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Top tags: art  book  entrepreneurs  inspire  jon acuff  online marketing  selling art 

Inspiring Book for Entreprenuers

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Looking for an Inspiring Book to Read? 
Check out “Finish” by Jon Acuff

Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of six books including his most recent Wall Street Journal #1 Bestseller, “Finish: Give yourself the gift of done.”

Jon writes about his book “Finish”:
Year after year, readers pulled me aside at events and said, “I’ve never had a problem starting. I’ve started a million things, but I never finish them. Why can’t I finish?"

According to studies, 92 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. You’ve practically got a better shot at getting into Juilliard to become a ballerina than you do at finishing your goals. 

For years, I thought my problem was that I didn’t try hard enough. So I started getting up earlier. I drank enough energy drinks to kill a horse. I hired a life coach and ate more superfoods. Nothing worked, although I did develop a pretty nice eyelid tremor from all the caffeine. It was like my eye was waving at you, very, very quickly. 

Then, while leading a thirty-day online course to help people work on their goals, I learned something surprising: The most effective exercises were not those that pushed people to work harder. The ones that got people to the finish line did just the opposite— they took the pressure off. 

Why? Because the sneakiest obstacle to meeting your goals is not laziness, but perfectionism. We’re our own worst critics, and if it looks like we’re not going to do something right, we prefer not to do it at all. That’s why we’re most likely to quit on day two, “the day after perfect”—when our results almost always underper­form our aspirations. 

The strategies in this book are counterintuitive and might feel like cheating. But they’re based on studies conducted by a university researcher with hundreds of participants. You might not guess that having more fun, eliminating your secret rules, and choosing something to bomb intentionally works. But the data says otherwise. People who have fun are 43 percent more successful! Imagine if your diet, guitar playing, or small business was 43 percent more suc­cessful just by following a few simple principles. 

If you’re tired of being a chronic starter and want to become a consistent finisher, you have two options: You can continue to beat yourself up and try harder, since this time that will work. Or you can give yourself the gift of done.

Jon Acuff is the New York Times-bestselling author of Start, Quitter, and Do Over, among other books. He is a popular public speaker, blogger, Tweeter, and the creator of the “30 Days of Hustle” online challenge. Visit Jon’s website acuff.me  


Tags:  book  entrepreneurs  inspire  jon acuff 

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Pricing Your Handcrafted Products

Posted By Program Admin, Friday, June 22, 2018


Pricing your products correctly can be a challenge for many businesses, particularly those that create handcrafted items. If your prices are too low, customers may perceive that your items are cheap or poor-quality. If your prices are too high, you risk alienating customers. 

So what’s a business owner to do?


Here is a simple formula that many artisans use to calculate item cost:
Supplies + Your Time = Item Cost

For example. It takes you 15 minutes to make a necklace and your hourly wage is $20. The supplies to make the necklace cost $0.75. 

$0.75 (supplies) + $5 (your time) = $5.75 (item cost) 

To price the item for retail, multiply item cost by 2.5 or 3
$5.75 (item cost) x 2.5 = $14.37 (round to $14.50) 
$5.75 (item cost) x 3 = $17.25

You may want to take into consideration your overhead (equipment, advertising, website, Internet, phone, shipping supplies/costs, etc.) Average out these expenses and calculate a percentage as overhead cost for each item. 

The formula will look like this:
Supplies + Your Time + Overhead = Item Cost
Item Cost x 2.5 = Retail Price

One of the most common formulas for wholesale pricing is to multiply your item cost by 2. 
Using the necklace example:
$5.75 (item cost) x 2 = $11.50

You can also offer a wholesale pricing scale. For example:

Orders of 25 necklaces or more will get the x 2 pricing at $11.50 per necklace
Orders of 50 necklaces or more will get a 1.75 pricing per necklace at $10.06 per necklace
Orders of 100 necklaces or more will get a 1.5 pricing per necklace at $8.60 per necklace

Check out these links for more information about pricing:


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Selling Your Art Online

Posted By Program Admin, Thursday, May 3, 2018

With the numerous venues available for selling online, trying to figure out what to do can be overwhelming. Should you create an Etsy page? Is Facebook enough? How do you cultivate your own following and make sales?

One way to engage buyers and showcase your work is to get your own website.

No matter what social media you are using, having your own website is one of the best ways to sell your art. A website is your portfolio, showcasing your art in its best light. 

