It’s that time of year again when we all stop to reflect on what we are thankful for. The past couple of years have been very hard on small businesses, but there are still plenty of reasons to be thankful this season!
Throughout the year we have been so thankful for our community and the support they provide not only us, but each other. We are so thankful to be part of a community that jumps in to help when help is needed. Without each other, there are many small businesses that would not have survived the past two years.
Support from Our Families
A HUGE thank you must go out to all the family members of our Berry Digital Solutions team members. Running a small business is not an easy task. There are countless hours that must go towards keeping everything running smoothly. The support we get from our spouses, siblings, parents, children, and everyone else we consider family, is what makes it possible for us to do our jobs.
Suppliers and Vendors
It’s no surprise that supply and distribution chains have been hit hard this year. The supply shortage has affected so many different industries and many local businesses. We are so thankful for all our vendors and suppliers that have had to adjust on the fly to make sure every business has what they need to operate.
The Team at Berry Digital Solutions
This list would not be complete if we didn’t take a minute to recognize the team here at Berry Digital Solutions. They have been up against every battle you can think of this year and have always come out on top. We would not be where we are today without the hard work and support of our team.
We hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be sure to take time to tell those you love how much they mean to you and how thankful you are for them.
Small Business Saturday is right around the corner, so now is the time to make sure your business is ready! Here are a few ideas on how to prepare for the big day:
Prepare Your Staff
Start off by making sure you have enough staff for the holiday season and consider bringing on a few seasonal employees if necessary. Once you have your staff in place, it is time to prepare them for the day. Make sure they are all up to date on training and know what specials or deals you are offering for the day. Your employees will have to go through a lot during the holiday season, so make sure they know how thankful you are to have them on the team and consider providing lunch to those who work special days like Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.
Prepare your Store
Small Business Saturday can bring a lot of foot traffic through your store. Be sure you look at your layout and ease of access to all items and rearrange areas if necessary. The easier your customers can get to specific retail items, the easier it will be for them purchase those items.
Plan a Promotion
Get creative when thinking about what kind of promotion you want to offer. Set a goal (i.e. more sales, return customers, more website traffic) and make the offer work toward that goal. If you want customers to return after their initial visit, offer a coupon with purchase that is good for a later date.
Partner with Other Local Businesses
Many other local businesses will also be working hard to make Small Business Saturday successful. Why not partner together and make it great for both of you? It could be a neighboring
business or even someone from another town, just find a good fit for you. You could also partner with a local charity and use the day to give back to the community.
Check All Online Accounts
Prepare for the day by checking all of your online accounts to make sure your information is accurate. Your store hours, location, phone number, and website are all important information that customers will be looking for.
Leverage Local Events
If there are local events happening that weekend make sure you are playing off them to drive traffic into your store. You can use sidewalk signs to let people know your hours and the deals you are running that day. Consider offering something like hot chocolate or popcorn and use the scent as another way to attract foot traffic.
By Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design
“I encourage you to listen to your body. Don’t wait if you feel like something’s not right. Don’t explain away pain and discomfort that is persistent.
January 2019 Pain began - I assumed it was from beginning to wean my last baby from nursing.
March 2019 Pain so excruciating I stopped driving.
March 2019 Misdiagnosed at the ER as costochondritis (pain of the chest wall). No one bothered to even check my breasts.
March 2019 Another trip to a different ER revealed several large masses in my left breast, as well as enlarged lymph nodes.
Mammogram, ultrasound, biopsies, genetic testing, bloodwork, MRI’s and bone scans were all completed within 6 days of the last ER visit. Diagnosis given of Stage IIIb (later changed to IIIc) ER/PR+ HER2- breast cancer. I was 38 years old.” - Erika Berry via Facebook
Hear the whole story about Erika’s diagnosis, treatment, and inspirational journey that came along with it all here: https://open.spotify.com/episode/7ektePahm2bhJ1hvVVfxO9
When it comes to free marketing tools, social media is at the top of the list. This holiday season make sure you are reaching your audience in a fun and engaging way. 64% of shoppers are looking to social media for gift ideas, so make sure you are marketing what you have to offer. Whether you use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or all of the above, there are many ways you can keep your followers engaged and keep your brand on their mind.
On all your platforms make sure you are updating your profile photos and cover photos to add some festive flair. You can also use your cover images to highlight some of your best-selling products or deals. Once you have your profile ready to go, you can implement some of these fun holiday themed social media ideas.
12 Days of Christmas
Let’s say you sell coffee; you could post a new flavor or drink each of the 12 days of Christmas. This idea can be used on any platform or shared to all of them. Not only does it keep your followers coming back to your page each day, but it lets you highlight some of your best products for the season. If you provide a service, you could highlight something you offer each day and possibly even offer a special price for that day.
Create and Share a DIY
Find a trending DIY idea that fits in with your brand and share an idea of what your customers can do with it. Last year the rage was all about hot coco bombs; but what if you don’t sell food? If your store sells decorative spoons, you can share a DIY on how to dip them in chocolate and toppings to gift to friends and family. You can also print out DIY instructions to provide in store to make the experience cohesive for your customers. This idea might involve a bit more creativity but can have a big impact.
If you are a retail business this will be an easy thing to promote this holiday season. If you offer a service, you might have to get more creative. While you could always just offer gift cards, you could also reach out to other local businesses to collab and create a bundle that includes your service and their product and offer it at both stores. Shoppers love when they can find a grab and go type of present for those last-minute gifts they forgot to buy.
You can share your Christmas playlists with your followers on social media to get your brand on their mind. If they play it and list to it all day, they will be thinking of you and your product the whole time as well. It also lets you shine a little more light on your brands identity and gives people an idea of your personality.
The holiday season is a great time to run giveaway contests. A great formula when running a contest is having a call to action (like or share this post), an incentive (the prize), ending time (this gives people a sense of urgency), and rules and regulations (so people know how to participate). These types of posts give your page a lot of organic reach and you will usually end up with more followers because of them.
People love sharing their ideas and opinions on social media. Make it easy for them by giving them content they can interact with. You can post a question asking their favorite holiday movie or song. You can share a popular “This or That” type of post where you list two things they need to choose between (e.g. coffee vs hot chocolate). You can even have a good old fashion trivia post and ask people to answer a question about the holiday season.
A lot of these ideas can be adapted to use throughout the year with just a little bit of creativity. Keep your social media content fresh and exciting to attract new customers and keep your current ones engaged. If you don’t have time to handle your social media accounts, give us a call at 937-404-1050! We plan, design, and schedule social media posts taking the stress off you. That will give you more time to focus on the many other things you manage each day while running a small business.
My business is pretty straightforward. We help other small businesses leverage digital technology. Looking back, it was no surprise that this is the business I ended up starting. My stepdad worked in IT, and I remember building our first computer with him in our living room. By ten years old, I was helping my friends’ parents pick out and set up their computers, learn software, programs, and utilize their new machine best. It was clear helping people with technology was my passion.
In 2012, I moved back to West Liberty, OH, a three-stoplight town, and started a company doing what I love. Today, we have 11 employees and help more than 200 clients reach customers all across the country.
We know firsthand that large digital companies have been a boon for small businesses. We use many of the leading tech companies’ free and low-cost digital tools to promote our services. For example, we use Google Ads to help us find clients that need computer repair or SEO help. In addition, we run our entire digital infrastructure on Google Workspace. Not only do we use these tools in our own business, but we advise our clients on which tools will help them most and how to get the most out of those tools.
Digital advertising has been an especially fantastic tool for us and our clients. The data and algorithms that help with targeting and the fact that you only pay when someone clicks on an ad makes advertising worth the cost. And Google Analytics ensures that digital marketing, ads, and social media are optimized to maximize return on modest investments. It has been a game-changer for many of our clients.
Small businesses couldn’t compete with large companies’ billion-dollar ad budgets and teams of consultants in the past. Now, with a modest investment, they can reach their target audience quickly and cheaply. Moreover, for businesses that operate using e-commerce, their market is now national or global instead of limited to our small town.
During the past 16 months of the pandemic, digital tools’ value has only become more apparent. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and tools like Google My Business allowed our clients to communicate directly with the public quickly and easily. In addition, for companies that operated brick and mortar stores that were forced to close or limit occupancy, we helped them transition quickly to e-commerce, online shopping, and direct-to-consumer shipping.
Obviously, we would not be in business without the various digital tools and services that we help our clients leverage. But many of our clients wouldn’t be in business or would not be as successful without them.
