Author: melissa

7 Ways to Grow Your Client List

You’ve built your small business, so customers should be rolling in, right? If only it were that easy!

A little creativity mixed with tried-and-true methods of promoting your business can help. Here are seven ideas to help expand your client list.

Investigate your target market

It isn’t exactly stalkingbut you should learn all you can about your ideal customer. You can use DCL business databases that provide information on demographics and psychographics for consumers and industry information for business customers. Additional sources of information include government resources, trade associations, and general news sources.

Volunteer

Demonstrate your passion, whether it’s personal or professional, by donating your time and expertise in support of other organizations and causes. This tactic not only demonstrates what you care about, but also has the added benefit of broadening your network.

Be a thought leader

No one knows your industry like you do! Share those insights with others through conference presentations, trainings, podcasts, essays, or any social media outlets. Your unique perspectives demonstrate your expertise and establish you as a leading voice in your field. An added plus: All that publishing helps your SEO!

Ask for that email

Once you’ve created all that great content that people are clamoring for, you can build your contact list by asking for a private email in exchange for your expert insights. This provides a direct way to communicate with people who are already interested in your business.

Analyze your results

Don’t forget to keep track of which tactics are the most effective. Without some analysis of all of your efforts and channels, it can be hard to measure what is working and what isn’t. It only makes sense to ditch the campaigns and messages that don’t resonate with your target market, and analyzing results is the way you can track your endeavors.

Look for partners

Find companies that meet different needs for similar target markets and work together. This cross-promotion opens you up to new audiences and clients, and shows your innovation and flexibility.

Invest in your employees

From recruiting and training to work-life balance and compensation, doing the best you can for your employees means they will do their best for you. They are the first and best ambassadors for your company, so finding the best fit and then supporting them throughout their tenure can really impact your ability to gain market share.

Douglas County Libraries offers meeting and event spaces and services appropriate for all of your small-business needs, from business training, meetings and presentations to your company’s social events. Our experienced Event & Hospitality Services staff will work with you to accommodate the style, size and complexity of your event.

For more information about the library’s meeting and event spaces and services, visit DCL.org/event-services or call (303) 688-7605.

6 Strategies for Productive Meetings

Time is a valuable asset, and most people don’t want to spend theirs in meetings. After all, there are only so many hours in the day to actually get things done. Emails are piling up and projects are paused when the team is sitting in one of those meetings.

Yet, meetings can be extremely worthwhile if they’re thoughtfully executed. Here are six strategies you can employ to make your next meeting more productive.

1. Create a Meeting Agenda

This is the foundation of your meeting. The agenda sets out the topics that will be covered, in the order they will be covered, and can even include a set time frame for each topic. Sharing the agenda and any related documents with meeting participants a day or two before the meeting will help them prepare for the meeting and will keep everyone on track.

Be sure to also include any scheduled breaks on the agenda and other important information for meeting attendees.

2. Start and End on Time

This is a simple matter of respecting others’ time. The agenda should include the event’s start and end time, so be sure to stick to those set parameters. There’s nothing wrong with ending the meeting a little early, it might even be a nice surprise for participants; but they likely won’t be as forgiving if it goes too long, and their attention will most certainly wane.

If questions and side discussions arise during the presentation that can’t be addressed quickly, agree to talk offline or set up a separate meeting to discuss those issues.

3. Keep Meals Light

Whether your meeting includes lunch or dinner, make sure the fare is light enough so guests aren’t crashing afterward. A heavy meal makes for a sluggish meeting participant. Curb that post-meal lethargy with light, healthful food that fuels participants rather than drains them.

4. Provide Activity & Interaction

This is especially important if your meeting or event continues after a meal break. Activities or interactive sessions are an entertaining way to maintain a high level of focus during the meeting.

The activity can be as simple as asking participants to stand up for a 10-minute presentation or to brainstorm ideas. If the group is small enough, you might suggest meeting on the venue’s patio for a quick discussion of the topic at hand. People will pay closer attention and be more mindful when you do something a little unexpected.

5. Make It Engaging

No one really enjoys sitting through long-winded “lectures,” even if the subject matter is relevant. Succinct, interactive presentations are more engaging, and will keep participants tuned in to what you have to say, whether you’re presenting facts, figures or marketing initiatives.

Start by capturing the audience’s attention with an impactful story or tease about what they’re about to hear or learn. If you get their attention up front, chances are you’ll keep it. Avoid talking to only the points outlined in a PowerPoint. And if possible, keep your presentation to less than 30 minutes. The more succinct and interactive the presentation is, the more engaged your audience will be.

6. Follow Up

If it’s a large or complex meeting, be sure to survey attendees following the event. You can do this at the end of the meeting, with a hard-copy survey attendees fill out and hand in or by emailing an electronic survey within the first couple days after the meeting.

Surveys are a valuable way to collect important feedback about meetings. Was the event informative? Did it meet expectations? Was it too long, or not long enough? Were the speakers/presenters engaging? Were the activities stimulating? Were the meals/snacks exceptional or below par? Any feedback you receive will help you create an even more polished and productive meeting in the future.

 

Looking for a venue for your next meeting? Douglas County Libraries offers meeting and event spaces and services appropriate for everything from corporate functions to social events. Our experienced Event & Hospitality Services staff will work with you to accommodate the style, size and complexity of your event.

For more information about the library’s meeting and event spaces and services, visit DCL.org/event-services or call (303) 688-7605.

5 Quick & Easy Ways to Make Your Event Premium

Your event offers a unique opportunity to connect with your organization’s employees, clients and/or prospects. It also provides the event’s participants with an opportunity to interact with their colleagues and peers and learn important new information. It can be an engaging and well-executed experience, even without a star keynote speaker or dazzling presentation. In fact, the most successful and enjoyable events and meetings are ones that create a comfortable, friendly environment.

Knowledgeable, courteous staff and clear, easy-to-read event signage are givens for any meeting or event you host. But did you know that the small details can be just as important to attendees? In fact, it’s often the little things that people remember most!

Following are five quick and easy ways to make your event more premium for attendees by focusing on a few small details.

Say Hello With a Smile

Make a friendly first impression with this simple greeting. Attendees don’t always know what to expect when entering an event, and they may not know anyone else in attendance, so a warm hello can go a long way toward putting them at ease and giving them the opportunity to approach staff with questions. It sets the tone for the event.

Take it a step further by adding a “welcome” element to the event. You can be as elaborate as your budget allows, but it doesn’t require a huge investment to make participants feel special and welcome. Some ideas include:

  • Hire musicians to perform as guests check in.
  • Hand out branded goody bags or bottled water at event check-in.
  • Hand attendees a creative program highlighting information they’ll want to know, such as the meeting agenda and Wi-Fi logon details. You could also include some fun trivia or puzzles.
  • Encourage your staff to roam among attendees and ask if they need anything or just engage in friendly conversation.

Use Name Cards

Name cards are not the same as name tags, and they don’t have to be affixed to clothing. Instead, attendees can place their name cards at their table for the duration of the event. This gives them the freedom and opportunity to introduce themselves to other attendees and network informally during the course of the event.

You could take it a step further by color-coding the name cards to differentiate between new and long-term employees, partners, VIPs, clients/customers, and prospects. This allows everyone to feel like they’re part of a special group and can make it easier to network with others who are part of that group, or with those who aren’t! After all, your event provides attendees a unique opportunity to connect with peers in their field.

Dress Up Your Tables

Presentation is everything! Using even simple, plain table linens versus naked tables will improve the event experience for attendees. Amp it up by using colored linens or a colorful theme. A little expense on linens goes a long way.

Provide Water Service

Be sure to provide pitchers of water and glasses at each table, and wait staff to service the tables. This eliminates the need for guests to get up mid-meeting in search of refreshments, minimizing disruptions.

