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Posts Tagged ‘customers’

Learning from the Past: KikScore’s Top Twelve Blog Posts of 2011 for Small Businesses and Startups

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

It’s been a great year for KikScore! We’ve gained partners, garnered press, interviewed tons of great startups, and released our first white paper. Sounds like a winning year to me. That’s why we put together a list of our top blog posts for 2011. By highlighting some of our beloved posts, we can reflect on what KikScore has accomplished through the year as well as go over some information that we believe is important enough to bear repeating for small business. We hope you enjoy!

#12: 5 Ways to Develop a Killer Brand for Your Small Business and Startup

If you are looking to establish a good brand name for your business, then this post is for you. Although it’s daunting to see big businesses with huge budgets for marketing and advertising, there are cheaper and more effective ways to build your brand. This post goes over the different ways in which you can deal with your customers and make their experiences so great that your brand will practically build itself.

#11: 7 Questions A Small Business or Startup Should Ask Themselves Every Day

It’s critical to ask yourself important questions. Even if it is just to make sure that you know the answer instead of just thinking you know the answer. This post discusses several questions that you need to ask to make sure that your business is headed in the right direction.

#10: The Day in Pictures & Tweets at the 2011 SmallBizSummit

Just as the title says, this post is a compilation of pictures and tweets from the 2011 SmallBizSummit. Here you can find great quotes and images that focus around how all small businesses should act and what they should do. Take a look and feel like you were there yourself.

#9: 5 Reasons that Startups & SmallBiz Must Engage Their Customers

If you think that this list is already beating up the idea of paying attention to customers, then you aren’t thinking like a business should. This next post builds upon the ways to really engage customers and see results. Give it a read and try the advice for yourself. We promise you won’t be disappointed.

#8: Web Design Contracts – Protect Yourself & Your New Business

This guest post, written by Gregg Hand, is of vital importance when preparing to set up a website. We’ve all heard the speech about why we have to read the fine print before signing a contract. However, now that you’re helping to make a contract with a web designer, you must be twice as cautious. If you’ve never had to make this type of contract, this post can help you with a set of helpful advice on what to look out for.

#7: Top Ten Reasons Small Businesses Fail Series

(Procrastination; Competition; Marketing; Clients; Employees; Versatility; Location; Cash Flow (Followup); Closed Mind; Planning)

Here is a series of posts that we’ve worked on throughout the year in an effort to help small businesses understand what they must avoid. Some say that learning from the past is one of the best ways to prevent certain future events. There’s at least some truth to this saying, so we hope that this series will help your business avoid the easily avoidable.

#6: KikScore SmallBiz Interviews’ Greatest Hits & Top Strategy Tips for Entrepreneurs (Part I and Part II)

These posts use quotes from businesses that KikScore has interviewed in the past regarding lessons they’ve learned and challenges they’ve faced. Each quote has years of experience in ingrained in it, so they’re worth the reading.

#5: Championship Sports Teams…What Do They Teach Us for the Small Business & Startup Arena

Bringing together two seemingly different dynamics, this post talks about how the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and the NHL’s Boston Bruins’ respective teamwork reflect how teams in small businesses must act. Just as in sports teams, the members of your business must be willing to work together and take risks. Take a look and see for yourself just how true this is.

#4: 3 Tools for Boosting Your Business’ Image

This post goes over some tools that all businesses can use, so we think it is worth making the cut. Each tool is free and KikScore utilizes all of them. What are they, you ask? Well there would be no point in referring back to the article if we just said it here, so you’ll just have to look at the post for yourself.

#3: Nonprofit or Going for Broke: Ways to Demonstrate Your Business is Legitimate & Trustworthy

Rather than discussing all small businesses, this post gives advice to nonprofits. Whether for profit or not, all businesses suffer from trust issues. If you are having issues with your nonprofit or even just looking for a way to make it better, this post can help.

#2: #SmallBizChat Highlights – Tips on How to Make Your SmallBiz Website Look Trustworthy and Credible

Here we recap our great experience of being the guest of honor for #SmallBizChat on Twitter. It was a great way for us to take and answer different questions about how small businesses deal with online trust. A slideshow is included in the post, so feel free to check it out.

#1: Shoppers Trust Businesses Who Share More Information – KikScore Online Trust Survey Finds

Another important hallmark of KikScore’s year is the recent issuing of our first white paper, which is discussed in this post. It took a lot of time and a lot of research, but it came out great. If you are interested in online trust and how it impacts small business, take a look at this post and KikScore’s white paper.

