As all the island of Mackinac was bustling last week with business leaders I thought I would add my two cents on good business practices from downstate. As a small business owner I have a unique perspective but an important one. Small businesses employ more than half of all workers. Small business entrepreneurs are the engine that drives the state.
Invest in your Employees
As an employer- the biggest investment is one’s time. I spend time hiring and training my “Wrap Artists”. Though a very small company – employing 5 full time employees and maybe up to 10 during holiday season – I still provide benefits including flexible spending account (FSA), 401 (K) , tuition reimbursement, and meals when the projects call for extended hours.
Our “Wrap Artists” know that with training and backing they can excel at customer service- which is the backbone of our business. My artists always go the extra mile for customer.
Invest in your Customers
I try to let my clients know that I value their time. I may tell them to come back for their gifts after they have had chance to go get a cup of coffee. Now we have added shipping services to her pick up and delivery services to save everyone’s time.
Invest in your Community
We have worked with a number of non profits such as HAVEN, Operation: Kid Equip, a school supplies program and The Pink Fund. These investments include donating gift certificate or gift basket to an auction, hosting a group at her store after hours or training volunteers. But most importantly we consult with non profit groups about how to design a profitable event.
Invest in your Economy
Our Michigan hospitality baskets are a hit with out of town wedding guests. We pride ourselves on procuring Michigan made products and working with Michigan based businesses. These include the Coffee Beanery across the street- another Michigan based business- where she sends customers; the local baker whose cookies turn up in many of our gift baskets and at events; or the young fashion designer fromInternational Academy of Design and Technology, based in Troy, whose wedding gown we featured in the annual Bridal Showcase.
Invest in your Industry
Become a resource to other business owners. I have by helping retailers looking to add gift wrapping services to their existing business, rebranding their business or service, or considering starting up a gift wrapping company. Clients have come from out of state to consult with her.