St. Louis Bi-State Region
Key to this process is hiring and training the best person for the job.“It’s been a passion of mine — making sure companies hire the right people for positions and do proper training. It’s a passion I hoped to bring to SCORE,” Brian says. Brian has done just that, applying his knowledge of lean management and processes to help green entrepreneurs focus and streamline their business ideas.As Brian says,“People have ideas, but in some cases, they’re not terribly specific or clear about what those are.They don’t know who their customers are.” This is where Brian’s skill set is especially helpful.“People will say,‘This product is for everyone.’ I remind them,‘Not everyone wants or needs it.’” Brian recalls one mentee who hoped to start a pet grooming service but hadn’t honed in on her target audience.To get her thinking about her clientele, Brian asked what she’d do if someone came in with a pet snake.“It got her to narrow down what kinds of pets the business would cater to, and it got her focused on dogs,” he describes.“Then, I asked if there were certain dogs they would cater to, and that got her to focus her services on specific breeds, which led her to who her specific customers are. Social media is segregated by different breeds, so the more you know about the type of dog your business caters to, the more you can zero in on that client.”
For another mentee, Brian got him focused on the type of logistics work his company would do.“There are all sorts of niches in logistics.You can’t just open a warehouse and expect people to come to you.You have to have a clear idea of what type of logistics work you’ll do and what type of customer you want,” Brian advised. In addition to helping people focus and realize their business ideas, Brian also brought the business model canvas — a simplified, more functional version of a traditional business plan that’s favored by SiliconValley startups — to SCORE St. Louis.“It focuses on developing the product and putting it in people’s hands for a constant feedback loop,” Brian shares.“It still has a lot of the same discipline as a formal business plan, but it’s more functional and action-based.” The business model canvas has been a boon to mentees,who often get stuck going through the 30-plus pages of a traditional business plan and to other mentors who sometimes feel limited by the traditional approach. Brian sums up the advice he gives mentees: “Start small.With the business model canvas, you put a product out, get feedback, and change it as needed. It’s a constant innovation-change loop until people love your product.”
W e’ve been fortunate to have Brian Dreckshage as a mentor with SCORE St. Louis for the last five years. In this time, he’s brought his business insight and a refreshingly slimmed down approach to business planning to his enterprising mentees. The lean approach is just what Brian spent his career honing. He worked as a consultant, providing companies with his expertise on streamlining operations and supply chain management.“If you don’t have a good handle on how you control inventory and distribution, you’re missing out on a lot of cost-saving opportunities,” Brian describes.“If you don’t do inventory management and purchasing well, you’re leaving money on the table.”
That’s just what our entrepreneurs are aiming for.
Keep UpWith the Big Businesses 3 Tech Trends to Accelerate Your Company
The line between technologies that are beneficial for large businesses and those beneficial for small businesses continues to blur.While the latest software programs were once only available to large companies that could afford them, some of these programs have also become available and profitable for small businesses to use. In an age of increasing connectivity, these are a few tech trends that small businesses should watch out for.
While marketing on Facebook and Instagram might seem like old news, marketing on trendier apps, like TikTok, Pinterest, or Snapchat, can still work to your business’s benefit.A recent study showed that 45% of consumers head to social media when they have a question about something — are you going to be there to answer it? Keeping up with the latest and greatest tech trends in small-business management can be exhausting, but in an age where technological advancement is accelerating faster than ever, it’s necessary for the survival of businesses of all shapes and sizes. With SCORE, you’re never alone!We offer workshops and seminars each month to help you develop the skills you need to succeed.Visit StLouisSCORE.eventbrite.com today! buying. Picking up the phone — or dropping in — to leave a post-sale impression could be more valuable than you realize. JUST LISTEN A good salesperson knows what their customers want.They actually listen to what customers are saying and don’t second-guess customers’ needs. Many people associate salespeople with smooth-talking and wittiness. But in reality, a good salesperson just needs to be a good listener.When a customer says,“I just want something that works,” they are not looking for the latest and greatest model. They just want something that works. Selling with your heart is easier than it appears, and these methods are a solid foundation for creating strong, lasting customer relationships. With SCORE, you’re never alone!We offer workshops and seminars each month to help you develop the skills you need to succeed.Visit StLouisSCORE.eventbrite.com today!
COLLABORATIONWITHARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE While it certainly shouldn’t replace every customer interaction, using AI software programs for small tasks — like email marketing, data entry, accounting, and some low-stress forms of customer service — is invaluable to small businesses. Delegating menial tasks to AI can free up time for you to focus on those more important face-to-face interactions with your customers.
valuable information that can be used to grow businesses was something that only the largest companies had the time, funds, and expertise to do. However, more programs that reduce the upfront investment and expertise necessary to contextualize customer data are popping up. If you can make use of your customers’ data, you can give them an experience with your business that they won’t find many other places.
CONTINUED RELIANCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
INCREASED USE OF DATA ANALYTICS
Social media marketing remains an effective tool for attracting customers to your small business, even if the tools continue to change.
