The Small Business Administration continues to report that most net new jobs created in our economy come from the independent entrepreneurs that comprise the backbone of counties such as Putnam. Area small businesses need to adapt to the rapidly progressing technology that is moving our world forward, and it’s a continual transformation process to remain competitive and, indeed, to survive.
Businesses must budget to take advantage of whatever changes are happening in their industry, for example online shopping with smart phone capability is a MUST for retailers. The online and offline customer experiences are merging – one can no longer be just brick and mortar or just online. You must be all things. Creativity, and engaging the community online has helped many small businesses grow at rapid rates.
Interactivity on websites and social media using chat bots should soon become the norm for small businesses, to engage, provide information and answer questions in real time. Easy payment options such as the application of a fingerprint or a few clicks is vital to the rapid pace of today’s busy customer. Interactive marketing is something we can really take advantage of in Putnam County. Sponsoring a local event or festival helps build your brand and provides familiarity. Collaborative marketing of such events, for example #hashtags and interactive posts between vendors helps to extend one’s brand out to a much larger audience.
Investing in new, millennial leadership and staff is also crucial. Consider hiring and training promising young talent now. Millennials will soon be the majority of the workforce. With the housing trend now moving back to more rural areas there is huge potential to attract millennials to move here, work and raise their families. Given millennials’ natural desire to learn, grow and develop, this is a winning situation for all. Embracing these goals will pave the way for a bright business future!
-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, “A business advocacy group”