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Stress-Busting Tips for Entrepreneurs

“I’ve become increasingly aware of the relationship between stress and health,” said Lisa Vallee-Smith, CEO and founder of marketing and PR firmAirfoil. “One source tells me that 80 percent of sickness can be traced to stress and its close cousin, anxiety. Because stress is also tied to irrational behavior and poor decision making, the potential negative impact of stress on a business owner’s employees and customers cannot be overestimated.”

With the right time-management strategies, you can create room on your to-do list for well-deserved rest and relaxation. Small business owners and startup leaders shared their best tips for finding “you” time (and a refreshed perspective) as an entrepreneur.

“Whether it is a massage, a morning run or a walk around the block, it is imperative as an entrepreneur that you take care of your body. Stress can do quite a number on you physically and the more you can deal with it upfront, the more productive your work day will be. Have a tool or routine that specifically addresses physical stress. Keep your body comfortable as your day progresses, regardless of how ‘stressed’ you might feel.”

“Entrepreneurs work longer and harder hours than anyone else, but if your heart isn’t in it, then trying to make your business a success is going to burn you out. Are you spending time on the aspects you love or are you finding yourself stuck crunching numbers or micromanaging others? Hiring the right people and building the right systems will help others carry your vision, so you can focus on what you love in and outside of the business.”

“Be fiscally responsible. Budget free time first, much like you would put money into a savings account. Then build a monthly budget around the remainder of your expenses or time spent working. By sticking to your budget, you’re forced to allocate the expenses you can afford and cut unnecessary expenses. For example, you can decline meetings you don’t need to attend, or delegate client questions to team members who are more than capable of handling them on their own. Challenge yourself each day to unplug outside the office and hold yourself accountable to your time budget.”

“I have learned to separate the urgent from the important; the crisis from the unexpected negative surprise. There are truly very few true disasters in life; most are temporary annoyances and distractions that require our attention, but don’t require our negative emotion. Intentional breathing that begins in the belly and fills the chest … provides your brain and your body with oxygen and a sense of renewal that can have an immediate positive impact on performance, not to mention blood pressure and pulse!”

“You have to find the one thing that makes you happiest and do it, and for me, that’s golf. I play when I am home at least four times a week, because I can still do business on the course. I apply the same passion in my work as my play, and they both give me the same thrill and challenges.”

“My business requires so much traveling, so I try hard to stay grounded and healthy no matter where I am. I keep my routine and eat as well as I can to take care of myself. Every day, I try to meditate in the morning, and I do yoga at the end of the day as often as I can. I have very challenging and exhausting days, but when you do what you love, it’s easy to get re-energized and start in again the next day.”

When Building a Business, Make It One that Excites You

The day I turned 15 – when I was legally able to work in Canada – I was hired at the hottest fashion boutique, despite the fact I was too small to fit the clothing. But I loved it – I loved helping people, creating the understanding of a product and I loved that things happened right away, in real time.

It was that same fire inside me that made my past jobs at companies like Buffalo, Dish, Silver and lululemon push me to create something that was truly meaningful to me, which could be used as a tool to make people feel great. I wanted a concept that would allow people to be customers, but also employees and now franchisees.

This was, in part, what pushed my husband, Chris, and I to get skoah off the ground. We wanted to create a place where we could make people feel great by having them understand their skin, what products could help them and why regular facials are an important part of self-care.

Skoah began from seeing a big opportunity in the market to focus on the urban working professional who didn’t have enough hours in the day to visit a full-service spa, where the total treatment time lasted several hours. We also wanted to create an experience that was affordable and recurring.

We had not been to a spa before, so we went to a few local establishments to better understand the business. From the moment Chris and I walked through the doors, we felt uncomfortable and intimidated. The oversized robes pooled around my feet. The common area we waited in was outdated and full of cherubs and whale music. Everyone in the spa whispered, and we were left waiting for what felt like an eternity. When it was my turn for a facial, the esthetician immediately began extracting, causing unexpected pain. There was no discussion, no tips, no advice. Just an individual going through the motions. Chris had a similar experience.

It was at that moment that the light turned on for us. We knew there had to be another way to go about business operation within the spa industry. We had a vision to create a concept that would be less time-consuming and more affordable on a recurring basis. Most importantly the concept would encourage conversation in a cool, down-tempo, modern atmosphere. We envisioned a spa that was not intimidating.

