Usher in the New Year the Right Way!

Most businesses don’t realize that success in January starts long before the first of the New Year. It takes plenty of work and planning to set your year up right. But don’t avail, you can still be successful! Check out these 10 ways to usher your small business into the New Year by Melinda Emerson.

1.  Set Your Business Resolutions

It is beneficial to lay out what you want for your business in the coming 12 months. Be specific, so you can actually measure results and see whether you accomplished them by year’s end.

2.  Revisit Your Business Plan 

If it has been a while since you examined this critical document, now’s the time to get to it. Review it to ensure it’s still aligned with your current company goals. Change what needs changing. And if you never had one, use www.enloop.com to develop one online for free.

3.  Build a Promotions Calendar

Sit down with a calendar and start looking at all the holidays or events you want to build promotions around. Take a look at our promotions blog to see what events you may be forgetting! This plan will help you to have ample time in setting up your social media updates, blog posts, sales, advertising campaigns, etc.

4.  Consider Your Hiring Needs

If your business is getting increasingly too busy for you to run, start planning your hiring strategy for 2016. Consider temps, freelancers, virtual assistants, and part-timers as alternatives to full-time employees if your budget is tight.

5.  Invest in Technology

If you’ve been putting off purchasing new computers or software, it’s time to make the investment. You’ll be more efficient if you have a computer that doesn’t take an hour to load.

6.  Create a Conference Plan

Attending conferences and industry trade shows can be so beneficial for you as a business owner! Come see us at the NAMA OneShow in April. Not only is it extremely valuable to meet others in your field (or potential customers) but you also learn from leading experts. Take a look at what’s available and start planning now!

7.  Reassess Your Online Brand

Google yourself! Is it time for a refresh? What worked for you in terms of marketing last year? This is a great time to tweak your online strategy to identify the tools that helped your business grow, and cut back on those that didn’t. Take a look at our marketing tools blog for some fresh ideas!

8.  Refresh Your Employees’ Skills

If you do have staff, now is a fantastic time to offer supplementary training to refresh their skills or give them new ones. Maybe they’re not all using your customer relationship management software – a perfect topic for training!

9.  Get Smarter

Your employees aren’t the only ones who could learn more. If the end of the year is quiet for you, build in reading time. Read industry blogs, books, magazines, and anything else you can get your hands on to be on top of the trends in your industry.

10.  Get Organized

If you’re like a lot of business owners, your desk is cluttered, and so is your desktop. Spend a few hours throwing away and shredding things you don’t need and organizing your computer files by year, i.e. Contracts 2016. It will make things easier to find. I guarantee you’ll feel more together come January.

Don’t Just Dream … Do

Don’t Just Dream … Do

Welcome to the time of year where people all over the world are dreaming about how they would change their lives, their business, their situation, themselves. This year instead of just dreaming … do it!

Tips for getting your resolutions done:

  1. Research. It may sound silly, but what better way to start off the new year then to be informed as to how you can best accomplish your goal. So hit the library, Google, Bing, or ask a friend or co-worker.
  2. Eliminate Wasteful Activities.  That’s right! Checking your Facebook, playing online games, or watching endless amounts of TV won’t get you where you want to be. Don’t get me wrong … relaxing and enjoying your life is important too. Try cutting these time wasters in half.
  3. Set realistic goals.  If you truly want to achieve something this year, make sure your goals are something that you CAN accomplish. Losing 15lbs or making $10 million overnight will probably never happen. Don’t limit your dreams, but give yourself the time to actually get there.
  4. Recruit Help. Join support groups, use local resources … for many common new year’s resolutions, there are groups that you will be able to join for support. You can also lean on close friends, family and coworkers.
  5. Start Now. Don’t wait until the ball drops to start towards your new future – get a jump on the new year!  The clock striking midnight is not going to make things automatically crystal clear.
  6. Know that your past does not dictate your future. In reality, a resolution is about a change you want to make. That doesn’t mean you have to turn a failure into a success, but that you should take the benchmarks that you have to move forward in a positive light.

Go forth and achieve!

Happy New Years! From 32Market

Watchout: Vending Mishaps

Hands up if you’ve ever been frustrated with a vending machine! I know we have … Which is why we love the freedom of a break room market! They allow for unlimited product shapes and sizes, give customers the chance to look at products up close before making a purchase, and accept all types of purchase payments.

So next time you’re thinking about doing this …

Talk to Three Square Market, instead! (Or at the very least, talk to Sparky.)

Pros To Know

HUDSON, Wis. – December 17, 2015
Three Square Market (32M) is honored to be named 2015 Pros to Know by Automatic Merchandiser and VendingMarketWatch. This is the second annual Automatic Merchandiser and VendingMarketWatch Pros to Know Award, it recognizes vending, micro market and office coffee service industry professionals who are leading initiatives to help prepare their company, organization and the industry for the significant challenges of today’s business climate. This award highlights both individual and group achievements that promote industry innovation and future growth.

“It’s an honor to be recognized,” commented COO Patrick McMullan, “we have a great group of hard-working individuals ready to take on the challenges of the micro market, or break room market as we call it, arena. At 32M we pride ourselves on being the most innovative option out there.” 32M constantly strives to be at the leading edge of technology for micro market providers. Always aiming to be first, 32M was the first servicer to boast a patented smartphone app featuring checkout, school lunch programs, Version 3.1 PA-DSS certification, inventory intelligence, competition kiosk conversions, kiosk customization, automatic updates, 100% real-time reports and so much more. “If you’re looking for the best, its right here with 32M.” said McMullan.

“No idea is too far-fetched,” said Director of Operations, Matt Lardinois, “since the beginning it has been the ‘what if’s’ that have really changed the product that we are able to offer.” 32M sprang from a company called, TurnKey Corrections, which is an innovator in their field as well being the first to introduce kiosks to institutional commissary. “The kiosks have evolved over the years, but the really great part is ALL our kiosks are built in-house. From kiosks to software, everything we do is created from the ground up by our staff. 32M is really about making the operator and these markets more successful,” said Lardinois.

32M is a subsidiary of TW Companies, which owns TurnKey Corrections, Three Square Market, and American Institutional Supply. 32M now has opened over 1100 markets in less than 3 years and continues to forge new relationships that will grow their brand. To learn more about Three Square Market visit their websites www.32Market.com or www.BreakRoomRehab.com or follow them on social media.

Why Market Your Market?

The purpose of marketing is to introduce and promote your products and services to potential customers. For your business to succeed, people need to know about it. Marketing creates the awareness necessary for increasing sales and establishing customer relationships (which prompt them to return and to continue purchasing from your business, versus competitors’). As your awareness grows, customers begin to spread the word – establishing word-of-mouth marketing. Marketing also creates brand name recognition. If your business meets customer expectations, it will develop a positive reputation. Marketing efforts support this, by communicating to customers why they are right to choose you! It gives them the extra confidence they need to make the purchase … and the complementary purchases! It gives your business a competitive advantage by informing potential customers that you are their best option.

mktg

To make the most of your marketing strategy, it helps to use a wide variety of platforms. A few options include website development, public relations, print and broadcast advertising, endorsements, trade shows, special events, and social media. Creativity is key! With so many different options, you will want to use your creativity to discover which platforms work best for your business. Looking at your marketing budget will give you a good idea of where to start … can you guess why social media marketing is so popular?

creative_Brain

To design effective marketing materials, you need to first ask yourself, Who is my target market? Understanding the answer to that question will be the difference between a successful marketing campaign and an unsuccessful one. To really know whether your efforts are successful or not, make sure to track them. Set specific goals. Know what you want to gain from each marketing effort. By keeping track of click-throughs, numbers of coupon sales, increases in sales on an item you recently marketed, etc., you can use numbers to see spikes in sales. If one effort reaches or exceeds your goals, record it. Use it in the future. If another effort hardly makes a dent, record that as well. Remember that it wasn’t so successful. Go back and figure out what exactly it was that didn’t work well and fix the problem. As with any other part of your business, following through on your marketing efforts is crucial! So, instead of sending out an ad or tweet or email and checking it off your list, you need to track your efforts.

follow_up

Your customers know what works best, so why not ask them? Surveys, when done correctly, can give you some of the most beneficial information you can gain. Ask the people you are targeting what they want, how they want to receive information, what convinces them to make a purchase, etc. Chances are, someone wants their opinion heard – take advantage of this opportunity to gain valuable insights into that very first question: “Who is my target market?”

target_market

A Final Recap:

  • Marketing convinces customers to choose you.
  • Ask yourself “Who is my target market?”
  • Be creative when choosing marketing platforms.
  • Track your efforts and follow through.
  • Ask your customers what they want.

Beat The Winter Blues

Winter blues got you down? 

polarbear

If you’re feeling a little less cheerful during the cold months, you might be experiencing the “winter blues”, or SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Coming from Wisconsin, where we have what seems like half a year in winter months, we know the importance of beating the blues, rather than waiting them out.

What is it?

An estimated 1 in 5 Americans suffer from SAD. Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression related to changes in the season. It begins and ends about the same time every year – typically beginning in fall and continuing through the winter months. Instead of brushing it off as going through a funk, make sure to take steps to keep your mood steady and positive!

 

When to see a doctor: “It’s normal to have some days when you feel down. But if you feel down for days at a time and you can’t get motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, see your doctor. This is especially important if your sleep patterns and appetite have changed or if you feel hopeless, think about suicide, or turn to alcohol for comfort or relaxation.”

sad_snowman

(Mayo Clinic)

Some things you might not know about SAD:

  1. Between 60 and 90% of people with SAD are women.
  2. SAD relates more to daylight than temperature. A lack of sunlight increases melatonin.
  3. Between 50 and 80% of light box users have complete remissions of symptoms. (You can wear a light visor on your head to conduct light therapy while doing other activities.)
  4. Diagnosing SAD takes more than one winter depression:
    – Symptoms and remission must have occurred during the last 2
    consecutive years
    – Seasonal depressive episodes must outnumber non-seasonal
    depressive episodes in your lifetime
  5. Another type of seasonal affective disorder occurs during the summer months. It relates to heat and humidity rather than light.

(PsychCentral)

How to beat the winter blues:

  1.  Take your vitamins – especially vitamin D
  2. Be physically active! Even just 20 minutes of aerobic activity, 4 times per week will help.
  3. Keep your New Years resolutions. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and increase your motivation.
    resolution
  4. Be social! During the holidays our social lives are full to the max. But after the holidays … not so much! Feeling down can make socializing seem like the last thing you want to do, but it’s also the time you should push yourself to get out there more. Withdrawing will only make you feel worse.
  5. Use light therapy. Morning sunlight is the best sunlight to keep your mood up. So waking up a little earlier and getting out in the sunlight might change your entire day! 30 to 60 minutes of light therapy each day can lift your spirits. You might want to consider investing in a light box.
  6. Try aromatherapy – It becomes a source of comfort and can evoke happy memories. In particular, lavender helps with symptoms of depression and insomnia.
    lavender
  7. Treat yourself! Winter can be a stressful time. It’s freezing cold, you might be low on money after the holidays, and there are months to go before the next holiday break … Splurge a little on an outing that will destress you. Massages are shown to lower depression by reducing stress hormones and increasing serotonin and dopamine.
  8. Indulge (a little)! Who doesn’t need a little chocolate every once in awhile? Dark chocolate (70%+ of cocoa) is known to boost dopamine levels.

(Huffington Post)

So … Enjoy the holidays, be grateful for your loved ones, and stay busy after they are over!