Hello Chamber-verse! Today we have a guest blogger, offering up some truth and wisdom about small businesses in Klamath. May is National Small Business Month, did you know that? I didn't either but I should have. So check this out: if your business wasn't in this article, give yourself a shoutout in the comments! We want to hear from you, business owners...which of these tips helped you the most? Let us know!
Okay, take it away Beth!
National Small Business Month in Klamath County
Small businesses are the engines of innovation in any community, supporting local schools and area programs, and stimulating growth in the local economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Association, small businesses are responsible for generating 64% of all new jobs since 1995, and make up as much as 44% of the total private payroll in the U.S. economy.
Across the U.S., May is observed as National Small Business Month. This month and all year long it’s important to celebrate the significant contribution that small businesses and entrepreneurs make to Klamath County’s continued growth and development.
Here’s a short list of small businesses in the Klamath area to stop by on your next visit:
- Diamond S Meat Company: An award-winning custom and specialty meat shop. Uses local, organic meat for everything from juicy prime rib and delicious ham to snacks on the run like beef jerky or snack sticks.
- New Earth: New Earth products are as natural as they come - sourced from local resources, their supplement ingredients are thoroughly tested and verified 100% pure.
- Tashi Handmade Naturals: Owner Tashia sources local, natural materials to make soaps, lotions, and other personal care items for friends, family, and our amazing community.
Below we would like to offer a few tips to help Klamath County entrepreneurs continue to grow:
There is no shame in starting out small. By carefully controlling all your initial expenses you can take the time to nurture your brand and allow your business to grow organically. Many of today’s most groundbreaking and innovative companies, like Ben & Jerry’s and Microsoft, started out as small time entrepreneurs, tinkering in their garages and creating innovative products that would one day reach customers all over the world.
When It Comes to Finances - Business and Pleasure Don’t Mix
Small business owners can create serious problems for themselves if they get their personal finances enmeshed in the funding they need for business operations. When small business owners open personal lines of credit and use them for both personal and business expenses, this can negatively impact their personal credit score and diminish the company’s borrowing power.
A great way to maintain a boundary between personal and business finances is get a business credit card with a credit line that can only be used for business expenses. If you are already in over your head with personal and business debt, it’s smart to discuss your options with a financial planner who can get your personal and business finances separated and back on track.
The Internet - particularly social media, E-commerce and digital marketing - have totally transformed the way we communicate and carry out business transactions. If you aren’t “tech savvy” have no fear, it’s never too late to log on and start seeking out new customers.
Get a Mobile App -- Mobile apps are helping small businesses attract customers away from big box stores and major corporate competition by allowing customers to do business using only their smartphone or other mobile device. Apps are inexpensive and easy to develop and can really increase the value of your products and services.
Push Social Media Involvement - There is nothing more engaging to a customer than feeling that they are actually interacting with the people behind the products and services they love. Social media is a virtually free marketing tool that can build a large and reliable customer base in your local community.
Use the Internet to Get Organized - Using tools like business management software and cloud based financial management tools will help your small business avoid the morass of misplaced invoices and piles of paperwork that plague small businesses. Whenever you can, choose to go paperless with your supply chain. You can back up all of your invoices in a cloud based business management software system and retrieve any paperwork you need in a matter of seconds.
Keep it Simple
There are many reasons why a small company might fail, but perhaps the most common is a lack of specific focus. While it's tempting to chase the newest developments or seek out opportunities in emerging markets, the most reliable path to success is doing one specific thing better than anyone else. Identify your niche, commit to sticking with it and work to fill that niche to the best of your ability.
During this year’s National Small Business month, make a point to consider the benefits these companies bring to our community. You can’t put a price on the power of personalized, local service. When it comes to engaging everyone in their success, small businesses always do it better.
Beth Kotz is a contributing writer to Credit.com. She specializes in covering financial advice for female entrepreneurs, college students and recent graduates. She earned a BA in Communications and Media from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, where she continues to live and work.