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).
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Villa’s Flagler Housing wins national NAEH award


St. Joseph's Villa’s Flagler Housing & Homeless Services was one of three entities to earn the National Alliance to End Homelessness' Champion of Change Award. The awards were presented Nov. 17 during a ceremony at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

NAEH annually recognizes proven programs and significant achievements in ending child and family homelessness.

Flagler completed its transition from an on-campus shelter to the community-based model of rapid rehousing in 2013, and it was one of the nation's first rapid re-housing service providers to be certified by NAEH. > Read more.

RIR’s Christmas tree lighting rescheduled for Dec. 12


Richmond International Raceway's 13th annual Community Christmas tree lighting has been rescheduled from Dec. 6 to Monday, Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m., due to inclement weather expected on the original date.

Entertainment Dec. 12 will be provided by the Laburnum Elementary School choir and the Henrico High School Mighty Marching Warriors band. Tree decorations crafted by students from Laburnum Elementary School and L. Douglas Wilder Middle School will be on display. Hot chocolate and cookies will be supplied by the Henrico High School football boosters. > Read more.
Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Given the warm weather lately, Saturday’s RVA Polar Plunge Winter Fest, benefiting Special Olympics Virginia, might actually be enjoyable! Other weekend events you’re sure to enjoy include the 14th annual Richmond Kids Expo at the Richmond Raceway Complex, the Richmond Symphony and The Taters in concert at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, and the Richmond Ballet Minds in Motion Team XXL performing at the Henrico Theatre. This is also the last weekend to check out HATTheatre’s production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob.” For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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North Park Library will screen and discuss the film “Good Hair” (2009, PG-13) from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. “Good Hair” is Chris Rock’s comic exploration of the way hairstyles impact the activities, pocketbooks, relationships and self-esteem of the black community. For details, call 501-1970 or visit http://www.henricolibrary.org. Full text

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