Category Archives: Uncategorized

Update

The new photo at the top of the blog is one I took of the Gardner River in Yellowstone National Park.  I will share more in the future as my landscape photography blog/business/book nears its launch.  The blog for my nature photography can be found here: Wishful Images Blog.

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Business Plans Effect on Marketing

business plan marketing imageA business plan serves as the guidebook to your business.  Your business plan should communicate what your business is, how you plan on growing it, and what steps you are going to take to achieve your success.

Your business plan also has a huge effect on your marketing efforts.  Your business plan can help you decide what type of marketing will add value to your business and which types of marketing will simply be time wasters.

By writing out your business ideas and goals, you can determine your target market.  Your target market is the group of people that you want to promote your products or services to.  Determining your target market is the first step in planning your marketing efforts.

Having a business plan, and knowing who your target market is, will lead you to create your marketing plan.  A marketing plan is similar to a business plan in the sense that it acts as a guide and helps you stay focused.

A marketing plan is a written plan of action that communicates how you are going to market your business.  There are many ways to market your business, such as flyers, paid ads (newspapers, magazines, online), business cards, speaking in front of groups, becoming a guest on a radio show or television program, pay per click campaigns, direct mail, and more.

Your business and marketing plans serve as tools in deciding which marketing ideas will work best with your business and your particular brand.  It can be easy to try too many different marketing approaches.  Whenever you feel confused about your marketing efforts, take some time to re-read your business plan.  This can help you decide if the new marketing idea will actually reach your target market and if it is worth trying.

Developing relationships with other business owners that offer complementary products is a great way to market your business.  When you know which direction you plan to grow your business, you can start scouting out possible future business partners.

For instance, if you have created your own line of organizational handbags and would like to start offering diaper bags, you can start researching the top baby focused websites and see if they would be interested in helping you promote your diaper bags.

Your marketing plan should also include information on how you plan on keeping your customers after the initial purchase.  Some ideas include customer-only sales, backend sales opportunities, customer-only freebies, etc.

Julianne Wish avatar1Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

Update

update imageThe new photo at the top of the blog is one I took of Canyonlands National Park from the Needles Overlook.  I will share more in the future as my landscape photography blog/business/book nears its launch.

Many of you have written and asked for articles related to the ‘home’ aspect of having a home business so throughout the holidays I will devote one of the posts each week to that.  If you like it, I will continue on after the new year.  The other weekly posts will continue to be devoted to business.

Thank you for reading!

Need Marketing Inspiration?

inspirationYou may not realize it, but turning on the television, radio, and Internet can teach you new marketing techniques and strategies.  Each day, companies are bombarding us with their marketing messages.  By the age of 65, the average American will have viewed over 2 million television commercials.  And that doesn’t begin to take into consideration the ads we see in newspapers, magazines, online, on billboards, or hear on the radio.

Some companies choose to use catchy jingles and slogans so that we constantly find ourselves humming along. Others tug at our heartstrings in order to establish an emotional connection, and some (purposely) annoy us.  Here are a few quick lessons we can learn from these companies:

Try to keep it simple.  Nike says, “Just Do It”; McDonald’s “loves to see you smile,” and Calgon can “take you away”.  Creating a simple, catchy, and easy to remember slogan can set your product apart from the competition.

Capture your target market’s emotions and they’ll become loyal customers.  Back before people had unlimited long distance, phone companies created commercials featuring a depressed older lady who brightened up and became happy when her son called her from across the country.  Back then, long distance phone charges were expensive and people were careful not to rack up a big bill.

The phone companies knew that people considered long distance a luxury item.  In order to get people to use it, they pulled at their heartstrings and featured the lonely old woman.  People were moved by this ad and immediately thought of their own mothers and how they could instantly brighten their lonely, old mother’s day by calling her.

Savvy marketers know that causing a bit of an annoyance isn’t always a bad thing.  Take, for instance, the product Head On! and their annoying commercials which featured people with headaches, saying, “Head On” over and over again.  The people who saw the commercials may have been a bit annoyed, but they remembered the product and some of them became customers.

Marketers are also discovering that moms are the ones that make the purchasing decisions for their families.  Major companies are learning that if they want to sell more cars, more Florida vacations, or more potato chips, they need to make their product more appealing to moms.

These are just a few of the strategies that you can see on a daily basis.  The next time you need some marketing inspiration, try turning on the television or picking up your favorite magazine.  You may even want to keep an idea file, full of ads you have seen and particularly liked.  The next time you are trying to come up with a marketing campaign, look through your idea folder and adapt one of your clippings to your own product or service and see what happens.

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

How to Create an Inspiring Workspace

inspiring workspaceWhen you work from home, it is easy for the lines between “work” and “home” to get blurred. You may find yourself constantly interrupted by family, fiends, and neighbors. It may also be harder to concentrate on “work” when you have a sink full of dishes and other chores to take care of.

Having a dedicated workspace will help you stay focused. If possible, try not to use your workspace for anything but work. Once you step into your workspace, your mind will be on work and your family will know not to bother you. As much as your work area should be business like, it should also be a warm and inspiring space that you actually like to spend time in; otherwise, the time you spend there could feel like punishment.

