It’s the final episode of Small Biz in :15 and it’s looking back at the year 2022
Check out this roundup of business experts who chatted with host Shawn Hessinger in the first 7 months of our show.
Guests on the show since the beginning have shared some amazing business advice and tips.
Check out the full show above or listen to it on the SoundCloud player below.
Ivana Taylor of DIY Marketer talks small business marketing post-Covid
In the very first episode, while the world was finally beginning to emerge from two years of shutdowns due to COVID-19, the show was dedicated to two surveys conducted by our sister site, Biz Sugar. The survey showed big changes in the way small business owners were reacting to the pandemic. For this interview, Small Business Trends talked with Ivana Taylor of DIY Marketers, who conducted both surveys.
When asked what she saw as the most startling result she saw in the Post Pandemic survey instead, as opposed to the prior before the pandemic, she said that business owners, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, freelancers, people like you, and people like me actually dealt with the pandemic.
She said that 43 to 44% of respondents said that their biggest challenge was sales in 2019. And that exact same number of people said it was marketing. These people are folks that are in your neighborhood. But by 2021, Ivana said there was a pivot and that respondents said that marketing was more of a challenge.
What happened? Did they suddenly say, “Oh, we’re going to advertise?” If you’re selling in person…if you’re a restaurant and people come into your door and buy stuff like a retailer or a restaurant or something, that is a sales function. I want more customers, customers coming in, but suddenly you don’t have people coming in. In-person is gone or significantly reduced. How do you create that transaction? You suddenly blip over into what we call marketing.
Ivana Taylor says she doesn’t think sales went away. She said she believes that “it just got reclassified.”
Mike Blumenthal explains why small businesses can’t ignore customer reviews
Mike Blumenthal said that he did some research several years ago that looked at the source of new leads for local businesses. He told us that the research indicated that somewhere between 75 to 95% of those new leads came from Google. And that the bulk of those new leads never made it to the small business website.
Mike told us that while it might be unpleasant, you just can’t ignore customer reviews if you want your small business to survive. He tells us what you say to the business who says, “You know what? I’m just not going to participate in review sites anymore. I’m just not going to pay any attention to it. It is just overwhelming to think about.”
He tells them,
“If you ignore reviews, you’re ignoring one of the best ways to find new customers. And you run the risk by not allowing all of your customers to give you a review of just the unhappy ones, leaving your review of Google, which is what’s likely to take place.”
Here are the highlights of his advice: 1) You can have just the really unhappy and really happy customers leave your site and head over to go to Google, or 2) You can encourage every customer to leave you a review, and 3) if you get an automated system, it shouldn’t be overwhelming. If you pick an automated system that’s sort of ethical in principle, they will take care of being in real compliance. You won’t have to worry about it too much in this case, but you should double-check when you sign up that they are.
On number three, Mike says that you put your email addresses or your SMS numbers in … then you set it up, and it just runs.
So, he says he doesn’t see any reason why a small business shouldn’t engage in reviews. He tells us, “I think they’re too critically important to your reputation. But I also think there’s a lot to be learned from reviews and a lot of information that you can use to improve. And any business that isn’t improving, it’s getting worse. And in this competitive world, that’s a surefire way not to succeed.”
Monique Johnson discusses the cost savings from virtual business events
In yet another episode about how the pandemic has changed the business landscape, Monique Johnson, founder of Live Business Lab and the Move Experience, explains how virtual business events can not only save you money but increase your reach in the post-pandemic world. You’ll find this discussion particularly inspiring.
Monique Johnson tells us, “As someone who hosts an in-person, they know that’s a lot of money – hotels with their union fees and all kind of different things – that is a lot of money. Even if it’s for a small, kind of like mastermind or round table in a conference room, you’ll be surprised how the expenses add up because you have to order a certain amount of food. I mean, there are so many different factors to think about.”
Monique says if you have a large enough budget where you don’t have to worry about it bothering your business or your bottom line…and if those two things are something that you feel that you’re strong or more adept with, go ahead and do the event in in-person.
But if you’re a complete newbie, or even if you aren’t a complete newbie, you want to introduce a new concept, right? Or a new philosophy or anything like that. The virtual is the way to go because of cost savings.
Now, granted, there is a cost with virtual events – like if you want to have high quality, then you need to invest in equipment, right? So there are those factors.
But again, it’s still like this compared to in-person and virtual. So, you still have to deal with some costs of software and other things… like how to get people involved, if you’re doing email marketing, I mean, Facebook ads, etc. There are so many different things, and you would use ads for both in-person and virtual. But again, with virtual, it’s a great kind of level playing field for anyone, no matter where they are in their business – or with how they’re delivering a specific type of content.
Lastly, Monique emphasizes,
“A virtual event is an opportunity to level the playing field for anyone to have a much larger impact. If you are someone, if you’re a leader who wants to impact thousands, hundreds, millions and billions, virtual events are the way to go.”
Rieva Lesonsky says don’t neglect the Millennial and Gen Z customers
Rieva Lesonsky, the CEO of GrowBiz Media/SmallBusinessCurrents, stopped by to chat with us about who these two growing groups are and what they really want from your business. You’ll find the answers to these questions both surprising and insightful as you plan for your business’s future.
Small Business Trends: “Are younger people absolutely going to shop online and never going to step into a retail store?
Rieva told us “no” since she thinks that is the group that led the surge back to retail. For them, shopping is a social activity, right? They don’t go into stores themselves. They go in with a group of people they’re trying stuff on. They’re sending pictures to other friends. It’s kind of a group fun activity. And so that group has embraced that, she says.
She goes on to say that they led the charge back to the stores because they felt they were younger and felt it was okay. You know, they were vaccinated. They weren’t worried about being exposed to anything, and they wanted to have fun again. And for them, fun is doing things that are packed. And so that’s a big thing that people overlook.
Another thing, restaurants, which are kind of retail, but kind of not, may need to change their business tactics to accommodate Gen Z. That’s because one of the generations that are huge in restaurants is Gen Z. They love to go out to eat. Many restaurant owners see some teens coming and say, “No, I don’t want you in my restaurant!” Still, they spend a lot of money.
Joel Libava says look beyond “the usual suspects” for your next franchise opportunity
Finally, if you’re a prospective franchisee, you may be surprised by this next segment. Joel Libava, The Franchise King recommends not to go with the usual suspects, such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, etc. when looking for that next franchise opportunity.
Joel went on to explain why you should take that approach:
- The first reason would be because there’s no territory left in your area. There’s no availability. There might be a Dunkin Donuts that’s half a mile down the road and another one that’s a mile and a half. The area might be sold out. They should look at young franchise concepts because it’s a way for them to get in on the ground floor. Also importantly, looking into a brand name franchise like Dunkin Donuts, Burger King or McDonald’s, doesn’t mean that there’s availability in your area. There may not be. There may be someone that owns the entire area, your county, or your zip code.
- The other reason is, “Boy, there’s nothing like having your first choice of territory,” he says. If you’re looking at a young franchise concept and there is none around, you can usually have your say in what territory you’d like and the franchise owner will be a little more open that way. As a matter of fact, you might even be able to get a little extra territory. Because if you’re a new franchise owner, the cool thing is that you could almost be a little bit entrepreneur-ish at the beginning because there might be only two or three franchises across the country or in the area. The owner is still kind of figuring stuff out. So you might say, “You know what, this coffee ground or this coffee style isn’t doing really good out here. How about if we tried this one instead of the franchise one? The franchise owner might be very open to that. Whereas if you were doing that with Dunkin Donuts, they’d say, “No, this is how it is. This is the coffee you serve. Here are the eight brands, eight types, and that’s what you do.”
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