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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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HOW DO I KNOW IF MY MARKETING EFFORTS ARE WORKING?

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.

 

What is BOUNCE RATE?

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.

 

So…….

          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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Product Photography Tips

Posted By Program Admin, Monday, November 6, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Product Photography Tips

 


Why is product photography important to your business? 

Presenting your products well shows that you care about your business.
Beautiful photos appeal to customers.
Photos can showcase your products’ unique features.  

So how do you take great photos of your products? Here are some key tips: 

Lighting - Use natural light from a window, which is soft and diffused. You want to avoid harsh shadows. You can also use a photographer umbrella or a simple white poster board to reflect light on the subject. Never use flash. Flash creates harsh shadows and can over-expose and drown out details in your image.

Staging - Design an environment for your product. Use props that enhance your product and your message. Props can also show the scale of your product. Don’t let the props distract from your product.

Group in Threes - If you have more than one product in a shot, compose your shot by grouping in threes. This give the image balance and interest.

 

 



Background - Use a simple background and remove distracting elements. Make your product the star. Typically, avoid solid white backgrounds. They have a sterile, uninspiring effect.

Tripod - Using a tripod will keep the camera steady and eliminate blurry shots. It keeps  the angle the same for consistency of shots, and it frees your hands for repositioning your products for different angles.

Editing - After taking the shot, you can use various editing features to enhance the look of your image. Cropping, exposure, contrast, etc. 

 



Be Consistent -Think about what you want to convey about your brand. Be sure your images reflect your message.

Practice - The more you practice, the better you’ll become. Go online and find out more about product photography. There are numerous articles, videos and tutorials that can help you. 

We’d love to see some of your images. Post them to this blog in the comments section and tell us how you created your shots. We would love to share them on the Made in Wyoming Facebook page and Twitter.

 

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CYBER SECRUITY FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

Posted By Program Admin, Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, October 18, 2017

From the 2017 State of Cybersecurity Among Small Businesses in North America study conducted by the Better Business Bureau.

 

This study is very informative and provides the demographics of the respondents as well as thoughtful analysis of the data.

 

Approximately 43% of small businesses ARE being targeted to get into larger corporations. 

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY COMPANY SUFFICIENTLY PROTECTED?   

All businesses owners should look at this study.  Approximately 53% of small businesses attacked are not profitable within 30 days of the attack. 

 

WHERE TO I START?

  • Read the BBB study On page 21 of the study there are 5 steps to determine the right level of investment in cybersecurity. 
  • View the 5 Myths About Cybersecurty pod cast.  Learn about what hackers hope you believe is true.
  • Train yourself and your employees, anyone that has access to your company network.  Do you allow personal mobile devices access to your company's network?
  • The Small Business Development Center has free webinars and information regarding this very important topic.
  • Wyoming has a new association  Made Safe in Wyoming. The Wyoming Business Council is not endorsing this association, however, it is a resource for information and a place to start to protect your company and your customers.  Their mission is to build a firewall around Wyoming - one business or organization at a time.  The members of this association have skills in cybersecurity and provide services to companies seeking to improve their cyber security systems.

 

CYBERSECURITY SELLS PRODUCTS!

Did you know that about 80% of customers will cancel an order because they don't feel their information is safe?  If your company's information is secure, your customers will have more confidence their information is secure.

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Having a Digital Presence

Posted By Program Admin, Thursday, October 12, 2017

Why do I need a website or social media to market my company or products?

                                         

There are probably many theories to tout why or why not.  My opinion is based on the many articles I have read and courses I have taken.

 

Not long ago the internet and social media did not exist.  At least to the degree it is today. Today, print advertising is expensive, and let’s not even broach radio or television advertising.  So where to companies turn to market their businesses, services and products?  The internet! 

 

Business websites have become a necessity.  Consumers use the Internet to search for everything now.  You can see the impact pictures and video are having in your personal social media activity on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.  Technology has opened doors for internet users and people wanting to entertain themselves and learn.  Advances in technology has also opened doors to businesses to advertise online and keep their business in the forefront of their customer’s minds.

 

This is only one reason to have a digital presence for your company.  We will be sharing a new reason weekly and hope to generate some discussion and share ideas.

 

So, what are your thoughts on using websites and social media to market your company and products or services?

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TELL YOUR STORY

Posted By Program Admin, Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, October 10, 2017
One way to get in the door with retailers, is to tell your story!  Click on the attachment for more information.

 Attached Files:

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