According to the latest information from Internet World Statistics, there are 3 Billion + people in the United States; out of all of those people, over 2 Billion are Internet users and over 64 Million have broadband (high speed) Internet connectivity.Now tell me again why your business is not online? I have heard them all or at least most of them, and here are my favorites:I do not sell products online. That’s okay, your website, your online presence can serve as a 24×7 advertisement for your products and services. It can also serve as a way for consumers to research your business at any time; this can include reading positive customer testimonials.I do not know where to start. Again, that’s okay. There are professionals out here to help you. Get online and do some research, ask family and friends as well as trusted business associates. If you want to set up your website and online presence correctly, hire a consultant. Again, be sure to ask around and ask for referrals on people that you intend to hire, just like you do for every aspect of your business. Want a personal recommendation? Contact the professionals at tba-The Thomas Becher Agency, these folks know what they are doing!I have a high school kid working on my site. Nothing against high school kids, some are very talented and can design a terrific website; BUT do you have high school kids doing your taxes and advising you on legal affairs? I didn’t think so. A website or your online presence is part of your business; treat it as such. Plan for it, budget for it, put someone in charge of it!If you are a small business owner, your time and your resources are too valuable to chance on a poorly designed or poorly performing website. The online presence you establish is a reflection of your business just as an advertising campaign is; but unlike an advertising campaign, certain elements of an online presence can cost little or no money.Where to start? THINK. Think what you want your online presence to be, what you want the reflection of your business to be and how much money do you intend to spend. Take some time and get professional advice, this is important.Sign up for accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or others. Many of these social media sites are free to use and you can start by getting your name or your businesses name in the online community.More on the social media aspect of being online in my next post.
With thanks and compliments to my friend Patsy at Biz Talk.
The Clean and Green Business Coalition will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. on Friday, November 21, at Orvis on Campbell Avenue to announce the emissions target set out by its members. The Coalition has set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from each business’ operation by a total of 20 percent over a period of five years (at 4 percent per year).”The purpose of the Business Coalition is to provide leadership across all sectors in the region. By setting goals that are double the community standard, we are making a significant commitment to the greening of the Roanoke Valley,” says Stan Breakell, president of Breakell Inc., one of the Coalition’s charter members.In March, a number of Roanoke’s top employers and businesses joined efforts to create the coalition. Co-chaired by City Council Member Gwen Mason and Stan Breakell, the Coalition’s mission is to identify and implement environmentally sound business practices, including the development of sustainable business plans, the tracking of carbon emissions, and recycling.”As an employer in the Roanoke Valley and a provider of a green energy source, natural gas, we believe it is important for our company to take a leadership role in protecting the environment. Not only are we taking steps within our company, we encourage our employees to be conscious of the environment in their personal lives as well,” says Dale Lee, vice-president and secretary at RGC Resources.By joining the city in monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, encouraging green planning, and practicing conservation responsibly in business routines and processes, the private sector isdemonstrating true leadership in environmental stewardship.Member companies of the Coalition include:Berglund ChevroletBreakell Inc.Carilion ClinicFralin and WaldronGentry Locke Rakes and MooreHSMM AECOMJ.M. Turner CompanyLanford Brothers Co. Inc.OrvisRGC ResourcesSunTrust BankSteel DynamicsVirginia Western Community CollegeFor more information about the press conference, please contact Faye Gilchrist in the City Manager’s Office at 853-5801.Watch this video to see Roanoke’s Carbon Footprint.And here are 8 Simple Steps to make your business environmentally friendly.
Is customer service dead or is it just on life support?I ask this question as both a consumer and a business owner because as the economy becomes more challenging, customer service becomes even more important! Voluminous studies have been done that highlight the fact that keeping a current customer is easier and less expensive than attracting a new customer. One of the hallmarks of retaining customers-great customer service!So why do we have so many companies or businesses that are so bad at customer service? I think one reason is that we have become accustomed to settling for less than we deserve. As a society we have accepted the “buy it all in one place for the cheapest price” pitch. I think this leads to poor customer service. If you are always looking for the cheapest price, you typically will find the cheapest service to go along with that price.If you want to have a great customer service experience, work with a custom clothier. The Tom James Company specializes in custom clothing for men and women plus they do an exceptional job at customer service. My personal clothier, Randy Womack, could write a book on customer service. Tom James trains their employees very well, but Randy takes it to a new level of service.Do you pay more for this service? Of course you do, but it is worth the price. Too busy to go shopping or just want to make the right impression, this is the BEST option!If you would like an introduction to Randy, just let me know!John