Our first location opened in 2001 in Vancouver, B.C. That store is now 15 years old and still growing. Soon after launching, we noticed fragmentation in the industry in some of the bigger, role model cities like Los Angeles, London and Hong Kong. Consumers were looking for single service providers so they could experience a greater level of expertise. Massage-only studios were popping up and upscale nail, blow dry and eye lash bars were the norm. There was no one we knew of offering facials only and an additional revenue stream of a proprietary product line.

A few years into the business, when we had three locations open in Vancouver and Calgary, we received an email from a lawyer in Boston who fell in love with the concept and wanted to open to open one of his own in Boston. Within 10 minutes of our initial conversation with him, I realized people could care as much about skoah and “Personal Training for Your Skin” as me. He soon after became the first independent skoah facial shop owner.

We were excited to grow via the franchise model for a few reasons. First, we believed we created something special and wanted to see it grow. In many parts of the world, weekly facials are normal, but North America hasn’t caught on yet. Our business model is a membership-based model and about 50 percent of the revenue come from product sales – staggering in our industry.

From a personal standpoint, I love to teach, mentor, develop and support people. That is really what my job is as a business owner. I am able to elevate people who join our system and give them the opportunity to become entrepreneurs.

5 Ways to Ensure You’re Recruiti Best Talent

Money is important, but it’s not the only thing top talent wants. They want a work environment that challenges them, allows for innovation, makes work fun but also provides work-life balance. This could mean paid time off (PTO), the ability to work from home, time to volunteer in their communities or the ability to take unpaid leave to pursue interests, to name a few.

Personal finance writer Kevin Mulligan said your company needs to create an employee value proposition (EVP) to use as a selling point with candidates. This should describe what sets your organization apart and why people should want to work there.

“The more attractive your EVP is, the more likely you will be attracting the cream of the crop to your company,” Mulligan wrote in a BusinessDictionary article.

One of the best ways to draw candidates in is a mobile-friendly hiring process. Dr. John Sullivan, a Silicon Valley-based author and HR expert, said that more than 43 percent of job seekers use their mobile phones in their job searches.

“That number will continue to rise until the mobile phone is dominant in recruiting,” he wrote in an article on EREMedia.com.

To that end, your app or website should allow candidates to accept offers, hold live video interviews, complete referral tasks and self-schedule interviews. For retention purposes, you can also build in functions for new employees: an interactive employee handbook, benefit registration, access to PTO balances and more.

Even just a decade ago, it might have seemed like a distant dream to have full-time, off-site employees with the same exact technological capabilities as workers in the office. Today, advancements in cloud computing and videoconferencing have opened the doors to hiring remote staff members, so recruiters are no longer limited to candidates in close geographic proximity to the company’s headquarters.

“If your company is located in a competitive hiring market, you’d be better off searching for top talent in a less competitive area,” said Anthony Smith, founder and CEO of CRM software company Insightly. “Technology allows for smooth collaboration and communication no matter where employees are located, so you don’t need to lose out on experts in your field because of where your company is based.”

This goes back to the workforce’s “immediate” expectations. Top talent will move quickly, because it is in high demand. Be ahead of the curve by investigating ways to speed up your hiring process while still demanding high-quality candidates reach a high standard.

“Others may view your slow hiring as a mirror of the speed in which you make business decisions, and drop out because they expect faster decision making,” Sullivan wrote.

You can speed up hiring by prioritizing hires for revenue-generating or key positions, surveying past candidates for their perception of what worked and what didn’t, and identifying other unnecessary delays that seem to be common in each vacancy-fulfillment effort.

Sometimes the best way to attract a candidate to your organization is to show off the people he or she will join there. Taso Du Val, founder and CEO of global tech industry network Toptal, advised highlighting your company’s existing talent during the recruiting process.

“Talented individuals want to work with top talent, so showcasing the all-stars already on your team can help validate why other high-quality candidates should hop on board,” Du Val said.

You can also use your current employees as a recruiting tool by sharing their positive testimonials with prospective candidates.

