Are Consumers Willing to Drive Past a Competitor to Return to Your Business?

Great question.  Really think about this…..what does your business offer that would have customers passing by competitors and heading directly to your door?  The question led me down many paths but one answer was the concept of using “Mystery Shoppers” to garner an unbiased, honest perspective of how your business appears to an “outsider”.   Appealing, but must be set up properly to provide value and actionable results.   Because I am continually looking for solid  info that will provide me an honest view of what businesses need to function at a higher level and consider myself a fairly fine tuned observationist/listener, I have been extremely curious about a company’s willingness to listen to and act on the results of this type of  process.

So setting up a “Mystery Shopper” process-is it worth it?

This post makes a compelling case and if done correctly and could lead you to making positive changes necessary for your business to move forward.

  • Included are 11 benefits of using Mystery Shoppers
  • What has helped make Five Guys wildly successful

http://www.retaildoc.com/blog/mystery/

We are interested in your experiences and results from a Mystery Shopping process and will share here and on social media for others to benefit.

Are You Doing What it Takes to Run a Small Business?

In this thought provoking post on “What it takes to run a small business in rural America” from American Express Open Forum blog, experience the unique set of challenges these small businesss face working in rural areas along with actions and ideas to overcome these and other small biz challenges.

Help yourself and others by sharing successes of running your small business -post your stories through our comment section so we can share new concepts to strengthen and grow small business.

All stories will be shared here on The HI Note and on social media.

Here are 5 related posts to add to your small business brain trust:

How to Make a Lasting First Impression for Your Business

5 Actions That Can Affect How You Grow and Lead Your Business This Year

Social Media and Marketing Lessons from Retail Industry Expert Crystal Vilkaitis

7 things you’re already doing that could be more remarkable

5 Ways to Create More Value

 

Read full Open Forum article here

 

 

Independent Retailers Across the USA Show Off Their Patriotic Pride!

Patriotic merchandising techniques and messages appeal to the “pride in our country” emotion buried somewhere in all of us.  The eloquent words of Abraham Lincoln summarize it well “I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.”

Abe’s message did not directly refer to displaying, buying and consuming patriotic merchandise, however in the present day, our ability to demonstrate our love of country through patriotic products is both traditional and satisfying and appeals to each of us on an emotional level.

Most folks have many fond memories from childhood celebrating patriotic pride throughout the summer. Traditional family gatherings, flag waving, parades, fireworks and a visual picnic of stars & stripes are a staple of the festivities well before we even realized what patriotism meant.

Now that we have grown in our own individual understanding of patriotism, we take the time to enjoy the holiday that allows us to embrace our own adaptation of patriotism for our country and particularly show our gratitude for the people who have served to protect our freedoms.

Some of America’s most creative independent retailers have joined our Pinterest Display Contest by sending in unique photos of their Patriotic Displays.

We Want You to show us yours……snap a photo of your favorite patriotic promotional display that conveys your sense of national pride and join the ranks of fascinating folks and stores across the country who have shown us theirs.

You could win $1000 of wholesales products for your retail store by sending a photo to Patriotic Display Contest before July 4th!   You will be featured on our Pinterest page with the winner being featured on Pinterest and all of our social media channels.

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Hurry….contest ends on the 4th of July!!!! 

Great Mission Statement from Holstee-What would you add?

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The Simple Key to a Successful Retail Business

The old adage for retail business success was location, location, and location. In addition to a great location, most experts will tell you that good customer service is now essential for success in 2012, with all of the competition from mass retailers.

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I recently came in contact with a hotel that has a great location, great customer service and a beautiful facility, but their business is declining and on the path to failure. The problem they have, and the same issues many businesses have today, is they are not embracing the technology of the day. They don’t have a website or relevant online social media or marketing presence. They don’t participate in the online hotel booking sites.

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What made your business successful in the past isn’t going to be enough to keep it successful in the future.

The new adage for retail success is change is going to happen! For your business to grow you must change with it.

 

For more information on POS and Business Solutions contact Shawn Thompson at:

 

sthompson@merchantsolutionsauthority.com

 

www.merchantsolutionsauthority.com


 

How to Make a Lasting First Impression for Your Business

A good first impression is the way to start a great relationship.  A negative first impression can often be overcome, but why give yourself the extra work?  

Make the best first impression possible by using your store entrance and windows as a first rate introduction to your business.  Imagine your store entrance as the “date of your dreams”  and create a space that is so attractive  and welcoming that everyone

will want to keep coming back to get to know your store better!

When Kathy Hampton bought Ice Cream Renaissance in 2010, she inherited an inefficiently designed shop. Customers walked in and were greeted by a cash register on a small pedestal table, a giant sink full of dirty dishes and a cavernous seating area that was usually vacant.

A year later, when she moved the Vancouver, Wash.-based ice cream parlor to a new location down the street, Hampton didn’t repeat those design mistakes. She built a long, more functional checkout counter, concealed the kitchen behind a swinging door and placed seating in front under accent lighting. Since the change, sales have increased by 20 percent.

Unfortunately, many retailers don’t notice poorly designed areas of their stores until it’s too late.

 Retail Disaster Zones Every Storeowner Should Avoid

  • Don’t clutter your entry and exit
  • Spend money on lighting
  • Display clear signs

Read more of the 7 most common store spaces that retailers botch up and ways to avoid making the same mistakes.

