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Monthly Archives: March 2010

Social Media Use Doubles for Small Business

Small businesses across the country are increasing their use of social media for marketing purposes.

Since 2009, according to The Small Business Success Index (sponsored by Network Solutions  – shocking I know), social media adoption by small business has doubled from 12% participation to 24%.

About 1 in 5 small businesses are actively using social media as a part of their marketing efforts.

75% have a company page on a social networking site.

61% report using social media to identify and attract new customers.

57% have built a network through a site like LinkedIn or Ning.

45% expect to make their social media outputs profitable in the next 12 months.

The findings show more and more small businesses are redirecting print and other traditional push marketing dollars into interactive social media and saving money at the same time.

It seems that “customer engagement” is actually beginning to mean something to the small business owner.

But social media is not without its concerns.

We hear this…

“It’s going to take a lot of time.” (actually it doesn’t have to)

and

“People are going to criticize us.” (and the problem with that is??)

Now is the time to get on board with the upheaval social media has caused when it comes to finding and connecting with your customers.  We’ve been saying that for awhile here but there really are no excuses left.

OCBizBlog and Small Business Marketing in Orange County

OCBizBlog is undergoing quite a few changes this year with an aim to deliver real value to anyone involved in small business in Orange County.

We are redesigning this site in stages and stripping away some of the elements that made it a bit distracting.

We have polled readers and gotten feedback on what they would like to see here.

We are keeping our focus on marketing because not only is it our passion but it’s an industry undergoing massive fundamental change that impacts everyone’s bottom line.

Our effort at change has not been without some drama.

Someone recently hacked into our blog and was redirecting our RSS feed.

So a lot of you were not receiving any updates from us and may have in fact been spammed.

We apologize for that and want you to know that everything is now in working order and hopefully we are keeping the trolls at bay for now.

One reason we are sticking with this site and making changes is because there is a surprising lack of fresh, original content online.

This was part of the reason why OCBizBlog was attacked.

It seems a lot of sites take the cut, paste and scrape approach to posting which is not as attractive to hackers.

We post our own stuff and try to avoid the echo chamber.

With that in mind we have a goal of posting daily relevant material that will help all of us to succeed in achieving our chosen dreams.

Sound good?

We are excited about it and look forward to growing OCBizBlog together with you.

OC Mazda Makes Car Buying a Pleasure

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It can be a lot of fun pondering the purchase of your next vehicle.

You research the latest models.

Consider the coolest gadgets, the latest technology.

You look at all the reviews, watch the videos online.

Ask friends and family what they like and don’t.

You visualize, you fantasize.

You live in the surreal serenity of your dream car.

And finally, one day, the vision is crystal clear.

You know exactly what you want.

And in that moment, like a bell ring at a prizefight, reality intrudes.

Wake up Dreamer Boy, you have to actually buy this thing.

You must step into the ring and face that rather large scary beast fighting out of the red corner….THE DEALERSHIP.

(If you only buy your cars online, good for you, I don’t believe half your stories and you can stop reading now.  But for those of you who know you can do just as well, if not better, by sitting down with your research and forging out a win-win, this post is for you)

The Un-Dealership

Hate buying a car? Find the whole process intimidating and unpleasant?

Then you have not been to Tustin Mazda.

Tustin Mazda is one of two dealerships (the other being Huntington Beach Mazda) owned by John Patterson, who has an intuitive and modern approach to customer service and marketing.  The guy just flat out gets it.

He has a great team, and without slighting anyone I’ll only mention the folks I dealt with (Jim Feinstein, who heads up Internet Sales and Lynda Nelson, Director of Customer Affairs).  They are both knowledgeable, helpful and passionate about what they do.

So it all starts there. It all starts with great people.

It doesn’t matter for a single second what you have on the lot or how many great deals you’re offering, if you employ buckets of sleazballs, we’re all getting slimed.

I didn’t get slimed.

I walked out of there with fairy dust in my shoes.

Why?

Because I never had to go through the tired old process of endless back and forth negotiations.  I didn’t get good the Good Cop Bad Cop routine, I didn’t get the three hour slow burn.  I didn’t have to stare at a guy wearing some ridiculous tie, a gold bracelet and a picture of his ex-wife and kids on the desk.

This was different.

Jim and I talked.  I was very clear in what I wanted.  He found it in no time.  Did we then negotiate?  Of course, but in the end we both came away with our own desired outcome.  A good negotiation happens when both sides understand and respect the other’s position and it ends with both getting their needs met.  It’s easier said than done and the bottom line was that Jim EXECUTED.

Just Do It

In the end, the simple things prevail.

Answering the phone.

Returning a call.

Offering a drink.

Getting the answer.

The thing about my experience with these guys is that is was so straightforward.  I was not treated like an “up”.  I was treated like someone they valued and wanted to see again.

You can’t teach this stuff to people who don’t get it. You can’t market it to people who don’t value it. You just have to be smart enough to build a great team that understands your vision of how a modern car dealership should be run and let them run it.

John Patterson and his team at OC Mazda know exactly how to do business with customers armed to the teeth with the latest information, reviews and ratings on their vehicles.

They are going to attract a lot of young car buyers wary of the old dealership ways.

In part because of things like this and this.

And also because of something that’s been a hallmark of every successful business since time immemorium.

They love the business they’re in and they want to be the best at it.

That’s passion.

That’s your best marketing.

And that’s tough to beat.

Be First or Be Best – Teresa’s Jewelers

teresaYou can’t open your own jewelry store without some idea of how you will succeed.

There is just way too much competition.

But if you know that you are establishing a FIRST in some category, you have a decent shot at success.

Teresa Saldivar became the first Latina gemologist to own a jewelry store when she opened Teresa’s Jewelers more than 20 years ago.

She has used that lever to build what was a 465 square foot store with three employees into a thriving 1,700 square foot establishment that has been recognized multiple time as one of the best small businesses in Orange County and beyond.

Teresa recently finished a stint as president of the California Jewelers Association, the largest state jewelry association in the U.S.

She is a true entrepreneur who sees adversity as “a challenge that allows me the opportunity to learn whether I have the capacity to endure it or the need for growth in a certain area.”

She has been through all the ups and downs of running and business, and with the support of family and friends, as well a growing foundation of repeat customers, Teresa’s Jewelers has become a landmark business in Santa Ana.

Any businessperson who can quote the great social psychologist Erich Fromm, is someone who knows what is takes to succeed:

“There can be no great freedom without the freedom to fail”, is one of Teresa’s favorite Fromm lines.

Every once in awhile we hear about a business like this and an entrepreneur that you could easily overlook.

But it is these kinds of  “quiet successes”, that we find most inspiring.

Because let’s face it.

The real daily battles and victories take place without anyone knowing about it except you.

And it’s always nice to see someone who can create a business and a life that gets rewarded for courage, creativity and competence in those lonesome hours when it’s just you and the work.

So Teresa Saldivar, we here at OCBizBlog salute you for being FIRST AND BEST at what you do.