a podcast: it’s in our ears. It’s great for when we are driving, running, bicycling, pushing a stroller, or sweating it out at the gym. We can roam the grocery store while listening to a podcast.

 

People are Getting into Podcasts

 

You definitely don’t need to take my word for it. Read last year’s Infinite Dial report, by the same people who handle the exit polling results for presidential elections. The numbers are on a steady rise for people who are consuming digital audio content (and especially podcasts) in their cars and on their mobile devices.

 

As more of us seek ways to entertain and inform ourselves on topics we care about versus whatever happens to be on the radio, the rise of podcasting is only natural.

 

That becomes my first piece of advice: start learning about podcasts by seeking a topic of your interest.

 

Look up a show that catches your interest. Google Play has a podcast section. Apple has a podcast section. Spotify is investing more every year to add even more podcast content to their platform. You’ll find what you want if you search.

 

Find a show on yoga or Texas hold-em or true crime stories (a surprisingly popular podcast genre) or one about your favorite show, new or old.  A guy I know runs a Babylon 5 podcast about a show that hasn’t been on for decades and few watched even in its prime.

 

From here, you’ll learn about the value of listening to podcasts.

 

Where’s Your Podcast?

 

The effort required to produce a podcast isn’t all that intense. (Disclosure: I offer a jumpstart program for just that.)  Since 2005, I’ve launched (and eventually shuttered) six or seven shows and I have a new one starting soon. It’s that easy to make one, and that easy to take one down.

 

The work to produce a simple podcast is minimal. You can do the actual recording on a smartphone if you can find a quiet place (like a closet) to record. Or you can do interview style shows by recording a Zoom or Skype call. Background music isn’t hard to find (I use Epidemic Sound). Editing is as easy as cut and paste. 

 

But What Will You Talk About?

 

Here’s where you can shine. Your podcast can be about exactly what your customers and prospective customers most want to know about. If you sell dog grooming, maybe you do a show called “Between the Cuts” that gives general dog health and grooming tips for people to follow between visits.

 

If you sell ventilation systems for buildings, maybe you make a show for facilities managers called “Go Duct Yourself.” (Okay, that’s a bit irreverent, but I predict it would get a lot of pick up.)

 

The point is that you have a massive amount of freedom to make exactly the kind of show that customers and prospects would benefit from having. Shows like this keep customers warm between sales. They improve usage of the product. They sometimes even solve simple customer service challenges by educational means.

 

In fact, if you want to stretch the concept of podcast and not create an ongoing show, you can record 8 or 10 episodes of a “boxed set” and use it as a lead generation or on-ramping tool, or as a way to warm people up for the product they’ve purchased.

 

Their Ears Are More Ready Than Their Eyes

 

There’s far less competition to reach someone’s ears. You can encourage someone to take you to the gym, play your show on their morning commute, or tune in every time they go grocery shopping. The ear’s the limit in this case.

 

But really. Why not? It’s a strong opportunity to reach an otherwise overwhelmed prospect.

 

Give it a try.

 

 

About Chris Brogan

 

Chris Brogan is an author, keynote speaker and business advisor who helps companies update organizational interfaces to better support modern humans. The age of factory-chris Brogan headshot.pngsized interactions is over. We all come one to a pack. And it’s time to accept that we are all a little bit dented. Chris advises leadership teams to empower team members by sharing actionable insights on talent development. He also works with marketing and communications teams to more effectively reach people who want to be seen and understood before they buy what a company sells.

 

Web: https://chrisbrogan.com Twitter: @ChrisBrogan

Read more from Chris Brogan

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Chris Brogan to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. The third parties within articles are used under license from Chris Brogan. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

Women entrepreneurs are looking forward to a strong 2020, according to the latest Women Business Owner Spotlight, recently released by Bank of America. In honor women share secrets pic.jpgof Women’s History Month, which celebrates “women’s contributions to America and the world,” we asked several women business owners to share their stories and best tips.

 

Meet the Entrepreneurs

Lauren Bercier and Laken Swan—founders, Something Borrowed Blooms, a Rent & Return Floral Company specializing in premium silk flowers. “We create on-trend wedding flower collections and rent them to couples saving them up to 70%!” Started 2015.

 

Gini Dietrich—Founder, Spin Sucks, a professional development business for communicators. “We provide online and in-person training to a PR professional who is looking to evolve their career and learn new skills. Started 2015. I started a PR firm in 2005 and Spin Sucks was our blog, which launched in 2006. By 2015, we discovered we'd built a big enough brand that we could roll Spin Sucks into its own P&L with its own team.”

 

Mika Leah—CEO, Goomi Group. Goomi Group provides onsite fitness and wellness programs, classes and sessions to companies and organizations nationwide with customized programs that fit any budget. Started 2015.

 

Colleen Puffpaff—Owner, Pigtails & Crewcuts, a hair salon catering to children. “We have fun theme chairs, movies playing, fun stylists and toys from wall to wall. While our main focus is haircuts, we do everything from birthday parties to ear piercing as well!” Started 2019.

 

Olga Vidisheva—Founder & CEO, Shoptiques.com. Shoptiques provides small businesses with the software and tools to streamline operations and increase sales. In addition, partner stores are featured in front of millions of customers through the Shoptiques.com marketplace. Started 2012.


What motivated you to start a business?

 

Bercier and Swan: We were both young mothers looking for an opportunity to start a business that would allow us to be in control of our future. We were motivated by the rental trends being adopted by millennials, especially Rent the Runway. We saw a gap in the traditional wedding market where couples were looking for new alternatives and we decided floral was the perfect fit! We currently fulfill over 500 wedding orders on a monthly basis. When we started, our goal was to ship 12 weddings per month.

 

Dietrich: I hate this question because it makes it sound like I’m impossible. And maybe I am. But the truth of the matter is, I have a massive problem with authority, especially with authority who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. When I left my job to start my own agency, it was because I was sick and tired of my advertising colleagues dismissing the work I did and treating me like a tactic instead of a strategic partner.

 

Leah: Three weeks after my 33rd birthday I was wheeled into emergency heart surgery. Five heart stents and four procedures later, I realized my life was short and I wanted to make a difference in the world. Goomi Group was started to make wellness simple in order to help others get healthy and happy, which I believe go hand in hand.

 

Puffpaff: I am the mom of two young boys. When they were babies, I worked part-time for my father, allowing me the flexibility to be around for my children. As my boys transitioned into full-time school, I wanted more of a career, but didn’t want to sacrifice the flexibility. Owning a business allows me to [be there for] my kids while building a business.

 

Vidisheva: Walking down the streets of Paris, you can’t help but be mesmerized by the fashion, architecture, culture—and the boutiques! Years ago while traveling for work, I came across a gem of a store in the Marais district with the friendliest, most stylish owner. The owner pointed out a pair of shoes and I knew I couldn’t leave empty-handed.

 

I still dream about visiting that tiny Parisian store again, but I’ve been lucky enough to discover so many other boutiques. Each one is special in its own way, but they all have something in common—beautiful hard-to-find pieces and a knowledgeable owner with a distinct style perspective. This is why Shoptiques was founded. We grant women access to the most stylish boutiques and replicate that same intimate in-store experience. Shoptiques is an online destination to browse, discover, and buy the best boutique merchandise in the world.

 

What’s the most important advice you got when you started your business?

 

Bercier & Swan: Don’t give up. Your greatest accomplishments are just past the most trying times. For both of us, giving up has never been an option. Although we have a lot of accomplishments to be proud of, it’s important to note there was equal or more hard work and grit.

 

Dietrich: Oh, man. It was so long ago...and there has been so much advice. I remember when I was starting out, I would read the typical entrepreneurship magazines and they freaked me out. So much to think about—and so many failures! So I stopped reading them and just started doing my job, as I’d been taught to do. Of course, that came with its own set of challenges. I didn’t know, for instance, that I had to actually set up a business with the state and with a bank. I didn’t know what P&L stood for. I had a lot to learn.

