Five Things Disney World Can Teach Us About Marketing

 

I just returned from a trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It's truly the happiest place on earth. I went with my parents and my 9 year-old little sister and, thanks to her, I risked my life on more rollercoasters than ever before. I'm not a ride kind of gal, but apparently my sister is. And my parents were kind enough to pay for my trip, but it wasn't until I arrived that I realized that was a trick that required me to ride all the rides while they sat and laughed. But, I met Mickey, so that made it all worth it.

This trip was refreshing not only to step away and have a little FUN, but it was also really a reset reminding me what's important when it comes to marketing the. Walt Disney is such an inspiration for creative entrepreneurs or anyone pursuing big dreams. His persistence literally changed the world. And he knew that the only way to make things happen is to have a good team of people around you. 

 

Walt Disney

Here are a few things I observed at Disney World that have inspired me to take them into my day-to-day and career.

1. Keep the main thing the main thing. 
Walt Disney said, "When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable."  It's so easy to lose track of what's important. We get distracted with the newest and coolest bells and whistles and keeping up with the Joneses on social media. Taking the time to focus regularly on what the most important things are for your business is exactly what Walt did. Look where it got him. 

2. Give away free stuff.
Multiple times during our trip, "cast members" (what Disney World calls employees) randomly gave my little sister freebies - ice cream, stickers, buttons, candy. Granted, we paid for it on the front end, but it added SO much to the trip. The rides and shows were amazing, but those little things made a big impact on her experience. Sometimes what is an easy giveaway that costs your business very little can make a big impact.

3. Know your customer.
While the parents are generally footing the bill for Disney World, employees there know the key to that pocketbook is a great experience for the children. And giving the kids an experience like no other means they'll be back (probably sooner than later). 

4. Consistency.
At any park, you could find a set of Mickey ears, see your favorite characters, ride amazing rides and eat delicious food. The parks are all so different but the important things are exactly the same. This goes back to #1, but in business, we need to remember that consistency solidifies your brand and message. Frequent changes to your core offering can lead to customer confusion. Strive to pick the three things you're good at and make every road lead back to the main thing.

5. Have fun!
People like fun. Stop and consider ways to make your customer experience more fun. If you have an online business, put a fun or silly note in the packaging. If you have a retail store, have them ring a bell at the register for 10% off. Keep things fun and interesting every time your shopper enters the store.

 

Laura Johns, Disney World
 

Creativity and Confidence: The Mockingbird and Magnolia Story

I’m so excited about introducing this super talented Laurel-based creative today on the blog! We met at church and have found that we have quite a few things in common. We are both from the same area of Mississippi, and we are both Mississippi College graduates. Kindred spirits, I tell ya.

 
Katherine Ezell, Mockingbird & Magnolia
 

This girl is killing it at life. She’s an art teacher in a small town neighboring Laurel, and she has her own Etsy shop where she creates amazing custom watercolors, prints and calligraphy. And  she is giving my followers and readers a 15% discount if you use the coupon code SMALLTOWNCREATIVE at checkout.

About Katherine
Katherine was born and raised in Brookhaven, Mississippi. Her parents realized her talent at a young age and enrolled her in private art lessons. “My parents always encouraged my creativity,” she said about her childhood. “I was always allowed to explore new ideas and make messes.” Katherine believes that art was critical in building confidence.

 
I was always allowed to explore new ideas and make messes.
 

While she recalls great art teachers from elementary school to college professors (Go Choctaws), her fifth and sixth grade art teacher and my private art teacher both stick out as key influencers who encouraged her in her gift.  “They both taught me more than the elements and principles of art and  the importance of original art and creative thinking,” she said.  She adds how important it was for them to allow a ten-year-old to come up with her own ideas and show patience when it didn’t work out.  As an art teacher now, she sees how patient they really were with her. 

 
I could talk all day about brilliant artists who have better ideas, skills, and techniques than me, but at the end of the day they are lacking the one thing that makes my art special and that is that they’re not me.
 

After graduating college in December 2013, Katherine moved to Laurel in July of 2014 to serve in the West Jasper School District teaching art.  At first, depression and anxiety set in as she was in a place away from everything she had known, really struggling to make Laurel her home.  Since then, she has entered into a season of positive, growing close to her church family and coworkers. She has also been introduced to new people through her business.  Today, she teaches art to kindergarten through sixth grade at Bay Springs Elementary and Stringer Attendance Center – something that brings her joy and newness each day.

