Category Archives: Small Business

Save Time and Do Less

The folks over at WeWork have put together a great blog post that features seven tricks and tips to save time by doing less. It’s a great article on productivity, especially as it concerns being efficient.

My favorite tip – although they are all excellent – concerns the delegation of certain tasks. From the blog post:

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I am My Worst Customer

I often joke that marketers – especially those who are also small business owners – are our own worst customers.

During the course of any given week, I give my clients all kinds of marketing and sales advice:
– Post daily on social channels. Post content that is valuable to your followers, not you.
– Have a marketing plan.
– Set sales goals.
– Be consistent.
– The list goes on…

Funny thing is, I am terrible at taking my own advice. In fact, I am my own worst customer.

I like to tell myself that I’m too busy to do certain things, like blog regularly, but the truth might be something scarier. Maybe I’m afraid. Afraid that my advice won’t work when applied to my own business. Afraid it will work and I won’t know what to do when it’s time to expand Tinderbox Consulting.

Those things you aren’t doing in your business, are you not doing them because you’re afraid? If it’s because you’re too busy, that’s a good thing. Find someone to do the things you’re too busy to do. Even if it means you hire an employee, or contract with someone like me. Just don’t sacrifice best practices on account of being cheap, lazy, or afraid.

 

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Taking Care of Business

What do you consider to be marketing? When you tell your friends and family that you’re starting a new business? When you open for business and there’s a write-up in the local business journal?

Many things small business owners and entrepreneurs do are considered marketing. It’s just that, all too often, they don’t realize or consider that what they are doing is actually marketing, so they don’t do them well. They don’t develop a good pitch for their business. They don’t send a press release to announce their grand opening.

Even the sign on your door is considered marketing. I’m not talking about the sign on the street that you paid umpteen thousand dollars to have put up. I’m talking about the sign you hand wrote in sharpie on a neon green piece of paper and taped to the front door of your retail location to display the store hours. This is marketing! Those afterthought things we do as small business owners and entrepreneurs are, in fact, marketing. If we don’t do them well, we aren’t taking care of business. Our business.

Tinderbox Consulting

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Love and Respect

You can’t expect your customers to love and respect you, your business, your company, your employees, etc. if you don’t love and respect your customers and employees. Love and respect = value.

When you take advantage of your employees, your customers will inevitably find out. Think Abercrombie & Fitch. If you take advantage of your customers, your employees will have low morale.

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The Small Business Express Podcast

image001A few weeks ago, I was blessed to be the first guest interview on the podcast The Small Business Express. My friend Mike Monroe, along with Gary Shouldis, are packing the podcasts full of great information for small business owners. Definitely worth downloading, and the best part is that the podcasts are free.

The topic for the particular podcast is how to have success on Twitter in 15 minutes a day. My favorite part is Mike’s disclaimer when introducing me, “..he is a very fast talker, for those of you that have never spoken with Josh or don’t know Josh. But definitely worth listening to cause he packed a lot of really great information in very short period of time.”

I feel very honored to have be interviewed by these two gentlemen.

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No Magic Pills

There are very few magic pills in marketing. Marketing your business, like anything else, comes with almost no guarantees.

Social media is often viewed as a magic pill – a fix everything marketing solution that will magically bring in customers. Social sites like Facebook and Twitter have done a lot of good, and in some ways, leveraged the playing field for small businesses. Still, they aren’t guaranteed.

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Never Get a Case of the Mondays Again

Do you hate Mondays? Do you find yourself saying, on a weekly basis, that you have a case of the Mondays?

There are two simple cures.

The first, quit your job and find a job doing something that you love.

Or, the second cure, start your own company doing something that you love.

It may be trite, but life is too short to waste away at a job you despise. If you truly love something – fishing, hunting, snowboarding, skiing, video games, music, arts & crafts – I promise you can find a way to do it for a living. Write it down as a goal (or as a prayer) and meditate on it daily. You can’t just meditate on it, you have to take action as well. You have to move in that direction.

In the meantime, try on a little positivity. There are things to consider. At least you have a job, and although it’s not your dream job, it’s paying the bills. And, it’s only a temporary gig until you discover what it is you want to do from now on.

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How to Build a Great Website…

This is a pretty big announcement for me, as well as an experience that has been truly humbling.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of HARO. I’ve even shared on this blog articles I responded to through HARO that ended up quoting me. The times I’ve been quoted have been awesome, but those quotes were only published in online articles. Not that I’m complaining, in fact, it was quite the experience the first time I was mentioned on someone else’s blog.

After a while, I figured the best use for HARO was the free press I’d get when one of my quotes was published. Then, a few weeks ago, I was contacted by a gentlemen looking to use my quote in a book. I’d seen HARO requests from authors writing their latest books, but I never thought I’d qualify as a respectable authority to be quoted. I was wrong.

Jason Swerk has released the book How to Build a Great Website & NOT Get Screwed.

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The Top Three Mistakes I See Small Business Owners Make

I wrote up these three ideas in response to a HARO query looking to compile a list of mistakes small business owners make. If you don’t know what HARO is, you should most definitely check it out.

Anyway, the three mistakes I submitted are as follows…

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Do Better Part II

Part I received some (well deserved) criticism for identifying a problem without providing solutions. So, here are a few quick tips to help small business owners do better when it comes to social media and blogging.

Tip #1: Post frequently. Here is a simple set of guidelines to follow (at a minimum):
Facebook: Post at least 1x daily, Monday through Friday.
Twitter: Post at least 3x daily, Monday through Friday.
Blog: Post a blog at least 1x weekly, preferably on a weekday.

Tip #2: Post quality content. Don’t be in such a hurry to post frequently that you throw up garbage. Think of ways to add value to your customers’ lives. It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, just useful.

Tip #3: Fill out all the information. Facebook, more than other sites, provides several places to put company information. Fill out every bit of it. Then do this on every other site your company is on.

Tip #4: If you don’t know, ask. If you don’t know what kind of content will add value to your customers, ask them. I promise they’ll tell you. If you don’t know how to use Facebook or Twitter, Google it or consult with an expert. The internet makes it more embarrassing and difficult than ever to use the excuse, “I don’t know.” You can’t just throw up your hands and go home. So, ask. The answers are there just waiting to be found.

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