Kelly Resendez, VP of Talent Acquisition at Loanpal and success coach at the Foundation to Sustainable Success, was kind enough to offer this guest post, originally published here. Enjoy Kelly's words of wisdom and get busy with your business expansion!
How to EXPAND your business when everyone else is contracting.
In 2008, Steven Jobs gave an interview to Fortune Magazine in which they asked him about Apple’s strategy for the coming Great Recession. Jobs said, “In fact we were going to up our R&D budget so that we would be ahead of our competitors when the downturn was over. And that’s exactly what we did. And it worked. And that’s exactly what we’ll do this time.”
Instead of paring down R & D, laying off workers, and shuttering stores to withstand the economic storm, Jobs was focused on actually growing Apple, gaining market share in the season where most others were contracting and playing it safe.
In fact, many of the top companies and brands do exactly the same, and that’s one of the chief reasons why they last and stay on top.
But you don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company or blue-chip brand to grow your business in the coming months and years. Every salesperson, entrepreneur, boutique broker, and small business owner has the tools to succeed even as fear pervades our business climate (and rightfully so).
Sometimes, the hardest thing to do is act boldly and confidently when others are in safe mode. Our natural reaction is to:
It all starts with a 180-degree mind shift, a focus on execution, and a whole lot of hard work. But there is absolutely no reason why you can't bring your business to new heights!
Here’s the game plan to expand when everyone else is contracting:
1. Invest in new skills and education
It's time to learn and adjust to the new reality as fast and effectively as you can. Luckily, there are more courses, books, talks, and tools available to us online than ever, and most of them are inexpensive or free.
Instead of resting on your laurels, break your business down to the smallest blocks and build it all back up again, ensuring your system and operations are superbly efficient.
The difference between a solo-preneur and a true business owner is that the biz owner leverages other peoples’ time, energy, and skills. Stop trying to do everything yourself and start taking advantage of others and what they do well.
4. Look at partnerships/Team up
Of course, there will be plenty of businesses going under or looking to downsize, and there’s no shame in that. But it also creates a golden opportunity to entertain strategic partnerships and build teams that help you expand quickly.
The average person brags about their victories when times are good, but you won't hear a peep from them in tough times. You should do the exact opposite, becoming a networking machine and reaching out to everyone you can. Create connections and authentic relationships, as they'll pay off in huge, unexpected ways down the road.
6. Help others
That's what it's all about, and in dark days, your best product should be help. Focus on solving problems, bringing value, offering solutions, and empowering others to overcome their challenges. Become the person they turn to for advice and guidance. With that, your business will soar as high as the economy sinks.
7. Create new content
Throw out the blueprint from last year, last month, and even from yesterday. Create a brand new marketing and outreach campaign and create blogs, emails, videos, podcasts, webinars, graphics, and social media every single day. That's how you expand!
8. Be the best communicator you know
Double down on points of communication and customer service with clients, and actively practice your listening skills.
9. Cut the bottom 20%
Just like an arrow needs to be drawn back to propel forward, we need to pull back, first by identifying and cutting the 20%. Just like an arrow needs to be drawn back to propel forward, we need to pull back by cutting inefficiencies according to the 20% Rule.
Drop the 20% of your products that don't sell, the 20% of your employees who are lazy or aren't producing, and simplify the 20% of your day that consistently steals your time, energy, focus – and money.
To survive and even thrive through a recession (or depression), firms need to actively attract new personnel. Recruiting will be paramount over the next few years, and you should sign as many talented, battle-tested, and hard-working people from your competitors as possible.
11. Negotiate with vendors
If times are hard for you, they’re even harder for vendors, suppliers, and distributors. So, instead of canceling or doing without, renegotiate every product, service, and lease for lower prices, better terms, and added perks.
12. Nurture your people
Just like we talked about enhancing your own skills, do the same for your employees and partners by offering more training, guest speakers, education, and personal development than ever before. Investing in people always pays off!
13. Increase marketing and advertising output
People invest in marketing and advertising out of greed (when times are good) but tend to shut off that spigot when times are bad. Do the exact opposite, as effective marketing campaigns are vital to keeping your firm alive and well.
We’ve talked a lot about investing and not cutting back, but don’t do that senselessly, of course. Instead, set clear goals for every dollar that leaves your pocket and carefully measure the effectiveness of everything you do. If it doesn’t measure up, make the appropriate changes and cut it!
15. Rewrite the rules
I truly believe that when markets crash and the economy shrinks, it creates a proportionate amount of opportunity. Your job is to identify and take advantage of those opportunities. That starts with putting fear and uncertainty in a box when you come to work every morning, and instead making clear, big-picture decisions. Remove the limitations and raise – not lower – your goals and dreams.
It’s up to YOU to rewrite the story of your success!
Organic reach on Facebook is dead.
Facebook business pages have little use and don’t drive business.
You couldn’t be more wrong!
Adding new Likes and expanding your audience is the lifeblood of a great Facebook page and will drive awareness, sales, and referrals.
If you’re a Realtor, mortgage lender, or any small business owner or entrepreneur, I’m guessing that you have a Facebook page for your business but don’t really get enough out of it. In fact, most professionals use their Facebook page as a glorified placeholder for contact information, and their audience size has stagnated long ago, sitting at numbers far less than their personal Facebook page.
But the last thing you want to do is start spending a lot of time and throw a lot of money at growing your Facebook page.
