Own a Small Business? 4 Advantages of Exhibiting at a Trade Show

Every small business owner should invest time and energy in exhibiting at trade shows. The cost setting up a booth is minuscule compared to the payoff. Attending and participating in trade shows is an intimate and effective way to boost almost any business. The following are four advantages of exhibiting at trade shows.

Face-to-Face Interactions with Customers

Exhibiting at trade shows gives small business owners an excellent opportunity to interact with potential customers in person, building rapport and establishing a connection between the business and its customer base. People are far more likely to invest money in a business that they believe cares about them and their communication. Never underestimate the value and importance of connecting with customers in person. This will help customers feel as if they are an actual part of a small business’s operations. The goal of any small business owner should be to build a community around their business. This can be achieved by showing up and personally meeting the very people who comprise your collective of customers and target audience. But if you don’t have time to do this yourself, consider investing in promotional modeling, or assign one of your assistants or employees to be there.

Gauge Customers’ Needs and Interests

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, getting to know the people you are trying to sell products or services to will help you to better gauge their interests, desires, and individual needs. Your customers are far more likely to give you feedback in person rather than take the time to respond to survey questions. When you’re visiting with them, be sure to actively listen to their responses. Take note of the things they tell you, and implement their ideas where possible.

Effective Platform to Launch New Products and Services

Trade shows are perfect places to try out new products and services. As a small business owner, you will be able to see, in real time, all reactions to your new products and services when you test them out at a trade show, rather than jumping straight into marketing and selling them. This method of previewing what a business has to offer is time-tested and will allow you helpful analytic data before investing time and money into innovations that won’t work so well.

Networking

Trade shows are attended by people from all facets of business, marketing, and various other industries. Making friends at these events opens opportunities for your small business to reach more people than ever, and the friendships made at trade shows will, undoubtedly, supply you with fresh resources and means to market and sell your business more effectively and on a larger scale. No small business can succeed alone. It takes an entire team to reach any real level of success.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

4 Things That Change When Your House Becomes Your Workplace

With 70% of people working remotely at least once a week, the odds are high that you won’t be stuck in the office. And, since the internet has made launching a startup a piece of cake, you might find your new office is your home.

Aside from a welcome mat at the door and inspirational quotes on the walls, your workplace might look similar to before. Usually, this isn’t helpful because it encourages freelancers to slip into bad habits, they kind they would never do in a traditional office.

With that in mind, there are some things you should change and you can find them underneath.

The Lighting

It’s the back end of autumn and winter is almost here, so your home will reflect that fact. Lots of homeowners take lighting seriously because they want to create a dark, cozy mood to go with the new season. With lots of lamps and lanterns around the living room, you’ve pulled it off to a T. Sadly, they need to go as it isn’t a productive atmosphere. Natural and artificial lights boost serotonin levels as well as a person’s mood, making them happy and more likely to be productive. Therefore, the curtains and table lamps are out and the blinds and focal light fixture are in.

The Mess

There is never enough time to clean up, plus you spend most of the day out of the house. It makes sense to leave it until you come home to tidy up. Now that you’re in the house from morning until the evening, this is an unproductive routine. The brain sees clutter and takes it on board, causing the mind to feel littered and unorganized too. From a work standpoint, this isn’t healthy for productivity. A commercial cleaning service will sanitize the area and make it simpler to perform basic tasks. Stop calling it “organized chaos” because it’s a cop out!

The Main Room

Typically, people spend the majority of their time in the kitchen or living room as they have focal points. Plus, it’s practical to watch TV where there is a set and to cook where there are utensils. For work purposes, it’s better to switch up which room you spend your days in. Otherwise, you’ll get easily distracted and do nothing. The obvious example is sitting watching television rather than sending emails or writing content. A bedroom, especially a spare room, should become your office as it has zero diversions. After a while, you’ll get into a healthy work routine.

The Name

Correspondence to and from a residential address is a sign you’re not a big fish. As soon as clients and customers recognize this, they might bounce due to a lack of trust. All it takes to change this is to come up with a new name for your home, something corporate-like. As long as the zip code is the same, all of your mail should forward to the same address.

Another option is to hire a P.O Box and use their location for customer and client services.

Why You Need to Use Behavioral Segmentation

How do you current and potential customers find you? That is the conundrum for every company in today’s day and age. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to have a location, or to have a location that’s close to others who might add synergy to your business’s stability.

And while technology might seem like it would be an easy way to garner a wider, more solid core of customers, in fact websites and email aren’t enough either. Add to the mix social media (and the realization that one site isn’t enough either) and you’ve got a very confusing mix of how to reach people.

 But luckily, data has given us some insights into what we do need to know about our customers—not just where they live but what their lives look like and how their internal lives work, too. So how do you segment what you know and what you need to know? This graphic explains it.

Why You Need to Use Behavioral Segmentation

Attention Grabbers: How to Make Your Business Stand out to Potential Customers

As a business-owner, you have the need to reach an audience and catch the eye of potential customers. If your business does not stand out, this can be a huge marketing nightmare. When you find new ways to grab the attention of consumers, this is when you have an opportunity to coax them into transacting with you for products and services. Consequently, your marketing efforts always need to be centered on how to grab your customer’s attention so that these transactions can become a natural part of doing business.

Paint Your Store

When it comes to grabbing the attention of potential customers, you really want your store to look different than all the other stores and buildings in your region of the market. By daring to paint your store a different color scheme than other retail outfits are employing, you will stick out in a huge way to passing traffic. It will also make your business hard to miss, because people will immediately see that your store looks unique.

Light up Your Parking Lot

A lot of times people are out shopping late at night, but they cannot easily identify entrances and parking areas. Overly dark parking lots are not only hard to navigate, but they are not inviting to customers who fear for their safety. By shedding adequate light on the situation, you make your location easier to navigate and safer for late shoppers too.

Using Banners

Signage is an important part of helping customers recognize your company both inside and out. One way to get your brand and enticing images before customers is to use vinyl banners. These banners will be attention grabbers outside, because they will wave about in the wind. They will also be eye catching on the inside of your store, because they can serve as a means to alerting customers to important products or deals. This can translate to a lot more revenue being generated too.

When doing business in this modern age, it is important to be clever in how you grab a potential customer’s attention. Your store must be made visible among all the competition. Additionally, customers must be able to find what they are looking for with ease. These marketing strategies will help any business become appealing to a broader portion of the market being addressed. This is one time when sticking out like a sore thumb to get noticed is a great idea. It is a tactic that makes businesses the object of consumer attention.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Customer Loyalty: Does Your Small Business Have What It Takes To Keep It?

Customer retention is a difficult topic for a small business. It’s not that they can’t keep the customers, it’s getting them in the first place that’s often the problem. Small businesses often flounder before they have a chance to grow and a lot of that is to do with their placement as a small fish in an ocean of sharks. Whether you are running a small business store on Etsy, or you’re marketing yourself as a solopreneur who is offering a solution to a problem, you need to know how to retain your customers so that they trust your mini brand – even before it becomes a mega one.

Returning customers are crucial to the success of a small business and the way to get them coming back for more is in your retention strategy. You need to be so good, that customers see what you’re doing and fall in love with it. It’s ensuring that you work closely with IT experts to roll out your carefully crafted software to other companies, working with agile testing teams and pushing yourself to do more for your customers. Online customers spend three times more money than customers do in store, and if the service that you offer – or the solution you provide – is one that is effective and reeks of perfection, you’re going to see loyalty from your customers. You are the only one who can decide whether you have what it takes to retain your customers, though, and if you can’t, you’re going to sink. Here are four short ways to create that customer loyalty that’s going to secure your bottom line.

Experience Peaks. Customers will buy whatever they’re interested in, but you need to keep them hooked for more. If they’ve enjoyed the product that you sold in the first place, they’ll buy again. However, you need to keep the deal sweet. Maybe once customers have bought from you once, you then send a discount code to them to be able to buy again. The promise of the same product that they love being cheaper is a bonus and keeps the experience peaked for them.

VI-Party. Most people don’t like getting unsolicited emails, but customers who sign up with your product will expect to be notified of changes, upgrades and extras. Give them loyalty points and an early access pass to new releases. They’ll love the exclusivity and it keeps them coming back to you for more of the things that you offer.

Get Online. Whichever way that you do it, you need to be where your customers can connect with you. Get onto social media and be a part of the community. Having access directly to the people in charge of the product that has been sold is a bonus for customers and they can feel like they are heard.

Stay Passionate. You’ve made something successful enough for people to want to keep coming back for more. All you need to do now is ensure that you keep up the momentum that you’ve set for yourself.

Customers will always go with the popular brands; make yourself one of them and keep your loyal base coming back for more.

Want To Maintain A Special Relationship With Your Customers? Use These Tried And True Strategies

What makes your business great? Well, a big part of it’s you. Aww, don’t go blushing on me now. Seriously, it’s your spark of inspiration, your drive and your passion that built your business up from nothing. Your employees look up to you and you take your role as their leader very seriously. Speaking of your employees, they’re no slouches either. They’ve taken your ideas and run with them, using their initiative, their imagination and their work ethic to take your ideas and combine them with their own to take your enterprise to a whole new level. You’ve rewarded them in kind by training, developing and promoting them and ensuring that they’re fairly remunerated for their efforts. Then of course there’s the outsourced help that allowed you to get the specialist provision you needed without the staffing overheads. But there’s one vital component without which it would all be for nought… That’s right. Your customers!

You value your customers and acknowledge that they are the lifeblood of your business. You appreciate their loyalty and want to ensure that you retain their harmonious relationship with your business. But you’re not sure how to maintain this relationship or where to divert your efforts and resources. Here are some strategies to help you to do exactly that…

Your blog

Your blog is arguably your greatest asset when it comes to retaining your customers and improving your enterprise’s SEO. Keep customers coming back for regular, engaging and well written content and not only will you earn their loyalty, you’ll establish yourself as an expert in your chosen field with insights, thoughts and opinions well worth heeding. Just don’t besmirch your blog with low quality content sourced by cheap overseas content farms.

Email newsletters

It’s a tried and true means of customer retention, but one still worth considering even in 2018. Email newsletters offer customers a sense of exclusivity. You can include special promotions and offers designed exclusively for them and you can give customers the opportunity to peak behind the curtain at new developments within your business. Just check out https://www.palomasoftware.com/postman/email-newsletter-software/ to see why email newsletters are a worthy investment. Just make sure that they are only sent out to customers who opt in, especially if you do business in Europe and don’t want to fall afoul of GDPR legislation.

A rewards scheme that gives customers more of what they want

Different customers will be drawn to your business for different reasons and each will want something subtly different from a rewards scheme… So develop one that’s flexible and gives your customers the opportunity to get more of what matters to them. This is where market research becomes an extremely valuable tool. When you have a rewards scheme that’s tailored to the explicit needs and desires of your clientele, you’ll not only enjoy their loyalty, you’ll enjoy knowing that your business is catering to them as effectively as possible.

Your customers are the best and as such it behooves you to take steps to show them how much you appreciate them!

Opening a Restaurant Can Mean Tasty Profits

If the notion of opening up a restaurant has crossed your mind a time or two, will you go for it? For many restaurant owners having done so over the years, the profits have been rather tasty.

That said do not be under the assumption that a restaurant is an instant ticket to a gold mine. As any owner can tell you, there will be many hours of work and sacrifices when it comes to doing things right.

With that in mind, will opening a restaurant be your next move?

Know All That Will Go into Such a Move

If you decide opening a restaurant is your calling, be ready for the responsibilities.

Among them:

  1. Mission – What is your restaurant’s mission going to be? Before you even open your doors, you need to know what it is you want to do. To do so, you want to know for one what your competition is going to look like. For example, if opening a steakhouse in town, are there many ones there now? If there are, how can you get a foothold in the market? While you may well be the one to make profits, you could be wedged out because there is too much competition. By knowing the demographics and what you hope to do, you better position your brand for success.
  2. Employees – Running a restaurant of course means you will have to employ many people. As such, you want to do your best to hire the right people the first time around. If you do not, it can mean time and money working against you. Some of your employees will be the first lines of contact customers have with you. As an example, the hostess or host at the front door. You also of course have the waiter or waitress to serve customers once they sit down. Make sure you do your best to get quality people in such positions. And never forget the importance of a good chef and support staff in the kitchen. As you can see, you have to hire the right people for the right jobs if you want to make a go of it.
  3. Inventory – It is also key that you have the right inventory for your restaurant. For instance, items from ordering the best steak knives to good dishware can’t be overlooked. If you are of the notion that ordering second-rate supplies will save you money, it can come back to haunt you. Diners want to be able to enjoy their meals and part of that is making sure the food and how it is eaten are both exemplary.
  4. Marketing – Last, be sure that you are good at marketing your restaurant. From social media to customer testimonials, make sure the world knows about you. When it comes to customers, let them help market your brand for you. Their testimonials and remarks on social media and your site can go a long way in sending you business. When a customer has good food and stellar customer service, they are more likely to speak about it.

Despite long hours and responsibility, running a restaurant can be a great decision.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.