Making More Money Because You Have a Business Plan

When it comes to running your own small business, you can never be too prepared.

Whether you’re considering starting one or you’ve already successfully launched, it’s never a bad time to think about how things will go and how your business will progress. If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, it’s wise to create a concrete plan for everything from financing and location to personnel and merchandise.Business Plan

While there are many reasons why small businesses fail within the first few years (or even months, one of the biggest reasons is a lack of revenue. Although there are many factors that can contribute to this, having a proper business plan in place can eliminate the risk of failure and improve your odds of bringing in the big bucks.

Making More Money Because You Have Business Plan is a PDRA-sponsored webinar walking you through the entire process of setting up – and seeing through – a strategy that will help your small business succeed.

You’ve heard the adage, ‘planning to fail because of failing to plan.’ It holds true for multinational corporations and it holds true for independent paint and decorating retailers. Making More Money Because You Have Business Plan will teach you how to plan ahead and eliminate mistakes, from hiring the right staff to stocking the right merchandise. Just like preventive maintenance on the equipment in your store, the preventive maintenance of a business plan is a great way to plan for the best future for your store.

063015 BizPlan_500 (2)To reap the full rewards of business planning, we encourage you to check out Making More Money Because You Have Business Plan. Free for members and only $50 for non-members, we promise – it will pay for itself several times over.

For more information about Making More Money Because You Have Business Plan, and our other educational webinars, click here.

 

 

Five Content Marketing Ideas Your Customers Will Love To See

If you’re running an independent business, you know how important it is to provide excellent service for your customers and clients.

In today’s digital age, it has become equally necessary for business to get online and engage with customers outside of the store and in the virtual world of social media. Content marketing can be done via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email and blogs.

Not only is content marketing a great way to connect061615 ContentMktg_400 with people and secure potential customers, but it can also establish your small business as an expert in the paint and decorating industry. If you’re looking for smart and engaging content ideas for your digital marketing platforms, take a look at these five creative ideas.

Current Trends. As an expert in the paint and decorating industry, you are – or at least should be – the first to know which colors, trends and decor fads are about to hit the consumer market. Take advantage of this knowledge by writing about what’s hot in your blog. Not only will this give you fresh and creative content every few months, but it will give you a voice of authority in an ever-expanding industry.

Customer Interaction With Products. As we’ve mentioned before, posting photos on social media is the #1 way to attract eyes and engagement from followers. A great way to use this method is to share photos of customers using products in your store or at home. Whether you hold an in-store demonstration with product representatives or you simply ask one of your loyal customers for a photo op testing out their new product, this post will promote engagement and keep your stream looking fresh and exciting to followers.

Answer a Common Product Question. If you’re looking for a great way to increase engagement on Facebook or Twitter, set up a Q&A with your customers and followers once a month. This will give them the opportunity to ask questions about paint brands, trends and decorating tips – and it will give you a platform to build rapport and show off your expertise. Whether you want to create a blog post with the answers or simply reply back instantly, this will give your followers something to look forward to.

Client Case Studies. One of the best ways to show your followers and fans that your business is successful is to share case studies of satisfied customers. By sharing this information, you’ll let the public know exactly how you helped others, which will make them want to receive the same quality of service. If you have a customer purchasing a new product or taking on a big project, keep in touch with them and ask if they’ll answer a short questionnaire about what you did to help them out.

Testimonials. If there’s one thing your customers want to be sure of at the end of the day, it’s that your store is the best place for them to buy paint and decorating products. 061615 Testimonials_500If you’re not already, give your shoppers a place where they can submit comments and collect feedback from satisfied customers. Positive word of mouth will help build your reputation without seeming like advertising or marketing. And best of all, it’s free.

Making More Money Because You Have a Business Plan

Business_Plan_Webinar

The old adage of ‘planning to fail because of failing to plan’ rings true with a paint store. Having a business plan can help you eliminate mistakes because you’ve made decisions in advance. You know what type of customer you are targeting so you will make fewer merchandising mistakes. You know what kind of employees you want so you will make fewer hiring errors. Just like preventive maintenance on the equipment in your store, this preventive maintenance is a great way to play for the best future for your store.

Five Differences Between Good Bosses and Great Bosses

One of the best things about being a business owner is that you finally get the chance to be the boss you’ve always dreamed of being. If you’re like most people, you’ve had your fair share of less-than-stellar managers and have promised yourself that you’ll strive to be better. Not only does excellent management and leadership help make your business more successful, but being an excellent boss will make your employees happier and willing to work harder for you, too. If you’re looking for smart ways to go from being a good boss to a great boss, take a look at these 5 tips.

  1. Every business owner wants his or her workplace to feel safe, comfortable and relaxing for employees; a good boss ensures this by making room for everyone, from newbies and lifers. 060915 BestBoss_500A great boss, however, encourages a sense of community among staff members so everyone feels welcome and part of a great team. Because businesses are most successful when staff members work together seamlessly, establishing a culture of camaraderie and cohesiveness will ensure things run smoothly.
  1. One of the many benefits of owning a small business is that you have the opportunity to build rapport with employees simply because there are fewer of them. While a good boss may chit chat with team members at the beginning and the end of the day, a great boss takes the time to find out how things are going in their lives, inside and outside of the workplace. When employees feel a bond with their boss, they’ll feel more loyal and connected to their workplace.
  1. A great way to have a happy workplace is ensuring your employees know that they can come to you with concerns or frustrations. Build your status as a great boss by creating an open dialogue with all of your employees so they feel comfortable enough to approach you about problems they’re having in the workplace. Not only will this help manage and reduce stress, but it’ll give you an opportunity to grow as a leader as you help fix the issues at hand.
  1. A good boss will always seek out the most promising employees and give them an opportunity to engage in professional development. 060915 GoodToGreat_500However, a great boss makes this a priority for all employees. With the amount of time it takes to hire a fantastic and trusted new employee, it only makes sense to include professional development and invest in every employee, whether they work in sales or management. Not only will this reduce employee turnover, but it will increase the value of each team member over time.
  1. When an employee makes an impressive sale or lands a new client or customer, a good boss knows to praise them in a big way. However, if you’re looking for more of that excellent quality of work from all of your employees, make sure they always feel a sense of gratitude from you. When they feel accomplished and confident that they’re on the right track, their skills will greatly improve because they know you have their back no matter what.

5 Exterior Paint Projects to Tackle This Summer

As the weather heats up and the sun-filled days become longer, the summer season becomes the perfect time to transform your home into the oasis of your dreams.

If you’ve been looking for a great opportunity to tackle some small or major renovations on the exterior components of your house, summertime is your best chance at success. Fresh updates will not only improve the appearance of your home, but certain renovations can increase the overall value, too. From eye-catching accents to significant updates, take a look at our list of 5 outdoor paint projects to tackle this summer.

Accents. If you’re on a budget – with time and/or money – but still want to improve the look and feel of your home’s exterior, 060215 PDRA_Shutters_500painting accents like shutters and frames is a manageable project. To stay trendy yet traditional, we suggest sticking with neutrals like white, beige, brown and black. However, if you’re looking to really spruce it up, feel free to experiment with interesting hues like mint, burgundy or even yellow.

Entry Door. A beautiful pop of color on a front door is all it takes to transform a house that blends in with the rest into a stylish property that demands attention. Painting your front door is an easy project that takes between one and three hours but instantly brightens the entire look of a home. To stay on-trend yet traditional, we love deep reds, bright yellows and a wide spectrum of stylish blues like navy, french and grey-blue. Tip: to ensure a substantial pop or color, make sure the outer trim around the door is a clean white shade.

Deck. The ultimate summertime setting, your back deck060215 PDRA_Deck_500 is the place where you BBQ fresh meals, sip on cool, crisp beverages and comfortably entertain your family and friends. To restore your deck into a charming and attractive extension of your home, a fresh makeover is all you need. Whether you paint it a trendy grey, red or brown shade or opt to stain it with a rustic coating, a beautifully finished deck can transform your home into a special summertime hotspot.

Shed or Garage. If you’re like a lot of people, your garage or shed have seen better days. For a significant summer project, giving these exteriors an upgrade is a great way to not only make your home more visually appealing, but to also increase the value of your home. For a beautiful and traditional look, we suggest sticking with neutral shades for the garage and, if it’s wood, a fresh dark stain can work wonders. And if you’re itching to be more creative with a summer renovation project, the shed is the place to use your imagination and incorporate some of your favorite stylish colors.

The Entire House: If you’re feeling rather ambitious this summer and want to completely transform the look, feel and overall ambiance of your home, a fresh coat of stylish paint is your best bet. Exterior paint jobs can be draining on your time, energy and bank account, but a new shade can make your home feel like it’s a new one all together.

Five Interior Paint Trends for Summer 2015

For most people, summer brings thoughts of both soothing relaxation and high-energy fun in the sun. It’s also one of the best times of the year to mix up the look and feel of your home. 052615 Summer_500What better way to combine the tranquil and upbeat energies of the season than with paint? From pale yellows to playful pinks, here are five interior paint trends to get you inspired this summer.

Jade: Like the deep olive and emerald hues of the spruce trees in the great outdoors, a classic jade color is a favorite among earthy homeowners and decorators. Elegant yet rustic, jade evokes feelings of timelessness and relaxation. This elegant shade works best in a bathroom, laundry room or as a sophisticated accent wall in a main living space.

Lemon Ice: Contemporary and cool, this 052615 PDRA_YellowPaint_Summer_500sophisticated shade makes for a punch of fresh color while remaining light and subdued. Perfect for kitchens and living rooms, a rich yet beautifully elegant yellow shade reflects the sunny spirit and high energy of the much-loved summertime season.

Muted Teal: Reminiscent of the fresh blueish green tint of the water by the lake, a muted teal shade becomes a stunning addition to your home decor during the relaxing summer months. For a look that’s as captivating as it is casual, try painting this shade in a room that gets a fair amount of sunlight to avoid a dreary feel.

Passion fruit: Playful and lively, this fresh color is the perfect way to add a pretty pop of color that’s reminiscent of biting into ripe, juicy fruit on a hot summer day. Ideal for any living space or room, this shade gives you a feeling of energy, freshness and the sense that summer is here to stay.

Light Brown: An all-time favorite, this neutral shade is beautiful in the summertime because it allows fresh flowers and bright accent walls to successfully pop and become the main attraction. Warm and timeless, this color can be transferred throughout all four seasons to give special pieces of home décor the easy background they need to take the lead in beautifying your home.

Five Reasons to Attend Industry Trade Shows

We recently returned from our annual visit to Las Vegas, where PDRA once again sponsored the Paint & Accessories Show at the National Hardware Show® from May 5-7. In addition to giving us a change of scenery and some time away from the office, it reinforced just how valuable some time a trade show can be.

051915 NHSLogo_500Over the course of three days, we had an opportunity to check out some innovative new paint products, catch up on the hottest industry trends and make some amazing new connections. And we did it all in the name of improving our organization and service for you – our members.

But it’s not only international industry associations that can benefit from industry trade shows; whether you’re a thriving paint store in a big city or a mom-and-pop shop in a small community, trade shows are one of the best investments a small business can make.

Here are five reasons a trade show should be on every independent retailer’s calendar.

Networking. In addition to offering a huge and accessible advertising and marketing platform, trade shows are a fantastic way to network with other professionals in your industry. Not only do trade shows give you an opportunity to meet and establish rapport with vendors and potential customers, but the various presentations will also help you connect with industry experts. As an added bonus, you also get to scope out the competition and identify what they might be doing better than you.

Knowledge and expertise. Because trade shows attract wide range of visitors in the paint and decorating industry, attending them gives you the opportunity to gain knowledge on everything from growing trends to hot products and valuable resources. You’ll leave feeling inspired, creative and ready to renew your store and impress your customers with all of your new tips, tricks and suggestions for improving and beautifying their homes.

Image. Since they give you a wealth of information about the latest products and trends, attending trade shows not only provides you with expertise, but adds to your voice of authority in your industry. Trade shows are a sort of who’s who in the world of business, and your mere presence can establish your company as a leader. And If clients and customers know how dedicated you are to education, they’ll be more inclined to trust you over the competition (even if their prices are lower than yours!). And if you’re attending a trade show, don’t forget to let your social media followers know!

Professional development. One of the benefits of being a small business owner is having the freedom and opportunity to educate employees on everything there is to know about the industry. Because of the great deal of information at trade shows – from the various seminars to the countless product launches – they’re the perfect setting for professional development. Having a couple colleagues attend trade shows with you is also another fantastic way to establish expertise in your area, because having two or three highly knowledgeable salespeople working in the store is always better than one.

Fun! While having a booth at a trade show is a lot of work, it can’t be all work and no play. Packing a suitcase and getting out of your hometown for a few days is a fun experience and helps establish a healthier and happier work/life balance. Trade shows also give you something to look forward to every year and helps to kindle your passion for paint, decorating and business.

Get Educated With Our Upcoming Webinar Series

One of the many benefits of being a PDRA member is the wealth of knowledge you’ll receive about everything from new paint products to small business management and everything in between. Our webinars, in particular, are perhaps one of the most valuable benefits of membership.

051215 Ipad-new-WebsiteEducational and highly engaging, our popular webinars are great for communicating and connecting with a large amount of people while helping small business grow. In today’s highly competitive market, tuning into these dynamic webinars can be a powerful tool for giving your business an advantage over the competition. The more webinars you watch, the more you increase your expertise as not only a successful business owner, but also as a leading expert in your industry.

Here is a list our upcoming webinars. Be sure to sign up and get ahead!

June 9, 10 a.m. (CST)

Making more money because you have a business plan

The old adage of ‘planning to fail because of failing to plan’ rings true with a paint store. Having a business plan can help you eliminate mistakes because you have made decisions in advance. You know what type of customer you are targeting so you will make fewer merchandising mistakes. You know what kind of employees you want so you will make fewer hiring errors. Just like preventive maintenance on the equipment in your store, this preventive maintenance is a great way to play for the best future for your store.

August 11, 10 a.m. (CST)

The budget: like paint by number for your business

Too many stores look at their year-end financials051215 PDRA_Webinar_500 and then wonder how they achieved what they did, or wonder what happened over the past year. Those businesses that have a budget know from month to month how they are on target to achieve their goals as well as tune their business. Just a painter needs the right tools for their business, this is a ‘right tool’ for your business.

October 13, 10 a.m. (CST)

Black Ink: Cash flow management secrets your accountant never shared

How about a crystal ball for your business? What if you could know a year in advance how much inventory and how much cash your business would have? That would surely allow you to take advantage of many more opportunities as well as avoid mistakes by having too little cash on hand. This class will help you to know how to accurately make those projections.

December 8, 10 a.m. (CST)

Why inventory control makes money for your business

To everything there is a season; not only was that a popular song and Old Testament scripture, it is how good businesses know how to control their inventory. This webinar will show you how to monitor your sales history and accurately use that to keep the right amount of inventory on hand.

Five Thoughtful Ways to Combine Paint and Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and if there’s one thing most moms would agree on, it’s that they’d rather receive something handmade by their most prize possessions than something that was purchased at the last minute.

Not only does a handmade Mother’s Day gift signify extra time, thought and effort on your end, but it’s 100 per cent unique. Instead of digging out the crayons and markers for a homemade greeting card, we’re giving you five fantastic ideas for incorporating paint into your Mother’s Day gift.

From simple and sweet to truly going above and beyond, these ideas are ranked from easiest to most challenging so you have lots of options for choosing the perfect painted present for the woman who turned you into the masterpiece that you are.

050515 1_FlowerVase_250Chalkboard Painted Flower Vase: A bouquet of fresh flowers is a popular Mother’s Day gift, but you can make it extra special by painting a simple vase with trendy black chalkboard paint. Once it dries, you can write a sweet message to your mom and she’ll be able to have it as a keepsake forever. You’ll get extra points if you keep the vase filled with a fresh floral arrangement all year round!

Ombre Paint Chip Calendar : Perfect for any busy 050515 2_PaintChipCalendar_250mom, this Mother’s Day gift idea is an affordable way to create something beautiful with paint swatches. To make it personalized to her tastes, subtly find out what her favorite colors are and vertically arrange the chosen paint chips from lightest to darkest and place inside of a large picture frame. She’ll be able to keep her schedule clean and organized from month to month while seeing her favorite hues on a daily basis.

Homemade Wall Art with Spray Paint: Add some color and natural beauty 050515 3_WallArt_500into Mom’s life and home by creating homemade wall art with a blank canvas, leaves, acrylic and spray paint. This project looks beautiful when aligned with four canvases so you’ll want to set aside some time to complete 050515 4_Furniture_250each one.

Refurbish Old Furniture: If you’ve noticeda piece of furniture that’s in dire need of a fresh, new, updated look, Mother’s Day is the perfect time to refurbish an old chest, bookshelf, table or night stand as a thank-you for all the hard work she’s done for you. And since the “shabby-chic” look is trending right now, beginners are able to nail this rustic style even if they’ve never done a project like this before.050515 5_Makeover_250

Bedroom Makeover: For the ultimate above-and-beyond Mother’s Day gift this year, a bedroom makeover is sure to let her know you appreciate her dedication, sacrifices and love over the years. Find out what her ideal bedroom color is and take the time to turn her domain into the room of her dreams. While this gift probably won’t be a surprise (unless you do it while she’s out of town for a few days), she’ll definitely be thrilled by the idea.

 

Color Psychology and Four Powerful Hues for Your Home

When people think about all the ways they can improve their mood on a daily basis, their first instinct might be to log more hours sweating at the gym or to treating themselves to a comforting piece of rich milk chocolate. However, one of the easiest and most organic ways to alter your perception in life is by adding certain hues to the walls in your home.

042815 PaintColors_500The fascinating thing about colors is that they have a powerful effect on your mood, so much so that specific tones are even used in therapy for their proven calming and tranquil effects on the brain.

Whether you want to transform a bedroom into an oasis of relaxation or make your home office an energetic space that helps you feel invigorated and ready to tackle your projects, specific colors can help you do it all. Enhance the look and feel of your home with these four popular hues and the tips on what to do with them:

Red. The poster child of passion, fire and power, vivacious red is a classic and timeless shade that awakens all of your senses and never goes unnoticed. It can be used to create intimacy or, when paired with other neutral shades, can add a wild pop of color for a perfect balance.

  • From crimson to merlot to muted marsala, red shades are beautiful as an accent wall with neutrals.
  • Sizzling and romantic, deep reds are perfect as the main shade in bedrooms. Just make sure you get enough sunlight or the room could look a little too dreary.
  • If you love the powerful essence of red but aren’t quite ready to take the plunge, a bright front red door is always a stylish use of the color.

Blue. Beautiful blue is a complex shade that has the power to relax or energize you, depending on the tint and temperature. It evokes a natural feeling of calm, soothing freshness and is known to help make people feel happy and rejuvenated.

  • Because it’s such a relaxing shade, designers suggest using light and airy shades in common areas like the living room and bathroom.
  • To make a room seem larger, this light shade can be painted in a ceiling to mimic a clear, blue sky.
  • Classic and timeless, blue is a hue that will work in any room of any home and during all seasons.

Green. Fresh and reminiscent of nature and renewal, green is another relaxing shade that’s known for its powers of inspiration and optimism. Versatile and calming, there are so many rich and muted shades that work in all areas of the home while adding a light elegance that’s sure to lift your spirits.

  • Soothing and earthy, green can be used in the bedroom for a relaxing oasis or add in the bathroom for a comforting spa-like experience.
  • To make your home feel more rustic, designers love pairing olive or moss greens with natural wood, as they’re highly complimentary and a beautiful tribute to the beauty of the outdoors.
  • For a fresh, classic and elegant look in the main living area, you can never go wrong with a rich green and creamy white duo.

Yellow. Perfect for triggering feel-good vibrations, sparking creative juices and creating a positive ambiance, there is no shade more cheerful than yellow. With a wide spectrum of hues like pale, mustard, sun-kissed or muted, the options are endless for incorporating this beautiful shade042815 Yellow_LR_500 into your home.

  • Want to make a common room more soothing? Opt for a saturated or buttery tint. Looking to expand the space in a room? Pale will be your best bet, as it’s natural and reflects light. And if your overall goal is to bring a heavenly ambiance to your home, opt for a cheerful bright tone.
  • Create warmth in your kitchen with a saturated yellow, as it’ll make it cozy yet clean and fresh.
  • Embrace the natural, old-world charm by adding brown accents to your yellow additions.

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