How to Have a Successful Conference Experience

How to have a successful trade show experience

Attending conferences is important for professionals in every industry. It’s a great way to dive in and hear about new technologies, tricks of the trade, and more. However, because conferences are jam packed with learning and networking for 1 to 3 days, it’s important to make a game plan so you can have a successful experience.

Here are some helpful tips to leave your next conference with an implementation plan.

Prepare for note taking and networking

Some attendees go to trade shows for one or the other, but really everyone should be soaking in the new information and getting to know their peers.

Prepare for note taking by bringing the tools that work best for you. That could be pen and paper, a laptop or a tablet. Taking notes helps improve attention to detail, promotes active learning, boosts comprehension, improves organization and increases creativity. This is all necessary when you’re on a learning spree attending back-to-back sessions.

Next is networking – something many people cringe at. But networking can be easy if you do it in the best way that works for you, and sometimes one conversation can help you solve a business problem you’ve been stuck on. Different networking methods include talking with attendees while you’re sitting waiting for a session to begin, attending networking events, or sitting with peers at lunch. Make sure to bring your business cards with you, and make a networking goal. It could be to swap cards with 4 peers, or to find a solution to a business issue.

Pick three topics to take away

Learning this much in such a short time frame can be overwhelming. Your best bet is to look at the conference agenda a couple of days before, and start picking each session you want to attend for each time slot. Some conferences actually require this because sessions book up so quickly.

Attend the sessions you feel you will get the most out of. Your choices should be a mix of new topics to learn, challenging topics for skills you may need to strengthen, and topics you may be knowledgeable on but want to make sure nothing has changed.

As you complete your schedule there will be sessions that stand out to you as important. Pick three learnings that you want to take away and implement when you get back to work. This will ensure you get your money’s worth, and expand your skills by putting your new learnings to the test.

Speak to vendors

It’s important to spend some time walking through the exhibit area. You may come into the experience thinking you don’t need anything new at your business, or that what you need doesn’t exist. But vendors at conferences vary from marketing communications softwares to banks offering small business loans, and it’s important to know what new technologies and products are out there. Stay up-to-date with solutions in your industry so you’re in full control of the possibilities for your small business. You may even be able to offer a suggestion to a peer when they are in need of a solution.

The most important thing is to be open. Immerse yourself into the conference experience and you’ll be surprised how much you can take away from it!

3 Ways to Modernize Your Practice and Become More Efficient

Patient Experience - Modernizing Medical Practice

More and more we are hearing about the importance of a positive patient experience. Patient behaviors are increasingly influenced by technology, so their expectations from their providers are changing. If you haven’t implemented technology into your patient experience yet, here are 3 ways to modernize your medical practice.

1. Discreet appointment confirmations

Although your patients may appreciate the courtesy ‘appointment confirmation’ phone call your front office makes every month, they may not always be able to answer and speak to someone at that very moment. Your office hours are most likely the same hours as your patients’ work schedule. But if you introduce more technology solutions into your practice you can offer your patients the option – voice, text or email confirmations. Which do they prefer?

You can also explain how each confirmation works, as none of the options require speaking to a representative at your practice. The patient simply needs to dial a single number to confirm, or respond to the text message. With a sophisticated communications software, your staff will receive these confirmations in real-time and will be able to easily transfer them to your management system.

2. Missed appointment reminders

You can send a reminder the day of a patient’s appointment, but life happens. Sometimes days get too busy and patients may still forget. What’s important in this situation is to remind that patient to reschedule their missed appointment. This is critical in whether or not this person becomes a lost patient, which is not good for their health or your business.

The most efficient way to send this reminder is via email. Include a ‘Request Appointment’ button within the email so the patient can get back on your schedule easily, and during a time that’s convenient for them.

3. Appointment opportunities when booked

Most patients understand that they may not be able to make an appointment on short notice. However, if your front office is organized, you could add them to your Hot List. A Hot List is a list of patients who have requested an appointment, but the date and time they requested is not available. This comes in handy if there is a cancellation, and is most efficient when tracked digitally. Your staff can access this list at any time, and contact the patient with a pending appointment via email or text with just a couple of clicks. This accommodates your patient’s schedule and helps you reduce no-shows.

 

Implementing technology into your patient experience is the most efficient way to make it positive, and keep them coming back. The idea is to make visiting their doctor as simple as possible, while still communicating in a way that isn’t time consuming for you and your staff. Learn about other digital solutions that can help modernize your practice at www.demandforce.com.

Creating an Engaging Instagram for your Salon

Creating an Engaging Instagram for your Salon

As a hair stylist, your Instagram page has become the new portfolio. Now you’re not just showing prospective employers you’re cutting and dying skills, you’re also showing prospective clients what you can do.

In a world that is over saturated with competition, it’s important for your career to create an engaging Instagram account so your audience not only likes your work and shares it with others, but likes you as well.

Keeping your audience engaged is a science, so here are some tips to help you get started.

Go live with Instagram stories

As of November 2017, Instagram Stories amassed 300 million daily active users.* This is all the proof needed to know people are watching, and that viewership has only grown. When you’re doing an edgy hair dye, or even cutting a classic medium bob, have someone hold your phone for a live Instagram story.

Take note on what type of content gets more viewers, and at what time. If you’re receiving good attendance for those unicorn hair dye jobs, consider announcing that you’re going live ahead of time. More people may tune in, including your peers who have been meaning to learn that new, trendy skill. And remember – people can tune in even after you’ve gone live. The story will stay on your page, and at the top of their feed, for 24 hours.

Respond to comments

Comments from your audience are one of the best forms of engagement. It’s great to hear opinions from like-minded individuals, or receive praises from prospective clients who love your work! Having said that no comment should go unresponded to, even if the response is a simple ‘thank you.’ That follower took a couple of minutes of out of their day to show you true appreciation, so it has to be reciprocated.

Also, you’ll probably notice the more you respond, the more comments you’ll receive. People love to experience that kind of connection on social media.

Create shareable posts

Memes are a good example of a post that followers often tag a friend in, or send to a friend via direct message. This is because those posts are relatable, and that has to be part of your secret engagement sauce. The more your posts are shared, the more your following will grow.

Mix in some posts that are comedic to your industry, or life in general. You can also try inspirational quotes, or a fun boomerang. It doesn’t always have to be hair related, but you can keep your posts industry-only to have a consistent theme to your content.

Tag brands for the exposure

As a stylist you’re using top name brands on your client’s hair, so let those brands know! Tagging a brand in your Instagram post will expose your work to them, and introduce your followers to the products you’re using. If your post is worthy of sharing, the brand may re-post it on their Instagram. Learn their official hashtags as well to further expose your work and your Instagram to a larger audience. This will help grow your following, and give you credibility as a stylist.

Having an engaging Instagram account is a daily task. The more time and effort you give to your account, the more engagement you’ll receive. Some influencers post 2-3 times a day to stay top-of-mind in their follower’s feed, but do what works for you. And remember – have fun with it!

 

*http://mediakix.com/2017/11/how-many-people-use-instagram-stories/

Announcing our joint venture: Demandforce and Henry Schein

Henry Schein One Demandforce joint venture

Demandforce is excited to announce that we will enter into a joint venture with Henry Schein, Inc., the world’s largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, animal health, and medical practitioners. This joint venture is to be named Henry Schein One, and is being created to address the challenges created by the current lack of technology integration in dental practices.

What’s to Come

Joining forces with will allow Demandforce to create even more advanced integrated solutions that improve office management, marketing and client loyalty.

“By combining Henry Schein’s strength in practice management software with our leading digital marketing applications in this new joint venture, we intend to leverage the considerable resources of both companies to provide our customers and their patients with a better experience,” said Bob Brisco, CEO of Internet Brands.

This means nothing will change for current customers. Our goal is to continue to provide you the best technology to communicate with your clients, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated on new product developments as they occur.

For more details on this joint venture, please read this press release.

 

National Doctor’s Day: Appreciating our Doctors

National Doctor Day- Appreciating Doctors

March 30th represents National Doctor’s Day, a holiday declared by President George H.W. Bush in 1991 as a day to recognize the hard work and dedication physicians provide us everyday. Proclamation 6253 by the 41st President was written in the spirit of recognition:

“All those Americans who serve as licensed physicians have engaged in years of study and training, often at great financial cost. Most endure long and unpredictable hours, and many must cope with the conflicting demands of work and family life.”

Ways to recognize your physician

Whether they are your co-worker, boss or primary care doctor, this is a great time to give a token of your appreciation. Here are some ideas:

  • Send a thank you card

The art of a hand-written note will never get old. Write your doctor a special message and have family members sign as well if they also see this physician.

  • Order custom balloons

There’s no better way to mark a celebration than with big, bright red balloons. The Southern Medical Association makes these balloons just for the occasion.

  • Have red carnations delivered

The red carnation is the official flower for Doctor’s Day. Send those to your favorite physicians and be sure to include a special note.

  • Gift them a special pen

Doctors write prescriptions everyday, so gifting them a custom pen would go to good use. Monogram it with their full name or initials to really make it personal.

 

National Doctor’s Day is a great day to not just recognize their hard work and long hours, but also the service they have provided to our personal health. A special Thank You from the Demandforce family to all of the doctors and physicians who have made an impact in our lives!

 

Tax changes your small business can’t ignore

Tax Changes Your Small Business Can't Ignore

This year the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 should be top-of-mind for small business owners.

There were changes to both tax and pass-through deductions that may affect the daily decisions you make as a business owner. The good news is none of your standard deductions were taken away – only slight updates were made to two of the many. The iffy news is on the 20% pass-through deduction – it’s great to have, but who qualifies?

Let’s get into it.

Tax Deduction Updates

Meals and entertainment

  • Entertaining clients or employees is no longer a deductible expense. The meals you purchase when entertaining are still covered, but those tickets to Hamilton are coming out of your pocket. It’s probably best to keep client or employee engagement to dining experiences only.

Business automobiles

  • If you own or lease a business automobile, or was planning on doing so, the deductible just increased. With the new tax plan, you can deduct $18,000 the first year you own a new car. If your business needs a truck or SUV, the vehicle is 100% deductible. Now is the time to get that business car, and make sure to negotiate to start off with a great price.

The Pass-Through Deduction

What does it mean?

  • A pass-through business is one where tax laws ignore the separate existence of the business itself, and allows any income, deductions, credits or other provisions to pass directly through the owner instead. This doesn’t include most corporations, but does include limited liability companies, partnerships and sole proprietors.

Now if your business is a pass-through entity, the new tax law is implying that you can deduct 20%, or one fifth, of your qualified business income until it expires in 2025. To be clear, as you’ll find the law currently is not, qualified business income is the net amount (or taxable amount) of income, gain, deduction, and loss that is tied to your operating business.

What businesses/industries qualify?

  • This is the biggest question that many, including tax professionals, have raised. The stipulation on exactly what type of services are excluded from the deduction is very narrow:

Health, law, engineering, architecture, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, consulting athletics, financial services, brokerage services, or any trade or business where the principal asset of such trade or business is the reputation or skill of 1 or more of its employees.

The specific exclusion of the principal asset of the business being a skill of 1 or more employees is really what has America’s small businesses up in arms. Because of this – the American Institute of CPAs has written a letter to the IRS asking for immediate guidance on the entire pass-through deduction. According to the LA Times, the IRS plans on providing guidelines by June 2018.

While you wait, it’s recommended you make an appointment with a tax adviser for a date after the guideline has been provided. It’s an important time to learn what can and cannot be considered tax deductible for your business.

Blog sources:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-pass-through-tax-deduction-20180312-story.html

https://www.fool.com/taxes/2018/01/03/can-you-win-from-the-pass-through-deduction.aspx

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/309096

Implementing Your Online Reputation Strategy

Implementing your online reputation strategy

In the first part of this series, Getting Started: Taking Control of your Online Reputation, we kick off where to begin when building and monitoring your online presence. Now that you have your reputation marketing plan mapped out, here are some tools to help you implement your strategy.

1. Claim your business listings and social pages

Customers are searching you online for two reasons: to get your contact information, and to see what other people are saying.

There are some top sites for business listings depending on your industry. Review the ones that show up on the first page of your search and make sure your contact information is correct. If there are other important sites you know as a professional that your business should be listed on – add it! No stone should go unturned.

When it comes to what people are saying about their experience with you, managing your reputation is huge. First, claim your business on Yelp and Google.

If your business doesn’t show up – create your profile! Add your logo and put up some pictures of the inside and outside of your business. It wouldn’t hurt to have a picture of the team either. Customers like to see what they are walking into – it gives them a sense of familiarity.

2. Listen to what your customers are saying

After you’ve claimed your online presence, read any existing customer reviews. Were the reviews accurate to your product or customer service? Are they pointing out areas that you need to improve? It may be hard to read opinions or experiences that aren’t sugar coated, but use it as helpful feedback. It could be really beneficial to your business, and could start bringing in more 4 or 5 star reviews instead of 3 or less.

If there are a couple of unhappy customers that you feel you can help, respond to the reviews and offer them a solution. Thank the customer for their feedback, explain your process and why that may have happened, and possibly offer a solution. But it’s important to know that once you start review management you have to commit to it. Customers will begin to expect a response from you – even the happy ones!

Do online reviews still make you a little nervous? Here is the secret to online reviews.

3. Create targeted messaging for happy customers

Happy customers can be gold for your online reputation. There are a lot of different ways to encourage customers to leave you reviews. Your front desk employees can encourage it verbally at the end of a service, or you can have them send automated texts or emails if you use a marketing software. These messages are normally triggered after an appointment, and if you use a reputation management software, the reviews will be sent straight to Google. And all your staff had to do was click a button!