Should Christian Business Women Hire a Marketing Consultant?

Depending on your business and how far along you are,  a marketing consultant may be important in helping your business to grow.   Christian business women are now starting to work with marketing consultants to assist with entrepreneurial firms,  large corporations or non-profits.  Marketing consultant have client businesses that span a whole range of different industries. Essentially, any company that’s focused on marketing, that cares about their brand or wants to bring in new customers could use the services of a marketing consultant. Knowing exactly which types of clients you’re targeting will help you attract and close more of those clients.

Here are some of the most common types of clients marketing consultants encounter.

Brand Oriented Companies

Brand oriented companies tend to be larger companies with larger marketing budgets. Their primary goal when they’re spending marketing dollars is to win mindshare and associate specific emotions with their brand.

In other words, they don’t expect to make a sale right away. Their primary concern isn’t response or sales, their primary concern is brand.

What the marketing consultant does:  In this context helps guide the business’ brand along and makes sure that every ad the company puts out adheres to the brand’s core message.

Response Based Companies

These are the polar opposite of brand oriented companies.  These companies don’t care about branding at all.  Their main objective is to turn a profit from every ad.  If they spend $10,000 on advertising, they expect $12,000 in revenue to come in. If they don’t make back their initial investment, the campaign was a failure.

What the marketing consultant does:  With these companies, a marketing consultant can help choose what kind of media the company advertises in (radio, mail, internet, TV, etc.) They can help direct the copy or the creatives to ensure they convert. They can also help pick specific publications or channels to advertise in.

Small Businesses

Marketing consultants can also specialize in helping small entrepreneurial businesses succeed. For example, a marketing consultant might help a local dentist figure out how to attract more clients from surrounding cities.

What the marketing consultant does:  Small businesses tend to expect very measurable results. You either get them more customers or you don’t.  If you succeed, many small business owners will be more than happy to refer you to other local business owners.

Service Providers

Service providers can include Software as a Service (SAS) providers, industry-specific consultants (e.g. software consultants), debt consolidation specialists and really any other company that provides a service. Many of these companies operate on the internet or operate on a nation-wide basis.

What the marketing consultant does:  Marketing consultants in these contexts tend to be tasked with establishing a pipeline. These companies don’t just want you to come up with one or two successful marketing campaigns. Instead, they want you to help them develop a repeatable system of generating clients on a regular basis.

You and a Marketing Consultant

If you decide to find someone to assist you with your marketing, your job will be to identify ways this professional can bring in more customers and convert more customers, then make sure their staff can actually execute on that plan consistently.  At least you now understand some of the more common kinds of clients you might encounter as a marketing consultant.  You can target everyone from very small businesses and solo-entrepreneurs to multi-million dollar corporations.  Being a Christian women in business mean understanding resources available to assist with making her business or organization as successful as possible.  Planing your business operations and understanding your growth patterns will help to know when hiring a marketing consultant is most important.

If you don’t have a plan for your business you might not know when to expect the type of growth the warrants a marketing consultant.  Every type of business including a small business and non-profit needs to develop a business plan.  You can work through a plan with the NACWIB business plan program that’s simple to understand and easy to complete.   Work through a business plan for your Internet based business or find a detailed business plan for your company or non-profit as a resource in the NACWIB membership area.

What Christian Business Women Need to Know about Payroll Management

If you are a Christian woman in business and have employees in your business (as opposed to independent contractors), knowing about payroll management is one of the most important parts of doing business.  Even though this is a basic components of business accounting,  it can be surprisingly complex.  There are a lot of different parts of the accounting process to keep track of in business.  If you have an accountant or manage your own payroll,  here are seven things you should keep in mind about managing your payroll.

Tracking Hours

If you’re paying your employees by the hour, payroll management begins with having a good system for tracking time worked by each employee.  Have a reliable system to accurately log in hours.  If you are working with a virtual employee, have that person provide you with her hours tracking sheet each month showing what has bene accomplish during the payment time period. This is essential for accurate payroll management

Taxes and Withholding

As an employer,  you are responsible for withholding the appropriate amount of taxes from your employee checks.  That includes but isn’t limited to a 6.2% social security withholding, a 1.45% withholding for Medicare, income tax withholding and more.  You also need to put in your employer tax matches, including the same amount in Medicare and social security, as well as unemployment taxes and know when to submit the paperwork and money to the government.

Benefits and Deductions

Employee benefits like dental plans and health insurance plans often come with a premium payment that the employee needs to pay.  Your company will usually pick up part of the tab and you would have the employee put in a certain amount also.  The necessary premium portion from the employee will need to be deducted from their paycheck in the form of deductions.