 

Leah: Since we have no overhead costs because we bring everything on-site to companies, I was advised to, “Just start and see if it will work; what have you got to lose?”

 

Puffpaff: Take it one day at a time! I didn’t have a clue what this meant until we actually opened. The first year of business ownership is a rollercoaster. One day is great—you feel like you’ve got this down and the next day all your stylists and receptionist call out and you’re scrambling to find someone to come in so you can open your doors. Trying to always see the forest through the trees is really important!

 

Vidisheva: If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. We are all guilty of sometimes talking ourselves out of pursuing an idea or asking for help. The best advice I got was, “Go for it, because if you don’t, you are guaranteed a no.”

 

What was your biggest challenge?

 

Bercier & Swan: Changing consumers’ mindset in a very traditional market was a big undertaking, but through e-commerce and digital advertising we’ve been able to connect with today’s brides who are more accepting of change and open to eco-friendly alternatives. Utilizing real bride reviews has been one of our most powerful sales tools in breaking the traditional mold.

 

Dietrich: Sales. Not because we don’t have them, but because I cannot figure out how to train someone to sell like I do. And I don’t love it, so I’d really, really like to figure that out. I hired a crackerjack professional late last year who shows incredible promise so we may very well be on our way.

 

Leah: There were times it felt as if the company was growing faster than we could keep up. However, we solved this by revising our workflow process to make sure everyone on the team had their own swim lane and no one drowned.

 

Puffpaff: There are so many challenges opening a business. We had difficulties securing an SBA loan. We had a faulty sprinkler system go off in our salon four months after opening, flooding our entire salon, causing thousands of dollars in damages and forcing us to close for two weeks.

The most challenging thing for me is opening and running a business while dealing with a lifelong struggle with anxiety and depression. As I said before, it’s important to always try to see the forest through the trees and that can be hard when you add those to the mix. Solving this challenge goes back to taking things one day at a time and having a strong support system. My husband is the crux of my support system.

 

Vidisheva: When you start a business, the challenges are never-ending and ever-changing. You learn to accept them as part of the journey. My biggest challenge was managing my busy professional life when my grandmother was ill. It was challenging emotionally and physically, but I am grateful I got to spend time with her before her passing. That wouldn't have been possible without my amazing team, who went above and beyond to make it doable for me.

 

Did you/do you have a mentor? Other female entrepreneurs you admire?

 

Bercier: My old boss, Gina Babineaux who has started several successful businesses.

Admire: Sarah Blakely of Spanx.

 

Dietrich: I’ve had a ton of mentors throughout the years. I had a boss at the agency where I worked who was incredible. Then, as I started my business, I hired coaches and joined Vistage. Both of those things were incredibly helpful. Today, I study more on my own— everything from marketing and customer experience to business growth and sustainability.

 

Admire: Michelle Obama, Brené Brown, and Susan Cain are the ones you’ve heard of. In my industry, there is Ann Handley, Michele Linn, Cathy McPhilips, Mary Getz, and several of our women entrepreneur clients. They inspire me daily.

 

Leah: Oprah once said that she surrounded herself with people smarter than her, and I can say that I do that every day. Everyone has something to teach you, you just have to listen. Admire: Arianna Huffington, Oprah Winfrey, Rachel Hollis, Sara Blakely, Brené Brown, Vera Wang, Taylor Swift, J.K. Rowling, Sheryl Sandberg and Barbara Corcoran—to name just a few!

 

Puffpaff: My Aunt has always been a huge influence in my life. As a young adult, she found herself in a male-dominated field where she had to fight to make a name for herself, even though she was more qualified than most of the men she worked with or worked for. Her drive to work through tough situations and keep going even has helped push me when things are hard.

 

Admire: I’m a part of a lot of mom blogs full of female entrepreneurs and I admire them all. Being a mother is challenging. Being a partner is challenging. Being a businesswoman is challenging. Trying to mix and find the balance in all of these is nearly impossible and yet I see women doing it successfully and to their fullest every day.

