5 Ways to Work On Your Business

COVID-19 has impacted so many of us in different ways. We cannot control the current climate, but we can control how we respond. 

Before you ask, no, it will not be easy. If you remember my new mantra, I’ve told you that entrepreneurship is not sexy and I mean that. But I mean it x100 during this pandemic. 

What we’re not going to do, is let COVID think it can steal our visions we have for our businesses. I hope you don’t take this as me being insensitive to what you’re going through. If you’re having a hard time, I want you to know that I am seriously here for you. My goal in all of this is to help other business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs thrive on their journey.

Here are 5 ways you can work on your business during these times…

1. Create designated time for YOUR brand

When I made the decision to go into full-time entrepreneurship, I decided immediately that working 9-5 was not for me. I wanted to create a life that allowed me to be best mom and woman I can possibly be. So, I decided I would work 35 hours per week for clients, and those last 5 hours would be spent working on ME and/or MY business. 

I use a tool called Toggl (it’s free check it out) to manage my time and this allows me to hold myself accountable when it comes to working on my business. If you’re one of those people who claim they don’t have the time, that is not true. The time is there, you just have to demand it for yourself.

2. Work on your content strategy

You know I love me some content marketing! I want you to love it for yourself, too. This is the ultimate way to establish yourself as the industry expert in your field and to position yourself as the go-to person for all things <insert whatever it is that you do>.

Do you know how many times I’ve been called “the email girl” or “the content lady”? More times than I can count! That is because I have put myself in position through these emails, posts on social media, live videos, and speaking engagements to be seen as the go-to person when you want to know more about digital. You can do the same for yourself! 

3. Build your tribe

We’ve talked about the importance of having a tribe a few times in these emails. If you don’t believe I practice what I preach, take a look at the lineup for #RTHCon20! I’m blessed to have such a powerful network of business owners. 

How did I meet such amazing people you may ask? Networking! Putting myself out there. Sparking conversations. Attending other people’s event. Them attending mine. Fostering real relationships. 

Building your tribe is NOT a one way street. It’s going to take work on both sides. Put yourself out there and get to work building your community of bosses!

4. Know your numbers

I have some past traumas that have led me to be very afraid of money. I don’t like thinking about it, but I do all the time and it makes me nervous. Since working with Touche Financial Solutions, I have felt more at ease because I know my numbers. I have a clear understanding of how much money my business needs to make in order to thrive. By knowing this number, it helps me make the right business decisions to continue to grow TJE

Spend some time doing a deep dive into your business and personal expenses, and find ways to improve in both of these areas. I’m no expertise in this area. However, I can tell you that doing this has helped me grow tremendously. I highly recommend you reach out to Sierra Thomas of Touche Financial Solutions ASAP!

5. Better tools = better business

Having the right business tools in place is truly amazing. I wish I could explain the feeling of knowing that your business is running properly even when you’re sleeping. 

What are considered business tools? Social media schedulers, email platforms, project management tools, your CRM, etc. I need you to review these tools to make sure they are helping your grow your business. I wrote about this at the beginning of the year, check it out

Spend time going through every tool you are using and make some decisions sooner than later. One recent decision I’ve made is to move 6 years work of email marketing into a brand new platform. This task is not easy (still working on it) but it is necessary if I want to continue to grow my business. 

Now that you have 5 different ways to work on your business, it is time to do the work! If you want to chat, I’m here! Schedule a call today. Click here.

3 Simple Ways to Support Black Businesses

Do you talk the talk and walk the walk?

Everyone is speaking up during this time and that is fine and dandy. However, I like to consider myself a woman of ACTION. It’s time to put your words in motion.

I have decided to stop focusing on the world at large and instead, focus on my community which ideally, would impact the globe if every person I touch, shares these thoughts and ideas with someone else, and so forth.

For starters, as a black-woman and business owner, I have faced microagression and implicit bias since the day I stepped foot into my professional career. My goal is to now begin to educate my peers when I witness them displaying acts of microagression and implicit bias to others.

