4 Keynotes for Small & Local Business Owners in the Digital Era

Living in Platteville, WI (11,000 population), I feel sad when I see shops on the main street or in some other nearby towns open and close. Except for a few restaurants, those streets usually look blank and bleak after 3 p.m. everyday. It is not much better in big cities either, the digital transformation creates more ghost malls. It is just not easy for everybody.

It is a time of “危机,” the Chinese term for crisis. “危” means “risk, dangerous; and something you must to deal with right away, otherwise the bad fortune will fall on you.” “机” means “opportunity, the turning point.”

I always believe that Out of Crisis Come Opportunities. By embracing the hardship that they face while understanding the essential foundations for their business, taking the right measures, small and local business owners can make the best out of this drag.

Here is the plan:

  1. Understanding Yourself

  • Your strength
  • What aspects you can still improve
  • What specialty you can offer to the local community
  1. Understanding the Local Market

  • What you just cannot compete with the e-commerce, don’t waste energy on it
  • Conducting demographic analysis
  • Conducting psychographic analysis, (especially the interest that has the majority of the town followed, things/trends, services that people are willing to pay for it.)
  • This business will make you the first and only kind in the radius of 50 miles. 
  1. Offering Excellent Service Constantly, Because It Will

  • Gives the impression to the customers that your business is trustworthy
  • Your knock-the-socks-off service/product is the first thing they remember when they need it

It is not hard to do a thing excellent one time; it is hard to keep the same quality all the time. For example, my goal is to produce a blog entry on a regularly basis, and with same quality for a year.

                                   What is your first goal to accomplish?

  1. Making Friends and Conducting Effective Communication Online

  • Adding more friends on social media
  • Subscribing to their feeds
  • Paying attention to their likes
  • Initiating meaningful conversations once in a while
  • Sharing touchy personal stories of your customers who receive services
  • Constantly improve your service/product by listening
  • Sincerely apologize to anyone of the customers whom you fail to deliver the expected product/service, in person and on social media

Although you don’t need to do a thorough sentiment analysis, which is more for bigger size companies; what you need is to pay attention while your friends or customers complain, leave either good or bad reviews online. It can be about your business; it can also be about other business in the same industry or others. Anything related to customer services, management, how other companies react/deal with negative reviews or complains.

Learn from all those. By listening carefully, you are improving to prove your valuable existence, which eventually leads to success.




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