Is My Product Profitable? Using Profit Frog to Find Out
If you're introducing a product or want to measure one, Profit Frog can help you determine if it's hitting your goals. Profit Frog helps you analyze the past, interpret it, and plan for the future.
Together, we'll add a new product to Profit Frog and see how long it takes to make a profit.
Example: Carry's Appliances
Imagine Carry runs an appliances business.
She does very well and sells to three large counties. She has a storefront and runs an online business. A year ago, she started selling high-quality washers.
She wanted to include dryers but didn't have the resources, so she started small. Now, based on her sales, she knows she can add dryers of the same brand to her product portfolio.
But when will it be profitable?
We can find out by adding her business first.
Once we do, we’ll see a dashboard with no data. We can manually enter information or upload an Excel sheet with our data.
Using Profit Frog, you can add everything from your business, like all your products, expenses, and critical information. For this case, we will enter information only for the dryers.
We see three categories. Since Carry has an existing business, we’ll only add increased expenses and information on the new product.
Carry adds things like delivery costs for local online orders, the purchase of new equipment, increased labor hours, and more. The total expenses for new equipment investments and variable costs for the first month are $82,500 and then $70,500 monthly.
Carry then adds the dryer as a product. It costs $300 to purchase. We add it to the COGS. Any other costs of the goods can be added to this number. In this case, we are sticking with the purchase price of the machine as the COGS.
Carry adds her customers for the new product. Based on her washer sales, she is forecasting her projected growth. The sales price will be $1,000.
We hit enter and tada!
Carry learns that it will take a couple of months to get out of the red, make a small profit, and then gradually grow throughout the year. She decides it will be a good investment and chooses to invest in the new product.
The image above clearly shows what Carry’s journey could look like with the new product. Carry could upload all her information and compare different products, margins, and critical information to make the best decisions.
Profit Frog is a flexible software platform that allows you to customize your unique needs for the company.
Have you tested Profit Frog out? See if your products are making the cut!Read article
What is Social Listening?
Social listening helps you identify top influencers, track brand mentions, and measure your marketing efforts. If you're not familiar with social listening yet, this guide will help explain what it is and how it can help your brand.
The method focuses on monitoring conversations online about your business, products, or services. In short, social listening is actively listening for feedback. But unlike customer feedback, you are searching for raw information on social media platforms, forums, and websites. Social listening doesn’t only apply to your brand feedback but also to competitor feedback, industry sentiments, and relevant information.
You can use this data to drive sales, improve your brand, and increase traffic to your website. Utilize valuable insights from what your customers are saying.
Main Benefits of Social Listening
“Our social feeds are a springboard for connection… Brands need to incorporate social listening to find and harness these conversations for an impactful strategy… You have to read the room…” -Christina Garnett, Senior Marketing Manager of HubSpot
Every company should invest in social listening. It's one of the best ways to get unfiltered information. You can use this data to build a better experience and product for your customers.
Below are a few ways you can use social listening to your advantage.
Get vital information
Study feedback and data when customers voice their concerns. For example, if someone tweets about a poor experience when visiting your website, you can make changes based on their public feedback. You can better optimize it for those visitors to have a positive experience every time. This can generate more leads and sales over time and create greater customer loyalty because users are happier.
In addition, collect and analyze data from blogs, social media, and other online sources. This can help you identify what people are saying about your brand, which you can use to improve how you market your product or service.
You might ask: "why wouldn't I use Google Alerts?" Google Alerts is great for finding articles with keywords, but they don't let you see the entire conversation around those keywords. This can be used in your portfolio of many tools and methods but should not be the only focus.
Social listening software and methods track more than one keyword at a time. Instead of getting back results based on one phrase (like “fresh baked goods"), social listening processes study dozens of variations. The social listening strategy adds the human element to how we communicate. It focuses on different variations of words, phrases, and relevant feedback. It also includes a professional following key influencers and customers, listening to what they have to say— embedding themselves in communities.
Broaden your reach
Social listening can help you reach a broader audience and expand your brand’s reach. The more you know about what people are saying, the better positioned you are to respond with relevant improvements.
You can use social listening to identify new audiences that may be interested in what you have to offer, helping further refine your target audience or refine how well-positioned your current messaging is for the people who already follow your brand online.
Every business can benefit from watching its competitors. It doesn't have to be for comparisons, but it can be a method to learn and improve your brand. Social listening is a great strategy to see how customers respond to different brands.
If a customer says something positive or negative about a competitor's product or brand, you can use that information to improve your company.
Improve your bottom line with meaningful data
Social listening is a way to gather information about your target audience. It allows you to gain insight into what your customers need and want and how you can use that data to create better products and services. This can be helpful for all areas of business, but social listening can help with more than just marketing efforts.
Social media monitoring provides valuable insights into customer service issues as they arise. Customer support agents can monitor complaints before they escalate into bigger problems.
Inform marketing strategies and campaigns
Social listening is the process of monitoring and analyzing what people are saying about your brand to help inform your marketing strategy and campaigns. You measure sentiment, identify topics of interest, drive traffic to content, and much more.
The first step in social listening is identifying who is talking about your brand or industry. This can be done through keyword searches on Twitter or other platforms that allow for hashtag tracking. Once you have identified who is talking about your topic or company, it will be easier for you to organize the data into a meaningful format that can be used for decision-making purposes within your organization.
“You have to read the room.”
How Do You Start a Social Listening Strategy?
To start a social listening strategy, you must be clear on your goals. First, decide what you want to achieve. Do you want to increase engagement on social media or market share? Once you've identified your goals, set a realistic schedule and budget to reach them.
Next, identify the right tools for the task at hand. There are dozens of different platforms designed for social listening—so many that it can be hard to determine which one is right for your needs!
Learning the right strategies and tools will help you become effective with your social listening. It can help you understand what your audience is saying and how they feel about your brand, products, industry, and competitors.
1. What people are saying about your brand
When you send out reviews or surveys, you always risk someone filtering their real feelings, or you only get the most invested customers to send in information. When you search through social media and online forums, you get raw, real perspectives about your brand. Even one post from one customer can help you transform a product.
2. The sentiment of those conversations
What is the general tone of your brand? Is it positive or negative? These questions predict the long-term success of your company. If you can catch a negative sentiment early, you can change the narrative of your business and create a better company. If it's positive, you can double down on what works.
3. How customers feel towards competitors in the space
What do customers or audience members think about similar brands? Are they happy they chose you, or are they tempted and allured about the competitor? Find out what their thoughts are through social listening and make necessary adjustments to keep them for the long-term.
4. What people are saying about products within an industry
Product feedback is critical, especially for other products in the industry. If a competitor has a simple feature that you don't have, social listening can reveal whether it is an investment worth pursuing (or ignoring).
