Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mission Statement

We've been posting a couple of months now, but haven't had a chance to post our mission statement. We both feel it's truly important that you all know the passion that we have for what we do and for what you do.

The Accomplished Mommy Mission Statement

We are here to assist fellow mothers and women in following their life's path and destiny. In a world where mothers have less of a choice between working their lives away at a job they don't enjoy or keeping the focus on raising amazing people, we want to show you there's a third choice; Putting your brilliant ideas to work for you, raking in the prosperity, AND raising amazing people. The first step is defining your passion. It can be as specific as you want it to be. Maybe you just want to be a business owner, but you don't know of what sort of company. Perhaps you want to be a freelance make up artist. Perhaps you want to write novels. The second step is faith. Believe that you have a path in this lifetime that involves you prospering (whatever that means to you), as well as being blissful in what you do. I don't believe we were meant to suffer day in and day out doing something we don't enjoy for money. It's not a fair exchange of energy. Third is execution. We want to help you find ideas to make your dreams a reality. If it's your true path, I believe it will work out, with a little faith and execution.

We promise to stick on the topic of helping you and your children flourish. We want to hear your ideas and feedback, as we're learning too. If you want more information on a specific topic, please don't hesitate to contact us at TheAccomplishedMommy@hotmail.com.

Here's to your success, and happiness!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Marketing Tips Part 2

Keep in mind that the more people see your logo and company name, the more familiar and trustworthy your business will seem. So get visible!

The general guideline is that 3% of the business' gross income should be applied toward marketing. Try out different methods and adjust as you go along.

Logos are key to creating a memorable business personality. I used thelogocompany.com and I'm very happy with them. It's only $199 for a logo design, and upgrades are available. I recommend them highly.

They say old clients are the best new clients. Keep in contact with your old clients. Send a thank you note after meeting for the first time, another after completing your transaction, and after receiving referrals or positive reviews online/ letters of recommendation. Send Christmas cards, birthday cards, anniversary of the service ("your new kitchen is a year old!")... Give good clients a gift after completion, such as logo imprinted items (tee shirt, water bottle, etc.), gift cards, anything that seems appropriate. My maternity photographer included two photo magnets with our print order, which not only seems warm and fuzzy of her, but of course I'm going to use it because it's a photo I love. She has her web address tastefully printed on it. Everyone who sees my fridge sees a great photo and her contact info. She essentially put up an ad in my house and I love it! Sweet but sneaky.

Offer customers referral discounts or gifts. Offering an incentive gets people motivated to spread your name (and if it's a gift certificate for your business, even better! Odds are they'll spend over the certificate amount).

Compile a beautiful, professional portfolio, whether you're selling design services or homemade soap! One great way is to scan in any letters of recommendation (ASK EVERYONE FOR THESE!!!) and pair them with photos of your work (you are taking lots of photos, right?) in a printed photobook from one of the many online photo printing services. Keep the design simple and polished.

Donating your services (or even just time and money in your business' name) can sometimes get you a mention in the paper if you're donating it to a real need. Silent auctions are also good to watch for. The full value of your goods or services are tax deductible, people will see your name, and you have very good odds of upselling. I won a photography session at a La Leche silent auction, which included the sitting fee and a $50 print credit. I got it for $20 and I was thrilled, but the photographer is really who won. He was exposed to his target market (young families - oh the little ones grow so fast we need a million pictures!), he got free advertising, he gets a tax deduction, he gets a new client who wouldn't have heard of him otherwise (who could be recurring), and he'll get a sale (as expensive as prints are, I'm sure we'll spend over that $50 credit). Donations are great for everyone involved!

Sending out press releases is something that's often recommended, but honestly, I don't know how to do that! I'm determined to figure it out, and I'll let you guys know! If you know how, we'd love a comment with some info.

Sponsoring a Little League team in an area you'd like to do business is fairly inexpensive ($150-$300) and something we'll be trying out this next season. I'll keep you posted on the outcome.

Advertising in large papers is usually expensive and not worthwhile, but small local papers are a cheap way to spread your name. A one by one ad in our town's weekly paper is $72 a month. I placed the ad a month ago and haven't seen any leads from it, but I think I'll keep it just for the visibility. The more the prospective client sees your logo, there more they subconsciously "know" and trust you.

