Selling To Small Business

Selling To Small Business - Strategies to help you sell to small business entrepreneurs

Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Year, New You

Guest Contributor: David Colomb
David's Posts - David's Blog

O.K., I know it's hokey, but I've always been a believer in New Year's resolutions. It's a new year, a new start and what the heck; sometimes we need to reinvent ourselves. Sit down, put your assets and liabilities on a sheet, and decide how to capitalize on the positive and change or at least downplay the negatives.

First I have to set goals, where do I want to be next New Year's? I need to be realistic in my goals, but I also need to challenge myself. Too low, or too high and the goals do nothing to help me. I also need to break the goal down in to bite size pieces, so I can stop at each goalpost and adjust my direction. Once I've set the goals, I need to decide what I need to use from my current toolbox, and also what new tools I need to find and put in the box to succeed.

In my case, I always feel that I need to work on organization; my enthusiasm overcomes my sense of organization. My files need work, my reports need to be kept up better, and even my vehicle needs to be organized. I need to sit down and decide what stays, what goes and what devices and strategies I'll use to get my act together. It's important to my sales, because when I'm organized, I'm more confident, and my presentations are more polished, and my sales improve.

Every year I choose a facet of my sales that I'll read and study to improve. It may be sales techniques from books or off the Internet, but I search out things that'll help me and I make a plan to do the research I need. I also pick out sources for information on my industry and make plans to improve my knowledge base. It may be journals, magazines or books; again I subscribe to the sources, or buy the books or go to the library and get what I need.

Part of success is being part of a team; I sit down and analyze how I can improve my team. Do I need to build new or better relationships? Do I need to improve communications with the organization, or do I need to open a totally different channel, and work around a problem?

The next step is how do I change my style of doing business, what do I do in a call that's successful, and what needs work. After my study, what can I take from my research and meld in to my approach to sales. I don't feel you can just plug things in; you need to figure out how to make them your own. Early in my career I'd pick up something that someone said or did, and I'd try to wedge it in to my sales approach, and it always felt and look forced or uncomfortable. Once I sat down and analyzed why something worked, not just do what they did, I was much more successful.

I know it sounds like a lot to do, but the first step is commitment, decide you're going to do it, and you'll make it happen. I often feel that in the time I waste making up excuses why something can't happen, I probably could have gotten it done. Let's face it, it's your career and your future, you owe yourself the time and effort to be the best you can be.



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Are sales an artistic or scientific profession?

Guest Contributor: David Colomb
David's Posts - David's Blog

Today I was at a sales meeting and I listened to a number of people discuss sales approaches and the mechanics of a sale. As I listened, I thought back to my former life and tried to decide was I working in a field that was an art or a science?

Are sales an artistic or scientific profession? About 15 years ago I took a sabbatical from sales and became the chef/owner of a restaurant, and in so doing, I learned that cooking was an art, while baking was a science. In cooking you can change the ratios of any item, you can replace one item with another, and you can change the cooking time or method, and you still come out with an edible product. Sometimes better than planned, other times, not so good. Baking is all about chemical reactions and ratios ; change a ratio or change an ingredient, and you wind up with an inedible mess.

People stood in front of our group and discussed their approach to sales, and it comes down to discussing physics, action and reaction, when you do this, it will cause the customer to react in this way. A number of teachers have distilled the interactions of customers and sales people down to a decision tree, you remember those, if this then that, or this? It is inevitable, no question and no doubt. Just follow the yellow brick road to Oz.

I really believe that it is much more of an art form, yes, all of the science can help you to get through a sales process, but to be truly successful, you have to go well beyond the science. If our customers had read all of the materials and knew the rules as to how they should react, then we would be successful every time, but regrettably the process doesn't always flow. There are way too many variables in the process for it to follow a scientific formula. As salespeople we need to have a sales plan, but we need to be able to read when the wheels start to come off, and we need to dip in to our tool box and pull out another tool.

I cruise the message boards of a number of sales sites and salespeople are always looking for absolute answers, cold call or not, dress for success, or not etc. again I feel that there are way too many variables to be able to make those kind of pronouncements. I really believe that our experience in the field every day builds a file of action and reaction events that we can fall back on, and that will allow us to be successful. I used to say that things I did were done by the use of common sense, one of my people told me it was only common sense because I had done it and realized what worked. I guess that's correct. Read those boards and see how many different and unique points of view that are put forward when a simple question is asked. Scientific theory doesn’t allow for multiple choice answers. I realized that in College, and that is why I changed from Engineering to Business Administration. In the Business courses, a reasoned argument could make anything seem correct.

