Sunday, January 10, 2016

Small Business Power Tip


Dominate Your Niche Online Then Move to Offline

IN THE EARLY part of this decade , I managed a Restaurant that attracted foodies looking for exotic, Asian dishes.  We were generating  a decent monthly income but due to the ‘exotic’ part, foot traffic wildly fluctuated.  In any given Sunday we could have barely two tables full or a busload of tourist barging in the front door, at any given minute.  Being a ‘family business idea’, our restaurant didn’t have solid systems to handle such large influxes of people.  We hear it all the time, “you are the best exotic Asian food in the area!”Even the local foodie magazine, agreed with the chorus of what people were saying.
Two problems started to arise:  Bad financials — cost analysis was deeply flawed and I was getting bored out of my mind waiting for customers.   
I’ve never been a patient kind of guy, I guess; classified as a ‘go-getter’ I like going after opportunities rather than waiting.  I view minutes sitting down and waiting as hours misspent.  I also believe in the importance and power of focus.

I can already hear people say, “then just find something to do while waiting.”  I did.  I didn’t literally waited and stared at the ceiling.  I would go at the backroom at do inventory, call suppliers, stock supplies,etc.  The problem with that ‘set of things to do’ is it might be productive but it’s not an effective way of taking a business to a higher level.  For that, you need strategic planning, face-to-face time with interested people, building relationships with companies who might be interested in bulk orders.  You need to build a system and more importantly, the time and resources to see it through.
It’s hard to do that when you’re waiting for the next customer to barge through the door.  So I went on a different direction and started a website Reno Homes.  That was in 2007, I’m really glad I made the leap.
With the reach and limitless leverage of internet, small businesses can now dominate their niche online just as well, if not more efficiently, as in a brick and mortar store.  There has never been a better time in the history of the world! (If you think I’m exaggerating, think about this: we are the last generation to experience life on planet earth without the world wide web.)

Some facts about small businesses and online marketing:
  • A large majority is unwilling to invest significant time and resource in building their online presence.  That’s why Google tried to buy an unprofitable, but local-centric business, for six billion dollars.
  •  I was a small business owner three times over.  We just didn’t have time to deal with ‘internet stuff’.  The urgent bullied us to forgetting the important.
  • In short, you have Google’s good graces.  Search engines, especially in the last two years, has tried to win small business owners  by giving them favor in their search results in the hopes of letting them see the benefit of search to their core business.
  • It doesn’t cost a lot to build an online presence.  But it takes time, consistency and initiative.  Don’t forget the older your site is the better.
The best thing is you can do a combination of Groupon-Living Social-Whatever-New-Coupon-Company, Twitter, Facebook, SEO online marketing campaigns.  Meaning, if you try out these avenues and do a bit of testing to see where you get results, you can leverage it to shoo-in traffic to you brick and mortar business.
Now, there simple is no reason, just to wait.  I just wish I knew this back then.

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