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Attention Local Businesses - Get With The Program - Establishing an Online Presence and How it Affects You

Updated on May 5, 2014

Hey Local Businesses, It's Your Wake Up Call. Answer It.

Let's be honest - while a Publix on every corner may be great, it's local businesses that really keep a city rich and thriving. Take a drive through any city on the map and you'll see that if there are a lot of "ghost" shopping malls, there's something missing.

Local businesses offer unique, different, and specialized services that big chain corporations just can't sometimes. This is something me and my team discuss almost all the time, and stress to our clients and potential future clients when they utilize our services.

Listen up Local Businesses - it's time to get with the program. This is your wake up call, and we strongly advise you ANSWER IT. At least three times a year I see great, AWESOME local businesses shut down. The harsh reality is they're not thinking creatively enough when it comes to their marketing and advertising. While old school methods such as WOM or word of mouth are time tested and proven, sometimes you've gotta switch up your game plan a bit.

Why? So you stay fresh, on top of your game. Like an athlete that constantly practices and stretches, local businesses need to understand that these days it's about more than just goodwill - but learning how to enhance that goodwill and use it more effectively.

I love seeing local businesses thrive more than I love discovering new, hard to find local spots that are just the epitome of hidden gems. So I'm creating this lens because I wanna share some valid points with you and every other small business owner the benefits and imperative URGE felt for keeping your business thriving like it is on your best days. Are you ready? Then read on...

Let's Start Out With a Story First... - Let's Add a Little Depth.

Italian Pizza at It's Finest.
Italian Pizza at It's Finest.

There's a certain pizza place I used to go almost religiously, I wouldn't go anywhere else. They were from Jersey, and had the BEST pizza in town - which is really saying something, considering unlike further up north, down south in Florida pizza places aren't really put on a high pedestal or considered something to rave about. My favorite pizza joint used to consistently wow and amaze me, keeping me coming back for more.

They didn't just do pizza either - they made badass philly subs, awesome wings, and were one of the few places in the area that served pizzas bigger than 18 inches - you know, the kind you have to carry out with care and push the door open with the back of your head in order to leave with.

They always used fresh ingredients, and in true Jersey fashion the guys were always friendly and there was always that one smart talking waitress that just kind of grew on you the more you became a regular.

The interior of the shop was great - clean, bright, stylish and had an amazing painting of the boardwalk. The only thing was that like many great places, finding where these guys were was a bit of a chore. It's not the fact that they were somewhere off the beaten track - no, they managed to seize real estate in one of the 5 biggest intersections known in the area.

It was the building they were in, and the sign they used to let people know they were there. The building itself when you drove past it was set back for parking purposes - where you could clearly see it was a strip mall but couldn't really see what stores were there. A bit of a minus but that wasn't the clincher. The clincher was, the sign these guys were using. Now if you've lived in New York or any place where pizza is a big but everyday thing, the sign may not have bothered you. But appealing to a different market and setting yourself apart from the rest of the franchise joints many Floridians just go to because they think "pizza is pizza," it was the worst thing they could've done.

So if you drove by, you could see the small strip mall menu listing all the establishments it had - the sign these guys used just said "PIZZA."

That's it.

PIZZA.

"Oh no." I thought, "Nonono, that's not good!" Now remember I really liked this place - I was a regular. I tried speaking to one of the guys about it while waiting for my sub sandwich one day:

"You know, you guys have really great food here...but, why do you just have PIZZA as your sign out on the billboard? You've got a great graphic logo to your storefront - why not put it on the billboard too so people driving by can see it? I think it'll attract a lot more business. Plus, there's another pizza place in the building next to you that has the same sign. It's a little confusing, just a heads up." He listened, but then casually shrugged it off with a smile, and a sort of "bugger off" type stare.

They had a website, but it was a simple bio on what the store was about - not really used too much for promos and offers.

Sad part is, no more than a month or so later, I found out the establishment went out of business, when I was calling in an order and the number said it was no longer in service, couldn't believe it so drove there myself and there it was "FOR LEASE."

These guys were struggling and had lost business because of a few simple fixes they could've easily remedied:

1. Their roadside sign. - WHY oh WHY did they NOT fix that sign? They could have had even MORE business.

2. Their address was geographically entered wrong in GPS mapping. - Meaning the other pizza place next to them (a greasy, dirty, hole in the wall type joint) was getting all the business. They didn't really have too much of a Google Places presence, and didn't give clear landmark indicators where they were located.

3. Their website. - WHY didn't they utilize their site for more promos, when so many people referenced it on places like Yelp and other restaurant locators to provide the place's contact number?

4. Their website again. - If places such as Domino's and Pizza Hut are getting into turning their pizza into being purchasable on the internet, why didn't they ride this wave too?

Just writing about the reasons why this place shut down still leaves me feeling a little sad...and the fact that even though advice offered wasn't taken makes me feel like I should've implored them a bit more. It's reasons like this why my team and I strongly believe in local businesses having an online presence, especially in the corporate dominated world we have today.

While there are many "cottage industry" businesses out there, I feel that because big corporations and chain businesses ARE staying current with the best ways to stay on top, this can make it difficult for the smaller guys out there if they too aren't making the effort (or have the know how).

I wanna tell you about one more place before we continue.

One of our team members, Carlye, mentioned she frequently goes to a local grocer in her city that specialize in stocking certain ingredients and products you can't find anywhere else, let alone at your chain branches such as Publix, Winn Dixie, and Walmart.

The place is about a mile from where she lives and for a good year she never even knew it existed - until she asked where she could find a store that had spices and ingredients for a meal she was making one night. When visiting I went to check out the store myself, and found AWESOME deals they had on many food items that you usually have to really put in some footwork to find in the common grocery store.

The store is so efficient that Carlye does all of her shopping there, and now only has to go to places such as Winn Dixie for a few odds and ends.

But she noticed one thing - they don't have a strong online presence, and the rely on flyers and WOM quite heavily. While word of mouth is a solid way to build trust and increase customers, there's still far more potential to it now that we live in a digital world with smartphones and plastic cards we can buy stuff with. This is where the wake up call comes into play.

Time to Get With The Program. - Time to Do More Than Just "Coast."

Step Up To The Plate and Make Your Business Something to Be Even More Proud of Than You Already Are Today.
Step Up To The Plate and Make Your Business Something to Be Even More Proud of Than You Already Are Today.

So here you are. Waiting for me to explain exactly what I mean by this "wake up call" I keep speaking of. I want to be straight forward with you - if you don't have an online presence established for your business or that online presence is lackluster and could do MORE, you're really missing out on some HUGE potential.

Local businesses deserve just as much respect and revenue as their bigger competitors, but the only way they're going to GET equal part in any of that is by staying sharp.

So let's say you've got a local business, and over the years you've built up a great reputation. You know your regulars on first name basis, what field of work they're in, even their kids names and when Jimmy had his last football game. You're sitting on a gold mine that you know will keep feeding your business for as long as that close-business relationship lasts or until your regular splits town.

KEY NOTE: You KNOW you have a gold mine...now most people would think if they have a gold mine, the next thing to do would be milk it for all it's worth - but not you, you're smarter than that (I hope). The same way we all know about the story of "The Goose That Laid The Golden Egg," is the same way you know to protect and take care of that gold mine with utmost carefulness and pride.

Now let's take those regulars and add them up - more than likely this is the majority of your customer base, and if it isn't then it's still a pretty good part of it. We all know speculation comes first when it comes to checking out a new business then purchasing later. You future customer wants to come to know your products and services, how you treat people, how accommodating you are, what deals you offer, and why your store stacks up against the rest.

This is where having an online presence comes into play. Not just having an online presence - but having an e-commerce online presence. My team and I believe in this so much it's why we created the Small Local Business Bundle (check it out in the Link Section Below) for anyone looking to take their local presence and spread it further than the natural word of mouth marketing that's been around for years.

Where you may not have the know how needed to keep up with the big players like Publix or Walmart, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, Dominos, Sports Authority, Best Buy, and literally hundreds of other big name companies out there, we DO...and we're here to HELP you. All you have to do is know your store from back to front - which naturally you do.

Having an online presence means getting more exposure than just someone mentioning you casually when something related to the industry you're in comes up in conversation. It's more than just saying "HEY, LOOK! OVER HERE! LOOK AT US!," but instead saying "Hey, so remember how you've been with us since the beginning? Well now we're making things easier for you - because just like how you keep coming back to us, we appreciate you just as much if not double."

I'm not talking about B.S., sterile, cookie cutter online presence either. I'm talking about an online presence that allows you to do what you wish you could do in the store but just haven't learned how to yet. An online presence where what you have isn't horridly user *un*friendly (read that again - UNFRIENDLY) to newcomers, but where it's just as inviting for newcomers and regulars alike. This is where a local business really thrives. Where it really sets itself apart from the pack and stands up to bigger companies shouting "Hey! I'm unique! I offer a great service! I offer great products! My customers love my store! And I'm not gonna roll over and die just because you've popped into the picture with all your millions in R&D money!"

So it's time to take a stand. Time to stop just saying "well, I mean I'm making alright money so that's good enough for me." It's not just about making "alright" money. It's about consistently thinking of new ways to better your store for your customers, even after you've passed the "launch" period of your business growth and now just find yourself lounging on the metaphorical waters of success. It's about both YOU and your CUSTOMERS floating on clouds. Why?

Because when you consistently find new ways to provide a better service to your customers, and get your name out there using smart, creative tactics, the money comes AUTOMATICALLY. Without you having to pull 16 hour days. Without you having to stress your head over Mrs. Gibbons retiring and moving out of state. And without you shaking in your boots because you just found out that new construction on a second Walmart is starting next year.

It's time to do more than just coast and hope for the best. Don't hope for the best. BE the best.

Are you ready to start? Then click the link below and invest in YOUR Small Local Business Bundle today - so you won't have to worry about tomorrow. Stop worrying, start doing. We'll guide you each step of the way.

As always...

Stay Awesome.

Rego's Life Store

Improve Your Lifestyle. Improve Yourself. This is Life. This is Rego's Life.

This is Your Wake Up Call. Time to Get Familiar with a Few Links. - Get to Work.

It's time for you to enhance your business with the same valor and vigor you had when you first started it. Start by clicking the links below and we'll help you every step of the way.

It's Time to Get Opinionated. - Let's Agree to Disagree.

What are your thoughts on this? Share them with us, and everyone else, too.

Do You Think Some of Your Favorite Local Businesses Having an Online Presence Would be Better?

Things We Love (and own) - All Things Tech Related Our Team Loves and Uses.

Here are some great pieces of technology that light up our day.

Logitech Speaker System Z323 with Subwoofer
Logitech Speaker System Z323 with Subwoofer

Sometimes, simplicity works best. For under $100, you can't go wrong here. Crisp quality and easy to use. Rego's personal favorite.

 
Canon MX472 Wireless All-In-One Inkjet Printer (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Canon MX472 Wireless All-In-One Inkjet Printer (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

For when you want both office and picture quality rolled into one. This is a personal favorite of Davis'.

 
Quirky PVP-1-WHT Pivot Power 6 Outlet Flexible Surge Protector Power Strip White/Blue
Quirky PVP-1-WHT Pivot Power 6 Outlet Flexible Surge Protector Power Strip White/Blue

Don't be a square. Or rectangle, for that matter. Carlye's personal favorite.

 
Vaultz Locking Laptop Case, Black (VZ01216)
Vaultz Locking Laptop Case, Black (VZ01216)

If you've ever wanted to feel like Bond. Rego's personal favorite.

 

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      regoslife 3 years ago

      @Dundiggity: Thanks. It's really our mission to bring back small mom and pop shops more and more for the benefit of their community. Start with one small community and it strengthens the whole County. Strengthen the county and it strengthens the city. Strengthen the city it strengthens the state, and eventually the entire country. The beauty of chain reactions. ;)

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      Dundiggity 3 years ago

      Much thought was put into this article. Small businesses local mom and pops do have options fromwhat you are saying.