Tracking Payment Due Dates

Another somewhat confusing aspect of payroll management is tracking when you need to pay various dues, taxes and fees.  Different government organizations need to be paid at different times.  Furthermore, the date of your company’s fiscal year end can shift these dates around.  You need to develop a system for tracking when you need to pay what if you are doing your own payments.  Record these payment dates on your calendar as being late on paying your fees can result in penalties.

How to Actually Pay Employees

How to get money to your employee is another important payroll management component.  Options for doing this include setting up direct deposits, printing and mailing checks, or even having the employee pick the check up in person.  You also need to print pay stubs which detail your employees’ compensation, withholdings and deductions.  These are important for your employees’ records.  They’re also essential records in case a dispute ever arises.

Tax Forms

You need to make sure you get tax forms from your employees every year. These forms need to be completely filled out by all employees and postmarked by January 31st. These forms include 1099s for contractors and W-2s for employees.

Maintaining Your Accounting Records

The amount of hours worked and the salary pay owed must be balanced against the amount of money actually paid out. Balancing should be done both quarterly and annually. Balancing your books helps avoid accounting mistakes and oversight.

As you can tell, managing employee payroll can be quite a complex endeavor. Having someone experienced in house or having a trustworthy accounting firm work with you can make the whole payroll process much easier. The most complicated part is getting started. Once your payroll systems are in place, keeping things running is relatively simple.  Even if you have an outside professional do your payroll records as a responsible women in business, it is good to have at least a basic understanding of how this process works.

Learn more about operating a successful business when you join NACWIB.  There’s one low monthly fee or one annual investment.  Find out more by Clicking HERE.  Join NACWIB today.

Use a To-Do List for Time Management

If time management is important to you, use one of the best management tools available; the to-do list.  This is one of  the most frequently used took when it comes to managing time and energy.  The concept is simple: keep a list of all the things you need to do.  But actually using a to-do list in a way that helps you reduce stress and get more  done is actually quite involved.

Have a system to writing your list.  Here are a few techniques you might want to adopt with your to-do list.

1. Create Different Lists for Different Places

What’s the point of having actions you can only perform at home on your to-do list when you’re at work?  Likewise, what’s the point in having things you can only do at the grocery store on your list at work?  Having all your to-dos in one list crowds the list and causes subconscious stress. It also reduces your sense of accomplishment, as you’re always looking at a big list of things you haven’t finished.

Instead, separate your lists. Have a list for home, a list for work, a list for shopping and a list for any other major area of your life.  That way, when you’re at work you’ll only be seeing your work tasks. At home, you’ll see your home tasks.2

2. Remove or Store Any Non-Action Items

Any item that doesn’t involve you taking direct action should be filed away. For example, let’s say you have on your to-do list to plan for that women’s retreat early next year.   However, you won’t know exactly what airline you want to take or hotel to stay in until you get more detailed information.  You’ve already put in your request for time off, so all you need to do now is wait.

There’s really no action for you to perform at this time.  Instead of having this item weigh down your list, just put it in a separate folder. This folder can store all the projects in your life that you aren’t actively working on.  You can have a major list at the front of the folder of all activities where you keep an eye out for the times you need to pull the event out and take action.

3. Things You Can’t Move On Yet

If you’re waiting for someone to get back to you on something, something to arrive before you can move forward or another task that you can’t move on now, put that task in a separate folder. Again, you don’t want to be staring at actions that you can’t do anything about even though you don’t want to forget about these either.

4. Review Your List on a Daily Basis

Spend 10 minutes each morning reviewing your to-do list for the day.  Add or remove anything that should be added or removed.  Look through all of the folders you put aside to see if there have been any changes to any tasks.

These few habits will help you keep your to-do list lean and efficient. You will be able to quickly glance at your list, identify things that need to be done and do them.  At the end of the day, you can look at all the things you’ve checked off and feel a sense of accomplishment.

What’s Your Experience

Have you used this valuable time management tool?  If so, what has been your experience with using a to-do list?  What have been the advantages and disadvantages?  Do you have any tips you can share with us about your to-do list experience? Just comment below to let us know.

Get 32 tips to increase your productivity without increasing your stress.  Click HERE for the audio.

Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing

Writing and publishing a book is a dream of many Christian business women.  While getting a contract with a traditional publisher is one way to be a published author, so is self-publishing.  Publishing your own book is a very different experience than getting a book deal with a traditional publisher and not something everyone might want to do.  But the advantages to doing it yourself a growing. I’ve been blessed to be published through a traditional publisher and through self-publishing.  I love both ways, but realize the great advantages of going the self-publishing route.

