Why Squareball?

One of the most common questions we are asked is ” how did we come up with the name Squareball?”. Please take a moment to read this quick post on the thought process behind it.

Once upon a time all we did was help people who wanted to work for themselves
(potential small business owners), unlock skills and competencies they never knew they had. One such way we went about this was to analyze every aspect of their personal and professional lives. Most of us are extremely good or love to do things that on the surface don’t sound like profitable businesses ventures. Others are extremely good at something that has been turned into a profitable business venture by thousands of other people and present a huge barrier to enter that market.

At Squareball we look at these two aspects. One aspect is called the “Square” this is a skill or discipline you have that is worth money. The “Square” aspect may be your fulltime job, the degree you received in college, or any certifications or license you hold. The “Square” aspect has boundaries, regulations, guidelines, standards, instructions, etc. Basically, the “Square” aspect keeps you in a box.

The second aspect we look at is what we call the “Ball”. This aspect is the “feel good” portion or your life. It could be music, the arts, working out, reading, volunteering etc. Once again on the surface, it does not sound profitable. This could be the things you do that bring a sense of balance to your life. Looking at the two aspects, the “Square and the Ball”, we pair skills with each other, and brainstorm on how we can create a profitable business venture by leveraging two seemingly unrelated aspects of your life. Check out the example below…

One gentleman approached us and acquired about our services in terms of helping him create a profitable business model. He had no idea what he wanted to do, but knew he wanted to work for himself. We started the process by asking him some key questions in order to construct his “Square and ball” list. Eventually he revealed to us that he had a barbers licence. This was his “Square”. He also told us he really enjoyed music, not only listening but producing and playing instruments. This was his “Ball”. We brainstormed and presented him will a list of potential business models, one of which was to open a barbershop with an afterschool program to teach inner-city children how to play instruments and produce music.

As you can see, ” the Square and the Ball” have the potential to work well together. This ideal is the basis of our company. It forces you to unlock your life, and think about the possibilities. If you would like to start YOUR Squareball venture, please comment on this blog and we will reach out to you. Also, like us on Facebook!!!

What Have You Done For Me Latley???

Often times small business feel the need to promote what they have the capability to do for potential clients. What they can give potential clients. What they can collaborate on with their potential clients…… WE GET IT! You have potential! The downside for small businesses, is that every large company offers greater potential. As seen with professional sports, many people will over pay for the POTENTIAL opportunity of success. So, potential may not always be the best selling point to compete on against the surrounding competitors.

As a small business, your new clients need to see results. They need to be able to trust the little guy. Don’t feel disrespected this is all apart of building your business relationship with the client. Begin to promote the work that has been done with other clients, use images of successful projects as tasteful decor in your store front/website, and convince the new clients that your work can compete with others. See examples below:

a. Testimonials – Use testimonials of current faithful clients in your advertisement. However, make sure these testimonials include the names of notable companies,  Community leaders, of recognizable community figures. Please understand that statements from Jane/John Doe do not seem credible nor sincere.

b. – Develop a work log/Past project booklet that new client can keep. Make this small! Not only does this display your past work, but it serves as a secondary meeting after the clients leave. A small promotional item will allow the client to continue to spend time thinking of your business as the read it later. More time spent thinking of your business is more money spent at business.

For more help on promoting your history and discovering the real potential of your business comment on this blog  and we will reach out to you. Let SquareBall Marketing help you discover your REAL potential.  Also “Like” us on facebook.

Thank you for reading …”What have you done for me lately?”

 

Pay Attention so Attention can Pay YOU!!!!

Reviewing this past year and evaluating our portfolio of clients, there seems to be a common theme. Before our services were offered to these organizations they all had a major hang-up. One of the most important aspects of any succesful small business is effectively identifying and knowing who your customer is. If you ask most small business owners, they would simply say “everyone”. While this approach may work for some types of businesses, more often than not it is a flawed mentality. If you want to make more money and slim down marketing cost, listen closely to the following.

