How to Write a Non-Profit Business Plan

Business Plan For A Nonprofit Organization

What is a business plan?

Before we get into the details of how to write a business plan, let’s define what it is. A business plan details the services or products your non-profit provides, the people on your team, the community you serve, your non-profit’s financials, the goals you plan to achieve, and how you’re going to achieve them.

“But my non-profit doesn’t sell anything!” you might object. While that may be true if you rely strictly on grants or donations, non-profits can and do sell goods and services. And a non-profit is still considered a type of business. Here’s how Investopedia defines a business:

“An organization or enterprising entity engaged in commercial, industrial, or professional activities. Businesses can be for-profit entities or non-profit organizations that operate to fulfill a charitable mission or further a social cause.”

Executive Summary

You can draft this up first, but it should be the last thing you work on. This is the most important part of your business plan. Here you must summarize, on one page, every critical aspect of your nonprofit. This summary will determine if someone, be it an investor or potential staff member, will continue reading.

If your nonprofit organization has a significant list of achievements and needs a dedicated space for them, this is the place to do it. At its best, this section will demonstrate how past goals were met on-time. It can also show real examples of how funding challenges were met or goals were exceeded. This should go directly after your Executive Summary.

How to Write a Nonprofit Business Plan4

What Should You Include in a Nonprofit Business Plan?

1. Executive Summary. The Executive Summary is the first thing that any potential partner or supporter will read, and it introduces the mission and purpose of your nonprofit.

You can customize this section of your business plan depending on your purpose in sending it out. For example, the Executive Summary might have a very different focus if you are trying to recruit an expert in your service sector to the Board versus applying for a small business loan to open a gift shop.

nonprofit business plan

2. Organizational Structure. This section should identify the type of nonprofit organization that you have and how you’re set up.

For instance, if your nonprofit is a 501(c)(3), you will list that in this section. (There are other types of nonprofit organizations such as fraternal beneficiary organizations, or horticulture, labor, and agricultural organizations that are structured as nonprofits as well…so be clear here.).

Also, talk about whether you have employees or are all-volunteer. Do you have (or will have) a facility? Paint a picture of your organizational structure so the reader can understand quickly what your nonprofit looks like from an operational point of view.

If yours is an established organization, you can discuss how you started your nonprofit and the milestones you have reached. Listing previous successes and accomplishments in this section can be convincing for potential partners and reassure them that you will use their funding efficiently.

If your nonprofit is just getting started, explain your vision and why you are creating your organization. Focus on the problems you see and the practical ways you intend to alleviate those problems.

For example, if you run a homeless shelter, you should mention the number of people who are homeless on any given night in your area. Talk about the number of beds you have, the number of beds you are planning on for the coming year, and exactly what services you provide in addition to shelter.

If your shelter offers wrap-around services or plays a key role in connecting those you service to other vital services, talk about those too. Do your beneficiaries have access to medical care once a month? Does your organization provide a meal? Do you have volunteer tutors who can help students who are homeless with their work? Note who carries out your programs and services and whether you use mostly volunteers or whether you have paid staff in place.

Also, talk about any other nonprofits who are addressing the same need and how your services are/will be different. Donors don’t like duplication of services, and getting grants will be tough if you can’t articulate how your approach is unique.

4. Marketing Plan. Your marketing plan should describe the specific target audiences you want to reach for both programs and fundraising, key messages you’ll use, and which methods or vehicles you’ll use to reach the right people.

nonprofit business plan

5. Operational Plan. This section should describe both day-to-day operations and long-term plans for operating your programs.

What do you and your staff do every day to run programs and provide services? Be specific. How much does a single unit of service cost per person? Who delivers the service? Where and how?

Note expanded services. If you are planning on growing or expanding your services what would that mean in terms of operations? For instance, if you run a food bank and you are actively planning to double the number of people you feed in the next year, how will that affect operations? Will you need more refrigerators? More trucks? More staff or volunteers? Will you expand hours? Be ready to share in the Financial section how this growth will impact your budget, both in revenue and expenses.

If you haven’t spent time making long-term plans, this is a good time to sit down with Board members and staff and think about it in detail! Decide if you’ll start the program or secure funding first (there’s a big difference!).

Evaluation is critical to determine your effectiveness as a nonprofit — and particularly important for grants. How can you tell if a program is providing the benefit that you are promising? Potential donors and grantors will want to know how you will make sure that funds are used to their highest potential and that you are flexible enough to change if need be.