We’ve had a great year all-in-all and we anticipate that 2012 will be even better! We appreciate everyone who has worked with us and taken the time to help us this year and we hope you all have a great 2012!

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Posts Tagged ‘customers’

6 Steps to Protecting Yourself When Shopping Online This Upcoming Holiday Season

Monday, November 14th, 2011

It’s holiday season again and I’m sure people are already starting to shop for gifts. If you’re buying online, check out these 6 tips to help you out and increase your chances of having a “safe” shopping experience:

  1. Research the company. Who are the owners? Is it a successful businesswoman from Texas or a teenager living in China? Take a few minutes and check out on the website who is actually behind the business and who operates the website.  Click to the “About Us” page or “Contact Us” page and see if there are some actual names listed on the website.  Then drop some of those names quickly into Google or Bing and search on those names.  What comes up about them?
  2. Find out where their servers are located. Are they based in France, but have a server in Ohio? (You’re probably alright with a company like this) or are they based in England and have a server in Somalia (this should send up a red flag.)  Also, make sure to check out where their website is hosted. Here is a great tool to use to look up domain owners here. It is called Domain Tools. I use it all the time when I am shopping.
  3. Check their website thoroughly. Is there anything in their wording that seems fishy? Are there typos on the website or does the footer of the website say copyright 2002? Does calling that phone number give you someone asking for your pizza order? Confirm that the business is legitimate before buying that scarf for Aunt Joan. Perhaps this post on how to make online websites look credible will help you see what to look for when you are reviewing the four corners of an online store or service business?
  4. Is the business on any Social Networks? Being on social networks like Twitter and Facebook can show that a company is willing to have some transparency when dealing with customers. What type of personality does the business have online? Does it come off as a company that you don’t want to do business with?  Check their Twitter stream or Facebook page and see do they respond to customers or is there just a username set up and just “dead air.”  If you see some level of engagement, that is a good sign.
  5. What are people saying about the businessonline? Most companies will have some type of reviews of them online.  What are people saying about them in these reviews? How about their products, customer service and delivery times?  Can you really trust those reviews? If the reviews sound fake, you might want to check into the company a bit more. Remember our post on how to spot fake reviews? It’ll help!
  6. Do they have a trust seal or an ssl certificate? When you are reviewing a website you are about to buy from check out whether they have an SSL certificate meaning that your communications of your credit card information is encrypted from your browser to the company’s browser.  Also look to see if the business has any trust seals and in particular click on those trust seals and see what they say about the business.  The sites that have trust seals that actually give you more information about the business management team, their track record of financial health and information on customer service, return and privacy policies will give you even more transparency into who you are buying from over this holiday season.

Good luck and stay safe when shopping online!  Also let us know if you have any safe shopping tips.

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Posts Tagged ‘customers’

KikScore SmallBiz Interviews’ Greatest Hits & Top Strategy Tips for Entrepreneurs: Part II

Friday, June 17th, 2011

KikScore has had the pleasure of interviewing many small business owners over the past few years, asking these entrepreneurs about all areas of their businesses and what has spurred their growth, while also throwing in light-hearted pop-culture related questions.

In Part I of this two-part Greatest Hits series, I highlighted the top five lessons learned from these interviews with regards to establishing a successful small business. If you missed Part I, click here.

In Part II, I will present five of the most important challenges faced by these small businesses that our interviewees shared with us. These issues are extremely pertinent to all small businesses and it is vital for small businesses to overcome these challenges in order to succeed.

Here we go, the five most common challenges faced by entrepreneurs and their small businesses:

5. Keeping Up with New Technologies

“As the cost of running business with a physical store or office is comparatively high due to the monthly rental fee as well as the consumption of electricity and the hiring of manpower, more and more businesses like us tend to create their presence on the Internet. Without a significant competitive advantage, a retailer will be forced to raise a white flag in this cruel and heartless battlefield.” – Margaret Chan, founder of Cherry’s Brandname Gallery

In today’s world, technology is rapidly changing and businesses must keep up with latest innovations in order to stay modern and be successful. Companies have to start utilizing the internet, for both its e-commerce capability as well as a marketing and advertising tool. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are essential to small businesses, as millions of users check and use their personal accounts on those websites multiple times each day.

