Score St.Louis - March 2020

St. Louis Bi-State Region

March 2020

a product they’re developing is viable for their area or if their price points are appropriate.

While it might feel like you should have it all figured out just because you’ve been in business for 5–10 years, you don’t have to know everything! Case in point: Several years into my business, I was struggling with the decision of whether or not to hire an employee. I contacted SCORE and spoke with a mentor, and they were able to talk me through it. Having that coaching was so helpful in steering me in the right direction. It felt like someone had my back. What’s so amazing to me about SCORE is it’s a free resource with the sole purpose of helping you grow your business.As entrepreneurs, we know the path can be lonely.You don’t always have someone to bounce ideas off of or troubleshoot a problem with.With SCORE, you do.You have access to a free, readily available resource in your mentor, who’s matched with you based on their skill set.Why wouldn’t you take advantage of that? No one succeeds alone.We’re in this together, and SCORE has your back. Not sure if you need a mentor? It doesn’t hurt to schedule an appointment to meet with one. Call 1-866-726- 7340 or visit right now! –Kim Henson

My first question to them is always,“Have you checked out SCORE?”

SCORE is an amazing resource for startups, but it’s also perfect for folks who are in the first several years of business and need guidance and resources to get over some of those early humps and to the next level. Even before I became a volunteer, I would send clients to SCORE when they were feeling stuck or needed resources for a skill set I didn’t have. SCORE offers free guidance to businesses at different phases. Firstly, for those just starting out with their business ideas, SCORE offers mentorship and workshops that assist with things like business plans and accounting processes. Secondly, for people who’ve been in business for 1–5 years but want to get to the next level of growth, SCORE provides guidance and mentorship. Thirdly, for businesses at the 10-year mark, the organization also provides business scans, or snapshots, of an entire business to see where SCORE can help.

Over the years, SCORE St. Louis has helped many budding entrepreneurs turn their ideas into viable businesses. But SCORE isn’t just for startups — it’s a free resource available to anyone who wants to grow their business. Below, business owner and SCORE volunteer Kim Henson shares more about why our organization might be what you need to take your idea to the next level. I often have conversations with other entrepreneurs who are at the leveling-up point in their business. Some are looking to expand and aren’t sure what their next steps are, and some are ready to take their business out of their home office and into an office space but aren’t sure where to turn. Others aren’t sure if



Tell Me a Story The Marketing Secret as Old as Mankind

It’s not too hard to imagine that somewhere out there, a marketing manager is crying out in frustration because their marketing messages are being utterly ignored.You’ve likely been there yourself. No, this isn’t a worldwide conspiracy among consumers to make your job harder — it’s the result of consumers seeing 5.3 trillion ads per year just on the web alone.And that was in 2012, so the number has likely skyrocketed since then. If you want your marketing to break through the clutter, you need to give the people what they want: stories. Americans consume more than 100,000 digital words every day, and 92% of these consumers want to internalize those words in the form of a story. In the information age, branding is less about the flashy logo and more about forming true relationships between customers and companies. John Naisbitt, author of world- renowned book “Megatrends,” says,“The more high tech we create, the more high touch we will want.” A great brand can help you stand out and give your business a unique way to differentiate itself in a crowded marketplace. To really succeed, you have to be able to captivate your audience with a story. By doing so, you give your products and services context, as well as an identity that exists beyond the basic problem-solving your business offers. Best of all, you connect with your target audience on an emotional level, making your message more meaningful, more memorable, and easier to pass along.As a matter of fact, science shows us that more parts of the human brain are used

the reader. For example, aWeightWatchers testimonial may feature someone with an amazing story of overcoming adversity and achieving their lifelong goal weight, which addresses the “what’s in it for me” factor. Readers may think that if someone else can do it, then so can they. In a 2015 interactive marketing campaign,WeightWatchers posted hundreds of scales on a wall with the words “weigh me.” On each scale was written an intangible thing, such as “laughter,” “feeling free,” or “playing with my kids.” It told observers the story of the things they could weigh in their lives if they weren’t so busy being preoccupied with a scale. The same story could be diluted by talking about someone’s career, their rivalry with their older siblings, or their love-hate relationship with dark chocolate, but that would just muddle the actual message.Too many specifics take away the impact, and too few have the same effect. Make sure the story you craft is compelling and relevant to your brand, and know who you’re selling to. Most importantly, keep in mind that the story is never about you or your company. Even if you’re talking about your business, the story should be about the value you can deliver to your customers or the common ground you share with them.Your company is just a supporting character.You created your product or service for a purpose, and you know the scenarios in which it is most important.Why not share that knowledge with your demographic? You can harness these tips through a variety of media, so don’t be afraid to tell your story through blog posts, case studies, your website’s home page, frequently asked questions, newsletter articles, videos, podcasts, and more. Infusing your marketing with human storytelling is a remarkably effective way to engage and connect with your audience.You can take advantage of it right now by revisiting your brand message and marketing collateral to see where storytelling makes your business stand out to your customers. Once you start engaging with your prospects and clients in a way that brings the narrative to them, you’ll find your own story has a very happy ending.

when digesting a brand story as opposed to the very basic parts that are engaged when we’re slurping down data. Entrepreneurship author Jim Blasingame, who penned “Three Minutes to Success,” says that the power of small-business storytelling lies in the three C’s:

Connect: Use stories to connect with prospects and convert them into customers.

