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During any given week, I remove a number of folder flyers lodged between my mailbox and the red flag, advertising a small business owner’s unique brand of service. My background and genuine interest obligate me to read the advertisement and smile at this grass roots approach to getting noticed. The question you have to address is ‘Why would a customer be interested in my business?’ The issue is more pragmatic than philosophical because in an economy where “Imitation is the highest form of capitalism”, customers have more choices than dollars to spend. Knowing that you are one among many is a testament to your fortitude, but will only carry you so far.

Small business owners are faced with the daunting task of trying to distinguish their service from among a myriad of indistinguishable services. Often limited by budget and location, the ‘getting noticed’ element of small business ownership can easily move to the middle or bottom pile of tasks needing attention. “Having the luxury of a brand name helps a lot in getting noticed,” says Tom Javarinis, owner of a Marathon Service Station on the corner of Seven Mile and Inkster road. “I spend 30 – 40 percent of my time reinforcing the brand name by delivering quality customer service and changing to accommodate the needs of my customer.”

For those without the cushion of a brand name, then basic grass root efforts are critical to overcoming the perception of being just a replaceable commodity. Joining the local Chamber of Commerce, registering with the Better Business Bureau and networking with professional associations are only small steps in a large process. The most successful small business owners I know maintain frequent contact with their customers by sending greeting cards on holidays, birthdays, graduations, and other personal events. They believe that by personalizing the experience, customers are more inclined to stay with a service than to look elsewhere. Several have linked with small colleges and offer their services as guest lecturers in programs that cater to working adults. The cost for building a website is a small investment that can have potential global benefits.

It is no secret the small business owners are the backbone of our economic system. Stories of success and failure are rooted in the resolve of an owner to push a little harder in order to move away from the crowd. The increasing number of media outlets (i.e. cable, the internet, e-publications) has made it easier for small business owners to access a niche customer base. The recent election may produce some legislative relief so as to strengthen the support for small business owners to expand their reach. In the end, it comes down to knowing how to position your company to be seen as a provider of quality goods and services, distinguished by your own unique approach to delivery and a name that inspires trust, loyalty and repeat business.

For more information on how to get your business noticed, visit or

© 2013 Lee E. Meadows
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