Posts tagged #Customers

Custom Galvanized Sheet Metal Ash Box

The benefit of our fabrication shop is the ability to fabricate small numbers of custom projects for a range of products. Our main focus being HVAC custom ductwork and fittings, but we fabricate a lot of specialty items for many of our customers.

Last week I received a request through our website for a custom 15" x 15" x 15" ash box with a sliding top cover.

 

Know The Tendencies of Your Customers

Many of our customers have done business with us for years and we appreciate every order they place here at the shop. Part of the reason they come back, besides stellar work, is the fact that I do my best to learn there tendencies and little idiosyncrasies. This does not mean I am at everybody's beck and call 24/7, but I do make an effort to give each and every customer the best service possible. 

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.

 

The Invaluable Insight From Customers That Care

One of the best things about having good relationships with customers is the feedback you gather on a daily basis. This can be invaluable when you take big steps that benefit you, your company and your customers.

The last few months, putting everything together for our new investment took a lot of time and effort. Mine and my fathers minds have been fixated on making sure we had t's crossed and i's dotted for the purchase and installation of our new CNC plasma machine. As of today, the battle continues for the next few weeks until the machine is completely setup and calibrated with our perfect settings, ready to use.

During this time we have had many customers in and out of the shop to see the new addition and discuss what has been going on with the company in the fourth quarter of last year and into the new year. All of them have been fantastic. They genuinely care, wanting us to succeed and wish us luck with anything that pertains to our new investment.

The best part of our interactions are the questions about minute details pertaining to the machine. Things I haven't even thought of over the course of the process. Great inquiries which I lock into the mind vault, adding to my growing list of questions for the techs.

It's amazing what you completely overlook when you're focused on other things. Even when you feel like you're totally focused, you're not. My customers have saved me the time of sitting, racking my brain to list questions for the techs when they come to finish the installation process. Questions that seem so obvious when I hear them out loud. I think to myself, "How could that completely obvious and logical question totally escape me?"

They will never know how grateful I am for these insights. Everything going on these days is new and scary (good scary) territory for our company. The process has been exhausting, but beyond enjoyable because it's exciting to know that you are taking steps forward instead of sideways.

The adventure continues...

 

5 Reasons Your Micro-Business Should Have a Linkedin Company Page

Our teeny tiny little company could be the poster child for local, micro, niche business. So why should a company so diminutive in size make it a priority to focus on their Linkedin company page?

Here are five reasons why any micro business should have a presence on Linkedin:

1. Don't Judge a Micro-Business by it's Cover

Nobody really knows the size of your micro-business and most could really care less. The customer wants the job done right, for a good price. That's it, that's the list. They don't care about the number of employees or how colorful your trucks are. Most customers want the project done properly, on time, by good people and priced fairly in accordance with the market.

Your Linkedin company page is a great place to make those connections, to show and promote the products and services that make your company special, no matter how big or small you might be.

Just because Linkedin seems like only a place for big business and financial or law firms, doesn't mean that local, micro-businesses can't flourish and learn from the site. Many business employees on the site and in groups are very gracious with their time and insights about business best practice.

You have knowledge as well, make your voice heard no matter what size company you currently have.

2. Budget Should Not Be an Issue

Anyone running a micro-business knows that sweat equity is the only way to get things done. You have to put in the hours to move the company forward. Yes, budget is a concern, but the internet is a never ending, low cost business tool that every owner should be using. Linkedin company pages should be one place you focus to grow relationships for no dollars.

The page is free.

It's your job to put the time and effort into making it a powerful tool to help grow your micro-business. Believe me, I'm still learning and updating my pages to get our name and what we do out into the world. However, I am the one putting in the time to save the money. No one knows my business better than I do. Don't feel like everything has to be subbed out just because you don't understand it. Not only is the web a powerful business tool, it's also a free education on any subject you choose to learn about.

Learn something new, create these micro-business advantages yourself and save money in the process.

3. Networking is Important for Micro-Business Too

I did not want to believe this a few years ago when our company was struggling to find good partners and contractors who we could trust. My anxieties got in the way, making it difficult to put our company out there, working to find new business connections and innovate at the same time.

Our micro-business is very niche and boring, not on the minds of customers until their furnace quits or a contractor informs them new ductwork is a must. My job is to make sure that not only customers know who we are and what we do, but also business owners who can promote or use our services as well.

Linkedin and Linkedin company pages is 24 hour networking service, finding the business owners in your industry who can help promote your business and find customers, even for micro-business owners. Sometimes the hardest thing is locating good partners and people that can help your business to grow and prosper. Linkedin promotes this process and Linkedin company pages make it easy to inform those connections about what your doing daily.

Good relationships is what keeps our micro-business afloat when times get tough. My father always preached to never burn bridges. I hated the cliche when I started working here 15 years ago, but it's completely true and has worked in our favor more than once over that time period.

4. Keep Your Linkedin Company Page Current

We are still working to update and make our web presence as pleasing to our customers as possible. Again, sweat equity to keep costs down. I do the designing and updating myself of all our pages and the website, making the process slow and tedious, but necessary for our micro-business to flourish in a world moving feverishly toward the web and the cloud.

There is nothing more annoying than searching for a local business and seeing the stock avatar and business name only. We get it, you signed up and have never been back to update, you're too busy. However, this makes any connection via that platform meaningless and worthless for your micro-business or potential networking opportunity. Focus to take any and every business relationship you can get.

