Posts filed under Customers

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

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.



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...

Should You Fire Your Customers?

Should you fire your customers? A question that I had never really thought about until recently. I never realized it was something that could and should be thought about as a business owner. Customers are what keep the business functioning and without them, we have no business. But what about those customers who always want, want, want and never pay, pay, pay? These are the types of customers that fit the fire-able category in regards to my company. These are the customers that whine about everything, expect you to get their order done ASAP and leave it sitting in my shop for days even though they NEEDED IT right away. Do you have these types of people coming into your business regularly?

Money is always an issue with these specific customers and getting payed is almost impossible. They are leaches that need to be dealt with and as business owners we should take it upon ourselves to fire and blacklist them from our shops. They are parasites who find more time to chat you up and act like a friend than to do their duty as business owners and pay their bills.

I have a few customers who make it a point to apologize for not having the money. They will make specific trips to my shop just to tell me these things. Then I will see them at the supply houses paying for items in cash in excess of what is owed to me. Infuriating! All I ask for is an effort of any kind. Talk to me like an adult and maybe we could work something out in regards to payment plans.

My father and I run a very small shop, so creating financing is tough. However, if I knew a longtime customer was trying, then I could find a way to help them. Times are tough and people are going through very rough patches. I understand needing help, but people need to make the effort as well.

The bottom line in my particular shop is this. I don't care what is owed by these particular "customers" because I feel I will never see it. I have asked for it, called, sent statements and nothing is done. Therefore I have to take steps to fire them and make clear I never want to see them in my shop again.

Sell your losers and hold onto your winners. Stock trading 101.

Posted on February 6, 2012 and filed under Customers, Micro-Business, Uncategorized.

Customers Declining, Input Costs Rising

Our input costs are rising. Gas prices are hovering around the $3 level again and metal prices have been rising albeit slowly. Then today I read the AK Steel (AKS) quarterly earnings report and find that they are warning against inflation in the manufacturing sector due to a rise in iron ore prices. Hence, prices will continue to rise throughout the year.

From MarketWatch

AK Steel said it assumes global iron ore prices to rise 30% over the January to March period. If prices go beyond that, the company said it would hurt its financial performance for the second quarter.

At the start of the year, iron ore suppliers Vale SA and BHP Billiton changed the way they structure iron ore contracts, setting prices on a short-term rather than annual basis.

This week, Credit Suisse analysts upped their average 2010 price target on iron ore by 56% to $129 per ton. Prices for raw materials are rising as the world economy slowly recovers and consumer spending on cars and appliances picks up.

The main problem with our business lately has been customers. People are hoarding their money in this area and unless the summer temperatures are sweltering, I don't feel like business will pickup significantly. The rise in input costs is just another punch to the gut. You can only cut so many costs and find ways to save money until everyday fixed costs (Rent, phones, gas, metal etc.) begin to weigh on any profits. Profits by the way that will solely contribute to a debt that was incurred during the hardest times over the last two years.

I'm crossing my fingers for an air conditioning boom summer. Something that we didn't have last year.

Posted on April 20, 2010 and filed under Air Conditioning, Customers.