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  • 19 May 2020 8:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It All Starts with a Plan
    When it comes to social media marketing, having a written-out content plan is a great place to start as it gives you an overview of where opportunities for content are likely to come up naturally and where you might need to get more creative.

    The first place to start is to create a list of the months and then note under each where there are public holidays and events that you could talk about, as detailed here in this BAPIA News post. Then you can go back and add in personal events i.e. exciting bookings, training sessions, both business and personal milestones. Now, we understand that in light of the current situation, content plans may be a bit more scarce than usual but fear not, read on for other ideas of how to fill the gaps.

    Share Your New Normal (for now)
    Perhaps you've pivoted and are now doing deliveries instead of your usual parties and corporate events. Share this development with your followers, the ups, the downs and how you've overcome them. Are they any interest challenges that have come with the changes? Perhaps you've perfect a new skill or adapted a design.

    Many of you have been busy creating at home so be sure to make the most of that. A time lapse video of you constructing a rainbow of hope for neighbours would be a great watch for anyone. Slow motion and Boomerang balloon videos are always popular and fun to create. Perhaps you’ve reorganised your balloon and party store cupboard - ‘tap to tidy’ posts on Instagram & Facebook Stories - where you show a photo of a messy area/thing, immediately followed by a photo of the same area once spick and span - always do well.

    “I’m Not Creating Any New Work to Share
    There’s no time like the present to dust off pictures of past work and celebrate it. Feel like your skills have progressed since? That’s great! Let potential customers know. Why not use free collage apps like Layout from Instagram to create comparison posts of recent designs against those of the past to show your followers your development. 

    “I’m Just At Home… I’m Running Out of Things to Say”
    They say honesty is the best policy and we’ve spoken before about how transparency can really help you to build on your brand story and help your followers and potential customers to connect and care about you and your business making you more memorable next time they need a balloon and party artist.

    Bored at home? Say so! Just try to be funny or relatable rather than negative; as long as your delivery style leaves your followers feeling good then there’s nothing wrong with being candid as people often want to follow those they can really relate to. Tell your followers all about the jobs you had planned that have been postponed and how you would have created them. Visual aids like drawings or photos of your past work help to tell the story too. 

    Sharing is Caring 
    Now could be a great time to collaborate with other balloon and party artists. We’ve also talked before about the power of networking and how we can all work together to lift each other up in the industry. If you’re low on interesting content, why not share the work of another BAPIA member and give them credit. If they have a different customer base to you then you’ve nothing to lose! Reach out today and ask if they’d mind, just search the hashtag #bapiaparty on Instagram to find other members’ posts. You may make some new friends!

    BAPIA members, remember to tag us in your posts
    using #bapiaparty on Instagram and @bapiaparty on Facebook
    so that we can see and share your great work!
  • 06 May 2020 2:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Did you know that your BAPIA membership comes with a listing in our public directory of recommended balloon and party professionals?

    Here you can list your business name, services offered, photos of your fantastic work and contact details so that those looking for reputable balloon artists in their area can easily find you.

    ***NEW: BAPIA's John has created a 'How To Update Your Profile' video tutorial. Click here to watch it.***

    Otherwise, just follow these 6 simple steps to update your directory profile:

    Step 1. Log into bapiaonline.com by clicking the blue icon in the top right corner.

    Step 2. Once logged in, click the blue icon again and select ‘View profile’ under your username.

    Step 3a. Select ‘Edit profile’ and ensure that all of the information fields are filled in. This information is used to populate your listing in the directory and can help you to appear more prominently in searches so it’s really important to fill this as much as possible including your phone number and postcode.



    Step 3b. Be sure to fill out the box at the bottom of your profile page entitled ‘Directory listing text’ as this gives you a chance to stand out from other professionals in your area. You could highlight your creative specialities or emphasise a particular deal or offer that you currently have on. Remember to save your changes when you’re done!

    Step 4. Add Photos to Your Listing
    Click ‘Member photo albums’ then click ‘Create / Add album’ to create a new album. Add a title and description to let potential customers know which of your services these photos are showing and any additional information they may find useful. When you’re finished, click ‘Submit’ to save.