When lawmakers set their sights on big businesses, their actions almost always have repercussions for small ones. New regulations could mean more expensive and less effective tools for my clients’ businesses. That means less room on my clients’ balance sheets for my companies’ services and less revenue for me to continue to invest in growing my business. It’s past time for Congress to consider what their actions will mean for small businesses and not rush into passing laws that will inevitably harm their futures.
Ryan Berry is the founder of Berry Digital Solutions in West Liberty, OH, and a member of the Connected Commerce Council.
My typical day includes working in my home office updating websites, posting to social media, and brainstorming ideas for Berry Digital Solutions. When the workload slows down, I enjoy spending time with my fiancé, Parker. Parker and I are high school sweethearts. We both attended Triad High School and have been together since 2014. We are getting married on October 23, 2021 and we are beyond excited! We have two fur babies that we adore so much! We have a cat named Trixie who we adopted in January of 2020 and most recently, we adopted a Miniature Australian Shepard named Odin who is now seven months old.
Most of my free time is spent with my fiancé. We both enjoy nature hikes in Yellow Springs, fishing, playing video games with our friends, watching anything and everything Marvel, binge watching The Office for what seems like the millionth time, and having Harry Potter marathons. One of our favorite memories is attending the renaissance festival which we plan to attend again this year! Another fall favorite of ours is watching Ohio State University football on Saturdays. This has been a tradition of ours since we started dating almost seven years ago!
Family is the most important thing in my life. I enjoy spending time with my family any chance that I get. I have three siblings; Macie, J.T., and Addison. I am also a proud aunt of Owen (6), Connor (4), Quinn (2), Hailey (4 months), and Elias (2 months). Being with my nieces and nephews is the best, and it's even better when we are all together at once! I could not imagine life without my family and I am so lucky that we are all close knit.
This past year has been very eventful with my fiancé and I moving into a new place in February, planning a wedding, two new additions to our family in April and June, getting a puppy at the end of May, to leaving my job of two years and starting a new career on June 7th. I have been very blessed with the life I have been given and not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for helping me along this path. I still have a lot of learning and growth to do, but I am surrounded by love and happiness that has given me the motivation to always be my best self. I am so excited for what the next few years will bring and I look forward to all that the future has to offer.
Fall is almost here which means the holiday shopping season is happening soon – or has even already begun for some people. According to a survey by Salesforce, 58% of consumers expect to do more online shopping after the pandemic than before. We have already seen this in action, with online sales reaching 18% of all retail sales in 2020. This number is expected to hit 21.4% by 2024. In 2019, before the pandemic, that number was just 13.6%.
What does all of this mean for the future of small business retail? Well, first look at all the different avenues available for online sales. With platforms like Facebook and Instagram rolling out shopping features, it is easier than ever to sell online. While these tools can’t replace your ecommerce site, you can attract potential customers you may not have been reaching before. Getting set up for sales on each platform is a little different, but worth the time.
Another thing to consider while getting your store ready for the holidays is that people are still looking for an experience. It might not be easy to recreate the feeling of holiday shopping the way we used to know it on a digital platform, but putting that thought behind your decisions can help. Some sites are including more videos, offering augmented reality try-ons, and even offering chats with sales associations online. Giving your customers something that makes the experience memorable will go a long way.
As you prepare your holiday shop it is good to remember that half of all online sales during the 2020 holiday shopping season were made on a mobile device. It is so important to make sure the time and effort you put into your ecommerce site translates to mobile users as well. You
don’t want half of your audience to miss out on all the effort you put into your holiday planning.
Last year the holiday shopping season started early, and we should expect to see more of the same this year. Along with early deals, expect shipping costs to go up this year. USPS has already said that they plan to charge more for packages shipped during the holidays. This increase will apply to individuals and businesses. Be sure to take this into account as you price out your shipping costs for the season.
These tips should help you get your ecommerce site ready to go for the 2021 holiday season! If you need any help implementing any of these changes into your site, give us a call today to set up a consultation to see how we can help you - 937-404-1050.
By Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design
We have all been in those meetings before where one person in the room sounds like they are speaking in a different language. We want to make sure when you meet with us you are as prepared as you can be and have a good understanding of the basic terms we will be using. Read through this list of website design lingo that we think everyone should know.
