Thursday, 27 October 2011

Every Business is Potentially a Magnificent Rose Waiting to Bloom

It’s pretty easy to forget that even the largest companies and organisations operating around the world today, started life as tiny enterprises, the result of the enthusiasm and dedication of a few. At the time they would have had little if any inclination of what the future held.

Take the famous Golden Arches of multinational fast food chain McDonald’s, for instance. The company was founded in 1955 when local entrepreneur Ray Kroc purchased the rights to a small hamburger chain. Nearly 60 years on and spurred on in no small part by the clever concept of franchising, McDonald’s now boasts 33,000 restaurants worldwide and a global staff compliment of an incredible 1.7 million. It is estimated that these numbers help McDonald’s serve some 64 million people every day.

Then there’s computer software and hardware company Microsoft. Paul Allen and Bill Gates officially founded Microsoft in 1975, in the intervening years the firm has grown into one of the pre-eminent lights in IT, becoming a global monster worth some $224 billion (£144 billion). Now, Microsoft’s popular operating system, windows, boasts around 88 per cent of the market place and Bill Gates is one of the richest men on the planet. Mightily impressive stuff indeed.

Now, we’re not saying that working a certain way is a guaranteed route to success for a small company to reach Microsoft-style heights but, it’s worth remembering the humble beginnings of even the biggest names and what patience and hard work can potentially achieve.

Solid, small business marketing, backed-up with comprehensive market research of competitors and consumers, which in turn leads to a clear strategy, really is priceless.

It’s definitely a good idea to personally enquire face-to-face or over the phone, or search online, for an agency you feel not only offers the best service for the best price, but one that you can work with as well. The perfect vision for your company will be implemented before you know it.

Kick Start Your Business With a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy

A business should always keep a close eye on the very industry it is part of. Becoming complacent or distracted can be commercial suicide.

Take the British motorcycle industry for example. It was considered a world leader during the early decades of the 20th century, with research and development spurred on by the demands of two world wars, producing ever-more powerful and convenient bikes. Indeed, records show that 1959 was a record year for bike sales and exports. Yet it was not long after this that the dismissive nature towards the global competition blinded the British motorcycle industry from the change in attitude and trends.

The early ‘60s saw the dominance of names such as Triumph, BSA and Norton at first threatened and then ultimately smashed, by foreign competitors, particularly by the emerging Japanese manufactures. Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha rode into town with their efficient, cost-effective designs and cheaper retail prices. They were soon doing British-style bikes far better than the British themselves.

British rivals, who were now steadfastly stuck in the past with their thinking, where blown away as the pristine, electric-start Japanese bikes rode off the production line, boasting impeccable reliability, ground-breaking electrics and came pre-fitted with indicator lights as standard. The British had failed to see the changing market and, although they tried to play catch-up, it was way too late.

It’s a stark reminder of what can happen to a business if it doesn’t keep it’s a ear to the ground and continually listen to what its customers want, as well as what its competitors are doing within the marketplace.

To give your company a head start, sound, professional business marketing will allow your company the opportunity to be fully-equipped to fight competitively against your rivals as well as attracting those customers that you are really after.

Get Social-able With Your Online Marketing

So after all the hype, the concept of ‘web 2.0’ and the promise of a more ‘social’ focus on the internet now has its feet firmly under the table. Social media, driven by the relentless expansion of heavyweights Facebook and Twitter has exploded.

So much so, they, along with platforms such as Youtube, Wikkipedia, Flickr and many others can become the foundational basis of a company’s online drive. It’s no longer just about a good service and functioning website. As a firm, the world expects you to interact with them and, perish the thought, even be interesting.

Just look at the some of the statistics of the growth of social media over the past 4 years. It makes quite astonishing reading.

Facebook for instance, plodded along for a year or so before in early 2007 the uptake of new users positively burst into life turning it into a global phenomenon. Nowadays the social networking giant boasts some 750 million (as of July 2011) active users worldwide. Of which, an impressive percentage log-on to get their fix at least once a day.

