2023 is only a few short weeks away! And if you’re like us, you’re ready to wind down for the year.
Many businesses take a well-deserved breather before launching into the New Year - either for a couple of weeks or just a few days.
If you’re one of our clients, you’ll know that we’ve booked our annual Holiday Shutdown from December 19th to January 2nd. This break allows our staff some time to spend with their loved ones over the holiday season. And we are so grateful for the opportunity to do so!
Whether you’re planning a holiday breather or readying your business to transition right into the New Year, there’s something you need to do first.
Reflect on your 2022 business year!
Before you close out for the year, take inventory of yourself, your team and your business. This helps you appreciate all you’ve gone through, learn from your mistakes and move forward in the right direction!
We’ve listed 10 year-end questions below to help you reflect on the year before launching into 2023!
When the New Year comes around, many business owners immediately start thinking ahead.
New goals. New dreams. New accomplishments.
And while it’s important to look ahead to all that you hope to achieve, it’s also crucial to look behind you at all you’ve already accomplished.
What are some things you’ve accomplished in the last year? These could be things on your list of 2022 business goals. Or it could be something else entirely!
The key here is to not compare.
Just make a list of the things that have helped move your business forward!
We’ve included a list of examples below to help give you some ideas:
Nothing is off the table here! Just keep listing everything you can think of - big or small!
Healthy work/life balance is something our team at OSM has had to really focus on this year.
We switched entirely to remote work almost a year ago and have loved the flexibility it brought! But with the work-from-home adjustment has come the difficulties of separating our personal lives from our work lives.
While it has given us more time with our families, it can be hard to leave the computer at the end of the day and focus solely on our personal lives.
Some of the ways our team has implemented a healthy work/life balance while working from home include:
All these small changes can drastically help improve the work/life balance at home.
Have you taken steps to improve your work/life balance? Have they worked well for you, your family and your business?
If so, keep going! But if not, try implementing some of the above tactics! Keep in mind they may not be practical or applicable to everyone. So be sure to pick and choose what strategies work best for you!
How many roles are you juggling right now? Social Media Coordinator, SEO Specialist, Financial Advisor, Accountant?
As business owners, it’s only natural for us to want to take the lead. But there’s power in knowing when we need more support.
The three most practical ways of getting support are:
Each of these strategies plays a role in supporting you as the business owner.
Let’s face it, as business owners, we can easily get sucked into working IN our businesses. But once that happens, the growth of our company is no longer the priority.
Getting the support we need can help reduce our workload, ensure we’re moving in the right direction and free up our time! So we can keep focusing on growing our business rather than just keeping it afloat.
Did you get support when you needed it this past year? Or were there some areas that you tried to carry all the weight yourself?
At the beginning of 2022, you probably came up with a series of business goals you wanted to achieve by the end of the year. Maybe they applied to finances, time management or performance.
Then, over the year, you’ve implemented numerous strategies to help you achieve those goals.
When looking back over the year, can you identify some of the goals and strategies that worked well for you? And which didn’t?
For example, maybe you made a goal of onboarding 10 new clients in 2022.
If you succeeded, was your team able to handle the additional workload?
If you didn't succeed then what was holding you back?
Knowing what works for you and your team can help you create realistic future goals.
This question isn’t meant to be a downer or to make you feel guilty. It's to help you reflect on the previous year from an honest, productive perspective.
Is there anything you need to forgive yourself for in the past year? Whether that be a mistake or something you weren’t able to achieve?
Mistakes are normal. And as a business owner, the ones you made this year probably won’t be your last. These mistakes or unexpected turns of events are how we grow as flexible, problem-solving business owners!!
In the words of Thomas Edison,
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”
Forgiving yourself for any of the disappointments in 2022 can put you in a better mental mindset for the new year!
This question can apply to any number of things - like an award or even a personal sense of accomplishment.
We can truly be our own worst critics, which is why it’s vital for us to learn how to appreciate ourselves.
Is there a moment in the past year that made you particularly proud? Give yourself some credit for it! You deserve to appreciate these moments!
This one is a doozie, but it’s incredibly impactful!
Reflecting on the previous year gives you a great vantage point. You can now see things from the big picture perspective rather than bit by bit.
Would you remind yourself to be more optimistic?
To have more faith in your team?
To spend more time with your family?
To give yourself more grace?
Try to apply the advice you would have given yourself in 2022 to this year! This bigger-picture perspective is a great way to enter 2023.
Looking back with the wisdom of today gives you a valuable perspective for tomorrow!
Once you’ve had a chance to look back at the incredible moments of 2022, you can move forward into the fresh, open canvas of 2023!
What will this year have in store for you?
MYTH: You need to be an established content creator in order to start your own podcast.
TRUTH: As long as you have a voice and something to say, you have the power to launch an incredibly successful podcast!
Did you know that more than 8 million Canadian adults listen to podcasts at least once a month? It’s incredible how quickly podcasts have grown and become such a prominent piece of our daily education, advertising and entertainment. In fact, “what podcast are you listening to lately?” is almost as common a question as “what Netflix show are you watching lately?”.
Podcasting is the multitasker’s best friend
Podcasting is an easy and convenient way to absorb information
Podcasting is a great way to engage with, communicate and amplify your message
Podcasting = Brand Personality 101
Podcasting is FREE for listeners - meaning ANYONE can access ANY podcast!
Podcasts are an incredible tool for small businesses and here’s just a few reasons why!
During the pandemic especially, people are looking for connection and relationship - someone they relate to, trust and can have a good old fashioned conversation with! This is where your podcast comes in! What better way to share your brand personality and voice with the world than to TALK ABOUT IT. Your podcast is your opportunity to share your life, your passion and your authenticity with someone who honestly wants to hear it!
Podcasting is such a great way to build a natural connection with your audience. You can read every single one of our blogs and social media posts, but do you know what we sound like when we laugh? Probably not (unless you’re watching us on TikTok or our recent Instagram Live!).
Podcasting is your key to building that personal connection! It gives you the opportunity to build on running jokes or themes, to engage with what’s happening in your life in the moment, to connect with other people in your area of focus and to really SHOW UP for your audience.
Remember when you thought you could only start a podcast if you were an established content creator? NEWSFLASH! If you run a business and are, in fact, the voice and passion behind that business. You are a content creator! All you have to do now is get that content out to the right people.
Do you ever find yourself saying, “Oh I could talk about that for hours! Just hand me a mic!”?
DING DING DING - this is your chance!
Podcasting is a great strategy to use when identifying yourself as an expert in a given topic or industry by providing real, authentic content on that given topic.
Did you hear our recent podcast episode with @fourcornerscollective where we talked about Being A Mom & An Entrepreneur at the same time? It’s GOLD! And the best part? We got to network with an AWESOME brand doing AWESOME work in a similar industry as us! This, my friends, is called networking - and we love it!
Podcasting presents an opportunity for you to connect with other people in your genius zone and start to have those impactful conversations that leave you, and your audience, feeling inspired!
Create a vision for your podcast and understand the audience you want to reach/impact.
Create 5-8 themed questions to ask each guest.
Choose the platform(s) you want your podcast episodes to be accessible on (Youtube, Spotify, etc.)
Utilize tools like Zoom for recording your episodes.
Have fun with your podcast and use it to have the conversations that are really meaningful to you!
So what are you waiting for? If you’re looking for a social media platform that gives you the freedom to show up authentically, to increase brand awareness and connect with your audience all at once - this is the answer!
Record your episode on Zoom.
Download the recording to your computer and move it to your phone using a USB cable.
Download the video editing app Powerdirector.
Edit your video and export as MP4.
Upload MP4 to YouTube (or other streaming platform) and add a thumbnail cover!
It doesn’t have to be elaborate with perfect video or sound quality. It doesn’t have to be planned down to the second. And it doesn’t have to be the best thing you’ve ever created.
In fact, it can be awkward, a little choppy and a lot uncomfortable when you first start - ours was!
But that’s the beauty of it. Because people aren’t looking for perfection, they’re looking for connection.
So start sharing your authentic, passionate, REAL life...
Whether you are a brick-and-mortar or online-based business, 2020 has become the year where digital business strategy IS business strategy.
