Friday, April 18, 2014


Is it really all about relationships & conversation?

by:  Laura A. Meck, Managing Partner
Small Business Secret Weapon Company, Inc.


Yes.  Well, that’s the short answer.  It seems that just in the world of marketing everything has moved away from technical aptitude and the old “take it or leave it” selling mindset.  Our socio-economic environment is dictating and driving conversation; conversations lead to relationships. Now I didn’t say conversations lead to good or bad relationships –but some form of emotional connect is made, either positive or negative when people come together.

Think about it –how much time to you spend each day on your social media channels?  Can you measure it in minutes or hours?  Is it for work or out of boredom? 

I’m constantly on social media.  It’s the nature of my business to keep in touch with what’s going on for both our company and for our clients.  “Listening” gives me an opportunity to either stumble on an opportunity or to address something as it is happening.  Conversations are taking place all day, every day –and if you’re not part of it you really are missing out. 

If you have not yet embraced social channel marketing you may be missing out on a large part of your audience.  We frequently talk to our clients about social media – it’s still a bit of a mystery to most.  Whether you are a B2B or a B2C business, there is a channel for you. 

Not all channels are created equal.  There are some businesses that will never benefit from Pinterest and others that will thrive by adding it into their marketing mix.  It comes back to knowing your audience, what they buy – how they buy it – where they buy it – when they buy it and a frequently forgotten measure – how OFTEN they buy.  You have to take all of that into account when you’re evaluating your social marketing efforts.  For example, if you are an attorney (or another professional service provider) Pinterest may not work for you.  You may find more success through blogging either hosting your own or guest blogging.  There are tons of options in “social marketing” it takes some time and some research to see what audiences they attract and identify if your audience will benefit from a specific channel.

People are smart. People want to do business with someone they know, or at least feel like they know.  They want to be engaged and want to feel connected.  You can achieve an emotional connection, a relationship with your client through social interaction.  Give it a try, what do you have to lose?



If you are intrigued by this type of information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Small Business Secret Weapon Company (SBSW), provides a wide range of services to help you grow your business. With the many options, you can select the service or services that meet your needs today and come back to the community frequently as your business needs change.   Our vision is to provide a quality, collaborative working environment for growing businesses to gather knowledge, increase exposure and identify the appropriate metrics for measuring YOUR success.  Choose your weapon:  coaching, consulting, outsourced marketing or community based courses / seminars and workshops!

Sonata Venture Solutions, a Small Business Secret Weapon Company, as an outsourced marketing, branding and public relations company focused on small/mid-sized businesses and solo-preneurs.
 

The Launchbox®, a Small Business Secret Weapon Company, is a workshop designed to help business owners/ entrepreneurs grow their businesses through marketing, branding and public relations.  The Launchbox provides you with the instruction and tools necessary to build your business.
    

Listen in every Saturday from 10am – 11am on Baltimore’s CBS Radio Station 1300AM to The Small Business Secret Weapon Hour. 

About the author:  Laura A. Meck.  Laura, Managing Partner for Small Business Secret Weapon Company, Inc., including Sonata Venture Solutions /The Launchbox, has been helping businesses grow for over twenty years.  Passionate, tenacious and driven to help others succeed best describes her work style.  The Launchbox is a workshop that can be taken in person or online with support by certified instructors. 


Sonata Venture Solutions specifically provides outsourced marketing services for small and growing businesses.  



Top of page image:  
Image source: http://websuccessteam.com

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

So, you want to pick my brain? 

What's in it for me?

by:Laura A. Meck, Managing Partner

Small Business Secret Weapon Company, Inc.

It’s been one of “those” days!  You know the kind where the old adage is, if it can go awry it will.  I had a ton of calls / meetings scheduled for the day – and in between my calls the phone rang off the hook [literally – I took it off the hook in my office, forgot about the reception area phone].  Each time I answered an unscheduled call it started the same way “Can I pick your brain for a minute?” Most days that phrase makes me shudder.  First, it doesn’t sound pleasant – “pick your brain” – who started that?  Second, it usually translates to “hey, I really need advice, just don’t want to pay for it.”  And third, it’s NEVER for a MINUTE!

We’ve all had those calls.  I’ve started twisting the proverbial “can I pick your brain” around on the caller.  As soon as I hear those five little words, my brain goes into action…. If you pick my brain, “what’s in it for me?”  I quickly assess the situation and determine if there’s something I can gain, learn, take away from the call and in rapid fire timing– make my mind up whether or not to invest in the call.  Today’s “brain picking” however added a new twist.

The first call was from a magazine that wanted “information” about women business owners.  Hmmmm, I thought – “what’s in it for me” a magazine…. Well, include me in the article, by name and by company name.  DONE!  Ok – so look for my interview next month J

The next call was from a fellow that I’ve consulted with in the past.  He’s brilliant.  I enjoy talking to him and hearing about his new adventures – he’s a wealth of knowledge and happily shares.  He has started a new company – targeting hospitality [which I happen to know a little bit about], and it sounds intriguing – so “what’s in it for me”… Lunch!  Hey, he happened to call when I was again missing lunch – again, win-win. 

My next call was a phone tag call – not only did I have to play cat and mouse with this guy, but the message didn’t reveal a “pick your brain” question….. Turns out, in his final message – he finally shared that he just wanted to “pick my brain” about something that I have little interest in, and at that point I couldn’t even think of “what’s in it for me.” 

So, my final message back [yes phone tag continued] shared that I was swamped and if he had a quick question he could send it to me by email -  never heard back..  The last call of the day was fun.   The call started as most of them do with a few pleasantries and small talk about the weather, travel and kids then it took a turn- instead of her saying “I want to pick your brain” she said, I have a situation I’d like your advice on, if you have a minute.  Wait what was this, someone that admitted they needed something, she made it specific [a situation to me = one item to discuss] and she was respectful of my time. It’s amazing how different the situation can be when someone is coming to you for advice versus coming to “pick your brain.” 

Really, it’s the same thing right?  They want information that I (or you) have and they don’t want to pay for it.  But when we’re perceived as a SME [subject matter expert] it seems to take on a different feel.  When I shared that I did have just a few minutes – her question was succinct – easy to respond to – and appreciated.  Then it happened before I could think about my “what’s in it for me” – she offered up “if you ever need anything, please feel free to call me.”

Now, instead of brain picking, I am working on developing a [mutually beneficial] resource.  She has a lot of experience in an area that I don’t particularly like to handle, and will be a solid and reliable resource for me to pass customers to.  I know she will take care of them and be respectful of their time, just as she was with me.  Until today I really hadn’t spent much time with her, we’ve seen one another at networking events and conferences –but nothing more than a passing connection.  Because of her approach, I will share information, potentially customers and recommendations.

It’s funny the people I’ve known the longest just wanted to “pick my brain” but the one I hardly know wanted to develop a relationship that could benefit us both.  When we are in consulting businesses or coaching businesses regardless of where we are, start up or tenured, our time is valuable.  When we are approached in a respectful manner and clearly see the “what’s in it for me” without having to think about it we invest the effort.

My “what’s in it for me” isn’t a sign of selfishness, at least that’s not how I view it.  Instead it’s me putting a value to that period of time and how I am going to be compensated for it.  Whether compensated in knowledge, a trade out of something or cash only we can put a value on our time.  It’s okay to say to someone “I don’t have time” or “I’m sorry, I can schedule time for us to meet and we can discuss an agreement so I am more available to you…

Keep in mind the next time someone wants to “pick your brain” ask yourself “what’s in it for me” – If you don’t value your own time, how can you expect anyone else to? 
Do you value your own time? 


If you are intrigued by this type of information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Sonata Venture Solutions, a Small Business Secret Weapon Company, as an outsourced marketing, branding and public relations company focused on small/mid-sized businesses and solo-preneurs.
 

The Launchbox®, a Small Business Secret Weapon Company, is a workshop designed to help business owners/ entrepreneurs grow their businesses through marketing, branding and public relations.  The Launchbox provides you with the instruction and tools necessary to build your business.
    

Listen in every Saturday from 10am – 11am on Baltimore’s CBS Radio Station 1300AM to The Small Business Secret Weapon Hour. http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/station/cbs-sports-radio-1300//

About the author:  Laura A. Meck.  Laura, Managing Partner for Small Business Secret Weapon Company, Inc., including Sonata Venture Solutions /The Launchbox, has been helping businesses grow for over twenty years.  Passionate, tenacious and driven to help others succeed best describes her work style.  The Launchbox is a workshop that can be taken in person or online with support by certified instructors. 

Sonata Venture Solutions is a small business secret weapon company.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Growing your BRAND…. not as easy as it sounds

I work with a lot of new business owners, start-up companies, and franchise owners. The one common thread is their desire to have immediate brand recognition.  In the virtual viral world we live in, everything seems to move at the speed of light and when something doesn’t, we tend to get cranky.  Brand development is not one of those “just add water” things.  True brand development takes time and consistent, repeatable messaging.

