Business Resolutions for 2017

Frontier Title Texas | Real Estate Advice

This is a wonderful time of year to reflect on the last year in business and make some business resolutions to bring more success in the coming year. Did you accomplish everything you set out to do? Did your business grow and flourish? What’s left undone? What can you do to increase success in 2017? Here are some of our favorite ideas:

Create a Marketing Calendar – And Stick To It!

In a time when calendars and alerts are at our fingertips, there’s no excuse for missing another holiday, special event, or other marketing opportunity. Make a realistic plan for what you can accomplish to market your business this year. Schedule automated alerts to remind you when it’s time to design holiday cards, send birthday cards to former clients, or promote a Christmas toy drive.

First Thing’s First

Too often, entrepreneurs sacrifice their own promotions to take care of business as usual. While putting the client first is great, if you don’t make growing your business a priority, it will never happen. Make a resolution to start every Monday morning with an hour just for you. Schedule a week of social media, line up a meeting with a business coach, update your website. When your business is your priority, your clients will notice.

Delegate

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is crucial to successful business management. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you are the best person to do it, or that your time won’t be better spent elsewhere. You can find contractors and freelancers for a lot of small business tasks, like data entry, design, website maintenance, and social media.

Learn Something New

From being more adept at Microsoft Office Suite to taking a karate class, new skills will help you in business and beyond. Obviously, learning more about office skills or social media will enhance your business, but picking up a new “fun” skill will increase your confidence and your social circle as well.

Set Networking Goals

Networking is important, but can fall to the bottom of a list of business chores. Set a reasonable goal for 2017. Maybe you’ll make a point to attend at least 2 networking events each month. Or maybe this year will be the year that you join (or start!) a networking group. Networking can include social media as well…will 2017 be the year you start posting and interacting  regularly on sites like LinkedIn?

Let Go Of What Isn’t Working

Sometimes we commit hard and fast to an idea or an expectation that doesn’t work that we fail to see the time, effort, and money we could be using elsewhere. Take a hard look at your business expenses (both time and money) and ask yourself what’s bringing you gain. If you’ve been after something for 3-6 months or more without progress, it’s time to reevaluate.

 

Here at Frontier Title, we are committed to helping your 2017 be your best year in business ever. We know that real estate isn’t usually an 8-5 job, and we are truly here to assist you along the way. Best wishes for a happy, successful, and joy-filled New Year. 

 

 

Do You Have Too Many Social Media Accounts?

Don’t be crazy – having a strong presence on social media is crucial to your business. It’s free marketing and advertising, after all. Not to mention that more and more, people are looking online for help in almost every industry.

However, your social media accounts could also be hurting your chances of securing that next client. Too often, our ambitions can exceed reality. By signing up for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, and more, you may be hoping for increased visibility. However, with the demands of your schedule, posting regularly may not be a possibility and you can come across as inactive, indifferent, and inconsistent to anyone who comes across your account.

 

Missing Out On Business

Many businesses and entrepreneurs sign up for every social media platform because they’re afraid of missing out on business. If you put all of your energy into Instagram, who are you ignoring on Twitter? The truth is, if you can get a handle on your demographics, you’ll see where the real attention is coming from.

Instead: Use the traffic analysis on your website or through Google Analytics, to find out where your traffic is coming from. Look to your existing social media accounts and see where you’re getting the most attention. Take the time you’re wasting on platforms that get little results to increase your presence where things are already working for you.

Autoposting

Many platforms have a feature that allows you to autopost from one to another. For example, when you write a post on your Facebook page, it automatically generates a link to your Twitter account. While this may seem like a great idea initially, this practice actually leads to a 70% decrease in interaction. Most social media platforms favor native content, which means your autopost are going to get less attention in a newsfeed. Add to that the less-than-ideal formatting that the automated service provides, and your post isn’t visually appealing either.

Instead: If you have multiple accounts, craft messages separately and in a style unique to the platforms you use. 

Involvement

If you’re low on time, you won’t be able to interact well on each platform. Success on social media requires personal connection and conversation. If you’ve overdone it and can’t take part in the conversation, your followers will be able to tell.

Instead: Cut down to one account (or two) that you can manage well, and get involved! “Talk” to other users, comment on posts, and create a real presence.

 

4 Apps That Make Instagram More Fun

Are you a REALTOR®? You are? You’re using Instagram, then, right? WHAT?

Stop reading this, go set up your Instagram account, and come right back.

In a business as visual as Real Estate, Instagram is one of your best tools for showcasing just about everything your potential customers want to know about you and your business. Listings, local businesses and events, colleague connections, and of course, your own personality. Instagram isn’t just for teens and tweens anymore. There is an ever-growing adult population on the social media network, with 23% of the adult population documenting their lives through Instagram as of January 2015.