 

Swan: Kristi Brocoto, founder of The Basketry. Kristi was my first boss and the biggest influencer in my decision to pursue a degree in marketing and later take the entrepreneurial journey. I was inspired by her Kristi’s passion, commitment and drive to grow her specialty gift basket service and her generosity to the community she operates in. 

 

Vidisheva: Pauline Brown is a friend and mentor. We first met professionally when I interviewed at The Carlyle Group where she was a partner. Over the years, Pauline has become a close friend. I made a leap to pursue Shoptiques at her house, and her support, advice and encouragement has helped me tremendously. Today, Pauline sits on the board of Shoptiques and guides and advises me and our team. 

 

Admire: Jessica Livingston, Anne Wojcicki, Reshma Saujani, Sara Blakely.

 

What keeps you going?

 

Bercier & Swan:  Songs: Do the Next Right Thing from Frozen 2 and This Girl is on Fire by Alicia Keys. Podcast: How I Built This.

 

Dietrich: I’m a cyclist and, and while I’ve taken a sabbatical from racing while I raise a kid, I cannot focus without a good ride every day. The other day was a rest day but I was in such a bad mood, I needed to do something. So I went to SoulCycle where the instructor was dressed in an Elton John, sparkly Dodgers jumpsuit. That made me much happier and I was able to lead my team without being a grouch.

 

Leah: My favorite quote I tell myself almost daily is, “You only fail if you stop trying.” It’s also important to remember: If you don't go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, then you are always in the same place. You only fail if you stop trying.

 

Puffpaff: I had a tutor in middle school who always told me to “go the extra mile.” I apply this everyday with my customers and my employees. Most people think haircuts are just haircuts. But when a parent comes in with a child with Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism or a general fear of strangers cutting their hair, the haircut becomes much more. I’ve watched my stylists lay on the floor playing with kids for an hour before attempting to cut a kids hair.

I push my stylists to have that mentality with our customers, but I also have that mentality with them. Most of my stylists are young and just starting out in the “real world.” We go the extra mile for each other.

 

Vidisheva: Our team and our partners. Each time I step into the office, I am grateful to work with such a passionate and driven team who wants to help small businesses around the world succeed and who raise the bar of excellence every day! I am challenged by them, proud to work with them and excited to create something so impactful together.

 

Also, our partners. Small businesses have so much passion for what they do. We feel so grateful to work with them and help them grow and succeed in today’s world. Every time a boutique tells me they didn’t shut down because of our tools or grew 30% more than they expected because of our software, it just makes all the hard work worth it!

 

Writer’s Note: I have met many women entrepreneurs in my career who have inspired me . Here are some motivating quotes from some of them:

 

  • Sara Blakley, founder,Spanx: “The smartest thing I ever did was to hire my weakness.”

 

  • JJ Ramberg, Founder & Managing Director, GoodShop, Cofounder, Goodpods: “A lot of us start out nimble. You need to stay that way. You want to have that in your culture. Check to see why things are going wrong and fix them. Understand what’s going on in your business so you know if there’s a drop somewhere.”

 

  • Anita Roddick, founder, The Body Shop “If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.” And, “If you do things well, do them better. Be daring, be first, be different, be just.”

 

  • Muriel Siebert, founder, Siebert Financial Corp, first woman to own a seat on NY Stock Exchange: “When a door is hard to open, and if nothing else works, sometimes you just have to rear back and kick it open.” And, “Do your homework all of your life.”

 

  • Martha Stewart, founder, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia: “When you’re through changing, you’re through.” And, “Without an open mind, you can never be a great success.”

 

  • Lillian Vernon, founder, Lillian Vernon Corp.: “Don’t spend more money than you’ve got. Don’t spend money before you’ve got it.”

 

  • Oprah Winfrey, founder Harpo Productions, OWN, Oprah.com: “You can have it all. Just not all at once.” And, “The thing you fear most has no power. Your fear of it is what has the power. Facing the truth really will set you free.”

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the Rieva headshot.pngblog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

 

Pop quiz!

