We’re delighted to present the following interview with Allen Mireles, where we asked her about her triumphs and struggles with being a small business owner, how she uses digital marketing to overcome challenges, as well as her favorite tools.
Women Grow Business Interviews Allen Mireles
Allen Mireles Marketing is an integrated marketing and social media consultancy based outside of Toledo, Ohio. Founded in 1993 as Allen Mireles Marketing Communications, they specialize in developing and implementing integrated marketing strategies to help organizations achieve business goals.
They also coach and train clients in the practical usage of social media, and the powerful benefits of integrating social tactics to traditional marketing and public relations programs.
Here’s what Allen shared with us in the interview.
Why did you become a small business owner?
I became a small business owner after I gave birth to my second son, who is ten years younger than my first son. Working for myself allowed me the flexibility to manage raising two kids, with a wide age range, and still work full time.
What’s the most critical step you took in order to grow your business?
The most critical step I took was diving into social media. This has enabled me to extend my business relationships both locally and internationally.
My deep dive into social media has given me the framework and experience that allows me to coach and train other business owners in the effective use of social media tools.
I have built an extensive network and am able to easily and quickly put together teams of professionals to work on projects; or call on someone in a related industry for recommendations, introduction or expert advice. My social media experience and connections have been invaluable.
What’s the most important way you’re using technology in your business?
The most important way I’m using technology in my business today is in learning and communication. Learning and staying abreast of the latest changes and updates in my industry, and in the tools we use to provide solutions for our clients, is absolutely crucial.
Daily communication with prospects, clients, media, colleagues and the general public, is facilitated, and even made easy, with our incredible technological tools.
Share your biggest success in business so far, how it happened, and what you’ve learned from it.
I was responsible for bringing the first social media marketing conference to NW Ohio in May of 2011. I coordinated the local media and arrangements for Jason Falls’ Exploring Social Media conference, which was attended by professionals from all over the state. The event was a huge success.
Currently one of our clients, an Ohio manufacturer and ecommerce business, is working with us to build their online social presence and integrate it with their traditional marketing and advertising programs. Their social presence is growing exponentially and we are successfully tracking new leads and sales (both retail and wholesale) that result from these programs.
How did you recover from your biggest business-related failure, and what did you learn?
My biggest business failure has been lack of balance. The most obvious manifestation of which is in spending too much time in front of the computer and not enough time face-to-face with people in my own community.
Realizing this, I have recently joined the Rotary Club of Toledo (12th largest in the world) and am cheerfully participating in weekly luncheons, volunteer activities and after-hours networking.
The benefit to the business is obvious but even better?
I’m having fun and making new friends.
The learning here? As difficult as it is to step away from the computer, (and all of the tasks and projects that demand attention and time) the benefits are wide ranging and tremendous. Forcing yourself to try to balance online and offline is essential. And worth every minute.
What advice do you have for fellow women business owners?
I can’t claim this is my own idea, I heard it only recently but it really resonated. Find a younger woman for a mentor.
Seriously, find someone younger than yourself and listen to her.
You will inevitably be able to help her and offer her advice and counsel based on your own experience–but more importantly, she will enrich your life and your work by sharing her own perspective and experience.
How do you use social media to help your business grow?
I use social media to help my business grow in many ways. I follow people who are more deeply entrenched in the technological aspects of online marketing than I am. This helps me stay abreast of a fast changing aspect of my work.
I follow people who work in different industries, different states, and different countries.
I read extensively and learn from these people, and build strong online relationships that allow me to ask questions, share business leads and compare solutions. I have build a strong and wide ranging business network and use my online resources to build teams when projects require capabilities beyond our own.
How do you stay productive?
I stay productive out of necessity and, at times, sheer panic. I am driven by the need to provide effective solutions for my clients and to stay as current as possible with digital and social marketing tools and theory.
I use a combination of old school technology (legal pad and lists and a large desk calendar) and new technology, which includes a long list of fabulous tools including: Evernote, Google products, BufferAPP, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Analytics, Freshbooks, Skype and WordPress (I’m sure I’ve overlooked some).