At Tria Marketing & Design, we’ve helped businesses of all sizes get to the next level through marketing. Most recently, Maryann Hancock of Revive Holistic Health came to us with a small budget and a site that wasn’t working hard enough for her. In order to get the word out about the naturopathy, massage and doula services Maryann offers, Tria Marketing & Design developed a content outline for her site that was search engine optimized and worked within the design that we had previously created for her. Revive Holistic Health is the perfect example of how marketing works in any size budget.
Ann is on vacation this week. The dog is taking over the marketing blog!
I'm a 13 1/2 year old Australian shepherd. No, I'm not from Australia. But I am a sheepdog, so you know I'm a pretty smart dog and I think I know something about marketing, too. But I'm getting up there in years so I may be a bit off in my thinking. My owner, Ann Siegle, she's a graphic designer, I know this only because she likes to draw a lot, and she does things on the computer a lot. A whole lot. She has this thing called Pinterest that she spends a lot of time on. I only care because there are photos there of other dogs. OTHER DOGS!! Can you believe it? I am the only dog she will ever need (at least for now), why is she looking at other dogs?
This week, she's spending a lot of time reading things and doing math. Reading things she says that you all want to know about. Like how to get more fans on Facebook and help you so that more than 27% of them see what you write. I don't really see the point all of this. Facebook, whatever that is, is not smelly.
I suggested that tasty mackeral that she puts my medicine in as a better way of attracting people. It's smelly. I can smell mackeral from a mile away, can't you?
That is the thing of it all - if humans want to attract someone else, make it smelly! I know you all like things like lavendar and vanilla, but I prefer salmon, and maybe roasted pork. Good smells attract attention because you know just how good they're going to taste. They give you a preview of the experience you're about to have. For people, I know, you like to experience first with your eyes, so in that case, use a photo to attract attention and preview the experience. If you can give them a taste of the experience, they'll click through (or come in).
My owner, she has meetings sometimes, so I get to go bark at the door and tell her they've arrived. It is my job. I also sleep on the stairs and look very cute. My head is very soft and many of you like that. So I do a good job at greeting around this place. If I do a good job, maybe you'll return and you'll bring that kind of people-treat my owner loves: a check. In turn, she will buy me food and treats. It's a fair deal. So, come with checks!
Right now, I'm going to take a nap. Hey, I'm 88 years old in dog years. I deserve a nap.
I'm on my third life as an entrepreneur. No, make that fourth. I've had very similar businesses over the years - graphic design, marketing, web design - but I'm on the fourth entity.
At each point, what fueled me to continue the business was both economic reality (we all have to put food on the table!) but also a renewed passion for the business. The same business! Each shift usually involved some sort of deep soul searching, followed by elation at having found new passion and then unbridled enthusiasm for the work ahead.
As entrepreneurs, do we need to end something in order to begin anew? I'll bet that you go through periods of time where you are a slave to your business - not particularly happy about it, but it takes work and you do the work. But I'll also guarantee that when you see a new opportunity to change, if you're ready for it, you dive in with that same startup enthusiasm.
How can we cultivate that without starting over? Some entrepreneurs get a coach. Some get a group together of noncompetitive entrepreneurs to gain some perspective. I've helped clients make this "I'm quitting or I'm retooling" simply by helping them craft new marketing strategies and tactical plans.
For us, it's usually marketing-centric change. An entrepreneur is finally tired of not accelerating their business, feels like they're at a dead end and all their usual bag of tricks doesn't yield any new customers or much in the way of new sales. Sound familiar?
What if I told you that one of our clients came within weeks of closing her business. We turned that around for her in 45 days.
Marketing puts you back in the driver's seat. It forces you to take a look at why you're in business (positioning) where you want to go (strategy) and for whom you're working (target market identification). It also, by the very nature of having a plan to follow when done - reinvigorates you as a business owner.
I also suggest vacation as a good place to start the reclaiming the passion process. Then, when you come back, schedule a meeting to look seriously at your business' marketing. Yes, you could do this while ON vacation, but I invite you to immerse yourself in something completely different - whether a good book at the beach, or a trip to a distant city - and come back with a new perspective that has nothing to do with your business. Then, that's the time to look with those refreshed eyes, at what your business is all about.
It's actually a lot of fun! Entrepreneurs enjoy getting 'outside' their companies, and they feel powerful that they, themselves, through their own actions, can change their economic realities. We'll even commisserate with you about all the things that frustrate you about business. You won't be alone, but you will have a plan to change where you are going.
If you're looking to brainstorm a refresh, request our DesignStorm guide. This process works best offline, with a pen and paper, so click here to fill out our contact form and we'll send you a copy in the mail.