Top Five Mistakes Your Small Business Might be Making

 

Throughout my career, I’ve spent 10 years specifically in small business marketing. During that time, I’ve learned that small businesses have much different challenges than big businesses. One of the most common is in the area of resources. It’s so hard to know how to define boundaries and where to put your time, energy and money. A great example is headcount. A small business owner can spend so much of their time working on things they aren’t good at doing. But when the options are D-I-Y vs. P-A-Y, jack-of-all-trades it is.

Open Sign

 

My word of advice to small business owners - just because you created the business doesn’t mean you have to be good at everything for the business. When you find yourself spending most of your time trying to figure out something that would have taken someone with a more targeted skillset half as long, it means you’re actually working harder not smarter rather than the reversed rule of working smarter not harder.

Small business is much more like family than big business. Hiring employees and letting them go is much more personal. The right people doesn’t generally happen using careerbuilder.com or LinkedIn, although unicorns do exist. Hiring candidates for small business usually happens through conversation and reputation.

Over the last decade of so, I’ve seen few key mistakes that can make or break a business. It truly hurts me at my core to see businesses that have such great potential not make it. And sometimes these things are to blame.

1.     Being too broad with your offering.

I start this with a disclaimer because, depending on the size of your town, this rule has exceptions. Meaning, if you have 300 people in your town, then being a store with everything is probably a necessity. Generally speaking, being all things to all people isn’t a good thing when it comes to small business. Have you ever walked in a store and been completely confused? Like office supplies with a bridal registry? Sometimes you can overwhelm the customer to the point of no return. So, find what you're good at and stick with it. Offer products that suite your customers needs without trying to have it all.

2.     Being too narrow with your offering (applies to brick and mortars).

Yes, I realize I’m contradicting myself, but there is definitely a threshold of offering something a service so narrow, that perhaps owning a store doesn't make sense for what you do.If you’re so selective on products and service, that you serve a very defined and small population, you may want to consider making the majority of your investment into online sales and saving money on the brick and mortar.

3.     No online presence.

No matter what you make or do, there’s a shopper out there that can’t get in your store that needs your product. Having an online presence gives these people a way to shop with you either by clicking or calling, and this can significantly impact your business. A website and social media pages are critical in this day and age.

4.     Not marketing investment.

Of course I would say this, right? But honestly, I hear that so many people “have no budget” for marketing, and they turn away all opportunities because they made that decision. Skipping out on marketing  your business means you’re skipping out on profits. Keep in mind, investing in marketing doesn’t necessarily mean a huge financial investment. Facebook and Instagram are FREE! Take the time to contact your local paper about an event you’re hosting. As a customer to share the story of how happy they were with your service on their social media page. Give away snow cones on a hot day. Honing in on where to spend your dollars is where things get critical.

The best advice I’ve ever received  when it comes to marketing appropriate for your business is to imagine your target shopper. I’m talking draw the person out on paper and stick it somewhere visible. Name him/her, know her favorite haircut, how she likes her coffee and her favorite type of jeans. Then, craft most of your messaging and what you do to that person. It seems silly, but it will 100% help you focus on #1 and #2 on my list above – knowing exactly what products to offer.

Marketing for small business isn’t easy, but it sure is fun. Take the time to do an assessment of your shopper this week. I guarantee it will help make some decisions much easier! 

 

How Art Can Change a Community: The Story of Scott Allen (A Plus Signs and Creative)

 
IMG_4105.jpeg

Through the years, I've had the honor of working with a lot of local artists and designers who contribute to their communities in big ways with their talent. And they usually share one thing in common - they are all VERY BUSY. As with any business, usually these are the people behind the scenes who are pushing hard, giving every ounce of their effort to their work both in the field and in the office. 

I met Scott Allen at A Plus Signs and Creative through a signage project for a church we attended. He was the local "sign guy," so we wanted to be sure we supported him. He also happens to be an extremely talented artist that had been leaving his mark on the Fondren community for quite some time. One thing I noticed quickly while working with Scott was that he was very responsive to emails and never seemed too busy to talk to me. I follow him on Instagram and know he's super busy all the time, so I knew I was going to be taken care of if the business owner cared enough to make sure every job was done exactly right. Scott was actively involved in the project, and he's been my "go-to" guy for all of my signage needs ever since. He's installed logos for me when we rebranded Fuse.Cloud, and he even had a crew come to Laurel to help with some signage for Agape Church.