Guideline for Artist Websites: 

First things first - Buy a domain name like www.yourname.com or www.yournameartist.com and have it registered by a hosting service. A professional website and email address is key to running a successful business, whether you sell art, or anything else.

Your website should be about your art. Don’t chat about your dog, your trip to Yellowstone or your favorite restaurant. 

Make it personal. Write about yourself and your art. What do you want your art to communicate? Make visitors feel some connection to you as an artist.

Your gallery should showcase current work that is available for sale. Do not show everything you’ve ever made. Keep your gallery organized and easy for visitors to understand and navigate. If showing older works or sold works, kept them in separate galleries.

Keep your website updated regularly so it is fresh and interesting. 

Use quality images of your art. 

Make sure each artwork has a price and provide clear instructions on how people can buy your art.

These guidelines can be adapted to other businesses as well. The main idea is to focus your website on your business and engage visitors. Connect your website to your social media channels and be sure to post regularly.

Do you have a website for your business? What advice do you have? Share your questions or comments. We’d love to hear from you.


Tags:  art  online marketing  selling art 

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Increase Traffic & Sales with a Facebook Business Page

Posted By Program Admin, Tuesday, December 5, 2017


According to PCWorld.com, if you have a small business, a Facebook page allows you to reach potential customers among the 750 million+ users worldwide!  How you interact on the social network gives potential and existing customers a glimpse into your life, your business, your interests. As customers get to know you it builds loyalty and make them more likely to recommend your services or products.


There are added features that may be more difficult to implement on your website than on Facebook. You can have a custom page, run contests and promotions, and manage a small e-commerce shop! An added advantage -  Facebook is FREE!  Of course, custom application or development services are not, however, it continues to be a form of advertising with a small price tag.


Did you know that half of Facebook users login every day! 

Facebook users interface with their favorite brands more than any other social network. They will more likely recommend a brand after becoming a fan and are more likely to buy products after becoming a fan. Because search engines index Facebook pages, anyone outside of Facebook can view your Page.


Links to how to set up your Facebook Business Page:


Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/set-up-facebook-page


Hootsuite’s “10 Steps to Create a Facebook Business Page (The Right Way). 


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Twitter Analytics

Posted By Program Admin, Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, November 15, 2017





Twitter, like other social media platforms, is a great way to post product images and show videos of your products, your store, your company!  And, there are analytics that can help you understand how those Tweets are doing for your company.






Are people clicking on the video?  How many likes do I have?  How many reTweets are there?


Here is a link that can help you understand Twitter Analytics:  How to Use Twitter Analytics: 17 Simple-to-Find Stats to Help you Tweet Better

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Google Analytics

Posted By Program Admin, Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, November 15, 2017



Google Analytics is a great way to track your website's performance.  It is a FREE tool that tracks and reports website traffic.  Where are site visitors from?  What pages did they visit?  How long were they there?  Did they buy anything?  Just a few of the questions Google Analytics can answer.


Below are two links that may help you to understand Google Analytics and get your account setup.




What Does Google Analytics Do?  And What Can I Do With Google Analytics


How To Use Google Analytics Beginners Guide




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Facebook Analytics

Posted By Program Admin, Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, November 15, 2017


 According to Facebook, analytics allow you to measure, understand and optimize interaction people have with your business across       devices and channels, which helps drive meaningful growth.  On Facebook you can find your analytics under Insights.






Top 5 Insights

  1. Page Likes:  The number of Likes of your Facebook business page. People liking your page will get updates from your Page in their News Feed. They can be important if you decided to advertise because you can run ads targeted to your Page’s followers.
  2. Reach:  The breakdown between paid and organic (not paid) reach of your audience.  This will show how many people have liked, commented or shared any of your content (Engagement).  You can also see who is hiding or reporting your content, which gives you an understanding if any of your content is negatively impacting your results.
  3. Page Views: The number of times your Page was viewed.  If your views aren’t showing movement, you may need to post more often or generate more conversation with your followers.  You can also check external referrers, which let you know the number times people came to your Page from a website off of Facebook.
  4. Posts:  This section of the Insights lets you see the types of posts you have created, and which ones generate the most Reach.  You will also see engagement metrics to help you understand the types of posts that generate the most likes, shares, etc.  Example:  You may find that posts with video have more reach that those with images. You can also see the time where there is more activity with your followers and target your posts to the more active time slots.  This section also displays the success of each post, broken down by average reach and engagement.
  5. People:  This section give information about your fans, followers and those who interact with your content.  Information includes age, gender, location and the language used. 


