Since we celebrated Memorial Day on Monday and kicked off summer, the team started discussing how micro businesses experience seasonal demand and how they account for it. For this edition of Micro Business Tips Thursday, we asked our Facebook community if their business relied on seasonal demand. Our favorite response came from Roger Taylor.
Roger says, “Some of our business is seasonal, we cater to the hikers and campers in the spring and summer, in the fall we cater to the hunters. We have been able to bring in more products for year round sale, however, everything we hand make for the most part is spring, summer, and fall. This has forced us to diversify our products for the late fall and winter months. So far it has been successful.”
What do YOU think? Do you diversify your products based on seasonal demand? Tell us in the comments section.
Bored with your traditional printed t-shirts, hoodies and hats? Looking for a way to refresh the look and feel of your company’s uniforms? Have you considered having your logo embroidered on polo shirts, hats and uniforms? If not, you should, because embroidery has never been easier to do.
The idea of embroidery might make you think of your grandmother tediously cross -stitching a flower onto a tablecloth or a pin cushion peppered with a variety of needles, but today there are many reasons why embroidered items are good for your business. To demand attention, small business owners can create custom apparel that has a professional look and feel.
In the past, small business owners that wanted a professional look and feel with their apparel products by utilizing embroidery struggled with high costs and long set up times. Now anyone can upload a custom image and have it stitched into a high quality garment quickly and for less.
A few things to look for as you evaluate your embroidery options:
- Online tools to design and order embroidered apparel products without having to pay set up or minimum purchase fees
- The ability to fully upload an image or logo online and have it automatically render into a fully stitched pattern
- Fast turnaround times
- High quality threads and fade-resistant fabric
Embroidered polo shirts, hats and hoodies are also great for gifts and giveaways. When a customer receives a personally embroidered gift it has a significant perceived value because of the high quality look and feel of the item. Next time you are looking for a way to stand out in the crowd, look professional with embroidered hats, polo shirts and jackets.
What would you have embroidered? Tell us in the comment section.
Happy Friday all! We hope you had a great week back after the Thanksgiving holiday last week (we’re still working through the turkey leftovers). There certainly is a lot going on within the small, micro business space as many businesses are ramping up for their busiest sales stretch of the year. While you were likely planning your holiday marketing strategy this week, we came across a series of small business articles we thought you may be interested in as you close up for the week. Issues from how negative commentary can be a positive for your business to the importance of building relationships are covered in this weeks roundup. We hope you have a safe and relaxing weekend!
Why Negativity Can Be Good for your Business Blog – Did you know that negative commentary can actually be a positive for your blog? Think about it from the consumer side, do you really want to see perfect reviews and feedback at every turn? Wouldn’t you feel better at least knowing there are some possible hiccups to be wary of? This recent Entrepreneur.com article takes a deeper look at why negativity is not always a bad thing, and how you handle those situations can help build stronger ties with your customers.
7 Blogs and Newsletters That Can Help You Sell a Business – For many of you, your micro business is your life and the thought of selling it has never crossed your mind. For others, usually called serial entrepreneurs, selling a business is the name of the game. For those interested in selling off their business, the New York Times has put together a list of seven websites that can help you make it a smoother process. Whether you are interested in selling or not, it may be a helpful article to bookmark on your computer.
Boston Beer Co.’s Jim Koch on Self Reliance – As many of you know, we like to share interesting entrepreneur stories that we come across. Entrepreneur.com this week featured the founder of the Boston Beer Company, Jim Koch, who left the financial world to follow his dream of owning his own brewery. Among a variety of intresting points made, we were drawn to Koch’s thoughts on competition. He states, “As a craft brewer in America, after 27 years we’ve (the craft beer industry) finally gotten to 1 percent market share, so my competition is not craft brewers because we’re all going to succeed or fail together.” It’s an interesting concept that micro businesses can take into their own thinking. A group of small business owners bound together are more effective to the overall good of the small business economy than competition among each other.
Why We’re Afraid to Talk Pricing – It’s an on-going issue that businesses of all sizes deal with on a day to day basis: pricing. No matter how well you market your product or service, or how efficiently you are at selling your business proposition to a potential customer, a few numbers ultimately can make or break your sale. In this SmallBizTrends.com piece, the author looks at different reasons why a business won’t provide those scary numbers and how your business can help get away from this phobia.
It’s Always Been About the Relationships – As many entrepreneurs can attest to, building a business starts with the relationships you form. What’s going to make your business stand out from the bigger box stores who will likely be able to win the price game. As this DuctTapeMarketing.com article notes, social media can be an effective tools towards building relationships with many potential customers while flexing your knowledge within your businesses industry.
