You’ve got a business, so you need to post on all of the social media platforms, right? Wrong. In New Zealand, the four main social media platforms used are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram (Social Media Stats).  This doesn’t necessarily mean they should be your default platforms though. Picking the right social media platforms involves first understanding who your target audience is and identifying the platforms they use.

How to Choose Social Media Platforms for Your Business

You’ve probably got a go-to social media account where you go to catch up on what your friends and family are doing. It would be normal to think that you should have a business account on there too. The issue is though, your audience may use a completely different one! Of course, the far simplest way would be to ask your audience what they use. The problem is though when you are in the early stages of setting up a business, real customers are short on the ground. You could ask those in your target demographic though.

Assess Your Demographics

To make an informed social media decision, you will need to look at your audience’s demographics, including:

  • Age
  • Male or female
  • Where they live
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Finances
  • Education and career
  • What content they like to see and share

Assess the Social Media Platforms Demographics

From here, you will need to choose platforms based upon your analysis of your target audience’s demographics and the types of user each platform tends to attract:

  • Facebook – over 60% of all men and ¾ of all women over the age of 18 use Facebook. This tends to be an informative platform, used a lot for visual and text-based information.
  • Instagram – most users are under 30 years old, and it’s reasonably evenly split between males and females. Instagram is a highly visual platform popular with artists and those selling products to consumers.
  • Pinterest – a highly female-dominated platform, with 44% female and 16% male. Around 37% of all adults under the age of 50 use Pinterest regularly.
  • LinkedIn – a business-orientated platform, users are evenly split between male and female. LinkedIn is mostly used for networking with other business owners and employees, making it great for B2B promotions.
  • Twitter – a very American based social media platform, but one which is growing in usage by NZers. Slightly more men than women use it, and it is predominately text-based.

Get Started With Your Chosen Social Media Platforms

Your next step is to get started using your chosen platforms, and for that, we’ve got just the article for you. Our Beginners Guide to Social Media for Your Business will walk you through the benefits of using social media, developing a plan to use it and how to create content for it. What are you waiting for: get started now!

Outsourcing. Does it sound such a scary word to you? For many new and small businesses, the answer is a resounding yes! Outsourcing involves paying someone to do something related to your business. If cashflow is short or you struggle with the thought of others doing something for your business, outsourcing be thought of as a big no-no.

We thought it was time to shed some light on this ‘bad word’ known as outsourcing, explaining the benefits of doing it and identifying exactly what tasks can be outsourced.

What is Outsourcing?

Outsourcing is the hiring of a freelancer or business to do a particular job for you. A good example is engaging the services of a bookkeeper to keep your accounts straight. You pay them to do things specific to this task. You remain in full control of what they are doing and your business.

By far the biggest hurdle for new businesses is getting over the mindset of having to pay someone else to do something they believe they could do. We completely get that. When you have a new business, it’s ‘your baby’ in a way and you want to do everything to help it grow. Becoming a jack of all trades and a master of none is very common. It’s the master of none that is the concerning aspect. By doing absolutely everything, you are not focusing specifically on your strengths; the things that are going to help grow your business. Instead, you spend more time than necessary having to get your head around figuring out (and possibly doing a poor job) how to do something. It’s this task you could have outsourced, and while it would have cost you money, it frees up your time to use your strengths and grow your business. A far better alternative, in our opinion.

Why is Outsourcing a Good Idea?

The best way to answer this is by listing the benefits that outsourcing can provide you with. They include:

  • Saving you time, which saves you money – forget spending 12 hours doing your accounts, when a bookkeeper could do the same amount in one hour!
  • Frees you up to do the things you enjoy doing – you don’t need to do everything, and that especially means the things you dislike doing. You also don’t need to work every hour of every day, which means you can still have a life outside of your business.
  • Cheaper and less hassle than having an employee – there is no overtime, holiday pay or KiwiSaver to worry about. You simply have a contract with the person or company you are outsourcing to, which states what you want them to do, when they’ll do it and how much you will need to pay.
  • Giving you access to new skill-sets – not everyone is good at writing, sewing or using social media. If you are not confident or have little knowledge about a task needing to be done for your business, outsource it to someone who does know what they are doing.
  • You choose how long you need their services for – whether it is for one day a week, the next two months or only at certain times of the year, you decide.

There are also three things to look out for which should be triggering you into thinking it is time to outsource:

  • There is a more cost-effective way to get tasks done
  • Some tasks take too long for you to complete
  • You are unable to do what really needs to be done to grow your business because you are stuck doing the mundane daily business tasks

Once you’ve decided to outsource, next comes deciding what that task will be, and who will do it for you.

Choosing What Business Tasks to Outsource

Start this process by firstly identifying the challenges you are facing in your business. These may include chasing unpaid invoices, posting on social media, not having any free time anymore or struggling to understand how to take your business to the next step. Note down the tasks you enjoy doing and where your strengths are, as well as the ones you hate doing and struggle with completing.

This list should have identified a number of business tasks. Group them into levels of importance and consider which ones you would be happy to give to someone else to do. You’ll also need to consider the cost of outsourcing each task and if outsourced, what return will it give you back in terms of you being able to do something else?

Common tasks new and small businesses outsource include:

There are some tasks though, that shouldn’t be outsourced. These are the absolutely critical things your business does that nobody outside of it would understand how to do. This can include things such as professional development, company culture, manufacture of a highly specific product, or particular service.

Once you have identified exactly what you want to outsource, it’s time to find the right person or company to do the work.

Choosing Who to Outsource to

While it’s not as time-consuming as hiring an employee, it does take time to find the right person to outsource your work to. If you haven’t already got someone in mind, a good place to start your search would be to ask for recommendations. Word of mouth is one of the easiest ways to find and learn about potentials. You can get honest feedback from others and no sense of pressure to hire them.

Otherwise to find freelancers or companies are to look for recommendations on websites, social media or networking groups. Visit their website and learn more about the services they offer and how they work. Many are happy to have a free chat with you to discuss your needs and explain how they could help meet them. If you are wanting to meet in person, then choosing someone local becomes important. But if you are happy to chat via Skype, phone or email, then their location shouldn’t be a factor in your decision.

It’s also important that you contact your shortlist of potentials to ‘interview’ them, in a way. Asking for references or clients to talk with helps you learn more about how they work. You’ll also see what their communication is like, be it by email or phone. It’s a good idea to use their services in a small scale first, before signing any long-term contracts. In regard to the contract itself, read the fine print regarding any cancellation or other penalties you may be up for.

At MBP Online, it’s true that you can outsource all of your accounting and bookkeeping tasks to us. But we can also help you with keeping on top of your taxes and making future plans to grow your business. Based in Taupo (where our espresso machine is always on for clients), we work with both local and NZ wide businesses. Get in touch and let’s have a chat about your needs and how we can help.

Your brand identity is what makes your business unique. More than just a logo, it’s how the world, or more specifically your customers, see your business. A strong brand identity gives your business power and a way to differentiate itself from your competition. Without one, well, let’s just say, things may not go that well …

Part of our job is to help businesses discover what makes them tick, what makes them unique and what makes them successful. While we don’t offer graphic design services, we do help you identify the specifics as to what you want your brand identity to be and help you achieve it. So, today we’re sharing just a snippet of what you can expect from our business planning, development and coaching services.

What is a Brand Identity & Why is it Important?

Your brand identity is your business’ face to the world. It’s what it looks like (colours, logo), what it says (emotions, values, words, trademark) and even what it smells, tastes and sounds like, depending on your business type. In essence, it is the personality of your business and what you promise your customers or clients.

A great brand identity helps:

  • Build credibility and trust with your target market
  • Develop instant recognition of your brand
  • Bring in new customers and keep existing ones
  • Get your business noticed

If you have a logo, awesome: you are on the way. If you are just getting started, that’s awesome too. Read on and we’ll explain what you need to do to create a stellar brand identity.

Steps for Creating a Strong Brand Identity

To create a strong brand identity, even if you already have a brand, start right back at the beginning.

  1. Do your research – find out who your target audience is and what they like, and who your competition is and what they offer.
  2. Focus on your brand – be specific in what your brand will offer and why customers should choose you over your competitors. Write a mission statement which states your goals and vision. Identify the personality your brand will have, the language and colours it will use and any taglines.
  3. Work with a graphic designer – now is the time to get your logo created or reassessed if you already have one. From the colours, shapes and fonts, they can help you choose the best ones to fit with your identified brand identity. Your GD can also help with suggestions for branding your stationery, website and product packaging too.
  4. Use it – once you’ve got a brand, use it and we mean everywhere. Having a document which you can share with others within your business, as well as referring to it yourself, ensures you remain focused. It should say what graphics to use where, the types of images and language to use, and where you can share information about your business.

We’d love to help you create or reassess your brand identity. Get in touch with our team today to explore the many ways in which our business services can grow your business.

It’s the word small we’re talking about today when discussing small business marketing ideas. Small in cost, small in time spent, and small in quantity. You could be forgiven for thinking we’re only going to help out small businesses by sharing these fab marketing ideas – and you’d be right!

There’s a big difference in not only the quantity, but also the type of marketing a small business needs to do. Sure, the big guys do it well (think McDonald’s and The Warehouse), but if smaller businesses copied them, things could go poorly rather quickly.

So, being the helpful bunch of accountants and business advisors we are, we’ve put together a great list of twelve marketing ideas specifically for small businesses, like yours!

12 Exceptional Small Business Marketing Ideas

You won’t have to blow your budget or head out of your comfort zone to try these top 12 marketing ideas:

  1. Create great content for your website – you could pay for advertising to send traffic to your site, or you could write such awesome content search engines ranked highly and people shared with their friends. Ads will only send you website traffic when they are turned on; turn them off and the traffic stops too. Great website content is there 24/7, even years later.
  2. Hunt out the ad promos – often major advertisers such as Bing and Google offer discounts or promotions for their services. If you’re going to pay for ads, you might as well get them with a discount.
  3. Host contests – there’s nothing like giving something away to draw in the crowds. You can run the competition via social media and use it to attract the type of customers or clients you want to attract. Be warned that you may attract the professional competition enterers, who are just in to win and not to learn about your business.
  4. Email marketing – some people swear by it, and others avoid it like the plague. Research shows that it does work well to make sales and keep your business at the forefront of a customer’s mind though.
  5. Give out branded balloons – find a suitable event and then give out balloons filled with helium, which are branded with your business details — cheap and unusual
  6. Keep active on social media – if you’re a social butterfly, this will probably be easy for you. If not, then it can be like pulling teeth. On the same platforms your target audience are using, publish regular content including blogs, promotions, and photos of your business.
  7. Push your USP – your unique selling proposition or USP is what sets you apart from your competition. Make sure everyone knows it.
  8. Join online networking groups – yes, it’s mixing with other business owners, but as you build relationships with them, they are more likely to recommend your business to others, or purchase from you directly.
  9. Set up a referral system – target your existing customers or clients by offering them a discount if they refer someone new to you. It’s a win-win.
  10. Create videos – be they unboxing of your products, an instructional video or showing a product’s features, videos are always well received.
  11. Host a webinar – there are many webinar platforms you can do this free through. Use it as a time to demonstrate your skills and knowledge, not a sales pitch.
  12. Partner up – it may not make sense to partner with your competition, but why not join forces with businesses who offer complementary products or services? By promoting each other’s stuff, you increase your visibility.

Remember that if you get stuck, asking for help is one of the best things you can do! Our friendly team are here to help, and if we don’t know the answer, we’ll find someone who does for you. Don’t be shy, get in touch with the team at MBP today.