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    Later.com for creatives

    cwc_2016-01-21_georgia-phase_insta-graphic_templateOne of the best assets we have for promoting our work and profile is social media. At a recent The Resolution Project event, this was illuminated when we had the opportunity to pose questions to a panel on any topic of current interest. Social media was a hot topic! The panel members Domini Marshall, Bec Mackey, Tess McCabe and Phoebe Miller  (chaired by Madeleine Dore) offered great advice on how to manage social media, especially around content management. Many of the participants were intrigued as to how to best use their time, and how to manage building a profile with specific audiences.

    “The best approach is to post two to three times daily to build your audience”  

    – Domini Marshall

    So I thought I would share my adventures into strategic social media management as I begin my new creative business and profile on Instagram. After the panel presentation, I was intrigued to explore platforms that would allow me to populate and schedule content. This is attractive to me as real time generation of content is not always possible. Plus, I’m very much looking towards productive strategies that can assist me in product and profile development planning and delivery. I went on a search, discovered that there are no 100% free platforms with all options available that offer this service for Instagram as yet, but there are plenty for Twitter.

    What I did find was the platform Later.com. This is a platform that allows you to upload and schedule your Instagram posts from your mobile or computer. What I like about this platform is that is offers a free sign up option while exploring if it works for you. You can post image and text content 30 times in the month for free. This allows for the flexibility to capture spontaneous moments, as well as scheduled content.

    scheduling-content-for-the-week

    Scheduling content for the week: desktop view

    The platform sets up your week in a calendar format. This allows you to visually plan your time, and for you to post at the times that are ideal for your audience. This is where the wisdom of Kylie Lewis and Belinder Langler (of Of Kin fame) comes into play. Their research has indicated that you should be regular and consistent. Their work is also a great reminder to link into the digital patterns of most people’s social media habits of checking the first thing in the morning and in the evening before they go to bed.  A great guide to when you can regularly post to build your profile.

    A record is maintained of the content you have shared and how many times (stored in the ‘used’ section of the platform).  And there is the opportunity to preload images for future content stored in the ‘used’ section of the platform. Once again, another benefit within the platform to support strategic management and smart use of time.

    creating-content-ahead-of-time

    Creating content ahead of time

    In planning your post you can add your image and caption. I think this is one of the best features of this platform to assist in content generation. The image and content can be added, then scheduled. This is then saved and ready to ‘pop up’ as a reminder to allow for posting.

    mobile-application-reminder-on-phone-screen

    Mobile application reminder on phone screen. This is a ‘pop up’ that serves as a reminder to post (transfer) the content already created into Instagram. 

    I have been approaching my content management by loading the images and captions of a Sunday for the week ahead. I have identified the times I would like the post to appear. By populating the content on the desktop I am dedicating my time to plan and consider how I want to share. This then connects nicely to my app, with an alert coming up on my screen.

    later-talking-to-instagram-to-transfer-your-preloaded-content

    Later talking to Instagram to transfer your preloaded content.

    Some thoughts in regards to the pros and cons of using a platform such as Later for Instagram as a summary includes:

    Pros

    • You can populate and schedule your content and pre plan for the week or month ahead.
    • Can support you to think about your digital marketing strategy.
    • Reminders are sent to your phone (once you have download the app) for the time and date you set the content to be launched.
    • Can edit and proof read your populated content before you post. Perfect if you wish to add or change the content based on your thinking.
    • An organisation helper.
    • The app allows for sharing and posting on the go. Perfect for the creative juggling multiple tasks.
    • Time efficient.
    • Helps you forward think to align your posting to core values and missions as a creative or creative business.

    Cons

    • The content is created, however, it does not post it. You still need to transfer the content across to Instagram, however this is easy from the mobile app as it does a direct copy and paste for you with a few directed clicks.
    • Must be connected to wifi.

    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: Advice and Tips, Starting a Business, Tools of the Trade | Comments Off on Later.com for creatives
    Posted on

    How to open a store

    cwc_2016-01-21_georgia-phase_insta-graphic_template

    By Jes Egan

    Opening up a retail store is really exciting. Selling your product and other supplier’s product is a real opportunity and can be lots of fun. There are a number of business related elements to consider when looking to open up your own retail store – here a few just to start.

    Location, location, location

    Location is key. Consider being in an area where you feel that your key customer segments are but don’t neglect to think about foot traffic as well. You want to be in a position where you may catch people walking past to come in and experience your store and all you have to offer.

    Store size

    When reviewing a new space for your store, think about the layout, where and how you’re going to set it up. Think about what stock you are planning to have and where you may put it. You need to ensure you have enough space for all of your stock but not too much at the same time. Also, keep in mind that your rent on the space tends to be measured by the square metre so if you don’t over stretch yourself getting space that you don’t need or that you can’t use.

    Stock

    How much stock do you need? Do you have a storage space that you can use for excess stock that doesn’t fit on the floor? If you have run your business from an online space in the past you may have an idea of the popular items that you need to have more of. If you are selling other business’ stock, consider taking items on consignment or only ordering the bare minimum to begin with to see how they go.

    Online

    Don’t neglect your online store – many people see items in store and go home and order them online, plus it opens up your potential audience base outside of the area where your store is located. It is vital that you keep your store up-to-date with as much stock and information as possible, it can help build your brand awareness as well as reach.

    If you don’t already have an online store, you can have a site custom built for you (which can be fairly pricey) or you can use on of the many eCommerce platforms that are already available to use, with templates, shopping cart functionality and check out facilities already built in. There are many out there, I found Shopify really easy to use.

    Negotiate your lease

    Leasing a commercial shop space will probably be one of your biggest outgoings, so take the time to think it through because if you find yourself unable to pay the rent it can put your business at risk. Review the average rents in the desired area and work out what is an achievable and reasonable amount to pay. Consider the length of your lease – if you are a startup, a shorter lease could be an option to consider. If the unfortunate thing happens and your business doesn’t go well then you’re not left with a long lease to pay or negotiate your way out of. It also will give you some flexibility if your business needs change and you need to consider a different space. A shorter term lease can cost more (monthly) than a longer one but something that should be considered.

    Insurance

    There are many different types of insurance that is needed such as employees liability insurance, public liability, WorkCover etc. Not all insurance companies offer it, a good place to start looking is GIO, AAMI, Allianz or Shop Insurance, Smart Business Insurance just to name a few! Speak to one of their consultants about what you are planning to do and what you will need. They can advise on the correct packages or if a tailored option is more suited to your needs.

    Finance

    Opening a shop is a costly thing to do! It isn’t cheap – you’ll need a certain amount of capital upfront to get it started. Consider things like rent, signage, point of sale systems, fit out, stock, staff, insurance, branding etc. Unless you have access to funds, you’ll need either an investor or a small business loan from a bank and you will most likely need some of your own capital to get started. Generally to get a bank’s financial support, you will need a solid business plan to secure the funding. Some banks’ small business departments will help you with this plan. Make sure you don’t forget to account for paying back this loan as part of your plan. Also don’t borrow more than you need as you don’t want to be down the track with a big loan that you can’t pay back. Go and see a financial adviser or small business banker to give you the right advice for your business.

    Promote

    Promote your store! Advertise and market it in the best way that you see fit. Remember social channels are a great way to get your message out there, just remember you don’t need to be on all of them, chose a select few that your customers will relate to and do those ones well. Posters, door drops and offers for the local community are a great way to get your store out there alongside traditional and paid advertising.

    There are many fun and exciting aspects to opening a store, the above are just some of the more boring but necessary things to consider on your path to opening something brilliant.

    Jes is a ‘practical creative’ and a very busy lady, doing the business in a digital agency, being an artist and an university lecturer.  Follow Jes on Instagram.  

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    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: Advice and Tips, Growing a Business, Starting a Business | Comments Off on How to open a store