4. Lacking Adaptability

“While it is important to hold on to your vision, it should never be at the expense of building a sustainable business model. Your business plan whether it is one page or fifty, should be an evolving document that scales to put you in the best possible position to serve your clients and generate revenue.” – Tai Goodwin, founder of Launch While Working

Another challenge entrepreneurs also face is the ineptitude to alter or adjust your business plan. The business world is full of surprises and unexpected circumstances.  In order to run a successful company, businesses must be flexible and able to adapt to the changing environment around them.

3. Fear of Failure

“Another challenge I had was more of a mental one, which was the fear of ‘Can I start my own business?’ There are so many company decisions that we take for granted until we have to make them ourselves.” – Gregg Hand, founder and owner of Hand Law Offices

Two weeks ago I mentioned how the number one piece of advice for having success as a small business is keeping the long-term goal in perspective and never giving up or losing hope. Therefore, one of the challenges faced with starting a small business is dealing with the fear of failure. You cannot be afraid that you’re going to fail and act hesitantly because then you will fail; you must be confident with all of your decisions and maintain the passion with which you started your business. Owen Wilson’s character in Wedding Crashers puts it best when talking to his partner, “Your goddamn negativity! I don’t need it! I’m an idea man. I thrive on enthusiasm. Don’t take the wind out of my sails. I need you.”

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2. Finding Customers

1. … and then Gaining their Trust

As a small business I believe our biggest challenge is gaining trust in a potential new customer.  If a shopper sees a Macys logo or a Best Buy logo they are not going to question is this a secure company/site.  As a brand that is growing, we are not mainstream and are years away from becoming a staple in the beauty industry.  We overcome that challenge by gaining one new customer at a time.  Proving to that customer we are legitimate business, that is not going to sell their name to any third parties, is going to ship their order, their most private and intimate information is in a very secure area, and if there is any problems whatsoever with their order we will do everything we can to correct it and make it right.” – Brian Esposito, CEO of Avenue You Beauty Store

In order to be successful, you must generate revenue from customers and unless you develop a brand-new product or have a revolutionary idea, you are most likely going to enter into an industry that already has a fair share of other competitors. There lies the biggest challenge of small businesses: finding customers and then keeping them. Finding customers as a small business relies on effective networking and marketing, and especially positive word of mouth. Whether it is online or in newspapers, spreading your name and attracting publicity is a must for businesses to find customers. In addition, promoting your credibility and trustworthiness is a necessity to ensure that once you land a customer, he or she will return.

This is the service that we here at Kikscore provide for online businesses. We show your potential customers that you can be trusted, allowing shoppers to review your record of reliability and creditworthiness through the Kikscore Trust Seal and the KikReport. After overcoming all these obstacles, you’ll be “so money”. More information regarding Kikscore and its trust seal can be found at http://www.kikscore.com/more.html and http://www.kikscore.com/confidence_badge.html respectively.

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Posts Tagged ‘customers’

KikScore SmallBiz Interviews’ Greatest Hits & Top Strategy Tips for Entrepreneurs: Part I

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

KikScore has had the pleasure of interviewing many small business owners over the past few years, asking these entrepreneurs about all areas of their businesses and what has spurred their growth, while also throwing in light-hearted pop-culture related questions.

In Part I of this two-part Greatest Hits series, I will highlight the top five lessons learned from these interviews with regards to establishing a successful small business. Many of these innovative and impressive business owners shared related advice and acknowledged similar trends in the e-commerce field. So without further ado, here are the Top 5 Things You Should Do When Starting a Small Business:

5. Keep your website simple and easy to navigate

- “My advice to people about an online presence is to keep it simple and clean and VERY easy to navigate AND to have a Content Management System (CMS) so you can update your site yourself.” (Whitney Zimet, owner of I Am The Maven)

- “Spend the money to get a good website.  We went with a woman who did “websites for small businesses” but she really wasn’t experienced in sites with a retail/shopping cart component.  So, the site looked okay on the surface, but I later learned that she had used very amateur programming on the back end, making it enormously difficult for another web programmer to make changes.  This also limited our SEO.” (Kimberley Stewart from OnBoard Outfitters)

4. Have a flexible business model, being able to adjust quickly to a changing environment

- “Never think what you’re doing today is what you’ll be doing 10 years from today. Markets change and products evolve. Learn to adapt quickly.” (Michael Alter, President of SurePayroll)