Getting Started with the Tools You Have Now
Perhaps you don't want to invest in the resources yet before you can experience social listening for yourself. It's a new internet term, and it's understandable if business leaders want to experiment and see how social listening can benefit their company.
Review the social media platforms you are using. For example, you might have a Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter page as a brand. Start with those platforms since you are familiar with them and already have an audience.
Social listening is different from engaging with your current following. You want to reach people who aren't directly communicating with your brand. Use hashtags and keyword searches to find some of this information.
For example, if you sell luxury soaps, use keywords like "I hate it when soap" or search your brand name and see what pops up. You will find valuable information from people who often don't have anything to lose since they are posting information with no pressure or request.
Your team can document this information through Google Sheets or other tools to analyze and interpret the data.
Picture social listening as the equivalent of visiting your online reviews and your competitors' reviews on a big online marketplace. When they say something positive, you take note of it. When they point to something negative about your product or another brand's product, you write it down. Eventually, you use that information to form a better product that fulfills their exact needs.
Social media listening does the same as review monitoring. It is listening in on public conversations and using that information to create a concise strategy.
As you invest in social listening, you can benefit from data that exists right now. Many companies spend thousands and millions on information. But a good amount is already available for free on various platforms. The difference is that you need an intentional strategy that listens to others on social media each day.
Review your platforms and get to know their search features. Many of them have advanced tools, and you can save your settings (like TweetDeck for Twitter). Once you're practicing social listening and you are ready to invest in more of it, you can use premium tools to dig deeper.Read article
Hiring During the Great Resignation
We have survived a roller coaster of events for the past few years, ranging from economic shutdowns and sickness to congested ports. All of these things have caused shortages and disruptions. And one of the significant consequences that have affected small businesses is the Great Resignation.
Now that we are establishing a new economy post-pandemic, we must recognize this movement and learn to adapt our hiring practices, policies, and workplace environment for a workforce holding more leverage.
If we can find employees, keep them happy, and make an attractive workplace, we can benefit from top talent.
"I don't have enough workers."
Most consumers have never experienced this before the pandemic: they go to their coffee shop and wait in a long line; in front of them is a sign that states the shop doesn’t have enough employees. The same day, they grab lunch, but the menu is now limited; a notice tells them that they can only serve the most popular items due to a lack of employees.
This hurts businesses because they are losing revenue. It's also bad for employee morale. And now, you're competing with other companies to get talent.
How do we combat these issues? It starts by recognizing that talent and expectations have changed.
A Different Workforce
The Great Resignation did not happen randomly. It was the consequence of something that already existed. Employees felt they worked too hard and lacked the appreciation, flexibility, and compensation to continue their jobs. That's why it sparked 65% of workers to look for a new job in 2021.
Not everyone felt this way. Many people had great jobs. But for these people, the "what ifs" started to become a little more possible.
With the growth of remote work and hybrid opportunities during shutdowns, the opportunities multiplied. Employees evaluated if it made sense to work for a business they didn't want to and pay high living costs, or live where they wanted, enjoy flexibility, and work for companies around the group.
This attractive offer grabbed hold of many people. And talent began to switch over to companies that offered these perks and lifestyles.
While not all companies have the luxury of building a remote or hybrid workplace, there are a few things they can do to attract these employees and beat the talent shortage.
Attracting & Retaining New Talent
How can you capture new talent again, despite the Great Resignation? We can recognize their emotional needs:
Employees want more flexibility than ever. In 2021, over 51% of employees in one survey said they would take a 10-20% salary decrease for more flexibility. Employees want the ability to do a great job and have control over their day-to-day lives.
Businesses can create a results-based environment that gives employees more autonomy. They can develop metrics to hold employees accountable while giving them the freedom to experiment and develop processes to improve their system. For example, if an employee needs to leave the office for an hour for personal reasons, it shouldn't be a problem if they meet expectations. If they need to work at a coffee shop for a few hours to focus, they can. Along with vacations and working from home, this is a policy that attracts talent.
Your industry and customer needs may differ. It also requires that employees understand time and company profitability. Find a way to add flexibility to your team that works best for your business.
Mental health is getting more attention in the workplace. However, while mental health has always been vital for employee health, it has become harder to maintain. With the rise of social media and the 24/7 demand of businesses (as we become a global, time-zone-free economy with the internet), it's more complicated than ever.
Talent is shifting their values for health more than their lifestyle or salary. They want to enjoy their lives and increase longevity. Companies that encourage this by establishing boundaries and resources can attract talent and create a workplace they want to work in.
Generous businesses will always have an advantage for talent. If talent feels they are getting fair compensation, they will likely stay longer and do a better job. They feel valued, and their needs are taken care of.
Even from a business standpoint, it's much better to have happy employees and don't stress about making their rent payment. Instead, they can focus on their job and improve their skills.
Decide on the salaries and benefits that are fair. Then, if you can afford it, find ways you can bless them beyond industry expectations.
Everyone wants to become good at their craft. Agency is the ability to have a personal brand, market themselves as a professional, and make leadership decisions on their work.
There are a few layers to this. For example, we can encourage employees to start small projects and consult for companies (with boundaries on conflict of interest and more). Or maybe they can teach one class at a local college. It's an opportunity for them to increase their income (without you) and get better at what they do. Could they leave one day? Maybe. But you create a better output for your productivity through improved skills and happier employees.
Consulting and side projects help grow the employee in their skills, but it's also a way for you to market your company. Those employees will share their experiences in their role and your brand. They will network, and word will spread. Create boundaries on what can be shared. Their projects open doors for you. Even in talent! An employee teaching a class once a week could be your pipeline source for new graduates.
The other is the ability to lead in their profession. If a graphic designer is a professional in what they do, leaders should listen to their suggestions and give them room to lead. When we hire a contractor for a renovation, we have a vision for them, but we trust their expertise and their ability to lead in their field. This shows we value the professional and gives them space to grow and lead the company in that area.
Opportunities for Growth
Talent should have a track for growth. If you have a larger company, provide a clear path that employees can work hard at and expect to get promoted or grow if done well.
If you have limited resources, provide a way for them to get better. This could be more education, networking opportunities, conferences, and more. Your goal for the program should be for employees to outgrow you.
You can provide value to them, and they will do a great job. When they are in a new role one day, they can recommend younger talent to you. If they had a good experience, they would talk about their time working for you (increasing your reach, creating a popular workplace reputation, attracting more talent).
Building for the Future
Once you have a system in place, keep going into the future. The Great Resignation was a result of decades-old frustration. You can become more resilient toward talent disruption by understanding what employees want and where their interests are changing.