We live in a society that has been overcome by designation. Designation is the process of separation based on common goals, values or task. For example, being dubbed a ” family man” is a designation compared to be dubbed a “ladies man”, which is also a designation.

This is about to get deep…

Even though the two men in question can hold the same career, earn the same salary, work for the same company, and drive the same car, these two men are placed in two separate designations and should not be marketed too using the same strategy. This is the first step in knowing your target marketing. Based on my example this might sound complicated. However, in order to identify our market we must pay attention to trends in our business. For example, if you own a store/front brick and motor business, ask yourself these questions:

1. What does my average customer look like?
2. What does my average non-purchasing browser look like?
3. What types of vehicles are most often in my parking lot?
4. What is the most used type of credit card at my business?

Lets take a closer look at how asking these questions can help you designate your target market.

1. Is your average customer younger, older, male or female etc? Do they wear professional clothing which suggest a white-collar position, or do they wear casual clothing which is harder to designate? Noticing these trends will help you designate your customers.

2. This question will further assist you in designating your customer by telling you who is not your customer!

3. This question can often be to sensitive to our clients because they feel like we are telling them to profile their customers. This question is not intended to do that. This is more of a shortcut to find your target. For example if you have majority high-end luxury car owners, BMW, Lexus etc, then use those companies’ target marketing as your own. Research where which outlets they advertise in and conform their wording for your product. This can save you a lot of money and time.

4. This is one of the more obvious observations. For example, if you have a lot of check-card customers it might mean your customers are financially responsible and more aware of price. If you have more American Express, or discover card customers, it might imply that your customers are high income earners, or are not moved by certain sales or promotions. You will not be able to tell which type of cards are used unless you are the one doing the transactions or the person reviewing the credit card processing payments each day (as a business owner you should have a hand in both).  Isn’t interesting how much your customers can tell you, without telling you!

We know every business is different. However, some if not all of these questions will apply to you in your own way. This is the simplest and most inexpensive way to begin YOUR market research. To understand how to further use these tactics to prosper your business please post a comment on this blog and we will reach out to you, or “like us” on Facebook!

Thank you for reading and remember “Pay Attention, and Attention will Pay you!!!!!”.

Last Minute Marketing= Bad Idea

Let me explain…

Wow, 2012 will be here in a little over a week. If your like most small business owners you are starting to get ready for tax time as well as trying to figure out how to stir up some business during the winter months. This is very smart, however we need to start thinking big picture. Most small business owners plan thier marketing efforts months at a time. We here at SqaureBall encourage a more aggressive approach.

The problem

When you plan your promtions just weeks or months before they are ment to place, you limit yourself. Your ideas dont have to take root, or to develop antagonistic thoughts. Based off of our expirence we know large retailers plan thier marketing efforts years in advance. Do you think Pepsi filmed thier Super Bowl Comercial yet, (yes), or Coke knows what they want the Polar bears will be doing on tv next Christmas? Of course they do.

The other problem

Trust us, we work with small business owners across the country. Most are ran by a very passionate, and overworked individual. We also know that these same businesses would rather not wait until the last minute to put together marketing material or plan a large promotional event, but they just dont have the time. These are the limits. When you formulate a plan a year in adavnce it gives you time to make adjustments, add, and subtract elements to accomadate market conditions. With out this time you risk a irrelevent campagin.

The solution

My Grandma once told me, “hope for the best and plan for the worst”. What she ment by this was to hold “preparation” to a higher priority. This gives you the oppurtunity to work dilgently with out worrying about time contraints a while crafting the all important contingency plan.

The other solution

Take the guess work out of it and schedule a foundational marketing appointment with
SqaureBall Marketing.

Long story short…
Know what your doing a year in advance. Review your plans monthly and make adjustments for market conditions. Make a project timeline and stick to the script. Most importantly hold preparation to a higher priority and ” hope for the best and plan for the worst”.

SqaureBall Team

Can LinkedIn help you or your business?

LinkedIn can be a great tool for professional networking, potential entrepreneurs, and networking for small business owners. LinkedIn allows users have the opportunity to find potential clients, employees, vendors, and business partners. The time spent on LinkedIn can become extensive with the massasive amount of professional groups, network updates, and other features.

What make this time any different than that of Facebook or Twitter? We all have become victim of spending hours searching through the pictures of our Facebook friends and tweeting on the current trending topics. Those are reasons these sites are defined differently. Social networking vs Professional networking site.

LinkedIn users are generally more educated, business oriented, and acceptable to develop relationships in part to reach common goals/successes. Business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals must attack LinkedIn with a plan. SquareBall Marketing is here to help.

NO MATTER WHAT…..Determine what YOU need from LinkedIn. Do not get caught up in EVERYTHING that LinkedIn can do for you! The Iphone 4s can Google search for you through voice command. Is it worth it, when you can purchase the lesser expensive Iphone and type for yourself? ….. Point is, lots of things can do for us but not everything is need.

Professionals – If you are seeking employment, determine an amount of time that you will be searching. Searching for employment should be treated like a job. However, spending a limitless amount of time on one site at a time is not efficient for your job search nor daily productivity. Most job sites post new jobs 1-4 times a day. Searching LinkedIn for over 3 hours ( at approximately 90 minutes at a time) a day is plenty. Narrow your searches to new posts only, if you frequent the job postings.  (Also see Small businesses for networking tips)

Small Businesses & networking – Your profile speaks for your company. THIS IS NOT FACEBOOK!!! The LinkedIn world does not need to know everything about your personally life. Also, every job you ever had is not needed either. Small businesses on LinkedIn is all about networking. Your connections must match the image you want your brand to convey (applies to individual professionals also). If you are the owner contact other owners, marketing executives, CFOs, and top level execs. Connect with others on your level allowing your page to have a “status” that fits what you represent of your business.  It doesn’t hurt to simply explain to others that you have a small/new business and are looking to connect with those who have the same experiences and professional background. Also, join groups that fit your organization’s niche and begin discussions within the group. It is useless to join internet groups and not be active. This is FREE marketing for your company. USE IT WISELY. This is not the best time to post your upcoming discounts. However, it is a time to ask questions on business related issues and voice your opinion.

REMEMBER…..LinkedIn is a professional site. Approach it in that way. If you don’t know how….. JUST ASK US! We know Marketing.

We told you it was a bad idea!

Oh my… As we are approching two weeks from the infamous false holiday known as black Friday most of all have already forgotten what we bought, and why we stood outside. The news reports of people getting mased, grandpas getting body slammed, and gun battles in a certain box store parking lot are long but a memory. And after all the worst part of black friday is all that impulse buying will result in an inflated credit card bill, say…. Just in time for Christmas! Hey we tried to tell you. Flat screen, and computer prices are now lower than they were on black Friday, and once again Macys is having yet another “Lowest prices of the season sell”. Okay, we here at SquareBall get it, you want a deal, everyone does, you want to buy the people you love nice things, everyone wants that too. The only issue is, you can save money and increase your purchasing power by taking it slow and doing your research, before you leave the house! Check back for tips on how to save money by using your smart phone to its full potential while shopping.

We know Us – Let Us think for You

In today’s modern era of social media, instant news, instant fans, instant gratification etc…. many small business are feeling more and more pressure to develop customer friendly campaign all on their own in order to present themselves as consumer friendly. Supposedly, the new age consumer needs needs to be recognized directly and personally. At least that is what the major marketing/advertising firms are pushing. BUT…… hasn’t the point of marketing, for most small businesses, always been to reach their target market directly and on a personal level??? Please do not be fooled by the trendy mass of fans and followers. These are the same tactics but on steroids! These avenues can be used sparingly and in appropriate situations. HOWEVER why fumble around wasting time on task that may or may not impact your business.

WE KNOW US. SquareBall Marketing is a consulting group that knows how to implement marketing strategies through nearly a dozen different programs. Why not let us attack your marketing plan in a way that will lead to results and solutions to company road blocks.

Remember, although more marketing resources are available, marketing done wrong can sink a ship faster than a Charlie Sheen endorsement.

We want you to be a pro at what you do, because that lets us be marketing pros for you.

Consumer Victim 101: 3 tactics to avoid

As the first official days of  holiday shopping begin my email box is constantly occupied my messages from retailers begging me for my hard earned money. Don’t get me wrong SquareBall Marketing is in the business of helping certain retailers market to certain consumers, however we focus on the small business owner and have no problem exposing the mega powers of such retailers who participate in event like Black Friday.

Below you will find three perfectly legal, almost logical, and very common tactics of the a-fore-mentioned retailers:

1. “This is our biggest sale of the year”

Sure it is, until you say the same thing next week. Have you ever noticed that once you leave a store who was having the biggest sale of the year you still spent a boat load of money. This is because retailers are not and have never been in the business of saving consumers money. Unlike a saving account, in order to ” save” at a store you must spend. So you are spending to save? Yeah makes no sence right? Lesson 1 dont break yourself for a sale. Okay if you were going to purchase that item anyway, but never overextend your hard earned money based on the promises of a retailer.

2. “Save and extra (x) %when you open a line of credit”

You want me to do what? Let me put this into perspective. You want me to open a charge account at a specific store where I normally only shop at a couple times of year, exposing my credit worthiness and financial sanity just to save an extra couple bucks on some shoes and a few ties, in which my savings will probably be blown at the food court on one of those sugary pretzels? I’m not sure its worth the negative effects this could potentially have on your credit report. Best advice, look for coupons ands promotion codes online. Remember cash and carry with no strings attached is the best way to shop.

3. “With mail-in rebate”

These words might be the biggest bubble buster of all those exciting glossy ads we  see this time of year. For some who have mastered the skill of  mail-in rebates this is not a problem. But for the generation who does not even know where to buy a stamp or thinks mail only comes to a smartphone inbox, you’re in for a treat this year. First of all these deals often seem so good because they really are! Trust and believe, the retailers knows this too. The only way mail-in rebates work is if you mail them. Retailers advertise these deals because they bank on us (consumers) not sending them in. Its one of the only ways to advertise something at a discounted price, sell it for regular price and not get in trouble. Only 3-5% of rebates are ever claimed and paid out. Please be in that number, better yet, don’t fall for it to begin with!

Stay tuned for more tactics to avoid!

Black Friday vs Thanksgiving

The holiday season is  finally here! Jingle bells is playing in stores, families are making winter vacation plans, temperatures are dropping and most of all Black Friday deals have arrived. Many of us anticipate Black Friday more than the precursor holiday of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a day set aside to be thankful for our many blessings and  success. However, due to Black Friday, we spend a day of thanks thinking of more material things we can add to our possession.

Associating the term, Black Friday, is as golden as adding pink (breast cancer awareness) to get an emotional marketing response. At any point in the year a retailer can state “Black Friday type deals” and I can almost guarantee their foot-traffic/page views will increase by at least 50%.  All because none of us can resist a “deal.” However, is it worth it?

The age old question of opportunity cost come into play for every consumer. Yes including myself. I too have bared the bumper-to-bumper parking lots, the in-store brawls, and the rude barley awake store cashiers. As I reviewed the Black Friday ads and surveyed the four day early tents that have been setup by fellow  Black Friday warriors, I began to remember that I have written off my plans to enjoy family and friends for a 52″ TV deal. This is the one day of the year most of my family would be together and I have decided to spend it in a retail parking lot. Is it worth it? Is it worth missing the yams, great stories, and long lasting memories? It it worth it when I work 40-50hrs a week and the TV will only been watched in the evenings and half days on Fall Sundays? Is it worth it?

So, SquareBall Marketing would like to remind all the small business owners and entrepreneurs that even the marketing campaign that has a strangle hold on the market is bases on nothing but sales, discounts, bait and switch. BUT this all equals foot traffic at any point in the year!!!