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Coming Next Month is the Small Business Resource Fair, Hosted by PEA member San Mateo Daily Journal

Coming up on April 30 is the Small Business Resource Fair, hosted by PEA member The San Mateo Daily Journal.

Interested in participating but need to know more? Click on the informational handout below:

>>> Palo Alto Small Business Resource Fair hosted by The San Mateo Daily Journal <<<

PEA will have their own booth at the fair, and we would love to see you! Come stop by and visit our table from 9 am to 1 pm at the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto.

If you are interested in becoming a partner at the fair, contact Skip Gould to get set up!

Money Saving Tips from PEA

Recently, PEA’s program committee had members discuss and share ideas for how to save money in their businesses.  Here are a few tips from them to you!

Interested in this kind of information and getting to know PEA? Learn how to join HERE and ‘Like’ us on Facebook!

Marketing Without the Internet: Tips and Tricks from PEA

Besides sharing information on services, tips, advice, etc. from each business, PEA also spends one meeting a quarter focused on special programs, including discussions on marketing, panels of members sharing their expertise, and tips on how to become a green business.  Back in July, the Program Committee planned a special program designed to give everyone a few new marketing ideas the old-fashioned way rather than through Internet marketing.  This was an opportunity to hear ideas for getting new customers or keeping existing ones that work for other businesses.

Here are a few of the ideas mentioned at the meeting:

  • Laurie Moore, Larry’s AutoWorks said that they use license plate frames, recyclable bags, post it notes, a monthly newsletter and they ask their satisfied customers to give them referrals.  Larry MooreLarry’s Autoworks added that they pre-book service appointments and give both reminder and follow-up calls.  They use line ads in the yellow pages that focus on what they do, not their name.
  • Bobbie Fakkema, Events, Etc… invites clients to a tasting at her warehouse once a year.  They are encouraged to bring a guest with them.
  • Mike Clark, Michael J. Clark, CPA makes completing your tax returns as easy as possible.  They are already stamped and only need to be signed and mailed with a check.
  • Rick Rosensweig, Morgan Stanley runs events where he invites outside speakers.  He also sends out a newsletter.
  • Rolf Kruger, Flicker, Kerin, Kruger & Bissada belongs to professional associations and works to make sure his clients have a positive experience.
  • Sam Harding, Retirement Administration supports local organizations like the Obon Festival, especially when there is a connection with one of his clients.
  • John Sylvester, SST Insurance Brokers has learned not to assume that his clients already know about all of his services.
  • Shawn McMillan, Connoisseur Coffee has signs for his clients to display reading “Proudly serving Connoisseur Coffee.”  They give open houses and donate coffee to community events.
  • Don Miller, Honorary Member said that when he was a practicing dentist, he called patients at night to check on them after a procedure.
  • Larry Hassett, Hardware Stores sponsors community events like the Rock the Block event in Half Moon Bay and belongs to service clubs.
  • Konrad Thaler, Smilin Dogs makes sure that every sense is addressed when you walk into Smilin Dogs:  it smells clean, the floor looks clean, the atmosphere is friendly, and there are photos of client dogs having fun to spark the human clients’ imaginations.
  • Cheri Jackson, Older Adult Care Management says they have a celebrity spokesperson, Willie Mays’ wife.
  • Julie Fukuhara, Stern Mortgage has a by-invitation special networking event for professionals in related fields.  Each participant receives a roster with contact information for all participants for the day.
  • Randy Mills, Pioneer Services uses his van as a mobile billboard.
  • Fawni Hill, Larick Alan Hill uses job signs and sends postcards to clients with photos of recent projects.
  • John King, Keller-Williams Realty puts up signs at every property and gives out pens, key chains, and water bottles.  He uses a direct mail campaign and has been a Little League team sponsor.
  • Kaye Sharbrough, Senior Seasons does speaking engagements, belongs to professional groups, and attends senior fairs.  She gives out personal information organizers with her business name.
  • Tom Brown, All Reasons Moving has the company name on trucks, uses direct mail, gives their business name to realtors, and sends out Christmas cards.
  • Jon Maystrik, Arborwell Professional Tree Management says that Arborwell has a marketing manager and takes marketing very seriously.  They do it all: run ads, go to trade shows, golf tournaments, send thank you cards, and have a direct mail campaign.  Their white trucks with company logo are washed every week, and they have sponsorships and practice philanthropy.
  • Scott Foster, Cassidy Turley BT Commercial tells everyone what he does, including when he coaches water polo.

A full list summarizing all the tips mentioned was handed out to all of PEA’s members.

Interested in joining PEA?  Visit our website to learn more.

New Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave Regulations with Maureen Clark, Clark Associates

Maureen Clark, Clark Associates highlighted some new guidelines for businesses with 15 or more employees.

In California, new regulations state that employees who have completed 90 days of employment and who need time off work to donate bone marrow may receive up to five workdays off.  For employees planning to donate an organ, the leave is up to 30 days.  You may require that they use sick leave or vacation leave if it is available.  If there is no sick leave available, the employees are still entitled to time off.  The specific length of the leave is to be determined by the doctor.  Medical coverage remains in force throughout the leave.  The leave may be taken in one or more periods of time.  The employee may need to take time off for office visits in addition to the surgery.

Maureen Clark, Clark Associates has prepared a handout that is attached in PDF form at the bottom of this post with detailed information about the regulation.  You may share this information with other business owners.  If you have tips for small business owners that you want featured on the PEA blog, email Neal with your ideas.

Donor Leave Details by Clark Associates

Catering in 2011 with Bobbie Fakkema of Events, Etc…

Bobbie Fakkema of Events, Etc… recently shared with PEA how she has created new business opportunities in the recession.  Bobbie stressed during her talk how important it is to be flexible and willing to change.  She started a new branch of Events, Etc… last December called No Box Catering, providing local organic sustainable lunches for corporate workers without cafeterias.  She drops off platters of food that include a meat, vegetarian, salad, bread and butter, and dessert combination.  Then they come by to pick up the trays after the meal.  Currently, this branch of Bobbie’s business has about 150 clients, and although her short term goal is to serve 500 lunches per day, her long term goal is 4,000 per day.

Bobbie’s favorite type of job is event catering.  She showed PEA members some beautiful pictures from the many events she has catered over the years.  One of her favorite events was a birthday party featuring tables with green leaves for the tablecloth.  In lieu of traditional flowers, they used pods for flowers.  This is the type of event that Bobbie would like to see come back.

Although there are still concerns for Bobbie in the catering business (like increasing food costs), she prides herself on her focus on providing healthy, beautiful food!

Member video – Bankruptcy Red Flags

Check out the new video by PEA member Brian Irion, Law Offices of Brian Irion, on trends and red flags in bankruptcy.

Time to Update Your Google Places Page

This week’s tip was contributed by Randy Mills, Pioneer Services.  Randy recently read an article on changes in Google Places pages and how to set up a Google Places page for your business.  It’s a good idea to revisit your Google Places page and update your settings to take advantage of some of these new features.  Randy commented that after reading this article, he updated his Google Places page.  He then took a look at it on Google and realized that Google Places also links to your Yelp reviews. In addition people can leave reviews at Google Places.

The article is available as a hard copy from me if you would like to see the details.

Do you have a tip you would like to pass on to fellow PEA members? Please send it to Executive Director Neal Coogler.

This tip was contributed by Randy Mills, Pioneer Services.  Do you have a tip you would like to pass on to fellow PEA members? Please send it to Executive Director Neal Coogler.

You Created a Facebook Business Page – Now What?

Another great guest post from Kim Tucker of All Reasons Moving.

Now that you’ve created your Facebook business page, you should:

–Log in every day, check for customer comments. If someone posts a question or comment to your page you want to respond right away. A customer will not be happy if they ask a question or post a comment and don’t get a response for weeks or months.

–Post a new feed at least once a week. Really you should be posting two-three times per week but if you find that too demanding start with once a week.

–Post pictures. You can post pictures of your product. Highlight your staff if you have employees. Post specials you may be running. Post pictures of your work.

–Do you have a Blog? Post the link to your blog on your FB Page so people can click the link to read and comment on your Blog.

    Social Media is about Networking. If you go to an event to represent your business, you can’t expect to get business standing in the corner waiting for people to approach you. You need to introduce yourself and make new friends and new connections. You need to work the room, the same applies with Social Media.

    Thanks again, Kim!

    Claim Your Site Today!

    PEA member Kim Tucker has a great tip for small business owners looking to improve their Google juice.  Do you have a tip you would like to pass on to fellow PEA members? Please send them to Executive Director Neal Coogler.

    Now on to Kim:


    Have You Claimed Your Site?

    by Kim Tucker, All Reasons Moving

    Have you claimed your site?  In most cases your business is already listed on many different sites and all you have to do is “claim” it. It’s FREE!

    A good resource is to go to http://getlisted.org. Type in your company name and it will tell you if you have claimed your business on such sites as Google, Bing Yahoo and a few others.  From there you can click on the links and register your business.  Claim your business today!

    Back to Neal:

    If you are thinking of creating your own blog, check out Kim’s site for a great example of small business blogging. Thanks for the tip, Kim!

    Tip of the Week: Getting Internet Reviews

    by Neal Coogler

    Getting reviews is an important way of both improving your visibility on the Internet (getting better Google search juice) and getting business through recommendations.  Here are some tips gleaned from Search Engine Journal (see www.searchenginejournal.com for the full article) on a strategy for getting reviews:

    1. Do not fabricate reviews yourself or ask for fake reviews.
    2. Check your reviews. Search on your company name + phone number and you will find reviews on your business (plus other places where information about your business is listed you may not have known about).
    3. If possible, thank those who have left reviews. Many sites allow you to either send the reviewer a message directly or to write a response to the review. When you respond, you could ask them to follow you on Twitter or Facebook, and “ultimately create loyal customers who can be called on in the future for helping with your online reputation.”
    4. Choose a few sites that you want to promote as the places for customers to go to leave reviews.  Don’t ask for reviews on only one review site or for too many – keep the focus on two or three.

    Here’s my question for PEA members who are already asking customers to leave reviews: which review sites are you using and why?  I’ll publish the responses to this next week.

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