I guess my point is that while study and scientific reasoning have a place in sales, don't let science become your God, keep your instincts and a sense of humor, you'll be happier and more successful.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

Guest Contributor: David Colomb
David's Posts - David's Blog

Technology, a word that is the friend of some salespeople. A word that strikes abject fear in to other salespeople. Which are you? I started my sales career with a three ring notebook, with a page for each customer, I put in info each time I contacted the customer, until the page was filled, and then I stapled a new page to the back, and carried on. The notebook became dog eared, the pages fell out, info was lost and I was frustrated. Communication was a pager that told me who to call, and the nearest phone booth and a roll of dimes were the way to contact my customer. You learned where there were phone booths with desks, and good lighting, so you could sit down and do your work. Research on a potential customer was a trip to the public library, cold call info was yellow pages; you kept a copy of each phone book in your trunk, and pulled it out when you were working the territory. Orders were placed by handwritten forms, or called in to the secretary who typed it up and turned it in. Copies were on your desk, and you filed it all away in file cabinets.

Today, all my client info is on my laptop, and with an air card, I can get on the internet anywhere and anytime. Orders are placed by filling out forms on the internet, with copies in a computer file. I have two cell phones on my hip, one for company business and one for personal. I have a printer in car, so I can fill out and print contracts on the customer's site. My car has two electric outlets to power all this technology. Which is better?

Yes. I know that keyboard time, has replaced windshield time as the bane of a salesperson's existence, but think back to how difficult organization was in the past. You can now put together newsletters, presentations, and other communications and email them to any number of clients. We can then record our movements on a file in our CRM, and know what we did. We can stay in contact with hundreds of customers on a regular basis. We can use GPS to cut down lost time and energy.

I always fear that that I don't let technology disconnect me from my customer, I need to balance technology with the personal touch. I may email, but I need to be sure to make face to face contact, I may use the cell phone, but I need to be sure we're talking. I can't let leaving a voicemail, be sufficient contact with a customer, I need to be sure I reach and speak with the decision maker. Technology should help me to have a better relationship with my customer, not insulate me from my customer. I also need to resist the need to be a belt and suspenders type of salesperson. I need to embrace and trust that technology works. I don't need boxes full of files in my car, which are copies of things on my computer. I don't need to hard copy every email I receive, I need to let technology lighten my load, not add to it.

We always want to complain about change, and lament the good old days, but they weren't that good. We need to accept change, advocate for more change, and use the technology to the best effect that we can. Let's all prove that you can teach an old dog new tricks.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Do you have a fourth quarter game plan?

Guest Contributor: David Colomb
David's Posts - David's Blog

O.K., the fourth quarter is about to begin, another salesperson's nightmare. You have three months coming up with two major Holidays, three three day weekends, enough challenges for you? Of course, nobody buys anything in the fourth quarter, right? The budgets are all spent down, and no one wants to make a decision until the New Year. Let's see have I missed anything?

Now that we've got that out of our system, let's figure out how we are going to build a fourth quarter game plan. First thing is how we motivate ourselves to find the positives and get things in line. Why are you in sales? Most everyone is in the field because we are money motivated, we have Christmas and a New Year coming, and I know I want to be a great Santa for my family, and in today's economy I don't want to hit the credit cards, so I need to make some commission. I'm new to my company, and I want to be a leader when the yearend sales numbers come in. These are several of the motivations I have, list some of the things that will motivate you, put them on a piece of paper, put it where you see it every day, and use it.

Our clients are sitting out there waiting for us, and waiting to put us off till the New Year, so to get in front of them we have to find the "hot button" that'll open the door, what is it? Do we have a price that'll help them, or do we have terms that'll make the difference? At the very least, they'll have to put together a budget, and part of any budget is purchases, so they need to talk to you to get the numbers to plug in to the budget. You know your product, you know your industries, and you need to listen to your customers to find out why they need to see you. Prep becomes more important because the appointments are harder to get, so you need to be ready when you hit the door asking for the appointment, or making the presentation. Find the need, ask the right questions, and fill the need. Sounds easy, but it'll be a challenge, get ready.

You have an advantage over a lot of your competition; you have the motivation, and the plan to make it work. Many of the people you sell against have listened to all the objections and they've been sold on the fact that they need to just write off the fourth quarter, and start planning for next year. I watch a lot of football, and I've never see a team that writes off the fourth quarter and wins, but I have seen a number of miracle finishes because the team didn't give up. They watched what the other team was doing that worked, and they made adjustments that gave them the path to success, the same thing goes for me, I need to keep my head in the game and adjust to win. Keep positive.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Up Your Sales Game

Guest Contributor: David Colomb
David's Posts - David's Blog

I was out cold calling last month, and as part of the Michael Jackson tributes they played "The Man in the Mirror", and it made me think about Michael as a sales coach. If you want to change the world look at yourself and make a change.

The environment that we work in has a huge impact on our confidence and enthusiasm, unless you're a sphinx the negatives that you hear all day have to start to affect your ability to be a positive force. But, the downside of that is that as you become more negative you are reflected by your clients and you have all talked yourself in to not buying. That certainly isn't what any salesman wants to see happen. It's time to look inside, and see how you can change your world.

When you get up in the morning, review your short term goals, and as you're in the shower, plan how you're going to use the day to advance those goals. Pat yourself on the back for the things that you've done in the last few days that have advanced your goals. Keep doing the things that work and that make you successful, figure out how to change the behaviors that have held you back.

You're out of the shower and ready to get dressed, are you well groomed, and pleasant to look at? Let's face it, even though it's not fair, we all make our decisions based on our first impressions. It is said that you have 30 seconds to engage a conversation. If you don't look the part, and fit in with your client's world, they are put off, and instead of giving you a chance, they're looking for how to be rid of you. I've seen it at sales conferences where the pros look at those who come in dressed out of character, or with facial hair, or tinted hair, or whatever, and they laugh behind that person's back. Leave your individuality for the weekend and vacations.

We all watch the news and the talk shows during breakfast and on the drive to work, but don't let these discussions cause you to be negative for the day, if need be, it may be time to dump the talk shows and tune in some music. I've given up talk radio during the day in my travels; it's all so negative and argumentative. Jimmy Buffet is more positive than Sean Hannity any day.

When you get to work and face the emails and discussions that begin every day, rather than seeing them as problems, you need to get over the guilt and or frustration, what happened has happened, look for the opportunity to improve the situation, Pointing fingers, and assigning blame is counterproductive.

I certainly know that making the changes that I suggest is tough, but when we all decided to get in to sales; we realized we were in for the challenge of a lifetime. We also realize that sales are largely a mental game on both sides of the ball, you either sell the client on your program, or they sell you on why they shouldn't buy your program. It's time to up your game and become the winner you deserve to be.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sales Strategies

Guest Contributor: David Colomb
David's Posts - David's Blog

O.K., here I am a 57 year old salesman, starting a new job. I walk in the door and find that over the last four years, the average salesman has lasted about four months. There is no pipeline to work from; it's like dropping in to a brand new territory where the company has never sold before. What do I do?

First, I sit down and looked at the features of the company I am working for, we aren't the cheapest, in fact, and we're nearly the most expensive in the market. We have a sixty year history in the area, and we have a catchy advertising catch phrase that people have remembered. It's one of those deals where when you walk in and introduce yourself, you get the tagline. That's a great hook to start a conversation, so that's something to start.

The next point is to match the company's features to the marketplace to find our "sweet spot". Since I'll need to do a bunch of cold calling to build a pipeline, I need to prequalify to find the most likely leads that'll lead to a sale, commissions are important. Once I find my leads, and develop them, I need to put everything in to a CRM so that I can follow and plan my attack. A salesman's first instinct is to hit the road and collect all the business cards and hope for the best, but I've found that having 450 business cards and no system isn't the best way to approach things. It's time to spend a little time getting organized , hit the phones and email to contact people and build relationships, keep all the notes in the CRM and hope for the best.

Time to turn to the service people who'll handle my customers when they interface with the customer. Since I'm selling a service, it's vital that I understand the people that I'm selling. I've sold service in the past, and I've learned that people may not remember the company that they hired, but in most cases, they remember the technician that delivers the service. So I make time to talk with my technicians, learn about them, and build a rapport. Technicians want to provide a service, and live by production numbers, so they want you to sell them, and they'll help you with referrals. In our company, technicians are expected to sell, so we also have to decide how we'll handle opportunities. Some technicians hate selling and are grateful to have me in the mix, others see me as a threat, so now we negotiate, this is a work in progress. I have to meet with the receptionists and office staff to build a relationship that has them on my side. I've brought in chocolate and other goodies, yes it's bribery, but I'm not above that.

