Marketing for the Holidays

(Submitted by Melissa Carter, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

While many individuals have already taken advantage of Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, there are still many days left in the Holiday Season. As a business, here’s a few ways to entice consumers to continue to shop at your location.

christmas-bauble-1063070_1920 (2)1. Offer gift cards/certificates. The simple and easiest gift for anyone. If your products/services are seasonal, gift certificates are a great way for your business to stay relevant in the off months.

2. Bundle products for an “under $25” or “under $50.” A lot of gift exchanges are a certain dollar amount so take the guess work out of the cost for the consumer.

3. Know your limits. If you are selling online, know how many items you can produce before your shipping deadlines.

pastries-213646_1920 (2)4. Offer flash deals or discounted expedited shipping for those last minute shoppers.

5. Do a two-for-one deal, so the buyer can keep an item and give an item as a gift.

6. Promote little items as stocking stuffers.

7. Ramp up your social media marketing – stay current in the eyes of the consumer. Offer a “Facebook only” discount or promote products/services that would be good gifts.

candle-771106_1920 (2)8. Offer free gift wrapping – one less thing the shopper has to worry about!

9. Generate a post-holiday discount to entice customers to return.

10. Create a discount around giving back – have customers bring in can goods, coats, or a new toy for a discount on a purchase.

11. With the hustle and bustle of this time of year, it is good to have adequate staff on hand to create a positive experience for the customer.

Happy Holiday Marketing!

Cooperatives You Know, But Don’t Know

(Submitted by Hannah Scott, Manager, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

As a cooperative developer, I often field questions about the success of co-ops in the U.S. It’s sometimes easier to answer this question by sharing a few examples of well-known, successful cooperatives and mutually-owned companies.

puzzle-977236_1920 (2)Nationwide – the insurance company is mutually owned by policyholders
Welch’s – the company that makes grape juice, jam, and other fruit products, is owned by about 1,000 family-farmer owners
ACE Hardware – is owned by local “Ace retail entrepreneurs” and started as a collective purchasing effort by a group of hardware stores in Chicago
Buckeye Power, Inc. – is a cooperative that generates and transmits power for 25 member-owners, which are themselves electric distribution cooperatives largely based in Ohio
Florida’s Natural Growers – the makers of Florida’s Natural Brand premium orange juice is owned by growers in central Florida and is one of the largest citrus grower cooperatives

Didn’t know these companies were mutually owned or cooperatives? Don’t worry, many people don’t realize how often they interact with cooperatives, but some estimate that one in three Americans regularly use or are members of a co-op. So, the next time you’re shopping for groceries, insurance, energy, or a myriad of other goods and services, remember that co-ops are all around!

Manufacturing Tours for Local High School Students

(Submitted by Mick Whitt, Manufacturing Business Development Specialist, Manufacturing and Technology Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

IMG_0764 (3)Motivated by Manufacturing Month, The Ohio State University South Centers (OSU) Manufacturing and Technology Small Business Development Center (MTSBDC) organized tours on Friday, November 13, for two local high schools to visit local manufacturers, and help bridge the gap between education and the real world workforce.

This was an exciting opportunity for The Ohio State University South Centers to reach out to our local students to expose and educate them on just a few of the great products and processes available in southern Ohio.

IMG_0758 (3)Groups of sophomores, juniors, and seniors from Eastern High School and Western High School (both of Pike County, Ohio) toured facilities at Infra-Metals in New Boston, Ohio and Big Sandy Distribution in Wheelersburg, Ohio.

Both companies were very welcoming and interactive with the students. They took time to explain their processes, operational procedures, employment opportunities and requirements, along with in-depth tours.

The students from both schools were responsive and very inquisitive. OSU South Centers received great feedback from the schools and are looking forward to facilitating similar events for students that are already in the process of making career and education decisions concerning their future.