One way to start is by creating a more remote or hybrid workplace. Not every industry can do it, but there are balanced approaches. See if there are ways to incorporate it into your business. It may require new technologies. Now is the time to start investing in good platforms to facilitate future opportunities.
Sometimes employees want a change of pace too. For example, maybe you have a restaurant, and you need most employees there. Also, creating ways they can work outside the building, like at events, can provide a new and fun environment.
The other prediction we can expect is more employees to invest in themselves. Through personal branding on social media, they can create a "live resume" and work on their career image. Brands that help facilitate it will have happy talent and attract new people.
Brands will also need tighter feedback loops. They should receive surveys often and have open conversations about the workplace. Then, you can predict their needs and find ways to meet them.
Building for the future isn't only about making employees happy; it's about equipping them to do their best job. Technology, business practices, and economies change. Therefore, the workplace should change in correlation to it.
Being Part of the Conversation
Finally, small businesses can continuously discuss with employees and their network how they can beat the Great Resignation and build a better future.
While this article has focused on attracting and retaining new talent through policies, leaders should consider their talent pipelines. Do you have a source to get new talent quickly? There should be a short-term strategy (recruiting swiftly) and a long-term strategy (investing in students/graduates or community for the skills).
As your business, team, community, and network work together to develop an attractive talent market, you can beat the shortage now and in the future.Read article
Dynamic Business Planning: Strategizing Growth for Your Small Business
Imagine you are on a train. You step inside, and you're ready to go to your destination. On the intercom, you hear the conductor say, "All aboard, we're ready to go. I'm not sure where yet, but let's follow these tracks and hope there's not another train in the way." Of course, you would run and try to jump off.
If you don't know where you are going, you could end up anywhere. It's dangerous and can often lead to failure. As business owners, we know the value of strategy and why it's essential.
Knowing where is critical but so is how. That's what a good plan does for us, and dynamic planning is an excellent method to adopt for your small business.
Fundamentals: What is Dynamic Planning?
Today, the world rushes through innovations, and budgets and strategies are too static. We can plan something for next year, but the need or investment is obsolete by the time we get there.
Dynamic planning focuses on short-term strategies influenced by ever-changing needs while still following the big vision of your company.
The best way to describe it is with two words: strategy and elasticity. We have a vision for the company; we plan short sprints based on what we learn and adjust as needs change. This reflects our budgets, culture, marketing, and all aspects of our business.
When you first develop your strategy, you have an ultimate goal. You decide where you want to go in x amount of time and what it will take to get there. It's big-picture thinking combined with the tactics needed to accomplish the vision you have for that timeframe.
Dynamic strategy is the same except that it recognizes that things change fast. Strategy is too static. For example, you could plan for a product release at the end of the year, but a new variant to a pandemic threatens the entire launch a month before. Perhaps it's a grand opening to a brick-and-mortar store. A static strategy wouldn't be prepared for this uncertainty. Business owners would take the loss.
A dynamic strategy would have foreseen these possibilities. The budget would not be static. Instead, resources would shift to a developing and already-existing dynamic investment that would aid in the company's growth like eCommerce and sanitary investments. It isn't a setback but a pivot on the need for the company in real-time.
Dynamic strategy influences your finances, team training, and all company operations. You have clear goals and objectives but realize things could change after analyzing results.
While you may have a long-term vision, dynamic planning requires revisiting your strategy in shorter cycles like every few months. Then, after analyzing data and needs, you make adjustments regularly.
As implied with strategy, dynamic planning requires flexibility. Elasticity means we can stretch and make changes as needed based on our resources and market needs. Every level of the company structure should adopt it as a discipline and mindset.
Businesses should revisit their strategy often and reevaluate it. 2019-2022 have been perfect examples of why this is important. Things changed every few months: companies were forced to restrict operations during the pandemic, then they could open up again, only to restrict again a few months later. It required extreme elasticity for companies to survive.
The ones that thrived embraced dynamic planning through those obstacles and produced incredible innovations and new ideas that helped them grow for the future.
Dynamic elasticity requires your business to embrace change and make pivots when necessary. You are open to opportunities and well prepared to take them on in response.
The famous principle rings true to dynamic planning: Luck = Preparation + Opportunity.
We learn that what we perceive as lucky often has to do with the resources we invested in and our ability to take on a new opportunity when it presents itself. Preparation represents our dynamic strategy, while opportunity reflects our ability to adapt.
Questions to Ask Yourself Now
As you begin to evaluate where you are within the dynamic plan and your business, ask yourself the right questions.
Do I have a big picture?
Dynamic planning works in sprints, but you have to know where you are going first. Develop an end goal for your business through its different stages of growth.
Do I know where I am going?
Now decide what it takes to get there. You can set up tactics based on this and adjust as needed through dynamic planning.
Do we follow a plan, and are we eager to embrace change?
If you follow a plan now, examine it.
Is it in line with dynamic principles?
There needs to be room for evaluation and change. Then ask yourself if there is an eagerness to make that change. If not, you may need to invest in training and culture-building for you and your team to see it as necessary and exciting.
Dynamic planning provides an effective method to navigate quickly within changing environments. In the past, businesses knew they needed to get better to grow. Ten-year plans were the norm. But, as technology and outside circumstances shake industries within months, we need to get better, faster. Dynamic planning gives us the tools to do it.
Application: Inside Dynamic Planning
Traditionally, strategizing for your business would require a yearly meeting and hard work ironing out an annual budget. Then, you would stick to that budget and evaluate your results based on these original goals. It helped you stay focused and create accountability for your business and vision.
The world moves too fast for this to work. For example, you could plan on increasing revenue by 10%. Still, then a new product in the market threatens your existence, inflation hits hard, or a social media account that brought exposure is suspended for weeks because of a misunderstanding.
There are many circumstances out of your control, and your flexibility to respond and move your resources to the appropriate designation will determine how it affects your business.
Case Study: Peloton
Take, for instance, what happened with Peloton. On September 11th, 2020, CNN reported on the unexpected success of the fitness brand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales skyrocket 172%.
People stayed home, lived their lives, and worked in the house. They needed to exercise. Not only did the brand have home equipment they could use, but it also had a strong brand community that helped with the loneliness customers felt because of a decline in social activities.
Through dynamic planning, they were well prepared. A spike in demand and supply shortages were challenges, but they worked hard to create a flexible plan that embraced it.
They offered free subscriptions to their service for months, encouraging people to join the community. They cut the price of their most in-demand bike by 15% and added a higher-value product release. Then they planned to include a new lower-priced product.
If they were not ready to jump on the opportunity, they would have missed it. But they were still on a roller coaster of change. Finally, a short scene from a Sex and the City revival put the nail in the coffin. One of their characters died after exercising on a Peloton bike.
