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Calendars with a Different Twist

Calendars with a Different Twist

We think calendars make great gifts when you zhoosh them up a bit. You can make the calendar have so much more value if you add content that aligns with who your business is and appeals to your target markets. Each page can promote unique aspects of your business, give important reminders or tips for your clients or provide motivational quotes and stories to create a feel-good factor associated with your brand.

Here are just some of our ideas:

  • A business that provides products or services to families could use each calendar month to provide ideas of fun things to do with kids each month. Such as a bush walk, lunch at a special spot, a visit to a local Arts Centre or gardens, hiring bikes and going for a bike ride. Or perhaps ideas on a variety of games that could be played.
  • Accountants and business coaches could use the calendar to help clients with business growth tips and tax reminders. They could also provide advice and tips on business growth.
  • Mechanics could provide seasonal reminders for example in the lead up to summer make sure you get your camper, caravan or boat trailer serviced before the rush and to avoid missing out. They could also use the calendar to educate on the importance of other services such as when to change your cam belt – if you have one.
  • The calendar could be used as a fundraising tool. We have clients who include beautiful scenic photos of their area and sell the calendars to both locals and tourists. We have another client who uses their calendars to raise money for their non-profit farming organisation. They had a photographer take saucy semi-nude and very funny photos of the farmers.

A calendar with generic meaningless pictures is just a calendar, however, if you can align the content of the calendar with your services and things that help and appeal to your target markets, the calendar becomes so much more. Plus it has the added benefit of reminding them of your brand all – year –round!

Motivating Employees

Motivating Employees

Business success is rarely simply due to the business owner alone because only a few businesses work with just an owner operator (and even then there is normally a wife or partner behind the scenes helping to make it happen!) More usually success is delivered by a team of people. So how do you ensure that the team is motivated and everyone is pulling in the same direction, with success a focus for each and every one of them?

It’s a trust thing.

Show your team that you trust them and they’ll reward you with successful outcomes. Most of the time if this fails it’s due to poor communication and briefing rather than a failure of the team member. Most people react well to being given responsibility, enjoy the challenge and bend over backwards to repay that trust. Give staff responsibility and allow them to try new things – this is how to drive a dynamic organisation that stays nimble and proactive, rather than reactive.

Find the carrot

Everyone loves an incentive – it’s just human nature. Reward your staff for a job well done, not simply a reward for doing their job. Make your reward personal – many people are not motivated by money, so explore their motivations and be creative in your rewards. Do you buy your daughter a voucher at Christmas or put more thought into it? The same is true of your staff. A busy Mum with young kids would probably love a day off or perhaps a spa treatment, for instance. This reward will have much more emotional engagement than simply money.

Invest in people

Don’t just invest in salary-terms but also invest in additional training and additional benefits – even when these might be in helping to achieve goals outside of the workplace – your team will feel you have their best interns at heart and stay loyal to you even if you’re not paying as much as another business.

Find purpose

No matter what your job is, whether it’s packing orders at a distribution warehouse, or managing a Fortune 500 company at the executive level, we all want to know that our jobs matter. Show your employees why they matter to the company, and what the results of their work are, and they’ll feel rewarded and motivated to keep at it. Emphasizing the importance of employee contributions (and giving people credit for good work) bolsters a sense of confidence and achievement, which can motivate people to keep working hard.

Be inclusive

The beauty of smaller businesses with a handful of employees is that you can more easily create a sense of family. Include your team in big decisions – never alienate them as this makes them feel isolated and unimportant.

Focus on these few things and you’ll create a team around you that is focused on success for everyone.

Smart ways to spend your tax refund

Smart ways to spend your tax refund

I think it’s fair to say that most people cringe at the word ‘tax’ especially when you run your own business. To most business owners tax means paperwork, number crunching and money. But there is one time of the year when the word ‘tax refund’ rears it’s head and for some owners the refund can be a significant amount of money.

So, if you are one of the lucky ones that is due a tax refund this year here are 5 tips on what to do with it…

1. Save it for a Rainy Day

We have all heard our parents, even grandparents talk about putting some money away for a rainy day, and although it may seem boring it is a very sensible thing to do, especially when you are self employed. Unforeseeable events are usually not budgeted for and could cost a small fortune so why not put some of your tax refund into an easy-accessible interest bearing account and let the money work for you.