Content refers to any text, photos, graphics, videos, and anything else that will live on your website. When developing a new website, all the content that goes on it will have to be created. Copy will need to be written for each page, photos will need to be shot, videos will need to be created and even icons and graphics will need to be produced. If you are refreshing the look of your current website, some of the content can be reused or refreshed to fit your new site.
A favicon, also known as a shortcut icon, website icon, or bookmark icon, is the small graphic that accompanies the name of your website in the address bar on your web browser. It makes your site easy to identify with just a small image. The favicon will show up in website favorites, bookmarks, and on some browsers even in the history.
Resolution is a word used when talking about photos or videos. The resolution of an image is the detail in which it holds. The higher the resolution of an image, the more detail you will be able to see. If the resolution of an image is too low, you will start to lose detail and the image will become pixelated and blurred.
4. Responsive Layout
A responsive layout is something that has become more of a standard in the past decade. When your website has a responsive layout, it will render well on a variety of different size screens and devices. The rendering is based on percentage rather than size and can help make your website accessible to anyone, no matter what device they are viewing it on.
5. Back End
You will often hear people refer to the back end of the website. The back end of a website is a portion of the website not viewable to the public. This is where website changes and updates can be made. Once they are made and published on the backend, they will appear live on your website.
Hosting is a service that allows your website to be searchable on the internet. Buying hosting is basically buying space on a server where your website can store its files. Every website that you have ever visited is hosted on a server somewhere and takes up physical space! There are different types of hosting, and we can help you figure out what is best for your site.
7. Below the Fold
“Below the Fold” is a term that started in the days of newspapers. It literally means below the fold of the newspaper’s front page. Nowadays, “Below the Fold” refers to the portion of your website that is not visible unless you scroll down the page. As a good rule of thumb, the most important information you want people to see first should live above the fold on your website.
Your domain is what people will type into their web browser to view your website. Your domain name generally should be the name of your business, but sometimes you might find that someone else already hosts a site with that domain. You will want your domain to be easy to spell and easy to remember so people can find you easily!
Navigation refers to the menu often found at the top of your website, although side navigation is currently on trend as well. These are linked to other subpages on your website that visitors will require quick access to. If your navigation is confusing or too complex it will make it hard for people to find what they are looking for and ultimately they will leave your website unsatisfied.
By Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design
This is something I have been struggling to write. What do I do outside of the office? Honestly, the same things a lot of other people do. . . work to maintain that work/life balance. If I am being really real - it’s hard! I am a people pleaser by nature. Disappointing someone, anyone, is triggering. I want to be the best wife, mother, daughter, employee. . . the list goes on and on. So, I decided that if I wanted to do this right, I had to do another hard thing, be authentic. If you know me, like really know me, you know I am careful to share my stories. I guard them closely, because opening yourself up to someone comes with a risk. A risk of being judged or misunderstood. While I pride myself on being authentic, I would rather hear someone else’s story and be their support person than share my own, but I can do hard things. I also really value authenticity and vulnerability. In a time where mental health is still undervalued, it’s imperative to shine a light on the good times and bad, to reminder others that hope is never lost, and there is always light in the darkness. So, let’s start in the darkness:
September 29, 2019 - A year ago, I was drowning. Not in a literal sense, but in a metaphoric body flailing, can’t keep your head above water, soul crushing sense of the word. Life wasn’t working out the way I planned. I was stalled. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the future I imagined was no longer clear. I sat looking at a husband that completes me, that knows me better than I know myself at times, who lifts me up and has given me the opportunity to be a part of a wonderful little boy’s life: Preston, a kid that’s mine in every sense of the word, except one. In my mind, I was failing them both. I couldn’t give my husband a baby or Preston a sibling. Month after month you lose a part of yourself until you don’t know who you are if you can’t have a baby. There’s an overwhelming sense of being less than. It hits you in the moments you least expect, and there are constant reminders around you that you can’t do something most women can. As women, that’s how we define ourselves. It’s how we compare ourselves to others.
So, I overcompensate. I become unbearable to live with, because in my desperation I seek to become the best wife and mother possible - and I lose myself.
Then I see a post about a job I’m not remotely qualified for, but I decide it’s worth a conversation. I learn a little more and I’m in. I’ll be honest, it sounds crazy! Leave the job you’re great at, go do something you know nothing about, for someone you met just a year ago that has these wild plans that sound too good to be true! I needed a little crazy, and more importantly, I needed something for myself that I could feel good about and excel at.