“Ask employees why they like working for your company,” said Sandy Mazur, president of staffing firm Spherion. “When you’re vetting talent, share some of the feedback and anecdotes that your workers shared with you, as those may resonate with candidates and attract them to the job.”

This article was originally published in 2014 and was updated Feb. 12, 2016. Additional reporting by Marci Martin.

7 Business Ideas Poised for Success

Box subscription services

Box subscription services are popping up everywhere in the food, beauty and even pet product sectors, ready to deliver goods right to your door each month. One of the consumer perks is the idea that these subscription boxes are carefully curated just for them based on their likes and interests, and each month, the boxes’ contents are a surprise.

Find a unique product category that’s still untapped by the box subscription industry, or find a way to put a new spin on an existing service, and you could have a lucrative business on your hands. Keep it as inexpensive as possible — according to LearnVest, offering cheaper products will help you stand out from the competition.

Health clubs for millennials

Health and fitness services are being rebranded to become trendier and more sociable. Opening a health club or gym targeted specifically to millennials could be a great way to capitalize on the fitness trend, especially if you focus on creating a strong, fun and engaging social media presence to really connect with young members and potential customers.

Software training

If you’re proficient in a highly specialized software, you can get paid to pass your knowledge on to amateurs and professionals looking to expand their skill sets. Technical manuals are available for programs like QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro, but these are often expensive and difficult for the average user to get through. Schedule small group workshops or private sessions, and charge by the hour for a full tutorial of the program. The best part about this gig is that it can be done part time.

Health care consulting

As an independent healthcare consultant, you can offer management and data analysis for organizations like hospitals, labs and therapist offices to help implement solutions to improve efficiency and save money. If you have a marketing or economics degree, this is a great opportunity to put it to use.

Freelancing

Companies are increasingly turning to freelance and contract workers to fill the skill gaps in their staff. It’s not hard to imagine that you could build a whole company around providing freelance services of one sort or another. Some freelance gigs pay by the project and others pay hourly, and the rates can vary greatly. But as you gain more experience, your earning potential will soar.

Translation services

There’s no denying the global marketplace is growing. All that cross-cultural communication is creating an increasing need for translators. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the hiring of interpreters and translators is projected to grow by 46 percent by 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. This means it’s a big business opportunity for entrepreneurs who can bring foreign-language speakers together with businesses in need.

Healthy vending machines

More and more health-conscious and time-strapped Americans are looking for quick food on the go that is healthier than the soda and chips you usually find in vending machines. This has spawned a whole new industry of wellness-oriented, specialized vending companies likeFresh Healthy Vending that offer franchisees the chance to own and service vending machines with better foods and beverages.

Interested entrepreneurs can either open a franchise from an existing vending machine business or sell vending-machine friendly products to help stock up schools and offices with healthier, affordable snacks.

4 Strategies to Build and Track Audience Engagement

Audience engagement is a key part of marketing, and with any advertising campaign, you need to understand your target audience. Who follows your brand? Who would you like to follow your brand?

“Sometimes your current audience is different from the group you originally wanted to communicate with,” explains Chevon Drew, senior communications manager at Race Forward and Color Lines.

“A business can manufacture and market baby wipes to parents for five years, experience an increase in sales and attribute it to parents wanting more wipes when it truly could have meant their audience changed from solely parents to parents and the limitless numbers of people now using wipes to remove makeup in the era of Instagram,” she added. “That’s an example I fabricated, but it illustrates the thinking behind doing less assuming and more surveying.”

Depending on how big a business is, the marketing and communication departments can be completely separate. However, they should always meet when discussing revenue generation.

“It’s important to make sure that your audience engagement initiatives align with your company’s overall goals,” explained Elizabeth Riley Boyer, director of marketing and communications at ThinkCERCA.

She recommends following the OKR framework, which is an acronym used by Google, Intel and other major corporations. OKR stands for company “Objectives” and measurable “Key Results.” Each objective should align with a company’s mission and values, and each key result identifies a way employees can work together to reach an objective.

“For nearly all businesses, you probably have some sort of revenue metric that you’re tracking,” Riley Boyer added. “At ThinkCERCA, we have some great data on platform usage leading to great student achievement results, which, in turn, leads to increased customer renewals and expansions. So my team is currently looking at launching and growing engagement initiatives that support increased platform usage among teachers and students.”

