There come a period of time in every successful business where you need to review your processes and the way you work. This has recently been me.

I have been overwhelmed with the amazing clients that I have had the opportunity to work with over the past few years and continue to have contact me about their new and exciting projects. Within the third month of this year, I found myself booked up for the majority of the year!! To enable me to take on a support more clients in the areas they require I realised I needed some extra support with certain areas of my business.

I, of course, have the fabulous Ella helping me out with some of the marketing activity I do, but I realised there was another very important area of my business that needed a helping hand from a professional; product and brand photography for the small businesses that I work with. Whilst I have really enjoyed doing some product and brand photography for clients, I decided it was time to get some extra support with this important area of a businesses marketing toolkit, to allow me to focus on my client's other requirements, such as websites, blog support, and social media support. 

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For me, this decision was made easier due to the fact that I have an extraordinarily talented sister-in-law who happens to be a rather in-demand wedding photographer, Helen King Photography. Through a conversation about our businesses one day, I discovered this is an area of photography that Helen wanted to explore further and I was instantly excited to get her to collaborate with me on my client projects. 

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Product Photography Derbyshire

I am delighted that Helen's services will now be available to my clients and I can't wait to see the results she gets!  Helen's work is fresh, bright and elegant and her eye for attention to detail is very similar to my own. It's these reasons that give me full confidence that she will deliver amazing results for the small businesses that I work with. I adore Helen's photos and could not be happier to be able to use her work on my client's websites and within their marketing activity. 

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Here is a little bit about Helen from the lady herself:

Hi, I'm Helen and I'm the friendly face behind Helen King Photography. I have run my own photography business for 7 years and have loved every minute of it. My business is a mix of wedding, portrait, and commercial photography; basically, anything beautiful or creative and I'm there!

Before embarking on building my own photography business I studied a degree in English Literature and followed a career as a visual merchandiser, I love stories and I'm a storyteller at heart. To me, photography is a way of telling a unique story every time I pick up my camera.

I'm a huge believer in getting to know the people I photograph, whether that's weddings and family photography or understanding the creative people at the heart of the small businesses I work with; so in the spirit of getting to know one another this is a bit about me...

I’m a complete coffeeholic! I have to put myself on caffeine rations or I'd be a jittery mess!

I'm a believer in the power of a good red lippy

Being by the sea makes me feel wild & free and tiny & powerless all at the same time

I love exploring, whether that's exploring the beauty on our very own doorstep or venturing further afield, the world is a marvelous and wondrous place and I want to experience it all.

I love stories, in any form! Give me a good book or movie to get lost in and I'm as happy as a clam.

Music makes me happy, I play a few different instruments and love to listen to classical music, but really I'm a fan of any music - anything that makes me laugh or cry or dance around my kitchen (which is often!)

I'm the family cake baker, any occasion and everyone puts in their request for their favourite bake!

 

If you would like to plan your product or brand photography, just get in touch with myself or Helen and we will be happy to you plan your visual business branding. 

Many of you may have seen the announcement from Facebook last week stating that big changes lay ahead for the social site. The context of this message seemed to denote that business posts would be ranked as less of a priority as part of these changes.

This created a huge hub of ‘what ifs and ‘what will happen’ theories buzzing around the internet with a key phrase of ‘Facebook Zero’ being coined. 

In reality, we don’t really know what will happen at all yet, as the changes have not been made and are likely to be implemented over a period of time. What we do know, is Facebook as a social Chanel for business has been on a downturn for some time. 

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Those of us that regularly use Facebook for business will have probably noticed engagement rates drop significantly. This will have happened for a number of reasons. Facebook restricting post views for one (done for a number of reasons, but mostly to tidy up everyone’s chaotic news feeds), but also because audiences are failing to engage with being advertised to in the most blatant way. There is no big surprise that audiences are moving toward channels such as Instagram and snapchat, where engagement is more about being social and engaging with peers. This is what Facebook are aiming to rectify with the changes. 

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I have seen Facebook still working reasonably well for some businesses, but those businesses have had to really put some hard work into their page to get any return. For most small businesses this is often not a viable and sustainable option to add into their busy schedules. It’s also important to remember why we use social sites such as Facebook for our businesses in the first place, and that is to navigate traffic to our websites, shops and services to generate sales. Your engagement on social media may be ok, but is that converting into enquiries and sales for your business? If that’s a no, then a re-think about how you use social media for your business is needed. Is it more about brand awareness for you? 

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So, how do we fix this problem? The simple answer is, we continue to use Facebook and other social sites and navigate it remembering the points above. If it isn't driving sales for you, is it offering another tangible benefit to your business? We should never put all of our eggs in one basket when it comes to our marketing activities. If our sales channel lets us down and we are only using one, our business dries up. Instead, we need to think about using a range of available marketing tools. Below are some ideas to consider for broadening your marketing tools and sales channels:

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Utilise a range of social sites that are relative to your business and audience.

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Grow your mailing list. Create your own engaged community and keep in touch with them. 

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Think about your website and ensuring it’s optimised for search engines. Can someone find you via google easier that Facebook?

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Look at some paid for advertising online. Tools such as re-marketing have the same drip feed effect that seeing something pop up on a social site would have. Remember, social media marketing isn't free, it costs your time, so by spending a small amount on this activity, you could be saving valuable time.

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As a small business, head out into your community, face to face where possible, join events and sell your products and services in person. You are likely to create a stronger bond and a more loyal customer base; and after all, aren’t we all just longing for the simplicity of the good old days!?

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Planning is not something that comes easy to everyone. Some people are more 'in the moment' which is a fabulous trait and something I am often jealous of.

I, however, always have to plan. I love a good list and have a list for most things in my life. When it comes to my working schedule, planning becomes even more important. I work on many different areas of marketing for a whole range of businesses. If I didn't properly plan, I wouldn't meet deadlines, wouldn't know how much time I had to fit in projects, meetings and training sessions and my clients wouldn't know what was happening and when. 

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When I initially start working with a new client and we talk about the planning process and working with an idea of the next few month planned out, this can make a huge difference to how they see their business and plan their activity overall. It helps them to think about events in the calendar that are coming up, what they need to prepare for and where there are opportunities to create sales and offers to increase business. 

For a lot of people, efficient planning within their work comes down to the tools they are using, or not using, as the case may be. Where there are multiple people within that business who all need to work to the same schedule, something as simple as a shared Google calendar can make all the difference. A tool that is free to use and accessible on the move, on numerous devices. 

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Most of the businesses I work with are creative and the people within them have to spend the majority of their time making, creating and selling. To add in marking activity on top of this can create a lot of work, which can often look overwhelming. This is where planning can help to ensure that your marketing activity is something that becomes second nature within your business and is a process which actually helps you to focus on the essential key areas. There are a huge range of planning tools available out there and the need for these will differ for each business. Its all about finding what works for you and helps you to manage your marketing activity on top of the creative work you have to undertake within your business. 

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Here are a few of my top tips for planning out your marketing activity:

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Try to create a provisional plan for at least three months ahead. List the key events and occasions in your diary that your business needs to be ready for. 

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Set aside one hour each month to plan out your social media activity. Gather together as much content as possible and plan this into your calendar. This should make posting daily on social media a short job for the day. 

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Use your social media planning time to also reflect on the month that has just passed this will give you a great insight into what worked the month before and where to focus your precious time. 

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Try to add your daily tasks to a calendar and allocate time blocks to each activity. This will help you to focus on getting each job done in the time allocated. It will also help you resist trying to fit too much into each day and feeling frustrated at not achieving enough.

If you would like to discuss how you could better plan your marketing activity into your daily, weekly and monthly routine, just get in touch.  

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Growing as a small business can be a little scary. It can feel overwhelming and push you out of your comfort zone. When it is a business based on just you and under your name too, it can feel even more uncomfortable introducing someone else. 

I love this quote by Abraham Maslow:


"At any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety." 


