By Jennifer McCurdy

 

I’ve been preaching this to my business owner friends for some time now, and I shall continue until someone listens. Owning your own business isn’t for the faint of heart. Nope, it’s you providing for your family, taking a chance, and doing something you love. I don’t have the nerve to do it, so I commend you for taking that step into business ownership.

 

However, the vast majority of the community you live in do not know what drives you and just how much your business means to you. Sure, name recognition is very important, so advertise through print, website, social media, and any other outlet you deem appropriate. It all matters! But what really sets you apart from everyone and makes people want to do business with you is… you. 

 

The best way to tell your story is just that: storytelling. You may own a restaurant, for example. We all know you have good food, but what sets your food apart and resonates with people? We don’t know, you have to craft your story and tell us. Maybe your employees have unique stories to tell. Ask them! What drives you in your business? We want to know! Then, how do you actually get your story in front of people? 

 

First, decide what makes you different without making other businesses seem less than you (more on that below). We all know you have something to share with us that will catch our attention. Craft your story and start marketing yourself. I think most know how I feel about marketing… It needs to be a priority, just like paying bills. 

 

Aside from the obvious marketing tactics, I am a firm believer in the power of networking. People want to see you outside of your business. You can best tell your story to a captive audience. When you are networking and meeting other business owners, you can share your story with them while you learn about their story as well. Then, you start supporting each other and talking about one another’s business and it grows from there. You already have your regulars, so you need to find and grab the attention of those you want to become regulars. Be a person and place people get excited about, and then your customers become your storytellers. 

 

We could also take a lesson in becoming a Positive Polly vs a Negative Nelly. Oh, I can be both; we all can. But how about – instead of negativity – we celebrate our accomplishments and others? Let the first words out of your mouth be positive and uplifting. If you can’t say something good about your neighbor, change the subject or topic and talk about what’s good with your business and move on. The positive wheel gets the customer. 

 

We love our community and Chamber Members; we want everyone to do well and hope we can be of assistance to your business. Are you taking advantage of what we can offer our Chamber Members? Give us a call at 256.845.2741 or to learn more visit www.fortpaynechamber.com.