Many entrepreneurs and small businesses start out with a few individuals who have a great product or service idea. Despite having this, their businesses fail to get off the ground. What is a major reason for this? Most entrepreneurs or small business partners did not plan on being salespeople. However, the reality of running a small business is that you must be your own salesperson. So what can you do if you have a great business idea but don't have a knack for sales?Tips For Being Your Own Salesperson:
- Make selling a priority. Your business cannot operate without sales, they must be your #1 priority.
- Go in to each conversation with a target in mind. Know what you want to sell to customers and have a game plan for what you are going to say or do to make that happen. And, be sure to have an up-sell product/service and a down-sell product/service in mind ahead of time so you can quickly and easily adjust to their needs/abilities. Make sure to close each conversation by assertively (which is different than being rude) asking for the sale.
- Set goals and track results. This will tell you what is and is not working. Use this feedback and change your approach according to what is providing you the best results.
- Be yourself. Be genuine in all your interactions with customers and your passion for your business will show.
If you try these tips and still find that selling is just too far out of your comfort zone, hire a salesperson. For an entrepreneur or small business this can be a huge expense, but it will begin to payoff quickly. If sales is really not your thing, hiring a salesperson will be well worth your time and money. But, if you find you enjoy sales and want to hone your skills you can also hire a sales coach - someone to help teach you the art of selling. This is also another well-worth-it investment for your business.
If you're still stymied on what to do, give us a shout. We're here to help.
The Ruby Porter Team
It’s easy to get carried away with flashy graphics and moving pictures, especially when it comes to website design. For some reason, the restaurant community has particularly embraced this idea, perhaps because there isn’t a whole lot of reason to stick around on a restaurant website and just look at food instead of going out and eating it. For this edition of Website Winners and Bloopers we will look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of flash animation on restaurant web design and see how it can be used well, not enough, or perhaps, to induce seizures.
For our winner we will travel across the globe to Greece, where a little restaurant called Arxontiko
uses a flash animation intro to great effect. The website is simple. First, a faded moss green baroque pattern covers the background, while a single white plate appears in the center. Scraps of a frilly napkin are used for all the navigation titles, and these appear onto the page. An old crank phonograph pops up in the corner inviting you to play some appropriately old world music. The concept and presentation is simple, and yet so much is communicated. A mix of old and new, tradition and modernism, make it look true to the history of the food, but with a flair for the modern kitschy, funky trend. Animation is used, but it is subtle and not distracting or nauseating.
For our blooper, we have Soup du Jour,
a website that simply doesn’t capture the mood of the restaurant. The picture of the place looks very nice, all track lighting and redish wood furniture, but the website doesn’t emulate this in any way. The background looks like stained paper, in a yellow shade, with the titles in that 1997 bright blue. There are about five different fonts, and the size of the screen is adapted for a very small computer, making it look strange aligned against the left. T
his website doesn’t need a big long Flash intro, but bringing in more design elements to give viewers a sense of what the food is like would greatly improve it. The kind of food this restaurant has isn’t immediately apparent, and even though it’s called “Soup du Jour,” the focus isn’t really on the soup. What the viewer is really confronted with is the giant “Click here for our kids’ menu” which appears very large above a photo of their restaurant. What is nice about using flash animation, is that it guides the viewer’s eye exactly where the designer wants it. But without animation, web designers must also think about where they want the viewer to look first, second, and so on. The kids’ menu may be important, but an introduction to the restaurant itself, like when you’re first meeting a person, would be more appropriate.
Now we’ll go to the opposite end of the spectrum, with a gyro and panini restaurant in Astoria, New York called Pita Pan
. With a simple orange background, the intro asks us if we want fresh? Fast?? And then nearly blinds us with the answer: Pita Pan! With flashing white and orange backgrounds. Then it goes through what seems like the entire menu, flashing orange and white and various foods. With slightly overlapping and not-quite-centered titles, this website almost works in a quirky kind of way. But it does bring up the idea that you have to know your audience in order to decide whether or not to use flash animation or any kind of complicated intro. This place seems to serve a younger crowd, perhaps a similar target audience to Taco Bell or Carl’s Jr., but with a healthy twist. For that reason, it works. Had this website been used for either of the first two restaurants, it would have fallen flat.
