Entrepreneurship

TOP 5 BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH A MARKETING COMPANY THAT SERVES MULTIPLE INDUSTRIES

TOP 5 BENEFITS OF WORKING WITH A MARKETING COMPANY THAT SERVES MULTIPLE INDUSTRIES 900 600 Kari Switala

Recently, we lost the opportunity to work with a new customer. When we asked why they chose a different marketing agency, they said it was because that company focused solely on their industry, so they’d potentially know how to help them better than we could.

We understood their reasoning and agree that identifying a niche market you want to serve is a smart strategy, but we also think it can depend on the industry. In many cases it is highly beneficial to work with a marketing agency that has a diversified client base. Here are the top 5 benefits your business will reap by working with a marketing company that serves multiple industries:

1. New Trends

There are always new trends popping up (like TikTok, for example). Working with multiple industries gives us the opportunity to catch new trends as they emerge and see how they might apply to each industry we serve. Every industry markets very differently, so this gives us the opportunity to be on the forefront of developing new ways to use each trend. For instance, if we see a trend happening in the tech space that hasn’t hit the manufacturing industry yet, we can use it to help our manufacturing clients be thought leaders in their industry.

Because marketing is fast-paced and the way we market changes rapidly, we keep a pulse on what’s happening across multiple industries. This allows us to keep our client’s marketing fresh and relevant. We’re constantly looking for new ideas to incorporate into our client’s marketing plans to help them stand out and differentiate their products and services from their competitors.

Example: We recently started running a LinkedIn Lead Generation campaign for one of our commercial roofing clients after we saw how effective it was for a manufacturing client who was targeting a similar audience. As a result, our commercial roofing client is now generating more warm leads than ever before and he and his sales team are thrilled with the results they’re seeing and how easy it is!

2. Outside Perspective

Working with clients in a variety of industries allows us to truly have an outside perspective on you and your business, since we’re not in your industry day in and day out. We are often able to see something that could be used to help sell or market your business that maybe you (or marketing agencies who only work in that specific industry) don’t see because we’re looking at your business with fresh eyes.

Example: One of our education clients shared with us that they started their business because their own daughter had struggles with learning, and they needed a program to help her. When they found one that worked for them, they had such a great experience that they decided to buy into the franchise so they could help others like their daughter. When we heard this, our first response was that they needed to share that story in their initial parent consultations. They did, and saw a 10% increase in their conversion rate! Because we weren’t laser-focused on their industry, we were able to see things from the perspective of potential customers and understand what we would want to hear if we were considering working with their company.

3. Agility

Because we market for multiple industries and utilize different tools for each one, it takes us very little time to pivot and apply a new strategy or utilize a new tool for a different industry.

Example: We have two clients with very different businesses who are marketing to the same audience. We were able to apply lessons we learned from one client’s Facebook ad campaigns and apply it to our other client’s campaign, which enabled them to get the results they wanted faster and more easily. We’ve also been able to help both of them get more warm leads from the lead generation campaigns we’ve run and we’ve greatly improved their open and click-through rates on their email campaigns.

4. Breadth of Knowledge

At any given time our team can be doing content research for 10-15 different industries. Not only does that greatly expand our knowledge base, it also enables us to find interesting topics and research that applies to multiple industries.

Example: While doing content research for one of our manufacturing clients, we came across a great source of information and signed up for their weekly newsletter. The information we’ve gathered from this resource has not only helped us create cutting edge content for our manufacturing client, it has also benefited our clients in the commercial cleaning and commercial construction industry.

 5. Custom Content

We create custom content for your business that is developed to achieve results. While we gather trends, tools, lessons learned and more from our varied client base, we don’t recycle content. The content we create is never copied and pasted from one client to the next: Every piece we develop for you is designed to meet your specific needs and goals, whether it’s getting more website views, attracting warm leads, increasing your social media following, or another goal that is important to you. This ensures that your marketing is always new, vibrant, and engaging – never stale. Our goal is to help you stand out from the competition.

