Lessons From Business Colleagues

Peer-to-peer learning

Photo (CC 2.0) by USDA, on Flickr

If you have been following our Power of Business effort, one thing has probably come to your attention. We believe in the power of peer-to-peer learning.

 

This week’s blog is story of a restaurant owner as he takes a bootstrap, or shoe-string, approach in developing his self-defined “community restaurant.” The restaurant focuses on serving local foods as much as possible. But, he notes the need to take the customers into account at all times plus knowing that, to remain viable over the long term, he must make the finances work as well.

The story,  “How I started My Business: North,” comes from Lucky Peach and can be found at: http://luckypeach.com/north-restaurant-providence-ri/

The owner identifies an untapped market that helped him spread the word about his business. 

I appreciated reading the last paragraph when he says, “We’re not a perfect restaurant…But we’re getting better…” Constant effort and creating an experience are two keys that will help him on the road to success. 

 

This story present our them found in most of our Friday 15 chats, in our educational series of Online Marketing z-mags have all highlighted, and discussed in many blog posts. That message is learning from business owners who have “been there and done that.”

Our message also can be found when other guests use information shared by the business owners they work with in a search for common threads leading to success and helping us to pull different ideas into a deeper, more comprehensive way of organizing and running a business.

Much can be learned from listening to your peers, whether or not they are in your specific industry. Join us as we help being these ideas to you.

Dr. James Barnes Talks Facebook and Facebook Ads

In our December Friday 15, Dr. James Barnes, Mississippi State University Extension, discussed Facebook and Facebook Ads for your business.

In her introduction of James and the topic, Jenny Nixon, moderator and Extension Educator with University of Nebraska, mentioned that 50% of people online have a Facebook account. This means potentially great opportunities by having your business on this social media platform.

In his chat, James mentioned the need to have your Facebook page up and running well before you started using any ads. Some of the components necessary include fresh and engaging content, good images, and changing, diversified content. He said that a 30-day calendar, at a minimum, of planned content was important.

Once a business owner gets ready to run ads, he or she need to know their budget, should start small, set goals and monitor the metrics, especially impressions, reach, and frequency. Also, there needs to be a consistent core message

Finally, Dr. Barnes mentioned that a business Facebook page cannot just be sell, sell, sell. There needs to be a flow of information, tips, contests, and other items that will keep people engaged.

You can find more resources about the Mississippi “Bricks to Clicks” effort including a variety of publications at: http://www.msbrickstoclicks.com/pubilcations.html . One specific publication looks at the economic benefits of Facebook marketing.

Dr. Barnes mentioned that the rules and opportunities for Facebook, and other social media platforms, are always changing. For example, Facebook has just recently added the opportunity to add a shopping cart on your Facebook page.

Facebook and Facebook ads can be a great marketing tool for your business. But like any other tool, it must be done right and an integrated part of the overall marketing plan.

 

Check Out Alabama Extension for Business Help

As you may have noticed, we occasionally take a trip to one of our Extension programs found across the country. Today we are headed to Alabama to check in with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES).  Gary Lemme, Director, is our guest blogger.

Alabama Cooperative Extension SystemOne of the components of ACES is it’s Economic Development Unit.  There you will find help on business growth and development , careers, community engagement, and tourism. The help offered comes through education and training, publications, videos, and a collection of resources.

One of the more recent efforts has been business round tables held at the county level. These are for both current and new businesses. They are done over the noon hour, a time when business owners can get away.

The round table programs use material from their YouTube Channel found in their Virtual Entrepreneur Center.

Gary comments that ACES views economic development reaching from the farm to Main Street and on to the industrial parks. All of this is viewed as a whole, as a continuum of economic growth and development.

The noon meetings have been well attended and have had great interaction.

If you live in Alabama, these meetings are a great opportunity to network and get answers to your questions. And if you are just traveling through, they would welcome your attendance.

Similar efforts can be found in other states. Of course, you also will want to attend the monthly Power of Business First Friday Chats, a 15-minute opportunity to learn and share each month at 11:15 am CT. Our first chat for 2016 will be February 5th .

Check out PowerofBusiness.net for more information.

What’s Your _______________? – Part 1

Question mark

Photo (CC 2.0) by Virtual EyeSee, on Flickr

It’s 2016. Let’s start by helping you get answers to your questions and building your professional network.

1st opportunity – Answer this question.

What’s the #1 question holding your business back?

 

Why do we ask? Because we want to hear from you, your questions and your answers. This post will be one of several future chances to provide your thoughts, ideas, issues and answers.

So the floor is open. Just respond in the comment section. Post your question or post how you handled such a situation. Or maybe you have some thoughts from an educational program or something you read or heard. Share, share, share. And don’t be afraid to discuss. Offer concerns and alternatives.

This is your space to share knowledge and build networks.

Our objectives at Power of Business are to:

  • Allow you to connect and build networks with other business owners and resource people
  • Get answers to your questions
  • Encourage you to share your success stories and tips for other owners based on your experiences
  • Learn where your colleagues go for resources

To achieve these requires hearing from you.

So get started. Be the first one to grab this opportunity.