By the time you open your door to your prospects and customers you have already spent a significant amount of time working on your business.  You’ve designed and built [if applicable] your product and service offering, established the processes you think will be critical to your success and figured out your pricing.  So, what’s left? 

Branding is probably one of the most important elements of a solid marketing plan.  Your brand tells your consumers who you are, what you do and sets the initial impression.  Is your brand making the right impression?  Is your logo and color palette telling a story?  That initial impression can either drive business to your door or drive them away.
There are a few things you should think about when developing your brand:
  • Focus on the BENEFITS of your products and / or service, ask yourself “What problem do we solve?”
  • Know your AUDIENCE and market; ask yourself “Who are we building this product and / or service for, and where are they buying?”
  • Be consistent with the use of brand COMMUNICATION elements. It’s too easy to get distracted with the myriad of options.  Test-drive a few things that your audience “generally” gravitates to. 
  • Create desirable collateral.  Be sure to include images and written CONTENT.  Not everyone responds to the same material you do, so work to be inclusive.  The use of video, imagery and written word will attract prospects.
  • Be sure to ask your customers why they chose you and / or conduct an UNBIASED focus group.
  • Focus on your STRATEGY.  Don’t be easily distracted and change your logo / taglines / etc. on a whim.  It takes 3 – 5 years for a brand to become a mature brand. 
 Once you launch your brand be true to it.  For example, if you are an environmentally friendly company providing “green” products, do not show up at a client site driving a large diesel SUV.  

Remember, BRANDING is:
“The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers' mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.”

Create, develop and nurture an emotional connection with your prospects and customers.  Break through the noise and stand out from the crowd!
If you are intrigued by this type of information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Sonata Venture Solutions, a Small Business Secret Weapon Company, as an outsourced marketing, branding and public relations company focused on small/mid-sized businesses and solo-preneurs.

The Launchbox®, a Small Business Secret Weapon Company, is a workshop designed to help business owners/ entrepreneurs grow their businesses through marketing, branding and public relations.  The Launchbox provides you with the instruction and tools necessary to build your business.

 Listen in every Saturday from 10am – 11am on Baltimore’s CBS Radio Station 1300AM to The Small Business Secret Weapon Hour. 


About the author:  Laura A. Meck.  Laura, President and CEO for Sonata Venture Solutions /The Launchbox, has been helping businesses grow for over twenty years.  Passionate, tenacious and driven to help others succeed best describes her work style.  The Launchbox is a workshop that can be taken in person or online with support by certified instructors.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

LOVE YOUR BRAND


Falling in love?
         by: Laura A. Meck, President & CEO Sonata Venture Solutions

What usually happens when you fall in love? You become uber-excited, giddy, and focused. Your emotional attachment strengthens and you seek to engage in time spent with the object of your desire, right? It’s the same thing with building a loyal brand. Yes, it really is.

In this day and age people are not satisfied with hearing about features and functions or the benefits of the brand, they want to know what their friends, family, and other people they admire and respect think of it. They want to be involved and engaged. No, I don’t mean you have to send all of your prospects and customers a ring, but you do have to give them something to value in your brand. And this doesn’t mean you don’t have to have feature / function rich products and services. It simply means you have to take into account the emotional and the logical needs of your prospects and customers.

Does your brand create an EMOTIONAL connection? Take a look at your Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Pinterest or other social media site. Are people engaging in conversation around your products, services and or your company? Do they relate to your brand? If not, you’re going to be left in the dust. Social media/marketing makes it easy to engage. Don’t get your knickers in a bunch focusing on “social media” if you focus on “social” you’re going to be just fine. Social people like to have conversations, ask questions, learn and interact. You can use social media as a tool to do just that.

You can pose a question and as you get feedback you can respond [interact] or promote a contest [a $25 gift card for our 550th “LIKE”], and announce the winner. Every time you engage your audience you are creating an emotional connection. People in general want to know that you like them and you’re there
for them. How are you helping them to distinguish your brand from another?

Are you leading the conversation? What else can you do to create an EMOTIONAL connection? Well, since you asked…. Marketing is no longer just tossing out a bunch of advertisements or putting static websites up. It’s about really interacting with your audience. Through interacting, whether positive or negative, some level of emotional connection will occur. You get the chance to respond and address things that might be presented negatively. You will have a chance to encourage accolades. Most of all you will give people a reason to engage in conversation [about you]. When people are taking about you, you stay relevant and current. It’s when they stop talking about you that you have to worry. There’s an old saying “any press is good press if it keeps your name out there.”

Is your brand loveable? Do people naturally gravitate to your business? If not, why? Could it be your logo or tagline doesn’t resonate with them? Could you be focusing on benefits you believe are strong, but are not what the audience is looking for? Is your messaging dated? When was the last time you took a good hard look at your brand?

Shout it from the rooftop! You have to be your own advocate and give voice to your brand. You have to share your voice through multiple channels to reach your audience. Not every channel is right for every business any more than every person is right for another. But when you do get it right…. ain’t it grand!


Join us at one of our sessions. You just might learn something. We have several programs running concurrently each month. Find the one that fits your schedule!

Join the Movement. Grow your Business. Make 2013 your year!
We’d love to hear how you’re growing your business. Please shoot us a message or check out how others are building their companies through our social media networks. If you are intrigued by this type of information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Sonata Venture Solutions is an outsourced marketing, branding and public relations company focused on small/mid-sized businesses and solo-preneurs.

The Launchbox® is a workshop designed to help business owners/ entrepreneurs grow their businesses through marketing, branding and public relations. The Launchbox provides you with the instruction and tools necessary to build your business. Listen to a former Launchbox participant, business owner, now!

About the author and her business: Laura A. Meck
Laura, President and CEO for Sonata Venture Solutions /The Launchbox, has been helping businesses grow for over twenty years. A published author, collaborator and business leader Laura is passionate, tenacious and driven to help others succeed. Having formed Sonata Venture Solutions in 2007, Laura and team have helped hundreds of business owners navigate the world of marketing, branding and public relations; growing business. After years of helping business owners, after they had been taken advantage of by less than reputable organizations, and seeing them struggle with the dynamic world of marketing, Ms. Meck developed The Launchbox. In 2010, The Launchbox delivered its first working session through the ETC (Emerging Technology Center), quickly followed by programs designed for SBDC. The Launchbox is a workshop that can be taken in person or online with support by certified instructors. Sonata Venture Solutions is an outsourced marketing provider. The Launchbox is its educational outreach arm. Whether you want to completely outsource your marketing to someone you trust, or you want to educate yourself on current and traditional marketing techniques, we are here to help.

Friday, February 1, 2013

When it is time to make the really hard decisions, are you ready?

The month of January always brings about a lot of emotions. For many, it is the longer periods of darkness, for others it is the post-holiday blues. For me this year (already) it has been a roller coaster of emotions or as my daughter so eloquently put it “life can be one complicated bowl of fruity pebbles.” On one hand our clients are doing great, working their plans and on another more personal note my son will be leaving for boot-camp on February 3rd. I’m not typically an emotional gal. But as we get closer and closer to the date of his departure I find myself struggling with so many questions. While I am proud that he wants to do something “bigger than himself” I’m terrified that he will be in harm’s way.

I’m not na├»ve enough to think that even if he stayed at home that he wouldn’t encounter difficulties, but at least he would have a full support system of people who know and love him. Can the Army give him that? My guess is no. While I know they will keep him as safe “as they can” it just isn’t the same. He wants to save and help people and has lofty ideals that he can make a difference. As an adult I know he’s right. He is a strong willed, intelligent, loyal and hard-working young man. But, as a mother all I want to do is to protect him. How can I possible do that from so far away?

Last night we sat together, not really talking much, just sat close to one another. I could feel his commitment and his strong conviction. His passion is un-deniable and his will presses on. Through a good friend I was able to get him the Army challenge coin, to watch him hold it and look at it made me realize he has made the right decision for him, for now. Who knows what his future will hold, I have to trust in his decisions, in his self-awareness and his determination. I have to trust that the foundation, as parents we have laid is inherent and unweilding. I have to trust him to make his own decisions. Did I mention I’m a control freak? Letting him make his own decisions is hard. I’m sure many parents, moms and dads alike, feel the same. We want the best for our children, we want to protect and comfort them and when something threatens to upset that we don’t quite know how to react.
There is nothing I can really do to make him change his mind, and if he did because of pressure from me, I’m certain there would be some level of resentment down the road. Choices, decisions and paths – have to be made from both the head and the heart. While I still don’t like the choice or path he has chosen, I do respect his ability to move forward.