You may also want to include sweet treats that attendees can nibble on during the meeting, things like wrapped hard candies, bite-size candy bars, and an assortment of chocolate. Remember that presentation makes a difference. Place the candies in glass jars or bowls where everyone at the table can access them or easily pass them around.

Other important items to include on each table are pens and notepads, things attendees can use on-site during their time at the event.

Serve Healthy Snacks

It’s hard to focus and be productive when you’re hungry. That’s why it’s important to offer healthy snacks between meal breaks during your meeting. Unhealthy snacks can make attendees feel sluggish versus healthy snacks, which pack more of a nutritional punch, fueling your guests with the energy and nutrients necessary to maintain focus and concentration.

In addition to being healthful, snack options for attendees should be tasty, fuss-free and easy to eat. Fruit, nuts and low-fat popcorn are all good options. Consider making snack breaks interactive with a popcorn bar or mini-buffet, or a make-your-own trail mix station. Snack “shots” and snacks on sticks are also good no-muss, no-fuss options.

 

Looking for expert assistance with your next event? Douglas County Libraries can help. DCL offers meeting and event spaces and services appropriate for everything from corporate functions to social events. Our experienced Event & Hospitality Services staff will work with you to accommodate the style, size and complexity of your event.

For more information about the library’s event spaces and services, visit DCL.org/event-services or call (303) 688-7605.

 

Back to School Tools

Here we go, back to school! The lazy days of summer will soon give way to structured class time and evening homework. Douglas County Libraries is here for you. These free learning tools and resources can help as kids return to school and studying.

Online

DCL’s online research resources for students make research and studying easy and convenient, with tools for history, literature, science and much more. Library cardholders can access things like:

  • Live homework help and tutoring through Brainfuse. It’s a useful tool for students of all ages and levels, with Spanish-speaking tutors available if needed.
  • Foreign language lessons. Mango offers lessons for more than 70 languages; they’re free and can help boost classroom learning.
  • Britannica, the online encyclopedia. It offers three age-appropriate levels — Children, Young Adults, and Reference Center — for conducting research, completing homework, and working on projects. And it’s easy to access from any device, including tablets and smartphones.

You can also get help finding the right books to match your child’s reading level through AR BookFinder and Scholastic’s Book Wizard.

At Our Libraries

DCL offers programs to help strengthen literacy skills as well as spaces for studying and project work.

  • Kids ages 6-12 can boost literacy skills and confidence by reading out loud to trained therapy dogs through our Bark for Books program.
  • Reading Buddies pairs struggling readers in grades 1-3 with a trained teen volunteer. Together they read and play literacy-based games to improve skills. Ask a librarian for more information.
  • Students can reserve private study rooms at our Castle Pines, Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Parker and Roxborough locations using a DCL library card.
  • The Parker Recording Studio is perfect for creating videos, musical compositions, animations and other digital school projects — state-of-the-art video and recording equipment included! Reserve the Recording Studio with a DCL library card.
  • Local history is easily accessible by visiting the Douglas County History Research Center in person at our Castle Rock location or online.

Community Service Volunteering

Community service is a graduation requirement in Douglas County, and we can help students fulfill that requirement. Volunteers can assist with library events, participate in Reading Buddies or Teen Library Council, and perform other general library duties. Visit VolunteerConnectDC.org and search opportunities with Douglas County Libraries.

 

The Upside of Being a Cardholder

There are so many perks to being a Douglas County Libraries cardholder! Here are just two.

Check Out Colorado

Add visiting all of Colorado’s 41 state parks to your bucket list! Through Check Out Colorado, you can check out a backpack that contains a pass good for admission to any Colorado State Park, including these five within a stone’s throw of Douglas County:

The pass is good for seven days, which means you can visit any number of parks in those seven days. Checkout is first come, first served; backpacks may not be put on hold.

Adventure Pass

Think globally, explore locally. Use your library card to reserve a free Adventure Pass to one of these local cultural institutions. Passes can be reserved up to 30 days in advance.