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In Support of Small Business Saturday

Local is the new black.

You, as an entrepreneur, understand the importance of investing dollars in local markets and of supporting endeavors such as Small Business Saturday. Now is a great time to be an owner of a locally-owned enterprise.

More than ever, shoppers are aware of the benefits of investing in their neighborhoods. In 2016 alone, the US small business sector was estimated to have an estimated 28 million businesses and was responsible for 54% of all domestic sales.

Between better customer service, benefits to the local economy and direct access to an expert, the opportunities for touting the benefits of local shopping are plentiful. The good news: you don’t have to work hard to encourage consumers to act upon this idea.

business owner

There are available resources and incentives to encourage entrepreneurship here in Charlottesville and in Virginia as a whole.

It is Charlottesville Business Innovation Council‘s mission to “educate, celebrate and advocate for Charlottesville’s technology community” by giving support to the high-tech businesses in the area.

Centra Virginia SCORE is a resource that serves the counties of Albemarle, Culpeper, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson and Orange by providing mentoring and other assistance for those looking to start a business or improve their existing business strategy.

Central Virginia’s Partnership for Economic Development offers counseling, information, and training to Central Virginia’s entrepreneurs.

BlackOwnedCville is a resource that allows you to look for goods and services sourced from local businesses owned by black residents of Charlottesville.

Finally, the City of Charlottesville’s Office of Economic Development has resources available to women and minority entrepreneurs.

Embracing the Failure

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

-Winston Churchill

You’ve filed all the paperwork, you’ve rented your shop, bought your materials, and now you’ve realized that you really don’t know what you’re doing. The truth is, so many successful people admit to a feeling of inadequacy or failure from time to time. Imposter syndrome can be a tough mental challenge to break through when just starting your own business.

From an evolutionary standpoint, those butterflies you’re feeling are evidence of a natural response to stressful stimuli. The good news is that these feelings can be harnessed and used in a productive way.

Science agrees: it’s not that business owners are naturally able to quell these bouts of real stress and fear. However, they’ve learned to let those feelings feed their ambitions. They’ve learned to operate and perform their best under stressful conditions.

Simply put, “success comes from failure.” Entrepreneurs are better able to handle these stressors because they’ve become practiced at it.

entrepreneur

“Only those that dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

-Robert F. Kennedy

The more you become accustomed to managing these fight or flight triggers, the better you will become at allowing the fear to do what it is naturally supposed to- increase your awareness so that you will land on your feet. Look at this seemingly negative thing as a positive experience. In other words, “reframe the fear.”

Learning how to manage your time as a business owner and setting a schedule is imperative to actively maintaining key tasks and initiatives. Delegating the work that isn’t what you do best is arguably one of the most important skills that an entrepreneur can master early in the game. This will increase your confidence and free your mental energy for more important tasks.

Should Small Business Owners Do Their Own Digital Marketing?

digital marketing, small businessBeing a small business owner is hard work. Trust me, I know. You wear a lot of hats — everything from accounting, sales, and marketing to more. However, small business digital marketing

Source: Unique Digital Marketing Tactics: 1 Hour a Day

This article has great suggestions that may take an hour a day for a digital marketing professional However, the average business owner should be focused on their business and not digital marketing.

What are the digital marketing options for local businesses?

Do it yourself – The business owner has to learn, implement, monitor, optimize their own campaign with their own time.

Outsource – Hire some company that may be helping with directories or just calls from another state and trust them to market with minimal contact or reporting.

Hire an agency – Invest in an agency that will do a great job at a higher price ($1K-$10K+ in MGT fees alone).

Or… Work with us! – We offer a local, personal, customized solution. We will educate the advertiser, prepare and implement your strategy and provide in depth reporting on performance.  This can be done within a lower total budget.  Visit or Online Marketing page for more details.

Small Business Saturday and the Shop Small Movement

On RetailWire this week author Tom Ryan invites small business owners to join the discussion in his article, American Express doubles down on ‘Shop Small’ .  As the interest in Small Business Saturday and the Shop Small Movement continues to grow, it is important to consider how to take advantage of any buzz created but also look beyond these events to truly develop more lasting strategies in order to grow local business.

American Express is offering promotional support with the larger than life charm and wit of Shaquille O’Neal.  This day to support the local business owner has been developing since inception in 2010 and generated $16.2 billion in 2015 according to the article.  However, according to one of the insightful comments following the article, “Small businesses need to do more than “wait to participate” in events.”

READ MORE HERE

 

Building a Sticky Brand

Brand Building 101

There are many things to consider when a business is developing its brand.  Will it accurately reflect the single aspect that differentiates “us” from “them”?  Will it convey the personality and illicit the emotional response anticipated?  Will it clearly communicate the promise of the value that the business has to offer?  In order to be effective, the savvy brand builder will ponder these questions and be able to more successfully develop a stickier message.

The best messaging will attract the right audience and hold onto them through the sales process hopefully converting them into loyal customers and ultimately brand evangelists.  In the article, “3 Ways to Clearly Communicate Your Marketing Message. Stop Using “Trump Talk””, David August shares some great keys to effective brand building.  The first takeaway the author provides is, “Communicate a promise – one that your business can keep — that addresses peoples’ preferences and concerns proactively.”

This article is a great reminder to avoid cliche and buzz words and phrases, which give weak and watered down messages.  Consumers want authenticity.  Clearly communicate what makes a business different and what is the promise of your brand.  Using the businesses own words will resonate with prospective customers.  August concludes, “Use your limited space to say something meaningful. Something that will put your offering at the top of peoples’ lists.”  By doing this a business’s brand will become stickier.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

 

The Secret to Retention, Thank You!

Hiring the right person can take time, money, and intuition but retention may be all about the appreciation.  According to a recent survey outlined in the article, Thank You! Gratitude Is the Best Retention Strategy, “60 percent of surveyed workers said they put the most value on being appreciated by management, and that appreciation plays a big role in employee satisfaction and retention.”

According to the survey, the employee’s job satisfaction seemed to be more tied to connection and relationship than to compensation or other traditional fringe benefits.  Harry West, VP of Services and Product Management at Appirio, the organization that conducted the survey, said, “Support and gratitude seem to be more motivating and cherished than any other form of reward”.

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE