How to Increase Traffic to My Retail Business…

Have you been asking yourself how do I increase traffic to my retail business? Or how do I increase traffic to my business so I can increase sales and keep the doors open?

The question comes up frequently and it doesn’t usually come from the owner who is seeing double digit increases in sales. It’s usually coming from the small business owner who is laying awake at 2am asking herself, “how do I increase traffic to my retail business and keep it affordable?”

I recently ran into a business owner who obviously needed help but was not going to let anyone from the outside step into his world.

It always amazes me when I run into a small business owner who has been at it for years, yet they can’t market themselves out of their own backyard let alone front yard! And he or she continues on down the path of struggling and fighting to keep the doors open.

In this particular case the owners were all over the map and spending money that wasn’t necessary and real a drain on their finances.

So if you are you looking to increase traffic to your retail business then the #1 Thing you must do is look at all the marketing angles. If this is a challenge, then hire a professional to help you look at all the angles. This way you can identify the ones that really work, and those that need to be left behind or fine tuned to help increase traffic.

In today’s web environment you have to look at the entire picture. Maybe you have a large customer database but are not engaging people with mobile or email?   Why? Is it frustration? Confusion? Or simply a lack of knowledge and the ability to connect the dots and make the technology work in your favor.

Increase Retail Traffic with Web-Oriented Tools

If you are like so many retailers these days, the web is one big headache. Constant changes. Constant issues. Constant needs for updates, etc… And on and on the list goes.

The thing is, web-oriented tools can help to increase your retail traffic if you are using and testing with the right tools.

Tools like the QR code, URL Shortners and Short Videos can help you Track, Generate and Increase Traffic to Your Retail Business.

People are also using mobile more and more, so if your business is not mobilized (on and for the web), chances are you’re just hurting yourself and the bottom line of your business. So get busy and get mobile pronto!

Ultimately you need to attract and engage with people (your target audience for your retail business) on the web when they search and research by typing or speaking the keywords for your type of retail business. This will then lead to more traffic to your web properties, phones, emails and physical locations.

And if you want to know how I increased traffic to my retail business, Visit Secrets of The Tiny Store to find out more.

To your traffic driving success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

The Business Owner that Could Have…Restaurant Tales Part 1

Many times over the past 28 years I have seen small business owners who have been so strong willed and independent that they continually struggle within their business only to create one big mess after another. And thus they leave a trail behind them and accumulation of misfires, mishaps, losses and frustration.

Frustrated Chef Image on Click and Mortar Blog

I am a Frustrated Chef posing as a Restaurant Owner…

Here’s a comment from the diary of one that has lived in the small business trenches for almost three decades… “While you serveth thy client bewareth of the cobwebs, spiders, rusty nails and cracked beams in the basement of marketing that may cometh back to make your work that much more difficult and frustrating ,” – as quoted by The Small Biz Mechanic.

Ok – enough of the commentary, let’s be honest and look at the basics:

1. Some owners are great at sales.

2. Others are great at operations.

3. Some owners are great at finance.

4. While others are great at customer service.

5. Some are even great at marketing, although this seems to be a rarity, especially in this current time of transition to the web.

So with that said – Let us Face the Facts right now!

You are not great at everything. It’s a simple fact and you need to face it and acknowledge it. Pure and simple. Plus once you peal back the layers and come to the realization that you’re not ‘super business man’ or ‘super business woman’, maybe you’ll have an honest sit down with your partner, spouse and/or staff and come to grips with these facts. If you don’t, then you’ll find yourself burning out and becoming less motivated to stay engaged in your enterprise.

Being in small business is tough enough these days without being your own worst enemy. How do I know this? Because I’ve battled it for many years and I see it in many of the privately owned small restaurants that take my money in exchange for good to great food and mediocre service.

I mean how tough can it be for a small café or bistro to put out great food and great service? Well it’s obviously a real challenge for many a small business owner because the Food Network has multiple shows running that are thriving on the mishaps and negligence going on in restaurant land.

I for one experience the ups and downs of these mom and pop café shops as I travel throughout the US and Canada, and it’s amazing to see how an owner and sometimes even a manager can be absent and no where to be seen during the lunch hour.

Great food will go a long way because word of mouth will bring people out of the woodwork, but if service is lackluster then the same word of mouth can put a damper on sales like a rainstorm at an outdoor wedding.

The bottom line…

Whether you own or manage a restaurant or some other kind of small business, work in your strength areas and leave the rest of it to other people who are good to great at the rest. And surround yourself with great people who are great at what they do.

Until next time,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

How Do I Increase My Sales – Offline to Online Anniversary Post

How do I increase my sales but lower my advertising costs the small business owner asks the man sitting across the table. The man simply states that in order to increase his sales the small business owner needs to change the way he thinks.

Well this is much easier said than done for most business owners and managers as they are shuffling their way through daily grind of small business.

Clickandmortarblog.com Offline to Online Marketing Anniversary Post

Have you been thinking inside the box too much lately?

When I first started to write on this blog in February of 2010 I was in search of ways to help offline small businesses get online and develop ways to attract, capture and convert prospects into customers utilizing online resources.

It was quite the search and ultimately I put together the pieces to be able to provide small business owners ways to connect their offline marketing with the online world and visa versa.

Why would a small business owner continue to struggle and pay countless thousands of dollars per month and year only to find that the marketing and advertising is not working?

Fear of loss of business? Not knowing other ways to create new business?

A little of both? Probably.

In a recent conversation with a business owner he mentioned that his agency didn’t know the difference between marketing and advertising. I mean this came as quite a shock considering the thousands of dollars this man had invested with this advertising company.

The confusion that is spread across the land of small business is so vast that it amazes me that most small business owners are able to make a profit.

So where does this lead us today when we broach the topic of Offline to Online Marketing? How does a small business owner with a limited budget and resources really do both?

This is the question we must face and answer plus we need to ask these Five Tough Questions:

  1. Is the Offline Marketing and/or Advertising really working and has it been tested?
  2. Is the Online Marketing and/or Advertising working and has it been tested?
  3. Is there a mix of both that has tested and proven to bring in new business?
  4. Is the Marketing and/or Advertising showing ROI?
  5. Is there marketing in place to connect and keep current customers in your world?

It still surprises me as to the number of small business owners who don’t test their advertising. Yet they continue to spend and spend and spend, even when they don’t really know if it’s working!

The Online World has Changed

In the past four years the online world has changed dramatically with the uprising of local, social and mobile channels.

Local Search Optimization and Marketing has had a big impact on small businesses that rely on the local community for traffic and sales. From maps listings to directories to reviews and more. It’s an ever-changing landscape that can be red one day and then green the next.

Social Media Channels such as Facebook, Pinterest and Linked In are impacting small business in ways not even on the radar back in 2000. Mobile Technology and Search has been the biggest shift that I have seen since 2009.

More and more business people and consumers are using mobile web enabled devices and replacing their traditional desktop and laptop computers.

It’s like the wild, wild, west when it comes to mobile and the changes coming so frequently that it’s virtually impossible to keep up unless you are plugged and tuned in daily.  So the next time someone asks you or you ask someone else, how do I increase my sales but lower my advertising costs, know that there is hope right around the corner. There is hope and our friends at Small Biz Mechanix are paving the way to help small businesses connect the offline to the online world.

Stay close and stay tuned as there are plenty of updates on the way.

To your small business success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Best Online Screen Sharing Software for Small Business

It’s not very often that I write about and recommend software. Call it being reserved or just plain skeptical and to recommend what I consider to be the best online screen sharing software for small business is putting it mildly.

Keep in mind that this is my opinion but once you finish this article and do your own evaluation, I think you might come to agree with me. But we’ll just have to see now, won’t we?

Ok, so have you ever attended a webinar only to have the audio cut out or screen freeze up or didn’t display correctly? Or maybe you attended but the audio feed was really bad and so you watched for a while and then threw in the towel?

Believe me I feel your frustration and it’s not always the software or presenter. Sometimes it can be yours or my computer, internet connection or some other bug that presents itself.Best Online Screen Sharing Software

Who could use this kind of online screen sharing software?

#1- Anyone who does phone based conference calls fits into the mold.

#2  Here’s my short list that you might find yourself in or may know of someone who fits into: accountants, architects, associations, attorneys, auto dealers, chamber of commerce, coaches, consultants, graphic designers, home-based businesses, info marketers, marketing firms, partnerships, retailers and service based businesses, and solo practitioners.

Now maybe you didn’t fit into any of these categories but still use conferencing from time to time or maybe you are in a business that requires the sharing visuals with your clients and internal staff?

I actually ran across this software while using a free conferencing option.

When it comes to the best online screen sharing software for web-based presentations there are quite a few options available to you. But few are as affordable and easy to use as Start Meeting Screen Sharing software.

This web-based software comes packed with 10 Features that deliver bunch of value and you can pick a pricing plan that suites your budget.

1. Screen Sharing is the basic feature that allows you to share desktop content during meetings.

2. Integrated Audio gives you multiple audio options for your online meetings. This is one feature that adds some punch.

3. Audio Conferencing so you can have up to 1,000 callers on the line all at one time! Plus this can also be used as a stand-alone service.

4. Cloud Based Presentations where you can record your screen with audio

5. Customizable Meeting Wall which essentially can be a customized landing page

6. Web Controls where you can manage conferences via a web browser

7. Radio Mon! – This unique feature is setup where you can stream live conferences from your wall. I mean how cool is that to be able to click to stream a conference!

8. The Broadcaster allows you to play audio files during conference calls, so if you have a prerecorded audio that you want to share with your prospects or clients… Wallah – click play and you’re on your way.

9. Meeting Bender is a cool feature that allows you to rewind live screen sharing presentations.

10. The Cloud Drop Box  allows you to upload your documents from your individual wall so you can easily share with participants.

What more could you ask for than a screen sharing software?

It’s packed full of features and delivers lots of benefits so you can be more productive inside and outside your company. So go on over to Start Meeting right now and Get Started so you can communicate and connect better with your prospects, clients, subscribers and staff.

To your web conferencing success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

 

 

A Networking Leader Leads to Clean Compassion

When it comes to networking leaders in business and ministry, there are a few people who come to mind but one that stands out for me and that’s Bob Bowen.

Bob Bowen’s commitment to churches, ministries and non-profits has been proven within organizations like World Vision, Partners International and C3. Bob’s passion and drive to connect people together is one I have never seen before in my 27 years involved in small business.

People like Bob are rare, based on the simple fact that they really care and desire to help you and others with like or similar interests.

When we look at the world of networking, whether you are in the non-profit, public or private sectors, people like Bob can be such a blessing as they continually outreach and connect with others who can make an impact.

In my previous article BNI – A Proven Small Business Success Secret I touched on how this organization had really made an impact on us over the last 12 months. Maybe because it’s business networking with an afterburner.

Clean Compassion Brings Hope

With that said, it’s really easy to get all caught up in your day to day business or ministry and lose sight of what is really important.  Last year Bob Bowen and I met with Tom Mehrer from Clean Compassion and I must say that this was one of those memorable meetings that had an impact on me and a young man located in Monrovia, Liberia.

As you may or may not know micro finance and helping small business owners in various parts of the world is something I’m interested in and have written about since 2010.  If you haven’t heard of micro finance check out – Kiva.org and World Vision and you’ll get to see the different programs you can participate in.

Clean Compassion is an entirely different micro enterprise business model in that it provides products for the entrepreneur to sell, and these products are solar oriented. So now there are several other ways that you can support a fellow small business owner in another country or territory plus you’ll have a back up solar light and way to charge your mobile and tablet should the power go out.

Plus when you travel you’ll be prepared for an emergency and Clean Compassion can help light the way and communicate when others may be unable to.

And for those of you that are avid outdoor enthusiasts, wouldn’t it be great to bring your light and be able to check your stocks and Facebook & Linked In pages from a peak in the mountains, cabin or campsite on the lake?

Well, maybe not if you are a true diehard. :-) Clean Compassion.org

Either way, preparedness or enthusiast, you’ll be a happy camper with your Clean Compassion solar light, plus your contribution will help a small business owner somewhere in the world to achieve his or her dreams.

So my hats off to networking leader Bob Bowen and social entrepreneur Tom Mehrer for making a difference and connecting people across the globe.

I sure hope their example shows others how they can make an impact no matter where they are located.

To your networking success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

 

How to Create Good Habits

Back around the year 1990 I was first introduced to the writings of Og Mandino, Dale Carnegie, Napolean Hill, Robert Schuller, Norman Vincent Peale and Frank Bettger. There were so many others who still line my personal library today but of all the authors, Mandino has been the one who really stuck with me as his character Simon would share and bring hope. Og had a way with words that I rarely see with authors today.

The titles of his books are simple, yet meaningful. From the Greatest Secret in the World and The Twelfth Angel to The Greatest Salesman in the World, The Gift of Acabar and The Greatest Miracle in the World, Og Mandino will go down in my book as one of the best authors on the topic of success.

The Greatest Miracle in the World

Why this topic and why today?

Well as the year starts to creep by, day-by-day and week-by-week, people tend to slip back into their old habits and ways, leaving new habits on the side of the trail or road, to die and wither along with others just like them. And thus their life goes on and all of the old habits continue to stay rooted and firmly planted. Some old habits may be great. Others need to be kicked out and replaced.

So I figured it best to write about how to create good habits and the example I share today is of myself and the ole habit of exercise.

Last October I happened to step on the scale while I traveling back East and low and behold I was 15 lbs. higher than what I called overweight. In a nutshell I had packed on 35 pounds, looked terrible and was quite ashamed of what I had done to my body.

So three of us made a friendly bet and agreed to lose at least 15 pounds within 120 days, and with the money on the table I got to work and finally changed my habits the next day.

Did it happen overnight? No.

Did I have to work at it? Yes – on a daily basis. But once I got going, I was determined to lose more than the 15 pounds and eventually drop over 30 pounds.

Has it been hard? Yes it has, but it’s also great to see the weight drop.

And I’m still working at it and on it since now it’s a daily habit.

The bottom line…

Learn how to create good habits by studying and applying what great authors like Og Mandino did. Because your habits will make you or break you ad you’ll most likely need help along the way. Business or Personal it makes no difference.

And this is one of the lessons I learned from Og Mandino -Get rid of old habits and create new, good ones.

So it’s not too late for you. No matter how much you have attempted and failed.

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get a move on by forming new, good habits.

Business or Personal it makes no difference. Whether you need to change your work schedule to fit in exercise or maybe watch less TV, you can carve the time out of the same 24 hours that we all have.

So get started today or even tomorrow, but delay no longer as this year will pass you by so fast your head will spin. And if you need some encouragement, pick up an Og Mandino book or drop me a line and we’ll connect.

To Your New (Good) Habits,

Dave Krygier
Publisher 

 

Hear Me Run Spokane 2014

Late last year I was approached by fellow BNI member Jason Yates of Databar about a special event called Hear Me Run Spokane that he was involved in in our local community here in Eastern Washington.Spokane Hope School 5K Race

When he presented the Hear Me Run Spokane overview to me over coffee I was quite surprised and intrigued at the same time. When everything was laid out I really saw this as a good opportunity  for SBM and it allowed me to work closely with Jason on a short-term project.

Not very often an event comes along like Hear Me Run Spokane that is both community oriented and supporting a good cause for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. This 5K run in June is set in the Inland Empire city of Spokane and Jason’s company, Databar is the firm that is overseeing all the logistics and promotion of the race.

So, whether you are a die-hard runner, outdoor enthusiast or just want some family time, it’s a way that you can help a good cause and get some exercise.

Some may ask – what is a local online marketing company doing for an event like this?

Well my dear reader, it was not always this way in that having created, promoted and marketed special events in years past, I know how much work goes into them and the long list of details that it takes to pull off such events with few glitches. My past experience in the offline world of special events came mostly through a span of years that encompassed music and live production including staging, lights, sound and all the details within. We also dabbled in artist management for a few years and I at one time was a performing musician. From the March of Dimes Bid for Bachelors at Bellevue Square to the Redmond Derby Days to Clean Scream Events at Seattle Center, the work was massive and the hours never seem to be enough.

These events and many more underneath my belt led me to take on the challenge of helping Jason and the Spokane Hope School promote this initial event. And with less than five months to get it all together, the clock seemed to be ticking at a faster pace by the day.

So how are we doing this? Well, it’s no secret. We utilized a mobile platform along with a traditional desktop site, social channels and video to round off the package.

As one of the initial items I brought to the table, video could help to expose the race to potential sponsors, runners, spectators and maybe even the press. Time and footage will soon tell the tale as the videos are produced and published, so stay tuned, check out the Hear Me Run Spokane Social sites and I’ll keep you apprised of the progress.

More to come in the months ahead…

Dave Krygier
Publisher

BNI – A Proven Small Business Success Secret

As a proven small business success secret, BNI has definitely been worth the time and effort put forth over the last 11 months. In my previous article about BNI, Business Development Strategies – The BNI Way, I was still new to the Downtown Biz Links chapter, getting my feet wet and forging alliances.BNI Referral Networking

And this early part of the journey proved to me that not all BNI chapters are the same. In 2012 I set out to find a local chapter to see what it was all about. The first chapter I visited in didn’t work out, so I didn’t join. Five months later I looked into another chapter and determined that if I was going to give it a go that this one would be the one to test. And so test I have. Here’s the back-story.

As an offline marketer who converted to the online world in 1995 and then again in 2010(more on this in a future article), I knew the potential for the web and email was tremendous, and BNI could be one of the channels to allow us to connect with our target market of small business owners.

This journey was propelled after a talk with one of my mentors in August of 2010 as he recommended that I find offline ways to connect with small business owners looking to market their businesses online.

Now I must add that it would have paid to join BNI just to get to know the Regional Executive Director, Barb Olson, as her warmth, caring and knowledge of BNI, let alone people, has made the experience that much better.

Without Barb I believe I might have passed altogether and not gotten involved. So her being available both live and electronically has made this journey that much more enjoyable. Her experience and intuitiveness have proven to me that when it comes to networking groups, she is a rare find.

With all that said, I’m not sure that I would have continued with BNI if it wasn’t for her. So after many years of visiting other networking groups, chambers, and associations, I determined that BNI was going to be where I invested my time and energy.

The whole ‘Givers Gain’ philosophy has been one that I had to experience first hand to believe. After all, one can participate and be seen but not give and refer.

Over the last year BNI has proven to be a good source of referrals and fertile ground for budding relationships. Although it did not go as fast as I thought it would, several of these relationships have turned out to be very fruitful and a few others are starting to show signs of blossom.

The bottom line…

In this case, ‘A Proven Small Business Success Secret’ is not really a secret at all. It’s finding the right fit and then committing the time and effort on a weekly basis.

Is BNI for every small business and organization? No.

Is it going to work for you and your business?

Only you will know and time will tell. Go research, visit and test.

In closing for today…

As the New Year is just starting to pick up steam, I can see how BNI will have a positive impact on SBM’s growth and also how I can further connect and refer to people both inside and outside of our chapter.

More to come so stay tuned.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

 

 

 

Testing to Success with Web 2.0 Marketing

As I mentioned in “How to Reach Your Target Market”, you really need to work on and develop specific channels that work best for your business or organization. This takes time and testing to come up with the best combinations if you really want to make the biggest impact and achieve the best results.

Some channels will work better than others for certain businesses. With Web 2.0 marketing you have so many options to choose from.

For some businesses and professionals the Linked In social platform works really well. For others they like pay per click advertising, Facebook, Pinterest and some banner ads sprinkled into the mix. Others prefer posting on blogs and content marketing along with some video ads on select channels. 

During one of my test campaigns I focused on Twitter, Digg, Stumble Upon and mixed in Facebook. This particular test utilized original content and was designed to build credibility and attract prospects for coaching. All in all it was a success but had I not done certain things a certain way, we may have wasted a bunch of time and money.

So the important thing to remember here is to test. TEST, TEST, TEST and narrow down which channels and sub channels work best for you and your business.

The big question is…

Which channels are best for you and when you finally get the right ones tuned in and working for you, how do you maximize the marketing to get the best ROMI and penetration within a particular segment?

You will only know if you start and then test because throwing mud up on the wall in today’s web world is just not a wise use one’s time and resources.

The one thing I have seen since early 2010 is businesses and organizations that just don’t understand how to connect all the pieces of the puzzle. They just post on their social media pages, send broadcast emails and use PPC along with fragmented organic search campaigns.

This is better than not anything at all, but to really make it work, it takes time but not as much as most businesses owners take. 

The one test campaign that I mentioned earlier was launched in a matter of days and then run over a period of months. The strategy worked pretty good and enabled me to see how my content was viewed and received plus we were able to drive some targeted traffic to tele-calls. For content marketing, Digg and Stumble worked well with my blog, and Twitter spread the word whenever we posted.

Web 2.0 allows you to do more than just post and post and post; hoping that someone likes the post enough to click or engage in conversation. With all the available channels available you have access to it’s pretty easy to plan, setup and launch test campaigns if you work at it. All you need to do pick the channel or channels(s), create the plan and then get busy testing to see if it works and brings you the results.

So plan the work, work the plan and test, test, test your way to more products, services and information sold.

Until next time,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

PS – If you get stuck along the way and need some guidance or help, the Small Biz Mechanic may be able to help you get unstuck with one of his special tools or tactics. :-)

 

 

 

The Small Business Connection – Are you missing this?

The Small Business Connection - How To Connect To Small Businesses Are you missing the small business connection and don’t even know it?

Maybe sales are declining or starting to wobble yet the corporate exec’s still don’t want to listen.

I used to bang my head against the wall dealing with corporate exec’s who would try to fit us into their boxed mold of marketing, promotions and outdated sales strategies.

What does a corporate manager know about running a small business if he’s never worked in one? Yet do the muckety mucks send their people into the field to see what goes on in their customer’s business? Maybe the field sales guy or gal, but that’s their job!

I have experienced and truly believe that there is a disconnect in Corporate America today where companies owned by public and private stock holders are not in tune with their small business customer. They think they know, but they don’t know. Not a clue!

They think they got it all figured out, yet they grope around in the dark like everything’s hunky dory and business will grow. Hey Frank – sales were up 10% this last month – Yahoo!

It’s so funny how corporate executives and their managers can run around playing business games while their customer, Mr. or Mrs. Small Biz Owner struggles to increase sales and maintain profitability with revenue models that have not changed in years.

You see my loyal reader, the small business owner doesn’t care if their vendor’s sales numbers are off. What they want to know is this – what is that vendor or supplier going to do today to help them in their business.

And this is where the small business connection comes in.

The bottom line is that running and operating a small business is a lot different than working at a corporation. It’s like comparing a cruise ship to a 21’ speed boat.

And this leads me to my whole reason for writing this article today. I can honestly tell you that the three best Field Sales Executives I ever worked with understood this whole concept of small business.

Greg came from a big corporation but had worked with small businesses for years.

Dave worked at a big corporation but had run a small company and so he understood what we had to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

Doug worked for small and large manufacturers but had also worked in a small business for over 15 years.

All three had really good people skills and were great at connecting with us.

Of the 50 or so manufacturers and suppliers we dealt with, these three were at the top when it came to sales and working with us in the trenches.

Sooooo…

If you happen to be reading this and you come from the corporate landscape or are looking to increase your sales with small business clients, here are a few suggestions for you to consider:

1. Connect and find out what really makes a small business.

2. Read up and study books about Small Business & Entrepreneurialism.

3. Learn what makes the small business owner tick and click.

4. Become interested in the small businesses you work with on a daily basis.

5. Research, Research, Research – bring added value to the small business. And once you start to digest this information, take action and make a difference.

To your continued success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

PS – If you’re currently in a retail or service based business then head on over to Secrets of The Tiny Store to find out what we really did.