Times are tough for many small businesses in America, and around the world. Hobby shops have been hit especially hard by the growth of online retail - it's hard to compete with rock-bottom prices, and a huge selection of specialized products.
But there are still thousands of hobby shops - and with the right marketing techniques, any hobby shop can market to customers more effectively, grow their customer base, and increase profits.
In this article, DialMyCalls will look at some helpful tips that can help hobby shops gain more customers, and compete with online marketplaces. Let's get started now!
1. Diversify Your Merchandise to Appeal to More Customers
Traditionally, hobby shops were associated with things like model building, miniature painting, remote-controlled vehicles, and other such items. These products still make up the bulk of most hobby shop stores - and that's a good thing, of course.
However, it may be a good idea to expand your products somewhat. Toys and hobby-oriented merchandise are great, and appeal to your core consumers - but you need to bring in more than just passionate, regular customers if you want to increase sales.
One of the biggest areas where hobby shops can increase sales is in the world of RC drones, or quadcopters. Drones are becoming very popular, and flying drones is a great recreational activity. Many hobbyists are also building their own drones - and they're willing to shop locally for parts, because they know they'll be able to return them easily if they do not work properly, or don't fit.
Board games are another area where hobby shops can get quite a few customers. Millennials are crazy about board games, and often seek out new and unique board games that cannot be found at most retail stores. If you stock unique, in-demand board games like Pandemic, Ticket To Ride, and others, you may be able to bring in more customers.[click to continue...]
Whether you've just purchased a shiny new zero-turn mower, are planning on starting a lawn mowing business, or you're a seasoned veteran in the lawn mowing industry, you can always benefit from some extra guidance when it comes to marketing.
At DialMyCalls we're here to help you market your business properly. Take a look at this list of the top marketing tips for lawn mowing companies, and you're sure to gain some valuable insights that will help you build your business. Let's get started.
1. Start Marketing Early in the Year
If you're operating in America, there's a good chance that your company is seasonal. You're not likely to do much lawn mowing in the winter - when most of America is blanketed in snow. There are exceptions of course - if you live in Florida, you can mow lawns all-year-round.
You should still start marketing your services early in the year. Typically, people begin mowing their lawns in late March or early April, when heavy rainfall and warmer temperatures begin to spur grass growth.
Start sending out email newsletters, flyers, and text messages to customers in February. Remind them about your services - offer discounts and other benefits to those who choose to use your services again this year.
DialMyCalls is a great tool for this. With DialMyCalls, you can send SMS messages, voicemail messages, and remind them about your services - increasing the likelihood that they will work with you again.
2. Diversify Your Services
If you want to keep your business operating all-year-round, you should consider diversifying your services.
Edging and trimming are usually part of most lawn mowing packages. This is a good place to start. However, you may also want to consider offering services like:
- Snow removal and de-icing
- Leafblowing and debris removal
- Shrub/flowerbed trimming
- Mulching and basic landscaping
Snow removal and leaf removal can help you make more money during the fall and winter, when business slows down for lawn mowing services. Landscaping and mulching helps you get more work during the warmer months.
3. Don't Underestimate the Power of Going Door-To-Door
Sometimes, the oldest marketing techniques are the best. Going door-to-door may be intimidating, but it's often a great way to drum up more business. Head to a neighborhood of your choice, start walking door-to-door, with flyers and more information about your services.
You can offer a discount coupon, as well as contact information that will allow a potential customer to get in touch with you. It's a great idea to require a phone number or email to get this discount - this will help you build a list of potential future customers.[click to continue...]
Shoveling snow is a great side hustle if you need some extra money. And if you live in an area where it snows regularly throughout the winter - such as the upper Midwest or the East Coast, you can even turn it into a full-time, seasonal gig.
But it may be a bit intimidating to start a snow shoveling service on your own. You may not know where to start!
You're in luck. In this article, DialMyCalls will help you understand how to start - and scale - a snow shoveling service. Let's get started now.
1. Get the Tools You'll Need
Lucky for you, the basic tools you need to start your business are incredibly inexpensive.
The primary thing you'll need is a snow shovel. Don't skimp out on quality, here - you'll be using this shovel every day for hours at a time. You want a grooved, deeply scooped snow shovel with a slightly curved handle. Heavy-duty plastic is usually the best choice. Metal is heavier, but can be more effective at scraping.
You can also invest in some road/sidewalk salt. You can get 40lbs for about $25, and offer salting as an additional service on top of shoveling snow.
That's pretty much all you need! Make sure you have warm clothing, gloves, and non-slip shoes, and you're ready to go.[click to continue...]
If you're a small business owner, you probably care for your employees quite a bit. And if recently, things have seemed a little bit dour at the office due to a looming deadline, or a general sense of low morale, you may be looking for ways to make your employees feel better.