While Twitter, can boast nearly 100 million tweets per day from its dedicated bank of registered users of some 180 million. Now they’re impressive numbers, and self evidence why social media, and Twitter in particular are invaluable ways to interact with your market/audience and release company information, such as new products, promotions or services.

The next 12 months show every sign of being even bigger in terms of growth. Facebook has recently rolled out the latest iteration of its layout and news feed, while the industry gets excited about the imminent arrival of ‘facebook timeline’ (a direct response to Google’s fledgling Google+ social network service) which promises an all-new way to showcase your personality in cyber space.

One thing’s for sure, your company needs to be part of this revolution. If you don’t have the marketing set-up to develop a sufficient online model in-house, then a search marketing consultant is what you will need to take full advantage. Before you know it, your business will have the Facebookers and Twitterati that matter unable to stop trending about your company.

Lights, Camera, Action...How Movies Are the Perfect Inspiration for Business Success

For a good example of how the constituent parts of a marketing campaign come together to support the greater good of a much larger entity, you need look no further than that of the movie industry.

The script and story of the movie can be compared to that of a company’s initial ethos, charter and objective, while a film’s teaser trailers, billboard posters and website are similar to those first tentative steps when a company is promoting itself properly for the first time.

A movie, just like a company, is geared towards making as much money as possible and that means exploiting every last revenue stream to its limit – whether it’s box office, merchandising or external funding. That means that films, costing in-excess of 100s of millions of pounds are backed by the studios who have produced them, with equally ambitious promotions, campaigns and events.

That’s the way you have to look at your business.

Marketing companies will give you the necessary resources and expertise so that your ‘brand’ is as strong as it can be in the online stratosphere and really break those box office records, creating a blockbuster of a company.

A good online communications company will be able to put together a marketing strategy tailored specifically for the needs of your business. They’ll research obvious and not so obvious competitors and support you in gaining an edge over them.

Online is key. But it’s not just about having a great-looking and easy to use website. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and dedicated company ‘channels’ on Youtube are the building blocks of communicating to your business to business customers, consumers and staff. A web marketing agency will have the skills to enable your company to fully embrace this.

For an ideal fit when it comes to your company’s online marketing, have a look online for that Oscar-winning combination.

A Bespoke Marketing Drive Can Lead Your Company to the Top of the League

1992 saw the much-vaunted debut of the Premier League, trumpeted as the new age of English football. It heralded a drastic change for the national game as money flooded into the sport altering it indelibly. With clubs spurred on by the television deals and the desire to attract a worldwide audience, they become more than a football club, they were now companies – global brands competing for market share.

As the seasons progressed, football clubs expanded their communications departments or hired expertise in the form of a third-party marketing consultant to handle a variety of avenues. Activities such as a redesign – or an ‘evolving’ as it was referred to – of the club crest to a subtly different, minimal, more marketable design, spear-headed this shift in momentum.

While at the same time, marketing was working its magic in generally harnessing the money-making potential of a football club taking advantage of the potential.

Looking for opportunities and consolidating your business is very much like a football team. From small businesses with a handful of staff, to multinational firms, a focused, and intelligent marketing drive will reap so many benefits and keep you in the hunt for glory.

For instance, hiring a specialised marketing firm to provide you with the ideal PR and communications weapons will make a huge impact if it’s done correctly, keeping you ahead of the game.

Putting together an intuitive and informative website, to advertise your skills is a sure-fire way to develop a following – as is gaining a foothold within the rankings of search engines such as Google. You can ensure you’re spreading the word online further still, by using social networking, blogging, link building and targeted, email marketing, showcasing the very services and products you provide. Highlight to people why you are the best at what you do.

A quick search online will show you exactly what’s out there to help your company really find its voice so it can go on to score some career-changing goals in the process.

A Business Consultant Can Help Your Firm Reach For The Stars

American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities.”

Of course, it’s open to interpretation, but what we’d like to think he was talking about is that if you keep an open mind and have belief in yourself, there are always opportunities to be a success and reach your goals – no matter the challenge.

