Social media

Top Eleven Things I Have Learned in a Hurry

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I’ll admit that from the beginning, that touting Gannon Solutions as a “start up” may inadvertently attempt to put it in a league with the likes of Groupon, Wildfire, Threadless, etc.  Start up means different things to everyone.  For one thing, I type WAY too many typos.  And although I may wish for a killer campaign with a social frenzy that made Dollar Shave Club explode in 2012, I am more pragmatic.  I do not foster any reckless thoughts that I am in their company, except that I started a business.

This does not mean I do not want or expect success. I do. I’d like measurable, quantifiable wild success.  I was not one of the Top 13 Startups to Watch in 2013 (nor will be in 2014 for that matter).  But Gannon Solutions did start up and I am proud of that.  Instead of sitting on the couch waiting for another job interviewer to call me, I am actively leveraging my more than 20 years of business and online experience to help small and midsized business increase consumer-traffic get through their doors or get online to fill their shopping carts.  I’m a marketer that has done it all at some point of my career:  website development, mobile optimization, design, email marketing, social media, digital strategy, technology innovation and yes, sales.  For over 20 years I’ve hit the grind and worked tirelessly for the man.  Why not become my own boss?  It was time.

1. Nobody cares.  Really. 

It’s the truth.  But that’s OK.  This does not mean I am doing the wrong thing. I had some quality years under my belt in business.  That may have made me pretty smart in a corporate boardroom, but small and midsized simply don’t care.  It repels them.  They cut through the BS quickly!  It’s not what you’ve done so much as it is what can you do for them now.

2. Keep it simple! 

A corporate stooge once said that I used too many flourishing words. I’m a believer in learning and improving at every turn, no problem.  No matter how misguided the source, there is truth.  Another entrepreneur recently told me I toss around too much jargon that your average “non-corporate marketer” doesn’t need.  I know my “style” followed me to the start-up.  I over-think the obvious. But instead of touting SEO, Title Tags and (capital S) Social (capital M) Media, I should simply state that I’m here to help their company’s online listing get to the top of Google to drive more customers.  Simple.  (Well, difficult. But explained more simply.)

3. Get off the island.  Ask for help.

Oh yes, you will be doing it all…every bit of the work.  Goodbye resources!  And everything takes just a little bit longer than you expect.  Sure, I am the Man…but now I’m also the accountant, research assistant, transportation engineer (well that’s the CTA), copy machine technician and on and on.  And let’s face it; you cannot do it all alone.  And shouldn’t.  Allow yourself to be open for others’ kindness and grace.  You may not have the luxury to rely on their resources, but that does not mean you can’t lean on people for support and guidance.  You only have to be as alone as you isolate yourself.

4. Humble yourself and be thankful.

I have learned right away that I will survive or fail based on my willingness to evolve quickly. Iterate immediately.  This came with surprising consequences.  I’ve gotten off my high horse and accepted quickly that I have to give up the fancy dinners, nights out, fabulously vapid shopping trips, and yes, some of the expectations of my friends and family.  Not give them up exactly, but realize that my resources are limited.  I have a new perspective.  Everyone lives their lives so differently with different priorities, each have their own outcome.  Humbling.  I now grab coffee, meet up for a bagel, watch friend’s dogs and cats while they enjoy extravagant vacations.  This is a very humbling time since I used to go on those trips.  This is a surprising development in my life.  Upon serious reflection I find that I am actually doing the right thing for myself.  This doesn’t mean I’ll be financially successful right away, but there is affirmation that flows from this work.  It is right for me.  And I am finding that it is OK for me to yield some of life’s frivolities to allow myself to be thankful with what I have now.  Be thankful for the opportunity.

5. Find problems to solve.

It’s the obvious I can miss.  I can’t tell you how many things I’ve recently read on this; but it took a while to get through my thick head.  Find a problem.  Solve it.  Seek those issues that need real help.  That’s what a business owner really wants.  We’ve all got too much going on to address the hard stuff sometimes.  We procrastinate.  That’s my way in.

6. Expect to learn with fire-hose pressure.

This one I underestimated and find daunting.  I expected to know some of what I was doing based on experience.  But then I actually sat down to try it.  Like, with my own hands.  I cannot remember the last time I actually did some of the tasks I do daily now instead of managing people who do it.  Photoshop vs Illustrator?  Phew, it’s been some years!  It sounds ridiculous, but the online landscape changes so quickly, I had always focused on that.  I can’t remember the last time I had to track my own hours so I could invoice a client… myself.  Oh wait, last week.  Boy was that a shock.  (Clients are getting a great deal because I could not possibly charge the amount of hours I am creeping along at!)

7. Write down on a piece of paper “Can I Afford to Begin A Business?” then throw it away!

Either you can or you can’t.  Regardless when you are ready, just do it.  Otherwise you never will.  Just begin at your financial pace.

8. Can You Tap Dance?  Ya better learn.

Corporations are siloed.  I never stopped to think what a luxury that could be.  Oh the bliss of not knowing what exactly happens across each department to make the big corporate machine run!  Well that machine is now me.  I will not fake it, but I can sure weigh lay topics until I have time to research and become informed.  I am always transparent about gaps of knowledge, but then I learn it for my client.  Learn it fast.  Become an expert.

9. Make a cute logo.

But if you don’t, you can always change it.  And without the executive branding team’s approval!

10.  Gain experience.

The rest I will learn as each day passes. I’ve got years to rely on, not rest on.  It is that challenge that makes this fun and possible.

11. Ask yourself Why?

This one should be #1.  Why did I want to begin a business?  My reasons are simple and honest:

  • I want to create a culture of excellence for people who live and breathe their career and family.  A place where your humanity is safe and being smart isn’t feared.  Neither is being wrong.  Innovative risk takers are hailed.  A true working environment based on form and function where the question ‘Why?’ is always asked.
  • I want to have fun with these people, mentoring them, developing them while always learning from them. And I want an open forum of ideas with a dash of tomfoolery.
  • Finally, I want a company with my vision for future growth and the right people in place to cultivate a path for success.

One more thing, I wrote most of this blog last night to post today because, frankly I know the content will help to increase my site’s search rankings.  Every minute working is value added.  Saturday nights are no longer the same.  This is temporary but there is good news today:  every day feels like a Tuesday.  No more Sunday night dreads.

Keep following and see what happens.  Feel free to add your own recommendations.  I love feedback!  Or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Photo by iStock Getty Images

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.

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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.

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.