Image Matters

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It’s true – your business image matters.  It’s a reflection of what you do and how you do it – and that goes for both your company and the individuals who work within it.  The way you present yourself has a profound impact on how your customers view your service.  And even though your body language and how you dress plays a part in your business image, the are many other ways you can bolster both your personal and business brand.

Here are some of the things that I have focused on to build our brand:

Hire people who care about themselves:

If you visit our office, you’ll find that we have a pretty solid team of people who not only care about the vision but who also care about themselves.  When people care about themselves they put extra attention into their work, the relationships they have with their co-workers and the empathy they bring to the team.  Our office is small and one big ego can really shake our office up which is why we are very picky about who we hire.  I often say ‘there’s a look’ to the people we hire and that look is happy!  A happy team = a successful dream!

Make sure your online presence is consistent:

Our marketing manager, Megan, works diligently to get our message out there through different web platforms.  She has created oodles of online advertisements and they all communicate the things we value as a business and a team:  positivity, attention to detail, high standards, a sense of humour, connecting with people, creativity, professionalism, and of course our mission – making sure our elderly have access to the best care we can give them.  Have a look at your message – what does it say about you?

Have a solid identity:

We know exactly what we do and who we do it for.   There is a monomaniacal focus in our business – our goal is to be the number one back up plan for the Long-Term Care sector – more importantly the people who live and work there.  By having this intra-sectoral focus we’ve been able to create a solution that has proven to work and we have been able to carbon copy it across our province.  This has not only contributed to building our branding but it has also helped us to build a solid relationship with our partners that will continue for years.

Get out there:

Of course, we are very busy working but I do my best to introduce our ‘A’ team to as many people as I can.  Last week we did some team building through a curling bonspiel and next week we’re all attending an International Women’s Day breakfast. I value my team and the work they do and I can tell that they feel it when we are around new people.  They ‘bring it’, authentically, every where they go and with everybody they meet.  Each team member is truly a ‘brand representative’, which encourages other people to want to join our team!

Your image, your brand, your identity – it all means the same thing – and once you develop it, it is really hard to change.  These are a few things I do that have helped grow our brand, but it didn’t happen over night.  Take your time building it and don’t skimp on what’s important to you.  Discover your niche, identify what sets you apart and build a team who believe in it and you’ll be on your way to building a business brand that is top-notch!

Happy Monday!

SheriSignature

 

 

7 Offline Marketing Tactics to Grow Your Business

2016-08-23-1471986466-7526518-marketingstrategiesHave a handle on your social media and online marketing efforts? Looking for ways to reach those that may not spend a lot of time online? Look no further! Here are a few suggestions for you:

  1. Publicity. If you have an interesting story behind your brand, get in touch with the media for an opportunity to receive some free publicity. Unsure if you have a newsworthy story? Consider the following: Do you have a new product or service that is launching? Did your business recently win an award? Are you involving your community in some sort of initiative? There are many great moments that can be turned into a story, so try connecting with key media contacts and get your story out there!
  2. Use influencers/endorsements. If you have a great product or service, get it into the hands of key players (for free). Once you reach those locally, try to think bigger and reach out those who may benefit from your business’ offerings and spread your brand’s message on a larger scale.
  3. Trade shows. Attend trade shows related to your industry as an exhibitor to get your business out there to the masses. Some conferences may seem costly, but they generally provide a great return on investment. If you can’t afford a booth, register as an attendee as it can prove to be a great networking opportunity!
  4. Print materials. Create your own flyers, coupons and other marketing materials for virtually next to nothing using software such as PowerPoint or free online web-editing tools such as Canva and print them yourself at a local print shop. Hand your materials out wherever your target market frequents to make them aware of your business and consider using coupons to entice individuals to actually purchase your products or services.
  5. Direct mail. You can also use content that you create as a form of direct mail to send out to those in your target market. This method isn’t as expensive as many think, and if you provide great content (such as offers, coupons, etc.) you may receive an outstanding response from your target market!
  6. Networking. Join local clubs and associations related to your industry to meet with individuals who can help you in your business endeavours. You may meet some great mentors and you may connect with someone who may directly benefit from your offerings or may know others who might.
  7. Giveaways. You can use social media for this one in tandem with another initiative. If you’re attending a trade show, use social media to drive traffic to your booth with the promise of a giveaway. Likewise, you can advertise a giveaway occuring at your business, i.e: purchase two items to be entered into a draw. If you’re creating print materials to handout, create a call-to-action and use the giveaway to create interest and entice individuals to learn more about your product/make a purchase/visit your store etc. Get creative!