And, when you think about it – that sums up perfectly the ideal mantra business mantra, whether it is an upcoming family-run operation, or a long established multinational.

To give your business a fighting chance to meet its goals then hiring a business consultant is an excellent method to get everything from marketing and corporate branding, overall strategy and recruitment within your company working in harmony.

A good consultancy understands that every business, small, medium or large, is different, and because of that, often need a specific set of requirements. Taking the time to understand your business and analyse the industry in which you sit, there is one sole aim – to increase your profits.

Everything from internal structure, staff and customer communication, the product or service and marketing activities are all looked at. If something isn’t working and improvements are required – the logistical and cost implication of such improvements are examined before being put to your company for approval.

In terms of having access to a business consultancy or not, it can be the difference between having a clear goal and pathway to continued growth or just treading water and not really making the kind of impact you want in your field.

Online, there are a raft of companies out there that can help. With the right sort of advice, support and consultation your business will soon be operating in a way that Ralph Waldo Emerson would appreciate –like poetry in motion.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Size Matters When it Comes to Getting Your Marketing Right

Right now it might feel as though it’s all doom and gloom, what with the current state of the UK and worldwide economy, not to mention austerity measures biting hard into the public sector. But, it might be surprising to learn that many small to medium-sized businesses are thriving even in these difficult times.

Indeed, recent figures suggest that the number of businesses filing insolvency in the UK have fallen by 10 per cent overall from the same period last year. In fact, regions such as Yorkshire have shown a 14 per cent drop.

This goes to prove that no matter how difficult things get generating income and persuading punters to part with their cash, there are rewards for firms that are willing to put in the hard work and strive towards a clear, common goal. After all, it’s much easier to build from solid foundations.

Of course, this demonstrates perfectly the importance of smallbusiness marketing, the need of ramping up interest in your service and products and thus making sure your intended customer base knows exactly who you are and what you do.

A small business may have a smaller budget than larger companies but it is all relative and, if things are done the right way, the various marketing disciplines can create a pretty formidable weapon in growing your business.
There’s above the line and below the line marketing and advertising, encompassing all the fundamentals from promotional spots in local newspapers and magazines, to holding exhibitions and other public events, as well as mail shots and canvassing.

Add that to a diverse and focused online commitment and you have a business marketing strategy that can really make a difference. An external business marketing agency will aide your company’s development, pursuing in-depth market research and analysis, creating the ideal marketing solution.

B2B or B2C – Your Business Needs a Clear Strategy to Become a Genuine Hit

Back in the day, during the ‘50s and much of the ‘60s, a song's popularity was measured merely by the sales of sheet music.  But it wasn’t until February, 1969 that the record sales from stores across the country were first compiled and recorded – giving birth to the UK’s first official top 40 chart.

Over the decades countless acts, from bands to solo singers have made their mark on the history of the charts – some much more than others – as musical styles and popular culture changed. 

Some have collected multiple number 1s, like Elvis Pressley (21) and The Beatles (17). However some have managed just the solitary number one, going down into the history books as ‘one hit wonders’ such as: Berlin with Take My Breath Away and Edwyn Collins’ A Girl Like you. 

But what’s the best way for a company to ensure its own chart success and to then build upon it so that it doesn’t just become a flash in the pan, one hit wonder, but instead – a sustained hit-making machine? 

Well, intelligent business marketing helps immensely with creating the foundations and forward trajectory of a company. 

From the conclusions made from dedicated market research, a marketing initiative can really come to fruition.
As a local operation, whether it’s business to business or business to consumer – it’s important that you walk before you attempt to run. So, with that in mind, establishing a foothold within your immediate and surrounding community is paramount.

A marketing agency will offer your business the know-how and resources to achieve this and help you when the time is right to look towards frying bigger fish and casting your net further afield.

A business specialist will pull online and other mediums of advertising into one cohesive strategy for your company to truly become platinum-selling.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Do You Need a Business Consultant if You’re a Solopreneur?