What does microagression mean?
A microagresion is a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.⠀

For example: If someone says, “Wow you’re so articulate!” OR “I never would have expected that from a woman with your background!” ⠀

What is implicit bias?
This refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.

While I believe that some people truly do not understand they are being offensive at times, it is 2020. So…..excuses are running out and patience is running thin.

If you want to support the black community but you’re not sure where to start, here are 3 simple ways you can support black businesses today.

1. Use your platform to amplify black voices and businesses.
If you’re hosting a conference, a podcast, or special event, consider putting black people in the speaker line up.

2. Choose black-owned venues and spaces for your events.
There are PLENTY of amazing ones. Do your research and at best, consider these spaces for your next event.

3. Pay full price for products and services.
Do not expect discounts! Pay full price like you would any other business.

Also, let’s stop the narrative that black businesses lack in customer service. That is not true. I’ve had great and terrible service from all types of businesses. General statements like this put a negative connotation on black businesses and is harmful to the community.

We all have to be willing and open to learn and grow. Try these 3 very simple ways to support today!

3 Things to Do Before Outsourcing Marketing

TJE Communications has officially turn 6 years old and as a company, we have experienced some ups and downs when it comes to business and clients. I say “we” because I’ve had my fair share of interns and strategic partnerships who have helped me move the needle along the way.

I took another look at my target customer as I was preparing to step into full-time entrepreneurship, and I realized some of the clients I had worked with were truly not ready to outsource their marketing services. Which ultimately contributed to some of those partnerships ending; on a good note for the most part.

Before you decide to outsource your marketing efforts, here are three things you should try first:

1. Try to DIY One (of the many) mistakes I have made in business is not asking a prospective client if they’ve tried to handle their digital marketing on their own or with another marketer in the past. If I were to ask you this question, would you say “yes” – or would you say something like, “I would, but I don’t know how.” If the answer is the latter, you should not outsource marketing. What you should do instead is invest in gaining marketing knowledge through webinars, conferences, seminars, and trainings. Then, try to do it yourself. Once you’ve done this for a minimum of 6-12 months, if you still feel like you need help….check out steps 2 & 3.

I’m sure you’re thinking…”why does it matter if I’ve tried it myself?” What I’ve learned over the last 6 years is that until you have tried it yourself, or had someone else before me, you truly will not understand or value having a marketing consultant on your team.

Digital marketing is more than just posting aesthetically pleasing photos to Instagram. It takes consistency, strategy, and advertising dollars to build real campaigns to drive revenue for your business. On top of that, digital marketing does not equal social media marketing. Digital marketing also encompasses email, content, vlogging, and so much more.

2. Ensure you can pay for marketing services for at least 3 months — If you’re planning to outsource marketing services, make sure you can pay for them even when business is down. Most marketers require a retainer and a contract where you are committing to pay for their services for an agreed upon time. Just because business is down for you, doesn’t mean you get to forgo your contracts.

I get it, if business is down, you can’t take care of your family. But guess what…marketing professionals have a family to take care of, too! When you pay your invoices late, or not at all (both have happen to me), it is a poor reflection of business.

To avoid this issue, make sure your money is in order so that you can be certain you can fulfill your contract before signing on the dotted line.

**Also keep in mind if you do have issues paying your invoices, just communicate! Most people are willing to be somewhat flexible when life happens. 

3. Have a clear understanding of your business goals — You can’t bring someone in to help you promote your business if you don’t understand your business either. When you bring in a marketing professional, we’re there to help you take your brand to the next level. But if you don’t have the foundational pieces in place, then we don’t have a solid ground to stand on.

Yes, the marketing consultant you hire can help you with the foundational aspects of your business. However, you must keep in mind that by doing this, you are taking time away from them doing actual digital marketing strategy. So you can’t fault them if you’re “seeing no results.”

If you’re unsure if you have your business goals and messaging in place, instead of hiring someone to help you with digital marketing, hire someone to help you with business strategy and then try implementing some DIY digital marketing strategies. Or, if you can get your business strategist and marketing professional to work hand-in-hand, that’s even better! Both of these people are equally important and need each other to produce great work!