Recently I have chosen to step forward. My business has grown, and it continues to do so. I feel incredibly lucky for that and incredibly grateful for the businesses that have chosen to work with me.

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However, along with this growth has come the need for extra support myself. This is something I procrastinated on for a while. It is difficult to introduce someone into your business when everything they do will ultimately reflect on you and the services you pride yourself on offering to your clients. Eventually, Ella came to my rescue. 

Ella is a self-employed Creative Content Developer who has recently joined Lisa King Consultancy in providing creative content assistance. 

I first met Ella around five years ago when I was a marketing manager for a corporate organisation. Ella joined the business as a recruitment consultant but soon progressed her career to the marketing department. Ella now has a PR degree and has worked in a marketing role for the past 3 years. She is still employed as a marketing executive for a national company, as well as starting on her own business journey.

I have always loved Ella's work ethic, fabulous personality, and genuine nature. I knew straight away that Ella was the perfect person to assist me in my business and able deliver to my very high standards. I'm over the moon to have her support. 

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Here is a little bit about Ella from the lady herself:

Hi, I'm Ella, I am currently working full time as a Marketing Executive for a large national organisation, with a degree in Fashion, Communication and Promotion. I am now embarking on my self-employed journey too!

I have a wealth of experience in working with many well-known brands both through my day-to-day job role and my live briefs at University. 

Here are a few facts about myself to get to know me a little more!

  • I graduated from University in July 2017, however, I have continued to work in a marketing role alongside my course the whole time. 
  • Although I studied fashion and really enjoy keeping up with the latest trends, I studied my degree purely because of the broad range of topics covered throughout the three years and the chance to work with some big names.
  • Saying that I really enjoy having the balance of working with both well-known brands and the opportunity to support smaller businesses that are most often a lot more creative.
  • I have recently just had an offer accepted on my first home with my boyfriend, it’s quite a project as I am drawn to older houses with character, and I cannot wait to get started!
  • Following on from the above, I LOVE looking at houses and I follow so many Instagram pages dedicated to house projects for inspiration. 
  • In my spare time, I love walking in the Peak District and visiting independent shops in pretty Derbyshire villages.
  • I have known Lisa for over three years and I feel we balance each other really well. Although we have very different characteristics, we most definitely have a love for stationery, diaries and being organised. 
  • Ultimately, I am reasonably new to the self-employed working world, however, I am extremely driven and eager to continue learning. I love meeting new people and I am excited to have the opportunity to work alongside Lisa. 
 
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So its been quite a while since I have written anything here. Not because I can't be bothered, or don't have anything to say, but because iv been in the same trap as most people. Too busy! 

I don't think that's a bad thing and sometimes, something has to give. The small business owners I meet always put incredible amounts of pressure on themselves to do everything and feel that they are letting themselves and their businesses down if they can't. That simply isn't true. Whilst it is great to have things like a blog on your website and consistent, good quality social media; the world won't fall apart if these things do happen to slip a little, while you focus on the main elements of your business. 

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The work I provide for my clients helps to support them through the very busy times in their year where they don't have time to spend updating their blog and social media activity as much as they would like. Often, however, these things are important for their business and help to ensure they continue to be successful for the months ahead, so not keeping on top of it is not an option. The support I offer with blog writing and social media can be turned on and off each month, depending on the needs of my clients, which can really help them through their busy months. 

Sometimes, you maybe just need to switch things off altogether, and that is where I have been with this blog. So it has had a little re-vamp. I may not post regularly or consistently, but I will post. I hope to bring you a behind the scenes look at the work I am doing with my clients, which is completely inspiring in itself (these guys are awesome and doing some amazing things!). I also want to bring you some of the fantastic places and small business that I find whilst I am out adventuring. Its always great to share good finds, especially when they are small independents doing great things. I am also hoping to have some guest writers here too, who can share with you some useful and interesting information.

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SMALL BUSINESS BLOGGING
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So they are my plans. Do you have any new blogging plans in mind? If you would like to know where to get started and think you could benefit with a short training session with me, get in touch. 

 
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