- ”Be willing to change.  Always look at your business in a new way.” (Rick Shoop, owner of Oregon Seafoods)

3. Utilize social media outlets

-”Another trend is tapping into more social media platforms and applications.  Combining sites such as Facebook with applications developed by Wildfire you are very quickly able to promote coupons, contests, and/or sweepstakes.” (Brian Esposito, CEO of Avenue You Beauty Store)

- “Take full advantage of all social network and free Internet advertising. 50% of our sales come from social networking sites, the chain reaction you can achieve from them is priceless.” (S.J. Trotter, owner of www.exclusiveclothingretail.com)

2. Establish a safe and secure online presence

- “Apart from that, customer’s satisfaction is also of utmost importance to online business. Exceptional customer service results in greater customer retention, which in turn results in higher profitability. We therefore strongly believe that customer loyalty is one of the most crucial and major contributors to sustainable profit growth. Over 60% of our profits are from customers who came back and made their purchases more than once within the 3-month period.” (Margaret Chan, owner of Cherry’s Brandname Gallery)

- “In 2010, much of our energy will be focused on improving the website and making sure our customers have confidence in shopping with us. KikScore is a great tool that helps us demonstrate that trust online.” (Madalyn Duerr, owner of Tufted Topper)

1. Keep the long-term goal in perspective and never give up

- “Most importantly: Don’t let anyone tell you no. You are your own best advocate and no one is going to do the work for you. Don’t let obstacles prevent your idea from ever being tested – you have to go out and do it.” (Andrew Shelton from Trackpack Coolers)

- ”In my opinion the most important ingredient in a business’s success is the passion of the person or people running it.” (Mark Sarpa, CEO of Frecklebox)

- “Stay far from timid, Only make moves when your heart’s in it, And live the phrase ‘sky’s the limit’” (The Notorious B.I.G.)

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Posts Tagged ‘customers’

Memorial Day Weekend: Check That BBQ & Also Your Company's 2010 Goals

Friday, May 28th, 2010

So Memorial Day weekend 2010 is here!  First, we all know Memorial Day is a weekend that we use to reflect on all of those that have given their lives in service to the country.  Beyond this very important commemorative part of the weekend, it also marks the unofficial beginning of the summer season.  Many people take this weekend as the first time of the year to roll out the grills, take out the lawn furniture and throw a little barbecue for family, friends and neighbors.

For businesses, the Memorial Day time of the year can serve as a great initial milestone to gauge where your company stands in regards to your goals, priorities and key initiatives that need to be accomplished for the year.  So take this time to  objectively look at some of the following areas of your business to make sure you are on the right track to achieve your goals for 2010 and beyond:

1. Focus. Is your business focused on the rights things to meet your goals?  If not, take the time to refocus and eliminate the clutter that is distracting your company.

2. Goal Review. Take the time to review in detail each goal you have for 2010.  Also take a close look at every activity that relates to that goal.  That will allow you to take a status check of how far along your business is toward meeting each goal for 2010.  If you do not have a list of goals and activities, here is a post that describes the importance to putting together annual goals and critical activities.

3. Team Review. Look at your team and make sure all of the team members are in the right place and that every team member is working toward the company’s goals.  Also this is a good time to make sure you are building the right team.  If you have a gap, make sure your team can fill that gap or hire the right person to fill the need so you ensure you meet your goals.

4. Customer & Product Review. Ask yourself these two questions we have discussed previously: A) Are you supporting your customers manically so they have a great customer experience and B) Are you improving your product on a daily basis?  These questions go to the fundamental core of your business so they are of critical importance for you to keep asking yourself and your team.  Once you take stock and get your answers, make sure you act on the feedback you give yourself for these two questions.

5. Flexibility. Now is also a good time to look at your goals, team, activities, tasks and plans and take the time to re-prioritize based on what you are seeing in your business.  The key is to stay nimble and do not get in your own way.  Reacting quickly to a market opportunity that has arisen or to a new customer demand that you can meet will put yourself in a position for even greater growth for your business.  But be careful, do not fall into the trap of lurching from one project or task to another and not fully completing items that your business and team have already started.

So during this Memorial Day weekend, take a little time to also do a status check on your business.  If you do this review, your business may be in a better position to achieve those 2010 goals.

So how are you going to spend Memorial Day weekend?

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Posts Tagged ‘customers’

How you respond to customer issues is important… anyone can be reading!

