5 Strategies for Business Growth as the Economy Begins to Open Back Up Again

5 Strategies for Business Growth as the Economy Begins to Open Back Up Again

The COVID19 pandemic has had a drastic impact on every industry. The retail industry was among those hit the hardest. As venturing outside quite literally became the difference between life and death, retail outlets were forced to shut down as governments across the globe struggled to get a grip on the virus.   Even businesses that had a robust online presence before the pandemic hit struggled. As millions of people lost their jobs and faced economic uncertainty, they significantly cut back on personal spending in an effort to weather the storm.   Small businesses were particularly at a disadvantage. A study conducted by MIT found that small business revenue in the United States dropped by almost 40% in March 2020 compared to a year earlier.   These economic considerations ultimately forced governments to try and strike a balance between the urgent need to support businesses and the public health measures required to control the spread.   A year later, things are finally looking up. Multiple COVID vaccines have been approved by regulators and millions of people, particularly those extremely vulnerable, have already received the jabs. Economic experts are now of the view that rapidly vaccinating the population is key for a return to a more “normal” economy.   This is echoed by health professionals including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ leading authority on infectious diseases who believes that the early stages of herd immunity can be achieved by late spring or the summer if the vaccination drive continues at pace.   The post-COVID business environment is going to be a lot different. Businesses will need to adapt to...
Where Are YOUR Customers : How to Identify Your Audience and Find Them Online

Where Are YOUR Customers : How to Identify Your Audience and Find Them Online

We’ve all had the experience of looking for something and not being able to find it. It’s frustrating and time consuming and can feel like a pointless exercise if we’re forced to keep at it for long. For a business owner, there’s nothing more frustrating than knowing there’s an audience for your product or service and not knowing who they are – or where to find them. In this article, I’ll break down the process to help you first identify and then locate your audience, so you can fine-tune your marketing and get the leads you need. Identifying Your Audience We can look to social media for some guidance in how to identify an audience. If you have an existing customer base, you can begin by analyzing it using two categories of information: demographics and psychographics. From there, you can use information about the problems your product or service solves to narrow your search. Demographics Demographics are easy, so let’s start there. Demographics are facts about your customers (and your target audience) that can help you identify them. They include: Age Gender Geographical location Education level Income level Marital status Employment/industry Having basic information about who your customers are can help you identify the right target audience for your services or products. Psychographics Psychographics illustrate your target audience’s interests and preferences. For example, if you run a gym, some interests to consider might include the following. Health Fitness Weight loss Running You could also consider pop culture interests. If you own a clothing boutique, you might target people who watch fashion shows such as Project Runway or Say Yes...
Unlock the Potential of the Gig Economy for Your Business

Unlock the Potential of the Gig Economy for Your Business

Is the rise of the gig economy the best thing that ever happened to small business?   Okay, maybe that’s an overstatement. But the benefits are big.   For businesses on a limited budget who need some experienced help, the increase in freelancers has been a boon. Companies are no longer forced to choose between an industry expert whose salary they can’t afford, and a relative newbie who will be “learning on the job.” Instead, small businesses can hire professional freelancers on a per-job basis, getting the help they need when they need it.   To get a better understanding of why freelancers are valuable and what they can do for you, read on. The Benefits of the Gig Economy From a small business perspective, the rise of the gig economy is a boon. What once required a larger roster of part-time or full-time employees now gives business owners unprecedented flexibility in the way they build their teams.   In this “pay for what you need” model, businesses can afford to hire specialists for specific jobs. And while hourly and project rates for freelancers are often higher, it’s still much more affordable to hire for select work than to bring on a new employee.   Plus, with freelancers usually able to work from anywhere, you can work with high-quality service providers from cheaper markets, providing premium work at a lower price. Fewer people working in-house also minimizes the amount of office space you require. What Gig Workers Can Do For You If you need it, there’s someone out there who can do it.   If you’re overwhelmed with administrative...
Let’s Talk About How to Promote Your Business with TikTok

Let’s Talk About How to Promote Your Business with TikTok

Everybody who hasn’t been in a cryogenic state for the past couple of years has heard about TikTok. It’s the newest social media platform where users create and share 15-second videos known as TikToks. While a lot of the content includes lip synching or dancing, more local businesses who target young audiences are turning to TikTok as a way of connecting with potential customers. You might be thinking, great – how do I do that? I know nothing about TikTok! Not to worry. We’re here to help, and by the time you’re finished reading this article, you’ll have the basics down and you’ll be ready to get started.   Who’s Using TikTok? Let’s start with audience because honestly, TikTok isn’t for everybody. If your target audience is businesspeople, you should be focusing on LinkedIn and Facebook, not TikTok. Here are the numbers you need to know: TikTok has 800 million active users worldwide 60% of US users are between the ages of 16 and 24 The average user spends 500 minutes each month on the TikTok app Nine out of 10 TikTok users access the app more than once per day 23% of internet users in the US have seen at least one TikTok TikTok is used by twice as many women in the US as men Businesses have spent more than $50 million on TikTok We should also note that the average age of TikTok users is increasing with the age of the app, which was first launched in September of 2016. While businesses have been slow to adopt its use, we expect that to change in 2021....
Is it Time to Say Goodbye to the Office?

Is it Time to Say Goodbye to the Office?

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to take a long, hard look at some things we used to take for granted. Over the past year, we’ve explored the wide world of masks, found a new appreciation for our wonderful public school teachers, and learned about the true value of toilet paper.   We’ve also learned that for many small businesses, we can complete our daily work activities quite efficiently, even when the entire team is working from home. While the coronavirus didn’t start the shift to remote work, it certainly sped things up. Only 3.2% of the American workforce worked from home in 2018, compared to 42% in 2020!   This dramatic and rapid shift is forcing employers to consider their own policies. Are you keeping an office because it’s useful, or because it’s the way things have always been done? When it’s safe to gather again, will it be time to let the office space go? Is Work-From-Home Working? Before considering ditching the office permanently, you have to consider the way the change has affected your business. Is your team more productive, or less?   According to research by Global Workplace Analytics in the late 2000s, businesses are losing $600 billion annually due to workplace distractions. That same study says that many companies like Best Buy and Dow Chemical report that remote workers are 35-40% more productive than on-site workers.   With meetings moved to video conferencing platforms like Zoom, they are less likely to get off topic and drag on unnecessarily. And with no commuting time, some employees are actually spending more hours at their desks, getting...
Getting Started With LinkedIn Stories

Getting Started With LinkedIn Stories

First it was Snapchat. Then Instagram released their Stories feature, followed by Facebook.   Now, LinkedIn has hopped aboard, with their new LinkedIn Stories feature.   Available only on the LinkedIn app, stories let brands reach their professional connections with 20 second videos. These videos are only available for 24 hours (just like Instagram) before they disappear.   By releasing this feature, LinkedIn is angling to leverage FOMO (fear of missing out) and keep its users logging in more often — or risk missing some great content. It also gives brands an opportunity to share less curated, more “in-the-moment” content, which many consumers really connect to.   If you’re considering adding LinkedIn stories to your marketing strategy, here’s what you need to know. How to Post The first thing you’ll notice when you open the LinkedIn app is that their Stories look remarkably similar to Instagram stories. So if you know how to post on Instagram, you’ll be ready to go on LinkedIn.   Stories live at the top of the screen in individual circles. Your circle will be on the far left, and say “Your Story” underneath. Just tap that circle, and then you can either record a story or select one from your photos or videos.   In the top right corner, you’ll find icons for adding stickers or text. The app doesn’t have many customization features yet, like polls or music. But expect more functionality in the future.   When you have your story set up how you like it, hit Share Story in the bottom right. Your first connections will now be able to see...