So, now that you’ve set up your profile, here are a couple of ways to enhance the platform through a few fun apps.

iMovie

iMovie is great if you want a little more control when creating short videos for Instagram (perfect for a walk-through of a new listing, or to show off a hidden feature). The app is available on both iPhone and iPad. It let’s you trim videos with ease and gives you access to special effects and filters. Download here.

Latergramme

There are certainly better times to post than others. On Instagram, your posts will get more exposure if you post around 2am and 5pm. You read that right. But why? At 2am, fewer people are posting (because most of them are asleep). Your early morning post will get lots of attention as followers are checking their feeds first thing in the morning. You can see more specific posting times here. Latergramme is an app that helps you schedule posts for the future. It’s not fully automated – Latergramme will send you a notification to post. You can skip the 2am wake up call and let the app notify you around the same time your alarm goes off. You’ll still get plenty of exposure. Check out the web app here, and download here on iOS or download here on Android.

Canva

Canva makes graphic design seem easy…ok, maybe just a little easier. The app is perfect for creating polished images on the go, adding your logo to your listing photos, and more. It’s full of plenty of free features and templates, and several more if you’re willing to upgrade or pay a small fee per design. Download here.

Snapseed

While phone cameras are better with every new release, it’s difficult to find just the perfect lighting and setup to create a stunning image. Snapseed is a free photo editing app that makes touching up a “snap!” The filters may not be as plentiful as other apps, but the ability to brighten or darken only certain parts of your photo, change the brightness and contract, and make that sky look just a little bluer makes this app an ideal fix for your listing photos.  Download here for iOSand download here for Android.

Starting Business Conversations With Strangers

Many of us regularly attend networking events, mingle with colleagues and potential clients, pass out business cards, follow up and hope to gain a little business from each event. But, if you stop to think about the daily encounters you have with strangers, from elevator rides to standing in line at the grocery store, your opportunities to network are exponential.

Finding leads among strangers isn’t easy, and it takes a certain boldness in personality, but with the tips below, you’ll be well on your way:

Start With A Common Topic

Open the door to a conversation by finding the common ground. Small talk cliches are great here – try weather, holidays and events, how you each know an event host. Your first impression should be a positive one. Save complaining for another time.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

If you ask a question that only requires a “yes” or “no” answer, you’ll probably get a very short response. Instead of, “Have you attended this event before?”, try something along the lines of, “What do you think of this event?” When your conversation partner answers with their thoughts, you can find something in their statement to grab onto to keep the conversation flowing.

Give A Sincere Compliment

Who doesn’t love receiving a compliment? The trick here is to compliment physical appearance or clothing only as a last resort. So wait until you’ve been involved in conversation for a few minutes and you can get an idea of your new friend’s personality or talent. Try “It sounds like you’re very successful,” or, “You’re very easy to talk to.”

Share Opportunities

As you learn more about someone, look for ways you can help them instead of looking for business opportunities for yourself. You’ll be building a more positive impression for yourself, which is much more likely to generate business than looking opportunistic.

 

4 Questions To Ask When You’re Branding Your Business

Creating a solid business brand may seem like a simple task, but using your business’s logo, colors, website, print materials, policies, and style should be done with lots of consideration. Your branding includes anything that sends a message to the world about who you are, what you do, and what they can expect from you.

As you consider your brand, or if you’re ready to rebrand your business, answer the following questions to get a better idea of how to move forward.

Who Am I Serving?

If you’ve been in business for a while, think about the clients you’ve had in the past year. Is there a common thread when you think about age, income level, location? What is it about your business that pulls in your current clientele?

Who Do I Want To Serve?

Are your current clients your ideal clients? If not, there is a disconnect between who you want to be and the message you’re sending your customers. It’s time to decide if your business goals or your message are off-target. If you are successful with your current market, it may be a better decision to stay put!

What’s My Brand Personality?

What role do you want to play in your clients’ experience? Are you an Expert or a Friend? A Lifesaver or a Problem Solver? Regardless of what your personal style is, the language on your website and print materials should match. If you’re interested in helping first-time home buyers, stay away from formal language and too much focus on your designations. If you’re ready for a luxury market, those same elements are necessary!

Am I Sending The Right Message?

The visual elements of your brand – imagery, font, shapes, etc. – tell your story. Soft lines are nurturing and personal while sharp corners give a more corporate feel. A clean, serif font can give a luxurious feel while a bold, modern font could be great for marketing to millennials. Color plays a big part, too. Reds are aggressive and powerful, shades of blue call to mind focus and balance, green is associated with wealth and gray and black give a serious and high-end feel. Does your current visual brand telling an accurate story?