Now that you’ve read through this, do you still think you’re ready to outsource your marketing efforts? If yes, then go for it! Having a skilled digital marketing professional on your team can help grow your brand tremendously – especially if you’re willing to spend a few dollars on ads.

If you read this and realized you’re not quite ready, that is awesome! It is better to know now than to get yourself caught up.

Need help deciding either way? Schedule a FREE 15-minute call with me today. Click here to schedule.

Here’s Why Tracking Your Time Matters

It’s easy to believe that since you’re working for yourself, or working from home, that you have to be on at all times. I am so guilty of staying up well past my bed time to finish work (or start work), complete a project, or read blogs or articles to gain new digital marketing insights.

Regardless of your reasoning for feeling like you need to work around the clock, I am here to tell you that is not true.

If you’re not currently tracking your time, here’s why you need to start as soon as possible…

Accepting (or Not Accepting) New Business Opportunities

When I first started my business 6 years old, I accepted every opportunity that came my way. I did not have a great vetting process to decide which opportunities were worthwhile, and which were not aligned with my business or business goals. After two years of this, I decided to get more serious about my prices, packages, and how many hours I wanted to spend on my business.

Today, I use project managements tools and time trackers that help me understand where I am putting my energy on a daily basis.

By understanding how much time is being spent on each client, I’ve been able to:

  1. Ensure I am being properly compensated for my time
  2. Decide if I have enough hours to bring in new clients

Better understanding of which services bring in the most revenue

Since tracking my time, I now know which of my services bring in the most revenue for my business on a monthly basis. With this information I am able to ensure I am marketing this service through all appropriate channels to bring in new business opportunities.

On the other hand, if this is a service I no longer want to offer, I know that I need to pivot my content strategy to avoid speaking to this service too much.

For your own business, take a look at your top products and services and see which items are in your top three. Once you have this list think about…

  1. How much time it takes to products these products or services?
  2. What is your net profit from this product or service?

**Net profit is the actual profit made on a business transaction, sale, etc., or during a specific period of business activity, after deducting all costs from gross receipts.

If the costs don’t add up, then you need to give your business a complete audit to reassess your goals and create a business strategy to meet them.

Need help with your business strategy? Book your 1-hr business strategy session today! Click here to book today.

Don’t Burn Yourself Out

I recognized I was doing the most when my three year old daughter begins to tell me I need stop working and “give [me] attention.” Talk about a reality check!” The whole point of me pushing for full time entrepreneurship was so that I could have more time with her, not make her feel neglected.

Some weeks I would work so much I would get physically ill from the lack of sleep I was getting.

This is NOT normal.

Whether you work in corporate or if you’re a full time entrepreneur, tracking your time is crucial to ensuring you do not burn yourself out. Decide how many hours you want to spend on projects, keep track of how much time you’re spending with clients, make time for your own business, and turn it off when it’s time to turn it off.

**I recently started turning my email and social media notifications off from 5pm to 9am – best decision of my life!

So, now you do understand why you should track your time? Give it a try this week and let me know how it works out!

 

How to Determine KPIs

There’s no cookie cutter plan or strategy for your business. Every company model relies on a major key element to keep the brand moving forward.

For social influencers, it may be followers and engagement. For someone who makes candles, it may be conversions and sales. As a business owner, it is up to you to determine what KPIs matter for your business.

What are KPIs?

KPIs = key performance indicators.

According to KPI.org, “Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the critical (key) indicators of progress toward an intended result. KPIs help provide a focus for strategic and operational improvement, create an analytical basis for decision making and help focus attention on what matters most.”

Why do KPIs matter?

When you have a clear understanding of your goals, you’re able to create a real strategy to reach them. You’re also able to better articulate your message to potential partners and customers.

How do I determine KPIs?

First, you need to have a clear intended result. If you’re running a sale and your goal is to make X amount of dollars, there should be an expected revenue or sales goal in place as you’re building your campaign.

