What Do You Write? What Is Your Passion?

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“If I don’t dance one day, I notice it. If I don’t dance two days in a row, my audience notices it. If I don’t dance three days in a row, I should get another job.”

Famous dancer Fred Astaire lived by that motto. Now replace where you see dance with write. And by no means do I equate myself with Mr. Astaire’s singular achievements in his chosen profession, but that is something I have tried to live by. Writing something every day.

Problem is, of late, I’ve been writing for my clients but not me, or you.

I was in my favorite breakfast place this morning (Brothers Taverna, nicely spaced out seating and the breakfast arrives mad fast!!!). My waitress Tara asked if I was going to use my computer (they have WiFi) and when I said yes, she directed me to a corner booth. Then I opened my bag to find I had left my tablet at home.

But I told her that I do most of my work on the cell anyway. She asked what I did. I said social media. And then Tara asked the leading question:

Oh, what do you write?”

I started giving her a list of my clients but she said “no what do you write, what is your passion?” It was then and there that I realized that the recent, modest success I have had writing blogs, tweets and Facebook posts for clients had edged out my own writing. I hadn’t written anything here for quite awhile. Even though I was sticking to the motto of writing every day, I wasn’t writing for me, or for you. I wasn’t covering the news I wanted to share.

So Tara, I’m back in the saddle, so to speak, thanks and let’s see what the week ahead brings for topics.

Survey Seeks to Help Small Biz Owners Help Themselves

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What do you need? Poof!  Remember that scene from Disney’s Aladdin movie? Yamarie Grullon, the creative force behind the soon-to-be launched NYC-based SocialSeedia, wants to pick your small business owner brain with a survey, for your own benefit (and hers too). She is asking “what do you need” to succeed. Poof!

whatdoyouneed“The purpose of this survey,” she explains, “is to help me understand if small business owners and entrepreneurs are interested in ‘do-it-yourself’ programs that offer limited support via email or social networking groups, as well as what social media platforms they are most interested in learning about.”

As I’ve detailed in previous blogs, many of you small business owners struggle with time constraints, with understanding which & how many social channels you need to be on, and how to engage / convert followers into customers. Your options are to turn over social media to an employee or relative with some semblance of social skills— usually based upon experience as an amateur consumer not as a professional marketer. Or you can outsource social media services which, depending upon what needs to be done, can get expensive.

Grullon offers an intriguing third option:

“My goal is to understand what these small business owners are looking for so that I can create a simple, do it yourself, plug-it-in program that doesn’t require too much time & effort on their behalf and is cost-effective.”

She adds, “I’ve realized from my experience that they don’t need to know it all. They don’t need to be experts in Facebook Ads and all these different social networking sites. If they have a simple step by step plan and know the basics, they can get started and make immediate changes to help them impact sales.”

It is an interesting question and solution she poses. If you want this result, you need to do A, B, C. Unless you have this kind of business, then do D, E, C.

While, for example, she can’t relieve you of actual writing burdens (thus, you still may need my services), her project could help you organize where & when writing promotions should be placed vs pictures and videos.

Why not take the time? In responding to the questions and contemplating answers, you might even learn a thing or two about your own social media perceptions & realities that affect customer engagement.

(Anthony M. Scialis is an experienced print & broadcast writer who coordinates blog, Twitter & Facebook social media content to create a focused & powerful customer engagement effort which will bridge the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow https://twitter.com/amssvs)

Small Biz Growth– With a Little Help from Friends in the Marketplace

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Small businesses in small towns across America are fighting for survival.

But, getting to know the people and small businesses of Wabash Indiana, winner of the Small Business Revolution’s Main Street $500,000 Makeover has been a heartwarming journey, filled with hope and promise when all players in the marketplace come together.

wabashcityFor this makeover, Amanda Brinkman, chief brand and communications officer at Deluxe, along with Shark Tank star Robert Herjavec, employed their marketing and business expertise to help six small businesses learn more about what it takes to compete in their local and regional markets.

What is additionally important is that you look at the website that accompanies this series. There is a breakdown of each store’s problems and solutions, complete with actionable advice that could be applied to your business. In other words: Free social media marketing advice!!!

The full details of the project are in my previous blog. Here are the eight episodes so you can binge watch. Do you see any similarities to you, your business, your neighborhood, or town? Learn from the Wabash journey; take from it what you can. Then make your story something worth sharing with others.

(Anthony M. Scialis is an experienced print & broadcast writer who coordinates blog, Twitter & Facebook social media content to create a focused & powerful customer engagement effort which will bridge the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow https://twitter.com/amssvs)

The Front Porch of Life- Living and Doing Business in Small Towns

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“Too often we forget about the 120-million Americans building their homes, their businesses, and their lives in small towns far from the limelight” — not my words but those of successful entrepreneur and Shark Tank investor Robert Herjavic reflecting on the plight of small towns and small businesses decaying away.

And that is unfortunate because statistics indicate more than 50% of the employed population works at a small business.

A nationwide contest was held among small towns to find the one that could best improve upon itself by the community.

Small towns like Wabash, Indiana.

And that is how the Small Business Revolution project and web series came to be, and I have the first episode here.

