INSTANT SEARCH

Serving Charlottesville area listeners and businesses.

Tag Archives:
strategy

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.

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

 

2016 Holiday Sales and Staffing Forecast

Things are looking up this holiday season based on the National Retail Federations (NRF) forecasting models.  Although global instability, weather and elections can have an impact on the economy, consumers are typically resilient and seem to be poised to spend more this year than in 2015.

holiday season, seasonality, staffing

According to a recent article, the NRF “expects sales in November and December, excluding autos, gas and restaurant sales, to increase a solid 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion significantly higher than the 10-year average of 2.5 percent and above the seven-year average of 3.4 percent since recovery began in 2009. Additionally, NRF is forecasting non-store sales to increase between 7 and 10 percent to as much as $117 billion.”

The article also points out that hiring for the season seems to be within the range of last year’s numbers.  “According to NRF, retailers are expected to hire between 640,000 and 690,000 seasonal workers this holiday season, in line with last year’s 675,300 new holiday positions.”

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

Winning With A Unique Customer Experience

Today I visited a prospective partner and they began to share their standard process for welcoming a new patient to their practice.  This experience included a tour of their office, introductions and a small gift bag.   Small things, but even these little differences can make all the difference.  Today business owners are continuing to look for new ways to differentiate themselves and outshine the competition through an enhanced customer experience.

This reminded me of an article I read recently entitled, “Consumers Just Want to Have Fun” which originally appeared in August’s edition of STORES Magazine.  Excerpts and the link to the full article are below.

“Since consumers can now find what they want through so many more channels, the fresh, new, authentic, unique experience will be the one that wins.”

‘Recreational retail’ transforms staid shopping experiences into memory-makers

Sean Selby doesn’t look at rock climbing as simply exercise — but then, he doesn’t look at retail buildings as spaces to just buy and sell, either. ” READ HERE

Best Start-Up Advice: Ignore the Competition!

The founder & CEO of web-pioneer Shareable, Tania Yuki, says that when she’s asked by budding Entrepreneurs about handling the competition her answer surprises because it seems counter-intuitive.  She says to ignore them!

As a small business she suggests that instead of wasting energy on your competition that you focus on 3 core principles that keep your energy dialed in to your strategy, your team and customers, and adding value.  She lists those core concepts as:

1- Second-guessing others is a luxury you can no longer afford.

2- Success is not a zero-sum game.

3- Know enough not to be blind-sided, then stop.

Read the post