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    Social media is a massively rising phenomenon.

    Once a place to simply connect with old friends from high school or to smile at cute cat videos, it has now moved beyond that space.

    While there are still cute cats (thank goodness!), there are also many opportunities to connect with your clients and market your business.

    It is crazy to think that the online world as we know it did not exist 10 years ago. But, love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. And if you don’t embrace it, you are missing a huge opportunity.

    To reach your audience, you need to go where they go. That means if you are not on at least one social media channel, your marketing attempts will roll like a tumbleweed down an empty street. 

    Markets of all shapes and sizes are more popular than ever. There is a real return to the feeling of “supporting local”, so most areas host at least one or two farmers, food or craft markets regularly.

    Having a market stall is an excellent way for small businesses to get started, test new products, reach new audiences, or just create an extra revenue stream. The financial outlay is minimal, yet it’s a great way to network, build your brand, and get feedback to grow your business.

    These days, however, you need to do a bit more than park your car and display your wares in the boot to all passers-by! Today's markets are slightly more sophisticated.

    Here, we share our best tips to help prepare you for market stall success. 

    Seasonal businesses are cruisy, right? You only work for half the year at most and get to holiday with the wads of cash you made for the rest of the year.

    Those of you running a seasonal business, are probably laughing right now!

    It doesn’t matter if you are selling Christmas decorations, pool cleaning, or running a ski lodge in the mountains. Seasonal businesses require year-round discipline and intricate planning to be successful.

    If you do decide to take all your profits and spend the off-season living the high life, your business will be lucky to last beyond the first year.

    While it’s not all work and no play, you should spend a decent chunk of your quiet time doing all the things you never get time to do during high season.

    Here are some of the most important things to look at.

    Competition is inevitable, no matter what business you are in. There are probably 10, 20 or 100 other businesses out there that offer the same things that you do.

    Some people think that competition is a bad thing. However, it can be good for your business too. Competitors keep you on your toes, motivate you to do better, and perhaps even inspire you to be creative and innovative.

    But what happens when the competition gets intense?

    You may face times when competing businesses decide to target you in ways that feel distinctly personal. While a bit of friendly rivalry is to be expected, someone badmouthing you or trying to steal your customers can be upsetting. Not to mention the fact it could put your business in trouble.

    But don’t panic!

    As Tay Tay says, the haters gonna hate! You just need to have a strategy to Shake It Off in style.

    Here, we talk about the various ways that you can deal with competitors who are trying to bring you down, and the best ways to fight back.

    Spooktacular Halloween Promo Ideas for Your Business

    While we don’t get quite as crazy as the Americans do, Halloween has grown in popularity in New Zealand over the last decade.
    Now, in most neighbourhoods, you will find mini ghosts, witches, superheroes and princesses roaming the streets. You will also notice more and more businesses jumping on board decorating their stores for the occasion.
    Why is this spooktacular “holiday” so popular?

    How to Write A Winning Awards Entry

    If you checked out our last blog on the Top 5 Reasons Why Entering Business Awards is Good for Your Business, you’ll know that the benefits of entering the Network NZ Business Awards are completely worth the time investment.

    We know you’re busy doing incredible things in your business, and taking time away to enter the awards needs to be strategic and productive so to help you out with your entry, here’s our top tips on writing your entry.

    You will have heard about the importance of networking. Getting out and meeting people can do wonders for your business.

    Not only can you drum up leads from people who might be interested in your products or services, but you can build collaborative relationships and help others in business too.

    But can we ask you a question…

    Do you plan time in your day, week or month to network online?

    Have you ever seen that meme floating around on social media that says “I love running my own business because I get to choose which 18 hours of the day I work!”

    Yep, it’s funny. We have all laughed at it. The sad truth for many of us is that statement is pretty close to home.

    You might not work 18 hours a day in your business. But it is almost guaranteed you are right in the thick of the hustle. There seems to be this unwritten rule that if you aren’t pushing yourself to the absolute brink, then your business will never be a success.

    Think About Your Business And Plan For The Coming Year

    Summer can be a funny time of year when it comes to business.

    The sun is shining, the beach is calling and everyone is struggling to transition out of holiday mode. That can often mean a real quiet spot in sales.

    But that can actually be a good thing. You can take advantage of this quieter period to reflect on your business and plan for the year ahead.

    A plan is a really important component of business success. So whether you are looking to grow your business or maintain the current level, a plan can help you achieve what you want.

    Let’s look at how you can hit the ground running after holiday mode finally fades away.

    Hi Everyone. My name is Amanda from Southern Bride and I'm a Pinterest-aholic.

    I'm such an addict that my pins have had over 1.2 million views in the last month (follow me here). As well as driving traffic for my wedding blog, I also run a wedding invitation and stationery design business, Be My Guest, and I have a consistent stream of orders coming in for my downloadable products from the USA (especially this one).

    The only marketing I do that's anywhere near the Northern Hemisphere is Pinterest, so I can say with a fair amount of confidence that Pinterest results in income for me.  This may seem like a drawback if your target market is NZ-based, and sure there are a large number of American users on the site, but the New Zealanders that are on Pinterest are craving NZ content, so it's a great opportunity to get your business in front of Kiwis who are actively looking for your products.

