When it comes to showing customers how much they are appreciated, some small businesses may feel like they need to “go big or go home.” Golf tournaments, private dinners, and expensive gifts are all great, but they’re not necessarily in the budget of a small business. They don’t need to be. When it comes to customer appreciation, it truly is the thought that counts. Have a customer that loves ice cream? Deliver cool treats on a hot summer day. What’s your customer’s favorite candy? Send a box or basket of the sweet treat. Like a recent article in OPEN Forum says, gifts don’t need to be expensive to be thoughtful – and appreciated.
Written By Dr. David T. Flynn, June 7, 2013
The new reality of business means that companies need to be ever-more aware of macro economic events and assess the potential impact these events have on their own day-to-day operations and long-term plans. Alerus’ goal is to help ensure that customers have access to good information. This monthly report provides more than just data on economic trends; it provides expert insight to help you make sense of the information.
Download the PDF: Alerus Monthly Insights: June
Overall assessment: The song remains the same. Stock market performance continues to lead the economic news. Increases
in the three major stock indices reported for the month of May were all strong. In fact, each one is up by more than 20% from last year! The positive stock market performance also leads the news because other economic news continues to be mixed: the unemployment rate continues to fall, but more for technicalreasons than any improvement in the labor market; the economy continues to grow, but at rates that leave doubt about the economic recovery; and international economic issues still exist, but how those issues currently impact the U.S., and how they will impact us in the future, is less than clear.
ANALYSIS One of the most common questions I receive is, “Why is the pace of recovery so slow?” Economic contractions and expansions are complex, dynamic events, typically with many factors as causes and many consequences, too. The graph shows Real Personal Consumption and Real Personal Income as a percentage change from one year ago. What we see is that neither Consumption — nor Income — recovered significantly after the Great Recession. Yes, they are both experiencing positive growth, but at low rates. Between February to December of 2009, Personal Income declines were in excess of 4% each month. There was no similar stretch of high-growth recovery. The same is true for Consumption. We have a slow recovery, which is clearly better than ongoing or recurring crisis, but it is not a recovery that shows any signs of acceleration.
Do you have questions about how Alerus Financial can help you reach your goals? We welcome the opportunity to discuss the many ways we can support you!
Data and the related opinions have been compiled by Alerus Financial’s strategic information partner, Dr. David T. Flynn. Dr. David T. Flynn is an Associate Professor of Economics and Director of the Bureau of Business & Economic Research at the College of Business & Public Administration, University of North Dakota. Dr. Flynn has developed forecast models for personal income and employment in North Dakota, and analyzed small business location patterns for the top 200 cities in North Dakota. His commentary on the North Dakota economy has appeared in print and online publications such as BusinessWeek, NewsWeek, American Banker, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and in newspaper and magazines from the United States, Brazil and Finland. Dr. Flynn is a member of the International Institute of Forecasters, the National Association for Business Economics, and many other professional organizations.
Written By Alerus Small Business Connect, June 6, 2013
There are hundreds if not thousands of books written about what customers want, what they need, what they think they want, what they think they need, etc. In truth, though, don’t the majority of us have what we need to live? That’s the question posed by Sean Jackson, CFO and partner in Copyblogger Media. Instead of focusing on what your customer needs, Jackson suggests you focus on what your customer wants. In a recent blog post, he identifies the five things customers want. Are your marketing efforts focusing on customers’ needs or their wants?
Written By Alerus Small Business Connect, May 30, 2013
When you’re getting your business started, it’s tempting to spend money on things that you think you need or that you think will help your business. But are they truly necessities? What is a “must have”, and what is a “nice to have” or a “down the road have”? Anita Campbell, founder of Small Business Trends, shares her list of what NOT to spend start-up funds on in the first six months of business. While there are plenty of “do this” lists out there, this insightful and smart list of “don’t do it” makes good business sense.
Written By Alerus Small Business Connect, May 29, 2013
It seems like there’s an app (mobile application) for just about everything under the sun. Given that there are more than 800,000 apps in Google Play/Android and 775,000 apps in Apple iOS App Store alone, how can you guarantee that your branded app will capture the attention of consumers with smartphones? What problem will your app solve? Is there truly a need for your app? Before getting on the mobile app bandwagon, review these five common mistakes businesses make when creating a branded app as recently outlined by BusinessNewsDaily.
Written By Alerus Small Business Connect, May 23, 2013
In an age of technology that can make your head spin, it’s good to sometimes take a step back and focus on techniques that have stood the test of time. Tried-and-true, old-school rules, if you will. Take the “rules of threes” for example, that Katy Kassian applies to her business, Buffalo Gals Bakery near tiny Regan, North Dakota. As she shared in OPEN Forum, the “rules of threes” – three seconds, three feet, three days, and three people – were learned from her father, long before the bells and whistles of today’s technology.
Written By Alerus Small Business Connect, May 21, 2013
Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are those that fall into the (roughly) age 19 to 30 category. To them, the rules about work and what it means to be an entrepreneur are changing. Or is it that they’re changing the rules? A new study from oDesk and Millennial Branding shows that flexibility and independence are what millennials value the most in the workplace. An easy-to-read infographic provides an overview of the study’s findings, and a recent article in Small Business Trends gives tips on how to satisfy the entrepreneurial spirit of millennials on your staff.