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Community Futures Beaver River

Box 2678, 106 - 1st Street East, Meadow Lake, SK - Phone: (306) 236-4422

Image Credit: Tourism Saskatchewan/Paul Austringr

January 2018 Newsletter

  • January 2, 2018
  • Written by Beaver River Admin

The Leading Edge - Taking Care of Business


5 Resolutions Your Business Would Make for 2018
If your business could talk to you, it would ask you to make the following five New Year's resolutions to help it succeed and grow. Even if you are already doing some of the strategies detailed below, it may be time to check they are working and up-to-date.

I will ensure my website is responsive and up to date - have you ever visited a site on your mobile device only to find that it's hard to view and even harder to navigate? A responsive website, not to be confused with a mobile-friendly website, adapts to any screen size and is as functional on a smartphone, or even smartwatch as it is on a desktop computer. Why does your company want you to do this? Because, 82% of people use smartphones to research before they buy. And, when you consider there are well over 3-billion mobile device users surfing the internet you really need to take their buying power seriously.
I will create a business Facebook page - sure you may already have a Facebook page, but is it the one you post cat videos on, or photographs of your children, grandchildren, or new car? Not convinced this is necessary for your business? Consider; there are over 60-million active business Facebook pages, so it's likely your competitors are building a following while you are posting images of that great steak you had last night. And, to follow on the theme of the first resolution, more than 1.1-billion people view Facebook pages on mobile devices every day! Here's a link to a guide on setting up your business page:
I will create a LinkedIn profile for myself and my business - Many professionals have a LinkedIn profile, and if you don't you really should consider it; it's the number one platform for B2B lead generation. It is also often the first place another businessperson will look to check your credibility - over 500 million professionals use LinkedIn! The other type of profile is a LinkedIn business page; 57% of businesses have a company page (over 13-million of them). Check the following link to see how to set up your business page:
I will create a signature at the bottom of my emails - perhaps you already have your name and telephone number at the end of your email messages, but what about your logo? What about your business Facebook page, your LinkedIn pages, your blog, your website, or a special offer or free giveaway? Using every email you send as an opportunity to market yourself, your business and what you sell makes sense. Create one now and your business will love you for it. Don't know how? Do a YouTube search for "how to create an email signature on + 'add whatever email platform you use'). The same signature can also be used in newsletters and other electronic forms of communication.
I will launch a Blog - blogs have become a staple of many websites and offer a way to build a following for you and your business. If you are now active on Facebook and LinkedIn (and maybe Twitter?) then you can promote each post you write on those sites and drive more people (prospects) to your site. If writing is not your thing, ask a family member, friend, or employee to write them for you. Alternatively, you can buy content on line.
One bonus tip - put links on your website to your new Facebook and LinkedIn pages so people can follow you and your company. Your business has needs; in 2018 think about giving it the support it needs to grow and flourish.


It's Time to Be Online
In actual fact, you're already lagging behind. It almost doesn't matter what type of business you are in; if you sell something that can be ordered, delivered, or even reviewed online then having and managing an online presence is imperative to your business. Having an online presence will give you a competitive advantage, and allow you to sell to a far wider market. Simply having a website is no longer enough.

The worldwide web, the internet, social media, the sheer level of consumer connectedness, is affecting the way we decide what, where and when to buy. People in stores, maybe even in your store, price-check on their smartphones. We all do it. If we're not checking prices we're reading customer reviews. The scary thing for small businesses owners? If you're not managing your online presence - and make no mistake, everyone has one - then you have no idea or control over what people are saying or reading about you.

The retail world is shrinking; customers can just as easily check prices in Ontario and Hong Kong, as they can with your competitor next door. They can buy almost anything online without leaving their home. This is not a trend it's a reality and it's here to stay.

To be competitive you need to be in touch with your customers on multiple levels through social media. Larger corporations are already reaching out, making connections, offering discount coupons, building loyalty. How are they doing this? Through smartphones, tablets, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Instagram. Pinterest and dozens of other social media portals - wherever their potential customers interact online. If your business is not connected wirelessly to your market, you are losing ground fast. A Business Development Bank of Canada study reports 84 per cent of the population is connected to the Internet and on average they own 2.6 devices. Two-thirds of those on the Internet use social media and 41 per cent buy products and services online. Of course, that's still a minority - a heck of a big one though!

If your online presence doesn't permeate all levels of social media, you are slipping behind your larger competitors. The level of intimacy they have with your customers is almost embarrassing in its depth and accuracy. Don't panic just yet though. Until recently it was expensive to have IT professionals collect, monitor and analyze this data; now many providers such as Google, LinkedIn, Facebook provide this information. If you want more sophisticated analysis check out YouTube for tutorials, or talk to your local SEO firm for their help and advice.

And, it's not just about having a presence, selling online is going to be a vital survival strategy for businesses across Canada. If your business is in a small town, think about the global market out there: it's waiting for you to reach out to it with your service or product.

Make 2018 the year you broaden your market into the homes of people across the world. That may be a scary thought, especially if you are not particularly computer literate - but not doing it may be even scarier.


Coach's Corner - New Year, New Habit
"The only proper way to eliminate bad habits is to replace them with good ones." Jerome Hines, Musician

So here we are in the New Year, a time for making resolutions. Resolutions may be to become healthier and fitter. Resolutions could be to spend more time with family and friends. Resolutions might be to become more efficient and effective at work.

Whatever the resolution, whether personal or professional, it is all about creating a new habit. It is important to stress that habits take from three weeks to three months to form and become routine. Trying to incorporate more than one important habit at a time is difficult and usually backfires. Think of the times when your new year's resolution started well, petered out within a period of time and the excuses mounted.

It all comes back to a few questions. What is it we want to change in our professional or personal life? Why is this important to us? When will we incorporate this into our daily or weekly routine? How do we make sure the habit sticks?

Again, we need to focus on what it is we truly want to change and work on. This needs to be our focus; not what others say or feel. We need to be fully committed to the new habit, if there is to be any chance of success.

Next, we need to look at when and how it will be incorporated into our life. What is a good time that will ensure we keep it up? Is there something that is being replaced with the new habit and are we willing to replace it? We have to be honest with ourselves to ensure that the new habit is truly what we want and are willing to make some sacrifices to ensure its successful implementation.

Finally, we need to have a plan as to how to keep it going. This is really about accountability. When we enlist a family member, friend or colleague to whom we have confided our goal, we have become accountable to both ourselves and them. We will endeavor to keep up the habit when we know others are aware. If they understand the importance of you acquiring this habit, they will want to help you along the path you have chosen.

So, as we look ahead in this New Year you may want to look at changing a certain habit. Knowing this habit will impact your life in a powerful way is the motivation to begin this journey.

"Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going." Jim Ryun, Olympic Athlete

Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach, Motivated Coaching and Development