My job has given me everything I never knew I needed: time alone to heal and just be, new experiences that give me the chance to find myself, and a purpose. My inability to “have a baby” doesn’t define my worth. Does it make it easier to imagine my life without a baby? Absolutely not. Are there still moments where I feel like I’m drowning? 100%, but it reminds me that I can do hard things and for now that’s enough.
P.S. You can do hard things too!
Now a little light, because we all need a little love and hope.
November 11, 2020 - Nine years ago I met you, a squishy faced boy who loved superheroes, snacks, and had a dad as a best friend. It took time for us to figure out how we fit in each other’s lives, and it wasn’t an easy road. With guarded hearts, we navigated the rocky waters. I never saw you take your first steps or say your first word, but I watched you confidently head into your first day of kindergarten, shared in the joy of your first touchdown, and comforted you during your first experience with death. With disappearing cheeks and a deeper voice, I’ve watched you become a teenager who’s wise beyond his years. Yesterday, in a courtroom, with a judge and your dad, I watched you become mine! After nice years, some tears, and a lot of love I can officially say that I became your mom!
Words can’t truly express how I feel. Eternally grateful. Thank you to your dad for trusting me, for bringing me into your lives, and allowing me to love you both. To your birth mom, thank you for creating a boy that’s changed our lives forever. For loving him and making the hardest choice possible for him. For putting him first. To you, my not so squishy faced boy, thank you for making me a mama. For teaching me so much about life. For making me a better person and for allowing me to be a part of your life.
August 13, 2021 - Today I am here. I am surviving. Surviving a pandemic, surviving a son entering high school, and surviving a baby that still isn’t here. All of that is what makes life beautiful. It’s messy, and complicated, and happy, and sad. I hope that if you’re reading this you know that you’re not alone, that there is beauty in the mess and that you can do ALL the hard things!
We are approaching the end of summer, but there is still plenty of time to check off some of your summer bucket list items! Here are a few ideas on what you can do locally to end your summer with a bang. Gather with friends or family and explore all that Champaign and Logan Counties have to offer. You won’t be disappointed!
Enjoy Live Music
Go to a show for a local band and show your support for the arts! There are many local restaurants that offer live music while you dine and some upcoming community events that will be hiring local artists to perform.
Paddle Board Yoga
Check out Homegrown Yoga and their paddle board yoga lessons being held on Indian Lake. You can check out their upcoming class schedule here to sign up and save a spot!
Make a S’more
Make one at home or visit the Champaign County Community Calendar to learn more about the West Liberty S’mores Shop Hop upcoming event.
Ride a Ferris Wheel
Head to the Champaign County Fair and take a ride on the Ferris Wheel. Don’t forget to get your favorite fair food while you are there!
Have a Picnic
Head to your local grocery store and plan a picnic in the park. Gather up the whole family and enjoy a day eating, playing, and relaxing at the park!
Go Wine Tasting
We are lucky to have multiple local wineries where you can plan a date night and go wine tasting. Who knows, you might find your new favorite wine?
Have a Water Balloon Fight
This classic summertime activity is one that the whole family can enjoy. The next few weeks are sure to be some of the hottest of the year, so cool off with some summer fun!
Show a Random Act of Kindness
Although you can do this year-round, don’t forget that random acts of kindness are even sweeter in the summer! Buy someone an ice cream cone or help a neighbor with yard work to show that you care.
Go to a Farmer’s Market
Head to the Champaign County Community Calendar to find out when the next Farmer’s Market is! Try to build a whole meal out of food from the market and share your results on Facebook.
Make a Sandcastle
Heading to the beach? Don’t forget to take supplies to build an epic sandcastle. Have a competition to see who can build the tallest one before it falls over!
Go for a Hike
There are many great places to hike in Champaign and surrounding counties. Make a day out of it and visit a couple shorter trails to enjoy the beautiful scenery Ohio provides in the summertime.
If you are out of school for the summer or are just looking for a way to give back, you can volunteer. Many local organizations look for volunteers year-round but always appreciate the summer help!
You can find a full list of local events on the Champaign County Community Calendar page. Have a great rest of your summer and enjoy supporting local!
By Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design