Building Your Business In December

As business slows down for the holidays, you may be looking forward to a little rest and relaxation. Taking the time to rejuvenate is crucial to staying energized throughout the year. However, if you’re up for it, the downtime may be the perfect time to work on your business.

Plan It Out

Take a look at the past year. What has worked for you? What hasn’t? Have there been any missed opportunities? As you look ahead to the new year, think about what you can get down on paper now to ensure success. Make sure you have holiday mailings, promotions, and events scheduled out with notifications and reminders so that you don’t miss a single thing.

Resolve

Where would you like your business to be this time next year and what can you do to set things in motion? Make New Years Resolutions for your business. What would help you the most? Attending more networking events, hitting a milestone sales number, or growing your team are all good places to start.

Holiday Greetings

We all know the importance of sending holiday greetings through the mail, but a quick, in-person stop can make a big difference for a special client. Take the opportunity to let them know you see them as more than just a business connection.

Party Time

Host a neighborhood gathering to let your neighbors get to know you a little better. We all prefer doing business with people we know and like. If you’re always talking about your business, this could be a chance to meet others on a new and personal level.

Live Giveaway

Hold an online contest for your social media followers. Who wouldn’t want a little extra money at the holidays. Give away a prepaid gift card to one of your followers for a store or restaurant via live Facebook video. Even better, promise to make the contest a monthly feature of your business. Watch your audience grow with the chance to win!

6 Holiday Gifts Under $30 For Your Favorite Clients

Oh no! Christmas is just weeks away! Have you ordered your client gifts yet? There are plenty of standard gifts available, but what will you send to those extra special clients this year? We’ve compiled a list of options – all under $30 – for your closer relationships.

Gingerbread Man Seed Cylinder, Wild Birds Unlimited $26.99

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Cold winter days offer the perfect opportunity to invite the birds to the yard. Your clients can watch the birds from a cozy spot on the couch in their new home.

Herb Garden Seed Kid, Williams-Sonoma $29.95

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-2-52-48-pmThe gift that keeps on growing!

Microwave Popcorn Popper, UncommonGoods.com $14.99

41243_1_360pxThis adorable and health-conscious popcorn popper is inexpensive enough that you can couple it with a month’s subscription to Netflix!

Kirigami Christmas Cards, Signals $29.98hw0642Why send a regular card when you can send a piece of art?

The FORMCard, The Grommet, 9 for $21.95
screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-2-53-07-pm

This is truly unique! The card is made of bio-plastic and, after being placed in hot water, conforms to whatever shape the user desires. It’s reusable, too, and could be especially handy around the home.

State Bamboo Cutting Board, Kohl’s $17.99

2570443_texasEspecially thoughtful for your new-to-the-state clients.

 

 

 

 

Holiday Party Networking Survival Guide

Whether or not your work has slowed down for the holiday season, we all know the party and networking opportunities are all closing in on you! The season provides some of the best chances to meet, greet, and generate leads that you’ll see all year.

To make the most of the celebrations, here are 10 Tips For Surviving Holiday Networking Events.

  1. Say Yes! When You Can
    With a busy holiday calendar, you may be inclined to turn down a few opportunities. While you want to maintain some balance, take advantage of the gatherings as a way to make friends and follow up with your existing connections.
  2. Host Your Own Event
    Create positive associations with your colleagues by hosting your own party. Others will see you as an influencer and point of contact in their own networking and business journey.
  3. Don’t Forget The Greeting Cards
    There are so many online services for creating your own greeting cards – there’s no excuse not to recognize your clients and colleagues with a quick note. Don’t miss out on your peripheral contacts. Go through your business card file and get those cards in the mail!
  4. Be Prepared
    Holiday parties seem more relaxed than other networking events, but it’s still important to bring along business cards and a schedule, if you use something other than your phone. You want to be ready to schedule follow up meetings in the new year!
  5. Know What To Talk About
    Obviously, politics is off the table! But have open-ended questions prepared to keep the conversation flowing. “Tell me about your holiday plans” and “What are your New Years’ Resolutions?” will carry you much farther than “Are you ready for Christmas?” And always remember that putting the focus on others is a great way to earn favor in the eyes of your colleagues.
  6. Send A Thank You Note and “Share” The Love
    Always, always, always follow up with a thank you to the host or hostess to let them know you had a wonderful time. If the event isn’t a private one, post pictures to social media and tag your host and colleagues. This is a great way to help grow their network and paint you in a positive light.
  7. Don’t Overdo It
    Relax and enjoy yourself, but know what your limits are when drinking is involved. Remember that these parties are still professional events.

 

The Resource: December 2016

We’re happy to share some great articles with you this month. Please feel free to pass these along to clients, friends and family.

Holidays

Around The House

Decor Inspiration

Buying And Selling