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tv   Your Business  MSNBC  April 15, 2012 4:30am-5:00am PDT

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it can make the difference between a customer coming in to your business or walking right by it. the secret to effective window displays. and how does throwing paint around translate to better team work? the answer is coming up next on "your business." small businesses are revitalizing the economy and american express open is here to help. that's why we are proud to present "your business" on msnbc.
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hi there, everyone, i'm j.j. ramberg and welcome to "your business." where we give you tips and advice to help your business grow. what gets someone who's just walking down the street with no intention of stopping into your store to change their mind and walk in? well, if you do them right, it's your window displays. your windows give you an incredible opportunity to invite people in to browse and hopefully buy something. today we have some simple tricks of the trade to make those displays stand out. ♪ >> i think that our windows bring people into our store because they wonder what is in that store. ♪ >> debby hamada is the owner of
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tillday. a small boutique in portland, oregon. they put a lot of effort into their window displays and they have a reason. >> you want to somebody someone who is driving or walking by, make them stop and come in. they wonder what's in here because of the windows. >> april ekland, directly across the street from tillday frequently hears about debbe's windows from her own customers. they can't help but notice them. >> they often ask is that an art supply store? it's bold and eye catching. >> people tell us they sit there and look at our windows and wonder what we are, what is that colorful place and then they come over. >> they go immediately over, yes. often times they'll come back and show us what they bought. >> they come in the door to find out what's in here and then we've got them.
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>> hi, debbe. >> debbe and joanne, her assist and the have done very fun things with small amounts of merchandise. >> i love how you added that little dangly necklace on the antlers. it's just fun. it sort of coreys the colors across. >> lyinda kahan is not just a neighbor and professional, she specializes in windows and merchandising. >> i drive slowly past your window. >> linda whose clients have ranged from big national chains like saks fifth avenue to local boutiques says window displays are key to keeping and attracting customers' businesses. >> a lot of people think i'm going to put this sweater in the window and it's going to sell. in reality, you are selling the
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image of the store ♪ come to my window >> linda says store windows can do much more than sell particular products. they should be used to give the store its identity, no matter what the business. >> this is how people know who you are, what you're selling, what you're about and whether they should come in or not. >> because customers pay so much attention to what's in the windows, retailers need to be very careful about how they set up their displays. for example, linda says, luxury items and affordable items must be displayed very differently or they'll confuse the customers. >> when you have very expensive merchandise and you cram it all together it looks cheap. essentially price equals space. >> take shoe storrs. >> if you have a $500 pair of shoes and you cram it next to other $500 pairs of shoes, you might as well be a discount store. but if you give those shoes their own space and you honor them with space, then they look like what they're worth.
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whereas if you take, you know, a $30 pair of shoes and you put them with a lot of space, it's just beginning to confuse the customer. because they're going to come in thinking that they're really expensive and then actually feel annoyed and let down that they're really just inexpensive shoes. >> the same goes for jewelry. think tiffany's where there might be a single item in the window all by itself. >> whenever we put up a new window, people come in and say your window looks great. >> today, debbe and joanna are putting items on display. >> it's an aura kiley bag. we like the colors and the shapes. >> the rest of the display is color, color.
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paint, colorful paper and fun things to look at. >> color pops, has a lot of energy. if someone sees a strong color chair going to notice. >> while it may not be surprising that color gets attention, maybe of us may not be aware that people react to different colors. >> every color has its own meaning. it's interesting how colors influence us on so many levels. >> if you're using colors to help give your store its identity, choose wisely. >> yellow is the color of optimism. when you look at yellow it releases serotonin in your brain and makes you feel more upbeat and happier. blue is considered one of the most favorite colors in the world. if you think of any of the big corporations in the united states, a good portion of them have blue logos because it's also the color of authority, communication and trust. red vibrates at a different intensity. it vibrates much more quickly than any other color.
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it emits heat, stimulates us in a quick way to eat more, buy more, do everything more quickly and people get impatient around red. they get impatient, they get irritable. >> of course, color is only one element. >> i love the use of the old suitcases. and the clocks show up really nicely. there's a nice flow and line that happens here. this is really charming. >> earl's barber shop, what a great name. even the type is fun. but who sees it? there's so much stuff on the window. >> perfect display, they're known for delicious breads, they're front and center. they've done a very nice job in displaying them. >> and does it need to be expensive to do this? linda and debbe say no. you just need to be thoughtful and be willing to roll up your sleeves. >> it is not expensive to make windows for us. >> it's not expensive at all. it's just a little time intensive.
