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The Entrepreneur’s Corner

How to market your small business
Ever heard someone say: “My business just needs more business, we just need more exposure.” 

Inevitably, they may get more exposure, but often, no more business. Exposure is necessary, but it does not translate into more business.

Often times “marketing” makes us think of corporate marketing plans, big budgets, and ads everywhere we turn. Small business owners have different needs, and need to scale their marketing efforts to strategies that can be effective without the big expenditures.

How can you use marketing to bring in more business? One of the first rules of marketing is that 80 percent of your business will come from people who already know you, or have done business with you before. So it makes perfect sense to tap into your database of clients first.

Step 1: Start by calling your 10 best clients to check and see how they’re doing. Ask how their summer went. The key here is not to sell them but for you to show that you care about them. Imagine if someone from a business you patronized called you because they genuinely took an interest in you. 

Step 2: Send a personalized letter (yes, on real stationary) saying: “Hello! I was just thinking about you, and hoping things are going well for you. I was reading this article and thought you might find it interesting, as I did. Remember; if you need anything don’t hesitate to give us a call. We appreciate your business.”  And be sure to include the article you mentioned.

Step 3: Send a newsletter that includes business articles, tips, valuable information or information about events that are going on locally. You could even invite your clients to write articles within their expertise for your newsletters. This offers them great exposure, and you will gain their gratitude for supporting them.

Step 4: Invite your clients and contacts to a fun event. Ideas are baseball games, concerts, a special client appreciation night or even a group dinner. Another idea is to invite them to a lunch seminar, where your best clients and their guests learn something of value to their business for only the cost of lunch.

Step 5: Invite a client or prospect to a group mixer or networking event, where you act like a host to your guest. You make an effort to introduce them to contacts that they might benefit from meeting.  People go to networking events to connect with people. Help them make connections, and in time, they will reward you with connections that will benefit you.

Step 6: Make sure that your marketing materials convey the message and professionalism you want. This includes business cards, brochures, your website, voicemail message, how your staff answers the phone, and even how welcoming you are to new clients. 

With a little planning you efforts will go a long way

Jim Roman is co-founder and president of Business Owners Institute, an educational institute dedicated to the development of business owners at all levels and all stages through an array of classes, courses and mentoring services. Contact him at (804) 938-TEAM, at http://www.boiva.com or at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
Community

Celebrating 106 years

Former Sandston resident Mildred Taylor celebrated her 106th birthday Aug. 9. Taylor, who now lives in Powhatan, is still a member of Sandston Baptist Church. She was visited the day after her birthday by several members of the church, who played for her a recording of the entire church membership singing happy birthday to her during worship. > Read more.

YMCA breaks ground for aquatic center

YMCA officials gathered last week to break ground on the new Tommy J. West Aquatic Center at the Shady Grove Family YMCA on Nuckols Road. The center, which will featured 7,600 square feet of competitive and recreational space, including water slides, play areas for children and warmer water for those with physical limitations, is the fourth phase of a $4 million expansion at the facility. West was president and CEO of Capital Interior Contractors and a founding member of the Central Virginia Region of the Virginia Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. > Read more.

Rotary donates to ‘Bright Beginnings’

The Sandston Rotary Club recently donated $1,000 to the Sandston YMCA for its Bright Beginnings program, which helps provide children in need with school supplies for the new school year. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Enjoy the final days of summer with comedian Guy Torry, the Sam’s Club National BBQ Tour or mystery writer Mary Miley Theobald at Twin Hickory Library. Another great way to welcome the beginning of fall is to check out the UR Spider Football season opener with man’s best friend. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Bottoms up

Short Pump brewery offers more than just beer
I am still (happily) thinking about my entire experience at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery last week. Knowing nothing about this new brewery out of Denver, I was leery of brew-pub in the heart of Short Pump Town Center – this is not what I’d usually think of as a perfect fit, and yet, it was.

The restaurant and craft brewery opened in early June and features 10 beers made by female brewmaster Becky Hammond (pictured). This is the restaurant’s second location in Virginia; the first is in Arlington. Behind glass walls, customers watched the beer brewing in massive steel barrels. For our up-and-coming beer region, it makes sense that Short Pump would jump on board.

As I walked up to the back of the mall near the comedy club, I was taken aback by what I saw: at the top of the stairs was an overflowing restaurant with outdoor seating, large umbrellas and dangling outdoor lights. > Read more.

Cultural Arts Center announces 2014 fall class schedule

The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen is now registering participants for its fall 2014 schedule of classes.

The center will offer more than 100 classes for children and adults, covering topicssuch as culinary arts, fiber arts, visual and performance arts and more. Instruction is structured to appeal to a wide range of abilities, from beginners to experts of all ages. Class sizes are kept small to ensure maximum benefit for participants with generally no more than 15 students. > Read more.

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Speaking Spirit Ministries, in collaboration with the Resource Workforce Centers, St. Joseph’s Villa, Bryant & Stratton College and Dress for Success, will present the Greater Henrico Job Fair from 9… Full text

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