Monday, December 21, 2009

Stokes Business Event

We have been working like busy little beavers to prepare for our "Stokes Business Extravaganza" that will take place Thursday January 21, 2010. In case you are a Stokes County Business or have plans to start a business, I am providing a copy of the invitaiton in this blog. We have a great list of local businesses and non-profits that will be sharing information and we would like for you to attend. Please RSVP to the email or phone number shown below. It is going be informative and a lot of fun (by the way the door prizes are going to be great.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Census Jobs.

I posted this on Buy local blog yesterday:,0,4806938.story

Don't wait, check on this today. Here is a link to the census bureaus site:

Good luck. I spoke with someone last evening that had worked with the census bureau during the 2000 census. They advised it was a great part time job. flexible hours, good pay and mileage reimbursement.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Web Site Building

Many thanks to Lisa from the Winston Salem Journal for her story on our web site building program. We have three sites up and running with three more under way. We have 30+ more in line. This project will not save the economy in Stokes County but it is part of the process. If we are able to put together a plan and find funding to develop a county wide broadband program, implement the web based farm program and continue to grow our tourism economy, I think we will start to see a difference. A more self-reliant, local based economy that depends on growth from within.

Weaving a Web of Business Potential

By Lisa O'Donnell
Published: December 14, 2009
Updated: 12/13/2009 11:25 pm
WALNUT COVE - With its new Web site, Hemlock Golf Club in Walnut Cove has announced its presence to a global audience.
By going online, the staff at the club hopes that folks who are planning to drive to Hanging Rock State Park for a visit will discover that there is a golf course nearby and decide to toss their clubs into the back of their car.
"I had been contemplating for a few years about getting a Web site and never got started with it," said Valencia Robertson, the club's office manager whose husband, Kadren, is one of the co-owners.
The golf club is the first Stokes County business to get a Web site under a new program managed by the county's economic-development commission.
The club's site went up last week. About 30 more businesses, including furniture stores, garages and insurance agencies, will have their own sites within the next few months.
A $15,000 grant from Northwest Piedmont Council of Government's Workforce Development Board is making it possible for the businesses to get on the Internet.
The money was used to build templates and train local interns to build the sites. Once trained, an intern works with a local business person to design the site. The sites are built for free, but businesses must pay for the domain name and a hosting fee, which comes to about $60 a year, said Alan Wood, the director for the economic-development commission.
"If the process works as we hope, it should raise business on several different levels," he said.
Shortly after Wood was hired earlier this year, he noticed that a large number of businesses did not have Web sites.
"One of my primary goals is to assist local businesses and try to help them grow and retain them in the community," he said. "As I started building a Web directory for our Web site, it became apparent how many of our businesses do not have a presence on the Web, so we started talking about it."
For many small-business owners, learning how to build a Web site is costly and time-consuming, he said.
"We took the cost issue out of it," Wood said. "Instead of leaving them to sink or swim, a part of the process is that we will offer our help for six months."
Robertson said that the opportunity was too good to pass up.
"We would've been foolish to ignore it," said Robertson, who started a Facebook page for the golf course a few months ago.
Robertson said that by getting on the Web, she hopes that word will spread about the golf course. The site includes photos, directions and information about each hole. Down the road, she said she would like to add an online pro shop where people could buy clothes and equipment.
Previous to starting its Web site, the club advertised in local publications.
"With the new Web site, we're anxious to see where that takes us," Robertson said.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mitchells Nursery and Greenhouse Poinsettia Display

Thanks to WGHP tv for covering this beautiful event. Mitchell's is one of just a handful of nurseries in the US to offer this brilliant display of color and variety each year. Watch and enjoy.,0,7608666.story. You can also visit Mitchells Nursery and Greenhouse blog link listed on the site for more details

More Social Media Links

Just found this link on Linkedin. It is a prime example of the vast level of information available if you have the time and determination to look for it. These links are specifically for those that are not getting what they need from facebook and twitter. They are more selective in their focus and are aimed at a narrower market.

Don't get frustrated if you haven't found your niche yet. Keep looking or create it yourself.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tips for Businesses for the Holidays and Beyond

Just received this from Jack Schultz and his Boomtown organization. I always find his information relevant and interesting.

We received the following from the Fall 2009 Edition of the Pottawatomie County (KS) Economic Development Corporation's Development Digest. We thought these were great tips to pass along during the holiday season. We wish all our small town businesses much success as they continue to be the anchors in their communities. Holiday Marketing Tips for Businesses by Scott TaddikenWashburn Small Business Development Center That's right - it's that time of year again! I'm amazed every season how many creative and wonderful marketing strategies business owners use during this season, and having spoken recently on the topic, I thought I'd share a few ideas I've come across.

1. Don't overlook any potential markets - Gifts are huge, but decorations, candy and food, flowers (poinsettias and others) greeting cards and postage, etc. are also big. These categories make up to 25% of Christmas spending!2. Black Friday is big, but it isn't everything - Traffic is extremely high on the day following Thanksgiving and some say up to 25% of shoppers will start at 5 a.m. However, Black Friday isn't always the biggest spending day - for brick and mortar businesses, the last two weekends prior to Christmas may be the biggest.Many people are looking for good deals and a place to have fun. Black Friday shopping is something fun to do with family and friends.While many people get out to shop on Black Friday, stores must have a plan to bring them back in to buy.3. People are shopping online - Online purchases tend to increase as the season progresses (people have checked out store specials and done comparison shopping)Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are often good online - people shop in stores over the weekend and then shop online at the beginning of the week. This means retailers must close the sale on the weekend while shoppers are in their stores.4. Spending the week after Christmas and into January continues to increase! - Find a way to bring these shoppers back into your stores. Hand out "good for ___% off your next purchase" coupons to holiday shoppers. Offer surprises with a future purchase and make sure to promote your after Christmas and January sales.5. When they are buying from you, be sure to "Bundle 'em up"! - Create gift packages (corporate gifts, related products, etc.) Remember people are four times more likely to buy something they can touch, so have items available.Ask your vendors for displays or use displays that suggest a product's use or someone else's enjoyment in receiving a product.6. Gift Cards - Did you know that 56% of people spend more than is on the card? So make sure all shoppers know you offer gift cards as a great gift idea.Gift cards are also a great addition to any purchase (buy $25 for $20).Another benefit of gift cards is that they expose new people to your business - great advertising!And remember, some gift cards never get used.Above all be positive, cheery and enjoy the season - your customers will notice!

Remember, you never know who your next customer is so treat everyone with respect.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Social Networking Classes and More from Forsyth Tech

Forsyth Tech is offering you a chance this winter and spring to delve into the murky world of web marketing and social networking. What are analytics and why do I care. Should I have a facebook page, a blog (sounds awful), a Linkedin account? What is a twitter and why do I care. Am I missing out on business opportunities by not knowing this information? I can answer that questions for you: Yes! you are. Look the times over below and give the Small Business Center a call if you have any questions:
Technology Seminars Pre-registration required,
call 336-631-1320
Sponsor: Southern Community Bank and Trust
Location: Northwest Forsyth Center
Time: Wednesday, 6-8 p.m.
Presenters: Malinda Pengelly and Jeremy Shaffer

Making Search Engines Work for Your Business-----Tuesday, January 26

Social Media Network Marketing ----Tuesday, February 16

Website Analytics-Understanding Goggle Analytics, Website Hits, Visits and "Stickiness"-----Tuesday, March 16

They are also offering classes on starting your own business. These will be held at Dukes Restaurant, 1075 N Main St, Walnut Cove

Tuesday February 2: Everything you Ever Wanted to Know About Startng a Business
Tuesday March 2: Developing a Small Business Marketing Plan That Works
Tuesday April 20: Keeping Small Business Records and Paying Your Taxes
Tuesday May 4: How to Write a Convincing Business Plan
Tuesday May 11: Searching for a Loan for a Start-Up or Business Expansion

These will be taught by Ruben Gonzales. Don't start a business without a plan. People don't plan to fail, they fail to plan.

There are also classes on customer service. They will be held at the Northwest Forsyth Center, 3111 Big Oaks Drive , King NC from 6 to 8 PM


Tuesday Jan 12: What is Customer Service
Tuesday February 9: Communication and Customer Service
Tuesday March 9: Identifying Your Customer
Tuesday April 12: Dealing with Disgruntled Customers
Tuesday May 11: E-Mail and Telephone Etiquette
Tuesday June 8: Customer Service Summary and Review.

These classes will be taught by Tammy Tally

Classes require pre-registration. Call 336-631-1320, 336-631-1167 or 336-761-1002 to register or for more information

Friday, December 4, 2009

logistics Conference

i just returned from a logistics conference in Dallas Texas. While the show wasn't everything I had hoped, we made several good contacts and picked up some useful information on how the process works. i think we are well situated for expansion in the logistics field for many reasons. We have great access to the population centers on the east coast. The FedEx hub at the Greensboro Airport is a tremendous asset as is the interstate highway system. Given time and a dedicated effort, I believe this trip will bear fruit. It can be another spoke in the wheel as we move forward.