Social Media: Your Business’ Economic Stimulus Package

When business building & networking, pretty much daily the question comes up, ‘Why do you do what you do?’ Before digging deeper, there are many common responses:

1. I have a strong skill set here and a lot of value to add to growing businesses.

2. I find this work fun & fulfilling, let me take the load off for others who don’t enjoy it so they can focus on their core genius.

3. There is a huge need here I am honored and thrilled to be able to fill it. And the list goes on…

In a coaching session with the fabulous Harriet DiCerbo of Mosaic Path, her line of questioning took me further, and allowed me to say something I normally would have felt immodest or arrogant saying, so it took a while to spit out, but dammit, it’s true! “I want to, and believe I can help stimulate the economy via social media!”

What?- Lil ol me, stimulate the economy? But why not? Why not all of us? We all have great business knowledge to share with others. Knowledge is infinite, meanwhile, most of us only have access to 10% of our brain. Something you find simple and basic could be someone else’s enlightening moment and vice versa. Don’t discount yourself.

So how can you use social media to stimulate the economy and your business or career?

1. Times are tough, budgets are strapped (not one of those enlightening tidbits, I know). A small investment in social media strategy and education will facilitate the ongoing use of tools that are free. Your recurring cost can be limited to only time. It shocks me how many businesses still take out classifieds, TV ads, radio ads; advertising the majority of the population simply tunes out. Save excess funds, allocate a smaller portion to social media education, and then run with your new model on a budget while capturing more business! Not to discount those modalities completely, but track metrics to see what is truly bringing you ROI.

2. Sadly, I see local brick and mortars pop up quickly, only to find the storefront is up for lease again shortly thereafter. Many watch bottom line by not advertising, but as I frequently & cheesily reference- “If you build it, they will not necessarily come.” (Even if you believe they will, in the movie, they were ghosts. Ghosts don’t make good customers, they scare the real ones away & don’t buy stuff.)

Social media lets people know you are there. A small investment gives you a way to establish brand awareness. At the very least, get your Google Profile completed, claim your Google Place, and put yourself on the virtual map. It’s free!

3. Businesses are cutting back by not attending or postponing trade shows and conferences. This drastically impacts the goals of a sales team who may normally rely on these events to fill their pipeline, earn commissions, thus feeding their family & paying their mortgage. Seeing a company make this decision, and then seeing same company has no presence on LinkedIn literally saddens me. When used to its fullest, proactively, and with proper etiquette, you will see your pipeline grow and sales soar. As a side bonus, your cold calling can head to the grave. Even those cold calling for 20 years tell me it is still the most dreaded part of their day.

4. While we are on the topic of trade shows and conferences, did you know Twitter allows you to be a fly on the virtual wall? Don’t get pissed at your boss for keeping you at your desk; surprise them by saying~ “Cool! No problem! I’ll attend free from my desk!” Find the Hashtag and join the Twitter stream. The July eWomen Network Conference in Dallas used #eWN2011, and is still going strong weeks later. Several tools allow you to follow hashtags, archive and save them. You can meet people, learn from speaker sessions, engage and do business.

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Small Business Economic Bailout Plan

No, we don’t have $700 Billion earmarked for small businesses. We can’t go hand out to our legislatures for financial assistance. We don’t make the 6:00 pm news as a “business in trouble”. We are small businesses who have to provide our own bailout.

How do we do this? We look at ways to support one another and our customers and our employees. We check our budgets, roll up our sleeves and get down to work.

1. Check Budgets

Are there areas where we can cut expenses? Can we bring our lunch to work and not eat out as often? Can we initiate “green” assistance by turning off lights, recycling paper, and keeping better inventory control on supplies?

We are all wasteful – we waste paper, water, time, energy, food, and everything else. If we just took a look at what we could reuse or save, think about the money we can save.

2. Roll Up our Sleeves

Can a project be completed at home or by someone else? If you have staff that you are responsible for, have you thought outside of the box to see if some of your business associates would be interested in “sharing” a worker or “renting” an employee. Maybe if you have 4 employees you can work with an associate company with no employees who may be looking for a temporary person.