You should also talk about methods in place to evaluate various aspects of your nonprofit to make sure you’re getting a good return on investment for the time, energy, and resources you put into each area of operations.


How to Write a Non-Profit Business Plan

Write Your Nonprofit Business Plan in 9 Sections

Improve Your Writing: 6 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

Tom Anderson

How to Become a Better Writer

Great writing is magic, but there is no magic to being a better writer. It is an exercise in time and suffering. The more time you spend writing, the more your writing skills will improve. No writing tips can eliminate the pain.

To begin, begin. “I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good at it,” writes novelist, activist and teacher Anne Lamott in her excellent guide “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.” The book is named after the writing advice Lamott’s novelist father gave to her brother when he waited until the last minute to complete a big school report on birds: “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

Showing up is the hard part. Even great writers have to push themselves to grapple with the blank screen every day. But once you sit down and start, progress can be made. It gets easier every time you write; you just have to write frequently to make progress.

Believe me, I understand this is easier said than done. I sometimes will organize my office and do less pressing administrative tasks to avoid an urgent deadline assignment. I’m not alone in this. Most people struggle with finding the time to write, or worse, underestimate how much time it will take to complete an assignment well.

That said, I do get it done. I’ve been writing professionally for more than two decades. I can say from experience that writing and communication skills are learned best by doing. I can also say there are ways to make starting simpler: For instance, breaking a project into digestible chunks is an excellent way to approach any writing assignment, whether it’s a blog post, a white paper or a bestseller.

Timebox Your Writing Assignments

I like to write first thing in the morning after a run. Many writers I know work best late at night. It doesn’t matter if you are an early bird or night owl as long as you set aside distraction-free writing time, ideally during your personal golden hours.

How long you can timebox writing tasks in one go depends on the writer. Remember that it takes some time to warm up. Setting aside 90 minutes on your calendar doesn’t mean you’ll be cranking the entire time.

You should, however, be able to make progress. Seek to set aside enough time to allow for this progress, while also recognizing the realities of your schedule. (Say, if it’s a day when you have multiple meetings and you’re taking your child to the doctor, an eight-hour writing block may be unrealistic.)

If you’re on deadline, that’s another story that we will address shortly. But blocking out time consistently to write will enhance your writing ability. You don’t have to write every day, but it sure helps.

Finding enough time to write is the biggest excuse writers give editors when they miss deadlines. And sure, content marketing workloads can be challenging. Most of us are using our limited resources to the max.

However, I argue that the difficulty in writing is more of a time management problem than one with words. Writer’s block is a myth. This next tactic will help you overcome this imagined self-harm.

6 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

1. Learn the Difference Between “Better Writer” and “Great Writer”

I hear this all the time from my coaching clients, who range from first time authors to old hands who have written millions of words. “Tim, I don’t want to become a better writer. I want to become a great writer!”

When I ask what that means exactly, they usually drop a few names off the top of their heads to give me a point of reference. “You know, like Hemingway, Capote, King, Vidal, Chandler, Christie, Grisham, Patterson, Dr. Seuss (seriously, it’s been dropped).”

Come on folks, who among you under the age of say 40 has ever read a word Hemingway wrote that wasn’t mandatory reading? Or Capote? Or Vidal? Then stop namedropping them, even though they are among the greatest writers of all time.

Probably not. I can offer tips and advice that might make you a better writer in the future than you are right now. Someone else may help you become a more successful writer, or a more notable writer. But becoming a great writer is up to you, and depends more on your God given talent and abilities than anything you can learn in a video or blog post from me or anyone else.

We writers wear our hearts on our sleeves and our egos around our necks like heavy gold chains. We would all like to be considered great writers by our audience and peers, but what matters is your opinion of yourself and how you define great.

Greatness in our industry is typically based on sales volume and dollar signs, not true talent. I’ve seen terrible books sell millions of copies, and great books languish in the Amazon basement.

2. Write Every Day

This should go without saying, but here goes. To become a better writer, you must write every day. Writing is like every other skill that can be improved through repetition and practice. Or a muscle that must be exercised to grow big and strong.

Or the “10,000-hour rule”, which states that to master any skill, you must practice for 10,000 hours or more. If you want to become a better writer, write more words more often. End of story.

Improve Your Writing: 6 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer

3. Don’t Follow the Herd

The herd mentality is alive and well in the writing business. You look at what’s selling on Amazon and decide that you should follow that herd because if other writers are making a killing in sci-fi, why shouldn’t you?

Or you hear of someone in a Facebook group who is making a bundle writing romance, so you figure, why shouldn’t you, even though you’ve never even read a romance, much less written one.

4. Write What You Love

Again, this should go without saying, but many authors forget this simple rule because what they love to write isn’t selling, so they try to write in other genres they think will offer faster, easier paydays. That’s when writing becomes a chore, and quite often, the joy of writing dies along with your desire to become a better writer.

When you write what you love, you bring passion to the work. You focus on the writing, not the sales numbers. You put your heart and soul into it, not to mention a fair amount of blood, sweat, and tears. And you do it because you love it, not because it pays the bills. You’re proud of what you do, because doing it makes you happy.

When you write what you love, you also tend to write more words, more often (see tip #2). You will become a better writer in that genre. And maybe someday your dedication to writing what you love will pay off. Even if it doesn’t, you would have followed your heart and not the herd (see tip #3).

5. Read as Much as You Write

Stephen King said it best, “If you want to be a writer you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” I believe if you want to become a great writer you have to read a great deal of books in your genre. For example, if you want to become a great sci-fi writer, read the current bestsellers and classic sci-fi books (bestsellers to determine what’s selling in the market today and classics to see what has stood the test of time). Listen to King. He knows his stuff. Read as much as you write.

6. Write with the Reader in Mind

Have you ever read a book that left you scratching your head, wondering what point the author was trying to convey to you, the reader? I see this quite a bit with coaching clients who are new to the craft of writing. They write their masterpiece without ever giving a single thought to the reader, the person they expect to buy, enjoy, review, rate, and recommend their work.

As an old entrepreneur, I believe you should consider the reader to be your customer, and everything you do in creating your book, i.e. your product, must be done with the reader in mind.


How to Prepare for an Interview in 6 Steps

A woman in a pin striped business suit walks through a commercial park with a briefcase and files.

How to Prepare for an Interview

You can prepare for an interview by researching the company and the person interviewing you. Study the job description and consider what the employer is looking for, and how your skills and experience could help. Make sure to jot down potential talking points and questions, dress in business attire and pack a few copies of your resume, references and pens.

“As soon as you get the call or email saying you have been chosen for an interview, the first thing to do is do some more research into the position you applied for,” said Steven Brathwaite, a career advisor at SNHU. “Companies will know if your interest and energy are off in the interview or if you’re not fully invested in the position. Start to get into the mindset of what it will take day in and day out to be successful in that role.”

Conduct a Self-Assessment

Another important step in preparing for an interview is conducting a self-assessment. Reflect on your career. Think about what you’ve accomplished so far and what you want to accomplish in the future. Also, consider your preferences for workplace culture. What kinds of personalities complement your own? You’ll want to reflect on these topics as they will likely come up in an interview.

There are many options for online self-assessments. Although some are designed to guide people when deciding on a career, many assessments are also helpful for interview preparation. The results may help you find the right words to describe yourself.

Conducting a self-assessment is also a good time to search for yourself online. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to research job candidates and 66% use search engines. It may be too late to do a complete overhaul of your online reputation if you’ve already scheduled an interview, but there’s still time to make some last-minute edits to your LinkedIn profile. Familiarize yourself with what employers see when they search for you so you’re prepared to answer any questions about their findings.

8). Ask Intelligent or Provocative Questions at the end of the Interview

It is important to conduct meticulous research about the recruiter, the business, and credentials before attending the job interview. Every interview session ends with the interviewer asking if the interviewee has any questions. Preparing answers that depict your superlative analysis or intelligence can help you create a positive impact on the interviewer during this phase. Avoid controversial or confrontational interrogations and ensure that your questions are not naïve or baseless when responding.

When the interview is complete, retrieve the documents and accessories from the desk and thank the interviewers. It is recommended to offer a good handshake to at least one member of the interview panel to show your amiable attitude. After getting back to your desk, send a follow-up email with thanks, for the interviewing opportunity you were offered. This helps to create a memorable account of the candidate, boosting the chances of being hired. It is best to follow up with an email after the interview to assess if you’re hired or not.

10). Practice Mock Interview

It is important to prepare thoroughly when you have a job interview coming. Collect common interview questions, tips, and advice from your contacts working in the same company or industry can help immensely during the time. Ultimately, being prepared is vital to boost your self-confidence as a candidate. To convince the recruiter to hire you must first convince yourself. It is best to seek assistance from a friend or family to help you with practice interviews. Candidates can also use a mirror to prepare and analyze the dialogue delivery, pronunciation, and vocabulary of themselves. Moreover, all your achievements are futile if you can’t prove your competencies in a personal interview!

