It is easy to stand in front of a potential client and tout all of the wonderful things you’re able to do. It’s difficult to stand in front of that same potential client and be honest about your capabilities. This is why it is so important to have a network of resources you can draw from to meet a client’s needs. This is why you need to know your limits.
You’re Not One Size
“The world is my oyster.”
“My ideal client is everyone.”
“I can do it all, don’t you worry.”
Have you heard these statements? If so, I hope you ran as far away as your business suit would take you. This is the hallmark of a business without a niche, without an ideal client and frankly, potentially, without a clue! This usually means that they’re going to try and fit you into a “one size fits all” business plan. That type of plan may harm the growth of your business. Your business isn’t one-size-fits-all, so why would you choose to delegate tasks to someone who is.
We All Have Limits
Early in the growth of your company you probably reached a breaking point. Sleep was elusive, time was beyond limited and there were tasks you avoided simply because “you didn’t wanna.” Are you still in those days? Are you wrestling with the idea of hiring a dedicated marketing person, accountant or virtual assistant? Think about it this way, you can only fill a cup to a certain point. Once full the glass begins to spill over and you miss out on all the great stuff you could have consumed. Business is similar. Opportunities will continue to present themselves but if you’re bogged down with doing all-the-things (i.e. social media posts, email follow up or invoicing) you’re going to miss out on potential growth. Without knowing your limits you end up restricting your potential.
Stay in Your Lane
This is not to discourage you from stepping out of your comfort zone or discovering new avenues for growth. Stay in your lane in terms of your skills and abilities. If you’re a digital marketer but you don’t excel in Facebook Advertising, don’t go there. If you’re an awesome landscaping company but you don’t design pool structures, don’t. Stick to beautifying the land and leave the aquatics to those who know. This is where the need for a strong network resides. When asked, instead of saying “No” and leaving the conversation there, you can confidently say “That isn’t somewhere we specialize but if you’d like I can put you in contact with two or three vendors who excel in that space.” BOOM! You’ve done three things here:
1 – Helped make your potential client confident that you know your limits
2- Strengthened the relationship with a networking buddy
3 – Lowered the potential for a headache when you’re in over your head down the road
Embrace & Grow
Embracing your limits doesn’t have to mean saying “no” to the fun stuff. It means saying “yes” to all of those things you rock. So always remember: Know (your limits), Delegate (where you can) and Grow (onward and upward)!
If you’re struggling in a potential area of delegation, reach out! I’d be honored to help where I can and put you in contact with a rockstar who could give you more time in your week. Drop me an email at [email protected] or connect with me instantly on Instagram and Twitter!
Is your organization suffering from the wrong workforce? Here are several ways you can overcome the problem of getting the right people to do the work.
Organizations—business, non-profits, and government—need the “right” people to do the work required to achieve successful outcomes. Some have the name recognition, reputation, and monetary resources to attract candidates from far and wide, and hire them rather easily. Others don’t—their relatively unknown, their budgets are tight, and the labor markets they can draw from are often restricted. Not everyone is Google, after all, so getting the “perfect people” can get a bit tricky. Many organizations end up settling for people with less-than-ideal skills and experience, because they’re available and willing to work for a reasonable compensation package.
Unfortunately, the impacts of settling can be… well, unsettling. Most notably, the work that’s necessary either doesn’t get done or it isn’t done up to standards. Sometimes, when it becomes obvious that an individual can’t perform particular tasks, they get foisted on other staff who have at least an inkling of what to do, even though they are by no means “experts.” When someone can’t do what they’re supposed to, the entire organization can suffer. Performance metrics aren’t met, morale deteriorates, and motivation declines. Not to be too harsh, but the “wrong” people are at best an obstacle, at worst a cancer—they can slowly destroy the organization from within.
With all of their constraints, it may seem like “getting it right” is impossible, and that many organizations are doomed to under-perform unless they get extremely lucky. Of course, this isn’t true—after all, if it was, why would I be writing this blog post?! There are several things you can do if you find yourself struggling to find who you need!
