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Tag Archives: Business

Tips on how stand out as a professional

Bridget B. No Comments

Recently I had a conversation with some friends about the importance of networking. Now I am not referring to ‘social’ networking on Facebook and LinkedIn, but rather actual mingling with real people in a physical setting, exchanging business cards and such. Networking provides a great opportunity for us to form connections with others in our industry, form potential business partnerships or just get our name out there.

At this point I would like to make a disclaimer: I am horrible at networking. Something about walking up to complete strangers, and starting a random conversation, just does not happen naturally for me.  

Disclaimer aside, I do encourage you all to brush up on your networking skills, if you are not already good at it. The thing about networking though, it does not only take place at a fancy “Networking event”, it can happen ANYWHERE. Remember, it’s all about building relationships. It can happen in public transport, the grocery, the bank or whilst sitting at the hairdresser or barber. You can meet people everywhere!

Question is, do we start rambling on about ourselves or our businesses every time we meet a new person? You can, but that may come off a bit presumptuous. Here are a few tips on how you can make the most of those planned or unplanned networking opportunities and stand out as a professional.

1. Prepare your elevator speech

We’ve all heard about it (well at least I hope that we’ve all heard). They say (I really don’t know who “they” is) that you should have a prepared statement about yourself which you should be able to say in the time it takes to ride between floors in an elevator. How arbitrary right?

The point is that you need to be able to introduce yourself to someone, getting in all the salient points, in a very short time frame. You do not want to exhaust them with a long history about how you got into your line of work. This is what I came up with for myself:

Hello, I’m Bridget. I am currently a graduate student but I also offer independent services in Integrated Marketing Communication.

It’s not perfect, but it’s short, to the point and accurate. Your elevator speech is something that you can practice and tweak until you think you’ve got it right.

2. Get a business card and take it with you everywhere

If you meet someone whom you think will make a good connection, present them with your business card. How about giving it to them right after you deliver your elevator speech? Say something simple like “Let’s keep in touch” or “I’d like to chat with you some more”. Presenting someone with your card usually prompts them to also present you with theirs (once they have one).

Many people do not realize that it is quite simple to make your own business card. Before you go pulling out the arts and craft supplies, this is not a DIY project 🙂 . There are many online services that allow you to create a professional looking business card by simply entering your personal information onto a generalized template. Vistaprint is where I had mine done.

Make sure that your business card is representative of you or your business.

3. Dress the part

If you are self-employed or a small business owner, you are always on the job. Not literally, but you have to accept that you may meet a potential client or business partner in any setting. Therefore, it is important to always look your best. Of course “your best” is subjective, but the idea here is simply to present yourself in such a manner that will not detract from what you have to offer.

4. Watch what you say on social media

I don’t know about you, but when I meet someone that I am interested in connecting with I head to the Internet. Sometimes I start with a simple Google search and then I click on every open social media account that comes up. If you don’t do it, you better believe that someone has done it to you.

People always want to know more. They want to see what you say online, they want to see what kind of photos you post, they even want to see who else you are connected with. Make sure that your online behavior can’t come back to haunt you.

This is all I have for now, but as I continue to navigate the waters of my professional life, I’ll be sure to update this post with any other tips that I think may come in handy.

Share some of your own tips in the comments section below.

Toodles! 🙂

PR Girl

Bridget B. No Comments

It’s official! I have my first “client”.

For the longest while I’ve been tiptoeing around the idea of offering PR consultancy services. It’s not like I’m unsure about a career path, it’s just that I feel as though, like every other industry, PR is a bit saturated.

However, I had been helping out a close friend with PR strategies for her small business. One night she said “B, you can do this as a business you know. You can help people with small businesses, I’m sure there are plenty people like me”. That’s when I started this website.

So let’s fast forward to today. I now have my first official client, whose website (designed by moi) went live yesterday.

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 6.36.09 PM

In another post I’ll be sure to talk about how easy it is to take your great idea, skill or product from a Facebook page to a professional business.

The point of what I am doing is to provide small business, et al with the tools that will make them standout. Through this new client, I myself have come across a lot of inexpensive tools which can be utilized to do everything from creating a logo, building a website and even creating your own personalized email address (e.g. info@bridgetbeckles.com).