Regardless of how thoroughly prepared you are, the interview will have many unexpected questions and moments. To overcome nervousness, anxiety, and self-doubts during the interview, candidates must prepare their pitch until confidence sets in. Practice, practice and more practice is the biggest secret to a great interview. It is useful to prepare answers to common job interview questions that apply to your industry to hold your poise and give your best at a job interview. Good Luck!


How To Start A Retail Business: A 6-Step Comprehensive Guide

An influencer talking on a loudspeaker

How to Start a Retail Business in Singapore?

Starting a retail business in Singapore can be one of your best decisions ever. A retail business, which is commonly referred to as shops, kiosks, and many more, is an efficient and innovative means to sell consumers’ needs or products.

The extent of retail sales growth in Singapore can not be overemphasized. Singapore is home to craftsmen, local artisans, and business personnel. In addition, we have areas in the retail sector such as speciality retail, food & beverages, general retailing, work, home & lifestyle, and wholesale & logistics. These areas vary but are the major retail sectors in Singapore.

However, it should be noted that not all companies or persons can start a retail business; a license has to be obtained. In addition, not all grounds can be implemented for commercial practices; for example, residential environments can not be used for any exchange services.

What is a Retail Business?

In contrast to wholesaling, the retail business is a common way of selling one’s goods or services to customers by inducing their pleasure, usage, or consumption to earn profit. Therefore, if you are buying from that local woman kiosk in your neighbourhood, you are patronizing her retail business. And in other terms, you may have the goal to buy from a manufacturer or wholesaler and sell in smaller quantities. This is also retailing.

Retail businesses influence the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a country’s economy. In Singapore’s economy, the retail sector contributes 1.4 per cent to the GDP and employs 3 per cent of the country’s workforce.

We can verily say that retailing can begin in numerous forms. For one, you can obtain your goods from a manufacturer or wholesaler, offer your services to your customers, or work digitally and make deliveries of the customer’s product without a physical shop or kiosk insight. In Singapore, every e-commerce retailer that falls under Singapore Broadcasting Authority (SBA) Act, all other licensing broadcasting services, online computer services provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Internet Content Providers (ICPs) inclusive, must be licensed. And since all internet content is considered broadcast content, individuals must then take note.

Either way, it can be rightly said that the nature of the retail business would determine the approval needed or licenses required to create a retail store in Singapore. The process is quite straightforward and easy to obtain. In this guide, we are to explore the various processes needed to achieve this. Be rest assured.

Moneyyy, it’s a gas!

Close up shot of dollar bills

Very few things have more power in altering the course of your business than money. It’s an essential commodity that you need to open a store and hence it’s imperative that you plan this aspect of building your business in the best possible way. Here’s how you can get started on this.

How much will the whole affair cost?

What if things go south?

Opening a retail store is one thing while owning a retail shop for a substantial period for it to get established is an entirely different thing! Have a rough estimate of how much time it’s going to take for you to reach the break-even point, that is when the total cost and total revenue are equal.

Is there a deficit?

Retail business owner checking funds

Don’t worry, you don’t have to Google “how to open a retail store with no money”, and bang your head around getting those finances in place! To make things easy for you, In this section we exclusively talk about how you can look for alternate means of getting the required funds:

  • Bootstrapping: This basically involves anything and everything inside of the outside circle! So all the money that you invest from your own savings + all the money that you borrow from your inner circle such as friends, family, colleagues, etc., fall into this category, as there’s no external funding involved herein.
  • Small business loans and grants: The U.S. Small Business Administration is a special government agency that supports small shop businesses and entrepreneurs in their journey of starting up. There are a variety of schemes under which you can avail loans and grants to acquire funds for your business.
  • Angel investors: These are affluent individuals who invest their own money into startup ventures. They typically help you take your business off-ground, and get started on selling. The best way to find angel investors is through networking. Ask your friends or family members if they know any such investors. Besides, you can also find angel investors on different platforms or websites such as AngelList, Angel Capital Association, Gust, Angel Forum, Angel Investment Network, etc.
  • Venture capital: VC is a form of private equity and a type of financing that investors provide to startup companies and small businesses that are believed to have long-term growth potential. Although VCs won’t be of much help at the beginning of setting up a business, they will come in handy at the later stages when you want to expand your business further.
  • Crowdfunding: It basically is a method of raising funds for a business or project by collecting relatively small amounts of money from a large number of contributors using an online platform. Indiegogo, SeedInvest Technology, Mighty Cause, StartEngine, GoFundMe, and Patreon are the top 6 crowdfunding platforms that you can look into.