Know what you need. This may seem obvious, but it’s shocking how many organizations don’t know. You need to lay out specifically what you need a person to do, and what skills and experience you think are truly required to do it effectively. This is the foundation for good hiring! It’s often helpful to benchmark, or get others knowledgeable about the job’s subject matter to review what you lay out, to make sure it’s an accurate depiction of what’s necessary, and that it’s realistic (i.e., such a person actually exists somewhere).
Explore your labor market. Even if there are people who match your requirements, that doesn’t mean they exist where you want to find them. Whatever labor market you’re drawing from, you need to make sure there are accessible sources for the requisite talent. If there aren’t (and you can’t expand your market), you’ll need to adjust your expectations. This may mean isolating key functions, skills, and experience, and finding other ways to accommodate what’s left over. Effectively, you’re splitting the job in two (or three, or four…).
Find out what it will cost. It helps to know going in what compensation someone who can fulfill your exact requirements is going to be looking for. That special person may be available, but they may be priced beyond what you think you can pay. If the individual’s salary demands fit your budget, great – go get her! If not, however, all is not lost. You may have some options—you’ll just have some analysis to do and some decisions to make. You may not get the “ideal” person, but that doesn’t mean you have to “settle.”
Examine the options. So you’ve done your homework, and the person you want seems too expensive. What do you do? There are several alternatives to consider:
Hire that person anyway. Yes, I said that. Pay more than you have. Why would you do something like this? Consider it an investment, if the job is one that has an impact on either revenue generation or operational cost-efficiency. For example, a good Business Development Director might return far more than someone less experienced (and less costly). You need to think about the job’s urgency and impact, consider the risks, and act accordingly. It may just be the right move!
“Hire down.” This may sound like your “settling,” but if you do this right, you’re really not. If you can afford the time to get a new hire “up to speed,” you can look for the essential skills and then develop the additional knowledge the individual needs. When I say “do it right,” though, do it right. This means having a clear development plan, and the resources available to provide the necessary training. If you hire down and don’t develop, you will be “settling,” and that’s not good.
Split the work. Why hire one person when you can hire two?! Grouping functions, skills, and experience into realistic parts and seeking two candidates may be less costly than hiring a single individual to do all of the work. Of course, this isn’t without it’s challenges—you may need to adjust your structure, processes, etc. to accommodate a different set-up. But if you can hire two “right” people instead of settling for one “wrong” person, isn’t that better?
Use a contractor. Specialized skills can be very expensive. If you can remove them from the job and outsource them, you may be able to get the right person for the remainder and augment their skills by outsourcing. Contracting has to be done judiciously or it can break the bank, but if you can limit what you need to “subject matter expertise,” it may make sense to look outside to help your new hire. Even better, let her soak up knowledge over time, and make the contractor obsolete!
Go “part time.” It may not be necessary for you to hire a full-time resource, depending on the nature and volume of the work. Assessing this means envisioning performance to see if there is likely to be “down time.” If so, a part-time job may be the answer. There are challenges, without question—part-time work may further restrict the labor market, since not everyone is looking for this kind of arrangement. It won’t work in every case, but it just may work in yours.
Share a resource. Non-profits, I’m looking at you specifically, but businesses may also be able to do this in certain circumstances. If you don’t need someone full-time and the market doesn’t support part-time hires, you can try to forge relationships with other organizations that have the same need, and share! Of course, this has its logistical challenges, but if you really need a certain set of skills, the effort may be worth the reward. Remember, you’re probably not the only one looking!
Blow them away with other stuff. Lastly, if you can’t pay, try “killing them with kindness.” Offering things like telework, advancement opportunities, professional development, bonus potential, etc., and/or emphasizing the impact of the work can tip the balance in your favor, especially if your labor market competitors can’t say the same things. Know your strengths, and know your candidates’ interests—if you can match the two, you may attract the right people with “intangibles.”
See? It’s not hopeless! You don’t have to “settle” for Jimmy when you need someone with Mary’s skills and experience. Jimmy’s probably going to do more harm than good, and you can either get Mary or you can find ways to get people who will deliver just as well. Your specific conditions will dictate what you can do, but the one thing you shouldn’t do is panic—there are lots of options. The key is to be realistic, informed, and creative. If you do that, you won’t have to live with the consequences of taking less than you require. It isn’t always easy, and there’s a lot of thought that goes into it, but the potential is there. Find the right approach, and you’ll find the right people!
