Friday, January 16, 2015

Using social media

      Free daily tips, information, advice and ideas
      to help you better manage your small business.

     Social media offers many opportunities for small business. Using today's technology, your place of business can be at home or in the local coffee shop.

     I'm not just talking tablets and cell phones here. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to take advantage of social media today.

     Example: A woman once came to me for advice on starting up a business idea she had. It was the 1980s, and she had heard that magnets were being used to help speed recovery of sports injuries. She wanted to put magnets inside horse blankets so that horses could recover more rapidly after workouts, races, shows, and the like. I sent her off to do more market research by talking with prospective buyers. When she returned, she had orders in hand. Her business was self-funded from day one--no loan, no written business plan, no government help.

     It's one thing to use technology as a product basis. It's quite another thing to use the technological reach of today's social media. Think how far she could have reached today!

     Example: More recently, another woman came to me wondering how to turn her love of baking into a real business. She had baked brownies, scones and other goodies for years. She had been giving them away, providing treats to local gatherings, selling at local fairs and flea markets. I advised her to think of a bigger, more substantial market--corporate meetings, organizations holding seminars, spas and retreats, and the like. How to reach out? By using the many possibilities offered by social media. She put a basic website in place and began using social media with many pictures of her baked goodies. This was her sales force, along with an enthusiastic word of mouth referral network that developed. The UPS truck now comes to her place every day, loads up packages of baked goods, and delivers them all other the country. All this with no loan, no written business plan and no government help. 

     The social media of today can quickly turn a small business into a much larger one very quickly. Today, the lady uses her camera as much as she uses her oven. The pictures go up on social media and the orders come in. 

     Your small business can only grow as large as your business reach. Social media has turned the whole country into a local community.

     My personal experience starting up and growing small businesses goes back to 1972. That's when I left corporate America and established a business. Since then, I've had several. I can only imagine how much bigger the businesses would have grown had social media been available to me. Use it. It's easy.  

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