All you accountants out there, read no further or cover your ears for what I’ve got to say to my fellow business owners.
Every check, credit card transaction, or cash purchase you make for your business shouldn’t be viewed purely as an expense. I’m not talking accounting principles here, I’m talking mindset.
If you treat all spends the same, you will likely miss out on doing things that will have a far greater impact on your business growth. Some expenses are smart investments. If lumped in with printer cartridges and copier paper, you’re not giving them a fair shake.
My mentor is the one who opened my eyes to this many years ago. We talked a lot about what I needed to do to grow my business. I would immediately respond – “I can’t afford that!”
That’s when I learned about my huge blind spot. The decision was not whether I should spend the money on my business, but whether I should invest the money in my business.
That shed a whole new light on expenses. Investments were the workshops that gave me the knowledge I needed to stay competitive and growing; and, mastermind groups to get me out of my own head; and coworking. Yes, I worked from a coworking space before I started Suite Spotte because I got so much energy, ideas, and inspiration from other members. These were some of the investments I made to take advantage of the growth opportunities I was then prepared to create. And still do today to keep growing.
Sure, money was often tight. But somehow, I found a way. Whether it was by asking for a workshop fee as a Christmas or Mother’s Day gift from family instead of the fresh flowers or new sweater I usually got. I’ve also been known to sell off some “vintage” items that had been stored away. Or cooking for a month instead of picking up something quick and pricey a few days a week. Or even postponing an upgrade to the latest cool phone. Be creative! The money is there. If you really want your business to grow, you will find it.
The next time an opportunity comes your way that will help move your business forward. Step up and invest in YOU!
Find out more about what you should invest in for your business from the experts at the Rocka Million Weekend.
A guest post by Amber Dewey Schultz
I first heard about Suite Spotte at a winter holiday party for my children’s school.
All of us parents were attempting to mingle as only parents of very young children do – in between wiping noses, changing diapers, and rescuing our children who had climbed too high and couldn’t find their way back down.
While chatting with one mother, my ears perked up when she mentioned something about working with her team.
A team? Wow. I had just begun my social media marketing business earlier that year, and only in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d have a team.
I had to know more about her and her success. We chatted as we could, as the children spun and zipped around us. The more she talked, the more I wanted to be a part of this community of entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Western Chicago Suburbs that she seemed to be a part of.
And that’s when I first heard the words “Suite Spotte”.
She told me that her friend Sue had opened a coworking space in La Grange, and entrepreneurs go there to work and collaborate. The new idea of working from a coworking space instead of my home office held so many possibilities for me. I had to learn more immediately.
Not to waste any time, I filled out a “Book a Tour” form on the Suite Spotte website the next day, making what I think was one of the best decisions so far for my business.
Since then, I’ve become a regular at Suite Spotte, taking advantage of every bit of the collaboration and community that I can. All that I’ve learned and experienced could hardly be included in a single post, but I will break the biggest benefits up into three main categories…
When I arranged for my first Day Pass, I was expecting everyone to be heads-down working, typing furiously or sitting in with a phone glued to their ear, in their own little world.
It couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are moments where the only sounds in Suite Spotte are the click-click-clicks that indicate that deadlines loom, usually there is a quiet buzz of conversation happening somewhere in the space. People sharing ideas or asking advice. One member telling another that she referred a client his way. A laugh over a miscommunication. (Did she say eyeliner or highlighter?) Without the hierarchy and drama of a typical one-business space, it is office culture at its best.
2. Ideas and Inspiration
Suite Spotte is never short of well-timed ideas and advice. If ever I have a question, no matter how basic it might be, other members are willing to give me not only an answer, but more ideas to expand upon my original idea, resources, or even a helping hand. I often leave Suite Spotte at the end of the day with my head swimming not only with thoughts of work I need to do, but also inspiration to make my business even better.