    The end of the year is fast approaching, which means we are well and truly heading into the silly season! 

    It is usually around this time you realise the countless things you still have to get done before the end of the year, especially as a small business owner. If the holiday season has crept up on you a little bit and you are feeling a little unprepared – never fear! 

    Here are some helpful tips for getting your customers (and your business) ready for the end of the year. 

    It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security – you’ve left corporate life, started your own business and it seems to be going well (touchwood) – so keeping up to date for the job market seems pointless? Right?

    Wrong! You never know what is around the corner, and being prepared enables you to pivot and removes the stress of that potential uncertainty. And praying you don’t have to go back to work “for the man” isn’t a concrete career strategy, I’ve found.

    has your business planned for the end of year madness

    It’s October already?! We feel like we blinked and missed 6 months of the year!

    As it is less than two months out from the Christmas/New Year holiday season it means you probably have a lot to think about. Getting your business prepared for the end of year madness can feel like a mammoth task. There is a lot to think about, so if you haven’t started planning, now is the time to do it. 

    But where do you start? There seems like there is so much to do and it is hard to know what to focus on first.

    Don’t panic, we have you covered here at NNZ. Check out our tips for getting your business ready for the holiday break.

    how to write a scroll stopping intro

    Hi, my name is Mary. This is the link to my business… could you buy stuff from me now? OK, byeeeee…

    Three guesses why you won't be buying from Mary’s business any time soon. Oh, and the first two guesses don’t count.

    Let’s face it, we all know why no one will be buying from Mary’s business if that is the kind of introduction she is posting online.

    Mary did not follow the first rule of online interaction. She didn’t try and connect with her audience. Deep down, she knows that there are real people behind each of those profiles. She also knows that she hates aggressive salespeople ramming products down her throat.

    So why was Mary so quick to do this to everyone else?

    Because Mary did not read this awesome article on how to write a great introduction post in a Facebook group. Don’t be like Mary. 

    We have you covered. This is how you can create a scroll-stopping, attention grabbing, endearing intro post…

    corporate gift ideas

    It’s nearly that time of the year where we start thinking about showing some appreciation to our customers for being a part of our journey throughout the year (I didn’t say the C-word – you can thank me later 😉 ).  Where do you start?  Well, if you’re a business owner in New Zealand, you may be looking for something local, or environmentally friendly – we've got you covered!  

    Network NZ is a collection of business owners from around New Zealand and we’ve found a few awesome, unique products you should consider for your corporate gifts this year!  How great would it be to support a local business at the same time?

    be kind online

    Bullies are commonplace in the schoolyard. Kids are trying to find their place in the world, deal with big emotions and navigate the perilous waters of the social world.

    But you would think by the time you hit adulthood, you would have left bullies behind long ago.

    Unfortunately, bullies are still going strong. While they might not push you down in the playground, pull your hair, or drop your pants in front of the whole school, their actions are still negative and unacceptable. 

    Here at Network NZ, we take a strong stance against any kind of negativity and bullying. Our feeling is that you should ‘be kind online’, and in all other parts of your business.

    Let’s take a look into online interactions and how to keep them positive.

    We have all heard the cliché that you should work smarter and not harder. Which generally revolves around not working yourself to death while you try to juggle small business, family and the real world. Despite the fact that this is really good advice, there isn’t usually much attention placed on being business smart.

    Why is that?

    We all need great business tips to make our businesses run smarter. So, we have put together our 5 favourite ways for being business smart. 

    New Zealand small business promotion

    New Zealand has a vast array of talented people who are excited and passionate about what they do.  Each month we select a few businesses to showcase in our Small Business Spotlights, and this month, we are also taking a look at the people BEHIND the businesses.  After all, Network NZ is all about connecting and growing people in business.

    Did you know that how you present yourself can impact on your branding? When you are the face of your business, all eyes are on you. What sort of representation are you giving with your personal branding?  Building your own personal brand is just as important as your business branding. Your business will struggle to reach its full potential unless it aligns with who you are and what you are passionate about.

    Nearly every business owner understands why it’s important to set your own business goals. However, not every business owner does. It may be that you don’t know how to set goals. Or you may be unsure about what goals to set. Perhaps you can’t find the time to set any. Today we’re going to share with you some great tips on how to set your own business goals for both short-term and long-term goals.

    As business owners, we’ve all experienced those awkward moments when business relationships go sour. Whether it’s a customer complaint with no grounding, a supplier charging you more than they charge your competitor or a client bad mouthing your business, it’s not a nice situation to be in. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to always maintain a high degree of professionalism, even if you’re in the right. Today we’re going to discuss the ways you can rebuild damaged relationships with your clients, customers and suppliers.

    Bullying is no longer a thing that only happens to kids at school, it’s become an insidious part of our adult world too, occurring at home, in the work place and online. With the rise of social media it’s even easier for people to sit behind a computer behave in ways our parents would be ashamed of.

    You’ve been running your own business for a while. Having learnt as you go, you’re quickly realising that while you’ve learnt a lot, there’s a ton more you don’t know! You know you’ve got to grow your business, but should you continue to learn on the job or should you hire professionals to help? Today we’re going to walk through the pros and cons of both doing it yourself and working with a business professional.

    As scary as it sounds, over half of new businesses fail within the first three years of operation. It’s not the big businesses with multiple employees who are most at risk. Instead it is the sole operators or ones with less than five employees who are mostly likely to fail. It’s essential that you know the reasons why new businesses fail to stop your new small business heading down that path too.

    Turn on your smart phone, iPad or PC and chances are you’re going to connect to some form of social media. After all, it’s where you go to find out what’s happening and share what you’ve been doing. It’s also the most cost effective way small businesses have to market their products and services to customers like you. As a small business owner, using social media can skyrocket your brand recognition and sales for your business. That is, if you are using it correctly.

    Starting a new business in New Zealand is easy to do. Starting up a successful business is a bit trickier. Network NZ are experts in the field of setting up new businesses. Not only do we have the professional business experts ready to help you, but we also have this handy checklist for you to use. It contains all the questions you will need to answer, as well as all the jobs you will need to do before you start selling your products or services. Ready to start? Let’s go!

    Things are always changing in digital marketing, especially in paid search. Recently, Google introduced a revolutionary feature to the New Zealand market, designed to capture customers’ attention and take advantage of impulse buying - Product Listing Ads (PLAs). PLAs are cost per click search ads based on factors known to engage online shoppers: product images, price, promotions, discounts, reviews and locality.

    Most owners or managers are pretty good at watching the hard numbers - the key performance indicators (KPIs) of their business. 

    The problem with measuring the usual KPIs of turnover, gross profit, sales and debtor days is that they are historic data. To successfully forecast business growth, you also need to measure the competencies that drive your business.

    Have you ever been in the following scenario: You are working away at your desk for a couple of hours and you start to feel discomfort in your back. You feel restless and want to move away from your desk, and you are find it increasingly difficult to concentrate on the work you are undertaking. You leave your desk to have a walk around the office and then return but feel frustrated because you haven’t managed to achieve anything in the past few hours because of being distracted by your pain or discomfort.

    'People must have access to all content on your website within three clicks or they'll simply leave.'

    Imagine if this rule applied to retail shops; 'you must be able to touch what you want to buy within three steps of walking into a shop or you will leave.' How hard would it be for any business to thrive?

    To put pen to paper and start writing this wasn't easy. I wanted to start writing, I intended to start writing, but something was stopping me from actually writing. In fact, the majority of things in my life that I have thus far intended to do have often been just that, an intention. Why? Not because I don’t have the ability to write, to create, to do what I intend to do, not because I don’t have the motivation or the will but, because of fear, anxiety and doubt.

    We live in a digital business world where skype-connectivity and mobile phones are the norm. Yet we still use written language – whether for Facebook, blogging, advertising copy, or just everyday emails. Each form of writing has its own appropriate tone and use of language. A business plan sent to your bank manager is unlikely to cut much ice if it’s written in a conversational style more suited to a Facebook post about hilarious dance-like-nobody’s-watching video fails. Enough said…

    Most of you know about ACC covering you for your medical expenses to treat you and help you recover from an accident. If you have had an accident you probably found this to be partially funded and you had to pay something towards the costs, depending on what you needed done, which is a little disappointing but medical expenses only go so far. 

    Are you like a high proportion of the population suffering from either mild or debilitating feelings of anxiousness, depression and/or fatigue? You could be suffering from ….. Fear! Yes that’s right anxiety is just fear in another guise. If we are in fear then all sorts of things can raise their ugly heads and bite us on the derriere.

    Knowledge is power!

    Social Media is a powerful way to get your business out there to the world. Or at least, to New Zealand. In my opinion, if you're not using Social Media, you are missing out on a great opportunity and a large chunk of a potential audience.

    Hi guys! My name is Sian Francis, I am the owner / operator of an online based clothing and accessories boutique. The majority of our trade is carried out online, however for the past 4 years we have been quite involved in markets, shows and expos. I have put together this wee blog in the hope that it might help you take the plunge and book your first market. I will also include a wee list of "dont forgets" that I have had to slowly figure out myself.

    We’ve all heard the saying “content is king” and about the magic that is content marketing. Whether you’re a blogger, videoblogger, podcaster or ebook writer, you will have spent hours researching your topics and writing killer content, and you’ve probably spent your hard earned dollars on copywriters and graphic designers too. But do you realise that what you’re creating is intellectual property? That’s right, content = valuable intellectual property.

    People often ask me to tell them how much money they should be putting aside to cover their GST and tax bills. I find this question difficult to answer because every business is different and I would hate for someone to be relying on something that didn’t fit for their particular business. However, it is such a common question that I’m going to take a stab at a rule of thumb answer. Please let me know whether this works for you if you try it. Please don’t shoot me if it doesn’t.

    Every month we're going to showcase a handful of Kiwi small businesses that we love! Be it excelling in social media, recognition for their achievements or innovation in design, we're on the look out for people who are killing it in business and doing what they are passionate about. Our first spotlight features ten creative small businesses that we think are amazing!

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