ROI or ROUS’s?? -Focusing on priorities

Ok, Ok, so I know I promised a post on shoutouts. BUT- I went to write it up… and totally lost what I was going to say (have you ever had one of those days?). Whatever brilliant idea I had about those shoutouts- well, it’s out the window now. I could only come up with a minimum of two paragraphs about the subject.

So, I’m moving on. Maybe one day, I’ll return to the subject. I’m sure you’ll be holding your breath in anticipation, right? ūüėČ

So, for today- you ever hear about ROI? No? Good, you’ve come to the right place. And no, it isn’t about rodents of unusual size, or any kind of rodent for that matter! (for those Princess Bride fans out there- you know who you are!)

ROI is a marketing term, meaning “Return Over Investment.” It’s basically the amount you’re getting in return, versus what you invest. Typically, it refers to marketing, but I make an application to other areas of business, as well.

Weekly, I meet with someone whom I am helping get her business started. We’ve had to discuss this topic many times, and so I’m bringing it to you. In starting a business, there’s so much going on and so much to do. Certain business genres have even more- such as a crafting business, where the owner creates all the products.

With so much going on, it’s easy to get distracted from your focus. It’s easy to get off into side trails and lose sight of the main focus of your business. That’s where you need to look at ROI.

Business involves so many things, especially starting out. You’re working on getting set up, while at the same time trying to get the word out. Sometimes, it isn’t easy trying to decide which of the items loudly clamoring for attention need your attention the most.

ROI helps to bring things into focus. When organizing your tasks for the day, look at your ROI. Which activities will be most beneficial today?¬† If you are creating a product, focus on the ones you know. I ran into this recently with Fern, the lady I mentioned. There is always the temptation to experiment, to bring in something new. Be careful not to become too distracted with that, however. Before you bring in something new, work on solidifying what you’ve already got. Take a hard look at your products and decide which one will give you the most return versus the time and money you’re investing.

Sometimes it isn’t a product at all. There are legal steps that need your attention as well. You need to file that report, but you also need to write that employee handbook. Both are good to have, but both may not be necessary. Do you have employees already? Not planning to hire for a while? Then focus on the file.

Starting a business is tough. It’s also crazy busy. But if you focus on prioritizing your tasks and putting the emphasis on those which are most necessary or have the highest return, it can become easier to manage.

Good luck on starting your journey!

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Business in social media: What to post

Before you even start your business, you should create a Facebook page. Before you apply for that store location, you should be posting status updates.

Why? Because it generates interest. People get excited about something new.

Keep in mind, it does come with a price. Maintaining a Facebook page for an unestablished business is more difficult than keeping one that has been around for years.

However, there’s no arguing the potential advantages it can give you. It does mean that what you’ll be posting will be slightly different.

So when you don’t have sales and new products, what do you post? Here are a few quick suggestions:

Updates
Your company Facebook page acts just like your personal profile. The idea is to post updates about your life, sharing it with friends and family. The same concept goes for your business.

I think Patrick describes it well here. Facebook, and social media in general, is about relationships. You develop a relationship with people, and they will follow you. No relationship, and they’ll forget about you in a week. What’s more, they’ll be more likely to turn on you. With a foundation for a relationship, they’ll be more forgiving.

Updates secure that relationship; they develop it. It draws in your followers, lets them know what you’re doing. It doesn’t have to be a new product introduction, but if you tell them that your application for a business license was just approved, they’ll cheer with you. Continual updates make them a part of your journey, and they’ll love you for it.

Goals and deadlines
Not only does it keep you accountable on what you’re doing, it also gives them something to look forward to. This pays off as you build anticipation for the coming date. Add a grand opening, and the anticipation doubles, and you might find yourself overrun when you finally DO open.

Pictures
People relate to visuals; it helps them to see things. It also makes your posts more eye-catching. Any time you’re at an event, whether it be a trade show or even just out shopping for business supplies, use that as an excuse to take a picture. It generates interest, and also serves as proof that you’re actually doing something.

Shoutouts*
Two birds with one stone: you get to share something that is important to you AND you just might get something in return. Shoutouts are when you single out a specific person, organization, or item, in order to bring attention to it. It’s a great way do a friend a favor while at the same time increasing your own page.

Fact is, while you may not have all the neat updates of a long-established company, you do have something you can contribute. It’s a fickle world and you better deliver, but the payoff is well worth it. You’ll build a loyal customer base and by the time you open shop, with any luck you’ll have a ready stream of customers.

*This is really too large a topic to cover in one post, but I at least wanted to address it. I’ll post a more detailed explanation on it next week, including tips and a short description of online etiquette. Stay tuned!