Your Business is Unique, and Your Marketing Should Be Too

Every business has a different story to tell. A cookie-cutter approach to marketing won’t help you stand out – you need a customized targeted marketing plan. The key to our marketing success is truly understanding who each client’s customers are and what differentiates our clients from their competitors. Once we know this, we can create a targeted marketing strategy guaranteed to help our clients get the results they are looking for.

If you’re looking to stand out from the crowd, Wild Fig Marketing can make that happen. Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency! Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. Contact us on our website or set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session here!

Customer Relationship Management

HOW TO USE A CRM TO HELP GROW YOUR BUSINESS

HOW TO USE A CRM TO HELP GROW YOUR BUSINESS 900 600 Jen Hiltunen

Do your sales and marketing efforts feel a bit, well, flimsy? Are you concerned that prospects and sales opportunities are falling through the cracks? Or maybe you’re stressed trying to manage all the ins and outs of your customer relationships. Then you, my friend, need a CRM.

“CRM is the fastest growing software market today. It was a $14 billion industry in 2010 and is expected to reach $80 billion by 2025.”

Here are five reasons why a CRM may be the best investment your business ever makes:

1. A CRM makes it easy to follow the customer journey

Customer JourneyA CRM delineates a clear course of action for you as you navigate the customer journey, from separating warm leads from cool leads to lead nurturing to streamlining your sales. It takes the guesswork out of where customers are at in the sales cycle and helps you provide them with value each step of the way. It assures that no prospects fall through the cracks and helps you identify when there is an opportunity for cross-selling or upselling so you can strike while the iron is hot. A CRM does the heavy lifting for you and keeps prospects and customers both impressed and engaged with your brand.

2. A CRM helps keep you organized

marketing automationFew things tank productivity like a lack of organization. With CRM software, you can create workflows, automate email sequences, automate and assign tasks, keep track of customer interactions and keep leaning into the customer-service side of your business.

3. A CRM helps you keep customer information organized

Good-bye paper files and sticky notes or haphazardly emailing client information back and forth. A CRM system offers cloud-based data storage which means any member of your team can access any client information at all times in one spot. This means your customers get consistent information from your team regardless of who they speak with and it lends itself to expedient communication – a big customer-service win!

What’s more? Digitized customer files are much more secure than their paper predecessors and the risk of losing key information is greatly reduced.

4. A CRM fosters team collaboration

Team CollaborationA common CRM interface facilitates team collaboration. Each team member can update client information in real time which makes accuracy, accessibility and collaboration as seamless as possible. A CRM also helps you avoid data siloing for a truly integrated approach. Teams that operate with a CRM are more productive and work more efficiently.

5. A CRM allows you to generate detailed reports

Capturing and leveraging key metrics is imperative to the success of any business. A CRM allows you to run reports that provide detailed insight into your sales, marketing and service processes. Want to know how many people purchased products from a specific area? Curious about which leads are hot, which are warm and which ones are cold and dead? Yep, you can configure your CRM reporting dashboard to give you this information. You don’t have to spend precious time manually compiling your data from various sources to determine if you’re hitting your sales goals and you don’t have to speculate on your team’s productivity. Know exactly where you’re at with your processes and your pipeline at any time.

Do you want help implementing a CRM for your business? We’d love to help! Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency! Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. Contact us on our website or set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session here!

Rise Up Free Guide

Working Remotely

COVID-19 AND COMPANY CULTURE: CREATING POSITIVE CHANGE IN A DIFFICULT TIME

COVID-19 AND COMPANY CULTURE: CREATING POSITIVE CHANGE IN A DIFFICULT TIME 900 600 Kari Switala

With stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, companies have sent their employees to work from home, some of them for the first time. Without the central hub of the office to bring their employees together, many businesses are concerned about the effect this change will have on their company culture. How do you maintain a cohesive culture when your employees are all working from different places? The truth is, your company culture will likely go through some changes during this time, but that doesn’t have to be a negative thing. In fact, it’s possible to use this unexpected shift to create positive change in your company’s culture. Here are a few ways to do that.

