NASE Monthly E-Newsletter for Small Business Owners | Self Informed


Your monthly source for the latest news for your micro-business. From operations and marketing to legislative updates from Capitol Hill, SelfInformed has it all!

SelfInformed - April 2024

In this month's issue of SelfInformed, read about the best ways to network, get leads, & drive sales, visibly self-employed and how self-employed and micro-business owners continue to navigate a mixed bag of economic news.

The Best Ways to Network, Get Leads, & Drive Sales for the Self-Employed in 2024

Fresh approaches and techniques are used by entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and small business owners to generate new leads. Lead generation is essential for the growth and diversification of businesses. Regardless of whether you are an entrepreneur, solopreneur, or run a family business, these recommendations can help you overcome lead generation and growth challenges!

Best Practices For Getting New Leads For Entrepreneurs

Quizzes for Engagement

Strategically, quizzes can be a highly effective interactive tool that entrepreneurs should utilize. Create interactive ‘quizzes’ that focus on basic elements of business such as strategies, market trends, and problem-solving. Not only does it challenge, but it also teaches, promoting active engagement. With a combination of entertainment and thought-provoking ideas, entrepreneurs can cultivate an energetic community that grows through continuous education and cooperative collaboration.

Educational Content as a Showcase

Demonstrating educational content brings valuable insights and knowledge to light, thereby creating a source of ongoing learning. This gives people the ability to broaden their knowledge, which prepares them to succeed in different fields. Be it for self-improvement or career progression, the said content serves as a torch of continuous advantage illumination and skills development.

Advocacy Campaigns for Action

As a strategic way of influencing action, advocacy campaigns can be used by entrepreneurs. Champion policies that help streamline regulation and increase funding access while boosting entrepreneurial education. Mobilization of support and raising awareness help create an environment that spurs audacious action, which leads to economic growth.

Direct Ask for Immediate Engagement

Make a simple invitation and have people join the list. But support this strategy with a steady stream of relevant, interesting emails to ensure continued success. Take a more detailed look at this campaign style with the Meta Ads initiative from The Antarctic & Southern Ocean Coalition.

Lead Generation Tips For Micro and Large-Scale Business Owners

Strategic Advertising: Put lead-generation ads in your potential audience through social media marketing.

Compelling Lead Magnet: Then develop a lead magnet that meets your users’ needs and reflects your organization’s personality.

Clear Communication: It is very clear about expectations with welcome emails or texts to
new leads.

Automated Welcome Series: Use an automated email welcome series to foster long-term relationships.

Immediate Personalization: To learn the going rate for preference information, take polls or short surveys at as early a stage as possible.

Cohort Tracking: The Cohort is a group from the same campaign. We can use Tag Leads to see how these contacts respond over time, yet this also allows us to keep track of individual donations
and engagement.

Unique Lead Generation Tactics for Small Business Owners & Solopreneurs

1. Understand Your Ideal Customer

First, to establish a business and generate new leads, you have to ensure what your ideal customer is. For instance, if you are providing academic assistance, then your target audience should be students of high school to universities, generally people of age (16-27); nonetheless, there can be people above this age, but most will fall into it. Similarly, if your business is selling pizza or any other type of fast food, then it should primarily target teenagers.

2. Educate Your Audience, Use CTA And Analytics

You have to educate the audience about your business, and it can be done through SEO. SEO refers to a process of going up the rankings on specific keywords, such as, in this case, when selling pizza; some examples would be Pizza Near Me or Best Pizza In California, among others. Furthermore, you should use a CTA (Call-To-Action) to its full potential. In that case, here’s some copy that might probably convert the visitor into leads such as ‘Get 70% Discount By Ordering Now!’ Also, make sure the CTA targets your audience. You can utilize tools such as Google Analytics to track data and make necessary changes based on your tactics.

3. Host Relevant Events

You can use industry-related informative programming platforms to promote your activities. To address the company’s strengths and create new leads, hosting Q&A sessions with professionals or joining conferences and/or webinars, is another option.

4. Incentivize Referrals

Considering referral programs will enable you to get the best out of your satisfied customers, ask them to vigorously share it among friends and relatives, thus creating a win-win situation. This strategy not only increases your company’s reach, but also enhances customer retention. Happy customers spread the word, increasing your organic growth and reputation. By encouraging referrals, you establish a perpetual motion machine of new client acquisition, which creates an active consortium. By efficiently harnessing word-of-mouth marketing, you turn your clients into active advocates and unlock a network effect that magnifies the power of your brand while building an enduring pillar for long-term business success.

