Small Business Success: Keep It All In The Family

Small businesses are considered the backbone of the American economy. The Conway Center for Family Business estimates that as much as 35 percent of Fortune 500 companies are family operated. In fact, it is thought that small businesses, many of them family-owned, employ roughly half of the American workforce. Many people prefer to patronize small or family-owned businesses because of their unique offerings, personal connections and quality customer service. Running a family-owned business can be difficult for many reasons. However, you can take your company or business to the next level by making smart decisions to intentionally market your product. Every savvy family business owner can benefit by considering any of the following:

  • What sets you apart?: Is your family business based on a secret recipe? Was your business’ success built on a special product? Whether you own a restaurant started by your grandmother or are carrying on the family law firm founded by your father, identify what makes your business unique and market it.
  • Are your employees “part of the family”?: This is not to say that every employee should be a family member. However, employees should always promote the brand and core values of your business.
  • What is most important?: Even the smallest of businesses should have core values. The communication of these values, through quality goods and services, is the hallmark of family-owned businesses across the country. Every interaction with a customer is an opportunity to indirectly speak to what is most important to you and your family business.
  • Do you go the extra mile?: Customers may choose to patronize a small or family-owned business because of the service and connection that they feel with the owners. It is important for business owners of all types to differentiate their goods and services from the competition. Get to know your customers and their families, make every client feel valued and take extra steps to accommodate those who require special attention. Going the extra mile will result in clients coming back again and again.

If you own a small business or are running a family-owned operation, it can be extremely useful to evaluate your marketing plan or lack thereof. After considering the above questions, it may be clear that your business can benefit from an experienced and knowledgeable media and marketing team working on your behalf. We can help you answer these questions and determine how to grow your brand and customer base. The mission and passion of your family’s business are the keys to your success. If you know how to correctly communicate this to your client base, repeat customers and increased profits will follow. Even you are managing a well-established family business, it may be time to inject some life back into the operation. Want to learn more? Reach out to us and learn how we can help your family business.

Selfies For Business Growth?

The word “selfie” has quickly become ingrained in the American vernacular, ushered in, mostly, by millennials snapping photos of themselves doing everything from sipping a latte to riding a roller coaster. This trend was bolstered by social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter. However, no social media site has played a larger role in the selfie phenomenon than Instagram.

Instagram is a social media site, based exclusively on photo sharing. Users simply upload a picture, add a filter and share it with their followers, along with a short caption. While many casual users do upload selfies (among other photos), savvy business owners can learn to harness the potential of this photo sharing site and channel that into business growth. This is not to say that business owners should upload selfies to Instagram and hope for business growth, but it can be beneficial to understand more about this social media forum often overlooked by marketers and business owners.

One of the biggest benefits to using Instagram as a marketing tool is that it is completely free and very simple. In just a few minutes, users can create a user account, connect with their existing Facebook account and begin sharing photos with the world. This offers the opportunity for a business to do any or all of the following to attract new clients:

  • Showcase the personal side of your business
  • Allow clients to “see” what your company does
  • Provide a creative outlet to display your products
  • Show a “fun” side to your company
  • Establish a familiarity between your clients/potential clients and your company

Many small businesses use Instagram as a storefront to “display” new products and ideas. You can share the “story” of your company or share the passion that you have for your business through photos. It is a free way to visually portray to your potential clients why they should consider your company. It is fast, free and has unlimited potential, in terms of the amount of people you can reach.

Would you like to learn more about how your business can benefit from Instagram? Let us help you grow your following and even explain how a business, through analytics, can track their success in garnering new clients. While Instagram may have been built on the popularity of the selfie, you can understand how to use this site to springboard your business to the next level, connect with a new clientage and use picture to tell your story. Instagram is not just for selfies, it’s for smart business owners, too!






A Whole New Plan For Whole Foods

The famous grocery store Whole Foods has recently announced a new nationwide marketing campaign, centering around new commercials that showcase the corporate values of the chain. Whole Foods has never needed to launch a national campaign to boost sales, but lately the chain has struggled.

