I started my company, Sweet & Simple, in 2009 selling to a single retail outlet. We have since grown and now can be found at local upscale markets and delis throughout Connecticut. For months, though, I’ve been making headway to expand in several ways including online, corporate gifts, wedding and party favors, and larger outlets such as select Shop Rite stores. Since the start I’ve taken to social media to get that message out.
I love social media and have used Facebook and Twitter for a consistent online presence. I also use Google+ and Pinterest. Google+ is especially promising for small businesses trying to communicate with a larger audience. You have to think creatively and be open to reaching out and trying new things. The ability to connect to other bakers, small businesses and fans on Facebook and Twitter is not only entertaining and fun, but, more importantly, has helped me get answers to questions about suppliers, professional associations and ingredients, just to name a few.
Two summers ago I submitted my business in a marketing makeover contest that I read Pitney Bowes was holding. What a great move that was. I won! By winning, I spent time with their small business experts learning how to market more efficiently; using social media, QR codes, mobile landing sites, and email campaigns. They brought me knowledge, support and marketing tools I had not considered before. It’s one of several things I’ve done to help grow my business from a local one to an online and beyond one. They gave me a lot of confidence
I started in a tiny, commercial kitchen in Bridgeport, CT and, just last week I finalized an arrangement to open a small retail bakery in Fairfield, CT. It will be our first store. I am super excited but also realistic about the serious work ahead. The storefront will allow us to connect with customers directly and expand our signature product line beyond cookies and brownies. We have a great menu planned. This is what I’ve been planning for a while now and doing so will help us develop our brand. One of the most important components of building our brand is personal connection with our customers. This is also our favorite part of the business. They have choices – and I need them select my brand over the competition.
I’m well aware of the competition. But I made the decision a long time ago that I was in this for the long haul. I put myself out there in social media. I’ve been invited to attend a small business event later this month being presented by Pitney Bowes and Google. I’m going hoping to pick up more ideas and tips on how to drive traffic to my online site and reach the customers I need to reach. Whatever it takes, I’m all in. #SMBmagnet