March 2019 eNewsletter

Welcome to our March business eNewsletter focusing on growing your business.

Quote of the month:
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin

In this Issue…

SpiritBank April Lunch and Learn

Join us for some Burn Co. Barbecue and get answers to your most burning SBA loan questions.

April 4, 2019
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
SpiritBank Community Room (1st Floor)
1800 S. Baltimore
Tulsa, OK 74113

Is an SBA loan beneficial to my business and how? Hear from an industry expert on all things SBA.

RSVP: Tandy Donald, tdonald@spiritbank.com; 918-295-7438

See upcoming events here.


9 Things You MUST Do Today to Grow Your Small Business
By Jeff Charles

Growing a small business isn’t easy. It is one of the toughest challenges many face when they are looking to get out of the 9 – 5 daily grind.

The success of your small business depends on your efforts to grow profits using various methods. From employee training to marketing, every aspect of your business deserves attention.

Rapid growth doesn’t happen overnight, but there are several steps you must take to keep your business moving forward. It takes time and effort. However, when you start reaping the benefits, you will see that your effort is worth it. Here are some tips to consider if you wish to see your business grow.

How to Grow Your Small Business

Understand Your Customers

You can only develop products and services that will be a huge hit if you are attentive to the needs of your customers and prospects. One way to understand exactly what your customers want is through research and surveys.

You should be constantly inviting them to provide honest, even brutal feedback. Reviews and surveys are the best ways to get inside the mind of your customers. This makes it easier for you to develop products and services that are suitable to the current demands of the market. Moreover, it helps you understand the areas in which your company needs to improve.

Improve Customer Service

If you don’t provide quality customer service, it will be difficult to satisfy your customers even if you have a superior product or service. This aspect of the business is about taking the extra step to make them feel special.

Let your customers know that they are valued. If they have problems, make sure you address them right away. If they have questions, take time to answer them. They should not feel like things are difficult for them if they raise certain issues. Social media is a great way to understand your customers by listening to them. If they find the customer service satisfactory, they might even recommend others to also buy from your business.

Establish Loyalty

It takes time to encourage customers to come and buy what you have to offer. But it’s not enough to just get them to buy. You need to encourage loyalty. Considering that there are other competitors who could offer them better, you want them to remain loyal to you. Don’t feel complacent just because you already have a lot of loyal customers. They can be easily attracted to other options and they might leave you.

Provide loyalty rewards. If there are discounts and promotions,  let these most loyal customers be the first ones to know. You must sure your customers know they are appreciated.

Maximize Social Media

Without a doubt, social media is a very powerful tool. It reaches out to hundreds upon thousands of people at once. Make sure your business is engaged in social media. This helps you stay relevant. Listening to people and reading their comments will give you an idea on how to make them feel more satisfied. You will also understand their behavior and find a way to meet their demands. The best part is that you won’t have to spend a lot of money just to attract new customers. You don’t need to engage in comment wars though. Just keep it positive and make everyone feel that they are heard.

Focus on Professional Development

The success of your business also depends on the quality of employees that you hire. Building an effective team is the key to ensuring that your business prospers.

One of the best ways to have motivated employees who work hard is to give them a sense of purpose. They should not just feel like they have to work for the sake of working.

They want to belong to something bigger than themselves. They must understand the bigger goals. This is where branding comes in. Many mistakenly believe that branding is something you do to attract customers. However, a powerful brand will also help you draw quality workers to your business.

Your employees should also feel that they are heard. There are team-building activities that could help them perform well as individual employees and through collaborative tasks. You should also send them to training sessions and seminars so that they can improve on the current bank of knowledge that they already have.

Spend Time Attending Networking Events

If given the chance to join these events, take it. This is the opportunity to extend your networks. This is highly important – but it is something many entrepreneurs neglect. You must build relationships with other people.

Networking is a great way to connect with people who can help you build your business. You can find employees, more customers, and even investors.

Focus on Corporate Social Responsibility

Your business must have something it is passionate about. This helps in improving the image of your business. People will patronize you because they know that the money they are spending goes to the right causes.

It is important that you ensure your business exists for more than just making money. Nowadays, people want to feel emotionally connected to the companies with whom they do business. This is why it’s important to craft a unique brand perspective for your company. Is there are cause you wish to support? Is there something in the world you want to change? Let that be one of your company’s missions.

Don’t Hesitate to Get Loans

If you are starting out as an entrepreneur, you need money to help fund it. The same thing is true for those who have been around for some time and have decided to take things to another level. If you need small business loans to make your plans happen, get them.

Make sure you partner with the right banks or lending firms. You need to fill out the application forms and provide all the requirements. It is also important to ensure that your credit is in good standing so your application is easily approved.