The grocery store has been nicknamed “Whole Paycheck” because of the high prices. However, the store has a faithful following among those who appreciate the high-quality brands, organic selections and fresh foods. These loyal customers are not enough to offset the disappointing sales that have plagued the store in the recent months. The new ads will showcase the high ethical standards maintained by the chain regarding their values, standards for food suppliers and other important factors. They hope that this new ad campaign will help potential customers understand what sets this chain apart: High-quality foods and high standards.

Why the need for this new approach? As most lower-cost chains, such as Wal-Mart, expand their organic selections for cheaper prices, people are less likely to pay extra at a more expensive store. Whole Foods is now compelled to convince paying customers that what they offer is more valuable and therefore, worth the extra cost.

There are lessons to be learned from Whole Food’s approach to advertising. Instead of promoting lower prices and sales (which they are offering, regionally), the store is attempting to connect with consumers on a whole different level. They are promoting some of their core values as a company: sustainable farming, locally grown produce and more. It is hoped that this will attract more health-conscious consumers, bring in new customers who care about their food source and bolster the fledgling sales numbers.

While it remains to be seen if this approach is successful, it does raise an interesting question: Can a business maintain and grow a customer base simply by promoting their core values as a company? Instead of promising the lowest prices or even pointing out the flaws in a competitor’s product, it is time to acknowledge that consumers are, more than ever, shopping with their conscience. If a business has not already done so, it is vital to have core values identified, established and clearly communicated with a customer base. This works even for businesses that are not related to the food industry.

The benefit of having core values, even as a business, is that it acts as a compass for all of the decisions and actions of the company. The values of the company, either stated or those enforced by management, will be the guiding force of a business. The intrinsic worth of a stated, thoughtful and intentional set of standards or values cannot be overstated. As in the case of Whole Foods aspirations with the new ad campaign, your company values could make the difference between attracting new customers or blending in with the competition.

Core values are important–Whole Foods understands this and is confident that these values will be enough to increase profitability. Like this, we can help you understand how your values translate into how you do business–and even impact your overall success.




Pull Away From The Pack

The business world is like a horse race. Everyone is running, trying to get ahead, jutting out their nose just to finish millimeters ahead of the competition. If a horse falls, pauses, hesitates–even for a second–they may be out of contention altogether. Like a horse race, pulling ahead and winning in business can be quite profitable but can also be exhausting. Just moments after a victory, the questions will begin:

When are you going to try again?

Can you win the next one?

What are you going to do now?

What should you change to be ready for the next race?

One victory, successful product or popular service, big or small, and the pressure begins to mount. People are looking for improvements, changes and the next big thing. If a business fails to differentiate, improve and move ahead, it will once again blend in with the others in the pack, all straining to outdo the other.

What should businesses do to get ahead and stay ahead? The time for celebrating a success is short-lived. It is pertinent to move forward. Fortunately, it is possible to meet high expectations of consumers with relatively simple ideas.

Do not hesitate. Did you launch a successful campaign, make back your investment and build your customer base? Great! Now, what’s next? Keep moving forward with the next idea or project. This sense of fluidity keeps you focused on improvement and your customers and clients coming back for more.

Move on. Did you make a mistake? Did a product fail or an idea fall flat? That’s okay. Every company makes mistakes, but the successful ones move on. Disney has made bad movies and Apple has released defective software updates, yet they are some of the most successful companies on the globe. Learn from your missteps, but do not despair.

Take a break. How long has it been since you have had a break? Suffering from burnout will only do you and your company damage. Do not sacrifice your time with friends and family in order to stay late at the office working. In the long run, your business will benefit if you take care of yourself.

Use time wisely. Time management is one of the key traits of a successful business owner. If you use your time wisely, you will have more time at home and more productive work hours. Schedule your day efficiently and focus on one task at a time, and it is likely that you will see these efforts pay off in dividends.

Small efforts made on a small, daily scale can have a large impact. If you want to pull ahead of the pack, make sure you are taking the steps necessary to differentiate yourself, your business or your product. You are not just another horse in the race–prove it!