Small Business B2B = sB2sB

A new opportunity for your business could be right next door!

Most of you that read this Blog know me as a consultant in marketing and health care.  But full time, I own and operate a small stationery and pen store in Barrington, Illinois called TT Patton. With only one full-time employee (yours truly), it is what you would typically call a small business. I do pretty much everything; shipping, receiving, cleaning, accounts payable, accounts receivable, IT, and most importantly, marketing and sales.  Being a small business owner myself, I try to patronize other local small businesses whenever possible.  Which made me think of how small business to small business (I guess that would be sB2sB) marketing could take on a whole new life.  Here’s how sB2sB might help your business.

Market to Small Businesses
Storefronts like coffee shops, retail stores and local banks provide an easy way to identify local businesses to support personally.  But small businesses should also market directly to other small businesses with relevant marketing materials that highlight the benefits of doing business locally.  It’s important to position your products and services for the new businesses you want to attract.  Which means some of your promotional materials might need some updating.

Shop Locally
When it’s time to buy gifts for your clients or reward your sales team, think of shopping right in your own downtown.  You might be surprised by the fresh, new ideas the shops around you will bring to your gift giving. But don’t just think of them on special occasions.  They could also offer products and services that support your day-to-day needs.  The ad agency down the block might be able to help you launch a new website, or the sandwich shop could support your monthly team meetings, or the stationer could be your new source for calendars, pens and other business essentials.

Support Client Businesses
When my landlord stopped in TT Patton to shop for gifts, I began to think not only about sB2sB, but also about supporting existing clients’ businesses.  Those are the people that shop your stores on a regular basis. Yes, they stop in to buy coffee everyday, but do you know what they do when they leave the coffee shop?  For example, you might have graphic designers in your shop everyday.  Do you utilize their services when it’s time to create new marketing material? The next time you are helping a customer, stop and ask what business they’re in.  You might be surprised by all the relevant resources that walk through your doors everyday.

Make a Connection
As retailer, I meet all sorts of people; doctors, lawyers, dentists, ministers, school teachers, designers, students, etc.  So whenever possible, I try and connect people. If there are 2 people in my shop, I introduce them.  In small business it’s important to network and build relationships.  And hey, you just might introduce them to a new client.  And you don’t have to do this in person, connect people via Twitter or your Facebook pages in ways that could positively impact their business.

So all you fellow sBs, lets start a new movement, sB2sB!


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