lounges and cafes, which Riley says is an inexpensive way to encourage brand awareness. “I’ve had people walk in and say, ‘Oh my God, I keep seeing your product everywhere I go,’” she says.
In addition, the Polish Bar is part of a cooperative advertising initiative lead by the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, a local nonprofit. In one campaign, nearly two dozen business owners, including Riley, were featured in postcards highlighting their companies and the neighborhood. Instead of spending as much as $1,350 on developing her own series of ads, Riley spent only $700 as part of the cooperative.
“Certainly you’re getting more bang for your buck,” says Jennifer Stokes, a program manager with the organization. “It’s getting the word out about your business, but also it’s affording some entry into a media outlet that may not have been financially in reach before.”
Riley confesses that she spends only about 2% of Polish Bar’s revenues on marketing initiatives, opting to develop more imaginative strategies that are inexpensive yet effective.
Polish Bar saw 2006 revenues near the $500,000 mark. Just nine months into 2007, its revenues were already up 52%. Today, the salon averages 50 to 60 clients per day and generates at least 10 new appointments overnight via the Website.
The Internet is one tool that should not be overlooked. “Web presence is important,” says Maisha Walker, president and founder of Message Medium (www.messagemedium.com), a New York City marketing firm. “Visibility is about making sure you can compete in all arenas so you can take advantage of the real revenue that can be generated through a Website.”
Do’s & Don’ts when looking to market your business
- Do… Know your business. Having a clear understanding will impact who you align with and how you are portrayed.
- Do… Vet ideas wit
h others. Riley and Isaac use a marketing template to discuss the pros/cons and prospective results of a marketing/advertising initiative.
- Do… Develop strategic partnerships. “Cooperative advertising brings your advertising up a notch, says Stokes. “Now you’re working with increased dollars and voices.”
- Do… “Start small and sharp,” recommends Walker about building your Website. “Grow the site as your revenues grow.”
- Don’t… Bore online visitors. According to Walker, your Website should answer: “What can you do for me?” in a way that is clear and compelling.
- Don’t… Wait too long to measure impact. Monitoring a marketing initiative throughout its run can save money.
Keeping Up With the Joneses
Outfitting your company with up-to-date technology is vital
By Sonya A. Donaldson
When global shipping giant UPS offered Summitline Industries Inc. a small-business supplier contract back in 2003 worth $10 million, it came with a stipulation. “We needed to do a technology overhaul in order to get the contract,” says Stan Richard, president and owner of the Fort Wayne, Indiana-based company, which offers warehousing, packing, and distribution services.
Whether you’re a multimillion-dollar powerhouse doing business with corporate giants, a startup, or an established home-based business, success means keeping pace with tech developments on all fronts–hardware, software, and the Web. Continually upgrading your business can maximize its reach, its ability, and ultimately