Small Business Resource Center

The Cheese Story

January 2, 2014

Wedge and Wheel

Like many new start-ups, Chris Kohtz had a passion to do something really special.  Inspired after a trip to England a few years ago – where over 700 different cheeses are produced – Chris put his energy into studying about the industry and connecting with like-minded cheese enthusiasts across the world.

His dream?  To open a gourmet cheese shop where local residents would have the opportunity to taste the extraordinary flavors of cheeses from around the world, as well as from nearby farms.

He opened the doors on January 2, 2014 – literally a New Year’s business.  Although the first week saw record cold temperatures, his shop had a constant stream of locals, curious to see what this new store had to offer.

With nearly 500 Facebook followers and several media calls, Chris is well on his way getting out the word. Please join us as we continue to follow his 1st-year journey of The Wedge and Wheel!


A New Year, a New Blog and a New Commitment to You

New Start_iStock_resized_1189x401

2014.  I love the start of the New Year, as it always brings new possibilities on so many levels.  Whether you are a resolution-type, a list-maker or a big dreamer – the calendar change seems to lend itself beautifully to fresh starts.

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Developing Your Brand’s Style Guide in 7 Steps

December 18, 2013

Brand Logo ImageIt’s time for your brand to stand up and be recognized. Your brand is like your business trademark. It could be anything from your logo and web design to a specific color or fonts. But, as your business permeates the market and becomes better known, it’s important to have consistent branding. By creating a style guide, you can make sure your brand is always properly represented both internally and externally.

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What Every Small Business Should Know about Google Maps and Google Places

December 16, 2013

Google Maps is the dominant mapping service on the web. And many web users consider map features to be one of the most useful tools available online — mainly because they make it easy to search for businesses near a specific location. You probably agree that it’s nice to enter an address and find nearby restaurants, stores, gas stations and other types of destinations, including museums and parks.

So, especially if you’re a location-based business and rely on customers in your geographic area, do what you can to help people find you. One of the easiest ways to do this is to optimize your local SEO and make sure that your business shows up when someone queries Google Maps. To that end, Google Places can help put your business on the map, so to speak.

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5 SEO Strategies to Help Your Business Win New Online Customers

December 15, 2013

Winning online customers starts with being easy to find on the web. Search engine optimization (SEO) can help make sure that customers find your business when they search for words or phrases, also known as keywords, which relate to your business, industry, products and services.

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Top 5 Ways to Market Your Business with Postcards

December 10, 2013

Postcards are the most influential and economical way to achieve a response through direct-mail marketing. With the right mailing list comprised of a highly targeted audience, you can use postcards to motivate customers to take the next step in the purchasing process, boost your lead ratio and drive sales through the roof.

Here are the top 5 ways to market your business with postcards:

1. Web traffic

Postcard-to-website marketing can be one of the single most effective direct-marketing techniques today. In fact, online marketing techniques often pale in comparison to the response achieved by postcard marketing. While online marketing can produce volume, postcard marketing produces targeted visitors that already want what you’re selling. Send a postcard with a great offer and a special URL to visit or a special coupon code to use to redeem the offer. By doing so, you’re not only able to drive response, you’re able to track it as well.

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Search Engine Marketing Lingo

Understanding industry terms before you begin your local search engine optimization (SEO) or search engine marketing (SEM) campaign can help you target specific markets and communicate more effectively with your SEO or SEM service provider. This lingo guide can help you understand the language of the digital marketing industry. Knowing industry lingo puts you in a better position to communicate with your SEM or SEO service provider and can help you talk about your visibility needs in order to reach your target audiences.

Here’s a rundown of the lingo:

Above the fold: Borrowed from newspaper lingo, Above the Fold content is any text or media that appears on the top half of a page. In web and email marketing, it refers to anything a viewer can see without scrolling.

AdSense: A Google advertising service that enables website publishers to automatically insert relevant ads near their content and share the profits from those ad clicks with Google.

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3 Misconceptions About SEO and Website Content

If you’ve been working to revise your website content to improve its visibility on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) such as those generated by Google and Bing, then listen up. The rules of SEO are constantly changing so you want to make sure you don’t get misled by common misconceptions about what constitutes strong website content.

Before diving into all that, though, here’s the gist of SEO: If your website content includes words and phrases that relate to your business, then, when users search for those keywords, your site will appear (or rank) higher on the list of results. Businesses with a physical location (like restaurants, tourist attractions and shops) use the more targeted approach to SEO — called local SEO — to generate traffic among users in the same geographic location.

For instance, if someone knows there’s a gardening shop near a certain intersection in his town but doesn’t remember the name of the shop, he may search online for “garden shop sometown.” If your website content contains these words in a meaningful way, then your site will likely appear in the person’s search results. On the other hand, even if this search phrase perfectly describes your company, your site may not appear in the search results if your content doesn’t convey that information to the search engines through appropriate SEO.

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Setting up Google Alerts to Stay in the Know

Using Google Alerts can keep you in the know about news related to your industry, enabling you to handle your own local SEO analysis — for free. You can find out what people are posting online about your company and also stay up to date on competitor announcements and trending topics among your customers. This notification system automatically tells subscribers when their search terms appear online at news sites, blogs, community forums and other locations.

One way to use this service is to watch for business opportunities. For example, the day after Humberto Rodriguez, owner of court reporting firm SOS Litigation, set up a Google Alert, he got an email notifying him about a new lawsuit. He reached out to congratulate the lawyer, offering his company’s services, and ended up with a new contract. “It cost nothing to my business,” Rodriguez said, “but [subscribing to Google Alerts] resulted in thousands of dollars of work.

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Providing a Postive Mobile Website Experience

The modern digital culture is on the move, and mobile websites are the future. According to a Google survey, 72 percent of Internet users want websites that can be accessed easily via mobile devices. That means if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you might be losing out on customers.

Yet mobile users have high expectations. According to Françoise Rose Jeanes, founder of Mobile Marketing Max, 61 percent of users won’t return to a site that has given them trouble and 40 percent have turned to a competitor’s site following a bad mobile experience.

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