An average day for Drew involves tracking which links receive the most retweets from Twitter and shares on Facebook and analyzing open rates for their organization’s email marketing lists.

That’s why Christina Ochoa, social media strategist and founder of The Social Butterfly Gal, recommends hiring a tailored professional, well versed in the online realm. To best serve her clients, she uses analytics and powerful visuals to market on Instagram.

“Digital strategy can be time consuming and overwhelming,” she said. “Small business owners should hire someone who knows the digital world, can respond in a timely matter and [be] one [who] isn’t afraid to try new things when it comes to strategy or content.”

However, since social media is accessible to the public, an experienced professional doesn’t have to already work in the industry. Their own following and content can show how well (or not) they grab an audience.

Digital media is constantly changing. It was only last year that Instagram offered the analytics feature to any business account. Fortunately, it’s easy to carry out experiments, because posting a tweet takes a matter of seconds.

“Our audience engagement editor is constantly testing subject lines and [the] best times of day to send a tweet,” Riley Boyer said.

Plus, it’s easy to get wrapped up in what a brand should sound like and lose your unique voice. Sounding overly promotional makes content feel less relatable. Especially when a company first starts out, you’ll need to develop your voice over time.
“Too many feel social media needs to be so straightforward,” Ochoa added. “Don’t be afraid to be real. That’s how people will feel connected to you and want to follow you!”

7 Mobile Marketing Solutions for Small Businesses

Yelp is more than just a reviews site and go-to app for finding local businesses and deciding where to eat. It’s also a great place to incentivize customers via the Yelp mobile app. For instance, a restaurant can offer free drinks or appetizers, and a medical clinic can offer special discounts on select treatments — all customers have to do is check-in from their phones. The Yelp app also makes it easier for customers to contact you using call-to-action buttons, such the ability to call your business, visit your website or place a mobile order with just one tap. Yelp also lets you create and publish local ads, making it easier for nearby customers to discover your business while searching for ones just like yours. For more information on how to use Yelp for business check out our primer, Yelp: A Small Business Guide.

The easiest way to reach customers on their mobile phones is by texting them. Mozeo aims to make texting customers a breeze with its easy to use dashboard and text messaging management system. To connect with your business and agree to receive communication, all customers have to do is text a keyword followed by a unique short code. For instance, Denny’s restaurants had customers text the word “Dennys” to 24587 to receive special deals, and Heineken used the word “USOPEN” to run a national text-2-win contest. In addition to deals and contests, Mozeo can also be used to send text notifications, reminders, verification codes and account alerts (such as when a password has been changed), as well as hold two-way conversations to provide customer support.

Automation can help you save tons of time, while reaching tons of customers.Urban Airship is a mobile messaging platform that aims to take the leg work out of sending push notifications and in-app messages to your customers. It uses rule-based triggers and customer behaviors to automatically send the right messages at the right time, and it can send up to 300,000 messages per second. Features include unlimited push notifications and in-app messages with real-time automation, social sharing, landing pages, deep linking, analytics and more.

AT&T offers more than business phone and Internet services. AT&T’s mobile marketing solutions lets businesses launch targeted mobile campaigns to local and national customers via text messages, instant messaging, email, social networks and other communication channels. Features include mobile coupons, mobile voting, text-to-screen, picture and video messaging, keyword and short code combinations, mobile eCards, text reminders and more. AT&T also offers solutions that cater to a wide range of industries, such as advertising agencies, brand manufacturers, entertainment and media, financial services, hospitality and retailers.

Managing mobile relationships isn’t easy. Vibes can help with a wide range of mobile marketing services. Catapult, its cloud-based mobile marketing platform, lets you manage text messages, push notifications, Apple Wallet, Android Pay, mobile Web and other mobile communications all in one place. Vibe also offers a wide range of materials to help businesses run successful mobile campaigns, such as downloadable mobile messaging guides, industry reports, news stories, webinars and other resources.

Another popular form of mobile marketing is using mobile devices to find out more information about a product simply by scanning a bar code or quick-response (QR) code. ScanLife’s Mobile Engagement Platform goes the extra mile by letting customers scan everything from UPC and QR codes to NFC, images, print ads and even actual objects. After scanning, customers are taken directly to websites, videos and other interactive sources. Such technology was once only available to large companies with generous marketing budgets, but ScanLife gives small businesses access to the same high-tech consumer mobile engagement solution on a small business budget.

