Recently I had the opportunity to support the vision of a local retail business owner to expand a ladies shopping event to our city. The Princeton Chamber of Commerce invited me to participate in the discussion. This was a dream come true for me. As a previous retail business owner in Princeton, Minnesota, I knew collaboration of businesses was the only way a small town can bring in customers to spend time shopping, eating and having fun.
A few businesses who had networked at chamber events met together. We were all thought-partners and were able to come up with how we would manage the membership of this Ladies Local - Enjoy Princeton to ensure consistency during the event, purchase marketing materials and what would be the measurement of our success.
Our first Ladies Local Shop Small Spring Crawl is this Saturday, May 14, 2022 from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm and we welcome you. Last weekend I visited each business (and yes purchased a few items). Grab your friends and family for a fun day of shopping, eating and having fun.
PUNCH CARDS can be picked up on Saturday 5/14/22 and dropped off at all locations. You are going to want to get a stamp from all the shops because the GIVEAWAYS are fantastic!
COFFEE CORNER: Start your shopping experience with a latte of the day, breakfast sandwich and roasted coffee for at home.
THE MARK: The buyers at The Mark are up-to-date on trends coming for summer. You are going to want to check out the latest fashions to feel great at parties and weddings this summer.
HIERLINGER's SHOES: You will find comfortable and stylish shoes for all your summer activities. There is a great selection of hiking and tennis shoes.
JODIE's ANTIQUES and TREASURES: Do you have special occasions with people who are difficult to buy gifts for? Jodie's has a variety of unique items that will be a special gift for your special occasions.
PRINCETON BOOK & BIBLE: More than books and Bibles, this shop has home decor that will make your family encouraged and hopeful. There are special gifts for confirmations, graduations and weddings.
NORTHERN NUTRITION: Try the best wellness shake or tea that are delicious and will give you energy for more shopping. Make sure to check our their fun mugs and other wellness items you can purchase.
PRAIRIE RESTORATION - RETAIL: More than seeds, this retail shop will make you feel like you are in a prairie full of flowers and plants. From note cards to home decor, you will enjoy shopping for yourself.
MARV's TRUE VALUE: Find all you need for your summer garden, camping and home renovation projects. Other home decor items are also available.
Get ready for a mini-road trip to your final shopping destination and hopefully you still have room in your car.
RUSTIC DEPOT: A one-of-a-kind shop that will WOW you with products to make you smile, laugh and want them in your home.
All this shopping will make you hungry and thirsty. We have selected three restaurants located near the shopping.
Pizza Barn - Princeton: A local favorite with special recipes that make their pizza delicious. You may want to even purchase their fun branded clothing as a souvenir.
Foreseasons Clubhouse Restaurant: The patio on the golf course is awesome! A great place to reflect on your shopping with drinks, appetizers and dinner.
Pine Brook Restaurant: Located by Rustic Depot, this is a great restaurant for lunch or dinner. Delicious homemade recipes that you will want to return for more.
Thank you for planning to make a trip to visit Princeton, Minnesota and enjoy your day!
A Virtual Business Officer (VBO) is a new role to add to your office directory. If you haven't heard about this concept yet, it is because we just invented it!
A VBO is a highly-skilled contractor who can partner with business owners and leaders to take on some of the work on their TO DO LISTs. This contractor operates behind the scenes on behalf of the business owner/leader in order to meet deadlines, keep operations going through turnover and/or support growth and innovation.
Here are five reasons you should hire a Virtual Business Officer (VBO) from Goenner Consulting, LLC.
1. We understand the demands of being a business owner and leader.
From creating, implementing and selling a one-of-a-kind retail business and leading a large organization with 500 employees through a pandemic, we have the skills and experiences (Administration, Contract Management, Finance, Grants Management, Human Resources, Marketing, Operations and Strategic Planning) to transfer to your business. We know what items get stuck at the bottom of the TO DO LIST and we want to help you get them accomplished.
2. We are nimble with learning technology.
You shouldn't worry that we don't know your business' technology. We have expertise with Google, MS Teams, ZOOM, Trello, Asana, PeopleSoft, Workday, QuickBooks, Lawson and are able to learn your home-grown systems. We will leverage online trainings at no cost to ensure you aren't stuck training on technology that is new to us.
3. We can have continuity of projects across your organization.
Because of the breadth of business skills we have, you can hire us to cover financial projects one month and marketing the next month. If we aren't able to cover what you need, we know many experts in a variety of business operations to connect you with someone who can complete the task.
4. We operate from the values of trust, confidentiality, accountability and commitment to complete your project.
Our values start with trust because we know that you need to trust that we have the same interest in your business as you do. We do. Confidentiality is next because we know that there are proprietary items that may need to be disclosed and we are comfortable signing NDAs, when needed. We will be accountable to our services and ensure that you are satisfied with the results. Lastly, we are committed to complete all projects that we take on.