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Draw Your Customers In

Posted By Program Admin, Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics has stated that

- 92% of children in the US have a digital footprint?

- Over 50% of the world's population is under 30 years old;

   meaning the percentage of socially engaged people will only


-  93% of marketers use social media for business.




Content marketing is the creation and distribution of information content online.  Think about your customers, there a change that not all of them have visited your website.  On the other hand, many could have gone online to search for products, recipes, etc. 


What is unique about your products?  All natural, no preservatives, repurposed materials?  Your company?  Family owned?  Do you have tips on how to use your products?  Perhaps a fashion look for your jewelry, how to place your artwork in a room, recipes? 


Look at ideas that might be associate with your products but you don’t make the product. 

  • You have a sauce product.  I, as a consumer, am not confident in grilling or smoking meats or vegetable.  Perhaps have a short video of you using your product and instructing how to grill or smoke.

  • You have a scarf ring (you know the item that keeps your scarf tied together but looks great).  Perhaps a series of short instructional videos on how to use the scarf ring.

  • You make furniture; perhaps you can show how to care for the wood.

Think outside the box of your products!


Consistency is key!  If you are publishing on your website, be sure to link to your other social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, Pinterest, Twitter, Blogs). 


Encourage testimonials on your sites.  70% of consumers trust online review and 70% report that positive online review influence where they buy!


Finally, don’t forget to TELL YOUR STORY!  Consumers want to know about your company.  Check with other Tell Your Story blog for more information.




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Do I need a business plan?

Posted By Program Admin, Monday, November 13, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, October 25, 2017

When is the best time to write a business plan?


A business plan is a living document; something that should be reviewed and updated as goals change, trends change, or the economy changes.


You want a business plan to help you manage goals, document ideas, stories about your successes or how you have overcome challenges, who your competition is and how you differentiate yourself from your competition.  It’s your company’s story, written for you.


I’m just starting out or thinking about starting a business, where do I start?

No need to make it complicated; start with the essentials.  Once these questions have been answered, you can probably create your mission statement, vision statement and clarify your companies purpose.


  • Who’s doing What by When.  Who is taking care of accounting, shipping, marketing, etc? 

  • Include projections on Expenses (including salaries), Costs, Sales.

  • Do you know your competition?  How do you differentiate yourself from your competition?  What is special about your service or product?

  • Do you know who your customers are?  Demographics?  Location? 


    A business plan becomes very important when seeking a loan or investment and should be a thorough description of your company, where you are, where you want to be and how you are going to get here.  Until then, keep it simple, you probably do not need a full-blown formal business plan. 


    The Small Business Development Center has templates that can be used to start out.  If you do not information for some of the sections, leave them blank for now.  This is a living document to be review and updated as needed.



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Posted By Program Admin, Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Have you ever asked yourself this question?  We do all the time. 


By checking your analytics your Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other promotion /marketing efforts you can gain important information about the visitors to your various sites and learn how your efforts are working.  This includes email campaigns.  Over the next few weeks we will post information about the analytics for some of the more popular digital promotion/marketing campaigns.



According to GOOGLE bounce rate is the number of people viewing a single page on your website before navigating away.  Monthly the bounce rate may not change dramatically, however, it does let you know the percentage of people engaged in your page.  Engaged means that the visitor clicks on another page. 

Although the number of visits to your page are important, it does not mean anything if they do not stick around to learn more about your brand, products or services. 


So, what is a good bounce rate?

          Based on Jay Peyton’s own study of about 60 sample websites, GoRocketFuel.com saw bounce rates between 26% to 70%.  The average for the 60 sites was 45%.  He tossed out the 1% bounce rates.  The highest was 90.2%; the lowest was 27.33%.  Jay states that a bounce rate of between 25 and 40 percent is great.  41-55 percent is about average.



          Don’t worry about keeping up with everyone else, set a reasonable bounce rate goal for your company’s platforms, including mobile.  But that’s another topic.  Monitor your bounce rate for the last year and pick a reasonable goal.  Remember to add action items to that goal.  Those might be:

  • Change/add content weekly.

  • Post to social media platforms more to drive traffic to website.

    • New products

    • Are you at an event selling your products?

    • Post pictures/video which are very popular now

  • Add a video tour of your shop or talk about your company’s product while making your products.

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