Making Your Business a Community Resource (and building your customer base at the same time)

John Jantsch recently posted a blog about finding ways to attract existing groups with common interests to your business (“How to grow your business by sponsoring existing tribes”). His message is worth repeating.

“There’s a pizza restaurant in my neighborhood that sponsors a weekly bike ride during the summer months. Anyone that wants to go on an easy 13 mile ride or more challenging 20 mile ride just shows up and joins the ride. There is no cost to participate, the rides have a leader and some support for riders and you get 10% off food that night.

The support, leadership and organization for the rides is provided by several local bike shops, which also offer quick bike fixes on the spot and 20% off gear back at the shop.

Most Wednesday evenings about 60 people show up and by my quick scan most, including myself, stick around and drink some beers and eat some pizza.

The tribe of people that want to participate in group bike rides is enthusiastic about their sport and this clever business has basically created a tribe for his business by enabling an existing tribe of riders to do something they want to do.

What if you started looking for ways to be a community resource? What if you found a strategic partner – like the bike shops – that could help you bring together people interested in something that wasn’t necessarily related to your business?

Could a financial planner start offering exercise classes focused on seniors? Could a consulting firm create space for startups to launch? Could a print shop offer free graphic design courses? Could an accounting firm offer business software training? Could a running store offer vegan cooking lessons?”

To see the complete blog post, go to http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/

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VA Extends Verification Term for Veteran Entrepreneurs

The Department of Veterans Affairs is doubling the amount of time before the owners of service-disabled, Veteran-owned small businesses and Veteran-owned small businesses must re-verify with VA that they are, in fact, owned and operated by qualified Veterans.

“The community of Veteran-owned businesses and businesses owned by service-disabled Veterans is a vital partner with VA and the federal government,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “To ensure we have improved our verification policies and processes, I have directed that VA simplify the verification process immediately and move from an annual to a biennial re-verification – every two years.”

The interim final rule, which took effect June 27, will benefit thousands of small businesses by reducing the uncertainty and administrative burden associated with a yearly verification cycle.  Public comments on this interim final rule may be submitted within the next 60 days.

Need help starting a veteran-owned business ? Call SCORE Pinellas at 727 532-6800, send an email to score@scorepinellas.org, or visit our web site at http://www.scorepinellas.org.