Stay Positive

Stay PositiveStaying positive is the best way to confront uncertainty, and keeping employees in a positive mindset is more important than ever right now. If your business has been forced to move to a remote work environment, consider it a learning opportunity rather than an obstacle. Now is the time to learn new technology, new ways of staying connected, and new ways of communicating.

The less face-to-face interaction you have with people, the more difficult it is for them to interpret the tone of your communication. Make it a point to portray a positive tone in your emails, texts, video calls, and more. Infusing positivity into your company and its culture will help you weather any change that comes your way.

Embrace Mistakes

Mistakes will happen – they always do when we learn something new. But instead of seeing mistakes as evidence that a remote environment can’t work for your company, see them as chances to learn, adapt, and grow (see how that positivity comes in handy?). Mistakes can be the avenue to finding new ways to succeed.

Even if this whole work-from-home thing was forced on you by the current situation, it can still be a valuable test of how your company handles difficult change. Does your company culture encourage flexibility, adaptability, and innovation? If not, this is your opportunity to change that.

Foster Collaboration

Foster CollaborationCollaboration is a crucial element of any company’s culture. Collaborating with co-workers when you’re not in the same place can be challenging, but it’s absolutely possible. Utilize technology to keep the collaboration going – provide your team with tools for online meetings, document sharing, task management and communication.

For example, here at Wild Fig we use Asana for task management. Asana is a web-based software designed to improve team collaboration by making it easy to manage projects and tasks. You can create projects, assign work to teammates, specify deadlines, and communicate about tasks. It really helps us stay on top of the many projects we have going on and ensures that each team member knows what they’re responsible for.

Encouraging collaboration by offering tools like this will help you maintain a cohesive team and enrich your company’s culture.

Communicate Clearly and Often

Communication is the biggest tool in your arsenal when it comes to both remote work and strengthening your company culture. Communicate with your team clearly about expectations, timelines, and more. Since you’re not working in the same space, it is more difficult to keep an eye on what everyone is working on and details can fall through the cracks. Combat this with overcommunication – in other words, repeat yourself often.

One element of communication that is especially important in a remote environment is listening. It’s time for everyone on your team to really hone those listening skills. This is especially true in video conferences – the last thing you need on a conference call is everyone speaking over each other! It will take some time to adjust (remember, mistakes will happen), but everyone will need to learn to be patient, listen to each person speaking, and reply only when a response is needed. This kind of thoughtful, respectful listening is part of a healthy company culture.

Maintain Relationships

One more note on communication – make sure to create avenues for employees to continue “water cooler” conversations. Whether it’s a Slack channel or another type of group messaging format, give employees a chance to continue building relationships with one another. Those relationships help to create a vibrant company culture and will be reflected in everything you do.

Looking for more tips to adapt your company to this new normal? Take a look at our recent blog on Leading a Remote Team!

A well-defined and effective culture is vital to your company’s survival. Switching to a remote working environment means big changes, but it can be the stimulus you need to change your company’s culture for the better.

Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency! Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. Contact us on our website or set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session here!

Customer Driven Growth

7 TIPS FOR CUSTOMER DRIVEN GROWTH

7 TIPS FOR CUSTOMER DRIVEN GROWTH 900 600 Jen Hiltunen

Customers want a voice in your brand and in the way they engage with you. Forbes recently identified customer-driven growth as “the elusive holy grail.” If you can align your business operations to achieve this kind of growth, you’re setting your business up for long-term success. Let’s start by taking a look at some current trends in this arena. 

Increasing efficiency

Particularly in the B2C retail segment, businesses are prioritizing the booming customer-driven demand for efficiency. Although it costs more to offer free 2-day shipping and free returns, for example, retailers recognize that customers expect this efficiency. More and more businesses are willing to increase efficiency despite higher costs. Currently, 49% of B2C and 39% of B2B businesses report maintaining this focus.  

Investing in technology

Technology fuels businesses’ ability to increase their efficiency. For this reason, both B2B and B2C companies are also maintaining a focus on developing and implementing new technology to drive greater efficiency. 

Additionally, businesses are automating their business and marketing processes and tapping into apps that streamline their customer communications. Calendly, for example, eliminates the email and phone tag game and makes it simple for prospects to book appointments. Today’s consumers also expect up-to-date websites and will often hit the red “x” on websites with boring or outdated content. Keep all customer-facing tech updated and fuel your efficiency with updated tech on the backend as well! 