Improving employee morale is a great idea. It's not just a good way to make sure that your employees feel valued and useful - it can have a positive impact on your business!
In fact, a workplace culture that emphasizes employee engagement and positivity reduces turnover rates, increases profitability, and makes employees feel more loyal to your company.
Not sure where to start when it comes to improving employee morale at your small business? In this guide, DialMyCalls will take a look at a few simple things you can do to make your employees feel more valued, and boost employee morale and engagement.
1. Set up an Employee Feedback Hotline
We all like to think that we have "open door policies", and that employees can talk to us about anything. But this is not always true. Employees may feel intimidated by discussing their problems with work in-person, or may not give you honest feedback in a one-on-one situation.
With an anonymous employee feedback hotline, you will be able to get truly valuable, honest input about how you've been running your business. Maybe you have a manager who has been underperforming, and making your employees feel bad. Perhaps you have been pushing your employees too hard.
Whatever it may be, your workers will feel like they're able to truly open up and tell you the truth if you provide them with an anonymous hotline, where they can speak without fear of repercussions.[click to continue...]
For businesses, communication is key. To reach your organizational goals effectively, it's important that everyone involved can communicate with one another. The internet, and especially the rise of mobile, has made communication more instant and more effective than ever before. Today, web and smartphone apps can supercharge your company’s internal communications, helping streamline your efforts to improve efficiency, productivity, and ultimately, your bottom line.
Versatile Options for Communication
Instead of relying on a company intranet, organizations can take advantage of a variety of programs designed for business communication. There are apps available for instant messaging, email-style message threads, and even sending out notifications via SMS text message or phone call. By leveraging more than one available app, businesses can streamline and enhance internal communications for better team cohesion and improved productivity.
Business Apps for Internal Communication
These nine business communication apps, available on mobile devices and desktop computers, provide a reliable and versatile way for employees to communicate effectively with one another:
Slack has quickly become one of the most popular project management and collaboration tools, especially for companies with remote workers. This cloud-based team communication app actually originated as an internal communication tool for a small game development company. Launched in 2013, it's now one of the most popular ways for internal teams to collaborate. Slack features chat rooms organized by topic, private groups, and direct messaging. Files, groups, and members are all completely searchable, making it easy to pull up previous conversations. It's available for web, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. [slack.com]
HipChat is another popular team communication app, accessible from web or mobile anywhere in the world. It's available in a freemium version, but there's also an inexpensive paid version that adds extra features. Designed to integrate with Google Drive, Facebook, Dropbox, and other popular software, it's a versatile and affordable option that's a great choice for small businesses. [hipchat.com]
Basecamp bridges the gap between staff and clients. It's designed to make it easy for people in different departments within a company to share files and collaborate on projects. By consolidating internal communications, project management, and client relations in one place, it provides an efficient and streamlined solution for managing a variety of internal communication and collaboration needs. Basecamp's discussion boards eliminate the need for complex, hard-to-navigate email chains by consolidating discussion about a subject in one place. It also manages tasks and to-do lists for staff members. [basecamp.com][click to continue...]
As we've said time and time again on our blog, communication is key to just about everything in a small business. No matter what line of work you're in, open and honest communication can help boost employee engagement, increase customer satisfaction, and boost profits!
In the spirit of helping your business succeed, we're back with another article to help you communicate more effectively in the workplace. In this blog, we'll look at the importance of feedback, and establishing a "feedback culture" for your small business.
Establishing a great feedback culture helps employees understand how they're doing - both where they're excelling and where they need improvement. It also promotes a healthier, more constructive working environment. So read on, and see how you can improve your business!
1. Ditch Annual Performance Reviews
Annual performance reviews have been used in businesses for decades - but research has indicated that they can actually impact employee satisfaction negatively!
Not only that, HR managers say that annual performance reviews “take up too much time” - and only 6% of all HR professionals think that their performance review system is "useful".
More and more companies are choosing to ditch annual performance reviews for either periodic or project-based reviews.
Periodic reviews usually occur every couple months, and are much less involved than a yearly performance review. This helps employees keep track of their progress over a shorter period of time, and get more regular feedback on what they're doing well - and what they can do better.
Project-based reviews are also quite simple. At the end of a major project, managers get together with their employees to examine overall performance. This provides regular, informed, and relevant feedback that's easily-actionable and useful.
2. Top-Down Method
You can't create a feedback culture without being willing to take some positive - and negative - feedback yourself. If you are a small business owner, or high in the management structure at a small business, you need to lead by example.
Don't just give your workers feedback - ask them to give you detailed feedback on what's been going well, and what could be improved upon.
When your employees see that feedback goes both ways, they're more likely to be encouraged to share their true feelings about your business. In turn, this can help you improve how you manage things, and boost employee satisfaction![click to continue...]
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