On September 1, 2023, we lost a big name in music–Jimmy Buffet. As always happens when a celebrity passes, suddenly everyone is talking about him and his myriad contributions to entertainment. But Buffet’s popularity wasn’t because of his complex songs or his professionally-trained voice (he had neither). Buffet had something else. He became known as the king of vacation, his laid-back attitude was something a lot of people aspired to. For that reason, and eleven others, entrepreneurs can learn from this “son of a son of a sailor.” After all, he “sold” a way of life and a community that most of us find enviable.
The new year is a time of review and introspection coupled with making new promises for the future. We are often filled with a sense of control over our destiny and a desire to begin again. If you’re feeling the same, here are a few ways you can capitalize on the new year’s momentum by embracing the habits of successful people:
This year has been a little more difficult to figure out new year’s resolutions. Part of that is because we’re all still reeling from the “lessons” we learned in 2020. Even the best prepared businesses lacked preparation for a global pandemic. Still, the new year is a great time to reexamine what you’ve been doing and how it can get better. Here are a few ideas:
Maybe you read this title and thought: I don’t have time to read that. I’m too stressed! If you are, take a moment and read this anyway. If you can cut down on your stress levels not only are you less likely to get ill this holiday season, you’ll enjoy it more.
Come on. It will only take 3 minutes. Think of it as an investment in your business.
Stress is almost inevitable during the holiday. And businesses that do large sales during this time will either be stressed because they’re doing a great amount or they’ll worry because they’re not doing enough. Don’t run yourself down and risk injury or sickness. If you’re sick or exhausted, you’ll only be more stressed. Try these tips for reducing stress instead.
Most people research online before they purchase. That could take the form of looking up prices, options, or educating themselves on the product or service they’re in the market for. Many buyers also use a business website to verify hours, availability, make reservations, etc. During the holiday season people are busier than ever and it’s common to check things out online before getting in a car. If your website isn’t easy to navigate, with important information front and center, you may be missing out on a host of customers. Here’s how you can ensure it’s in good shape.
10 Things You Should Do Right Now for a Better Business Website
Most of the changes below are things you can implement quickly but you should also make sure that your website is user friendly, loads quickly, and looks great on mobile. If it doesn’t meet those requirements, work on those basics first.
Make sure you have the following things clearly accessible on your website:
From Thanksgiving to Christmas there’s a battle that occurs for consumer dollars. The big guy against the little guy, the brick-and-mortar versus the online retailer, everyone is looking for a bigger piece of the pie. It’s time to start thinking about your holiday marketing.
If you have a brick-and-mortar location, chances are you're doing some sort of decorating for the holidays. Even if you don't celebrate, it's likely your customers do so in order to spread the holiday cheer you get festive.
The same should be true of your website. While you don't need to decorate per se, you do need to prepare for holiday traffic. Even if what you do or sell has nothing to do with Christmas, people often turn to the internet or online solutions during the holiday season. Plus, if you run a business that helps people prepare for the holidays, even if just peripherally, you want to make sure your website is ready. Here's how you can go about doing that:
By now you’ve likely seen the statistics that shopping small/local keeps roughly $68 out of every $100 in our community, whereas shopping at a national chain means about $43 remains here. Why is that important and what does it mean to you and your family? A lot more than you may think.
How Small Business Spending Makes a Big Difference in Our Community
Where Do the Dollars Go?
While it’s difficult to track the exact path of a dollar spent locally versus one spent at a chain, you can imagine it looks something like this:
That image is an example of what’s called “indirect impact.” Indirect impact is felt when a local business owner or employee spends the money they make locally but it’s not the only kind of impact that can be felt by spending local.
Johnny Goes to Band Camp
When your son or daughter has a school expense like a club trip, sporting event, yearbook expense, camp, or graduation program, do you email Elon Musk to fund it? No. You ask your local pizza parlor or favorite small business owner. They get their name listed as a sponsor and your child is one step closer to their goal.
Small Nonprofits Win
Along the same lines of sponsors, when it comes to local nonprofits and raising money for local causes or even natural disasters, it’s the local businesses that come through. They understand the importance of helping neighbors. Yes, large companies give hundreds of thousands of dollars to large nonprofits. We’re not discounting that. But local charities and nonprofits are often not on their funding radars. Chains are doing their part donating to the United Way and national groups like the American Cancer Society. Local charities often rely on local support.
We Enjoy a Better Quality of Life
According to studies compiled by the Institute of Self Reliance, “the more locally owned businesses per capita that a community has, the better off that place is on many of the other indicators of community health. The larger the share of transactions in our economy—buying, producing, investing—that involve a locally owned business, the more thriving, equitable, and resilient our economy and community can be.”
Local Vendors and People Win
During COVID and immediately after reopening, there were supply chain issues (we’re still feeling them in some industries). Many of those issues were due to lack of transportation or lack of labor in the transportation industry. That caused many businesses to look for local options to meet their needs.
When local businesses pay for things they need to do business (like inventory, utilities, equipment and pay to employees) locally, that has a direct impact on the local economy.
Chains and local businesses pay a salary to local employees so they both have a direct impact on the local economy. However, a chain is limited in where it can get its inventory, equipment, and other items from. These costs are probably paid to, or dictated by, corporate. A small business owner makes those decisions themselves and can choose to keep some of those purchases local as well.
Jobs Are Plentiful
In times when jobs are needed most—in high unemployment—local businesses are there. According to the article “The Contribution of Large and Small Employers to Job Creation in Times of High and Low Unemployment,” which appeared in the American Economic Review, “…in times of high unemployment, small businesses both retain and create more jobs than large firms do.”
Where you spend your money is an investment in the growth and prosperity of our area. You’re either investing for maximized returns on your holiday dollars by spending local or you’re not. We hope it’s the former.
Whether your team works from home or in an office, whether you are a business of one or one hundred and one, taking care and making time for wellness is becoming increasingly important. Stress levels because of what’s going on in the world around us are increasing. You may not even be aware of the outside stress someone is under.
Making sure you create an atmosphere where wellness is stressed and made a priority is critical to successful performance. Stressed out employees make more mistakes and have difficulty making good decisions.
Many of us have spent this year concerned over the health of our businesses or those in the community. Ultimately, a healthy business has a good balance sheet. It has more coming in than it does going out. But that is not the only indicator of business health.
In today’s world, where a quick decision from a politician can radically affect your business overnight, it’s important to know the early indicators of business peril. This of these things as your business’ “canary in the coal mine.”