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Running a Successful Creative Business

Running a successful creative business can be tough, as you have to keep it functioning and keep the creative and fun sparks flying. However it can be done, you just need to be organised, efficient and creative. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.

Colourful business Lightbulb

Stick to One Thing

Find out what you’re good at and stick to it, don’t take on too many things at once

Don’t be afraid to change your plan

Once you’ve created a business plan don’t be afraid to change it, as long as you have a clear vision of where your heading you can make adaptations to your plan.

Don’t do what everyone else does

Many businesses will take the safer/easier route, if you do things that these businesses are too afraid to do then you will stand out against your competition.

Bottom Line

To succeed a business needs to make a profit, so keep an eye on your spending’s to ensure your businesses success.This is responsible so you can pay your suppliers and any other people you may need to on time.

Collaborate

Engage with other businesses around you, yes they are technically your competition but building partnerships help stimulate new ideas.

Become a Digital Business

Connect, Engage, Like and Follow. Connect with employees, customers and other people you interact with so you can build up a digital culture. Learn how to use social media properly and keep up with technology so you can further promote your business. Don’t keep your business to yourself, by making it digital your business can be seen by the world.

Fail, Try again, Succeed

Every business has had it’s bad pitches, IT errors and bad meetings, the trick is to discover why the situation failed, learn from it and move on.

Be Tenacious

If you’re not succeeding, let out your frustration and move on. The best businesses are built through persistence, focus on how you can improve this for next time. Keep going, don’t give up.

Protect and Defend your ideas

Most business ideas have been building up for years and are the key to your business, so defend and protect them.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Be organised. If you have a project that is going to bring in a lot of revenue then focus on that. Set up dates, put people in place, but don’t forget about other projects running alongside it.

Keep it Fun

Running a creative business is still supposed to be fun, so if you’re not enjoying yourself seek out the fun in and encourage others to do the same.

 

Professionalism In The Workplace

Professionalism is something everyone wants to achieve, and it can be a simple thing to achieve as long as you have the right focus and the right advice. Below are a few tips on how to become more professional in yourself and your workplace.

Professionalism

Professionalism

Work More Than The Bare Minimum

A typical day starts at 9am and finishes at 5pm. However if you are eager to show your professional side, try staying on later or coming in earlier. No ones saying you must work 12 hour days, but staying on an extra 30-60 minutes to finish a task proves you are keen to do the job to the best of your ability, rather than keen to clock watch.

Arrive On time For Meetings

Meetings are a common occurrence in the work place and often take place to help you. They are very helpful for team discussions, queries and feedback. Therefore when someone has taken the time to organise the meeting, turning up late is not very professional. No one likes their time to be wasted, and a big time waster is waiting for people to arrive for your meeting to start.

Act Professionally

Dressing the part and being punctual is one thing, but how you behave in front of your colleagues and managers is something else. This means avoid crude/disrespectful jokes discussing your crazy weekend of partying and drinking. Things you say, however they are intended can sway peoples view on your behaviour. Try to keep your focus on work whilst you’re there and you should still be viewed as a professional colleague.

Keep Work and Personal Life Separate

Sometimes it is hard to leave personal problems at the door, but it is important to try and limit the effect it has on your work ethic. Using works time to handle your own things isn’t very professional, try to save it until your break or until you get home if possible. If this is not the case step away from your desk/area to make the personal phone call. Your bosses will rather you take the quick phone call, and be able to have a clearer head space for the rest of the day.

Put Your Phone On Silent

In the majority of workplaces our mobiles are on silent, in our bags, desk drawers ect. They are not ringing away with an irritating ringtone disrupting everyone else. You can still keep it on your desk just have the volume off, on silent or vibrate. (Unless your phone is a key part of your business, e.g business phone)

Dress Professionally

Wherever you work your company will have a dress code, whether this be formal or casual. It is there for a reason, don’t show up in a business suit if you’re going to be building structures. Keep yourself well groomed and pay a lot of attention to your personal hygiene.

Carry a Notepad

“You pass your boss in the corridor who asks you to complete a task after your break, after your break you return to your desk and forget what was asked of you.” Situations like this could mean someone else then has to work extra hours to complete a task you forgot. It doesn’t have to be a notepad, you could jot it down in your phone/ipad ect. As long as you make a note and it gets done.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Professionals are keen and eager to learn, which sometimes means asking questions. Asking a questions doesn’t mean ” you’re not as clever or you can’t work alone” It simply means you would like more information about the task you are completing.