So, when designing your restaurant’s website, be sure to always take into consideration who you are catering to. What is your audience like? Are they going to sit through a 30-second intro with music and flashing lights or will they get annoyed and go elsewhere? Website animation can be used to evoke a lot of moods, so don’t write it off too soon, but always be aware of your audience and your brand image and make sure your website graphics are in line with that.
Until next time,
The Ruby Porter Team
HP's Stock Price July 25, 2011-August 23, 2011
No one ever wants to find themselves in the position of having their brand badmouthed to the public, but it still happens frequently. Once your brand has been badmouthed, what do you do next?
First you need to acknowledge the problem and show what you are doing to fix it. This must be done immediately. Being slow to react will make the public lose more trust in your brand. Second, be honest and transparent. This means sharing everything you know about the problem. You want to be the one sharing this information with the public, not a third party.
Recently, HP announced that they are going to discontinue their struggling TouchPad tablet and WebOS smartphone business and that they have plans to spin off their PC business. An onslaught of press coverage followed these announcements. The result has been a huge loss of consumer trust which can be seen in HP's plummeting stock price.
So, how has HP reacted? They have been open about the fact that they find themselves unable to compete in the technology market and that they are undergoing a period of significant transformation. Their Chief Executive, Leo Apotheker, referred to it as a "needed transformation." He has spent time selling this idea to shareholders in an attempt to regain shareholder trust.
Reacting to a situation like this is an ongoing process. HP must continue to be transparent about future plans to rebuild their business in order to start regaining consumer trust. It will be interesting to see how they continue to handle this situation.
Has your brand ever found itself in an unflattering situation? Share with us your experience.
The Ruby Porter Team
Recently, Bu-Ya Bookkeeping came to us for help with creating a logo. They're previous logo wasn't really capturing who they were, and because of this, they were lacking brand recognition. Bu-Ya Bookkeeping wanted to portray that they are fun and upbeat while maintaining their professionalism. We examined logos of other companies in the industry and noticed a trend: extremely simple and often flat out boring logos. We wanted Bu-Ya to stand out among this landscape of simple logos. To do this we created a logo that is a little different than most in the industry. We were able to get their fun attitude and professionalism across in this logo, and it is sure to stand out! Here is what we came up with:
In addition to creating a logo, we also designed a new business card for Bu-Ya Bookkeeping that incorporated the new logo. Their previous business card was busy with too many colors and images. The images used did not portray exactly who they are and what they are all about. And, the type was difficult to read as it was set in a very small serif typeface. We designed a more refined business card with a simplified color palette that better conveys the Bu-Ya image. Here is the before and after for the Bu-Ya Bookkeeping business card:
Bu-Ya Bookkeeping Business Card Before
Bu-Ya Bookkeeping Business Card After
Bu-Ya Bookkeeping Business Card After
Having a logo that represents your business well is an essential piece of branding your business. A logo allows customers to easily identify you from your competitors. And having your logo live on a business card that is truly useful and functional is like the icing on the cake.Need help creating a logo for you
r business? Contact us
to find out how. Cheers,The Ruby Porter Team
What is guerrilla marketing?
Guerrilla marketing is an unconventional way of marketing on a very low budget.
Why is it great?
Guerrilla marketing is great because it's marketing that any business with any amount of budget can do. It also has a very great chance of getting noticed by people because it's usually integrated in high traffic areas in the environment.
Examples of guerrilla marketing we love:
Advertising a fan and its power
Kit Kat bench
Mr. Clean on the crosswalk
Watch on a bus handle
These four guerrilla marketing campaigns are very creative and definitely get people's attention. We think guerrilla marketing is a great way for small businesses to advertise inexpensively. Would your business ever consider this tactic? If you're not sure, we can help.
The Ruby Porter Team
We recently came across "The Ten Twitter Commandments" which we find to be funny, but also very accurate. They are simple and easy to implement. Here they are via B2C
Follow these commandments and you will be a Twitter star!Cheers,The Ruby Porter Team
- Thou shall not blabber
- Thou shall not follow random tweeters who are of no value, just to increase one's number of followings
- Thou shall not neglect one's Twitter account, becoming inactive and complacent
- Thou shall not talk too much about oneself and one's achievements (or one's cheese sandwich)
- Thou shall not expect to get retweeted, if thou do not retweet in return
- Thou shall not take followers for granted
- Thou shall not spam
- Thou shall not use 'eggs' as one's profile picture
- Thou shall not use Twitter to stalk or harm others
- Thou shall not send out automated messages to new followers
This past spring we helped Square Deal Lumber
prepare for the Lane County Home & Garden Show. They wanted to make their booth stand out against the competition. Additionally, they wanted to create something to give to customers that would be of value, not just another flyer that gets tossed in the trash the minute they got home. Being a lumber company, they had the construction of their booth handled but they didn't know how to dress it up. To do this we designed a banner that clearly conveyed who Square Deal Lumber is and a rack card that customers could take notes on while talking to booth staff at the trade show.
