In business, profit partners can be extremely valuable. The idea is to support each other’s business by referring new customers to one another in an effort to help each side thrive.
For example, let’s say you own a restaurant and become profit partners with a commercial cleaner. You trust the cleaner enough that you recommend their services to others in your personal and professional network. You are willing to support them and make an effort to help build their business. In return, the cleaner promotes your restaurant with their clients and even hosts their annual staff party at your place.
This same concept can work in homeschooling as well. For example, you determine that science is not a subject you feel confident in teaching your children. A homeschool mom within your local network loves science, studied it in college and used to work in the lab of a chemical company. The two of you decide that she will teach your kids along with hers the subject of science, including fun educational lab projects. You love organizing educational field trips, so in return, you agree to include the other mom’s kids in your field trip planning. As a result, both families benefit from the assistance and interests of each parent.
Both business and homeschooling can be overwhelming. We should never feel that we have to be an expert in all areas. Take a look at your network and partner with those who have expertise in areas you do not. There is a ton of value in helping each other thrive.
As the legendary Zig Ziglar used to teach, “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” I encourage you to give it a try.
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As parents and homeschoolers, we too fall victim to the assumption that we should teach and raise our children to get good grades, go to college and then get a good job. However, none of us should automatically follow that path without intentional consideration and planning centered around the interests and personalities of our children.
Let’s look at a few key aspects about college. First, the statistics related to kids leaving their faith once entering college is stifling and should make any parent hesitate and reconsider. According to Campus Renewal, their recent studies indicated that up to 70% of students leave their faith during the first year transitioning into college. Wow! Now, your first thought might be that of Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go and even when he is old he will not depart from it.” A powerful reminder of our role as parents and full of truth. However, should we consciously put our children in that environment knowing these statistics?
Two, college is not cheap and as a result, loan debt has become a BIG problem. According to a recent article in Forbes, students graduating college in 2016 owed an average of $37,172 for school loans. That’s a difficult way to start life as a self-sustaining “grown up” looking to successfully contribute to their community. Of the $21 trillion U.S. debt, over $1.4 trillion of it is related to school loan debt.
Third, a college degree does not automatically lead to a good paying job. The average starting salary for new college grads has increased slightly to just under $50K a year. However, as good as that may sound, once we understand the Practical Poverty Level taught by Josh Tolley in his powerful book, “Evangelpreneur,” we know that average starting salary is not encouraging news.
Rather than putting all the focus on traditional college, an alternative route to post high-school education that often gets overlooked is trade school. Learning a skilled trade can offer opportunities in becoming an electrician, carpenter, plumber, welder, aircraft mechanic, HVAC tech, dental hygienist among a variety of other well-paying and fulfilling careers. Many of these paths often surpass the starting salaries of jobs taken by those graduating with four-year degrees.
For homeschool families, these skilled trades can be explored at a young age and the process can be incorporated into your daily schooling routine. Perhaps a family member, friend or local businessperson in your community would be willing to teach the skill or offer an apprenticeship to a young man or woman interested in learning their trade.
At the end of the day, as parents, we need to realize that one size does not fit all when it comes to higher education. Just because the masses go down one road does not mean we all need to follow. Understand your child’s personality and value their interests. Allow them to explore different paths. You just never know, it could lead to an amazing career.
If you own a small business, one of the most important responsibilities you have is generating business. In an effort to do just that, you need to promote your product or service.
There are a variety of ways to promote a business. Some methods are more creative than others. Most can be categorized under two main headings: marketing and advertising. We’ve all heard those terms thousands of times, but do we really know what they mean? Are they the same or different? Does it really matter? Do they both produce the same results? Can we expect a return on investment from both?
Let’s take a quick pop-quiz… look at the items below and determine if they are marketing or advertising:
Billboard along the interstate
Facebook page, Twitter & Instagram posts
Bi-monthly ad in a local newspaper
Promoted Facebook posts
Digital banners on various websites
What do you think…are these examples of marketing or advertising? Well, before we get to the answer, let’s define what marketing and advertising are so we know for sure.
Marketing is the action of finding your target buyer and giving them the experience of your product or service.
How about advertising? What is advertising really? Advertising is exposing your brand. It’s really that simple.
So, now that we have defined the two, let’s take another look at the pop-quiz above. Do all these items allow the target buyer to experience the product or service? No, they do not. Therefore, all the items listed above are examples of advertising. They all expose the brand through different avenues but none of them actually allow a potential customer to experience the product or service directly.
Here are a few examples of ways a current and/or potential customer can experience your product or service:
A tire company hosts a driving event where dealers drive on the tires and compare them to competitive brands.
A drink brand offers free samples to shoppers in the grocery store.
A plumber hosts a demonstration at a home show where he shows attendees how to repair a small pipe leak. Attendees are challenged to try it themselves.
A local dentist speaks at a Rotary meeting where he explains the latest technology in teeth cleaning.
All of these examples offer customers a chance to experience a product or get to know the personality of the person offering a service. There is much more interaction with these examples than there are with the advertising examples. Remember, marketing is about the experience. Marketing also provides an opportunity to measure your return on investment more accurately than most advertising. It’s a challenge to determine how many sales are directly connected to a billboard along the interstate. However, you can measure how many drinks you sold at the store during the time you shared the free samples.
The reality is, anyone who has a business should spend 50% of their time and effort related to marketing. The administration, product development, invoicing, staff training, sales, etc. should not equal more than 50% of your time and energy so you can spend the additional 50% on marketing.
One last thing to think about when it comes to advertising. Times have changed in a very dramatic way as it relates to the effectiveness of advertising. Take the DVR for instance. Besides recording your favorite shows or games, what do we all love about the DVR? We can skip the commercials!
Are you familiar with Pandora music service? How do they make money? Your first assumption is probably advertising. That is only partially correct. Their main revenue is generated by memberships that allow the listener access to ad-free music.
We now live in a time where the public is willing to spend their hard-earned money to avoid your advertising. On many occasions, ads make us mad. Think about your initial reaction to online pop-up ads. Do you actually click on them and say, “Oh, that’s awesome! Even though you just completely interrupted me and invaded my space, I’ll buy your product now.” No, most of us get upset and now have a negative opinion of that company. Something to think about…
So, back to the original question in the headline. I hope you now have a clearer understanding of what marketing and advertising is and how they do indeed differ from each other.
In our current fast paced society, we make what seems to be very significant advances daily. Whether it’s the development of autonomous cars, the advancements in modern medicine or the redirection of buying habits from brick and mortar stores to online. It’s mind blowing what we can do with the talents God has given us.
On the flip side, we also see widespread evidence that the basic skills in life are getting lost within the massive world of advancement. The skills needed to run a household or a small business just don’t seem to be a priority these days. For example, a college student opens a checking account after leaving home and stumbles through their checkbook never really knowing how to balance it. A young entrepreneur has the opportunity to present her business concept to a room of investors. Since she never participated in speech class or learned to speak in front of large groups of people, she freezes with fear and peppers her presentation with a massive amount of “ums” and “has”. A neighbor’s yearly yard sale produces half the revenue hoped for because they didn’t have the confidence to negotiate the value of their family treasures. Or one we can all relate to, a cashier at the grocery store struggles to return the proper amount of change after the register malfunctions and doesn’t show the exact amount of change owed.
What do all these scenarios have in common? Our education system. Most public schools no longer teach the basic skills necessary to make life a little less stressful. Skills like how to handle personal finances, public speaking, negotiating, or counting change. Perhaps these skills are overlooked because our society has become so advanced. Reliant on electronics to assist us or to provide quick answers, we no longer need to think. The reality is, these basic skills are vital to succeeding in life and in business.
It’s eye opening when we hear stories like those mentioned above. Or worse, we hear that a college student must ask a friend where to place the stamp on an envelope or a professional athlete must take a class on how to sign his name because he was never taught cursive in school.
As homeschool parents, we have a great opportunity to change this trend. We can incorporate these basic life skills into our curriculum and daily routines. Learning these various lessons doesn’t have seem like a chore or end up being a dreadful experience for our kids. We have the flexibility to make it fun and have some of life’s basic skills become habit before our children realize it. Whether it’s through co-ops, board games or real-life experiences, let’s not forget to teach the basics. It will make a difference.