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Month: May 2012

To Start a Business – The Home Based Model

Ever since my first business dealings selling flowers in front of the candy store in New York I’ve always been intrigued with small business. From flowers to pottery to newspapers to yard work to music to game rooms to advertising to rentals to advertising again… And then add in 10 years of sales and consulting to the mix.

Oh and by the way – the sales part started at about 9 years of age and has continued for over 35 years.

As of this writing I say 25 plus years but in reality it goes back 10 or more years to child- hood. You see my Dad always wanted his own business and from the time I can remember  he had something going on the side. He was either underfunded or didn’t have the right product or timing. The only venture that took off was the one he and my Mom started but then they divorced and she kept the business.

Boy have I had one heck of a journey in small business and since 1985 I’ve operated home based businesses side by side with off-site offices, warehouses and store front operations.

This leads to the questions about starting your home based business…

The questions arise – to start a business or not start a business and should you get started out of your home or setup an office or off-site facility somewhere else?

These are questions you really need to ask yourself and any partners who will be involved with you in your new enterprise.

Starting up a new business can be very exciting, emotional and some what of a roller coaster so be prepared, because if you are going to start a business and it’s You Inc, then consider starting it out of your home. This way you will keep your overhead low and be able ramp up without being tied into an office or building lease and all the additional expenses.

To start a business out of your home is much easier than the overhead headache of starting out with an office where you have to rent or lease. You can realize your dream, run your own show and live in the land of the self employed while allowing for flexibility of coming and going without limitations.

The bottom line is that you want to start with low overhead, minimize your expenses and maximum your ROI (return on investment). One of the best ways to do this is through a virtual office and virtual phone number.

In addition make sure that your legal house is in order, finances are in place and your business blueprint is completed before you open the doors. More importantly make sure that you are committed for the long-haul and are willing to do what it takes to get your business off the ground and up and running.

Operating your own business out of the home can make for a great life but you should have rules and guidelines for your home based business. And these rules should allow for flexibility but also maximize your time and productivity.

So now it’s time to get to work on your small business blueprint and remodel that ole bedroom into your world headquarters.

To your small business success,

Dave Krygier

SmallBiz Mechanix 


Simple Survey Solutions

When it comes to surveys I’m all about keeping it simple. I’ve done it the hard way and simple seems to work better for me. That’s why when I talk about simple survey solutions for small business owners I almost always go with the email route.

Look – if you are just getting started online or offline, keep it simple. For that matter – if you are more advanced and have lots of experience, keep it simple.

How to survey customers and prospects is so much easier today than ever before but I want you to understand that you can overdo a survey and this just happened to me.

In a recent email the publisher of our regional business journal sent us a generic survey that was so broad it seemed liked they were fishing for information and it just kept going on and on and on. Overall this survey looked like it was generated by the advertising department to see which areas we subscribers were interested in. Not only was the survey generic and long but it didn’t show any personalization or have any followup built in.

Surveys are great for data mining and better connecting with your subscribers and clients but each survey should be finely tuned, short, concise and to the point. That way you can achieve higher responses, better connectivity and ultimately more sales.

Remember you are always looking to connect with your subscribers and surveys can work for or against you. So be mindful of this as you develop your surveys and implement them in your small business.

Ask pertinent and relevant questions that your subscribers and customers will be open to respond to. This way you’ll have more than enough responses to the survey which should help you accomplish whatever it is you set out to do.

Now before I go any further I’m going to bring it up again and reiterate that a sale is a fragile thing and can break at any time. So you as a business owner, who is building a list of subscribers and customers, needs to keep this in mind every step of the way. Because the last thing you need is an ugly or long winded survey to come in and destroy all your hard work and cause a sale to be lost or delayed.

So here are Four Survey Options you might want to consider:

1. Email Survey are the best because you can use your email auto responder to do the heavy lifting and all you need to do is write a really simple message to your subscribers and clients. This message could be as simple as asking your subscriber for help and then listing a few questions.