I took my second Entrepreneur Recharge Day on Wednesday, May 16th. My last one was March 21st. What worked? What didn't?
I made a plan for the day. This included my overall goals for what I wanted to accomplish, the specific tasks I wanted to tackle and what I would consider a good outcome. We tend, as most entrepreneurs do, to over plan our days. To fill up the to do list with more than we can take on. My day off was no exception. In this case, though, I set goals, but I also had a "if I get just this accomplished, it will be a successful day" goal, too.
My day started with packing my family off to work/daycare/school with my husband. I then spent two hours doing business planning - a large 2012 initiative that is taking shape needed some form around which to get started. I handled a couple of client requests, things that were urgent but not emergencies. Then, I went off to recharge. I decided to pursue sewing, which is one of my hobbies. It has some repetitive tasks that I can use my hands to do but let my head to noodle new ideas, so for an hour, I cut out sewing patterns. Then, I ran to the community center pool, swam 500m in 20 minutes, and ran back, for a total run of just under 2.5 miles. After lunch, I went to my sewing machine.
In retrospect, I chose a challenging project and this offered me several bouts of frustration. This probably was not the best choice for the day of recharging, and I think in the future I'll select a project that offers me creative challenge without frustration. I don't mind changing design or adding new features or stretching my brain, but I hate fighting with fabric. I sewed for three hours and upon finishing my project (the first of three I had planned to at least start) I decided I wouldn't start another before the end of the day. I reconnected with my e-mail and voice mail and made my way to an evening business networking event.
What I accomplished in the day off was right on target: I mapped out a large plan for some big changes. I also had the chance - while running, swimming and sewing - to reflect on these plans, to assimilate them into my subconscious as I move ahead. Doing this immersion-incubation idea process allows us to accept and welcome big changes.
I've shared that I've reinvented business several times in my professional entrepreneurial career, each time reinvigorating the business and work with new life. I'm about to embark on that again, but like most, it takes me a while to come around to the idea of big change.
I also took the day to make, to create, to do something as much with my hands as my head (my head gets the lion's share of work at the office). I stood up most of the day (sewing involves a lot of standing) which is also a change of pace for me. If you sit most of your day, stand up for your day off, and be active. If you're already active at work, make your day a chance to sit quietly and have more reflective, or learning opportunities.
How did the next day shape up? I came in on fire and ready to reload. In the first few hours of the day after your day off, try to evaluate what worked well the day before - did you have a chance to get out of your surroundings and feel more creative? If so, do that. You don't have to work AT your desk - if you prefer and have the ability to move your workstation, get up, literally, and go stand somewhere to work for a while. Pop in to another office or conference room for a change of scenery.
It's important that the day off not be a weekend-style day. You shouldn't pop out for a few errands, for instance. You want to pursue things that are physically active, that have personal meaning (golf plus a webinar or business book, gardening plus volunteering) that take you out of your usual business mindset but still allow you room to noodle change and ideas.
It was a successful entrepreneur recharge day, and I got back to work today with a renewed spirit, a sense of real accomplishment in the pursuit of bettering business. Try one for yourself!
Taking time off is something that entrepreneurs are not good at. Just this week I had planned a single day off as a revitalization day and when I noticed my schedule, I realized that was not going to be possible. So I moved it. We’re always moving our vacations, our time off, out just one more week. Until we get to the end of the year and realize we have taken no time off!
But quality reflective and restorative time is good for our businesses – and our employees like us better when we return! I’ll share with you some helpful ideas our clients have taught us over the years:
Rather than taking actual business work with you, which you can delegate to your team, bring a journal or sketchpad with you and focus on a few key things. Consider the top fives likes you currently have about your business, clients and work (your work as defined by what your role is in the company.) Think about the top five wishes you currently have about your business, clients and work.
After you have compiled your top five lists, do the following with each item: Identify what on the likes list you can have your company do more of. Identify what on the wish list your company can initiate. Identify someone on your team or on the outside that you can tap to help you realize these wished and keep likes going.
Last and most important, set an action date for each item. Make these dates realistic but also challenge yourself to get them done.
Use the time on your vacation or days off to recharge by focusing in either on things that restore you or challenge you. Novelty is shown to foster excitement and feelings of renewal, so do something or go somewhere you’ve never been. Studies show that when we give, we generate a lot of happy body chemicals, so pursue a volunteer project that takes you out of your comfort zone. Stepping slightly out of your comfort zone allows you to appreciate it when you return. For this reason, if you’re an introvert, schedule a day to be with people. If you’re an extrovert, schedule one day to be alone.
But to get to any of these, first you have to schedule it! Break out that calendar and schedule the time.