When you're just starting out with a small business that's on the brink of getting attention from the public eye, creating that special "buzz" is what will make your business stand out from the pack.
So many new businesses, particularly small ones pop up every year, and even with lots of hard work, many sadly fail. Part of the reason these businesses don't make it as far as they could have is due to a lack of awareness from clients, customers, and consumers. If they've never heard about your business, how will they ever know to choose it when it comes time for their need for the products or services you provide?
Generating and maintaining a buzz is imperative to getting your small business to get to the next step. The quote from that famous baseball movie, "If you build it, they will come," is only part of the process. Having a great small business that's virtually unknown may be a nice project for you, but don't you want to hit it out of the ballpark? These tips will help you create that important buzz your business needs for success.
Unique Marketing Angle
You surely know you'll need to put some budget into marketing, from email to direct mail to ads and even TV commercials. Every small business is unique in some way, even if there are other companies in the same field, so use that "certain something" your business has in order to market most effectively.
As per Forbes, your business needs a "creative marketing hook." This could be in the form of a "short phrase that conveys your unique value proposition, a catchy jingle, an important benefit, or a 'slant' or angle of your business that gets people talking." Be sure your "hook" truly conveys what your business offers and isn't just an empty promise. Not much turns away a customer more than disappointment.
Grasshopper adds, "Differentiate yourself. Make funny fliers or tell stories that set you apart."
Once your unique angle is established, you'll be easily remembered and find customers coming back time and time again. And these are the very people who will recommend your business to family and friends.
Online Giveaways and Promos
Use social media to your advantage. While you are creating your online presence, use the various social media platforms to create buzz by doing regular contests and giveaways and sales or deals for social media followers only. You'll gain popularity far more quickly and keep people coming back to your social media pages to check for these benefits regularly.
As Hubspot notes, "From Twitter to LinkedIn to Facebook and more, investing in social media can take time. But it's free and can quickly create the kind of momentum you're looking for in the early stages."
Additionally, once you gain customers, give them the thanks they deserve with a percentage off the next time they shop, or a special deal if they refer a new customer. It will cost you very little to offer these markdowns, but it will mean a lot in the minds of customers who had the chance to go elsewhere.
Network with Movers and Shakers
Part of being a small business owner is wearing lots of hats. This means you won't likely have a marketing or sales team to do initial networking for you as you're starting out.
As per Grasshopper, "Go to networking events, startup meetups, co-working spaces, and other industry events to try to get your name out. Talk, talk, talk, until you're ready to drop." The more you put your name out there, the better chance for a hit. Plus, you'll learn more about the business from the people already doing well in the field.
Forbes adds, "Connecting with influencers in your niche can help by lending you credibility. Find ways to connect and engage with influencers online. Share and retweet their content, or reach out to them via email. You never know where these types of connections can lead; and the potential to get a link or mention from a well-known industry expert makes your efforts worthwhile."
By placing yourself among those in your industry, you may find people interested in joining your efforts and even those who are willing to back you financially if they see a diamond in the rough. Hubspot notes, "Their qualified feedback might help improve your startup's offerings, and those relationships will cultivate your startup's success."
Keep at it and never let the buzz die down. That initial push is crucial, but keeping the momentum alive every day is the key to a successful life for your small business.
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As anyone who has ever sold a house will tell you, you must prioritize curb appeal. Before a potential buyer even considers looking inside your house, they notice the outside first. Does it attract the right kind of attention? Does it take away from the feel you're going for? If you plan to sell sometime soon, you must think about these things. Here are some landscaping options to increase your home's curb appeal, so you can get the best price on your home.
Extensive Plants and Greenery
A barren front yard won't get you the price you want on your home. So, invest in at least a little bit of greenery to keep the surrounding area from looking too dead. Shrubs and bushes tie the house to the lawn that precedes it, and flower beds bring a pop of color to an otherwise drab structure. You can also strategically plant some trees to improve the overall feel of your home's exterior.
As we mentioned, your lawn is one of the most prominent features of your home's exterior. A patchy, dried-up lawn will quickly drive your home's price way down. Some of the best landscaping options for your home's curb appeal involve improving your lawn for the next inhabitant. Overall fertilization, ground aeration, underbrush removal, proper mowing—all of these lawn care tasks contribute to a greener and more lively area that invites people to see your house, rather than stay away from it.
There's nothing like a broken and disheveled pathway to make someone think twice about buying a property. Just as you want the entryway in your house to be welcoming, so too should the pathway leading up to the house be inviting. The pathway from the street to your front door provides plenty of real estate to get creative with. You don't have to settle for a boring concrete pathway. Consider something more eye catching, like a cobblestone path or intermittent brick patterns, as a way to better welcome potential buyers.
