How things can look up in a lockdown

How things can look up in a lockdown

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less.”

– Marie Curie

Ok so I’m going to be really honest with you here: I’m a little bit fearful. The country (well the world) is on lockdown, there’s a pandemic in progress and people fear for both their health and their finances.

So yes, I’m fearful, but then human beings are programmed to feel fear at times. We fear the unknown, we worry if our families are threatened, and we hate uncertainty. However, human beings are also tough, resilient and endlessly creative, and that’s why I’m choosing to acknowledge my fears and then put them to one side.

Instead, I’m going to use this unprecedented situation to do something that all business owners wish they could do but never have the time for: I’m going to work on my business instead of in it.

There are many things that can be done to develop your business during self-isolation, and it’s worth taking this opportunity to really scrutinise your online brand…

I’ve put together a few top tips for things that you can do to help you feel proactive even if work is slow:

1. Keep your business visible on social media

Post daily with uplifting, entertaining or thought-provoking content that provides value and helps your audience. We all need a little positivity right now and your customers will remember the brands that made them smile during this time.

2. Take this opportunity to work ‘ON’ your business

Make a list of all the things that you have been wanting to do but you never had time for. Now you have the time so use it wisely.

3. Stay connected with your clients & suppliers

Why not send them an email to check-in on them and make sure that they are ok – remember we are all in this together and we need to offer kindness and support at this time.

4. Host a meeting with a fellow business owner

Use Zoom or Skype to stay connected. Plan a collaboration. Provide support where possible. Remember that your colleagues are just as anxious as you so why not make plans now to keep you both motivated.

5. Attend a virtual networking meeting

Many networking groups are now online so why not show up and join in with the conversation. It will keep you talking about your business and help you to stay connected. Community is very important and we all need to feel as though we are still part of it in some way.

6. Create a new product or service

Use this time to brainstorm something new and exciting for your business. What would you like to offer your clients? How can you help them further? Business is about identifying a need and then responding to that need with something that serves a purpose, so why not identify struggles your client may be having and then create a service or product to help?

7. Audit your existing social media platforms and website

This is the perfect opportunity to look at what is working and what is not so why not take some time and audit your social media platforms and website. Be critical. Are you showing up in a way that you want to be seen? are you delivering the right message to your audience?

8. Learn a new skill through Skillshare or Udemy

Why not learn a new skill? Now’s the time to really hone in on the direction you would like your business to take, and to define what you want to create. Take this time to brush up on existing skills or learn a new one.

9. Create a 12-month content plan for your social media platforms

We all know we should do it, but hands up if you’ve kept putting it to the bottom of the to-do list! Well now you’ve got plenty of time so no more excuses!

10. Share your skills/knowledge online via a workshop or webinar
How grateful are you that there are people out there willing to do this? Well you could be one of those people! It feels wonderful to share, and it creates a great impression on your audience

11. Create an online video series to help educate your audience

Videos don’t have to be expensive affairs shot in a studio: it can be just you, your camera and your knowledge. You can even use this as an opportunity to inject some personality into your branding by introducing the audience to your pets, garden or latest creative project.

12. Create value-focused content to build your email list

Your services may be on hold for now, but this lockdown won’t last forever, and once you’re back up and running, an extended mailing list will be just the ticket.

Summary

Most of all use this time productively. I know things look dark at the moment but dwelling on the negatives won’t do anybody any good – ok so I sound like a therapist right now, but the truth is that the best way for us to get through all this with our business (and sanity) intact is to look for the silver lining: think of this as an extended exercise in marketing and your lockdown could really start to look up! 

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The Visibility Hub: A great start!

The Visibility Hub: A great start!

“Don’t wait for opportunity. Create it.”

Hello and welcome to the latest Pink Lemon blog.

I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you more about my new venture: The Visibility Hub.

We recently held the first Visibility Hub meeting and it was amazing!

So much so that I wanted you guys out in internet-land to be able share in the content I presented. Hopefully after reading this you’ll consider joining us for the next meeting, but if you can’t make it then you’ll at least have a better understanding of what we’re trying to achieve.

First of all, the purpose of the meeting was to help attendees gain clarity and focus with regards to their marketing efforts for the coming year.

Personally, I love this time of year and think it’s the very best time for making plans. Essentially it’s a brand new page on which to write.

The Visibility Hub
So why The Visibility Hub?

This is actually something that has been on my mind for a good year or so and, whilst I always felt there was a need for it, I just didn’t take the necessary action required to bring it to life until very recently.

Basically I find that I come across the same questions and challenges when speaking to other business owners:

There is so much noise and chatter out there about the things that we should be doing to grow our businesses, but for many the problem is often time and know-how. How do you get started doing what needs to be done to get your business seen?

