Let’s dig deeper on blog topics to consider for your business.
Actually there are tons of blog topics to consider for your customers.
Yet, taking the time and energy to actually sit at a computer and type these thoughts out sounds overwhelming. Daunting. A waste of time.
I fully agree. You are BUSY. Constant fires to put out. A list of issues that need addressing.
Stopping to type out a blog post typically does not make the priority list for most small business owners.
Especially those who lack a desire, interest or experience in creating content.
A common response to blogging, “if I wanted to be a blogger, I would have gone to journalism school”.
However, the great thing about blogging, anyone with a computer, laptop, cellphone or device of choice, can now create a voice.
For example, find a topic that you are an expert in or where you exude a deep passion, sit down and just start typing.
So, ready to start?
Still questioning what blog topics would create the most impact for your business?
Our goal here is to help you achieve business goals.
Where to Start?
For starters, simply begin blogging about your business. Your product line. Your area of expertise.
No one knows your products better than you.
If someone was sitting across from you and you needed to describe what you do, type that.
For example, pretend you are in front of a classroom of 6th graders. It’s Mom or Dad comes to school for career day.
You are in front of the classroom expressing what you do. You better be on your “A game” because 6th graders are a tough crowd. They can smell fear or weakness a mile away.
Also, you have the pressure that you MUST be the “cool” parent. You don’t want the other kids telling your child how boring you are.
Years from now these kids will say “I never wanted to become a _______, because this parent came in our classroom and did such a pathetic job explaining what they do that I vowed to NEVER do what they do.”
How is that for pressure or incentive to share what you do with a passion?
Blog About What You Know Best
Another option when determining blog topics, pretend your dream customer is standing in front of you. It could be at a trade show. Otherwise, a scenario where they are taking a tour of your facility.
What would you say? How would you describe your business? Can you paint a clear picture of how you can solve their problem?
Can you demonstrate that you are the BEST option at that moment to provide the product or service that this particular customer seeks?
Well, it is unrealistic to stand in front of every prospect.
The internet makes everyone’s lives more efficient.
When you are seeking a new vendor, where do you turn?
In the past, you had to go to trade shows to find the best vendors.
Back in the 1990’s, I recall going to trade shows to find new vendors. In January. The dead middle of winter. It was expensive. Time away from running my business.
Just to find new products. New vendors.
It was expensive and inefficient. Sure it is great meeting vendors face to face.
However, conducting a Google search or connecting with new vendors on social media works so much more efficiently and affordably.
Blogging helps you make those valuable connections.
Blog Topics for Your Business
Below includes a list of topics to consider when starting your blogging career.
Start once a month. Every other week. Once a week.
It takes time. Be patient. Yet, give everything you got.
Below includes a list of helpful suggestions for blog topics:
How you started the company
Why you chose entrepreneurship
Information about your community
Start a series on your proprietary process
Reviews on the equipment and tools that you use
Meet the Team
Customer Service Questions – FAQ
Benefits of Made in USA
Safety concerns in your industry
New equipment purchases
Updates on your website and progress with internet marketing
Engineers in your industry
Influencers in your industry
Historical figures in your industry
What is (Blank)? — describe the parts and services that go into your products
Explain how your products are made
Industries that use your products
Lastly, below includes several blogging resources to help you get started:
To survive climbing Mount Everest, climbers commonly find success by teaming up with a Sherpa.
This fascinating article from the NY Times, Deliverance From 27,000 Feet, piqued (or should I say peaked) my interest on the courage and fearlessness of a Sherpa.
Also, the shear danger that they face assisting those on a quest to conquer Mt. Everest.
Check out this video below:
Need a Sherpa to Climb the Entrepreneurial Mountain?
What was the tallest mountain before Mount Everest was discovered? The answer: Mount Everest. It just wasn’t discovered yet. My daughter loves to tell that joke.
Is climbing Mount Everest comparable to running a business? Or vice versa? Both are thrilling adventures. Each offers a strong sense of accomplishment. Once you reach the summit, you can celebrate. A life’s dream accomplished. Jubilation!
Yet, once you reach the top, how the heck do you get back to the bottom? Oh, boy.
It takes skill, determination, a lot of money, guts, courage, as well as a bit of insanity. Actually, lots of insanity.
So yes, running a business must be just like climbing Mount Everest. Of coarse, this is coming from a guy who has never climbed an actual mountain. Ever.
Anyway, for some, climbing Mount Everest is a major “bucket list” accomplishment. A chance of a lifetime. Huge bragging rights. Thrill seekers reaching for the ultimate high.
It doesn’t get any higher than Mount Everest. Can a westerner accomplish this massive feat on their own?
A crucial component for the western adventurer to successfully reach the Mount Everest Summit is partnering with a highly experienced Sherpa.
Sherpa’s are commonly referenced as mountain guides who help westerners navigate the brutal terrain while reaching their goal.
However, you might find this interesting, the definition of a Sherpa according to LiveScience.com:
It’s worth noting that the term “Sherpa” does not actually mean “mountain guide,” as many people believe, but instead refers to an ancient ethnic community of some 154,000 members.
Who Is Your Sherpa?
So, who helps you navigate the treacherous terrain with running your business?
Do you have a Sherpa in your life? Someone who has climbed the path prior to you? A person who knows and understands the dangers ahead?
Westerners may want or try to rush to the top. A good Sherpa just wants them to reach the top while returning safely. An expedition up Mount Everest can turn deadly in a moments notice. Even for the most experienced and trained Sherpa.
The Sherpa culture is synonymous with mountain guides due to living in the mountains of Nepal and the Everest region.
A Sherpa helps carry necessary equipment, fix ropes. Despite hazards and risks, a Sherpa provides guidance to ensure a safe climb and descent.
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Sherpa.jpg200355Curt Andersonhttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngCurt Anderson2019-03-19 13:24:592019-03-19 13:32:43Do You Need a Sherpa to Climb The Mountain of Entrepreneurship?
“On The Edge” is truly a must read book. Especially for anyone in a leadership role.
You will find Alison’s stories fascinating, exhilarating, and inspiring.
She does an amazing job describing every detail from each adventure. With reading each page, Alison makes you feel the extreme cold while climbing terrifying heights. However, she still finds the courage to continue on taking each painful step. For example, she finds herself violently ill on a climb, yet still accomplishes her goal of reaching the peak (you need to buy the book to find out what happens).
Alison Levine on Complacency
“…mountaineering, business, leadership, and life: fear is fine, but complacency will kill you. Don’t ever beat yourself up for feeling scared or intimidated. Fear is a natural human emotion, and it’s a strong survival instinct that keeps us alert and aware of our surroundings.”
“Avoiding complacency isn’t just about keeping yourself in check; it also means watching out for all of your teammates.”
“Ironically, complacency is a risk that skyrockets when things are going well—when you feel safe enough.”
“You’ll never improve your skills if you keep following your standard route. And getting out of your comfort zone is not enough; you must take it a step further and learn to be comfortable with discomfort. This is an important part of leader development”
“Leadership is everyone’s responsibility. It is not solely the responsibility of the C-level executives or the management team within an organization. We are all in a position to proactively work toward having a positive effect on the people around us. Everyone in an organization is responsible for helping to move forward with the mission; but in addition, all employees/ teammates/ people must realize it is also their responsibility to look out for the people on either side of them.”
“You want to get out on the route with people who are better and stronger than you are; you yourself can become better and stronger by observing others who are more experienced and more skilled.”
“Weak colleagues are not hard to identify. I don’t want to be cruel here, but let’s face it: there’s always that one person who seems to show up on every team—you know, the person everyone else secretly wishes would quit, transfer to another division, or get trapped under something heavy. These people, to put it bluntly, are liabilities in terms of the job you are trying to do. They lag behind, drag everybody else down, and hinder progress.”
She continues, “If only they could perform at a higher level, or be smarter, or work more efficiently—or, even better, just go away—the entire team would be so much more productive. And happier! And although it may be painful to even imagine this, there could even be a time when, in fact, you might be the one who can’t cut it—when you are the person everyone else wishes would just go away, even if you are trying your hardest.”
Wrapping It Up
These quotes just scratch the surface of the energy, enthusiasm as well as brilliant insight that Alison offers in her book.
Rather you are climbing new heights, tackling tough challenges, or seeking exciting adventures, Alison Levine delivers outstanding guidance and advice on how to reach success.
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Alsion-Levine.jpg224224Curt Andersonhttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngCurt Anderson2019-03-12 12:51:082019-03-18 08:21:12"On The Edge" by Alison Levine is a Must Read Book
In our last post, we provided a book review on the business classic, “The Goal”. “The Goal” shares a fascinating story describing the power results utilizing the Theory of Constraints. Discovering bottlenecks. Road bumps. In other words, identifying exactly where the constraints live within a business that prevents the flow of production and positive cash flow.
Consequently, the Theory of Constraints can be applied to any business or industry. For example, companies that make a product or provide a service all suffer constraints and bottlenecks of some type.