Figuring out marketing budgets and gauging returns on investment (ROI) can be challenging for small businesses, particularly when it comes to mobile marketing. Convertro eliminates the guesswork by delivering key insights into mobile ad performance, allowing small business owners to make well-informed mobile marketing decisions. This platform can track all mobile elements on the path to purchase by creating customer profiles, no matter what devices they use to engage with your business. For example, if a prospective customer sees a mobile ad on his or her tablet, sees an ad for the same product on her smartphone two days later and then finally makes the purchase on his or her laptop, Convertro’s cross-device attribution technology accurately determines the impact of the mobile activities toward the final purchase. If small business owners have this information, they can make data-driven decisions on how to shift their ad spending toward the most efficient and profitable channels with the greatest ROI.

4 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Grow

Big businesses tend to appeal to wide, general customer bases. As a result, customers with more specific needs are left out, because there’s not enough profit potential for a big company to cater to those customers’ needs. However, a small but eager customer base can be perfect for a smaller business.

“Step No. 1 is to recognize that a larger business is not necessarily your competition. Ask yourself how you are different,” Joanne Chang, owner of and chef at Flour Bakery + Café and Myers + Chang in Boston, said in The Wall Street Journal.

Identifying and focusing on your niche also lets you work to your strengths and develop market expertise and loyalty.

“Many are afraid to eliminate part of a potential market,” James Clear, founder of Passive Panda, wrote in an American Express Open Forum blog post. “It can seem scary, but you need to focus on your core customer if you want a clear path to growth.”

Danielle McPhail, founder of eSpec Books, said she has seen this in the world of small-press publishing.

“When you diversify too much when you’re small, then you can’t maintain your market,” she said. “I’ve worked with a lot of small presses, and when I see them self-destruct is when they start making imprints to reach different markets and they don’t have the support structure to reach that different demographic.”

One way to innovate an industry is to find a problem that most businesses are ignoring.

“Don’t be afraid to solve the hard problems that everyone else avoids,” wrote Clear. “There is a lot of money to be made when you’re the first person to fix something.”

“Because you have passion and because you can tap into agility, you have a perfect mix to better innovate,” Pam Moore, founder of Marketing Nutz, wrote in a blog post. “It doesn’t require an intense board meeting to kick off an idea for further research. You can simply plan it and do it.”

When you innovate, be sure to keep in mind your market and customer base. McPhail encouraged small business owners to diversify within their existing product or service scopes but warned against branching out into completely different demographics.

If you think big, you have to anticipate expansion. That might mean having some general plans in place for taking on more employees, setting up checklists and procedures to ensure quality control, and investing in products and equipment that will grow with you.

Purchasing hardware and software that grows with you is especially important. “Continuously having to upgrade is going to cost you money in the long run. Implement for growth now, and it will save you time, money and headache down the road,” said Moore.

Clear noted that growth doesn’t always mean creating more products or hiring more people.

“Acquisitions can be a massive source of profit and a means to growth if you make a few key moves,” he said.

Clear recommended keeping a list of companies that fit your niche and have the characteristics you’re looking for so that any acquired business enhances your focus and mission.

It takes an independent streak and a do-it-yourself attitude to start your own business, but that doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own. For example, partnering with a business that handles a specific task and sharing the profits lets you keep your focus on what you do best while getting a big project done.

Clear uses the example of tennis balls: If you have a high-end tennis ball, instead of trying to make yourself in the image of Wilson, which has its own manufacturing and distribution, you should find an existing ball manufacturer and offer to share the profits. This frees your time and money so you can concentrate on selling the balls to your specific market, he said.

Thanks to modern technology, you can even harness the power of the crowd to fund your business or specific products.

“What made [starting my publishing company] possible was crowdfunding. Because I’m very good at marketing, we can fund the project and be in the black from the beginning. After that, it’s pure profit,” said McPhail.

Your business may have started small, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Plan for growth and seek out help and partnerships. Then, you can expand to something larger, successfully and on your terms.