For one thing, doing it yourself lets you get your book to the market place much quicker than if you go through a  traditional publisher.   It takes up to two years to get a traditional book published (at least in the non-fiction arena).  That means your information can start getting out dated before your book hits the shelves.  With self publishing you control how fast the book gets finished and out to the public.  This can happen in a matter of weeks or months.  This keeps your topic much fresher and your name in front of your target market.

Self-publishing is a great way to keep a lot more of the end profits from the book. Instead of getting around $1 per book sold, you can easily earn as much as $4 to $6 or even more depending on the price of the book.

You control the content that goes into your book.  There is no publisher or editor looking over your shoulders every step of the way. You have no limitations on content and you don’t need to write for marketing. You can just write precisely what it is you want to write.  Of course, the downside is that you don’t get the guidance that comes with a traditional publisher.  You don’t have the eyes of someone who’s experienced in the industry helping you along.

Traditional publishers have a large staff of people on hand, ready to do all kinds of different things to help get your book off the ground. When you self-publish, you have to do all of these things on your own or find freelancers to do it for you.

These tasks include:

* Proofreading your book
* Having graphics designed for your front cover
* Provding photographs for your author bio
* Getting the book edited
* Having your book laid out
*and much more.

The options for getting the book printed include many different print on demand and small print run companies to choose from. You can find many of them through a Google search.

The more books you print at a time, the lower your cost per book and the higher your profit per sale. Though you can sell books on a single-printing basis, you’re usually better off buying a couple hundred at a time.

When you self-publish a book, you have to handle all of the marketing yourself. You are responsible for generating the publicity that brings in the sales. You can generate sales through online advertising, through in-person sales, through reputation or through whatever techniques you want to use to generate buzz.

Most large stores like Barnes & Noble tend not to deal with self-published authors. There are exceptions to this rule, especially if you start to create a ton of demand. By and large, however, you can’t rely on traditional forms of distribution to do your marketing for you.

In summary, you can expect to be in control of the whole publishing process when you go it on your own but it also means you don’t have the same level of professional support.  Consider some of these pros and cons as you get started with the publishing process.  The bottom line is, get started writing your book.  You can get it published and become the author you’ve always wanted to be.

Services to Promote Your Business

You might now have heard of Microservice sites, but these sites make it easy for website owners and web marketers to get design work, video work and other media work done at unprecedentedly low prices.  An example of this type of site is Fiverr, where you can have a logo done for $5, three draft logos done, have voiceovers done or have special effects done. It’s one of the most incredible money-saving opportunities on the web.

Design Work

I can personal say I found a great book cover designer at Fiverr.  Did it take time to find this service – yes!  I went through several design services and almost gave up.  Fortunately, I learned to do some background research before hiring one last person and it paid off.  The best way to use a service like Fiverr is to hire not one but a handful of designers. For example, by spending just $25, you can get five different logo designs for your new website. Simply pick the best one. Designers on other websites would easily charge several hundred dollars for just one logo.

You can also use microservice sites for other design jobs. For example, you can have them design a header for you. You can have them color correct a photograph for you. You can have them create the buttons for your website. The services are practically endless, just go to the site and look at the e

Voiceovers

Since I started my radio show I know how important voice over work can be to create and sustain a brand.  Let’s say you want to create a web video. You know exactly what points you want your video to touch on. However, you don’t think you have the greatest voice for web video. Instead of forcing yourself to do it, you can ask me to speak your message for you or go to Fiverr to find someone to do your voiceovers.   Many voice over artists have a sample YouTube track uploaded.  For me, I have several of my radio shows on my Seasoned Women Health Radio site.  Check out a few different voiceover providers and listen to their samples to figure out what type of  voice you’re looking for. Then go with the one that resonated with you.

Video Special Effects

Another area you can use microservice sites in is special effects. If you were looking to hire someone to do special effects, on other sites you can easily expect to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars. On these sites, expect to pay $5 to $10.  Special effects on microservice sites tend to be limited to one effect per provider. For example, one provider might provide 3D exploding text. Another provider might help you create a flashy intro scene. So on and so forth. You can’t tell them exactly what kind of effect you want, but you do get to choose from a wide array of different special effects.

Custom Drawings

A lot of artists are willing to create brand new artwork for you from scratch for pennies on the dollar. Want your concept mascot brought to life? Or perhaps you want a stick figure doing various kinds of martial arts? Maybe you want a cartoon version of yourself? It’s all available for $5 to $10 dollars.  Microservice sites are fantastic for design and media. Use these sites to help improve the design of your site, without having to break the bank.