Understanding that your company must go digital is one thing, but mobilizing to make it happen is quite another.
This is where our marketing strategy team at OSM in Belleville comes in.
This blog post will give you a quick-start overview of how to define your digital strategy. Be sure to read all the way to the end for next steps!
This may seem like an odd statement to make. In this case, it is odd yet true.
A group of 800 key European decision-makers recently weighed in about the short-term and long-term economic impact of the global shutdown.
Nearly three-quarters of company owners observed that while short-term economic impact has been largely negative, the global lockdown is serving to separate out major players with staying power from all the rest.
Companies willing to get creative and find the means to digitize their workforce, workplace and e-commerce marketplace will be the same companies to reap the long-term profits yet to come.
In other words, if you are not already hard at work defining your company's digital strategy, the time to pivot is fast drawing to a close. It is time to decide - digitize for future profitability and business success or get left behind forever.
In an analogy that may feel particularly apropos for the long, harsh winter season still to come, business owners that have mobilized for a rapid digital evolution are even now starting to pick up speed - like a snowball that gets bigger and faster as it approaches the finish line.
In contrast, those company owners who feel paralyzed, confused or simply exhausted from their efforts to stick to "business as usual" are slowing down. Some are even grinding to a hard stop.
Not every company will ring loud and clear in the 2021 New Year with open doors and big smiles.
If you are reading this though, this grim prognosis likely does NOT apply to you. You are aware that the impact of the lockdown is not going to be a temporary impact and that you have to learn to pivot and grow with the changes in the market place.
You understand that it is time to recalibrate your business model to flow with the new digitalization of darned near everything we do - from how we live, to how we work, to how we shop.
Speaking of how we shop, have you thought about adding e-commerce options on your website so that your customers can shop online throughout the holidays? Contact our e-commerce experts at OSM for more information on setting this feature up on your own website!
Fun, you say? How exactly can having to make a fast profitability pivot in an uncertain economy possibly be FUN?
We love the positivity from a recent McKinsey & CO. survey.
Business owners stated that now is the time to get creative - to innovate, to improvise and leap over their competitors to make progress.
If that doesn't sound like fun, we don't know what does!
After years or perhaps decades of struggling through all the usual rounds of red tape and traditional brick-and-mortar rules, regulations and hurdles, the national and global economy is starting to relax. Important barriers are falling away to make room for a digitized market space!
Everyone, everywhere is beginning to embrace a survival-of-the-fittest mentality, which means if it works, it sticks and it stays.
So, if you have a crazy idea, something that absolutely would not have worked even a short year ago, this is the year to try it.
In fact, there are businesses of all shapes and sizes in all industries that are not just surviving, but doing better than they have ever done before. All because their leaders have embraced the current climate of innovate-to-survive, only to discover they were really innovating to THRIVE.
We believe that you can absolutely do the same with your business!
So, here is where you jump in. It is time to pivot, but you don't want to linger If you hesitate, you will start to stress and second-guess.
This is the time to pivot from your gut, not from your head.
These are the three steps you need right now to start that process. If you have any questions regarding these pivoting strategies, contact our marketing team at OSM today!
While we recognize that it is not possible to repair a furnace or change a tire online, there are many steps leading up to that purchase decision that can be digitized.
In some cases, the entire sales funnel may have a digital equivalent.
While remote work is here to stay, it isn't the ideal for every employee. Many employees actually report working harder while feeling increasingly disconnected from customers, peers and superiors.
It's time to reconnect. Invite your employees at every level to the table to talk shop. What your youngest employees lack in historical expertise, they may more than make up for with digital know-how.
When you gather in the full skillset of every employee, you find your best chances for a speedy, successful pivot.
Anyone who has ever gazed at a gadget and longed to take it apart to see how it works will love this step.
You don't want to just tweak or tinker with your current business model. You want to take it apart, lay all the pieces out, extract the parts that are no longer relevant and then build something new and great from the pieces you choose to keep.
THIS is the approach that will potentially turn 2021 into your most profitable year yet.
Are you ready to take the digital leap?
COVID-19 happened this year, but not every business is struggling because of it. We have helped many Quinte and surrounding small businesses digitize in order to streamline overhead and boost profits this year.
