Chelsie Crane discovered her true calling amidst pages of textbooks when completing her MBA. Driven by her belief that investing and good financial health shouldn’t be reserved for the elite, Chelsie embarked on a journey through the male-dominated field of financial advisory services. A native Mainer and mother of three, she wanted to start her own business to help individuals and families in their pursuit of financial independence.Read More
Shyla Pinette recognized a need in her community after having her daughter. Childcare in Aroostook County was incredibly hard to come by. So, after years in the medical field, she decided to purchase a struggling childcare business and make it a safe and welcoming place for local families.
For assistance making this happen, Shyla turned to Dan Umphrey, certified business advisor at the Maine SBDC at Northern Maine Development Commission. Shyla needed funding to purchase the business and the real estate. She also needed guidance on starting and running her own childcare business.Read More
As we gear up for the holiday season, it’s essential to plan ahead and make the most of the opportunities it presents. The 2023 holiday forecast predicts a 4.5% increase in retail sales, making it one of the busiest seasons yet. In this blog, we’ll share strategies to help you take advantage of this busy time of year.
Understanding Your Businesses
The key to a successful business and a successful holiday season lies in understanding your value proposition — the end benefit your customer receives after using your product or service. Your goal is to fulfill a need, solve a problem, or address a pain point for your customers. Lean into the value you provide your customers.
Identifying Your Target Audience
Knowing your customers inside out is vital for effective marketing. Identify your target audience and understand their preferences, behaviors, and needs. Utilize social media platforms and personalized email campaigns to connect with them directly. Consistency across all communication channels is key to building brand recognition among your target market.
Building Relationships and Trust
Building strong relationships with your customers is fundamental. Exceeding expectations, establishing trust, and making personal connections are crucial steps in this process. Customers are more likely to return and refer your services to others if they have a positive, personalized experience. Consider loyalty programs and referrals as effective strategies to enhance customer engagement.
Setting Holiday Season Goals
Set clear and achievable goals for the holiday season. Whether it’s increasing your customer base, boosting sales, or introducing new products or services, having a focused approach will guide your efforts. Remember, holiday promotions aren’t confined to December; various occasions throughout the year offer opportunities to market your services effectively.
Capitalizing on Seasonal Trends
Seasonal trends, such as the pumpkin spice craze, provide unique marketing opportunities. Prepare in advance to meet the demands of these trends. Consistency in messaging across platforms, involvement in community events, and free media exposure through partnerships can help your business gain visibility.
Promotions and Engagements
Consider offering product samples, hosting events, or organizing giveaways to attract customers. Special events like costume contests and private invitation-only gatherings can create buzz and loyalty. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-decorated storefront; it can attract passersby and set the festive mood.
Embrace the Spirit of the Season
Remember, holiday marketing is not just about boosting sales; it’s about building enduring relationships with your customers. By understanding your audience, providing exceptional experiences, and staying consistent in your messaging, you can make the most of this holiday season and set the stage for a successful year ahead.
For more information from Business Advisor Chris Cole, watch our recent webinar that discussed this topic.
This blog was generated with the help of ChatGPT, but edited for accuracy and relevance.
Tommy Maruca and Jonathan Record are first time small business owners but long term fans of A&B Naturals, the natural food store they just bought on MDI! The couple shares a passion for a healthy lifestyle and products that are good for both people and the planet. Values they also share with the previous owner, which became apparent over the past 6 years, with Record as the Produce and Bulk Food Buyer at A&B Naturals. So when the business became available to buy, they thought Record’s personal experience in the shop and Maruca’s extensive retail management experience would make them the right team to take this Maine business into its next phase. Read More
Seeing young entrepreneurs launch a new business and develop roots in their community is one of the most satisfying outcomes for the Maine SBDC. It’s even more exciting to help them scale up, grow and succeed. For Alex and Megan Herzog, starting Great Wave Sushi is the perfect example of how a new business with a fresh idea can take hold and and take off.
Alex Herzog started Great Wave Sushi in the fall of 2020 as a sushi cart after spending time in California perfecting his craft before returning home to Maine. He quickly differentiated himself in the marketplace by offering a creative twist on traditional sushi with items like a sushi burger, sushi tower, and poke nachos. By partnering with a local Portland brewery, he was able to offer up his menu to hungry beer drinkers and developed a loyal following and a reliable revenue stream. Read More
In 2019, Jodie Curtis opened Yarrow, a retail shop that invites customers to be curious and explorative about what wellness can look like! Jodie has a background in retail, with experience in wholesale, product development, and marketing, which helped her understand the complexities of owning a retail business. But for her, the creative freedom of being her own boss has been worth the challenges!Read More
You’re not alone!
Most small business owners don’t use their financial reports to their full advantage or only see them only as a tool to file their annual tax returns. This means you’re missing out on opportunities to improve your profitability and make decisions that could impact your quality of life as a business owner.Read More
The best business ideas solve a problem for their customers and Ellen Finn of Cadillac Mtn. Summit Shuttle definitely does that! She has lived and worked as a local tour guide on Mount Desert Island for many years, just outside Acadia National Park. A few years ago, the National Park System instituted a reservation system for driving up the Cadillac Mountain Summit Road, limiting access to this popular spot in the peak tourist season. Those who did not know about this new system, or those who made a last-minute plan to visit the park, were often disappointed to find out that they would be unable to drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Ellen saw the need for a no-reservation, hourly, shuttle service to the top of Cadillac Mountain so their adventures could continue! Read More
Jamie Alexander fondly remembers working at the Brunswick drive-in restaurant, which her grandparents started in the 1950s. The restaurant was a staple in the community and Jamie began working there as a young teen, making milkshakes, frappes, and other drive-in favorites. It has been her dream for a decade to bring that experience to downtown Brunswick and to contribute to the revitalization of Main Street. Focusing specifically on creating delicious frappes, a uniquely New England term that refers to a milkshake with ice cream, Jamie finally found the ideal location at 147 ½ Main Street. The small corner space had been vacant for a while and was perfect for her startup. She began renovating the space in the spring and summer of 2022, using her connections as a local realtor to find the contractors she needed. Read More
The Maine Small Business Development Centers (Maine SBDC) has selected Anne Lancaster as the 2023 State Star. The award, given annually, recognizes a member of the Maine SBDC staff who has shown exemplary performance and a strong commitment to small business success.
Anne Lancaster is a business advisor at the Maine SBDC at University of Southern Maine. She works with entrepreneurs and small businesses in York county to start, sustain and grow their businesses. In the four years she has been with the Maine SBDC, she has spent approximately 3,500 hours advising over 900 clients. She’s helped to start 13 businesses, create and save 48 jobs, and generate almost $3.3 million in capital. Anne’s clients rave about her ability to listen, her patience, and her supportive and knowledgeable approach to business advising. Read More