Women’s Day 2017

 

Today is International Women’s Day! This global celebration of women began more than 100 years ago, per the United Nations. It started to build support for the women’s rights movements in the early 1900s. It played a part in women gaining the right to vote, and as you may know, it continues to support women in political and economic endeavors today.

 

So, what can you do to show your support for other women, as the UN says, “without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political’? So much!

 

Hang with The Girls

It’s Wednesday, a.k.a a perfect day for a happy hour with your girlfriends. Get together and talk about all your amazing accomplishments in all areas of your life. That’s what today is all about.

 

Donate

It can be easy to feel like we don’t make a difference or aren’t being heard. But donating to organizations that can put your dollars to good use is a great way to get involved and make your mark.

 

Take Action

When was the last time you called your government representatives and told them how much women’s rights matter to you? Today is a great day to tell someone in a position of authority how much you care. No time to call? Emails are good, too!

 

Be the Change

All you have to do all day to celebrate women is to be the amazing woman you are. By simply being yourself, getting through your surely crazy day, appreciating the challenges you have overcome as well as those other amazing women have overcome, you are celebrating in the best way possible. Show your support however you want on the outside, but don’t forget to show your support on the inside, too. Take time to appreciate yourself. And take time to appreciate the women who have come before us and how far we’ve all come as a group. Because that’s what we are — a group. We’re all in this together.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Business Skills for The Digital Age


In 2017 it’s essential for entrepreneurs to have technical knowledge and skills as well.  At times it can be a bit intimidating, but the great thing about these times is that there is an abundance of information and assistance available at your finger tips.  Here are just a few examples:

 

Project Management

While project management still requires you to oversee and manage activities, there are numerous online apps and programs available to help you manage projects.  Many offer free trial copies of their software.  Often simply testing them out is the best method to find which one works best for you.

 

Social Media

Every business needs to have social media accounts because it helps you grow your business reach to an audience that wouldn’t have known you otherwise. You don’t have to be knowledgeable about every platform, but it is helpful to at least have an account and presence with the major ones. Find where your target audience is, and build your accounts on the site they are using.

 

Website Development

You don’t have to be a programmer or know how to write HTML or JavaScript. However, you should know how to put a basic website together, even if it’s as simple as a drag-and-drop template. Having a website shows you are serious about your business in the digital world. The potential possibilities are endless.

 

Email Marketing

Keeping your audience coming back is important as a business owner. Having email marketing skills means that you’ll have a platform you can use to connect with your readers or customers and tell them about your sales, news, and updates. Platforms such MailChimp and Constant Contact are excellent tools to help you manage email subscribers and your campaigns.

 

Ultimately, it’s important to continuously learn new skills as a business owner, and setting a goal every few months to learn a new skill and grow your business can help keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Is Your Personality Affecting Your Business?

Have you ever witnessed a disturbance between a business owner and a customer? Whether intentional or not, it’s an unfortunate occurrence typically resulting in the loss of a customer and causing them to speak to others about the disappointing experience.

 

No business owner wants to come off as rude, providing poor customer service or making their customers uncomfortable so to avoid it all, business owners must pay attention to how their personalities could be affecting their business. It could mean the difference between a success or a failure to your business.

 

The Extrovert

Extroverts are great at customer service, but don’t usually do well in confined areas. They also don’t thrive in jobs where there is little to no interaction with other people. As an extrovert, you like to talk through problems. Plus, you usually do well working in high energy atmospheres as well as situations where you can work with others. Extroverts make great fitness club managers.

 

The Introvert

Opposite of the extrovert, introverts tend to think about problems and solutions themselves before talking about it with others. Most introverts would rather work alone then in a group, also not sharing what they are thinking unless they are asked.  Introverts make excellent software developers.

 

Detail Oriented

Well organized, good at keeping records of things and you tend to solve problems down to the tiniest of details. However, detail oriented people may have trouble envisioning the bigger picture sometimes and solve problems using a step-by-step or analytical approach.  These types of people are terrific accountants.

 

Hands-On Manager

This necessarily isn’t a bad thing, it means you are willing to do the same jobs as your employees, showing that you are a team player and are not above working in the ranks. However, be careful that you are not displaying a lack of trust in your employees by doing things yourself rather than trusting them to do it themselves. You must let them do their jobs, make mistakes, correct them, and learn.

