How to Recognize and Celebrate National Work and Family Month

From having one-on-one check-ins with employees to helping workers maximize family time, here are five ways you can celebrate National Work and Family Month at your small business.

 

Did you know that October is National Work and Family Month in the United States?

Established in 2003 by a Senate resolution, National Work and Family Month is designed to communicate and celebrate the progress toward creating healthier and more flexible work environments. It’s also a great time to spotlight and remind employers about the business benefits of supporting programs that focus on creating an effective work-life balance.

As our country and the world navigate a global pandemic, ensuring the health of workers and recognizing the crucial need for flexible work options is more important than ever before.

While we will get into more specific elements of National Work and Family Month in future blog posts this month, here are some general guidelines you can use as a small business owner to recognize and celebrate the need for work-life balance.

Reach Out to Employees
You don’t need a national designation to catch up with your employees—this can and should happen anytime and on a regular basis—but it’s a good starting point for recognizing National Work and Family Month. Begin by scheduling one-on-one time with each employee, even if it means doing so virtually. Check in and see how things are going during this trying time, ask them what support they need from you, and come up with a plan to help them moving forward.

RELATED: Why employee motivation matters more in a small business.

Share Tips with Your Team
While you’re checking in and measuring the struggles and solutions of today’s work-life situation, also ask your employees what’s working for them. Create a list of tips and tricks to effectively balancing family and career and then share those tactics with your entire team so that everyone can benefit from the exchange of ideas. You might even consider sharing your list with your constituents.

Perfect Your Program
Now is a good time to take a close look at what benefits and flexible options you’re offering at your own business and how it is working for your team. Workflex can include family leave, floating holidays, compressed workweeks, telecommuting, alternate work schedules, reduced hours, allowing employees to bring kids and pets to work, and more. It may be trial and error to see what works for your employees and your business, but keep an open mind and try out different possibilities custom-fit for your workers.

RELATED: Five tips to make working from home work for you.

Put Family Time at the Top of the To-Do List
Family care and family time are always important, but even more so during the mental, emotional, physical and economic stress of a global pandemic impacting yourself, your kids, your parents and your spouse. Your employees may be hesitant to take time off during this uncertain time, but it’s crucial that you encourage them to do so and to clear any obstacles that might be in their way. You can also take it one step further by giving out prizes during National Work and Family Month that contribute to family time. Maybe it’s a zoo membership or a gift card to a meal delivery service—anything that might help your employees maximize their time off.

Walk the Talk
The life of a small business owner is stressful—many of you are managing a business and a family at the same time. National Work and Family Month is not just for your employees—you need time off and flexibility as well. And, when you take advantage of these opportunities you are leading by example and encouraging your team to take strides toward an effective work-life balance. 

Let us know on twitter how you’re recognizing National Work and Family Month.

 
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  • Next up: 3 Things to Know: How to Support Small Business During the Holidays

    3 Things to Know: How to Support Small Business During the Holidays

    We want to support small businesses now more than ever—and it's important we do so. In this edition of our 3 Things to Know series, we are bringing you three—check that, four—things to keep in mind when it comes to doing our part to help small businesses stay afloat during this trying time.

     

    We always have an interest in supporting small businesses during the holidays, but even more so during this continuing time of COVID. Now more than ever, your local restaurant, toy shop, clothing boutique and small business service providers are wondering how they will compete with big box stores, online ordering and the additional stress of the economic impact of a global pandemic.

    Here are three things to know when it comes to supporting small businesses during the holidays—topped off by a global pandemic.

    First thing to know: Gift cards are the way to go.
    Purchasing gift cards for the hard-to-buy-for loved ones on your list is a great way to shop local. Kids, teens and adults alike all love receiving a gift card to use on what they want, when they want. Frequently around the holidays, local restaurants, spas and salons, and even some shops will give away bonus gift cards if you buy a certain amount. So in one stop you can cross everyone off your list—while receiving a little extra something in return. Now that’s a win-win.

