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Couch Sessions: We Recently Moved and Need Guidance and Connections

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In today’s fast-paced world, small business owners are even more hyper-connected 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. Be sure to bookmark and check this page each week, your question and the reply could appear right here in “Couch Sessions” for entrepreneurs and small business owners. This week on Couch Sessions…

Q: As the Co-founder of Cooking Planit, I recently moved
 to San Francisco to find additional inspiration, guidance and connections 
since it is the top hub of talented people in the food and tech 
space. I would have to say we are in need of guidance and 
connections. That's not to say we haven't found those things yet, but like
 food to the human body, we will always need more to survive, thrive and 
grow. Jonathan Vlock, www.cookingplanit.com

Business pipelines should always be full. Moving to a new area provides you with a great opportunity to present a “fresh face.” Find your tribe. What I mean by that is find out where your market is in the local scene (moms, personal chefs, homecare workers, gym rats, doctors, etc.) What local groups do they belong to? Where do they mingle? What events can you host or sponsor to meet, mix and mingle with potential collaborators and prospects? Most business deals and connections are made outside of the office, not via presentations. Hit the streets, do some guerilla marketing and take a grassroots approach to introducing yourself to your new community. Nothing is more valuable or cost-effective that good old fashioned face-to-face contact. Additional reading: "3 Must Do's When Relocating Your Business."

Q: Placing product ads on a site allegedly attracts new business. However, if you have no experience drafting an attractive ad, or choosing optimum key words, it's not cost effective. Where can a small business obtain guidance in that area, without hiring an expensive consultant? Tina Nelson, www.lawsuitgame.com

Are product ad placements your best venue for marketing? How and where else can you market your product? Do any of your local schools participate in mock trials? Are there any youth groups or organizations you can collaborate with? What educators and home school resources can you network with? If you got the most traction via word of mouth, why not continue and expand those efforts?

If you must place ads, never underestimate the value of a good graduate student or intern whose interest is in advertising or copywriting. Check out your local colleges and have a conversation with the department heads. Some universities have business programs that interact with business owners in the community. It’s worth looking into to see if there is one in your area. Also, with sites like Elance, you can find someone within your budget. I must caution you, however, you will be doing yourself a disservice by “low balling” potential copywriters. Always hire the best you can afford, at any given time in your business.

Now let’s talk about YOU! Are you a struggling, frustrated or just inquisitive small business owner? Need help NOW? Click here or call (916) 287-1432

Couch Sessions is a weekly small business advice column designed to answer questions from struggling and/or simply inquisitive entrepreneurs. Micro Business Therapist™, A.Michelle Blakeley, is a small business professional with over two decades of experience in sustainable, holistic and progressive business practices who has successfully guided new and seasoned small business owners through the daily challenges of operating a small business with timely and transformative small business advice. She is featured in Forbes.com and the Financial Post as one of 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter, contributor for the San Francisco Examiner and Women On Business; curator of the online magazine, Micro Business Therapy™ and was the host of Simple Truths for Women Entrepreneurs on BlogTalkRadio.com.