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networking, sales
How to welcome new clients

I have recently been discussing networking your business to get referrals and new business. Once those turn into a business deal, do you know how to welcome new clients?


In-Person Meeting

Meeting in person still holds so much value in the business world. Many things can be confused over email and it doesn’t make for an easy business partnership if your client feels confused. Your first step should be to schedule a meeting with them to go over the basics and really explain how your process will work. This takes out any surprises because you’ll explain your business’s process and have the ability to answer their questions right then and there. You can have this meeting at your favorite local coffee shop, lunch spot or even at their office. Doesn’t matter as long as you meet in person. Don’t forget to discuss your overall goals. Let’s say you are assisting in one aspect of their business, it does not hurt to know what their big goals are. This will help keep your goals aligned with theirs.


Follow up with the Details

After your meeting, you should send a follow-up email. It should thank them for their time along with an overview of the items discussed and what the next step will be. This way they have something to reference as the process of your client relationship begins.


Be Ready and Willing to Answer Questions

Sure you had your initial meeting to answer their questions but that doesn’t mean more won’t come up along the way. You should always let them know you would be happy to answer any questions. This may seem silly but I don’t think you can ever express your willingness to answer questions enough. For example, if I send artwork to a client for approval, I almost always end with “please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.” This seems a little more welcoming than just saying “here is the draft of your artwork.”


Handwritten Thank You’s

After your first project is complete, a handwritten thank you note is a nice touch. This is something that most people don’t expect but are pleasantly surprised when they received it. You could send an email saying thank you but it really doesn’t express your true appreciation like sitting down to handwrite a card.


The most important thing to remember is you can’t be too thorough. These may seem like simple, no-brainer points but people tend to overlook the basics. You want your new client to feel like they are aware of what is happening during every part of the process and if they are unsure, you’ll be there to help. This process leads to successful on-going business relationships.

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Entrepreneurship

Is being your own boss all it’s cracked up to be?


being your own boss

Through my own experiences and working with many other entrepreneurs over the years, I’ve concluded that being your own boss
can be all it’s cracked up to be depending on motives and expectations. I love being my own boss but I’ve had to endure more proverbial donkey kicks to the groin than I would like to admit. Is it worth it? Read on to find out…

Entrepreneurial Motives

First off, you really have to evaluate your reasons for starting a business. If you do it for the right reasons, you will embrace the struggle with dignity and have the courage to persevere through difficult times. Do it for the wrong reasons and you will likely end up another sad statistic.

For me, I just needed to escape cubicle life in the big corporations at all costs. Although I made a very good living working for a national media conglomerate in Columbus, Ohio it wasn’t enough.

Every morning before work I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed filled with dread for the upcoming day. I would ask myself questions like how many idiotic meetings will I have to attend today? How many times will I have to clap for things that don’t justify applause in said meetings? How long will it be until I can sneak out on a “sales call” and go home for a much needed nap? Obviously, I was not cut out for corporate life.

Reasons why you should be your own boss

• Demand for your product or services –  If people are willing to pay you for what you do, that’s the first start to any successful business.

• Self Determination Whether you succeed or fail, it will be mostly, if not completely your fault. If you’re willing to carry around that type of responsibility, it can be very satisfying when things go well.

• Building a company from the ground up – Imagine what it’s like to be Jeff Bezos of Amazon. He went from working out of his garage in 1995 to running the second most valuable company in the world 23 years later! What aspiring entrepreneur doesn’t dream of building such a company?

• Flexibility – Being your own boss affords you the luxury of being able to work when and where you choose. I’m okay with working as many hours as it takes to succeed but I can’t do 9 to 5. Never could, never will. Nights and weekends are actually my favorite times to work, mostly because there are less distractions. In fact, I’m writing this sentence at 10:42 on a Sunday night. That’s the way I like it.

• Pursuing your Passion This is what it’s all about, right? If you start a business that’s driven by a passion, you are more likely to succeed. Running a business takes stamina and nothing energizes you like passion.

 

What should you expect from being your own boss?

• Making money takes time – From my experience, it takes a LOT of time to make any decent money. There have been many times I didn’t take a paycheck so I could pay my employees and/or bills. I’m not exactly Steve Jobs though, so maybe I’m just an underachiever. Maybe not. According to a recent Fundera study, 86.3% of small business owners make less than 100k. What’s more, 30% take no salary at all! Could you strike it rich with one big idea, hard work and a lucky break or two? You sure can, but the odds are not good.

• Be ready to put in a lot of hours – Being the boss means it’s all on you. If something needs to get done and there’s nobody else to do it, you’re on the clock. During the first five years I was in business, I literally worked quite a few 24 hour days to meet deadlines. Occasionally I got to go on vacation but you know what else went on vacation with me? Work.