    Second thing to know: Give yourself the gift of time.
    Maybe 2020 can be the year you actually enjoy the holidays. Take some things off your plate while supporting local services such as house cleaners and snow plow companies. You may not be having the big holiday meals and get-togethers you usually do, but you can still support your local butcher or baker. Skip the cooking altogether this year and have your favorite local restaurant prepare the entire meal. It just might mean you finally have time to relax and enjoy being with the ones you love—in groups of 10 or less, of course.

    Third thing to know: Your friends will follow you.
    You may not have Instagram influencer status, but you certainly have friends who want to hear about your great experiences supporting small businesses. So, shout it from the rooftops—check in at or tag the business on Facebook, tweet it out, and write a review on your local soundboard page. The business will thank you, your friends will thank you, and you will feel good that you made the effort. And that’s a win-win-win!

    Note: If you end up having a not-so-great experience with a local business, try to avoid running to that proverbial rooftop with your complaint. Take a beat, contact them directly and give the business a chance to make it right before going public. 

    And, HOLIDAY BONUS! Fourth thing to know: Our COSE members and partners have offers for you! 
    We are happy to share with our readers a list of special deals and offers our COSE members and partners are featuring for Small Business Saturday on November 28. Keep checking back as we continue to add more—and thank you for your support!

    If you are a COSE member with deals to offer, please email Allison Halco with that information and we will add you to the list.

     
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  • Next up: How to Sell When Selling Doesn’t Come Naturally to You

    How to Sell When Selling Doesn’t Come Naturally to You

    If you are a small business owner, then sales is a part of your business—for better or for worse. If you are not a natural seller, follow this advice to lead up to and land a sale.


    Your job as a small business owner and as a professional is to figure out what problem exists for a prospective client. Is the problem important enough for them to fix and do they need your help? If the answers to these questions are yes, it’s time to start selling. During a recent COSE WebEd Webinar titled “How to Sell When Selling Doesn’t Come Naturally to You” Rick McDermott of Sandler Training, identified planning tools that would-be salespeople should keep in mind when meeting with would-be customers.

    One of these effective planning tools is the “KARE Profiling Tool”. Here’s how it works:

    Keep accounts—these are the ones that do all their business with you. You are basically in maintenance with this type of account, and they are also known as your “raving fans.” Use them and their testimonies to help you acquire new accounts and even more raving fans.

    Attain accounts—these are the accounts you don’t currently have, but you’d like to. Make a list of who you want to go after. Who are your ideal accounts? How do I get in front of them?

    Recapture accounts—These are accounts you might have had previously, but for one reason or another you do not currently do business with them. It is important to have a strategy to go back and recapture these accounts, if they are ones you want back.

    Expand accounts – these are clients who already do business with you, but they could be doing more. These are commonly seen as the low-hanging fruit to growing your business.

    Focus on your fans

    Most of your focus should be on customers who are already in love with you. You must believe what you do is fantastic for your clients and have a process to show them that.

    Also, before you begin selling, make sure you understand the anxiety crevasse that exists between you and your clients. You need to be able to overcome potential clients’ fear, anxiety and doubt, and be able to deal with these pressures during sales calls.

    Every salesperson or company should adopt a selling system that works well for them. This is the process by which you develop an opportunity from start to finish. Whether that finish is closing the sale or closing the file, you must have a defined beginning and end.

    For Sandler, the selling system flows as follows:

    • relationship building;
    • bonding and rapport;
    • creation of upfront contracts;
    • finding a way to qualify people before giving them your intellectual property;
    • product or service fulfillment; and
    • a post-sell relationship or follow-up.

    Don’t give away your product for free

    Never give up your product or service before the sale has been made. Once you give your product and service away, it’s over. There may not be any reason for the would-be client to pay your or to continue business with you.

