First of all. let me say I do not have a degree in Business or Marketing. I do hold an Associates, but the majority of my degree is in Criminal Justice-Corrections. I was one ‘report writing’ class away from the title of the degree when I moved from Tucson, so I had to take a GS. That being said; I have taken the Fast Trac’ Business Seminar classes along with other training the postal provided to me over the years, including customer service. I also had my own wedding photography business while living in Streamwood, Illinois. I have also worked in a one hour photo lab which included the billing and accounts receivable.
There is one thing I have always said about being a business owner, ”Be Your Own Customer.”
(It may sound a bit silly, but the new TV show ‘Undercover Boss’ could have been my pitch, had I known they were thinking of it. Oh Well, You snooze, you lose).
By being your own customer, you can see what the customer sees. In example, if you own a restaurant, sit at one of the tables for your own dinner some time. You may be surprised at how easy it is to overlook some of the little things, customers may never tell you about.
Get on the other side of the counter. You may be surprised what some little youngsters are writing on the walls with crayons. Or, read the magazines, you may discover you had some objectionable materials in an otherwise mundane publication.
Sit in the chairs (any cracking legs?) Walk around the floor where the clients walk. (Any bumps, gaps or torn carpet?).
Call and schedule an appointment as a mystery client, see how your staff handle the phone when you’re not around.
It this recession wary economic climate, I like to find ways to promote businesses. Especially locally owned small operations or Individual business owners.
One way is to join the Chamber of Commerce. You can reach a lot of people with their newsletter.
Another way to promote is to distribute business cards wherever you can: restaurants, libraries, bulletin boards, friends, family, the printing place that makes your promotional materials, the Internet; Facebook, etc, luncheons, clients who you do business with, telephone answering machines, any letters you send out should have your header or footer of some kind.
Attend fairs, festivals, flea markets and other functions. Colleges usually have a place for promotional items too.
You just never know who will need your service, or find your product of interest. Always let the customer decide, don’t make the decision for them.
Robert is a former Chicago and Tucson, Arizona resident and a retired postal worker. He holds an Associate Degree in General Studies, with honors, from Pima Community College in Tucson.
Now working as a staff writer and photo-journalist; He can be reached through the newspaper or e-mail