Read our latest Newsletter

The latest monthly newsletter …

How to keep your marketing going over the summer holidays … Keep things ticking over this summer and enjoy some time out.

Plus, a new study shows nearly 50% of small businesses may not be trading with a marketing plan! The issue for most of us is a lack of time and a lack of strategy. Does this ring true for you? …

Read the newsletter

It’s all about the stories! Back stories, social stories, story telling …

When I am working with clients, I am getting asked more and more about social media posts and feeds and stories. What are they? What is the difference? Why do one and not the other?

So here is a brief overview for you.

Facebook

According to a Facebook help post, stories on Facebook allow you to share photos and videos with your friends and followers that will only be available to your selected audience for 24 hours. After 24 hours, you can keep the stories you’ve shared in your story archive, which will only be visible to you.

A BT.com article says stories is effectively another News Feed, but one that relies on visual rather than written information. It requires you to select the Stories section, rather than just posting to Facebook as you normally would. Stories can be shared with friends and to groups.

Instagram

Instagram Stories is a feature that lets users post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours. The feature feels much like Snapchat Stories according to this article I read. And like Snapchat, the photos and videos shared can’t be viewed once 24 hours have elapsed.

Instagram Stories appear in a bar at the top of your feed — and all Instagram accounts will be able to share stories, from your best friends to your favorite popular accounts. When there’s something new to see, their profile photo will have a colorful ring around it. This article is also a guide on “how to”.

There are some key considerations of note – for example, did you know that most users scrolling through their Instagram feed watch videos without sound, yet around 70% of Stories are watched with the sound turned on. The subtle differences in behavior and presentation can make be significant within your posting strategy. Look at this cheat sheet.

Here at Pinpoint Marketing, we use news feeds rather than stories. We feel this way is more established and more in keeping with our brand, our message and the service we sell. However, each to their own and it is always worth considering other options.

Get more social media advice here or ask me for trainer/workshop recommendations.

What I loved about reading “Jo Malone – My Story”

This weekend’s glorious sunshine gave me the perfect excuse/reason to read the book Jo Malone, my story from the luxury of my garden lounger. I of course knew of Jo Malone before the book and recently I had learned more from a podcast with the equally inspiring Karren Brady and also through an interview she did on Loose Women.

Aside from the synergies of the colour red popping up in the book and the new brand (red is also my branding and my go to colour) and the equal apparent love of a Chinese takeaway to celebrate something or to have as a treat, there were many take aways (pardon the non intentional pun!) from this book in terms of business, working mums and entrepreneurialism. Her battle with Cancer was understandably tough but she fought it and beat. Both my parents have battled with and beaten Cancer so its good to hear more stories with good endings.

Here are some of my highlights, without giving the stories away.

– Jo’s attitude if you don’t like something. Change your mindset, change your situation or accept it. I agree! Hard to do sometimes but this is often the simplest way to make change.

– When you mentally paint the worst case scenario, then the risk doesn’t feel so loaded and the leap not as daunting. Again, so simple but yet so true.

– The usefulness of life stories and a back story. I would love to help young entrepreneurs and pupils in schools to learn about business to help them on later life as as well as for business related examinations. I think I heard Jo mention the need and desire to teach “business” in schools and I agree with her as a business owner and as a mum. If you ever need help or support on getting this to happen Jo, I doubt you will given your knowledge and experience, but I would be willing …

– Jo’s tongue in cheek reference to what SME stands for, Seriously Motivated Entrepreneur. Working for yourself is great but it can also be lonely and hard to get yourself going somedays so what she says when applied pays dividends, literally sometimes.

– The importance as a business person to realise that going back and putting things right is not admitting failure but guaranteeing success further down the line. I have heard a similar lesson from Theo Paphitis as the #SBS conference.

– And lastly, the 5 heartbeats to a successful business: Inspiration, Innovation, Integrity, Ignition and Instinct

In summary, a highly recommended read by someone who gets things done from someone who also strives to get things done and make things happen!

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Find more more here

 

Knowing your why, in theory and in reality!

We all have our reasons why we became self employed or why we chose our career path, which is our why? So what is yours?

I have a few whys. 1 was initially to try and achieve the elusive work life balance whilst raising a young family which I could then work around around. Some days and weeks I achieve this and some I don’t but that’s the pitfalls and highs of being a working mum and female entrepreneur. At the end of the day though the family and the clients never go without and they are always both a priority.

2 and probably the main or biggest driver/reason s to provide small business with a large business service. Eg I want them to think big and have what big companies have without needing the large departments and large budget. I want to make a difference and support small businesses to achieve and succeed, through simple yet clever marketing. With careful planning and strategy and all important analysing, this is very achievable and that’s where I come into my own.

3 is the variety! I couldn’t have a job or run a business where I did the same thing day in day out. For me as the owner of Pinpoint Marketing every day varies in terms of the client I work with, my location or office for the day, the campaign work I am doing and so on. For example, next week I have a new client/new business meeting with a local restaurant chain which I am looking forward to, then sports day with my daughter, then a radio interview with my local station on my recent #WOW award win, then an all female networking event and finally I am starting to record some podcasts and book my autumn workshop series. Plus I will be fitting in the day to day client calls, content writing, creating, planning and analysing and more.

What is your why? Is it a why for you or for others or both? What is your back story behind you and your business or job? Find more about me.

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Have a good working week!

High Wycombe entrepreneur receives #WOW award from Jacqueline Gold CBE

In May, Nicole Martin of Pinpoint Marketing, from Great Kingshill, was recognised by British businesswoman, Jacqueline Gold CBE, for her success as a female entrepreneur, and awarded with a prestigious #WOW badge.

Pinpoint Marketing was one of three winners selected by Jacqueline after she entered ‘Women on Wednesday’ – a competition launched by Jacqueline in 2011 to celebrate the growing number of UK female entrepreneurs and businesswomen.

Women on Wednesday (#WOW) takes place every week and is run through Jacqueline’s Twitter page.  When selecting the winners, Jacqueline looks for businesses that are interesting, that have strong brand values and that she thinks have potential to grow and succeed in their industry. She looks for quality products and services, well designed websites and entrepreneurs who demonstrate good business acumen and who have spotted a gap in the market that meets the consumer’s needs.

Pinpoint Marketing’s ethos is to make marketing simple and to add value and support to local, small businesses looking to grow their business through cost effect marketing ideas and campaigns. We have been trading for 11 years and have helped many businesses in this time with strategy, planning, content, social media and much more. We genuinely love helping through our network of associates.

Jacqueline Gold says:Pinpoint Marketing specialises in working with small businesses to provide realistic but effective marketing strategies to help companies grow. Nicole’s passion for providing an easy and simple marketing service and her friendly and personable demeanour sets her apart. I wish her every success in the future.

For me, #WOW is all about inspiring and celebrating female entrepreneurs. My vision is for women in the UK to come together, celebrate their strengths, skills and fantastic businesses, and do all that they can to inspire other women to realise their potential.  

The WOW community is a fantastic network which offers female entrepreneurs the opportunity to share advice, support each other, trade and most importantly celebrate their successes!” 

For more information about Women on Wednesday, please visit the website

How can I improve my Cashflow (and why should I?) Guest blog

How many times have you looked at your accounts and seen a profit, but wondered how that can possibly be right when your bank balance is so low?

Maybe you need to spend more time focusing not just on making a profit but improving your cashflow. Perhaps you need to take money out of the business to fund your lifestyle, or you want to invest for the future, or build up a financial buffer to cover for unforeseen eventualities? Perhaps you need to put systems in place to monitor and improve your cashflow. In the simplest terms you need to speed up getting money in, and slow down paying money out.

So…exactly how do you go about this?

For a start, it may sound obvious, but you need to invoice your clients promptly, for the right amount, and send the invoice to the right person. It’s amazing how many businesses fall at this first hurdle! Make sure that you agree payment terms up front, so that there are no surprises which could lead to disputes and therefore delay payment.  And don’t forget to supply your bank details. Have a system to record invoices and track payments so that you can send gentle reminders when payments don’t arrive when they should.  (Save the heavy-handed tactics for the serious defaulters!)

You may also choose to delay payments out by paying suppliers according to their payment terms, rather than as soon as the invoice arrives. Or consider careful use of a business credit card in order to defer payments as long as is reasonable without damaging your credit rating or reputation.

Don’t waste funds on unnecessary expenses or tie up bank funds in excessive stock balances. Remember that to grow your business you may need to free up funds in order to invest in equipment or staff.  Also, if seeking finance, lenders will look at your cashflow as well as your profit.

Finally, consider using cloud software and banking apps – they will allow you to monitor your funds wherever you are, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you’ll always have up-to-date information at your fingertips!

For any questions, on this blog or cashflow, contact Carolyn of Orion Accountancy

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