    Once you have pitched your sale, there are four positive results:

    • a “yes” response;
    • a “no” response (this is positive in the fact that you can now move on);
    • a response that indicates you have a clear future together, such as establishing a next meeting date;
    • a referral or introduction to do business with someone else; and
    • lessons learned (ask them what you could have done better and learn from their feedback)

    Takeaways

    Don’t get between your prospect and where you want them to go. Don’t get overly anxious to get to the sale just because they appear interested. If you are way more interested in the transaction than the prospect is, that is not a good sign for the future of your relationship with that client.

    Miss this webinar or need a refresher on what was discussed? Check out the full replay below:



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  • Next up: Improve Your Business’ Online Visibility and More at the Small Business Resource Fair Oct. 16

    Improve Your Business’ Online Visibility and More at the Small Business Resource Fair Oct. 16

     

    Are you registered for the Small Business Resource Fair on October 16? If you want to get your business noticed in a crowded marketplace, you should be.

    Nachum Langsner—co-founder and CMO of LocalBizGuru, a COSE member—will be presenting a workshop titled Improve Your Business’ Online Visibility. As a small business owner, it’s imperative that you incorporate search engine optimization strategies into your marketing plan in order to standout online.

    The LocalBizGuru presentation will also provide expert advice on:

    • Why online reviews are important and their impact on your business and bottom line;
    • How to leverage your Google My Business profile to your advantage; and
    • What you need to set your digital foundation and beat your competition.

    Join us for a day focused on getting your small business access to the resources, support and opportunities you need to grow. Hosted by the Business Growth Collaborative—a network of 11 entrepreneurial support organizations in Northeast Ohio—the day is structured to allow business owners and their teams gain access to the specific tools that best match their unique needs. 

     

    Other topics that will be explored include using technology to drive productivity, content marketing strategies, product development and much, much more.

     

    The resource fair will feature:

    • An exhibit hall comprised of small business support organizations and resource providers, including Business Growth Collaborative Partners and other businesses focused on supporting entrepreneurs;
    • Networking tables where you can meeting entrepreneurial support organizations and discuss business challenges and opportunities;
    • Hands-on workshops focused on the most common small business needs, interests and challenges;
    • social media lab where business owners can develop their brand image by creating a social media presence onsite at the event on the major social channels of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram;
    • Complimentary professional head-shots; and
    • video lounge where attendees can film a 15- to 30-second pitch video to promote their business.

    Reserve your spot at the Small Business Resource Fair today!

     

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  • Next up: Improve Your Business’ Online Visibility and More at the Small Business Resource Fair Oct. 16

    Improve Your Business’ Online Visibility and More at the Small Business Resource Fair Oct. 16

    Are you registered for the Small Business Resource Fair on October 16? If you want to get your business noticed in a crowded marketplace, you should be.

    Nachum Langsner—co-founder and CMO of LocalBizGuru, a COSE member—will be presenting a workshop titled Improve Your Business’ Online Visibility. As a small business owner, it’s imperative that you incorporate search engine optimization strategies into your marketing plan in order to standout online.

    The LocalBizGuru presentation will also provide expert advice on:

    • Why online reviews are important and their impact on your business and bottom line;
    • How to leverage your Google My Business profile to your advantage; and
    • What you need to set your digital foundation and beat your competition.

    Join us for a day focused on getting your small business access to the resources, support and opportunities you need to grow. Hosted by the Business Growth Collaborative—a network of 11 entrepreneurial support organizations in Northeast Ohio—the day is structured to allow business owners and their teams gain access to the specific tools that best match their unique needs. 

    Other topics that will be explored include using technology to drive productivity, content marketing strategies, product development and much, much more.

