Monday, October 31, 2016

Main Street News: October 31st

As every year, the stores are full of holiday merchandise…left over Halloween candy, Thanksgiving decorations and of course, Christmas ornaments. Here at the Main Street office, I and a great group of volunteers are planning for the upcoming Miracle on Front Street activities. Each year the community looks forward to events that weekend to gather with friends and family to share some holiday spirit, kick off the holidays and hold events in which we again can come together as a community.

A few weeks ago, I let you know of National Home-Based Business Week and encouraged you all to utilize those local home-based businesses and the products or services they offer.  Those independent business owners contribute to our economy in a variety of ways and need our support as we strive to build a strong local business base. We are looking for businesses to participate in the Home-Based Business Holiday Happenings event that is held on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 9:00 am-12 Noon. It’s a great way for a business to get their name out there and display their products for purchase or in some cases customers can order in plenty of time for gift giving. There’s always something unique and it helps many people with their shopping check list. This event is held in conjunction with the Breakfast with Santa. Over 150 children and their families attend each year! If you are a home-based business owner and would like to participate, please contact me and I’ll fill you in on the details. While we do have extensive lists that we utilize, we can’t possibly know everyone’s business venture. We rely on input from everyone in the community to make this holiday celebration a special time for our residents. New businesses are popping up every week in the ever changing realm of home based businesses. We look forward to this event to help them grow and prosper and to showcase them to the public. And help our residents get some of their Christmas shopping done too.

Together we can make this a meaningful Christmas season. Watch this column and other community publicity for ongoing information about the Miracle on Front Street event. Join your friends and neighbors as well as the Main Street Program in beginning this season by participating in those activities. Let’s make this year a shining example of community holiday cheer. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Main Street News: October 24th

Marketing. It can be a very scary and costly word for most businesses, especially in a small town like Barnesville. Running a small business in a small town, comes with its own unique challenges. Spending one-on-one time with clients and customers is crucial when it comes to promoting your business in a small town. Since communities like ours are often tight-knit in rural areas, residents of these small towns rely on word of mouth from friends and family. Word of mouth is the oldest method of marketing and is a highly trusted way to promote your business. In fact, members of small communities may feel more inclined to give your business or brand a try based on what someone they know says rather than reading an advertisement or searching on the internet. Being a small business in a small town gives you the benefit of having a personal relationship with each of your customers. Although word of mouth marketing is one of the cheapest and highly successful, sometimes you need to do a little more. That is why it is important to tailor your marketing plan to the culture of the community and the residents where you’re setting up shop. That could mean a number of possibilities. You can learn more at our “Let’s Talk About Marketing” lunch this Thursday, October 27th on the 2nd floor of the Wells Fargo Bank from 12-1 pm. The cost is $5 and includes a delicious lunch. Take advantage of this great opportunity to learn some tips on low-cost marketing and hear what is working for other businesses and organizations in town!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Main Street News: October 17th

At Main Street, we are always planning ahead and this month is no different. It is the time of year when the Main Street Program reaches out to organizations for information about their group to help put together the Barney Board for 2016.

Now thinking that far ahead is interesting when most of us are trying to function with today’s issues let alone next year! But nevertheless, requests for dates of events and regular monthly meeting schedules were mailed recently to many organizations and groups. Be sure to take a moment to fill them out and return to my office. We want to include as much as we can on this publication. So many groups use it all year long to assist in planning those sudden things that come up or when looking at proposing a date for meetings. 

The Barney Board is distributed free of charge. We deliver to businesses and organizations in January and many do post them. Barney Boards are added to the Welcome Bags for new residents and we always keep some in the office for anyone to pick up.  It is also posted on the City of Barnesville’s website.

We are a small community that depends on each other for support and civic groups are no exception.  Often times those that volunteer and conduct their group’s efforts are also volunteering for other organizations. Try as hard as I have, I haven’t found a way to split myself in 2 or 3 parts to be able to attend and participate in multiple events. I don’t think anyone else has mastered this. If you have, please let me in on your secret! The Barney Board can certainly help with doubling up on schedules for those who are planning events.

Like all things, information put out is only as good as the information being put in. That means we appreciate those of you in organizations that do utilize the Barney Board. We need your input! If you are a member of an organization that received a letter, don’t forget to send it back. If you were missed or are a newly formed group wanting to list something, just give me a call at 354-2479 and share that with me.  We would love to fill the Barney Board up again this year.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Main Street News: October 10

This week is National Home-Based Business Week. It is a week to recognize and celebrate the entrepreneurship that we can see evident in small town America. More than 20 million people nationwide operate a home based business. Although started for a variety of reasons, all play a large role in today’s economy. Some businesses may be the sole occupation for the owners and others may be an additional income for them. Perhaps they have wanted to be “their own boss”, or saw a niche that they could fill. Perhaps those owners have a talent that they can turn into a business. It is however a form of business that is not for everyone. One must be self-disciplined, creative, resourceful, and knowledgeable in their field while possessing business savvy. As in anything, those individuals wishing to be successful with their home-based business must work hard at it.

Locally, we have a number of home-based businesses that we have come to rely on. Please take a moment to thank them for the services and products they offer. Many of these people have chosen to invest in the Main Street Program with their membership dollars and by participating in some of our events throughout the year. As I think about those home-based businesses and their efforts to remain a viable part of our economy, I too think of our many local businesses owners and ask you as a consumer to consider this:

When you buy from a Mom or Pop business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home. You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, a mom or dad put food on the table, a family pay a mortgage or a student pay for college. You are that company’s shareholders and they strive to make you happy. 

Thank you for supporting small businesses in Barnesville and the effort of entrepreneurship that they represent. Don’t hesitate to contact one of our Main Street Program’s Home-Based business members.  They welcome your patronage.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Main Street News: October 3rd

It is inevitable. We have all had the experience of both good and bad service. Whether it’s checking out at a retail store or maybe sitting at a restaurant. A specific experience is probably replaying through your head right now, because it is something many don’t forget. It is hard for us to forget how people or businesses make us feel. Those feelings also get expressed to many others, like our family and friends. You also can’t forget about the internet these days! A simple post online can reach thousands of people, good or bad! A general rule of thumb in the business community is that when something bad happens, 10 people get told; when a good thing happens, 1 person gets told. Also, it never fails that some people like to complain or find fault.

Customers value good service. If a store sells their product for a few more dollars, but goes the extra mile to provide the buyer with the best customer experience they can. It is very likely that the customer will pay the extra few dollars instead of walking into the stores competitor to get a bargain. And when they are faced with choosing what store to go to next time, you can bet they will remember the great experience they had before.

Customers deserve good service. Without their support, a business certainly wouldn’t remain open for long. While I certainly have received bad service, I choose to focus on the good service.  It is so enjoyable to hear a sales clerk say “Thank You for Your Business” or “Have a Nice Day”.  But when they go further beyond politeness, it is really a treat.  I appreciate the extra help or advice or the follow through that I receive.  It is kind of like TLC not just from the employee, but the business itself.  Knowing that they think I’m more than a sale to them is important to me.

The first week of October marks National Customer Service Week.  It’s a week designated to celebrate Customer Service at its finest.  If you are an employer or an employee, think of ways that you can improve the service you give to your customers.  It could be as easy as a few words or as large as a change in your product line, service line or an arrangement of the physical space.  You have the power to improve the experience your customers have, and they will return again and again to do business with you.  If you are a customer, take a moment to let them know you appreciate a particular item or service that you received.   A regular customer means so much to the business owner. It strengthens not only their business, but the Barnesville business community here as a whole.

We have an advantage here in Barnesville. We know the people we are doing business with and know we are helping, not only them, but our local economy as well. Our businesses here in Barnesville are your neighbors and friends. They live here, work here, play here and do business here too.  We depend on each other to make our community thrive.