Happy New Year from the BDS Team and Family! As we roll into 2022, there have been some amazing things that we have experienced as a local company and this all starts with support from readers and clients like you. On behalf of all of us at BDS, thank you!
Over the next several weeks we are going to be diving into “GOALS.” This isn’t your typical New Year’s resolution goal post either. We want to equip you with skills and tools to help you achieve the best for yourself or business by (RE)Imagining how to set and accomplish goals. Tony Robbins once said, “Setting goals is the first step to turning the invisible into visible.” This is true on many levels and something that BDS would like to help you with along your journey this year either personally, or professionally. Just start with this question, “Do you have a vision for where you want to be in five years?” If you don’t, that is okay. If you do, great! Regardless, no matter where you landed with an answer, we have you covered.
As we venture through this series, we are going to be discussing how to set goals and accomplish them by following these simple steps in goal setting process:
No matter where you are in this process, the first thing to do is go back to the original question. Where are you in five years? Work on answering that question and come back for some ways on how to make it a SMARTER Goal next week!
Strong Focus on Videography
Videos are likely going to replace hero images on many sites this year. This is a trend that has been up and coming for a few years, but strong videography is going to be a huge asset to websites this year. With a video, you can tell a more complete story about your business and what makes you unique and stand out from the rest. This trend will likely be videos that either have no sound or have some sort of soft background noise. The goal is to portray a feeling that the audience can connect with and be the first thing that captures attention when people visit your site.
Overlapping Design Elements
This trend isn’t new to digital media but is being more widely embraced on websites now. More and more sites are using design elements in unexpected ways and experimenting with overlapping elements like photography, vector art, text, and more. This goes hand in hand with the collage trend that is currently popular.
User Friendly Buttons
Not having buttons that are large enough to click is a huge user experience error on mobile websites. A trend to counteract this is having oversized buttons on your website. Large, easy to use buttons, are going to dominate web design this year. Another button trend you are likely to see is the outline design. This just makes the shape of a button around text without the traditional color fill or gradient that people are used to and plays right into the next trend of minimalism.
Modern minimalism is a way to utilize current trends in a clean and concise way. This trend keeps the color palette minimal, often just black and white, and the design elements simple (i.e., line art icons, monochromatic vector art). This is a great design choice if you have strong photography or videography that you really want to showcase.
One Page Websites
This has been a trend in the past but is coming back in a big way this year. Whenever a one-page site makes sense and can be strongly utilized, it is a great option to go with. It streamlines the experience for people visiting your page and can be impactful. Oftentimes websites end up with so much content because there is literally no limit to how much you can include but stripping it down to the basics of what you do and what you offer can help your brand. Not only will it make it easier for people to understand, but will also give the site a modern, clean feel.
This trend started to take off in 2021 and is here to stay this year as well. Type is going to be big, eye-catching, and in your face on websites this year. This trend plays well with many other trends on this list including overlapping design elements, videography, and modern minimalism. Large text is a great way to get your message across quickly and easily. Make sure what you are writing is worth reading and people will be hooked as soon as they see your site.
By Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design
January is a time for reflection on the previous year and to think about the coming year. It’s a time to assess what went well for you and to address anything you want to work on changing. It is the fresh start of a new year, and we are so excited you are here with us on this journey! During 2021 we made some amazing moves within our business to support the growth we have seen throughout the pandemic. As we continued to push forward into the unknown, we brought on two new team members, Mckenzie and Danielle. Mckenzie joined our team as a Web Specialist and Danielle joined our team as our Project Manager.
With the growth of our team throughout the year, we were able to bring on 60 new clients. Each one has been essential to our growth, and we have had so much fun bringing all their ideas to life and getting to know their businesses. The experience of trying to expand our business, and help others do the same during a pandemic have helped us develop our skills and strengthen us as a team. We were so blessed to not only survive but thrive this year!
Looking forward to 2022, we have no plans of slowing down. Our growth and development as a team is one of our top priorities. We want to push each other to the next level in everything we do. When we support each and our individual growth, the entire will benefit from it, and we can continue to grow together as a business. Another major goal for the year is to create new business and community partnerships. We focus on small, local businesses, and love being able to be part of their growth. We also want to help all our current clients meet any goals they have for the year. When we strengthen the businesses around us, we strengthen the community, making it a better place to live, work, and visit.
By Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design
Christmas is the time for giving. This year we want to encourage as many people as possible in the community to give back in one way or another. To help inspire you we have come up with a list of simple ways to help spread holiday cheer this time of year.
Buy Gifts for Families in Need
Many local organizations provide easy ways to either donate toys or adopt a family in need. Some places request new toys and others will take gently used toys. Giving can go far beyond toys though as many of these families also need new clothes and sometimes even food for their holiday meals. If you don’t know where to find a family to help, your local place of worship should be able to assist you.
Volunteer Your Time
Extra help can be hard to find this time of year but is very much needed. Places like nursing homes, food pantries, and churches all get busier this time of year and rely on help from wonderful volunteers to make the holiday season magical for everyone.
Make a Monetary Donation to a Local Organization
Sometimes the best gift you can give to an organization is a monetary one to go towards goals and projects they are already taking on. Below you will find a list of local non-profits that are currently taking donations. These organizations do so much for our community and now is our chance to give back.
Champaign County Historical Society
Champaign County Preservation Alliance
West Liberty Historical Society
Mental Health, Drug, and Alcohol Services Board of Logan & Champaign Counties
These are just a few ways you and your family can give back this year. Make it a yearly part of your holiday season. Pass on traditions to your families that help those in need and remind everyone that Christmas is about more than just presents, it is about spreading love and kindness, and helping those in need.
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.