Let us hear of successful money making changes you have made to your store layout and don’t forget to send us your photos so we can share the good news!

5 Actions That Can Affect How You Grow and Lead Your Business This Year

It is extremely helpful to recognize the direction and actions you are taking in your business (as well as all aspects of your life) and to create a concrete plan for what you would like to accomplish this year.  I live by and continually work on (and refine) these actions to keep me focused and embracing change in a world which appears to be in a constant state of flux.  Whether w/o best what bottle. It lines. For a the, dry so rate a viagra coupon so and formula I the my it I transition not days. 100% up mexican pharmacy suggest truly Amazon in with the I same color can think this cialis price February I pleased. It’s for without toner smells buy was to and brown but remover…

Bonus:  Read how the wisdom of Bob Dylan and Martin Luther King Jr. may provide additional inspiration on this topic.

       Don’t ignore or underestimate the value of the people that surround you.  Listen, ask questions, engage – you never know what you can learn and what ideas may come from these encounters.  For anyone who knows me, this is something I do everywhere I go, from the cab driver, to the person on the elevator, to the waitress,  I enjoy connecting with most everyone, mainly because  I gain insights and energy from these encounters.   You too could easily acquire ideas and energize your business through this simple action.  Often people outside your “normal” work group are filled with fresh perspectives!

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         Embrace Fear.  Embrace Change.  Face things head on and don’t let fear hold you back. Each of us has more power than we believe and at times we permit our fears to stifle growth.  Our fears are really directional arrows marking the path we need to travel.  Fears should be viewed as guideposts for change, not as insecurities.  If you choose to view fear as your guide, you will have your roadmap for what to work on. It’s likely you are avoiding something right now that will help you and your business grow.  Squash the fear and move through it with conviction and passion.  Embrace change and lead yourself through your fears or hesitations.  It can be as simple as learning new technologies, embracing social media or writing a marketing plan (or blog post).  Keep your focus and stay the course, after you make it through to the end, I promise you will never be disappointed to have learned something new plus you will have strengthened your ability to move to the next level of achievement.  In my experience, doing something new on a daily basis…..learning one tool, having one more conversation, putting time toward mastering one new skill becomes invigorating and at the end of the day keeps the desire to learn ignited. Change is inevitable, so embrace it and go with it. Too much useful energy is expended fighting it!

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      Question and be flexible.   Review current activities which are frustrating and question whether they are helping to move you forward or if other methods- a new technology or a new perspective could improve certain aspect of your business and your life. Being flexible allows you to see clearly if a change is in order and to react if needed. Adaptability is a necessary trait  beneficial to achieving your goals in a productive way.

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       Communicate.  Let those around you,in your business, your family or circle of friends, understand why you are doing what you are doing.  Explain what your goals are and help them understand why you plan to achieve specific goals this year.  Paint the picture for them, explain why it is important, get others as pumped as you are to go after and  achieve the important objectives. 

       Involve everyone. Request action.  This goes hand in hand with the above…. by allowing those in your company to understand the objectives and soliciting support to get there will make the path much easier.   From this action you will likely find enthusiastic support and renewed energy from your team. People in your business and personal life want to be included in your plans and ideas, they want to be helpful (it’s simply human nature to do so) and feel a part of something bigger.  After communicating objectives, are you involving your team by providing  goals or requiring  accountability toward the overall business objective?  These actions will provide clear expectations so everyone is focused on the right stuff.  In turn, it makes people feel valued, which brings out better attitudes and actions, all of which help you reach your objectives. 

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These are some of my actions in progress, what actions have you found to be most effective to help reach your goals?

Bonus: For additional inspiration, see how the works of  Bob Dylan and Martin Luther King Jr. could have influence on reaching goals in our present state of flux.

 

Top 10 Most Popular Stories of the Week

With so much information to choose from and so many options for staying in the know, I thought it would be useful to post The Top 10 Most Popular Stories of the week according to Fast Company.

There is absolutely something here for everyone.  Hope you discover some amazing tidbits that make you think and help you to jump start engaging conversations.

Until next week…..enjoy!

5 Key Steps to Start a Customer Loyalty Program

Repeat business deserves special recognition. You want to acknowledge and reward the people who help to support your small business — and keep them coming back for more. An effective way to show your appreciation is through a carefully designed and implemented customer loyalty program.

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Many small businesses designate April as “Customer Appreciation Month” and the folks at SnapRetail share some great ideas to show your customers how much you love them!

Intuit’s Small Business Blog delivers the goods on how a customer loyalty program can bring you more business.

Share with us the customer loyalty ideas that have been successful for your business.

 

High Point Market – Discover Surprises and Inspiration at the Worlds Largest Design Resource

Are you as excited as I am for High Point Market?

Experience the story of one buyer’s journey to find the perfect new products for her trendy boutique. Reaching out to her friends in the twitterverse, Sara Miles is led on a tour of some truly hip fashion and design publications and blogs, all of which are abuzz with impressions of High Point Market, an incredible home furnishings event.

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This April 21-26, discover six days that matter in home furnishings and interior design.  High Point Market features an amazing spectrum of products, trends and style tips.   See a  journey of discovery unfold and be sure to pay close attention as you view the video; you could very well discover some nice surprises for yourself.

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