Hi, my name's Adam Lowe with Adam Lowe Creative. One of the things that I do is I help small businesses overcome the challenges that we all face. So what I wanted to do here is create a short series of videos talking about some of the biggest mistakes that I see small businesses make, and some advice on what people can do to fix them. So in this video what I talk about is email addresses. One of the things that I see all the time, especially with newer businesses, is that they don't have their email address at their own domain. So they might have something like [email protected] or they might have [email protected] and while that's great, it gets the email over to them, they have a great web mail, it's reliable, they can get it on the phone, they can get it everywhere the fact is having something like a gmail.com or yahoo.com or a msn.com email address probably isn't presenting the most professional image for your business. So it's very, very easy. You probably already own a domain name. So something like mikescargarage.com or bobsflowershop.com whatever that is. You probably own it already for your website, so tying your email address to that really is a no brainer. It's very, very easy to do and I'll tell you two ways that we can do it. So the first way, and probably the easiest way, is by using something called G Suite and this is made by Google, which most people probably have heard of unless they've been living under a rock for little while. So Google's G Suite is, it's their business version of Gmail. So it offers not only web mail but also calendar, all your Google docs, it offers free storage space in the cloud and a bunch of other features and it's all for $5 a month. So we're really talking about something that's very, very super easy, very, very cheap, $60 a year is kind of a no brainer for a single email address. Even if you have multiple employees, you know $5 a month is absolutely nothing compared to the rest of the costs of running a business. So all you have to do is go to Gsuite.google.com and sign up. It walks you through a series of pretty simple steps and next thing you know, you have your email that's [email protected] or whatever that example was that I just used but it's really a great service, very inexpensive, very, very easy to set up. If you don't know how to do it, give me a call. I'm happy to walk you through it but definitely having that makes a big difference. Now if you're not a big Google person, and I totally understand if you're not a Google person there's also Microsoft Office 365 and I'll be totally honest with you, I'm kind of a fan of the Office 365 suite because what it gives you in addition to your hosted email with your own domain name is, it gives you the full range of Microsoft Apps. So you get those both for your computer and online and pretty much everybody I know needs to have Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint to run their businesses, and by signing up for Office 365, you get a license to use that for the entire year along with updates that they're constantly coming out with, and these updates are so much more than what you would get in the retain version of Office 2016 or whatever ... Every single month they're putting out new features and it's really a great bargain. So you get, not only the installed version for those apps but you also get them online. So you can get your email online, you can also use Outlook on your desktop if you want. They have a whole suite of products that are only available online. So things like Microsoft Tasks, Microsoft Planner, they let you ... There's Microsoft Forms so you can create surveys and do all kinds of things. You get a version of Share Point online for document collaboration. If you work with people outside of your company, so you have vendors and things like that, that you work with, Office 365 is a fantastic tool. So I highly recommend taking a look at that. It's a little bit more expensive than G Suite, it's about $12 a month but for me, I know that I can't live without the Microsoft Office Suite anyway, so it's kind of a no brainer. Again, very, very easy just go to Office.microsoft.com and sign up for the small business program there and they make it very, very easy to just tell it what your domain name is, what changes you need to make and they even help you with migrating over your information. So either way you go, whether it's the G Suite or the Microsoft Office 365 you really aren't going to go wrong but make sure you do something like that just so that you have a good solid email system underneath you and that it has your domain name. It's only going to improve your credibility and you're gonna thank me for this in the long run. Okay, until next time, take care.
