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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

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Do the Bunny Hop over to Meadow Farm on Saturday for an introduction to all the farm animals there! An introduction to “Global Sounds” – featuring Japanese, Indonesian, West African, Indian, and Brazilian music and dance performances – can be found at the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond will also host the annual Spider spring game, as well as the inaugural Spiders Easter Egg Hunt. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Restaurant watch

Find out how your favorite dining establishments fared during their most recent inspections by the Virginia Department of Health. > Read more.

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

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For the young and the young of heart, recreational tree climbing is one of the fastest growing sports around. Professional arborists from Riverside Outfitters will present a program for ages… Full text

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