Fa·cil·i·ta·tion – To facilitate is to make possible, to ease, to assist.

We provide strategic facilitation services to help you articulate a more realistic and exciting future or solve a specific organizational problem or question with client-centric events and processes.

Members of: 

Boston Facilitators Roundtable

What we are up to

Branding Essentials and Strategic Planning

Image via Unsplash

The perceptions customers have of a brand will dictate their behavior towards that brand. So, if your new or established business creates a unique and attractive brand that accurately represents your offering, then it can go a long way in influencing your target customers to buy your product or service.

If you don’t know where to start developing your brand, you’ve come to the right place! Lighthouse Counsulting Group has worked with a range of different clients to align their stategic vision with their brand’s purpose and presentation.  These two high-level functions — strategic planning and branding– need to be carefully intergrated.   Below are some basics of business branding and provides tips for doing some of the jobs yourself.

What Exactly Is Branding? 

Branding is all about perception. When you create a brand for your business, you are essentially shaping how customers perceive your business. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we all have perceptions of brands that ultimately decide how we engage with the said brand, so it is your company’s job to create branding that represents your business exactly how you want it to.

Many factors go into branding, and some of the main ones include choosing a customer target, designing a logo, and determining what channels and messaging to use to present your company’s personality. Many of the world’s most iconic brands are so simple that a casual onlooker may think it would be easy to create it. However, just the opposite is true; creating branding and figuring out how to position it in the market is one of the most challenging tasks for a business.

What Does a Branding Agency Do?   

If you work with a branding agency, you are going to pay big bucks. But understand that the best agencies do a lot of work; they build your branding from the ground up and ensure it remains relevant as the market evolves.

A reputable branding agency can create a top-notch logo that makes your company stand out, determine which marketing channels will work best for your goals, and even craft the right words and tone to use for your content. All in all, professionals can help you tailor all of your promotional and informational content to appeal to your target customers.

Depending on your specific team, you may be able to handle some or all of your branding responsibilities in-house. Or you may need to hire all of them out or only specific tasks. When working with pros, however, you will need to stay heavily involved in the process and provide any information or collaboration necessary to produce a top-tier product.

For example, if you are working with a web designer on design ideas, you will likely be communicating primarily through email. If you are sending files back and forth, consider the tools you will need to collaborate effectively. This might include getting a tool to convert JPG to PDF without compromising image quality. Such software can even enable you to convert many JPG files at once.

Which Branding Elements Can Your Team DIY?   

The branding tasks you can handle in-house will wholly depend on your team’s capabilities and experience. Keep in mind that, while it can save you money upfront, if you do not have the skills necessary to create effective branding, you can waste precious time and cost your company more money in the long run.

So, evaluate your team to determine if you can take care of tasks like:

  • Crafting logos
  • Choosing color palettes
  • Picking the suitable shapes for your marketing materials
  • Writing taglines
  • Administering the right imagery
  • Selecting the right typography

You will also need to figure out how to position your brand in the market, which is in itself a job!

Few things are more important for a business than creating effective branding. Keep learning about all of the elements involved, and determine which tasks you should outsource to professionals and which ones you should try handling in-house. The ultimate goal is to invest the necessary time, energy, and money into presenting your company to the market in the most accurate, freshest, and attractive way possible!

4 Ways Any Size of Business Can Benefit From an HR Consultant

If you have employees or are planning to hire them, your company can benefit from the services a human resources consulting service provides. No matter your company’s size, scope or number of years it’s been operating, there are tasks an HR consultant can help you manage.

  1. Provide HR Knowledge

If you have a new company and don’t have a human resources team in place yet, an HR consultant can help you get one running and offer services until your department is in place. You need to ensure, for example, that you have an employee benefits package and are compliant with current laws. Your consultant is prepared to help you organize your HR department.

If you have an established company, you may need to bring some of your human resources procedures up to date. HR consultants can brief your in-house staff on current laws, regulations and health and safety developments. You need to stay current on these details no matter your company’s size.

  1. Organize Your Payroll Setup

Payroll is an essential but often complex task. It isn’t something you can overlook — after all, paychecks and tax payments must be timely and accurate. According to PR Newswire, almost three-quarters of surveyed employees said they would have trouble meeting financial obligations if their paycheck were delayed a week.

Payroll is also a responsibility you shouldn’t cut corners on. It can be a lengthy process, and mistakes can be costly, resulting in fees and penalties.

If your current payroll system is problematic, an HR consultant can assist you in finding a more modern and suitable solution. There are many solutions available, including employee time tracking software that makes creating reports and scheduling a lot simpler, even on mobile devices. Having a functional payroll system is vital for allowing you to make timely and organized payouts.

  1. Assist With Hiring

If you have a new or growing company, you may need to hire employees quickly. HR consultants can assist you during a hiring spike. If you’re new to the process or haven’t interviewed in a while, they can help you ask interview questions that should give you the most helpful answers. Consultants can also walk you through the questions you are legally allowed to ask.

HR consultants are available to attend interviews with you, guiding you through the process and assisting with challenging areas such as reasonable accommodation and discrimination laws. Once the interview process is complete, consultants can review candidates and help you choose the best ones. Consultants can also offer salary advice.

  1. Conduct Employee Surveys

Whether you have one employee or many, it’s essential to keep a finger on the pulse of job satisfaction. Staff members may have ideas for improvement or areas of concern that they are reluctant to bring up. A neutral HR consultant can help with the survey process. Having an outside source conduct a survey or ask for feedback gives your employees the chance to speak up with the confidence of anonymity.

Consultants can help you design a survey based on your business and the areas you want to address. Once surveys are complete, these professionals can help you evaluate results and design action plans.

Companies of all ages and sizes can benefit from the work HR consultants do. When it comes to human resources, it pays to seek help in staying compliant and keeping your employees satisfied.

Lighthouse Consulting Group can help take your business to the next level. Get in touch to find out more about how we can help you.

3 Things That Can Help Your Small Business Thrive Now and After the Pandemic

Image via Unsplash

Three Things That Can Help Your Small Business Thrive Now and After the Pandemic

Businesses of all kinds have suffered through the COVID-19 pandemic. And small businesses deemed nonessential have perhaps suffered the most, as many of them have been the last to reopen. If you are a small business owner who finds yourself in such a situation, there are things you can do to give your business the best chance for not only surviving this pandemic but thriving long thereafter. Here are three examples courtesy of Lighthouse Consulting Group:

One.  Revisit Your Strategy.  A great place to start is with your business strategy. What adjustments can you make to accommodate the current and future situations?

Two.  Prioritize Your Physical Location. It’s true that a lot of business is moving online, but people still love to shop at brick-and-mortar stores. Take this opportunity to improve yours.

  • Consider any ways that you can improve curb appeal.
  • If the flooring in your store has seen better days, consider installing new carpet.
  • Work to drive traffic to your physical location with exclusive promotions and in-store discounts.
  • And if you haven’t adopted curbside pickup, make that an option as soon as possible.

Three.  Find Funding and Ways to Save. Money is also a key part of running a business. Fortunately, there are various resources available to small businesses and strategies for cutting costs.

  • Research all of your financial assistance options, including grants, loans and government programs.
  • Revisit your budget to see where you can cut costs.
  • If you need to reformalize your business as an LLC to protect your assets and gain tax benefits, use a formation service, but read reviews

While this is a difficult time for businesses across the country, you can set your business up to thrive in the short-term and long-term. Also, remember to show your physical location some TLC, and see what funding options out there could help your business get back on its feet.