 

Hands-Off Manager

Obviously, this type of manager is on the other end of the scale from the hands-on manager. If you take the hands-off approach to management, you are willing to stay focused on the larger picture and let someone else handle the fine details. This can be problematic however, if you don’t have people working with you who can handle this type of environment.

 

The good news is none of these personality traits are right or wrong! It’s valuable however to consider your personality in the context of your business to figure out which situations or issues you are best suited to handle and which ones are best left to others.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

NAFTA Tweaks And Your Business

As a small business owner, NAFTA is likely coming up more and more often in your thoughts these days.  What is it about?  What does it mean to Canada and what does it mean to your business?  In particular, how would a “tweak” affect you and your business?

 

What is NAFTA?

NAFTA is the North American Free Trade Agreement which was signed over 20 years ago – well before many entrepreneurs were old enough to care or recognize it as relating to their business.  In the first 5 years of NAFTA’s existence, the agreement had helped produce over 1.8 million new jobs for Canadians

 

 

What Does it Do?

While there was some controversy at the time, since its enactment, NAFTA has positively affected Canada by bringing strong economic growth, job creation, better prices and better selection in consumer goods through the reduction of tariffs and duties on products and services which flow across the Canada, U.S. and Mexican border.  In fact 1 in 5 jobs in Canada are linked to international trade.

 

How Does NAFTA Impact My Business?

Canada has benefited more than any other nation from NAFTA.  Canada’s GDP has grown at a faster rate than either Mexico’s or the U.S since 1994.  If you export and import goods across any of the North American borders, you currently benefit from minimal tariffs and duties being assigned to your goods and services.  If NAFTA was not in effect, or were to be “tweaked” too much, there could be tariffs on products imported and exported.

 

How Could A Tweak Affect My Business?

NAFTA’s major goal was to eliminate tariffs and barriers that would help reduce the taxes that are put on imported and exported goods.  Canadian businesses take full advantage of the tariff elimination because they’re typically able to produce more for less.  If NAFTA goes through any changes which result in increased tariffs or duties to Canadian goods and services going in and out of the U.S., there could be downstream impacts to small business and the Canadian economy and the U.S.

 

Free trade across North America has been extremely beneficial to all countries involved in the enactment of NAFTA. Therefore it stands to reason, that any tweaks will do more to improve the flow of goods and services and further reduce barriers to doing business across North America.  While it may seem like an uncertain time for small business, history strongly favors Canadian businesses having the ability face challenges and thrive.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

5 Things Your Business Doesn’t Need

“You have to spend money to make money” seems to be a quote that many business people are fond of saying.  While it’s often true, a lot of small business owners saying this are often stretching their budget needlessly.  Whether you’re just starting your small business, or things are humming along, it’s important to allocate money wisely. You may not realize it, but you probably don’t need to be spending your money on certain items:

 

All New Stuff

When you’re in the beginning stages of starting a business, it’s tempting to purchase new furniture, clothes or maybe even a new computer. Be patient, use the equipment you already have and set your concentration on marketing and developing great products first.

 

Advertising

Advertising is something every small business feels the need to do. Often however, entrepreneurs become enamoured with their own marketing ideas when a more measure, strategic approach is needed.  Be sure not to fall into this trap by thoroughly researching what is driving sales and making sure that informs your marketing strategy.

 

Expedited Shipping

Let’s be honest, you can probably afford to wait another day or two for that box of inventory and supplies. Think about the money you’ll save by avoiding high shipping charges when you just wait an extra 48 hours. Unless you absolutely need them the next day, pocket your money on this one.

 

Buying or Renting Space You Don’t Need

If you can work from a desk in your basement, do it. It may not be glamorous but just think of the money you’ll save on rent!

 

Promotional Items That Don’t Translate into Sales

Personalized t-shirts are cute, but will they sell and make a good profit? Will they convince your customers to buy more of your products now that they have a t-shirt with your business on it? Promotional items can work, but you must select the item(s) carefully, be mindful of your budget limits and have a plan for placement and distribution, even if it’s just on your website.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Millennials and Small Business

Millennials at Work

Ah those tech savvy, free-spirited millennials. If you don’t have a millennial already working for you, then you probably will soon.  While generation Y, is inundated with student debt and the prospect of a recession strained economy, they are the backbone of many companies rising companies and present incredible potential for small businesses.  Millennials exhibit many traits that can be an asset to any small business plus they are attracted to many workplace features that small businesses can offer them.