Views: 22 Adam Lowe Creative
Hi, my name is Adam Lowe, with Adam Lowe Creative, and I help small businesses overcome challenges that we all face. Today, I'm going to talk about your website. Something that I see over and over again is small businesses that have absolutely terrible websites or websites that look like everybody else's. So here's the deal, your website is your digital online presence. It represents you, it represents your company. Almost anybody that is going to do business with you, at some point or another is probably going to visit your website, so it really is in your best interest to make sure that it looks the best, and that it completely represents who your are, and that it speaks to your target audience. So some of the things that you want to do are make sure that you've got great visuals in there, whether you're a consulting company or a retail shop you need to have fantastic photos, and even these days videos. So this is going to be something that gives your website that little bit of personal touch. Now stock photography is great, and I whole heartily using it on your website, but you really should mix that in there with some custom photography as well, because you want something that's going to be personal to your own business. If you're a professional services company, you want to pay particular attention to your About us page, because your people are your most valuable commodity, so you want to make sure that everyone's got a great profile picture. That there's some standardization there, even if your not sending them all to the same photographer, at least try to have a consistent look between everybody. You also want to make sure that there bio reads well. And that it presents them the way that you want them to be presented. You don't want a company full of scientists and engineers that you're super proud of to have bios that read like a 5th grader's homework assignment. You also want to make sure that there's a very clear way for your customers to contact you. This is huge. There's so many websites that I see these days just have a single generic contact form, and I get it. I understand that people are afraid to put their phone number and their email address on the website. That they think that they're going to get spammed. They think that they are going to get phone calls from lord know who, but the fact is you need to make it easy, and you need to give your customers everyway possible for them to reach you. So that means putting your phone number, putting your email address front and center, and making sure that where ever people are coming from, whether it's from their cell phone or their desktop or a tablet that they're just a click away from getting in touch with you. A simple form is a great and a lot of people do like sending their information through a form, because it guides them a little bit, but some people also like picking up the telephone. The last thing, is to make sure that your website is optimized for SEO, because we know that Google right now owns the world, and that if your website can't be found essentially your business doesn't exist, so get together, make sure that you have a great web designer. Make sure that you have a web designer that understands SEO, and that knows how to work with SEO, knows how to work with Pay Per Click Campaigns, and that they can make your website, your Pay Per Click, your SEO all that stuff meshed together to bring you the business that you need. Okay, until next time, take care.
Views: 10 Adam Lowe Creative
Hi. My names Adam, with Adam Lowe Creative, and I help small businesses just like yours overcome the challenges and obstacles that we all face. Today I'm going to talk about processes. Most of you who know me, know that I'm a process nerd and that I absolutely love processes. So, sorry you're gonna have to listen to me geek out a little-bit. But here's the thing. I see too many businesses out there of all shapes and sizes that don't have documented processes. The problem is, that makes it so that whatever you're doing, isn't quite as repeatable as it could be. It makes on-boarding new employees difficult. And it makes it so that the customer experience from one person to the next, isn't always the same. This doesn't have to be anything difficult. This can be just documenting or outlining things in a simple Excel spreadsheet. Or this can be something more complex like using a tool called Process Street.IO. You can get as easy or as complicated as you want here. Just make process checklists that say, okay when I bring a new client on, heres the email that I send them. These are the general steps that a buyer takes throughout the entire journey. Just make sure that whatever it is that you're doing, that you can repeat it from one time to the next. It's gonna make your life easier, and it's going to make it so that your customers see consistent service, so that you don't have one customer rave about how well you treated them and then the next person say, "Oh my gosh he did everything wrong." Having those processes documented is really gonna be a great thing for your business. The other advantage of having your processes documented is that, you can start to see where they're falling down. So maybe you're hearing complaints about certain things. Maybe you're not delivering your product or service on time. Taking a look at those processes can help you understand where some of those bottlenecks exist. Also, if you're having a hard time scaling your business, looking at your processes, just seeing it all laid out there on paper, can help you understand where those bottlenecks are and help you find ways to free them up. Whatever you're doing, again, it doesn't matter whether you're a small one man business, or you're a medium or large size business, document your processes. Even if you don't want to get into something as detailed as writing down each individual step, just start with something high level and then as life goes on, you can start to flush out the details. It's gonna make a world of difference, and you'll thank me for it. Until next week, take care.
