Our small business blog contains information which you should find helpful in running your business. If you have a suggestion for a topic, contact us and if we publish the topic on our blog - you'll get a gift card!

Do your customers browse online but shop in store? Or do they browse in-store and shop online?

Yes. Yes, they do.

Networking has a bad rap, but we’re here to clear up the misconception. Business cannot survive on enthusiasm and guts alone; there truly is value in the adage, it’s all in who you know. You need to be in contact with people who have the right skills or connections to help you develop your business from all angles, including product and service development, marketing, technical support, finances, and customer service. The business community is stronger as a whole, and competition is healthy because it pushes us to focus on making advances in our field. It’s a relief to have connections you can call on when you’re in a jam, or just need to sit down over lunch and problem solve with a like-minded colleague. But we’ve all been caught in networking situations that were a huge waste of time.

How do we limit useless networking? By being picky.
If you have the choice to go or not to a networking event, a little recon is necessary. Think about the kind of people you need in your network, what they can do for you, and what you can do for them. Networking is a partnership, you’ve got to be as willing to help others as you expect them to help you. Are the right people going to the event? Maybe potential clients, influencers who could help propel your brand, or vendors? Cool, go! You might consider only going for an hour, though, rather than 4. If you can’t foresee an opportunity to help your business, don’t got. Be picky so that you don’t waste time.

Bail if the networking opportunity is futile. Just leave! Make your excuses, or simply say that you have to head out – you don’t owe anyone an explanation. This goes for the event itself, and individual conversations. If you’re talking to networking FBomeone and you know that it isn’t going anywhere, it’s okay to interrupt the conversation, apologize, hand them your card and politely say that you see someone you’ve been meaning to get in touch with and have to get a hold of them now. But invite your new contact to connect on Linkedin or at a future event. Don’t burn that bridge. Stuck at a dinner table with no networking opportunity in sight? Create one. Lead conversation to find out what you can all offer each other, even if it’s just about time management. You got this.

When you chat someone up, be honest about your intentions. No one needs the small talk, we’ve got an app to tell us about the weather, jump right in and get the person talking about themselves. Find out what they do, who they know, and how you can help each other to make most of your time for everyone involved. Let them know what kind of help you’re looking for if it’s specific. Be friendly though, business talk doesn’t have to be a snore, and while you’re out to support yourself, this is a joint venture. Live in the moment. And enjoy the free food!

Don’t forget to follow-up on your connections and continue to develop the relationship. Be wary of working for free, or losing time on a relationship that won’t pay off in the future: be picky.

Jelly Triangle loves silver linings and making new friends. Contact us with your marketing and website woes to find out how we can help you help your customers. Contact us to book a hassle-free consultation.

Launching your online store is such a thrill! Everything you’ve been working towards for months, possibly years, is paying off – and soon will pay you back, directly. You’ve poured over financials, studied your field, conducted some solid noise on social media, and…wait. You did do all of that, right? Read on about some of the most common e-commerce mistakes that business owners make so that you don’t have to.

Mistake #1:

Setting up shop without marketing. Just because it’s easier for customers to visit your online store than a brick-and-mortar shop, doesn’t mean they’ll find it. Doesn’t matter if you’re part of a digital marketplace like Etsy or Amazon or going solo with your own website, you’ve got to inspire a fandom. Before your shop launches you need to have a social media campaign to build followers and tout your products or services. Build the hype before the launch! Your website can Launching Online Store FBgo live before the shop, or you can put up a temporary landing page or blog while you wait. The key to success is to gather followers and/or newsletter sign-ups so that you’ve got (social) media to alert when you officially open (because alerting traditional media is only one step of many). THEN you’ve got to keep momentum going. Plan a long-term marketing strategy that runs pre-launch and onwards by at least a few months.

Mistake #2:

Neglecting your recon duties. In order to remain relevant, you’ve got to find out what your competitors are doing, and what kind of engagement, products, and services customers in your niche actively like. Your job is to stand out, support your customers, and make their shopping experience smooth. If your online shop is antiquated from the start, whether that’s in technical processes or shipping costs, you’ll have to play catch-up which may cost you money, time, and customers. Conduct online research, network, and educate yourself on best practices. The Waterloo Region Small Business Centre is an excellent resource.

Mistake #3:

Relying on quick-fixes. Running a sale, lowering prices to beat competitors, dominating the field with 100 products may provide initial financial gain, but at what cost? Take the time necessary to provide financially sound offers that are long-term sustainable and manageable in-house for you and your team. A sale still has to turn a profit, lowered prices still have to pay your insurance costs and staff salaries, and if there’s a repeated mistake in your 100 products it’s going to take time and money to edit all those individual listings.

Jelly Triangle is here to help you with all of your online shop needs from build to marketing and beyond! Whether you need something shiny and new or your current shop needs some tweaking, call us at 519-624-8888 to find out how we can help.