    The resource fair will feature:

    • An exhibit hall comprised of small business support organizations and resource providers, including Business Growth Collaborative Partners and other businesses focused on supporting entrepreneurs;
    • Networking tables where you can meeting entrepreneurial support organizations and discuss business challenges and opportunities;
    • Hands-on workshops focused on the most common small business needs, interests and challenges;
    • A social media lab where business owners can develop their brand image by creating a social media presence onsite at the event on the major social channels of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram;
    • Complimentary professional head-shots; and
    • A video lounge where attendees can film a 15- to 30-second pitch video to promote their business.

    Reserve your spot at the Small Business Resource Fair today!


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  • Next up: Insourcing vs. Outsourcing Digital Marketing: Exploring the Pros and Cons

    Insourcing vs. Outsourcing Digital Marketing: Exploring the Pros and Cons

    Is it better to build an in-house team of marketers or to rely on the currently thriving outsource market for your business? Maybe it's both. Read on to find out.

    Market in-house or outsource to a skilled marketing agency? Insourcing vs outsourcing digital marketing is a question that, these days, nearly every company in business asks themselves at one point or another.

    Is it better to build an in-house team of marketers or to rely on the currently thriving outsource market for marketing? 

    No doubt, there are some incredible benefits and worth-considering downsides to both options. On one hand, you have a personal team hand-picked and trained who are steeped in your brand and customer needs every single day. On the other hand, you have the cost-effective and always-goal-oriented services of an agency built to do nothing but provide excellent competitive marketing content.

    For a small business, this question can be especially challenging. Which provides better results? Which is more cost-effective? What are the unseen downsides you may not have yet planned for?

    Don't worry. We're here to answer all of your questions and help you make the right choice for your business with a comprehensive look at insourcing, outsourcing, and potential hybrid solutions.

    Overview: Insourcing vs Outsourcing Digital Marketing

    Most Cost-Effective: Outsourcing
    Most Brand Focused: Insourcing
    Most Flexible for Task Diversity: Insourcing
    Most Streamlined for Deliverables: Outsourcing

    Insourcing Digital Marketing

    Insourcing is a funny new word meant to indicate the opposite of outsourcing. Insourcing is, essentially, building your own internal marketing team or perhaps hiring internally to stock a new marketing task-force for a specific project. It includes on-staff employees who are paid wages, given benefits, and are dedicated solely to your company.

    RELATED: The four biggest marketing mistakes you’re making as a business owner.

    Insourcing Pros

    Knows Your Brand Inside and Out: Your on-staff team members were hired by the company and spends all their time immersed in the company culture. They will be deeply familiar with the company culture, style, and the desires of your customer base. Your marketing is more likely to be personalized without many onboarding meetings.

    Easier Time Pairing with Sales: Your on-staff marketing team will have an easy time pairing with your on-staff sales team, working together to build an effective conversion funnel of content and actions.

    Flexible for Diversity of Marketing Tasks: Your on-staff marketing team can always take a temporary reassignment to touch up a few product pages, build new landing pages, or focus on a specific campaign where outsourced marketing is far more rigid.

    Can Rebuild Marketing Plan and Strategy from the Ground Up: Your on-staff marketing team can completely rebuild your marketing strategy to try something new without having to draw up a new contract.

    Insourcing Cons

    Difficulty Hiring a Perfect Team: There are many great things you can say about a theoretical marketing dream team. But the reality is that very few brands manage to hire and train a perfect marketing team. It's tough to build a team that is efficient, positive, on-brand, and who share the diverse marketing tasks effectively amongst the team members. Not to mention the cost and challenge of getting top talent in the industry.

    The Expense of Employees vs Contract: It's undeniable that on-staff employees with wages, benefits, and time off cost the company more than contracting for a few pieces of content or campaign management services each month.

    Tendency Toward Bloat: Many companies hire more marketers than they need in an attempt to cover all the bases. This leads to a bloated marketing team that is hard to pare down and streamline once the bloat begins.

    Focus Lost to Delegation: In these bloated teams, over-much focus on managers, chiefs, leads, heads, and staff can unnecessarily lose focus through status and delegation rather than having a small, mostly-equal group focused only on the work.