And because all of the members have different backgrounds and experience, I’ve been able to expand my vision and see a problem from angles that I never expected. I’ve found this to be especially true during the Entrepreneurial Masterminds, which are members-only lunches every Wednesday where one of the attendees is put in the “hot seat” and can either share something happening within their business, ask for advice, or show off a tool that has brought them success. Every week, even if I’m not in the “hot seat”, the ideas push me to take my business further and think further. Which inevitably leads to…
Working out of Suite Spotte has certainly set my business in the right direction. It has offered not just a space to work and focus, but the inspiration (and occasionally referrals!) necessary to grow. With this growth, I have even put together a small virtual team with whom I collaborate, checking that dream off my list.
I know that my business wouldn’t be as successful today if I had never found this coworking space.
Now I’m no longer an outsider looking in on an exclusive club of entrepreneurs in the Western Suburbs. I am a part of this exciting and thriving community. And I couldn’t be happier.
Amber Dewey Schultz, founder of Clique Social + Design, helps service-based entrepreneurs and small business owners convey their message, connect with their fans, and drive sales through strategic social media. Known for her innovative marketing strategies, Amber has used social media to amplify online launches, design passive income streams, and grow raving audiences for local and national clients.
When not busily working and collaborating at Suite Spotte, you can find her on kid-friendly adventures around the Western Suburbs with her husband Ryan and two children, Vivienne and Milo.
Are you considering blogging for your business, but don’t really see the point? Or have you written a few posts, then not seen any return?
You’ve heard that successful businesses should be blogging, but why? And how?
The biggest “why” is connecting with customers and clients. Businesses can blog about the problems their customers face, success stories, how to best use their latest product, or a “peek behind the curtain” with an employee interview.
In every one of these cases, the business is conveying their message while giving the customers some real value.
And while blogging like a boss might not come naturally at first, with a little knowledge and a few posts under your belt, you will be connecting and sharing like the best of ‘em. And seeing the loyalty and sales boosts that come with it!
Five Simple Steps To Start Blogging Like a Boss
“Engagement” is certainly the buzz word of the online world these days. But, every is talking about it because it is incredibly important.
Being engaging doesn’t necessarily mean conversational. It simply means having the ability to capture the reader’s attention. Try a question at the beginning of the article (like the one at the beginning of this article!) to make readers think, relate, and, most importantly, read on!
Questions don’t just have to be at the beginning of the article either. Add a question at the end and encourage people to comment with their opinions on the subject.
If you’re not sure if you’re engaging enough, think of your blog post as a form of social media (which it is). Would your post make someone want to dive in and connect?
Have you ever come across a blog post that appeared to be a never-ending wall of text? Did you make it to the end of that article? Didn’t think so.
Break up your words with some eye-catching images. Add a photo, a text-based graphic, a video, or an infographic that relates to the topic while staying in your brand’s image.
People will be more willing to stay with you through your entire thought when you accompany your words with something interesting to look at.
How long should your blog post be? Well, that’s really up to you. But, whether 300 or 1200 words, you want to keep it straight to the point.
Get your whole idea across without losing your audience by being incredibly focused.
If you have hit 1500 words and feel that you could go on for another 2000, consider breaking up your thought into two or three easily-digestible and hyper-focused posts.
Remember when your mom told you to “just be yourself”? Nothing could be more true as you blog.
Remember that people are reading your blog because they love your writing style, your ideas, and your message. They want to hear from YOU, not who you think you should pretend to be. Be sassy, or silly, or intricate, or grand…just as long as it’s absolutely you and your brand.
In the age of digital marketing, authenticity is the name of the game.
Can you imagine if I started off this post with one point, then drifted to the next, then went back, then threw in a brand new idea in the last sentence? You would rightfully be reading it thinking, “Huh?”
Your thoughts need flow cohesively in an organized way. If they don’t, your audience won’t be able to understand the message you’re trying to convey…and your message is everything.
Now, you don’t have to dig up the notes from your college composition course and start diagraming your blog post.
There are simple tricks to keep everything organized.
• Use clear, simple headings to help your blog posts flow together.
• Leave plenty of white space in your articles, with paragraphs being 3 sentences, max.
• Bold main sentences so that the reader can skim through and pull out highlights before committing to reading.
• Use lists or bullet points (like these) to break up each thought.
Each of these organizational tips encourages comprehension and helps the readers come away with a greater understanding of who you are as a business and, perhaps more importantly, a person.
