Category Archives: Advice

What’s in a name?

That which we call a rose 
by any other name would smell as sweet.
~William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

12:4:2012But would it? Every business needs a name. For my fictional business that I am creating I need to come up with a name. There are a few things to consider when deciding what to name a business.

  1. Be careful about being clever. Not everyone can be google™
  2. While it’s true that 34% of business no longer exist after two years, think big, think successful. With that in mind think about what you want to do long term. My payroll services business is just going to be payroll services. It isn’t going to do anything else, so something Payroll Services will work for me.
  3. Using the name of the street your business is located on often employed, but what happens when you move from 12th Street to Main Street?
  4. Your name? Not a bad idea but two things to consider: when you sell the business you sell the name too and what if the business goes bad? Your name is on it even if you have nothing to do with it. Using your name, however, can be an advantage. It says you are willing to put your name on the line.

I am going to call my business by what it will do, payroll services. I don’t plan to go global but you never know. Nonetheless, with these factors in mind I decided to call my payroll company Parker Payroll Services. It is a generic name and Parker Payroll is rolls off the tongue and will be easy to remember. I will not have my company go by PPS. Parker Payroll it is. I could have made up a name or followed Apple™ by using a noun or a made up word like Pepsi™. My new company has a name. It has a business plan. It has an office. It now needs a logo, branding, and collateral.


Let’s return to the project after the holidays

11:13:10Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight.  Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward.  Your life will never be the same again.

~Og Mandino

Content is King?

Content, king, what? I don’t need to recite how we are all bombarded with advertising and stimuli. We know, we know, we know. So how do you make people aware of you? Whether you are selling a product or service or a nonprofit you can’t do any of those things without awareness. The direct sell is out. Then how? By creating valuable content and sharing it with your customers/clients. Content is the soft sell in a broader context. Have you ever seen turn of the century advertising? The technique was to tell a story. “Miss X of Chicago, IL was at a loss. The young men would smile and come to make her acquaintance but then quickly went away. Heartbroken, Miss X asked her best friend who was always surrounded by beaus what her secret was. ‘”Why I use, Bright Smile Toothpaste! Not only do I get a great smile but fresh breath too!”’ Soon after, Miss X became Mrs. Y.” They told a story ideally, it was their customer’s story. Today marketing, social marketing that is, has come back toward that model. Far more subtle and with more direct value in it’s content.

Want an example? This blog is a perfect example. Every week I provide a short piece of advice or item about marketing or graphic design. My first post was about serif and sanserif typefaces.  ( I provided good, helpful information. I accomplished two things. I gave you, my audience, something valuable and I demonstrated my expertise in my field. As things went along I urged my readers to use a professional designer but I never pushed my services. This blog for me, is not to generate new business, though the prospect is not lost on me, it is a resource for my current customers and potential customers. My portfolio may not address specific customer needs and sometimes if a customer doesn’t see exactly what they want in my portfolio this blog can demonstrate the breadth of my skill set.

Take a look at your business or organization, is content marketing something you should consider? Later I will examine what content marketing is and how you can implement it, the pluses and minuses and commitment required.

To tweet or not to tweet

Apparently you should. I googled-wait for it-payroll and got several hits, including one payroll company with nearly 2,000 followers. Many of the followers are other types of companies and other payroll companies. Some might be customers or trade organizations. Many of the tweets are tips or information about services.

There are several things you need to consider when venturing into social media. One, is do you have the time or several people to maintain your effort? Don’t make it one person’s job, they might change jobs and then the social media account might languish. Another is will you have enough content? And maybe most importantly, have you set up guidelines for staff to follow? You want to be a-political, not over fanatical about sports or celebrities. You need to think about your page on twitter. Make sure your company name and logo are prominent; follow your branding. Make sure posted images are appropriate. Tweeting may not make much of an impact but it might be something to try if you have the resources. And lastly, if you find you don’t have relevant followers you can shut it down.

In with the new

New employee training, the smell of anxiety in the morning. You show them where the coffee room is, then where the bathroom is and last of all where to find you. There are so many things all new hires have to learn besides their job duties. They have to learn not to ever, ever bring an orange to the office. (This happened to me once. I brought an orange in to eat and the second I started peeling it a woman in my area went berserk.—true story.) What I implore you not to forget to go over the branding strategy. You might think this new hire will never come into contact with the branding let alone be in a situation in which they would make use of it (Really? Never? No quick ad for a program, no helping out on a presentation? Are you sure?). Still, make sure they know what it is where the branding book can be found because you do have one. You might think I am being a bit (or a lot) heavy handed, I am. I am because I have seen what happens when some one who doesn’t understand begins to change just this one little thing and before you know it that strategy you paid $15K-$25K (not an unreasonable sum) goes out the window. I’ve seen it happen. If you use a designer don’t count on them to hold your employee in check. Your renegade is your designee. There are mountains of information a newbie has to learn including the company identity and their identity for 40 hours a week should be a part of that.

The when of press releases

It’s pretty simple. When you need to send out a press release you should send it out three weeks before your scheduled event. Really, it’s that simple.