5. We know how to lead a team.
We have experience leading small and large teams (remote and in-person) through employee engagement, change management and day-to-day operations. The Virtual Business Officer (VBO) could be a great way to back-fill leadership openings or develop new teams.
While writing this blog post we have been inspired by the projects you have for us. For a limited time, we are offering a monthly investment of up to 10 hours for $500 (REG: $1,000). Maybe you want to test us out with a 1-hour project, this investment will be $150/hour. Maybe you have determined you need VBO services for more than 10 hours, we will negotiate the rate.
Thank you for your time, please check out our website to learn more about what to expect with the VBO service.
PLEASE NOTE: Services can be W2 or 1099.
You aren't alone if your TO DO LIST seems to be getting longer than shorter. Recently I have been focused on the TO DOs that were stuck on the bottom of my list. Our consulting services are focused on helping business owners and leaders check off and complete TO DOs.
Here are some tips and tricks we recommend to help you check off a TO DO today.
Start 2022 with a branded customer feedback survey for your business.
Goenner Consulting, LLC will lead and support the:
Customer feedback benefits your business by providing:
SPECIAL: $100 (regular $250)
The question "What projects are at the bottom of my TO DO list?" is a question that I asked myself many times both leading a growing department in a research (R1) higher education institution and also as a small business owner and they remained the same month after month. What were the reasons these projects couldn't get completed?
We want to ask you the same question "What projects are at the bottom of your TO DO list?".
If you are like most people who we have asked this question to, they pause (they know what the projects are but they are shy to say them) and so we probe them with the following three questions and then the flood gates open of projects.
1. What project(s) do you know you need to do but don't have the capacity to do them and also keep the day-to-day business going?
2. What project(s) requires expertise you don't have and either you don't have time and/or an interest to learn?
3. What project(s) requires research that you don't have staff and/or the capacity yourself to gather so you can analyze and make decisions?
We have discovered the secret sauce to get the bottom-of-the-list projects completed is to have someone focus 100% on the project and move it to completion. Remember some of the bottom of the TO DO list projects are catalysts for customer growth and/or being able to scale the business. Can you afford not to work on them?
We have the skills and expertise* to evaluate your project and prepare a work scope and tasks to have your project "get legs" and move off your TO DO list. We look forward to learning about your organization and how we can help you.
We have put together three monthly project scope levels to help us scope out your needs and help you get your projects completed within your budget.
Contact us today to let us know how we can help you at email@example.com or 612-819-7441.
*We have skills and expertise in project management, human resources, financial operations, grants management, strategic planning, developing training materials, change management, technology implementations, communications, marketing and content development. Resume and references available upon request.
With our entrepreneurial spirit and passion to see businesses and organizations successful, we are ready to work for you. For leadership positions you need to have back-filled, teams you need to get engaged, complex problems you need to solve and innovative solutions to be implemented, let’s get started. #yourvisionpossible
Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-819-7441
We are inviting you to show your support for a one-of-a-kind virtual marketspace for Handmade in Minnesota with Love products and services.
Would you please register at this link to let vendors know you would like to meet them and purchase handmade Minnesota products and services on Saturday, March 20, 2021.
Please share this event and invite your favorite Minnesota entrepreneurs.
Many business owners have faced a lot of pressure from their customers, their employees, the government and their own expectations to keep their business open during the pandemic.
This pressure can become too much for anyone and now as we move into 2021 business owners may realize they are not ready for online opportunities to network with their customers and/or sell products and services.
These five preparations will allow you to be ready for online opportunities to build community, engage customers and develop online services. These preparations require minimal financial investments.
1. Get a Camera / Video Equipment
If you have a phone and another person, you are ready to create and publish photos and videos. If you don’t have another person, you will need to be creative with your camera or tablet by setting it on a ladder or bookshelf so it can see you while you take photos and/or record. Your phone camera and video are all you need to be ready to showcase your product and services to online customers.
2. Write your Business’ Solution
What problem does your business solve? Restaurants allow us to have a meal prepared by someone else. Retail stores give us an opportunity to touch and see products before we buy them. Car mechanics allow us to fix our broken cars. Make it fun and fresh for 2021 as you tell your online customers who you are and why you do what you do.
3. Online Point-of-Sale Solutions
Now is the time to develop your business to be online where people can purchase the products and services online. Implementing an online point-of-sale solution can seem like a large task but it doesn’t need to be. We encourage you to reach out to businesses who are doing it well and see what solution they are using. Typically, the point-of-sale platform offers demos and/or sales representatives to get you started.
4. Social Media / Website / Marketing
Who is your customer? Now more than ever you need to understand what is your customer’s lifestyle? Where do they get their information? If you are saying I don’t know how my customers get their information, start to think about their age demographic, family lifestyle and/or economic status. Yes, who knows, maybe the printed ad in a mailbox may be a good option right now. We do know people make purchase decisions based on reviews and/or word-of-mouth referrals. Encourage your customers to give you feedback and referrals.
