Does Your Small Business Have a Contingency Plan?

In preparation of the 2016 election, I recently attended my second year of Precinct Election Official (PEO) training by the local Board of Elections (BOE). In addition to keeping up with new developments, it’s helpful to review the massive amounts of information prior to each election.

What are the massive amounts of information? In addition to job duties and how machines work — contingency plans. The BOE has contingency plans for nearly any situation. Does your small business have contingency plans?

Does your small business have a contingency plan?

Why does your small business need a contingency plan?

  • You lose your largest client. Will you be able to stay afloat while you work to bring in new customers? Or is your business spread out enough to absorb such a hit?
  • Your niche market runs dry. Some markets are more volatile than others, but this could happen to nearly any industry or vertical market. (For example, look at how hard the Great Recession hit the construction industry.) It’s always a good idea to diversify your clientele enough to withstand market fluctuations.
  • You experience a medical emergency or illness. Nearly 80% of small businesses are self-employed individuals. (NASE) Will your small business be able to run without you? For how long? Do you have an exit plan?
  • Your area is hit with a natural disaster or extended power outage. Would you be able to continue to serve your clients? Is your business included in your emergency preparedness kit/plans?
  • You see an unexpected opportunity in the marketplace. How quickly can you add a product or service? Perhaps you’re seeing a decrease in demand for one of your key products or services. Can you switch your focus while still staying true to your brand? Agility is a valuable asset in the small business world.

Related Reading: 4 Lessons Learned in 4 Years as an Entrepreneur

You need to be prepared to handle unexpected obstacles in your business, from marketplace changes to health issues. While none of us can be prepared for everything, having a contingency plan for your small business will ensure a smoother ride when you encounter a future roadblock — or  a black hole.

Your Turn

What other situations should your small business be prepared for?

Have you switched the focus of your small business or changed businesses?

What other advice would you give to small business owners regarding contingency plans?

Still a scout at heart,
Jaime

Let’s chat (about contingency plans, your marketing needs or otherwise):
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Wristbands: Carrying Your Message for Miles (and Years)

When the Livestrong Foundation (formerly known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation) launched the iconic yellow silicone wristband in 2004 as a fundraising initiative, I hoped it would raise some money for a worthy cause. I had no idea that it would catch on across the country — and around the world — as one of the hottest promotional products around. To date, over 80 million Livestrong bands have been sold, inspiring countless other charitable organizations, companies and brands to share their message in this popular manner.

silicone wristbands

Silicone wristbands are so popular even Elvis has his eye on them.

 Like so many others, I thought this trend would never last. Who would want to wear these promotional wristbands? Nearly everyone, it turns out. From young to old and red to blue, people of all ages, nationalities, genders, political beliefs and lifestyles want to rock a wristband. That’s one of many reasons the silicone wristband is here to stay. Ten years later, this staple promotional product is produced in a plethora of colors promoting metro parks to marathons and everything in between.

If you’re interested in promoting your company or brand with a reminder around the wrist, keep the following variables in mind:

  • decoration method
  • imprint location
  • imprint colors
  • band sizes
  • band colors
  • packaging options
  • quantity
  • in-hands date

All of these factors can affect your pricing, and different options make sense for different objectives.

In addition to exposure, silicone wristbands are also helpful at events. Hand them out to attendees at concerts, conferences and sporting events to easily identify who should be admitted and who shouldn’t. They’re durable, easily spotted and can be kept long after the event for continued exposure and as a keepsake.

Whatever your message is, it’ll go far on a silicone wristband.

Weigh In

What silicone wristbands are in your collection?

Are you surprised at this product’s staying power or did you think it would be a hit?

When did you get your first silicone wristband?

Have you promoted your brand, company, cause, organization or event with one?

Rockin’ the wristband,
Jaime

We don’t have wristbands, but we do have social networks. Connect with CCC!
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50 Years of Satisfaction: How You Can Learn From The ‘Stones

On a recent visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, I was reminded how amazing the Rolling Stones are. They’re still rocking 50 years later and are as relevant as ever. While browsing the two-floor 50 Years of Satisfaction exhibit, I started thinking about how successful of a business venture the band — and brand — is. What can we learn from these legendary rock stars?

the Rolling Stones brand

It’s All About The Brand — In 1962, these aspiring musicians didn’t just seek to form a band; they wanted a defining brand. Yes, they love making music, but Mick, Keith & co also understood the business side of creating and promoting a successful brand as they grew… and grew. Today, the iconic red tongue is as recognizable as the Nike swoosh and McDonald’s golden arches.

Image

Adapt (& Improvise) To Survive — 50 years is a long time to be relevant. The band has adapted throughout the years by adjusting its sound without losing its identity, especially as band members have come and gone. They’ve also followed their instincts and pursued opportunities that felt right, even when they went against the grain. Today, they’ve embraced social media and the digital landscape to connect and promote. How can you improvise to survive and thrive?

Mick enjoying a little "reading"

Stay True To Yourself — The trick to adapting is to remain true to yourself. The Stones are the Stones, like them or not. They hit the scene as the bad boys of rock when it was anything but popular. As they’ve dropped the drugs and hit late middle age, their music has followed. Their lyrics speak of their current lives and experiences, which fans appreciate and identity with.

The Rolling Stones: 50 Years of Satisfaction

Remain In Control — They’ve experimented, argued, taken changes and closed deals, but they’ve always remained in control of their band and brand. While the Stones have no problem working with business managers, partners and companies, they always have final say over projects and products that bear their name. Keep that in mind as you approach new opportunities.

So there you have it… How the Rolling Stones have survived and thrived in a cut-throat, fast-moving, trend-driven industry. Oh, and some amazing music, legendary live shows and fabulous albums, too.

Open Mic

Are you a Stones fan?

What else have you learned from the Rolling Stones or other performers?

Have you used ideas from other industries to improve your business or brand?

Who’s your favorite musical act of all time?

All photos taken at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH 

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,
Jaime

You Can’t Always Get What You Want… but you can connect with CCC:
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Get Real, Brands: Why Real Is Usually Right

Whether you’re a racing fan or not, you have to love Jeff Gordon and his sponsor, Pepsi MAX, right now.

Last year, the duo produced an awesome ‘test drive‘ video, where a disguised Jeff Gordon took an unsuspecting used car salesman on the ride of his life. Only, it was fake. A stunt driver, paid actors and a car that didn’t exist (an ’09 Camaro). Some of the thrill wore off after the truth came out. And the truth will come out in today’s ultra-connected, 24/7 world.

So this time, they got it right. They wanted to show the reporter, who broke the story of the initial video being fake, that they could, in fact, pull off a real stunt of EPIC proportions. And they did. Jalopnik‘s Travis Okulski went for the ride of his life. All real this time, and the Internet’s buzzing about it.

No, you can’t believe everything you see on the Internet. But when a brand gets real, it usually gets it right.

What did you think of the video?

“Test Drive 2” video courtesy of Pepsi YouTube Channel
Tweet from Travis Okulski’s Twitter feed

Cheers,
Jaime

All real, all the time. Let’s connect:
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You Don’t Know Jack About Brandjacking

In the mid-nineties, there was a trivia game called You Don’t Know Jack. As a trivia buff, I loved the game and even had it on CD-ROM (remember those?). OK, I also loved telling people, “You don’t know jack” when they answered incorrectly. Which brings me too…

You Don't Know Jack logo

Brandjacking. What is it? When someone hijacks your brand, either personal or business, in order to steal your thunder (and publicity) or to hurt your brand’s reputation. It usually happens online, especially on social media. The term is widely credited to Business Week, which used it in a 2007 article.

So what’s the problem? First of all, it’s desperate. You’re either trying to grab some cheap publicity from another brand’s (hard work &) success or trying to cause damage to someone else’s brand. Either way, you look bad.

Second, come up with your own brand. Put in the work to build your brand, formulate a strategy and put it into action. Don’t try to jump on someone else’s coattails to success without putting in the work.

Maybe I’ve just spent too much time working on companies’ brands and understand how much time, effort and money go into the branding process. As all of you fellow marketers and business owners know, it’s a lot of hard work. For someone else to benefit from that (outside of donated publicity for a non-profit or cause) is incredibly frustrating and annoying.

Clearly Conveyed Communications logo

As a small business owner, my brands (personal and business) are my everything. I’m all in, as they say at the poker table. I’ve put every last chip I have into making Clearly Conveyed Communications work. For someone to come along and hurt my brand(s) would be a horrible blow.

As Tony Zayas so elegantly puts it on the Proforma blog, trust is the new business currency. If clients and prospects don’t trust you, they won’t work with you.

So if you think brandjacking is cool (or a viable marketing tactic), then you don’t know jack about branding.

The mic is yours…

Do you agree? Or is brandjacking a viable guerrilla marketing tactic?

Are there any brandjacking examples that you feel have been a success?

Would you brandjack?

You may also like: The Art of Branding | The Olympics: A Global Brand (Kind Of)
Rage Against the Political Machine: 5 Takeaways for Your Marketing Efforts

Photo credit: You Don’t Know Jack

Your trivia (& branding) buff,
Jaime

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