Especially with manufacturing. Yet, the theory of constraints is also applicable to the service sector such as the medical field, doctor’s offices, restaurants, and entertainment.
Below offers an excellent explanation of the Theory of Constraints:
Self Inflicted Wounds
The key is identifying those dreaded constraints. In other words, the negative activities or processes within an organization that prevents a company goal from being met. Yet, discovering the sources of roadblocks and hurdles can be extremely challenging.
In many cases, inefficiencies and constraints are self inflicted.
In particular, when the constraint is a sacred cow. You know the type, “this is how we have always done it”.
Profit and cash flow are absolutely essential to achieving sustainability and company success. Therefore this is my “Captain Obvious” comment of the day.
Yet, many companies fail to achieve these goals. What gets in the way?
Lack of knowledge, lack of understanding, incompetence, fear of change or ego?
Could it be a deeper commitment to “this is how we have always done it” versus a relentless commitment to finding a better way?
The authors use “The Goal” to describe how to “explain their understanding of manufacturing” and why maximizing throughput is essential.
“The Goal” is about new global principles of manufacturing. However, even though the book was written 34 years ago, this concept is still new for many people.
Theory of Constraints Five Focusing Steps
Theory of Constraints offers practical and highly effective solutions to systematic problems.
Five Focusing Steps = POOGI = Process of On-Going Improvement:
Identify the Constraint
Exploit the Constraint
Subordinate Everything to the Constraint
Elevate the Constraint
Prevent Inertia from Becoming the Constraint
Applying Theory of Constraints to Your Marketing Strategy
Let’s look at Theory of Constraints from a marketing stand point.
In particular, think about your sales lead process. Your web presence. Your internet marketing strategy.
Are there constraints that prevent you from maximizing your business opportunities?
What hurdles and road blocks do you and your company face with attracting new business?
If you are a digital immigrant (born before 1980), your constraint may simply being completely overwhelmed by the whole process.
Questions to ask yourself to identify constraints when it comes to marketing:
Do you lack knowledge?
Most likely you lack the experience?
Where do you turn? Who do you trust?
Aren’t Web designers and digital marketers extremely expensive?
How can they possibly guarantee results?
Do you make it easy as possible for customers to purchase from you?
Do you offer easy access? Phone? Email? Social media? Are you hanging out online where your buyers are hanging out?
Make a commitment to enable your customer to engage with you as easily as possible.
Applying Theory of Constraints to Your Website
The Theory of Constraints can be applied to your website as well.
Hence, do you make it easy for a customer to navigate your website?
In addition, do you provide relevant and necessary information for a buyer?
In other words, does your website provide enough information that a customer could make a buying decision at midnight on a Friday night? Especially those obsessed entrepreneurs that just will not wait until Monday morning when you open. They need a decision NOW! They are trying to solve a problem and are looking for a partner at that moment.
Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, can you exploit your greatest strength?
Can you focus on what you do best instead of drifting into uncharted territory?
What if you attract more customers to buy what you do best?
For example, we had a customer who landed a brand new account. This new customer discovered her through her website.
The client lives in Europe. He was sitting with his spouse, pretending to be interested in the romantic comedy that she had selected for that evenings entertainment. He started searching for a new vendor while on his phone. Stumbled on our customer’s website that she had recently launched. A $400,000 order followed by being available on a late Friday night.
Eliminate those dreaded constraints that make it difficult to do business with you.
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/TOC2.jpg200500Curt Andersonhttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngCurt Anderson2019-03-05 07:04:312019-03-05 07:46:11Theory of Constraints: Focusing on "The Goal"
We work with a number of companies in early stages as well as start ups. As we engage with new customers to build their products such as Ground Straps, Wire Harnesses or Commercial Power Strips, we find ourselves frequently in discussions on internet marketing strategies. Young companies with new products are eager to execute effective marketing strategies.
In addition, even our long time customers who have been in business for many years enjoy exchanging marketing ideas on how to better promote products and services.
When you find a company that lends you a competitive advantage, it is great to share with customers. Especially when it comes to trying to conquer SEO strategies. Obtaining competitive intelligence delivers a competitive edge.
Well, Linkody does just that!
They also send out email reports revealing links to your competition.
Scouring your competitors links helps make your job as a search marketer much easier.
This information allows you to find resources for you to capture valuable links.
While scanning a competitors links, you will find yourself saying “Why did I not find that link first?”
But don’t beat yourself up too bad.
Using Linkody helps eliminate the frustration of playing catch up with your competition.
Don’t take our word for it, check out these reviews below:
According to Helvis Smoteks, Linkody head of SEO, “Linkody also shows data on which of your competitors’ topics are generating the most backlinks. This feature is really useful for finding new topic ideas that have the potential to boost your link count.”
In conclusion, head over to Linkody today to explore new backlink strategies to help your business.
Wrapping It Up
Thank you for reading our post. To learn more about Falconer Electronics, check out these helpful links below:
Just to kick things off, we LOVE Southwest Airlines! Not just as customers but also as a company to admire and emulate. Why? It’s all about the company culture. How has Southwest separated themselves from the competition for all of these years? Actually, it starts with co-founder and airline icon Herb Kelleher.
A pioneering entrepreneur and fierce competitor, Kelleher co-founded Southwest which launched its first flight in 1971.
The chain smoking, Wild Turkey drinking business maverick created one of the most successful airlines in U.S. history.
Unfortunately, Herb Kelleher recently moved on to another life on January 3, 2019.
“In the early 1970s, only 15 percent of the traveling population traveled by air. At that rate, the market was small enough to scare off most would-be competitors to the big airlines. But Southwest wasn’t interested in competing against everyone else for 15 percent of the traveling population. Southwest cared about the other 85 percent. Back then, if you asked Southwest whom their competition was, they would have told you, “We compete against the car and the bus.” But what they meant was, “We’re the champion for the common man.” That was WHY they started the airline. That was their cause, their purpose, their reason for existing.”
Cheap, consistent and fun!
Herb Kelleher instilled his wild sense of humor into the company culture.
Once, on Southwest flight, there were a large group of rowdy guys traveling to Las Vegas for a bachelor party (yes, I was part of the group. I was young then).
These gentlemen were goofing around and joking with one of the stewardesses. Towards the end of the flight, the stewardess was handing out glasses of water on a tray. She walked up to these group of men with a tray completely full of cups. When she approached these men, she stumbled and spilled the entire tray of cups on a couple of the guys…….the cups were empty!
We were absolutely rolling with laughter. This event defined the culture at Southwest created by Herb Kelleher.
As a company, Southwest personifies Herb Kelleher’s attitude towards life and business.
Herb Kelleher preached, “Hire for attitude – train for skills”.
Below includes a great video where Herb Kelleher describes “How Southwest Built Its Culture”:
The Herb Kelleher Leadership Style in the News
Below includes small portion of the endless number of outstanding articles that describe Herb Kelleher’s leadership style:
When building a company culture, where do you start? Do you start with inspiration? A purpose? Can you get behind a cause and give everything you’ve got? More importantly, can you inspire your team as well as your customers to feel your passion? Share a belief in your cause?
In our last post, we provided a book review on the New York Times bestseller, “Start With Why“. The amazing book authored by Simon Sinek reveals stories of companies and individuals who truly inspire.
This led to the question, does your WHY = Inspiration?
In other words, should our inspiration define our WHY?
If so, then we need to “Start With Inspiration”. Start With Passion. Start with an undying belief in a cause.
The book “Start With Why” describes companies that inspire by revealing a strong purpose and belief.
Simon Sinek also offers examples of historical individuals that inspire such as Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy.
However, we don’t necessarily need to look back in the deep past for sources of inspiration.
So far for 2019, what individuals do you feel “Start With Inspiration”?
To Start With Inspiration = Katelyn Ohashi
To “Start With Inspiration”, look no further than college athletics.
Though Clemson’s shellacking of Alabama was impressive in the NCAA Football National Championship , they did not win our vote for first place.
“I think Ohashi’s routine is a radiant expression of what it means for a human being to be very, very good at something—and to want to share that with everyone. She projects a confidence that only great performers project, whether Olympic champions or concert pianists, that every eye is upon them. Instead of shirking from that, instead of getting rattled, Ohashi rushes toward the moment. The moment becomes her.” Jason Gay – Wall Street Journal
Likewise, check out all of the articles about Katelyn’s performance from the numerous major publications below:
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/katelyn-1.jpg200267Curt Andersonhttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngCurt Anderson2019-01-25 07:07:422019-01-25 08:20:08Start With Inspiration: Did You See Katelyn Ohashi Perform?
What does it actually mean to start with WHY anyway?
In his book “Start With Why”, Simon Sinek pulls together powerful stories and examples of individuals who built wildly successful companies based on passion, vision and a belief in a cause.
“Now consider what a company is. A company is a culture. A group of people brought together around a common set of values and beliefs. It’s not products or services that bind a company together. It’s not size and might that make a company strong, it’s the culture—the strong sense of beliefs and values that everyone, from the CEO to the receptionist, all share. So the logic follows, the goal is not to hire people who simply have a skill set you need, the goal is to hire people who believe what you believe.”
