Aug
17
2019

The Positive Side of the Boutique Business

Have you been debating over whether or not opening up a boutique business is the right step for you to take? If you have been debating the pros and cons of the boutique business, this article has been prepared to provide you an overview of the positive elements of the boutique industry. After considering the information in this article, you will be in an informed position and able to determine whether or not the business of boutique store makes sense for you at this juncture in your life.

Perhaps more than anything else, when it comes to the positive side, the apparel business is enjoyable. Those men and women who have involved themselves in the clothing boutique nearly universally agree that they are involved in something that is enjoyable on many different levels.

Another factor on the positive side of the boutique business is the fact that you will get to interact with people. For example, you will be able to interact with customers. You will be able to assist your customers on a one to one basis, helping them select the merchandise that they are seeking and looking for at any given point in time. In addition, you will be able to develop relationships with employees, vendors and suppliers as your business blossoms, blooms and grows.

Through owning a clothing boutique business, you will be able to express your creativity. On the positive side of the business you will get the chance to delve deep into creative side. You will get to express yourself not only in what you sell through your boutique buy how you choose to sell and market your merchandise and how you set up and decorate your boutique. Indeed, the boutique business grants to you many different alternatives through which you can express your creativity.

Another element on the positive side of the clothing business is that it can be profitable for you. Many people have made a good deal of money from a clothing boutique business. Of course, you need to keep in mind that success in this business is not guaranteed. However, it is always possible that you will be able to enjoy tremendous success from your own ownership of a boutique business.

When all is said and done, owning and operating a boutique business can end up being a marvelous experience. You do need to understand that owning any type of business, including a boutique, is hard work. However, in the end being the owner of a boutique can benefit you and enhance your life on many different levels… not only today but into the future as well.

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Aug
10
2019

Local Advertising’s Evolution and Why You Should Work With a Boutique Agency

Back in the day, the YellowPages was where it was at. If you could get noticed in the book, you were sure to get customers calling. When I was doing consulting, I spent a lot of time with the sales team at directory companies. I heard stories about how small business owners would line-up outside the YP office, waiting to get their ad in the book. Picture black Friday at a Walmart and that is what they claim it was like. I believe them too, a lot of these guys are driving BMW and Lexus’ around town as a result of the commissions they’ve made in that era. They’ve paid off houses and student loans from the run they had. From what I understand, working for a directory service like the YellowPages felt similar to what working at Facebook or Google feels like today. The business came to you and you were basically an order taker; and a well compensated one at that.

But then everything changed. It was gradual too, so it snuck-up on people and caught them off-guard. The Internet started to gain traction and small business marketing budgets starting to diversify and allocate a portion for online advertising opportunities. They still spent a good deal with “the book”, mostly because the web was still a nascent marketing channel and the opportunities were limited. So YP sales people kept taking orders and continued to make money; granted a little less but still a good income. So, although everyone knew the web was gaining a little, they remained calm. Directories rolled out a few new features to help YP ads stand out. They released a website to increase advertising opportunities and tried to evolve. They just did it so slowly.

Eventually, small business owners started getting calls from SEO companies and PPC experts. They learned about new technology and advertising platforms. They learned how to optimize a website. Long story short, they learned new techniques for marketing online and started to invest more into it. Unfortunately, many of these so-called SEO and PPC experts were simply wannabe entrepreneurs that wanted to capitalize on the opportunity. They all had a great pitch but very few of them could back it up. So they took the SMB’s money and did their best. Sometimes with less than spectacular results.

Despite all of the noise and fakes that were popping up there were some legit companies that knew what they were doing. Many of them were local agencies that had morphed into digital marketing firms, leveraging real advertising and brand capabilities to deliver digital marketing solutions. This was a great era for the local small business because they had access to a real agency and the talent and big picture thinking that comes with that; and since most agencies were just getting their own feet with digital, they were pricing themselves in an affordable way and giving the SMB a great value for the money spent. But again things transitioned and bigger brands came knocking. The traditional clients that the agencies worked with starting needing more and more digital work done. The demand made it difficult for agencies to manage both small and large projects and a decision was made to focus on the big billers. So a lot of agencies abandoned main street and went back to focusing on larger clients and projects.

The next era of evolution was the era where smaller agencies start popping everywhere. Entrepreneurs who worked at the large agencies recognized an opportunity to start a boutique agency that would serve the SMB market. They priced themselves a little lower, applied the same agency thinking and process and started to get to work. This was also the era when web services went big-box and companies like GoDaddy, Web.com and SitePoint started to grow. They got into the web design business, SEO game and provided marketing solutions of all kinds to small business owners. These options continued to grow and grow. Soon, we had too many and that is kind of where we are today. With all of the choices, a lot of small business owners feel paralyzed.

I completely understand too. It seems like everyone wants the SMB dollar but few are providing any real value. You’ve got your freelancers, boutique agencies, big-box web companies, YP sales rep and a bunch of local experts that all claim to increase your bottom line. But who do you trust? I can’t say I have the answer either. I’ve seen situations where a big-box is the right choice; then I’ve seen situations where the freelancer works great. For some, working with a smaller, boutique agency is the way to go. At the end of the day though I still think it comes down to a gut-check.

Because the tactics and techniques that all of these companies will use to market an SMB are fairly universal, we can assume that they won’t change much. What will change is the approach to getting them done. Most companies will provide all the essential tactics to get a campaign going, linkbuilding, web design, SEO, social etc… all fairly ubiquitous in terms of use. But the way they go about servicing and reporting results is where the rubber meets the road.

Service is the differentiator in a digital world. It’s also where a lot of big-box companies drop the ball. Unfortunately, freelancers seem to struggle with this too. In my experience it is the boutique local agency that does the best job. The team of 5-10 smart minds that left the big corporate marketing world to start a small business for themselves. These are the people that know what you are going through as an SMB. These are the people with real skin in the game. They have a reputation to maintain and a business to grow and that can’t happen without them growing yours. So, my advice is to steer clear of the freelancers, big-box service companies and inflated agencies. Find a local firm that you can meet in person and get to know.

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