During 2020 we saw an increase in newly opened small businesses locally and nationally. Many people found themselves out of work and recent business closures created openings in the market. This pushed some people to follow their passion, become their own boss, and start their own business. Starting a business comes with many obstacles, but there are plenty of people to help connect all the dots.
One of our strengths at Berry Digital Solutions is helping new businesses understand and start their marketing efforts. Marketing is a huge part of business, no matter the industry. It goes far beyond just a logo, website, printed collateral, running ads, etc. Before a new business can even begin the processes of marketing, there are certain foundations that must be laid.
Before a brand can be recognizable to others, it needs to be developed by the business owners to reflect what they are trying to achieve. Branding not only includes everything from colors, logo, uniforms, website and all other visual collateral, but also is the way a business talk to customers, their management style, and even how they speak on social media. All of these pieces will help when trying to complete each of the next steps.
Learning the intended market is the first step to successfully targeting it. What size the market is, what local competition there is, the range of prices in the market, and any other defining characteristics help create an entire picture of the market each business will be trying to capture. Learning this information will help define keywords in online advertising, learn the appropriate places to spend a marketing budget, and set attainable goals for business.
Choosing Marketing Avenues
Once the market is defined, it is time to figure out where they spend their time. Learning what social media platforms, websites, publications, and types of entertainment an audience uses is a good first step when building a successful marketing plan. Not all audiences are found on all platforms and marketing too broadly can waste precious time and resources.
Settings Goals and Budgets
When creating content, it is good to have an initial budget. Be prepared to spend more during the initial startup phase and then spending between three and five percent of annual turnover on marketing moving forward. As content begins to be created and shared it is good to find a way to track if the marketing efforts put in place are working. Goals that are set should be attainable, specific, and time-based. Once the goals are set make sure they are shared with anyone on the team that can help make them happen.
We hope this brief list of marketing basics can help new businesses obtain their goals. We are here to help every new business learn more about marketing and how it can help them grow. Feel free to reach out for a consultation at: www.berrydigitalsolutions.com/contact-us.html
By Chelsea Bray: Elle A. Design
The health of an office is about more than just a gym membership or a wellness program. While physical health is very important, mental health is just as important in any work environment. In the past few years there has been a lot of focus on toxic work environments and how you can make sure your office doesn’t become one. Here are some great ways to build strong connections with your employees and make sure your work environment is a healthy one.
Build Trust with Your Employees
Building trust with your employees can take a lot of time and effort. The outcome will make your team much stronger in the long run. Model the kind of trust in others you want them to have in you. Building trust is a balance between leading and listening and making sure you and your team are all on the same page. Promoting trust between employees is also important because everyone should feel like a valued part of the team.
Keep Your Employees Informed
Communication is essential to building a workspace that is healthy and positive. Keeping your employees up to date on things happening within the company, no matter how big or small, makes them feel appreciated. If a large change is coming informing your employees first lets them know you care and don’t expect them to adapt overnight to change. When in doubt, the golden rule of treating others the way you would want to be treated will help guide you on what kind of information is important to share.
The hiring process is when you get to know the personalities of potential employees and see if they would be a good fit for your company. You don’t just want someone who has the technical skills you are looking for; you want to hire someone that will fit with the other personalities of the office and adapt to the workflow already in place. Hiring someone that is excited about their work and long-term goals in their career will give other employees a boost of enthusiasm.
Rethink Your Workspace
The physical space in which we work plays a huge role in the quality of our day-to-day lives. Natural light, clean air, and tidy spaces play a big role in making us feel good at work. Another way we can rethink workspaces is by personalizing them for each member of the team. If someone needs a different chair, desk, wants to have a plant or hang a picture, allowing them to have these little things goes a lot way to help their mental health at work.
Check-in with Your Team Regularly
Once you set these things into place it is very important to continue to check-in with team members. Getting their feedback on what is working and what isn’t will help you adjust as your business grows and changes. It will also show employees that you value their opinion and really do care about their experience at work.
Everyone deserves to work in a place that wants to help them grow and become the best they can at what they do. As an owner, boss, manager, or leader of a company, you have the power to help make that happen. Each day you get to shape your office environment into what you want it to be. Remember that making a healthy work environment is the first step and maintaining it is a commitment that you have to keep working on every single day.
By Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design
The new year is here, and it is that time when we all start setting goals. If you are a small business owner, or a leader in the community, here are some goals you may want to consider adding to your list this year.
1. Build a Website
If 2020 taught us anything, it is that we need to be flexible and adapt to changes quickly in order for our businesses to survive. There were so many businesses that never had an online presence that had to pull together a website last minute to keep their doors open. If you are starting a new business, or just need a refresh, now is the time to get your website polished and make sure it functions exactly like you need it to. Having a website will give customers time to shop outside of your regular hours and you can literally make sales while you sleep.
2. Build Your Brand
Building your brand, both online and in your community, is important for the long-term success of your business. While building your brand, through social media and other outlets, you get to share your personality with your customers. People will not only like your products or services but begin to trust you as the owner of the brand. This builds customer loyalty and gives them a reason to return and become a repeat customer. They will also start advocating for your product or services on your behalf giving you more business.
