Santa Rosa SBDC

California Bicycling Development

Category: Marketing

Excellent, 6-Part Training Series From Florida SBDC

One of the keys for a small business’ success is to have clear guidance and a team willing to tell you when your idea sucks.

In lieu of that, sometimes a robust training course can suffice. The challenge is being able to take this training and to critically look at your idea and correct the issues. All too often we interrupt our business analysis or refuse to give truthful answers.

Getting rid of the rose-colored glasses is an excellent place to start.

In this 6-part series, the Florida Small Business Startup Network does an excellent job showing you the questions you should be asking yourself. I realize that it is easy to skim past some of these questions, but each one of these are key questions that other business owners have had to ask. Perhaps it feels like a question does not apply to you right now. However, by answering that question, now, you can often save yourself from headache down the road.

Some of the questions they start of this series with include:

  • Why do you want to start THIS business?
  • What experience and skills do you bring to this business?
  • Have you saved any money? Enough money? How will you fund your startup?
  • Are you prepared for the long hours this business will require to be a success?
  • Are you a self-starter?

Theses questions deal a lot with YOU the business owner. Just as when you hire an employee, you need to take a critical analysis of yourself and decide whether or not you should be “fired” or have a “coaching conversation”.


Some of the other questions you should ask will pertain more to your market:

  • Is there a demand for your service?
  • What differentiates you from your competition?
  • How will customers find you?
  • How will you keep them coming back and use them to spread word-of-mouth advertising?

It is terrifying how many people cash out their retirements and dive into business ideas without having these basic questions answered.

We can’t stress enough how essential it is that you lose the rose-colored glasses and focus on building a business that will last. After all, time is moving forward and you don’t want to waste your life, dreams and ambitions on  a plan that is a guaranteed failure.

The foundation of success is the ability to answer the hard questions.

Start the series with this video:

Small Business Spotlight: Echelon Cycling

Echelon. Cycling definition: The formation a peloton uses navigates a side wind.

This isn’t just a cool word that speaks teamwork and power, it’s also the name of one of Santa Rosa’s small business gems. Echelon Cycling and Multisport is an owner operated shop that breeds a loyalty in its customers that is hard to match.

Referred to by its followers as “THE Tri Shop”, the staff and crew at Echelon are well versed in all three sports — cycling, running, and swimming. They have carefully chosen brand lines and products that are the best possible fit for the individual sports as well as competition triathlons.

These people are in touch with their community and work hard to have small town familiarity in a high-quality setting. They will get to know you, and spend whatever time is needed to get you and your bike fitted to each other. They are the go to for maintenance and repairs, as well as upgrades and accessories.

A few key notes:

Their ride maps on their “Local rides” page are tried and true by real life riders, not just some pre-mapped cycling routes. We’ve all experienced the frustration of following a “bicycle route” only to find ourselves in heavy traffic with poorly marked intersections or walking our bikes because of too many hazards on the pathway. Not gonna happen with the hand picked routes they have ready for you as a free resource.

Their fitting system is in depth and worth the money. It’s hard to find a shop that will spend several hours with you to make sure that you are getting the most efficiency possible out of your bike and your body, and then be willing to follow up with you! This quality feature that their store offers make them worth setting an appointment and driving.

If you follow their facebook page, you will have noticed that they keep it up to date and offer a great many opportunities and group activities to their followers. From the Women’s Wednesday rides to pilates and yoga events, to helping organise and take part in larger community events, there will be no shortage of chances for you to get out and get active with like minded people.

The soaring reviews and faithful followers of this company make it an invaluable addition to our Santa Rosa community. Shops like this, with staff that are passionate about their work and their customers, are not only an essential to the cycling and triathlon world, but are a model for niche shops all over the country.



Small Business Internet Marketing Tips for Entrepreneurs


Online corporate giants frequently intimidate business owners who want to start a small business over the internet. Obviously, these online giants have the finances, employees, and time to make their businesses even more lucrative. Internet marketing in a business can cost a lot of money and as a result of this, small business owners are often discouraged from venturing further despite their planned internet marketing strategies.

A lot of people have no idea that internet marketing isn’t always costly since it’s a matter of being efficient. For any small business owner who want to know about internet marketing on their own, here are several useful tips to help carry out an effective internet marketing strategy:

  1. Opt for free tools

Small business owners with little or no experience are easily influenced to buy any internet marketing tools via alluring advertisements. The best advice: go for a free internet marketing tools that help market your website, create traffic, and learning online marketing strategies in the process. You could make a purchase of an internet marketing app only when you have a complete idea on how it works. Never waste money on a software that won’t maximize your internet marketing potential.

  1. Start working on an e-mail campaign

An e-mail campaign is known to be the most effective and personal method for internet marketing. Connect with customers who have shown interest in your services or products. By doing so, your internet marketing efforts will ultimately pay off via direct sales from customers who openly subscribed to your e-mail updates.

  1. Use social media for marketing

Try to connect with as many people as you can through popular social network outlets such as Twitter or Facebook. Signing up is simple and you can easily spot potential customers by adding contacts and posting updates regularly. Social network contacts are virtually unlimited and you’re completely in charge of making your network grow.

  1. Offer freebies

An ideal marketing method for small business is by providing freebies and other online downloads to lure visitors. Participate in forums and impart your business knowledge and experience. Prove to people that you’re a small business owner who’s interested in your customers as opposed to going for a money-grabbing strategy.

  1. Involve YouTube and other Social Channels

Nowadays, people prefer watching videos than reading text. Try to be active in YouTube and post any videos related to your business. These can be things such as simple DIY repairs (if you’re a plumber or an electrician) or something else. This internet marketing method is very effective in reaching out to local audiences.

Kicking off a small business through internet marketing is an aspect that almost anyone can perform. While it may not be difficult to start a small business, doing it correctly may pose some challenges. By paying attention to the internet marketing tips indicated, you can gain exposure of your small business and eventually profit as your customer base grows.

Photo Credit: Flick’r User Bruce Clay Inc

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