 

What is the best way to grow your business?win corporate clients pic.jpg

 

If you are like a lot of small business owners, you are often trying to answer this question. Should you upsell more to current clients, offer new, better, cheaper, or more expensive products or services, or what?

 

Let me suggest a simple, proven, powerful answer: go out and get corporate clients and/or sponsors.

 

Corporate clients have bigger needs, more money and bigger budgets than individuals or other small businesses. That means they have more money to spend hiring or buying from you, and that in turn means that you can grow your business faster and more easily with a few corporate contracts.

 

But don’t take it from me, take it from Bill Gates.

 

Gates dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft, but it was just a dinky little business with a couple of employees and an algorithm that analyzed traffic patterns when Gates’ mom learned that Xerox was looking to buy an operating system for its nascent home computer line. Bill learned of the opportunity from her, got an interview, pitched, and landed a huge corporate contract. This one contract was the catalyst that would eventually see Gates named the second richest person in the world.

So, where do you find such sweet deals? There are many options:

 

1. Prospecting: Essentially, there are two ways to find corporate clients and sponsors. Either you find them, or they find you. For most small businesses (unless your business has a well-known brand or high social-media reach, see below), the fastest way is to go out and find them.

 

Corporations have many reasons to contract with small businesses. Not only do they have needs that small businesses can best fill (e.g., supplies, services, etc.) often there are legal and tax benefits to the corporation for hiring a small business. Your job is to help them help you. The steps are:

 

  • Research: Look for companies that you like, are close by, and may need what you sell. Use Google, websites, and social media to learn about the company

 

  • Find the purchasing people. Look especially for executives with titles like VP, head of procurement, purchasing manager, etc. LinkedIn is great for this.

 

  • Pitch them. Email is fine, but a physical package will get you noticed.

 

  • Meet in person and sell.

 

2. Check out supplier diversity programs: A “supplier diversity” program is a corporate platform that offers contracts with minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, LGBT-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, etc. small business. Literally, billions of dollars of contracts are given out this way every year.

 

Recommended reading: How to Grow your Business with Supplier Diversity Programs

 

3. Marketing and advertising. Owning a small business can be a lot like being in a dark room by yourself – you know you are there, but no one else does. They only way to get noticed is to turn on the light, and the only way to do that is to market and advertise your business, and then do it some more.

 

And then do it some more.

 

Recommended Reading: The 4 Most Important Digital Marketing Strategies for Small Business Owners

 

4. Actively pursue corporate sponsors: You may have noticed that corporations love to sponsor events, websites, programs and so forth. I could write a whole column on this alone, but a better use of our time is to have you go to the expert, Linda Hollander, and her Sponsor Concierge website where she teaches people how to get “$10K to $100K from corporate sponsors, even if you’re just starting out!”

 

5. Leverage search engines: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of getting your web pages to rank high on Google. It’s a slow process, but once it happens, your brand and sales will explode.

 

Recommended Reading: Why Local SEO Matters More Than Ever (and 4 Steps to Success)

 

6. Build your brand: As I mentioned, the other way to get bigger clients is to have a name and brand that attracts attention. When corporations knock on your door, that’s when the magic really happens.

 

How then to create that personal brand?

 

Here’s how.

 

 

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Asksteve strauss headshot.png an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss.

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

 

What if I told you that there was a company - whom you know well - that spends $2 billion a year hiring and contracting with small and diverse businesses? And what if I further told you that this company is always looking to expand its network of small business suppliers and that your business could be one of them? Would you be interested?supplier diversity pic.jpg

 

Of course you would.

 

That company happens to be our friends at Bank of America and these contractors are hired through its small business supplier diversity program. The bank puts it this way:

 

In 2020, Bank of America celebrates 30 years of commitment to engaging with diverse-owned companies. Through our Supplier Diversity program, we support the growth of minority, women, veteran, disabled, service-disabled veteran, LGBT+ and other diverse-owned suppliers.”