    Step 5. Then click ‘Upload photos’ towards the right side of the page to add photos to the new album. Click ‘choose file’ to select each image from your computer and when you are done click ‘Upload’.


    Step 6. Finally, click ‘Back to profile’ and then select ‘My directory profile’ to see your completed listing as potential customers will see it. Double check that all your updates have saved and look great and then you’re done!

    Remember to keep your profile up to date with your correct business information and the latest photos of your work - you never know who’s looking!  

    And remember, if we all balloon responsibly, the party never has to end!

  • 29 Apr 2020 9:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month marked the 50th anniversary of National Earth Day, celebrated on the 22nd April each year. In honour of this day which serves as a conscious reminder of the ways in which we can each care for our precious planet Earth, we thought we’d take the time to reiterate our stance on balloon releases:


    We understand that in the past balloon releases have been used to commemorate and celebrate special occasions. In lieu of this outdated practise, we’d like to suggest some environmentally-friendly alternatives that should prove equally as impactful without the potentially detrimental effects:

    Bubbles
    Thousands of bubbles floating skyward offers the same breathtaking beauty as hundreds of balloons but without leaving behind the harmful debris that proves hazardous to wildlife. People often find the feeling of exhaling as they blow a bubble rather therapeutic and what’s more, they’re tonnes of fun for everyone involved from small children to adults. For extra effect, why not mix the size of your bubbles too; you can create your own custom bubble wand out of pipe cleaner, wire coat hangers and other household items. To make a good bubble mix all you'll need is water, washing up liquid and glycerine, just be careful to use soaps that are safe for fish and the environment and never leave children and pets unattended with the mix.

    Photo by mali maeder from Pexels

    Plant a Tree or Flowers
    For a truly environmentally-friendly memorial moment, how about planting a flower or tree?  is a beautiful way to celebrate a life. The act of gardening can be incredibly calming and what more beautiful to celebrate one life than by creating another? You can select a plant or flower that was their favourite or best describes them to make it more personal. They last a lot longer than balloons, will be good for the environment and can be visited again and again. Take care to select seeds that are native to the area to ensure a harmonious environmental impact as well and optimum growth. 

    Photo by Flora Westbrook from Pexels 

    Fly Kites, Dancing Ribbons and Banners
    Skipping a balloon release needn’t mean missing out on the joy of seeing colourful figures dancing in the wind. Instead of balloons, why not fly kites, dance ribbons and banners alongside pinwheels are garden wind spinners to celebrate something or someone special in style. Making your own can be a meaningful bonding experience and is a great way to add a personal touch by using a significant colour, drawing or message for your event. 

    Floating Flowers
    For a sense of letting go, floating flowers or flower petals down a calm stream can offer the same sense of emotional relief as a balloon release without the plastic pollution. Take care to use native flowers and not let go an excessive amount so as not to upset the ecosystem of the waterway.

    Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) from Pexels

    Balloon Drop
    We understand some customers’ urge to incorporate balloons into special occasions as they, of course, hold a special place in our hearts too. In some circumstances, a balloon drop can provide an equally impactful but environmentally friendly alternative to a release. This is so long as the drop is done in a confined space where the balloons can be easily retrieved once festivities are over so that you may adopt the pin it and bin it strategy; carefully deflating each balloon and ensuring its safe disposal. 

    We hope this post has provided you with some useful ideas on ways that we can all do our bit to help planet Earth going forward. Please do share this on so that we can spread the word and keep trying to do right by the environment.

    To learn more about balloons and the environment please visit: 
    https://pebauk.co.uk/commitment/

  • 18 Mar 2020 5:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We fully understand that the current situation with Coronavirus COVID-19 is a very serious concern to everybody, right across our industry and beyond. We want you to know that we are committed to BAPIA members and we are looking into what we can do to support you in any way that we can. Here is a list of the latest information and resources we know of that might be helpful to us all during this time.

    Please note that, whilst we are doing our very best to bring you accurate and up-to-date information, we do ask you to appreciate that this is an unprecedented time for us all. We are not experts on this subject nor do we claim to be giving legal and/or medical advice so please do take the time to verify and research anything that we may suggest. 

    USEFUL RESOURCES TO CHECK:

    Staying Safe

    Here is a link to the NHS website with information on what Coronavirus is and how to protect yourself and check if you need medical help: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

    The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are a new, continuous cough or a high temperature. For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection however it poses a higher risk to those with underlying medical conditions as well as those who are 70 or over, have a long-term condition, are pregnant or have a weakened immune system. As it is contagious and can be passed along, care must be taken to prevent the spread of the virus even by those who are not considered ‘high-risk’. 


    Official UK Government Response to Coronavirus

    The GOV.UK website features the official government response to Coronavirus as well as links to pages on related topics here: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response 

    This page provides guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK and protecting older people and vulnerable people: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

    Guidance for employees, employers and businesses

    Here is guidance from the government GOV.UK website on the support available for businesses and guidance for employees: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

    On 17th March the government unveiled a package of financial measures for businesses including loans. This article in particular provides advice on business support measures on rate relief and loans: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-employees-employers-and-businesses


    RELIEF FOR THE EMPLOYED, SELF-EMPLOYED AND BUSINESSES:

    Relief for the Self-Employed
    Anyone not eligible to receive sick pay, including those earning less than an average of £118 per week, some of those working in the gig economy, or self-employed people, is able to claim Universal Credit and or contributory Employment and Support Allowance.

    Money Saving Expert are continually updating this page wIth useful information on rights and relief for the self-employed: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/uk-coronavirus-help-and-your-rights/#selfemployed

    Relief for the Employed (Statutory Sick Pay)

    If you’re in employed work, Statutory Sick Pay will be payable if you are staying at home on Government advice, not just if you are infected by coronavirus. This will apply from 13 March 2020. Those who follow advice to stay at home and who cannot work as a result will be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP), even if they are not themselves sick.

    Employers should use their discretion and respect the medical need to self-isolate in making decisions about sick pay. Employees who are not claiming benefits, cannot work due to coronavirus and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of your illness. DWP intends to legislate so this measure applies retrospectively from 13 March 2020.

    ANY OTHER BUSINESS: 

    Training Classes on bapiaonline.com

    Regarding cancellations we are trying to keep the Training Calendar on the BAPIA website, bapiaonline.com, as up to date as possible. However, as we ourselves do not run these courses (we simply help to share them with you) there may be a delay in updates. As well as regularly refreshing the calendar page, we encourage you to check both our main BAPIA Facebook Page and the BAPIA Members Only Facebook Group where we are also posting updates on all listed training classes - whether they are cancelled or going ahead - as and when we hear. You may also wish to use the booking information listed on the page for each class to contact the organisers directly to ask about cancellations.

    Travelling for Work/Training

    The Foreign Office now advises against all but essential travel anywhere outside of the UK for 30 days (though this may be extended). This means that if you do have a trip planned in that time that was booked before the virus UK outbreak (check with your insurer for their cutoff dates) with most travel insurers (sadly not all) you are usually due a refund even if flights/hotels are still on. Since the outbreak, most travel insurers have updated their policies for new policies not to cover you for loss relating to Coronavirus.


    Check the BAPIA Members Only Facebook Group

    As always, the BAPIA Members Only Facebook Group remains an incredibly active, helpful and insightful wealth of support, particularly in this unnerving time. We’d like to take the time to thank each and every BAPIA member who takes the time to interact in the Group - be it answering a question or sharing a concern.

    If you are a BAPIA member and haven’t yet joined the Facebook Group, please do request to join and you will be promptly accepted. We are here to help. We are posting information here as we get it whilst we all try to give one another as much support and information as possible during these unprecedented times.

    All members should also be receiving BAPIA email updates regarding Coronavirus as and when we receive any new information. If you haven’t received our emails please check your spam/junk folders and ensure that your BAPIA member login is up to date with your current email address.

    BEST PRACTISE GOING FORWARD: 

    Update New Contracts, Business Policies and Terms & Conditions 

    Going forward and in light of this situation, we strongly advise all BAPIA members to review and if necessary, update all contract templates, business policies and terms and conditions to include a clause regarding cancellations in the events of an occurrence such Coronavirus. It’s important to make clear at which point a booking is considered final, if you require a deposit and, if so, what the deposit is covering. It’s also important to list your stance on cancellations noting the circumstances in which they will or will not be accepted and if/when refunds and credit notes will be issued i.e. in which cases.

    Where possible, on your business website you may wish to link to a page of your standard business policies, terms and conditions so that, should any disputes arise, customers can be directed there as a polite reminder of their contractual obligations.

    If in a difficult dispute with a customer regarding a cancellation, other BAPIA members suggest to ask oneself, ‘What would put my mind at rest if I were them?’ and to see if you can find a solution that allows the customer to recoup their investment without jeopardising your business in the long run. 

    Health and Safety At Work

    It’s important to keep yourself and your staff safe during this time. We encourage all BAPIA members to familiarise themselves with NHS and government guidelines on protection during this time. I

    n the interest of preventing the spread of Coronavirus, we encourage you to do what you can to ensure that all staff, suppliers, clients and anyone related to your business is aware of this information as well - for instance, placing posters in store may spread awareness of personal hygiene best practises and symptoms. Other advice includes:

    • Keep everyone updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace

    • Ensure employees who are in a vulnerable group are strongly advised to follow social distancing guidance

    • Make sure everyone’s contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date

    • Make sure managers know how to spot symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and are clear on any relevant processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, and procedures in case someone in the workplace is potentially infected and needs to take the appropriate action

    • Make sure there are places to wash hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, and encourage everyone to do so regularly

    • Provide hand sanitiser and tissues for staff, and encourage them to use them.

    • Update risk assessments to factor in Coronavirus. Consider how this may affect the element of risk during each work task and what can and will be done to lessen the risk

    We encourage employers to familiarise themselves with employees’ rights and to stay up to date with government advice to employees’ to ensure that you can get the necessary measures in place to support yourself and to react to any financial impact this may have on your business. 

    Please see part 2 of this post for information on insurance and dealing with cancellations.

    We’ll be continually updating this BAPIA News post with any and all potentially useful information that we come across so do keep checking back. As always, the active BAPIA community within our BAPIA Members Only Facebook Group provides a generous wealth of advice and support during this difficult time. 

    Please stay safe, healthy and positive.

    BAPIA

  • 16 Mar 2020 12:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This month marks Mother’s Day which falls on Sunday 22nd March here in the UK. Here’s a little overview of the fun we can expect to see to mark this special occasion and a few tips on how to make the most of Mothering Sunday.

    With most people ordering balloons for the day of, this time leading up to Mother’s day is all about showing off your designs and convincing your customers to place an order with you over other businesses. It’s a great time to brush up on your online marketing skills like phone photography and social media storytelling with these other BAPIA News posts.

    Planning your designs? There are some brilliant balloons on the market from suppliers like Qualatex, Amscan and Grabo:

    Fellow BAPIA members have already started creating marvellous Mother’s Day designs too:

    Mini balloons by: @bibbity_bobbity_balloons on Instagram
    Moon balloon by: @heavenylaces on Instagram
    Balloon bouquet by: @ballooningowonderful on Instagram

    Remember, it’s common for people to use Mother’s Day to also recognise all of the ‘motherly’ people who play a significant role in their lives. Stepmums, grandmas, sisters and other loved ones often get a nod at this time of year so it’s a great opportunity to stand out from the crowd and offer something a little more personal.

    Did you see? This month’s BAPIA Members Only Facebook Photo Competition theme is ‘International Women's Day & Mother's Day’. 

    So, BAPIA members, pick your best balloon and party work photo to fit the theme and upload it into the competition album in our BAPIA Members Only Facebook Group for a chance to WIN!

    Not a BAPIA member yet? To read up on the many benefits of joining BAPIA, click here www.bapiaonline.com/Membership.

    BAPIA members, remember to tag us in your posts using #bapiaparty on Instagram and @bapiaparty on Facebook so that we can see and share your great work!

  • 21 Feb 2020 9:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Something that’s drilled into us is the importance of achieving a work life ‘balance’ but is there such a thing? The word ‘balance’ suggests consistently equal energy being given to work, family, socialising, personal time and all other significant areas at all times. Sound like you? Us neither. 

    A lot of us in the balloon and party industry work irregular hours, often working evenings and weekends and perhaps even travelling for trade events. Add to that the unpredictable ups and down of personal life and the idea of always keeping all of the plates spinning at once doesn’t seem feasible. The reality is that life can be very unpredictable with different areas requiring different levels of attention at different times, often unexpectedly. 


    BAPIA members @trove_events hard at working building a beautiful balloon wall.

    Consider your energy a finite source. If you have 10 units of energy per day to give and 5 main areas of commitment, it’s not realistic to expect to give 2 units to each area every day. During the summer, a working parent may need to give more time and energy to a young family and during the winter holiday season, demand for corporate balloon and party events peaks which can mean more energy is needed at work.

    Perhaps what’s more realistic is the idea of ‘work life integration’. This idea involves taking a step back to assess which commitments need our time, factoring in the ebbs and flows of how this changes throughout the seasons. Planning a system that works best for your personal needs rather than feeling obliged to stick to the regular 9-5 working model. 


    BAPIA members working (and playing!) during the 2019 BAPIA Chris Adamo Tour

    It’s okay if you get most of your business admin done after 9pm, as that’s when you get the most downtime. There’s no need to feel it means that you’re not balancing your time well. Perhaps you choose to skip the school run because the traffic time could be better used for work so that you can, instead, afford to take more time off during the school holidays. If the weekend is your most lucrative time, perhaps embrace that and simply make Monday and Tuesday your ‘weekend’ rather than feel cheated. There’s no shame in switching your schedule so that you simply shut up shop on your quieter days instead. 

    Work life integration is all about finding a system where your work and life can fit comfortably together like puzzle pieces rather than running them as separate, conflicting entities that bring you more stress. 


    BAPIA founders John & Sue Bowler cba with Chris Adamo cba during his 2019 UK & Ireland BAPIA Tour

    What do you think? Does this sound like something that might bring peace to your life? Join in the conversation and let us know your thoughts here on our BAPIA members only Facebook page. Not a BAPIA member yet? To read up on the many benefits of owning a BAPIA membership, click here

    BAPIA members, remember to tag us in your posts using #bapiaparty so that we can see and share your great work!

  • 14 Feb 2020 4:24 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Lately it can be hard not to feel competition from the high street with popular party chains offering customers low prices and easy access. Read on for some motivation on what you can offer that retail chains can’t and how to use these unique selling points to your advantage.

    Offer Personal Service

    Being the boss of your business affords you the benefit of being able to offer a bespoke service to your customers. Knowing your margins and being in a decision-making position allows you the autonomy to think on your feet and upsell products, offering bundles and add-ons outside of the norm. 

    This means that you can really listen to your customers and assess their needs and then offer products and services that are much closer to what they need rather than having to stick to a set product and price list. For example, you may spot an opportunity to upsell excess stock as a bundle for a discounted price or be able to accomodate a same sex couple asking for an extravagant bespoke ‘Mrs & Mrs’

    This BAPIA News post is from the Members-Only section of bapiaonline.com. BAPIA Members, to continue reading it please click here.
    Not a BAPIA member yet? To read the many benefits of joining BAPIA and for information on how, click here: bapiaonline.com/membership

  • 05 Feb 2020 6:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It’s official! Pantone has announced the 2020 Colour of the Year which we can expect to see across creative industries worldwide from fashion to interior design. For over 20 years now Pantone has influenced design choices across several industries and 2020 is no exception.

    So, what’s the shade of the moment this time? The 2020 Pantone Colour of the year is… Classic Blue. A soothing shade of deep blue that Pantone says is ‘suggestive of the sky at dusk’. With subtle green undertones, it’s a cool tone that’s a far cry from last year’s Coral colour and we’re embracing the change. 


    Photo credit: Images from Pantone.com

    The question on everyone’s lips; how will we incorporate this beautiful blue into our work this year? Well, here are some great examples of BAPIA members already using the shade. As you can see this hue is harmonious with lighter blues and really pops when placed against whites. Black and gold was a popular combination for party decor in 2019. To modernise this trend, go for gold again but this time mixed with Classic Blue. 

    BAPIA Members Instagram photo credits: Balloon wall: theballoonshowroom | Blue arch: @balloonsbycelebrate | Metallic bundle: @balloonbarparties

    With gender reveal balloons becoming increasingly popular, why not opt for the bold Classic Blue over baby blue this year for even more impact? Gone are the days when blue was ‘just for boys’ however consumer patterns show that a) customers are indeed more likely to buy blue for males and b) birthday balloons for men are less in demand. Use this trendy new colour to your advantage and upsell your personalised balloons and birthday bundles in cool Classic Blue - great for guys from granddad to newborns and everyone in between! 

    BAPIA Members Instagram photo credits: ‘Baby’ hoop: @theballoonfactor | ‘Boy’ hoop”: @ballooningwonderful | 70th personalised: @uniqueoccasions01

    What do you think of the Colour of the Year? Are you excited to use it? Apprehensive? Do you envisage a lot of clients requesting it? See what other BAPIA members have to say here in our Facebook group and join in the conversation! 

    We look forward to seeing how you incorporating Classic Blue into your designs this year.

    BAPIA members, remember to tag us in your posts using #bapiaparty so that we can see and share your great work!

  • 08 Jan 2020 1:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As the Freelance Social Media Manager for BAPIA, I thought I’d take a second to answer some frequently asked questions about social media marketing to ease any apprehensions:

    “I barely have time to run my business as it is but I know I need a social media presence. How did I find time to fit it all in?”
    Rather than feel compelled to be on social media every day, I encourage you to assess the time that you have to spare each week, even if it's just an hour, and then prioritise and allocate your social media tasks accordingly. Remember, it only takes a few seconds to share an Instagram Story clip and when it comes to social media, every little helps. Often I find that the most stress-free approach is to stockpile photos and videos to post later when I have some downtime and free scheduling apps like Buffer can help with this. Whether it's a quick moment between bookings or stealing a second in the supermarket queue, you always have time for one quick post!

    “How often should I post?”
    This is really dependent on a number of factors, the most important of which is your resources. If you only have time to post once a week, only post once a week. If you can manage more, great! It's much better to post something highly interesting to your followers once a week than to post something mundane every hour just for the sake of it. While it's good to remain in the forefront of your followers' minds, they can also actually get turned off by over-posting which is considered spammy and will lead them to unfollow you altogether. Finding the right frequency is often a case of trial and error, although there are tools which you can use to find the posting sweet spot faster. Apps like Tweriod and Iconosquare can tell you when the majority of your followers are online as well as the in-built analytics or ‘insights’ in some platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. 

    “Do I need to be on every social media platform?”
    Absolutely not. In fact, I strongly advise against it. There are always more potential followers to be reached on social media so don't kill yourself trying to get to them all. You will only spread your resources too thin and end up with several neglected pages that reflect badly on your brand. Instead, focus on those social media platforms which your customers use the most and put your resources into spreading strong, consistent messaging which will really speak to your followers and bring you business.

    “Which social media platforms should I be on then?”
    This is completely personal to your business and your customers. Teens and young adults are most active on Snapchat, Millennials, aka those currently aged 25-40, are more likely to be active on Facebook and Instagram whereas the generation before, ‘Gen X’ are most active on Facebook. The most important thing to remember is that wherever your buying customers are, that is where you want to be. Not sure where that is? Ask them! Run polls across your social media or have a good old chat on the job. Understanding your customers is the key part of any marketing campaign, social media or otherwise. Too shy to ask? Use the in-built analytics on your social media platforms for an idea of which types of customers hang out where. 

    “Do I need to be available on social media 24/7?”
    No, not at all. Think of social media as a mix of advertising and customer service. While it's obviously better to acknowledge queries as quickly as possible, it's perfectly understandable that you will be AFK (away from keyboard) from time to time. A recommended rule of practise is that, as long as your business office is open, you should aim to periodically check your social media. If you can’t deal with an enquiry right away, an easy solve is to have a quick, ‘Thank you for reaching out, we’ll get back to you ASAP!’ response ready in your phone notes. That way when you get a DM you can just copy and paste that until you have time to respond fully and the potential customer knows that you will get back to them when you can. Screengrab the DM if you need to so that you remember to come back to it.