If you’re nervous about doing it on your own, feel free to give me a shout. I’m smack dab in the middle of building my portfolio and would love nothing better!

So, until I actually sit and write about the new tools that I’ve come across, here are a few things that you can either Google or ask around about:

1. Gimp – this is a photo editing tool much like Adobe Photoshop, except that it’s free (an absolute plus for a grad student). Similar to Photoshop, it isn’t the simplest application to use but There are many tutorials on YouTube as well as blog posts around the web.

2. PicMonkey – this is another photo editing tool but is web based and is much simpler to get the hang of. There is a wide variety of fonts, overlays, textures and shapes.

3. Weebly – I used Weebly to build this website. I find that it’s very much user friendly and the pricing is cheaper than other similar services.

So do some digging around and tell me what you think in the comments section of this post.

Well it’s Christmas Eve, so have a very Merry Christmas tomorrow and many blessings for the new year.

Toodles!

What’s your PR style?

Bridget B. No Comments

PR

In my last blog post Proof Before You Post, I mentioned that your organization’s stakeholders (clients, potential customers, investors, partners) will have most of their interaction with you or your brand via published words. By “published words” I mean; your website or blog, your business card, your Facebook page or even your Tweets. Have you considered what you have been portraying about your brand through these mediums?

Is your website cluttered? Or is it minimalistic? Do you post multiple times a day on your Facebook page or do you post one vague status per week? Is your Twiitter language passive or aggressive? What kind of colours do you use for your brand? Did you print your business card on rigid board or a floppy type of paper?

I’m currently working with a baby & kids boutique, one of the first things I noted was that the business did not have any clear “trademark”; no brand colour, font style, or even consistent language. If you were to Google a big brand like Coca Cola, you will notice that their branding (colour and language) is consistent across platforms. That is, if you are looking at their Facebook Page, Instagram or Twitter accounts, you will always know which company’s profile you’re on.

So if you haven’t quite figured out your ‘Style’, do some research on different brands or businesses that are in your industry. Pay close attention to how they have positioned themselves. As you look at more websites, blogs and social media profiles, you will eventually come up with your own way of doing things.

Keep in mind that your personal style may not be the best fit for your business. As you determine your business’s PR Style, you will create a footprint that is uniquely yours. Don’t be afraid to try varied styles until you find what suits you best.

Strictly Business

Bridget B. No Comments

One of my main considerations when I included the social media icons on my personal website was, whether or not to link them with my already existing social accounts.

Many individuals who start up small businesses, consultancy firms or non-profits, tend to use their ‘friend list’ as the capital investment into followers, page likes and such. While it may be a good place to start, it is certainly nowhere to remain.

Social Media has become this virtual “soap box” that all and sundry uses to air their personal views (or rantings) on topics that are usually dear to their hearts. However, our personal opinions should not be imposed on our customers, clients, business partners, investors and the like.

It is important to keep it ‘strictly business’ when dealing with audiences in the cyber world. If not, there is the risk of some stakeholders becoming turned off of our brand because they may have contradicting views.

Here are a few tips on managing your online presence with some of the more popular social platforms:

1. Facebook – Create a Facebook business page and invite your friends to like it. Moving forward, use the page for all communication with stakeholders. If someone messages you on your personal profile, it is ok to politely ask them to contact you via the business page. With the Facebook Pages Manager app for mobile devices, it is very easy to maintain communication without having to log out of you personal profile.

2. Twitter – Since there is the option to add multiple Twitter accounts on mobile devices, I would suggest creating a dedicated Twitter account for your business. Twitter is a great way to interact with stakeholders as millions of people tweet everyday. A dedicated Twitter account will help to strengthen your brand’s presence.

3.  LinkedIn – A different approach can be used with LinkedIn since it is a professional network, especially if you have a small business and want to establish personal connections with business partners or investors.  Feel free to add your LinkedIn badge to your company page, but be mindful of the kind of content you post; include any relevant academic qualifications, detail projects you have worked and even describe your business. LinkedIn can be thought of as your online business card or resumé.

Now that you have an idea of how to manage your online presence, choose the social platforms that you think will be of the most benefit to your business.

Remember, keep it strictly business!

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About Blog

I blog about communication and marketing strategies for small businesses, consultants and non-profits. I am specifically interested in how digital communication can be used to improve organizational reputation and growth of the business.

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