Skip navigation
2017

Small Business Story Collection: Celebrating the Power of Women

Women small business owners are paving the way.  This collection highlights how to embrace the unique challenges women face and thrive as small business owners.

Client Spotlight: Elizabeth Foster, Founder, Maison Visionnaire WomenRising Women Entrepreneurs Are Optimistic Yet Equal Access to Capital Remains Elusive Ice Cream with a Twist Client Spotlight: Anvi Patel, Founder and Principal Architect, A28 Architecture Women Entrepreneurs Poised to End 2019 on a High Note Client Spotlight: Holly Johnson, Designer and Owner, Cheeky Monkey Home Client Spotlight: Denise Shelton, Founder and CEO of Community Bridge, Inc Client Spotlight: Dr. Julia Harper, Founder of TheraPeeds Family Center The Bank of America Center for Women Entrepreneurs Join the Discussion.  Tell us your story Resources for Women Entrepreneurs from Bank of America Women Entrepreneurs Seeking Professional Guidance Should Join These OrganizationsWomen's Entrepreneurial Journeys The Myths and Realities of Millennial Women as Entrepreneurs What Every Woman Should Know Before Starting A Small Business

Additional Resources

Empowering-Business-Leaders-BAC.pngNAWBO.png

I used to work from home (notice I said, “used to”). As I always say, there is good news and bad news when you work from home.

 

The good news is you see your kids a lot. The bad news is, you see your kids a lot!

 

Working from home can be both a blessing and a curse. There are many obvious benefits to working from home: you don’t have to commute anywhere, you can work at your own pace, you can stay in your sweatpants, etc. And if you have kids, oftentimes, being your own boss allows you to create your own hours leaving flexibility to dedicate specific times to pick up your kids from school, attend soccer games etc. However, by the same token, these benefits sometimes make it difficult to maintain high levels of productivity.16752358_s.jpg

 

Indeed, working from home and working in the office both have their own requirements and challenges and it’s important to know the keys to success in either environment. Consider these rituals and see if they don’t increase your work-from-home productivity

 

1. Turn off notifications: Unless your work is heavily reliant on phone calls and mobile usage, you probably do not need to have your phone next to you at all times. And you know it’s true: having your phone alert you with game notifications and news alerts every three minutes only distracts you from your work.

 

Turn your phone on silent, leave it in the other room, and get going.

 

2. Have a separate workspace: Your productivity will decrease dramatically if you’re sitting on your bed, working in front of the TV, or surrounded by lots of commotion. Make sure you have a designated, separate space in your home to work. Having a space free of distractions will help you maintain focus.

 

3. Separate family from work: Along the same lines, working from home is especially unique for those with families. It is important that your partner and your children know there are rules when you are working from home. – For example, institute office hours so you can ensure hours of uninterrupted time.

 

4. Keep things organized: An organized space is an organized mind. Take a couple of minutes to tidy up your work area before sitting down (or at least once a week). This makes a bigger difference than you might think.

 

5. Start with small tasks: Everybody has their own preference, but many people find that starting the workday with smaller tasks helps one to gradually get into a workflow. For me, bigger projects are harder if I haven’t entered that rhythmic workflow quite yet. Things, like responding to emails and tidying up your workspace, are great ways to get the day moving.

 

6. Know your work habits: Similarly, you know your work habits best, so it would behoove you to and pay attention to them. If you know that you like to have a couple of hours in the morning to drink coffee, wake up, and read the news, then don’t try to force yourself to jump into work first thing in the morning.

 

7. Be disciplined: Working for yourself requires a level of self-discipline and planning, and this becomes even more important when you work from home. Make a list of what you want to accomplish for the day and try to stick to it.

 

8. Stay in the chair: There’s always some reason to get up out of your chair. Whether you think you need more coffee, a walk, a snack, etc., the solution is usually quite simple: Stay in the chair. Just keep plugging away. The fridge can wait. A couple of breaks are good and important, sure, but this is an excellent rule that will make you more productive.

 

The good news is that if you stay on target, playing with the kids won’t induce work-related guilt and everyone will be happier – you, your family, and yes, your clients too.

 

About Steve Strauss

Steve Strauss Headshot New.png

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success. © Steven D. Strauss.

