Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Small business rewards

Last week I was sitting here at the store and a gentleman came in with a Scottish accent. His name is Ken.

We got to talking and it turns out he has a BBQ business back in Scotland. Since my ancestry is from there and it's always been my dream to go visit someday, of course I was fascinated about his story.

Turns out he flies to Colorado Springs on business every few months. He googled barbeque supply while here and lo and behold found Colorado BBQ Outfitters.

His business entails making pulled pork and then selling it to food trucks in the area who get a pretty penny there to sell pulled pork sandwiches. Right in the middle of the UK! (He lives on the border of England and Scotland. Here is a map showing where he is located)

We talked for about an hour about all things barbecue. I was even able to give him a few tips to make his life easier when it comes to smoking meat. We exchanged emails and a friendship began. When I told Ken that is my dream to visit Scotland to see my family's ancestral castle, he immediately told me what to expect and even invited me to stay with him if I ever get over that way.

I emailed him a few days ago and he replied this morning with his website which is Highlands Smoke. he also sent me this delicious photo of his pork shoulders smoking.

Very cool to not only meet someone from the UK; but, someone who has some culture overlap between our two homes.

When people ask me if I like owning my own retail store, this is an example of why I reply; "Yes, very much".

Dan MacDonald
Colorado BBQ Outfitters

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Advertising and sanity

As a small business retailer one of the most important aspects of the business is figuring out how to let your customers know you are there.

Truth is, you can offer the cure for cancer for free in your store but if no one knows you have it, then it doesn't matter. So the challenge is, how do you let your customers know?

Of course if you have an endless supply of cash, you can just take out a commercial during the Super Bowl. If you have the cash to do that, you probably don't even need to advertise!

Most small businesses have a very limited budget for advertising. Which means, what little budget you do have, you want the impact of whatever you choose to big significant. Unfortunately, without a crystal ball, one probably wouldn't know which way works best.

Daren and I have tried print media (coupons in local newsprint), signage, flyers, those little signs you see near intersections around town, and hand shake partnering with other businesses. It can be a challenge to get the biggest impact for the lowest cost. This is referred to as Guerrilla Marketing. spending very little for a huge impact. Here are some examples:

Proctor and Gamble received permission from the City of New York to paint their iconic Mr. Clean image on one of the crosswalks in the city.
A study showed that thousands of people a day cross over that crosswalk; so, in turn, saw that image. It was so strange that people would go into work or back home and mention what they saw. Anytime you can get people to talk about your product, it's generally a win.

Daren and I have been brainstorming different ideas for Guerrilla Marketing this year and welcome any and all ideas or experiences that you might have seen that left an impact on your as a consumer.

Maybe Daren and I should try something like this:

Dan MacDonald
Colorado BBQ Outfitters