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so how can you create eye-popping window displays for your retail business? let's bring in our board of directors. harry cunningham is senior vice president of store planning, design and visual merchandising for saks fifth avenue. beth goldstein is the founder of marketing edge group and teaches at the boston university school of management. she's also author of the book "lucky by design," navigating your path to success. >> and angela kim is also an author. you have a retail store as well. >> i do, yes. >> we have a boutique spot in the west village. because our business is so local, what we want to do is surprise and delight our passers-by. we try to do that with emotions. for mother's day we asked all of our clients to send in a photo of their mother and one word as to what makes her so beautiful. we want people to walk by and be
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grabbed by that emotion. >> that's a good idea. we were talking about expense earlier. that's not very expensive. >> it say the lo of time, though. you have to roll up your sleeves. >> harry, for somebody who -- you're an expert at this. you know what to do. for somebody who is not an expert, how can they macon aeye popping window. >> in the piece she talked about the basics of visual and whether they're in a big saks fifth avenue or a small specialty stors, doesn't matter, the basics are there. focusing on great placement, lighting and details, something like having a tag hanging cheapens a product. have great positioning at eye level. you don't have to necessarily look up o or down for product. we talked a lot about color and the things we do and the use of space. sometimes it is okay to leave space open to give that problem more feature and intense presence in the space. >> do you think that windows should be used to sell a product or sell an idea?
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>> well, you know, it's a good question. there's so much you can take away from how do you dress a window or yourself? so the window display is your grand. it's your message to the world. i always think of it as the brick and mortars ability to have an elevator pitch. grab somebody, a few seconds, entice them to come in and engage with you. >> is that the way you guys think of or are you trying to sell product. >> we use them to sell product but we also use them to connect with the community. every june we feature the aids quilts in our windows on fifth avenue which is being a part of new york city. we use them to sell product, which is what they're there for and to speak to people that may walk by and make them want to come in and to be a part of the world where we live. >> that's exactly what you're doing in essence with the mother's day.
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you're not selling a particular product there. >> no, but we are selling our brand. we try to do that differently. whether it's putting an inspirational quote in the window. women love quotes. we want people to look and say what else is there. >> for someone who doesn't have a fabulous design sense. obviously if you have a store, you've figured out where to put things. >> one of the things i do a lot and i think it's good for anybody, most of us carry a smart phone. when you walk by and see something that strikes you, shoot a picture of it, take it back, use it as inspiration for something you can do better. we communicate to all of our storms that way all the time and share photos, even amongst ourselves. if you have no design sense, there's somebody else out there that does and that you probably like. >> that's a fun piece. window displays are fun. you get to do it all the time and you, actually. thanks for this advice.
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the u.s. retail highlights report is out and even though it mostly has the giant retailers in mind your small business can still benefit from the findings. here now are five trends that could give you an edge, courtesy of inc.com. mobile sales are supposed to climb 49%. so cater your mobile site to users looking to shop. four, on assuconsumers will cho experience over price. expect retailers to value unique products and intuitive customer service over a good price tag. three, large retail companies will continue to acquire small er companies. with the surge of e-commerce, watch for more large companies to look for opportunities to expand their brand through tookovers like these. two, don't expect a huge increase in retail sales. the national retail federation predicts a 3.4% increase in
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retail sales for 2012 compared to 2011's 4.6%. and number one, remove every potential barrier that will keep someone from purchasing. make sure to have an easy to navigate website, adequate parking and clear signage at your store. getting customers is something many of us struggle with. we've brought gene marks to the studio for some tips. he's a small business columnist for "the new york times" and president of the marks group. good to see you. >> good to see you. >> retail stores say they got more customers. that's good news. >> yep. >> but there's more to do. >> i'll tell you something surprising about me. i go to the barber once a month. >> i think to myself, what could this guy be doing to get more
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bottoms? chairs? man, if i was running a barber shop or retail store, there would be more stuff i'd be doing. a couple things i've learned. just three. i would have a database for my customers. anybody who walks in the store they're doing into the store, asking them for their name and e-mail address so you can create a vip list. my wife and i get sushi once a week from this store by us. we're on their database. >> they send it to you from the dentist, saying don't forget to come into the dentist. >> right. no matter what kind of retail store you are, if you want to have a newsletter, a once a month e-mail to advertise something or educate, which brings me to the next point. every retail store should be doing something to educate. that brings in customers. the sushi restaurant, for example, i'll use them and there's a chai these restaurant, they do an education class a
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couple times a month on preparing chinese foods that barber that i was talking about, why can't he be doing a class once a month on grooming yourself or doing your own hair? i'd be interested in doing that but i don't necessarily think i'd be doing it on my own. i'd still be coming back to the barber for more haircuts. it draws people in to get an education. >> it keeps them loyal. >> it does. >> you can come to this nail salon or that nail salon. >> right. a nail salon is a perfect example. women would like to learn how to do their nails better or tips on doing nails. why not have an event with coffee and cookies or whatever and talk about it. it brings customers in. education is a big thing. the next thing which i hardly see, i thought i should be seeing it more is partnering. i see different retail stores that have complimentary businesses of other retail stores. for example, my barber is located quite nearby a couple of men's stores that are nearby. why aren't they offering coupons
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for each other's services? why not get together with them, i'll tell you what, you offer coupons to my place, i'll offer coupons to your place. it's a way to bring people into your store. >> i talked to a woman who owns a pilates studio. there's an art gallery and wine company. they do parties together. >> why not. >> the people who she's targeting are also the same kind of people at these other stores. it's great. >> when you're in retail, we're not talking about big box. it's local, your community. you and i are shopping at the same places in our neighborhoods as well. we might not know that some store offers this kind of product of service. if they were partnering with places it's going to educate us. >> all three are easy to do. >> right. the added bonus, once a month i'm getting a haircut. >> maybe you should wait a little longer. >> that's cruel. >> thanks so much. when we come back, more
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great information, including how to get your product into the hands of retailers. and how throwing paint and role playing can help get your staff to play on same team. ♪ tonight we're role playing you know, those farmers, those foragers, those fishermen.... for me, it's really about building this extraordinary community. american express is passionate about the same thing. they're one of those partners that i would really rely on whether it's finding new customers, or, a new location for my next restaurant. when we all come together, my restaurants, my partners, and the community amazing things happen. to me, that's the membership effect.
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a successful startup requires a talented work force, of course. but conflicting personalities can sometimes create problems instead of solving them. what can do you do to get your employees on the same page? today we meet the team of shefinds.com who turned to whoopa, a company that creates team building experiences to help everyone see eye to eye. ♪ on a recent tuesday afternoon in new york city, the employees of the internet company she finds took a break from working on the site to work on themselves. throwing paint? that's working on themselves? in this case, yes. through a series of exercises, the she finds employees were working through a number of personality issues they were having at work. >> you really have two parts of the office, editorial and sales
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and marketing. if you've ever worked in magazines or media, those two don't mix. >> a situation she finds founder had to resolve. when she started the company in 2004, she focused on hiring the best and the brightest. >> we make it easy for busy women to shop online. i hire a bunch of shop a hoahol editors and writers. >> tensions sometimes arise. >> i have to play the mediator between the two, trying to understand you don't understand what's they're doing and what's happening on the other side. >> hoping to increase communication and dmunderstandi in the office, michelle and her team asked woopaah. >> it turns 0 s out that well has a high relationship with productivity, creativity and effectiveness. when i say well being, i mean
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their sense of connection with one another. >> the event started unexpectedly with blindfolds for all the participants. stella had them each smell and taste a number of foods to heighten their senses. >> once they're activated, they're feeling aline and that's when we begin to do deeper work. >> by deeper work, she means getting to the root of the problems. stella hands everyone a pot where they write down things that are holding them down at work. then they broke them. >> and that smash is a real cath artic release. >> this opened up the door to discussing how to make things better? >> now turn to your partner and cheer. what would you like to replace this with? how would you like to be different? >> just not worry as much, just live for the moment and not worry so much about the future. >> and then, the grand finale -- the paint room. >> from your co-workers, from the walls to the floors to the
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tools we give you, those are all both canvas and tool for you to do as you wish. >> and that creates a real metaphor for the workplace. where our goals we might see straight ahead of us, but the journey there is not always linear. and so sometimes we have to get messy, especially in small businesses and roll up our sleeves. >> it's unconventional, sure, blindfolds, smashing pots, painting on each other. but the shefinds employees left the event feeling they were no longer two teams, editorial and sales, but one, working towards the same goals. >> i just felt like, politics gone, stress aside, we're on the sap thing. on the playing field. >> leaving this event with the sense that we're a lot more similar than we think we are in the office. >> time to answer some of your business questions. beth anding an la are with us once again, the first question is about finding a distributor.