Again, planning financials is something that all of us inherently seem to know for whatever reasons. However, if this looks intimidating, you might want to consider roping in an expert to take care of this because this is an essential aspect of any “steps to open a retail store” handbook that you’ll ever come across.

Deciding on branding, concept, and design

Your branding is effectively the common thread that ties together your shop’s name, your business’ logo, the shop’s interior design, the tone of voice you use when communicating with and advertising to customers, the way the shop’s website looks and feels, and the posts you share on social media – making all of these facets recognisable as a part of your business.

Why? Because the new design did not connect with Gap’s target market. Instead of warning its target market about its rebrand, Gap simply released its new designs, taking away the identity of the brand. Its audience simply did not resonate with the corporate-esque replacement, which meant they quickly reverted to the original design and wasted lots of money in the process!

When you’re thinking about your brand design, make sure it’s accessible. Many startups are all guilty of wanting to be perceived as ‘top end’ – however, you can achieve this too well, and frighten off your customers with the perception that your products will be too expensive and out of their budget.

Branding should also be memorable. Isobel Perl, founder and CEO of Perl Cosmetics, told us that creating a standout brand is key to attracting new customers: “There is a plethora of competition in the skincare/beauty industry with tens of thousands of new businesses being set up each year.

It’s also about the finishing touches. Branding might seem like an area you can save – but it’s actually the most visible aspect of your business in most cases. I nvest in the services of a designer or design company who’ll put time, skill, and effort into transforming your vision and energy into an amazing branding concept.

Product Perl Cosmetics


How To Become a Preschool Teacher: Requirements and FAQs

teaching professionals

The Iowa Teaching and Certification Resource

Like all US states, Iowa requires teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree and complete an approved teacher education program at an accredited institution. Additionally, applicants are required to take the Praxis Subject Assessments to evaluate knowledge in the subject(s) to be taught. There are three types of Iowa teacher certification: Initial, Standard, and Master Educator.

The Initial certificate is valid for two years and is issued to new teachers who meet the state’s basic requirements. Once two years of successful teaching are accomplished, based upon local evaluations, teachers may apply for a Standard License which is valid for five years. Both Initial and Standard certificates may be renewed. Teachers may also earn a Master Educator License, which is valid for five years, by successfully completing five years of teaching and earning a master’s degree in the appropriate endorsement area.

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Iowa

Projected Job Growth

Candidates for teacher licensure in Iowa must complete a bachelor’s degree as well as a state-approved Iowa teacher preparation program at an accredited school. You can see approved programs on the Iowa Department of Education website. You can also compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs by using the sortable table on our Iowa schools page.

Additionally, schools may be accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) This organization was formed by the consolidation of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). CAEP accreditation is a highly respected marker of excellence in teacher education.

FAQs about preschool teachers

1. Do preschool teachers need to take continuing education courses?

Some states require preschool teachers to hold a license to legally work. To keep their credentials current, preschool teachers are required to complete continuing education classes. State requirements vary, so individuals should find out the continuing education rules in their state.

2. Is it necessary to earn a master’s degree?

While it’s not necessary to earn a graduate or master’s degree to work as a preschool teacher, pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree can help you advance into administrative education positions. If you want to advance your career, you need to have a graduate degree to achieve those goals.

3. What is the typical work schedule for a preschool teacher?

The work schedule of preschool teachers varies, but their day usually begins around 9 a.m. and lasts until 3 p.m. Some preschool teachers work a regular school calendar (10 months), with a two-month summer vacation. However, daycare teachers typically work all year to accommodate working parents.

4. Are preschool teachers required to complete specialized training?

Because working effectively with young children requires understanding their intellectual, emotional and physical needs, you may need to take training in child development. Child development training allows you to learn more about developing age-appropriate activities and best practices to help preschoolers build essential skills.

Some employers may require you to participate in specialized training related to the type of learning system that they use, or the curriculum being taught. For instance, if you plan to work in a Montessori preschool, you may be required to take special training to understand and implement the Montessori methods of teaching. Likewise, if you want to work with children with learning disabilities, you may need to attend training that helps you understand children’s unique needs.