There are other ways to get loans if you are denied. One of them is to look for another party to serve as your guarantor. This is how SBA loan program works. The SBA will guarantee the loan you take from a bank. If you default, the SBA will reduce the risk of the lender. Of course, they won’t just do it without anything in return. You need to understand their requirements. You should also read the terms and conditions before getting started.

Find Out What Works

Ultimately, you will know which of the approaches you’ve used worked well. Take note of these tactics and use them again. Those strategies that failed must be eliminated to help your business move forward. The goal is to remain relevant. Refine the approach and focus more on those that bring satisfactory results.

In the end, you will see your business improve. You just have to be patient. You also need to work really hard and not let obstacles prevent you from doing better. Soon, you will see the positive results you have always hoped for.

Read this article at the SmallBizTrends.com

10 Tips for Improving Your Results as a Small Business Owner
By Annie Pilon

The effort you put into your small business is important. But you still need to concern yourself with the results. If you want to improve the results your small business gets, you have to focus on the right tasks and constantly make realistic improvements. Here are some tips from members of the online small business community to help you get better results going forward.

Strive for Continuous Improvement

You can’t hope to accomplish all of your business goals in a single day. Instead, you need to work on continually improving your processes and your results. In this Entrepreneurship Life post, Mohit Tater discusses what you can do to constantly improve your small business.

Find Ways to Grow Your Business Faster

If you’ve fallen into a rut with your business or just haven’t been growing at the rate you’d like, you need to get serious about growth. In this PostFunnel post, Sam Hurley offers no-nonsense strategies for growing a small business. And BizSugar members chimed in on the post here.

Avoid These Blogging Mistakes

Starting a blog can really help you grow your business. But you need to make the right decisions in order to have the maximum impact with your content. In this Blogging Business Boost post, Jeremy Atkins details a handful of things you should avoid when starting a blog for your business.

Drive Results with Facebook Ad Objectives

If you want to use Facebook advertising to grow your business, you need to have clear objectives. There are several different options that can help you drive performance, depending on your company’s needs. Here are some of the top ones to consider from Toiia Duncan of Ignite Social Media.

Create Landing Pages for Your Facebook Ad Campaigns

Your Facebook campaigns can also make a greater impact if you can tailor your website to those specific visitors. If you’re interested in setting up landing pages for your Facebook ad campaigns, check out this GetResponse post by Robert Katai.

Create a Customer Loyalty Program on a Budget

Keeping your customers coming back can be incredibly valuable for any business. That’s why you may need a customer loyalty program. Creating such a program doesn’t have to be expensive. Ivana Taylor of DIY Marketers details how you can do so on a budget in this post.

Don’t Waste Time on Simple Social Media Tasks

Though social media can be a powerful tool for businesses, it can also be a massive time waster if you’re not focusing on the right things. In this Strella Social Media post, Rachel Strella goes over some of the things you shouldn’t be doing on social media, so you can focus on the right things. You can also see what the BizSugar community had to say about the post here.

Use the Power of No for Your Small Business

Lots of entrepreneurs have a hard time saying no – to potential customers, to new opportunities, to anything. But turning down certain opportunities may actually lead to better outcomes for your business, according to this post by Neil Patel.

Make Your Editorial Calendar More Effective

Your editorial calendar should work to drive real results for your business. If your business lacks a strategy in this area or if you don’t even have much of a calendar to speak of, read this Content Marketing Institute post by Ann Smarty to gain some valuable insights.

Keep Your Failures to Small Learning Experiences

Failure is a part of running a business. But if you can keep your failures to small learning experiences rather than major problems, you should be in good shape over the long run. In this Content Supply post, Dallin Nead explores the idea of business failure and discusses how you can avoid major failures in your business.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: sbtips@gmail.com.

Read this article SmartBizTrends.com

4 Pearls of Wisdom on Growth and Branding From a Liz Claiborne Legend
By Jessica Stillman

When McComb arrived at Liz Claiborne, there were dozens of brands under the company’s umbrella. By the time he was through executing his vision, there were only three.

Recently, one of our board members, William McComb, came in to talk with our team at ThirdLove.

McComb spoke at length about what it takes to really understand your customer and your position in the market. He was named CEO of Liz Claiborne back in 2006 and immediately began breathing new life into the conglomerate by selling off many of its brands and focusing narrowly on a select few, so it was insightful to hear from his position of expertise.

He’s had a fascinating career and found success in a variety of industries. Before his work with the Liz Claiborne brand, he actually worked for Johnson & Johnson, where he helped revitalize the Tylenol brand beginning in 1999. So, needless to say, it was a treat for the team to meet him.