Often when you attend networking groups there’s a speaker from whom you may learn something. Alternatively, if you want to know something specific then you can attend a workshop (although these can work out quite costly). I wanted to create something that bridged that gap. A place where you can ask the questions that you want answered.

Each month at the Visibility Hub meetings there will be a different topic designed to help you move forward with your brand building efforts, and for our first meeting the discussion revolved around determining our goals.

The Visibility Hub
For our first meeting, Kathy Hayman, who is The Loving Life Coach, had kindly agreed to be ‘chairperson’. I’d asked her to do this because I love Kathy’s approach to goal setting; as it’s very holistic. It’s not just thinking about everything we want to achieve, but it’s also about connecting to it on a deeper level so that we place our focus where it needs to be to make great things happen.

The attendees got a great deal out of Kathy’s approach and were able to start some amazing discussions – which ultimately led to them finding solutions for some of their business queries. Additionally they each got a chance to introduce themselves and their businesses, giving them extra exposure and making great connections with like-minded individuals.

The Visibility Hub

About Pink Lemon

As part of our introductory meeting, I shared my own story with the group, so I thought I’d outline it here for those who missed this session (after all you don’t want me waffling on at the start of every meeting!).

So for those of you who may not know, my name is Karen and I am the owner of Pink Lemon Branding & Design, a brand agency that I’ve been running for a little over 2 years.

I’m based at Kestrel House in Maidstone. I moved in at the start of this year, which has been very exciting!

I’ve been working for over 22 years but graduated from UCA as a Graphic/Web Designer in 2011 aged 31, after a 12 year career in London.

My journey from employee to business owner has not been particularly easy or straight-forward, but I have always been focused on achieving my goals. I’ve always been someone with a vision even if I couldn’t pin it down! Looking back, I just followed my heart – that’s what’s led me to this point and I couldn’t be more grateful.

I know first-hand the power of goal-setting and what can be achieved when you put your mind to it and so I encourage everyone who joins the Visibility Hub to dig deep and be really honest about what they want, because anything is possible – I’m proof of that!

What do I do and why do I do it?

Outside of the Visibility Hub, I work with clients of all sizes helping them to either create or develop their brand.

Now I’ve a tendency to talk a lot about brand, which can be quite overwhelming for some, but I firmly believe that as small business owners we need to be investing our efforts into growing a sustainable brand rather than getting caught up in growing a business.

By this I mean that growing a business is placing focus on increasing revenue, converting leads, growing a team, improving systems and processes, developing services etc. Of course this is extremely important to us, but that’s not what is important to our prospective customers.

What customers care about is how we show up, how we do what we do, and how we can best serve them.

Our customers buy into our brand not our business and so we need to pour our efforts into creating an authentic and compelling brand that is not only going to attract our ideal audience but also drive customer loyalty.

Our brand is our reputation and so I believe that this is where we should place our focus.

Put simply: We should strive to be customer-centric and not profit driven.

Pink Lemon is all about helping people to drive their brand; satisfy their customers and grow a business organically so that this momentum can be sustained.

With The Visibility Hub I hope to help local business people on the path to achieving their business dreams by focusing on their brand and, judging from the feedback I’ve received so far – it looks like I’m going to do just that!

To find out more about The Visibility Hub and future masterclasses, click here.

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An interview with Kathy Hayman, The Loving Life Coach

An interview with Kathy Hayman, The Loving Life Coach

Brand story: getting to know the face behind the brand

Please introduce yourself
Hi I’m Kathy Hayman and I’m the Loving Life Coach.

Is there a story behind your business name?
Yes there is – at the time I was thinking about setting up my coaching business Robbie Williams song “I love my life” was released.  It sounds a bit narcissistic when you first hear it but when I found out he had written the words for his children, it has a whole different meaning, is very empowering and really touched me.

At about the same time, both of my children, now in their twenties, called me up independently and in conversation told me how much they love their lives.  It got me thinking that actually loving life is the most important thing we can do and that is how The Loving Life Coach was born.

Why did you start your business?
I have been involved in my own businesses and helping other start-ups for most of my working life but I felt a need to move into a different area of more personal support for people particularly those in business.  My business life has been a roller-coaster and I have experienced highs and lows.  I therefore feel that I have the experience and empathy to help people to gain balance in their business and personal lives so they can love their lives.

What are your super powers?
I believe that I have a very down to earth approach that makes people feel comfortable talking about their goals, challenges etc. with me.  According to one of my clients – and I quote – “coaching sessions with Kathy leave me feeling strong, positive, focused and determined and she helps me open up infinite doors of possibility which I didn’t even realise were there”.  I think that counts as a super-power!

What are you passionate about?
Living the best life I can, being the best person I can be, learning and growing so I can achieve my goals in life and help other people do the same.  Life is meant to be loved and I hope by helping my clients do that the ripples can spread.