In the spirit of the calendar turning pages into December and the holiday’s fast approaching, we were curious to find out how micro business owners were going to cut through the holiday “noise” and help keep their business top of mind. Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday among a variety of holiday sales, micro businesses can sometimes be lost in the shuffle. So for this week’s edition of Micro Business Tips Thursday, we asked the Vistaprint Facebook community: How do you keep on top of mind for customers over the holiday season?
While our response rate was low (we’ll chalk it up to busy holiday shoppers), we received a few great responses. However, we were drawn to the feedback provided by Clifton Castleman, who stated:
“A great way to stay on the minds of your customers is to not only advertise your business/products, but also do something that gives back to the community. Sponsor a charitable event or sponsor a food drive; something that puts your brand out there in a positive light!”
Click here to see all of this week’s responses.
Great idea Clifton! We love the idea of volunteering and fund raising to help build awareness for a micro business. Not only does it give back to those in need, but as Clifton mentioned, it places your micro business in a positive light.
So what tips would you offer to help keep your micro business top of mind during the busy holiday season? We’d love to keep the conversation going by hearing your answers below! And be sure to check back next Thursday for another edition of the Micro Business Tip Thursday!
If you are a micro business owner, you are likely familiar with the celebration of Small Business Saturday which kicked off its second year this past weekend. For those not familiar with the newly formed “holiday,” Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses
on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year (weekend after Thanksgiving). The day encourages consumers to think small as they plan the holiday gift buying and shop at their local, independently owned small businesses.
While you were likely busy planning your Small Business Saturday strategy in between Thanksgiving and family activities, you may have missed some great small business articles that came out. Here are a couple articles we found interesting from over the weekend:
Small Business Saturday – In this guest reporter piece in the Baltimore Sun, one woman relives how she spent her Small Business Saturday within the greater Baltimore area. Take a look at what small business specials stuck-out to this consumer, perhaps there is an idea that you can incorporate into your future marketing plans.
Next Year, Small Should Go Big – Do you think Small Business Saturday could be even bigger? This Portfolio.com article would agree with you. Take a look at how this reporter would change next years celebration to help get even more exposure. While we’re throwing out ideas on how to improve Small Business Saturday, we’d be interested to hear how you would improve the overall event. Please feel free to share your comments below!
Some small business owners fear holiday competition – As many small businesses are able to thrive in a down economy, the unfortunate reality is that many are failing for a variety of reasons. This recent KRMG.com piece looks at one flea market shop that is in the midst of hard times due to growing competition from new “big box” stores and consumers taking less advantage of small businesses. Who do you consider your biggest competitor? The big box stores, or other small businesses?
How One Entrepreneur Promotes ‘Cultural Commonality’ Through Tea – Outside of the obvious “generate revenue” and “be my own boss,” what do you want to get out of your micro business? For one entrepreneur, featured on Forbes.com, she wanted her tea shop to “promote international tea arts that enhances cultural commonality, health awareness and quality leisure.” Pretty impressive goals for a small business start-up. But the article showcases an important message that your micro business is exactly that, yours. You have the control to guide the business how you envision it and provide services with your own unique flair and creativity.
We’d be interested to hear how you spent your Small Business Saturday! Please share your comments below!
Happy Halloween all! As you may have read last week, we shared a list of a few Halloween marketing tips your micro business could utilize to help promote your business around this festive holiday. To get a better idea of what different entrepreneurs were doing, we went to our Vistaprint Facebook community and asked the following question: What creative ideas are you implementing to celebrate with your customers today?
Per usual, the entrepreneurs within our community shared some great ideas they have utilized. Here are a couple of our favorites:
“We are doing a trunk or treat in front of our store to give out treats and brochures. We also participated in our towns treat or treat this morning with the schools and daycares that come downtown. Great fun and great customer relations too.” – Jan B. Waller
“I run a small music studio. Over the past few weeks, my students have colored pictures which are now the decorations on my windows! Hopefully they all come by to trick or treat tonight and see their creations lit up!” – Amy Flamminio
“Pizzerias (or any business) can invite the public to visit your business on Halloween to receive a special “treat” and get a picture taken with your mascot (a costumed employee). You can then e-mail them a copy of their photo. Of course, you will need to get their email address to send them the photo and in doing so, you will be building your database so that you can email them throughout the year.” – Scott Anthony
Click here to see the rest of the feedback.
Be sure to keep your ideas coming as well as the feedback you receive from customers. In the meantime, please have a safe and fun Halloween!