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

While researching a couple of issues from a recent KikScore customer signup,  the importance of a quick and informative response to current and would be customers became critically evident.  As a small business, you need to educate your customers so they have confidence in the product you are providing, and also share information in layman’s terms to alleviate confusion and not tech-speak your customers into oblivion.

I struggle with this balance while straddling the technical and marketing role at KikScore (and in my day job too).   Your customer base doesn’t share the in-depth knowledge that your team has on the inner-workings of your system, and thus you need to take a step back when responding to a customer inquiry/issue and put yourself in the customer’s shoes.   This entails not only empathizing with the issue at hand, but also providing deeper context surrounding the potential resolution/fix to the customer’s concern and conveying that back to them in a timely and informative manner.

In the world of social media today, any response you share with customers (and prospects) can (and most likely will) be posted or passed along the internet waves and will have an impact on not only the legitimacy of your business/product but also on its future branding potential.

SocialSmallBiz is doing a series on customer support and social media and the intertwining of each.  A fantastic quote to live by, for ANY small business owner “It Takes Months to Find a Customer… seconds to lose one”

How do you handle your customer inquiries and responses?  Please share your best practices and lessons learned with us.

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Posts Tagged ‘customers’

Small Business Marketing 101 Video: "I Hate Saying No to Customers"

Friday, March 19th, 2010

This is an excellent 12 minute video that was put together by the Small Business Administration that covers small business marketing. If you do not know, the SBA has a ton of great resources for startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses that every business should take advantage of and use.  In addition to the SBA,  SCORE is another fabulous resource for small businesses as they are literally “Counselors to America’s Small Business.”  SCORE provides free counseling, mentoring and guidance to small businesses around the country.  SCORE and the SBA often partner up on small business initiatives.  If you have not checked out either of these great resources, KikScore highly recommends both.

The Small Business Marketing 101 video is full of practical tips and features successful entrepreneurs offering techniques for marketing your small business.  The short video also includes an interview with Warren Brown, host of Food Network’s Sugar Rush, and owner of Cake Love bakery in Washington, DC.  We like Warren even more because, like a couple of us at KikScore, he is a recovering lawyer who is an entrepreneur.  He is also the one in the video that says: “I hate saying no to customers.”  Warren has some great guidance on how to overcome saying “No!”

Check out the video and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Posts Tagged ‘customers’

KikScore interviews Virna Lisa, creator of RedBud Body Care

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Virna Lisa , shares with KikScore the history of RedBud Body Care and her unique approach to small business. Virna is truly an inspiration not only to women in business but more importantly to the inner strength of women overall!

Redbud Body Care was named after the Eastern Redbud Tree found in North America. The uniqueness of this Tree is how the flower buds shoot directly from the bark. The flowers are also edible and contain health enriching anti-oxidants.

1. Tell us about RedBud Beauty and who you focus on serving?

Our philosophy is based on the Ayurvedic principle that whatever we put on our skin should be good enough to eat. In addition to the freshness of the product we take into account that every one’s constitutions and predispositions are drawn towards particular scents and textures. RedBud Body Care respects the truth that nature provides us with all that we need to stay in healthy rhythms with ourselves and the world around us.
In support of eco awareness and upholding standards that sustain our planet, we use organic ingredients, glass containers, recycle and compost our soil enriching ingredients.
This product is good for everyone. Take into account that some people have allergies to certain flowers and herbs.  First do a test patch on the inside of your wrist before using.

2. How did you get started selling RedBud Beauty products online?

The business was first introduced on Shustir.com and then posted on a partnering website that sells products to Yoga Studios, Spas and Yogi’s & Yogini’s.  We are already selling our products in a few venues right now that were generated through Redbud Body Care directly.

3. Where will RedBud Beauty focus most of its energy in 2010?

Our focus is getting the name Redbud Body Care out to the public via the internet since so many folks do their shopping online.  We would like to have the product out regionally and then move to a national market.  Redbud Body Care is also working with Eco Yoga (TM) which is another business I own.  Yoga & Ayurveda are sister sciences so the businesses dovetail nicely.

4. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

Being in business for yourself can get daunting, I always try to remember to do nice things for myself, like walks out in nature, warm baths with yummy herbal infused oils (that RB sells) and spending time with people that believe in your mission.  Support in a new venture takes a lot of support.  Take advice from people that have been there before you and have something of value to add to the company.

5. As 2010 begins, what do you see as 2 new trends in your business this year?

The small business market has an incredible opportunity to make a mark for itself in this market.  Big business is struggling with their big budgets.  Creating handcrafted products that are of great value to the customer as well as the public at large is in demand.  People want to feel like they are getting their money’s worth.  I also think that the Green movement is finally to take the market by storm.  We have to take into consideration how we spend our money in the business so that it supports the market as well as the planet.

6. If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

This one is tricky since it’s still in its infancy stage.  I was once told by Horst Rechelbacher that a business is like a baby that needs to be nourished.  I am not sure what it is going to grow up and be.  I would want RB to grow up to be an inspiration for others a source of wisdom and leadership.  I’ll have to work on this vision and get back to you when it gets into the teen age.

7. If RedBud Beauty could have a token spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

I would love to have Oprah be it’s spokesperson because she is a beacon of hope in my eyes.  She has overcome so many obstacles and has risen to incredible heights.  If I ever meet her I’d thank her for her leadership and tenacity.

8. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

To quote Hillel “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, than what I am? If not now, when?” We must believe in ourselves, love ourselves and try our best to live the dream we embody. Having said that I believe it’s important to have some kind of spiritual grounding that creates community as opposed to separating us.

Thanks again Virna and best of luck to RedBud Beauty!

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Posts Tagged ‘customers’

See how YouRenew has revolutionized the recycling world

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

YouRenew was recently showcased on All Things Considered segment NPR.   After frantically going to the website to determine the value of my drawer full of out-dated gadgets, I contacted YouRenew to tell us their adventure story.   David Walker shares the exciting chronicles of the YouRenew journey with KikScore…

1. Tell us about YouRenew and who you focus on serving?

YouRenew is an electronics re-marketing and recycling company that allows individuals to sell back their used mobile electronics and keep them out of landfills.   Customers across the country visit to find their devices, receive an instant price quote and download a free shipping label to send in their devices – once the devices arrive at the YouRenew facility, customers are sent a check within days.

We recently launched CorporateRenew, a service that allows businesses and other organizations to sell back their used cell phones and smart phones to enhance their environmental credibility while adding to their bottom lines.  We have been gaining significant traction across the country with business in a wide variety of fields via our website.

2. How did the YouRenew website and recycle service come about?

YouRenew was founded in March of 2009 by Rich Littlehale and Bob Casey who believed that given a convenient opportunity and proper incentive, individuals and organizations want to do the right thing with their used mobile electronics.  As only 10% of the discarded cell phones in the US were recycled in 2008, Rich and Bob saw tremendous opportunity to grow a business and make significant social change.

3. Where will YouRenew focus most of its energy in 2010?

In 2010 YouRenew and CorporateRenew will focus most of their energy on reaching out to individuals and organizations to let them know that there is a better alternative than the trash can. Both businesses and individuals are able to receive significant value for their used electronics and can take pride in knowing that they won’t end up in a landfill.

4. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about offering an online service, what are those?

The best lesson we can pass on about having an online business is to be fully transparent to the customer. Individuals and business clients want to know exactly what we do with their used electronics, and we show them! Any business that believes in their service as we do at YouRenew and CorporateRenew should be transparent with their customers.

5. As 2010 begins, what do you see as 2 new trends in your business this year?

As 2010 begins we see a lot more individuals and businesses putting significant emphasis on environmental responsibility.  This is a great trend for us as we offer a service that proves that being green is not just an environmentally beneficial decision, but is a financially beneficial decision as well.

6. If your business/store could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

We would have to be Tom Kelly Jr. from Tommy Boy as we are young, creating jobs in Connecticut, and Tommy Boy is simply a great movie!

7. If YouRenew could have a token spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

In the midst of the Winter Olympics, we would have to go with Apolo Anton Ohno as he revolutionized a niche sport and brought it to national fame.  With e-waste just becoming a significant issue, we are revolutionizing the way individuals and organizations dispose of their used mobile devices.

8. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

This year alone 1 billion cell phones will be created world-wide. Help us keep them out of landfills and bring you significant value for your used devices through YouRenew.com and CorporateRenew.com.

Thanks YouRenew… now back to searching through my drawers.  Please share any other recycling tips you’ve discovered.