Scott Allen, APlus Signs & Creative

Background
Scott was born and raised in South Jackson (Mississippi for those of you out of towners), and while he loved recreational activities like skateboarding and BMX, he also spent time indoors drawing, painting and playing music at an early age. After graduating high school, he studied graphic design at the University of Southern Mississippi, giving him the ability to enjoy his passion for art and channel it into a career.

When Scott returned to his home town of Jackson, he worked in nearly every creative medium to stay afloat – from graphic design to photography, murals and gallery art. He ultimately ended up working a sign shop, now called A Plus Signs and Creative. With vintage signs surrounding him since childhood (his father was a collector), Scott has always had an interest in the design, fabrication and art in a well-made sign. When the opportunity came up to take over as owner of the store in 2012, Scott took a risk that ultimately led to his success story. He’s now producing beautiful signs that are changing businesses and communities and upping the ante for sign manufacturers everywhere. He's good, y'all.

Favorite Works
With the shop keeping him busy, it was hard for Scott to take time to reflect on his personal art.  But, when I asked him about his favorite personal work, he said his favorite was one of the first murals that he did that barely still exists today. It was the wall of a skate park in Fondren owned by Ron Chane that now serves as the patio for popular Jackson bar, Fondren Public. Scott was young when he painted it and claims he had no idea what he was doing, so the work was just pure fun (usually our best work comes when we’re most vulnerable and unprepared, right?).

As for other artists, Scott had a life-changing experience at a wedding that turned him into a Walter Anderson fan. Anderson had painted the walls of the community center in Ocean Springs, and during the wedding ceremony, all Scott could do was stare at the walls. He says the art in that community center blew his mind, leaving him wanting to know everything about Anderson's story behind the mural. This event served as a turning point of inspiration for Scott's career. 

Making an Impact with Public Art
If you’ve ever been to Fondren, you’ve seen how Scott’s work can impact a community. His murals and signs are everywhere you turn. One project in particular,  Fondren Fro Yo, has transformed from a law firm to a fun, funky yogurt shop. Scott’s influence - from the overall branding and hand-painted signage to the interior and exterior décor - makes a yogurt shop one of the most unique I've ever seen. It’s the brightest spot in Fondren, and the branding and overall look and feel makes it a place you can’t forget.

Crystal Springs, Mississippi

Public Art in Small Towns
It’s no secret that small towns can experience seasons of drought. And we’re not talking water here. Population declines, big business takes over and small businesses suffer. But in the last 10-15 years, Scott has noticed a creative transformation of many small towns in the South. He believes that community leaders have realized that history, whether it be the blues, civil rights or even architecture, can be a powerful way to draw visitors into their towns. He says that one way to combat issues in struggling communities is through creative place making and culture building. Public art is one of the best ways to make a community unique. Water valley, Laurel and Fondren are all examples of small towns reinventing themselves and experiencing real success. This equates to economic growth, which is great for the entire town and Mississippi tourism as a whole.

Public art is one of the best ways to make a community unique.

I’d like to thank Scott for his time in sharing his story and continuing to promote positive stories about how art and place making can change places (and people) for the good.

Now, the challenge. What’s a space in your small town or community that could use a little love? Is there a place where, if given a little TLC, could turn into a spot for movie night, pop-up dinner spot or farmer’s market (see Laurel’s super successful Downtown Movie Night here)?

Now, go make it happen! Contact me, and I'll gladly help connect you to the resources that can help you do this in your small town.

 All photos from this post were contributed by Scott Allen

 
 
 

Is a Storefront Right for Your Business? Lessons from Followell Fotography

 
Robby and Jess Followell in the Followell Fotography Studio. Photo by Chase Rich.

Robby and Jess Followell in the Followell Fotography Studio. Photo by Chase Rich.