For more information, please contact Snowflake, LLC at [email protected]. We’ll be happy to discuss your situation and work with you to find the best hiring strategy for your situation. We’ll even give you a one-hour consultation for free!
“Social Media Times, They Are A-Changing”
Just when we think we’ve figured out how our digital presence is performing, things change… again. The innate nature of digital media is that it has the ability to pivot and adhere to the ever-changing confines of accepted use on the internet. Gone are the days when we started every Facebook post with “Meg Kerns is…” In their place stands a preference for posting articles, value added content and updates with blog-like acuity. Businesses wouldn’t dream of posting an ‘is’ update on Facebook for fear of being labeled ‘digitally inept.’ So that begs the question, why are they fighting against the next trail?
Is Video Here to Stay?
Video is assumed to be the next bandwagon effect of digital marketing. If you look deeper, we’ve pointed toward video since the birth of the digital sphere. Books such as The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage have taught us much. Highlighting the ability for digital media to move forward as our greatest advantage in learning and growing. Utilizing video as a means of storytelling and relationship building from a business perspective is almost obvious, so why the push-back? Put yourself in the shoes of a current business owner. They hear that they must have a digital presence, use photos and curated content of a visual sense and now their primary focus should be video, they may be understandably burnt out. A significant number of business owners are planting their feet behind their own lines in the sand and refusing to incorporate video. This being to their ultimate detriment.
The Case for Video
A business’ followers are finding content primarily on their home feeds when they scroll through Facebook. It is the job of the business to create content that causes the user to pause. They then hope to digest the content ultimately leading to some sort of positive action. Originally, businesses were using wording along with colorful, eye-catching images to gain the attention of followers and potential clients/customers. Look at the feed of the majority of Facebook’s users, one might notice an abundance of colorful, eye-catching content. This overabundance makes most people immune to its certain charms.
Enter video; Facebook has the advantage of automatically setting videos to begin playing. This forces the user’s eyes to momentarily pause in order to register the moving images. That may be all it takes to make a decision in continuing through the video’s entirety or scrolling past. If a business’ video is entertaining or interesting enough they’re hooked. They’ve captured their audience and can then request a call to action that is favorable to their goals. Without this video engagement, business posts are relying on the follower entirely instead of pushing them toward a specific action.
If given two options, a stagnant yet well-crafted image versus a mediocre video, the video will almost always outrank the image in terms of engagement and visibility due to the platform’s preference for video content.
In the end, if a business wants to remain relevant, transparent and authentic they need to begin utilizing video or risk burial under the myriad of content being pushed out every minute vying for attention.
So, let us ask again- why aren’t you using video?
If you’d like to learn more about using video as a business, please jump over to YouTube and check out the Business BootyKick Series! I look forward to answering any of your questions and offering you a free social media diagnostic to get started!
If you’re not using data to hear what it’s trying to say, you’re not making the best business decisions
These days, it’s all about the numbers. We’re inundated with statistics, whether it’s polling data on social issues, President Trump’s approval ratings, stock market trends, or our favorite baseball player’s batting average. Soon enough, someone will probably try to quantify the value of friendships or the actual degree, on a scale of one to ten, to which one person loves another. Our obsession bases itself partly on an innate need to know where things stand and, often, it allows us to make decisions based on what the data tells us. There’s a competitive aspect to it too—we want to “prove” that what we’re offering, who we’re supporting, or even we ourselves are better than the “others.”
It’s surprising, then, how many businesses aren’t using data effectively to understand performance, model different actions, make informed choices, and measure the results. Many organizations don’t even collect data, let alone analyze it in any meaningful way. It’s not because the information isn’t available—it is, more now than ever before. Instead, the problem is that many business executives—especially small business owners—don’t know how to use data (if they’re even aware they should be using it). Naturally, since they don’t “get it,” they aren’t trying. This is a shame, because they’re missing out on a powerful set of tools that can drastically improve their outcomes.