This problem led to a decline in stock value, and Peloton faced a PR crisis. So, again, they implemented dynamic planning. They hired a firm run by actor Ryan Reynolds to use the same character in a commercial.
The character is well and alive on a romantic getaway, toasting to new beginnings near two Peloton bikes, saying, "Should we take another ride? Life's too short not to." Then Reynold's voiceover states: "And just like that… the world is reminded that regular cycling stimulates and improves your heart, lungs, and circulation, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Cycling strengthens your heart muscles, resting pulse and reduces blood-fat levels."
The commercial went viral and gave the brand a much-needed boost. This quick thinking was only possible by analyzing the situation through dynamic planning and shifting resources to meet the needs.
When dynamic planning, businesses should strategize on shorter intervals. Instead of yearly or twice a year, consider quarterly planning or even reevaluating every month. You're better prepared to make flexible changes as you constantly review your strategy.
The best way to envision the dynamic method is by using Tim Berry's model laid in "Fundamentals of Lean Business Planning."
We learn about his model and cycle for lean planning:
- Plan: We develop a realistic plan to meet our goals.
- Run: We enact that plan and see it in action.
- Review: We review the results and revisit our initial goals and expectations.
- Revise: We make adjustments after learning from our review.
- [Repeat] We continue with the cycle using the information we have.
(Eric Reis offers a similar model with The Lean Startup. We Build, Measure, and Learn.)
Tim's model emphasizes the difference and importance between reviewing and revising the lesson learned. He offers an effective way to build a dynamic planning structure for your business.
Putting Lean Dynamic Planning in Action
Now that we know what dynamic planning is, what's needed to apply it, what does it look like if we start tomorrow?
Consider dynamic business planning through the following:
1. Big Picture of Your Business
Establish your vision. Everything you do will be in the context of meeting this ultimate goal.
2. Day-to-Day Requirements
Identify the tactics needed to accomplish your goals. What habits, systems, and processes do you need to adopt?
3. Steps to Accomplish Your Goals
What tasks need to get done? Evaluate the steps necessary to get the best results. You might initially think of 30 things, but perhaps focusing on five high-value tasks will get you better results through the Pareto Principle.
4. Review Finances & Results
Does your budget reflect changing and growing needs? Review it regularly and adjust it to meet these shifts and opportunities.
5. Adjust or Continue
After reviewing your plan, decide what you can improve on through your lessons learned, and adjust. Continue doing what works and add room for experimentation.
Communication: The Key to Successful Dynamic Model
While you can adopt dynamic thinking for your business, it will not happen unless everyone adopts it at every level.
For example, if a janitor is trained in the mindset and believes in it, she could find opportunities typically skipped over. Perhaps she notices that productivity goes up when the office is less cluttered. Employees seem to work faster and work on their desks longer.
She presents this to you, and you work together to allocate resources for more cleaning and organization throughout the day. Consequently, productivity goes up, and so does profitability.
You can benefit from team input when you communicate your plan effectively, embedding it in the culture.
Present the Vision
Let your team know that you are introducing dynamic planning. Teach it to them. Give them the vision to believe in, like how a growing company means more opportunities for them too.
Give Your Team Room for Input
When you communicate the vision, open the floor to questions. Try to remember their concerns. These are pressure points that you can address and improve as you grow into the plan. Listen to their ideas and be open to experimenting with the best.
Most people forget what's on a piece of paper. You could write out an entire page on expectations and what you want to do, but it doesn't translate to action. A key barrier is memory.
Create encouraging one-liners that represent the vision. These are more memorable and tend to penetrate through an emotional response.
For example, to encourage flexibility and how significant change is, you could often say: "We need to stretch before we grow." Then, as your team continues to hear it in a positive light, they will adopt that principle in their work.
Continuously repeat it through your words and action. Your team (and you) need to be reminded of expectations and your vision for the company. Revisiting and communicating the value of dynamic planning will become second nature.
Applying Dynamic Principles to Different Business Stages
Dynamic planning will look different for many businesses depending on the industry and the growth stage. However, the principles remain the same. Together, we can review what it may look like for two different business life cycle stages: established businesses and new businesses.
The older your business is, the harder it can be to enact change. It's especially true when a new framework can redefine your organization. Lean thinking needs to be implemented from every level of the company.
First, review your goals from last year. Which ones did you meet, fail, or exceed? Going over what you've done in the past adds context, and you can better develop your new dynamic plan.Re-establish your vision and what it would take to get there. What does your idea of success look like? Put it in writing.
Once you know where you want to go and how to implement dynamic planning, present it to your team. You're dealing with different people depending on how long they have been with the company and their experience. For example, an intern, a veteran, and someone who's been working with you for less than three years will interpret your change differently.
The best way to get your team on board is by telling a story. It's the best way to unite everyone and give them an emotional connection to what you want to do. Your story could start with the origins of the company and your bigger-than-life dream for it. Then, you can explain what has happened since then and why there needs to change.
State the challenge you face today, then offer a new solution. Dynamic planning will allow the company to grow faster, make quick changes when needed, and empower your team to do the best job they can. Once your team is on board, use the Dynamic planning model to revaluate every operation and process within the company.
For example, let's say you review your customer service. You notice their scripts aren't as effective as you would hope.
So you revise them, plan how they will be delivered, test them out, and review them again. If you see better results and how it affects long-term sales, you could adjust your budget next quarter to reflect those discoveries and invest in more customer service resources and training.
Established businesses should prioritize communication, training, and review old processes to jumpstart their dynamic planning approach.
Things move too fast if you have a new small business or a startup. You're wearing multiple hats, and things feel like they could go out of control. It's an exciting time, but it's also scary.
When you implement a dynamic strategy, you prepare yourself for these ups and downs. As a result, your review intervals might look shorter-- even within weeks-- but constantly reviewing how you are doing and where your resources are going will help you grow in an ever-changing climate.
New businesses can test an idea quickly, learn from it, and improve it by adopting the dynamic planning methodology. The resources and investments directly follow the results. Through a tight feedback loop, new businesses can use data to improve as they grow.
Newer businesses have an advantage. They can build out their DNA from the beginning. If you want to adopt dynamic planning, now is the time to include it in your decision-making process.
Plan backward. Clarify where you want to go, and the steps needed to get there. By focusing on ONE THING, businesses can use their limited resources to become the best in their market. Build to be better, not bigger, and customers will see your value.
Empowering Your Team to Embrace Dynamic Thinking
We've covered the importance of communicating the vision of dynamic planning by now. However, without your team, it's impossible to implement the methodology.
If you make embedding the plan within your company DNA a priority, your team won't follow you; they will learn to lead with you. As they take the initiative, your leadership will grow beyond yourself, and the business can flourish.
1. Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership
Leadership expert John Maxwell famously states how outcomes all boil down to the leader. Success and failure depend on who is leading the helm. That's why the person in charge of implementing dynamic planning is critical.
Make sure your entire leadership team fully embraces the idea. If they hesitate to understand the vision, take time to walk them through it and help them see the value. If they don't get it, your team won't.
2. Make it a Journey
If your team is scared of failure, you won't see progress. Give them space to experiment. Dynamic planning is all about continuous improvements, and it can only happen when team members have autonomy in testing ideas. When there is a failure, it should be a lesson learned, not a disappointment. Taking a risk should be celebrated.
Train everyone in the company no matter the role. When everyone is on board, it forms a strong community and reaps better results on every level.
3. Invest in Resources
Equip your team to do the best job they can. Team members should have courses, books, and media rooted in dynamic thinking at their disposal. Teams should have the right software to collect and analyze relevant data to make informed decisions for the business.
4. Host an Annual Review
While dynamic planning emphasizes shorter intervals, annual planning is still necessary. It helps lead you to a vision, but it's not static in the context of a dynamic plan. At the end of the year, host a review with your staff.
It helps to have a document that records the reasons and thinking behind specific goals and metrics so you can fully evaluate results with context. Then, in a positive light, review the good and bad things and how the company responded through flexibility and perseverance.
Then state the vision for the next year and what new things employees can expect.
Adapting Your Business Model
Dynamic planning principles allow you to move fast and grow a healthy company. By reviewing your goals and results often, revising them, and adjusting your resources based on your findings, you can raise a company that withstands any challenge in the market.
Dynamic planning is a continuous improvement mindset put into action. Follow these principles to get started.
Great teams need great tools. There's nothing better for dynamic planning than Profit Frog, which lets you simulate ideas, study data, and make the best decisions for your company. Check out the free trial and see how dynamic planning can help your business.Read article
How to Communicate Your Vision Through Storytelling
At Profit Frog, we've dissected the importance of Dynamic Planning and how we can use it to build a leaner, better company. If there's one thing business leaders learn quickly, it's that nothing can get done without a powerful team.
Your team needs to believe in what you want to accomplish. If they don't take ownership, you're the only one advancing the mission. The best way to build a team that reaches goals is by communicating your vision to inspire them to action.
"Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others." - Jonathan Swift
Storytelling is an effective way to share your vision.
It helps articulate what you want to communicate and connects with your audience emotionally. Emotions are stronger than logic, and if you can combine both of them, you're more likely to build a team that believes in the company vision.
This article will focus on three things to develop your vision with stories.
1. Developing a Vision
Before you tell a story, you need a great vision. Many visions are vague or impossible to reach. It should be something that people can believe in. We'll dissect what makes a great vision.
2. Writing Your Team Into the Story
Stories are powerful forces to action. We can write our team members into the story to be empowered and help drive your business' mission.
3. Using Stories to Inspire
How do you articulate your vision through a creative story? A parable or true story can help cement your vision into memory and spark inspiration. It helps your team members reflect and connect emotionally with the vision. We'll learn how we can identify and communicate a story.
What Makes a Good Vision?
Peter Drucker once stated, "The vision must be tied to what the firm values, and the leader must make this connection in a way that the organization can understand, grasp, and support."
Vision shows where you want to be. It's a destination, and only by knowing that destination will you develop the steps needed to get there.
Drucker makes an important observation. Vision is connected to what your business values. If you value a great product, treating people well, and changing an industry, your vision reflects it. On the other hand, if your business is hurting and has an unhealthy team, your vision will suffer.
Before developing a vision, write down the values you want for your small business. These should be part of your company's DNA and should support the vision.
Then write down your vision. Answer the following questions to help develop the right one for you:
- What is my ideal outcome for the business?
- How do I want to change the industry?
- What makes us different?
- How will we treat people (customers, employees, partners)?
Visions should be as specific as possible and avoid general statements.
For example, Tesla's vision from 2011 is, "[To] create the most compelling car company of the 21st century by driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles".
Reading this today, we see how Tesla has already made a difference in the electric and sustainability industry and how they continue to pursue the vision today.
Communicating Your Vision Through Stories
It's one thing to state your vision, but how do you get people to believe in it?
There's no doubt it takes a level of charisma and talent from a leader. But even if you aren't good at communicating, you can utilize stories to do the heavy lifting for you.
Why are stories effective?
It draws people into reflection and helps inspire them. Everybody loves a good underdog story because they see themselves in it. If a scrappy sports team faces world champions, their fans will do anything to succeed. They are all-in on the story.
The issue with storytelling is that we like to make it about ourselves. For example, a business wanting to sell cleaning services will often promote how great they are and how they save the day with clean facilities. But when people read or listen to it, there is a disconnect.
They don't care how good you are; they care about how you will fix their problem. They filter your communication through their lenses-- their story.
So how can we tell a story and write our team members into it?
We can develop a story that communicates our vision by adopting the framework by Donald Miller. His book, Building a StoryBrand, teaches us how to build a compelling story.
For purposes of understanding Miller's model, we will build a story from the perspective of a business selling services.
1. A Character
There is a hero to the story. Businesses naturally think it's them, but it's not what customers see. They are the hero of their own story. Heroes have a goal, and they want to succeed.
2. With a Problem
They have faced an obstacle in their way. They need a way to overcome it.
3. Meets a Guide
They meet someone (the business) who has experienced the problem and knows how to overcome it.
4. That Gives Them a Plan
The business shows them how their problem can be solved.
5. That Calls Them to Action
It's up to the character to do something about it.
6. That Results in Success or Failure
The hero can succeed after overcoming the problem.
If you look at your favorite movies and stories, they often fall under this framework.
In Lion King, Simba's father is murdered by Scar, and he goes into exile. He later loves his new life. Then one day, he learns that his family and many others are suffering at the hands of Scar (problem).
So he meets with the monkey Rafiki, and he speaks with his spirit-father in an encounter, all guides to help him succeed. Finally, he has his "map" and takes action. At the movie's end, he conquers the villain and reigns over a happy kingdom.
As you communicate your vision, you can adopt this framework:
1. A Character
A team member does their job well and enjoys working for the business.
2. With a Problem
Many prospects in the community don't know about the brand and deal with a problem you solve every day.
3. Meets a Guide
The business leader knows how to grow the business through dynamic planning and an effective strategy.
4. That Gives Them a Plan
The team member has a plan to grow the business and reach more customers, benefiting the community and their job.
5. That Calls Them to Action
The team member knows what needs to be done and is ready to act.
6. That Results in Success or Failure
The company grows, and more customers benefit. The team member enjoys new privileges because of a more profitable and healthier company.
The more specific your story is, the better you can craft your vision.
Now that we've developed a way to frame our communication, how can we use a personal story to illustrate a point?