He also points out numerous individuals who completely changed our culture and mindset based on their passion and belief.
Sinek explains that plenty of companies know their WHAT and HOW.
Yet, it’s the companies that understand their WHY who truly “get it”.
More importantly, their customers understand their WHY too.
A mutual understanding of WHY between a company and customers creates a cult like following and raving fans:
“But when a company clearly communicates their WHY, what they believe, and we believe what they believe, then we will sometimes go to extraordinary lengths to include those products or brands in our lives. This is not because they are better, but because they become markers or symbols of the values and beliefs we hold dear. Those products and brands make us feel like we belong and we feel a kinship with others who buy the same things. Fan clubs, started by customers, are often formed without any help from the company itself. These people form communities, in person or online, not just to share their love of a product with others, but to be in the company of people like them. Their decisions have nothing to do with the company or its products; they have everything to do with the individuals themselves.”
Over the years, Harley-Davidson built a cult like following with raving fans as customers.
Sinek points out that fans tattoo the Harley-Davidson logo on their bodies. Some don’t even own a Harley.
That’s a powerful brand when an individual tattoo’s a company logo, yet in some cases they are not even a customer:
“They’ve tattooed corporate logo on their skin. Some of them don’t even own the product! Why would rational people tattoo a corporate logo on their bodies? The reason is simple. After years of Harley being crystal clear about what they believe, after years of being disciplined about a set of values and guiding principles and after years of being doggedly consistent about everything they say and do, their logo has become a symbol. It no longer simply identifies a company and its products; it identifies a belief.”
Martin Luther King
To Start With Why begins with an individual who shares a grand vision or a DREAM.
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/start-with-why.jpg233216Curt Andersonhttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngCurt Anderson2019-01-22 07:42:022019-01-22 07:24:31Book Review: "Start With Why" by Simon Sinek
In a recent post, we discussed creating a team and culture based around reliability. Reliability leads to consistency, stability, quality and most of all, happy customers. To follow up on this important topic, today we explore an incredible business book, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” by Patrick Lencioni.
“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”
“The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” is truly an amazing book! A quick read with an extremely powerful message:
“It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare. A friend of mine, the founder of a company that grew to a billion dollars in annual revenue, best expressed the power of teamwork when he once told me, “If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”
Check out this video from Patrick Lencioni explaining “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”:
Dysfunction at DecisionTech
Patrick Lencioni does an outstanding job by combining theory and fiction. “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” tells the story of a Silicon Valley company, DecisionTech, which is past the start up stage and entering year 2.
Unfortunately, the company finds itself severely struggling.
It lags behind the competition in spite of possessing better funding.
The company also boasts superior technology along with a more talented team of 150 employees.
Yet, morale runs extremely low. In addition, company goals and potential are not being met.
Thus the story describes the “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”.
The founder and CEO decides to take a demotion allowing new leadership to right the ship.
In response, the board of directors hires a new CEO, Kathryn, who hails from manufacturing.
As a tech industry outsider, Kathryn faces a massive challenge to turn the company around.
First, Kathryn immediately diagnoses the ailments of DecisionTech and puts an action plan in place to build the team.
However, Kathryn was not fully aware of how deep the dysfunction ran at DecisionTech.
“And that is where the rarity of teamwork comes into play. For all the attention that it has received over the years from scholars, coaches, teachers, and the media, teamwork is as elusive as it has ever been within most organizations. The fact remains that teams, because they are made up of imperfect human beings, are inherently dysfunctional.”
She then dives in to explain to her executive team “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”
Identifying The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
According to Patrick Lencioni, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” consist of:
Absence of Trust
“Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”
Fear of Conflict
“If we don’t trust one another, then we aren’t going to engage in open, constructive, ideological conflict. And we’ll just continue to preserve a sense of artificial harmony.”
Lack of Commitment
“…committing to a plan or a decision and getting everyone to clearly buy in to it. That is why conflict is so important.”
Avoidance of Accountability
“The enemy of accountability is ambiguity, and even when a team has initially committed to a plan or a set of behavioral standards, it is important to keep those agreements”
Inattention to Results
“As obvious as this dysfunction might seem at first glance, and as clear as it is that it must be avoided, it is important to note that many teams are simply not results focused. They do not live and breathe in order to achieve meaningful objectives, but rather merely to exist or survive. Unfortunately for these groups, no amount of trust, conflict, commitment, or accountability can compensate for a lack of desire to win.”
Lastly, Lencioni does an amazing job creating a page turning story explaining how to correct “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”. For that reason, we strongly recommend downloading or picking up a copy today.
The Table Group
Author Patrick Lencioni founded of The Table Group, a consulting firm dedicated to creating Organizational Health. Lencioni also authored 11 books which have sold over 5 million copies. In addition, his books have been translated into more than 30 languages.
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/The-Five-Dysfunctions-of-a-Team.jpg303200Curt Andersonhttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngCurt Anderson2019-01-18 07:38:532019-01-18 08:28:11Book Review: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
At any rate, when it comes to companies that we heavily rely on for certain services, the more boring the better.
Boring = Reliability
We could state that boring = reliability.
Do you prefer boring and modest stock market growth as opposed to the wild ride as of late?
Over the long term, the results typically wind up the same. We just endure stress and heartache during rough patches to offset periods with steady stock market growth. Especially since 2008.
Another example, when you grab a coffee at your favorite spot, you expect it quick with the same quality as the day, week and month before.
Otherwise, you are taking your business elsewhere. Coffee lovers mean serious business. A bad cup of coffee for coffee addicts can ruin an entire day.
A timely and pleasant cup of coffee saves the day allowing you to focus on tasks at hand.
Thus, Boring = Reliability.
Is Your Business Boring?
Is your company boring?
In other words, is your company reliable, stable, and predictable?
How do your customers rate your reliability?
Do you deliver quality and consistency?
It takes years of practice to become good enough that you become “boring”, thus reliable.
Yet, being boring does not equate to avoiding risks.
As entrepreneurs, diversifying and pursuing growth opportunities are essential for success.
Perfecting a process and then scaling that process opens the door for healthy growth while maintaining your reputation of reliability.
The goal? Create customer relationships so stable and secure that your customers view you like their utility company.
Utilities & Reliability
Think about the number of services in our lives that we completely take for granted.
Yet, when one of these services fails, all hell breaks loose.
For example, how on earth did we ever survive without the internet?
Just sounds primitive, right?
No social media, email, eCommerce or any of your favorite websites.
When the internet goes down, seems like our lives come to a screeching halt.
No internet? Now what should we do?
We also take other basic utilities for granted.
It’s great when running water and electricity work properly.
Ever experience a single evening without water or electricity? It really goes beyond an inconvenience. Right?
Serving customer needs as seamlessly as the internet, running water and electricity seems like a successful strategy.
Just ALWAYS be prepared for your customer to flip the switch or turn the nozzle. It’s then showtime!
However, that’s much easier said than done though.
Striving for Reliability
Stay in your lane. Focus on what you do best. When you branch out of your lane to diversify and seek new opportunities, exhaust your due diligence. Take risks that make sense and more importantly, make cents.
Lastly, below includes several suggestions to help build a culture of reliability:
How important is it to build a team and culture dedicated to customer satisfaction and reliability? Check this out.
The classic business book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” by Patrick M. Lencioni opens with these words of wisdom:
“Not finance – Not strategy – Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare. A friend of mine, the founder of a company that grew to a billion dollars in annual revenue, best expressed the power of teamwork when he once told me, “If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”
What works best for your company in building a culture of reliability?
Wrapping It Up
Thank you for reading our post. To learn more about Falconer Electronics, check out these helpful links below:
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/reliability-1253483__340-1.jpg200300Curt Andersonhttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngCurt Anderson2019-01-08 07:26:212019-01-10 07:50:45Build a Team and Culture Dedicated to Reliability
Why Bentonville of all places? It had everything Sam and his wife Helen wanted. It had a small town charm which pleased Helen. Also, the location was ideal for Sam’s love of hunting.
Due to the success of Walton’s 5&10 Sam Walton was inspired. Walton wanted to bring even more savings to people. Therefore, he opened the first Walmart in 1962.
The First Walmart
This first store was located in Rogers Arkansas. Sam Walton had many naysayers in the early days. His competition didn’t believe he could be successful with the mindset of giving it’s customers a great product at a low price.
Growing the Walmart Family
By 1967 the Walton family owned 24 stores. All of which were making a profit. Therefore, Sam Walton’s competition had been proven wrong. As it turned out Walton was right in thinking people wanted a value in their products. This led to many more advances with the business.
In 1971 the first distribution center opened. It was located in Bentonville along with a Home Office. Furthermore, the growth was being noticed in the stock market as well. The stock continued to steadily increase. Therefore, by the end of the 1970s, the Walton family began the Walmart Foundation.