5. What skills are required to become a successful preschool teacher?

Communication skills

Preschool teachers must have exceptional communication skills to tell colleagues and parents about students’ progress. They also need excellent speaking and writing skills to convey this information effectively. They should be able to communicate effectively with young children.


Interpersonal skills

Organizational skills

Physical stamina

6. What are the working conditions for a preschool teacher?

Preschool teachers usually spend much of their workday on a playground or in a classroom. Learning facilities vary from a single room to large buildings. The class size that preschool teachers handle also varies. Some preschools handle only a handful of children, while others handle several hundred.

Alternative Teaching Opportunities

Alternative Teaching Opportunities

If you already have a college degree, spending a few more years in school before becoming a teacher might not appeal to you. You might qualify for an alternative approach instead.

In some states, there are programs that allow you to hold a paid teaching position and go through a training program at the same time. For example, Teach for America recruits people to work in underserved communities.

Some states offer alternative certification programs for professionals with backgrounds in high-demand subject areas. For example, if you have a degree in a science field, a school that is having trouble recruiting a certified science teacher may hire you for the job. You could start teaching while working toward certification.

Also, not every teaching position requires teacher training classes and state licensure. For example, many preschools don’t require their teachers to be licensed. Some private school positions don’t need licensure either. Teaching overseas might be another option.


20 Tips to Master Social Media in 2022 for Small Business

Buffer Reply Example

7 Social Media Tips for Small Business Success

The biggest failures small businesses encounter in social media come from not knowing who their customers are, who they’re competing against, which channels to target, and how to engage their audience. Most are unaware of native analytics available in all major social networks and don’t know how to integrate their online and offline marketing activities or how to automate their social scheduling.

Remember that having competitors who target the same people is great because you can always check what worked for them and what didn’t, and use this knowledge to adjust your own strategy.

My advice is to start with the big fish. These guys are doing something right to get the kind of follower count and engagement they have, so why not learn from them? There are a few ways of doing this.

Use Facebook’s Pages to identify your best-performing competitors and compare their activity, engagement, and audience growth to your own. You can see exactly what content they’re posting, how often, and at what time of day they’re posting. Remember to not only look at follower count but total engagement: it will tell you how their followers are interacting with the content. Brands with high engagement rates are typically the ones to watch.

Facebook Pages Social Media Example

Not entirely sure who your competitors are? That’s ok. There are tools out there that can help you find the competitors you might not have been aware of. For example, with SEMrush’s Competitive Positioning Map all you need to do is to enter your URL, and the tool will automatically compile data showing you your top competitors, how much traffic they’re getting and the keywords they’re ranking for:

SEM Rush Competitive Positioning Map

Pay special attention to the bubbles located above you and to your right. They represent the competitors whose total traffic exceeds yours and who are ranking for more keywords than you are.

This report will give you a good idea of who has a strong online presence, and who is investing heavily in marketing. Brands investing in marketing and getting plenty of traffic typically have strong social presences, so they’ll be good ones to check out.

If you need more advanced social media competitive analytics, tools like Rival IQ, SproutSocial, Klear, or SEMrush can provide them. They will help you track your competitors’ social pages to see how their posts perform, how much engagement they receive, which hashtags they use, and what special offers and competitions they’re running on social.

Tip #2: Pick the Right Channel to Target

If you are starting your social media journey from scratch, it’s advisable that you pull together a survey and ask your customers which social media channels they prefer or use the most.

If you’re already active on social media channels, check their efficiency. Compare the size of your audience across different channels, your engagement, and engagement rate metrics. For example, the overview report in Social Media Tracker shown below will give you an idea of which channels are worth putting effort into:

Social Channels Social Media Tracker Example

Another way to pick the right target channel is to analyze your competitors’ activity. Check which channels they put their energies into, and start targeting them too: your chances of getting noticed by the relevant audience will double.

Bonus Tip: Be ruthless in getting rid of some of your accounts and prioritize your social media marketing capabilities. Not ready to make videos? Skip YouTube. Don’t have time for blog writing? Leave it for now and concentrate on one or two channels.

Define Your Business Social Media Marketing Goals

Defining your social media marketing goals and objectives is the first step in enhancing your brand awareness. Ensure that you set appropriate and achievable goals when starting your social media marketing. Experts advise that you consider the SMART goal framework when breaking down the achievement you want from your online strategy. The goals or objectives you choose for your small business must be specific, measurable, timely, attainable, and relevant. Having clear and timely goals for your business makes it easy to plan and execute different social media strategies, track the progress and make wise decisions.