Hi. My name is Adam with Adam Lowe Creative. I help small businesses just like yours overcome the challenges and obstacles that we all face. Today, I'm going to talk about your public image. If you go into LinkedIn and you have a little selfie that you took or you have a photo that you wouldn't want to show on your next interview, you should probably think about changing that up a little bit. Your online persona, your online image, your online brand means so much these days and I think that there's not enough people that take that seriously. Whether you're a small business owner or an employee or even somebody that's job hunting, making sure that you have a professional, clean, well done public image is so, so important for people to see you as being professional. On your website, you definitely want to make sure that you have at least a professional headshot or a professional portrait or something along those lines, something that's going to show your customers and your business partners that you actually take your business seriously. Having a cell phone photo or using something from 10 years ago that you think looks okay doesn't really scream professionalism. I know it costs a lot of money, but you also get a lot of value from it. Think about it this way. The $250 or $350 or whatever it costs for you to come in and get a professional headshot, that can go on your LinkedIn profile. That can go on your Facebook profile. That can go on your website. Now, if you get one extra customer because they see that photo and they think, "Hey, this guy actually cares about his business," as opposed to seeing a selfie or something that doesn't look as professional and they go to the next guy, it will have paid for itself. It really is worth doing. The other thing is I know a lot of people are afraid of going to the photographer. As somebody who does a lot of headshot photography himself, I completely understand that, and I hear it all the time. They come to me and they say, "Oh, I hate being photographed. I hate getting my headshot done." Really, it's not as bad as all that. If you come in with a positive attitude and you actually collaborate with the photographer, it doesn't need to be painful, or if it was painful, it just hurts for a little while. Working with the right photographer, it can be an easy and collaborative process and it can be very, very quick. One of the things that I love to hear most from my clients was, "Gosh, that was so much easier than I thought it was going to be." Just think of it that way, that you're investing in yourself, you're investing in your image, and it truly is going to be worth it. Make sure that you have a professional headshot or professional portrait of some sort on your LinkedIn and on your website, on your corporate intranet, and any other place where customers or colleagues or business partners are going to see you. Your Facebook, your Instagram, free game, but anyplace that's business related really should be professionally done. Okay, that's it for this week. Take care and I'll talk to you next week.
Hi, my name is Adam with Adam Lowe Creative. I help small businesses just like yours overcome the challenges and obstacles that we all face. Today I'm going to talk about another scary subject. Almost as scary as accounting. I'm going to talk about metrics and KPIs. So what are metrics and KPIs? Really, they're just numbers that you look at and monitor and measure. KPI stands for key performance indicator and frankly it's just consultant speak for numbers. So think about it this way. If you want your sales or you want your close rate or anything like that to go up or down, you really need to start with taking some measurements and looking at what's going on. Otherwise, you're just feeling your way through things. You don't really know whether the changes that you're making are having any kind of impact on those particular measurements. So think about the things that are most important to your business. Is it number of units sold? Is it the number of new leads that you get per week? Is it your close rate? Is it the profitability of each product? Think about those things and write down what those metrics are that you want to either increase or decrease or change in some way, shape, or form that way you've got something to focus on. So once you know what those goals are, then you need to come up with some measurements that actually tell you whether that needle is being moved and those measurements are the things that you're going to focus on. You're going to make small changes in your business that you believe are going to affect those measurements. You're going to make those changes one thing at a time though. We're getting into scientific method here, but if you change multiple variables at once, you don't really know whether variable A, B, C, or D is the thing that moved the needle. So make one small change at a time, see what impact it has, let it run for a couple of weeks or a couple of months, see what impact it has, and then make another change. This goes for a lot of things. This might go for running online advertisements. People talk about doing AB testing where you'll run two different advertisements with two different words or maybe two different pictures to see which one people respond to the best. Well, great. You find out that ad B responds better than A. Awesome. Toss ad A out the window and bring in ad C. Now you can compare ad C with ad B and see which one does better. And you constantly measuring things against each other to find out what's working and what's moving that needle. Maybe you're talking about measuring the number of leads that you close. Well, keep an eye on that metric, how many leads are coming in versus how many are closing because if you're looking at just the amount of sales that you have, your sales might have dropped but that could also be because the number of leads have dropped and you just feel like whatever you're doing to bring in leads isn't working when in fact it could be something completely different. So keep an eye on those numbers. Make small changes here and there. See what those changes actually do to affect those numbers and you'll go a long way towards improving your business. All right. That's all I have for now. See you next week. Take care.
Adam Lowe Creative - Certified Professional Photographer - http://www.AdamLoweCreative.
Views: 40 Adam Lowe Creative
Hi. My name's Adam Lowe with Adam Lowe Creative. I help small businesses overcome the challenges and obstacles that we all face. One thing that I see a lot of small businesses fail to do is to find their niche. There's an old saying out there that says "The riches are in the niches," and I completely believe that's true. That doesn't mean that you niche down so tightly that you only focus on one customer, that you only take care of one particular type of customer, but it means that you should be directed towards that customer primarily, so think the 80/20 rule. That helps you in a lot of different ways. It helps you really identify what that customer needs, how to market to that customer, and how to best service that customer, so when you've either identified the customer segment that you're focused on, or a very niched product or service that you're focused on, it just gives your business that little bit of extra direction that you might not always have. When you're first starting off, of course you're struggling to get what ever business your can in the door, and a lot of small business owners tend to make the mistake of using a shotgun approach. They say they're going to do a little bit of everything. They're going to market to everybody. They want everybody as a customer. Anybody with a wallet is my customer. The problem is, how do you find everybody? It's very, very hard to market to everybody. It's also very expensive to market to everybody. When you really start narrowing in on your particular niche it gets much, much easier, and you find that your business grows so much faster. For example, maybe your niche is hair salons. That's very easy to market to hair salons, as opposed to saying "I'm going to market to everybody in the beauty product space," or maybe instead of saying "I'm going to market to all professional services," maybe you say "I market specifically to accountants and CPAs." Get really detailed in there. Maybe even narrow it down to a specific geographic location. Maybe only within your county or your city instead of saying that you're going to focus on everybody, especially when it comes to spending money on things like AdWords or Facebook ads, or any types of advertising. The more narrow you can focus that, the more inexpensive it's going to be for you. So, identify your niche, whether that's your target customer niche, or your product or service niche. Really focus in on that, and if other things come your way that's a bonus, but make sure you define your niche, and that's where you spend 80% of your energy. Until next week, take care.
Views: 9 Adam Lowe Creative
Hi, my name is Adam with Adam Lowe Creative and I help small businesses overcome the problems and challenges that we all face. Today I'm going to talk about trying to do it all yourself. As a small business owner, this seems to be a problem that most people face. They either try to take on every task themselves or they refuse to delegate. I'm here to say that outsourcing is probably one of the best things that you can do whether that means that you've hired another employee, or you've gotten a virtual assistant, or you just outsourced tasks to another company. Being able to free yourself from the day to day workings of your business so that you can actually concentrate on growing your business rather than doing the menial tasks makes all the difference in the world. I was speaking with a small business owner just the other day who had fantastic domain knowledge of his business and he just felt like he was not in the place where he was able to grow because he was trying to do it all himself. He also had a great team around him, but no one was managing the entire process. So I made a suggestion that he hire a project manager and that project manager should be able to look at everything that's going on, manage the interaction with all the clients, let him focus on what he does best even if it is that little bit of a technical thing that it's his special sauce but it lets him get back to doing his business and it lets him grow his business. So if you don't already, you should hire a VA or you should find strategic partners or find somebody that can help take something off of your plate. So outsourcing is not a dirty word and I hope you take advantage of it. I'll see you next week. Take care.