It’s time to lose the blogging procrastination and frustration, and start putting your message out for all to see. Start blogging like a boss, then tell us all about it in the comments below!
Just when we find our business stride in the spring, the summer lull begins to take over. Thoughts of barbecues, beach time, and what to do with the kids, replace marketing strategy, new business opportunities, and sales metrics.
How do we keep the motivation high over the long summer months so that we don’t have to reboot in the fall? Summer camp, of course.
Think about it. Why do we send our kids to summer camp? If you’re like me, summer camp is the chance for my kids to burn off pent-up energy, to try their hand at new sports or other activities, and to meet interesting kids outside of our neighborhood with different backgrounds and traditions.
Most return home with brand new skills, a couple of new friends, and a broader perspective about life. They seem different, more grown up. Ready to take on the challenges of 5th or 6th grade.
That summer camp mindset is what every professional needs to keep their energy and motivation high so that they can blast out of the gate in the fall.
You can still have your barbecues and trips to the beach. But you can also use the summer to explore new ideas, try out a couple of new strategies, and expand your network. When business ramps up again in the fall, you’ll be ready.
Suite Spotte’s Summer Camp runs from June 1st – August 31st. Our coworking camp promises to keep you energized, hone your skills, generate new business ideas, and develop some incredible relationships. Then when fall comes around you’ll look back and be amazed at how your business has grown.
Check it out here. See you in June!
You got a coworking membership to really get some work done. You figure that you can’t help but be productive if you are surrounded by others who are busily working on their own projects. So, you put in your ear buds and get in the zone. You are a one-person powerhouse of productivity. And you’re doing coworking all wrong.
Coworking isn’t just about the work you can accomplish alone. It’s about connecting and collaborating with your fellow coworkers. It’s about bouncing around ideas and getting new perspectives. And while keeping your head down and concentrating is something every coworker has to do occasionally, networking is an essential part of the experience.
Here are some simple tips to successfully navigate the social atmosphere of your coworking space.
It all starts with one word….
Saying just one word can open up a realm of opportunities to you in your coworking space. If you’re an introvert, it’s understandable that this might be hard. Remember that if you’re new to the coworking space, there’s a good chance that most of the people there would like to get to know you; after all, networking is what a coworking space is for.
Start with greeting just one person. Once others see that you’re making an effort, they’ll start to initiate contact with you. As you’re conversing with people, let your passion shine through and others will start to believe in your business as much as you do.
Use the break areas wisely and strategically
The break area in a coworking space can prove as a great way to get to know people. While others are waiting for their food to heat up or stirring their coffee, you can initiate a conversation about current events or the coworking space in general.
However, you don’t want to start selling your business to a fellow coworker eating his lunch. Unlike a traditional networking event, a coworking space is not the place to hand out as many cards as possible. It can easily turn people off from any further communication with you.
Instead, ask questions about their business to get the conversation going.
Go to coworking space events
You don’t have to go to all the events offered, but going to one or two social or professional events during the month will show others that you want to be an active member of the space. This could be the time to take a stack of business cards with you so as you’re conversing with people, you can easily provide your contact information. You can even converse about the event afterwards on the coworking space’s social media pages. It will carry on the conversation for a long-term professional relationships.
Suite Spotte offers several events each month to help you connect. From Suite Symposiums to workshops, there are several ways for you to keep in touch with other coworkers.
Pay attention to where you can help
Does someone in the coworking space need a skillset that you happen to have? Speak up and offer your services to that person. Does someone need a good recommendation for a Thai place and you just happened to know a good one down the street? Forward them the menu.
Speaking up and helping another person gives you good credibility in the coworking space as a go-to person in your area, and you get to help someone else in the process. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Perhaps you’re starting up an event-planning service and a person sitting next to you does press releases. You might need a press release done for a client’s event, and you can potentially trade a press release for planning a press release workshop for someone. Bartering work is an easy way to get services that you need while “trying out” your coworkers before recommending them to your clients and customers.
Getting your work done is important, but it’s also valuable to network within your coworking space. The new friends you’ll meet and the collaborative projects that come out of those conversations will be well worth stepping away from your desk every now and then.