What we learned at our May 14 Speed Sharing Zoom Session.
Emelie Smith Calbick and Betty Wong, founders of Startups by Grownups
Like many startups whose business model is face-to-face focused, Stage2Startups has been struggling to adapt to the online environment. We wanted to hear what other founders across different industries are doing to keep their customers, staff and vendors informed and their businesses growing so we hosted our first Speed Sharing Session in May. Not surprisingly, every founder is leveraging technology such as Constant Contact or MailChimp for email and social media channels to keep connected. But they also used some platforms you may not have considered. Here are some additional online channels and tools our speakers shared with us –
- Build a following with live video and podcasts. Mark Pires, founder and inventor of The BeatSeat™️, hosts the “Mark Pires Real Talk”, a daily live video on youtube and a podcast. This daily online programming strategy has brought him a dedicated following on Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media, helping him drive awareness and sales for his innovative drum and sensory therapy instrument. Listen to him live on www.youtube.com/c/markpiresrealtalk and his podcast at https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/anchor-podcasts/mark-pires-real-talk and learn more about The BeatSeat at www.beatseat.rocks.
- Establish your credentials with a blog. Todd Ofsink of Todd Layne Cleaners, leverages his blog to establish himself as an expert in custom-dry cleaning and laundry services with the press and general public. He also ensures his blog contains key words so that he appears at the top of any Google search. This keeps his business “top of mind” when people are looking for these services. Read his blog at https://toddlaynecleaners.com/blog or go to www.todd layne cleaners.com.
- Reach your audience with Facebook Live. Janet Valenza, founder of GOGOGracious, has traditionally sold her life-style clothing collection and attracts new salespeople at mobile wardrobe salons held at locations such as hotels and clubs. With those venues closed, Janet has shifted her business fully online. She now holds events on Facebook Live and Zoom and books individual appointments for a virtual wardrobe salon. Go to https://www.facebook.com/JanVNYC/ or www.gogogracious.com.
- Keep your customers engaged with webinars. Sharon Huang of Hudson Way Immersion School, holds webinars to keep parents informed and engaged. And because she can not hold informational open houses, she now offers free online “Mommy & Me” programs to generate a pipeline of new students to her school. Visit www.hwis.org or https://www.facebook.com/gohwis/.
- Support e-commerce on your website. Godwyn Morris, owns and operates Dazzling Discoveries, a hands on science, engineering and technology education program for grade school children. Since in-person activities are not feasible, she decided to create a line of paper engineering kits for parents and teachers looking for projects to do at home. She now sells those kits through her website, Dazzlinks.com using the PayPal platform. Learn more at www.dazzlingdiscoveries.com and https://www.facebook.com/DazzlingDiscoveriesSTEM/.
- Facilitate online networking with a peer-to-peer platform. Rajiv Jadhav, an “online” reputation management expert, manifestation coach and founder of RSquare.Media, has transformed his formerly on-ground networking organization – Dynamite Networking Group, a platform of “Super Connectors and Givers” – by using Zoom to create online introductions and generate high quality business referrals. Learn more at www.DynamiteNetworking.com, https://lintr.ee/rejiveness or @rsquaremediany.
These are just a few of the creative ways founders are adapting their offline businesses to the online environment. We know founders everywhere are thinking out of the box and leveraging online technologies in new ways. And many of these online strategies will continue long after the economy reopens, making businesses everywhere stronger. So let’s celebrate this glimmer of positivity coming out of this pandemic, despite the terrible losses that have happened and may happen yet.
As a startup blog ourselves (affiliated with Stage2Startups), we also believe in the power of blogging as well as other communications strategies to help our community for potential and existing entrepreneurs. Find our blog at http://grownupstartups.home.blog and more at www.Stage2Startups.org or www.facebook.com/stage2startups or join our newly started facebook group! Did we miss any online strategies you are using? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment!
(c) 2020 Emelie Smith Calbick and Betty Wong