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? ­čśë

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?┬á 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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Being a start-up business in social media has its own challenges…

Last week, I discussed the best time to start social networking for your business as part of a series on social networking. (Check here for the beginning of the series: an explanation of social networking and what it has to do with your business.) Social networking can be a fickle thing and is confusing to many, especially for those starting new businesses. Instinct says to wait until your business is established before creating a Facebook page.

In this post, I explained why that’s not the best idea. It’s still doable and it’ll work, but for the greatest impact, you want to create your Facebook page before you even begin your business– even when you’re still in the research stage.

Doing this comes with its own set of challenges, however. A Facebook page for a start-up business is a lot different from one that’s long since established. You don’t have sales to advertise. You don’t have a new line of products to introduce. You may not even have a location to invite people to.

But you can’t just let it slide, either. Continuous updates will be the catalyst for the success of your business. People are quick to forget and quick to move on. They won’t wait around for you to get started.

If a known, established business, say, Walmart, goes a few weeks or even a month without posting, people aren’t likely to miss it. And, they’ll still shop at Walmart. Why? Because Walmart is already firmly established in people’s minds as the go-to place for shopping. They already know it’s there, and they know where to find it.

You don’t have that advantage. You miss a post, and people are likely to forget you. I’ve seen pages who have gone months without posting, and finally post a status update. The result was many angry fans who’d forgotten they had even liked the page and questioned why the post even appeared on their newsfeed. They lost likes over it.

People are fickle. The harshest critic of you and your company isn’t the media or the investors; it’s the consumers. In my last post, I mentioned the reason for creating your business social network early is to make people a part of your journey. The downside of that is the risk of leaving them out of your journey.

People need to be a part of something. When you offer an invitation to join, but don’t deliver, they’ll forget about you at best and feel jilted at worst.

Having a Facebook page for a start-up business isn’t impossible. It’s just not the same as a business that’s already established. It has its own perks, but it also has its own challenges.

Start a Facebook page- or any other social media account- early. Get it going before you even start your business. But to make it successful, you need to deliver. Commit to posting at least once a week. No, you don’t have sales… but you have other things. And sometimes, it’s those unique posts that send your success soaring.

So what do you post, if not sales and product announcements? I’ll share that part with you next week!