Hi, my name's Adam with Adam Lowe Creative. I help small businesses just like yours overcome the challenges and obstacles that we all face. Today I'm going to talk about a scary subject. I'm going to talk about accounting software. Too many times I see small businesses that don't have any accounting software or they're not using it properly. I see small businesses, even medium sized businesses doing all of their accounting inside of Excel, or using something like Quicken. They're just using the wrong tools for the job. They may not even be using an accounting software. They might just be using whatever the bank provides them, their bank statements. That doesn't give you the whole picture, and it certainly isn't going to be sustainable in the long run. Everybody knows about Intuit's QuickBooks. Everybody's pretty much heard of this package, and it really is the gold standard, especially here in the US. QuickBooks comes in two different flavors. One of them installs on your desktop and it's really great for manufacturing companies and anybody that has to track inventory. They also have QuickBooks online, which is good for I'd say 80-90% of the other small businesses out there that don't have heavy inventory needs. Especially professional services companies. I personally use QuickBooks online. I think it's a great package. It's as good as an accounting package can get, but it does everything that I need it to do and it's relatively inexpensive at $50 a month. There is also a company out there called Xero, that's X-E-R-O. They are probably QuickBooks' main competitor. They offer almost all the features, and in some cases more features, than QuickBooks offers. The thing is they were created in Australia, so how QuickBooks dominates the US market, that's what Xero does, they dominate the European market. Now, they both work perfectly fine no matter where your company is based, so if for one reason or another you don't like one, give the other one a try. You might find that it works better for you. Although chances are if you're in the US, your accountant or book keeper is probably going to require that you use QuickBooks because that's what most accountants and book keepers here in the US know. Now, if you feel like you can't afford an accounting package, there is something out there called Wave Apps, and it is completely 100% free accounting software that works online and it's ad supported. It has most of the features that you're going to need as a small business. It lets you do your invoicing, let's you keep track of accounts payable, accounts receivable. Let's you keep track of all of your bank accounts, but like I said, it's ad supported so when you go in there you're going to see ads, and when you send out invoices your customers are also going to see ads. It's not the worst thing in the world, and it definitely gets you started, but it's probably not what you want to use long term. Whatever route you choose, make sure that you get your information in there, that you're consistent and that you get some sort of accounting package under your belt. When it comes time to do your taxes or even when you're looking at your business from a quarterly or monthly view point, you're really going to thank me. The information that you see inside of an accounting package is so much more than what you see by just looking at your bank statement. It gives you so much more information about how your business is doing, and the things that you may need to change. So, if you don't have one already, get one and thank me later. Until next time, take care.
Views: 4 Adam Lowe Creative
created by http://www.AdamLoweCreative.
Views: 61 Adam Lowe Creative
As part of one of the classes I'm teaching, I brought two students to the Fillmore with me to photograph a Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce event. The goal was to get them used to photographing and using their flashes in difficult venues. While I love the Fillmore as a concert venue, it does present significant lighting challenges unless you bring your own strobes or have the venue adjust their lighting. Neither of those were an option for this event, so it was all about making the most of what was presented to us. This video is a demonstration of my workflow and backup processes from card ingestion through export and upload. I talk about how I use Photo Mechanic to do the initial ingestion and editing (culling) of my photographs, the systems and processes I use for automatic and manual backups, and how I do my basic image processing (color correction, exposure correction, cropping, etc.) - created by http://www.AdamLoweCreative.
Views: 149 Adam Lowe Creative
Hi. My name's Adam Lowe with Adam Lower Creative. I help small businesses overcome the challenges that we all face. Today I'm gonna talk a little bit about countering solutions. This is something that I see all businesses struggle with, but in particular, I see professional services businesses struggle with this because they rely on meeting with people. This applies to every business really, because we all meet with clients. We all have phone calls that we arrange. We all have appointments that we set, and if we're, you know, networking appointments, or for sales calls, or whatever, and we all find that we get bogged down in phone tag or email tag just trying to find the time that everyone's available. Well, this is something that you really should not be wasting your time on as a business. There are plenty of tools available to help you out there. So of course there's things like Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar that make sure that you are where you need to be at the right time, but how do you coordinate that with other people? The great thing is, over the last few years, a ton of tools have come out. Things like Acuity Scheduler, ScheduleOnce, even Stripe has a scheduler built into it now. Also, the Office 365 Suite has a scheduler built into it. It seems like more and more companies are coming out with these scheduling tools built in that let somebody go to a special link on the website where you have set up a service or some sort of definition of what you want them to schedule, and all they have to do is go in and it pulls the availability from your calendar, and it shows them all of the times that you're open to make an appointment. I do this all the time, and I have several different appointment types that I offer. So one of the things that I offer is a one to one meeting. I'm part of something called BNI, which is a business networking group, and one of the things that we're supposed to do is meet with one of the members every week. At least once a week. Rather than sit there after the meeting spending five or ten minutes looking at calendars saying saying, "Hey, does Wednesday work for you?" "Oh well I don't have anything in the morning." "Bla, bla, bla, bla, bla." You know what I do is I just send them an email with the link to my calendar and they go on there. There find a time that works well for them and they just book it right there. It puts the appointment on their calendar, it puts it on my calendar. Easy, easy, easy. I do the same thing for consultations. Somebody just has to go onto my website, and right next to my contact form is a little button that brings open my calendar, so that if people don't want to send me an email, or if they know that they need to schedule a time to talk with me about something in more detail, all they have to do is book a 30 minute appointment. I make it super, super easy. So think about that the next time you find yourself struggling with scheduling appointments. These tools are not expensive at all. Acuity Scheduling I think is $15 a month. ScheduleOnce I think starts at $9 a month, so they're really not bad. When you think about it in terms of the cost of lost productivity with you playing email or phone tag, or having to hire a virtual assistant to manage your calendar, really, it becomes a very easy decision to make. The technology behind it is extremely simple. I'm happy to help anybody set that up. I think you're gonna find that you get so much of your time back in your day by using one of these tools. Okay. Take care and I'll talk to you next week.
Hi. My name's Adam with Adam Lowe Creative, and I help small businesses overcome the challenges and obstacles that we all face. Today, I'm gonna talk a little bit about your mindset. So many small businesses have this mindset of scarcity, and they have this mindset of competition that they close themselves off from a lot of opportunities. For example, a photographer might feel like every other photographer in their space is their competition. A web developer might feel like every other web developer is their competition. While in some cases, that's true, the truth of the matter is there really is enough work out there for everybody, especially since everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses, and every customer is going to have their preference in style or their preference in who they're going to work with. A customer that comes to me for a web design, for example, might be the perfect customer, but maybe if they go over to Sally, you know, Sally's style isn't quite what they're looking for, or maybe somebody's coming to me for photography services, and they're looking for family photography, for example. That's not something that I really specialize in, so it's something that I'm gonna refer out to somebody that's much better equipped to handle the situation for them. Maybe somebody's coming to me for help with social media marketing, for example. Well, again, that's not something that I really specialize in, but it does fall under the realm of marketing services that I provide, but that's something that I'm gonna find a partner that can really help them with their social media marketing needs. Every company has the things that they specialize in, and every client is going to have their own particular needs that may or may not fit with you. So, instead of having this scarcity mentality of, "Oh my gosh. I have to take every client that comes my way," or thinking that every other vendor that has a toe in your space is suddenly your competition and is suddenly somebody that you need to fight against or that you need to dominate or destroy, you know, think about it in terms of collaboration. These other companies are your colleagues. They're not your competitors. I get lots of work referred to me from other people that are in the same space as I'm in. I refer work out to other people that are in the same space that I'm in. The more you can make friends with them, the more everybody can grow. It sounds ridiculous and cliché, but there's that old saying about a rising tide lifting all ships. It truly is the way that the world works. So, don't be afraid of your competition, and don't think that you have to beat everybody else. There's enough work to go around, and if you keep that mindset in your head, then I think everybody's gonna win. Take care, and I'll talk to you next week.