The next step is to learn the "tribal knowledge", that's the practical way that works to get things done within the organization. We've all read the organizational chart, and know how the book says things work, but we've all been in organizations and know that the chart isn't the way it really works. There are people you work with, and people that you work around. That's the nature of the beast in any organization, and I need to know that. Tomorrow I meet with the Corporate Sales Manager, and hopefully, a lot of those questions get answered. Stay tuned.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Reverse Engineering Your Success

Guest Contributor: David Colomb
David's Posts - David's Blog

I am in the midst of starting a new sales job, and as I am setting my goals and getting myself motivated for success, I have sat down to come up with numbers and goals. To plan for my numbers I decided to work backwards to come up with my daily objective.

I am a money motivated person, so I came up with what I wanted to earn at the end of my first year, once I had that number, I made the calculation that at a 10% rate of commission, I'd need to come up with X number of dollars in sales. I then contacted successful sales people in the organization and asked them what the average sales amount was for them in the last year. I also asked what they were finding as a closing ratio. Once I had those numbers, I sat down and did the math, how many contacts did I need to make a day to get the number of opportunities to present that I needed, and then close the sales to realize my numbers. Of course, as I go through the year, I'll need to keep track of my numbers to see if I need to make midcourse corrections to reach my goals.

The next step was to sit down with my Sales/Operations Manager to integrate his objectives in to my game plan. We are selling a service, pest control, so I needed to sit down and get his input on what segments of the market he wanted us to market. I have found that in selling services it's important to get buy in from the Operations people, if they don't like the business you sell, they can sabotage your sale. Find the sweet spot and you'll be more successful than just selling in the blind.

Now that I've put together all of these factors I'm able to get up each morning and have a game plan in place as to where I'm going and what I'm going to do to get to my goals. Let's hope it all works out.

I was reading a book on Cold Calling, the nemesis of all salesmen. I've come to believe that we salespeople have made cold calling in to a boogie man that we always see as the ultimate challenge. The person that wrote this book gave a very basic premise, the premise being that no matter what, you'll sell a third of the people that you contact, no matter what you do, another third won't buy from you, no matter what you do, and the middle third can be manipulated by your salesmanship and abilities. While some days, those numbers seem very far-fetched, I'm willing to accept them as being very close to correct in a macro sense. So what that means to me is that I've got to get out there and pound the street and make the contacts. I'm working in a Branch Office that hasn't had a successful salesperson in quite some time, so I don't have a pipeline in place. In this type of situation it's critical that I build that base as soon as possible, so wish me luck.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

What's Your Sales Approach?

Guest Contributor: David Colomb
David's Posts - David's Blog

I love reading sales blogs on the Internet; you learn a lot about what your competition out there are thinking. I learn things that help me every day in my work, and they also make me think.

One of the discussions that seem to be the most active out there is the discussion of the best way to develop a pipeline of clients, does the salesperson use cold calling, referrals, or networking to get their leads? Everyone seems to believe there is one answer that will work for them every time. I just don't understand or believe that there can be one way that will work for every situation.

I think that as a hunter looking for new clients, I have to have a toolbox of different weapons that will capture different clients. When I sold uniform services, the primary tool and the most successful seemed to be cold calling, you go out with a list of potential businesses that you found on the Internet, and you go door to door, meeting and presenting. The majority of these clients are small business owners, they don't have the time or the inclination to talk with their competition, nor do they go to Chamber mixers or other networking opportunities. The successful salesperson needs to hunt them down to their lair and meet them face to face.

When I sold Commercial Pest Control I was successful in using all three approaches. Apartment complex management could be found in network opportunities such as Management Associations and Chambers, because they used these organizations to market their businesses and to collect information to help them manage their complex. The ancillary benefit to attending these meetings was that you could also get face to face referrals from a happy manager to other managers. Other segments of the market, restaurants and small businesses again need to be cold called, they don't have time to go out in social situations, and they're minding the store, full time.