8 Important Traits Successful Salespeople Share

“Your customers want to know you … understand their challenges, dreams and goals, and have carefully considered why your solution makes sense. And, they want to be sure you have their best interests at heart. They have to be sure you care [more] about their mission and the greater good, than your numbers.” – Karin Hurt, founder, Let’s Grow Leaders

“If you don’t believe in your product, you aren’t going to make a customer believe in your product. If you can confidently explain how your product or service is going to solve a problem for the customer, then you’ve got the customer in the palm of your hand.” – Megan Ingenbrandt, social media assistant, General Floor

“A good salesperson … is always aware of her circumstances and surroundings, can see how her product or service might positively impact her environment, and will be prepared to present and make a sale at any moment.” – Judy Crockett, retail management consultant and owner, Interactive Marketing & Communication

“Great salespeople never look like they are selling anything. They are educating, instilling faith and confidence. They are quietly and invisibly demonstrating why customers should believe in them and, in turn, buy from them.” – Mark Stevens, CEO, MSCO

“Top sales achievers have a unique ability to cope with difficulty, to negotiate obstacles, to optimize performance in the face of adversity. They take rejection as a personal challenge to succeed with the next customer.” – Jim Steele, president and chief revenue officer, InsideSales.com

“An extrovert is generally sociable, gets energized by spending time with other people, likes to talk and start conversations and makes friends easily. They also tend to have many interests. This allows a salesperson to be willing to meet people, enjoy the interaction, and talk about many things. The more subjects they can converse about, the better they’re able to connect with the customer.” – Dominick Hankle, Ph.D. and associate professor of psychology, Regent University

“You have to listen to the customer’s pain point before you start selling your product or service. Great sales people sell solutions to problems and they do that by understanding and listening to the customer.” – Timothy Tolan, CEO and managing partner, The Tolan Group (Sanford Rose Associates)

“Multitasking is just a natural occurrence in any sales environment. You have sales you’re trying to close, leads you’re nurturing and following up on, and potential leads calling or emailing for more information. A great multitasker can keep everything sorted, conducting multiple trains on a one-train track, and this leads to efficiency, which in turn leads to better performance.” – Coco Quillen, vice president of operations, Davinci Virtual Office Solutions

Tips to Market Your Business with Video Livestreaming

  Video has become an important component of marketing success for businesses. It’s cheaper and easier than ever to produce professional footage and distribute it far and wide. Social media, in particular, is changing the way video is delivered and consumed, and nowhere is that more evident than in the rise of live-stream coverage.

Live streaming might seem like it’s more geared toward journalists or individuals, but it’s actually a powerful tool in the small business advertiser’s marketing toolbox. Here’s how to best leverage live streaming and expand your brand’s reach.

Video live streaming is, quite simply, the act of transmitting live footage over the internet to an active audience. In the past, live streaming was typically done on a dedicated platform, but today, social media has expanded the reach of live streaming to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

“For the first time, small businesses can really experiment with video as a means of communication,” said Tom More, CEO of the creative multimedia company Slidely. “Live streaming is not a new app, there’s nothing new they need to learn, because it’s built into social media. I think what’s happening now will help empower them in new ways.”

While platforms like UStream have long been hosting live videos, social media’s step into the live-streaming territory represents a real opportunity for startups and small businesses to quickly get their messages out at little cost.

Not all live videos are created equal. Developing an effective video ad campaign requires a strategy, and your live footage should be treated no differently. In fact, sloppy or unplanned video could actually damage your brand and have a negative effect, so it’s important to get it right. It’s worth it to put pen to paper and brainstorm a bit beforehand.

“The rules still apply,” Beth Mock LeBlanc, chief creative officer and managing partner at MLB Creative, said. “You need to have a plan for your live videos; it can’t just be ad lib. Find out what your audience is interested in and come up with a plan that targets that.”

While planning is important, the beauty of live video is its casual, personable quality, More said. Striking the right balance between structure and comfort is key.

“Live streaming adds something in terms of honesty,” More said. “From the user’s point of view, it should even seem unrehearsed, but businesses need to rehearse and understand their message.”

