Surprising Starts to Successful Startups

Do startups having rough beginnings ever make it?  No worries! Check out who else started out under surprising circumstances?

WSU-MBA-Surprising-Startups-5-27

5 ‘P’s” for Your Social Media Marketing Success

478860679By Jeremy Juhasz

Small businesses and nonprofits face a different set of circumstances when it comes to social media marketing than their larger for-profit counterparts, namely, smaller budgets, fewer employees and a greater priority on traditional forms of marketing.

For those charged with marketing, the biggest first step toward making social media an integral component of the plan may be convincing your organization. Despite widespread use of social networks for personal connections, the leadership of smaller organizations often questions its effectiveness as a marketing tool and whether they’ll see a return on their investment.

I’ve developed and implemented social media strategies for a variety of organizations — for-profits, nonprofits, and individuals. For all of them, I’ve discovered, when it comes to social media, it’s important to remember the 5 P’s:

1.)  Plan – Identify what you hope to accomplish and create a strategy to take you there. Too many nonprofits and small businesses dive into social media because they “have” to and don’t consider a plan of action before they do so. Make a list of what you want to accomplish. Is it to gain more donors? Get a higher attendance at your annual fundraiser? Increase sales?

Make it a priority to identify goals so you can create the social media strategies for meeting them.

2.)  Patience – Nothing happens overnight. It takes time to develop relationships and establish credibility with your brand and your target audience. Over time, events and a steady pace will win out. Rushing leads to mistakes.

The type of patience I’m referring to is a long-term mindset. When day-to-day activities seem arduous and, at times, unfulfilling, know that each day builds to the greater goal. March on.

3.)  Persistence – You must be stubbornly committed to your goals and your strategy. Keep plugging away and give your plan a fair amount of time and analysis before you pull the plug. If you know the plan is a good one, it’s not a good ideas to panic and change course simply because you’re not seeing results as quickly as you’d like.

That said, circumstances change, not every strategy works, and you need to also be willing to recognize that it is time to try something new.

Be persistent in implementing your plan and in monitoring whether you’re reaching the objectives that will take you to your goal.

4.)  Pay (what you can) – These days, especially on Facebook, it’s a pay-for-play landscape. Pay where you can, if you can. The results can provide the spark you need to drive a specific campaign or to increase your overall visibility to your target market. It can also be a very affordable alternative to other digital advertising options.

5.)  Prioritize – I can’t stress enough the importance of time management. If your marketing staff consists of only one or two people, it’s essential that you stay on top of your social media strategy by prioritizing your quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily objectives and goals. Nonprofits and small businesses face countless new daily challenges. Sometimes we lose track of what’s most important. Take the time to identify those tasks critical to your success and make them a priority.

You can succeed with social media even if your organization doesn’t have the brand recognition of a multi-billion dollar corporation. If you remain even-keeled and set realistic goals, the return on investment will follow.

Jeremy Juhasz is a social media strategist at EMSI Public Relations.

Impact of Minimum Wage Changes on Small Businesses

482429529By Robin Noah, SCORE Orange County Business Mentor

Just about every state is going through a minimum salary change. Take a trip through the internet regarding minimum wage increases and your eyes will be opened.

In California most employers are aware that California’s minimum wage for non-exempt employees will increase from $8 per hour to $9 per hour on July 1, 2014, and to $10 per hour on January 1, 2016.   These upcoming minimum wage increases are significant because they also impact the minimum salary for exempt status employees, and commissioned inside sales employees.

Exempt Class: To be classified as an exempt employee the employee is required to meet certain requirements with regard to the type of work they are doing – they also must meet a minimum salary test.  Additionally California law requires that an exempt classified employee must earn a monthly salary that is twice the state minimum for a full time employee (40 hours per week).

The current minimum salary for a full time, exempt employee is $33,280 per year.  This will increase on July 1, 2014 to a minimum exempt salary of $37,440 per year.  By 2016, employees will need to earn at least $41,600 per year to meet the minimum salary test for exempt status.

Inside sales: State minimum wage also impacts the pay of commissioned inside sales employees.  Under California law, an inside salesperson will be exempt from overtime pay if they earn more than 1.5 times the state minimum wage  and more than half their income comes from commission.  This means that in order to be exempt from overtime pay after July 1, 2014 an inside sales person must earn at least $13.51 per hour, and starting on January 1, 2016 an inside sales person must earn at least $15.01 per hour.

To learn more, read the most recent SCORE Orange County Newsletter.