Committing to social media is the essential thing that any entrepreneur or small business must do to enhance successful marketing. Like other marketing alternatives, you might find it challenging to create good content, grow your audience or increase engagement when using social media marketing. Therefore, it’d be appropriate to commit to the marketing option by consistently creating great and attractive content. It’ll also be good to have a plan and goals, which you must follow to enhance your brand awareness through social media.

Reveal Your Personality and Identity

Revealing your identity and personality on these platforms is an integral way of enhancing the success of your brand. Creating a significant social media presence will be good when choosing the social media marketing alternative. A great social media presence attracts more followers to read your content or your brand’s website, leading to prospective customers and generating more sales. Therefore, after getting online, it’ll be necessary to show the value of your services or products and also enhance connections.

Experts reveal that most entrepreneurs build great social marketing platforms and programs by listening more to the customers. Instead of promoting your small business on various social media platforms, you must consider listening to customers’ views and opinions. Preferably, use social media to interact with your customers or prospective clients. The interaction and engagement allow the customers to provide their views or issues on your brand. Working on the customer’s concerns will be essential to establishing the best ideas to suit their needs.

8 Tips to Quickly Master Social Media for Businesses and Entrepreneurs

8 Social Media Tips for Businesses and Entrepreneurs

1. Make a commitment to social media

Like any other form of marketing, social media for businesses can be a real challenge. It’s hard to grow an audience, create great content, and increase engagement. All too often we see brands giving up on social media after just a few months.

We’ve found that it takes eight months to one year to really get the hang of social. Not only to get a consistent content stream going, but to figure out what your audience resonates with and what they don’t.

It all starts with planning. Create a social media strategy and write it down in order to hold your business accountable. Your strategy should include a basic company mission statement, content plan and goals. And most importantly, a powerful statement on “why” people would follow you on social media, what kind of content you plan on creating and posting, and what you hope to achieve.

2. Show off your personality

Creating a great social media presence isn’t only about showing the value of your product or service to your audience. It’s about connection and experiences. The best brands out there share a common point of view with their fans.

3. Listen to customers rather than promote

Social media is becoming a customer service platform and people are coming to expect it. The tricky part is, the better you get at social the more engagement you’ll get, and in turn, the more comments. So be prepared for an influx of love from your fans!

The other side is that your customers are the best source of inspiration for content. Lots of businesses are sitting on a never-ending gold mine of content ideas by simply looking at their frequently asked questions, or what people are asking on social media. If you’re stuck on what to post, look to your customers first for ideas before anything else.

You can also listen to competitor’s customers as well, as funny as that sounds. Tools like Twitter Lists, BuzzSumo, Facebook Pages to Watch, Google Keyword Planner, and YouTube are all great places to find what’s working in your industry.

4. Focus your efforts on a select networks

Social media networks are like shiny new objects. We want to be everywhere at once and try everything because we’re sure that this network will be the one for us. But the fact is we’re all strapped for resources. So if you try to focus on lots of social networks then you’re setting yourself up for a long road ahead.

We tried! At one time we were everywhere. We were on all of the standard networks along with lesser-known networks like Anchor, Beme, Tumblr, and Whale. What we found was that we were getting average results across the board. Not to mention it was taking full days to post content to each platform. It wasn’t sustainable.

For example, let’s say we write a blog post about social media marketing. Writing the copy that will get attention and clicks on LinkedIn is much different than what works on Facebook, which is dramatically different than what works on Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter.

5. Remember that success follows passion

The only way to ensure long term commitment and that social media doesn’t become a burden is to follow your passion. The nice thing about social media is that your content doesn’t have to be directly related to your brand or industry. Meaning it doesn’t have to be what everyone else is doing.

6. Experiment with video marketing

Many marketers tell us that they struggle with “what” to create video about. The best solution we have for you when it comes to “what” is to start with what works. Sort your blog content in order of most traffic and create videos around those topics.

Again, use Facebook Pages to Watch to figure out what kinds of videos your competitors are making and generate topic ideas based off of that. Use your customers as resources. Look outside of your specific industry to your favorite brands. The key is to start with what works and gain some confidence.