Hiring talent

Successful business leaders are recognizing the importance of hiring talent to implement their new technology and keep their customer-facing platforms up to date. 

After years of hearing employers gripe about managing employees, we strategically hired six amazing employees at Wild Fig Marketing. While the HR details can be challenging, we are thrilled with our talented team and recognize the value that employees with a wide range of expertise can provide for our business and for our customers’ businesses. 

Aiming to meet or anticipate customer expectations

Many companies align their strategies to meet customer expectations. After all, in today’s B2B and B2C markets, customers are savvy and particular and they will remain loyal to you only as long as you’re delivering on their expectations. An increasing number of businesses are working to go a step further and anticipate customer demands with innovative products and services. 

At Wild Fig Marketing, we know a thing or two about leaning into customer-driven growth. Here are some of our tried-and-true tips!

Provide stellar customer service

  • Do this on the front-end by refining your onboarding process to get customers excited about your product or service immediately. 
  • Make sure you communicate the value of your product or service and let them know what you want them to do next. 
  • Ask customers about their pain-points and what answers they’re seeking from your product or service. 
  • Solicit feedback from your customers and check in periodically to make sure they’re satisfied with their purchase. 
  • Address any questions or concerns that arise. 

Build relationships with your customers 

Show your customers that you champion their success and let them know you’re with them on each step of their journey. Give them opportunities to engage with your brand on social media and host customer-appreciation events. 

Don’t neglect to let your customers know that you’re thankful for them! At Wild Fig, we make a point of hosting regular customer-appreciation events. A couple months ago, we hosted an evening of drinks and hors d’oeuvres at Bald Man Brewing in Eagan, MN. It was a memorable evening filled with laughter and wonderful conversations!

Speak to customers with your content

Provide valuable content for your customers. This can be in the form of blog posts, manuals or guides, whitepapers, video, webinars, etc. When you supply value, you drive customer engagement and loyalty which, ultimately, creates brand advocates and grows your business. 

Kari, our founder and Chief Creative Officer, recently started hosting live Facebook events on Thursdays on a variety of topics as yet another way to supply our customers with valuable content and also give them an opportunity to engage with us across these topics. The response has been phenomenal and she plans to continue!

Customer-driven growth shouldn’t be a goal. It should be a mindset. At Wild Fig Marketing, we specialize in customer-oriented business strategy. If you want help assessing customer demands and driving business growth, sign up for our complimentary 30-minute strategy call here!

Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency! Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. 

 

 

Remote Working Tips

TIPS FOR LEADING A REMOTE TEAM

TIPS FOR LEADING A REMOTE TEAM 900 600 Kari Switala

In light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, more and more businesses are setting employees up with remote access – a big challenge for those businesses that rely heavily on in-person communication and interaction. The thought of leading a remote team and directing onsite employees to continue their jobs from home can be daunting. Will you get the same performance from them? Will business start to slump? 

First of all, let’s quell any fears about decreased productivity. Did you know that remote workers average 1.4 more days of work each month as opposed to onsite workers? That adds up to an extra 16.8 days each year! 23% of remote workers are willing to put in extra hours to get more done and 77% of remote workers report increased productivity. 

Instead of looking at this time as something to fumble through, put these tips into practice so you can convert your team into a successful remote team and continue with business as usual. 

Get comfy 

If you and your team find yourselves suddenly putting in long hours at home, having the right equipment is a must. While you may be able to work for a few hours here or there at your dining room table, once you start pulling longer stretches, your body will eventually revolt. Consider investing in an 8-hour, adjustable chair, a desk with a pull-out tray for a wireless keyboard and an adjustable arm for your laptop. The right equipment allows you to tailor your work setup to your custom ergonomics. 

Take breaks 

Even if you’re a person who loves putting your nose to the grindstone and blazing through work, research suggests that working in short intervals and interspersing short, frequent breaks increases focus, creativity and productivity. If you’re not in this habit, the Pomodoro Technique is a great place to start. Use a timer to keep yourself on task. Encourage your remote employees to try it as well! 