Using Creative Stories
The StoryBrand story will help write your team members into the vision. It affects the way you communicate with them. But if you're presenting the vision for the first time, there is nothing more effective than a true story or creative analogy.
The best way will always be a relevant true story. Is there a testimonial or customer story that would describe your ideal goals for the vision?
Perhaps you want to be a more empathetic company so you can build loyal customers for years. There may be a story of a customer that had a family crisis, and an employee representing the brand went above and beyond to make a small difference. This sets the stage for your vision.
You can also use other brands, history, and sources to paint a picture.
For example, let's say you want to improve your product because it breaks or has issues after a couple of years. The sales price is high, and you want it to last a long time.
You can tell the story about how your father bought a classic car older than he was, the work he put in, and how much he enjoyed it; he would always talk about the quality and how great of a build it was.
Creative and true stories should help inspire your team. They also have a seed at its core that serves as the foundation of your vision.
Recap: Putting it All Together
Now that you know the elements of communicating your vision through a story, how does it come together?
1. Define your vision. Make sure you can believe in it and that it resonates with your team. Ensure that it's achievable and specific.
2. Build your team into the story. How is it relevant to your employee? How can you make them the hero?
3. Inspire with a creative story. Paint the picture. Put your vision into perspective and tie it into a deeper meaning.
As you develop your vision and story, you'll create a more effective way to communicate. If your team passionately believes in your company vision, you'll accomplish more than imagined.Read article
Grand Opening Ideas for Your Business
When you start a new small business, your first day is the most important event. It's your best chance for a big first impression and the litmus test for future momentum.
You also get a rare chance to spread the word about your brand to your entire community.
A grand opening is a lot like a wedding. You've prepared for months and you want it to be amazing. You're nervous too. But ultimately, you don't want it to last one day. You want a bright future with your new partner, filled with adventure and a wonderful life.
Your big day should be amazing and it should set you up for years to come. It should be the chance to display the value you offer to your community and increase your reach. It's a big announcement and with the right preparation, you could build momentum for the business.
We've come up with a few grand opening ideas for your business so you can get started.
But First: Before Your Grand Opening
Your grand opening does not start the day you open the doors. If you wait until you are officially open to spread the word about your business, then you face an uphill climb. Whether you plan on opening a year from now or in a few months, it's always best to start early.
What reality do you prefer? An opening day with a line out the door or having to build a brand from scratch and waiting a year to get momentum? The difference is branding and marketing your business before the doors open.
There are tons of ways you can do this. One is event promotion. Imagine setting up a tent at a neighborhood festival or morning market. You can hand out samples of your product, spread the word, and get them connected through email and social media.
If you are moving to a location, add signage letting people know you're arriving in town. Display the big date so they can plan on visiting. This helps spread awareness and saves you time and money.
Media announcements are powerful. You can get the local news channels and papers to mention an exciting new small business opening up in town.
Promote your products and offer a waitlist through online ads. Build an email list, which will be one of your most powerful means of communication when it is grand opening season. Also, share digital assets in exchange for emails; blog articles, ebooks, and other materials to help build your list.
Use these methods to gain traction for your brand. When it's opening day, and you open your doors, you'll be steps ahead.
Grand Opening Ideas for Your Business
1. Launch a Grand Opening Party
The best small business grand openings are big events. On your opening day, you can host a party with live music, giveaways, and more. Make it a community event that people are excited about. They should know weeks ahead of time, through social media calendar events, mail, and emails.
The more exciting your party is, the more successful your grand opening could be. This should be memorable. This is part of your branding and marketing campaign, and your impression will live long after day one.
2. Hold a Fundraiser at the Same Time
People love experiencing great new businesses. They love it more when they can do good at the same time. On your grand opening day, you can hold a fundraising opportunity.
You could donate proceeds, hold a raffle, and other ideas to fund a nonprofit or need. Make sure it is a cause everyone understands and can get behind. The more clear it is, the better response you'll get.
3. Host a Social Media Contest
Days before the grand opening day, you can start a contest on social media. It can be a giveaway and people can enter by commenting and tagging their friends on your post. Their names will be entered in the raffle. This will spread the word and create some buzz.
To encourage people to show up to the grand opening day, state that the winner will be announced on-site. You will also open it up to people who are physically there, which means that social media participants can enter their names again when they arrive so that they have a better chance of getting chosen.
4. Do a Kids Special
A great way to encourage families to come is by offering a big deal for their children. It could be a free meal, a discounted family plan, or anything that has value and is relevant to your product.
Post the announcement in local family groups. When parents are passionate about something, they know how to spread the word.
5. Advertise a Big Deal for Grand Opening Day
We've mentioned offering deals a few times but make sure there is a hard-to-refuse offer for everyone who shows up.
You could go all-in depending on your budget. For example, if you are a coffee shop, what better way to have people try you out by offering free regular coffee? Everyone will get a taste and they'll want more in the future.
To help with sales for the coffee example, make sure to display baked goods and other premium items that they could try. They will be more willing to spend money on things that they normally wouldn't.
This technique is one of the strongest motivators for grand opening word of mouth.
6. Promote a Week-long Offer
After your first impression, you want people to return. After all, that's the main goal of a grand opening: to raise awareness and establish consistent business in the future.
On grand opening day, tell customers about your week-long offer. The super gas station and convenience store, WAWA, does a great job by offering free coffee for a week through special seasons.
That can work for almost any business. If you are a barber that offered free cuts on opening day, you can promote a free touch-up a week later. If you opened a breakfast diner with free pancakes opening day, for one week straight you can offer a free cup of coffee when you purchase a meal.
These incentives encourage customers to build a new habit and visit you as a routine. If you could get a customer to see you a few times in a couple of weeks (or a good amount for your industry) then you increase the chance that they will provide regular business years to come.
7. Invite Influencers to Promote Your Grand Opening
Social proof is powerful. If you could invite people who have followings on social media and have a track record of moving them to action, you could increase turnout.
Influencers have credibility in their community. When they give their stamp of approval, others will follow. Find a way to invite them for grand opening day. Offer them something in return if required. When they show up, you borrow their influence and attract more people.
8. Do a Big Giveaway Raffle
We mentioned a social media giveaway, but you could also include a physical giveaway exclusively for people at the event.
Chick-fil-a is famous for this, offering free meals for a year to many of their first visitors. Think of something similar you could do to get people excited.
After the Grand Opening Day
When you've had a successful grand opening for your small business, it can't stop there. You want your business to succeed for as long as possible. The only way to do that is by converting first-time customers to loyal customers.
Keep promoting incentives for them to return. Use your email list (which you should have grown through the Grand Opening Day) to offer value throughout the next coming months. Leverage social media to share the emotion and experience of choosing you.