It’s much the same when you own your own business. All entrepreneurs have struggled with decisions. We have to recognize that if the proper foundation is in place, we have analyzed and researched the possible outcome’s, did a gut check, that we have to move forward with making a decision. If no one ever took a chance, made decisions, right or wrong, their business wouldn’t go anywhere. Do you really want to be “status quo?”

You have to ask yourself the question “have I laid the right foundation to build my business on?” Do you truly know your audience, where you want to be in 1, 3, 5 years? Trust your gut, listen to your heart and then act on the decision. If it is wrong, you can recover and course correct, but if it is right the outcome could be tremendous.

Do you have a solid foundation from which to make sound business decisions? If you don’t have your marketing foundation [strategy] in place or you simply want to have another set of eyes on it, give us a call. The team at Sonata Venture is here to support growing businesses either through outsourcing or through our workshop (DIY) programs.
Our goal is to provide entrepreneurs a solid working [educational] environment that allows business owners the ability to specifically focus on what they need to grow their own business. Our next session is February 21st in McLean Virginia. Our topic for that session is “Socially You in 2013” so if your social media /marketing strategy could use a boost, join us. Space is limited so register today.

Join us at one of our sessions. You just might learn something.  
Join the Movement. Grow your Business. Make 2013 your year!

Friday, January 25, 2013

What do you have to lose, that’s not already at risk today?


"[The Launchbox] ... it's all about the collaboration"
This addition to our blog is really a shameless self-promotion, there’s the warning so you can continue or stop reading now.

When we designed The Launchbox® Workshops it was initially targeted to small businesses that were either just starting out, or they found themselves in a rut; doing the same things yet expecting different results.

We kept the groups small to encourage open communication and peer to peer interaction. Initially the workshops were promoted through local incubator programs, SBDC, SBTDC and Economic Development. While we found great success we also discovered this approach really had a limited audience. Since our first workshop in July of 2010, we have opened the programs and workshops to the general public in a variety of settings.

Having the ability to share in an environment where you are surrounded by other like-minded professionals working toward a common goal, yet focused specifically on growing your business is nearly unheard of in the small business community. Most small business owners don’t have peers inside their companies. They have employees that they can share ideas with. They have spouses that they can vent to; is it really productive? The Launchbox was specifically designed to create a boardroom environment of non-competing companies where business owners can focus and guide one another through some of the most difficult business decisions; where they can gain insight from others without judgment.

With the success we found in conducting The Launchbox Workshops (and heard from the business owners) we have morphed the workshop into several different program types. We now offer half day sessions, 3 day bootcamps, traditional 8 week workshops and coming soon, our online version. In each of the programs you are led through exercises specifically designed to build your business and grow revenue. The program provides tools and templates for building campaigns, understanding your vision, helping guide you through branding (personal and professional) as well as setting up specific measures and goals for campaigns.

We will be co-hosting an introductory session as part of an on-going series “2013 Digital Moment Workshop Series – Socially You in 2013,” with ClickForHelp. This session will specifically focus on the care and feeding of your social marketing strategy. Our speakers will focus on helping you build a web-centric strategic marketing foundation, create compelling content that sells and will give you specific tips on measuring your campaign success. The first session is scheduled for February 21st in McLean, Virginia.

Whether you attend one session in the series or commit to growing your business by attending the entire series, I promise you, you will take something away that you can immediately implement in your growing business. If you think participating in a general industry session is not going to get you to the next level, watch for our industry specific Digital Moment Programs coming in Q2. We have been asked to host learning workshops for hospitality, real-estate, finance and construction, specifically. If there is another industry you feel would benefit from a targeted workshop, please feel free to reach out to us through email, phone, Facebook, Twitter or our website.

Our goal is to provide a true working educational environment that allows business owners the ability to specifically focus on what they need to grow their own business. What have you got to lose, that isn’t already at risk today?

Join us at one of our session. You just might learn something.
Join the Movement. Grow your Business. Make 2013 your year!

We’d love to hear how you’re growing your business. Please shoot us a message or check out how others are building their companies through our social media networks. If you are intrigued by this type of information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Sonata Venture Solutions is an outsourced marketing, branding and public relations company focused on small/mid-sized businesses and solo-preneurs.

The Launchbox® is a workshop designed to help business owners/ entrepreneurs grow their businesses through marketing, branding and public relations. The Launchbox provides you with the instruction and tools necessary to build your business. Listen to a former Launchbox participant, business owner, now!


