Getting Down to Business…

<img src=”×300.jpg” alt=”Social marketing( used correctly), is almost as convenient as a money tree!” title=”small-business-money” width=”278″ height=”300″ class=”size-medium wp-image-573″ />

Social marketing (used correctly) is almost as convenient as a money tree!

It’s a new year, and with that comes new challenges and an ever changing business environment.   Cost of living will increase this year affecting the amount of discretionary income your guests have, inflation and a recovering economy will drive up the cost of goods, lease rates will escalate, food and liquor cost will increase… what do you do to combat such a daunting business environment?

The answer is simple.  <strong>Make it easy and give them what they want. </strong>

We don’t have to look far to see great success stories of companies who have practiced these fundamental principles.  This past holiday season, Apple, a company which we are all familiar with, took 2 of the top 5 spots in the most sought after gifts.  The iPad was # 1 and the Nano was # 4.  Why are these products so popular, why do they sell so well, and what the heck does it have to do with running a restaurant? 

Apple understands that if you make it easy and give them what they want, you write your own ticket.  You can apply the same principles to your business, regardless of whether you operate a bar or restaurant, or some other style of hospitality enterprise. Reaching people and getting them through your doors is going to be your ticket to success in 2011.  Through the power of social networking, it’s now easier than ever to reach a laser targeted audience.  If you’re bar or restaurant doesn’t have a Facebook page and/or a Twitter account, stop reading this article and make that happen now.  It’s easy and free, if you’re intimidated by setting up an account like this, talk to your IT professional for help.   

Traditional means of connecting aren’t going to be as relevant as we move into a new era of mobile web browsing.  An increasing number of people are now browsing the web on mobile devices, Facebook’s mobile usage grew 112% last year and Twitter mobile usage grew by an unprecedented 347% according to comScore. While you’re chatting with your IT professional, ask them about  Used properly, it will change the way you do business. With FourSquare’s ease of access to location based advertising, you can now target your clients on their smart phones when they are close by!  Consider this:  Morgan Stanley’s analysts believe that, based on the current rate of change and adoption, the mobile web will be bigger than desktop Internet use by 2015. Now is the time to get familiar with the new technology that connects and engages your guests, sends them relevant offers when they are geographically close by and converts sales regardless of whether you are offering 2 for 1 wings, drink specials or Grey Poupon.

If all this social networking talk is making your head spin, a Canadian company called <a href=””>Guest Engine</a> has done a great job of bringing all of these social networking tools into one platform,  developed specifically for the hospitality industry.  They have worked out the kinks, and the system runs well now, and will certainly get even better with new functionality and more tools to reach your clients with timely and effective offers that convert into sales.

If you take a step back and look at all of the examples in this column, all are successful companies in their own right, and although Apple is a leader in innovation, what do Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare and Guest Engine all have in common?  They make it easy for their clients to do business, and each company gives their clients what they want.  You can learn from the successes of these businesses, model what works for you and start making more trips to the bank.  After all, the best staff training, amazing food, mouthwatering well made cocktails and top notch service will bring guests back for more, but you still need to get them in the door in the first place.

Until next time, Make it Easy and Give them what they Want, and you will inadvertently raise the bar!

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