We launch Monday morning April 30th 2018. Learn more and subscribe at https://www.adamlowecreative.com/podcast
Views: 1 Adam Lowe Creative
Hi, my name is Adam, with Adam Lowe Creative. I help small businesses just like yours overcome the obstacles and challenges that we all face. Today, I'm going to talk about perfection. This is something that I struggle with, and I know a lot of other small businesses struggle with, is analysis paralysis. It's perfection. It's that they want to make sure that their product, or their service, or their blog post, or their picture, or whatever it is that they're working on, they want to make sure that that thing is absolutely perfect before they put it out into the world. Well, I'm going to tell you right now that done is better than perfect. You're not going to get any sales from a website that is never launched. You can't sell a product that you haven't created. That blog post that you keep revising over and over again, isn't going to bring you any new leads. Just keep that in mind. Sometimes you have to put something out there in the world, and iterate on it a little bit. It's very, very hard to do. We all care deeply about our businesses. We all want to make sure that, whenever we put something out there, that it's the best that it can possibly be. But, you can really fall into that trap of analysis paralysis, and really fall into that trap of waiting for perfection, and never actually seeing any results. I'm going to say right now, version one is always going to have problems. But, get it out there. Your version 1.2, or your version 1.5, or your version 2.0 is going to be much better. The feedback that you get from putting out that imperfect product, or that imperfect service, is really going to help direct what happens next. So, yeah, that's it. Done is better than perfect. Published is better than perfect. This goes for so many different types of businesses. I can't even come up with examples for them all. But, stop waiting around for that widget, or that thing that you have to be absolutely perfect. Get it out there. Get the feedback, and iterate it. Iterate on it. Okay, until next week, take care.
Hi. My name is Adam with Adam Lowe Creative. I help small businesses just like yours overcome the challenges and obstacles that we all face. Last week, I talked about accounting software and how a lot of small businesses don't have anything there. This week, I'm going to look at the other side of that and I'm going to talk about bookkeepers and CPAs. Now, here's something else that a small business definitely needs, especially if you're getting started. Most business owners don't have a background in finance or accounting and they don't really know how to set up their company's books properly. Definitely get the help from an accountant, a CPA, or a bookkeeper to at least get you started. Even if they're not taking care of your books from month to month, and you're going to into QuickBooks or whatever product you're using, and you're entering all of your receipts and you're entering all of your invoices, make sure that you're set up properly from the get-go. Also make sure that you're having at least quarterly meetings with somebody who can look at your books and make sure that you're doing things right and who can give you advice. Now, I get it. Again, you're starting a small business. This seems like a lot of money to put out. It can also be a little bit embarrassing when you're a small business and maybe you're not doing as well as you'd like to. But the thing is, these professionals are out there for a reason. They know how to look at these numbers and they know how to give the right advice. They can tell you whether you should purchase a piece of equipment this year or wait until next year. They can tell you based on looking at historical trends and forecasts what might be coming down the road and they can save you an awful lot of headache. Please make sure to build a good relationship with a bookkeeper or a CPA and when you get your business started, please, please, please have them set up your accounting systems for you. Until next week, take care.
Hi. My name's Adam, with Adam Lowe Creative. I help small businesses overcome the challenges and obstacles that we all face. One of the challenges that I know I struggle with and that I see a lot of other small businesses struggle with is keeping in contact with current customers and past customers. So this is incredibly important, especially since most businesses get the majority of their new work from referrals. So make sure that you're reaching out to people that you've done business with at least on a yearly basis. There are a couple of different ways you can do this. A lot of people have email newsletters that they send out, either monthly or quarterly. That's a great way to just keep you top of mind, let people know what's going on in your business, and also let people know if there's any changes that they should know about. Maybe you've started a new product or service, and you just wanna get the word out there. Your email list is very, very important for that. Maybe you're just picking up the phone to say hi. "Hey, Bob. I haven't seen you in about a year. I'd love to catch up with you over coffee and see how things are going." It's very easy to do, and believe it or not, your customers really do appreciate it. Don't get me wrong. There's gonna be a lot of times when your customers feel like you're inconveniencing them, and that's okay. You're gonna have people that unsubscribe from your mailing lists, and that's okay. But usually the good outweighs the bad. I can't tell you how many times I pick up the phone or I send an email or someone even responds to an email newsletter that I send them, and they just say thank you. And they just say, "Hey, it's great hearing from you." So one of the things that I have even done, started doing, is sending out holiday cards to somebody and sending handwritten thank-you cards to people. Sometimes I send a handwritten card to people just for the heck of it. Because maybe I was thinking about them on my commute in, and I just write a little note to say, "Hi. Just thinking about you today." I phrase it in a way that's not quite so creepy. But I do send them a little note that just lets them know that I'm thinking about them, and that I appreciate any referrals that they can pass along, and that I appreciate any business that they've given me. So keep in touch with your customers, whether they are customers that you work with on a monthly basis or somebody that you've only worked with once or twice. Just let them know that you still exist and you're really gonna see that effort come back to you tenfold. Take care and I'll talk to you next week.
