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3 Tips from a Small Business Owner's Daughter

Raised by an entrepreneur in the automotive and real estate sectors, I was exposed to the struggles that come with running a small business. I also picked a few best practices that are important to small business owners, no matter the industry. 
1. Be friendly to everyone.
In a large city or small town, your personal reputation matters. As most small business owners know too well, most clients come from networking. Even after becoming more established, networking can happen anywhere. Whether grocery shopping, getting your haircut or banking, you never know who you will run into. So remember to be a brand ambassador because your business is likely to come up any time you meet a new person. Making a good impression makes that person more likely to remember you next time someone in his or her life has a need that you can meet. Friend referrals are the No. 1 marketing tool for small businesses, according to a study by Gallup and Wells Fargo. Even after serving a client, keep being friendly - that same study revealed that repeat customers are the No. 1 source of revenue for small businesses.
Bonus tip: Prompt satisfied customers to write a review for your small business. According to Texas Tech, 83 percent of consumers are willing to refer a friend after a positive experience, yet only 29 percent actually do. Direct your customers to social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn and encourage them to utilize online resources such as Yelp! and Google Reviews. 
2. Always consider bargaining. 
You know the saying, "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." It may seem old school, but small business owners need to get back in the mindset of trading. No, it will not work in every situation, but this type of thinking can help save money and most importantly, develop relationships. For instance, if you own a painting service and you need some piping fixed in your office, perhaps you can touch up the facade of the plumber’s office as partial or full payment. Exchange services and be willing to negotiate. Likewise, consider collaborating with other small businesses that complement – but don’t compete with – your services. If there is a trade show where you would like to have your specialty shave shop showcased, consider sharing a booth with a local bowtie maker. These types of mutually beneficial agreements can take your small business to the next level.
3. Look for inspiration everywhere. 
Small businesses should seek to display qualities such as reliability and consistency, but beware of becoming stagnant. Read industry publications to see what companies in other markets are doing. Try to think outside the box by contemplating how you can take ideas from businesses in completely different industries and apply them to your small business. Also, stay abreast of local happenings and track local trends in order to stay relevant. Part of this is keeping up with the times. Technology is a friend of small businesses and can help a small staff achieve big things by automating day-to-day necessities and increasing efficiency. Likewise, a dynamic team is one of the greatest sources of creativity. When hiring, seek employees who are motivated to be continual learners. Even if you are starting out as a one-man or one-woman show, surround yourself with others who think differently than you and contribute insightful perspectives. 
You may have noticed one element that appeared in all of my tips - relationships. That is my biggest takeaway for you. As a small business owner's daughter, I learned the importance of relationships on all levels. It's not such a coincidence that I am now a relationship builder, aka, a public relations specialist. 
Sarah Sherlock is an account assistant at Obsidian Public Relations in Memphis. To learn more about how PR can help your small business, reach out to

Posted: 6/1/2016 7:30:00 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: Bargaining, Big, Business, Ideas, Inspiration, Obsidian, PR, Reputation, Sarah, SBC, Sherlock, Small, Tips

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Your business may be small, but that doesn't mean that your impact can't be huge! The Greater Memphis Chamber's Small Business Council serves to encourage, support, recognize and be a resource to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Memphis area. Here, our talented panel of contributors will present big ideas that could make a huge difference to your small business. And don't be afraid to ask questions ... no matter how small.

Sales & Small Business Ownership
Voss W. Graham is CEO and Senior Business Advisor for InnerActive Consulting Group Inc. He is known by his clients as "a knowledgeable partner who helps our team achieve business growth." He provides practical experience as a small business owner for over 29 years, yet is often engaged with Fortune 500 companies in the development of their people and business strategies.

Public Relations
Several professionals and strategists from the local Obsidian Public Relations firm provide excellent advice on everything from research to media relations to event planning. They believe that all companies, no matter how big or small the company or its budget, should have a public relations plan driving how they manage their relationships with key stakeholders. Public relations is an integral part of doing business the right way.

Human Resources
Joel Myers is a career Human Resources professional, with over 40 years in the field including 26 years in consulting.

Small Business Advice
Tom Pease is a small business owner of an office equipment dealership called e/Doc Systems, Inc. He has also owned a full-line Kawasaki dealership as well as a document shop. He used 30+ years of experience in owning a business to author two books, including: Going Out of Business by Design: Why 70% of Small Businesses Fail and Small Business Survival 101. He also has published 85 columns in The Memphis Daily News as the Small Business Advisor.

Marketing & Public Relations
Lori Turner-Wilson is CEO and Founder of RedRover Company, a sales development, marketing and PR consulting firm. Lori works with companies large and small, from start-ups to mature organizations, to help them improve the productivity of their sales force and the return on their marketing investment. Lori writes a weekly syndicated column for the Daily News, Memphis News, Nashville Ledger, and Desoto Times, among others, titled “Guerrilla Sales & Marketing,” for which she won a 2011 Summit International Award and 2012 International Communicator Award.

Design and Digital Strategy
Founded in 1999, inferno provides brand development, advertising, public relations, design and digital marketing services to clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Headquartered in Memphis with a satellite office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the award-winning firm produces results-driven work by passionately combining strategic thinking, creativity and culture to ensure the success of its clients. For more information, visit

Labor & Employment Law
Fisher Phillips attorneys are ready to help you take a stand: in court, with employees and unions, or with competitors. Fisher Phillips has the experience and resolve to back you up. That's why some of the savviest employers come to the firm to handle their toughest labor and employment cases. The firm has 350 attorneys in 32 offices, including Memphis. For more information, visit

Since its founding in 2005, Paragon Bank has maintained a solid focus on the community and customer service. For more than 10 years, Paragon has delivered innovative products and financial expertise, convenience, and a deep understanding of what both businesses and individuals need from a ban, in order to provide solutions that make a difference. In the areas of business or personal banking, lending options or wealth management, Paragon delivers cutting edge technology, an experienced team and the most service-oriented staff of any community bank.