3. Be a Mentor
If we all look back to the beginning of our careers, there was most likely someone there that guided us. Did we get the support we needed, or do we wish we had been given more? Are you at a point in your career where you think you can provide some advice to someone just starting out? Mentoring is a great way to give back, not just to your community but in your field of work. It is also a great way to be seen as a leader in your community. Give back this year and find someone that could use a mentor.
4. Get Involved in Your Community
Find ways to collaborate with other local businesses. This will not only build your resources and connections but will help your town come together and appear unified. People want to visit a place where they are going to feel like they belong. Building connections around town and being able to support one another make the town feel welcoming and friendly. If everyone supports one another, the whole town will grow together. Find fun and interesting ways to collaborate with businesses, even ones that people wouldn’t expect at first. Step outside of the box and get creative.
5. Fight Burnout and Find Balance
With everything going digital and more and more companies coming up with solutions for working at home, the line between work life and home life is more blurred than ever before. In order to fight burnout, it is important to set some boundaries and learn to stick to them. Be sure you are delegating tasks that would be better handled by someone else and make sure to take time for yourself. This includes taking your lunch break (even if you are really busy), not taking phone calls after hours, and leaving emails for the morning. There will always be times when you break these rules, but being mindful of them and why you set them in the first place will help you balance your work life and home life.
Everyone sets and maintains goals differently, but we hope there are some ideas on this list you will consider adding to yours this year. It takes a lot of time and dedication to run a small business and be an active part of a growing community. We hope at the end of the day you are taking care of yourself and staying happy and healthy this year!
By Chelsea Bray-Elle A. Design
One popular New Year’s Resolution is getting and staying organized! We don’t just mean your closet or pantry either. Get your to-do lists, files, and upcoming projects organized with these free tools. No matter your work style, there is a tool on this list that could help you and your team crush your 2021 goals!
Asana is an online Project Management tool that you can use with your team to stay on top of all upcoming projects. It is a great to use when collaborating because you can invite unlimited guest users. The tool can be used to see progress long term and to break out day-to-day tasks that will keep you on target to reach those goals. If you are part of a team that needs constant communication, Asana is a must-have online resource. The best part is there is a free plan for up to 15 people so even a small business can get a lot out of this tool.
If you like lists, Trello may be the best tool for you. You can create boards for each project and lists within them for things you want to get done. This platform offers great visuals and is easy to use as a team. You can share boards between users to keep everyone on the same page. The cards on each list can be moved from list to list to keep things organized as you progress through a project. There is a free plan offered by Trello but there are paid plans as well that upgrade some of the features.
Google Apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Calendar and Mail)
Google Apps are designed to be shared and the cloud-based storage makes it so you can access your files from anywhere. You can easily share your files with other contributors, and you can both work on them at the same time. Using the calendar in conjunction with mail will keep you up to date on all of your meetings and calls with the simple click of a button. These tools are powerful and run by a highly trusted company, so you never have to worry about losing an important document.
Sometimes you just need to get files to people. You don’t need to store them long-term or have a dedicated space for files being used in a collaboration. This is where WeTransfer comes in! It is a free online service where you upload your files, fill in the recipients contact info, and send it to them. The site sends you notifications when the file is sent, opened and when it is about to expire. It is a fast and secure way to send files without having to give up any of your storage space.
Pinterest has been around for years but is evolving year after year to fit the needs of its users. Did you know when Pinterest first started you had to have an invite from a user to join the site? They have come a long way! It is a great place to find inspiration and collect images onto boards to have for later. You can also create collaborative boards between team members so you can all pin ideas for projects and see each other’s inspiration.
Pen and Paper
Last, by certainly not least, is good old-fashioned pen and paper. If the online world is too much for you to jump into or if you just like having a physical connection to your to-do list, a pen and paper is all you need. Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than literally crossing something off your to-do list. It leaves you with a great sense of completion. If you want to up your pen and paper game, look into bullet journals. There are so many resources out there on different lists you can create to help you stay on track and reach your goals!
We hope this list inspires you to look into some new and improved ways to stay organized in 2021. No matter how big or small your team, or the task at hand, these tools can help you stay on top of everything.
We want to take time at the end of the year to reflect on 2020 and how much your support has meant to us. To every single customer that supported us this year, we want to say, “Thank You!” We are so passionate about supporting small, local businesses, and we are glad you are too. We know this year has been a rollercoaster for everyone, but we have all worked together to come up with unique solutions to not just survive but thrive through these tough times.
We hope that you and your family have a safe and healthy holiday season. Some of you may not be having a normal Christmas this year, but we hope you're inspired to create new traditions. As we welcome the New Year, we hope that 2021 brings everyone the health and happiness they deserve.
We can’t wait to work with you in 2021 and continue supporting your businesses.
From all of us here at Berry Digital Solutions, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
The Holiday shopping season is quickly approaching! This year is going to be a little different from any year before, but there are things you can do to make sure your store is prepared for this shopping season. Here are five things you should consider adding to your holiday plan:
With a lot of retail shops having limited space for customers this year, people have started to get creative as to where shopping can take place. You could set up a tent outside your store to have more room and show off your product to people walking by. Also, consider expanding into an empty space for the season. If there is a building in town for rent, see if you can rent it month to month and have a second location to double your traffic.
Keeping your online store up-to-date is going to be very important this year. If there are any upgrades for tracking inventory you have been putting off now is the time to make those happen. Anything that will help you keep your online store running smoothly will be beneficial. More shoppers than ever before are going to be shopping online exclusively this year, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still shop local!
The holiday season is a time when a lot of retail shops extend their hours anyway, but you might want to consider how you add those hours to your schedule. This spring and summer we saw many stores open early for seniors and immune compromised individuals. If you want to attract those buyers, it might be good to have some morning hours specifically for them, along with later evening hours for people who work 9-5.
If you are reading this, you should already have an idea of what your holiday shopping season will look like for your retail location. People are going to start shopping early and trying to beat the rush. This even applies to online shopping because there have been many reports that shipping this year is going to take much longer than normal. Don’t wait until after Thanksgiving to start your Christmas marketing!
With shipping times taking longer, store having less capacity, and people still socially distancing, having a curbside pickup option can change the game! People can shop locally and get the product the same day all from the comfort of their home and car. It is the best of both worlds, bringing online shopping and shopping local together in the perfect way.
If your business hasn’t started thinking about how to make the most of the holiday season yet hopefully there are some ideas on this list that can help. We hope everyone has an amazing holiday season and we encourage everyone to think about shopping local. More money spent local will stay local and it will help our neighbors all have a happy holiday season!
When was the last time you checked out your own website?
Often, this is something even WE overlook. We understand. In this day and age, it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work. Like us, that work probably has you on dozens of other sites all day long and before you realize it, a lot of time has flown by since your last check-in on your own site. It may feel it may feel like you just launched that "new" website last month, but maybe a couple years have gone by, and in the digital world, a couple of years can be a lifetime. Best practices, new trends, search optimization, and algorithms are ever-evolving and constantly changing, but try not to get too overwhelmed with it all.
Here are a few simple signs it may be time for a little website work:
We always recommend checking out a couple of competitors' sites, especially competitors that may be surging ahead of you lately. See what's working for them and put it to work for you!
Check out all the absolute best places we choose to make our small business dreams come true:
Krugh Insurance & Sellman Insurance Group for insurance
Elle • A • Design for business cards and graphic design
Boldman Printing and Main Graphics for printing
Streamline Design & Print for signage
All About Stitches & More for shirts and embroidery
Ascend Consulting for accounting
Oak & Ivy for social media marketing and curation
Your Hometown Techs for computer repair, videography and cybersecurity
Elisabeth Ashliegh Photography for photography
Spotted Cow Coffee House for meetings, conference rooms (and caffeine!)
Massage on Monument Square for stress relief!
Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, Logan County Chamber of Commerce, Champaign Economic Partnership, and the West Liberty Business Association for support, promotion, networking and so MUCH more!
We know that personally knowing the people behind the businesses we are buying our products and services from creates a connection that no big business can compare to, and we love to relationships that we have created over the years with these awesome business owners, and many more we rely on for other day-to-day items (that we'll have to highlight later! ;)
Feel free to ask us more about any of these amazing local business and organizations or leave your favorites in the comments!
"Buying local has benefits beyond mere convenience. When you support local business owners, you get a better level of service, as well as helping make your community a better place to live."
It is no secret that we are avid #ShopLocal supporters.
So we thought, what better way to showcase our love for our fellow entrepreneurs than to share our absolute favorite hometown spots to shop steps away from our location #OnTheSquare and beyond!
Find unique holiday gifts or add some local flavor to your gift certificate game this Christmas season.
Here is our EXCLUSIVE "Ryan & Chris Approved" family favorites:
Title III of the ADA has mandated that all places of public accommodation are required by law to remove any barriers that would inhibit a person with disabilities from being able to access the business’ goods and services. This includes websites for employment agencies, labor organizations, state and federal or employers with 15 or more employees.
Many people interact and perceive the online world a little differently. The internet world is so widely used that ADA compliance also applies to websites and mobile apps.
So, why should we make our website accessible to people who have disabilities that affect hearing, vision or physical capacities?
Other than a moral obligation to ensure people with disabilities have the same opportunities as anyone else, ADA compliance can increase your target audience, improves SEO efforts, helps build your reputation and overall better website usability. There is also the matter of a possible penalty for not being ADA compliant as well.
Web accessibility can seem complex and overwhelming if you do not know where to start. According to the last census study, nearly 1 in 5 people have a disability in the United States.
Luckily, Berry Digital Solutions offers this service to new and existing customers. Your website should be accessible for everyone, regardless of ability. And we can help you get there.
Contact Us today to inquire about your site’s ADA accessibility!
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