 

Optimising Sales Through Teamwork

Rather than focusing on one “super salesperson” it is sometimes better to work together as a team to create a successful outcome. This is a very simple technique which many businesses can overlook. Some businesses will let one person do all the pitching and all the thinking, which is a lot of pressure on that one person. It also means other employees could be slightly short of work by one person taking on so much, which is why it is better to split out the sales pitching between more people. Below are some ways to optimise your
sales through teamwork.Teamwork

Set Clear Goals

When the work distribution is not clear, this is when cracks begin to show and problems occur. Before a big event, make sure every person involved knows their role and their set tasks. Also make sure these roles and tasks are distributed to the correct people. For example, don’t ask a person to set up an exhibition stand when they normally design the flyers. You will waste time trying to show someone what to do, when you could have had an experienced person setting up.

Trust Their Skills

Nobody can work well with someone breathing down their neck, can they? So if you are constantly checking up on your colleagues, checking their progress, emailing them and inspecting their work, then they will never finish the job to a high standard. Trust them to complete each task and trust that they will contact you if they face any problems.

Have Regular Meetings

Meetings aren’t there to scare or daunt you, they’re there so colleagues can help each other. You will get an insight into what you’re team members are doing and they can see what you’re doing. You will also receive feedback on your progress, if anyone is struggling then everyone can pitch ideas together to create a solution. By holding weekly meetings you keep on top of projects and can quickly resolve any issues. A big bonus of teamwork!

Resolve Issues Quickly

Chances are that with multiple brains all working at once trying to create ideas, this will cause friction. However it is important to address each issue as they arise before they turn into big problem. Not each employee will agree on every outcome. But it is important that these disagreements are fixed, before they turn in to long term problems which may affect teamwork performance.

“What if?”

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew what was going to happen in the future? Well by challenging your employees to ask themselves “what if?” you can get a glimpse of this. When planning a project it is a good idea to try to have a solution to any problem you may face. By asking “what if” to every situation and outcome, your team will always be prepared for anything.

 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Selling Techniques

Selling Techniques and Grabbing Customers Attention

Being a salesperson can be tough, when mentioned most people think of a sketchy car salesman trying to scam you. Many salespeople have managed to overcome this stereotype, however certain people are still hesitant about trusting them. This is why you need to be professional and assertive without being pushy. Below are some selling techniques on convincing the customer, common mistakes made, Do’ and Don’ts and helpful advice.Sales

DO’S

Be visual. More than likely customers will not remember the majority of information you tell them, but they are more likely to remember an image, video or something seen with their eyes.

Talking too much overwhelms the customer and won’t give you and idea of what they want. Try to even it out to 70% talking and 30% listening

Make the client feel special. A key selling technique is making the client feel like a friend or family member with the discounts they are receiving.

Share a few trade secrets, sharing a few insider tips makes the client feel like they’re getting a better deal than others. It also helps gain new audience and boost current authority.

Try to understand your target market / customer.  For example, if you sell houses to customers you know they are looking to buy a house, yet you need to know more of what the customer is looking for before meeting them. This will save time and hassle.

Focus on the benefits and how you are helping the customer. Rather than trying out four or five selling techniques on a client, try to give them a solution. How does product X help the customer solve problem Y.

Speak to more people, the more people you talk to the more likely you will make a sale. Making a sale is roughly a 50/50 chance, however if you speak to 10 people in a day, the 50/50 chance is that 5 people will make a purchase.

 

DON’TS

Never assume what they want or what they’re like. To assume is to make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and me.

Closing the sale is as important as the rest, sometimes salespeople present a perfect pitch with all the right information, yet don’t ask the customer for the sale.

Don’t compare yourselves to other companies, this will only make the customer think of that company, rather than solely on yours. This will then cause the customer to compare everything you say towards that companies offers.

There are a few typical closing techniques which many retailers use to influence customers, for example: Now or Never – “20% discount for customers who sign up today” or  “this is the last product at this price”

The majority of techniques used depends on the person portraying them. Some of these techniques may work better on certain people depending on their personality traits. Good customer service also goes a long way when requiring a sale, as long as this is at the base of your pitch and your offers then you should be successful.

 

Succeeding at Big Trade Shows

Trade shows can be tough. There are thousands of businesses and millions of attendees, who all want the same thing, attention. Businesses are there to attract more customers and make sales, attendees are there to find new business and to be targeted. Thousands of businesses are all exhibiting at the show trying to attract attention and create a buzz around their exhibition stand. However with there being so many of them, how do you make one stand, stand out?