5. Prioritize Quality Content

No matter what medium you choose—newsletters, personal blogs, podcasts, videos or social media networking sites—what should make your content stand out as fresh and worthwhile is how it’s written (or otherwise produced). Ask questions that can grab the interest of potential leads while also helping them bond with your brand.

Empowering Entrepreneurs: The NASE Advantage

In 1981, the NASE was established, and it is recognized as one of the largest US non-profit organizations assisting with issues concerning small entrepreneurs. It boasts over 50,00 members, offering massive support via several programs and benefits such as the NASE Foundation, which aims to provide all-inclusive benefits to manage competitive business settings. The NASE’s promise extends to microenterprises, which means even the smallest parties have opportunities for supplies as well as fair competition. NASE, a nonpartisan organization that a diverse Board of Directors governs, performs crucial problem-solving functions in microenterprise-related matters and partners with policymakers to address problems including self-employment tax deductions, fair sharing principles, universal health care benefits, and retirement security.

Visibly Self-Employed

Montrie Rucker Adams, APR, Fellow PRSA, DTM, MBA is president and Chief Visibility Officer of the award-winning Visibility Marketing Inc. Through strategic and effective marketing communications and public relations campaigns, companies become “more visible” thus increasing their awareness and ultimately impacting the bottom line. Clients include government, academic institutions, energy, capital improvement and healthcare institutions.

An award-winning writer, Adams has served as editor-in-chief, editor, and contributed hundreds of articles to several publications.

She was inducted into The Public Relations Society of America’s College of Fellows and earned several awards for her civic contributions. She is also an accomplished public speaker, having received the Distinguished Toastmaster Award from Toastmasters International.

When and why did you join NASE?

I joined NASE almost 3 years ago. A colleague suggested I investigate the organization and consider becoming a member. As a member of several business organizations, I find that NASE is focused on helping businesses grow and thrive. It offers articles featuring business owners that help in my quest to become an exceptional business owner.

What inspired you to enter the field you are in?

I love writing and telling stories. I enjoy communicating the positive contributions individuals and organizations are making in their communities and beyond. Many years ago, I was introduced to the field of public relations. As a writer, I found it to be the best discipline for me after a stint in sales.

When and why did you start your business?

My father owned a business in Puerto Rico. After a few “take your daughter to work days,” I decided at 10-years-old that I wanted to be a business owner. I watched him and saw how he interacted with his employees. I saw the collaboration, and working as a team to satisfy the customer. Even as a child, I knew that what I experienced was what I eventually would do.

It was after my second downsizing experience that I decided it was the best time for me to make good on my dream of business ownership. I had high aspirations in that organization. Once that dream was shattered, I looked at it as a sign to stop hoping and start doing.

How do you market your business?

I built and marketed my business from networking. I serve on community Boards, participate in professional organizations and as often as possible share business information, and highlight successes on social media.

What challenges have you faced in your business? How have you overcome them?

The challenges and lessons are many. Each challenge presents an opportunity to learn and grow.

One of our main challenges is capital. The other is finding key staff. It’s difficult to raise the capital needed to continuously expand. We want to move into different markets, and it takes additional marketing efforts and people to execute the plan to make it happen.

We try to incorporate and experiment with innovative ways to help us move forward. For example, we found that a line of credit is helpful when additional funds are needed. We take advantage of students and interns who are eager to learn and expand their portfolio. We always use creative people to help us and our clients. There are many new online platforms that make our journey easier.

Do you have any employees?

After the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve had to re-set. We lost a few clients and it’s been difficult to rebuild. We also decided to move to a different geographical location. We have two full-time employees and we consistently use very talented independent contractors to assist with many of our engagements.

My goal is always to employ as many people as we can handle while we build a million-dollar business. Though we have had to reassess our future, it still involves adding people to the payroll. I never envisioned a business of one or two. My vision has always been to help others achieve their professional goals and aspirations in the marketing communications field. It was how I became involved, and I love to pay it forward.

What’s your schedule like, what’s a typical day for you?

I begin my day with prayer/meditation and exercise. I walk for one hour in the morning. Most of the day is spent sitting at the computer, so walking early ensures I don’t miss out on much needed movement.

