National Small Business Week – Power of Business helps celebrate!

National Small Business Week – Power of Business helps celebrate!

Get ready for Small Business Week – May 12-16

Help us celebrate National Small Business Week by joining in the conversation during this special week. Live chats everyday – Businesses sharing their successes and offering tips to be in business!

No NEED to Register! Just join in the conversation!

Click on the appropriate link at 12:15 pm ET/11:15 am CT/10:15 am MT/9:15 am PT
◾May 12 – AgVise Laboratories – Preparing for Disasters – http://go.unl.edu/pobchatmonday
◾May 13 – ProPrinting – Going into Business – http://go.unl.edu/pobchattuesday
◾May 14 – Hudson Chatham Winery – http://go.unl.edu/pobchatwednesday
◾May 15 – Fat Toad Farm – Using Social Media – http://go.unl.edu/pobchatthursday
◾May 16 – George Paul Vinegar – Asking for Advise – http://go.unl.edu/pobchatfriday

See you there.

Reblogged from Huskerpreneur

Agritourism: People Will Come

I am a farm boy. Grew up on a what today would be a small farm. My summers and after-school hours were spent working on the farm. Days were long and there was always something to do. Putting up hay always happened around July 4th.

For most of my farming friends, this was a way of life yet few people ever came by to see what we were doing, well maybe the relatives. There was no reason as many had grown up farming or were closely connected with the people who worked the land such as a relative or family friend.

Making hay

Making Hay (CC) by Stephen, on Flickr

In my world, I couldn’t imagine getting people to come and pay money to load hay, shovel grain, feed cows, or just wander the farm.

Today, this has all changed. People are now looking for an experience, and agritourism experiences are capturing interest. For those of us old enough, we may remember the movie “City Slickers.” . Today, some of us want to relive those days or may be a desire to learn more about where our food comes from or to experience something our ancestors once did. For a third group, it is making connections with our history.

Visiting an agritourism operation

An agritourism experience (CC) Jessica Reeder, on Flickr

Agritourism can be a business opportunity. From pick-your-own to pumpkin patches and corn mazes to dude ranches to birding and wildlife to a bed and breakfast, all of these can be developed into a profitability venture. They can be near, or even in, the city but can also be well away from the beaten path.

Not only can such businesses be economic engines for the business owner but communities can also build around those efforts. Visitors will want to see other local sites, they are interested in local history and they want to spend money, for food, beverages, gas, souvenirs, etc. The community needs to be able and willing to offer those items as well as to help link agritourism and other business owners together as collaborators.

Now may be a great time for developing agritourism on your farm/ranch and in your community. They can be good business opportunities? It may not be right for everyone (do you want people on your farm or ranch?). It may be something to consider though if you are looking for new ways to use assets you already have.

You can get more help from your local Extension office. In terms of marketing, online marketing is so important today so check out: Marketing Agritourism Online

eXtension FREE Webinar – Blogging for Food

eXtension Online Marketing Webinar Series
February 13, 2014
2:00 p.m. ET/ 1:00 p.m. CT/12:00 p.m. MT/11:00 p.m. PT
 
Blogging For Food
Presented by Jennifer Lewis, The Soup to Nuts Resource for Artisan Food Entrepreneurs
 
The eXtension Entrepreneurship webinar winter series focus is
marketing online and enhancing their online marketing strategy.
 
February 13 – Blogging For Food
Presented by Jennifer Lewis, The Soup to Nuts Resource for Artisan Food Entrepreneurs
2:00 p.m. ET/ 1:00 p.m. CT/12:00 p.m. MT/11:00 p.m. PT
 
Starting your own business is not an easy task especially if you are involved with the food industry – after much research it was evident there were few resources where ‘foodies’ could ask questions and get helpful information. Jennifer Lewis will share her experience with creating a blog to provide resourceful knowledge to the artisan food community.   Learn how a blog could be useful for your business to engage with customers.

Follow Entrepreneurs and Their Communities at:
 
UPCOMING WEBINARS
March 13
– Incorporating Video into the Marketing Strategy
Presented by Jeremy Doan, Rolling Plains Adventures
 
Video today is as important today as content marketing.  Learn how Jeremy Doan, Rolling Plains Adventures uses video to explain what their business is about, how they can share customer experiences, and what it takes to create short video segments to benefit your business.
 

All webinars will air monthly on the second Thursday at  1:00pm (CT); 12:00pm(MT); at https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/etc-cop.  Webinars are recorded for your convenience and are archived at https://learn.extension.org/events/recent

 

Take Your Marketing to the Next Level with eTailing curriculum

Online marketing is key for all businesses, even those who aren’t selling online. As Tom Cochran from Atlantic Media, best said it, “If you don’t have a digital presence today, you don’t exist.”

Huskerpreneur

Online retail capacity, or e-tailing, remains a rapidly growing trend.

“It is important for all small businesses to put an online marketing strategy into full speed,” says Connie Hancock, UNL Extension Educator. “More and more, customers are looking for 24/7 access or ‘always-on’ capacity to shop, buy, and receive customer support and service.”

With this changing landscape for retailers, North Dakota State University (NDSU) and University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Services teamed up to provide rural and small-business owners with an educational program, “eTailing: Taking Charge of Your Online Presence,” at http:go.unl.edu/etailing.

This new self-help program is designed to help business owners understand e-tailing and make plans to incorporate on online marketing strategy into their total marketing strategy to reach existing customers as well as expand their reach for new customers.

“It is important for business owners to understand two things: First, e-tailing is not an option,” says…

View original post 370 more words

Online Presence webinar series begins!

The beginning of a three part series helping small business owners with their Online Presence.  Glenn Muske, NDSU and Connie Hancock, UNL Extension presented Crafting the Message on Thursday, January 9, 2014.
Here is a copy of the presentation for your convenience – Crafting the Message FINAL plus a link to the archived recording – Crafting the Message recording
Crafting the Message Resources

Mark your calendars for upcoming webinars

2nd Thursday, 2:00pm ET; 1:00pm CT; 12 pm MT; 11:00 am PThttp://connect.extension.iastate.edu/etc-cop

February 13 –Blogging for Food – Jennifer Lewis – The Soup to Nuts Resource for Artisan Food Entrepreneurs

March 13 – Incorporating Video into the Marketing Strategy – Jeremy Doan, Rolling Plains Adventures

Getting People In the Door

customer relations

Photo (CC) by Ydubel, on Flickr

Business owners look for ways to get people in the door and then how to make the sale.

My work faces the same challenges. I am in the service industry. I provide nontraditional educational services to adults and youth. With a network of Extension colleagues across the country, we provide a variety of programs and materials to help people start and run successful businesses. Some business owners sell widgets, but others, like ours, provide services. Our service is helping business owners and the communities where they live achieve their dreams and goals.

Yet recently a friend asked me, as a recent workshop had to be cancelled due to low attendance, how can get people to use what we have? We have the product, in our case materials and seminars, online and in print. and even though much of it is provided at low cost or even no cost, we sometimes struggle, like any business owner, to get an audience in the door.

So what can we do? My immediate response is to shout it from the mountain top, “We exist.” Yet that message will probably just get caught up in the deluge of messages that assault our senses every day.

Like all business owners, we need to:

Listen, ask questions, and gather any additional information we can. It is not enough to know that a business owner needs help with finances. We need, and you need, to drill down. Are we talking revenue or expenses? Is it finding a loan or speeding up the accounts payable process? Is it a tax issue or an accounting issue? The list goes on.

Offer something of benefit. We can provide lots of information but does it help solve the problem (right back to the listening issue)?

Be recognized as trustworthy and authentic. Some call this building our brand. This comes from establishing relationships over time, being where the customer is at, and being there over time. It also involves staying in touch or at least knowing that the lines of communication are open. People get busy, people forget. What can you do to stay in touch and provide ongoing information. This blog is one tool that we have selected to use.

Be where our customer is at. And if we are not sure, check it out. It is important to remind ourselves that there may be several groups of customers each of whom choose different channels of communication. Track what happens. We encourage business owners to do that but it just doesn’t always get done.

Don’t stop the process. We need to continually look at how we are doing and make adjustments.

And we can’t forget to “shout it from the mountain.” We need to have a clear, concise marketing message and a strategy to get that message in front of our customer base. In that process, we need to have a call to action and a offer for doing so.

These practices are the same for all businesses including educational services such as Extension and even nonprofits. One final reminder is to remember that none of this happens overnight. Practice them one day at a time. You will forget and miss opportunities but if you are consistent it will become a habit and you will look back and see your success.

What would you add to the list? Give us your comments. We will add you to our monthly newsletter, Power of Business, for sharing your thoughts.

Online Marketing Webinar Series begins in January 2014

eXtension Online Marketing Webinar Series
January 9, 2014
2:00 p.m. ET/ 1:00 p.m. CT/12:00 p.m. MT/11:00 p.m. PT
 
Crafting A Consistent Marketing Message!
Glenn Muske, NDSU Small Business Specialist and Connie Hancock, UNL Extension Educator
 
 
The eXtension Entrepreneurship webinar winter series focus is
marketing online and enhancing their online marketing strategy.
 
January 9 – Crafting A Consistent Marketing Message!
Glenn Muske, NDSU Small Business Specialist and Connie Hancock, UNL Extension Educator
2:00 p.m. ET/ 1:00 p.m. CT/12:00 p.m. MT/11:00 p.m. PT
 
Getting the attention of customers is harder today than ever before.  Learning how to craft a marketing message that draws customers to your website where the information you provide benefits them personally.  Crafting the message involves understanding landing pages, call to action, and relating that to your marketing goals.  Glenn Muske and Connie Hancock will provide tips on how to Craft that Marketing Message.
 
Follow us on
 
 
UPCOMING WEBINARS
February 13 – Blogging For Food
Presented by Jennifer Lewis, The Soup to Nuts Resource for Artisan Food Entrepreneurs
 
Starting your own business is not an easy task especially if you are involved with the food industry – after much research it was evident there were few resources where ‘foodies’ could ask questions and get helpful information. Jennifer Lewis will share her experience with creating a blog to provide resourceful knowledge to the artisan food community.   Learn how a blog could be useful for your business to engage with customers.
 
 
March 13– Incorporating Video into the Marketing Strategy
Presented by Jeremy Doan, Rolling Plains Adventures
 
Video today is as important today as content marketing.  Learn how Jeremy Doan, Rolling Plains Adventures uses video to explain what their business is about, how they can share customer experiences, and what it takes to create short video segments to benefit your business.
 

All webinars will air monthly on the second Thursday at  1:00pm (CT); 12:00pm(MT); at https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/etc-cop.  Webinars are recorded for your convenience and are archived at https://learn.extension.org/events/recent