Despite the surge in DIY website and graphic design, there’s nothing quite like the peace of mind that comes with hiring a pro. All of a sudden *POOF* your problems regarding time and quality disappear and you’re able to focus on business and leave the details to someone else. Which is why you become dismayed and frustrated when you’re inbox is filled with emails from your designer, and your timeline gets stretched out because you’ve still got details to deal with. What gives?

Fellow entrepreneurs, did you know that there may be some members of your team who care as passionately about the success of your business as you do? It’s true. They’re known as intrepreneurs because they work with the same work ethic you do, except they’re happy to let you be the boss.

Website designers are plentiful, which makes sense in an economic landscape that relies on online marketing and sales. As the client, at best you know enough about website design to engage in detailed conversation with your designer about the elements and plugins your website needs. At worst you just figure your business needs a website in order to thrive. Be confident that the website designer you hire comes equipped with high-quality design skills and integrity. Here are the top traits you want to ensure your designer has during your consultation.

Wouldn’t it be great to finish your workday with a sense of accomplishment instead of feeling run down? It’s easy to look back on a day filled with meetings and a growing To Do list and consider it wasted time, and that, fellow entrepreneurs, is a good way to hate your job. You’re the owner/operator – you should LOVE your job! Of everyone involved in your company, you have the power to make work something to look forward to every morning. Here’s what you can do to make that Monday morning feeling one of joy.

But don’t panic!

As you may recall, people found out that Facebook advertising included a mega breach of trust, and said people (a.k.a all of us), got mad. Rightfully so. In a move to regain trust of the average Facebook user, your Facebook advertising process has been seriously altered over the last several months.

According to the latest statistics, in 2013 there were 78,430 small businesses brought to life, and 83,240 closed. That’s left the country less 4,810 small businesses. We don’t have the statistics for the years since, but we do have some thoughts on why small businesses tend to fail, and what entrepreneurs can do about it.

The second most common complaint we hear about website design is about time:

“The last time we did a website redesign it took more than 6 months!”
“I need the website to launch on X date. How can you guarantee we’ll make that?”
“Our last website designer was slow to communicate. I can’t afford that kind of time.”

Sound familiar?

The short of it is that your brand is the identity of your company. The long of it, branding, is what inspires loyalty in your customers, thus, the longevity of your business. Here’s how.

Have you been told that your website needs a redesign? Or maybe you’re looking for an excuse to bring it up at the next team meeting?

You know that feeling when you’ve created a new piece of marketing for social media or your newsletter, and something about it just isn’t quite right? Graphic designers can help! Not only can they create impactful images, they are also layout masters. Send them that file you’re gnawing your nails off about and in short order, they’ll send back magic. Thinking about hiring a graphic designer? Here’s what you should know.

Beam potential customers straight to the bottom of your sales funnel with landing pages! That’s right, we said pages, as in plural, because why stop at one when you can have it all? Sure, you’ve got your website’s homepage set up like a landing page, but did you know you can also harness the powers of the online search by setting up landing pages specific to your individual services? The concept works because it makes you easier than ever to find, and cuts down on the customer’s embark on a quest to find what they’re looking for. Yeah, we’re for real!

The signs of summer marketing are everywhere, beckoning customers in from the street for a spontaneous summer sale. And you should get into that game! Summer is a traditional time to hit a sales slump, what with all of your customers spending their hard-earned money on family vacations, which is why a good sale is deliciously enticing. Summer shoppers are looking for wedding gifts, inexpensive rewards and treats, nostalgia, and fun. Once you’ve set up the details of your deal, you need spread word, and since you don’t have to do battle with ice storms and snow piles, outdoor temporary signage is worth working into your budget.

Hosting a customer appreciation barbecue? Talk about personalized customer experience! No really, let’s talk about it. You’ve heard all about social media marketing, and while it’s a big task, old-fashioned social marketing is worth all the effort. One of the easiest ways to score a face-to-face meeting with your clients is to throw a customer appreciation barbecue. 

Mail call! You may recall that one of the hot topics of Canada’s most recent federal election was door-to-door mail delivery. Despite the increasing number of businesses going paperless, your customers are still invigorated by snail mail.

While everyone is looking to lay blame in the most recently data mining scandal involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, it’s time to take a close look at ALL of your online profiles and scrutinize the safety of your information.

Social responsibility has always been integrated with business, and thanks to the reach provided by social media, small businesses have just as much right to get involved and help change the world as massive corporations. Maybe you can’t sponsor a tuition program or organize the build of an entire neighbourhood, but your business can still step up and take care of customers as well as your community.

Holiday sales are the best! Customers are in a great mood and excited to score a great deal. Some holidays already have established sale expectations, like Christmas, Mother’s and Father’s Day, Canada Day, and Back-To-School (hey, it’s a major holiday for parents so we celebrate!). But your bottom line doesn’t have to live and die by Boxing Day if you strategize carefully. Truth is, you can spin any holiday into a saleable celebration.

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About Jelly Triangle

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