2. Physical surveys work well if you happen to be a merchant, service provider or business with physical offices or location that has foot traffic on a continual basis.  Physical surveys can be implemented through hand outs, mail, in person on a tablet, and even the good ole’ fax(I know it’s really old school but some businesses still use it).

3. Phone Surveys are a great way to connect especially when you’re speaking to and    have the person live. There’s nothing like having a live human being on the other end of the phone so why not ask a few questions and find out what your prospects and customers like, dislike and throw out a few marketing questions if time permits.

4. Online Software is the last on my list because it’s the most complicated to implement and response rates might not be what you expect. This is not to say that online survey software isn’t good. Many companies use online software and must have good to great results. So if you as a business owner should decide to use online survey software – just make sure to shop around and do some testing before you dive in.

Happy Surveying…

Dave Krygier

Secrets of The Tiny Store 


Youth Sports Marketing – Capture a Captive Audience

Youth Sports Marketing and Your Small Business

Soccer has been to our family like so many youth sports have been to other families throughout the world.

My wife and I have had hours and hours of discussions about the sport that has dominated our household for over three years. Sometimes I feel like a sports agent having to work the phones and be out at the games, except with youth sports like soccer we parents(or financiers) have to pay to play. Fortunately for me, years ago I co-owned a management company that specialized in musicians and bands. Yeh, I know, call me a little off kilter, but having worked in that industry and been a musician myself, it made for a small business venture or so it seemed at that time.

And with the amount of time and money that we’ve invested in the sport of ‘futbol’ the last five years has accumulated into the thousands of dollars, and it looks like there’s no end in sight. But the overall experience has been great for the kids as we progress with them in the land of soccer.

If we compare our experience to that of my friend there’s a bit of a contrast…

On the one foot (no pun intended), you have my friend who played little league years ago and his Dad owned a furniture business in the town they lived in. When approached to sponsor his baseball team, his Dad refused and thought it would be a conflict of interest.

Personally, I think this was short sighted on his part and showed a lack of understanding and support for the boys.

On the other foot, you have our present day condition where club soccer and the associated travel have increased to the point where it’s not uncommon to pay over $300 a month in gas, club fees, tournaments, coaching fees and related travel expenses.

Now there is a way that you can possibly recoup some of your outgo – especially if you are a small business owner and have an interest in youth sports marketing.

As a small business owner who is looking to increase sales and revenue, youth sports might be the answer you are looking for. After all, you have a captive audience that you can continually put your name and message in front of. From logos on physical merchandise like uniforms and bags to signage, brochures, websites and emails.

When you are looking at marketing to the youth sports niche, here are a few tips:

1. Get to know and network with all the people that have to do with the sport your kids are playing. This includes the Owners, Directors, Managers, and Coaches of the local organization or club.

2. Offer to help at games, tournaments, and special events. This promotes good will and shows that you are looking to be involved.

3. Advertise your business and make sure to put testing mechanisms in place. This means tracking with URL’s, emails, phone numbers and separate landing pages.

4. Sponsor players, a team or teams or special event and make sure to get as much exposure as possible.

To reach this target niche audience and possibly recoup some of the expenses, I believe it’s important to think outside the box and really look at all the angles. So get your biz dev cap on, your rump-a-roney in gear and look for opportunities that you can take advantage of and expand your horizons in this ever popular and growing niche.

Need a little push or possibly a tip or two in addition to the ones above? Check out Small Biz Mechanix and get yourself moving in the right direction.

Dave Krygier

Secrets of The Tiny Store



How to do Local Search Marketing

                       Local Search Marketing for Small Business      

As of this writing, ‘how to do local search marketing’ is a pretty hot topic for small business owners who rely on local economies to fuel their enterprises. When it comes to the question ‘how to get listed in local search’, one needs to really peel back the layers and look at all the current options available.

Basically it’s a simple concept. Get your small business as visible as possible in the search engines and directories, so the when the searcher comes looking, you pop up and say we are here, we are here!

Years ago – during what I call the early Internet age(kind of like the 1960’s), we only had organic search and a few directories. It was the wild west Internet but not as fast paced as today. For the first 4 years we were on dial up even though much faster lines were available for commercial use. The slow connections prohibited video and audio was just getting it’s start.

Today you have to be tuned in to local search marketing if your small business relies on the local method of generating new prospects and being visible to existing customers.

So let’s look at the basic overview:

You list your business in the directories just like the ole’ physical yellow and white pages books, and then make yourself really visible to the searcher in the search engines.

1. Search Engines – first you have organic and then you have paid. Do it in this order and with paid search, always test first before building out a campaign.

2. Directories provide aggregate information about businesses. You need to be listed on as many as possible. In some cases the directories might rank really high and give you extra search juice. Go to UBL.org and check out their packages. It’s well worth the money.

3. Google Places (formerly Google Maps) is what we use to find locations and destinations. Google + Local is the most current version and Yahoo! also has their version, so make sure you optimize and that your small business is listed and that you’ve utilized all the tools currently available to you.

4. Videos can be a big benefit for testimonials, demonstrations, promotions and more, so be sure to sprinkle a video here and there to help your rankings. It’s also a good idea to use sites like Vimeo and Viddler along with You Tube.

Top it all off with adding Social Media sites, add a little bit of PPC and you have a recipe for local search marketing success.

In addition to the traffic that the search engines, directories, and social media sites can bring your business, you have what I call target market vehicles, plus mobile websites to make search much easier for the mobile surfer.

What it comes down to is making it easy for the searcher to find you. Which means that you should seriously consider a mobile website, since more and more people are using their mobile devices for searches. And they especially use them when looking for a destination or are in need of contact information.

We’ll dig more into this topic in a future post. In the mean time if your small business is stuck in the local search marketing mud – check in with the SmallBiz Mechanic and see if he can help you out.

Stay tuned…

Dave Krygier

Secrets of The Tiny Store

Soccer and Small Business

The sport of soccer has absolutely gone bonkers in the last five years and I mean this in a good way. Our kids love to play it, we love to watch it, plus it’s a healthy, competitive environment that allows them to stay fit.

With two of my three kids actively playing soccer and one playing 10 or so months of the year, it has become part of our life. No doubt about it. Many weekends we find ourselves absorbed and traveling to and from the fields until late in the evening hours.

So why am I writing about soccer and small business ?

  Very good question – Dr. Jones…(Indiana Jones that is).

You see, business development is where I’m leading to in today’s post about the world’s largest sport. Business development can occur while you are standing in line for a youth soccer match or any other sport for that matter.

Business development for your small business may be right in front of you at your child’s soccer, hockey, baseball or volleyball game. Or whatever sport you and your children have chosen to participate in.

Business development can be done while chatting with other parents, club directors,  coaches, referees and even bystanders.

Now back to our topic of soccer…(not that I ever got off topic)

#1 – If you have kids – chances are they’ll be playing soccer, even if it’s just with friends.

#2 – If you have a small business or are thinking about a small business – this is a niche that is growing. Hint, hint, hint…

#3 – If you are a small business owner and your little enterprise needs targeted traffic and your biz happens to fit in with the soccer demographic…NEED I SAY MORE!?

Now maybe soccer isn’t your thing, your kids thing or maybe you don’t even have kids. But you are a small business owner and desire to diversify and/or expand.

Opportunities for business development in the youth sports arena are popping up all over. All you need to do is open your eyes and look for them.

Soccer and small business might be the right mix for your small business’ future so look for opportunities within sports like soccer. They may be right around the corner and could bring forth your next big client, service or product launch.

To your small business success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher & Soccer Enthusiast

PS – How is your Biz Dev going? If it needs a little push let me know at SmallBizMechanix.com

Small Business Startup – Time to Move On

At a certain point during your small business start-up you will realize that your plan is working, kind of working or not working at all.