We can help you do the same! Contact our digital strategy experts at OSM in Belleville today to get started!
If there is one thing 2020 has taught business owners thus far, it is this: social media is no longer just a place people go to be social.
The social platforms of 2020 have become a literal lifeline that keeps us connected in the wake of an unexpected global pandemic.
For individuals, social media is a way to find out if a business is open, what inventory looks like and how to procure the products or services they need.
For businesses, social feeds offer safe contact-less communications, shopping and even payment options for existing and new customers.
This unprecedented online e-commerce landscape has transformed social selling from a trendy marketing concept into a powerhouse practice with a direct impact on your bottom line.
In this timely blog post, learn how social selling can add value to your products and services and enhance the impact of this year's contact-less business model.
The easiest way to understand social selling is to recall the old school business model of the door-to-door salesperson.
You proactively show up for your customer. You start with a warm hello. You shake hands. You have a conversation. You answer questions patiently and only as they come up.
You share information that is interesting, timely and engaging - information your prospective customer wouldn't have even known to inquire about.
Only instead of doing this while standing on the front porch, you are doing this online via your company's social feeds.
Social selling is the direct opposite of now-unpopular tactics like cold-calling and the nameless, faceless online transactional sale.
Social selling is customer-driven, customer-focused and completely devoid of the "hard sell." This is soft selling at its finest and most nuanced.
Here, we can let the numbers speak for themselves.
Consider this: According to Google, nearly half of all decision-makers are in the same age bracket as the single largest demographic for social media use.
So guess where at least half of your customer prospects are at any given time?
If you just guessed "on social platforms" you are already starting to understand why we are devoting this entire blog post to social selling.
A whopping 90 percent of corporate decision-makers will never even consider responding to an old-fashioned cold call (and if they do, you will have to call at least eight times, on average, before you get a response).
Yuck. Talk about a time-waster.
Look in your wallet right now. Do you have a dollar?
If you spend that dollar on social selling, you just turned it into five dollars. That is the typical impact of investing in social media-based selling strategies instead.
Social selling works. It works regardless of whether a customer is physically willing or able to visit your brick-and-mortar business.
In fact, even if a customer does choose to order from you locally, chances are high (like 97 percent high) that the customer has visited your social feeds as well as your website first.
If you just thought to yourself, "I have no idea," not to worry. You are in very good company.
The truth is, the vast majority of sales professionals lack the kind of deep-dive understanding of social selling that could achieve the level of return on investment we just described in the previous section.
This is because, as "Outliers" best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell explains, it takes 10,000 hours of study to achieve mastery of a new skill.
And if you just thought to yourself, "10,000 hours?! I don't have 10,000 hours to learn how to do social selling!," then perhaps we can help.
This quick start guide won't replace those 10,000 hours, but it will at least get you started down the path
P.S. Be sure to read through to the end for an even quicker "QUICK START" into profitable social selling.
Depending on your industry, product or service and customer demographic, this may point you to LinkedIn versus Instagram, Tiktok versus Facebook.
It is fine to select multiple platforms to target. Just make sure you have time and staff to maintain a consistent, responsive presence on each feed.
When a prospect visits you online, you want them to know it is really you. Colours, logos, slogan - make sure it all matches up.
Think of this part like you are that door-to-door salesperson who shows up and knocks on the door. Only you are doing it online.
(There are lots of tools to help you identify the right folks to follow, by the way.)
Each feed will allow you to customize your notifications. (HINT: You want all the notifications to be on.)
Oddly, this is the part most people still stumble over. Just because you are now connecting with your prospects online doesn't mean you want to start out with your most aggressive sales pitch.
You want to develop trust. Build a relationship. Create rapport. Make new friends....who may in time become new loyal customers and even referral sources.
We understand that the pandemic has placed many local businesses in the precarious position of having to pivot yesterday.
You don't have to panic. We can help. From social branding to content creation to lead generation and conversion, we've got you covered. Find out about next steps.
Here at OSM Online Sales & Marketing, we are open and ready to provide your business with the support you need to stay profitable during the pandemic.
Click here for updated COVID-19 contact options.