 

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

You have already demonstrated a sense of optimism if you have taken the leap into entrepreneurship. However, as the business roller coaster goes through its peaks and valleys, maintaining a positive attitude and the drive to keep going can be difficult.

 

That’s why it’s great to pause and get some inspiration via wise words from others. I’ve assembled 20 quotes from innovators, athletes and entrepreneurs (including one from me) that can give you a push in that time of need.

 

Consider posting your favorites in plain view as a constant reminder of the leadership, persistence and motivation you need to stay the course and make your business an even bigger success.

 

Leadership39734350_s.jpg

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” - Peter Drucker

 

“There's never a wrong time to do the right thing and never a right time to do a wrong thing.” - Lou Holtz

 

“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” - Arnold H. Glasgow

 

     CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT CAROL ROTH

 

Persistence, Success and Failure

“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” - Bill Gates

 

“You miss 100% of the shots you don't take” - Wayne Gretzky

 

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” - Henry Ford

 

“Fail often so you can succeed sooner.” - Tom Kelley

 

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” - Michael Jordan

 

“Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.” - Dale Carnegie

 

Problem solving

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” - Albert Einstein

 

“The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong questions.” - Peter Drucker

 

Ambition and Focus

“Jet pilots don’t use rear view mirrors.” - Joel H. Weldon

 

“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.” - Ayn Rand

 

“Ambition is a dream with a V8 engine.” - Elvis Presley

 

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” - Vince Lombardi

 

“Entrepreneurs too often make choices based on ROE (Return on Ego) vs. ROI (Return on Investment).  A particular opportunity may make you feel great, but if that opportunity is not supporting your goal, or isn’t the best way to achieve your goal quickly and efficiently, then pursue the opportunity that will.” – Carol Roth

 

      RELATED ARTICLE: Great Entrepreneurs Start Small – Consider Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Martha Stewart

 

Competition and Motivation

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” - Theodore Roosevelt

 

“And while the law of competition may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department.” - Andrew Carnegie

 

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.” - Steve Jobs

 

About Carol Roth

Carol Roth Headshot for post.png


Carol Roth is the creator of the Future File™ legacy planning system, “recovering” investment banker, billion-dollar dealmaker, investor, entrepreneur, national media personality and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett-produced technology competition show, America’s Greatest Makers and TV host and contributor, including host of Microsoft’s Office Small Business Academy. She is also an advisor to companies ranging from startups to major multi-national corporations and has an action figure made in her own likeness.

 

Web: www.CarolRoth.com or Twitter: @CarolJSRoth.

You can read more articles from Carol Roth by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Carol Roth to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Carol Roth is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Carol Roth. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

You probably think your small business offers great customer service—well, at least good customer service. But does it really?

 

Without setting customer service benchmarks for your staff, then monitoring and measuring them, you can't be sure how well your employees are living up to your customer service promise.

 

Here are six ways to assess the effectiveness of your customer service.

  1. Set benchmarks. "Good customer service" can be a nebulous concept, unless you set measurable standards and create rules to follow. Whenever possible, try to quantify your standards. For example, set a goal to answer all customer service emails within 24 hours, or not to put callers on hold for more than 60 seconds. For behavior that isn’t easily quantifiable, come up with general rules employees can follow. For instance, you might have a rule that your retail employees should acknowledge every customer who enters the store by smiling, greeting them and looking them in the eye. Once you have set such benchmarks, it’s easier to tell if your employees are living up to them.29379581_s.jpg
  2. Put technology on your side. The tools available vary but there are many ways to keep track of your business’s customer service metrics. If you deal with a lot of customer service calls, for example, use software to track measurements such as how quickly calls are answered, how long customers spend on hold, and how long it takes to resolve a problem. Assess company-wide averages as well as individual employees’ metrics to spot areas where your business is falling short.
  3. Ask your customers. It’s easier than ever to survey customers about their satisfaction with your business’s customer service. Methods range from the low-tech (comment cards on your restaurant tables or at your point-of-sale) to online surveys, quick polls on social media or annual check-ins with your best customers to see how satisfied they are. To get unvarnished opinions, stay on top of your business’s online reviews and ratings. If lots of reviewers are criticizing the same aspect of your business (such as the attitude of the wait staff at your restaurant), take it seriously.
    1. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT RIEVA LESONSKY
  4. Pay attention. Numbers are one way to measure customer service but keep your eyes and ears open too. As a small business owner, you have an advantage over bigger competitors: You can literally see what’s going on in your business every day. Take time to walk around, talk to employees and talk to customers. For example, suppose you have an employee who consistently takes longer than the rest to ring up customers. Watch, and you might find out she’s taking more time to chat with customers and suggest complementary purchases. That means she’s building good customer relationships and boosting the average purchase volume, too.
  5. Empower your employees. Today’s tracking technologies can make you seem like “Big Brother” to your employees, especially if they aren’t sure what you’re measuring and how it affects them. Inspire employees to improve their performances by explaining what you’re tracking, giving them access to their own metrics and showing why the numbers matter. Be open to suggestions from employees about how to improve customer service. Since they’re on the front lines with customers, they can identify processes, bottlenecks and rules that are causing problems.

