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Partnering with other Local Businesses, Business brings business


An advantage of small business is the ability to partner with other businesses to promote and grow as a community. Orleans County provides a plethora of goods and services which pair well together. A great way to show customers what is out there is to work with other businesses. They may be familiar with what you offer but only have limited experience with other goods and services that are available.


Our business (Brushstrokes Studios) often works with other businesses and organizations in the community to promote the idea of shopping local. We frequently host paint nights at Brushstrokes Studios. These events tend to sell out in a short period of time and our customers love the items that we pair with painting. Examples of partnerships we have had in the past two years include;


-810Meadworks has been several times with different, mead pairings for paint night.


-Herbalty Cottage coming in with bread and oil samples while with painted bread plates.


-CaseNic Cookies has been used for paint nights, Storytime with Santa and cookies for Father’s Day.


-The Bread Basket often provides pastries and bread bowls for themed nights.


-Meggie Moos paired with us for a discount for student families during a school break.


 -The English Rose Tea Shoppe for a tea set painting afternoon.


-Della’s Chocolate and Leonard Oakes Estate Winery for an adult evening of chocolate and wine.


-Creekside Floral for vases with fresh flowers for Mother’s Day.


-Albion Merchants had us join their hometown holiday event


In addition, we often go into the community for painting events at libraries and with group organizations.


These are just a couple of things we have done to partner with other businesses to help expand our customer base and get the word out about other businesses. Business brings business, this is a fact. Your neighbor’s customers may not visit you today but they will be back, it’s your job to get their attention. Partnership may not work for every business, but think outside the box and you can make it happen.


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Your Business Online, Keeping it Updated


An annual review of your business, on how it’s represented on the internet is extremely important. If you have the time I would recommend to review it quarterly. Most new customers are going to find your business through the internet or word of mouth.


Some of the simple things to check (Facebook, Google, Website):


                -Store Hours and Phone Number


                -Updated photo of the outside of your store


                -Correct Physical Address and Website


In depth Overview:


-Reply to Reviews


-Upload several pictures


-Check other sites (Trip Advisor, Yelp) that apply to your business


-Look at the surrounding stores, do they need to be updated, you can submit edits


This is only going to benefit you so that you are easy to find and accessible to your customers. It’s easy to overlook changes because you are busy when they are occurring.


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A Brief Overview on Business Hours



Business Hours-

Have you ever gone to a store and found out they were closed when they were not supposed to be? Isn’t it frustrating? It leaves an unsavory taste in your mouth and definitely leaves you reconsidering a return trip. Especially, if there is no guarantee that it won’t happen again. Often times this frustration is documented on social media or spread by word of mouth. This can permanently damage your reputation as a business owner and rebuilding customer bases can be difficult if this is a recurring issue.

As a business owner, you have invested your time, energy, and money into developing a successful business. I am pretty sure you didn’t make the choice to open a business to lose money, so make sure that you don’t lose money and customers by consistently deviating from your regular operating hours.

Emergency Closing-

Sure, emergencies happen, as a business owner you need to establish a plan for how to notify your customers that you will not be open. The goal is to ensure that the customers (or potential customers) understand that this is not a frequent occurrence and that you did not have the intent to inconvenience them. You have a few options. You can post a sign on the door- make sure that the sign is straight to the point and apologizes for any issues this may cause. Show customers that this was unexpected, hopefully short-lived, and you plan on returning soon (provided a date and time, if possible). Another option is to put the information on your website or to post on social media. Social media is a great vehicle for spreading news to the masses- especially those who are regular patrons of your establishment. A quick post may save on some frustration or a wasted trip.

Closing Early-

Slow day? Exhausted? Think that it might be better to just go home and catch up on some rest? I caution you to not do it! Work schedules, children’s’ extracurricular activities, commutes, and life impact when a customer can come in. They may not be able to stop in until just before closing time. It is much easier to talk to a customer about the products and services you offer, rather than have to explain why you were not open when your door, website, or social media said you would be.

Annual Review of Store Hours-

I suggest that you review your hours annually (at least). Depending on the point of sale system you use- you may be able to find data that supports what hours are most profitable and what hours are not. This may cause you to decide to change hours semi-annually or seasonally- especially depending on what you offer. If you are open until 9pm and you have no sales after 7pm, it might be time to adjust. I don’t recommend changing more often than seasonally because it may be difficult for customers to keep track of. Communicate with other business owners. Why did they choose their hours? Is it working for them? Are they closed on Sunday’s because it is family time or business was slow? If everyone else is closed should you be closed? Remember that slow hours can increase productivity and allow you to catch up, so plan on a little downtime to make sure you are running efficiently.



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Grand Opening, Soft Opening, Opening in General


So you made the decision to be your own boss and venture into self-employment, congratulations. One of the first important steps is your soft opening and your grand opening, both are extremely important and here are some helpful hints to assist you.


Prior to opening- Reach out to other businesses. Most villages have associations, where the business owners get together monthly and try generate additional local business (Medina Business Association- MBA, Albion Merchants Association - AMA, Oak Orchard Neighborhood Association- OONA ). The Chamber of Commerce is also another great resource and can help you network and provide insight. Your business might not be the same as your neighbor, however you have a common goal to bring customers to your location. Business brings business. Make sure you have started building a customer base on social media prior to opening, sneak peeks and previews will draw future customers.


Soft Opening- This is where you should invite friends, family and other business owners. Feedback is crucial and friends and family will provide this. Other business owners will provide more detailed feedback and take it with an open mind they are still in business for a reason. Things like lighting, signage, music, temperature, aroma, and windows displays all are important and it’s easy to overlook. Having an excuse why something is a certain way may be okay, but you already worked hard to get the customer to your store, make sure there first impression is great, you want them to come back.


Grand Opening- This is your time to shine. Have an official ribbon cutting both the Chamber and Business Association will help you set this up with the connections they have. The press should be present along with the local politicians. This will generate more buzz and every politician loves small business. Possibly have light refreshments, balloons, grand opening sign, maybe a special deal just for that day. You should have worked out the kinks and changes needed since occurred since the soft opening. Good Luck


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