I hope you consider implementing a few of these strategies if they make sense for your business. Good luck!

MeganSignature

3 Valuable Lessons I’ve Learned from my Leadership Team.

Blog - lessons from leadership2.pngSince I’ve started working with the teams at Plan A and StaffStat, I’ve learned a lot about many different things. I’ve learned the importance of stepping outside of my comfort zone and being comfortable with where it takes me. I’ve learned that there will always be individuals who cross your path that are going to make you feel as though you aren’t enough or you don’t know enough, and you have to learn to ignore their opinions and keep moving forward regardless. I’ve come to realize that just because I’m young doesn’t mean that I don’t know what I’m doing or what I’m talking about, even though some people may think otherwise. Like I said, I’ve learned a lot.

Today I wanted to share a few of the quotes that we often use in our office, the meanings behind them and the lessons that they’ve taught me. To others they may have different meanings, but here is what they mean to the Plan A and StaffStat teams

1. “Do the right thing, even when no one is looking”. I’ve learned how important it is to do the right thing, even when no one is looking; integrity is everything. I was taught that there’s never a reason to be dishonest with yourself, your co-workers, your customers or anyone that’s relying on you and trusting you because it will come back to bite you. There will be times when you’ll be faced with making a decision and you’re forced to choose between what’s cheapest or fastest or easiest for you and what’s right. Not only will you feel good after making the right decision, but it will also show later on to those that matter.

2. “Trust your gut”. This is something that was pushed on me when I first started in my role at Plan A as a recruiter. When I was in charge of hiring healthcare professionals who would work within our contracted homes, I was responsible for hiring the right people and weeding out those who didn’t quite fit our vision. I would look at the obvious things, like their work history, the responses from their references, their answers to my interview questions etc. But one thing that I was always told to take into consideration was my gut instinct. If I had a bad feeling about someone after their interview, for any reason at all, I was told to trust the feeling and not spend any more time on them. When I first started, I would check their references anyways just to be sure. Almost every single time that I went ahead and called their references there would be some sort of red flag; there would be an issue with attendance, their punctuality, or their ability to follow instructions and do what was asked of them.

“Trusting my gut” has become something that I do on a regular basis not only in my professional life, but also in my personal life. Try it out, you’ll be surprised with what your intuition does for you.

3.“Run into the fire”. When issues arise and there are problems to deal with, we always use the term, “Run into the fire”. Rather than waiting for our customers to come to us and express their concerns, we are always quick to send them an email or give them a quick call to tell them what’s going on before they have the chance to come to us. In my own personal experience with cell phone providers or banking companies, I find it’s much more respectable when I’m called and notified before I even notice that there’s something going on. If I realize that my cell service is out or that my card has been locked before I’m connected with by the company, I get frustrated and wonder why I wasn’t told before being inconvenienced by whatever the issue is.

This is one of those choices that are often difficult to make since you’re usually faced with choosing between what’s easiest for you and what’s right. It would be easier to ignore the issue and hope that no one notices until it’s resolved, but is that the right thing to do?

TessaSignatureRevised

Why You Won’t Find a Debbie Downer at StaffStat

Negativity happens everywhere and with the vast amount of information we have continuous access to, negativity can be difficult to escape. Whether you are tuning into the news or checking your social media news feeds, it is inevitable that you will bump into some sort of negativity. It is so easy to fall into a slump of negativity because it actually takes effort to remain positive. I am happy to say that I work in an environment that does not focus on the negative. While we certainly do not walk around with rose colored glasses on, we are very aware of how our thoughts drive our actions and ultimately help us achieve our goals.