    Highly Influenced By Employee Turnover - Risk of Talent Loss or Poaching: If you do put together a dream-team, one person leaving or being promoted can change your perfect balance and productivity for an in-house team.

    RELATED: Why a personalized marketing approach is essential today.

    Outsourcing Digital Marketing

    Outsourcing is currently the leading marketing strategy for both small businesses and large enterprises alike. Rather than working with in-house employees or even a specific team, you are contracting certain projects or specific batches of content from a marketing agency. Outsourcing is done with very specific contracts and meetings, highly focused on deliverables and completed goals rather than purely on brand building in its many forms.

    Outsourcing Pros

    Pay for Content, Not Employees: Outsourcing is well-known to be more cost-effective in terms of pay per content unit. When outsourcing, you're paying for the content and designer time, but not for the full cost of having an employee (or team of employees).

    Agencies Tend to Concentrate Top Marketing Talent: While individual companies struggle to hire top talent, marketing agencies tend to become concentrations of top talent because there is always enough challenging and diverse work to attract the best in the industry. So you are more likely to get top-talent service from an agency than trying to hire on your own.

    Highly Focused on Deliverable Content and Results: Rather than getting lost in position and group structure, outsourcing teams are highly focused on delivering your contracted content and delivering contract-specified results.

    Savvy Contract-Building Can Be Flexible: Contracts tend to be rigid, but with savvy contract writing, you can get similar flexibility that an in-house team provides with an outsourcing contract.

    Outsourcing Cons

    Teams are Not Steeped in Company Culture and Client Need: An outsourced team is not a native part of your company culture and they do not initially understand your brand or customers. It takes many meetings and the right team to hone the targeting and personality of the content they provide.

    Greater Challenge Integrating with Sales: Outsourcing teams generally prefer to work independently and then deliver content as contracted. This is less conducive to cooperating with sales to build conversion funnels, but it can be done with the right team.

    All Planning Must be in Scheduled Meetings: You can't just pop in and confer with an outsourcing team. Everything must be planned in scheduled meetings.
    Sharing Time with Other Outsourcing Companies: You will almost never get 100% of the time of an outsourced agency because they have other clients. This is often fine for a small business, but it may be a concern for some.

    Contracts Can be Limiting and Not Tax-Flexible: If a contract is not built with flexibility in mind, you will only get exactly what the contract specifies.
    Risk of Hiring Agency that is Not the Right Fit: Just like with hiring in-house, you need to find the right team that meshes well with your brand, goals, and marketing management style in order to get the best results.

    RELATED: Read more from Nachum Langsner.

    The Popular Hybrid Approach
    Many companies, after considering the pros and cons of insourcing vs outsourcing digital marketing, decide on a hybrid approach. Often, the most practical approach is to have a few in-house marketing members (or just one for small businesses) tackling the custom work and coordinating the outsourced teams to suit the company's needs. Here are a few smart hybrid approaches:

    Hybrid type 1: On-staff team coordinates outsourced marketing contracts
    Hybrid type 2: Outsourced provides regular content
    Hybrid type 3: On-staff team tackles flexible tasks
    Hybrid type 4: On-staff team enables outsourced to integrate with sales

    What is Right for Your Company?
    So are you considering insourcing vs outsourcing digital marketing, or will you build a hybrid solution of both? For each company, the answer is different. But if you'd like to make a more informed and personalized decision, contact us today. Our team would be glad to consult with you on your business's needs and how our outsourcing solutions might fulfill or help support your marketing teams and campaigns.

    Nachum Langsner is the Co-Founder & CMO of LocalBizGuru, a full-service digital marketing agency based in Cleveland, OH. He has over 10+ years of experience in the SEO industry and is a frequent presenter and instructor of digital marketing and SEO seminars for entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Greater Cleveland area for organizations such as COSE, Jumpstart, the Better Business Bureau, Score and the Ohio SBDC at CSU.  

     
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