How a SWOT Analysis Can Help Your Business [FREE DOWNLOAD]

How a SWOT Analysis Can Help Your Business [FREE DOWNLOAD]

If you have a business, you need to have performed a SWOT Analysis. SWOT stands for:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

In each of those parts you’ll want to identify as much as you can and try your best to document or illustrate areas for awareness and/or improvement. This is a practice that should probably be done once or twice a year, but have your findings reviewed by leadership and staff on a regular basis. If you’ve never performed this before, download this FREE template that will help you document each part of this analysis. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us! 

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Bother With Social Media

This may come as a shock but, what I’m about to lay out is very much true. Not everyone should be getting involved in social media. I’m not saying this to be mean, however I am going to shed some light for those who may be thinking of using social media in their business, but don’t really want to invest in doing it right.

Here at Design Theory, we use a LOT of social networks, apps, tools, and more to reach our audience. Through time we’ve learned what works for us, what to spend most time on for better feedback, and what networks may not be worth much effort for the target audience we want. How can you learn some of these things? A lot of trial and effort. If you’re not in it for the long haul, here are some reasons why you may not want to start.

You May Not Really Have Time

This is a classic and very human reason why not to get involved. You’re a business owner or freelancer. You’re already focusing on so much to get your business off the ground, legal paperwork, contracts, advertising. Though all of these can be helped or you can find help through social media, but we won’t go there right now. Thing is, it will eat up your day. When’s the last time you went on Facebook and spent less than 5 minutes on the site? Checking friends status updates, funny videos, wishing friends happy birthday. Well imagine spending about 10-15 minutes on at least 5 networks once or twice a day. Oh it adds up very quickly. Why do you need to spend that much time? Well because each network has users that are on it for a certain time. Finding the right time of day to post is crucial for your engagement. And you’ll also want to be available to respond whenever you get a tweet or post or message. Strike while the iron is hot to lead your visitors and followers back to your site to sell them on something.

You Think You Can Automate Everything

If there was one single app or service that could take what you’re thinking and edit it down to 140 characters, or create a cool viral video that gets shared among millions instantly, I’d be rich because I would develop it. So no one stop shop maybe, but there are social media agencies all around that if you spend time with them and allow them to get to know you and your business they’d be able to be effective at this for you and your brand. But that would cost some serious money to be done right. I don’t want you to fall for the social apps that let you post everywhere at once with the same message. Think about it; the people who follow you on Pinterest want to see pictures and video and not much text. Twitter followers are going to be looking at what you type, maybe a link to find more info or download something for free (and that’s if they see your tweet among the hundreds in their timeline). We all know Facebook posts that have pictures and video get much more attention than just text-only posts. And the biggest issue, what time you post to what network.

You Think It’s All About You

Unless you’re an already established brand, people aren’t going to be super interested in just you or your business. This interest is something you’ll have to sow, water, and grow (if you get what I mean). Chances are there are already known name brands that dominate your industry that your audience is quite familiar with. Its going to be an up hill battle for you to break in and make a name for yourself. Having a good client/customer base will be crucial at the beginning, and making them your “superfans” will be just as crucial to your social engagement. Your potential audience is going to be interested more in what you can do for them (free first then paid) than about who you actually are at first. Spend more time offering great tips and help on your industry and services and less time trying to sell directly.

You Just Want To Sell, Sell, Sell

Speaking of selling, don’t even bother. Well unless you have a hot product that people absolutely love and you’re having a tough time keeping them in stock, try not to start into social media with an “I must sell” agenda. Most people using social media networks have figured out how to ignore or parse ads from their normal view. Facebook realized this, and they’ve moved to incorporating sponsored and suggested posts in the mix of your news feed. Why? Because they noticed how people were totally ignoring the right side of their Facebook screen because that’s where the ads always were everywhere they go on Facebook. Try to talk more about differences in available products, why your products are actually better than the leading competition, ways your products may save money or time, and how your products or services actually are awesome.

You Anticipate Huge Results Immediately

If you’re thinking that for every tweet you’re going to get 20 new followers, or for every new Facebook post you’re going to have 10 reply comments, or for each board you create on Pinterest you’re going to get 50 new re-pins and followers, or each video you post on YouTube will go viral in a few hours, please walk away now. It doesn’t work that way. There’s no secret formula to what actually becomes viral. And results like that are quite seldom. Even for those that are able to go viral, its more rare for them to do it again. It is going to take some time to develop your audience and following. Regardless of what network it is. I have 500+ connections on Linked In, but I don’t get 500+ likes to ever single discussion I post. It takes genuine content, posted at the opportune times when engagement is most likely for each individual network. And yes social media can be tracked, but no you’re probably not going to get two dollars for every dollar you invest in it.

Agree with me or disagree, I’d still like to hear your thoughts. Lets discuss in the comments below.

Image Credit: GraphicsFuel (download them for free!)

Free Lightroom 5 [Beta]

Yes you heard me right, Adobe is offering a free copy of Lightroom 5. If you haven’t heard of or used Lightroom before, you should know it is an image editing software very similar to Photoshop – but not as hard to learn and use. The support for Lightroom 4 is awesome, there’s many tutorial videos posted by many photography enthusiasts like Kelby Training,, Adorama, and more.

Why is Adobe giving it away? Simple, it’s the easiest way to crowd-source for possible bugs, glitches, and feedback for enhancements before the product is fully launched.

What’s new in version 5? See what Adobe posted:

New Features in Lightroom 5 Beta

  • Advanced Healing Brush – Easily remove objects and fix defects—even those with irregular shapes such as threads or lint—with a single brush stroke. Take precise control over what’s being removed as you make unwanted objects just disappear.
  • Upright – Straighten tilted images with a single click. Upright analyzes images and detects skewed horizontal or vertical lines. You choose one of four correction methods, and Upright can even straighten images where the horizon is hidden.
  • Radial Gradient – Lead your viewer’s eye through your images with more flexibility and control. The radial gradient tool lets you create off-center vignette effects, or multiple vignette areas within a single image.
  • Offline editing with Smart Previews – Easily work with images without bringing your entire library with you. Just generate smaller stand-in files called Smart Previews. Make adjustments or metadata additions to Smart Previews and your changes will be automatically applied to the full-size originals later.
  • Video slideshow sharing – Easily share your work in elegant video slide shows. Combine still images, video clips, and music in creative HD videos that can be viewed on almost any computer or device.
  • Improved photo book creation – Create beautiful photo books from your images. Lightroom includes a variety of easy-to-use book templates, and now you can edit them to create a customized look. Upload your book for printing with just a few clicks.

Ok so enough of the fluff, go to Adobe and login with your username and download your copy. It will only be active to use until June so get cracking!

Great Ways to Market your Restaurant Online Successfully, Part 2-More Tantalizing Tidbits

Hungry for more?  Right on the heels of last weeks blog are more juicy tidbits for restaurateurs and the importance of having a website.  Whether a Mom & Pop or listed at the top of Zagat…tuck in the napkin and get ready for another serving!

* Taking it to Go ~ Because Smartphones have almost become an appendage, it is essential for people to be able to look you up while on the go. When people hear about or pass by a fab restaurant which offers a favored cuisine, the first thing they do is get on the internet and look for more information. Whether that’s the menu or a recent review – if you don’t have a website chances are that those folks might pass you by or pass you up when making their selection. An important point to make here as well is to ensure that your restaurant is easily searchable. You want your entire menu online, dish by dish. Using a PDF may seem like an easy, cost-effective solution as they are easy to download on a computer/laptop.  However, in order for someone to find you using a search engine and make proper use of “tags”, you must have an itemized online menu.  If possible, you should also try to have a mobile version of your website which will make reading the menus easier if opened on a Smartphone device.

*Cater to the Customer ~ If you are one of the many restaurants that offer catering services in addition to your in-house offerings, people should know this.  But guess what, many probably don’t!  Aside from your physical menu or waiting for a catering gig call, your website should be used as another promotion tool and done so in a prominent area.  The goal is to build greater awareness of the expanded services you offer and generate more business.  This way the customer might come to sample some food initially for the catering gig, but might become a faithful fan for other times.  And the reverse has happened many times as well – someone comes in and loves a particular dish or your culinary style and wants you to cater an event.  It’s all about using each opportunity and tool available to build your customer base – to be in mind for dinner time or party time.

*The Bottomless Cup of Possibilities ~ There are so many layout and design options it’s like a never-ending cup of good Joe. The restaurant web design business has become big business.  WordPress designers have capitalized on this and it has become a great website option especially since it’s super easy to manage the content and update regularly.  This is “muy importante” for a restaurant with a changing menu and daily/weekly specials.  But keep in mind that clean designs are best and adding vibrant, crisp images will make customers eat with their eyes first. An attractive yet informative website with regularly updated content and promotions is a place where customers return time and again – good for their bellies and great for your pockets!