 

Bank of America is not the only one doing this. Most large, Fortune 500 companies have their own supplier diversity programs for the same reason: To get the products, supplies, and services they need to run their businesses, while also supporting local and historically underserved business.

 

They do this in a variety of ways. One way, yes, is that they contract with smaller companies to get goods and services, but often these sorts of programs do much more. As an example, look at BofA’s program:

 

  • Delivering training to small and diverse businesses with insights on accessing capital and credit, expanding their businesses and creating local economic impact
  • Supporting non-minority owned businesses use of diverse-owned businesses in their supply chains”
  • Encouraging participation in our Supplier Diversity and Development Mentoring Program – a high-touch mentor program customized for each company to drive optimum developmental impact

 

Supplier diversity programs exist to help businesses owned by traditionally underrepresented or disadvantaged people get better contracts and grow their businesses: Women, minorities, LGBQ, veterans, and so on. For large corporations, it is a no-brainer: There is a trackable high return on investment by using supplier diversity programs. And for you, the small businesses, these sorts of larger contracts are a great way to take your business to the next level.

 

3 Tips to Get Started

 

Here are three tips on how to get going with corporate supplier diversity contracts:

 

1. Register with a certifying organization: Although you can self-certify as a diverse supplier, most businesses like to hire small businesses that are certified as diverse to meet their legal diversity benchmarks and requirements. Such organizations include, but are not limited to: the Small Business Association, Vets First, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Women’s Business Council. Certification varies from organization to organization, but generally it requires documentation of one’s status and having the required diverse ownership.

 

2. Attend diversity supplier events: Events where organizations actively look for diverse suppliers happen regularly, often under the penumbra of “Business Matchmaking” or “Supplier Diversity.” The CVM blog is a good resource for this. Events happen often - look up when the next one is in your area online, or here.

 

3. Do your homework: While yes, these programs are designed to help small businesses get big contracts, the first issue is how well you, as a supplier, are able to fulfill these corporate needs. This is not charity and there is competition. So do your homework. Read up on supplier diversity programs, learn the requirements of each company you are interested in, find out what a successful bid looks like, speak with others who have successfully navigated this path, and so on.

 

If you do, congratulations, because it’s worth it. Indeed, getting one of these sorts of contracts can be, if not life changing, then business changing.

 

 

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an steve strauss headshot.pngExpert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss.

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

 

The secret to creating engaging offers for your Facebook ads is not really a secret. It’s knowledge.facebook ads.jpg

 

Know your prospects and customers, know your business, and know the value of experimentation. When you do your research, as well as your due diligence, you are more likely to come up with successful Facebook ad campaigns for your business.

 

Here’s how to create irresistible offers for your Facebook Ads.

 

1. Know Your Audience Well

 

In order to craft the right offer that meets the needs of your prospects, clients, and customers, you first need to know who they are.

 

Facebook’s Audience Insights, accessible inside Ads Manager, is an excellent first step. As you fill out various parameters you already know about your audience, the tool will start showing you a variety of other data points that you may not have known. Of particular interest:, note the other businesses, brands and more that your audience is interested in. You can also garner demographic information from your Facebook Business Page Insights, too. But don’t stop there.

 

To really get to know your audience, do your homework.

 

- Create Surveys. One of the best ways to find out how to help your fans is to ask them. Use a tool, such as SurveyMonkey, or create a Facebook poll, to hone in on what your fans want and how your company can provide that. You can also ask more open-ended questions through Facebook posts.

 

- Research Topics. Every industry has people who share common challenges. Rather than ask your community, “ask the public.” Answer the Public is a search insight tool that shows you real Google and Bing searches. The tool helps you find common questions surrounding a keyword or phrase as it pertains to your product or service. For instance, say your business offers healthy cooking classes, Answer the Public will show you questions, which range from “which appliances cook healthy food,” to “which is the best oil for healthy cooking.” When you know your customer’s concerns, you can answer their questions in your ads before they have a chance to ask them.

 

- Review your FAQs. If you do not already have a file documenting all your frequently asked questions and regular requests from customers, start one today! Keep all emails and inquiries together and then, when you are looking to create new offers and ads, review your file for ideas.