One of the most beautiful things about my college experience is that I attended a school where the people truly felt like an extension of my family. I had the blessing of so many friendships that still today seem more like sisters, brothers and close cousins. Recently, these friendships have taken the form of hilarious texts on a weekly basis (this week’s topic: which My Little Pony character are you), having a precious friend living in Chicago surprise me at my first baby shower and going through a virtual Bible study together. I could have never predicted that my college education would result in the honor of meeting the people who I craved to be around most often – the people who make me the best version of myself.

Another beautiful thing about my college experience is that when I see friends I went to college with – whether it was those who bore the burden of talking through my anxieties at 3 a.m. or those I saw passing through the cafeteria every Tuesday and Thursday, that warm feeling of home overwhelms me. When I visited the home studio of Robby and Jess Followell of Followell Fotography, I felt like it’s somewhere I was supposed to be that day at that very moment with a long overdue catch up, plenty of laughter and the opportunity to learn some of the highs and lows of the last decade of the business.

I met Robby and Jess as freshmen at Mississippi College. Today, they are a force of talent, compassion, faith and fun who are inspiring the world with their gifts and authenticity. Robby graduated Mississippi College in 2006, working as an admissions counselor while he ramped up his photography business, Followell Fotography. His first wedding to shoot was in 2007, then he pursued the business fully in 2009, starting full time and moving into a studio on Clinton’s brick streets. Robby signed the lease the month before he quit working at Mississippi College. And the next working day after his last day at MC, he went straight to the studio.

I sat down with Robby and Jess to discuss the ins and outs of having a storefront. The value it brought Followell Fotography and their experience from the “other side,” as they experience a studio connected to their home. Robby highlighted a few tips that a storefront offered the business that every entrepreneur contemplating this decision should know. If you’re on the fence about a storefront, check these out.

Tip 1. A Storefront Develops Your Brand

From Robby’s perspective, having a storefront forces business owners to identify exactly who they are and what they want to communicate to their customers and the community. This means a lot of self-reflection and front-end work must be put in to really hone in on the brand and style a business wants to portray. For example, color schemes, furniture style, logo design and the general “feel” of your space. Robby added that in a world where co-working space is trendy and what entrepreneurs often start with today, that type of environment is built upon someone else’s interpretation of space that inspires. A private space means you get to decide what’s inspiring and what fits your brand.

Tip 2. A Storefront Helps you Legitimize Your Business

A storefront can bring legitimacy that no online presence can. While he never shot photos in his studio space, Robby experienced an enhanced reputation that he believes would have been hard to find otherwise, especially starting out.

Tip 3. A Storefront is a Commitment

Robby suggests being able to commit to at least five years to a storefront or studio. Otherwise, it can do more harm than good for your brand. Imagine a business or restaurant that you once loved that didn’t stay in business long. It probably affected your opinion of the validity of the business, product or service.

Tip 4. A Storefront Costs Real Money

After four years, the Followell starting realistically thinking long term. They had already invested $75,000 in rent that wasn’t invested back in the business. Renting a storefront offers no financial benefit, so that is a huge thing to consider. 

The Story Isn’t Over

As Robby and Jess started thinking long-term in their family and business life, they realized that Followell Fotography didn’t technically require a physical studio space for taking photos, so there were options beyond a storefront business. They considered a home studio, but there was a laundry list of requirements that Robby knew were a must. On the business side, the studio needed to be separate from their home space with a different entrance, so customers could feel as though they are truly entering a business rather than going through a house. They knew that may be difficult to find in the small town of Clinton, Mississippi.

On the personal side, they would need the space in the home that would accommodate their growing family. They were in the middle of an adoption process with plans to bring home a child with a disability, so preparing for the unknown made the idea of finding something that suited both business and personal needs seem almost impossible. 

Fortunately for the Followells, they trust their lives to a God that is known for big miracles, and in His true character, God showed out by providing them exactly what they wanted and needed. Their dream home they had been eyeing for years came up for sale. And as any couple would, Robby and Jess played along and scheduled an appointment to visit it, knowing it was entirely out of their reach. Naturally, the house was perfect, styled just to their liking, and there was a detached portion of the home with a separate entrance where the current homeowner used as crafting space. They walked away from looking at the house knowing it was exactly where God wanted them. And, through a series of fate, the house became their home and Followell Fotography’s new headquarters.