Protect your work hours 

Set a schedule.

One of the biggest challenges of working from home is dealing with interruption. Interruption by your spouse, your kids, your pets…Set a daily schedule for yourself and communicate it to your family members so they know when you’ll be working and unavailable. If you can, put someone else in charge of Fido during your work hours. A set schedule will also help you stay motivated throughout the day and help you keep up momentum as you move towards your goals. 

Implement white noise 

Whether you have other people or pets making a ruckus in the background or you’re contenting with your own swirling thoughts, it can be hard to concentrate when you’re working from home. Using a white noise app or machine can muffle distinct sounds and distractions and help keep you and your employees on task. 

Foster open communication 

When making the transition to remote work, it’s crucial to keep open lines of communication between management and employees as well as among team members. 

  • Utilize helpful tools: There are a plethora of digital tools at your disposal to help facilitate nearly every task. At Wild Fig Marketing, we rely on Slack for client-specific team communication. Asana is our go-to project management tool and we love Amazon Chime for virtual meetings with each other and with our clients…and these are just a few of our favorites. Learn more about some of our go-to apps and tech here!
  • Stay connected over video: When you can’t be in the same room, video is the next best option. Get comfortable with your smartphone, laptop or desktop camera and get used to seeing your face on the screen! Create weekly video snippets for your employees, keeping them up-to-date on company happenings. Host virtual team meetings on your favorite video platform. 
video conferencing

Hot tip: Have fun with your team meetings and implement themes. The sky’s the limit here! Wacky hair, 1980’s attire, dress like a nerd, etc. Or open your meetings with trivia or icebreaker questions. We sported our favorite hats for a recent team meeting!

  • Create a “water cooler experience” for your employees: It’s not just practical, work-related communication that you need to accommodate. Keep teams connected and keep morale high by carving out a space for water cooler chatter. At Wild Fig, we created a “Random” channel in Slack for non-work-related conversations. 
  • Implement one-on-one meetings: In the midst of the transition to remote work, set a regular cadence for one-on-one meetings. It’s a good way to keep a pulse on each employee and how their remote experience is going. If you have a big company, ask managers to check in with their individual team members on a regular basis.

Ultimately, view this time as an opportunity to foster remote collaboration. It will benefit your business long after the pandemic is over. 

Check out another one of our posts for some great tips for boosting onsite and work-from-home efficiency!

Wild Fig Marketing is your digital marketing agency! Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. Contact us on our website or set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session here!

MY BIGGEST MARKETING SUCCESS STORY

MY BIGGEST MARKETING SUCCESS STORY 900 600 WildFigAdmin

If you met our sweet Lucy, our 4-month-old hound/shepherd/lab mix, I’m convinced that you would be just as smitten as I am – her big droopy ears, her big tan paws and these soft brown eyes that stare directly into your soul. And if you can conjure up in your mind the colors and swirls of a marble cake mix – that’s her beautiful coat. She’s playful…she’s snuggly…she’s potty trained…Ok, maybe not exactly potty trained but, well, we’ve got time to work on that.

Lucy is a great addition to our family and has integrated well with Steve and Murphy, our other two pups. Our boys, Kevin and I love our Lucy and that love is most definitely mutual. What more could we ask for?

But we haven’t always wanted another puppy. Or more accurately, Kevin hasn’t always wanted another puppy. What you see before you today is the result of a long, persistent and ultimately successful marketing campaign. The psychology of conversion is truly fascinating.

Step 1: Identify Your Main Goal/Objective

The key to a successful marketing campaign begins with stating a clearly defined goal or objective. In this case, my goal was to get another puppy because a) I LOVE dogs and b) I wanted to find a playmate for our very busy 2-year-old dog, Murphy.

Step 2: Understand Who Your Target Audience Is

This is often one of the most challenging components of a marketing campaign and yet also one of the most critical. Many businesses try to skip this part because they believe their product or service can benefit everyone. Regardless of what you sell, however, this is never the case. If you take the time to narrow down your focus, your campaign will be more effective and you’ll get results quicker.