 

Put Me In Coach

Millennials love to be coached. Millennials want to be guided, trained and know as much as they can about something. They’ve been receiving feedback and advice on everything they’ve been doing and have done since they could walk – the outcome is simple; they thrive on frequent communication and collaboration. A recent Microsoft survey says that 65% of millennials prefer to communicate face-to-face with their managers. This face-to-face preference and desire for personal interaction is a well liked facet of small business.

 

Customization is key

Not too surprising, millennials love customization in their personal life and workplace as well. The drive for personalization for millennials also manifests itself for their desire to use their own technology devices in the workplace. If you want to attract top talent, business owners need to think about the technology that will enable their employees to do their best work; not just get the work done. Small businesses can be a great fit for millennials as you can be agile and adjust their roles and responsibilities to suit each employee’s skills and interests.

 

Work-Life Integration

People talk about flexibility or unlimited vacation schedules, but its about much more than the sum of hours people work. Millennials want to bring their authentic selves to a workplace that reflects who they are. Today’s younger workforce has an independent mindset; they’re drawn to a company with a strong mission statement and even stronger values. Millennials gravitate to organizations that trust them to deliver – that’s where they thrive and put forth exceptional quality.  As small businesses continue to increase their hire of millennials, they will also need to adapt to the way this workforce operates in order to get the most out of them.

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Simple CRM Solutions

It’s the first month of a New Year and – like many small business owners – you’re probably considering how you can make 2017 a year of explosive growth.  When it comes to growing your business one of the most important instruments is the management of your pipeline and your customer relationships.  CRM (customer relationship management) software is built for that exact purpose.  Unfortunately, despite the appeal of such technologies, the idea of implementing a CRM system can often be overwhelming for small business owners.  As well, the costs of many systems can be prohibitive.

 

Fortunately, the Bullfrog team has done some research and found ways to achieve all of this without breaking the bank or spending countless hours trying to figure it all out. Below are 3 simple CRM solutions that can help you augment the CRM capabilities of your small business.

 

 

Insightly

Used by approximately 350,000 small businesses in 100 countries, Insightly is a powerful but simple CRM solution specifically designed for small business use. You can promptly access information about a contact including their background, email history, and any specific dates you may be searching for. Offering integration with Gmail, Google Drive, Outlook, Office 365 and social media accounts, Insightly allows you to capture a screenshot of conversations with your customers. With prices ranging from $12 – $99, Insightly is easy to use, set up and navigate whether you’re a CRM novice or an expert.

 

Nimble

Just like their name states, Nimble is all about helping your small business find smart and easy ways to track and develop contacts with current and future customers. Like other CRM systems, Nimble provides all the functionality you’ll need to manage information and relationships across multiple touchpoints. Instead of searching through your contacts social media profiles, Nimble automatically identifies them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – so no more scrolling for hours. Nimble offers one plan at $25 per month per user with an unlimited number of customer contacts.

 

Zoho CRM

This CRM system gives you all the tools and applications needed to capture leads from your businesses website, tracking sales activity, managing email marketing and accessing customer information without having to scroll or manually search it. Just by dragging and dropping your customization means that you’ll be able to easily make changes which is huge if you’re not super tech savvy or don’t already have a dedicated IT employee. Zoho CRM works with Gmail, Google Docs, Contacts, Calendar and Tasks and has plans starting at $0 – $100 per user per month.

 

When used correctly a CRM system is a powerful business tool.  In just one location, you’ll be able to manage all your touchpoints with current and future customers, discover their unique preferences, and use that information to build customer loyalty and generate more business in 2017!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Your Superbowl 2017 Party

Tips for Your Superbowl Party
The countdown is officially on for the Super Bowl, and between your snack foods and your game day guest list; you think you’re ready, right? Where’s everyone going to sit? Is the TV large enough? Preparing for the Super Bowl doesn’t have to be this stressful; in fact, the preparation can be just as fun as the game itself! Here’s how you can get your home ready to ensure you and your guests can watch all the commercials and touchdowns.

 

Refreshments Preferences

Most Super Bowl parties will have your typical finger foods and beverages, but be sure to check for any allergies or special dietary needs of your guests in advance. Ask them before hand for any suggestions or alternatives, making sure there is enough for a few people to ensure no one is feeling isolated. Offering a variety of beverages, and set them up in an area away from the television. There’s nothing worse than missing a touchdown when someone is standing in front of the screen grabbing a snack.