Followell Fotography Home Studio

Followell Fotography Home Studio

Inside the Followell Fotography Studio

Inside the Followell Fotography Studio

Since the Transition

At first, Robby and Jess were a little nervous that the home studio may seem a little awkward or odd to people. After their very first appointment in the new place, they received a note from the bride saying she was appreciative of the client interaction and the experience in their studio, and she proved it by booking their largest wedding package.

Today, they have really embraced the space connecting to their home and have let the brand take on a family business feel, which clients and their employees seem to appreciate. While I visited their studio, their assistant left to go pick up Meg, their oldest daughter, from school. If that’s not family, I’m not sure what is. Robby also enjoys the perk of being able to prepare for weddings the evening prior by taking ten steps to the studio affords Robby more time with his family.

Final Tip: Evaluate What’s Best For Your Business

Overall, Robby advises small business owners to evaluate the pros and cons, and even get out a sheet of paper to do so. He recommends not to only factor in what’s best for the business but also what’s best for you personally. There are options that give you the best of both worlds. And God just might be ready to show what miracles He has in store for you.

 

 

The Next 21 Days

 

This is somewhat of a personal post, but it's really important to me, and I think it can be extremely useful to my readers, so I wanted to share. Every new year brings the opportunity to start fresh, but I'm always taken back to Proverbs 16:9 that says, "We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps."We think that a new planner, a course on simplifying things, or even a new way of scheduling time will help jump start us in the right direction. But that does us no good if our steps aren't guided by our Creator.

Our church (The Agape Church) does a season of prayer and fasting at the beginning of each year. I have had the honor of being involved in the design of the book the last two years, and as we were deciding on the name, "Prayer Changes Everything" was stuck in my head. Our pastors graciously give me creative freedom and gave me the okay on the theme, so we went with it. I'm really proud of the way it turned out. The cover inspires me to dig in, and I hope it does the same for others.  

 
21 Days of Prayer - The Agape Church
 

When we first started going to this church, my first thought on the prayer and fasting season was, "Holy Cow! This place is serious about prayer." Now, I think "Holy Cow! Why isn't everyone this serious about prayer?" I have learned that fasting isn't just a tradition of those living in the Old Testament times. There is scripture throughout the Bible that speaks of denying ourselves things of the flesh to focus our hunger for Jesus. It's a season that, if done with discipline, it will reveal those areas that we otherwise miss.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to get to the end of 2018 without having a time of cleansing and focus on the things in my life that the busyness of everyday causes me to brush off or miss completely. I don't want to rush through every day - daycare drop-off, work meetings, dinner, bedtime/bath, repeat - and miss those deep-rooted, life-changing things that God wants to change in me. I don't want to miss the still small voice. Heck, I don't want to miss the loud and clears (and sometimes, if I'm not focused, I do)! Sometimes, the mysteries of God aren't mysteries. We just have to listen!

So I challenge you as friends, blog subscribers, Jesus followers or even those searching for something this year but can't put there finger on exactly what. Take the next 21 (technically 22) and dig in, pray, fast and listen. You can check out The Agape.Church Instagram page for tips on how to prepare and different ways to fasts (surprisingly, you don't have to abstain from all food). And as our pastor reminded us this morning, Mark 11:23-24

I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.

Make this a year of intention and focus.

 

Get Organized with Your Social Media: Tips to Make Your Life Easier

 
Instagram
 

 

It's time to talk a little social media. If you're an entrepreneur, small business or solo marketer, this may be the thing you dread the most about the day-to-day of your business. Scheduling posts, generating original content, staying a head of the game rather than posting things last minute - do these things sound familiar? The problem is that that generally if you're not planning posts with an underlying content strategy, your social media feeds will end up looking like an afterthought with no direction, no consistency and no theme. And will leave your followers confused about who you are and what you offer.

What to Post
I recommend mapping out your key "buckets" for your brand each quarter by answering these questions:

  • What products/services do I want people to buy most of this quarter?
  • What is my key differentiator?
  • What do I sell the most of right now?

Using these questions, map out your three "buckets" that are most important to your business for the quarter. Let's say, for a coffee shop the answers are:

  • Flavored bags of coffee
  • The fact that we purchase our beans locally
  • Caramel lattes

Now, put these buckets down on paper and plan to feature these things once each week in a unique way (warning: don't post the same thing every week). That right there gives you three things you already know you want to post about. 