About the author and her business: Laura A. Meck.
Laura, President and CEO for Sonata Venture Solutions /The Launchbox, has been helping businesses grow for over twenty years. A published author, collaborator and business leader Laura is passionate, tenacious and driven to help others succeed. Having formed Sonata Venture Solutions in 2007, Laura and team have helped hundreds of business owners navigate the world of marketing, branding and public relations; growing business. After years of helping business owners, after they had been taken advantage of by less than reputable organizations, and seeing them struggle with the dynamic world of marketing, Ms. Meck developed The Launchbox. In 2010, The Launchbox delivered its first working session through the ETC (Emerging Technology Center), quickly followed by programs designed for SBDC. The Launchbox is a workshop that can be taken in person or online with support by certified instructors. Sonata Venture Solutions is an outsourced marketing provider. The Launchbox is its educational outreach arm. Whether you want to completely outsource your marketing to someone you trust, or you want to educate yourself on current and traditional marketing techniques, we are here to help.   Laura can be reached at lmeck@sonataventure.com or by telephone 443.293.7092.

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013 Top 10 Things Small Business Owners can do to kick off the year right!

Let’s kick off the new year with our first top 10. It’s a new year and that means you have possibilities and opportunities to fix things that didn’t work in 2012, and to build new things to grow your business in 2013. 

We’ve all done some things that just flat out didn’t work. Then there are those things we do that “sort of” work or we really like to do. Clean it up and toss it out! Let’s agree that if it didn’t work in 2012 we will put it on the shelf for 2013 and come up with new ideas. I say put it on a shelf because like the 70’s clothing styles some things do come back around.

Here are 10 things you can do to kick off the year right:
1. Call your existing customers. Talk to your existing customers, they will share with you what works and what doesn’t.

2. Commit to calling 5 new people every week. I used to ask our clients to all 5 each day, that’s overwhelming. If you can talk to 5 new people every week a few things happen… you build confidence in your ability to reach out, you meet new people and you expose your company to someone that may not be aware you exist.

3. Get your house in order. Go through the calendar and document important dates (shows, events, campaigns), even if you are not sure you will attend / participate in the event. This puts everything in a logical timeframe allowing you to effectively plan.

4. Your time is Money. Block off 2 hours every week, consistently for you to focus “on” your business. If it helps, book the meeting for you with you/Marketing Director. We find when it’s on the calendar people are more inclined to follow through. If you can, keep it the same day / time each week.

5. Toss it! This goes back to identifying things that work and things that don’t. Replace one thing that you keep doing, but is not driving real revenue, building your brand or growing your business.

6. Plant the Seed. If your business were a garden, you would go out at the beginning of planting season and survey the land, cultivate the space and identify what you will plant. Focus like that on your business. Survey your client base and target audience, cultivate relationships (people really do business with people they know) and identify what you will focus on selling each quarter.

7. Set 3 personal goals. What do you work for? Is it a car, a new pair of shoes, or college tuition? If you have something to work toward, you will be successful.

8. Set 3 professional goals. What do you want for your business? Is it client acquisition, % of revenue growth, or a partnership you want? Not unlike personal goals, once you have a manageable direction and know what you want from your business, you will stand a far greater chance of success.

9. Take 5. Give yourself permission, (and schedule it) a few minutes each day, to learn something new. Whether you read industry publications, listen to webinars / radio talk, or you simply pick up a newspaper. Take a look around at the landscape of your industry and business. Are the two still in synch?

10. BREATHE! You’re really not alone. There are hundreds of resources, groups and organizations that provide support to business owners / entrepreneurs. If you start to feel alone or you just don’t know how to get through today, feel free to reach out to peers and/or other small business owners/ entrepreneurs. You will be amazed how many are feeling exactly the same way you are right now.

It may all sound familiar, sometimes we just need to “hear” it again. Running a business isn’t rocket science, it’s so much more difficult! Running a business requires art and science to blend. Not always easy, but if what you are doing still gets you excited, it has to be worth it, right?

Happy New Year, make 2013 YOUR “Lucky 13!”

If you are intrigued by this type of information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Sonata Venture Solutions is an outsourced marketing, branding and public relations company focused on small/mid-sized businesses and solo-preneurs.

The Launchbox® is a workshop designed to help business owners/ entrepreneurs grow their businesses through marketing, branding and public relations. The Launchbox provides you with the instruction and tools necessary to build your business.

About the author: Laura A. Meck. Laura, President and CEO for Sonata Venture Solutions /The Launchbox, has been helping businesses grow for over twenty years. Passionate, tenacious and driven to help others succeed best describes her work style. The Launchbox is a workshop that can be taken in person or online with support by certified instructors.