• 24 Jan 2022 11:25 PM | Jill York (Administrator)

    When you run your own business, you’re the person deciding on the direction. You’re in control of start dates and marketing promos. You’re the one who must hold yourself back from the shiny object syndrome. 

    And yet, so many of us fail on that last one and it’s easy to understand why.

    Open your social media feeds or search on the internet for business advice and you’ll find dozens of articles that tell you what you need to be doing for your business this year—things you need to implement, apps you need to download, widgets needed on your website, and a host of other projects you would be remiss not to implement immediately.

    And they all sound so wonderful. Things your audience will love, will drive more sales, help you become better known. 

    But, if you take off in hot pursuit of ALL of them -- you won’t accomplish any of them.

    Pick a Goal, Pick a Timeframe

    Yes, there may be many things you need or want to do for your business, but you have a better chance of completing them if you concentrate on 1-3 goals at a time. If you have more than three things you want to institute in your business this year, you can still do them after you complete the first three. Some professionals have new goals each month, quarter, or every six months. 

    Treat business goal setting the way you do eating. Don’t pile mounds on your plate just because it looks delicious. Take one helping first and when you’re finished with that, come back for more.

    Cluster Your Goals

    If you have an auspicious agenda this year, cluster the goals that naturally fit together. For instance, if your goals are more followers on social media, being consistent in your blog posting, and implementing a new training program for your employees, know that the first two can easily be stitched together as good blog content gives you something valuable to post to social media (and thus, get more followers). The third goal is better as a standalone.

    Select a Quarter for New Launches

    My writing business has two facets—business marketing writing and fiction writing. My business writing trumps my fiction writing because it pays the bills. But my fiction will never have a chance to pay the bills if I don’t give it the attention it needs to take off. The same may be true for an area of your business. For instance, perhaps you own a food truck, and you’ve considered adding a brick-and-mortar location. If those thoughts are just thoughts, your café will never take shape. You must open to see if your business idea will work.

    But there’s a lot of planning involved before you can do so. Pick a quarter (or season or even a month) and dedicate your free time during that period to work the pieces you need to get closer to your launch goal. 

    Which brings us to…

    Schedule Time and Purpose

    It’s great to use free time to explore ideas for your business but your free time is likely limited, and it can be frustrating to save something for your free time only to be discouraged when your free time is usurped by something else. That’s why you also need to set aside time in your schedule each week for goal attainment. 

    This is not an hour set aside to think about your idea, although that is a necessary thing early on. But if you want to be successful in meeting your goal, you need to map out what it will take and break that up into smaller, attainable pieces that you can schedule. In our restaurant example, a task might be listing all the restaurants in an area of town you’re considering for your café. It might be reaching out to the local chamber to find out what development projects are in the works. Whatever you assign for this time should be measurable. At the end of your time block you should know whether you accomplished it or not. If your goal was thinking about opening your restaurant, you may have done that but there is no end point. You could “think” about it for the next decade. However, if your task was to call three landlords for potential spots, you know definitively whether that was completed or not.

    This year don’t try to do it all. Pick 1-3 things that will advance your business and map out how you will get there. Then assign time to make it happen. We all get excited about ideas, but the real excitement should lie in your ability to accomplish them. That starts with making the most important ones a priority. Just like in your personal life, you make things a priority by giving them your undivided attention.

    Christina R. Metcalf (formerly Green) is a marketer who enjoys using the power of story. She helps chamber and small business professionals find the right words when they don’t have the time to do so.  Christina hates exclamation points and loves road trips. Say hi on Twitter or reach out on Facebook.

  • 17 Jan 2022 6:41 PM | Jill York (Administrator)

    • The results of a recent survey commissioned by GoDaddy and conducted by OnePoll of 2,000 Americans and what they want from small business going forward, shouldn’t surprise business owners. But if you’ve been thinking that some of the things you did for safety purposes can be phased out once we start beating the numbers on this virus, you may be in for a rude awakening.

      Just like our kids on summer vacation, our customers have gotten used to a certain way of life and they expect businesses to help them maintain it. 

      What Customers Want

      First, customers appreciated how most small businesses changed their offerings and ways of doing business with the pandemic. 