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Think about these 8 grand opening ideas for your small business. Depending on your goals, you could adopt many of them for your strategy. Grand opening days are one of the best ways to spread the word about your business. Getting the same results could cost several times more on a normal day.
People are always excited about new things and capitalizing on that emotion will help solidify the future of your business.
You might be wondering how you could experiment with some of these ideas.
With Profit Frog, you could simulate many of them.
For example, you could measure how much you could make per product if you offer a free add-on. Any idea could be tested before you try it in real life.
Minimize your risk and start planning for the big day.Read article
Protecting Your Company Name
When you build your business, you spend a lot of time and resources to make it a reality. Imagine that someone takes what you've built after many years.
It's like paying a good amount of money to rebuild a classic car. Then, when it's finally the perfect condition, you wake up the following day and see someone take it from your garage.
Taking your company name might not be intentional. Maybe someone started a business with a similar variation, and it causes brand confusion. Or someone, who didn't know about your name, in the next town over invests a few years building it until the news eventually reaches you (creating a mess for everyone).
When you protect your business name, you help prevent name confusion, intentional profiting from your brand, and other unforeseen obstacles.
But it's not so easy to protect. Whether it is a social media account name or another business with a one-letter difference in the name, you can face problems from every corner.
Thankfully, there are some steps we can take to prevent common issues.
What does it mean to protect your name?
It's not just legal. You want people to recognize your name and attribute it to your services or products.
- Legally Protected
You need legal protection to ensure no one else can use your name in the same industry or cause brand confusion.
Your name needs to be attributed to you when someone sees it. Can they connect it to the business?
Will customers and prospects remember you?
We can achieve this through legal protection, brand design, and effective marketing.
Decide for the Long-run First
Protecting your name takes time and money. Every year your business uses it is another year of established reputations and relationships in the community. If you plan on changing any names, now is the time to think about it.
The more time and money you spend on a name, the harder it is to pivot. You have to make legal adjustments and educate your customers and community about it.
Ensure that your current name is worth protecting for many years to come. Once you know if your name is something you want to invest in and protect, it's time to start cementing it.
Establish the Right Company Entity
If you are self-employed or don't have an entity for your name, it's time to think of one. Entities help with liability and add more layers to your business name claims.
Think of what you do and what entity works best. It may be a sole proprietorship, LLC, a partnership, or other entity. Each one varies and has different tax and liability laws.
Registering an entity name that matches your brand name makes it easier to promote one name only and strengthens your place in the market.
Is your entity name different? Establish a Doing-Business-As name with your registered business. Make it the brand or product name if possible. The fewer names to deal with, the easier it is to protect.
Get Your Perfect Domain
Web addresses are critical in the digital age. If you don't have an easy-to-remember name, it can be impossible for customers to find you. As a result, businesses should consider name decisions on domain availability.
See if you can find a dot Com or industry-relevant extension for your brand name. If you can't, consider another name if you haven't launched it yet. If you have no other choice, think of a creative way to make a memorable website.
For example, the swipe-file app, Pocket, which helps internet users save links to articles and web pages, used GetPocket.com. Now they own Pocket.com, but before, this was a great way to keep it memorable until they had the resources to buy the domain they wanted from the owner.
Once you have your domain, buy other popular extensions. For example, dot Net, Org, and other extensions might be a good option for you. In addition, your industry may have relevant extensions like dot Art, TV, Charity, Ai, and more.
Once you've picked popular extensions, buy similar addresses. You want to help people find you and avoid future confusion. For example, if your website is OrlandoCars then maybe OrlandCars (a typo) or OrlandoAuto could be suitable options.
Brand Your Company
Why do we really want to protect our name? We want customers to identify who we are. We don't want them to confuse us with someone else. Business names represent the offer and quality you promise. Each year you operate under the name is another investment.
None of it matters if your customers and community don't identify your protected name with your business. You need great branding. Develop your font, logo, colors, and other visual branding materials. Create a slogan. Ensure it is consistent everywhere.
Your customer service and the experience when people walk into the store or visit the website is part of the branding. What are employees saying when they greet a customer? What is the experience like when someone navigates your site? What mood do the words on the page evoke?
Your Instagram page and other social accounts should have a brand style, from the type of edited pictures you post to how you communicate. The more recognizable you are, the more people will remember your name.
Trademark Your Name
Your best legal protection for your name will be a trademark. You may have common-law protection for operating in your town, but if you do, it's incredibly vulnerable, and someone can use your name everywhere else in the world.
The same goes with different types of trademarks, like getting one for your state only. Try to get one for the entire country and a global one also. Why should it matter if you operate in one state and town?
A small restaurant in 1957 called Burger King in Illinois had a state trademark. When the other big Burger King chain started in Florida, they claimed the country and world. Today, the chain cannot open a store within 20 miles of Mattoon, IL, where the original name stands. But that leaves a disadvantage for the original store.
Imagine if you were that original restaurant. You may be happy in that town. But you can't grow beyond it, and you'll always compete for that name to be recognizable for your own brand.
Also, the internet has changed many things. When you have a website, you are an international business in many ways. Get full protection to continue to grow your company with your name.
When you've developed a logo, ensure you protect it too. It's another way to distinguish your name in the market.
Create Social Accounts
As mentioned before, many company names today are decided by domain availability. The second step for these same entrepreneurs is seeing if they can get the proper account name on social media.
Website names and social media handles are the backbones of businesses today. Ensure you can get the appropriate, recognizable name.
You can be creative for social media. Adding things like "Hello" or "Go" can help get you an original version of your name. For example, OrlandoCars could have a handle called GoOrlandoCars. If you can get the exact name, it's better. Just make sure you match the name across all or most social media platforms.
Which social media accounts should you get? Only focus on a few where your customers are. If you think a new platform or a developing platform might be a good resource in the future, but you don't want to invest in it yet, open an account so you can claim the name.
Consult with a Lawyer
Following the proper steps and creating a foundation can make a big difference in protecting your company name. But it's an ongoing process. Each day, your name could be in danger. That's why it's essential to find the right lawyer to help you through the process.
There are many intellectual property lawyers, online and in your community, that can help you register the names and paperwork and create a bedrock for the company's future. There are also services that help monitor possible threats.
For example, just because your name is trademarked doesn't mean a business is automatically barred from using your name. Someone has to enforce it, and it starts with you or your lawyer identifying the problem and reporting it. It's hard to do it independently, and a lawyer can help with that.
If you don't protect your trademark, it creates a precedent, and you could lose protection. It's harder to make a claim on a name another business has been using for five years than one they implemented this year.
Businesses can also lose out to generalization (think of past threats to Popsicle, Taser, and Xerox). You might lose protection when your name becomes a household name, or many companies have copied it. This is how Apple lost rights to “App Store.”
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Today, you can begin to protect your business name by following these steps.
*This article is for educational purposes only. It is not legal advice, and you should consult a lawyer when protecting your company name.Read article
A New Marketing Strategy: Building in Public
There are a hundred marketing tactics and strategies that we can use to grow our brand. We’ve covered many of them on Profit Frog and how you can use them to your advantage. When we’re starting, sometimes we have to operate on a shoestring budget. How do we run a bootstrapped campaign with limited funds?
In recent years Building in Public has become a popular and effective marketing strategy. Kevon Cheung’s authoritative piece called Building in Public Definitive Guide defines it as “…building a company, a product, or anything and sharing a lot of the transparent ‘behind the scenes’ with its public audience.” Traditionally, business owners and marketers use email, social media, and their websites to do it.
It sounds straight forward but there are real benefits to the strategy to sharing the behind the scenes of your developing product or business.
1. You invite others to the conversation.
When you share what’s going on, you invite people who could one day be future customers. You also invite like-minded business owners and establish a network for potential partnerships. Your audience helps build your business.
2. You build interest and a following.
Word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective strategy but the most difficult to implement. Building in Public creates the environment for successful word-of-mouth. As others get excited about what you are developing, they spread the word and tell others. You also increase your following and audience, creating a bigger reach.
3. You nurture an audience.
As you Build in Public, your audience gets to know your brand, mission, and the value you offer. You are educating and nurturing them from day one. When it’s time for launch, they are waiting to buy.
4. On opening day, you have a bigger line.
How many times do we see a business open to the sound of crickets? Building in Public helps prevent that and increases the chances for a big grand opening day. Through early sign-ups and pre-orders, you already have a customer base. When the doors open, you’ve generated enough buzz for excitement and action.
Now that we know the benefits, how do we Build in Public?
Building in Public is a strategy. Its tactics vary in the hundreds. There are many creative ways to do it and it depends on your industry, audience, and product. But here are the core principles you can adopt to develop your strategy today.
Take Detailed Notes
The heart of Building in Public is sharing detailed information. These are things that are hard to find anywhere else. It’s the gold of your journey. Sharing exclusive information sets you apart from any podcast or book in the market.
Document everything. Make sure you keep it organized. Identify the information you want to communicate to others early on. For any notes that you don’t need right away, you can use them in the future or even create a new informational product out of them.
Customers and industry peers like to see screenshots and processes on how you got from where you are — in real-time. When future customers notice your posts or emails, they’ll get to know the heart of the company, the hard work to get there, and the value they can expect when they choose you.
Have a Continuous Conversation
Building in Public isn’t about shouting what’s going on. It’s about connecting with others and having a conversation throughout the process. Let’s say your team had to overcome a struggle to develop a feature or solution. Share the problem and how you solved it. Then ask for feedback and invite people into the conversation.
This technique is a classic Build in Public method to increase engagement and to get to know your audience. When they get involved, they are more invested in your brand. When it’s time to launch the product, new addition, or company, they are ready to join you.
Think of ways you can start a conversation. An easy way to start is by asking the public their opinion on multiple options of a design or decision your team is currently working through.
Share Real Numbers
It’s always better to show, not tell. The best way we can do that is by being as transparent as possible. Everyone has different levels of comfort in what they want to share with the public, but we encourage you to stretch that limit more than you’re used to.
The more transparent you are, the more likely you’ll connect with an audience. The stronger you do, the more powerful it resonates with them, increasing the chance they’ll share the message with others.
Real numbers can be revenue, expenses, social media growth and engagement, subscribers, and more. Share the growth or struggle; the interpretation and plan you develop from them.
Share Failures and Lessons Learned
It’s easy to share the wins. It’s much harder to share the losses. While wins might generate buzz and boost our ego, sharing failures tend to connect the strongest with people.
Not only do you resonate with the audience, but you also create valuable lessons and insights others can use. They share your work with others in the industry, increasing awareness. For customers, they see the hard work and dedication you put into the product or business and will come to appreciate it more.
This is also a great pre-cursor to healthy and vibrant workplace culture. When your employees are happy, your customers will be too.
Provide a Call to Action
Building in Public can get a lot of reach and engagement but it’s all for nothing if everyone disappears after. You want to build a passionate community around your brand and utilize the potential it has to deliver value based on your current journey.
Invite people to sign up for an email list. They can be incentivized with a promise that they will be the first to experience your product or service. Or you can offer a free ebook or something they would love to have.
By building a list, you set up your audience for your launch. This is very direct and can be more effective than other platforms and mediums. Work hard to keep them engaged with value through an email strategy filled with updates and in the spirit of Building in Public.
Identify Superfans and Future Early Adopters
As you start Building in Public, you’ll notice fans that are excited about your potential. These people cannot be ignored and you should have an effective strategy to nurture them and add value to each one. These will be your superfans.
Superfans become early adopters and become your biggest brand advocates. You need this in word-of-mouth marketing and connecting with your superfans is a vital step to make it happen.
Malcolm Gladwell describes the power of a dedicated audience in The Tipping Point, stating “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” Invest in your superfans and use the Building in Public strategy to find them.
A Case Study: Ben Putano
Putano’s book campaign is a great example of building in public. He started out building his personal brand on Twitter from scratch fairly recently. He wanted to use his experience as a founder of an online agency and his craft of writing, to impact business owners.
His book, Great Founders Write, would do just that. It’s currently in the pre-launch stage of the campaign but it has created buzz and results already. Through Ben’s marketing efforts, he has future buyers and readers lined up on Twitter and his email list.
How did he do it? Like most of us, Ben faced a few real challenges. He has limited reach, he is breaking into the author/book world, and he’s introducing a new concept to his audience. He’s also working with a budget.
By leveraging Building In Public strategies, he has overcome those challenges. Ben started by tweeting and posting on themes relating to his book. He announced it and told others about his desire to help founders communicate their wisdom.
Ben’s strategy took off when he ran a book cover design contest. Instead of picking a book design and announcing it, he decided to bring it to the public so they could be a part of it.
He ran a poll of over 10 designs to see which one resonated the most. This got thousands of views and many participants involved. Not only did people personally invest in the campaign, but it also grew his email list.
In the end, he chose a favorite public choice but not the winner. He brought his decision-making technique to the public as well, explaining the thought process.
These are the first few tweets of a long Twitter Thread for Ben’s book design contest.
This is a great example of Building in Public. Not only has Ben crowdsourced his ideas, but he has built momentum on his book before it’s even published.
Today, you can utilize the Build in Public strategy whether you are starting a new business, introducing a new product, or adding a new feature or solution. It’s very effective and works with any budget and has the potential to produce massive results.Read article