Category Archives: Uncategorized

Is Your Small Business Ready to Create Jobs?

By Rieva Lesonsky

When it comes to the state of the economy, most people would agree that the number-one concern is how to create new jobs. Well, when it comes to creating new jobs, a new Gallup poll shows that Americans have more faith in small business than in any other person or institution.

Respondents were asked how much they trust the ideas and opinions of the following groups for creating jobs. Small business was trusted a moderate amount or a great deal by 79 percent of respondents. Close behind were “local business leaders,” with 74 percent. But the third-highest response on the list, “state governors,” was far behind at 57 percent.  “Executives at major corporations” were near the bottom of the scale with 44 percent.

“It is clear that in the public’s eyes, smaller is better,” the survey concludes. “Americans have more confidence in the views of small-business owners than in big-business CEOs, and more confidence in state governors and local mayors than in national congressional leaders of either party.”

If small is indeed beautiful, one way you can help create more jobs is by encouraging the people in your community to “shop local,” whether by visiting your restaurant, making a purchase from your store or visiting your hair salon or accounting practice.

How can you encourage shopping local? Here are a few ways:

  • Reach out to your community. Get involved in community events such as fund-raisers, fairs and carnivals. Volunteer for local charities or donate your products or services. Offer to speak at local organizations’ meetings. When people in the community know you, they’re more likely to patronize your business.
  • Point out to prospects and customers of the benefits of shopping local. Your website, ads and other marketing materials should remind people that when they shop local, they’re supporting local services with their tax dollars and helping keep jobs in the community.
  • Take part in Small Business Saturday. This nationwide movement initiated by American Express designates the day after Black Friday (November 26) as a day for shopping at local, independently owned small businesses. SCORE is one of the many sponsors of Small Business Saturday—and it’s not too late to benefit. Visit Small Business Saturday’s Facebook page to find out more, and be sure to “Like” them so you can get all the news, updates and tips on how to market your business for Small Business Saturday.

Keep marketing your business with these local angles and before you know it, you’ll be ready to create some new jobs. Of course, your SCORE mentor can help you with more ideas for growing your local business. If you don’t have a mentor yet, visit SCORE’s website to get matched up with one and get free counseling 24/7.

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Rieva is a regular contributor to SCORE Small Business Success Blog. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her blog at SmallBizDaily.com. Visit her website SmallBizTrendCast to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

Reprinted with permission from blog.score.org.

The Marketing Guy

You met Tom Patty, The Marketing Guy, in last week’s blog on Word of Mouth Marketing and you may have even met him in person at one of the marketing seminars and workshops he’s done for SCORE Orange County (Chapter 114).

In this radio interview for BlogTalkRadio, radio host Dr. John Okeefe talks to Tom about his 30 years of marketing experience, what he’s learned from some of the best-known marketing experts in the world, and his work with SCORE counseling and advising small business owners on growing their businesses.

Sign up for one of Tom’s Workshop at SCORE OC!

  • Marketing Without Money: November 22, 2011. Mission Viejo City Hall. Find out more.
  • Fast Track to Internet Marketing: November 29, 2011. National University, Costa Mesa. Find out more.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/johnokeefe/2011/11/09/the-art-of-abundance-live-with-tom-patty-marketing-guru

Giving Thanks to Your Customers

By Michelle Russillo, SCORE OC Counselor

With the many choices consumers have today, customer service is the one of the leading ways you can drive your business to stronger revenue. Go above and beyond to let your customers know they are important, and they will return again and again. Here’s how to thank your customers for their patronage:

Always go the extra mile. Exceed customers’ expectations; get to know customers who frequent your establishment often; greet your customers by name. A happy, loyal customer who receives special treatment is more likely to return.

Handle complaints with tact and finesse. You have to listen well to hear what they’re complaining about. Then you have to be empathetic to their perception of the problem, be genuine in your apology, thank the customer for sharing their complaint with you and fix the problem. This will show your customers you are focused on them. You have one chance to remedy the problem before the customer chooses to leave you or, worse, use social media to complain.

Improve your communication skills. Small business owners must be able to communicate clearly to best describe the benefit of their services or products. Customers want to feel confident they are receiving a product or service that exceeds their expectations. Ensure all communications—including social media, website, emails and in-person communication–are clear and simple for the customer to understand. Anticipate what the customer wants and deliver it. Respond promptly and kindly to all requests, inquiries and complaints. Know that a customer wants value (not necessarily low price), consistency, reliability and predictability in your service or product.

Say “Thank you” often. The more often you let the customer know they are valued, the more you will strengthen their loyalty to you. Saying thanks in a letter, by email, and via special offers for free products will go a long way. Be thankful not only when customers give you compliments but also when they give you criticism or suggestions. This means they are interested in helping you improve. Always remember to thank customers for recommending your service or product. Go out of your way to ensure they know you appreciate their patronage.

During this time of year when we give thanks, be sure to remember your loyal customers. Take the time to try these tips, and you’ll be thankful you did.

Michelle Russillo is a SCORE OC Counselor and the CEO of MDR Consulting, LLC, a veterinary practices consulting company.