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2013… Make it or Break it?

By Amanda Bala

2013… another year is here. The question is, are you ready for it? We all know that people make resolutions each year (many of which are broken by the end of January). But what about from a business standpoint? What resolutions can you make as a business owner that will help you to grow and prosper in this New Year? In addition, how can you keep those resolutions achievable so you are not one of the many that fall victim to breaking their resolve before the month is even up?

First of all, keep it simple. Set goals that are attainable. Next, write your resolutions down and keep them some place where you can look at them often. By doing this, you will constantly be reminded of what it is you want to achieve. Finally, share your goals with others. Whether it is staff, friends or family, by letting others in on what you are doing, it holds you accountable to keep going.

When figuring out exactly what resolutions to set for the year, it is good to reflect back on the previous year. How was 2012 for your business? What things happened, both positive and negative? Did you accomplish all that you wanted to?  If not, what happened that stopped you? Use all of this information to set your new goals for 2013.

What kind of resolutions should you make? Well, that is obviously dependent on your business. However, here are three good resolutions that can be used by just about any business owner.

Build your business. Let’s get right to it. It is now or never. Get those numbers that you want down on paper. If you are looking to gain X number of clients, write it down. If you are looking to do X amount of sales, write that down as well. Be realistic, but also push yourself a bit so that you work hard to achieve your goals.

Spend and waste less. Look at your business and find ways in which you can reduce waste and lost energy. By reducing the amount of paper you use and turning off unused equipment and unessential lights, you will be surprised at the amount of money and energy you can save.

Be a better communicator. When dealing with clients and staff, it is always amusing how much can get lost in an email. Even if the email is received, it is not always taken the way it is intended. Be sure to follow up with a phone call or additional email if you have not heard back about your inquiry in a timely manner. In addition, don’t rely solely on email. Sometimes we get lost in all the technology that is available to us. However, when something is really important, take the time to sit down and discuss it, face to face.

So, there you have it. Don’t be afraid to push yourself. This is your life… your business. Get out there and make it happen this year! Happy 2013!


Social Media… Part of the Larger Solution

By Amanda Bala


It was not very long ago that the words “social media” and “social networking” were linked to very different connotations than they are today. Many people thought that all things having to do with social media were a passing phase… just another blip on the radar.

But then businesses started to see the return on their investment into social media. Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook became very real marketing tools and people’s opinions about social media began to change. It was no longer a passing fad. Social media was here to stay and was changing the way we advertise ourselves and our companies and products.

Using social media as a part of your marketing strategy is a delicate balancing act. By taking traditional marketing and mixing in social media, you are able to enhance your marketing and strengthen your brand. However, it is important that you do not look at social media as the end all solution to your marketing needs, but instead look at it as a brand enhancer… another piece of an integrated larger solution.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind:

Know Your Target Audience. It is not about how many followers you have on Twitter or how many “likes” you have on Facebook. It is about having the right people follow you and like you. You can get your message out to 10 true potential clients and it will do far more for your business growth than getting it out to 1000 people who have no interest at all in what you are doing.

Think Like A Potential Client. If you were your own customer, what would you like to see on your Facebook page? What things would you find helpful and interesting. Those are the things you need to be sharing and putting up on your social media sites. Base your keywords on terms that your clients use.  Be willing to share as much helpful information as possible. The more people come to rely on your site, the more they will talk positively about you to others.

Engage Your Audience. The more you ask of your social media fan base, the more they will give back. Post thought provoking material. Ask for opinions. Even get a bit controversial. Be a character. Make your posts fun or funny. Just get people talking. The more they talk on your page, the more they will talk about you to others who will in turn come to see what they fuss is all about.

There is no doubt about it; social media is here to stay. It is more important than ever that you get with the times and make sure you have your social media strategy in place and working for you.


FB Timeline for Businesses… Will it Happen?

By Amanda Bala

As Facebook users get ready for the site wide implementation of the Facebook timeline for all profiles, businesses will have to wait for their turn to try it out. As of right now, the Facebook Timeline is not available to businesses and there is no word on when it will be ready, if ever, for marketers.

Many users have a love/hate relationship with FB and the changes that they implement. This is certainly true of the timeline. Some users rave about the functionality and character it gives to the page. Others flat out hate the way it looks, comparing it to My Space and arguing that it it was fine the way it was. Whatever your opinion of the timeline, if you are a business, you don’t have a choice about using it.

At the present time, the social networking giant is not allowing brands to create Timeline pages. There is no set date when they will do this, though they have hinted that it will happen. They issued a statement that, simply put, said they are focusing on the Timeline for individuals at this point, but are considering how to make it consistent for Pages as well.

There is argument on both sides to whether Timeline function will even work for marketers. Some users believe that it won’t work because it so personal and individual. Others feel that is exactly why it will work for brands. Either way, we will not be able know how it works until FB makes it available for pages.

However, with both Twitter and Google+ making changes to their sites that favor marketers in recent months, FB may feel a little more pressure to get the Timeline ready for businesses sooner rather than later. As of November, Google+ allowed brand pages and Twitter did the same. So, FB no longer has the monopoly for marketers on social media sites. How will that effect their decision to create the Timeline for Pages… only time will tell!