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Small Biz interview with Little Duck Organics owner Zak Normandin

Monday, January 25th, 2010

LDO LogoToday’s KikScore interview is with Zak Normandin, owner of Little Duck Organicsa unique and tasty organic snack food for infants and toddlers – and adults too!  We came across Zak and Little Duck Organics on Twitter where Zak and team are actively promoting their yummy organic treats.  Little Duck Organics is relatively new to the online community and shares a passion for the world of small business and bringing a much needed product to the organic conscious community.  I had the pleasure of talking for awhile with Zak and sharing startup ideas and promotional concepts.  Thanks for your insight Zak and for being a KikScore customer!

1. Tell us about Little Duck Organics and who you focus on serving?

Little Duck Organics is a business that I started developing in February of 2009. My wife and I have always been a fan of all natural/organic/locally produced products, and when we went food shopping for our daughters we really didn’t see anything like that available in the baby aisle. Most of the products that were available contained added sugars, artificial flavors, and preservatives which we preferred not to feed to our kids. When we talked to other parents, they agreed that there was definitely a lack of wholesome, nutritious products available for babies. At the time, I was looking for a new venture to invest in, so I started researching what it would take to bring an organic line of baby products to market. It took me about 10 months to design our first line of products and arrange to have it manufactured and packaged. In December of 2009, we formally launched on Amazon.com and at independent grocery stores in New Hampshire.

2. How did you get started with selling online?

One of our first customers was Amazon.com. They started buying products from us in December to sell through their online grocery division. This was the first experience that we had with selling products online. At the beginning of this month (January), we set up our own online store to begin selling Little Duck snacks directly to customers through our website. This allowed us to have a little bit more control over product placement, descriptions, Etc. Overall, the experience has been great. We’re focusing now on increasing our conversion rate and finding new ways to advertise to potential customers.

3. Where will Little Duck Organics focus most of its energy in 2010?

In 2010, our goals will be to expand our retail and online distribution channels and develop the Little Duck Organics brand. One of our main focuses will be to build customer loyalty and awareness within the baby products niche. We will be working closely with the blogging community, and plan to do a lot of traveling to sample our products at retail stores. In addition, we’re planning on introducing two new products later this year that will compliment our current line of products.

4. If you had 1 lesson that you learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what would it be?

The biggest lesson that I have learned so far since we set up our online store is that you need to be very aware and organized with all of the external costs associated with selling a product through a website. Credit card fees, boxes, packing materials & shipping costs all add up with you are selling a product with a low retail price. You need to keep these things in mind and adjust your prices accordingly so that what you are offering to customers is still attractively priced.

5. As 2010 begins, what trends do you see in your business this year?

As far as trending goes in the organic baby sector, I think that there will be more of a shift from the conventional baby food companies to upgrade their product lines to incorporate more natural/organic options. Fortunately for us, Gerber will always be Gerber and Beech-Nut will always be Beech-Nut. No matter how they market their products, they will always have the same brand-association in the mind of most consumers. Our advantage is that we were able to start from ground zero and build a brand around a mindset (Creating delicious organic baby snacks with no preservatives or additives).

6. If your business could be any movie or movie character, what movie/movie character would it be and why?

I’ve always loved the movie “Click” with Adam Sandler. I really relate to his character, and although the movie does not directly relate to Little Duck Organics, I can see a lot of similarities between the story-line and our business. For anyone who has not seen the film, the main character is an architect who has the ability to fast forward his life to critical points of success. Basically, he does not want to have to go through the mundane and only wants to experience the promotions, bonuses, success Etc. I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone who has not seen it, but at the end Sandler learns to appreciate his family, friends, and the journey of life more than he previously had. I’m making a big effort to do the same in my life and at Little Duck Organics this year. I need to enjoy the process of building the business and everything that comes along with it. We’re doing something that most people only dream of , and that in itself should be viewed as an accomplishment.

7. If Little Duck Organics could have a dream spokesperson for your company who would it be and why?

I can’t think of anyone specific off the top of my head, but it would have to be a celebrity or someone famous who has the same mindset as our company. I would prefer a mom who understands the value in feeding wholesome organic foods to their children.

8. How do the folks at Little Duck Organics let loose after a busy day working?

Although most of my time is spent building the business, It is nice to wind down after a long day at work. At home, I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughters. We love trying out new foods and traveling. In the summer, we usually go for a walk every night with our dog. My older daughter loves helping me cook, so I try to do that with her whenever I can. At three years old, she can already make a mean Alfredo sauce :-)

9. Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers and the small business community?

Know your competition, Work your butt off, Pray for luck.  Cheers!

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