The good news is that there are effective strategies for building your Facebook page’s audience organically with no money at all (or very little if you choose).
Try these eight strategies, and my experience shows that your Facebook page's audience will increase by 2.5x to 10x within only three months. The new energy and interest will result in plenty of clients!
Contact me if you’d like to test these ninja tactics and reach those numbers - I’m happy to help!
1. Send page invites to your friends periodically – but customize them.
Of course, the easiest way to get people to like your business Facebook page is to simply invite them. Facebook allows you to do that with an invite that will show up in your personal friends’ notifications and even messages.
You don't want to do this only once and forget about it, but schedule to invite everyone periodically, like every quarter.
However, too many people send the generic invite to their whole friend’s list. Instead of doing that, write a nice custom invite message – including using emojis to catch their attention.
People will notice and appreciate the personalization.
(Remember to also click the button at the bottom of the invite setup page that allows you to send them as messages to each and every contact!)
Not really blown away by that tactic? A little boring? Ok, check this next one out:
2. Import your email lists and invite them.
This method is 🔥, yet so few people understand it.
You can actually upload any email list and invite those people to like your Facebook page.
Many of us have a significant database or email list, but just a small fraction of those people are also fans or followers of our Facebook pages.
Uploading the email list is really simple, and you can even import directly from Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Outlook, or other platforms.
You'll only be able to import 5,000 new contacts per day, but that's a great problem to have, and you can just coordinate and send out the invites in batches, so you'll see a HUGE jump in page followers.
And if you don’t have a big email list? Don’t worry – I recently found a way to build large, well-targeted email lists that blew me away!
3. Invite non-friends who liked your posts and content.
This is a great hack that works really well to grow your Facebook business page. Go to a post on your business page that did particularly well with likes, comments, and especially shares. You’ll be able to click and view all of the people who liked the post.
However, not all of them have liked your business page yet, so go down the list and invite them! After all, they’ve already been exposed to your great posts and engaged.
You’ll only be able to invite a certain number of people from that post in one day, but you can come back the next day and finish going down the invite list or each page editor can send invites to get past that daily limit.
(More on this with #8 below.)
4. Share your business page’s content on your personal Facebook.
Most of my clients love using their personal Facebook pages every day but wonder how they can gain more exposure for their business page. I always advise them to cherry-pick certain things from their business pages that they like – such as articles, stories, fun images, etc. - and share them to their personal page.
That way, their personal friends be exposed to their professional page and like that page as they click, like, read, and share.
5. Become an active member of Facebook groups.
Remember back when Facebook groups were a big deal? Well, they’re still untapped gold for Realtors, lenders, and other professionals. And as of 2018-ish, Facebook allows pages to join a group – not just personal profiles. That’s huge! So, you can join a group that’s related to your field, service, what you’re selling, location, etc. using your business page.
The key is to be active in the group, BUT don't start just spamming, soliciting, or selling. Make sure that you contribute to the conversation, add value, stay positive, encourage others, and generally form authentic (online) relationships.
You can also share relevant and helpful content that happens to be from your business page for further exposure.
Believe me when I tell you that soon, people will get to know you, trust you, and be happy to become a member of your community – growing your audience naturally while building a loyal tribe.
6. Make sure your Facebook page is a cool place to be with unique content and happenings.
Why should someone like your Facebook page? What’s in it for them? If your page is basically just a placeholder or one big advertisement, then the answer is ‘nothing.’
The last thing you want to do is just start posting links to articles from other sources because Facebook's algorithm will penalize your page for leading people off of their platform.
But you can reinvigorate your page by posting your blog (as a Facebook Note), fun videos and photos, personal slice-of-life stories, and really ramp it up with webinars, Q & As, Facebook Live events, fun contests and giveaways, and valuable weekly market updates.
That way, people know they’re getting something interesting, useful, and dynamic on your page!
7. Cross-promote by featuring other professionals, partners, and local businesses.
I'm a big believer in designing our marketing about others (and what we can do to solve their problems), not just promoting ourselves.
That being said, a great way to expand your audience and grow your Facebook page is by cross-promoting others. For instance, you can write a post, create an image graphic, put together a short blog, or even do a video interview of a referral partner, local business, community you work in, or just an influencer who complements what you do.
Once you post this content on your Facebook page, make sure to tag it all with the names and business names of the people/places it features. Encourage them to share it on their pages, too, and you’ll get a whole sizable new audience who sees your page and has a warm introduction.
8. Putting it all together with the boost-n-invite tactic.
Remember way back in #3 we talked about going into one of your business page posts and inviting the people who liked it (that haven’t liked your page yet)?
You can add a whole lot of followers and really jumpstart your audience by combining that with other steps here, and even boosting that content with a few bucks.
For instance, start by creating an awesome piece of content about a trending topic that really provides value or good info. (Or, you can take it to the next level and make it a contest or giveaway.)
Next, pay to boost the post via Facebook for a few bucks – it doesn't have to be expensive and your goal is just to get people to like it. Make sure you set the boosting parameters to target the audience you want to attract, like in your local area and more, so you maximize your ROI.
(Note: you can also pay to promote your page, but that's like a paid ad, so what we're doing is different.)
After the paid boosting has run its course, go back in and start inviting the folks who liked the post to your page.
Do this consistently (or hire someone like me to do it!), and you'll see a huge jump in your audience size over the months!
Should we test this with your Facebook page and see if we can reach those ambitious growth goals? I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is, so hit me up!