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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.

Google Business Listing – How to and Why

In the world of online search, there has continued to be a shift to mobile.  There is also an increase of local intent in search evident in the rise of “near me” queries.  One way to improve the chances of ranking well as a local business on mobile (as well as desktop) is to make sure that your business has claimed its google business listing.  This is an important step for a local business to take early on in order to improve search visibility.

Why have a Google business listing?

Google is explicit in very few things when it comes to how to improve your site ranking.  However, they are very clear about the importance of Google My Business and how it can be used to help the customer be matched with your business based on their location.  With this in mind, it is important to make sure that all of your information is correct in the listing.  Providing your NAP, number, address and phone number is a good place to start.  Also, having an updated website and as much relevant additional information will help potential customers as well as google’s crawling bots better understand your business.

How do I get set up?

Just Google it! Google does offer great information on how to do this through their help center.  But to make it easy for busy business owners, everything you need to get started can be found right here.

What if I don’t have a physical address?

Many service based small businesses may not have a brick and mortar presence or even a public office.  Google does provide a way to still get listed by providing a service area in place of a physical address.

Tips to consider

Google is not the only place where your business can, should or may appear.  Working with an SEO expert can be helpful to make sure that you are covering the high trafficked directories that are most important for your business.  You do want to make sure that information is accurate and consistent.  Another important thing is to ask for reviews in order to grow positive, helpful and useful information to potential customers.  Make sure to keep on eye on reviews and respond quickly and professionally to any negatives.

Also, check out your competitors.  How are they setting up their listings?  What are the hours they are publishing?  Would an extra half an hour a few days of the week show your business as open when your competitor will appear to be closed?

Finding a business anytime anywhere is getting easier for consumers and in order to compete, your business should be where they are looking.

 

 

 

 

How Do You Approach Naming Your Company?

There is a traditional wisdom for company names you’ve probably heard if you’ve ever tried to name a new start-up.  You know some of the standards:  they should be short, close to the beginning of the alphabet and descriptive. Nancy Friedman, who specializes in this process, argues that this wisdom is actually rather incorrect.

Wine Names

Before you set out to name your company read through these ideas.