Not all social media platforms are equal. They all work in different ways, have different target audiences, and trigger different senses which elevate or devalue your business. When identifying social platforms for your new venture, it’s important to know the characteristics of each one to see which (if any), to engage on. While there are many features of each (far too much to discuss with you here), here are the main selling points;
By far the largest with over 2.2 billion active users (in July 2018). You are able to target customers based on a range of demographics, psychographics, online behaviours and their geographical location. Facebook it a good platform when trying to connect to the masses, however will require very engaging content or paid advertising to reach them.
Facebook hack: Facebook’s algorithm means that video content performs best! A quick snappy video is bound to get more organic views and reach more people.
In my opinion, the best social media for branding. Instagram is much simpler than Facebook with a “feed” and “profile wall”. The Instagram algorithm shows posts based on the following three characteristics: Interest (how likely Instagram thinks you are to like this content based on your past engagement), Timeliness (how recent this post was posted) and Relationship (how regularly you engage with the posters profile). You can also broadcast a timeline of video through their “stories” feature. When customers visit your wall, they are able to get a great visual sense of your brand personality.
Instagram hack: To make your profile really stand out you can use a website like LingoJam, to alter your Instagram bio font!
Twitter is great for tapping into big trends and aligning your brand with topical conversations. You can find an example of how Burger King in the United States mocked President Donald Trump on Twitter here. When sending out a “tweet” (a post), hashtags are the way people discover and connect about similar topics. Originating as a media for celebrities to broadcast to the masses, Twitter has a tweet character limit of 280.
Twitter hack: Use gifs, keep on trends and use hashtags to get the best results.
Snapchat is a means of communicating content that disappears after 10 seconds. Snapchat is a much more private social channel with no public walls or stories. Snapchat can be a great way to showcase content for your VIP customers or to give that VIP illusion.
Though Snapchat has seen a massive decline in popularity recently, Gen Z still are still very intimate with this channel. They generally go here to keep up with their favourite celebs and acts as a news feed for pop culture.
Snapchat hack: Manage several Snapchat accounts by logging in and out as required.
Linkedin is a social platform created for professionals to connect and network. It also acts as an online and public resume’ for recruiters or businesses to look for new hires. LinkedIn is great for targeting people based on industry, occupation and education. You can also increase reach through paid advertising, newsfeeds or direct messages.
Linkedin is still very much in growth despite being 17 year old! Similar to Facebook, videos perform better organically due to their algorithm. For businesses that rely heavily on lead generation, the Sales Navigator tool (part of their premium services) allows you gather great insights into potential clients and target them.
Linkedin hack: To get you started building your Linkedin network, share your Linkedin web address onto your other social channels (such as Facebook). Once you have a few connections, Linkedin will provide you recommended connections to help you grow your network further. While you are there you can add me as a connection.
Do you use any other social media channels that should be added to this list? Let us know in the comments below!
Entrepreneurship isn’t about running a successful business. It’s a never-ending journey of winding paths and the ability to be resilient enough to continue to climb and grow – no matter how great the challenge. While we all feel like we want to give up at times, the people that knock that feeling aside, are the difference between who reach their goals and who fall short.
Our biggest asset as humans is also our biggest weakness; our mind. We have a tenancy to make ourselves feel each situation is worse than it actually is, so when things do go south, overwhelm us and cloud our thinking. Which makes it even worse! The ability to take a step back is a very important attribute to have, however is not a strength for most of us. If you are one of these people (and the problem isn’t time sensitive), take some time out to read a book, listen to a podcast, meditate or hit the gym. This hardwires your brain to stop thinking about the challenge and shift your focus to something productive. When it comes time to revisit the issue, you will have a clear head to work it through.
