Make a Referral – Jumpstart the Economy

As you all know, our economy needs all the help it can get right now. In my opinion and that of many thought leaders that I read, small business is the answer to solving the problem. Therefore I was very intrigued when I read about a program currently being promoted throughout the web, Make a Referral Week:  A Small Business Stimulus Program sponsored by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing.

‘Make a Referral Week’ is an entrepreneurial approach to stimulating the small business economy one referred business at a time. The goal for the week is to generate 1000 referred leads to 1000 deserving small businesses in an effort to highlight the impact of a simple action that could blossom into millions of dollars in new business. Small business is the lifeblood and job-creating engine of the economy and merits the positive attention so often saved for corporate bailout stories.


During the week of March 9-13, we will do everything in our power to get everyone referring leads to small businesses.  A whole bunch of small business experts will share ideas, tools, information and resources to get you started.  Look at the educational events happening during the week here.

You may think that this effort won’t have much impact, particularly if it doesn’t benefit you specifically, but I would ask you to remember that every effort to benefit small business in general will benefit every individual small business in some way. Your referral might hit someone’s business right when they are considering shutting their doors, or they may be behind on their mortgage and staying up nights worrying about paying the bills.  This economy impacts personal health, families, relationships and communities.  It’s something that can be fixed, one small business at a time; or in this case – one referral at a time.

For my part, I’m pledging to make a referral to a business I want to help as part of the national campaign to make 1000 referrals March 9-13. What a great small business stimulus plan – won’t you join this effort?

Here are other ways to participate:

  • Sign up at the Make a Referral Pledge Page
  • Spend the week referring the heck out of trusted friends/partners/colleagues
  • Promote ‘Make a Referral Week’ in your blogs and your social networks

Do your part to stimulate the economy by telling your network about making referrals and ‘Make a Referral Week’ – you’ll be in good company AND you’ll be doing your part to help the economy.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

 

What Social Media Marketers Can Learn from Email Marketing and In-person Networking

Are you still trying to figure out the “do’s” and “don’ts” of social media marketing? Be assured, you’re not alone. As the social networking community continues to grow at an ever-increasing pace, marketers and small business owners are challenged with learning how to apply standard marketing principles to this new medium.

One of the challenges of social media is that it doesn’t respond well to “advertising”. Social media marketing needs to be more subtle. It’s about networking to build a reputation as an expert, and then having your expertise sought out. To give you a relevant example, many of you attend networking meetings for your Chamber of Commerce or various trade associations. When you attend those functions do you walk in wearing a sign that says “buy from me”? Or, do you take a more subtle approach by trying to meet new people, learn about what they do, offer a free bit of advice here and there, and build relationships that down the road will result in new business? If you’re like most people, you follow the second option and with that being the case, why would you not apply that same strategy to social networking? You would – and you should!

Additionally, since email marketers have already traversed a path similar to that now being explored by social media marketers, there are a great many lessons that can be learned by reviewing email marketing strategies and the results which were achieved. A recent article by Stephanie Miller, published in MediaPost online publications, explores the email media / social media comparison and provides some interesting lessons to help you improve the results from your social media marketing strategies. This article can be found on our website.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

Grow Your Business by Building Your Credibility as an Expert

In today’s world of 5-person or less small businesses, oftentimes building demand for your business requires building demand for your expertise as the owner and a subject-matter expert in your field. With the many resources available today, online and elsewhere, the opportunities to showcase your expertise and build your personal “brand”, as well as that of your company, are almost limitless. On our website find an article that will provide you with tips to utilize some of these opportunities to your best advantage for growing your business. Learn how to maximize the opportunities presented by blogging, social media, public speaking, teaching, portfolio presentation, and publishing in your efforts to grow your business.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

IRS May Give Some a Break

Review a recent interview with IRS Commissioner, Douglas Shulman, discussing his plan to authorize front-line staff to be easier on those currently in financial hardship. The article also discussions his plans for increased enforcement efforts on high net worth individuals, U.S. businesses with international operations, and large corporations.

But Shulman quickly added that they won’t get a “free ride,” just a break, and that such grace is directed toward people who have been tax-compliant in the past. “We want to help people who have always been upstanding,” he said. There’s not just an altruistic goal here. This is still the IRS. Shulman said his goal is to keep “compliant taxpayers in the system.”

Could this benefit small business? Time will tell, but I would venture to say that we’ll all be watching!  Read the complete article via our website.

Get FREE Weekly Business Growth Tips

Can your business use a “shot in the arm”? Do you need some “outsider perspective”? If so, register on our website to receive our weekly Business Growth Tips via email.

These weekly quick-tips are designed to offer quick, easy-to-implement ideas that can have positive impact on the growth of your business.  Sign up today!

How Small Business Benefits from Stimulus

Finally found an article that details how small business will benefit from the stimulus package. You can find it on our website. Would be interested in hearing opinions: do you agree, will it benefit small business? Did it go far enough? What else would you have added?

Customer Relationship Management for Small Businesses

As we have become more and more technology-oriented in recent years, one of the trends I’ve noticed is that small business owners seem to assume that any task needing to be done to run their business requires a software package to facilitate it. Customer Relationship Management is no different. The multitude of CRM software packages available today, such as ACT, Outlook Contact Manager, Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, FreeCRM, SalesBoom.com and many others, have encouraged this trend. Unfortunately, what frequently occurs is that the programs are so complicated, or so work-intensive, that the already over-worked small business owners eventually stop using them; and then assume that they can’t proceed with a CRM program since they don’t have time to manage it with the software program.

I would like to propose that small business owners go back to the basics as listed below:

  • A database of your customers, in Excel, that can be sorted and updated and includes a comments section.
  • Follow-up steps, including “Thanks for your time/business” letters or e-mails.
  • An inexpensive e-mail vendor such as ConstantContact, SwiftPages or any other similar online service that can cost as little as $15 per month to manage up to 500 contacts.
  • A solid communication schedule, with a customer feedback loop that captures and logs in the customer contact history.
  • Buy-in from every employee in your company to execute the strategy.

The list of basic tasks above comes from an article that recently ran in Forbes.com that discussed CRM from a similar standpoint (the complete article can be found on our website), the premise being that CRM programs don’t need to be complicated to implement to be effective. Nor do they need to be costly or time-consuming. Make a plan, have a basic database to track your efforts, some simple tools, and you’re on your way to increasing business from the most cost-effective and profitable customers you can have – the ones who already know you and have done business with you. Try it and see if it doesn’t have positive impact on your business!

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts with over twenty years’ experience in working with small businesses. Linda can be contacted by email at strategicgrowthconcepts@earthlink.net. The company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com

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