Blogging Objective

Hey, so I’m not sure if anyone’s noticed lately, but one of my “things” this year is trying to post some points of improvement for local businesses.

I want to see local businesses thrive – more than survive! So when I see a consumer-side problem; I include it, and ways to improve it. Granted, it’s from me, so it might not be the most coherent stuff ever, but…

Consider this FREE ADVICE.

Here’s the deal:

Problem. Possible solution(s). At least get you thinking about potential problems you may not be aware of, and potential ways to improve your business and increase revenue. Other businesses can also view different situations as learning experiences.

I love Albany. I love food. I want the Albany food scene to be the best it possibly can be!

These observations are going to be purely on a spontaneous as-it-happens moment. If you are a business and you’d like some insight, shoot me an email and we can try to work something out.
  1. I love this idea. Let me know if you need help or input from others. I'm pretty good at identifying potential solutions when handed a problem. And I like food too!

  2. acridian13 said:

    Hopefully everyone will take the criticism as a means for improvement rather than something negative.

  3. Cuteella – I would love your input. Please feel free to add your input anywhere here. I'd love to have another take and ideas for improvement!

    acridian – me too. I know that sometimes emotions can be high in personal businesses.

  4. Over at All Good Bakers, we're trying to figure out how to get more people in Albany (& surrounding) to visit us in our somewhat unlikely location. Our next step, we think, should be advertising (one run in Metroland is all we can afford). We've got great product & customer service, but the shop isn't as busy as we'd like on a regular basis. We're open only 3 days a week because we have another small food producer as a renter, so we can't expand hours just yet (plus that would involve hiring employees..a stage we're not ready to tackle yet). I think any new small business has to figure out how to get customers to visit regularly. We give a discount for arriving car-free, have “Bakers' Dozen Club” cards (buy stuff, get free stuff), we're friendly and we genuinely care about our customers (and what goes into the food). Feels like we're doing all the right things, we could use some advice! Britin

  5. AGB Have you considered getting a cart down with the others at the state offices? Also, a menu and delivery on days your not at the shop may be helpful.

  6. @Britin – As someone with a background in advertising, I strongly advise against a one time ad in Metroland.

    If you have limited funds, I think they can be more wisely spent than what amounts to little more than a shot in the dark.

    By suggesting advertising, it sounds like you are looking to bring new people into the bakery instead of trying to bring current customers in more frequently.

    The thing that you do, specializing in organic and locally sourced ingredients, gives you a fairly narrow and targeted audience. Think about where these people are in significant concentrations, and find creative ways to reach them.

    Here's one idea. Maybe you can chat with one of the local dairys that does local delivery, to see if they would be up for putting a post card in their customers boxes – or maybe in with their monthly invoice. Perhaps they would even consider delivering a sample.

    Offer them money, if needed. It would be a better use of limited funds than a print ad. Without a doubt.

  7. Thanks for the suggestions. I think a food cart would be more work than we can handle right now (as would delivery – we just finished our first Community Supported Bakery season and with the market + the shop to bake for, we don't have the time to commit to extra projects at the moment – learning how to balance work & family is a challenge we're tackling).

    I appreciate Daniel B, your advice about Metroland. Trying to target potential customers (as well as encouraging repeat visitors) is what we'd like to do. We're asking everyone who comes in to help us spread by word of mouth and utilizing other, low cost advertising efforts (i.e., flyering, donating to or participating in events & fundraisers, engaging the press, talking with everyone we come in contact with about the bakery, using our space at the Delmar market effectively). We have a great relationship with Meadowbrook Farms who might help us with your idea, which is a great one (I will work on implementing that asap, thanks for the free advice!). We're looking for others like it for sure. We have no background in marketing, so we're pulling at straws, conducting research, and doing the best we can. I think every small business goes through this challenge of letting customers know where you are & what you do, what you're about. I think it's a matter of reaching more people. We have lots of regulars already, but we can conceivably bake for at least 25% more at the shop.

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