When highly challenging situations arise, I deal with them by firstly trying to remain calm (a lot easier said than done – I know!). The next step is the most important. Do NOT start blaming yourself or anyone else for the situation. You need to go into PROBLEM SOVLER mode instead. Start thinking of solutions immediately to fix the issue. This will stop your mind from thinking how bad the problem is, and rather how to solve it. When you first try to use this technique, it will be a tuggawar between you thinking of a solution, and you feeling overwhelmed from the situation. If you are in a group of people and they start ganging up on the person that initiated the problem – stop them in their tracks. Keep the positive thoughts flowing with the people around you and lead the team to a solution. You’ll find very quickly, as soon as you find a solution, all your negative and stressful feelings vanish!
Let’s put this into a social scenario: Your partner leaves their wallet on a table in a restaurant while on a date and get all the way home before you realise it’s missing. While you may feel that someone has probably already cleared out the bank account, keep calm as to not cloud your thinking. Next, do NOT blame and start to rationally problem solve. Ring the restaurant, check the car, call and cancel your credit cards, maybe do all of these. The main thing is to not start blaming!
You call the restaurant and they haven’t had anything handed in. You ring the bank and find the accounts haven’t been touched and lock the accounts. While your partners driver’s license can’t be recovered (which is annoying) and you lost $20 in cash but look on the bright side – you had an amazing dinner and some after dinner entertainment! It’s never as bad as you think!
Set on starting your own business but short on ideas? It's sometimes a challenge finding an idea that you’re not only passionate about, but feasible to pursue. Here are four easy ways to discover your first venture.
1. Problem Solve
Have you ever asked yourself (or with a group of friends) why a product or service doesn't exist? While at the time you may think it's a bit of a wacky idea, you don't know how many people experience the same problem. Do a bit of research to see if a reasonable, cost-effective solution exists, and if not, you may have a potential new business idea.
2. Do it better
While it may be frustrating interacting with businesses with poor products and/or service, it opens the door for potential competition who can do better. Especially successful in dormant/mature industries where players get complacent, challenging the status quo creates new and exciting options for customers. Uber transforming the passenger transport industry is a great example of this. Uber simply gave customers a better, cheaper and more reliable service. Both will get you from A to B, but Uber does it better.
3. Offer your strengths
Everyone has something of value to give to others. If knitting is your thing, why not start an online beanie store? If you're skill set is in social media, create a digital agency. Offering your strengths is a great way to not only master them, but also capitalise on them.
4. Partner up
There are thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people that have an amazing idea. Network and find people with an amazing vision that you can elevate and assist to fruition. Kevin Systrom was granted $50,000 from an investor for his new app. However, a condition to receive the funding was to get a likeminded and motivated co-founder. That person was Mike Krieger, whom he met in college. The business they created - Instagram (which sold for 1 billion dollars to Facebook after only 2 years from its inception).
Marketing is crucial to any business, it means connecting your audience to your product. Doing it right means communicating to the right people, at the right place, and at the right time. This is where digital marketing does it best - online advertising allows brands to constantly connect with their audiences. It’s targeted, measurable and can be successful and cost-effective if done right. So here are the basics to get you started:
Marketing Starts with your customers
Like always, think of the bigger picture. Develop your consumer profiles, know their likes and dislikes. Who are they? What do they value? Why are they looking for your product? What was their journey to get there?
Think in campaigns
Now that we have had a conversation with our customers and have understood their path to purchase, we can begin to see where our online strategy fits in.
Much like each media channel has a job to do, so should each campaign. Spray and pray is not a marketing strategy. Every campaign needs to be a part of a goals-driven framework. Know what you are out to achieve - Set your objectives and build a marketing strategy to give you the right results.
Compartmentalizing campaigns into the following core areas will help; awareness, engagement, acquisition, and retention. Understand which of these four functional areas your campaign fits in, and start implanting ways to carry it out.
Owned Earned and Paid media
Ensure your online strategy has synergy. To put it simply, online usually comes down to three main pillars. Owned, Earned and Paid.
Owned: This is pretty much what it says on the label, the media you own. This can be your website, your blog, youtube channel, Facebook etc.. Leverage this to reach new and existing customers, funneling them from awareness and engagement, and then directing them to acquisition.