 

Gather Guests in Alternate Rooms

Even though the bulk of your guests will want to be in front of the television watching the game, there may be some guests who just thoroughly enjoy the company and camaraderie of the group environment but wish to be in a separate space. If the weather is nice, set up entertaining spaces outside or even in an adjacent living room if you have the space. Music, board games, a separate television where guests can mingle and have conversations.

 

Ask for Assistance

As enjoyable as entertaining may be for some, the preparation and everything beforehand can be a big task and can be stressful sometimes. If you’re planning on hosting a large party, delegate friends and family to help with food, décor, and setting up so it takes some of the stress from your shoulders. To cut back on the work and cost of food preparations, ask that guests each bring a main dish, side dish or drinks. The more help you get, the quicker everyone will enjoy a great time once the game begins!

 

The Super Bowl only happens once a year, so prepare your home for it and enjoy the big game! Use these tips and make this year’s Super Bowl party the best yet!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Your Business Winning Touchdown

Just because you can’t fork over $4.5 million dollars to get a 30-second ad in this year’s Super Bowl doesn’t mean you can’t piggyback on the huge popularity and the hype when the Super Bowl rolls around. Here are some ways to get your brand out them during this seasons game.

 

Offer Super Bowl-related Promotions

Come up with intriguing promotions and tie them to the big event. Restaurants and bars who want to draw in a crowd offer meal and drink specials – both in advance and on the actual game day.  The trick is to make your promotion stand out from the rest of them. Big ideas will generate free publicity and big results.  Come up with something unique and you’ll get customers talking and remembering you.

 

Use Social Media to Engage with Super Bowl Fans

Everyone knows platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and even Pinterest offer limitless ways for businesses to gain exposure. Football fans across the country will be talking about what’s going on in the game using hashtags like “#Superbowl2017”.  You can capitalize on all the hype promoting game-related products and information on social media.  This will generate traffic leading up to the game and encourage people to follow your social channels.

 

Create Your Own Super Bowl Commercial

If you don’t have millions to spend on a Super Bowl ad, you can still create game-related amusing, eye-catching graphics and videos and run them on social media and your website to generate attention.  Whatever you do, make sure you’re spending your time and money on promotions that offer the best bang for buck. Even if you’re not a Super Bowl advertiser, the event is large enough to be a huge marketing opportunity any business can capitalize on!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Business Opportunities of Wearable Tech

Wearable technology is the next chapter in innovation and will have incredible effects on business and marketing.  When smartphones first emerged several years ago, there was without a doubt a monumental change in innovation that affected everyone.  Today life is centered around our tech devices.  While some may get irritated with how glued people can be to their tech tools there is little doubt that our lives have improved in many ways due to smart devices and the internet of things.  Wearable technology is about to create a second wave of innovation and change.

 

If you have doubts about this, consider that analysts expect wrist based devices alone to account for $14 billion in 2017 and the wearable tech industry to reach a staggering $34 Billion by 2020 [1].  With products like the Apple Watch, Google Glass and now Virtual Reality headsets, technology continues to move forward and evolve and it’s moving into the workplace as well.  Retailers are seeing wearable tech used to pay and checkout. Most iPhones now have applications like PayPal or Apple Pay, which are accessible on smart watches, making payment and checkout processes more efficient.  Wrist displays or wireless headsets are also helping workers to look up information about products without having to leave the customers side.  This all increases customer satisfaction, since they get the information they need as quickly as possible and they’re able to pay and checkout in seconds without taking out a wallet.

 

People will be safer and more informed.  SmartGlasses present tradesmen with hands-free instruction manuals or schematics, improving overall work safety and productivity. There is even a product called the SmartCap — a hat that can monitor and advise a person of his or her level of alertness. Helmets are also being manufactured with smart technology that provides a rear view, camera, Bluetooth, integration with smartphones, GPS and infrared night vision — all within the visor – to give greater safety and information to motorcyclists!

 

These all provide “touchpoint” opportunities for businesses to market their products and services to wearable tech users.  Smartphones already allow us to find information in seconds.  Wearable technology allows the user to be constantly connected and informed. With a constant stream of live data available, the marketing opportunities for businesses looking to drive sales through a growing new channel are limitless.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

 

[1] “Wearable Tech to be worth $34 Billion by 2020”, Forbes Magazine

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