In this case, my target audience was pretty cut and dry. It was Kevin, a 47-year-old Polish male (insert your favorite Polish joke here) who thoroughly analyzes every decision he makes. He is equal parts stubborn and convincing and relies heavily on Excel spreadsheets when it comes to making big decisions.

Knowing the demographics of your target audience is imperative. Go the extra mile and spend time thinking about how they make decisions, where they find their information and how your products/services can impact their life. You’re guaranteed better results.

During this part of the process, it’s helpful to create buyer personas.

  • Interview at least 3-5 people who fit the following criteria: current customers, prospective customers, people who aren’t familiar with your company.
  • Ask them a list of predetermined questions regarding their job description, the company they work for, their goals, their challenges, how they gather information, their personal background and how they select and interact with vendors.
  • Use your research to create your buyer personas. Check out this great HubSpot article for more details on how to create buyer personas for your company!

Looking for another great resource? This article will help you put wheels on the process!

Creating buyer personas allows you to engage in a targeted marketing campaign.

Step 3: Determine The Best Tools/Marketing Channels To Use

Once you’ve clearly defined your target audience, the next step is figuring out how to reach them. Where do they get information? Do they read the newspaper or other publications? Do they prefer Facebook to LinkedIn? Go where they go!

There is an abundance of marketing channels at your disposal. Instead of spreading yourself thin by trying to reach prospects through too many channels simultaneously, choose a few of the ones you think will be the most effective for your buyer personas and drill down. Here’s some great info to get you started!

When it comes to social media channels, it’s helpful to take a look at demographics for each of the biggest contenders and see which ones best align with your persona demographics. Then direct your efforts towards those channels.

Since my campaign wasn’t a traditional marketing campaign, the channels I chose were a bit non-traditional. I chose a multi-pronged approach (which is what we recommend to our clients when we’re developing their campaigns). My campaign consisted of text messages, peer pressure/influencer marketing (thank you WFM team for your support!) and event marketing. The event? I organized a Canine Coffee Break with Spot’s Last Stop. They were going to bring puppies into our Wild Fig office to help socialize them. And of course the pups are up for adoption too. I know. I fight pretty dirty.

I figured that, as soon as my husband saw the puppies and how happy they made me, he’d be hard-pressed to say no. My team was also rooting for me and I knew they’d help seal the deal. Marketing is no stranger to obstacles, however, and COVID-19 put a kink in my plan and we had to postpone the event. Hint: Take some time in the planning stages to look for potential obstacles. It will help you avoid them more often than not. (Note to self: I should probably take my own advice next time.)

Now what?

I knew I had to adjust my plan.

The Governor was about to issue a shelter-in-place order and I had to act fast. I changed my messaging accordingly:

Hey honey, I’ve been thinking. This really is the perfect time to get a puppy since all four of us will be home to help potty train him or her…

I went on to state my case and all the benefits of adopting a puppy.

I also sweetened the pot by offering to oversee all of the training (gulp) and I utilized influencers (our teenage boys). How could Kevin say “no” now? I knew my marketing strategy was taking hold.

Step 4: Develop Your Messaging

Once you have a plan for which channels you’re going to use to reach your target audience, it’s time to create your “before and after” personas. What does life look like for your ideal customer before they purchase your product? Perhaps they’re overwhelmed, sad, wishing they had more leisure time…Now, what does life look like for your ideal customer after they make that purchase? Are they more relaxed and content? Less sad or frustrated? Taking time to flesh out these personas will help you more precisely align your message.

Then, as you develop your message, keep these things in mind:

Be consistent

Did you know that it takes 8 touches just to get an initial conversation with your prospect? And it takes many more touches to convert. That’s why it’s critical to keep your message in front of your prospects at all times.

Timing is everything

Knowing when to ask for the sale is paramount. If you ask too early you could lose the deal for good.

I definitely had to be mindful of this when timing my communication. If my husband had a bad day or was in a funk, I refrained from talk about puppy adoption.