Usable Outdoor Furniture
Landscaping doesn't just involve the ground you walk on; also included are the items you use as extras to the overall look. Outdoor furniture is one such extra that you don't necessarily need but can look quite attractive if done correctly. Staging is important with outdoor furniture. Old, broken-down pieces will only look like more work to the potential buyer. A few comfortable chairs, a bench, or a table with an umbrella really go a long way to improving your outdoor aesthetics.
A good tip for deciding on curb appeal items is to decide what you personally would want to see as a part of a welcoming home's exterior. You don't need to go overboard, but a little bit of forethought could net you quite a lot of extra cash in the sale.
Many people strive to support their community by donating their time or their money. When you find a meaningful cause, you might be quick to cut a donation check. Though it's admirable to be quick to act charitably, you should be wary of several common mistakes made when giving to charity. Being mindful of these mistakes and learning tips for making informed charitable choices can help you make the most out of your generous check.
Acting Quickly Out of Emotion
Mission statements are meant to be compelling. If you're an emotionally driven individual, it's natural to pull out your wallet at the sight of a sad puppy on TV or when informed about food insecurity over the phone. Unfortunately, not all charities are as effective or official as they may seem.
Take your passion for helping others one step further by making sure your chosen charity is legit. Speaking with a representative, reviewing their website and social media accounts, and looking at testaments online can give you a better idea of whether the organization is worth your donation.
Forgetting to Keep Record of the Donation
Don't forget that you can reap some financial perks from giving back! With the proper documentation of your donation, you can acquire a better tax deductible.
If you donate more than $12,400 as a single filer or $24,800 as one of two joint filers, you're eligible to deduct that amount from your taxes. So, when a charity asks if you'd like a receipt of donation, always answer yes.
Donating Unusable Materials
Most charities can utilize a monetary donation—it's the physical donations that usually cause some issues. Providing a local nonprofit with irrelevant materials or gifting them with unusable products are surprisingly common mistakes made when giving to charity.
Always check your intended charity's website for a list of things they do and do not accept. The majority of places will provide a guideline to donating or offer contact information to clarify any questions.
Strictly Giving at Year's End
As more and more people get into the holiday spirit at the end of the year, nonprofit organizations see an influx of donations. While it's great to spread holiday cheer via a monetary donation, it's important to keep that spirit going year-round.
With regular donations, charities can more effectively allocate their annual budget. Setting up an automatic monthly donation with the charity of your choosing can maximize your impact. You can account for a monthly donation by foregoing a costly coffee every once in a while.
Knowing how much you should spend on home maintenance each year is hard to figure out and may be preventing you from buying your first home. The types of costs you'll incur depend on the house you buy and its location. The one certainty is that you should start saving now. Read on to figure out how much to start setting aside based on the home you own.
The Age of Your House
Consider several factors when budgeting for home repairs. If you've purchased a new home, your house likely won't require as much maintenance for a few years. Homes built 20 or more years ago are likely to require more maintenance, including replacing and keeping your windows clean. Further, depending on your home's location, weather can cause additional strain over time, so you may need to budget for more repairs.
The One-Percent Rule
An easy way to budget for home repairs is to follow the one-percent rule. Set aside one percent of your home's purchase price each year to cover maintenance costs. For instance, if you paid $200,000 for your home, you would set aside $2,000 each year. This plan is not foolproof. If you bought your home for a good deal during a buyer's market, your home could require more repairs than you've budgeted for.
The Square-Foot Rule
Easy to calculate, you can also budget for home maintenance by saving one dollar for every square foot of your home. This pricing method is more consistent than pricing it by how much you paid because the rate relies on the objective size of your home. Unfortunately, it does not consider inflation for the area where you live, so make sure you also budget for increased taxes and labor costs if you live in or near a city.
The Mix and Match Method
Since there is no infallible rule for how much you should spend on home maintenance, you can combine both methods to get an idea for a budget. Average your results from the square-foot rule and the one-percent rule to arrive at a budget that works for you. You should also increase your savings by 10 percent for each risk factor that affects your home, such as weather and age.
Holding on to savings is easier in theory than practice. Once you know how much you should spend on home maintenance, you'll know what to aim for and be more prepared for an emergency. If you are having trouble securing funds for home repairs, consider taking out a home equity loan, borrowing money from friends or family, or applying for funds through a home repair program through your local government for low-income individuals.