  6. Take action. Once a month or once a quarter, review all the information you’ve gathered to look for ongoing trends or problems and then determine solutions. Whether the answer is revising your processes, giving employees additional training or incorporating new technologies, taking steps to improve customer service will make both your employees and your customers happier with your small business.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: 6 THINGS MILLENNIALS WANT FROM YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

 

Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah. Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of

America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

It is often said that “money makes the world go ‘round.” This couldn’t be truer for entrepreneurs, who may find that money goes out the door at a more rapid pace than it enters the business.

 

Business owners often need to be entrepreneurial when it comes to operations, including finding ways to get creative with financing. While we always think of money as our only currency, many of us provide expertise, goods and services with substantial value that can be bartered to grow your business.

 

Done correctly, you can use barter-based partnerships (let’s call them “bartnerships”) to take care of some business needs while building great collaborative relationships in the process.

 

However, like anything else, where you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. And, in the case of bartering, that means anything from incurring hefty legal costs to unexpected tax bills.

 

Here’s a roadmap to help you barter and partner better so that it adds to your business.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT CAROL ROTH

 

Vet potential partners

When you go to partner on a barter deal, you want to ensure that your “bartner” has a positive reputation and shares your base business values.

 

One way to do this is to approach associates in your network where you already have a positive relationship. You can also seek recommendations from trusted business associates and advisors. If you expect to barter regularly, consider joining a barter group that verifies or rates participants, or even a barter exchange that intervenes in negotiations.

 

Whether you know your bartner or not, do an online search and check reviews, their social media postings and Better Business Bureau complaints to see if there is any history that could create an issue for the relationship and your business’s reputation.

 

Establish a fair exchange

Even in barter arrangements, the dollar remains the core standard of value. Both parties need to set and agree to a firm dollar value for the goods and services they’re exchanging to create a benchmark of “fairness” for the transaction.

7238263_s.jpg

 

You want to make sure that the trade has as equal a value as possible. For example, if a web developer wants to barter for legal services, the parties may choose 12 months of website maintenance with a $2,400 value for the creation of three template contracts that also have a $2,400 value.

 

While you may want to get a great deal with a lopsided arrangement benefiting you, that often backfires. You don’t want the other party to do a lousy job or feel like they are being taken advantage of – that can impact the quality of the trade and the relationship. Going for a win-win arrangement is always the best for both parties in the long term.

 

Date before marriage

Successful marriages typically begin with a low-key first date before the parties move in together and ultimately tie their lives together. Keep your first barter with a new partner like a first date – small in scope and low-risk.

 

You need to evaluate how you work with a partner before entering into a business relationship. Even if both parties have good intentions going into the bartnership, like marriages, they don’t always work out as planned. Until it’s very clear you can work effectively with and trust this partner, keep it small. It’s much easier to take on a larger exchange or partnership once you have a few small successes behind you.

 

Put everything in writing

The word “barter” may sound casual, and while a handshake may technically be viewed as a legal contract, it’s tough to prove in a court of law. A barter agreement may be even more complex than a straight cash-based compensation arrangement, so you need to identify all aspects of your agreement in detail and put them on paper.

 

By doing this, you limit misunderstandings before, during and after the barter arrangement. Document every detail thoroughly, from what is to be delivered by which party at what quality level and in what time-frame, as well as any remedies if one party doesn’t follow through.

 

Also, if you create a product or service collaboratively (such as working together to create an email list), specify what happens at the end of your agreement. If the agreement stipulates that your barter partner takes full ownership at the end of the partnership and you can no longer use the email list after a defined period, perhaps you should agree to supply fewer names than your partner.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: Which Gig Economy Delivery Service is Right for your Small Business?

 

Know the finish line

Your agreement might last for a week, a month or longer, but it shouldn’t last forever. You absolutely need to set an end date for the arrangement. Even if you enter into an identical arrangement many times in the future, it’s best to create a new contract or at least put together an amendment or extension each time.

 

If your first agreement worked well, creating the next one will be a simple matter. But, if you discovered that some provisions didn’t work as expected, you now have the flexibility to tweak the next version.

 

Communicate early and often

Don’t wait until the final deadline to check in with your partner and find out how things are going or to let them know where you stand on your deliverables. Define key milestones with your partner and check in with each other to ensure you’re both on track and maintaining appropriate quality levels.

 

Naturally, when unexpected issues arise, don’t wait for a milestone date to speak up. A setback on one side can affect the other side. Plus, an informed partner may have a solution to fix the issue.

 

Talk taxes with your accountant

When you trade goods or services that have a cash value, the taxing authorities, of course, want their share. This means that you should discuss tax implications with your accountant before entering a barter agreement.

 

In the U.S., the IRS typically requires you to report barter arrangements on your tax forms. However, if you exchange like goods or services, you both gain and lose valuable assets, so you may not need to pay excessive – or any – additional taxes if you properly track both sides of equal-value exchanges. However, IRS valuation rules can be complex, so that’s why a chat with your accountant is advisable.

 

Using your expertise, goods or services as currency can be a big boost to your business, but plan well so you reap the full benefits and minimize the risks for your business.

 

About Carol Roth

Carol Roth Headshot for post.png

 

Carol Roth is the creator of the Future File™ legacy planning system, “recovering” investment banker, billion-dollar dealmaker, investor, entrepreneur, national media personality and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett-produced technology competition show, America’s Greatest Makers and TV host and contributor, including host of Microsoft’s Office Small Business Academy. She is also an advisor to companies ranging from startups to major multi-national corporations and has an action figure made in her own likeness.

 

Web: www.CarolRoth.com or Twitter: @CarolJSRoth.

You can read more articles from Carol Roth by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Carol Roth to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Carol Roth is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Carol Roth. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Whether they’re 20-somethings or baby boomers, one thing all generations of customers crave is convenience. In an effort to deliver the ultimate in convenience, a variety of delivery services have sprung up, using “gig economy” drivers to provide same-day delivery for businesses large and small.

 

While UPS, DHL and FedEx all offer same-day shipping services, gig economy delivery services can be more affordable, consumer-focused and better suited for perishables like food and flowers. Should your small business use one?

 

Before you jump into the delivery business, ask yourself some questions.

  • How often do your customers ask for delivery? If you rarely get requests, a gig economy service lets you fulfill them without the hassle of hiring your own delivery employees.
  • Do your competitors offer delivery service? If so, how has it affected their businesses? Read online reviews and see what customers are saying about your competitors’ delivery services.
  • Do your competitors that offer delivery use their own drivers/employees, or an outside service?
  • How much do your competitors charge for delivery? Do they build delivery into the cost of the product, or is it a separate charge? How are delivery prices set?

 

Comparing Gig Economy Delivery Services

A search of delivery services in your area will likely uncover some local services. However, there are some big national players offering gig economy delivery:

 

GrubHub: Customers order food on GrubHub or its app; your restaurant receives the order and can have it delivered by a Grubhub driver or your own staff.36429583_s.jpg Grubhub

provides 24/7 customer care on every order. (Seamless, another popular service, is owned by GrubHub, as are many local restaurant delivery services.)

 

UberEATS: UberEATS is an online meal ordering and delivery platform that uses Uber’s network of drivers to deliver meals from hundred of local restaurants; it claims an average 15-minute delivery time.  Ordering can be done on their website or with a smartphone/tablet application.  When customers are ready to check out, they’ll see their address, an estimated delivery time, and the price of the order including tax and booking fee.

 

Postmates: Postmates offers both food and non-food deliveries in more than 130 cities nationwide, 24/7/365. Customers place orders online, and Postmates handles the entire process of order fulfillment and delivery for you. You can see and track orders on your Postmates dashboard.