Convey: Use stories to convey your expertise, relevance, humanity, and values.

Create: Use stories to create customer memories that compel them to come back.

So, what does a great brand story look like? It should be factual but not biographical.The story should always convey what’s in it for



Improve Productivity by Cleaning Up Your Inbox

3. Respond to urgent emails. Have unanswered emails that can’t be filed away? Use the two-minute rule: Immediately respond to anything that will take less than two minutes to answer. For the ones that need more effort, put them on your to-do list and schedule a time on your calendar to respond. 4. Maintain a healthy email habit. Now that your inbox is in a manageable state, develop habits to keep it that way. Check your inbox when you get to work and follow the steps above. Once a week, set aside a few minutes to sort through and organize anything you missed.The more time you devote to decluttering your email first thing, the more time you’ll have to accomplish bigger and more important goals.

Do you cringe every time you open your email, preparing yourself for a barrage of unanswered messages? If so, then it’s time to take tidying up your inbox more seriously because poor organization results in far worse problems than simply missing out on happy hours with coworkers. According to psychology professor Susan KraussWhitbourne, mental and physical clutter can impede productivity. It may also have long-term effects on our ability to process information. One University of Toronto researcher has even found evidence that mental clutter may worsen age-related memory loss. Since most people can cite their digital inbox as a source of stress, starting there is a big step toward organizing your mind and your life. Plus, you can declutter it in just one hour by following these steps. 1 . Sweep away the junk. Begin by going through your emails from oldest to newest and deleting

anything you know you won’t need.When you see an email you want to delete, search to find others from that sender — it’s likely there are multiple you can trash right away. 2. Categorize necessary messages. Create folders to organize the remaining emails.You might use a time-based system, like “First Quarter of 2020,” or descriptive names, like “Receipts” and “Current Projects.” Choose a system that works for your personal preferences.

Is That PictureWorth $1,000? HOWTO AVOID COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT FOR YOUR BUSINESS We’ve all heard the saying,“A picture is worth a thousand words,” and for businesses, this is especially true. Images used on a website and in marketing materials contribute to a specific vision and encourage customers to buy into a service or product. However, obtaining and using those images requires much more than a quick search on Google.To make the biggest splash while avoiding heavy penalties that can tank your business, follow these tips when searching for images.

Commons is also a great resource to consult. This nonprofit provides free licenses and tools that make copyright material easy to understand.You may need to meet some agreements under a Creative Commons license, but afterwards, you can access and use numerous photos.

Presume all images are protected by copyright. Never assume that an image you find while browsing the internet is free to use. It may be easy to download one you like and use it on your website, social media account, or blog, but it can have devastating consequences. Someone who wrongfully uses copyright material worth at least $2,500 may face up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines according to federal statute. Play it safe by assuming every image or photograph you find online is protected by copyright law. Always ask permission for use. Even if an image isn’t under copyright, you still might not have permission to use it. Find the

source of the image, and inquire about using it for your own business.The image itself may have certain conditions you need to meet before you can use it. For instance, a licensing agreement may require you to pay a fee, give credit to the original creator, or guarantee the image’s use as-is without further alteration. In other instances, ask the photographer, designer, or artist for permission to use the image and agree to include a watermark or a link to their website. Find and use free images instead. Several websites, such as Pexels, Pixabay, and Morguefile, provide hundreds of photos for businesses to use for free and without worry of copyright infringement. Creative

3 1-866-726-7340

St. Louis Bi-State Region


MARCH 2020 Saturday, March 7 • How to Start and ManageYour Own Business • How to Start a Not-For-Profit Business Monday, March 9 • QuickBooks Online: Basic • How to Recession-ProofYour Small Business Monday, March 23 • How toWrite a Great Business Plan

APRIL 2020 Saturday, April 4 • How to Start and ManageYour Own Business • Grants in Plain Sight Monday, April 13 • Patents,Trademarks, and Copyrights • How toWrite a Great Business Plan Monday, April 27 • Utilizing the Library forYour Business Research • Conquer the Choas -Strategies for Increasing Sales and Customer Loyalty

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SCORE is a resource partner of the Small Business Administration and provides mentoring services free of charge to all business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.

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