    “What if someone DMs me overnight, isn't it bad for business to leave it until the morning?”
    It's perfectly okay to only respond on social media during business hours. Customers understand that you are human and have lives too! Even big businesses like Google close their office doors each day, take a break! If you’re unable to check every profile every day, have a note in each platform’s bio asking customers to email you for the fastest response - that way you only have one inbox to monitor daily and can check the others less often.

    “I’m not good at taking photos. How do I run an Instagram account?”
    You don't need to be a pro photographer to have a successful Instagram account. That being said, if you’re going to take a photo you may as well do it well, so to sharpen up your phone photography skills have a read of this BAPIA News Post on How to Take Great Photos for Instagram. Instagram is all about sharing moments more than beautiful imagery and you'll actually find that people are far more likely to respond well to an honest, in the moment snap rather than something that’s been heavily edited beyond the point of relatability. Marketing on Instagram, like all social media platforms, is above all about showing your followers that you understand them more than anything. Understand what they like to see and, more importantly from a business point of view, that you understand what they need. Be funny, be relatable and be real. As long as you can do this you're golden. 

    And remember, if we all balloon responsibly, the party never has to end!

  • 23 Dec 2019 9:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    When running a business it’s easy to get carried away feeling like you need to be offering everything under the sun so as not to miss sales opportunities. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself these three simple questions to streamline your services without losing out.

    What’s Profitable?
    We’ve written before about the 80/20 rule and how it suggests that, in business, the amount of effort that we put into certain processes is often disproportionate to the results that we get from them. The rule suggests that it’s often only 20% of our products and services that make 80% of our profit. That being said, it’s rare that we’re spending 80% of our time on those top sellers. Often we’re still distracted by fulfilling the other 80% of products and services that we have on offer, even though they’re making us minimal profit.

    Does this rule apply anywhere in your business? Maybe your biggest booking are event styling but you feel you should offer single balloon delivery too to bag small orders? If the percentage of business time you spend purchasing, prepping, packing and marketing these isn’t proportional to the percentage of profit they bring in, it’s time to make a change. Would those hours be better spent drumming up more decorating jobs? Consider how this rule applies to your marketing too. Do you advertise all of your services evenly across social media even though some are far more profitable than others? Perhaps it makes more sense to highlight the services that are the most valuable to your business first and foremost.

    What Are You Good At?
    We’ve all heard the old adage ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’. Another drawback of spreading ourselves too thin in business is that it often means that we don’t get the time to develop our skills in any particular area. It may seem that being able to offer ‘a little bit of everything’ is best for attracting potential customers but let’s think about it; are you more likely to recommend someone who offers a wide range services and does ‘an alright job’ on each, or someone who did one particular service and did ‘an exquisite job!’?

    Becoming known for excelling at one particular service is much more likely to get you recommendations and word of mouth advertising can be instrumental in standing out in a competitive marketing. Particularly when consumers have a lot of choice and just aren’t sure who to go with. Take a look at your service list and ask yourself which services you can let go of in order to spend more time finessing others so that they sell themselves. The BAPIA Training Calendar is already filling up with classes for the new year and spaces go quickly so remember to check it periodically and if you see a class you like, don’t hang about.

    What Brings You Joy?
    Sometimes in business we forget how much our happiness can affect productivity. Many of us got into the balloon and party business for the sheer joy it. But what’s the use of turning your passion into your paycheck if you then lose that passion again by only focusing on building your business rather than retaining the joy that made you so good at the job in the first place?

    It may seem to be the sensible thing to do to forgo the ‘fun jobs’ in favour of the biggest money makers but this isn’t always the best business move. Mental fatigue and burnout can be real threats to your business when you’re pushing yourself too hard. It’s when you’re most fulfilled at work that you tend to show up in the best way, work the most efficiently and may even be more responsive to tackling issues like problem solving because of your positive mindset. You’ll likely find that when you cut out the services that weigh you down mentally, that extra spring in your step leads to less procrastination, increased creativity and a willingness to input more hours’ of high-quality work - all of which can lead to financial reward and better mental health overall and as the saying goes - your health is your wealth!

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