Here are some of the best insights he shared about growing a strong brand and team:

1. Know when to reconfigure.

When McComb arrived at Liz Claiborne, there were dozens of brands under the company’s umbrella. By the time he was through executing his vision, there were only three.

Instead of trying to make all of them work, he took the pulse of the organization and figured out which brands really showed promise. The brands he eventually chose – Kate Spade, Juicy Couture, and Lucky Brand – all showed three key qualities:

1. Market Potential
2. Brand Ethos
3. Unique Products

But identifying those elements wasn’t the only challenge. McComb talked at length about how to bring your team along with you when you have to make hard decisions – like choosing which brands to keep and which to divest.

The key is to inform the team of the strategy and manage both internal and external communications properly. If people understand the strategy, like getting back to basics and focusing on brands with potential, they’ll be much more willing to get on board with tough changes.

2. Overinvest in owning your own distribution.

Originally, Liz Claiborne was at the beck and call of department stores. When the stores were thriving, so was the brand. But when the department stores began to tank, so did the company’s ability to control pricing, promotions, and their own destiny.

McComb eventually sold the Liz Claiborne label to J.C. Penney, and the entity controlling Kate Spade, Juicy Couture, and Lucky Brand became Fifth & Pacific Companies. The strategy: to establish direct consumer retail bases, brick and mortar outlets, and digital businesses to help the three brands scale. By the time it was all said and done, the trifecta looked more like modern direct-to-consumer brands than business-to-consumer brands.

Most importantly, they no longer had to worry about the shaky future of massive department stores.

3. Realize that growth presents opportunities.

Someone on our team asked McComb what he would tell his younger self if he had the opportunity to go back and offer career advice.

He said there were times when he didn’t recognize opportunities that were being presented because he was caught up in the details. It would have been nice to know enough to keep his eye on the larger picture.

He attributed the early part of his career success to being at a company that was growing incredibly quickly. That growth creates challenges at times, but also the opportunity to step up and take on more and more responsibility. What matters is being in a company that’s doing great work where you can learn and grow.

If you’re in a company that is scaling and you work extremely hard, you’re going to have opportunities for growth and promotion.

4. Look for people who inspire you and give you energy.

There are people who give you energy, and then there are people who sap your energy.

You know who I’m talking about–the person who exhausts you because it always seems like the world is ending every time you speak with them.

McComb is the complete opposite. Whenever I get off the phone or walk out of a meeting with him, I feel energized. I have more inspiration and clarity because he talks passionately about everything he does and is always so happy to share advice. I actually told my team that they should aspire to be like him in that sense. Try to bring those ideas and that energy to whatever you do.

That infectious energy is a huge part of what makes him such a great board member, and it’s why he’s been able to build a tremendous track record in business.

Read this article at the Inc.com

The Best Podcasts for Growing Your Small Business

Podcasts have been on the rise since 2004, with the number of listeners more than doubling in the past couple of years. But perhaps even more interesting is that nearly half of podcast listeners have an annual household income of $75k or higher.

The reason? It could be because podcasts can be highly educational, especially where business, finance, and personal growth are involved. And listening to the right podcasts can be extremely valuable to your small home business.

But there are over half a million podcasts out there. Which are the right ones if you’e looking for quality advice on growing your business? The answer might depend on what stage your business is in and what kind of information will help you best.

Here are a few of the top podcasts for growing your business, whether you’re just starting out or making five figures:

1. For a Motivation Boost: Rise with Rachel Hollis

Rachel Hollis is a party-planner-turned business-tycoon and motivational speaker. Her book, Girl, Wash Your Face is a New York Times bestseller and reveals how women can dispell the lies they’ve been telling themselves without even realizing it.

Her podcasts center around becoming the person you are meant to be while growing your business. She also shares excerpts from her keynote speeches which are highly motivational and empowering. Every episode is chock-full of positive energy, and it’s contagious. These podcasts will leave you feeling pumped and ready to take on the world!

The best thing about Hollis is her ability to keep it real. She isn’t afraid to expose the less glamorous parts of her life and helps women realize that being successful doesn’t mean you aren’t human, too.

Noteworthy Episodes:

Episode 74: How to Set Yourself Up for Success
Episode 66: How to Increase Your Revenue by 30 Percent
Episode 46: The online Marketing Tips You Must Hear!

2. For Taking That Next Step: The Biz Chix Podcast with Natalie Eckdahl

Natalie Eckdahl is a business strategist and coach with a podcast that’s been running for five years. She’s worked with hundreds of female entrepreneurs and has given talks in front of audiences in the thousands.

Needless to say, she knows her stuff!

The Biz Chix Podcast is great for women at any level of business, and her episodes often zero in on how to take that next step in growing your business.