      Here are the eight things that are most important to buyers:

    1.     Contactless payment options
    2.     Curbside pickup
    3.     Online stores
    4.     Self-checkout
    5.     Virtual/digital loyalty cards 
    6.     Mobile apps
    7.     Ordering ahead online
    8.  QR code menus

    Not surprisingly, 68% of respondents said they would shop from small local stores more often if they could purchase items online.

    • What Do the Results Mean for Small Business?

      There’s very little interpretation needed here. Consumers are in love with convenience methods. 

      You may have originally implemented these conveniences for safety protocol, but it turns out many of us like having food and items brought to our cars. We love tapping credit cards at payment terminals and we like ordering things in our PJs and having them delivered.

      Wise businesses have likely already invested in these things, but they may have done it with the idea that these protocols would be temporary. 

      Knowing this is what many customers prefer may have small businesses everywhere rethinking a few things. 

      These preferences may change:

    • ·      The size of buildings businesses operate in – more carryout or online shopping means less need for room for eating or browsing. Some businesses may give up brick and mortar all together. Some restaurants may close dining altogether and offer a Sonic-like, carhop model of service. 
    • ·      The number of staff they employ and how they are allocated – more desire in online shopping means fewer jobs in face-to-face sales in some industries and more options in online tech.
    • ·      A good majority of employees working online will be able to relocate to areas where their type of work may have been (previously) hard to find, like tech employees moving to the beach.
    • ·      Work hours may become more flexible, outside of the 9-5 or even traditional retail hours. Focus will be on productivity, not clock punching; task oriented, not time oriented. 
    • ·      Bandwidth and internet, areas may start looking at offering increased free public internet (most of Australia’s major cities, for instance, have already adopted and made major investments in this).

    Some people still enjoy getting out of the house. Others love the instant availability of purchasing things in-store. 

    Finally, it’s important to note that all this desire for easy ways to shop from home is predicated on several factors including the ability for businesses to find employees, navigate the supply chain issues (so availability can still be used as a unique value proposition over waiting for an online delivery), and other side effects of the pandemic.

    Will you continue these customer favorites once we come out on the other side of this pandemic or will you go back to how you used to do things years ago? 

    Christina R. Metcalf (formerly Green) is a marketer who enjoys using the power of story and believes in meaningful copy. She helps chamber and small business professionals find the right words when they don’t have the time to do so. Christina hates exclamation points and loves road trips. Say hi on Twitter or reach out on Facebook.

  • 29 Nov 2021 2:03 AM | Jill York (Administrator)

    Welcome to the mad rush toward Christmas! Let's think our way through a few reasons why shopping in-person and with your locals merchants has the advantage over online purchasing this "small business season."

    Our Favorite Reasons to Shop Local During Small Business Season 

    Our Favorite Reasons to Shop Local During Small Business Season

    Yes, online shopping is convenient. You don’t have to change out of your PJs and it’s always open. Still, there when it comes to holiday shopping options, there are a lot of terrific reasons to shop local rather than some electronic supplier located goodness-knows-where.

    Here are a few of our favorite considerations:

    You’re supporting your neighbors.

    When you support Small Business Season and shop local, you are supporting your neighbors and they are more likely, in turn, to keep the money you spent with them local as well (for every $100 spent locally, $68 of it stays local).

    You are able to get in-person advice.

    Not sure of the right size, color, or other option? Maybe you want to buy something but don’t know what else you need to make that purchase complete (like buying a fishing rod without any hooks or lures). An in-person shopping experience can help you straighten out the choices. Small business owners offer complete information and suggestions and you can ask questions about those suggestions. Doing that via chat online can be cumbersome and delayed as they are answering questions from several other shoppers at the same time.

    You know what you’re getting.

    Have you ever ordered something online only to be disappointed when it arrives? Maybe it’s smaller than you thought or the color is just too much. Online images can be very hard to discern. (Remember that dress a few years back? What color was that any way?) If you don’t read the description carefully, your item may be smaller (or larger) than expected and may not include things you had assumed came with it. Even when you do read the description, some items are sized differently or have unexpected variations. Don’t even get us started on what happens then.

    For every $100 spent locally, $68 of it stays local.

    Local yields easier returns.

    Even though you have a clear understanding of what you’re buying when you buy in person, sometimes you need to return your purchase. When you do, it’s easier to do it locally than to send something back to an online store. Between paying for shipping to going to the post office and insuring it, bringing it back to a local business is generally easier than online returns.

    Satisfaction guaranteed.

    If you’re not satisfied with what you purchased, but it’s not something you can bring back (like a service or a food item), you know how to get in touch with the local provider. Some online sellers make it impossible to speak to a human. Try arguing your point with AI that uses keywords and automated language responses. Talking to the local business owner is much easier and they may be able to suggest something that is more along the lines of what you’re looking for.

    Local shopping becomes an experience.

    Sure, online shopping is quick, but you also have no memory of doing it and that can lead to overbuying. How many times during the holiday do you come home to find a package on your door step and you can’t remember what you purchased? You’ll remember when you go out. Plus, when you shop in-person or local, you can invite friends, family, or just make a pleasurable outing for yourself. This creates appealing memories of a wonderful seasonal experience.

    It brings on the holiday spirit.

    When you are out among the sounds and smells of the holiday, it brightens your mood. Who doesn’t love sparkling lights, glitter, snow (real or fake), and all of the happy tunes of the season? It’s hard to get those same smiles shopping online.

    You may miss the best things when you only go online. 

    When you shop online, you do a few searches for things you are looking for. You are less apt to stumble across the perfect gift or item because you are on a targeted mission and only see what the online store presents. When you’re shopping in person, there are a lot of serendipitous moments where something catches your eye and you walk out knowing you found a treasure.

    You meet and interact with people.

    When you shop in-person, you meet and interact with people. We have been sequestered long enough. There’s something to be said from those chance meetings that occur when walking around town. Who knows–you could meet your next business partner or a former friend. From the warm smile of the business owner to a suggestion, compliment, or affirmation you receive from a fellow shopper, there are many times when these sorts of introductions can be very helpful.

    You’ll hear first-person reviews.

    Sure, online reviews are helpful but so are reviews from people around you. Plus, people you meet in person who are commenting on what you’re buying have a personal connection. They are vouching for the item or dish face-to-face. If you have questions about what they’re saying, you can ask. Online reviews are one-sided with very little chance for follow-up from the original poster.

    No worries about delivery this small business season when shopping local.

    With ports backed up and short-staffing throughout the supply chain, there’s a lot of talk about potential delivery delays this holiday. If you shop in-person and select your item off a local's shelf or rack -- you skip the headaches of delayed delivery.

    In-person shopping is perfect for procrastinators.

    Sure, there are some online mega retailers who can get an item to you same day depending on where you live, but most times–especially as we get closer to the actual holiday–your best bet for last-minute gifts is a local shop. If you’re a procrastinator, feel free to take this reason to shop local as permission. You’ll feel less stressed about waiting , plus you won’t be depending on someone else’s delivery schedule.

    Displays help you visualize.

    Store displays are better than “you might also like” options in online stores. After all, the online suggestions are based on the buying patterns of others or using products the online retailer links together. Store displays are created (and stores are arranged) to help you find what you need and want. Collections are curated with the shopper in mind. You may find a lot of treasurers browsing that way.

    Window shopping can lead to ideas.

    When you shop in-person around the holidays you’ll be treated to beautiful window and decoration displays. These could inspire your holiday home décor or help you figure out something for your hard-to-buy-for aunt. A display may also draw you into trying a new business that you hadn’t noticed before. There are so many serendipitous possibilities when shopping in-person this Small Business Season.

    You could find your next job.

    If you shop in-person, you’ll quickly realize how many businesses are hiring. Who knows. You might decide to work at your favorite shop over the holidays.

    We aren’t telling you to never shop online again but be open to the conveniences provided by your local shops. For instance, there are many local sellers that have an online presence allowing you to buy online and still “shop local.”

    Remember these  great reasons to shop local and don't underestimate the ability to spread some holiday cheer to your local businesses this Christmas shopping season.

    Your local business owners would  love to see your smiling face and are happy to help you find the perfect fit, gift or service to meet your needs.

    Let's shop small this holiday season for the BIG impact it will have for our local businesses and economy. #shopsmall

Our Mission

The Mission of the Grayson Area Chamber of Commerce is to represent the business interests of its members and promote the economic and cultural growth of the community.

P.O. Box 612, Grayson, Kentucky 41143




Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software