5 Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make Concerning Holiday Sale Season

5 Marketing Mistakes Small Businesses Make Concerning Holiday Sale Season

Forge Member Jacqueline Jones of One Degree MMM wrote a blog post to warn small business owners as they prepare for the holiday sale season. Pay attention entrepreneurs! You need this info:


We all know that holiday season comes at the same time every year.  But for some reason, entrepreneurs and small business owners tend to treat it, each year, as though it’s a brand new concept.


Jacqueline Jones of One Degree MMM



While complaining about big box stores having their Christmas decorations up in October, they neglect to turn their attention to their own brand’s holiday plans.


Because the words holiday and sale are practically synonymous in the United States, let’s address where small business owners fall short in taking advantage of a seeming buffet of open wallets and thoughtless spending consumers.


5. Small Businesses Fail to Establish Their Marketing Process in Advance.


Figuring it out as you go along shows that you didn’t believe that your products would fly off the shelves or your services would book to capacity.  In a perfect world, small business owners would establish a sales funnel that met prospective buyers at each level of their journey of interaction with their brand.


Marketing at each step helps to push your audience closer and closer to their final commitment.  Further, it gives the business owner something to track to figure out where the sale gets lost in translation.


Establish your process and work on your sales funnel.  If you don’t know how to pull this plan together, consult with a marketing professional to get on the right track!


4. Small Business Don’t Engage Their Audience Before The Ask.


Unfortunately, a large number of small business owners don’t speak to their audience until they have something to sell.   That’s never really a good idea.  It’s a worse idea in the busiest sales season of the year.  Further, most small businesses primarily use social media as a way to promote and advertise their product or service.   By now, we all know that algorithms favor those who are consistent.



Once you’ve made a plan for your sale, turn your attention to what you will do between now and that sale.  Interacting with your customers will help build your relationship to both avoid being ignored because you only show up when you want money, and rank higher in platform algorithms.  Interacting with your audience may even lead you to adjust what services or products you’ve chosen to highlight for your holiday sale.   Put your ear to the streets early!



3. Small Business Don’t Invest in Promotion or Advertising to Increase Brand and Sale Awareness.


If only letting your circle friends know what you have to offer is enough for you to grow your business, GREAT!  KEEP AT IT!  If you are looking to scale your business and pick up new customers and clients during this busy sale season, start now figuring out what you can budget to support your fantastic holiday sale.



We’ve all heard the phrase, “You have to spend money to make money.” Well, it’s true.  Social media, Google, and other platforms practically do the work for you.  Your job as the marketer of your brand is to research to figure out what will work best, then put your money where your audience is.



2. Small Business Don’t Ask The Price That Generates Revenue.


The word “sale” can quickly make small business owners forget they have a bottom line.  Getting caught up in the competition of it all makes brands feel forced to go lower and lower on the price curve.    Stand your ground.  Ask what you’re worth, even while it’s on sale.



The first step to accomplishing is having done the work of understanding your pricing in the first place.  Since you’re starting early, if you haven’t done so, do it.  Then stand tall and ask for the sale.


1. Small Business Wait Until The Last Minute To Make Holiday Sale Decisions.


You can’t possibly be surprised by this.   This #1 mistake is the entire reason why this post exists.  My team and I strive to help business owners level the sale season playing field single-handedly.


For this reason, I’ve introduced a new and limited-time consultation.


Check out the Small Business Holiday Prep Consultation available now through October 15!


Go on… GO BE GREAT! 🔥

Coworking Spaces in Birmingham

Coworking Spaces in Birmingham

With so much growth in businesses today, new and innovative ideas are leading to more startups and independent businesses. According to Huffington Post, 33% of the current workforce is independent or freelance, and this number is projected to grow to 40% by 2020. Because of this, more people are ditching traditional office spaces and overcrowded coffee shops and moving into the flexible atmosphere of a shared workspace.


With Birmingham quickly becoming a growing hub for entrepreneurs and small businesses owners, people are constantly searching for a more relaxed, enjoyable, and communal place to work.