Step 5: Analyze Your Results

When all is said and done, how did your campaign go? Did you accomplish your goals? More specifically, what parts of your campaign were the most effective? The least effective? Then ask yourself about your customers: What did you learn about them? Did you target them in an on-point way or were your tactics a little off? Were you making any assumptions about your customers that turned out not to be true?

I’m happy to report that Operation Puppy was a tremendous success.

It wasn’t without its obstacles and it certainly required planning, precision and patience. However, the end goal was achieved – I sold my idea to Kevin – and our family is now reaping the benefits. Isn’t she just the cutest?

KEY LESSONS I’VE LEARNED FROM 9 YEARS IN BUSINESS

KEY LESSONS I’VE LEARNED FROM 9 YEARS IN BUSINESS 900 600 Kari Switala

Create a support network of amazing people you can trust who want to see you succeed.

When I launched Wild Fig Marketing (which was actually called Magnetik Marketing Solutions back then), it was exciting and terrifying at the same time. I had been building my business on the side (working lots of evening hours as I had a full-time job – makes me exhausted just thinking about it) and had planned to quit my full-time job once I had enough recurring revenue. Unfortunately, the universe had other plans and I was laid off before I was officially ready to launch my business. I can remember that moment like it was yesterday. I was so excited to finally be free and to be able to work on my business full-time, but I was also terrified as my financial security net was gone. There were no other options, I had to make it work or give up on my dream.

Fortunately, I had the support of my family and friends and was a part of an amazing networking organization called BNI – Leads to Referrals. I’ll never forget the day I came to our meeting to announce I’d no longer be representing the accounting firm, instead I was going to represent my new marketing business. The members cheered with excitement and one by one came up to me and said, how can we support you? How can we help? In just a moment’s time, my fear was gone – I knew I could do this because I had an incredible support network that wanted to see me succeed!

Understand your strengths and what you are truly good at and hire out the rest!

I think I’ve taken just about every personal/skills assessment out there like DISC, Fascinate, Kolbe, StrengthsFinder, and more! I truly believe I know EXACTLY who I am and what I should be focusing my time on. For those of you who know me, you know numbers and math are NOT in my wheelhouse. Just thinking about my college algebra tests can cause me to start sweating profusely. So, I sought out others to help fulfill this gap. Fortunately, my husband and business partner has a knack for numbers and data and he has been instrumental in helping get our business to where it is today. In fact, if you’ve read the book, Traction, you know that successful businesses need both a Visionary to drive creative thought and innovation and an Integrator to maintain business harmony. Simply put, he’s the yin to my yang!

What are you good at? What are your strengths? Where are your gaps? If you are unsure of how to answer these questions I’d highly recommend taking the time to invest in one or all of these assessment tools:

Create a morning routine and stick to it!

I wish I could say that I learned this lesson early on, but alas it’s one of the most recent lessons I’ve learned. What do I mean by a morning routine? Well, if you haven’t read the book, The Miracle Morning or The Miracle Equation by Hal Elrod, I’d highly recommend buying it on Audible or Amazon TODAY. These books are game changers and they are based on the principle of incorporating these 6 elements into your morning routine:

  1. Silence – taking time to meditate. I use the free InsightTimer app and can proudly say I’m up to 8 minutes of meditation a day 
  2. Affirmations – identifying 2-3 hurdles you are trying to overcome such as money beliefs, self-confidence issues, etc. and finding 2-3 positive affirmations you read every day to help you overcome those obstacles (I even put them on the top of my to-do list every day).
  3. Visualization – this is probably my favorite part – I created an awesome vision board to help me visualize what I want for my future. However, yours might simply be one image you focus on, do what works best for you.
  4. Exercise – I cannot tell you how important this is to your success. I am an early riser who loved to get up and start working right away in the morning (usually at 5AM) because I was SO productive in the morning. However, I also knew I needed exercise and was less likely to exercise in the evening after a long day’s work unless that exercise was lifting a glass of chardonnay to my lips. When I decided to switch my routine and instead get up at 4:30 AM and head to the gym (with a bunch of crazy people like myself who I absolutely adore) vs. working, it was a struggle. However, I found after just a week of doing that I had more energy and mental focus than I ever had before. 
  5. Reading – this was pretty easy to incorporate as I ❤️reading and have become a book-aholic.
  6. Journaling – this looks differently for everyone, for me I take this time to write down the 3 goals I have for the quarter and the 3 things I can do that day to get me closer to my goals.