To start a business is one thing. To keep it going and have it succeed, let alone make a profit is entiely another story and that’s what I’m going to dig into today.

Like I mentioned in my earlier post, it’s best to find mentors to guide you along the way, especially if you have never been in business before. Find other seasoned business owners that are willing to help and assist you so you can avoid icebergs, sharks, barracuda, jellyfish and all the other hazards that could sink your new enterprise.

The earlier you find these people the better.

Because a small business startup take time, perseverance and a willingness to do whatever it takes.  But without a plan and guidance, you might find yourself back in a job with the other percentage of folks who didn’t make it.

And now we’ll continue with the startup saga of the Two Jacks and Dave…

This story continues where we left off in part two – Beyond the Startup.

After the initial opening of the business and settling in we leased an office we couldn’t afford. This was a mistake and cost us dearly because we then had to move the office into my partners Mother’s home.  Boy was this humbling and an experience that I will never forget.

Fortunately for me I was very young, flexible and had tons of energy but the agency/management/product business was fledgling, underfunded, unfocused and not going to make it, unless serious changes were made.

Believe it or not this was a really great experience for me. Both the hard lessons learned and connections made were worth it, although at the time I can say it was quite stressful and led me to living in a hallway for $50 a month.

Talk about a hit to the self image. VP of Ad agency living in hallway – that’s what a client wants to know….NOT!

Anyways -we looked and searched for funding, but no takers arrived. I funded some of our dealings with my credit cards and ended up paying these off over a period of years. It’s a nice reminder of your mistakes and misdealings when you go to pay a bill every month for a few years.

Time to Pull The Plug…

At the point where I realized it was time to move on, it was almost too late, but I got out just in time. Instead of sticking it out I decided to move on and start anew, and start anew I did, but in a totally different small-business venture that again included family.

This was painful but proved to be the right move at the time. I needed stability and could not move forward with my existing business partner.

The downside of the split was that Uncle Jack had to pay off the bank and neither of us had enough cash to pay off Uncle Jack. This led to Uncle Jack’s kids coming after Dave and then Dave had to take an advance on a credit card to pay off his distant relatives.

Sound like fun? If not, then avoid the pitfalls and road blocks in your start-up by taking advantage of these points:

1. Have solid partnership agreements in place, even if it’s family. Make sure to have your legal  house in order, no matter what the potential partner says. Because when it comes to money or debt or liabilities, you could end up holding the notes like I did.

2. If you have a vision for your business and the market is ripe… Pursue and stick to your vision like GLUE!  Just like we should have with the ‘On Hold Product’ that we produced.

3. Like I said in the beginning of this post – FIND Mentors and people who will guide and help you along the way. It may take a month or two or three but it will be worth it.

Enjoy the journey…because it’s the only one you have.

Dave Krygier

Secrets of the Tiny Store





Email Marketing Tips – The Subject You Need to Know


The subject you need to know to know about today is the subject line in your emails that you send to your subscribers and clients. Does the EMT above make sense or did you miss the connection to the post title above?

Ok – onward, upward and to today’s topic….

When it comes to email marketing, one thing that drives me nuts is an off-liner (traditional, brick and mortar business owner) who doesn’t know what to put in the subject lines of their emails. It’s like they guess or just pull a rabbit out of the hat and click control v.

The subject line is what gets us humans to open the message.

The subject line is the headline to your marketing message and the key that opens the door.

Many times the traditional business owner (who I refer to as an off-liner) will just throw what ever onto the subject line along with a one to two page crammed together news blurb or whatever he or she thinks is relevant and/or urgent. They send the usual weekly e-letter with subject lines that don’t tie into a headline or the body copy and usually have so much cut and pasted content that it looks like a supermarket bulletin board!


What these types need is excitement and enthusiasm or something so interesting that the reader is ready and willing to open the next message.

That something could be an audio or video link in the body of the email that leads to an interview. Or maybe a refreshing article that pertains to your niche and what they are subscribed to.

The nonchalant attitude of just sending info with no links to click on is about as dumb as driving over a snow-covered mountain pass with bald tires. And yours truly is guilty as charged for doing this in the past.  (no links to click that is)

So here are my email marketing tips for you today:

When writing your …

Subject Line (headline)  – Make sure that the words stand out and say, HEY YOU!  Because these words generally determine if the subscriber is going to open the email.

Intro sentence (subheadline) – Use words that keeps the subscriber’s attention so they read through to your message.

Body Copy – Remember to include a link to something else of interest, like an article, video, blog post, or even a sales page.

Close – Use a simple call to action, a thank you, a lead in to the next message, that may or may not include an additional link.

PS – This is your final chance to catch the reader’s attention. Use it wisely.

Now there are alot of different ways to develop and write email campaigns and you might have a solid strategy that works and is driving new subscribers your way.

If this is not the case, then subscribe to The List Building Guide and get on the right track.

Dave Krygier

Beyond the Small Business Startup

The story continues as Dave and the two Jacks move forward in their small business start-up. Maybe you missed part one in the continuing saga. If you did – check out my post Start Up a Business Now and you’ll see where the story began.

To bring you up to speed, the agency business was started by the two Jacks and myself. This was back in the late 1980’s, pre-Internet, when the fax was a mainstay for business communication and Motorola brick phones were a big deal for small business guys like us.

I left off with my Uncle coming into review the books the first week, but we had barely finished setting up our little office and the loan money hadn’t been in the checking account
for more than a few days. It was awkward and the other Jack was a night owl who didn’t function well in the morning.

We did have a plan and networked like crazy, but my Uncle Jack(the loan cosigner) didn’t see the ‘big bucks’ rolling in immediately, so he pulled out within months.

The good news was that we started to bring in a few accounts and cash flow picked up, but not enough to sustain both of us and the business.

So what did we do?

Like all determined small business owners starting out ….(well, maybe not all)…we started a management division and started managing musicians.  Oh boy was that a roller coaster and that took our focus off the agency.

Then we developed a marketing product for the telephone. It was one of the earliest ‘on hold marketing programs called ‘Marketing On-Hold’ and this started to take off but we didn’t focus on it.  Clue here for you my friend – if something you are doing starts to take off and grow – WATER AND FERTILIZE!

What’s sad about this story is that the MOH product really had the potential to be a big hit for the fledging little agency and initial testing proved that the product was sound and that there was a market for it. But the partners didn’t agree or focus on it long enough. This along with not doing our legal homework brought a lethal blow to the new product and our future together.

Now I could go on and on about the details – crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s, but know this – the lack of attention to detail cost us dearly.

So pay close attention to the details before, during and after your small business startup and find mentors and coaches who will guide you along the way. I know this sounds elementary but the details and guidance are very important. This way you will minimize the bumps in the road and have less repairs to make along the journey.

Stay tuned for the continuing saga about the Two Jacks and Dave. It’s worth the read.

Dave Krygier

Secrets of The Tiny Store 







Club Soccer – The Case for Coaching Continuity

This spring our kids’ soccer club decided to merge with another local club that we had left after several years.

This change came as somewhat of a surprise but we dealt with it as best we could, discussing scenarios and possible outcomes. As my wife and I were talking through the possibilities I came to the conclusion that the real reason we left the other club was what I coined ‘coaching continuity’.

You see, in the other club(we’ll call them SS Minnow), we were treated like a number. There wasn’t any personalization and in this particular organization, the coaches were very cold, distant and not approachable. So after two years, we left and went to the other club across town.

This new club was a breath of fresh air and we determined that the grass was really greener on this side of the fence (or pitch – in soccer speak) as they provided a full service operation and great training.

The year with the new club went so fast and we really enjoyed the coaching, training and how approachable the two guys were that ran the organization. They not only coached our girls but also trained them. It was a combination of three guys who would rotate in on a continual basis.

Well with the merger of our club and the SS Minnow, I came to realize that what we came to know and love(coaching continuity) would most likely dissipate and dissolve as the two organizations melded their cultures.

On the one hand you have three dedicated young men who worked and trained their teams together and communicated well with the parents. It was a great environment with consistency in communication and continuity in coaching. This familiarity brought trust and the young soccer players were able to develop and learn from three different men with a common goal.

On the other hand you have the SS Minnow that was losing momentum, had failed at a previous merger, did not have an internal training program and the management/coaches were not friendly or approachable.

So the coaching continuity that we had experienced was soon to be lost as the crew of the SS Minnow slowly took over helm and turned what was a great venture into a shipwreck. And club soccer in our little neck of the woods would never be the same.

With all that said…all this soccer talk leads us to your small business and the topic of continuity.

How can you as a small business owner develop and maintain continuity in your small business?

Continuity should be established throughout your business – from your marketing and sales messages to overall branding and merchandising(online or offline).

Continuity with employees and outsourced workers is also important because if you develop a break or crack along the way, then your people will see this and doubt will creep in, just like with the club soccer story above.

Your business is where it’s at due to the blood, sweat, tears and money you’ve put into it. Maybe you’ve even had to merge with another company or take on a partner which most likely upset the continuity in your small business.

To wind it down for today – Continuity is what keeps the business stable. Remember that the next time you look at changing your marketing, sales, consider a merger or joint venture.

Dave Krygier

Secrets of The Tiny Store

How to Develop a List Online

How does one develop a list of subscribers online and make it a business? In this post I will share with you three simple steps that will hopefully get you pointed in the right direction.

First we need to ask a few questions…

Why build a list? Why develop an email list of subscribers and clients when you can do other kinds of businesses online?

When it comes to online opportunities, there is certainly no shortage.

Here’s a partial list of ways you could make an income online:

  • Sell physical products through ecommerce.
  • Sell digital informational products.
  • Offer content and then make a commission on the ads displayed on your site.
  • Make a commission on products through Amazon.com or other ecommerce sites.
  • Make a commission on the actions that people take (CPA marketing).

And the list goes on and on…

This leads us back to developing a list online.

Every business has its quirks, positives and negatives. List building is no different. It just takes consistent work on the list builder’s part as do other online businesses.

The thing that separates building a list from other ventures is that the list can become an asset of sorts, if you monetize it. And the way you monetize it is by treating people right and having products or services that they are in need of.

That’s right, you need to treat the people on your list like you want to be treated. The better you treat them and the better you communicate, the more likely they are to buy from you. This is what I call building relationships.

Now one of the things about list building is that you have to continually add new subscribers and then convert a percentage of those subscribers to buyers through the products or services you offer to them.

Here’s the Simple 3-Step Explanation about How to Develop a List Online:

1. Drive Targeted Traffic (searchers) to a Squeeze or Landing Page that has a form for the searcher to subscribe to your list. This page should be focused on capturing the searcher and bringing them into your world. Not telling your entire story and giving away tons of information.

2. Offer Quality Content, Products and/or Services that are produced by you or someone else. Once the searcher has been converted to a subscriber, these products or services should be setup in a sequenced sales funnel along with quality content that keeps the subscriber’s attention.

3. Convert a percentage of your Subscribers into Buyers and you have sales and revenue coming your way. Conversion is the key and you will hear all kinds of formulas and ideas on the best ways to do this. What’s important is that you have a system for converting your subscribers to buyers. Not someone else’s system – but your own. Your conversion rate is your conversion rate and this might be higher or lower than what you see other marketers are saying should be ideal or sufficient.

Simple, right? But know that there are other things that need to be done or what I refer to as the details in between the lines.

So if list building is something you are really looking to pursue or if your list building efforts have not produced much, then go get yourself a copy of The List Building Guide and also check out this page about how to build a list of subscribers.

To your online success,

Dave Krygier