If you’re thinking that only large corporations need a business consultant, think again. You might be surprised to learn that even a one man or one woman business could significantly benefit from business consulting. The reasonable cost and return on investment will probably surprise you!

Small business owners, sometimes referred to as solopreneurs, believe that they need to be able to do it all. If you run your business on your own, you’ll be wearing many hats as an entrepreneur and as a result, you’ll often be in react mode. You’ll motor through each day doing what needs to be done. But how will you plan for the future? How can you proactively plan for growth when you’re flying by the seat of your trousers? A business consultant can help you. Some entrepreneurs that like to work alone are not thrilled with the prospect of someone coming in and telling them what they’re doing wrong. But a business consultant doesn’t work like that. A skilled consultant can help in a non-obtrusive way that doesn’t take over your business --- this can enhance your business according to your own desires and long term goals. An expert adviser can do a lot for a small business owner, on the business owner’s terms.

What do business consultants do?
A business consultant can do various things for you, such as:

• Analyse your existing business infrastructure to help you make positive changes to procedures for productivity and profitability. This can help you find more time and make more money. What could be better than that?

• Marketing and advertising services. A business consultant could help you gain more exposure with your target audience and become your outsourced marketing department.

• Internet marketing services. Want to take advantage of the vast online audience that could be buying from you? A skilled consultant can help you get found online so you can make more sales.

Sure, large companies need consultants but small businesses can benefit form consulting services as well. Working one on one with someone who has accumulated business experience in many areas could help you in a vast way. A consultant will listen to your concerns, find out what’s important to you as an entrepreneur, and come up with a plan that can work for you and do it on your terms.

How do you choose a consultancy firm?

Finding the right people to help you succeed isn’t always easy. There are some red flags that should set off warning bells for you, such as:

• Companies or consultants that promise “the moon” super fast.
• Companies that you can’t find background information about.
• Companies who don’t offer guarantees.

Signs that you’ve found a solid resource include:

• Testimonials
• A background you can investigate yourself (online and perhaps locally)
• A guarantee about satisfaction
• Flexible services that suit your specific needs.

While most entrepreneurs like to keep a tight rein on their business, the possibilities, when you have someone like a skilled business consultant to help you, can result in your achievement of your goals and dreams much sooner.

Tips for Running a Successful Home Business

Running a successful home business takes hard work and commitment as well as the desire to make it work. This short article will give you some ideas on what you need to consider to get the most out of your home business venture.

Many people may think that running a home business will be easy once you have decided what it is you are going to do. However this is not the case as there is a great deal of time and commitment needed to run a successful home business venture. You will need to factor in how you are going to manage your working day as well as considering your internet marketing and in particular how to get your website to rank well online.

1.Be Committed

For any business to ever be successful you will need to be 100% committed to the task in hand. Failure to do this could ultimately result in the failure of your business which could be an expensive mistake! Before you decide to set up a home business ask yourself if you have the time, money and dedication to really give everything to making it as successful as possible.

2.Plan Your Time

It is vital that you plan your time effectively so that you can fit in all of your work, internet marketing and communication each day. Try to come up with a list of all the tasks you will need to carry out on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. You can then plan your time around these tasks. When working for yourself it may be tempting to work whatever hours you like, but remember that you will need to be available for at least some of the standard 9-5 so that customers can contact you. Time management is one of the most effective tips to running a home business successfully so make sure your timetable is realistic to ensure you stick to it.


This is key to getting your home business out there so that people know you exist. Setting up a website is a great way for people to find you and you can place the link on business cards, forums, blogs etc. Make sure that your website is unique and professional and provides people with information on what you do and something interesting to read.


One of the most important elements of your internet marketing is search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO. What this essentially means is trying to get your website from the bottom of the search rankings to the top. For this reason it is important that you understand keywords and which words people most commonly search for to find what you are offering. If you still find SEO confusing then there are many companies and freelance writers who can help you with this.

Social Media Marketing . . . Where Failure To Plan Is Most Definitely Planning To Fail . . .