With the culture of our company I can assure you that you will not find a Debbie Downer or Sour Sally in our office. Some tips on how we maintain this are listed below:

Energy. Our team has great energy and it is easy for some to gravitate towards it. It is impossible to be in a bad mood when you enter our office doors. The energy, vibe and the people create an atmosphere of fun and positivity where the ideas, productivity and hard work easily flow.

Culture. Our company is built on a strong foundation of values that have led to the culture that encompasses our team today. The maintenance of this culture is important and each team member contributes individually ensuring that our place of work is a place we want to be in. Our culture also emphasizes self care, which is vital in the maintenance of positive energy. We all practice self care in different ways; however, it is always a priority.

Team. You may have heard it before, but every team member has been hand-picked and added to our team. Every single team member has invested into the vision of StaffStat; we know the value in our product which drives us to bring our best every single day. We are all part of this team because we want to be and the team and environment are so energetic that it barely feels like work.

Solution Focused. When a problem or obstacle presents itself our team quickly shifts to the solution. We recognize the problem, accept it and quickly move on to problem solving. Energy is never spent focussing on the negative; energy is valuable so why spend it on pessimism or negativity?

Life is far too short to spend any of it in a state of negativity. For some, the workplace is a place where the majority of time is spent, therefore, it must be a happy place. We have certainly achieved that in our offices!

Cheers!

The Painful Realization That You’re an Option When They’re Your Priority

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Since starting in sales I’ve come to realize one thing: You better get used to being an option, or you’ll drive yourself crazy.

One thing that we often talk about in the office is how difficult it can be to make someone a priority – prospects, leads and current customers alike – while they treat you as an option because, technically, you are. They don’t have to choose you. They don’t have to listen to what you have to say or take time to learn about what you’re selling. But why does it seem so unfair? Because all that we do as salespeople, day in and day out, is learn about our prospects, leads and customers, how they operate and how we can help them utilizing whatever it is we have to offer.

The feeling is hard to describe/understand unless you’ve experienced it firsthand. If you haven’t worked in sales, imagine this: you’re putting a ton of time and effort – 40+ hours a week to be exact – into a friendship or relationship and no matter what you do, it’s never enough to get their attention, make them want to talk to you or get them to even answer your calls. You call them, you leave voicemails and you email them, over and over and over, but nothing works. So how do you deal with it?

Step 1: Take a look in the mirror. Although you might think you’re doing everything right, you should take a step back and look at your approach with said prospect/lead/customer. Are you reaching them in a way that works for them? Did you look at different ways to reach them that may prove to be more successful? Have you outlined everything that you need from them in a way that’s easy for them to follow and understand? 

Step 2: Get used to it. As I said in the first line of this post, you better get used to being an option right away or you’ll drive yourself crazy. It hurts at first, just like rejection, but it’s what goes along with being a salesperson and it’s not something that you can just avoid. It’ll come with time, don’t worry!

Step 3: “There are plenty of fish in the sea”. Yes, I use this cliché phrase to describe a tactic that I use to ignore the fact that half of the calls that I make aren’t going to lead to anything. Whenever I log the sixth call that I’ve made to one prospect or send out that final email as a last attempt to connect, I remind myself of how big the sea really is! For every person that doesn’t respond or pick up their phone, there are hundreds more that are waiting to learn about whatever it is that you’re selling. Keep your head up!

TessaSignatureRevised

5 Ways to Build Customer Loyalty

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Has a business ever gone above and beyond for you, promised you something and over-delivered, or made you feel incredibly special? What did you do? How did you feel? Chances are, you most likely told others about your positive experience. You should use these experiences to provide the same feeling to every customer you interact with to help your business grow. Doing so will help build loyalty within your customer base that lasts a lifetime and will lead to repeat sales.