These examples show that you can't be the person that chooses what will be the successful approach, you need to find out what approach is going to be the one that gets you in front of a qualified lead. Your clients are the ones that will show you how to get their attention. Those salespeople that think that they can become adept at one approach and that this approach will always work for them are fooling themselves. Sometimes I think that salespeople try to simplify things, we always want to have a roadmap that leads to success, and we always want to use this same map, no matter where we're going. Keep it simple seems to be the mantra of sales, and there is certainly a place for that during your presentation, and in your dealing with management, but in finding clients we need to spend the time and effort to think through and find the way to do this.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sales in Today's Economy

Guest Contributor: David Colomb
David's Posts - David's Blog

The economy is tough; just ask me, I have lost my job in the last month. I'm now in the world of job seekers and it has opened my eyes to a new approach to sales. I'm selling the ultimate product, myself, and I'm passionate about my product. If I followed the approach of many salespeople, that would be enough, just go out there present myself and make the sale, get the job. Today that just doesn't seem to work. In a bad economy you can't just roll out your resume, collect the interviews, and choose from among the offers that come back. In today's economy, everyone has hundreds of resumes for every sales job, and they get to cull through, pick and choose, and find only the best match. This means, as a job seeker, I have to be smarter. No matter how good my record is, no matter how outstanding my references are, I need to know more than ever to stand out. The same thing should be happening in your sales career.

Many salespeople seem to think that if you know your product inside out and work hard, you're going to be successful, and I believe, at one time, that may have been enough. I had a manager who used to say, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. That as long as you are positive and look straight ahead, you'll succeed. That is one approach, but I'm not sure that it's totally realistic.

I think there is a way to get to a new level. I believe that you need to spend time understanding the climate that you and your customer are operating in. I think you need to be tapped in to social networks, attending local business events, and keeping your ears to the ground. The more you know about the conditions in your environment, the more likely you are to be able to adjust your approach and answer the needs of your customer. Has your competition lost or fired a salesman, has your customer lost competition, or gained new competition? How has the community that your customer interacts with, changed in this economy? The more you know, the better equipped you'll be. You always need to be thinking about your customer and their business, if you take care of them, they'll buy from you. Salesmen need to be problem solvers, your customer is looking for answers, and they are expecting you to be a partner and give them answers that'll help them succeed.

As I write this blog, I'm watching the news and hearing about the rage over the AIG bonuses, and as a taxpayer I'm enraged myself. I feel that the company should never have made the agreements in the manner that they did, they should have been based on the company making a profit based on the employees contribution. I really don't think you can just decide to cancel a contract that was made in good faith, and pull back money that was promised. When you sign up for a job, you are given an agreement and that's the rules of the road. If you want to change the rules in the future, and then let's sit down and negotiate, and if it doesn't meet my needs, then we part company, no harm, no foul. The government is now the majority owner of the company, and they can make any rules that they want going forward, but they need to honor the contracts that were in place. If Congress decides to tax the money away from the people, or pull back the money, we're setting a precedent that could harm us all in the future.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

No Is Not a Complete Sentence

Guest Contributor: David Colomb
David's Posts - David's Blog

I saw a plaque the other day that said that Teenagers need to understand the No is a complete sentence. After I got finished laughing at the sentiment, I realized that in sales, no should never be a complete sentence.

We have all gone on that cold call, and talked to the gatekeeper who has told us, No, we can't meet with the decision maker. We call the decision maker and they say No they don't want to meet with us. We meet with the decision maker and make our pitch, then get a No. This has happened to all of us, the difference is, how do we deal with that No.

A No at the door is either the end of a call or a challenge to get around the gatekeeper and reach the decision maker. How do we get there? We get a business card that has an email address that we can contact. We find someone else in the organization that can get us to the decision maker, or we try to charm the gatekeeper in to letting us through.

We get to the decision maker and they say no to a meeting, we again have a choice, we can back out and leave, or we can take the No as a factor of the decision maker not having enough information to see the advantage of a meeting. Given that scenario we need to figure out a way to get enough information to the decision maker so that they see the value of a meeting. Mailers, emails, testimonials, a call from a trusted ally are ways to make this happen.

We get that meeting with the decision maker, and as we're making our pitch and we start testing a close, we're getting No, do we take the No as a "No Sale", and walk away, or do we take the No as a lack of information on our part, that has led to the decision maker not seeing the value of our product? Of we see that as the problem, we go back, probe to find where we have agreement, and then we probe to find out why we're getting a No. Once we find that point, we can then give more information, support our information, and try another close. We continue to work through the process and keep working to get to the yes at the close.