 

Remember, there’s no such thing as having too much information about your community. The more you know about your audience, the more creatively you can craft offers just for them.

 

2. Decide on Your Offer

 

Once you have an idea of what your audience wants, use that information to create an offer. But what would your prospects consider irresistible?

 

- Is your community budget-conscious? Are they seeking tremendous savings? A one-time, limited offer? Only a certain number available? A one-day only promotion?

 

- Is exclusivity a factor? What about trends? Whether your audience likes things that are one-of-a-kind or they can’t stand missing out, offer them something that appeals to their basic human nature.

 

- Are they seeking solutions? Sometimes the best thing you can offer your community is a fix for their greatest challenge. When you can use your resources to create a much-desired solution, your product or service itself may be the only offer your customers need.

 

When considering any offer, ask yourself, “Would this make my audience stop scrolling through their feeds long enough to check it out?” If you answer “yes,” then you know you have a winner.

 

3. Craft your Compelling Facebook Ad

 

Once you have your actual offer ready, you’ll need to create your ad. Write an engaging headline and description, then choose a photo or video for the paid campaign. Using an eye-catching and relevant visual asset can make all the difference, whether an image or a video.

 

Keep in mind, any ad you create should be in the tone and style of your business, whether it’s formal, abstract, fun, educational, quirky or a mix. It needs to be in line with your branding for that all-important recognition factor.

 

No matter what your budget, you can still be creative. Embrace your scrappiness - or high production value - and come up with something that will blow people away. You want your ad to be so compelling, it makes people want to share your offer. Getting organic reach on your paid content (ads) is the Holy Grail!

 

One of my favorite examples is the video commercial from Chatbooks. It’s a fun, funny, and realistic slice-of-a-mom’s-life with a simple problem: no time to edit, organize and print photos. And, an even more simple solution: Chatbooks. The Facebook video alone has over 72 million views.

 

The company hired creative agency Harmon Brothers to come up with this hilarious storytelling video. The offer itself is compelling. But the video ad is so brilliantly done that it made for a very irresistible campaign that went viral.

 

Granted, getting millions of views on organic or paid content might be a tall order for most small businesses, but we can learn a lot about what really worked with Chatbooks’ campaign. And humor was a huge part of that! People love to laugh.

 

4. Include Dynamic Targeting

 

Facebook Dynamic Ads automatically show your products to people who have already expressed interest in it on your website, in your app, or on the internet.

 

To run Dynamic Ads you will need to install the Facebook Pixel on your website, sign up for a Business Manager account, and either create and upload your product catalog or automatically set it up through your Shopify, Magento, or BigCommerce account.

 

Dynamic Targeting is magic, because it seeks out certain customer segments and shows them an irresistible offer that seems tailor-made for them.

 

For instance, a Facebook ad for TushBaby, an ergonomic strapless baby carrier (with built-in storage) that makes it easy to tote around young children, ended up in my friend Ginny’s feed. While the packaging for TushBaby has a young mother on it, the ad Ginny was served had a photo of a grandmother using the product. Ginny is in her 60’s and posts about her grandchildren. The ad showcasing a more mature person with a grandchild was much more relevant to her.

 

A compelling and creative ad can only do its job if it is seen. Dynamic Ads give you the edge by showing your ads to the right audience.

 

5. Test, Test, Test!

 

Just as research will help you hone in on your prospects’ demographics, interests, and needs, experimenting with ads will tell you what content actually speaks to them.

 

Sampling. Before pulling the trigger on your Facebook ads, send your prospective offer via email to a sampling of your database. This experiment can give you valuable insights into your ad’s effectiveness prior to a monetary investment.

 

Split Test. Before going too crazy with big ad budgets, take advantage of Facebook’s split test feature. Try variations on your headline, description, and graphics (photo or video). It’s helpful to do multiple tests, and see which ads get the most shares and engagement, before committing to a long-term ad campaign. The good news here is that Facebook automates the split testing for you and chooses the winning ad in your split test campaigns.

