Right around January 1st most of us begin assessing our business successes and failures of the past year, and formulating ideas and goals for the year to come. As a result, I’m willing to bet that somewhere around 90% are working towards goals and resolutions to get more customers and make more money. Now the trouble is deciding on an actionable PLAN to do just that – without tacking on my hours of work to your already busy days.
It amazes me that as I talk to professional and amateur cake decorators that so many of them see very little use to the Internet for their business. “My business isn’t online, and I can’t ship worldwide.” This is valid, but it definitely doesn’t mean the Internet can’t boost your local sales!
A quick (and true) case study:
A friend of mine opened a coffee shop in a historic part of town. The location was prime for it’s constant foot traffic and prestigious reputation. About 8 months after opening, however, she was seriously considering closing it’s doors. After speaking with her about her troubles, I found the coffee shop had never managed to make a profit since opening it’s doors, and the debt was becoming too much for her family to bear. When I asked how this was possible she said “No one really comes in…sometimes I wonder if they even know we’re here.”
It turns out no one did! After one day of placing a barista outside the door with free samples and fliers, it became very clear that people would be coming to the shop all the time if their attention was grabbed.
My next suggestions (being an online business person) was that she create a basic website, Facebook, and Twitter page for the coffee shop to get the word out about it. With the creation of these pages, and regular updates, her business began turning a profit quickly. In March the shop will be celebrating its third year in business!
The moral of the story is you are never too busy to work on your public relations – and in this day and age that means the having an online presence. It could be the little boost that your business (whether home-based or not) is in need of! As you think of that goal to get more customers, consider how many of them you are leaving out by NOT utilizing the online tools at your disposal.