Also, people love to see themselves on social media. Sprinkle in some customers using your products, some thought-leadership articles (thank you, Google Alerts) and you've got yourself a page worth following!

When to Schedule Posts
With a little effort, advanced planning can be so much better for your business. For example, you can spend 20-30 minutes each day scrambling to take photos, thinking of something insightful to say and end up coming up with something off the cuff an uninspiring. OR, spend 1.5 hours at the beginning of each week (I prefer Sunday nights, but whatever floats your boat). Take photos for 30 mins of photos, one hour of scheduling on the same day every week vs. 20-30 minutes daily scrambling to take photos and think of something insightful to say. Plus, you can generate more revenue if you plan posts in advance!

Social media platforms are the way your business is represented to your shoppers. Would you throw just anybody at the front desk of your business to greet customers as they walk in the door? Of course not! Similarly, social media is the only "face" many will see from your business, so you should treat your content with the utmost importance.

As far as time of day, there are awesome apps like When to Post that give you insights into when to post (and actually shoot you a reminder when you need to post). How much easier can it get?

Shameless Hootsuite Plug
The best way I've found to set it and forget it is Hootsuite. This is a social media planning tool that allows you to get ahead of your social media by planning everything, scheduling, even responding to your DM's and such. Also, they have switched their plans to allow accounts with three social media accounts to use it for FREE. Y'all, this will change your life. I'm telling you. DO IT.

 

Cheers to The New Year

Bring on 2018! This year has been filled with so many highs and lows. To be completely honest, I’m ready for a fresh start. There were a lot of lows when it comes to illness in my family. My mom went through learning she had breast cancer, a hip replacement and gallbladder removal, so we are believing that 2018 will be a year of good health for her and the rest of the family. 

There were also some really great highs with the many firsts new experiences for my son. First birthday, first family vacation, learning to walk, starting to talk. Singing ALL THE TIME (he gets it from his dad). 

Professionally, I had feel this year was a victory year for me. After having a baby last year, I feel as though I overcame the fog of new motherhood in 2017. I had no idea the first six months would be as tough as they were. And I’m so blessed to work in an environment where family is valued and grace is given as I navigated work and life as a new mom. I also had the blessing of taking a trip with coworkers that I'm lucky enough to also call friends, and it was EXACTLY what I needed to end the year with some rest and fun. And the scenery wasn't so bad either. 

 
Jay and Laura Johns
 
 
Napa Valley
 

Relationally, I felt like I wasn't giving 100% to anything or anyone at the beginning of this year. I was running at about 60% as a mom, in my career and for my immediate and extended family. I always prided myself in having great relationships, and I found myself in a place where I didn't really talk to anyone outside of work and my home, and all I thought about was work or the baby. This was SO tough for me because I care deeply about people and love relationships that I can sink into and grow from daily. I had very little of that, and it was rough. Thankfully, God brought me an early Monday coffee friend, a wonderful women's small group, some great counsel and a phenomenal book called Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist.

Creatively, I've been challenged in an area that I hope 2018 brings improvement. While I am educated in advertising and PR, back in the stone age of 2005-2006, they weren't teaching social media classes. Facebook was just getting started and Instagram was nonexistent. I've been listening to a lot of podcasts this year and have really challenged myself in learning more about how to gain influence, build a brand and boost sales with online and social media marketing. So, a goal of mine for next year is to continue to learn and improve in this area. Some of my podcasts favorites are:

Market Beautifully- Haley Burkhead

The Science of Social Media - Buffer

Coming in 2018

In the near future, I will be sharing an interview with the amazingly talented Robby Followell of Followell Fotography, about when to know if a store front is right for your business. Also, I'm excited to share about how public art shapes a community with one of the most talented artists in all of Mississippi, Scott Allen of A+ Signs. I will also be sharing my favorite user-friendly website building tools for those who have been procrastinating on building or replacing their website, and some easy graphic design hacks that anyone can use to create custom graphics. I will also be joining other small business marketers on a monthly basis, so I will be getting feedback from the group and providing the findings and (hopefully) some valuable tips from there as well.

I'd love to know what's important to you, what you'd like to hear more about, what marketing goals you have and anything else you're finding to be a challenge in your small business work life. I'm sure you're not alone, and I'd love for us to learn from one another. 

Cheers to the New Year!