Keep learning, growing and challenging yourself!

On average I read (and listen to) between 35-40 professional development books a year. Side note: I recently became a big fan of audible and find it to be an incredibly effective tool to use while walking my dogs or commuting back and forth to our cabin.

Not sure if reading or listening to professional development books will help you? In a recent article in INC. Magazine, Bill Gates says he attributes his success to reading. In fact, he reads 50 books a year and states that he believes books offer perspective, help stir the imagination and build better communicators too! What are you waiting for people…click on the Amazon or Audible app on your phone and buy a book today! Click here to get my recommended book list!

Find an accountability partner.

This is also a relatively new lesson I’ve learned. After reading and listening to countless books, one of the key suggestions in all of them was to find yourself an accountability partner. Well last year, I did just that. Meet my accountability partner, friend and trainer, Danelle!

For the past year we’ve had weekly calls with each other where we report on how we’re doing with our goals, discuss any obstacles and opportunities and celebrate our successes. The key to a successful accountability partner is finding someone you look up to who is at a similar place in their business and is MOTIVATED to take their business to the next level. It’s also important to put a little skin in the game too. When we first started, both Danelle and I identified a consequence we’d have to face if we didn’t reach our goal that week. For Danelle, it was paying me $200 and for me it was having to do 200 burpees! Needless to say, we accomplished our weekly goal/task every week because neither of us wanted to suffer the consequences. #burpeessuck

Don’t be afraid to hire!

One piece of advice I heard over and over from other entrepreneurs was whatever you do, wait as long as possible to hire employees as it can be a royal pain in the a$#! I heard this so much that I started to believe it, until I hit a point in my business where I could no longer handle the amount of work and needed to hire in order to grow.

Knowing what I know now, I’d have completely ignored that advice. I’m not saying that you should jump into this decision blindly or that hiring won’t add additional complexity to your business. It’s important that you plan for it and have a clear picture of the roles you need to add in your business in order to scale and grow.

I can honestly say, I’ve never been happier than I am today. We have an incredible team of passionate individuals who I absolutely adore. Together as a team we are helping clients, expanding our services and working together to crush our business goals and having a ton of fun doing it!

I also want to take a moment to thank Kevin (who never dreamed he’d be in an HR/CFO role) for helping orchestrate this growth and for handling all of our HR functions!

Put systems in place.

Growing and scaling a business is not for the faint of heart. In order to successfully grow you need to have systems in place for on-boarding new clients, retaining clients and managing the day-to-day tasks in your business.

We incorporated automation into our business about 5 or 6 years ago and it has not only saved us a ton of time, it has helped us continue to grow and expand. A couple of the key processes we have systematized are: client billing, lead generation, onboarding new clients and sales. If you’re looking to take your business to the next level, I’d highly recommend checking out two of our favorite tools: Hubspot & Ontraport.

Have fun and be yourself (and if someone doesn’t like who you are…it’s their loss, baby)!

I believe if you asked anyone who knows me personally or professionally how they’d describe me they would say I’m FUN, creative, personable and that I tell great stories (well, likely everyone except my two teenage boys who probably would describe me as weird or annoying)! The same could be said for those who don’t know me and have simply read one of my blogs, my book or one of my social media posts. This is intentional because I believe people do business with people they know, like and trust. So I incorporate my personality into everything I do because I want to be authentic. When you are, you attract the type of people who will value your skills and who you ACTUALLY want to work with.

Be yourself. Share your hobbies and interests. Incorporate stories into your meetings, networking or any conversation you have throughout the day. I guarantee if you are authentic and you put your WHOLE self out there, the universe will pay you back in dividends.

I hope this article has been helpful, that it’s inspired you to live your best life and that you are able to take at least one of these key lessons and incorporate it into your life today.

Cheers to 9 years in business!