This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.
By Tara Palacios
What New Year’s resolutions are on your list this year?
Today marks the 9th day of the New Year. Have you stuck to your New Year’s Resolutions for your business? Or are you still working on what you’d like to do for the year?
Planning and executing a strategy at the start of the New Year is a great way to ensure you accomplish your business goals in 2019.
BizLaunch is offering two new workshops this month which can help you to achieve your goals in 2019. Our first event is “Branding Your Biz 2019: Best Practices for Startups,” and the next is our highly popular — quarterly Brunch and Business on, “Raising Capital in 2019.” Marketing and financing are two topics in demand at BizLaunch in 2019.
If your goals are in these two areas we have fast tips for you to think about below:
Quick Tips on Branding in 2019
- Consistent Use of Your Brand on all Platforms
As a business, develop a clear branding plan for 2019. Implement consistent, almost predictable activities on all online and offline platforms (Think GEICO… all their ads have the same look and feel whether on TV, radio or in print).
Your clients, colleagues and associates should be able to clearly identify your business via marketing initiatives regarding your products or if you are sponsoring an event. Use the same “voice,” of your business even if someone else is producing your materials.
- Be Seen
If no one sees your business at leading industry events — you do not exist in the marketplace. Identify and attend events, conferences and networking programs where it is both logical and beneficial for your organization to participate.
While being seen at events, do ensure your business cards, promotional and marketing materials are up-to-date with the latest branding. Sponsor events and activities where you can quantify your return on investment.
- Know Your Customers
What do your customers like and dislike? Which platforms are your clients on? Ask your clients for referrals and build your brand around customer loyalty. Don’t try to please more than your direct target market. It can be costly and too much work. Produce high value to a well-defined audience.
- Repetition is Healthy
The more you are seen with your brand — the more people equate you with the success of the brand. Repetition and being known in an industry are key tools to a healthy brand. It takes a minimum of 6-8 touches before the brand is recognized by a target market. Therefore, it is important every time a potential client sees your brand your business is using the same imagery.
Top Tips on Raising Capital
- Find Out Exactly How Much Capital You Need in 2019
If you are presented today with an opportunity, do you have enough liquidity to successfully accomplish the initiative? What types of work will you be undertaking in 2019, and how much will it cost you to execute the proposal?
If something goes wrong, how much will you have to pay to get out of the opportunity? If something goes too well, do you have the cash on hand to respond to the demand?
- Educate Yourself on Current Financing Trends
How are banks structuring business loans in 2019? Is it possible to get a loan from a bank? Are investors looking for specific qualities from businesses to invest in them? How much does a business need to give up in receiving an investment?
Are investors interested in your industry? There is the opportunity to use crowdfunding to finance business endeavors; however, is this something one can use to underwrite expenses, and if so how much will it cost?
- Review Current Interest Rates and Identify the Best Options in the Long & Short Term
Will the Federal Reserve increase interest rates this year? What are the current rates offered by banks, and how will this affect the buying power of the business? What are other banks offering, and should an entrepreneur lock in a rate now versus a year from now?
Contact your accountant to see how interest rates, and the recent changes to tax law will impact your business in 2019.
- Much Talk on Potential Recession in Late 2019 or 2020
Economists are predicting slow economic growth this year or a recession in 2020 based on current activity. How will this impact your buying power and what should you be doing today to plan for a slowdown in the market tomorrow?
Do a fact check of your industry and look for signs of changes in financing trends. A rule of thumb in financing is to go after capital when you don’t need it.
If you have more questions, please put on your New Year’s list to attend a BizLaunch workshop in 2019. We hope to see you at a BizLaunch program in the New Year! Here’s to a productive and profitable 2019.