Month: November 2013

Small Business Saturday Has Arrived

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Today is Small Business Saturday.  If you are a small business looking to grow your neighborhood following, today is your day.  American Express has dedicated this day to assist mom-n-pop shops to compete in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday arenas.   It’s not too late to hit your Facebook business pages, Twitter feeds and friends’ social networks.  Resources are available to help you post and tweet with #shopsmall.  See USA Today’s big press for small businesses.  Enjoy YOUR day Mr. and Ms. Small Business while you get online and build your social media following.

Knowing Your Online Traffic

 

 

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Knowing where your online traffic is coming from can help any business better customize their own website’s content to increase conversions. Organic and paid search are still “kings,” but social media continues to evolve into a profitable solution for many. What is your strongest referral channel? Don’t know? Start finding that answer today.  Check out Gannon Solution’s service offerings.

Image by iStock Getty Images

Black Friday Gamble? All bets are in.

Black Friday blog

With Walmart beginning a week early, this year’s Black Friday is already off to the races.  This year’s shopping routine is a crapshoot, according to a post at Retail Customer Experience. For instance, more stores are risking opening their doors this year on Thanksgiving.

“With more retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day, 13 percent of U.S. consumers plan to shop on that day. However, a hefty 46 percent of consumers plan to shop on Black Friday (Nov. 29), as the day continues to be the prime focus for the bargain-conscious consumer.”Read more: The Big Lie About Shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday | TIME.com http://business.time.com/2013/11/21/the-big-lie-about-shopping-on-thanksgiving-and-black-friday/#ixzz2lfDKRiLV

So with all bets this week on big box stores, a smaller business should be doubling-down on the findings that our poll reveals: many shoppers will continue shopping weeks after Black Friday.  Now is the time to activate social media channels to drive your already loyal followers, letting them know you are a sure thing.  Shopping local hits fever pitch this Saturday, November 30 with American Express sponsored Small Businesses Saturday.  Take advantage of all the marketing and promotions available.  Join in and promote your business.  Get the word out and cash in on this season’s gamble.  It’s a good bet you will extend your social media without risk because there are many supported and organized campaigns nation-wide.  Ride on their expense, and tap into their efforts.

Change is Inevitable

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I recently had a fascinating conversation with an entrepreneur who has begun to actively reconsider his business model on a new venture he began.  To be more to the point, he is really questioning his current customer-base.  They are not whom he had expected them to be when he launched so the business is lagging.  This entrepreneur switched industries from the one he has found current success. To keep anonymity, let’s just say he was in the hotel industry and now he sells widgets.  Stupid example, but you get the picture.  He has a passion for widgets, shall we say, always has. So he wanted to take a stab at designing cutting edge widgets that not only attracted a certain consumer-base but pushed the industry forward.  Now that is true entrepreneurial spirit, but I digress.  Back to the problem; innovation is a tricky venture.  All the R&D in the world does not guarantee success when you are creating something new.  So it’s not a huge surprise that he missed his expected consumer segment in the beginning.   Which basically means he ain’t sellin’ a ton of widgets.  (You get that it’s not really widgets, right?)

 

I am empathetic to his plight, so I want to help.  A project.  Something to research!  I will.  But for now consider the magnitude of his dilemma. Reflect on all the thought, mechanics and dollars put into motion on any new venture of innovation.  Whether it is a new product line, service offering or widget, they all begin with evaluating today’s (and tomorrow’s) consumers’ wants or needs?  Where is the pain?  Once identified, you take a leap of faith that you have found a problem for which you can solve and meet a consumer’s expectations.  Not only will you hope to meet expectations, you want to improve their existence AND profit from it.  With that optimistic glimmer of hope you proceed to develop a business model, build financial forecasting, determine types of lead generation, execute on product development, fulfillment processes and all the other steps it takes to get a product or service or whatever into those consumers’ hands.  But after all that hard work – what if you miss the mark?  What if your consumer is not whom you expected?