I guess the point that I want to make, is that as a salesman, we need to not accept No as a complete sentence. Instead of hearing No, we should hear a request for more information. As salespeople we always worry about losing a potential customer because of being pushy, but we need to develop a non threatening approach that will allow us to collect the information that we need, to change that No to a yes, and we then need to present the information and get to the next step.

I had a Sales Manager who used to tell me that No mean's not just today, not No forever. I think as salespeople we need to realize that, and see No as a challenge and not as a roadblock.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Year -New Plan

Guest Contributor: David Colomb
David's Posts - David's Blog

As we enter the New Year, and the tough economic times, it's time to think outside the box in planning and executing sales. Your customer is probably scared to death, and if they're like mine, they make have a list of issues that lead them to believe they can't buy. Let's face it, that isn't going to work for us.

This is the time that you need to have a business discussion with your customer and point out that there is a new President on the horizon, an economic recovery plan in the Congress. They need to start planning on their own economic recovery plan. If they're going to stay in business, and we assume that they are, they need to continue to buy the materials that they need to do business. Use the information that you've collected from other customers to recommend what they can buy from you that will help them to be successful in their business. Be aware that they may not need as much of your goods or services, but they still need to do business. The second thing is that you need to use whatever incentives that your company can provide to help them succeed.

This is a time where relationships are built. The salespeople who are a team member and a consultant who is truly interested in helping with their business will become a trusted part of their business as things begin to improve. The salesperson that rolls in and doesn't listen or have any interest in their customer's survival will be out the door, and not in a position to reap the improving economy.

We all need to understand that the way our customer does business will change and evolve as this economy goes through its own evolution, but the government and business leaders have learned a great deal through other recessions and they will find a way to get us back on the right road. The U.S has always been, and will always be the greatest economy in the world. We all need to pull together to help get back on the road to recovery. Every person who buys something and sells something in this environment is helping to make America better.

As we look at the numbers in relationship to the population, this recession is significant, but it isn't as bad as the Great Depression. The powers that be were able to identify the downturn and get on to improving things. It'll all work out.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

New Contributor - David Colomb

Guest Contributor: David Colomb
David's Posts - David's Blog

Hi. My name is Dave Colomb and I am a salesperson with over twenty years of sales experience. I deal with small business owners, and love the experience. I sell trinkets and gift items to small independent gift shops. I also have 12 years of experience as a small business owner, so I've been on both sides of the table. I've thoroughly enjoyed both experiences.

In today's economic conditions I'm finding that my clients are extremely nervous about their futures. We live in an area,(Northern California), where there have not been large layoffs, but foreclosures are an issue, and everyone is concerned about the outlook for 2009.

The way to work through these uncertainties is to be a consultant and a cheerleader for your customers. You need to point out the positives and the opportunities of the situation. It's fun to sit down with a customer and lament on how bad business is, and how tough things are, but who does that help? We need to go in to the business with a positive attitude and a plan to help our business succeed, and it is our business. As my first sales manager told me, nothing happens until someone sells something. We all need sales, but to get those, we need to be sure that our clients remain in business, and remain successful. That means we need to be a consultant who shares the information that we have acquired through our travels.

As for the cheerleader aspect of our job, we need to point out the positives that are out there. Energy costs have dropped to levels not seen in the last five years; this is putting money in the consumer's pocket. Yes, the consumer is careful in spending that money, but they'll still part with their dollars if they see product that excites them, displayed properly. We need to help our customers to be able to do that. We also need to point out that the positives in the local area, new businesses, changes in the community, things that could improve our customer's business. In the last week, I've run in to several business owners who are saying that they have decided to ignore the "depression", they're going to continue to do their business and deal with the economy in a positive way. Many city governments have instituted, "Buy Local" campaigns, cities depend on sales tax revenue and in many cases they have spent a great deal of money to attract small businesses to their community, and they don't want to see these businesses fail. Closures hurt everyone. Even major retailers such as Wal-Mart realize that local businesses are needed. Wal-Mart has put programs in place to help small businesses succeed. There are a number of people rooting for the small business person.

I think that what is going to do the most damage to small businesses, in the overall, is fear. As we all know, looking at the negatives drives people to make defensive decisions, and that leads to buying less and contracting their business. Responsible contraction is prudent, wild contraction will kill a business; we all need to remain positive and work together to succeed.


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Name: Evan Carmichael
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada is the world's #1 website for small business motivation and strategies. Evan also runs a series of successful Mastermind Groups in Toronto for entrepreneurs.

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