By Tim Sohn for Pocono Business Journal
When deciding to re-open a Poconos business, go with the slow. Despite the stock market’s recent climb above 11,000 (per Dow Jones), consumers are still being cautious—and so should you.
That said, there is still hope you can get back your former customers, but it will require lots of patience and legwork. Here are some tips to give your revived business a kick-start:
1) Network. Join your local Chamber of Commerce. These nonprofit organizations give business owners the opportunity to share and compare ideas, as well as help market area businesses.
2) Go Viral. Market your business online in as many ways as possible—blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. Web site visitors love interactivity, so use lots of videos, podcasts and polls. (If you need to learn about these social networking tools, your local community college’s continuing education program is your best bet). For example, post testimonials from your first customers.
3) Get Out There. Attend community events, and make sure to bring the three B’s: a banner, business cards and brochures. Provide a demonstration of your product or service at the booth. This will help keep potential customers around and hopefully win you a sale.
4) Be Knowledgeable and Courteous. Customer service is the No. 1 thing that can make or break your business. Also, make sure you know your product or service inside and out, and ensure that your employees do the same. Potential new customers, and curious repeat visitors who used to be customers, will walk out your door if these are missing.
5) Hire Interns. If you don’t have a lot of capital to spend on employees, consider employing students as interns. Students can receive college credit and gain valuable business experience, while the employer receives valuable services in return. Start advertising for these positions right away because college students start their breaks soon.
Tim Sohn, a 10-year veteran journalist who specializes in writing about local business and healthcare, is a resident of Shohola, Pa., and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.