I plan my day prior to going to bed at night. I have a list of “must dos.” As many business owners know, we can easily get off track by a phone call, email, or text.

I check in with my team to make sure all is going smoothly and there aren’t any snags in the deliverables. It’s very important to me that we follow through on our client responsibilities. When we engage with our client on a project, it’s because we come highly recommended, or they have previously worked with us. It’s imperative that we maintain our reputation of a company that provides high quality outcomes. I then move from there with phone calls, meetings, reviewing content, marketing plans, proposals, media relationships, and sales. The tasks are many.

What’s the best thing about being self-employed?

Our children are in college now, but when they were in school, the best thing was creating my work schedule around theirs. I attended parent-teacher meetings, volunteered at their school, attended sporting events in which they participated (there were many), and was available to take and pick them up from school. Those car rides were the best opportunities to catch up and communicate with them because I had a captive audience.

There is a downside. I often stayed up until after midnight or did not sleep at all. The work didn’t stop because I had Mommy duties.

I often balk when people want to start a business because they “don’t have to answer to anyone.” What I tell them is, “Every client is your boss.” You must answer to them the same way you must satisfy your responsibilities where you work. As a business owner, you may have more bosses than you have on a traditional job.

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received from a client?

Following are two client testimonials that shows the importance I place on doing an exemplary job:

“Montrie is an extremely talented communications professional with unique and diverse experiences. She has advanced herself, the public relations profession, and others as she has built a very successful company, consistently mentoring others in the industry.”

“…she is the consummate professional who puts the interests of her profession at the forefront. She spends quality time making a difference in the community and is dedicated to making a genuine impact on this world of ours. She is a walking testament that implementing impactful public relations strategies can make change happen.”

What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to someone starting their own business?

It’s important to study your industry, potential clients, competitors, and skills you may need. Learn as much as you can about how to operate a business. You have access to capital, sales, marketing, payroll, insurance, taxes, human resources…there’s a lot that goes into keeping your doors open.

Also, align yourself with successful business owners in your industry. Join and utilize the assets of professional industry organizations. Take advantage of all the business resources available to you. NASE is definitely one of them.

Any other information you would like to share?

The world of business ownership may be alien to some people. There’s a lot of work involved, but if it is your passion, the results are rewarding.

Gain as much knowledge as possible and seek help whenever possible. Don’t be afraid to ask. There are many people who want you to succeed.

Self-Employed and Micro-Business Owners Continue to Navigate a Mixed Bag of Economic News

The first weeks of April included a steady stream of economic data that continued to be a mixed bag. While there were continued bright spots, including continued declines in unemployment, inflation increased slightly after falling for several months.

Here is a breakdown of some of the key economic data toplines:

  1. Unemployment: The latest figures show a stable unemployment rate with modest job growth, indicating a resilient labor market. Currently the unemployment rate is 3.7%, which continues the longest streak of below 4% unemployment since 1984, following the Covid spike of almost 15% unemployment in the height of the pandemic.
  2. Consumer Price Index (CPI): The CPI is one of the measures of inflation. In April, the CPI saw a slight increase in the cost of consumer goods (ex. groceries, utilities, housing), which netted a small uptick in inflation.
  3. Retail Spending: A good indicator of how consumers are “feeling” about the economy since consumer spending is a significant portion of economic activity. In March, consumers retail ticked up slightly.
  4. Housing Market: The housing data continues to lag. Permit and mortgage applications were down, most likely the continued pressure of higher than average mortgage rates which is slowing the entire housing market.
  5. Business Confidence and Consumer Sentiment: This is an important index that provides economist with an outlook from both businesses and consumers. In March, business confidence remained steady, while consumer sentiment saw a slight decline.
  6. Federal Reserve Interest Rate Announcements: Finally, businesses and consumers are watching closely how might the Federal Reserve respond to the latest economic data, specifically, any indication of recommending interest rates cuts, which, if well timed, could help lagging home sales.

    The data shows that the economy continues to maintain some stability following the economic stressors caused by the Covid pandemic and global dynamics, including the Russia/Ukraine conflict, which is impacting global supply chains.

    Remember, economic data is complex and dynamic (changes every day), and while these toplines provide a snapshot, they are part of a larger, dynamic economic landscape. 

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