2:08 PM
If you read the Drudge Report, listen to Fox News, or even watch mainstream media, it would be pretty easy to conclude that either (a) the world is coming to an end, or, (b) there has never been a worse time to be a small business owner.

Allure Networks disagrees with both ideologies.

In the midst of all this reported chaos and negativity, business owners and marketing professionals shouldn't wring their hands in frustration, but rather become more creative, be more innovative and develop strategies that are leaner, meaner and more aggressive.  There are countless ways to accomplish this feat, but it all begins with knowledge of your product/service and what motivates your customers as well as prospective customers and not being afraid to communicate with the same.

It's true that the United States economy is tough right now, but it is critical to note that reducing your advertising/marketing budgets will not solve the problem - it will only serve to further isolate you from your client base.  Consumers want reassurance in the midst of the media madness that takes place around them and you have a unique opportunity to be a smiling, assuring face in their lives.  Whether you're selling durable medical equipment or snow cones, customers want to be assured that they are making a good buying decision and your marketing budget ensures that ongoing communication your customers deserve and desire.

Successful businesses in this economy are businesses who provide value-added service, make their clients feel welcomed, make their customers feel appreciated and deliver what they say they will deliver.  As always, we have a few tips for you to help your business maintain a happy customer base.

1.  If you are a retail establishment, consider some swag.  It could be something as simple as a printed business card that says "thank you" somewhere, given to the customer as he/she checks out.  Pens are a good investment, but make sure they say something about your business and if you're going to get ink pens, don't skimp...your customers will see right through it.

2.  Business to business networking meetings.  Rather than just going to a Chamber event, host one yourself wherein you invite your clients to meet each other in a casual, yet positive manner.  Springing for a lunch at your place of business is worth the revenue and eventually, ask your clients to bring their clients so you can pitch your wares to them as well.

3.  Market your social media.  Successful businesses today are letting all of their customers know about their social networking and if you haven't yet, you're missing out.  Remember:  For some people, social networking is a way of life and we would be willing to wager that many of your customers fall into that category.

Not all news is bad news and when your customers believe in you, it's time to be the bearer of good news.