2. Pay off your debts

It may seem an obvious one but paying off your debts is a great way to start the new financial year. Tackle your debts, reduce your loan payments or pay it off completely either way it’s a win-win.

3. Invest it

There are many ways you can invest your refund but it depends on your goals and aspirations for the year. If you do not need the cash then you may consider investing the money and letting it work for you in a fund or institution.

But for most people the goal is probably based around their business, so investing it back into that is often a great solution. Whether it’s investing into your office, yourself, your staff or your brand they all have merit. If growth is a goal for the future then revising your logo, branding and collateral could be something to invest in. After all if no-one knows your brand or what you do then how can you grow??

4. Prepay bills

Running your own business guarantees that you will receive bills each and every month, so be prepared and pay them off early or put the money aside so you can pay them off easily. It may sound very dull but it is also sensible!

5. Audit & Review

A new tax year is a good time to review your business and take stock of what you have and have not got! Do you need to replace flags, bannerstands or other collateral? Maybe you just need to update your signage and make up some new posters – why not use the tax refund to help you tick this off your list!

No matter what you do with your tax refund remember this is your hard earned cash that you are being reacquainted with because you overpaid in the past year, it’s not a gift from the government so spend it wisely! Or just go out and have fun with it – here’s a few things to start ticking off your bucket list!

5 ways to promote your business

5 ways to promote your business

You would be surprised at the number of New Zealand business owners that don’t spend money on marketing – that’s not to say they don’t market, but that they find cost effective (free) ways to market themselves.

Here’s how to promote your business with a minimum spend.

#1 Talk to your clients/customers
I know this seems like a crazy idea, but just imagine if you spent time talking to your customers rather than merely transacting with them. As well as the 80/20 rule coming into play here – where it’s more effective to target and grow your existing customers, you should also note that those very customers know lots of other people – talk to them and ask them for a referral.

TIP: Choose 5 customers a month to actually talk to and ask for referrals.

#2 Give more thought to your next marketing campaign
How about thinking a little more out the box – creative thinking and campaigns create virality – people talk about your business because they like what they see and how you present yourself. There’s a lot of marketing ‘stuff’ out there, so you have to be clever to get noticed. This never means spending lots of money – it just means brainstorming with colleagues or talking to a creative studio, like printing.com.

Be clear on what you want your campaign to achieve and don’t try to say too much in your messaging – pick one thing and focus in on it. If you need to say more, then put it in another campaign!

TIP: Designers and creative people are exactly that – creative. We can’t all be, so know when to reach out to others for great ideas.

#3 Get the word out
This takes time, but usually no cost at all. Create stories about your business and get in touch with local journalists and local publications. Talk to the editors and journalists about what sort of content they’re looking for and then craft stories that address this.

The key to success is not to get disheartened with rejection. Keep writing and keep talking to local contacts. You WILL get publicity, it’s just that sometimes it takes time. Just remember that PR is generally more credible than advertising.

#4 Leverage existing relationships
Get out there and network – NZ is full of networking groups and they really do work as a method to grow your business. Printing.com business owners all contribute to networking groups and enjoy the rewards of talking to fellow business owners as well as generating business through referrals.

Don’t be shy about using your network of family and friends too – they’re all good sources for promotion!

TIP: Google business networking groups in your area and make a connection – start attending each week, and I am willing to bet that within 6 months it starts to payback.

#5 Get into email marketing
As a channel, it ranks much higher than social media, so start building a database and start emailing it with news, product information, launches and to share case studies and publicity. Other than the time it takes to write, email is mostly a free channel using tools like MailChimp.

Also consider how you can build your database, looking at tools like Autopilot – add this to your website to generate pop-up messaging and drive online form completions.

Remember, our studios can help you design email templates for MailChimp to ensure your brand stands out.

TIP: There are heaps of tools available for email marketing. At PDC we use MailChimp but there are many options. Try not to make all your comms about your business – include other stories that might be of interest. And after you send it out, be sure to look back at the reporting – you’ll begin to understand what your customers like to read!