Recently, I was asked to become a member of the Down Syndrome Footprint Board of Directors. What an honor! I am excited to join a company that is dedicated to the awareness, empowerment, and employment of those with Down syndrome.
After I was asked to join this group, I decided to send a press release to several local publications, newspapers and Chambers of Commerce. My theory with sending the press release was that it would be great publicity for Down Syndrome Footprint and it would also tell people about my business, Feather Communications.
When I wrote the press release, I was careful to be very specific about the reason for writing it. The title read, “Feather Communications Owner Joins Down Syndrome Footprint Board of Directors.” However, when I sent the press release to my hometown newspaper, the Colfax Messenger, I titled it, “Colfax-Based Business Owner Joins Down Syndrome Footprint Board of Directors.” It is important to make the press release directly connected to the media outlet.
I sent the press release on a Thursday and it was already printed on Sunday. Press releases do work. Be sure they are timely, have meaning to the media outlet, outline specific details, and include a picture. The picture draws more attention to the press release and it allows for more recognition with your company.
The next time your company has interesting news, the owner joins a new organization, a certification is achieved, or a milestone has been reached, consider sending a press release. Press releases offer free publicity and a way for your company to be in the news and, perhaps, BE the news.
Have you ever wondered if bartering would work for your small business? In today’s competitive economy when everyone is striving to do more with less, bartering is making a big comeback. In fact, it may be just what you need in these challenging economic times.
So, how exactly do you barter with another business? Well, find out what the business does and how it may be able to utilize your products and/or services. Then, discover how that business can help you. Remember, to be effective, bartering has to have mutual benefit for both parties involved. After all, if there is no benefit, why would someone be interested in trading services or products with you?
Here’s an example of how I bartered a few months ago. Someone that I have known for several years contacted me about developing a new resume. She works at a printing company, so instead of charging her my usual fee for writing a resume, she agreed to print 1000 business cards. The bartering system worked perfectly! The mutual benefit in this case equaled a shiny, new resume for the client and 1000 brand-new business cards for the resume-portion of Feather Communications.
That experience proved a great point – sometimes it’s not about the money you make from your services or products – it’s about what you can barter for in return. The irony? I have gathered more clients and compliments based upon those business cards than the money I would have made if I would have just invoiced the client and collected payment.
The next time a situation arises when you think there may be a mutual benefit involved, ask about bartering. You may be surprised at what people are willing to trade if it means a long-term payoff.
Do you know the power of thank you? I thought I did, but recently I realized that saying thank you does really mean a lot to people–especially clients.
I tend to send thank you notes to all of my clients, whether they are individual clients that needed a resume or a business that needed a press release. A handwritten thank you note is something that most people do not see in today’s busy world. It makes your company stand out among the competition.
Even when I send e-mails to clients, I typically begin with something that includes, “Thank you for choosing Feather Communications for your business writing needs…” A recent client from New York City commented that it was so nice that I always started my e-mail communication with the words “thank you.” This was interesting to me, because I had never thought twice about saying thank you to any of my clients. I am thankful for them and for their business. However, it was so out-of-the-ordinary for this particular client that she took time to comment on it.
So, remember those two little words in your life and in your business communication. Although it may seem like a small gesture, communicating that you are grateful may mean more than you will ever know.
With the frequent use of e-mail as a communication method, it is important to remember to remain professional and not fall into the trap of being too casual. Here are four easy ways to ensure your e-mail communication stays professional:
Tone. Re-read your message to be sure it conveys the tone you want to set. Is the message urgent? Congratulatory? Questioning?
Conciseness. Businesspeople are busy. Don’t add extra words if they are not needed. Keep your e-mail messages brief and to-the-point.
Pre-empt questions. Think of your message from the recipient’s point-of-view and try to answer questions before they are asked.
Use specific subject lines. Rather than title an e-mail “Question” or “Response,” be specific with the subject line. Your recipient will be more likely to open the e-mail if he or she knows what it is about.
Utilizing these techniques on a regular basis will put you in professional e-mail mode. Eventually, they will become just another part of the e-mail process and you will be deemed a successful e-mail communicator.
At a lunch-and-learn event this spring, I was asked to present several marketing tips in just a few minutes. I thought I would share these with you, as they have proven very effective for me and have helped me to grow Feather Communications.
Join a local Chamber of Commerce. Figure out which local chamber offers you the most benefit for the investment. Research current members and attend several events as a guest to determine if you want to join this particular group of people.
Become a member of a networking group. Whether it is BNI or another local referral organization, these are great opportunities to market your business and meet new people.
Give back to the community. Not only are you volunteering for a worthwhile cause, your business name will be associated with the organization and you will meet other like-minded business people.
Attend conferences and trade shows. Seek the conferences and trade shows that offer both networking capabilities and educational opportunities.
Remember that these marketing opportunities only work if you use them. If you want people to know about your business, you have to tell them. That may mean stepping outside of your comfort zone and purposely putting yourself in situations where you meet people. Take a chance and increase your marketing exposure.
Knowing what motivates employees and realizing that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune are the first steps to developing a motivation program at the workplace. When I became a Customer Service Manager at a company, I knew that something needed to be done to increase motivation within the department.
I eventually decided to implement something called “The Treasure Box.” Obviously, there wasn’t real treasure (or money) in the box. And, to be honest, the box itself was a recycled box that had originally contained company envelopes. However, I did fill the box with decorative sticky notes, gel pens, interesting pen/pencil holders, fancy-shaped paper clips, and other miscellaneous office supplies.
“The Treasure Box” turned out to be a great motivator for our department. When we set a weekly goal on Monday, everyone knew the goal and was striving to achieve it throughout the week. Then, the following Monday, anyone that had achieved the goal was allowed to pick one prize out of “The Treasure Box.” Goals included items such as who brought in the most jobs during the week, which service representative received the most customer compliments during that time, and who billed the highest jobs throughout the week-long contest. By changing the target goal or task, it gave almost everyone a chance to win at some point during “The Treasure Box” reign.
For many people, money is not the greatest motivator. In addition to money, many people work because they enjoy being around others, they may enjoy the camaraderie of an office setting or they actually like what they do. Remember that different things motivate different people. Employers should take the time to get to know the employees and tailor the motivational tools to their specific work environment. When you discover that a gel pen is the greatest treasure for your employees, take that idea and make motivation happen within your department.