• Running a business is hard – It requires high tolerance for risk, stress and pressure. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics about 50% of businesses don’t survive past their fifth year. That’s pretty scary stuff! To see the reasons why businesses fail on full display, make time to watch “The Profit” on CNBC. The great thing about that show is you get to see the reasons for failure and how to fix them.

• You think you’re in control, but you’re not – Are you really your own boss when you run a business? I can hire and fire employees, create my own schedule and make executive decisions. Sounds like a boss to me, but not so fast! What if my employees quit and my clients kick me to the curb? There won’t be much left to be the boss of if that happens. So yes, I am the boss, but I better make sure the decisions I make are in the best interest of my business, my employees and my customers or I will be the boss of nothing. 

Conclusion

So, is being your own boss all it’s cracked up to be? It’s more difficult than I can clearly articulate but I can’t imagine anything else at this point. I embrace the challenges and the sleepless nights that come with the job. I’m truly grateful for everything I’ve learned along the way and feel better prepared to succeed in the future.

Being your own boss isn’t for everybody but if you do it for the right reasons and set your expectations appropriately, it can be a deeply fulfilling pursuit.

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networking

Networking for your Business
A great way to get new business is referrals. To get referrals, you need to have a network of people that know who you are and what you do. Here are a few things I have found to help when networking for your business.

Perception is everything.

If you are going to an event, you have to think about how your actions are being perceived. Show up late and people may make assumptions about your punctuality when it comes to doing business with you. It is appropriate to match your clothes to an event and most of the time, business casual is the safest option. If someone can’t tell if you are running an errand or going to a networking event, you may not be taken as seriously. If you sit on your phone through the event, you are basically saying you’re too important for what is going on.

Have business cards and use them.

Don’t be afraid to hand out your business cards to make sure people will have a way to follow up with you. Something I have always found helpful is writing a few words on someone’s card after we’re done talking. You can meet a lot of people during one event and it’s hard to remember them all. If you write a few words down from the conversation you had, there is a better chance you’ll remember what they do and most importantly, their name.

Know your product/service.

There is nothing worse than someone asking you questions about your product or service and you answer “I don’t know”. Networking is a way to share about who you are and what you do. You want to make sure you have those details covered so you are prepared to have productive conversations. These are conversations that will hopefully lead to doing business with someone.

Review your promotions, products, and sales materials before attending an event. It never hurts to be too prepared.

Be confident.

Is walking into a room full of strangers scary? Absolutely. That is why confidence is key. You are the expert of your product or service. You know how you can help people best. Remind yourself of these things before going in. It may sound silly but you will be much better at holding a good conversation with someone if you feel like the expert. It is more uncomfortable to stumble through a conversation when you keep contradicting yourself because of nerves.

When networking for your business, keep these tips in mind to help you get the most out of your experience. It’s not as scary if you do it right!

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photography

Restaurants owners have more on their plate than ever before. The “to-do” list is never-ending to ensure your business is successful. But when was the last time you crossed off a list item that will help you long term and not just right now.  The benefits of professional food photography are one of those long-term list items and let me tell you why.

Highlight Items

High-quality professional photos of your menu items allow you to showcase your food and make customers crave what you’re selling. Its common practice in the restaurant industry to draw the eye of customers to dishes that are best known, most delicious or are most profitable. To do this you must use the benefits of professional food photography.

Professional photography
Professional photography

Whether you want to highlight a signature menu item or a new offering, you need to use photos that will drive traffic to your establishment. Have you ever launched a new menu item that you thought everyone would love but it didn’t sell as well as you expected? If you didn’t use professional photography, the way your item was presented may not have been appetizing enough. Photos of deliciously styled food encourage customers to step out of their go-to orders and try new things. When you hire a professional food photographer, you are also hiring a food stylist. Together they know how to position your food to make it most appealing to your clients while also maintaining your brand integrity.

Marketing Material

Speaking of brand integrity, you will want a professional photographer to keep the photo style consistent with your brand so it seamlessly fits into your marketing material. Including photos on marketing material such as menus, table signs, billboard, etc. elevates your business quality. Showing your guest that you value the quality of the photos you market your restaurant with translates that you also value the little details. The ingredients that you source and the way you prepare menu items.

Graphic & web design

Online

Not only print marketing benefits from professional food photography but online marketing as well.  Your website should be the first thing that comes to mind with the use of your photos online. For example, a site we created for Los Girasoles (pictured below) displays large bright and colorful photos when you land on the page. These photos fit Los Girarasoles brand as well as enticing the viewer and making them hungry for a Mexican Fiesta.