“Big data” is intimidating. For years, sifting through customer data and extracting
SELLWITHYOUR HEART AVOID A BAD SALES REPUTATIONWITH THESE TIPS
customer, then you’re no better than a swindler.Your product has to be a win for the customer, and you have to believe in it wholeheartedly to succeed. THE ‘HOWYA DOIN’?’ CALL The sale is done.The dotted line is signed. The customer is happy, and you are excited. Time to forget about them and move on to the next sale, right? Wrong.You have to follow up with customers after a successful sale. If anything has gone wrong, checking in will allow you to be
Let’s face it: Salespeople get a bad rap. Scammers, con artists, and inexperienced or unempathetic sellers make it hard to convince customers you have their best interests in mind. Here are three qualities every salesperson must have to convincingly sell with heart. AWIN-WIN The most important trait of an ethical salesperson is having a product or service that is honest and true.You can’t
ethically peddle something that doesn’t have value for your potential customers. Sure, it’s exciting to make a sale. It gives you a sense
proactive in fixing it. Being proactive builds trust and bolsters your
chance of a referral. It also lets you learn from happy and dissatisfied customers.You can discover what worked, what didn’t, and what they wish they had known before
of accomplishment, and the payout isn’t too bad, either. But if what you’re selling doesn’t also benefit your
‘LET MY PEOPLE GO SURFING:THE EDUCATION OFA RELUCTANT BUSINESSMAN’ HOW PATAGONIA’S FOUNDER SET A NEW STANDARD FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY
From the very beginning of his 2006 memoir, “Let My People Go Surfing:The Education of a Reluctant Businessman,” it’s clear that Patagonia’s founder,Yvon Chouinard, is not the typical entrepreneur.As a kid, Chouinard wanted to be a fur trapper, and rather than going into business with dreams of getting rich, he started making climbing gear to fund his passion for scaling cliffs and adventuring in the outdoors. “Let My People Go Surfing” follows Patagonia’s meteoric rise through its victories and rough patches — including the stalled growth that led to layoffs of 20% of the staff in the 1990s — but its main focus is on the company’s ideals. In plain, forthright, and sometimes irascible language, Chouinard lays out Patagonia’s growth goals, culture aims, and environmental stewardship efforts.
minimalism, function, durability, and reparability in all of its products, from
environmental impact and what they can do to reduce it.As one Amazon reviewer wrote, “Whether you’re a manager or business owner looking to motivate your employees and create a sustainable business, or a fan of Patagonia, or someone curious about how to live a life you can feel good about, this book should work for you.”
backpacks to jackets. It tracks the energy and water use of its facilities, works to eliminate pollution, focuses on recycled and recyclable materials, participates in environmental activism, funds environmental organizations worldwide, and even encourages shoppers to send in worn-out apparel for reuse and repair. In short, over the course of 272 pages, Chouinard proves he not only talks the talk but also walks the walk — and has made millions championing his cause. He encourages other entrepreneurs to do the same, laying out Patagonia’s footsteps and philosophies for readers to follow. Many already have. “Let My People Go Surfing” was updated and rereleased in 2016, but either version will make entrepreneurs think twice about their
With SCORE, you’re never alone! Schedule an appointment to meet with a mentor
today. Call 1-866- 726-7340 or visit StLSCORE.org right now!
The last of which is truly the core of the brand. Patagonia prioritizes
Give Love, Get Love
TURN AMAZING CUSTOMER SERVICE INTO A MAJOR REVENUE SOURCE Boosting customer retention by any amount can have a huge impact on your revenue. A study conducted by Bain & Company and reported by the Harvard Business Review found that even a 5% increase in retention can boost revenue by 25%–95%. In short, your ability to retain the right customers can make or break your business. service experience or become a customer yourself and see just how far other businesses are willing to go for you.
Another way you can win loyal customers is just by being present. One way to do that is by answering phone calls, emails, and online inquiries immediately. The more time you put between the initial customer contact and your response, the worse it looks for you.When people visit your business in person, be there to offer a hello, answer questions, and engage in casual conversation.When you’re there for your customers, your customers want to be there for you. With SCORE, you’re never alone! We offer workshops and seminars each month to help you develop the skills you need to succeed.Visit StLouisSCORE. eventbrite.com today!
Businesses are constantly searching for ways to achieve customer loyalty. After all, it’s far more cost-effective to keep the same customers coming back to you than it is to constantly go after new ones. Marketing to new customers can cost up to 25 times more than simply catering to your existing customer base. Loyal customers who love your business are an incredibly powerful asset.They can do a lot of your marketing for you through social media and other word-of-mouth channels, convincing others that your business exists and has value.
customers that is hard to break and will keep them coming back time and time again?
It really starts with stellar customer service. Poor customer service is the No. 1 cause of customer loss. Upward of 71% of people say they cut ties with businesses over poor customer service. Customer service includes your employee- customer interactions, your response to problems, your response time , and your approachability on social media. Look to businesses that have figured out how to do customer service right, like Apple, LEGO, and other beloved businesses in your community. Consider what you can incorporate into your own customer
But how do you get to that point? How do you develop a strong bond with your
St. Louis Bi-State Region
UPCOMING WORKSHOPS EXPERT LEADWORKSHOPS + MENTORS TO GUIDEYOU = THE SCORE ADVANTAGE
FEBRUARY 2020 Saturday, Feb. 1 • How to Start and ManageYour Own Business Monday, Feb. 10 • How to Be Seen on Google • How toWrite a Great Business Plan Monday, Feb. 17 • LinkedIn Success – Creating Consistent Leads and Clients
MARCH 2020 Saturday, March 7 • How to Start and ManageYour Own Business • How to Start a Not-For-Profit Business Monday, March 9 • QuickBooks Online – Basic • How to Recession-ProofYour Business Monday, March 23 • How toWrite a Great Business Plan
To register for an upcoming workshop, go to StLouisSCORE.eventbrite.com . *Workshop schedules are subject to change.
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SCORE is a resource partner of the Small Business Administration and provides mentoring services free of charge to all business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
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