Earned: By far the most valuable, this is when word of mouth advertising takes place. When customers, press, and the public start sharing your content. Leveraging this means offering your audiences enough value where they feel it will benefit them to share your product. This may be done through positive reviews, post sharing etc. Thus, this should be looked at through the lens of consumer engagement.
Paid: Intuitively paid media is simply paying for your online advertising. This is by far the most vast and complex topic, hence for this exercise, I will stick to the fundamentals.
The most common paid pricing models are:
CPM – Cost per millennium or cost per 1000 impressions
This is the measurement of the number of times an ad has been displayed. CPM’s are relatively inexpensive and guarantee your ads will be shown the number of times you pay for. This makes them easy to account for, however, in saying that they are difficult to measure from an ROI point of view.
PPC – Pay per click or, Cost per Click (CPC).
These are ads that display and are only paid for when clicked on. The price is determined by the marketplace value of the keyword you are interested in. Unlike impressions, these are extremely easy to track and measure, however as you are competing for keywords, and raising their value, PPC’s can be expensive.
CPA – The less common cost per acquisition, looks at paying per lead generated.
Retargeting - Retargeting works through cookie-based technology. The cookie is dropped on each visitor to your site, then later, when your cookied visitor is browsing the web, your ads are served to them. This is a highly targeted approach.
Being a sales person to me is being the ultimate entrepreneur; it’s about finding a solution to your client’s problem. Sales is the blood line of any business. It’s often how most people build an impression of your product and the overall brand. I’ll spare you any more spiel on the importance of closing deals and jump right into what I have found to be the most important factors in being a successful problem solver.
First and foremost, you are there to provide solutions. The primary reason your product exists is because there is a problem in the market place that you solve. Know the problem and better yet understand your solution. Tailor it and ensure it’s the best fit for your customers’ needs (this does not necessarily extend to their wants). Uncover their root problem, present a solution and deliver it. They will recognise the value you have added instantly.
This is all about customer expectations and ensuring to always exceed them. This is not by holding something back or delivering what the customer has already paid for, but instead being responsive and treating each client as though they are that million-dollar deal. You can throw in some additional products/services to make the deal even sweeter from the client (warranties, e-resources, gift, etc).
What’s best for the business
Make a business, not a sale. Always think long-term; you are building your brand with each sale. You should always aim to uncover another sale through recommendations and referral that act as a megaphone for your brand. You want your clients to be raving fans, that market your brand for you.
In saying that, you need to take responsibility for what’s best for the business, and sometimes that means turning deals away. This is especially true when it comes to price point. If you are not a price competitor in the market you need to know your floor, and not rely on discounts to sell your product. This comes back to delivering value.
Features & benefits, Relationships and Leadership
We all know the that benefits sell, and that relationships build the foundations of the sale. Leadership is the next step in the process.
Not only do we need to sell emotively, always bringing it back to the benefit for the client, but we need to establish a mutual exchange of values and rapport – clients need to trust you. In depth relationships are vital here. This doesn’t have to mean wining and dining your customer, but engaging with them as brand, listening to the community and acting upon it.
You are the expert, that’s why they came to you. Take charge and lead them with your best advice. Challenge their choice if necessary.
It’s vital to also realise that your product is an extension of their brand, that means whether it be a service or product it needs to add value to their personal brand on some level.
I spend as much time as I can learning from the best. I use audiobooks as a way of doing this while on the go. I listen to the advice and experience of experts all over the world to ensure I do not only repeat their mistakes, but also discover new strategies and ways of thinking.
I am commonly asked what my favourite audiobooks are for aspiring entrepreneurs. Here are my top 5 - I highly recommend a listen. I get all my audiobooks through Audible.
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
Ries discusses the use of “minimum viable products”. Test the waters with a low cost / low risk approach, prove the model, than invest and grow on the back of its success. The old rigid and hierarchical structure is dead within the new style of emerging startups.