3. Prepare

If this is the end of your fiscal year, prepare a budget that is as complete as you can possibly make it and be prepared to follow it. As you prepare the budget, talk to your staff, especially your supervisors and managers to get their input. This will not only help them understand the situation but provide them with the opportunity to possibly share a good idea.

4. Dust off the Business Plan

Many businesses write the required business plan and then file it away. This may be a good time to get it out and look at the research you did in preparing the plan to determine if you are still on track. If not, why not? If you are, did you plan for any emergency? This is the time you can update your plan to accommodate the current financial crises. This, along with your budget, may offer the road map you need to navigate through the next few months.

5. Think Out Side the Box

Is this a good time to look at a new product or service? Are you in a position that might help other businesses make it through the economic downturn? Only you know your business and what you might do to make a difference.

Will it be easy? No. Will there be a need to make hard decisions? Probably. But, if you are honest with yourself and your staff and your clients, hopefully you will find a way to make it all work. Good luck to all of us.

Cathy Baniewicz has over 30 years experience in human resources. Her career began at Beatrice Foods Co., where she progressed to Assistant Director of Affirmative Action and Corporate Personnel Manager. Prior to joining EffortlessHR, Cathy was Assistant Director of Human Resources at Golden Eagle Distributors, Inc. (Budweiser). Cathy has her B.A. degree from DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, and MBA from George Williams College, Aurora, Illinois. Cathy obtained her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification in December of 2004.

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What a Degree in Business – Economics Can Do For You

While many people choose to pursue a degree in a general business category, others choose to focus their interest into a specific degree. One of these options is a Business in Economics degree. This degree can be applied to many different positions within the economic, financial, insurance, or consulting areas.

Many schools may have an economics department, school, or at least faculty that specializes in this field. Individuals may earn an associate’s, bachelor’s, or masters degree in this subject or a related area, or may choose to earn their PhD. On average, earning a PhD will take approximately six years.

People in this field can work at the federal, state, or local government, or look for work in the private sector. The private industry involves careers such as scientific research and technical consulting. Those who have a PhD in economics can also look for a job as a professor, instructor, or teacher.

A large majority of people who choose to earn this degree are interested in careers as economists. These professionals are knowledgeable in the social science discipline of economics. They may write about economic policy, work with specific markets, or study philosophical theories. They utilize tools such as statistics, mathematical economics, econometrics, financial economics, mathematical finance, and economics computational models. In order to work as an economist, individuals should have at least a bachelor’s degree for the majority of entry-level positions.

Those who are economists often have a more specialized area of talent. These areas may include international economics, labor economics, econometricians, organizational economics, industrial economics, monetary economics, international economics, or financial economics. In order to participate in any of these areas, individuals must first have full understanding of general economics and how it applies in different areas.

Another common job for those who have this degree is working as an analyst. Individuals who work in this particular position can find jobs as a financial analyst, market analyst, or public policy analyst. A financial analyst will work mostly with those who are making investment decisions. They specialize in reviewing and assessing the impact bonds, stocks, and other related investments will have on businesses and individuals. A market analyst is an expert in specific market trends in local, regional, or national areas. A successful market analyst will be able to predict how a certain product or service will sell in certain areas. A public policy analyst will work towards finding solutions dealing with policy actions.

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How To Market Your Business Economically And Successfully

The most effective way that you can build your business and make money is to market it properly. Many companies spend countless thousands of dollars and time on poor marketing strategies, which needs to be channeled properly so as to make a profit.

The first thing that you have to know and grasp thoroughly is what exactly is your business (do not laugh many people want to be too many things to too many people and thus miss their calling and their market). Study carefully what it is that you do and then see what you can do to package it for marketing.

The most important thing that you can do is to market your product and services properly; if you do not do this then you will fail. You can be the greatest artist in the world (Rembrandt or Picasso) but if no one knows who you are what is the point? Proper and effective marketing is the key to success in business.

Now the question is: what is good marketing? I will of course say from the start that each business has unique aspects to itself that have to be addressed while marketing. There is no universal marketing tool that is good for everyone. However, with that being said there are some key marketing practices that can be utilized by any business and get good results, how good depends on you and your follow through.

Good marketing is to know exactly what it is that you offer, have it package to market, and deliver it to those that want and need it. Now the question has to be modified to the offering of the business or service. For example, as an artist I can draw anything, however, no one wants or can use anything, people need or want something specific. So with that in mind I have focused my art on house portraits and made an effort to practice my skills so as to be the best. Then I rent booths at real estate trade expos and distribute information to all the Realtors as they pass. I have a bowl front and center on my table for them to put their business cards in. When I get back to my studio I take all the business cards that I gather and contact the agents. This is very effective and gets results quickly. This example can be done for any business, a hair stylist, accountant, or lawyer. The key is to fine tune your skill and go to venues that have people that want and need your business and then follow through with them afterwards. If you do not follow through you will lose most of the business that you had hoped to gain. You will find that this will be a great success to you in your business and you will not have to waste your time trying to sell all of your friends and relatives what you offer.

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Entrepreneur Business Economics

Economics is one aspect of business that entrepreneurs should be familiar with. After all, business is run by economic trends. The law of supply and demand, for example, defines the prices of commodities. It also determines what particular goods are more saleable and what aren’t. The condition of the gross domestic product also gives investors insight as to what how healthy a country’s financial environment is. And it dictates how governments, banks and companies should and will act within the succeeding accounting year. Needless to say, a significant focus should be diverted by an entrepreneur to business economics. It is only this way that he will be able to weather any entrepreneurial problems.

Remember, business isn’t merely a numbers game. It is also influenced by certain economic conditions within the macro (country) and micro (individual and family) level. It can be that there is some diversity between the needs of a country and of its people. Therefore, a business cannot be assured that while it patronized one sector, it will also be supported by another.

Take bootleg products for instance. It’s actually a profitable industry because a lot of small consumers appreciate its affordability. Yes, it’s a given that quality of the product is compromised. But the difference in the costs is very much valued in the micro system. However, it’s a different story at the macro level. Since distributing pirated products is illegal and costs the country huge losses in tax collection and business permit payments, it is greatly frowned upon.

An entrepreneur applies business economic principles in order to weigh whether or not certain business decisions are smart or risky. It looks at possible changes and movements in the economic setting of a country in order to gather a more viable conclusion. Bottom line, knowledge in how certain circumstances affect the overall performance of the country’s economy gives entrepreneurs more control over their investments.

To understand the advantage derived by an entrepreneur from business economics, let’s play out a scenario here. Suppose an earthquake struck a commercial capital in a progressive country. It cost millions of dollars in damages and displaced thousands of people from their homes and work. Let’s say that this commercial capital produces some of the most essential goods supplied to other parts of the country. What would be its impact to the overall business dynamics? And how would you be able to make business given this situation?

Seeing through the lens of economics, the entrepreneur can predict that the collapse of factories and business centers as well as the displacement of workers will cause a cease in productivity. Now, since there is less supply of goods, their prices will sky rocket. This actually favorable and companies can benefit from this. But considering that there are less people in the vicinity, it is expected that there will be a decline in estimated profits as there are fewer consumers. Regardless, scarcity will create a need. Entrepreneurs just have to maneuver their marketing strategies with some consideration to customer’s conditions.

Rehabilitation focus will also diminish people’s purchasing power, thereby weakening economic activities. Since there are less work, less consumerism, and fewer businesses, the economic status of that capital will spiral down dramatically. This will affect how investors see it. In the long run, there will be fewer incoming finances. This is unhealthy.

So businessmen should not relish in scarcity for long. In order to recuperate and improve, entrepreneurs can apply for loans and start rebuilding infrastructures. But this will be a risk on their part as they have to work double time and guarantee that upon completion of rehabilitation, they will gain greater revenue. But they have to forecast, will their products and services still be embraced post disaster? Again, economics will answer this.

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