Trade Show Hall

Staff and Attendees

Be approachable, stand up, walk around trying to engage with people. Try not to blend into the stand, wear something bright or eye catching otherwise people will walk right past your stand. Pick the right people good customer service goes a long way, and if your space provides this along with knowledge of the business, a buzz will be created. Something to remember with customer service is admitting mistakes, as customers’ will respect this and it might even build stronger relationships.

Tell people you’re exhibiting, send out invites, email, ring up other local companies. It’s no use planning for a big trade show, spending a lot of time and money on it to not invite people to attend. Relying on passing customers’ to stop at your stand isn’t a good strategy.

Offer out freebies, not pens or key rings as these will end up on the floor or in the bin. Try sweets, the time it takes to open a wrapper is enough time to give a short pitch about what you’re offering. This works well as most people will come for the freebies and then leave. If this doesn’t pick up enough attention try offering short contests to attendees, answering questions about the business and winning prizes. This encourages the customers to engage with you as they are gaining something from it.

See what you’re up against. For smaller businesses, it is sometimes better to attend one of these trade shows as a customer before exhibiting, this will give you an idea of what the bigger companies are providing and you’ll see it from a customers’ point of view. Who is after all your target.

The Exhibition Stand

Some bigger brands will have a big fancy stand which will have cost a lot of money, yet there can be minimum buzz around it. Try bringing in simple digital assets such as playing with lighting, putting out iPad’s for quick sign up and creating an app. Another easy way to attract custom is by offering out free WiFi at your booth, as this will encourage customers to stay.

Rather than just rambling the same speech on to customers, try including some visuals to engage them in from afar. If a booth is eye catching from a distance then customers are more likely to stop by. For example:

The big guys often use fancy pop-up displays and don’t mess with customising anything. We beat those exhibitors every time on a very small budget. Two years ago, we partnered with the local zoo to bring two penguins to our trade show booth. People crowded around our booth from the moment the show began. We handed out penguin-themed flyers and penguin stress balls. People STILL remember it!  –  Jesse Lear, V.I.P. Waste Services, LLC 

 

Size doesn’t always matter, so get out of the four walls. Many companies will build a square stand and leave it be, which doesn’t always look professional or thought through. When designing your stand opt for different shapes or an open roof, as this won’t close in the booth. Aim to spend at least 4-6 months on planning and designing the stand. The company with the biggest stand doesn’t win, the company that generates the biggest buzz does.

Trade show days are long, busy and tiring. This means customers’ are going to want to sit down and relax after a lot of walking around. If you could provide a relaxing space which works alongside your stand, then this will also attract passing customers.

 

 

Advertising Brands Through Stand Design

Exhibition Stand design is a fast, easy and low cost way of advertising a brand. This is due to the similarities its holds towards Point-of-Purchase displays (POP).

DJ Coaches Exhibition Stand Design

Point-of -Purchase advertising

POP advertising is used in retail stores to attract interest and promote products. This can include banners, signs, coupons, electronic signs and floor stand displays. All of which can be used within stand design for a reasonable price. These are also very common in supermarkets as they are usually quite crowded. Which is due to different brands all competing for shelf space. This type of display also often links in with impulse buying, as they are offering the merchandise at a discounted price. The idea behind this is to help move the products off the shelves into the customers hands.

There are generally two types of retail advertising messages: promotional and institutional. The promotional ad message features a particular product or group of products at a special or discounted price. Institutional advertising is designed to create a positive brand image for the store. They don’t focus on particular products and prices, but instead attempt to leave a lasting and favourable impression on the customers.  – http://adage.com/article/adage-encyclopedia/retail-advertising/98854/

Combining Stand Design and P.O.P

The handy thing about POP displays is that they can be tailored to any brand, deal and space. However an important point to remember about this type of display is that, good displays reflect the level of professionalism within the trade/business. Therefore to invest in a permanent display which advertises a seasonal product is not wise. For POP displays to work they must be thought through and then they will generate sales by themselves. This is much the same as when advertising a company through exhibition stand contractors. As the final result will reflect both businesses throughout.

While reaching approximately 1,000 adults through a 30-second television advert costs £3.30 to £6.32. The cost per thousand for a store merchandiser or a sign with a one-year life is only 2 pence to 30 pence. Meaning overall the business would save money, whilst attracting more customers towards buying a product.

By combining POP displays and stand designs, you can produce a low costing, high standard way of advertising a brand or company. The stands can be built quite high and the POP displays can then be placed on them. This then provides the the same effect given in a supermarket. Especially in the environment which stand designs are placed. As there are many different stands all competing for the customers attention, (much like brands in a supermarket.) Therefore having more height or electronic displays will set you apart from your competition. This works particularly well for smaller businesses who are not looking to spend a lot of money. As they will receive a high quality finish for a low price.

 

Sensory Branding and Marketing

Sensory branding is a type of marketing which applies to all of the senses, not just sight. This way it connects with customers on many other levels, mainly emotionally. When a customer gets the impulse to buy something, this comes from our emotions, as human we have five senses yet the majority of branding only use one. By using all five senses to interact and connect with the customer emotionally, there is more chance of that customer staying or returning. All with the simple use of sensory branding.

The Five Senses of Sensory Branding

Sight

The main sense to be used in branding is sight, as it is the most prominent taking up two thirds of the sense cells in the body. Even more so within design as marketing a brand through sight is how companies attract their customers. Packaging can also a big part of sight branding, how this looks will impact whether a customer sees a business as professional or not.

Smell

Smell comes in naturally when it comes to restaurants and food related businesses. However this can be used as an individual selling technique on it’s own. For example, if a business is selling kitchenware then they could send out certain sells. Such as wafting the smell of toast through their space, which can then intrigue customers in. This way the customer can imagine the appliance in their home, encouraging them to buy.

Sound

Sound can work really well especially if there is a theme involved with the brand. For example a shop which sells camping clothing and equipment could play various sounds. Such as fire crackling, birds, light rain and crickets. This will then excite customers about their camping trip. Which will then influence and encourage them to make a purchase based on impulse and desire.

Taste

Taste can be used in the same way as product engagement. By simply offering out free snacks this can help draw customers in and encouraging them to stay and take a closer look. This will then in turn produce a higher chance of a sale. Please see our previous post for more information on product engagement. http://www.mercerexhibitions.co.uk/2017/02/23/displaying-products-exhibition-spaces/ 

Touch

Touch is already making it’s way up to the same level as sight. In most shops the products on the shelves can be removed and observed at closer view. Using sight and touch together can be a simple way of encouraging customers to buy. By not letting them touch products their interest rate is likely to be reduced.

 

Many brands are following the lead of proponents of  “off the plate” dining experiences, such as Heston Blumenthal, whose restaurant The Fat Duck became famed for its Sound of the Sea dish with accompanying iPod playing the sound of waves. Anne Cassidy – The Guardian

 

The main goal within Sensory branding is to try and get the customer to interact with their purchase on another level. By breaking free from the traditional scheme of branding. This type of branding helps those who work for marketing, get into the mind of consumers’ and understanding what they want. This type of banding is also great, as it can work in any type of business and any size of space. It all depends on how it is carried out. For instance in a small or open space, senses such as smell and sound may be overpowering or overpowered. A lot of what can be done relies on the size of space, in these situations less can be more.

Marketing Your Brand With Exhibition Stand Designs

Exhibition Stand Design is the new way to market a brand whilst adding an artistic edge to it. It is like placing your products into a gallery and then waiting for the viewers to purchase them. The only difference being, the stand will not be in a gallery but more of a trade show setting, surrounded by other businesses. They work similar to a pop up shop, they are temporary, easy and tailored to a companies specific needs. This is what makes them so popular with small businesses today. They are also reusable as they are supplied as flat packs to be quickly and easily assembled.

Display stands are often made up from cardboard, panels, acrylic or corrugated plastic. This means they are more than likely 100% Eco Friendly. There are many types of Exhibition Stands to choose from, depending on size and what the products are. For a small space a Banner Stand or a Tabletop Display would be best, as they don’t take up a lot of space and can be free standing. For a larger space comes in more choice including: pop-up stands, Modular Panel and Frame Systems, Trade Show Booths and then Bespoke Display Stands. The main decision maker for these stands is the budget and the size of the space. If the stand is quite big with lots of detailing artwork and lighting involved then it will be quite expensive. Example of Mercer Exhibition Stand Design

Accessorising the stands

These stands can also hold retail style accessories and much more, this includes: shelving, furniture, counter tops and Plasma TV’s. This helps make each stand individual and unique, tailoring these accessories and technology to each customer or company. The stands are quite flexible with what can be placed on and around them. They can be made to feel like a retail shop with the bright lighting, or even made to feel like a living room with carpets and chairs. This would be particularly useful with the “Showing, Not Telling” technique, which consists of showing a customer what a product would look like in their home before they buy it.

They can be designed to include really personal touches as well. For example if a companies logo is blue, then blue LED lights could be included to give the space a blue glow. Or if a company creates products from bamboo, then part of the stand could be formed from bamboo. It is very ideal for small businesses looking to grow and/or gain more customers. As it can cost as little or as much as necessary whilst promoting the company.

 

For more information and deals on Exhibition Stands please visit our Twitter Page: https://twitter.com/MercerXhibition

 

 

 

Displaying Products in Exhibition Spaces

When organising products in a display the right level between too much and too little, can easily get confusing if there is a variety of products. Too many products will make the display look messy and unorganised, and too little will make it look unfinished. If the display is made up of large and small products then the first idea is to separate them. This also depends on the colour scheme between them, as if the colour flow well together then they could be displayed together.

Ideally products are grouped together with three or less colours which work well together. It is more pleasing to the eye. Products can also be placed together by category, e.g. kettles, microwaves and toasters. These can be placed together as they are all kitchen appliances. However a way to make the display more eye-catching would be to use a strong colour against a paler one, e.g. white and red. This breaks up the display and makes it brighter. This means the customer is more likely to stop and have a look. Try to avoid monochrome displays as human eyes tend to quickly move on without buying.

Product Engagement

With stand design comes height, which means more space to place products and new strategic ways of organising them. This allows the customer to see the products from different angles and even pick them up. Try to avoid putting up signs that say DO NOT TOUCH as displays are supposed to get messed up, and the point of an exhibition is to be interactive.

If possible try to offer some form of refreshments as it will be much appreciated, and will help draw in customers. Then as these customers are already in the retail space, they will more than likely look around which may result in a sale. This will also leave a lasting impression on the customer.

For example:

Customer One “Where did we buy that teal lamp from again?”

Customer Two “The same place we got those free fruit pots!”

Another simple way of attracting customers in is by showing, not telling. People often like to see what something will look like in their own home before buying it. A great example of this is furniture shops, they often set up displays of their products in a living room setting. The same can be done with cookware in a kitchen setting. This won’t be particularly easy with a small retail space, although it mainly depends on what is being sold. However this could be done on a smaller scale, to give the customer a similar idea.

 

Using Technology Within Stand Design

Problems within Stand Design

As technology becomes more advanced it becomes more of the norm, which is both good and bad. It is good as it opens more windows for opportunity, allowing people to showcase their ideas and products. However it also comes with a negative that certain people who struggle with technology may feel left behind, particularly the elderly. However as they do not use it as much, they are almost more fascinated by it and how it works.

Somewhere where this is successful is within stand design, as it is a place for all ages with both business and customer attending. This being as businesses may have t.v’s, iPad’s etc as part of their exhibition stand. This causes customers to be more intrigued, making it more interactive. Customer’s will most likely take photos at these events to remember certain products and companies names, and even to show their friends. The main thing that works well with exhibition stand design is that everything is optional. Even more so with technology, as the events which they exhibit are free flowing. It is not like entering a shop it’s more like walking past it, like window shopping.

Another main reason why technology is being used in these situations is to due to the fact that technology is used on a daily basis. Therefore if businesses aren’t keeping up with day to day performance, then customer’s may lose interest. In day to day life, smartphones and computers are used minute by minute, so to not include them at all in business would be rather a foolish idea. People tend to understand what they can relate to and they tend to trust what they find relatable.

Primal Exhibition Stand Design

New Ideas

Using technology as part of a selling strategy is a wise decision. This being as it opens more doors for new companies to create business. It also separates those companies from the dated companies. Adding new technology into business ventures, will also create new jobs for people who are able to work it. This then creates more interest which creates more revenue. Which means in the long run it is a win win situation. Apart from the small price which comes of purchasing it. The careful trick though is not simply using the technology as a novelty attraction. By using technology to its advantage helps support their business.

Technology also has the power to improve communication, meaning talking or video chatting to anyone in the world has never been easier. This then creates more potential clients, clients who may not have gotten in touch without this technology. One small downside to the amount of technology included in business, is a small class divide will gradually be created. Certain customer’s may not be able to afford the new business, yet other customer’s will. This means you may lose some customers, but you will most likely gain some in the process.

 

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