 

I’m a big believer in change.  I tend to dig in, get quiet and get ready to spring, evolve and move on.  The answer is out there waiting to be found.  Change is inevitable.  The good news for us all is that here are a lot of success stories out there to emulate. Here’s one that I thought would be a good pep talk to our widget-maker friend from above.     

photo by iStock Getty Images

Believe it or not, tech companies are hiring more women

Sexy brunette oparating virtual keyboard

I admit that I do find the title of this Chicago Crain’s article patronizing.  I have spent over 20 years within some part of the technology arena and I have worked with a multitude of tech savvy women that I admired.  But it’s good to see that the larger population is finally getting some credit and more jobs!

Photo by iStock Getty Images

Strategy in Social Media

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How’s your business’ social media strategy?  If you are like the majority of companies today, you still do not have a true strategy.  Econsultancy reports that 62% of businesses today do not have a content social media strategy, and most are not using outside resources.  That is hard to believe when you consider that 72% of every adult in the US is using some social media for everything; from finding a restaurant, to an outfit to wear, a new business opportunity or the inevitable posts to just let everyone know that your day is going “fantabulous”.  The latter post aside, consumers are perusing products to purchase in the social media marketplace.  At the same time B2B content marketers continue to adapt social as a key tactics to their company’s overall marketing strategy each year.  No matter what lens you are evaluating through, social media is constantly evolving.  It’s time we tap into these networks more strategically.

SimplySocial is just the resource to help us achieve our social media goals and leverage opportunities that are too often missed or misused.   Founder and owner Tyler Arnold has developed a new product offering that can help you extend your social presence and grow your business.  This affordable platform allows businesses to capitalize on content imagined by every employee as contributors.  But don’t worry; you are still in control of what hits the social media landscape with a simple hierarchy-based approval process. Unlimited “content contributors” may submit ideas to managers at no additional cost to the platform license fee.  Haven’t we all had a good idea or two that wound up getting lost in the back-and-forth banter between approval chains?  Or if you are a smaller business, that fun and interesting water cooler conversations that is enjoyed, good ideas being shared then forgotten because you had no easy tool in place to log them?  SimplySocial does just that.  Like its name implies, it is a social media content management tool that allows contributors to capture content for approval, scheduling and posting to the web.  Plus SimplySocial works in a campaign format so your brand is protected with thoughtful organization.

Social media is a viable delivery channel for new and loyal customers.  SimplySocial figured out how to make it, well, simple.

Contact SimplySocial today for a free demo.  Tell them Gannon Solutions sent you!

About SimplySocial

Founded by a small group of experienced technology entrepreneurs, SimplySocial has grown fast into a dynamic organization of world class talent. Each day, we work together to do what we love: deliver the best technology and service to customers, and challenge each other to learn and perform at the highest levels.

9 (well 10) Ways To Stay Scrappy In Business

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These 9 Ways to Stay Scrappy in Business are true.  And I’m proud to consider myself to be a pretty scrappy chap.  That said, I would like to add another tip to round the list up to 10 ways to stay scrappy.

“Tip #10 – Decide what you’re willing to give up.”

When starting a business, growing a business or simply keeping up with your business, we all know there are things we give up. Often times those are things we don’t want to give up.  In my case, I’ve recently given up my apartment. Yup, listed it on AirBnB.com and allowed it to be rented by strangers for 3 nights/3 days/8 hrs/30 mins. I decided to myself that I am willing to give up my personal space to acquire more seed money to get my business off the ground. And I’d do it again (in fact, I have a couple more reservations this month!).  It’s not easy.  Far from it!  I HATE staying at others homes. As a bit of a self-proclaimed hermit, my place is my fortress of solitude. A sort of security blanket. Without it I feel powerless and incomplete. But you have to be scrappy to survive in business .

Think about what you’d give up to keep move forward in business.

Farm Your Village

19th century engraving of a Burgess and Key's Reaper

There are so many different ways to refer to your consumers: guests, customers, clients, tribe, buyers and the list goes on.  I like this way of looking at consumers as a village.  It implies a relationship that draws from each other to thrive.

But to add to that, without strategy, execution, feedback and analytics it is almost impossible to have a business relationship with your village.  Think about it.  How on earth can you know what to distribute to your “customers” without first knowing them….relating to them?  Harvest time is upon us and it is good to reflect upon that bounty before the winter comes. Get in touch with your village.  Listen and communicate with them. Those are two sure ways that can only grow your business.