If you manage a team in your small business, you may also benefit from Natalie’s other Podcast, “Stacking Your Team” which looks at how to effectively manage your team and overcome common obstacles that come with a management role.

Noteworthy Episodes:

Episode 353: How to Get Rapid Visibility
Episode 346: Imposter Syndrome
Episode 350: Planning a Productive 2019

3. For All Things Business: The Tim Ferris Show with Tim Ferris

Best known for his book, The 4-Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris’ podcasts do not disappoint. Hailed as the No. 1 business podcast on Apple, he’s hosted some pretty high-profile guests over the years including Lebron James, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Norton, and Tony Robbins.

Name dropping aside; the show definitely has a lot to offer the small business owner, including time-management tips, branding strategy, and how to scale business.

Some episodes are the standard 30-40 minutes long while others are a three-hour marathon. But no matter the episode’s length, they’re always well worth the listen!

Noteworthy Episodes:

Episode 318: One-Person Businesses That Make $1M+ Per Year
Episode 269: The 3 Critical Rules of Branding
Episode 177: Seth Godin on How to Think Small to Go Big

4. For Diversifying Revenue Streams: Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn

Also known as SPI, the Smart Passive Income podcast centers around providing sustainable passive income in your business. The self-proclaimed “crash test dummy of online business,” Pat Flynn covers what works, what doesn’t, and why. He’s not afraid to regale his audience with tales of his failures and what he learned from them.

SPI doesn’t just cover topics like affiliate marketing, digital products, and online courses. Flynn’s episodes also delve into other important aspects of running a successful business, like the importance of authenticity and personal growth.

If you can’t get enough of SPI, Flynn hosts another helpful podcast called AskPat which is essentially a collection of one-on-one coaching sessions with entrepreneurs who are facing specific challenges.

Noteworthy episodes:

Episode 327: How to Write Copy That Sells
Episode 290: Affiliate Marketing: An Insider Look at My Most Successful Long-Term Campaigns
Episode 319: How to Work Less & Make More with James Schramko

5. For Content Creation: Do You Even Blog with Pete McPherson

Whether your business has a blog or your blog is the business, Do You Even Blog is on the quest to end all blog mediocrity. Pete McPherson offers valuable, actionable tips on how to find your target audience, how to make your blog stand out from the competition, and how to use your blog for generating revenue.

McPherson hosts a wide variety of guests to examine the benefits of SEO, social media, YouTube, and other platforms for content. No matter the topic on hand, he always finds a way to tie the theme back to blogging and finding your target audience.

Even if you’re not actively blogging, you will still glean extraordinary value from this podcast if you have an online business.

Noteworthy Episodes:

Episode 59: How to update old blog posts for improved SEO
Episode 64: How to NAIL you Pinterest Marketing – Breaking the One Percent
Episode 80: How to be Unique in a World Full of Redundant Content

6. For Finding Unique Business Solutions: What Works with Tara McMullin

Tara Mcmullin is the founder of CoCommercial.co, an online resource geared toward helping small entrepreneurs grow and persevere through the everyday challenges of business. Her podcast, What Works, has been providing actionable business advice since 2015.

Her interviews celebrate the fact that every entrepreneur’s journey is unique; growing a successful business is not necessarily achieved by following particular best practices, but through finding what works for you.

From learning how to shift your mindset to exploring other entrepreneurs’ unconventional methods, What Works might help you crack the code on your latest business struggle.

Noteworthy Episodes:

Episode 160: Finding New Customers Without Marketing Your Life Away with Lagom Body Co-Founder Kristen Runvik
Episode 168: Shifting Your Mindset to See Yourself and Your Small Business Differently
Episode 149: Combining Creativity and Productivity to Do Great Work with Unmistakable Creative Host & Author Srinivas Rao

A good podcast is free education.

There are a ton of great podcasts out there, but these are some of the best ones to start with if you’re looking for quality content that’s jammed-packed with actionable tips for growing your business.

Perhaps the best thing about podcasts is that you can use them to enhance otherwise mundane parts of your day. And if you can grow your business by listening to podcasts while you’re exercising, driving, or folding laundry, why wouldn’t you?

It might be just what you need to take your small biz to the next level. So pop in some earbuds and start benefiting from this free and abundant resource!

What are your favorite podcasts to you listen to? Drop us a note; we’d love to hear from you! If you enjoyed this post – please share it on your favorite social media site.

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Corrie Alexander is a content creator and logistics nerd from Toronto, Ontario. Her climb up the corporate ladder cultivated her interest in the topic of career development, a passion rivaled only by her love of exercise and strong coffee. Visit her website, thefitcareerist.com.

Read this article at the TheWorkAtHomeWoman.com

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