Mastery by Robert Greene
Discusses the mindset and lives of historical figures and identifies common traits for their greatness. Mozart, Henry Ford, Charles Darwin and Einstein are only a few of the experts Greene analyses. For someone looking at becoming a better version of themselves or someone that feels like they have lost their way, this is definitely one for you.
Find Your Why by Simon Sinek
Sinek discusses his approach to help you “find your why” as either an business or an individual. Sinek explores the importance of understanding your why and how it influences your decision-making, culture, personality and what truly makes you fulfilled.
Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff
This is a great guide on how to sell through client meetings, presentations and pitches. Klaff outlines his blueprint transforming any beginner, to a well-rounded sales professional.
The 4-hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
If you want to break free from the traditional 40 hour work week, this book is for you! From how to reduce your hours at your current position, to hiring remote staff, Ferriss dives into how you can make a 4 hour work week a reality.
BONUS: The Conversion Code by Chris Smith
Still in the process of finishing this one, but has proved great so far. Smith discusses strategies of generating and converting digital leads you never knew existed. Simple strategies, such as how to create an effective landing page, your terminology and approaching to closing, are only a few of the elements proven vital to take your business to the next level.
There are 24 hours in a day, of which you need at least 7-8 hours sleep, leaving 16 hours to get what you need done. For everyone, CEO’s, prime ministers or entrepreneurs, that needs to include exercise and down time. While some people see a dwindling clock, we see opportunity; 10 to 12 hours of it. So, if you regularly surrender to that voice in your head telling you to put off that task, this is where we challenge it.
Before diving head first into that To Do List, take a step back and understand the bigger picture. It’s important to reverse engineer your tasks. What are you actually trying to accomplish?
Whether its closing a deal or updating a spreadsheet, think of the end result and constantly envision how this will get you closer.
Got it – great. Now visualise yourself achieving it.
Visualisation is a great tool, underutilised by most of us. Often associated with athletes–whilst this is imperative to their success, it’s not limited to just them. Our brain is hard wired to take paths previously explored. When we find ourselves in stressful situations and have not explored them previously, we are bound to choke up. Visualising the scenario with several different possibilities, will keep your mindset strong and ready to tackle any situation. Have a very clear picture of what the outcome is, and keep visualising yourself achieving it. This will constantly drive you towards the bigger picture and feed your passion.
Now that we have the why and have stacked our motivation, all we need to do is achieve our goals, right? Pretty much. It can be that simple.
This is ‘The How’; the steps in between where you want to be and where you are now. Coming from someone who usually assigns all the responsibility to my future self, I now must implement a structured regime to my tasks, this is the only way I can start achieving my goals.
I organise my tasks in order of priority, usually setting myself no more than 3 major tasks per day; these are my days’ focus. I bang these out first thing, honing all my energy into them often setting myself deadlines for each task. At the end of each task, I allow myself 20min to power through some of the smaller tasks, almost as a reward.
By having someone who will hold you accountable, you are more likely to complete your tasks. Have regular meetings, set yourselves the weeks goals, and check in on each other to make sure you are achieving them. Ensure you choose a partner that motivates and pushes you, so you can achieve a new height!
When starting a business, it’s important to use the correct business structure as it affects your tax liabilities, costs and your personal asset protection. There are many advantages and disadvantages business structures and there is no one structure fits all. It’s essential to weigh up all your options. To get you started, here are the four most common business structures;
As a Sole Trader you are the sole owner of the business. You may employ others – but the organisation cannot employ you. You are responsible for paying staff wages, superannuation and Goods and Services Tax (GST) if your earnings are over $75,000 per year. All income will be lodged in your personal tax return. While a Sole Trader structure is the easiest and most simple structure to execute, the Sole Trader is personally liable for all debts incurred in the business, but also benefits from all the profits.
A partnership is appropriate for two or more people going into business together. This structure allows the distribution of profits and losses amongst all partners in an agreed allocation. Like a Sole Trader, all partners are personally liable for all debts created and is taxed with your personal tax return (or if a partner is an entity, at the corporate tax rate). A unique Australian Business Number (ABN) and Tax File Number (TFN) is required for this structure. Ownership, responsibilities and management is spread amongst all partners.
A company is a legal entity in its own right and conducts business to profit shareholders via “Directors”. Companies are a far more complex method then the two previously mentioned however have some desirable advantages. Assets and Debts are held by the company; shareholders are not personally liable for any debt incurred in this structure. Directors on the other hand, may be personally liable if not working in the best interest of shareholders.
Companies pay a fixed company rate (with no tax-free threshold). Companies are regulated by ASIC which add several complexities and rules which need to be adhered to in this structure. Ownership can be easily transferred or sold.
A trust is business carried out by the trustee on behalf of the beneficiaries. Common amongst families, it allows the income and assets of the trust to be distributed to the beneficiaries based on discretion (Discretionary Trust) or in units (Unit Trust – similar to shares). A trustee may be an individual or company and is legally liable for the debts of the trust. Similar to a Sole Trader and Partnership, Trusts are not a separate legal entity.
Starting a new business with the right mindset is arguably the most important first step on your journey towards success. Here are the three main mindset positions that have helped keep me on track.
1. Positive Mindset
While surprises will arise challenging your approach, the ability to adjust while maintaining a positive frame of mind will put you at ease. While these times can be hard, bring it all back to why you love what you do. Only you can affect this frame, so it is important you keep full control and not let the negativity or pressure get in the way - it only clouds your thinking.
2. Growth Mindset
Always continue to learn. Even if you have founded multiple businesses in the past, it is impossible to know what new challenges will arise during your latest endeavour. While you won't have all the answers, incorporating your prior learning and the experience of others, will allow you to move forward at a greater pace. This will allow you to dedicate your time in more productive ways. There is no need to reinvent solutions if the answer already exists.
3. Opportunistic Mindset
Always be open to the feedback and thoughts of the people around you. It only takes one key point or perception, to transform and scale the way you think. It's always better to listen and disregard the noise then to have dismissed THE opportunity.
Dalai Lama XIV once said "When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new."
In recent times, I’ve heard the words "decision fatigue" thrown around the office, and to be honest it scared me a little. Stunting my choices, where does it apply? can I make that call? should I eat that chocolate..
The jist of it is, compounding decisons lead to your mental energy being depleted and as such, leads to either poor decisions or perhaps worse, no decisions being made. This phenomenon is known as decision fatigue or ego depletion, a term coined by the social phycologist Roy F. Baumeister, in light of Freud's self studies.
So how does this affect you?
Once you’re mentally fatigued, you become reluctant or unwilling to make trade-offs. To visualise this, imagine your mental energy had a finite amount of decisions making power, much like a glass can only hold so much water. Each choice, depending on it’s sevarity will deplete some of that water, hence the bigger the decision, the more water used, as opposed to small decisions which take a mere sip out. At the end of a long day of making choices, this leaves you unwilling to go to the gym or work on that side business.
So how do you overcome decision fatigue?
Plan your next day, from the clothes your going to wear to the gym gear in your bag, or that hour you’ve set aside to crush your side hustle.
Commit to it! Period. Schedule things in, instead of waiting around at the mercy of will power and doing exercise, writing or whatever when you feel like it. Commit to it, make a time. Set it in, and do it.
First things first, do what’s most important first. That way you can give it full attention and energy.
4. Feed your brain
Ok, it’s great to crush it, and prioritise all you want but life is going to throw challenges your way whether you’ve just had your first double shot soy latte of the day, or it’s 1 a.m. and you’re still working on a presentation for the next day. So feed your mind and body the right food, eat well and breathe. Before a big decision, take the time to get something in your stomach and air in your lungs. 10 minutes might be all the difference.
5. Work out
Whilst your will power is like a muscle, and gets fatigued. It also gets stronger, each decision you make helps build that strength. So take the stairs, stay back that extra 10min in.. Challenge yourself.