Small Business Development Center
At Chemeketa Center for Business & Industry
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Monthly Archives: May 2009

Expressing the Uniqueness of Your Business

By Chemeketa SBDC

Marcia Bagnall

So, you think your business is unique? I’ll bet it is, but I’m also betting that you have a hard time expressing that in a compelling way. In a noteworthy way that grabs your customer’s attention and keeps it.

We get calls all the time from business owners who would like to know how to get the newspaper to run a press release or a business profile. We suggest that the journalists are always looking for something new. They’re wanting a fresh perspective or edgy angle to an old story. They’re looking for something unique and different.

“But our business is unique!” you say. “We have great customer service! And our products are top of the line!” And while this is wonderful, it also elicits a yawn from newspaper readers. There’s nothing new here.

Let’s say that you had an ice cream shop. One is pretty much like another, right? They all have chocolate and butter brickle and such. But what if you had flavors like “iguana” and “vampire bat” and other unusual flavors? Wouldn’t that make someone stop in their tracks? And, more importantly, remember you? (more…)

Networking – It’s a Good Idea for Your Business

By Chemeketa SBDC

Marcia Bagnall

When you hear the word “networking” what do you think of? I used to think it meant sleazy sales people trying to manipulate others into buying their junk. Boy was I wrong! Networking is really another way of saying you’re going to establish a mutually beneficial relationship with other business people and potential customers.

The key here is mutually beneficial. The relationship has to work for everyone concerned. It has to benefit everyone. And that sounds like a good thing to me.

So why do this? Well, networking with individuals and groups is a great way to become more attuned to the issues that affect you and your business. From your own managerial issues and questions to your customers – their needs, concerns, and preferences – you don’t have to be alone in your business. There are a lot of knowledgeable people out there, so tap into them. (more…)

SWOT Analysis: A Great Strategic Tool

By Chemeketa SBDC

Marcia Bagnall

You may have heard of a SWOT Analysis, it’s one of my favorite ways to look at strategic planning in my business. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

It’s a tool business owners can use to gauge what’s going on within their companies and then assess the environment outside of their companies. It’s easy to do, and well worth the time.

Here’s how it works. (more…)

Successful Customer Service

By Chemeketa SBDC

Jimmie Wilkins

In today’s economic environment, customer service is critical. Customer service is always critical but today – people are truly spending less and being very selective with whom they spend their precious dollar (and time). One of your greatest strengths will be your return (established) customer. Are they staying loyal? Are you doing everything you can to be sure they want to continue to do business with you?

It is my opinion that there is no level of customer expectation that is “too high”. If you discover or hear of an expectation that you consider outrageous or over-the-top of reality, examine it carefully. If it is a level that you simply cannot or will not meet, acknowledge that and see if there is an alternative to the expected or anticipated service. You cannot always provide the same level of attention to every customer – that is reality but you can strive to set the bar very high. (more…)