Here is the rack card we designed:
Rack Card Front
Rack Card Back
Because Square Deal Lumber has been around in this community for such a long time (since 1947) we gave the banner a retro feel by using a font that evokes memories of old hand-painted signs and grass/fence graphics that connect to the idea of 1960's backyard barbecues. In addition, we used Polaroid style framing to the photos that showcase the range of services they offer. Because Square Deal Lumber’s products will be used to fit different specifications for each customer, the space for notes allows customers to write down measurements, product information and pricing so that they can easily reference it when they return home.
Trade shows can be tricky, but when effective marketing techniques are used they can yield substantial results. When planning for your next trade show or event, remember the following: with so many similar looking booths yours needs to stand out, customers should be able to easily identify who your company is and what you do from your banner and finally, give the customer something that is of value to them.
Do you need help preparing for an upcoming trade show or event? We'd love to help.
The Ruby Porter Team
Outdoor advertising creates an interesting situation for a designer. The space itself becomes part of the ad to create the little world being presented. Simplicity is especially celebrated in outdoor advertising, because the audience isn’t paying that much attention or searching for information or messages. While looking through a magazine, you’d expect to see a lot of ads, maybe read some headlines, because you’re curled up on the couch and paying attention to it. But outside, you’re thinking about being on time for your meeting or picking up the kids or whatever, so simplicity in copy and design are imperative to grab your attention.
With that said, this BBC ad utilizes the space to present its message and its simple copy. The layout invites the reader to engage by turning the corner to read the rest of the headline. And from a lot of angles, as the one pictured, you can see both sides, and are immediately aware of the metaphor in the physical space.
When choosing and designing your outdoor advertising, be sure to be aware of the environment in which it will be placed, because that is as important a component as the target audience or the message itself.
The Ruby Porter Team
Recently we worked with the West Eugene Village Homeowners Association (WEV HOA) to do a complete makeover of their website. When WEV HOA contacted us their site functioned poorly and did not convey who they were. It had no formatting and featured colors that would immediately drive viewers away. After giving the site some serious TLC, we made it over into something that is easy to navigate, aesthetically pleasing and clearly conveys who the WEV HOA is. Here is the drastic transformation:
Home Page Before
Site Page Before
Home Page After
Site Page After
Talk about transformation! The site we designed allows users to easily navigate and find any information they may need. It also provides users with visuals of the homes and neighborhood. We designed the site to convey a friendly and informative feel which their association members are enjoying using. Does your website need a makeover? We're here to help. Cheers,The Ruby Porter Team
LinkedIn company profiles are very beneficial. It is another way for your small or large business to get its brand noticed through social media. A LinkedIn company profile can be great for any business regardless if you’re service based or product based.
Here’s why we think LinkedIn company profiles are beneficial:
- Build Credibility -- LinkedIn offers the opportunity for companies to receive recommendations from anyone whether they are a client, employee, business partner, etc. These recommendations will be visible to everyone who views the page.
- Increase Brand Awareness -- Have your brand and logo on the company page so that viewers can see what your company is all about. Also, post information about the services or products you offer and link those items to the corresponding pages on your company’s website.
- Extend Your Reach -- You can connect each of your employees to your company profile. Doing this serves two purposes. First, you can channel inquiries to the appropriate people within your company (direct link = better business). Second, your employees can become brand ambassadors thereby creating opportunities for your company to be viewed by a wider audience.
- Highlight Products/Services -- You can highlight all of your products/services and show viewers why you're the expert in your field.
We recently updated the Ruby Porter
LinkedIn company profile. Check it out and give us feedback.
We'd love to hear your thoughts.
Another example of a LinkedIn company profile that is product based: Pink Butterfly Aprons
The Ruby Porter Team