Car decals/ magnets. Vistaprint has really low prices on these! Again, visibility.

Get yourself a nice logo jacket and wear it EVERYWHERE! This raises your visibility and people will notice it and ask you about it. Even if you only get one lead from this (you'll get much more, though) your return on investment is huge. Keep your business cards handy when wearing your logowear!

If you have employees, consider uniforms or at least logo shirts. A professional appearance helps your credibility.

Pens - the higher the quality the longer they'll be kept. My escrow company gave me a nice pen and it's been in my purse for a year and a half, and I won't forget their name anytime soon because of that fact. Buy a huge quantity and "accidentally" leave them everywhere you go. Leave a few with every client or customer you meet. Sign your receipt at the store, leave one behind. Leave one (or two) with the bill at restaurants. I worked at a steakhouse for a bit and the servers were constantly complaining that customers swiped their pens. The server will appreciate a new pen being left behind, lots of people will see it, and odds are eventually someone will steal it and then your company name will circulate around a new group. A stylish pen design will make even more of an impression. Just be ready to say, "Oh, keep it!" when someone invariably says, "You forgot your pen!".

Networking: I'll discuss further in another post, but those who attend marketing groups are typically a good demographic to be friendly with. They're business owners or salespeople, they know lots of people, and they probably have money!

Contact papers, magazines, and websites about writing a column in your area of expertise. A personal organizer I know writes about organization in the Seattle P-I and DivineCaroline.com (easy place to start writing articles - just create a free account and click My Account, My Articles, Begin Writing An Article) and this gives her a ton of "street cred", if you will. (Her name is Laura Leist and she owns the largest personal organization company in the state and was voted one of Washington's 40 Under 40 Entrepreneurs. She's remarkable.).

Imagine your ideal customer. Now walk around in their shoes. Where do they hang out, what do they read, what will catch their eye? We just placed ads at golf courses because 95% of golfers are homeowners. Then there's the trusty list notepad with magnet backing. We all love those notepads, don't we? So they get used, which means the recipient of that notepad sees your name on an almost daily basis. Understanding their point of view is essential to the success of your marketing.

The most important thing is to be creative. Some of the tried and true things work, but do what no one else thought of and you set yourself apart.

Finally, ask every single person who contacts you how they heard about you and keep a spreadsheet of this info. The trends will start to emerge and it will be clear where your marketing dollars are working and what to rethink.

More marketing tips to come!

The Importance of Setting Goals

It's become quite obvious to someone of my sort, that if you don't set goals you'll never get anything done. When I say my sort, I mean Carly's sort also- maybe even your sort! You know us, the kind that has five trillion great ideas but no execution. I wonder if any of you noticed we haven't posted in about...oh two weeks or so?

This is where goals come in. Write them down somewhere you will see them (please note the much earlier post about my yahoo). If you give yourself due dates for the things you'd like to complete (and tell other people that will help hold you to it!), you might complete one of those five trillion amazing ideas! Maybe one of them is your million dollar idea... you never know.

Look! You could be this guy!

Ahahaha. But really. If you find this hard to do, start small. Start making daily to do lists. Stick to them. When I'm feeling like I'm not accomplishing much, I write down something I've already done and cross it off! (Can we say denial?) Move on to setting goals for particular projects. For example, let's say you're a writer. Set a date that you want to be finished with chapter one. You can then set the next date, or you can schedule it out for the entire book. Join an online forum of writers (or whatever it is that you do- start a yahoo group if nothing exists), and share the same due dates with a buddy or a team. Hold yourself accountable.

As far as your long term goals (once you feel brave), you need to take some time and write out a 5-10 year plan. Lucky for you, Carly has grandtastic fantastic google-ing and/or web perusing skills and do we have a treat for you!

Working With Your Power

This is from last year (we've had it stashed back awhile), so add in the appropriate dates of course.

Fill this out, share it with your close confidants as well as your husband/partner! You need to make sure they're either on board with your plans or that you can find a way to convince them (if you need convincing techniques, feel free to post in comments. Carly and myself are both Geminis and I promise we know how to talk anybody into anything).

And for inspiration:

Billionaire Women

(And Carly- they talk about women in there that took over a construction business and are billionaires! Just sayin ladies, if you think your trade wont make you a billionaire, you haven't thought about it hard enough ;)

Happy Business Building!