Posts filed under Micro-Business

Sometimes Important Business Tasks Can Get Overlooked

Many times a small business will overlook something important. With us, one of those extremely important things has been customer retention. Don't get me wrong, our work speaks for itself and many of our customers have been coming back for years. The retention I'm talking about are those fringe individuals or companies we neglected because we were either, too busy or too lazy to take the time and keep up relations. The customer came in for a minor piece of fabrication and we let them get pushed to the bottom of the pile, assuming they would never come back anyway. However, those are the customers who may give your name to a friend or family member, making them a powerful resource to keep communicating with.

Earlier this week I received a call from a company called Intuit Demandforce. We have used Quickbooks for invoicing, so getting a call from a company in the Intuit family is not out of the ordinary. Most of these calls I will greet and pass on because they are just an introduction to get you in the door, nothing more. Yet, this one seemed a little different. I got the sense they really wanted to show me what the service could offer, I wasn't feeling sold to. Could be a testament to the sales person on the end of the line but, I felt the risk was worth it and agreed to a web share about the Demand Force service.

From the Demandforce website:

Keeping up with all of the changes in technology and online services is hard, but you need to communicate and market like the big boys or your business won't survive. Demandforce is here to help.
 
We take an award winning communication portfolio, with easy to use <a>online reputation tools and our broad consumer network, to become the marketing team your business needs.

The web share went well and after seeing what Demandforce had to offer I decided to give them a shot. Our account went live today and I am very excited to see how the service will help business over the next month. I really like the people I have dealt with so far, giving me a personal experience you don't get with many online businesses. Everyone genuinely seemed to care about us succeeding with the program.

Updates to follow :)

originally posted on our Facebook Page 

Posted on July 25, 2014 and filed under Business, Marketing, Micro-Business, Customers, Company News.

3 Mistakes I Made and You Can Learn From as a Small Business Owner

Have you made mistakes as a small business owner? I know we have and in the early days I'm not sure we even recognized what those mistakes actually were. Over the last few years however, after seeing our business from new perspectives, my father and I have started to recognize and learn from our previous mistakes.

Here are three of our biggest.

Where Have All The Salespeople Gone?

Business is getting better. The fabrication shop has been very busy for the majority of the year. Yes, some of the production can be attributed to our new CNC plasma table, but not all. The business environment seems to be on the steady.

Where does my optimism come from?

Posted on September 26, 2013 and filed under Business, Marketing, Micro-Business, Manufacturing.

Finding a Balance With Time Management

One of the hardest things we deal with as a two man small business is time management. Especially since the recent purchase of our new CNC plasma table, with the goal of growing the business, our time is split between many things. Learning a new system, a new way of doing what you've done for over twenty years can be daunting and many things will sadly be neglected in that ongoing process. For my father and I, especially me, it has been keeping up with many responsibilities in regards to the website and social media.

We have recently hired someone to take-on the marketing aspects of the business, but that also requires attention on a daily basis. With more traffic to the website and orders coming through the door, there is more that must be done to be available for our customers. We want to make sure that our customers are finding us online and that we accommodate them, no matter how small the order. Therefore dialing in our search results to make sure keywords etc. are up to date is on my mind constantly, creating more work and time to make sure things are running smooth.

Keeping up with Twitter and Google+ have become a challenge because of the extra work established by our new machinery. I have neglected much of these responsibilities for over a month, which does not help people engage you looking for your services. It's called social media for a specific reason....social reasons. Organizing myself down the road will help me to make sure I am on top of everything. At this point we can't afford to pay for more help, so it falls on my father and I to get things done.

No one said building a business was easy and I am learning quickly that time management will become one of the best things I can learn going forward. No matter how small your company is, look into time management and how it can help you balance your time and goals.

 

Getting Back to Business

After spending the last month and a half getting our new CNC plasma table online, we can finally reap the benefits of our new mechanical employee. The process has been long, but educational with my excitement through the roof with what the future holds for the company. I never realized how much confusion comes with an investment like this one. I figured to be keeping up with most of the jobs I currently have, including the blog, twitter page, marketing, billing etc. with none of these things actually happening. My focus was always somewhere else with most days ending seemingly like nothing had been accomplished. However, things were happening all over the place and work was getting done even in the shadow of the minor problems that came with our new installation.

Now, with the dust settling, my father and I can focus on building the business around our new investment, making strides toward the next big purchase. Not to mention getting my act together in regards to keeping up with the financials, shipping, the blog, marketing and everything else related to running a successful business.

The last few months have been exciting and the next few years will be amazing. Time to get back to business!

 

Beginning The Exhaust Fan Installation

Congratulations to the Baltimore Ravens for their well deserved Super Bowl Championship. I cannot say the same for the team building our new transformer however, because their 15-day delivery has hit 21 days and counting. I am beginning to think the item does not exist at all. Nevertheless we push forward with what seems to be the never ending project ( can you sense the sarcasm dripping from my tongue? ). Over the weekend my father and I got started on the exhaust fan vent for the CNC plasma table. The exhaust fan showed up last week, giving us plenty of time to get things started before the possibly fictitious transformer is delivered ;)

CNC Plasma Table Vent

I am currently fabricating the square trunk duct for the outlet of the fan, which will 90 degree upwards toward our vent hood to the outdoors. This will be the easiest part to date for this entire project.

The journey continues...

 

Should We Start a Facebook Business Page?

I have been pretty open regarding my hatred and questions about Facebook. We have never had a Facebook business page; I deleted my personal account over a year ago and have never felt more free. But...

Now that our company is working diligently on marketing the business, latching onto the power of the web and social media, I may be having a change of heart. Is it time for us to start a Facebook business page?

I openly despise, throwing barbs whenever I can, everything that is Facebook. The incessant baby bumps and people who I've talked to once pretending to be my bestee. However, my hypocritical juices are flowing, not wanting to miss out on any opportunity to help promote our business. Should I really let some, let's be honest, minor personal problems deny our business of opportunities?

These strong feelings I portend to have about Facebook over the last year and a half are all for naught if I decide to start a page. Seems pretty weak of me to cave on something not so important in the grand position of personal and business stances. However, we're not talking about abortion or gun control here.

Gasp...am I a flip-flopper?

Or does it not matter in the grand scheme of business and promoting the brand? After all, this is a personal position, ultimately hurting no one in the process. The caveat being that the company consists of my father and I only, with my dad not really caring or able to deal with any of the online promotion. Hence, much of what I put out there is very personal.

I try to use this blog as a billboard, company news site and sounding board for my thoughts and questions. The Facebook thing has been riling me for months since we started a concerted marketing effort via Adwords and now with the announcement of graph search earlier this month, I'm even more confused. Clearly, this is something I have strong issues with, but am I hurting the business in the process?

Any suggestions in our comments section or twitter regarding whether or not a Facebook business page is a must would be greatly appreciated.