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Couch Sessions - "Dear Abby" for small business owners

Couch Sessions... "Dear Abby" for small business owners
Couch Sessions... "Dear Abby" for small business owners
A.Michelle Blakeley

Back by popular demand… “Couch Sessions.” In today’s fast-paced world, small business owners are even more hyperconnected and overloaded with information, choices, and distractions. One of the hardest things to determine is whether you’re on the right path or not. Great work requires taking risks. Couch Sessions offers practical information, new perspectives and quick tips to help point you in the right direction.

Are you a struggling, frustrated or just inquisitive small business owner? Got a question you just can’t seem to find the answer for? Please submit your small business questions here. Get Be sure to bookmark and check this page each week, your question and the reply may appear right here in “Couch Sessions” for the Small Business Owner. This week on Couch Sessions…

Q: I manufacture and sell safe and effective alternatives to toxic chemical pesticides. Greenbug offers pest control products for people, pets, indoors/outdoors; that use organic cedar oil as the active ingredient. Our products work and they are safe but many people have the mindset that for pest control - 'the stronger the chemical the better' or 'natural products don't work.' With minimal marketing monies, how do you suggest we educate/market to/identify with people who have been programmed to think these things?

A: It’s important that you are swimming in the same “pool” as your clients. If you are a florist, you can’t find or communicate with wedding planners if you are hanging around with people who are in the sports industry (an extreme example, but hopefully you get the point). You are in an established industry (eco-friendly products) and there is a steady demand for alternatives to hazardous products. How connected are you to complementary vendors who share your market? (painters, green certified realtors, LEED contractors, etc.) You should be networking and communicating with “green professionals.” Sure, you could spend your time educating people on the health benefits and dangers of using toxic pesticides, but why? Focus on blogs, magazines, businesses and groups that already understand and appreciate your environmentally friendly products. In addition, consider focusing on moms and pet owners. These two market segments are more inclined to adhere to the warnings and dangers of using toxic chemicals.

Q: I am trying to pick between two manufacturers for my next product, one is foreign and the other is domestic. 

Which is more valuable for a new company, the money saved from going foreign, or the strong wholesome image associated with “Made in America?”

 I look forward to reading your answer!

A: Branding and business culture are fundamental business practices that can make or break a business. How you start your business is not always how it progresses. However, establishing a solid foundation based on core beliefs could be what sets you apart from your competitors. Consider how both options affect your vision for your business and whether or not that choice/decision is detrimental. What are the consequences if you start with a foreign manufacturer and then change to a domestic partner? And vice versa. Are there any negotiable options the domestic partner offers that outweigh “price?” What weight is given to your company/products being “Made in America?” How relative is it to your image? Your industry? Here is an article that may provide additional insight: 'Made in America' not easy for retailers to deliver on.

Now let’s talk about YOU! Are YOU a struggling, frustrated or just inquisitive small business owner? Need help NOW? Click here.

A.Michelle Blakeley is the founder of Simplicity Mastered. Blakeley is a Micro Business Therapist professional with extensive experience in business organization and has successfully counseled hundreds of small business owners through the daily challenges of operating a small business. When you need to reorganize your business, there is one place that has everything – Simplicity Mastered. Maximize your time and budget with a Micro Business Audit, Customized Business Organization and Micro Business Therapy™. Get your business DONE.

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