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Wyoming Business Tips for March 15-21

March 11, 2021

A weekly look at issues facing Wyoming business owners and entrepreneurs from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

By Audrey Jansen, Shop Wyoming project manager, Wyoming SBDC Network

As part of the expanding services within the Wyoming SBDC Network’s CARES Act Recovery Program, a one-stop, e-commerce site, called Shop Wyoming, has been released for Wyoming entrepreneurs. This site allows customers to shop and check out from multiple Wyoming-grown businesses at once and will give retailers the opportunity to reach new and existing customers on a local and national scale all within one unique, state-centric platform. There is no cost to participate, and you’ll receive an in-depth training upon registration.

It’s easy to get started selling your products on www.shopwyoming.com. Simply register to become a client with the Wyoming SBDC Network at www.wyomingsbdc.org for no-cost, confidential training and advising.

After you apply and are approved to become a retailer on the Shop Wyoming platform, you can expect:

-- Individualized, no-cost, confidential assistance on how to get set up and start selling on this e-commerce platform.

-- Access to the Wyoming SBDC Network's new cache of product photography equipment.

-- Your very own page on the Shop Wyoming site where you can post products, brand messaging, and links to your business’s website and social media pages.

-- Free marketing as we actively promote the Shop Wyoming platform across social media, email marketing channels and throughout our statewide industry contacts. That's 8,000 social media followers and 9,000 email subscribers.

-- Ease of use. Shop Wyoming will handle all sales tax reporting and payment for the sales your business makes on the platform.

Here are some tips to help you find success on Shop Wyoming:

-- Create high-quality product photos. If you have the option to work with a professional photographer, that is a great route to take. Depending on your business, there might be a trade option that you can work out with someone local to make this more affordable. However, smartphones these days take beautiful photos under the right conditions, and we are here to help with our new photography kits that supply a backdrop and lighting that you can use in combination with your phone to take great product photos.

-- Identify what sets you apart and put it into words. This is often referred to as your value proposition and is essentially a statement that tells customers what you do and why it matters. A description of your business will be listed on your Shop Wyoming profile, and you’ll want something that is quick and compelling. Your Wyoming SBDC Network business adviser is a great resource for feedback as you work on crafting this.

-- Have your logo ready. A logo is an essential piece of your brand and allows you to start building brand awareness so that, when people see your logo, they remember you and what you do. If you don’t have a logo yet, reach out to your Wyoming SBDC Network business adviser for ideas about how to get one. There are a variety of options, such as working with a local graphic designer; using an online service, such as looka.com, fiverr.com or upwork.com; or leveraging grant and loan opportunities that might provide funding for projects like this.

-- Build your online reputation. As you prepare to start marketing your business online, you will need an online reputation. Often, customers first read reviews of businesses before purchasing from them to ensure that the businesses are trustworthy. You should have reviews enabled on Facebook and other relevant social media platforms, such as Yelp; create a Google My Business listing so customers can leave reviews there; and share testimonials on your business’s website. An online reputation is a crucial part of converting a browser into a customer by highlighting how happy your other customers have been.

For more information, visit www.shopwyoming.com, or email Jansen at audrey.jansen@uwyo.edu or call her at (307) 760-0298.

The Wyoming SBDC Network offers no-cost advising and technical assistance to help Wyoming entrepreneurs think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their business. In 2020 alone, the Wyoming SBDC Network helped Wyoming entrepreneurs start 95 new businesses; support 6,954 jobs; and bring a capital impact of $18 million to the state. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by UW with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council and funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email wsbdc@uwyo.edu, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY 82071-3922.

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