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Month: August 2012

Local Marketing and the Future of Your Small Business

I recently attended a conference that was focused on all things that had to do with Local Marketing and the web as we know it right now, and what’s to come in the near future. It was three days of speakers, videos and PowerPoint presentations along with lots of networking. Which was worth the trip alone…hint, hint, hint.

Of all the topics that were presented, three hit home with me and today I am going to share with you one of those three. It was titled ‘Local Social’ and it is what local marketers will either embrace or be left in a ghost town.

Local marketing and the ability to utilize the web have come light years in the last ten years. I wonder what it would have been like at The Tiny Store to have such awesome tools  and avenues to develop and grow business? We’ll never know or maybe we will…

Web two point oh is now evolving to another level and engaging the searcher like never before. You probably already know this but I’m going to dig in and cover it anyway.

Search engines are starting to embrace the patterns and behaviors of us humans, aka the searcher. Combine this with the social media element and you have a very interesting chemistry that brings forth a new way of doing business.

This also brings even more to the surface as we become inundated with more and more information.

Thus the ‘Local Social’ comes into play and as we meld the search engine with social sites and other citation/review sites. Now it’s a little more complex than that but hopefully you get the picture.

It’s a new day for the offline small business that relies on the local folk for their livelihood!

So if you run and operate a small business that relies on the surrounding local community, then listen up and pay attention for a few more minutes, because this is serious stuff!

1. If you desire to attract and capture new searchers and visitors – you need to develop as many positive testimonials and citations (reviews) as possible.

2. You need to make sure you are listed on ALL of the local directories.

3. You must take action now and not delay another day!

Why you ask?

Because the race is on and the small business owner does the work and works the plan will be the one who rises to the top and dominates in his or her local marketplace. Yes, that’s the way it’s going to be moving forward. But now the small business can go head to head with the big national box and can stay out in front and win!

Guerilla tactics are us! (Thank you Jay Conrad Levinson)

Now there is more to these steps, if you are curious to find out – check in at SBM and see if the “Local Social Plan” for Small Business Owners is still available. Depending on when you read this, it may or may not be still on the market.

So waste not any time my faithful reader. Take action now and go make it happen.

Stay tuned and plugged in,

Dave Krygier

The Tale of Two Marketing Camps

Ever seen the movie ‘Daddy Daycamp’? It’s the story about two Dad’s who take the leap and get thrust into a summer day camp, only to find out that their competitor across the lake is going to give them a run for their money.

This leads me to today’s topic of marketing and the two camps – Smarketing and Farketing.

Why two camps? Because in small business I’ve generally found that most businesses fall into one camp or the other.  It’s a strange dilemma and one I’ve seen from time to time in certain small businesses that I’ve come across.

Why is it that some small business owners continue down the same path or stay in the same camp, with the same old broken ways of doing things, yet they complain and suffer but won’t change?

Let’s look at the two camps and do a little comparison. There are those that work in what I refer to as Smarketing and there’s the other group that sits over in camp Farketing.

SMARKETING is all about innovating, creating and producing marketing, advertising and promotions that break the barrier. Or at least makes the leap across the canyon.

It’s the owner that sees the possibilities and takes a step outside the box to go where he or she hasn’t gone before.

It’s the owner, partner or manager that says, “We can do things different and have a positive impact on our prospects and customers.”

This camp is constantly staying ahead of the curve and really fun to work with.

When you visit Camp SMARKETING you’ll most likely experience one or all of the following traits:

1. These campers think outside the box.

2. They like to go where no one else has gone before.

3. They’re not afraid to take it up a notch and do some serious testing to see what works and what doesn’t.

4. These campers are most likely very profitable and are seeing ROI.

Compare this with ole’ Camp FARKETING where these folks stick with the old marketing that just looks worn out and should be left in the musty basement, tucked away and never to be seen again.

The marketing at this camp is dull and regurgitated from years past saying, “We have been here and done this before but would like to show you again!”

It’s the same ole, same ole, sell, sell, sell – pitch, pitch, pitch. Blah, Blah, Blah!

These campers think that their way of doing things is just fine, yet their businesses tend to stagnate, suffer and sit idle. He or she scratches the old head and wondering why it ain’t working like it used to? Why are the same old ads, headlines and gimmicks just not bringing the business their way as in years past?

Then one night the campers hear the cheers and music coming from Camp SMARKETING and a few of the Farketers decide to venture over and see what all the hubbub is about.

They arrive to see their competitors, some known and others unknown, sharing strategies and tactics that just seem unreal and far out there.

And then something happens that the ole’ Farketers didn’t anticipate. A few of their group become curious enough that they decided to pull up stakes and camp out at Camp Smarketing to see what they could learn and implement in their business.

Something had opened their minds and now they were ready to venture out.

The great news for these campers is that they can now begin on a journey that will bring change, but more so they’ll begin to see improvements in their businesses, if they pay attention, listen and then take action.

So there you have it – the two camps. Which one are you in? Or are you just getting started and need to decide which one you’ll be staying at?

I hope you choose the camp that “Thinks Outside the Box” and if you do then consider connecting with The SmallBiz Mechanic and he’ll make sure your properly outfitted for the adventure.

To your success,

Dave Krygier


The Secret to Increasing Sales in Your Restaurant Business

Due to the amount of travel that I do on an annual basis, certain restaurants and food service establishments are frequented more than others. During one of my recent trips I encountered what I would have considered a fluke, but this particular restaurant business I had been to before and experienced marginal service.

It all started out when I called the restaurant on the property where I was staying for a carry out order. It took five phone calls and I was unable to get anyone on the phone that could take my order. This lead to a walk up to the restaurant, only then to order and wait.

Fortunately the food was good, satisfying ye ole’ stomach and thus the frustration seemed to settle and lead to a relaxing evening. But morning came and the prior nights episode led me to contact the director of food & beverage who had an open ear and apologized more than three times. Although this individual was very pleasant, he missed the key to retaining my future business and could have avoided this call had he surveyed his patrons.

So in today’s article I want to share two steps on how you can take a dissatisfied customer and turn him or her into an advocate and possibly a raving fan.

           How to Create Raving Fans that Return and Bring their Friends to your Restaurant Business…

1. If you have a Dissatisfied Customer – Find out what you can do to make it right.  It might only take a complimentary drink or appetizer to appease and please. And what’s that worth to you, the proprietor or manager? It should not be about cost. It should be about retention and keeping that customer, so when he or she comes back around, your establishment is at the top of the list. This is a mindset and one that you will need to instill in yourself and your staff.

Note: In this economy you need all the happy, satisfied customers you can bring through the door. In most cases it is expensive to bring a new customers in, so why not do everything possible to keep the customers instead of letting them fume and never return.

By doing so you may well turn an upset, angry, dissatisfied customer into a positive, happy, referral-generating advocate.

2. Train your Managers and Service staff to be Customer Friendly and Oriented. This takes time and finding the right people, plus it’s not easy to do, but it is possible. The secret here is to hire the best people who will treat and care for your customers like they are their friends. If you don’t know how to do this – find someone who does or can offer assistance.

Remember – food is only part of the equation. You have to serve good to great food in order for people to continually return to your business and be comfortable referring others. Service is the other part of the equation that in my opinion gets left out more often than I can say here today.

If you are going to retain customers, you need people to do the work. So find people you can train, trust and allow you to build repeat/referral business for your restaurant business. This way you can sleep better at night and your reputation could even blossom.

Are you involved in a restaurant, food service company or coffee bar and want to learn how to increase sales and retain customers? If so, then contact The SmallBiz Mechanic and see how you can Retain Customers & Increase Sales in your Food & Beverage establishment.

Dave Krygier




How to Drive Traffic with Local Directories

Back in the day there was a time when the old yellow books were still worth keeping on the shelf. These books of old, known as local directories or the phone book, were a big part of our annual advertising budget at The Tiny Store. You see the phone companies controlled the big phone books and believe it or not we spent tens of thousands of dollars year after year with these big conglomerates.

Yes there were other smaller yellow books and one company even published a book that was black. But they weren’t very effective and my surveys and tracking proved this over a period of time.

We really didn’t know any different but I worked my proverbial tail off to bring in business through guerilla marketing and alternative channels. Channels like direct mail, radio, trade shows, good ole’ networking and eventually the web.

Today, as a small business, you no longer have to rely on the physical yellow dinosaur but can utilize the online directories that focus on local markets. Directories like Yahoo Local and Local.com. These Local directories are a great way to achieve the visibility for a small business that desires more visibility in a local or regional marketplace.

Driving traffic with these local directories is easier than you think, if you will take the time and the necessary steps to get the work done.

1. The First Step you need to do is register your business with as many local directories as possible. This will take some time but it’s well worth it. Or you can go to UBL.org and list your business with almost all of the local directory resources.

2. The Second Step you need to take is make sure your business is visible on Google Places, Google Plus Local and Bing Local. If it’s not, then register your business with each of these engines and then see what other options they have available to drive traffic to your business.

3. Lastly- Step Three is to monitor the local directories to make sure that your listings are being properly displayed and that you have visibility for the categories that you signed up for. This monitoring will show you where your business shows up plus who is showing up around you. In other words you can see which competitors are also aware of local directories and how they are marketing their businesses.

Remember, it’s all about results and ROI. So all the visibility in the world isn’t worth anything unless you can convert the searcher/visitor to a paying customer.

With all this said- even though you have the local web to further promote and market your business, the landscape is constantly changing and you will need to stay on top of the changes or you might get left behind and become invisible.

Now if you are like many small business owners and the web just seems toooo overwhelming, maybe you need a little guidance? If this is the case – contact The SmallBiz Mechanic and ask about the Local Web Marketing Tuneup.

Dave Krygier


Local Internet Marketing – 3 Tips You Can Use in Your Small Business

When it comes to Local Internet marketing is your business running on all eight cylinders or does it seem like you’re fighting an uphill battle with webmasters and specialists who promise the moon?

Whether you have a stand alone physical business that needs foot traffic, a remote office that requires in bound calls or a virtual office that handles emails, texts, calls and social interaction – Local Internet Marketing may be just what you need to increase sales and profits.

Notice in that last paragraph that I said May. Because in certain cases Local Internet Marketing may not be what your business needs. Like the one I was running out of a home office many years ago in the Wenatchee Valley (in Central Washington), where it’s a smaller community with a population hovering around 40,000 people.

When I lived there the local paper was just starting to market online but it was all so new and 56K dialup was very frustrating. Working out of this satellite office we helped run our Seattle based operations for The Tiny Store, plus I communicated, serviced and sold products to people all over the planet. This was in the late 1990’s before cable or DSL. A matter of fact, we had the first residential 115K ISDN line installed and it took three GTE techs to get it all working and operational.

What’s my point here?

It’s this – Local Internet Marketing would not have had the ROI for us had I implemented what I’m going to share below. Why you ask? Because this particular market was really small and our niche was too narrow.  Note: remember, it’s always about results and ROI.

Even though Local Internet Marketing is much easier today than it was 10 and 15 years ago, you still need to understand and be able to navigate through the landscape or hardscape. If you do, you can really help your business and maybe even your wallet.

With all the advancements in technology in the last 10 years, one can pinpoint and target market like never before. Let’s say you own a local service business in the Spokane area, Spokane Valley or Post Falls/ Coeur d’Alene and desire to connect with local and maybe even regional prospects. Marketing via the web using localized methods can make all the difference.

So let’s dig in and go over Three Local Internet Marketing Tips that you can use in your business right now to attract more prospects:

  1. The first tip is to Setup a Separate Mobile Website. This is different than just enabling your site to be visible on mobile devices like the iphone, Blackberry or Android. In most cases this mobile website will make it easier for searchers to view your business and connect immediately. This mobile website helps to eliminate long load times and having to scroll or crawl through menus and content to find the information he or she is seeking.
  2. The second tip is to Become Visible and Register your business with all the local online directories. This tactic can give you a broader reach than just your existing website and can create visibility through credible online sources.
  3. The third tip of the day is to Develop and Cultivate testimonials and positive reviews that you can use in all of your marketing. These testimonials can make the difference, so work to collect and gather as many as you can, making sure to abide by an laws and regulations.

No matter where your small business is located – Spokane, Wenatchee, Richland, or a big metropolitan area like Seattle, if you desire to reach the local community, then no better  time to do it than the present.

Get started now and do the work unless you need someone like The SmallBiz Mechanic to help along the way.

To your local internet marketing success,

Dave Krygier

Sports Marketing – How to Find the Hidden Treasure

If you market to athletes, or the youth sports marketplace – tune in for a few minutes and find the six words that could make the difference in your business or organization this next year.

My observation with three children in youth sports has been that the sports organizations we’ve come into contact with have had lack luster marketing and they just don’t understand how to attract, connect and communicate.

Now you would think that these so called sports marketing experts would be all over the web and also use utilizing offline direct response channels to drive business and increase awareness? Well that’s rarely the case, at least in our five going into six years of experience.

This experience tells me that there could possibly be an opportunity that presents itself to your small business. The question is will you even notice it or jump on it when the little opp comes into play?

One of the best ways that you as a marketer can attract more business to your enterprise or organization is simply by surveying those you come in contact with and your existing customers. This is one of the first steps to finding out what the market really wants.

Now you may look at this old fashioned method or say that surveying is a hassle, but I will stand by this simple method and state that a survey can make the difference of profit or loss and success or failure. It made a huge difference in the success of The Tiny Store and over the years I’ve had clients take advantage of this age old tactic.

You see, as the business owner( or manager or director) you need to find out what people want, need and desire. Not what you want, need and desire. Because it’s all about them and not you. It’s all about what they want to do, purchase and read. So you need to meet this need if you want to grow and better serve your local and regional sports community.

It’s one thing to have a great idea for a product or service but it’s entirely another story to bring it to market and see long-term success.

Let me give you a simple example of what not to do:

Many, many moons ago my Dad and Uncle manufactured a hard cover tennis case. It was essentially a violin case but pretty ugly and just not attractive. Now the idea was very sound, but was there a market and real need for this item or did they just concoct this idea and think it would fly and make them a gazillion dollares?

Since it never went anywhere and only the samples were produced, the record shows that this tennis case ended up being a dust collector. Now I believe had they done some simple market research along with simple surveys, they might have found out just what the market needed at that time. This research may have lead to further development and even a full blown launch, but instead the ugly duckling got stuck in the attic and was chalked up as an experiment.

So let me leave you with this…

If you already have clients or customers, then simply ask them what they want!
It’s not rocket science. Just ask them over the phone, in person, by sending an email, via social media channels, or even snail mail.

The bottom line is: Find the need and fill it.

To your sports marketing success,

Dave Krygier




Increase Sales and Avoid the Prevention Pitfall

In a recent conversation with an industry veteran he made a comment that brought a chuckle and laugh but rang true and loud as a church bell. We were discussing a particular project which eventually lead to the topic of sales. 

His comment, “The only department that isn’t shrinking is the ‘Sales Prevention’ department,” made me think about how many owners, managers and directors of small businesses and organizations get in the way of the sales process.

Yet I have seen this time and time again and it amazes me how some businesses even stay afloat as the owner continues to stunt the growth while thinking he or she is what makes the operation run. I have experienced this during my years with The Tiny Store and ad agencies as we encountered so many different businesses that got in the way of sales and business development.

It’s a sad, sad story that makes me wonder and think how more small business owners and managers could avoid this prevention pitfall?

With the economy as tough as it is and consumers being more cautious with their wallets, you would think that the small biz owner/manager would wake up and smell the coffee! 

But noooooo! He or she continues on the prevention path adding blockades and boulders anywhere they will fit. And the funny part about this is that he or she might actually enjoy the prevention but not know that it’s hurting ye ole’ bank account.

Sales prevention can be fixed, corrected or even prevented if you, the business owner will allow your team to sell and give them the tools they need to bring in the sales.

If you are a solo-practitioner – I understand that it all comes down to you doing the selling, whether it be live, on the phone, via email, e-commerce or virtually, using Paypal or a shopping cart. I’ll go into more about this in another post, but just do your best to focus on sales and bringing in business versus the busy work that seems to clutter the path to your bank account. This busy work can sometimes be the one obstacle that prevents sales and stunts growth for the solopreneur and you can avoid by simply keeping your mind focused on bringing in new business and servicing existing clients.

           Sales Prevention – “How to Increase Sales and Remove the Obstacles”

So now it’s time to take a Step Back and Review to see what or who is getting in the way, or is something that you are doing preventing your business from moving forward and intercepting possible sales. This is tough for some owners but necessary in order to determine what the root of the problem is. 

Because if you are going to increase sales – then you best open the hood and see what’s causing the engine to cough and sputter.

Yes, it’s that simple – look yourself in the mirror and say, “Am I the one causing the decline or lack of sales in my business????”  Because you might be able to fix your problem and increase sales with a simple turn of the screwdriver or maybe identify that there is a bigger challenge and you need outside help.

Anyway you look at it, if you are going to increase sales and get away from sales prevention, it all starts with you – the small business owner. It’s your business and your dream. So look in the mirror and have an honest conversation with the person looking back at you. Then make a decision to change and improve, or get out of the way and let someone else make the change for you.

The bottom line is that in order increase sales and avoid the sales prevention pitfall you will need to identify and remove the roadblocks. One of the them may be you or someone else, possibly a third party or even outside factors like location, marketing, or even merchandising. Once you remove the roadblocks, your sales should increase and business should begin to improve.

To your small business success,

Dave Krygier

PS – If you are still looking in the mirror unable to find any roadblocks, but your sales continue to decline…contact The SBM for some guidance. He might be able to help you before it’s too late. 


Lead Capture Basics – 2 Options to Get You Started

Previously I wrote about Lead Generation and three ways that you generate leads for your small business. Today I want to cover the lead capture page and also a simple way that you can connect with a searcher who is more than just a looker.

If you are having a tough time bringing in new leads and prospects, these two options may be just the ticket for you to capture more than your fair share of leads through the web. Plus if you do use traditional methods like direct mail or other offline marketing, then you might be able to increase responses and the actions of those who come across your path.

But before I go into detail here, know this:

Not every searcher who comes to your website or lead capture page will be interested in what you have to offer. The fact is only a certain percentage of people will be open and decide to come into your world, so once the searcher becomes a lead and is captured – it is your job to connect and close the sale.

Lead Capture can be a web form on the front page of your website and then have links or it can be a call to action like a Call Now button with a phone number in it. The objective here is simple – you need to capture leads and want to make it easy for the searcher/visitor to opt-in or make a phone call.

Here are two options for you to consider when it comes to Lead Capture:

1.    Setup an Email Auto-Responder and create a web form that you place on your home page or dedicated squeeze page. The web form looks like a box and has a place for the searcher to enter his or her email and other information that you require. The squeeze page is one of the best ways to attract and capture targeted searchers but you’ll want to Build Pages Fast and be able to capture leads as soon as possible.

2.    Create a Click to Call button and place it on several areas of your website so   searchers will know that you offer this option. Click to call is a great option, especially if your business is locally oriented or you offer consulting or services. The phone and connecting with a lead when he or she is in the research or buying mode can make the difference of whether you make a sale or gain a new subscriber.

Either way you need to make the web form or click to call visible and attractive so the visitor who make their way to your site can take action. Now you can also send the searcher to articles or a social media site or a chat session. But if you are looking to develop new business and capture leads consistently, then email and phone are two of the best ways to go.

Remember – it’s about capturing leads and then converting them. Always keep this in mind as you setup and develop your own lead capture system and contact The SmallBiz Mechanic if you get stuck along the way.

Dave Krygier

Small Business Growth – How to Eliminate the Muck & Mire

Is your small business growing this year and showing an increase in sales or have you come to place where the plateau is everywhere and small business growth is no where to be seen?

The business climate is tough enough as it is these days without having to add a burned out, tired, grumpy owner to the equation. Now this is not always the case but in my experience small business growth or lack of growth is almost always due to the owner and/or managing partner of the enterprise.

On the one hand you have the business owner who gets it, sees the opportunities and then takes action which spurs continual growth. On the other hand you have the business owner who has not a clue about how to increase sales and this might be caused by many things such as burn out, overload or maybe he or she just doesn’t know how to connect with people.

Strange as this all may sound, the land of small business is full of owners and partners who  continue to struggle, fight, kick, scream, yell, and sit in the muck and mire of their own doing. All the while their business sits in limbo or starts in reverse down the hill.

He or she goes day in and day out wondering why ‘things’ aren’t getting better? Why are sales falling or stagnant? Why are we not able to grow and capture more market share?

And then let’s make the situation worse when the excuses arrive at the door and rear their ugly heads to Mr. or Mrs. Small Business Owner. These guys have a way of compounding lack luster sales and turn a temporary situation into what I refer to as chronic excusitis.

It’s like this – when you are in the fishbowl looking out, the world looks a bit weird and distorted. Compound this with all of the above commentary and what do you get?

A big huge mess, that’s what!

So where am I leading with all this? Here it is…

If you and/or your partner or friend or associate has any of the above symptoms, then go get some help! Stop fighting it and find someone who can help you untie all the knots and get your business back on the right track.

Because if you don’t, you’ll most likely end up in the same or worse position moving forward or backward. Plus your business and the people you work with will continue to suffer until they’ve had enough of the grief, stagnation, aggravation and finally leave to seek greener fields.

Ok, enough of the problem – let me share a solution:

1. Admit that you have a problem – whether it be sales, marketing, accounting, operations, all of the above or something else.  Once you admit this and believe me, I know this is not as easy as it sounds because we dealt with this at The TIny Store – make a decision to seek help and then take action to find the best person or persons to help you solve your problem.  Note: this action might take days or weeks to find the right person or team for your business, so be patient. 🙂

2. Take a break and get away from your business for a few days or a long weekend. Get your mind off the business, but be open to fresh ideas and have something to document what might come your way. What I have found is that retreats and seminars can be very helpful to open up new doors and opportunities. If you are lacking the cash for this then go camping, or biking or take a day out at the beach or park. Just find a place to relax and let your mind rest.

3. Tie all of the above together with a commitment to change and take action. Without a commitment and action, you’ll most likely fall back into the muck and mire. The commitment and your sticking with it will make the difference when it comes to small business growth and if your business is going to experience it or not.

If any of the above hit home and you find yourself ready to make the change, SmallBiz Mechanix might be able to offer up some suggestions. Or they can put you in contact with people who might be able to lead you out of the muck and onto the path of growth.

It’s your business, your future and your health.

Take action now!

Dave Krygier