Graphic & web design

But don’t stop there, use the benefits of professional food photography on your social media platforms. Stay top of mind with your fan base by posting regularly but also make them crave your food more frequently.  Delicious food photos make people hungry for what you’re offering. Have daily specials? Get people talking about them with posts that engage the viewer with delicious photos. Make them stop in their tracks and think about ordering dinner from your restaurant.

Benefits of Professional Food Photography

Now that we’ve made you sufficiently hungry are you ready to book your session with us? Head on over to our contact page and get in touch. Not ready yet? We’d love to hear what’s holding you back.

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photography


With easy access to a camera today, it’s easy to think that a cell phone photo works perfectly fine to capture your business headshot. After all, why spend money on something you will rarely use and can do yourself? But, I’m going to explain why this is not the case and the 4 reasons for a professional headshot. 

1. Represent Your Brand

You should think of your headshot as an extension of your personal brand. What message you are trying to convey to potential clients? Is it that you are an expert in your field and take value in your business and career? A professional headshot will convey this message and will help you to align with your brand. If you work for a large organization, matching headshots create cohesiveness and builds trust with potential clients.
4 Reasons for a Professional Headshot

2. First Impressions are Everything

As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s easy to judge a book by its cover and the research proves it.  Check out this quote from the Association for Psychological Science:

“A series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov reveal that all it takes is a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face and that longer exposures don’t significantly alter those impressions (although they might boost your confidence in your judgments).”

You have a tenth of a second for someone to judge you…just based on your face! A decent photo captured on your iPhone will not highlight you in the best light or give a professional impression.

3. Selfie vs. Professional

As you run your business, you may need to hire someone to prepare your taxes. However, you wouldn’t hire your mechanic friend to do this even though you trust your friend. You would hire an established accountant because they are an expert. Just like a professional photographer is an expert with lighting, composition, posing, and editing (we’re not talking about Instagram editing either 😉). If you want to be taken seriously in your profession the first step is to take yourself seriously and invest in yourself.

4. Where to Use

You should use an up to date, professional photo on all of your social media platforms and marketing material. Here is a quick list of all the places you can and should use your new professional headshot.

• Your website

• All social media accounts

• Linkedin

• Link to email/google

• Business card

• Marketing material



In conclusion, a professional business headshot translates trust, professionalism, and expertise to potential clients.  This is an investment in yourself that will help you to stand out and has multiple uses throughout your professional business. These are just 4 reasons for a professional headshot, but the list could go on and on. For a look at more of our professional headshots visit our portfolio or contact us today for more information.

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web design


“Should I update my website?” “Does it really 
need to be updated?” “It’s a little outdated but it has all the important information… that’s good, right?”  We’ve all had these thoughts and it can be confusing to know whether your website needs a refresh or a complete overhaul. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine which camp you fall into.

Is my website responsive and mobile-friendly?

Nowadays, the majority (52.54%) of people spend more time on their mobile phones than they do a desktop computer.  Not optimizing your site for mobile viewers deters them from spending time learning about your company and products/services. This, in turn, hurts your search engine optimization (SEO).  In addition, Google’s April 21st, 2015 mobile-friendly update boosts ranking for mobile-friendly websites.  If your website is not responsive for mobile viewers, we would say you’re a go for a new website!

Is my website easy to use for the average person?

Web design based on user experience (UX) is every aspect of a visitors experience with your site, not just its looks. UX includes how easy it is to use and understand the site navigation, how fast the site loads and how easy it is to find information. If someone visits your website that sells home decor but can’t find your location to purchase from you, you may have lost a potential sale. It’s also essential to have social profiles easily accessible to allow people to stay updated with your products. Your website should help the user get to the desired end result easily and efficiently.  If it’s not doing that job, it might be time to update your website.

Is my website visually attracting the clients/customers I want?

Although this isn’t a technical aspect you may think of when you think about a new website, it is a very important one. The design, photos, and information on your website are a reflection of your business or organization.  We’ve all heard the expression, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” It only exists because it happens all the time. The design of your website will create assumptions about your business: old, outdated, confusing, or organized, helpful, professional.


Does my website have an effective call to action?

Many outdated websites were designed to just give information. However, if you do not tell the user what to do, they won’t do it.  Having a clear call to action lets the user know the next step they need to take. For example, our service page and each of our portfolio pages have a link to the contact page because we want to make it easy for users to contact us. Maybe this step alone doesn’t require a brand new website, but an experienced web design can help to easily implement this step.


In conclusion, the questions listed above are a great place to start if you think it’s time to update your website. If you’ve decided that you’re ready for an upgrade, we’re ready too. Call us to see if we have options that are right for you.

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