“There is less to fear from outside competition than from inside inefficiency, discourtesy, and bad service.”
“A satisfied customer is the best advertisement.” — Anonymous American sayings
Tina Valentino is the Editor/Publisher
Marketing. I must confess that I did not watch the State of the Union message. From some vantage points, I actually know and feel more than the President of the United States. I was never good at math but I do know that trillions are way too much. The President — and the Governor for that matter — have no idea that the cost of operating my small business, for example, has become oppressive. The Federal and State and County taxes, the increased cost of printing, gasoline, postage, licenses, permits, annual fees and changing technology are staggering, with little relief in sight. Because I can empathize, one of the many things that distinguishes Neighbors from other publications is that we go above and beyond to promote our advertisers, whether they be small storefronts or corporate giants. By word of mouth, at various Chamber meetings and networking events, through e-blasts, our Facebook page and monthly e-mails that resemble mini newsletters, I make it my business to promote their businesses. Their advertising floats this boat and keeps the magazine not just circulating — but free.
Business owners worry well beyond the hours of 9 to 5. Every day when I am out on the road, I hear the same stories: business is slow, numbers are down, lay offs are up and unemployment is high. Over the last decade, I dare say I have learned more about business and marketing than any university can teach; owners should seriously consider taking a closer look at their businesses from a consumer’s point of view rather than clinging to the hyped-up verbiage of any politician’s speech and losing sleep over advances in China. As the anonymous saying goes, there is less to fear from outside competition than from inside inefficiency, discourtesy, and bad service.
Ripe with simple ideas, I offer my State of the Onion address to moaning business owners who stink at utilizing the marketing tools that cost them nothing. Your ad in Neighbors is working — it’s that long face that greets people at the door instead of a smile that turns customers away. When I order soup “to go” and get three forks, Ranch dressing and no spoon, it turns people off. When you can’t take the time to shovel and sprinkle salt around your business in the winter, people will find somewhere else to spend their money. When a live person simply cannot be reached even after tolerating every language and exhausting every option, your business will suffer.
When I ask for no garlic only to get a mouthful, I won’t be back. When your business decor is comprised of mismatched tables and chairs, wobbly stools and drapery that looks like an old prop from the Carol Burnett Show, it’s time to subscribe to HGTV. If you have a business on North Avenue and an 8 x 10 sign in the window promoting a good deal, know that it definitely will not be read by the thousands of cars traveling on this busy state highway. Call us instead. Further, if you price gouge, bounce checks, blow off emails, messages and invoices and think your time is more valuable than anyone else’s, you might make a better employee. No one can be all things to all people but for businesses to thrive and prosper, especially in the current climate, consider this free marketing strategy: invest in yourself.