What do you think is the single biggest mistake businesses make when engaging in social media marketing?

Undoubtedly, it’s a failure to plan. And this ‘lack of planning’ affects businesses of all sizes; from the rawest of start-ups, to the biggest of empires.

So why does this happen? After all, you wouldn’t embark on any new business venture without a solid business plan to hand (I trust).

Possibly because the vast majority of social media is, in effect, a free tool, business owners think social media is something they can dip in and out of.

Huge mistake.

Because the real key to successful social media marketing is having a solid plan you can work through week-on-week, month-on-month, year-on-year.

The stark reality is that the average person on Facebook has 130 connections and belongs to 50-60 online groups. So to really influence audiences on social media sites you will need to break through this already established network.

The only way to do that properly is to devise a social media strategy that’s right for your business.

Here are some proven tips to help you get started:

Define your target audience

Be as specific as possible about who you want to connect with: What is their gender? Age group? Earnings? Hobbies? Relationship status? Build up a picture of your ideal customer – the more detail the better.

The worst case scenario is that you will try to reach everybody, in which case your marketing message will be too bland to make an impact and you will end up reaching no-one.

Decide on the right social media networks for your business

Where does your target audience hang out? LinkedIn? Facebook? Twitter? Create a clear outline of who you want to reach and then determine which of the social media platforms can best help you achieve your goals. Make sure the type of content you intend posting suits the medium you are posting to.

Listen to what your target audience is saying

What is your target audience interested in? What do they talk about online? What worries them? What kind of role might your product or service play in their lives? By listening to discussion groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc, you will gain valuable insights into your potential customers’ lives, which you can then translate into a meaningful action plan.

Call them to action

What do you want to achieve? What are your goals? Once you know what your primary purpose is – what you want to achieve – create a ‘call to action’ that will back up that goal. It could be as simple as asking people to sign up for your newsletter, or phone for a free consultation.

Create a content planner

This is one of the most important, but often overlooked, components of your social media marketing plan. What sort of subjects will you write about? What are the kinds of things that will engage and inspire your target audience? Create a content plan in advance of starting your campaign and you’ll be surprised how much better received your postings are.

Track and measure your success

Tracking your social media marketing campaign in detail will show you what is and what isn’t working as well as proving your ROI. It will also help you identify the best use of your resources such as time and money. Be prepared to refine/ adjust your content in order to achieve the optimum response levels.

Social media is a cheap and easy way to win more fans for your business. The fact that the tools are (mainly) free can create a problem for business owners who are new to social media marketing.

Begin with a well-defined strategy and you won’t go far wrong. In fact, you’ll be streets ahead of those companies who view social media as something you can opt in and out of whenever you feel like it.

You really can’t.

Snoop Dogg Currently Leads The Pack . . . Here’s How Your Business Can Gain More Followers With Twellow

What is Twellow? And how can it help my business?

Twellow, dubbed the “Yellow Pages of Twitter,” makes it easy for you to find people within a certain niche or location, and allows people searching for your business type, product or service to find you!

How does it work?

Twellow analyses publicly available ‘tweets’ and places the writer of those tweets into several ‘defining’ categories. Of course you will need to have a Twitter account first, but assuming you have one already, here’s how to make the most of Twellow:

Use Your Maximum 10 Categories To Define Your Areas Of Expertise:

Twellow allows you to be listed in a maximum of 10 categories. Initially this is determined by the keywords Twellow ‘grabs’ from your Twitter profile. However you can change the categories assigned to you using the Profile Editor. You can also request a category be considered for addition if it isn’t currently available – new categories are being added all the time.

Created An Extended Biography That “Sells” You Better

Twellow permits you to extend your standard bio by 2000 characters, which is ideal for better explaining what you do and what you have to offer. You can also use links to your website, blog, or social media profiles. For example: “Check out my Top 10 Social Media Tips at my blog.” Using keywords and phrases in this way will boost your search engine rankings. You can also include a call to action: “For one week only, FREE consultation on how to get more traffic to your website!”