What do you want to be known for?
Helping other people recognise and achieve their potential – and having fun along the way.  I get immense satisfaction for seeing my clients make a difference in their lives and realise they can achieve whatever they want.

What is your most proud moment in business so far?
There have been a few over the years but my most recent proud moment as a coach was when a client of mine who had real self-confidence issues and felt she was stuck in a job – and a life – that she wasn’t happy in – applied for her dream job and got it!

We had gone through a process of her defining what she wanted and reframing her thoughts about herself and she was willing to put the work in to believe she could have a better life and future.  She was so happy to get the job and many other things in her life started to fall into place.  That made me proud!

Name a failure and how did you overcome it? 
This is a big one for me and not a story I can go into detail in here.  The short story is that some years ago I became involved in a business venture which was intended to have life-changing results for those of us involved.  However the project didn’t work out and I stayed banging my drum until the bitter end even after others involved had long-since jumped ship!

I learned a lot of hard lessons from that experience, which was very difficult at the time for lots of reasons I will share another time, but looking back on it I learned such a lot about myself, about human nature and about business that it sent me down a much different path.  I absolutely know I wouldn’t be here, as a person and as a coach, if I hadn’t gone through this and it’s something I am very grateful for now.

Favourite thing about being a business owner?
The feeling of having endless possibilities and opportunities to pursue doing what is right for me. There is a responsibility in being the boss of me but the freedom that comes with it is priceless.

What advice would you give someone who is just about to launch a business? 
The absolutely most critical thing is to really understand why you want to do something.  I go through a process with my clients to really nail this as I have seen so many people aiming for goals they don’t really want and are not even aware they don’t or having goals that are not really in alignment with their values.  This makes achieving a life you love either very hard or impossible!

The equally important thing is about having the right mindset to achieve success – this is a big area and is a constant process of learning and self-awareness which is a big part of what I do with my clients as I believe it is critical for success.

If you had to live on a desert island for a month, what 3 things would you take with you? 
My kindle with as many books downloaded on it as possible and a magic charge that lasted the month, my duvet and a fresh water supply and the hope of a lemon tree on the island!  I know that’s really 4 things but I do like to put lemon in my water!

Tell us something nobody knows about you
I’m a pretty open book especially with my nearest and dearest but the thing not many people know about me is I’ve always wanted to be a drummer and would love – just once – to play drums with a live band!  Maybe I need to get myself a coach to help me achieve this dream 😉

 

To find out more about Kathy and how you can work with her, click here.

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2019: end of year review

2019: end of year review

Do you have 2020 vision?

Well, as hard as it is to believe, 2019 has officially past and we are in to a brand new decade. It really does seem to have flown by in a flurry of furious activity don’t you think?

Here at Pink Lemon we’ve been non-stop with projects, awards, customers and big big plans for the future; but being busy has its good points and its bad points: I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get so busy thinking about what comes next that I almost forget the importance of looking back.

Writer Michael Crichton said:

“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.”

Ok so he was talking about the proverbial ‘bigger picture’ but personally I feel that this applies to marketing just as keenly. Take customer leads for example: you probably have some sort of system for registering where individual customers have come from, but when was the last time you really sat down and looked at it?

If you don’t know how your customers heard of you then how do you know where to put your marketing budget next year? Similarly, your social media engagement can be extremely telling – have you ever looked back at your Facebook to see which posts got the most shares? Or what about your web analytics – where are those clicks coming from?

You see, we really need to focus on our company’s history in order to make the most of its future, and it’s not just marketing that needs a close inspection.

What about your brand motivation?

I talk about this a lot: the ethos and goals you’ve set for yourself are at the core of your business. Yes the metaphorical goal posts are movable (if we’re too rigid we’ll never accomplish anything) but stray too far from your vision and you’ll find that your offering suffers. This can be especially relevant to new businesses, where easy sales and the promise of covering overheads quickly can mean that we end up with undesirable clients who don’t share our philosophy.

And speaking of sales: are you meeting your money goals or simply ‘making do’? and, if the latter, what can you do about it in 2020?

Brand Goals
For me one of the most importance jobs at this time of year is to conduct an informal ‘end of year review’ for my business so that I start the New Year with a bang instead of a whimper! If you’re like me you’ll want to make sure you’re on the right track from the very beginning of next year, but if you’re unsure of how to go about it, then I’ve broken down my process below:

My end of year review

  • MONEY Did you set a profit goal last year and, if so, did you meet it? Regardless of what time of year you usually do your accounts, it’s worth sitting down now and working out your finances so that you know what’s important and what’s in budget in 2020.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA Perform a similar analysis of your social media – look at what type of platforms and posts work well for you and at what time of the day/week your posts perform best. This can help you create a social media schedule for next year.
  • SUPPLIERS Who have you outsourced to this year? Are they worth dealing with in the future or do you need to change things up? Sometimes we’ll stick with suppliers out of convenience and not because they offer the best service.
  • THINK LONG TERM They say it takes an average of 6 months to see results from a marketing campaign so don’t read too much into recent efforts that haven’t yet paid off. Instead, think of where you want to be in 6 months’ time and use whatever data you have so far to formulate a plan.
  • DON’T PANIC! If this all seems a little overwhelming then seek advice from a professional marketer – we’re experts in guiding businesses in the right direction and an outside perspective can be invaluable at times like this.

