At Forge we love being a part of the journey for many small business owners as they establish their companies. To say that we are proud of our members is a huge understatement! There are lots of Forge members who have moved on to start amazing things in the city of Birmingham and we wanted to highlight a few of them!
In honor of Women’s History Month this month, we’re showcasing a few women who worked at Forge when they needed dedicated space as they laid the groundwork for their own companies.
Meredith Calhoun, Co Founder of Practice Works
Practice Works is the new holistic health coworking space opening in Avondale this April. Becca Impello and Meredith Calhoun, co-owners of Practice Works, are starting something unique in Birmingham! Anytime from a therapy appointment to a yoga class can be found at Practice Works. If you are a wellness practitioner looking for a supportive coworking space, this is the spot for you. If you are a wellness seeker, you also need to check out Practice Works!
Tiffany Martin of Ignite Cycle
Ignite Cycle is Birmingham’s only boutique cycling studio and they just opened shop in Pepper Place! Ignite is high energy and high intensity and they continually sold out their classes in their pop up spot as they were renovating the new location. Ignite’s newly renovated cycling studio is beautiful- be sure to check it out if you have not already!
Catherine Gregory of Boulo Solutions
Boulo identifies and connects companies and professional talent. Catherine Gregory and Delphine Carter cofounded Boulo to connect smart, driven women with flexible, project-based opportunities at innovative companies. They provide the best match for the individual and the company, helping both reach their highest potential. If you’re interested in flexible work opportunities or if you’re seeking part-time or short-term help, you need to check out Boulo!
Suzanne Humphries Evans of Automatic Seafood and Oyster Bar
Suzanne is not only a co-owner of Automatic Seafood with her husband, Adam, but she is also an interior designer. The new restaurant is located on 5th Ave. S near Lakeview and set to open in a few weeks. Suzanne is handling all of the restaurant’s interior design. If you’re wondering where the name came from- Automatic Sprinkler Company was the business that once occupied the windowless, 1940s warehouse. Birmingham foodies won’t want to miss out on trying out this new spot with Southern seafood.
We will be keeping our eye on these women to see how their businesses grow and change over the coming months and years! Forge on!
By this point, you’ve heard of coworking but you may still be wondering what are the benefits and is it really worth it? We’re here to tell you a little more!
Coworking spaces exist for all types of workers- freelancers, writers, independent entrepreneurs, remote workers, etc. So if you’re all working independently, how does the coworking environment really benefit anyone?
Coworking gives you an opportunity to observe and learn from others who also value their freedom.
Working in close proximity allows you to network and even collaborate with professionals in your own field and in others.
Not only are you avoiding loneliness, research shows that your productivity will grow while working in a coworking space instead of at home or in a coffee shop. It’s good to separate work from home where there’s no real accountability. The energy you will experience in a coworking space will inspire you and keep you accountable at the same time.
A coworking space will help you take your work more seriously. It’s important to have a dedicated space to focus on work and it’s also smart to get out of your pajamas or yoga pants and come into a workspace!
You can also impress potential clients by holding meetings in the conference rooms provided at the coworking space. You would rather your first impression be a professional space rather than your home or a coffee shop!
Coworking spaces are the perfect atmosphere for growing your team. Just because you hire a new employee doesn’t mean you need to get a dedicated office- you can continue using open space and rent meeting rooms when necessary. We’ve seen that half of Forge members have grown their business since joining the space!
The list of advantages goes on and on: free coffee, super fast wifi, access to printing, educational and networking events, and much more. Coworking may be the perfect solution for your business so schedule a tour of Forge if you haven’t already!
As you probably already know, podcasts are a very valuable resource for small business owners. Do you need to learn about marketing or SEO? There’s a podcast for that. Do you need to learn how to scale your business? There’s definitely lots of podcasts for that. We’ve done the hard work for you and taken recommendations from Forge members on their favorite business related podcasts.
Masters of Scale
Masters of Scale is hosted by Reid Hoffman, Co-founder of LinkedIn. Reid shows how companies grow from zero to a gazillion, testing his theories with legendary leaders. This podcast is the first American media program to commit to a 50-50 gender balance for guests and it won the 2018 People’s Voice Webby for Best Business Podcast. Masters of Scale is definitely a Forge member favorite!
Every week Molly, Keith, and Ralph have shared cutting-edge paid traffic strategies they’ve used with their clients and in their businesses. They also share the struggles of digital marketing and online advertising and how they overcame them. If you’re hoping to acquire more customers online, Perpetual Traffic is perfect for you!
How I Built This
If you love storytelling and business, this is the right podcast for you. Guy Raz talks with the some of the most influential companies to learn how they began. How I Built This is full of inspirational stories from lots of entrepreneurs and founders. We love hearing about the humble beginnings of such influential companies- so be sure to look up How I Built This.
We all know that any big successes were accompanied by some failures too. Without Fail is a new show from Gimlet Media that asks people who have pursued incredible things: What worked? What didn’t? And why? It’s hosted by Alex Blumberg. We believe that if you’re a business owner, it’s definitely worth your time!
Hosted by Jenna Kutcher, the Goal Digger podcast answers many questions we have as entrepreneurs: How can I make money online? Am I ready to leave my 9 to 5 job? How can I grow my Instagram following? Jenna shares plenty of tangible tips that she personally used to become a self-made millionaire. Listen to Goal Digger for inspiration, a unique perspective and plenty of interviews with industry leaders.
Under the umbrella of Dave Ramsey, the Entreleadership Podcast is hosted by Ken Coleman. You can find interviews with some of the top minds in the business world like Seth Godin, Donald Miller, Jim Collins and many more. You can never have enough leadership advice so we suggest checking it out!
If you try any of these out for the first time, let us know your thoughts! Do you have other business related podcasts you love? Tell us about them! We’d love to add to our list.
Forge member Jacqueline Jones wrote this blog post about mistakes we make in DIY marketing- we found it extremely helpful! Check out the original blog post here.
A large majority of businesses handle their marketing in-house. Unfortunately, marketing efforts often get overlooked or handed off to someone who knows only a little about how to manage marketing for a brand.
If you’re a “solopreneur”, you may find that you simply have to do everything yourself because outsourcing can be costly.
There is nothing wrong with DIY marketing, but there are a few things you should attempt to avoid.
1. Only talking to your audience when you’re selling.
The majority of small businesses find themselves grasping at straws when it’s time to meet sales numbers. So naturally, social media posts and emails only go out when it’s time to ask for money.
Your brand’s content strategy should focus more on building a relationship with and educating your audience. If they trust you, they will spend money with you. When they spend money with you, they shouldn’t feel like they had a cheap one-night-stand because the communication ended with the sale.
Understanding the process you want your customer to experience is extremely important to building and maintaining a profitable relationship. Most marketers call this sales-funnel development.
2. Not using Call-To-Actions.
Publishing great content is a wonderful step to achieve in the process of marketing your business. It’s just pretty pictures and nice copy if you don’t have a call-to-action.
CTA’s tell your audience where to go next. This means you have to make a place for them to go before asking them to. Don’t forget to add links, instructions, lead pages, or whatever is the next step for potential customers to take. This is a common, yet avoidable, pitfall.
3. Thinking social media is all necessary to market your brand.
Do not do think that social media is all you need. Because social media platforms are free and accessible to all, many people feel that’s all they need to market their business. It’s just not true.
Social media is only one aspect of marketing a business. It’s a great tool, but should only be a part of your process. Marketing 101 would teach you the 4 P’s of marketing are price, place, promotion, and product. Social media falls under promotion, as does digital and print advertising, website development, t-shirts, and pens.
Marketing is far bigger than your social media presence. Spend time creating a strategy that covers all bases. It will make marketing your brand much easier and far more effective.
These are simple mistakes. Mistakes can be corrected. Invest the time, money, and effort in properly marketing your business. Doing what you love and you are passionate about is, actually, the easy part. Do what it takes to take your passion to the right audience.
After opening in September of 2017, Forge has grown and changed more than we could have imagined! We’ve learned so much over 2018 and thought it would be fun to recap the highlights of the Forge family over this last year.
We’ve saved a lot of entrepreneurs and remote workers from overcrowded, stuffy coffee shops. Our members love coming to Forge’s atmosphere with an unlimited supply of coffee and tea- plus a fun community of hustlers!
The size of the Forge family has continued to grow over 2018!
In January, we had 67 members.
In December, we have 121 members!
We have nearly doubled in size.
This year we hosted 22 educational Lunch & Learn events!
In 2018 we hosted 12 Free Fridays for the public to come work at Forge! Free Fridays are the perfect time for people to try out coworking and experience the environment at Forge.
Forge also hosted 4 pitch night events to learn about new Birmingham businesses- Your Big Idea.
At Your Big Idea, three businesses present their big idea for feedback from the audience and panelists. It’s not a competition but an opportunity to support the growing businesses in Birmingham!
We organized 5 Founders Fridays to hear the journey of different Birmingham founders.
Not only do we focus on educational events to serve our members but we host lots of the fun, networking events. Along with several happy hours, we’ve also held yoga and pilates classes. The wine and chocolate pairing event with Match Chocolate was one of our favorites!
We love celebrating holidays around Forge- it’s a great excuse for a happy hour or friendly competition between Forge members!
We’ve also doubled our monthly conference room bookings! Forge opens up its conference rooms and meeting spaces for both members and visitors.
We truly love building the coworking community in Birmingham and connecting with entrepreneurs across the city. We can’t wait to see how the Forge family grows and what’s in store for 2019!
If you’re interested in trying out a Coworking Membership, join us in January! Buy one month and get the second month FREE! Email us for details: firstname.lastname@example.org