Use TwellowHood To Help You Connect With The Right People

Looking to do more business locally? Or within a certain radius of a particular place or city? TwellowHood is the tool you need. This giant map of the world will let you place your screen cursor on a particular continent, then zoom in to the locality you need. TwellowHood then identifies the Twitter users in your selected location. TwellowHood is great for finding business leads and joint venture partners. Or maybe you outsource work and need to find a copywriter or graphic designer in your neighbourhood. TwellowHood will help you identify the right people in the right locations.

Check Out Twellow’s ‘Advanced Search’ Tips

Twellow allows you to narrow or broaden your search criteria using characters such as quotation marks, ampersand and plus/ minus sign, then returns the search results in descending order according to each person’s number of followers. This is a great facility as you don’t need to wade through an entire list of search results to find the people with the biggest audience. The advanced search option is full of shortcuts which will make all your searches simpler and quicker.

Use A Twellow Sticker On Your Website Or Blog

Why wait for people to find you on Twellow? Place a sticker on your website or blog and they’ll know instantly. You can choose from four standard sticker colours, or customise your own.

If you’re on Twitter as part of your internet marketing you really need to be on Twellow too. And if you’re not already a Twitter fan, Twellow might just convert you. There are so many potential benefits to using Twellow for business:- people waiting for you to find them and people searching for you, it really is worth taking a closer look at how Twellow can improve your ‘bottom line.’

Oh and . . . in case you were wondering, Snoop Dogg currently has a whopping 4,293,842 followers on Twellow.

Something to aspire to perhaps?

Overwhelmed By Social Media? How HootSuite Can Help You Get Organized And Save Time!

If as part of your small business marketing you’ve already decided your business could profit from social media, but the whole thing is frankly so overwhelming that you don’t know where to start, help is at hand. Perhaps you’re already signed up to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Foursquare, but other than that you’ve done nothing with your accounts. Maybe you also have a WordPress blog you make the odd posting to every month or so.

The reality is, dabbling in social media doesn’t work . . . particularly if you’re in business. For businesses, social media is a kind of ‘all or nothing’ experience. And it’s extremely time-consuming, right? Particularly if you’re a one-man or one-woman business when there just never seems enough hours in the day generally.

Well now there’s a programme that can help you automate all your social media activity. It’s called HootSuite – and it’s brilliant for updating all your social media platforms at the same time.

Here’s an overview of what you get when you sign up to HootSuite:

The Ability to Manage Multiple Social Networks

With HootSuite, you can integrate all your social networking sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and update them easily via a single manageable location. HootSuite also lets you update a range of other social networks through

Control Your Team’s Workflow

HootSuite allows you to add multiple remote users and permit them to update feeds and tweets on your behalf.

Manage Twitter Feeds

Once you start following more than a dozen Twitter accounts, keeping up with all the constant feeds can be an almost impossible task. With HootSuite, it’s a doddle. HootSuite enables you to create lists of Twitter followers easily and stay tuned to their updates.

Upload Files and Customize URLs

HootSuite uses its own shortening function “” which enables you to customize URL parameters. And when you want to share updates or files with your followers, HootSuite converts your content into a shortened link and embeds it into the file.

Pre-write Your Content and Schedule It For Posting Later

Another great feature of HootSuite is that you can pre-write content in advance and schedule it to be posted on your Twitter site whenever you want. This facility makes it easier to keep up with the demand for fresh content. With HootSuite, if you want to post a tweet a 3am you won’t have to set your alarm to do it!

HootSuite is iPhone and Droid App compatible

Compatible with the latest iPhone and Droid App, your marketing team can perform their social media functions anytime, anywhere.

Tracking Statistics & Data

Want to know how many clicks your tweets are getting and where from? HootSuite’s tracking system provides you with comprehensive data on all this and much more.

HootSuite is the perfect tool for managing your brand’s social media activity. It allows you to track backlinks and retweets and find out what people are saying about your business. HootSuite encourages greater and more efficient productivity and better interaction with your social media team.