Which businesses can benefit from using data? Well, pretty much every one of them. For example:
brick-and-mortar retailers can use information about what draws customers into stores, their buying habits, the effectiveness of different incentives, and many other things that can inform marketing strategies, store layouts, product offerings, optimal hours, etc.—all of which can help minimize costs and maximize profits.
Similarly, on-line vendors can measure advertisement click-throughs, site visits, interactions, and conversion rates associated under different conditions, which also can be used to direct marketing approaches, product mix and placement, user experience, etc., with the end result of increased revenue generation.
Restaurants can collect data on customer volume by day and time, what people are ordering, their level of satisfaction with the food and the dining experience, etc., which can help in refining menus, setting opening and closing times, and scheduling staff. Data-driven decisions optimize operational cost-effectiveness.
These are a few examples. There are many more instances and ways in which data can help.
The point is, if you’re a business owner or executive and you’re not collecting relevant information, analyzing it, and using it to make decisions, you’re effectively “in the dark.” You’re making marketing decisions without knowing where to focus, what to say, and where to say it—so there’s a good chance you’re wasting money. You’re offering products and services without understanding what’s selling (and what’s not), when, and why—so you’re losing out on opportunities to improve sales and limit inventory, staffing, and operating costs. You’re choosing among different options without the benefit of evaluating ROI and choosing the optimal approach for your business.
If it seems hard, rest assured it’s not that bad. The data is everywhere, there for the taking. Information about customer behaviors can be easily obtained by setting up and utilizing simple tracking mechanisms, and you can find out about satisfaction, perceptions, needs, and preferences through surveys or focus groups. Online metrics are ample, for example, through Google Analytics, hosting providers, and other services that collect and provide multiple ways of “slicing and dicing” the numbers. Your market is trying to tell you its secrets, and it’s easy to listen—in this day and age especially, there are simply no excuses for not hearing what it has to say!
How do you promote a positive digital presence as a small business or brand?
-Restaurant Berates Customer for Bad Review
-Local Business Spars with Customer Over Quality of Services
-New Brand Makes Waves with Sub Par Products
These could very well be similar headlines to some seen online just this week. Businesses could avoid these eye-catching taglines with a quick lesson in online etiquette or netiquette.
There are many opportunities on the World Wide Web when it comes to small businesses, but those opportunities can turn toxic quickly. Often, netiquette goes straight out of the window when it comes to small businesses online. Having a plan and a comprehensive understanding of internet etiquette can serve to save a business from undue criticism in a digital world.
The following tips can serve as reminders for companies and brands to improve their digital prowess and avoid common pitfalls online.
Be Present Online:
A business should have a digital presence on whatever platform makes sense for them. They should choose the platform with which they can consistently engage. Avoiding social platforms may be detrimental as customers and clients often head to the internet first when researching new brands. Companies want to ‘show up’ in more ways than simply a website.
What businesses post online should align with their brand and the goals for their digital strategy. If a company is looking to promote transparency in a behind-the-scenes approach, the published content should reflect that feeling. If they are seeking to educate, the content should be consise, clear and informative. One of the biggest blunders made by businesses is muddying their messages with an overabundance of disjointed content. Stay consistent. Stay Concise.
Most business owners would not choose to have a knock-down drag-out verbal altercation with a customer in their establishment, yet we see the online equivalent all too often. In our current landscape of connectivity, the chances of a negative review or perceived experience are high. If a business is on the receiving end of such a review, defending, arguing or negatively engaging is a poor choice. On the other hand, completely ignoring the review is also a poor choice. Striking the right balance in responding can preserve a positive digital presence.
Consistent and on-brand content will help to promote the overall presence of a business. It may also serve to create new warm-leads as potential customers get to know a brand. The practice of sharing content consistently and positively engaging with followers will help to genuinely and authentically build an audience. Patience is the name of the game.
Overall, netiquette follows a few golden rules: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” as well as “Say it forget it*, write it regret it.” If businesses don’t want words to haunt them, they shouldn’t post them online. *Companies are best not to say things they don’t want online as well with the abundance of video popping up online.
If you’re looking to jumpstart your business’ presence online or have questions regarding the creation of a digital strategy or netiquette guidelines, email [email protected] for a complimentary Digital Marketing Audit. MOKup Media