Archives for June 2011

5 Must Have Personality Traits for Small Business Owners

Small business ownership is not for everyone. It takes a special human being to own a small business and be successful at it. However, many people jump into small business without giving much thought to what is required to succeed. Their decision is based on the myths that exist out there about owning a small business.
Before you start down the path of small business ownership you need to think long and hard to see if you have what it takes to be a small business owner. While Some people consider online MBA programs to gain business knowledge it also helps to have these personality traits for success as small business owner. We regularly talk to number of colleagues and clients who themselves are small business owners to understand what personal traits make a successful small business owner. Based on this as well as our own experience as small business owners we have come up with 5 traits every successful small business owner needs. Here they are:
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How to Convert Free Samples into Sales

Having free samples as part of a marketing strategy is a must for all small businesses irrespective of size or industry. The reason is simple – free samples allow them to reach new customers and introduce new products at lower cost. In an earlier post we showed how small businesses can go about running a successful free sample program.
The ultimate goal of giving out free sample is to convert those customers into paying ones leading to improved sales and profit. That’s why it is important not to work out a plan to achieve this goal as you roll out the free sample program. Here are some tips to make the program successful.
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How to Run Successful Free Sample Program

In the previous post we discussed why giving out free samples needs to be part of marketing strategy for every small business. There are number of benefits small business owners can obtain by giving out samples to existing and new customers. The key to achieving these benefits is to execute the program well. You have to ensure that you reach out to target it to the customers you want to attract. Give out free samples to anyone and everyone and you will waste your money without reaping proper benefits.
To successfully run the sample program you should aim to reach maximum number of potential customers in your target market. You also need to look into getting recommendations from influential people that your target customers admire. Here are some suggestions to make that happen.
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Why Free Samples should be part of your Marketing Strategy

Free samples are everywhere! Walk into any mall or store and you will find people handing out samples. Go to a grocery store… There are samples of coffee, cookies and many other things… Go to a mall department store… There are samples of perfumes for you to try… Even technology companies that do not have physical stores have got into the game with the so called “freemium” business model. They provide “samples” in the form of limited functionality product for you to “try”. If you want additional functionality you need to pay for it. Apple store is constantly buzzing with people sampling their latest gadgetry.
Samples are everywhere because they work. Customers love samples. It gives them opportunity to “try before they buy.” They don’t have to spend money on something new before figuring out if they will like it or not. It also lets them find new products that they didn’t know existed. With the number of product choices available to consumers increasing every day they do not have time to research all the new products before buying them. Samples provide them a way to uncover something new.
As you can see samples provide companies with an interesting marketing avenue to reach their customers. There are several ways small businesses can use free samples for effective marketing. The list below shows how you can use free samples for low-cost yet effective marketing.
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Ductz – Champion of Customer Service and Marketing

If you have been a regular reader of this blog you know that we are strong proponent of customer service and “non-traditional” marketing to improve sales and customer loyalty. We strongly believe that by paying attention to customer service and marketing with emphasis on fundamentals of products and services you can not only significantly improve sales but do so with lower marketing budget.
We are always on the lookout for companies that follow this approach and came across one such company last month at a customer service seminar at IKEA in Canton, MI where I was presenting. I met Dayn Benson, who is Director of Operations at air duct cleaning and HVAC restoration franchise called DUCTZ. Ductz has garnered number of accolades and experienced rapid growth in a short time after being founded in 2002. It was ranked No. 1 in its category by Entrepreneur magazine’s recently released 30th Annual Franchise 500.
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What do Running a Marathon and Small Business have in Common?

I am raising funds for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) by running the Chicago Marathon on October 9, 2011. The money raised will help with the research and support for Leukemia patients. You can find my fund raising page here, where you can also contribute money for Leukemia patients.
My conversations with the running coach and fellow runners have made me think about the similarities between running a marathon and operating a small business. Based on my past experience with owning and operating multi-unit franchise, I can see that there are number of things in common between the two. Both require significant up-front planning, both need persistence along the way and both need support group to cheer you to the finish line.
Let’s look at each of these similarities in detail.
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10 Marketing Acts that Generated Enormous Business Buzz

As we discussed earlier buzz marketing can help small business owners achieve high return on their marketing investment. We also showed you practical ideas that can generate buzz with your customer and community and improve your sales and customer loyalty. The primary ingredients required to create buzz are buzz-worthy products, suspense, conversation and scarcity.
Some companies have a knack for creating the buzz. Remember the TV commercial that Apple produced to introduce Macintosh computer. This is a must see commercial, along with host of other things Apple has done over the years. Besides Apple, number of other companies have generated buzz and made their brands famous by producing innovative, out-of-the-box stunts. Below are some of our favorites.
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15 Practical Ideas to Generate Buzz for Your Business

In the last post we talked about how buzz marketing can help small business owners stand out in the crowd and enable them to compete with large companies. Buzz marketing also helps lower marketing cost for small business owners because it costs less compared to traditional marketing avenues such as newspaper, radio or television.
The primary ingredients required to create buzz are buzz-worthy products, suspense, conversation and scarcity. In this post we provide you with practical tips you can use to generate buzz about your business. As you will see the key theme in each of these tips is doing something expected or even outrageous.
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How to Generate Buzz for Your Business

Buzz marketing, also known as viral marketing or work-of-mouth marketing has been the buzzword talked about in marketing circles for the last decade. Simply put, buzz marketing is about getting people to talk about your business by using unconventional marketing tactics. These days consumers’ ears and eyes are so inundated with marketing messages that it is difficult for small businesses to stand out and get noticed unless they do “something different.” This is where buzz marketing helps.
Buzz marketing not only helps businesses stand out from the crowd; but it does so by businesses having to spend less money than traditional marketing techniques such as newspaper ads or television and radio commercials.
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