The answer? Coworking spaces.


We’ve sifted through the options and compiled a list of the top coworking spaces in Birmingham.

1. Forge


Located right above the Pizitz Food Hall, Forge offers a unique layout that is both architecturally captivating and engaging with its members. Lots of natural light, free Revelator coffee, and a modern atmosphere overlooking the city gives Forge an edge over other spaces.


A membership at Forge includes a number of things: a flexible workspace, conference rooms, private offices, member events and best of all, a network of business leaders. With breakthrough sessions, Lunch and Learns, and Member spotlights, Forge encourages member engagement and creates a network that leaves a lasting impact on the community.



As the first professional coworking space in downtown Birmingham, Forge finishes as number one on our list. So head to the Pizitz, grab a bite to eat, and come work at Forge!

2. The Hub

Located in West Homewood, The Hub is a coworking spot that offers a communal work space, conference rooms, and event spaces.



Aside from free Wifi and unlimited Seeds coffee, The Hub offers a community. The Hub takes it a step further in redefining the value of collaborative coworking – with a lounge area, putt putt course, and communal garden, the Hub encourages collaborative relationships within its members. Their focus is on the people, making it a rich experience.




We build together, create together, dream together, imagine, re-imagine, redefine, and give life to the unimaginable.”



Check it out here.


3. MAKEbhm


A makerspace in the heart of Avondale is the perfect spot for creatives and artists looking for a place to work. With studios, class offerings, and retail spaces, MAKEbhm draws in creatives and gives them access to equipment they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.



Though primarily a studio space, MAKEbhm does have the option for a creative coworking membership. With an entire floor dedicated to coworking, members have access to the lounge area, conference rooms, community tables, and private offices.





MAKEbhm provides the free Wifi, coffee, tools, and space – you provide the inspiration.


4. Innovation Depot


Innovation Depot: Birmingham’s home for startups. With all 140,000 square feet dedicated to housing technology, startups, and entrepreneurs in the Birmingham area, Innovation Depot gives business owners a competitive advantage in growing their business.


Innovation Depot provides a coworking space for members to work alongside other entrepreneurs. With conference rooms and assigned desks available, members are able to take advantage of space and resources needed to promote their business. Want access to seminars and events, fast Wifi, and an affordable spot to work? Check out Innovation Depot.
Birmingham Influencers To Follow On Instagram

Birmingham Influencers To Follow On Instagram

We follow these local influencers on Instagram, and think you should too! Check them out below.


Jim Cavale, @jimcavale



Jim Cavale was named a 3-Time INC. 5000 Entrepreneur for his leadership at Iron Tribe, after growing the company from one gym to more than 45 across the country. He is also the CEO and Founder of INFLCR and is currently filming a DocuSeries that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s success. Along with these impressive titles, he also co-founded @theGLOWapp, an on demand beauty app that brings its services to you.


His extensive experience has taught him a lot – and he shares so much of that through his Instagram! If you are an entrepreneur or small business owner, Jim’s advice and leadership could be very beneficial to your business.


Because of his influence on the city, Jim’s involved in some pretty cool things around Birmingham. He posts lots of behind-the-scenes videos, clips from certain events, podcasts, you name it. If you’re interested following an inspiring entrepreneur and love seeing clips from big events (like, Super Bowl big), go follow @jimcavale!



Jacqueline Jones, @thejacquijones



If you’re looking for ways to best market your business, Jacqui should be your new go-to. As a marketing and branding specialist, she knows the ins and outs of how to make your business stand out.


Jacqui’s Instagram is full of helpful hints, inspiring quotes, and great blog posts (check out our favorite about Instagram pet peeves here!) Her posts range from tips to prepare for brand growth to shutting out fear that comes with being an entrepreneur.


Not only is her account visually pleasing, but she’s always providing helpful content for entrepreneurs. Not to mention she maintains an impressive (and sometimes hilarious) balance of motherhood.


Go follow along!



Javacia Harris Bowser, @seejavaciawrite



If you’re a writer, this account is a must-follow.


Javacia is the Founder of See Jane Write, a website and community for female writers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs. Her work empowers women to write and coaches on how to transform a blog into a business.


Javacia recently gave a Ted Talk in March and got to speak on her success of See Jane Write. Her talk focused on the idea of writing being a feminist act. By sharing her story, a woman can discover why she deserves equality and love herself. Because in a world that constantly tells women they are not enough, “self-love is a revolutionary act.” Javacia believes there is power in sharing one’s story and has devoted her life to helping others share theirs.


There’s no doubt Javacia will help you grow your writing into a profitable platform. She’s got great webinars, virtual workshops, and inspiring posts. If you’ve been looking for a community of women writers who encourage and support each other, check out her page.



Deon Gordon, @deongordon



Deon is the CEO and President of TechBirmingham. This nonprofit’s mission is to support and provide training and education to tech companies in order to grow the technology ecosystem. He has a passion for supporting small businesses and has been instrumental in making Birmingham a better place.


Deon was also just recently selected as BBJ top 40 under 40, chosen among some of the most outstanding servant leaders in the city.


Deon goes to lots of events around Birmingham and constantly posts about new and exciting projects. He does a great job of promoting growing businesses and highlighting leaders all across the city. If you are interested in growing tech companies or looking to support a new business, Deon’s got you covered! His work is inspiring and you won’t want to miss out.


Wanting to follow a leader making a big impact on the city? This just may be your new favorite account!



Who’s your favorite Instagram account to follow? Let us know in the comments below!

Managing a global business from Birmingham? Thanks to Forge, it’s easy!

Managing a global business from Birmingham? Thanks to Forge, it’s easy!

We wanted to highlight this article written by James Ozment for Bham Now! Learn more about Race Quest and why their co-founder decided to base this global business out of Forge.


RaceQuest orients itself around one idea: “train and race with the pros.”  I interviewed Co-Founder Kelli Eldridge to learn how this world-class training camp and race touring company based itself in Birmingham!



Offering training camps, active vacations, retreats, and providing custom training camps for individuals, RaceQuest helps people have fun and enjoy their race day.  After training comes travel. A RaceQuest coach goes over the race, especially the cycling aspect with all its twists and turns, and give them an insider’s edge.


The night before Race Day, the coach also leads a guided, calm, visualized mapping of race day so competitors will be mentally prepared.  It’s a long day, no matter how gifted you are! But the endeavor doesn’t just challenge the athlete. Their families also need a plan, and often a guide.


“We take care of everything for the athlete and their family, and the only thing we can’t do is race for them.”


An especially popular trip is Challenge Roth, which is the world’s most popular triathlon (it’s like Germany’s Super Bowl).  RaceQuest helps people get out of their comfort zone, have fun, and enjoy their race day. The company handles food, lodging, even transportation.  And the results are obvious: “Many people have joined our tours and had their best performance, ever. And they’ve generously credited us with being able to help them achieve that.”



When was your company founded?


In October of 2012, I think like any good entrepreneurial endeavour, it started with fulfilling a need, and then sketching it out on a napkin.  All our clients say the same thing, “we will never do another triathlon like this without RaceQuest.”


There’s so much around the race that draws your energy away, and you need every bit of energy you can muster for race day.  My Co-Founders and I met, actually, in Hawaii. We all happened to be at the IRONMAN world championships, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

Krista and I were both there as “sherpas,” helping friends.  We had this same idea for the business, and within the hour we had formed our company on the Queen K highway in the middle of a lava field!  Just lava and ideas, it was remarkable. Looking back, it means even more.



How long have you been at Forge?


We started a LLC in Virginia in 2012.  We went live January of 2013. We based in Virginia because my business partner lived there.  We realized quickly that really all we needed was a good internet connection and a good airport.  We laugh now because we call ourselves “Two Chicks and a Laptop!” We decided after five years that it was a really great time to move the company to Alabama, and to Birmingham specifically.  Birmingham is white-hot, it’s a great atmosphere, it’s a great community.


How has working at Forge helped your business process?


Having some experience in Alabama, I’ve always had a bit of a foot in Birmingham.  I saw this starting to take shape, I’ve always had an eye on Forge. When they opened, I thought that when we relocate the business, this could be a good fit.

I came on a free Friday, met people, experience Forge, and was just so productive.  It’s a great space to work, but they also provide things like mail retrieval, which as travellers, we have to have that.  It’s great to have someone getting our mail, those are practical needs that are being met by Forge. We have the support system in place for us to go out into the world and do our business.


Is there a sense of community working adjacent to other entrepreneurs?  Have you collaborated with any of your Forge neighbors?


This is a really great atmosphere.  It’s not just a place to work, it’s a real community of entrepreneurs.  Our attorney is around the corner, our accountants are around the corner.  We have a terrific setup here.



Do you have a favorite restaurant in the food hall?


Absolutely!  My favorite place in the food hall is Ono Poke, there’s a place in Kona that’s a poke bar, that serves exactly that type of food.  I love going down there for lunch, it reminds me of Hawaii. It’s very fitting, since we first got started in Hawaii.


What’s the biggest challenge of working independently?


It was a big leap, we went all in.  We invested our time and money to make this, and it’s a really awesome thing to be a part of.  The reward is that I can’t imagine being anywhere else. It’s a real privilege that we get to do this.  I can’t believe we’ve come this far.


My advice to anybody who’s out there in corporate America, looking out a window and feeling unfulfilled, my best advice is to organize yourself around what it is you want to do, and surround yourself with like-minded people.  Don’t put it off another day, do whatever you have to do to make it happen. We worked side jobs, freelance gigs.


What does 2018 look like for RaceQuest?  They’re finishing their official move to Forge.  Later this year, over 100 athletes are going with the company to this year’s Challenge Roth!

10 Essential Mobile Apps For Your Business

10 Essential Mobile Apps For Your Business

If you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer, or small business owner, you know the struggle of keeping everything organized. With so many tasks to balance, business-owners are constantly searching for ways to save time and make their life easier.

There are thousands of mobile apps that help with scheduling, finances, and group communication… but with so many to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start.

Sound overwhelming? We feel you. That’s why we asked our members and they gave us the best apps for managing their business.


1. Slack


If you’re apart of a team, Slack is perfect for keeping everyone engaged and informed. Slack simplifies communication and gives people the platform to share ideas.


Our member Connor Hand with Big Lead Gen Inc. says, “It’s perfect for segmenting conversations into channels. That way, it replaces email and keeps things from getting convoluted and messy.”


Not only are conversations organized… they’re also always accessible, so you can stay informed at any time.



“It’s great because it helps our team 24/7, like if we had a real office. We’re always virtually connected.”


So next time you miss a meeting, don’t worry – Slack has got you covered!


2. Linkedin


Looking for the best way to connect with other business leaders around the world? Luckily, there is a platform created just for that. With Linkedin, you are able to follow inspirational business leaders, find and attract talent, advertise jobs and grow your business.





“I think social media in general is important, but especially Linkedin. I’ve realized the importance of it and how effective it is in reaching people and building connections… then later following up and meeting those people.”


Wade Cline with Bham Now share his opinion on Linkedin, and we agree – as the world’s largest professional network, there is endless opportunity for every member.




3. Later


It’s no secret that social media is crucial to a new business – but not many businesses can spend all their time on figuring out what to post on Instagram next.


Jacqueline’s answer? Later!


Later allows brands to visually plan and schedule content for Instagram. As the #1 Marketing platform for Instagram, this app is perfect for companies wanting to grow their social media presence but need to optimize their time.




Additionally, setting up queues within the app saves you from scrambling for another picture to post. It also allows you to be more consistent with posting and gives the option analyze and track post data.


Our member Jacqueline Jones with One Degree Marketing says, “Later lets you see your Instagram feed so you can plan it visually. You can move things around to create the aesthetic you want, while still figuring out how to promote and sell accordingly.”


4. Lastpass


Everyone can understand the frustration in seeing the words ‘incorrect password’ pop up on your screen – and that’s why this app is one of our favorites.


The idea? Simple.


Gary Purdy, Pastor at Church City Midtown says, “I use Lastpass so I don’t have to remember passwords – and I’m able to share passwords with my virtual assistant so she can access any information she needs.”






Just choose a master password, and Lastpass does the rest. You can rest easy knowing your information is safe, secure, and will never be forgotten.


5. Google Drive


There’s no denying that one of the most difficult things about running a business is keeping everything organized. With so many different moving parts, it helps to have one place where everything is kept together.


Our member Brandon Loper says, “The Google Drive app is definitely my number one… it helps me keep all my documents in one place and share them easily.”


In addition, Google Drive allows access from any server. This means you’re able to synchronize files between a computer, tablet, smartphone, etc… and the best part is, you get 15GB of free storage.



Not only does the app allow access to information easily on your smartphone, but you never run the risk of losing any documents. All files are backed up, stored securely, and within reach.




6. Pocket


Have you ever read a good article and couldn’t find it later? Frustrating – we agree.


That’s where Pocket comes in. It allows you to find something you like and put it in your pocket! Whether you’re looking at articles, videos, or images online, anything can be saved to be accessed again later.





Kate Newbill with 2FishWeb LLC. calls it her favorite. “What I’ll do is read through things; I’ll see something like ‘How to improve your SEO.’ I’ll save it, and go back and read it later.”


Pocket takes the pressure off of content creating and allows you to save time in the future. Ideas, inspiration, you name it – this app allows you to bookmark it all.




7. Google Keep


With so many tasks to keep up with every day, Google Keep has the perfect solution for keeping it all in one place. As a note-taking service designed to save your thoughts, this app sets reminders, creates checklists, and keeps it all within reach.





Kathy Drewien of Kathy Drewien & Company says, “With Google Keep, I can record a note on my device and it will be transcribed (fairly accurately in my experience) into a searchable, editable note. I like to use Keep for short-term information retrieval – reminders, quick lists, brilliant ideas – and my Android app is always on, always live.”



Step up your to-do list and download Google Keep!


8. GoToMeeting


If you’re anything like our member Shannon Striver with OneSouth Financial Group, you’ve got a lot going on during your day. One way he’s able to stay on top of it is with GoToMeeting.


This app allows you to attend a meeting… from your mobile device. With screen sharing capabilities and high quality video, GoToMeeting lets you feel like you’re in the room with the presenter. You can listen in on conference calls, share a document or presentation, and set reminders for future meetings. With this app, everything is kept organized before, during, and after your meeting.


Shannon puts it to use often. He says, “As soon as I get in my car, I open GoToMeeting. I’m on my way, but still able to listen in.”



9. Dropbox


Our member Anoop Mishra of Mishra Consulting LLC takes teamwork to the next level with Dropbox.


“Dropbox is something I’ve used for years for photos, but now I rely on it so much more for my business. We’ve got so many large files we have to share and I’m able to exchange lots of different information and sites easily. It’s such an important part of being able to work with clients so we don’t have to email documents back and forth or copy 20 people on an email.”





This app provides a secure way to store and share large files of information to your team members. It’s easy to use and free for 30 days!


10. InShot


If you’re looking for ways to vamp up your social media advertising, look no further. Josh Rhodes from Big Lead Gen Inc. gives us his perfect app for photo and video editing.


InShot has it all: fun buttons, easy texts, stickers to promote subscribing to social media accounts. It allows you to create videos that have much more of an attention-grabbing effect than your typical Instagram story.




“It combines features of Instagram and Snapchat and gives you so much more but on a produced level.”


So many different features add a creative edge for Big Lead Gen Inc.’s marketing. It could do the same for yours!


Got any more to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!