Based on the advice of our expert sources, here are a few things to keep in mind when developing a live-streaming strategy:

  1. Post a teaser: If people are going to tune in to your live streams, they need to know when you’re going to be on. Sure, anyone in your network may happen upon your stream while online, but you’ll see an improvement in views and engagement if you give a heads-up to your followers first.
  2. Create a rough script: Live streaming allows you to show a more authentic, spontaneous and human side to your brand. Still, a meandering or nonsensical video will leave users feeling confused, which doesn’t lead to very many conversions. Draft some bullet points and perform a few dry runs before going live, but avoid becoming beholden to a specific script!
  3. Keep your content fresh: Not all live streams have to feel like advertisements. Users are more likely to engage with content that isn’t a direct pitch. If a customer tells you that he or she liked the work you did, ask that person if they’ll go live for 30 seconds and tell your followers about his or her experience. Offer tutorials and how-to videos to help your followers solve a problem that’s associated with your industry. Live-stream events like trade shows or community outings. Any type of content that helps you develop a connection between your social media followers and your brand is a success.
  4. Remember your brand: As part of your marketing strategy, you should have a “brand-positioning statement,” or a simple theme that embodies why your brand is the best choice for the consumer. Your live streams are representing your company’s brand, so be sure to stay on message and remain consistent in the way you approach content creation.
  5. Sell a feeling: Dry or technical advertisements will never go as far as emotionally driven content, and video is an excellent medium for capturing feeling. Know your audience, their needs and their interests, and then be sure to create engaging content that connects with them. Building the association between your brand and audience is more important than pushing a product.
  6. Consider incentives: Entice your followers with deals and specials that are only obtainable through your live streams. Not only will this increase the potential for conversions through that channel, but it will also encourage the growth of your followers over time. Live streaming might capture one specific moment, but the strategy surrounding it is long-term in nature.

The better your strategy is tailored to your audience’s needs, the better the response will be. A successful video marketing campaign, especially social media-based live streaming, has the potential to reach well beyond your network, Mock Leblanc said.

“In our experience, people are very engaged with video,” Mock LeBlanc said. “People share video more and search for it more often. If you can come up with some good content, it can be a very effective tool.”

“In social, we have something TV didn’t, which is real-time sharing,” More added. “People will give you feedback and share it with their friends, and then you have the ability to retarget those people with something a little more focused on the offering. That makes it real.”

How to Building a Relationship

 What do we mean by relationship-building?

When we talk about the competency of relationship-building in the world of business, we are referring to building strong relationships with partners and clients – about using interpersonal skills to network in an effective way.

What does a competent relationship-builder do?

Somebody who is competent at relationship-building focuses on understanding the needs of the client and getting the best possible results. This competency promotes an ethic of client service and so an understanding and anticipation of a client’s changing needs is essential. Stress and conflict are other issues that a competent relationship-builder will manage – keeping composed and acting as mediator when conflicts arise.

How can I start to develop the competency of relationship-building?

First identify the business plan goals of your department and decide what your role is going to be in helping to achieve those goals. You will need to study the business plan and learn as much as possible about your clients’ activities, interests and needs. This information might be available in their own annual reports or in client surveys conducted by your company. Talking to your clients about how you can best meet their needs is also a sensible first step to take.

Seven steps to becoming an effective relationship-builder:

  1. Draw up a plan of what you need to do in order to give your clients what they want. Discuss your ideas with your line manager and then do what is necessary to implement the plan.
  2. When the plan has been set in motion, schedule regular meetings with your line manager to review the progress that you are making and make any necessary adjustments.
  3. When you are working as part of a team or group within a department or a company it is important to assess your contribution to the group’s work. Think about how your efforts help or hinder progress.
  4. Make a weekly analysis of your commitments. Set yourself a goal for each week so that you follow them through. Make an effort to do what you say you are going to do – and also, to do it by the time that you say it will be done. If you get into the habit of doing this it will become like second nature.
  5. Build up a file of contacts and classify them in a way that is meaningful for your particular work context. Then you will know exactly who to call with any queries or when you need information.
  6. Don’t just wait for feedback to come to you, request it from a variety of sources – from your line manager but also from colleagues, clients and people who you supervise. Listen to what they have to say and act accordingly.
  7. Build informal relationships with the people who are working around you. Make a point of greeting people who you normally don’t speak to. Ask them about their interests and make it a goal to practise small talk with them. Listen to what they say and remember so that you can ask about a particular interest the next time you meet.