In terms of video best-practices, there are some scientific factors that people are more likely to interact with. One is video length. On Facebook, for example, the highest engaging videos are between 60-90 seconds. The second highest are between 30-60 seconds. Same holds true for Twitter. So keep your videos short and to the point. Save the best for first, if you will.

If you’re going to feature a person (or group of people) in your video, you’ll need a good lavalier microphone, natural light from a window, and a tripod. Sound, lighting, and camera stability are key in creating a quality video.


10 Easy Ways to Be Creative Every Day

It makes me so happy to look back on old happy journals. They have been a light throughout my life. I love journaling but these journals are the BEST!

Fostering Creativity: 12 Strategies to Boost Creative Skills

This is partly because creativity helps individuals adapt to uncertainty and solve problems as they arise. Research has also suggested that creativity – as a component of the personality factor “openness to experience” – is a better predictor of an extended lifespan than intelligence or overall openness to experience (Turiano, Spiro, & Mroczek, 2012).

In the following article, we explore what creativity is and how personal creativity can be fostered. We discuss creativity in the classroom and workplace. We touch on creativity in art and music. We also note the intriguing connection between nighttime and creativity.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Strengths Exercises for free. These detailed, science-based exercises will help you or your clients realize your unique potential and create a life that feels energized and authentic.

I want to be more creative this year, and am bookmarking this post because I need to hear it daily! I

Coloring completely counts as a creative activity. I mean, it’s not a sport (or is it?) Print out a coloring sheet, or toss a small coloring book in your purse for on the go, and you’re halfway there. For a grown-up spa experience, diffuse some restful essential oils, put your feet up, and color away.

I admittedly like to read cookbooks. (Jamie Oliver and Canal House are favorites.) Cooking isn’t my favorite thing in the world, but I admire those who do love it. (Yes, I’m talking to you, mom.) That said, I do like trying new recipes. Many of my current culinary loves are because I decided to buy the ingredients for a strange-to-me recipe and try it. And now I’m in love. (Still can’t believe how many years I wasted not eating curries! So sad . . .)

Eat a new food.

Similar to trying a new recipe, but this one is more simplistic. Give your taste buds a creative treat by choosing a brand new food (to you) at the grocery store. This is how I discovered the amazing wonder of Medjool dates. And 90% dark chocolate. (Okay, your food discoveries don’t have to be treats. ;)) What have you always passed by at the supermarket? Toss one in your cart this week. It might end up being your new favorite food!

How many of us have a decent camera that we know little to nothing about? Ahem. There are so many free and reasonably priced photography courses online these days that you could “go back to school” and learn how to use your amazing camera in a very short time. Or if you have a photographer husband, you could just ask him. 😉 Either way, you’ll be able to document your world and have a record that better represents what you want to say through pictures.

9) Keep a doodle journal at your desk.

Are you a visual thinker? If so, you might find it hard to find a direction with your ideas when you’re limited to the four corners of your screen. Change your routine and grab a pencil and paper to let your ideas free form in a more physical outlet. A blank sheet of paper or whiteboard may just be the best outlet to allow you to organize your thought process into one space.

According to Sunni Brown, author of The Doodle Revolution, “Even if you’re just scribbling in the margins, you’re lighting up different networks in your brain and when you do that, you’re engaging different information.”

Creating visual maps of all your different thoughts allows you to see the relationship between your ideas. Physically writing it down takes your ideas a step further and forces you to put them into words and physical shapes. If you can see your thought process, it will be easier to understand the direction you’ll want to go in.

10) Unwind by watching funny content.

Have you hit the point in your creativity block where you’re spending hours watching cat videos? Turns out those cat videos may actually be helpful . Research shows there’s a strong c orrelation between humor and creativity. A laugh can actually bring you closer to those moments of inspiration. Humor also puts you in a better mood , allowing you to think more freely and better solve creative problems.

Need a way to hone in on your work without zoning out? A lthough there’s been a lot of debate over whether listening to music will actually increase your intelligence over time (a theory often called the Mozart Effect) , there are still productivity benefits to tuning in. Listening to music can help you focus on whatever task you’re currently doing. It can also put you in a better mood, and even calm your nerves if you’re feeling anxious.

Certain forms of music can help channel your creativity better than others and tune out the noises of the office. While music with extreme changes of pace or lyrics can be distracting, ambient music can help increase processing levels and and promote creative thinking.

One new practice can work for you differently over time if you start to get bored of it. If you ever start to feel a practice has become too routine for you, revisit this post to try out another idea.