I recently had an engaging conversation with a local business person. He’s been around for a number of years, and by all accounts, has been successful.

He told me that his business generates enough revenue to pay the bills on time and provides a decent living for his family.

I found his answer to my question regarding the attraction of new customers to be interesting. He said he doesn’t do anything to advertise his business but that he relies on “word-of-mouth advertising.”

He went on to say that he belongs to a couple of local clubs and, of course, the chamber.

Like most business, he doesn’t keep a record of how new customers heard of him, so he doesn’t know if his business is coming from his participation with the clubs or the chamber. He feels that he is known around town, so when people are in need of the service he provides, they will come to him.

While I understand his perspective — after all it has worked for him — he is essentially hoping that people will use his service. As I once heard at a business seminar, “hope” is not a viable business strategy.

What he was referring to, when he says he doesn’t advertise, is that he doesn’t spend money to buy ads in printed publications or run commercials on the radio. Personally, I’ve seen those two options work effectively when the right message is delivered in the right way.

Today’s technology, known as social media, provides the opportunity for information to be shared in a “word-of-mouth” fashion. Not only can a message reach a potentially large audience, but it do so very quickly.

A couple of those social media options include Facebook and Instagram. Understandably, just like any technology, there is a potential for abuse and everyone should be aware of the issues. At the chamber, we have successfully used both Facebook and Instagram. We have examples of posting a message and had people positively respond within the hour.

Has your business embraced social media as a way to deliver a message to potential customers? If not, you may wish to attend the free seminar: “Taking the Mystery Out of Social Marketing” March 28 at the Chamber’s Community Room. The event starts at 11:30 a.m., and lunch is being provided by this month’s sponsor Arnold Insurance. Please register at www.EnglewoodChamber.com.

National Vietnam

Veterans Day

The chamber invites everyone to help us Honor our Vietnam Veterans at a light breakfast and program Saturday morning. The event begins at 8 a.m., across the street from the chamber, at the Lemon Bay Cemetery. The activities there will honor all our military veterans who are buried there. The affair then moves over to the chamber for breakfast and a brief program.

A special thank you to our sponsors Karin Dubbs of Keller Williams Realty Gold, Mason Financial Group and The Windsor of Venice.

Veterans benefits issues?

Representatives of U.S. Rep, Greg Steube’s office and Sen. Rick Scott’s office are scheduled to attend Friday’s event. If you are a veteran who is experiencing some kind of issue regarding veterans’ benefits or other matters with the federal government, this is a great opportunity to have a personal conversation with a person who might be able to help you.

Ed Hill is the executive director of the Englewood Florida Chamber of Commerce. He can be reached at ed.hill@englewoodchamber.com or 941-474-5511.

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