We all need a little bit of help from time to time…

A key part of running a business is knowing when help is needed, after all, running a business can be very overwhelming. There’s always so much to do and just not enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done!

This is why we were inspired to launch The Visibility Hub so that we can help other small business owners find their way as not every company has a dedicated marketing department and not every business owner has the time or know-how to get maximum visibility for their brand. 

So what’s it all about?

The Visibility Hub is a monthly meeting designed to help start-ups and small business owners move forward in their marketing and brand building efforts. For just a small fee per meeting, business owners can get together with like-minded people and industry experts to share ideas, get advice on challenges and ask for guidance to help them take their business from ‘hardly noticed’, to ‘not to be missed’!

Each month will be themed around a specific topic and will feature Q&A session along with plenty of networking and the great thing is, there is no need to commit to attending every month, just pop along when you can.

Our very first meeting will be taking place at 10am to 12.30pm on Wednesday 29th January at The Innovations Centre, Chatham. Our guest speaker will be Kathy Hayman, The Loving Life Coach who will be running an interactive workshop to help us really nail those all-important goals for 2020. So if you are looking to really step up this year in your business then please do come along.

To book your ticket, click here.

Space are limited so book your ticket ASAP to avoid disappointment as this is one not to be misse

Summary

Lastly, and most importantly, I would like to wish you all a happy & successful 2020. With an entire year stretched before us, this year can be whatever you make it so kick fear to the curb and go for it.

Make 2020 YOUR year!

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How to define your ideal customer

How to define your ideal customer

In last week’s blog I told you that one of the most important things you can do when creating or defining your brand is to ask yourself “who are my audience”

This week I’m going to explain why this is so vital and how to go about answering that question.

Why does it matter?

Remember the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none”? If you market yourself to ‘anyone and everyone’ the chances are you won’t catch anyone’s attention.

Take Barbie, for example: If Mattel had launched Barbie whilst trying to appeal to ‘everyone’, what sort of product would they have had? In truth Barbie could have appealed to any number of people: male, female, young, old etc. but in 1959 there was a very obvious demographic:  white females between the ages of 4 and 12 (or thereabouts), who were being brought up to be homemakers. With this in mind, they marketed to that group (in fact they had a secret secondary market: the mothers of those girls, who were the ones who would actually splash the cash). By drastically cutting the numbers of people they could appeal to, they actually improved the chances of selling units.

Now Barbie may seem like an odd example to use here, but I do so because Mattel is a company which has recognised the need to reassess their target audience: they are now working hard to create dolls that appeal to boys and girls of all races, body types and interests. If ‘perky blonde Barbie’ had been their only offering, the company would have done very poorly in the 21st century, but Mattel have recognised the importance of demographics.

So when it comes to your audience it really is better to be a specialist rather than a generalist.

I’ll give you another example: I’m a regular at networking events, and very often participants are given the opportunity to tell a room full of potential referral partners what sort of customer they’re looking for. The majority of new business people, desperate not to exclude anyone, will hedge their bets – “I’m a skincare specialist looking for anybody with skin!” “I’m an accountant and I want to talk to people with a bank account” people generally smile, nod….and then walk away and forget them, because they’re simply being too general. It’s not targeted and it certainly isn’t memorable. I know hundreds of people with skin…who do I talk to?

However, if I was told that somebody offered treatment for liver spots – that they were looking for women between the ages of 60 and 90, who took pride in their appearance and wanted to slow down the aging process – suddenly I’m picturing specific people in my life.

If you know that much about your target audience then you can use colours, images, even fonts that you know would appeal to them. you can place your ads in the right magazine, or go to the places they’re likely to go. Suddenly you’re not just another voice among the noise: you’re the company that catches their attention.

How to define your target audience

In order to target your ideal clients however, you need to have a clear picture of them in your head. The best advice I can give you is this: create an ‘avatar’ of your ideal client. Picture your perfect customer in your head and then put them onto paper: What’s their age? Where do they live? What social media do they use (more on that next week), what problems do they have? How can you solve those problems?

Once you have a clear picture in your head, you can start to think about how best to appeal to them. Suddenly your marketing becomes focused, clear and so much easier!

To help make this process a little easier (because let’s face it, it’s one of those tasks that can be quite difficult to know where to start), we have created a The Ultimate Ideal Customer Profiling Workbook to help you get really clear on who your ideal customer is.

Download the FREE 20-page workbook here.

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