Keep those Linkedin company pages current

5. Don't Sell Yourself Short

I struggle with this on a daily basis and it's something a micro-business owner should never do, whether in person or on the web. I'm still working to sell our company properly whether on our Linkedin company page or any other. The thing is, I know we do a great job and it's not egotistical to let our customers and business partners know that.

This doesn't mean telling everybody your company can produce anything under the sun for the cheapest price possible because truth is, that is completely false. You know what your micro-business can do and it's more than likely small scale, but the quality is probably bar none. You know your pricing is good and you do everything you can to make the customer happy. Do what your micro-business does well, to the best of your ability and promote the hell out of it.

Our company makes sheet metal boxes for residential heating and cooling systems. My whole business life that's how I thought of our business. However, those tin boxes have a function and we fabricate each of them custom to the customers needs, locally and at a great price. My job is to make sure people in my community and on the web know this about our company.

My business may be small, but we do fantastic work and care about customers. Our business partners are important to us and making sure we are accessible any way possible and on a budget is key to growing and promoting our micro-business into the future.

This is what you should be focusing on in your business, getting the word out and making connections in your industry and a properly setup Linkedin company page is a great way to start.

 Follow the K & E Sheet Metal Company Page

 

Is Having No Facebook Page Bad For Business?

Is having no Facebook page bad for your small business?

I hate Facebook with a passion I cannot describe in written language. On the other hand, I love my business and realize that trying to get online eyeballs means finding that place where everyone is hanging out the most. Sadly, that place seems to be Facebook.

We are on Twitter and it is my social network of choice, but most use Facebook for everything. The learning curve is lower than Twitter, so more use the site for their main hub. This annoys me, knowing full well that this is the world we live in and my judgment changes nothing. However, we all bitch and moan about something that we can't change. My crutch is hatred of Facebook.

A little history...

I once had a Facebook page. The one that most people have, jamming with asinine banter about who did what and why they're stupid. The kind where daily baby photos--of the same baby--trump the total number of photos taken of me in a lifetime. Oh yeah, and now everyone's parents can see what you do while out on a date, imbibing till blind and ending up on a strangers couch (not a personal experience). They see and ask about these things like they were in the same group of friends. And then there's the trolling.

I couldn't take it anymore. I needed to get out or suffer the consequences. Having no Facebook page has saved my meager brain from complete annihilation.

But can it help my business?

Running a tiny local sheet metal fabrication shop is hard enough. Finding business the old fashion way can work to gain a few customers, but I want to grow the company into the future. I need to concentrate locally, but where the most eyes are looking and that place isn't the local newspaper or radio.

I never read the local newspaper and pay for satellite radio. If I'm thirty-four years old and look online for everything, it seems logical that as time goes by the younger generation is doing the same and they are the ones who will eventually grow my business. They will be buying homes and installing heat and air conditioning. These are the people whom I need to appeal and make it as easy as possible for them to find me...online.

My point being, if the majority of young people find everything on the web and all have a Facebook page, then having no Facebook page will eventually hurt my company if growth is my ultimate goal.

But I really hate Facebook...

This is true. However, stubbornness will not help a growing and evolving business owner. I have to learn to roll with the punches because honey, I would like to actually own a home (sorry for the lyric change Mr. Zevon)

So do I need to give in and start a Facebook business page? Will it garner me the SEO and traffic to help my business get seen on that great internet ocean we dive into everyday?

I must admit I have wrestled with this for months, it's that hard a decision. I deleted my Facebook page years ago and the nightmares of stressful screen time have finally stopped. Is it worth the impending doom?

Will having no Facebook page hurt any online marketing push for my itty bitty business?

I would love any feedback.

Leveraging Our Local Business Web Presence to Grow Customers

I may be a little crazy. Well, maybe not crazy, just stupid. I have been working on our local business web presence and company website for some time now and positive as the experience has been, there are days when it seems like an insurmountable task, relegating me to suffer through for the rest of my life. I'm not a cheapskate when it comes to investing in the business, but I do try not to waste where I can. The company website and our local business web presence is one of these not waste kind of investments due to my love of technology and interest in the internet as a business and marketing tool. I'll be honest, I've had my stint in the make money quick affiliate marketing scene once before, which came to an abrupt, money burning ending. However, I did receive an education on some good practices when it comes to building and running a successful website. By no means am I an expert, but a little SEO, HTML and CSS goes a long way when trying to save money with creation and promotion of a website.

Products_Page_Screenshot

Products_Page_Screenshot

Today I began creating the pages for products we fabricate here at K & E Sheet Metal. Nothing too major, mostly pages with our more common sheet metal fabrication to start. Things like:

The hope is that these new pages will give the customer more of a detailed view of what we are capable of fabricating and also giving the engines like Google and Bing the fuel they need to pop us up when a potential customer searches for, as an example "cold air boot".

One thing I am trying to accomplish as a business owner is figuring out how we can leverage the internet and our website to help be a better functioning local business web presence on a budget. Our overhead is costly, so anywhere we can save is a major benefit.

Even though I wear many hats for this company, they are all important and must be cared for individually. Our main products and company revenue are custom sheet metal boxes and fittings, but there are other ways to find streams of income and having a quality website, where customers can find you easily and become more informed on your products is paramount (imho). This is why I am more focused more than ever on creating a higher quality web space.

Obviously, this comes at a time cost, which is valuable, but will ultimately bring solid growth to our local business web presence and customer base. So I trudge through the dashboard of Wordpress and tap away on the keys trying to find the best wording and content for each page, hoping to bring our new and old customers closer to us on the internet.

The challenge continues...