Wyoming Business Tips for Oct. 9

October 3, 2011

A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Bruce Morse, WSBDC Region II director

(This question is answered by Rhonda Abrams, nationally-known speaker and columnist, and chief entrepreneur of the Planning Shop)

"There is lots of noise out there today about social media and I want to look into that for sure, but do you have some more conventional ideas for promotion?" Kerry, Sheridan

Don't be lured away from the tried and true in your small business. While glamour businesses and social media can be successful, down-to-earth ideas and tactics are often your best bet.

Here is a list of six practical tips:

  • Someone called from some place. That's what one of my editors, filling in on the phone, told my administrative assistant after she returned to her desk. While we all laughed at the message, it reminded us that we may be letting important messages slip through the cracks. After all, handling phone messages is a key part of business.
  • A website is a basic necessity. Surprisingly, a large number of small businesses still don't have a website -- a necessity as basic as a business card, whether you sell online or not. If you need a website, setting it up can be inexpensive and easy. Check out freebies at http://www.weebly.com/ and http://www.moonfruit.com.
  • Don't ignore the tried and true in marketing: Social media, search engine ads and mobile marketing. You can market your business in a lot of dynamic new ways, but hold on. Don't overlook one of the best ways to let people know about your business -- signs.
  • Go for gold, not for glamour. Often, when I speak to people who want to start a small business, they're interested in exciting choices -- photographer, writer, golf pro and so forth. But competition is fierce, and the monetary rewards can be small. Usually you can find gold -- and work you enjoy -- in more mundane industries.
  • How do you make your dreams come true? Dreaming is vital to starting your business, but you need concrete goals and a vision to succeed. Read the "dream scale" http://www.usatoday.com/money/smallbusiness/columnist/abrams/2011-03-31-small-business-vision_N.htm and then start thinking about your goals.
  • Rhonda's tip of the month: Don't underestimate the value of having a cup of coffee with someone. Any meeting might lead to something great.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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