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>> currently we're selling all of our line online. how can a business owner like me reach major distributors? >> how can you get somewhere? you've got a product, you've got traction online. how do you get people to take notice? >> interestingly, her question was about distribution. and yet, you have to go back and almost ask yourself, who is she distributing to? i looked at her collection, it was really quite interesting. but it was a unique niche. she was you know, positioning herself to hip hop and socialites and those are two very different audiences. so when she's trying to figure out what distributors do i approach, which is really based network basic 101, she has to figure out who is the customer? who is the market? do i want to be in target do i want to be in bloomingdale's? is there someplace in between? because those distribution, those channels are really going to be segmented more towards who are your customers and why are they buying from her specifically? >> have you ever thought you
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manufacture your own products, have you ever thought about trying to distribute your products elsewhere? >> absolutely. when we first started, i thought that was the avenue i wanted to go down and the best way, everyone thinks if you are an online business, you stay behind the computer. but you need to be out there networking. so the best places are trade shows, finding out where your target clients are. i got to know a lot of spa directors, because we're in the beauty industry and ask them, who are your favorite distributors, and then i would speak to those people. >> that's a great idea. let's move to the next question. about staying educated so you can grow your business. >> as an entrepreneur, what are the top three courses or skills that we should be taking, that will build our businesses? >> as a professor, who teaches entrepreneurship, i'm going to start with you. >> okay. you know, that's like a loaded question. well what classes should i take. and really, you think about small business owners, they wear a million hats. they have to understand finance. they have to understand sales. marketing, operations. and so they have to start by
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saying, okay, what am i really good at? and then what are the areas of the business that i don't understand as well? one thing i've seen most entrepreneurs are not great is understanding the cash flow. and that's the lifeblood. that's what will kill a business. you can be selling product. but if you can't manage the cash coming in and out, then you're doomed. so that might be an ideal course. or maybe you're not comfortable in sales. maybe you're in operations or an engineer. >> that's when you have to figure out where your personal weakness is. and you have a networking organization. >> right. >> savor the success. z which teaches people things that they don't know. >> i think the question really is, what industry are you in. as you said, what are your strengths and weaknesses. i find a lot of women entrepreneurs, one of their weaknesses is marketing. they don't have marketing strategy. another one is that they don't necessarily like to look at the numbers and so cash flow is a really important, understanding those numbers are so important. and then, one thing that i think is very important as well is networking. a lot of people don't really understand how to do that.
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and so i think by trial and error, getting out and doing it is very, very important. >> and the beauty is there are all kinds of classes you can take. you can take them online. go to a local school. there's a lot out there. let's move to the next one. this is from brandon. he wrote in -- i own an event rental company. events happen all the time, but it's typically one-time customers or yearly customers. aside from targeting corporate partners and clients, what's a good tactic to increase repeat customers. >> you don't necessarily need repeat customers, you need good referrals. >> right. i think it depends on the industry. in his specific case, repeat customers would be event planners, that's great. developing a very strong client appreciation program. i'm so glad he's talking about repeat customers. because you can constantly mind the gold with the lists that you have. so i think that's very important to start happy birthday program. or developing very strong relationships with event planners and making sure they love you. because they're the ones that
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will keep coming back. >> yeah. any other ideas? >> well you know, if you've been to his website, he runs this photo booth which is really unique. and i looked at it and i thought, this is all about milestones, what are people celebrating. so think about, what is the value proposition? it's about helping people create memories. so go back, figure out how could he get repeat business by helping them create more memories, right? so it's what's it all about for the customer. and then helping them engaging them more. >> because everybody has a birthday. every year. so those people can definitely be your repeat customers and clients. >> well, guys, thank you so much for your advice, very helpful. and if any of you out there have a question for our experts, all you have to do is go to our website. the address is open forum.com/your business. there, just hit the ask the show link to submit a question for our panel. the website is openform.com/yourbusiness, or email your questions and comments to
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yourbusiness@msnbc.com. beth and angela had helpful advice about how to improve your business. now great ideas from small business owners like you. >> always hire people that are smarter than you. specifically, in very specialized fields where their expertise going a lot deeper, their skills are la lot deeper. don't be afraid to bring in people that are a lort smarter than you are in their specific fields of expertise. >> the real combination for success is the combination of client acquisition, and client retention. or find them, get them, keep them, as i call it. i find that oftentimes people are good at one or the other, but not both. so client acquisition initially is the most important. as you've got to find new clients to build your client base. >> my tip to other entrepreneurs would be to focus your market. it's the great thing to have a product, but if you don't know what your market is, you're really in trouble. so the best thing to do is to do
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the due diligence that you need to do. so you can approach your market in a, in a rifle with a scope fashion as opposed to a shotgun fashion. looking for a way to connect with your mobile customers? then check out our website of the week. rewardix.com is a loyalty rewards program where customers electrically earn points that they can then turn into cash vouchers. customers are rewarded for doing things like spending money, referring friends and completing surveys, you can customize your offers and set up the point value system that works best for your business. to learn more about today's show, click on our website, it's openforum.com/yourbusiness. you'll find all of today's segments, plus web-exclusive content with more information to help your business grow. you can also follow us on twitter, it's @msnbcyourbiz. and don't forget to become a fan of the show on facebook. next week, a new phenomenon
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called cash mobs is sweeping the nation. >> the slogan on our blog is we each do a little, we all do a lot. so if each person gives $20 to the store, $20 people will give them $400 and also get something back in return, it's not charity. >> how to support your local small businesses, $20 at a time. until then, i'm jj ramberg, and remember, we make your business our business. they have names like idle time books and smash records and on small business saturday they remind a nation of the benefits of shopping small. on just one day, 100 million of us joined a movement... and main street found its might again. and main street found its fight again.

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