Hi, my name is Adam with Adam Lowe Creative. I help small businesses overcome the challenges and obstacles that we all face. Today, I'm going to talk about taking more than you give. This is something that I believe a lot of people do both in their business and in their personal lives and it's a huge mistake. I'm a strong believer in karma and I believe that whatever you put out there in the world is going to come back to you tenfold. You really should try and try to give more than you take. That can really come in a lot of different ways. That can mean that whatever service or product that you provide should have as much value or possibly even more value than what you're charging for it monetarily, but it can also mean that you're not expecting more from your clients or partners or prospects than you yourself would want. What do I mean by that? One of the things that I hear a lot of people say or that I get a lot of phone calls even, people call up and say, "Hey, I'd love to take you out for coffee and pick your brain for a little while." Well, to me, that's a little bit of a pet peeve, because essentially what they're saying is they want an hour of my time so that they can gain from it. Don't get me wrong. I like to help people and I love being that mentor and I love being that teacher, but I really feel like this is the wrong way of going about it. Now, if they came to me and they said, "Hey, I'd love to talk to you about your specific niche or your specific industry and maybe I can give you some thoughts or ideas or some suggestions back." Then it becomes a two way street. It's a give and a take. It's not just them taking. I feel the same way when I'm told to make cold calls, or I send emails out. I really don't like doing that just to receive something. If I'm going to send an email out to somebody, I want to give something of value. If I am going to ask somebody for a meeting, I would have make sure that they get something of value. Probably something of more value than what I'm asking for. Keep that in mind and one of the things that it does is it really just puts you in the position of being the good guy. I know it sounds really silly to say the good guy, but it's kind of true. It puts you in the position of not imposing on people. At least, to me, I feel like I'm offering something of value and I don't feel so bad for asking something a value back. Think about it. Just think about it the next time you try to meet with somebody. Think about it the next time that you're developing a new product or a new service. Just make sure that it's something that's going to benefit your customer that's going to benefit your prospect as well as yourself. Okay. Take care and I'll talk to you next week.
Views: 1 Adam Lowe Creative
Hi. My name's Adam with Adam Lowe Creative. I help small businesses overcome the challenges that we all face. Today, I want to talk a little bit about marketing. One of the challenges that I see or one of the mistakes rather that I see a lot of small businesses make is that they don't invest enough in their marketing. The Small Business Alliance says that the typical company should invest about 10% of their gross revenue into marketing their company. For a small business, I understand that sounds like an awful lot of money, but the thing is, you have to think of your marketing as an investment. What you put into it really should come back to you at least four times. Whether that is paying for Google AdWords, whether that is paying for a website, creating flyers, joining networking events, joining chambers of commerce, that all goes into marketing. Without marketing, people don't know who your business is. Please, please, please make sure that you're taking your marketing seriously. You can have the best product or service in the world, but again, if people don't know about it, no one's going to buy it. Make sure that you're spending the appropriate amount of marketing so that you get the customers to keep your business up and running. Now in the beginning, you're probably going to have to spend a little bit and probably a lot more than that 10%. Most people say that they get the majority of their business through word of mouth, and that's great, but that doesn't happen until your business is a little bit more established. That 10% rule during your first few years of business probably doesn't even apply. You're probably looking somewhere closer to 30 to 40% of your effort and your money into marketing because you need to get those clients in to get the buzz, to get the notoriety, and to just get known out there in the world, in the community, wherever it is that you do your business. SEO is great. You can write all the blog posts in the world. You can go to all the networking meetings in the world, but you've got to spend the money to be able to get the traffic to your website to be able to get the business so that you can keep growing things. Invest now so that your business can actually grow quickly, instead of spending a little bit now and having that growth period stretch on for way too long. That's my advice for this week. I'll see you next week. Take care.
Views: 6 Adam Lowe Creative