Secondly, you need to consider what drives the bottom line for your business. If sales and revenue move the needle for your brand, then focusing on followers and engagement is a waste of time and resources.

Lastly, you need to be realistic with your KPIs. If you’re unsure about what your goals should be, consider performing an audit on your business to understand the trends of your business before putting KPIs in place. Check out out audits here!

What are some common KPIs?

Here are some common KPIs to help you get started:

Likes/Reactions – The amount of times people have interacted with your post on social media. On Facebook, people are able to react with your post with a ‘Like’, ‘Love’, ‘Wow’, ‘Sad’, or ‘Angry’.

Followers/Page Likes – These are the people who  have decided to stay in the know about your brand or business by agreeing to receive updates on their timeline about you.

Reach – The amount of people who have seen your social post or advertisement.

Impressions – The amount of times your post or advertisement has been seen. This is very similar to ‘Reach’. Here’s how it is different: if three people have seen your post, but you have ten impressions, that means between those three people (reach), your post has been seen ten times (impression).

Engagement – This combines the amount of likes/reactions and comments on a social post. Do you know your engagement score? Find out here.

Conversions – Typically this is when someone takes a desired action such as making a purchase or providing you with their email address or contact information.

Need help setting KPIs for your business? Schedule a 15-minute discovery call to walk us through your concerns. We would be happy to help! Click here to schedule today.

Networking Tips for Entrepreneurs

I attended my first networking event when I was 18 (I’m now 27) and I still cringe at the thought of having to talk to strangers. Most people think of networking as a scary/awkward experience, and it’s true that it can be. However, there are a few tips that can help you feel prepared, and make real connections.

Prep your elevator speech

“So, what do you do?” This is a common question I’ve encountered at networking events. What’s more important than answering this question, is your confidence in the answer. Before your next event, practice your elevator speech until you say it with confidence. Your speech should be short, sweet, and authentic.

Dig deeper

Networking can get old real fast when you’re constantly talking about work. Try to dig deeper and ask questions that will spark real conversation. Learn about their family life, their hobbies, and even the “why” behind their business. This information could help you win this person over as a client or customer.

Collect cards with a purpose

There is no prize for collecting the most business cards. The purpose of attending a networking event is to make real connections. If someone offers you their business card, take it. But before you ask for it, think about if connecting with this person outside of this event is truly beneficial for your business.

Don’t forget your cards

Speaking of cards, don’t forget to take your business cards with you! Your business card at minimum should include your company logo, contact information, your name, and title.

Bring a friend

If you’re more of an introvert, have one of your extroverted business friends join you at the event. I personally find it helpful to attend events with friends, even though I’m more of an extrovert in networking environments. Just having a persona to chat with that you already know can help give you some peace of mind. However, it is important not to use this person as a crutch and only talk to them.

Find the wall flower

I always make it a point to go talk to the person who is not talking to anyone. I do this because most likely, they’re more nervous than me and I’m able to help them open up a little bit, too. If you’re unable to bring a friend, you and this person could tag team the event together and provide one another with support.

Check out the guest list

Take a look at the list of attendees and speakers and decide who you want to meet beforehand. Do your research and come to the event with a game plan to connect with them!

Be your own hype man

EVERYONE is nervous! Listen to your favorite hype song in the car, grab a drink from the bar when you get there, and just be yourself.

Are you ready to use these networking tips at #RTHCon19 on September 20 and 21, 2019? Grab your tickets and join us today – click here.

 

Why You Need to Know Your Target Audience

Can we agree that wasting money is not fun? If you don’t know who your target audience is, that is exactly what you’re doing; wasting money.

There are so many reasons why having a clear understanding of your ideal customer is important. Here are my top 3 reasons that have personally impacted my business.

  1. Attract the right clients – I started by business in 2014 without a clear vision into the services I would offer or who I would offer them to. Once I was able to nail down my offerings, I was able to create a strategy to bring in the right clientele.
  2. Offer the right products and services – When you know who your audience is, you understand what your customer needs. Which is amazing because you’ll know exactly what to offer them! In the beginning I had WAY too many offerings which can be confusing for a customer. Sliming down my offerings and creating sub-categories on an as needed basis has been extremely beneficial for my business.
  3. Intentional marketing – Once you know the customer, you probably know where to find them! This has helped me to be intentional in all of my marketing efforts online and offline. Which has allowed me to make a profit and go into my business full time.