Continuing the Legacy
In the 80’s, Sam Walton’s business was extremely profitable. So much so that the Walton’s made a decision to open a new chain of stores. Those stores are still known today as Sam’s Club.
Also, by the 1980s there were over 270 Walmart locations with over 20,000 employees. Due to a large number of stores and employees, Sam Walton found new ways to keep everyone motivated. In 1984 Sam Walton wore a traditional hula outfit on Wall Street as he performed a hula dance. Why would the owner of a large company do such a thing? He had made a promise to his employees. That promise was if they reached a goal of “a pre-tax profit of 8% for the previous fiscal year” he would perform this dance in front of everyone.
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/walmart-sign-with-flag.jpg7311024Nicole Hallhttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngNicole Hall2018-12-07 09:08:522018-12-18 11:43:36Walmart History: How Walmart Became What It Is Today
Our team at Falconer Electronics attended a LinkedIn workshop at a local community college presented by LinkedIn expert, Dennis Brown. We were completely blown away by his dynamic presentation.
The knowledge, experience as well as creative LinkedIn strategies that Dennis shares are invaluable.
In addition, Dennis delivers with a deep passion for success. He is also a fierce competitor who loves to see his clients achieve their goals.
Dennis Knows Entrepreneurship
He not only talks the talk, Dennis also walks the walk.
Dennis has built 3 multi-million dollar companies throughout his illustrious career. Most noteworthy, one company has been ranked 7 times on the coveted Inc. Magazine Inc. 500/5000 Fastest Growing Company List.
As a an aggressive and seasoned entrepreneur, Dennis Brown relates extremely well with his clients.
Above all, he understands the challenges and demands required with entrepreneurship including the daily struggles and constant fires that need attention.
Check out Dennis Brown’s website (AskDennisBrown.com) which serves as an outstanding educational tool and resource on executing LinkedIn strategies. Dennis offers LinkedIn training and consulting services as well as strategies on social selling.
Sam Walton was the founder of Walmart. He valued his customers as well as his employees. Therefore, he encouraged his employees to be great leaders. He also encouraged them to be successful.
Walton also believed that the customer should come first. In addition, he believed that the customers’ needs should be the most important thing in not only his business but in every business. Without customers how can any business flourish? Furthermore, Walton encouraged all leaders to be successful by putting their customers first. Using this strategy, the company of Walmart that we know flourished.
Sam Walton on Customers
Sam Walton believed that customers were the most important part of any company. Therefore, there are many memorable quotes that focus on them. Furthermore, he knew how to continue to be successful. Not only did Sam Walton speak about the importance of customershe also ran his business with that at the forefront.
* There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.
* The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary.
* Exceed your customer’s expectations. If you do, they’ll come back over and over. Give them what they want – and a little more.
* If one of our customers comes into the store without a smile, I’ll give them one of mine.
* If you don’t listen to your customers, someone else will.
* Each Walmart store should reflect the values of its customers and support the vision they hold for their community.
Sam Walton on Success
Sam Walton had many things to say about success. He believed that success was directly related to hard work. Also, Walton knew that with time things change. Therefore, in business, you need to be flexible as well as ready for those changes. Furthermore, Walton knew while keeping up with changes you need to also be able to continue to put the customers’ needs first.
* You can’t just keep doing what works one time, everything around you is changing. To succeed, stay out in front of change.
* To succeed in this world, you have to change all the time.
* Celebrate your success and find humor in your failures. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Loosen up and everyone around you will loosen up. Have fun and always show enthusiasm. When all else fails, put on a costume and sing a silly song.
* The secret of successful retailing is to give your customers what they want. And really, if you think about it from the point of view of the customer, you want everything: a wide assortment of good quality merchandise; the lowest possible prices; guaranteed satisfaction with what you buy; friendly, knowledgeable service; convenient hours; free parking; a pleasant shopping experience.
* The key to success is to get out into the store and listen to what the associates have to say. It’s terribly important for everyone to get involved. Our best ideas come from clerks and stock boys.
* If you want a successful business, your people must feel that you are working for them – not that they are working for you.
Sam Walton on Leadership
Good leaders are essential to a good business. Walton knew that if you take care of your employees, they, in turn, will take care of you. Therefore, he had a lot of positive advice for leaders. Along with leading, Walton believed that leaders were responsible for keeping other employees on the track for success. Furthermore, he knew good leaders produce good employees. Also, good employees produce good customers.
* Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.
* Communicate everything you can to your associates. The more they know, the more they care. Once they care, there is no stopping them.
* Leaders must always put their people before themselves. If you do that, your business will take care of itself.
* Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise. They’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.
* There’s absolutely no limit to what plain, ordinary, working people can accomplish if they’re given the opportunity and encouragement to do their best.
* If you love your work, you’ll be out there every day trying to do it the best you possibly can, and pretty soon everybody around will catch the passion from you – like a fever.
Many small manufacturers in the U.S. struggle to determine if the product that they assemble, manufacture or produce truly qualifies for the labels “Made in USA” or “American Made”.
Complying with American Made Standards
The world is shrinking fast. Competition is fierce. In addition, the internet has escalated a true global economy. Every country fights rigorously for consumers to purchase their products.
Consumers commonly make buying decisions based on labels. An important label includes country of origin. For example, U.S. manufacturers proudly label their products with “American Made” or “Made in the USA”. “American Made” represents quality products and lends a strong selling point for the product.
Unfortunately, there is confusion behind the definition of “American Made”. As a result, manufacturers in the U.S. are eager to comply with the “American Made” or “Made in USA” standards. Especially, as long as the standard is consistent and well defined.
Yet, some companies are too eager to capitalize on the “American Made” logo that actually do not qualify. Therefore, an “American Made” standard helps prevent those companies from just throwing a sticker on any product. Specifically, those that do so while disregarding its true origin.
What Does “All or Virtually All” Mean?
A Google search for “Complying with Made in the USA” produces 854,000 results. Furthermore, the #1 ranking is a link to the Federal Trade Commission website. The article is titled: Complying with the Made in USA Standard. The page offers a link to a pdf that dates back to 1998. However, it is still relevant today. This pdf states:
Traditionally, the Commission has required that a product advertised as Made in USA be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S.
“All or virtually all” means that all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of U.S origin. That is, the product should contain no — or at least negligible — foreign content.-Federal Trade Commission pdf
So what does “or at least negligible” actually mean?
Manufacturers may think that they are truly making American products with all domestic suppliers. However, certain parts or raw material may be imports from a foreign country. All unbeknownst to the manufacturer.
Even if you purchase raw materials, parts, and components from a domestic distributor, those products may have originated in another country.
Manufacturers have to be aware of all aspects of their products. However, this can be a difficult undertaking. When you purchase components from a vendor they will not always provide you with the origin of those pieces. This is especially true if there is a larger component that has hardware or other parts that form the component as a whole. This is the situation that California manufacturer Maglite found themselves in.
As an example, Maglite, a California lighting manufacturer made national news. They lost a lawsuit over false “Made in USA” claims. Maglite is committed to American manufacturing and an amazing American entrepreneurial success story (click for video from ABC News). However, the lawsuit boiled down to a microchip and a rubber seal. Both of which had origins overseas. Therefore, costing the owner thousands of dollars in legal defense. Meanwhile, they still lost their case.
Unfortunately, in this case, the responsibility fell on the manufacturer. Like many manufacturers, they felt they were playing by the rules but fell short according to the court of California. Also, ignorance is not a reliable excuse or defense. There are companies that find themselves in trouble even when intentions are honest and genuine.
The Best Intentions
Manufacturers may have the best intentions of purchasing domestic goods. However, these products are not always available. Specific countries, geographical regions, climates, and many other factors affect the production of certain products in those areas. You may have a product that you assemble in the U.S. Production of that same product could occur with raw components originating from various countries.
In many cases, it is just not cost-effective to produce certain products in the U.S. Basic economics says that supply and demand control a market. Price is typically a key ingredient. What if the production of a product isn’t at a price that a customer is willing to pay? It is going to be extremely challenging to create a product that will sell. It will also be hard to sustain a profitable company due to the lack of interest in your product. Well at this point you are thinking, thank you Captain Obvious.
How Can You Protect Your Business?
One of the main ways to protect your business from lawsuits like that Maglite experienced is to be aware of your sourced parts. Also, before claiming your product is “Made in America” be aware of the laws in your state.
Why would the state you’re in make a difference? Different states have different definitions of “American Made”. Unfortunately for Maglite, California has one of the strictest definitions in the country (click here). Other states, however, acknowledge that there needs to be some leeway when it comes to hardware.
In Maglite’s case the components they got in trouble for were not available in the United States at the time. Maglite had done searches for that product and came up empty handed. That is another issue that manufacturers need to be aware of. When a component is not available in the U.S. what do you do? Also, how can you still receive the “Made in America” Stamp?
What if You Can’t Find Your Components in The U.S.?
Unfortunately, there are not many options. Depending on the component you may be able to employ a local business to manufacture the part for you. If your business is lucky enough to have ties to another manufacturer that would be willing to help, you are then all set. There is also the possibility of you manufacturing the piece yourself. The plus side to this is you would know exactly where the piece came from.
However, what if this isn’t an option? This is a very real possibility. There may not be an option of creating your own part. Whether due to time constraints or available resources. In this situation, you will need to find another way.
What if the only option is to import that specific part like Maglite had to? This is when you need to be aware of your state’s specific laws on the matter. If you are lucky enough to be in a state that has wiggle room depending on the component you may be able to import what you need without penalty.
However, if you are in a state with strict laws (like Maglite) you may have no choice then leaving off the “Made in America” label.
According to an article in the Daily Bulletin, Maglite hopes for a federal bill on the “Made in America” standard. A federal bill would certainly level the playing field as well as clarify the definition.
How Do You Still Represent Your American Workforce?
Do not lose all hope in that situation! There are other labels that you can use that will still encourage customers to buy your product. Some of these labels include:
“Assembled in America”
“Contains –% American Product”
“Final Product Assembled in the USA”
also “USA Factory Assembled”
Each of these labels still encourage loyal customers and patriotic sales. Customers will see one of these labels and know that they are purchasing a product from an American Factory. Furthermore, with these labels and others like them, you can represent your American workforce and still be in compliance with the law.
Businesses plunging into ecommerce in the 1990’s certainly faced many challenges. One of the greatest challenges? Finding new customers. Think about this for a moment……….Google did not exist back then. Let alone Google AdWords to help with your search marketing efforts.
That’s right! No Google. Well, not as we know it today anway. Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded the idea and concept for Google in 1995. Click here for a cool article on the founders from Wired magazine. An amazing American Entrepreneurial success. Massive success! It is hard to imagine going an entire day without using Google.
We frequently assist small business owners with New Product Development. In particular with Ground Straps and Wire Harness Assemblies. However, developing the product is only half the battle. Marketing your product and business aggressively is critical. Entrepreneurs and small business owners must take full advantage of every resource possible. Especially in these competitive times. This post continues our blog series on B2B Marketing.
Can you imagine life now without Google? Nearly unfathomable. Try telling a high school or college student to do research without access to Google. Heavy odds they would be lost.
To take it one step further, try telling an ecommerce company today that they cannot use AdWords. They would not have pleasant words for you (major understatement).
Well, that was ecommerce in the 1990’s. Google changed the world and is now a verb (“Google it”). An essential function that millions of companies rely on daily.
Google AdWords runs as an auction. It does not cost a company a single penny to be listed in that position. You only bid to be there. A charge only occurs once an individual clicks on your ad. This is called “Pay-Per-Click” or PPC. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
Resources for AdWords
Confused? No problem. Plenty of outstanding resources exist that provide valuable information on how to execute PPC strategies.
Check out these several excellent websites below for additional help to tackle PPC:
WordStream: What Is Google AdWords? How the AdWords Auction Works
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Google2.png225225Curt Andersonhttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngCurt Anderson2018-08-07 06:32:542019-01-23 13:54:25Do You Use Google AdWords to Boost Your Business?
When businesses begin to talk about social media their first thought is usually of LinkedIn. Why is this? Due to its professional nature businesses hold it in a higher regard than other social media. LinkedIn is like Facebook. It has the purpose of connecting people. However, it is also unlike Facebook. LinkedIn is not based on the social aspect of marketing. In a previous blog about Marketing for Manufacturers, we discussed all of the online marketing that we take advantage of here at Falconer Electronics. Furthermore, below is a brief listing of some of the advantages that we have seen in our time with LinkedIn:
Free (still our favorite word)
Easy to navigate
People can like, comment and share posts
LinkedIn also has the ability to track:
Free is the Magic Word in Business
Everyone loves the word Free. Especially business owners. LinkedIn is a free marketing tool. However, it even goes beyond that. One of its priorities is marketing a business. LinkedIn also gives businesses a way to connect. It is nonforceful or invasive. As the old saying goes “It is all about who you know”. LinkedIn is a way for businesses to interact with each other in a professional manner. Creating more connections and opportunities.
Similar to Other Social Media
LinkedIn is easily compared to other types of online marketing. Often the easiest connect is to Facebook. Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn is also easily navigated. Once you have established a profile it is helpful to add details. However, unlike Facebook, the detail that LinkedIn finds helpful is work-related. Also, like Facebook, those on LinkedIn can comment, share, and like posts. As we stated in our previous blog Utilizing Facebook in a Business Setting: The more comments and shares a post gets the more interaction that a company has with potential customers.
LinkedIn the Professional Facebook for Business
The more connections to customers the more profit your business will see. This is especially true with LinkedIn. Due to its professional nature, posts on LinkedIn are more likely to get business leads. This is when compared to posts on other social media. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is all professionals that are working towards professional goals. These connections are intentionally for increasing business opportunities.
Unlike Facebook, people use professional profile pictures. What makes a profile picture professional? Often times pictures are taken in a business environment. Also, the subjects of these photos are dressed professionally. This means they are in business attire such as blouses and suites. Also, photos are typically only of the individual. There is less of a focus on socialization. Whereas on Facebook the images are often of family, pets, and friends. On LinkedIn that is not the case.
Employers Looking for Reliable Employees
Another intriguing aspect of LinkedIn is how businesses often search the sight. A LinkedIn profile should include the same information as a basic resume. Employers can search LinkedIn for specific work experience and college degrees. Therefore, employers can research potential employees with LinkedIn. Therefore, helping employers determine if someone is a right fit for the job they have available. Also, LinkedIn is a resource for those looking for new careers.
Professionals will often search LinkedIn for opportunities. Often times a person can outgrow a job. Also, life circumstances can change. LinkedIn is a resource for those individuals. Business owners trust LinkedIn and it’s connections.
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/linkedin-logo-1.jpg554738Nicole Hallhttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngNicole Hall2018-06-12 07:22:392018-08-15 15:52:24Social Media: How LinkedIn Can Help Your Business
Fortune.com recently announced that LinkedIn has now grown to 500 million users in over 200 countries. Estimates also show that 227 million LinkedIn users are active on a monthly basis.
As the largest professional social network, are you taking full advantage of the incredible benefits available?
Small manufacturers have been slow to embrace social media including LinkedIn.
This is truly an unprecedented business opportunity.
It is hard to imagine life prior to LinkedIn and we can’t wait to see the new tools available.
We are continuing our blog series on B2B Marketing. Connecting, networking, engaging and creating a healthy sales channel for your business is critical.
Small U. S. Manufacturers are commonly not known for being sales savvy. Many business owners launch a company for various reasons. In many cases, the owner of a small manufacturer is a technician, craftsperson or widget expert. They find themselves tired of working for someone else or felt they could simply do a better job than their past employer.
Solving someone’s problem evolved into a revenue source that eventually became a business. Especially at a custom manufacturer or job shop. These businesses may find themselves with 30-60% of sales with one customer. Therefore, they are extremely vulnerable.
Are You LinkedIn?
LinkedIn offers the opportunity to expand your network quickly and effectively. This is also a place where you can network and engage in conversations within your industry. You can join groups and reveal your experience and expertise as a problem solver. Particularly to a potential customer who could use your services.
There is an excellent saying that “People pay for what they don’t know”. It can also be said, people pay for what they simply do not want to do.
In the case of a small manufacturer, a customer may be willing to pay for your knowledge and services that you provide. Especially, the resources that you built and accumulated to provide machinery, tools, and expert staff.
It’s time to stop being the best-kept secret. Step out of your comfort zone and start spreading the news that you are open for business. Demonstrate and broadcast that you are a product expert and eager to solve customer problems efficiently and effectively.
Have you read blog posts or watched YouTube videos on LinkedIn best practices?
For example, check out Dennis Brown who is one of the nation’s top experts on executing LinkedIn strategies for small businesses.
Thank you for reading our post on LinkedIn for Manufacturers. Of course, we would love to connect with you on LinkedIn (Click Here).
Don’t have a LinkedIn account? Would you like to? Follow this link (Click Here).
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/LinkedIn.jpg200380Curt Andersonhttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngCurt Anderson2018-06-08 06:48:032018-08-15 15:52:25Utilizing LinkedIn for Small Manufacturers
There are many advantages to using Facebook for business. We briefly touched on some of these advantages in our blog “Social Media Marketing for Manufacturers“. Previously, we discussed all of the social media platforms that we take advantage of at Falconer Electronics. Furthermore, we will continue to expand on each of these outlets. As a refresher, these are the advantages of Facebook that we introduced in our previous blog:
Free (our favorite word)
Easy to use
Ability to schedule and edit posts
Multiple people can create posts
People can like, react, comment, and share posts
Facebook the Free Advertiser
The word “free” is always a draw to business owners. Especially when it is used in connection with advertising. Businesses utilize free advertising as much as possible. This is exactly why products have their logo as large as possible on their packaging. Therefore, if someone is using their product in public everyone will know what it is and what company it is from.
In addition, is the way that people influence others by their decisions. If you are out with friends and the majority of them are ordering milkshakes, the idea to order a milkshake is now in your head. Yes, you can choose to ignore that idea. However, you want to fit in with your friends. Also, chances are you now want a milkshake.
Social Media Influencers
Just like with that meal with friends, Facebook is an entire social media platform based on influences. Not only are advertisements on a sidebar. They are also found within newsfeeds. Therefore, advertising is creeping into everyday interactions. Everyone that uses social media has found a GIF or Meme that they wanted to share with someone else. By sharing those with your friends you are also sharing the name of whoever posted it originally. Therefore, advertising for that person or business. Yes, it happens that easily. Every time we share someone else’s post it is like saying to all of our friends ‘I like this person. I like what they are saying. You should definitely check them out’.
Due to this influence of others, businesses that post personable and relatable things will gain followers and customers. Also, the more traffic you can gain on your social media the more likely you are to gain traffic to your website. Also, by showing that your company is in touch with local activities you are showing that you are in touch with what your potential customers are interested in.
Facebook is Easy for Everyone to Use
One of the main issues that businesses have with websites and social media is time. Most business owners feel they don’t have time to devote to designing and running their own sites. However, Facebook is very simple to use. Also, it is not very time-consuming.
Pets Have Their Own Pages
One of the trends in social media is creating a social media presence for pets. Everyone has at least one friend that has created a profile for their dog or cat. If pets can become famous by their owners posting pictures and videos of them being silly and cute anyone can have an internet presence. For example, the internet sensation Grumpy Cat became famous because a family member of her owners posted a picture of her online. One picture set this cats future in motion.
If people can create profiles for their pets anyone can create a profile. It is this availability that draws in users. Facebook makes it easy to set up a profile upon the initial sign in. Also, once you have an account it is easy to add personal touches like pictures and personal information. Furthermore, over time you can continue to add photos and videos while updating your information.
Business owners have the option of being very involved in their Facebook postings. However, they also have the option of posting when it is convenient. Facebook gives businesses the ability to schedule posts up to six months in advance. Also, there is the added bonus of being able to edit a post even after it has been posted. This feature is helpful in case there is a change in a product. Therefore, a business owner can set up a reserve of posts during any free time they have. Also, they have the ability to go back into these posts and edit any information that needs to be changed or updated.
Facebook has a feature for selecting Administrators to a specific page. Therefore, a single company can assign multiple people to write posts and run their page. By sharing this responsibility with others, a business owner doesn’t have to worry about scheduling all of the posts themselves.
Likes, Shares, and Comments are what posting is for. These positive interactions are what make a page worthwhile. The more comments and shares a post gets the more interaction that a company has with potential customers. Therefore, the more posts a business has the more comments and shares they also have. Without being on social media businesses do not get that direct contact with their customers. Furthermore, an increase in connections will lead to an increase in profits.
Keep up to date with this series and our other blog postings here
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/facebook-logo.jpeg15002387Nicole Hallhttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngNicole Hall2018-06-01 06:24:402018-08-15 15:52:27Social Media: Utilizing Facebook in a Business Setting
Struggling with Internet Marketing and SEO? Overwhelmed? Frustrated? Do you find link building daunting? Well help is just a click away. Check out Brian Dean at Backlinko.com.
Brian Dean is a MUST read for all small business owners. Especially for entrepreneurs attempting to tackle SEO strategies on their own. Brian Dean delivers an enormous amount of priceless information. He is an SEO guru, particularly helping clients with link building strategies.
Actually, we found executing SEO strategies with the guidance from Brian Dean invaluable. Since November 2017, our web traffic increased by over 400%. THANK YOU BRIAN!!
Prefer videos over reading blog posts. No problem. Check out Brian’s extensive video library on his YouTube Channel.
He provides all of this priceless information for FREE. FREE! Just Amazing!!
Here is another outstanding video on “How to Get Higher Google Rankings in 2018 [New Checklist]”
B2B Marketing for Manufacturers
We frequently assist small business owners with New Product Development, primarily with Wire Harness Assemblies. However, developing the product is only half the battle. Marketing your product and business aggressively is critical. Entrepreneurs and small business owners must take full advantage of every resource possible. Especially in these competitive times. That is why following strategies from experts like Brian Dean at Backlinko becomes so important.
Finally, thank you for reading our blog on Brian Dean. Please check back for our continued blog post series on B2B Marketing.
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Brian-Dean.jpg200366Curt Andersonhttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngCurt Anderson2018-05-30 06:27:342018-08-15 15:52:30Struggling with SEO? Check Out Brian Dean at Backlinko
As an electronics custom manufacturer for over 30 years, we have watched many trends come and go. This week we discussed the continued steady growth with B2B E-commerce. Of course, this trend shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
So we decided to join the e-commerce party. Actually, we decided to jump in feet first. Going through the process of instituting a new e-commerce store was especially thrilling for our team.
Many small businesses find embracing new technology challenging. Utilizing unfamiliar technology to develop a new sales channel takes a team effort. Especially since creating a new method of doing business requires instituting a cultural shift. This process can be scary as well as exciting at the same time.
Yet, since opening our e-commerce store, we have opened new doors that previously never existed for us. Being the “under the radar” is no longer an option in the digital age.
E-commerce Tips for Manufacturers
In continuing our series on B2B Marketing, creating a sales channel is critical for product sustainability. If you consider launching your own e-commerce store, below includes several tips to consider:
Select web designer – find someone with experience – someone you trust – someone with a proven track record.
Select a shopping cart – your designer will have the experience and expertise to walk you through this process
Credit card processor
Designated email for customer service and product inquiries
Consider establishing a dedicated phone line on the website
Infrastructure in place to process orders quickly – fast turnaround time is paramount
Talk with reps from UPS, FEDEX, and USPS regarding discounts and shipping options
B2B Ecommerce is an explosive growth market showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. This is exciting on two fronts. Not only for the tremendous growth opportunities for B2B companies but also the sheer size of the market. Forrester predicts a compounded annual growth rate of 7.4 % while reaching $1.2 trillion by 2021.
However, ecommerce and social media are significant forces that have had a huge impact on small U.S. manufacturers in recent years. Most major buying decisions start with a search on the Internet and this is now hitting manufacturers hard. For example, Forrester also predicts B2B Ecommerce buyers conducting research on products will dramatically increase as well. From 38% to 55% over the next three years. There are incredible opportunities for small U.S. manufacturers to exploit in this exploding global market. Yet, many small manufacturers struggle with executing search strategies while also maintaining a healthy web presence..
Problem or Opportunity
It can be extremely expensive, challenging and frustrating for a small manufacturer to create a robust company website. As well as properly attack keyword search results and social media marketing strategies.
Social media allows a company to engage and respond immediately to customers on a much more personal level. This has been a significant problem for small U.S. manufacturers who continue to struggle with social media marketing strategies. A company only has one chance to make a great first impression. It usually starts with their website and social media platforms.
American manufacturing is absolutely essential to the U.S. economy. Manufacturing in the U.S. as a stand-alone entity would be considered the 9th largest economy in the world. In addition, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, there are over 200,000 U.S. manufacturers with 20 employees or less (National Association of Manufacturers, 2016).
Digital Immigrants Struggle with Technology
A large number of owners of small manufacturers fall into the generation of either baby boomers or Generation X. These individuals are digital immigrants (born before 1980) who severely struggle with embracing technology. This includes ecommerce and social media marketing strategies.
Social media has completely changed the landscape for business-to-business communication across the supply chain. Especially through distribution channels. Many small businesses are discovering that ignoring social media is extremely dangerous for a business of any size.
B2B Ecommerce at Falconer Electronics
Falconer Electronics recently launched a brand new B2B Ecommerce store. This has been an extremely exciting process for our company. Being a traditional manufacturer for over 30+ years, this was certainly a challenging task. Embracing new technology is critical for small businesses to remain competitive and profitable.
Thank you for reading our blog on B2B Ecommerce. As we continue our series on B2B Marketing, executing marketing strategies is critical. In addition, here are a couple helpful posts on social media platforms and blogging for your business.
Looking for amazing resources to dig deeper into internet marketing? Check out Neil Patel and Darren Rowse at ProBlogger.
Turns out blogging was not a fad at all and is here to stay. At least for the foreseeable future. The author of that AMAZING book was none other than Darren Rowse, the ProBlogger himself. A gentleman from the “land down under“.
Well to fast forward, Darren was a huge help then and even a bigger help today.
Our team at Falconer Electronics owes a big thank you to Darren Rowse at ProBlogger.com. He is not only an expert blogger and author, Darren Rowse is an incredible educator and powerful resource.
Tackling internet marketing and social media strategies can be challenging. Especially for a small U.S. manufacturer. Though we are far from blogging experts, we excitingly follow THE BLOG EXPERT to help achieve our goals.
Thanks to following tips and advice from Darren, our website traffic increased by 400% since November 2017.
Follow the ProBlogger
Looking to take your blog to the next level? Darren Rowse delivers a wealth of information on his blog about……blogging. Thus, he is the ProBlogger. In addition to his expertise, his passion resonates with every post.
Also, simply follow Darren on Twitter to catch daily nuggets (along with his nearly 250,000 other followers).
In addition, sign up for Darren’s email newsletter (along with his 300,000 subscribers). Especially since the ProBlogger offers an endless amount of tips, suggestions and advice to develop your craft. You will quickly become a blogging guru.
Just Getting Started with Blogging?
Looking to start a blog? Check out the ProBlogger “Start Here” page.
Secure a domain name and get hosting in place with Bluehost
Configure your blog
Design your blog
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Prefer watching videos? Check out the ProBlogger YouTube channel for hundreds of videos on blogging tips and strategies. Below is an outstanding recent video from ProBlogger on 9 Ways to Accelerate the Growth of Your Blog:
As mentioned above, Darren writes fantastic books. Lots of books in fact. So if you are looking to dig deeper beyond Darren’s newsletter and social media posts, check out the impressive arsenal of book titles that Darren Rowse offers below:
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/problogger.jpg225225Curt Andersonhttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngCurt Anderson2018-05-18 07:10:392018-10-17 14:38:24The ProBlogger - From Down Under - Will Help Take You to the Top
The internet has been around since the 80’s. However, blogging was first established in the mid 90’s. The term “blog” wasn’t recognized back then. Due to this, the first “blog” was a personal homepage of a college student. In the later 1990’s the term “weblog” was introduced. This term was a shorter version of the term “logging the web”. Additionally, we all know that wasn’t the last time this term would be shortened. Today we know these “weblogs” as “blogs”.
The Art of Writing an SEO Friendly Blog on WordPress
There are numerous types of blogs. From personal blogs to professional blogs they all serve their own purpose. However, what is one thing that all blogs have in common? They are all trying to share some form of information. Also, what sets some blogs apart from others? The most obvious is if they can follow all of the general rules of blogging. Another sign of success for a blog is how many readers it has.
Specifically, with a WordPress blog, there are two main categories that will lead to the best results, “Readability” and “SEO”.
Readability is a very important aspect of a successful blog. When writing a blog, the main goal is to have others read what you are writing. In order to do that there are some guidelines that should be followed. Below is a brief description of each part of achieving high readability.
What is a Copy Score and Flesh Reading Ease Test
The Flesh Reading Ease Test is affected by how easy your text is to follow and read. This goes along hand and hand with the copy score of your blog. What affects your Flesh Reading score? First off, your sentence length. Why would sentence length affect readability? Longer sentences mean extra words. Furthermore, these extra words are seen as fillers that are not needed.
Along with shorter sentences, the Flesh Reading Ease Test is looking at the individual words in sentences. In blogging, using hard to understand words hurts you. Therefore, you want to keep all of your information as concise and to the point as possible. Furthermore, the Flesh Reading is hoping to encourage blogs written without the extra fluff. It is also encouraging you the writer to take the time to find the best way to talk about your subject.
The Number of Words in Your Paragraphs
The number of words you use may seem like a trivial thing to think about. However, the more words you are using the longer you are taking to make your point. Along with the Flesh Reading Ease Test, shorter paragraphs are also ideal. Therefore, if you can use one sentence to describe your subject that is preferable to using multiple sentences.
Use of Transition Words
Why are transition words so important? Transition words help the flow of your blog. Instead of jumping from one thought to another, a transition word will help tie two thoughts or sentences together. Therefore, helping the reader to continue following the path that you are lying down for them. Also, the use of transition words helps you to really see if your sentences really fit together. If you cannot make a tie from one sentence to another there may be a need to rethink your sentence placement.
Passive voice occurs if the noun or noun phrase that would be the object of an active sentence (such as Yoast SEO calculates your SEO score) appears as the subject of a sentence with passive voice ( The SEO score is calculated by Yoast SEO). In figure 1, we give more examples of passive voice and give better alternatives.
The above is the definition of Passive Voice by Yoast SEO. However, what does it mean exactly? In our work with blogging, we have discovered that the simplest way to get rid of Passive Voice is to make your sentences in the present tense. Therefore, instead of using words that end in “ed” use their present tense counterparts. Below are some examples of this.
This product can be bought in our webshop.
Customers can buy this product in our webshop.
The bags are checked by a security employee.
A security employee checks the bags.
The employees are informed about their financial contribution.
The manager informs his employees about their financial contribution.
All our posts are checked by a colleague.
A colleague checks all our posts.
As you can see from the examples above keeping your writing in the present tense is important. However, another thing that is just as important is to keep your point of view consistent. For example, this blog is written as if we are talking specifically to the reader, you. Therefore, you as the reader feel as if this more of a conversation than just cold instructions. Also, by keeping the same point of view throughout the entire blog you keep up that same flow that we spoke about previously.
Much like readability, SEO is also important in blog writing. However, what exactly is SEO? SEO is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization”. What does that mean exactly? Also, why is this important when writing a blog? In order to understand why it is important, you need to understand all of the pieces to achieve good SEO. Below we have broken down each of the aspects of SEO.
Focusing on a Keyword
What is a keyword? A Keyword is a single word or short phrase that you want to be the main idea of your blog. For instance, in this blog, our keyword is “blogging”. Therefore, this word is what the basis of our entire blog is on. Other examples we have used in previous blogs are “LED Lighting”, “Certification”, and “Wire Harness”. The use of a keyword can be difficult.
The SEO has certain criteria in order to keep all of their requirements in the green. Furthermore, with keywords, they require that your keyword is present in your title, at least one of your headers, and also be used in the first paragraph of your text. However, they do not want that one word used too often and will penalize you if you overuse it. Also, SEO prefers that when your keyword is used in your title and header that it be as close to the beginning as possible. Therefore, we usually try to keep our keywords as the first or second word of our title and we also try to place it in the first heading within our blog.
Creating the Perfect Title
Creating the perfect title can be a challenging first step. It is often helpful to write up some notes about what you want your blog to be about. After you have an idea of what your blog needs to say it will make writing the title and choosing your keyword easier. As we stated above, in the title you want to be sure to include your keyword. Also, if possible you want to keep it close to the beginning.
Your title also needs to be long enough in length to meet the SEO criteria. That being said, you need to make sure that it isn’t too long. The best way that we have found to achieve the perfect length is to write your title then bring that title into the “snippet preview”. WordPress makes this part easy. When you copy your title into the previewer it has a color bar beneath it that will change as you add or take away words. A red bar means that you either have too few or too many characters. As you adjust your wording that color bar will hopefully change to green.
Why is a Meta Description Important
First off, we should describe what a Meta Description is. The Meta Description is the blog equivalent to a blurb on the back of a book. This small snippet gives anyone that reads it an idea of what your blog is about. Also, you want to be able to draw in a reader, just like with a book. If your Meta Description isn’t interesting you will lose any potential readers before they even get to your blog.
Meta Descriptions are used by search engines. This is also why you want to include your keyword in your Meta Description as well as the other places within your blog. There is a set length for a Meta Description of 160 characters including spaces and punctuation. Due to this specification, you want to keep your descriptions as short and to the point as possible while still providing important information. Also, you want to do all of this while still drawing potential readers to your blog. Finding that balance is important to having a successful blog.
Adding Images and Videos to a Blog
Everyone knows that we live in a visual world. Pictures and videos draw in an audience. However, you don’t want to just put any picture or video on your blog. You want to have images that are related to your subject.
For example, if you are writing a blog on sharks. You would not want to include pictures of your best friend and their dog at the park. The same goes for any videos you want to include. Therefore, any pictures or videos that you use need to be applicable to what your blog is about.
Also, if you are using videos in your blogging there are some important things to look out for
If you are using a YouTube video check the suggested videos that will come up after your chosen video. There are times when the suggested next videos are not professional in nature. Due to their content, they could affect the brand you are trying to establish, therefore, affecting the view your potential customers have of your business.
The timing of your video is important as well. You do not want part of your video cut off due to the version you’re using.
Also, be aware of the quality of your video. If the picture quality is low or the volume is problematic no one is going to want to continue to watch your content.
For example, below includes an outstanding video from Neil Patel on “7 Blogging Tips That Will Make Your Blog Successful”:
What are Good Links?
There are two different types of links you want to include in your blogs, internal and outbound links. What is the difference between them?
These are links that go back to another part of your own website. Therefore, a link to another blog on your website, a page of your website, or a picture or video on your website. Importantly, it is a link back to another part of your own website.
Outbound Links are links to anywhere other than your own blog. It can be a link to reference website, your own social media, outside pictures and videos, or to an outside website or blog that is applicable to what you are blogging about. However, you want to be careful when using links to outside websites that are not under your control. There is the potential that these sites can be corrupted, deleted, or that their content will change to no longer apply to your subject. Also, if you choose to use a link to a video you want to be aware of the factors we discussed previously.
When writing a blog, it is important to say everything that you feel is important to your subject. Whether that is facts, details, or any extra information that you think would interest your audience. You want to keep your blog informative but also, interesting to your readers.
SEO is concerned about how many words you use. The ideal minimum of words SEO likes is 300. That does not, however, mean that you can’t go over that amount. However, you want to continue to make sure that your content continues to be relevant to your subject. Also, each of the points in our “readability” section will help your SEO. The readability and SEO work together to give you guidelines for creating a blog that your audience wants to read.
Helpful Reminders for Your Blogging Experience
What are Alt Texts
When using images in your blog SEO wants those images to contain “Alt Texts”. How can you include these however if you don’t know what they are or what they do? Alt Texts should be a brief description of your image. These descriptions are actually helpful to any of your audience that has visual difficulties or impairments. You want to make sure that any reader of your blog can get every point you are trying to make, even with the images that you have chosen to use.
Choosing a Category
Choosing a category is important. This is stating that that is specifically what your blog is about. Again, if you think of the example of a blog about sharks you could categorize that as being “Sea life”. Therefore, if you continue blogging about different sea life you can have them all in the same category. This makes it easier to search through your blogs. Also, this is helpful when you want people to be able to look up your blogs by their broader subjects.
You want to include tags in your blogging. These tags target specific pieces of your blog. While the “category” of your blog designates your entire blog as being about a specific thing a tag is like the individual index within your blog of important points.
Why are Links Helpful
Links are helpful to the success of your blog because they create more roads back to you. If you can get other websites to link back your site or blog that is another road back to you. Picture the internet as a town full of roads and each house and building is a website. The more roads to your building the easier it is for your customers to arrive at your door. However, each webpage, blog, video, and product that has a connection to your website is also a road to your door. Each connecting link to and from different sites is another connection for potential customers and readers to find you.
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/glowing-keyboard.jpeg15001200Nicole Hallhttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngNicole Hall2018-05-11 07:30:272018-08-15 15:52:35WordPress Blogging Guide for Manufacturers: Getting Green in Readability and SEO
If you are new to Internet Marketing and Social Media for your business, you must follow marketing guru Neil Patel. Additionally, even if you are a seasoned veteran with online marketing strategies, you should still follow Neil Patel as well.
Click below to watch Neil explain “7 Ways to Grow E-commerce Sales by 50%”:
B2B Marketing for Manufacturers
Why is an electronics manufacturer blogging about Neil Patel? We are glad you asked.
As a small business, many of our customers are also small businesses. We work closely with manufacturers who develop and market innovative new products. Many small businesses struggle with tackling Internet Marketing strategies. These strategies are new to our team as well. However, as we have plunged into E-commerce and Inbound Marketing, we find that Neil Patel provides invaluable information.
Our recent blog series on New Product Development discussed individuals and companies bringing a new product to market. Unfortunately that is only half the battle. Marketing the product as well as creating a sustainable and profitable business model solidifies the new product. Neil Patel certainly provides the necessary tips and strategies to help you hit your goals with bringing a new product to market.
Follow Neil Patel on Social Media
Lastly, the list below include links to social media sites for Neil:
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Neil-Patel.jpg200253Curt Andersonhttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngCurt Anderson2018-05-08 07:30:292018-10-17 14:40:10Need Help With Internet Marketing? Follow Marketing Guru Neil Patel
Why use social media you may ask? In particular, our friends in manufacturing. There are many ways to utilize social media websites for your business. They are free to use and can be a great marketing tool to get your information out. The content posted on each platform can be informative or even funny to get people to know what kind of business you have.
We work with many small manufacturers. In discussions, these manufacturers share they commonly struggle with tackling new Social Media Marketing strategies. To follow up on our recent blog series on New Product Development, we have started a new blog series on B2B Marketing.
For those new to social media efforts, we decided to offer a quick snapshot of each social media platform that we currently utilize. Particularly for those in manufacturing who are eager to jump on board.
Social Media Sites
There are many different ways to utilize Facebook for a business. Pages can be created by just a click of a button, and be a great place to show what your business is all about. You can include information about business hours, location, contact information, and some history of the company.
What is LinkedIn you might ask? LinkedIn is a professional networking site helping to expand your professional profile and network. This is a great site to really expand on what your business has to offer. The site has more established business professionals on it, so the content can be more technical and industry based.
This social media platform can be used in multiple ways to help with your business. This platform is different because it is less formal. Twitter uses Microblogging, which is a combination of blogging and instant messaging that allows users to create short messages to be posted and shared with an audience online.
Hootsuite? What is that? Well, Hootsuite is the best way to manage your social platforms. It is a great tool in order to schedule posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube. This site allows you to monitor those platforms as well as post on them. This is great for someone just getting started in the social media world!
Here are some advantages of using HootSuite:
3 social platforms
up to 30 scheduled posts at a time
Ability to schedule posts
Post both pictures and plain text on whatever platform you may be using
Everyone uses YouTube to look up those funny cat videos and silly pranks people are talking about, but have you ever tried it for your business? This is a great site to be able to try out new commercial ideas or even to show off what your business has to offer. Videos speak louder than words.
Quora is a place to gain and share knowledge. It’s a platform to ask questions and connect with people who contribute unique insights and quality answers. It’s less tangible than Google pay-per-click advertising and not as creatively appealing as a video project.
By a show of hands, how many people know what Google+ is? Well, we LOVE it! Google + (plus) is a social networking site made by Google. This site really focuses on data, connections, and people. This allows people to connect and share information with friends and other businesses.
Here are some advantages of using Google +:
Just need a Google account to have access
Easy to post
Linked to Google, so if your posts are related to a search they could show up.
Can start Collections, which can separate blogs or other posts into categories
https://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/background-camera-device-877694.jpg13652048Anna Vecchiohttps://falconerelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/fei-blue-300x88.pngAnna Vecchio2018-05-04 07:44:252018-08-15 15:52:37Social Media Marketing For Manufacturers
Falconer Electronics had the privilege of working with protocol 80 this past year. This program was made possible through a partnered effort with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Jamestown Community College. The program provided the guidance to kick-start a new Inbound Marketing initiative. The entire staff at protocol 80 far exceeded our expectations. Owners Josh Curcio and Donny Kemick along with their team are true experts in Inbound Marketing strategies.
Being a custom manufacturer since 1985, our company was built on personal relationships while making connections through word of mouth. Keys to our long-term success includes solving customer problems with high satisfaction levels.
Over 0ur 30+ year history, the world has changed drastically with technology and modern methods of communication. In particular, Inbound Marketing and social media. As with many manufacturers, our company was slow to adjust.
Our staff was eager and excited to jump into this project with protocol 80. Their team specializes in B2B Inbound Marketing. In particular, their expertise targets working with small manufacturers who struggle with digital marketing and social media engagement.
The team at protocol 80 also provided the necessary guidance to understand the entire customer purchasing process. Starting with creating a customer persona, walking through the buyer’s journey, mapping the sales process and maintaining customer engagement.
They educated our staff on identifying social media platforms that best suited our target market. This is extremely important for a company with digital immigrants targeting many digital immigrants. The protocol 80 team were helpful in communicating our company message as well as finding potential clients to engage.
Now businesses and consumers alike have the opportunity to purchase directly from the manufacturer. New customers include a Fortune 500 company (actually top 300) that is brightening their day with brand new magnetic spotlights. LED lights shipped to Puerto Rico after the horrible hurricane. Trouble lights shipped to John in Syracuse who loves to tinker in his garage. An industrial supplier now offering our Power Strips to government agencies. Also, we recently received an RFQ for tens of thousands of Ground Straps for a major manufacturer in the U.S.
Wire Harness Estimator
Another big leap of faith for our company was launching the brand new Falconer Electronics Wire Harness Estimator. This program offers customers the ability to receive an estimate within minutes. This process used to take hours or even days.
This fantastic tool makes it simple and easy for new customers to gather pricing information. For example, a major solar company needed pricing and wire harnesses quickly. The Wire Harness Estimator allowed them to gather pricing fast and easy for their project. They are now a valued customer.
Lastly, under the guidance from protocol 80, our company started blogging this past year. Being extremely tentative, we started slowly by blogging once a month. Then up to once a week. Now our goal is 6-8 blogs per month.
Our staff is thoroughly enjoying the process and we are having fun creating valuable content to connect with new customers. As a result, traffic to our website has increased dramatically (400% since November). Therefore, the increase in traffic brought numerous new leads and new sales started rolling in over the past few months.
A Big Thanks to protocol 80
We truly feel this newfound strategy delivers an unlimited opportunity for Falconer Electronics. Therefore, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Josh Curcio, Ashley Wilson-Rew and the rest of the protocol 80 team. They provided the tools, knowledge, and resources to modernize our company.
Bottom line, we find p80 priceless. Especially facing increasingly intense global competition.
Thank you for reading our post on protocol 80. This post begins our blog series on B2B Marketing to support recent posts on New Product Development.