Thursday, June 28, 2012

Three ways small business can profit from big events

Hoopfest weekend started Wednesday in Spokane, although actual games do not tip off until Saturday morning.  Teams decked out in full uniforms started rolling in yesterday, temporary signage is going up advertising drink and food specials and food tents are going up in Riverfront Park.  According to the Inlander, the Spokane Hoopfest generates more than $38 million to the local economy - with over 7,000 teams playing, staying, eating and shopping that really adds up.

A Spray for $1?
How creative will people get to make a buck to the masses?  Will we see young kids wheeling coolers of bottled water for a buck?  Do you think there will be many free seats in outdoor beer gardens, especially those with prime court views?

Here are three ways small businesses can capitalize on big events:

Adapt:  One cafe is changing their tactic for the weekend and instead of offering regular sit down meals, will be preparing healthy sandwiches, salads and wraps to go.  They've even put notices on their Facebook page to alert their regular customers to the change (great idea by the way).

Improvise:  Offer a special service for the weekend, for example, a drycleaner that offers a one-hour drop off for washing uniforms, or even better, what about pick up and delivery to local hotels?  I originally thought even Free Delivery would be a great selling point - but I venture a guess that people wouldn't mind paying a small fee for clean uniforms compared to trying to wash them in a hotel sink with shampoo and then having them drying on the air vents all night.

Tribute to my friend
Support: This could be another opportunity to get your name out there.  Sponsoring a team, basketball backboard, joining forces with another business or volunteering can be great for public relations.  If you are going for number of 'visibility hits' or impressions (similar to web ads), your brand could easily get a few thousand at an event like this if your logo is out there or you (and others) are sporting your logo while playing, volunteering or working.

If you can't beat them, join the fun.  If you have a downtown business, rather than complaining about all the people and not having a place to park you have two options.  Close for the weekend or embrace it.  If you have a salon, think about offering a fun colored hair extension special, a pedicure for moms with tired feet or a mini-massage for players with sore legs.  If you have a deli, offer a free bottle (or to-go cup) of water for players in uniform with every sandwich purchase.  Even better if that free drink had your logo on it.  They would tell all their friends!  Before you do this, you'll want to make sure it pencils out cost-wise.

I'm sure there are many creative ways that businesses will capitalize on the over 200,000 visitors to the downtown core.  Whether it's parking, renting out rooms, selling who-knows-what, we are sure to see innovation and marketing at its peak.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Business Advisor shares tips and answers questions on morning news show

I recently had the opportunity to participate on KHQ's Saturday morning news show, as a contributor answering questions via the KHQ Facebook page.

I really wasn't the anchor...
There was a variety of questions regarding marketing, licensing, business structure, employee hiring and more.  Rather than try and summarize, I copied the thread below.

The most frequently asked question was, 'Do I need a business license'...the answer is YES!  You need a Washington State Master Business License and a city license (or county) depending on where you are located and what you are doing.  Some cities require licenses for any business doing business in that city.  There can also be different regulations for mobile businesses (like ice cream trucks) and home occupation businesses.

Read the Facebook conversation:
Good morning! Tammy Everts, Business Advisor, here with the Spokane Small Business Development Center. We provide no-fee, confidential business advising to Small Business Owners. How can we help you???

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Small business owners: Do you have a retirement plan for your business in place?


Do you have a retirement plan (for your business) in place?  What will happen to the business if something happened to you?  Have you considered how you would get out of your business if it wasn't working out like you had planned?  

Many small business owners dive into opening and running their business without considering how to eventually get out of the business, let alone plan for retirement. As the population continues to age, more and more small business owners will be faced with 

This New York Times article mentions that if you don't have a succession plan in place, small business owners could be setting themselves up for disaster.

SBA.gov explains further:
Big dreams aside, the truth is that many small business owners have no exit strategy for their businesses in the event of their disability, retirement, or death. Given the current economy, it isn't surprising small business owners focus their energies on business survival, future growth, and even remaining active in business after retirement. However, a business exit strategy not only means having a plan for the unexpected - including financial hardship, injury, disability and even death - it also means having a plan for the succession or transfer of ownership of your business when it comes time to hang up your hat and retire.

The Spokane Small Business Development Center is offering a new and essential workshop that addresses this important issue for business owners. June 26, 2012 | 8:30 – 11 AM | $40

Plan to Finish Well: an overview of the succession process.
Paul Brown, a recognized authority on management issues will be teaching. We have known and esteemed Paul for many years. For more information and registration the direct link to this workshop is: http://www.wsbdc.org/class-detail?classid=446 .  If you prefer, you can call Cindy Doyl, Training Manager 509.358.7890 to register.  .
June 26, 2012 | 8:30 – 11 AM | $40
Spokane Small Business Development Center, 665 N Riverpoint Blvd., Suite 201, Spokane WA  99202
Please pre-register as space is limited
Up to two guests from your company may attend at no charge. One free parking pass per business at the door.