5. Establish a Creative and Innovative Mindset
For some business owners, they knew how to make their business successful before 2020. They had to make some minor changes or maybe no changes to get through 2020. We congratulate you, however we are encouraging you to look closely at areas of your business that may not meet 2021 customer expectations. You may need to take this opportunity to be creative and innovate your business with technology. Is there a product that you could offer digitally? Are there customers that might like to see how you do what you do through a video? I have been known to look for videos to do almost anything from how to set a mousetrap to how to remodel my bathroom. Be transparent and authentic.
You aren’t alone in this season of change. Today is the day to embrace the use of technology to build community, engage customers and develop online services.
We highly recommend your local Chamber of Commerce and other business owners to become partners to building your business. We invite you to share your stories, fears and/or how we could help you at email@example.com.
As a former brick & mortar retail shop owner, I do know the importance of customers being able to shop for your products and services in the space you are paying rent to occupy. As an administrator of a large higher education department, I have spent the past few weeks preparing to have employees who are unable to work remotely return to a safe workplace. I did some reflection today about what would I do if I was still a retail shop owner. Here are the five questions that came to my thought process.
1. Why are you opening for the public?
This is a great question to make sure you believe your best option is to physically open to the public. Have you leveraged all electronic and/or curbside opportunities? I have heard fantastic ideas of business innovations from restaurants creating 'family meals' either pre-cooked or for you to cook at home to creating shopping via Facebook and/or a website. Last week I shopped a virtual vendor fair and actually bought a few items. This is your chance to be innovative and potentially increase your customer base.
2. Have you walked the customer experience to see how many ways they could possibly come in contact with shared surfaces?
The goal of the CDC guidelines are to ensure shared surfaces are clean and there are so many shared surfaces in a retail shopping experience. Your customers are going to want to have assurance that you are protecting them as they are shopping in your business. Pay close attention to how you will address door handles, carts, baskets, product racks, etc.. How will you maintain an inventory of disinfectant products?
3. Will you require masks?
This is an interesting opportunity to show your customers that you care about their safety. A mask is a simple way where people can protect the transmission and make other customers feel safe. We know some business are giving masks to their customers.
4. How will you address non-compliant customers to the CDC guidelines?
Have you thought through the conversation of a customers who isn't demonstrating an awareness of following the CDC guidelines for ensuring safety in your business? Signage that conveys expectations and consequences for those who don't follow social distancing and/or masks and/or other behaviors.
5. How will you handle if an outbreak happens in your business?
Your employees should be the priority for ensuring safety. If they become ill, it will be devastating to your business. You are creating risk to them by making the decisions to open to the public. Prepare yourself by talking with your attorney to ensure you know what will happen to your business if an outbreak were to happen. There are HIPAA regulations around sharing of medical information which could impact your decisions and how you talk to your customers.
See my previous blog post titled "Having Vision during the Pandemic - You've Got This!" which conveys that I know the stress you are under however I encourage you to think through the five questions in this blog post to consider if it is worth opening because the safety of yourself, employees, and customers is a priority.
We would like to be able to help you through this. I have recently established protocols for employees returning to work who are unable to work from home. Only employees that can't work form home should be working.
Please send us feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and how we could help you.
Dear Business Owners:
You've got this. Today is the first day after the past six weeks that I've been able to sit down and write this letter to you. I've been leading a team through an abrupt closure of our office and movement to remote working. Every day I've thought of you. You have set up a business with your passion, your own time and your own resources. Every day was hard enough without thinking there was a pandemic on the horizon. Of course, we watched movies about it and thought about it, but then one day we woke up and it wasn't a thought, it was reality.
I understand that your vision is masked with uncertainty right now. I know that you are grieving so much and that you have had to watch devoted employees have their world turned upside down. You've watched your financial situation be unstable. You've tried to be nimble and pivot but you are exhausted and can't see light at the end of the tunnel.
You are what inspires us to have jobs to have an income we can spend on your products and services. We still need you!
You are safe reading this blog and I would like to speak to you to grab a notebook and start to write your fears, your hopes and your vision. No, we can't go back to the way your business was. You will need to go deep and see your business in two phases, short term and long term. What resources are you wishing you had right now? Make the list. What are those products and services you have dreamed about? Dig them out of the trash or file cabinet and/or write them now. This could be your season to reinvent. What are some short term goals (including down sizing) that will allow you to reach your long term vision? Today is the first day for your fresh start.
As I write this I'm listening to music. Get your favorite music playing around you for inspiration.
From my heart to yours. Let me know what happens from this letter.
Your Vision Possible,
Written by Faith Goenner, Goenner Consulting, LLC