Some people like to have a visually stimulating workspace, filled with pictures, motivational quotes, and other items. Think about “your why” – the reason you are working from home, and fill your workspace with objects that represent your reasons. Whenever you are feeling frustrated, simply taking a look around the room will help to motivate you.

For instance, if you wanted to work from home to spend more time with your children, hang up some pictures of them. If one of your goals is making enough money to buy a new car, hang up a picture of your dream car. If you want to take a luxury vacation at the beach, put some seashells on a bookshelf to remind you of your goal.

Other people prefer a clean and uncluttered workspace. If looking at clutter bothers you, visit your local office supply store for some file folders and other organizational tools. At the end of your work day, clear your desk of all papers. When you enter your workspace the next day, your area will be clutter free and your mind will be able to focus on your work (not your clutter).

Aside from the actual environment, creating a ritual may help inspire you to work. Maybe you would like to spend the first fifteen minutes of each work day reviewing notes of what you need to work on that day; perhaps you need to light a candle or some other physical activity that tells your mind you are now in “work mode”.

Setting goals and having a visual tracking system placed within your workspace can also help you stay motivated. Even those that prefer an uncluttered workspace can still hang up a simple typed sheet of their goals. Each day, you can take a look at them to remind you of what you are working towards.

When you are done with your workday, closing the door on your workspace will clear your mind and get you ready for “family time”.

Photo links to beautymeetsbudget.blogspot.com

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

 

One of a kind keepsake and handwriting jewelry from Lauren Nicole Gifts {Giveaway}

125x125ravebuttonIt seems like the world has gone mad sometimes!  So much consternation being caused by the news these days.  So imagine my delight when I was scanning my email this evening and saw a post from Rave and Review…a blog I have been subscribed to for quite some time now.  I have enjoyed the posts and reviews and have found some wonderful gifts for friends and family via this blog.

lauren nicole picThis latest review and giveaway is no exception!  The review and giveaway is all about Lauren Nicole Gifts and something very wonderful they do there…turn special drawings or a special word written by a special someone into a wonderful piece of jewelry you can keep close to your heart always.  What a fantastic idea!

Instead of the usual advice about small business, marketing, etc., I thought I might share something special with you in this post.  With Valentine’s Day approaching you may even find that perfect gift for your special someone!  I encourage you check out both the Rave and Review blog and Lauren Nicole Gifts…both small businesses too!

Ten of the Most Popular Direct Sales Companies

Direct sales companies have been around for years.  Historically, a direct sales associate was expected to demonstrate their products at home parties.  What are the most popular direct sales companies today?  The following list (in no particular order) are companies to consider if you are curious about starting a direct sales business at home.

1.  Melaleuca, Inc. began selling “green” products long before they were so popular.  Founded in 1985, the company sells personal, skin, and home care products containing tea tree oil.  They use person-to-person marketing and have consultants all over the world.  They are the “fastest growing” direct sales company in the United States.

2.  Tupperware was created in 1945.  A year later Tupperware was born as a direct sales company.  They are credited with pioneering the party plan currently used in direct marketing.  There are approximately 1.9 million consultants in almost 100 countries.

3.  Avon began as the California Perfume Company in 1886.  By 1928 the company had changed its name to Avon.  Today, Avon is one of the best known direct sales companies in the world.  There are 4.9 million representatives selling products in 143 countries.

4.  Mary Kay Ash founded the Mary Kay Inc. in 1963, hoping to give women an opportunity to change their lives for the better.  There are approximately 1.6 million associates vying for the many company incentives.

5.  Discovery Toys Inc. has been developing and selling quality educational toys since 1978.  Their belief is that a child’s work is play.  Discovery Toys uses the party plan method and is currently available only in the United States and Canada.

6.  Home Interiors & Gifts, Inc. celebrates 50 years in 2008.  There are currently over 100,000 associates.  They use party plan and face-to-face meetings to market their products.

7.  Pampered Chef, one of the more recent additions to direct sales companies, was started in 1980.  There are currently over 60,000 Pampered Chef consultants around the world.  They use the party plan, or “Kitchen Shows” to market their products.

8.  Arbonne International uses person-to-person marketing rather than the party plan.  A relatively new company, Arbonne International was started in 1980.  They offer quality skin care products around the world.

9.  Usborne Books, which was started by Peter Usborne in 1973, offers quality children’s books to customers.  They use both the party plan and person-to-person marketing strategies.

10.  Creative Memories has been selling scrapbooking books and supplies since 1987.  They use the party plan marketing strategy and have “tens of thousands” of consultants around the world.

These ten direct sales companies are but a few of the many companies to choose from. Do some research on any direct sales company that you might consider joining.  Know ahead of time what their compensation plan is, what type of marketing strategy they use, whether or not you can use online marketing, and if their corporate goals are compatible with yours.  After you have checked each company out thoroughly, you will be able to make an educated decision about which is the right one for you.

JuliImageanne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.