Helping Heiwa

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As many of you know, I am big on giving back. That’s why last year I donated my time to help Heiwa Tofu run a crowdfunding campaign so they could buy and intall a heating system for their new building in Rockland. It was such a pleasure working with this local family business! Jeff and Maho have worked very hard over the past 8 years making organic tofu and soymilk from soybeans mostly grown right here in Maine.

That’s why I felt good about volunteering my time to support their leap into owning their own production facility so they could ramp up production, hire a crew, and grow this amazing business. I did this as part of a small business grant called BizIn, which was created by fellow New Ventures Graduate, Carrie Yardley of Yardley Esq., PLLC. She, along with Valerie Geredien, Buzzwings Marketing, Erin Smith, of Wheatberry Design, and Susan Walters, Stories that Shine, created this grant to support local, small businesses in Maine. In addition to our BizIn team, Dandan Liu also donated her time to create this beautiful film about Heiwa, which was integral to our Indiegogo campaign.

 

Heiwa Tofu Indiegogo Video from Dandan Liu on Vimeo.

 

It was an amazing feeling working with this group of women who had all benefitted from the New Ventures program, and now were giving their time to support other business owners. The campaign turned out to be a great success, and all told, we helped Heiwa raise over $18,000! They were able to purchase and install the heat pumps needed for their new building in Rockland.

Heiwa continues to grow and thrive, and I continue to show my support by eating their delicious, organic tofu!

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Grow Your Networks Organically

Does Social Media Matter- (1)

Social Media Networking

It’s tough business. Just like pounding pavement and knocking on doors, it takes time, patience, and perseverance to build relationships on social media. So take your time and connect wisely. Find like-minded people. Connect with other local businesses. “Like,” comment on, and share their content and they will likely return the favor. Follow people you know in real life, but also those inspiring podcasters you’ve found on the web. It’s about being SOCIAL, so once you’ve connected, don’t stop interacting. If you’re blogging, follow other bloggers you truly admire and comment on their posts. It’s about being genuine, sincere, and authentic. Follow people who follow you on Twitter if they are worth following. Make connections that matter and make sense. Don’t just follow a bunch of randos trying to get “folllow-backs.” There is no quick-fix to this social media thing. A good way to begin your approach is to focus on one or two social media outlets that really suit your personality and your business. Then start growing your network organically, mindfully, and with purpose.

Buying Fans on Facebook

I’ve tried it. It gives you so much immediate gratification, but in the long run, the quality of your fanpool becomes diluted. Growing your fan base on Facebook is like tilling a garden: it’s tedious work. You should absolutely be promoting posts to targeted audiences… this will get you engagement and lead to more authentic “likes.” If they like what you’re posting, they will most likely interact with your posts in the future, which is what you want. Thousands of fans who don’t give two hoots about your business, product, or content do not add up to much on a network that demands engagement.

Hire a Social Media Manager

Once your business is creating a stream of revenue, consider hiring a social media manager. This stuff takes so much time, that as the CEO, you shouldn’t be spending yours on the fine art of crafting a Facebook post, or figuring out how many times to tweet your latest blog post. Delegating this portion of your business doesn’t mean you have to have a hands-off approach, it just means that when high priority tasks take over, your social media won’t fall through the cracks. And if you’ve spent some time growing your garden, so to speak, you will want someone to tend it for you rather than let all that previous work go to waste. Now is the time to reap the rewards…