 

Create a Focus Group. This option harks back to more traditional marketing days. Reach out to some of your most loyal customers and ask for their feedback. Chose three to five ads that you want to test out. Then, invite a small group to your office or shop for lunch, a presentation, and an incentive offer for their participation. Their feedback will be invaluable.

 

A Final Thought

 

Before pulling the trigger on any Facebook Ads, take the time to really create something special that shines a light on what your business has to offer. When you hit upon the right thing and have the perfect balance of organic and paid reach, you’ll know that your effort and energy was well worth it.

 

 

About Mari Smith

 

/servlet/JiveServlet/downloadImage/38-3118-311740/mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour Amari headshot.png Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Mari Smith.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  Equal Housing Lender.

 

© 2019 Bank of America Corporation.

 

Bank of America, N.A. is providing these third-party websites and/or other sources only as a convenience, and does not monitor or maintain the information available on the external websites mentioned, nor represent or guarantee that such websites are accurate or complete, and they should not be relied upon as such.  Bank of America provides informational reading materials for your discussion or review purposes only.  Neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Corporations spend millions on Super Bowl ads every year and few businesses have been bigger spenders than beer companies in general and Michelob in particular.

 

So it was altogether very interesting that in this year’s Super Bowl, aside from a very funny commercial with Jimmy Fallon, Michelob Ultra ran an ad about . . . organic farming.

 

Now, why is that?

 

Because Michelob knows that, these days, cause marketing is smart marketing.

 

Michelob Ultra Pure Gold is the first national beer to be certified organic by the USDA, and so the ad showed how the company is helping farmers transition in their efforts to grow certified organic produce.

 

Companies are realizing that younger consumers – Gen Z and the Millennials – want and expect more from the businesses with whom they shop; they want those companies to stand for something.

 

Indeed, a recent survey found that 91% of Millennials prefer brands that have a cause associated with it.

 

Hence, a beer ad about organic farming.

 

All of which then begs the question: How do you, as a small business, show these younger consumers with disposable dollars, that you too are committed to making the world a better place and not just selling them a better widget?

 

And the answer is: Pick the right cause. Cause marketing is a way for any businesses to show their commitment to not only the bottom line, but their desire to better the world in the process, and that is what your new, younger customers want to see.

 

In fact, as a small business, you are uniquely situated to very much benefit from this advent of cause marketing. Showing that you are committed to the bigger picture is almost easier for a small business because your relationship with your customers is so personal. They will know and appreciate your efforts.

 

That said, there is an art to picking the right cause. Like Goldilocks’ porridge, you do not want one that is too hot (because it will turn people off) or too cold (because no one will care) but instead, one that is just right.

 

Here’s how to choose wisely:

 

1. Be Authentic. Young consumers are savvy and crave authenticity. They will smell a phony cause a mile away, so the first step is to choose a cause that:

 

  • Resonates with your customers,

 

  • Dovetails with your brand

 

An outdoor adventure business can donate to environmental causes. A men’s or women’s clothing store can donate a portion of each purchase to its local Dress for Success branch. A restaurant could create a dish where the proceeds go to its local food bank.

 

Choose something different, memorable, but which also stays true to you and your brand.

 

2. Make it win/win. Choosing the right cause or non-profit to donate to or otherwise work with should mean you both will benefit from the arrangement. The non-profit of course gets funds and publicity, but at the same time, your business should generate some buzz too. The only way to accomplish both is by publicizing your participation and making sure the recipient organization does as well.

 

Ultimately, you’re going to want to do something that not only benefits your nonprofit of choice, but also you.

 

3. Encourage customer participation. Nearly 70% of millennials want businesses to “make it easier for consumers to do their part in addressing issues such as health, the economy, and environmental sustainability.” So being able to allow your customers an easy gateway to do so with your cause marketing is crucial to its success.

 

 

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, steve strauss headshot.pngincluding his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss.

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Steve Strauss.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

 

 

Filter Article

By tag: