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Secrets of The Tiny Store Released!

A long, long time ago in a land that has now become overgrown with concrete highways and millions of people, there was a tiny store. And this tiny store was built upon a dream to have thine own business.

Thus this little store grew in sales, moved locations, tried to get bigger, but shrunk back to a much smaller retail and office foot print.

The tiny store was in existence for 18 years until it was sold. The ways and methods never shared in writing until recently.

Now you have the chance and opportunity to learn how the tiny store crushed it on the early days of the web. Plus you’ll discover how the store retained customers, grew referrals, tested it’s advertising and much, much more.

For the small business retailer or service-based business you will find some insights, tips and strategies that could help take your business to the next level.

Secrets of the Tiny Store ® Book by author Dave KrygierOr if you are happy and content with the business that you have right now, you can find out how to streamline, and cut down on your advertising budget.

The Secrets are Finally Revealed – and you can access them here: Secrets of The Tiny Store 

Oh – by the way – if you are just getting started in small business and want to avoid the pitfalls that most business run up against in their five years, this book has some interesting information that could save you $$$$$, lost revenues and frustrations.

Plus, there’s even something for the small business manager. So if this is you, and you’ve been tasked with running a business for someone else, like your spouse or partner, then get ready to dig in. You’ll find a few info nuggets and gems in the book, let alone what’s in the member’s area online.

Wait no longer my faithful reader, get your hands and eyes on a copy of Secrets of The Tiny Store and let your new journey begin.

Increase Sales in Your Small Business with Better Customer Service

This could be the year that you increase sales in your small business with better customer service but you need to know what not to do so in today’s post I decided to share some of my customer service experiences that may give you some insight.

This is part one in a series about how to increase sales in your small business.

During the past year I seemed to have run into a rash of customer service issues with products and services that I purchased. Call it what you may, when it rains it can sometimes pour, and it poured quite often in my neck of the woods in the areas of customer service and brand loyalty.

There’s an old adage – “You Get What You Pay for.” And personally I have found this to be so true when it comes to most commodity based items big or small.

Here are some real live examples, (with the names of the companies removed), that show what not to do and how companies are really blowing opportunities when it comes to customer service and increasing sales.

How to Lose Customers and Lower Sales

Above the Ground Pool – The top of the line pool itself is decent quality, but finding certain readily available replacement parts for this manufacturer’s pumps and filters is like pulling teeth from a cat after it gets out of the bathtub! Add to this the simple fact that service is non-existent even if you want to pay for it. So much for saving money and doing it myself. 🙁

Top Car Manufacturer – It’s not every day that one buys a new or used car and this last year we went through the process of buying a new vehicle from a local dealer versus over the Internet. The bottom line is that even though this automobile brand  has built a great brand based on quality vehicles, the car buying process is still the same and it sure doesn’t look like it’s changing anytime soon.

It’s the same old bologna and issues with integrity. Too many different stories.

In the end, the vehicle we purchased from the local dealer is ok, but I must say the attention to certain details was lost along the way, the door edge guards are still not installed properly and my back will never be happy while in this vehicle.

Will we go back to this brand? Maybe – but it will be online and working every angle to save money.

Could better customer service have increased sales in this local business? For sure. I would have upgraded the vehicle and sang their praises. 

Now let’s take a look at a small consumer item.

Sunglasses Company – A search for Some Protection from the Sun.

I never knew that buying a pair of prescription name brand sunglasses was going to be such a chore! After searching high and low for a licensed retailer I decided to call the sunglasses company directly and left a message for their director of sales and marketing, who never bothered to return my call. So I called again and left a message for the person who oversaw the state I reside in, and finally received a return telephone call but with no results.

I was doing everything I could to buy from this company but they just didn’t care. To them I was only one customer looking for a pair of quality prescription sunglasses.

At the end of the day I ended up using a pair of existing non-prescription frames I owned and then purchased non-brand polarized lenses with mirror coating.

The local small business optical store lost the sale and a brand loyal customer. The manufacturer lost a long time loyal customer and any chance of my returning to their camp.

How to Increase Sales in Your Small Business

The bottom line…If you want to increase sales in your small business just provide good customer service along with returning phone calls and responding to emails. After all, it’s not that difficult to satisfy the average consumer, especially if he or she is in the market for your product, service or information.

– Be Professional and friendly

– Go the Extra Mile

– Ask Questions and Survey Your Customers

In the second part of this series on how to increase sales in your small business I’ll share the other side of the coin and what I consider great customer service from a veteran retailer who went above and beyond.

Stay tuned for more on this topic.

Dave Krygier

Three of the Best Ways to Retain Customers and Increase Sales

In my previous post about how to increase sales I mentioned three customer service experiences that literally broke my relationship with these businesses. Today I will dig into three of the best ways to retain customers in your small business so you can increase sales.

 Although there are many more ways to keep customers in your wheel house, these three ways to retain customers will help improve sales if you continually work on them.

Now for a Really Great Customer Service story…

I purchased a piece of luggage from Jos A Bank in our local area under the guise that if anything ever happened to it they would replace it.

Well as life happens, this particular piece of luggage started to have some serious exterior issues with only 20 flights of service. So I brought it back and came to find out that Mr. Bank was no longer in the luggage business and they were in the process of merging with another mens clothing conglomerate.

Fortunately for me the man who sold me the bag was the manager and had some integrity. He went to bat for me and guess what…

He fixed part of the issue and also gave me a credit for $1000 that I could apply to anything in the store! Now that’s what I call customer service and taking care of the customer and going beyond. Considering the luggage cost less than $400, the repair plus the $1000 far exceeded the value that we paid.

Even though this company is not a small business their local store is run like one and they’ll receive my vote for great customer service and retain me as a customer for life.

This leads to what I believe are Three of the Best Ways to Retain Customers: 

A. Give Your Customers a Reason to Come Back to Your Business. Treat your customers like you treat your best friend and always have something to entice them to reenter your world.

B. Cross Train Your Sales and Customer Service Staff. This way you are never without someone in either department.

C. Find and Recruit People Who are Open and Willing to Learn Your Business. It seems that good, quality, trained retail sales and customer people are just becoming harder and harder to find these days. So when you find a really good quality individual, do what you can to support him or her and treat them like family.

Bonus – if you communicate openly with your staff about your expectations and goals, this can also be one of the best ways to retain customers, especially If you are building your business around a brand. This means that you have to make sure the people who work for you understand what brand loyalty is all about or it could mean their jobs and loss of income.

Make sense?

If not – let me know by forwarding me an email here at ClickandMortarblog.com and I’ll do my best to answer your question.

Until next time…

Dave Krygier



The Case for Print & Paper and Attraction – How to Combine Offline with Online Marketing

With the onslaught of technological changes it seems that more and more companies are vearing away from print and paper marketing, yet there is s segment of the business populace that still desires to know how to combine offline with online marketing.

Last summer I stopped by a higher end lake side resort to investigate and find out more about the place and what it has to offer. As I approached the front desk there was not a shread of paper in sight. So I asked the front desk guy about the resort and he just redirected me to their website.

How to combine offline and online marketing by ClickandMortarblog.com
Attract more customers to your resort by combining offline print materials with online marketing.

But I wanted more.

I wanted something tangible to take with me. Anything would do.

But all I left, disappointed, with only access to their online website.

The bottom line here is that the resort could have captured me several ways seeing that at the time I was a very warm prospect. And had they used printed marketing materials and combined them with online web properties just think of all the possibilities!

How could they combine their offline with their online marketing?

Number One: Had they trained their front desk people to just for my information they could add me into their database manually and then follow up later.

Number Two: They could easily ask for my phone number and have the sales office contact me.

Number Three: They could easily have had a classy, quality, simple brochure with a picture, attraction oriented copy, and contact info.

Number Four: They could provide an oversized contact card with QR code and shortened URL that provide the gateway to the web.

Number Five: They could have a POP sign with the Attraction oriented copy, QR code and shortened URL.

Any one or all of these methods would work for this resort and many a business I run into these days.

It seems that some businesses, like the above mentioned resort have gotten it into their heads that the web is the only way to market their business. They seem to think that since they are so booked up and that their $300 per night rates during peak season can mean that they can forego paper and print altogether. 

Yes, the web is growing faster than ever before, but we are not at the point where we can totally get rid of POP and POS based printed marketing materials. Especially when it comes to live on-location interaction with human beings.

What we need to do as small business owners and managers is to attract and connect with our target market on a continual basis. And do so in ways that the people we desire to bring into our world will desire to connect with us due to the materails we provide and manner in which we conduct ourselves.

We as a society still utilize paper. Now I’m not saying that we should step back and intitiate paper and print campaigns. I’m just conveying that for the time being printed marketing materials still have a place in certain businesses and organizations.

The question is this…

Are you involved in one of those organizations and have you been missing opportunities to grow your business? If so, reconsider and learn how to combine offline with online marketing by testing with printed marketing materials. This way you can attract more customers and keep your business moving forward.

Until next time,

Dave Krygier

PS – Need help with figuring out how to combine offline with online marketing? SBM may have a solution, or two or three…

Value Added Business Strategies

Value Added or Value Subtracted – You Decide Oh Capitan!

Value Added Business StrategiesAre you adding value to your business or organization or is your value being subtracted due to a lack of understanding and just plain laziness?

Have you ever endorsed someone only to find out that your endorsement should be rescinded?

Recently I had someone I didn’t know send me an email requesting that I endorse him. Now say what you want here but it was quite the gutsy move for a guy to send me an email request like this, especially since I didn’t know him, and we had never even exchanged an email or any kind of communication.

The funny thing was his subject line in the email said, “Can you endorse me?”

Well I didn’t and the reason is pretty obvious seeing that I didn’t even know the guy!

He cold contacted me and in my opinion stepped over the boundary by adding me to his list, plus he asked if I could endorse him. If he would have connected with me and then added value along the way, this post would have most likely been written a different way.

Here’s my point…

If you are really looking to connect and build reviews/testimonials, then do it the legitimate way. Offer and Add Value as much as possible. This way your prospects, subscribers, clients and customers will look forward to your communications and see that you are there to help them and not just get into their wallet.

There are lots of small businesses out there that simply don’t understand that adding value can make the difference of landing new business versus losing new business.

So if you deliver and add value, people will reciprocate. Yes, they will indeed. They’ll repurchase, refer others to you and sing your praises. Thus helping you and your business or organization to increase sales.

Now what do I mean by added value? Here are Five Examples: 

Added Value can mean an added service like when you buy a home the seller includes a handyman for 6 months or a year.

Added Value can mean that you offer an upgrade for no charge when your customer purchases a particular product and/or service.

Added Value can mean that you give extra time to your client and don’t bill her for it.

Added Value can mean that you share quality information with a prospect prior to him purchasing your service.

Added Value can be bonuses that are delivered with the purchase of a product. And these are bonuses that the buyer was not expecting.

A testimonial or review or endorsement will build social proof, but Added Value can be just what you need to build repeat and referral business & revenues. So get creative. Think outside the box and look for all the different ways that you can add value or you might see that your prospects, subscribers and clients decide to shop elsewhere.

You choose – Value Added or Value Subtracted. It’s your business and the decision rests in your hands.

I say – Offer Value, Add Value and Bring Value to all that you do.

Dave Krygier

Sports Marketing – The One that Got Away…

Recently my daughter tried out for the regional ODP(PDP) soccer team in our state. It was a last minute decision to make the five hour tirp to the field with her having to stay overnight with another family.

Needless to say upon arrival at the fields I was surprised to find that the check in was not very professional and somewhat disjointed.

The coach of this new team gave us parents about two minutes of his time to basically “ask questions now” because this is the only time you have.

This is the same coach that her current team coach highly recommended and maybe he is great on the field and with the kids, but his approach to us was less than charitable and somewhat brash.

It has been my experience dealing with the youth soccer world that certain coaches have this attitude and this coach was no different. Now maybe he is a really nice fellow underneath the standoffish exterior. But for an estimated $2000 to $2300 over 7 to 8 months it seemed like he could have given us a little more time, or at least an FAQ handout?

After all we parents do pay the bills, invest our time, drive the miles and so I feel a little common courtesy would have gone a long way. At least with me that is. 

In five plus years of dealing with youth soccer I have never seen a more unorganized tryout. It was like the people running it had no personal relations skills whatsoever and the organization behind them only scored a 2 (out of 10 – with 10 being highest) in my marketing and PR book.

You see, as a marketer that is actively developing and growing businesses, I am attuned not only attuned to ads, slogans, headlines, colors, sayings and results, but more so the entire package. And in this case the entire package was weak and left much to be desired.

So what this organization did was ‘not build up my confidence’ and for this next year they lost a great player.

Yep, I’ll toot the horn for her. She really is a great soccer player and everywhere we go, parents approach her and us about her abilities and skills. She works very hard and soccer is her only sport at this stage in her life.

For us first timers(at this regional level) this was an experience that I hope not to come across again in the future. 

And now this leads us back to your business…

Most youth sports organizations need PR and marketing people who specialize in sports marketing. These people should be up front telling the story, sharing the facts, and paving the way for the programs and leagues that are to come. It’s that simple.

This is also the case for most small businesses and this is where soft selling comes into the picture..

DO NOT ASSUME that your prospects know all about your offer, your business, and how great you are.

1. You need to tell the story.

2. You need to provide the facts and testimonials(if you have them).

3. You need to be proactive and follow up with your prospects.

4. You need to provide customer service and this starts before the sale!

And if you are running any kind of youth sports organization that relies on parental funding to keep the paychecks, fields and operations running…

Then I suggest you Over Communicate and Build Repore.

Until next time,

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




Customer Satisfaction – 3 Simple Retention Tips

The longer I’m in and around small business it amazes me how customer satisfaction seems to becoming a thing of the past. A matter a fact it seems to vary like the wind, depending on which business you’re dealing with.

As much as I travel and since one of my love languages is acts of service, I’m more sensitive to this, combined with the simple fact that I have always worked to provide good to great service with my prospects, customers and clients.

Thus I believe that it all starts at the beginning and the customer service that you provide should not fluctuate like the price of oil. Because customer satisfaction leads to repeat and referral business, if you and the people who work you understand how to connect and build relationships.

Continually creating new business without a plan to retain customers is like having a revolving door where a customer comes in through your marketing efforts and then never or rarely comes back.

If you are going to invest in the barrel of advertising, marketing, and promotion, then shouldn’t you have a simple working plan to retain customers, clients and subscribers?

It should all start with the initial prospect connection. Yes you heard me right on this comment – the initial connection, wherever that may be.

The connection may be live and in person or it may be through a phone call, live chat, email, article or even social media.

Let me give you an example: This past week I initiated a call to a local water sports company to inquire about watercraft. Upon taking my call the receptionist passed me onto a sales person who answered all my questions, but didn’t ask my name, where I was located or anything about my needs. He was simply uninterested in connecting, satisfying me or making the sale.

All he did was answer questions and then hang up the phone. Thus a potential satisfied customer just kept on searching and didn’t purchase from him or the business he worked at.

Customer satisfaction starts with the first connection and this business didn’t do anything to satisfy me and due to the size of the purchase, I just kept shopping.

Want to retain more customers and create satisfied happy people that will refer you to their friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances? Then look no further than the first connection and use these three simple Customer Retention tips:

1. Create and Implement a Simple Plan to keep those that you bring into your world in your world. The first thing to do is to put reminders or cues on an index card or piece of paper. This reminder should be used during interaction with new prospects or existing customers. It’s a way to keep you on track during phone, email and e-chat conversations, plus can also be utilized in live scenarios, if used discreetly.

2. Ask Questions, Survey and Track as many conversations as possible. This way you can see progress and what you need to work on to increase customer satisfaction and retention. The survey questions should be asked during the conversation or interaction, but only when appropriate. Tracking is key so you can tell what kind of questions are being asked the most and how people are responding to you and the people you work with.

3. Make sure to Test, Add and Adjust your reminders to ensure that you are doing everything possible to stay on top of customer service and satisfaction. In some cases you may need to add something into the mix in order to increase responses. In other situations you may have to adjust the way questions are asked and even phrased.

The bottom line is that if you serve your customer (like we did at The TIny Store), then his or her satisfaction could show up in a testimonial, comment, feedback, referral or repeat business in the near or distant future.

So serve your customer (or client), even though you won’t be able to please all the customers all the time. It will be worth it and their satisfaction will benefit your business in the short and long-term.

Dave Krygier

How to Increase Sales in Your Restaurant

                                   Increase Sales in Your Restaurant Business

I was recently reviewing some stats about one of the article directories and one of the most reviewed articles had to do with bringing repeat business to a restaurant.

In my previous post about Surveying your way to Success I mentioned how this simple, yet effective tactic can help your business.

Why? Because surveying is one of the simplest ways to increase sales in a restaurant and develop repeat customers that continue to return again and again.

Today’s topic and about increasing sales not only applies to restaurants but all small businesses who want to grow and increase sales.

Providing good service is one thing…Providing great service is an entirely different story altogether.

The restaurant business is tough enough as it is, so don’t make it tougher on yourself and your staff by looking for short cuts to increase sales.

Do not make it complicated, because it’s really a very simple formula.

Here it is:

Great Food plus Great Service equals satisfied customers who will return if you continue to treat them right.

Notice I didn’t say anything about price in that equation. Price was not mentioned at all but is important so make sure to pay attention to it.

So let’s stop looking and searching for the magic bullet that is going to make our restaurant overflow with repeat customers. Use the formula above and keep it simple.

Now let’s talk about a few of the missing ingredients that you can add to your service menu and begin to increase sales.

1. Personalization. The missing ingredient in almost every restaurant I have continued to frequent in the last 20 years is personalization. Yes, personalization.

How many times have you been back to your favorite restaurant yet none of the people  remember your name? This is a tragedy, yet so many establishments just don’t understand that a person’s name is very important to him or her.

I happen to frequent many of the same restaurants ….

One in particular – the owner remembers my client’s name and he’s friendly to me but never once that I can remember has be called me by name. He also does the same thing to my client’s sister, who also happens to be part owner of their business.

2. Connection. Once you personalize you can connect. Connect with your customers. Connection is the key. The Great food + Great Service = happy, satisfied, returning customer. Yes – if you really want repeat business the food has to be good to great and the service just as great. But the connection must happen along the way to crank up the repeat business machine.

Very few restauranteurs that I’ve run across are taking advantage of building solid relationships with their customers. At least in my travels I have rarely ever seen this.

So let’s stop looking and searching for the magic bullet that is going to make our restaurant overflow with repeat customers. Use the formula above and keep it simple.

Remember it’s all about your customers. You make them feel great, they tell their friends. You make them feel bad with inconsistencies in your food and service and they’ll tell their friends and possibly not frequent your establishment ever again. This is not new news but with social media, reviews, citation sites, texting and email means word spreads faster than ever before.

So it’s more important now than ever before that you work on providing the best experience to your customers, new and old. That’s what we did at The Tiny Store.

After all, it’s not about what you want – it’s about what they want.

Dave Krygier

Youth Soccer Coaching – Lessons Learned

Today’s youth sports marketplace is flooded with all kinds of opportunities and in most cases if your kids want to play competitive sports – it’s gonna cost ya. At least that’s been our experience in the last five years.

In our case we’ve expended thousands and thousands of dollars to have our children play youth sports and have had mixed experiences with both club and youth sports organizations.

In our most recent series of episodes (that almost read like a tv soap opera), the spring season has wound down and the SS Minnow (the other club) has been beached and is awaiting for Gilligan and the Skipper (our club) to save the day.

Now I know this reference to the old TV sitcom may or may not make sense, but basically the Minnow has been run up on the beach of a deserted island and the people on the island need to figure out how to save themselves.

So the final season has wound down and our daughter has been picked up by another youth soccer club. This came after much discussion, debate as we made the move, went with our gut and fortunately it turned out to be the right decision.

The funny thing was that after we had made the decision we finally heard from our daughter’s coach. This call came as quite the surprise since we had never spoken with him on the phone and he chose not to interact much with us parents during the entire time that he coached our kids. He had been interacting with our daughter for 10 months but had never personally contacted or connected with us once. The problem was that his decision to connect with us came after the door was closed and locked.

The club director did realize there was an issue and even brought it to our attention, but he never addressed it by communicating or holding a parent meeting. He just didn’t understand the key to building bridges and I believe this eventually hurt the club since they decided to merge with a competing organization.

Our experience has been with youth soccer coaching is that the club soccer coaches who coach the ‘b teams’ are just not as committed, because the majority of the kids just aren’t that serious. This has been the case with five different coaches so I’m not giving a one-sided view. We tested four organizations over a three year period and the results were always the same.

My point here is that if the coach had more interaction with the parents, even an occasional hello, it would have made a difference. Instead he chose to call after the door was closed and locked. He never connected.

The director, associate director and club trainer were fantastic and that’s what kept us around. These three individuals connected with us thus making the overall experience a good one, even though the coach was in the background.

The coach can be a promoter and help move the club forward or be an introvert that collects a check. The coach can be a communicator who builds bridges with players and parents or simply chooses to stand alone not allowing anyone in his or her space.

It has been our experience that parents like communication and don’t like to be left out of the loop or on the side of the road.

What does all this youth sports and soccer talk have to do with your small business?

Here it is:

If you are going to retain customers then you best have a program or process in place that  gets the job done. Otherwise you might find a revolving door with customers(or players) coming and going on a continual basis.

This means that you need to cultivate, connect and continue to communicate with your customers(players) and subscribers (if you are marketing via email or direct mail) before, during and after each and every transaction.

Build bridges, make connections and constantly communicate with each and every customer (player and parent). It’s easier than you think and simple to manage, especially if you use an email auto responder and social media to do the heavy lifting.

So if you find your business needs a little help to better communicate, connect and develop long term relationships with clients, customers and subscribers – get in touch with the SmallBiz Mechanic. He May be able to help you build bridges and better connections.

Dave Krygier