 

Deliv: Deliv delivers not only restaurant items, but also groceries and meal subscription products. If you choose the Small Business option, you’ll still be in charge of scheduling delivery, packing the item, etc. If you want customers to be able to schedule Deliv directly from your website, you’ll need the Enterprise version.

 

UberRUSH: For nonfood items, UberRUSH lets you schedule deliveries for the same day or in the future, add special instructions such as requiring a signature, and track them in real time just like with Uber. UberRUSH integrates with many e-commerce platforms. In some markets, packages are delivered by bicycle, which limits them to 30 pounds or less; car drivers will deliver packages up to 50 pounds.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ARTICLES FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT RIEVA LESONSKY

 

Choosing the Right Partner

When choosing a gig economy delivery partner, start by finding out what’s available in your city and checking out features, costs and hours of operation. Once you have a short list, consider:

  • Will you gain added exposure? Being featured on a popular restaurant delivery app can attract customers who’ve never heard of your restaurant before.
  • Do they offer additional marketing assistance? Some companies work with you to help market your business.
  • How well are drivers vetted? Are they uniformed or do they wear other identifying clothing?
  • How much control do you have? Do you have the option to deliver products yourself if you choose, or are they all handled by the company?
  • How much customer service do they provide, both to you and to your customers? If there’s a problem with the delivery, who handles the complaint?

 

Before choosing a specific delivery service, place several orders from local companies that use them, and see how satisfied you are. Remember, this delivery service will make a big impression on your customers, so it’s important for it to be a positive one.

 

RELATED ARTICLE: CHOOSING A MERCHANT SERVICE PROVIDER

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years.

 

Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah. Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of

America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

With fall around the corner, so is school. As a small business, this is a great time to take advantage of this busy time of year.

 

There are plenty of ways you can make this back to school season successful and mutually beneficial – for you and your customers. Here are some ideas:

 

Back to school promotions: With everybody shopping for school supplies, now is a great time to offer discounts, coupons and promotions for popular school items. This is an easy way to attract shoppers, old and new. Even if you are late to the game, that’s OK – there are plenty of last-minute shoppers or those who forgot items who would be relieved to still see deals. 43530272_s.jpg

 

Also, back to school promotions aren’t exclusive to school supplies and computers. Regardless of what you sell, it’s never a bad idea to offer (and advertise) a discount for students, especially during the back-to-school season. It’s a great way of saying good luck with the new year.

 

Bonus tip: You can offer promotional discounts in exchange for customers opting-in to your mailing list. This is a great way to grow your list.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM SMALL BUSINESS EXPERT STEVE STRAUSS

 

Be helpful: A lot of parents and students are stressed out this time of year, so this is a good opportunity to put forward your very best customer service skills. Be extra helpful, friendly, accommodating and understanding of everyone, as you never know who could be going through something like this. Offer resources, such as relevant local phone numbers and email addresses, and healthy lunch ideas when possible. Being mindful of the emotions people might be feeling will most certainly pay off

Keep in mind that back to school season is expensive for shoppers so you could throw in a gift card, free meal, etc. as a way of saying thank you.

 

Get involved: Getting involved with a local school is a great way to give back to the community and to market your brand and business. There are many ways you can give back to schools, such as:

 

  • Host fundraisers for school scholarships, extracurricular programs, etc.
  • Donate items for school raffles
  • Host a shopping night with proceeds going to the school

 

RELATED ARTICLE: WHEN IT COMES TO MARKETING—TIMING IS EVERYTHING

 

Ramp up your productivity: Assuming you've had quality relaxation time this summer, back to school season is the perfect time for you and your staff to get back into the swing of things. Start by doing whatever you’ve neglected this summer. Maybe that means working a little later or taking some work home with you in the evenings or on weekends in order to catch-up. Follow the students’ back to school lead and use the back-to-school season to make this fall a productive one.

 

Summer may be ending but as a small business owner, this is an opportune time to ramp up business.

 

 

About Steve Strauss

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss.

 

Steve Strauss Headshot SBC.png

Web: www.theselfemployed.com or Twitter: @SteveStrauss

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Steve Strauss to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Steve Strauss is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Steve Strauss. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

Filter Article

By tag: