What can we ditch as we build towards a better future?

When Covid first hit the U.S., did you imagine lockdown lasting until October? Now, as you look forward, are you hoping we’ll be “done with Covid” in January? Are you more pessimistically — or realistically, depending on who you ask — thinking that this pandemic might last through 2021? One thing that’s become obvious in 2020 is that life — and business — are precarious endeavors, and there is always room for improvement.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the realities Covid has laid bare: massive educational inequalities, extensive…

Letting go of expectations — yours and mine —during crisis

For many of us, ‘stay safe at home’ orders have effectively “grounded” us. We may be home alone, with our pets, with our kids or even with extended family. Hopefully, you’re finding healthy(ish) ways to cope with the stress of crisis. You may be tempted to try to accomplish some big task during your “free time.” But you don’t have free time — you have crisis time. Crisis time is time for healing, rest, taking care of yourself and taking care of your community (if you’re able). While I’m as…

A minimalist guide for complicated times

In this weird time, there are a plethora of articles encouraging you to be productive (read a book — no, WRITE a book!) and at least as many giving you permission to be unproductive (mental health is more important than productivity!) What if you’re unmotivated, and feeling unproductive, but still want to keep your business afloat? Or your business is closed but you want to keep up your social media presence? In this case I recommend a minimalist social media marketing strategy. …

Showcase your weird, increase revenue, and build community

Even in the best of times, social media marketing doesn’t come easy for many of us. There is both too much information online about social media, and not enough information on what strategies actually bring customers in. Throw in a global crisis, the beginning of a recession, and massive business pivots, and suddenly social media makes even less sense! Many people avoid social media because they think if they can’t do it daily and beautifully, that they shouldn’t do it at all. What stops most people from employing a useful social media…

When something big happens, like a huge snow storm, viral outbreak, or economic downturn, it can be very easy to catastrophize and imagine your small business shutting down. But — with some patience, preparation, and grace, we can use these slow times to build a foundation for future growth. Here are some suggestions of work to do when incoming revenue slows down:

· Take a critical look at your marketing strategy, especially social media. Can you save money somewhere, by doing more work in house? Can you build a back stock of images for use in the future (especially product…

The best social media strategies increase revenue and build community

Social media marketing is not intuitive for most of us. There is both too much information online about social media, and not enough information on what strategies actually bring customers in. Many small businesses or marketing managers think that more is better on social media, so they avoid it because they cannot commit to posting daily. What stops most people from fully engaging on social media is friction. Friction is any part of the process that stresses you out. For some people, choosing photos for posting creates friction. For others…

How letting go of expectations can create space for efficient and purposeful work

Many of us, when asked how we’re doing, will answer with a slightly exasperated, maybe somewhat proud, “busy!” This busy-ness — and the expectations around how we “should” work — get in the way of actually conducting business. This constant busy-ness gets in the way of working efficiently as well as working purposefully. Why does busy-ness inhibit productivity? One of my favorite terms I learned last year was “inefficient overwork.” Inefficient overwork refers to doing more than you need to, to accomplish a task. Examples of inefficient overwork include checking and rechecking work, spending too long on a task, hemming…

Image by Caitlyn Lunsford taken at the Sustainability Summit for South Sound Women in Business

“Sustainability and”: A thoughtful approach to greening your small business

If your business is trying to improve its sustainable efforts, but you feel stuck — you’re not alone! It can be hard to know what steps you can take towards greening your business will actually matter in the long run. The sheer volume of potential tactics can be overwhelming, from recycling to commute trip reduction to carbon offsets to fossil fuel divestment. Before you get so overwhelmed that you quit trying — there’s another approach that can both reduce your environmental impact and your connections in your community. I like…

Recently, I attended a business mixer at a bar. I couldn’t find parking easily (Strike 1.) I tried to order a soda, and got ignored by the bartender (Strike 2.) I arrived on time but everyone was seated and eating already with no open chairs — did I miss a memo? (Strike 3.) I said ‘hi’ to the few people I knew, who quickly went back to their already-established conversations (Strike 4.) I left within 5 minutes of arriving. Could I have tried harder? Absolutely. But what I know now — and didn’t then — is that this type of…

Small businesses might struggle to bring in customers. What you might need: a little local love.

If you’re a small business owner or employee, you might have tried the ‘a little bit of everything’ social media marketing strategy, or perhaps the ‘throw a few options up and see what lands.’ If that’s you — that’s cool, it’s many of us — but there’s a simpler and more purposeful approach to marketing: targeting your social media efforts to connect specifically with local customers. Social media is a fantastic, democratizing marketing tool. It’s free, and you can make your mark even as…

Allison Bishins Consulting

Small business consultant helping businesses connect with their community. Eclectic background in urban planning, marketing, non-profits + environmental policy.

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