Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

March 11, 2014

Small businesses: 'Be found and be open'

Marc Willson offered advice to small business owners and employees during a recent seminar at the Batesville Memorial Public Library. It was sponsored by the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce, city of Batesville and Southeast Indiana Small Business Development Center.

“Staying Relevant to a Changed Customer” was geared toward restaurant, retail and service owners and managers. About 15 area merchants took advantage of the opportunity to hear the national speaker from Leesburg, Va., who started his retail career as co-owner of the largest distributor of Earth Shoes in the U.S. He has held executive positions with retailers, including Circuit City, and Storetrax Inc. He recently opened the world’s first energy efficiency store in Dallas for Current Energy LLC.

“The battle cry for small business is to be found and be open .... You’re a needle in a haystack,” Willson stressed. “You have to have a Web site. It’s not optional.

“People want to see pictures. They don’t want to see words. A picture is going to stop someone on your Web site. One thing that’s better than pictures is moving pictures .... embed a video on your home page. The home page is about the customer, not you. Why is it in the customer’s best interest to seek out your store or service?”

On the second page, “tell your story. Why are you in business? What is your passion? How long have you been open? .... I’d like to see a picture of you there so when customers walk through the door, they’ll know you.

“The last page should tell people how to contact you. Also, post a map and directions to your business.”

He also recommended having a mobile-enabled Web site so people can search for information using their smartphones, a business Facebook page and a Quick Response code (bar code), “which takes you to the home page of a Web site.”

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