I’ve been reading more and more lately about being an author, and handling it like a small business, especially in your town.
I don’t know if I like that or not. So I will think on it for while.
Yes, I do see the point. If you are an indie author especially, you have to market, promote and sell your books. That is the business part of writing. And that’s the part I’m not too fond of.
But in reality, I do have a small business. I want others to purchase a product from me. And when you live in a small town, there is not a lot of room to bungle your small business and you will, if you’re not careful.
In any business you want to offer a product that others want, and desire enough to pay for. In a large city, the products are wanted and needed by many people. There is competition for that product, whatever it may be. In a small town, there aren’t so many choices.
In a big city, a smart business person will offer a product at a competitive price. They will offer that product in a clean, attractive way. They will be friendly and want repeat customers. They know if they do not do those things, the customer will go elsewhere and give someone else the money for the services needed. They want to keep that customer and their money.
The small town business should up their game even more. Because people can and will travel for better service and products. The attitude shouldn’t be to support the small town business just because it is in your town. That’s a nice thought. But you also still need to give that customer something, some reason to stay local. The small town business still needs to offer great prices and sales. They have to run their business well. Treat their customers like they are royalty, offer services that are not offered other places. One place that comes to mind is our local grocery store. They carry your bags to your car! I was flabbergasted the first time I saw this twenty years ago. What big grocery store chain can you think of that does that for their customers? This same store offered tremendous sales on baking items, etc. during the holidays. They wanted you to shop there and not drive out of town to get those same items. Another great aspect of this store was seeing the owner sweeping the parking lot, carrying out groceries, and talking with the customers. The store was always clean and friendly. I wanted to shop there! It was a pleasant place to be. Our local gift shop has lovely items and they gift-wrap for free. Where do you think I go when I need something pretty and special? Not Walmart! One local restaurant offered a terrific meal for a great price, drink included. We ate there many, many times over the year or so that took place. Again, making customers feel special and giving them a fantastic deal.
I want to shop local, but not just because I should. I want to be treated better because I’m part of a community, offered better prices, shop in a cleaner, more friendly environment because that’s what a small business should do! You want your community to put their money back into it. So make it easy for them to do, and pleasant at the same time. As a small business you have the time and ability to treat your customers like royalty. And if you do consistently, they won’t want to be anywhere else.
This applies to the small business owner across the board, whether you own a restaurant, car dealership, grocery store, auto parts store, hair salon, heating and cooling, clothing, or write books. Offer your services in a friendly manner, make your business stand out and someplace people want to support and be a part of. Don’t put a guilt trip on your community about shopping local if you aren’t offering services above and beyond what they can find elsewhere.
Christmas shopping is just around the corner. Do you want to be a part of a huge chain store, an overworked clerk checking you out? Or would you rather stroll along a pretty street, popping in and out of bustling shops, music playing, being greeted by others you know and want you there? Do you want the store owner happy to see you, offering you a great deal and knowing your family, or a store clerk that could care less if you’re there or not? If you own a small business in a small town, think on that one. If you’re a savvy business owner, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out! Happy shopping!