How Giving Back Is Good for Business


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How Giving Back is Good for You and Your Business
The benefits of giving others tokens of appreciation as well as charitable giving have long been documented, with a multitude of scientific studies reporting a strong correlation among selflessness, altruism, personal happiness, and high self-esteem. But did you know that giving back also has positive effects within the workplace?

While it may not initially bring immediate financial gain, investing in local initiatives will improve your reputation within your community. By identifying needs within your operating area, asking prominent local organizations if they need help, and making targeted efforts to contribute, you’ll not only form valuable relationships with customers and community members, but also increase your standing in the process.

Similarly, leaders who identify and fund charitable enterprises are sure to foster respect within their own companies. Not only does giving back improve employee cohesion and job satisfaction, but it’s also a great morale booster that improves employees’ regard for their corporate heads.

There are no two ways about it: philanthropy is also a fantastic way to connect and network. Philanthropic organizations are often associated with other industry leaders with whom you’ll be able to build new relationships based on mutual trust and respect. More and more, philanthropy is starting to be acknowledged as a central part of a successful business model.

Whilst tapping into this invaluable networking resource, it is still possible to give authentically by remembering that empathy is the basis for true altruism. Pay attention to the small details and remember that if you are publicly giving, include details about your chosen charity’s website, phone number, or GoFundMe account, thus shining a light on the charity itself.

If you’re part of a startup and financing is in its early stages, it’s still possible to positively impact your community through volunteering, mentorship, and pro bono work.

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How to Achieve Goals (and Have Fun in the Process)
At the end of each year, we embark on the same quest: setting goals for our business, our teams, and ourselves. How do we approach goal setting without turning it into the typical New Year’s failing gym resolutions? Getting our teams to buy in and stay engaged to achieve these long-term objectives presents an additional challenge. Here’s where to start.

Be S.M.A.R.T. about it. Set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. SMART goals help keep everyone engaged in the same cadence and achieving key milestones that ultimately benefit the company as a whole.

Collaborate. Work with your team to create the goals that they will be on the front lines of accomplishing. Be open to new ideas and team input on both what the team feels has (or hasn’t) been working in the past as well as skills they personally want to grow. Double-check how resources and workload are allocated to keep in line with the SMART method. Even your most hardy go-getters have limitations for a work-life balance.

Add some wiggle (room). Adding padding to project timelines for unexpected setbacks helps to minimize stress and keep work fun.

Gamify. Track your team’s progress with a temperature chart, puzzle, or map that clearly shows how much your team has achieved on the journey to success. This is a great place to get creative and have some fun. This also lets everyone know exactly where you are in the journey.

Team mantra. There’s nothing more powerful than a good battle cry. Enhance team spirit with a phrase or mantra than rings true and motivates the team.

Publicize and reward. Be the lead PR person for your team. While it’s crucial that you first ask employees how they prefer to receive recognition, honoring your team’s progress with a public pat on the back is known to help keep team members both encouraged and engaged with the goals at hand.

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When Was the Last Time You Did a Brand Audit?
As fast as our world has been changing, is your brand keeping up? A brand audit is both an external and internal checkup that will help you stay aligned with and relevant to your target audience, remain strong in the competitive market, and improve sales outcomes. Here are the basics.

Be true to yourself. Are your mission, vision, and brand promise statements still true? If not, revise them to make them current with your business goals and values.

Talk to your customers. How do they see you? What words would they use to describe you? How would they describe you in comparison to competitors?

Talk to your employees. Ask the same questions of your employees, and value their feedback just as much.

Check your competitive presence. How do your competitors position themselves in regard to the overall industry and customer values? Where do you sit in comparison? It’s important to remain true to who you are while differentiating yourself from the competition (while also not going too far outside the box).

Align communication. Reevaluate everything that communicates on behalf of your brand digitally, physically, and verbally, from brochures and promotional materials to sales team training and scripts to social media and your website. Are you in alignment with who you say you are and with the customer experience you want to deliver?

Have someone else do it. It’s always hardest to see yourself clearly through your own lens. If you have the funds, the best brand audit insights will likely come from hiring an outside company with expertise in this area.

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How to Create Your Marketing Plan for the Year
Crucial for any-size business, a strategic marketing plan helps guide limited budgets toward effective ROI (return on investment) and keeps outreach activities aligned with overall business. Let’s discuss the core elements.

Discover. Thoroughly understand your current position with a SWOTT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and trends). You’ll benefit from more clearly recognizing your true USP (unique selling proposition), what aspects of your brand and what advantages set you apart from the competition, and the open seas you can seize in the marketplace.

Target. If you try to reach everyone, you’ll reach no one. As specifically as possible, targeting the audience that’s most likely to buy is the “sweet spot” to efficient ROI. Spend time getting to know your current and prospective customers with basic market research. This is the foundation of creating “buyer personas,” descriptions of your target audience’s basic demographics and psychographics, including their habits, pain points, and challenges, which will assist you throughout the planning process.

Be SMART. Using the SMART method (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) will enable you to set your mission, ensure you have the resources to achieve it, and ultimately keep you on course toward a year in the black. From here, you’ll set the appropriate operational and marketing tactics to achieve these goals.

Get tactical. This is the “how” of reaching or communicating with your target audience (and where your buyer personas come in especially handy). Pinpoint the outlets and media that most attract your desired audience. What online communities or websites do your target audiences gravitate toward? Which industry-related media are they most likely to trust? What trade shows are you attending “because everyone else does?” What other marketing activities have generated higher-quality leads in the past?

Budget. Now that you’ve looked at all the elements listed above, consider your budget. Determine what steps and actions to take based on both your budget and the outcomes you wish to achieve.

Look at the timeline for each of these steps, decide what your goals are for each quarter, and flesh out your marketing plan for the year. Remember to build in milestones and evaluation points to determine the effectiveness of your plan as you carry it out (and course correct if needed).

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter.