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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

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

Agencies combine on new entry point to Chickahominy


Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.

The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

New Italian restaurant opens in Short Pump

Charlottesville's Bella’s Restaurant recently opened a location in Short Pump Village, at 11408 West Broad Street. The restaurant is owned by Valeria Biesnti, a native of Rome who arrived in the U.S. at age 21 and later became a U.S. citizen. With her restaurants, Bisenti has sought to create an ambiance that welcomes diners in a casual setting, like her favorites from her hometown. > Read more.

Henrico native to appear on Travel Channel show


A Henrico native will appear on the third episode of the Travel Channel's new grilling competition series “American Grilled.”

The episode, filmed in Charlottesville, will premier July 16 at 9 p.m. and feature Glen Allen-native Rex Holmes, a patent lawyer who operates http://SavoryReviews.com a blo,g centered around tasty recipes and BBQ.

The show features hardcore grilling enthusiasts from across the country going head-to-head for a chance to compete for a $10,000 cash prize and bragging rights when they are crowned the ultimate “grill master.” > Read more.

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