I’m currently in the process of identifying new potential clients and I’m excited to hit my next ‘aha’ moment. If you feel like you’re hitting a brick-wall in your business, it may be time to re-identify your target audience.

Join me for an interactive webinar to learn how to truly understand your customer. Take advantage of the webinar + consult ticket to get the webinar for FREE and a 30-minute business consultation where we can talk more in depth about your business goals.

Shoot Your Shot

So much has changed in my life over the last month. One big win I’ve had is securing my conference keynote speaker, Dawn W. Dickson!

Dawn is a trailblazer in the tech community and has been featured in many publications including Black EnterpriseForbes, and most recently, The Breakfast Club.

When I first had the idea for a conference my mindset was “go big or just forget about it.” I’m a risk taker and I knew if I wanted this to work, I had to solidify a big speaker.

This brings to my tip this month: shoot your shot.

If you really want to reach your greatest potential, you have to fearlessly chase your goals. You cannot be scared to go after that big speaker or big sponsor.

With that being said, it’s also important that you have your sh*t together, too.

Before you go sliding in the DM’s of every business owner you know, make sure to ask yourself these few questions:

1. Is my branding on point?
If a big sponsor/speaker saw your website and social media, would they feel comfortable letting you use their likeness to promote an event?

2. Do I have the budget?
We all want to secure that big speaker or that dream venue. But be honest with yourself about your budget and how much your return on investment will be.

3. Do I have any typos in my proposal?
Believe it or not, having a type in your proposal can cause someone to not want to work with you.

4. Is my elevator speech prepared?
Get to the point. Avoid sending a lengthy email or message. Simply give your pitch in a few sentences and request a meeting/conversation that will allow you to go into more details.

Have you ever shot your shot at a potential sponsor or speaker for an event? What did you learn from the experience? Send an email to info@tjecommunications.com to share your story!

XOXO

What Is the Right Thing to Say?

First things first. I must start this blog by saying that I am very thankful and pleased with the opportunity Tonnisha has provided me with! This is my first internship and I actually feel of importance to the company. In fact the only thing I knew about interns before this is the phrase, ‘in turn’…OK that was a corny joke. But seriously, I’m a rookie at this, and I appreciate her taking a chance with me.

I spent some time thinking about what my first blog post would entail. As I was brainstorming ideas, it just hit me! Instead of thinking about what I should say, I should think about what I shouldn’t say.

Many of you reading this might have just read that last sentence and said to yourself, ”Wait, what?”

Hear me out..

When it comes to verbal or written communication, the whole point is to have an impact on the audience. Whether you are a public speaker or a kid trying to convince his mom to let him have a cookie before dinner, your argument must be very convincing and memorable. To do this effectively, avoid focusing on saying the right thing, and shift focus on not saying the wrong thing.

See where I’m going with this?

Think about parallel parking. When parallel parking, you don’t focus on where the other cars are, you look at where they are not. This allows you to pinpoint just the exact angle to turn the wheel to safely park your car.

Still don’t get it?

It is impossible to focus on the car in front of you and behind you at the same time. If you tried, you would probably crash into one of them. By focusing on where the cars are not, you are giving yourself a better chance of parking successfully. Why? Because you are focusing on the opportunity of the open parking space more than the full spaces.

Every action on behalf of a company will have a positive or negative reaction. Often times we focus more on what everyone else is doing or saying and miss out on open opportunities to be innovative.

What is the right thing to say? Who knows! But what not to say is what everyone else is saying. Take advantage of open parking spots to fill. Here is where you will have the opportunity to create the new standard.

Hopefully, this post will be just as entertaining and intriguing to read, as it was to write! And of course – informative.

Until next time,

Dez, Media & Communications Intern