Below are a few ways to help you get started with building loyalty:

  1. Provide amazing customer service. This one’s a no-brainer. One of the most important ways to build loyalty and trust with your customers is to provide them with exceptional customer service, both on-and-off line. There are a few companies that I make purchases from that I have no problem calling if an issue arises, and there are a few I can think of that I absolutely dread ever having to interact with. Be sure to be there for your customer before, during and after the sale and always respond to questions and concerns promptly (and with a smile).
  2. Get feedback. The best way to determine how your customers perceive your business, product/service is to just ask them. Ask for feedback/reviews often and always thank your customers for their time. Address issues/concerns, and act upon suggestions whenever feasible; doing so will show your customers that you actually value their input. Think about it: how does it feel when you suggest something in any situation and your suggestion actually gets implemented. Pretty great, right?
  3. Be different. Strive to always provide something above and beyond what your competition does to increase the likelihood that your customers will choose your business over any other options. You can differentiate your brand by using a number of various factors without having to lower your prices; you can offer free shipping, quicker shipping options, 24/7 customer support, etc. These little perks may seem like an added cost to you, but they will pay for themselves when your loyal customers let their friends, family, etc. know about their experience and why they should choose you above the other competition.
  4. Make your customers feel special. There are many ways to go about doing this: you can send a personalized card (or email) after meeting with your potential customers, when they sign a contract, on the anniversary of their renewal or even for the holidays. You can also offer them great little deals and discounts to let your customers know you’re thinking about them.
  5. Keep your customers in the know. Adding a new product or service to your line? Enhancing your product? Scrapping or adding new features to an existing product? Let your customers know. Be as transparent as possible—always. Not only will your customers become excited over the positive changes, they will feel like they were a part of the process.

There you have it—5 ways to build customer loyalty. Many of my suggestions are quite easy to implement, but remember building loyalty takes time, so be patient. Good luck!

MeganSignature

Don’t Forget to Play!

DSC_7136.jpgI am just getting back to work after a week away, and boy am I eager to get going!  I feel energized, I’m brimming with ideas and busting at the seams with energy.  I love what a week away can do for my mind, my body and my creativity.  Vitamin Sea is just what the doctor ordered!   I feel great and here are the reasons why:

  • My mind got the rest it needed.  Being an entrepreneur involves long days, challenging situations and smart decisions.  You are always operating in overdrive to come up with and execute all of those amazing solutions.  It’s not unusual to feel mentally exhausted after a few months.  I didn’t go completely off the grid and I don’t think my mind would have rested if I was.  I did give myself an hour or so a day to check email, respond to texts, read the paper and post pictures on Facebook but after that was done I was back to being in the moment.
  • Connecting with my family. Being an entrepreneur means out-of-town travel, late nights, running into fires and responding to a crazy amount of emails, texts and calls.  Unfortunately, sometimes life gets the best of me and I forget to take time to ‘smell the roses’.  Getting away and connecting with the most important people in your life is fun and fulfilling.  The family that plays together…
  • A change of scenery. Home, school, work, repeat.  A change of scenery is a good way to get the ideas flowing.  Stimulate those senses and watch the ideas flow!
  • I gotta be me. For one whole week, I am just me.  I am not a boss or a business partner, a mentor or a mentee, a volunteer or a board member, a client or a consultant.  For one whole week, I am makeup-less, running around in a bathing suit, mastering underwater tricks with my 9-year-old and drinking mimosas for breakfast.  It’s refreshing to let loose with not a worry about anything except what you’re going to eat next.
  • I get to see how solid my team is. My team was challenged and empowered and motivated to run the business like they own it.  By getting out of their way I was able to see how far they’ve come as a team and how connected to the vision they are.  I believe that every team needs a leader, but by getting out of their face for a week I saw them thrive with the vision and I also saw them drive the vision.  They did a superb job and I look forward to using the experience to further develop our team.

Vacation, stay-cation or road trip – use rest, connecting with loved ones and fun as away to boost your creativity too!

Happy Monday!

SheriSignature