As explained and described on their website:

“Amanda Brinkman, chief brand and communications officer at Deluxe, along with Shark Tank star Robert Herjavec, employed their marketing and business expertise to help six small businesses learn more about what it takes to compete in their local and regional markets. The entire Wabash journey is captured in this eight-part web series. The opening episode provides a glimpse into the community, the businesses and the town leaders.”

Whether you are a small business in a small town such as Belfast ME where I have lived or in a big city like Boston where I have also resided, you will view the series seeing familiar problems, then hopefully say “aha there is a solution.”

( Anthony M. Scialis is an experienced print & broadcast writer who coordinates blog, Twitter & Facebook social media content to create a focused & powerful customer engagement effort which will bridge the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow https://twitter.com/amssvs)

Growth of Women-Owned Biz Helps Community

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Women-owned businesses are vibrant, rooted in local communities — and expanding! According to the American City Business Journals (ACBJ), these operations are projected to account for nearly 40% of all U.S. businesses by 2017. What is fueling the rapid growth and what does it all mean for the local community?

The ACBJ surveyed a national sample of small and mid-size business owners. Their findings focused on 5 key areas:

  • differences between men and women-owned businesses
  • similarities between men and women-owned businesses
  • profile characteristics
  • motivations
  • work-ethic of women-owned businesses

You can download the full report here for full details.

For some additional insight, a “sister” publication, Bizwomen.com, went into the community to quiz professionals on their knowledge of women-owned businesses, which you can see in the following short video.

My key take away is that not only are their businesses growing in sales, but also in staffing. Three quarters of the survey response field indicated they were hiring new full time employees. And that is great news for the job market in local communities.

Also, women tended to be more highly engaged with the local community itself than the male respondents as you can see in this screen shot of the survey.

wmn-bizInteracting with other businesses, interacting with community events and projects all help to make the “local scene” a stronger one.

That filters back in terms of solid customer engagement to drive more sales. And that translates into continued growth, the need for staff expansion and the attraction of more customers to the over-all marketplace neighborhood.

( Anthony M. Scialis is an experienced print & broadcast writer who coordinates blog, Twitter & Facebook social media content to create a focused & powerful customer engagement effort which will bridge the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow https://twitter.com/amssvs)

Finding Business Tips in the Movies

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If life imitates art, what can the small business entrepreneur learn from a Hollywood movie? Jacek Grebski, Co-founder and Partner of SWARM, Digital Agency selected 18 movies for an article in Entrepreneur on line that he thought had something to say to this issue.

18 MoviesNot all are what you would think of as “business” movies. Erin Brockovich (above), 12 Angry Men, Merchant of Venice, and Lord of War are far from that model. But Grebski cleverly pulls out of one movie or another aspects such as creative problem solving, crisis management, negotiation techniques, building customer loyalty, creativity and innovation, perseverance, and business vision.

Check out the article. Do you agree or not? Do you have any suggestions of your own for movies that gave you some guidance or direction as you set out as an entrepreneur?

( Anthony M. Scialis is an experienced print & broadcast writer who coordinates blog, Twitter & Facebook social media content to create a focused & powerful customer engagement effort which will bridge the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow https://twitter.com/amssvs)

How Your Small Biz Can Benefit from This Week’s National Hashtags

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Hashtags can be found on Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. A social media strategist on your team would have suggested any number of crossover promotions to capitalize on these events to entice customers.

Hashtag of the day: #NationalHotFudgeSundaeDay 7/25/16

  • Car Dealership? “We know it’s hot outside. But we’ve got some really cool deals on the lot and to make it worth your while, just for coming out and speaking with one of our experienced auto specialists, we’ll give you 2 coupons for a Hot Fudge Sundae today”

Hashtag of the day: #NationalBagelfestDay 7/26/16Bagel

  • Custom tire accessory store? “Bagels and tires have a lot in common. They are roundish. They come in several different styles. They can be purchased individually or in a group. And just as you can put anything on a bagel, you can put an assortment of covers on a tire. Check us out today and get a free bagel while they last.”

Hashtag of the day: #NationalScotchDay 7/27/16

  • Investment firm? “Today is National Scotch Day. Did you know that all Scotch whisky must be aged in oak barrels for at least three years? That is quite an investment of time & money. You can’t take it our early. Here at A & Z Investments we can advise you on short term investments with high yield…”

Hashtag of the day: #NationalChiliDogDay 7/28/16 (Last Thursday in July)

  • Dry Cleaner? “Today is National Chili Dog Day and someone in the office will push the idea to celebrate— at the office. But as careful as you try to be, somehow when lunch is over, there may well be stains on you shirt, pants, blouse or skirt. Not to worry. Bring in the tell-tale stain today or tomorrow and we’ll give you a 10% discount on cleaning.”

Hashtag of the day: #NationalLipstickDay 7/29/16lipstick1

  • Hairdresser? “Ladies we know that just as there is a lipstick shade to address our every mood, there is also a hairstyle to present our mood. In honor of National Lipstick Day, bring in a receipt for a lipstick you purchased this week, and we will give you 10% off a …”

Information is a commodity that is bought & sold — but it is also a tool that you can use to benefit your business. In skilled hands, information will make today a better business day for you & your customers.

( Anthony M. Scialis is an experienced print & broadcast writer who coordinates blog, Twitter & Facebook social media content to create a focused & powerful customer engagement effort which will bridge the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow https://twitter.com/amssvs)