I recently interviewed a business owner for an upcoming edition of “Small Biz Big Time.” A successful designer/builder who’s been in the industry for years, he’s presently experiencing something unusual: bouts of non-activity and a phone that rings only intermittently. The economy is directly impacting his volume of work; existing clients are holding off, and potential clients rarely emerge.
So what does a fellow who’s used to a cacophony of hammering, drilling, ringing cell phones and work crew banter do with the quiet? Well, this particular fellow is finally getting acquainted with his computer keyboard and the world of conversations he can access via a few points and clicks.
He’s heard much about Twitter, blogging and the like, but was previously not motivated to explore these things because word-of-mouth referrals kept coming in steadily. Thankfully, this business owner is attuned to the reality that the altered flow of referrals today may not be seasonal. Even when the economic conditions turn, the way consumers get information and connect with potential service providers may not. Social networking has taken root, and savvy entrepreneurs are signing on to make sure they’re not left out of the conversation.
Here are three smart moves this business person’s made in this slow time.
1. Site inspection
Finally, he’s gotten his website in order. He’s long acknowledged the need for a site update, to better convey his company’s message. Yet he’d previously been too busy on work sites to worry about his website. Now, he’s diverted his energies into getting the site where it needs to be going forward, “getting the site up to code” so to speak.
2. Hammering out a blogging strategy
In updating his web site, he made the commitment to a blog. He’s included a link to his soon-to-start blog on the site’s navigation, so there’s no sidestepping the need to keep fresh content up. And while he prepare to launch this new activity, he’s identified some good blogs for inspiration. He’s reading, observing, reviewing—assessing ‘properties’ and getting acquainted with the landscape.
3. Taking a DIY approach
While he’d previously planned to contract out all his online activities, he now has time to test out a few tools himself. Though an outside firm was already involved on his website, he’s opted to set up his blog (a WordPress link from his main site) as a DIY project. He’s even tackled a basic web page design for an ancillary site, in order to learn some of the lingo and meet a need in a cost-effective way. When business picks up down the road, he may delegate these tasks again, yet for now, he’s gaining hands-on understanding and appreciation for how these tools work.
Knowing his business’ feast-or-famine nature, he’s already addressing the need to engage any social networking and online marketing tools in a manageable way. He’s got an eye for design and a knack for fixing and building, but he’s much more at ease using those skills out on a job site and not at a computer.
He’s looking and listening first to see what’s going to fit his business best. Better to build a bungalow that you can afford to furnish versus a mansion you’ll never be able to upkeep or decorate to scale.
Here’s a good article he may benefit from reading as he grapples with fitting all this into his daily work. http://tinyurl.com/awuajd
Look for this interview coming soon to “Small Biz Big Time!”
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