There are hundreds of small businesses in Woodstock. Some of them may be places you and your family frequent, businesses that have been in Woodstock for as long as you can remember. And some may be your go-to places instead of national chains.
AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong may stand behind a global brand, but he believes in the power of small businesses. In his recent interview with Patch Partners, a website connecting business owners to Patch in local communities, he offered his insight into what can set a small business above the rest of the competition.
Small businesses can hold a lot of power if they are intuitive with their customer base, Armstrong said.
“Small businesses can be nimble and can have intimate relationships with their customers. Knowing what their customers want is a very big advantage.”
Woodstock is known for its small businesses whose ownership stretch back for generations in a family. It's also known for its variety of start-ups. And those same small business owners also gave their own advice to those looking to get into the business of entrepreneurship.
Gary Parkes of Media Seahorse noted "it is important to know your customer and determine the best way to reach them."
"There is no one-fit marketing plan, but nevertheless a plan is key," he added.
Nikki McCarty of Madjester Designs added word of mouth is often the best form of advertising one can do to promote your business.
Heather Blevins, an independent consultant with The Pampered Chef, added it's always important to have an idea to know where you're going.
"Set goals," she said. "You can't get where you are going without a map."
Armstrong also noted that real success lies in what your business offers that the competitors do not.
“The advice I would give is the same advice I give myself—how do you create a differentiated and time-saving experience versus your competition? If a consumer cannot tell another consumer what unique benefit you offer, you might be missing an opportunity,” he said.
Another way to support locally owned small businesses is to participate in American Express's Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24. Last year, over 100 million people participated in this day dedicated to supporting small businesses.
There are more articles and interviews about small businesses on Patch Partners, where you can also sign up for the Patch Partners newsletter and Patch Partners Twitter feed to stay better informed, grow your small business and strengthen your community.
TELL US: If you are a small business owner, did you find this information useful? If you are a patron of small businesses, do you agree with this advice? What are your favorite local businesses, and why?