What Exactly is the Grow America Springboard Competition?

May 18th, 2012

By: Colette M. Williamson

After months of neglect, I am finally writing a blog post. Yes, it’s been busy lately. We are intricately involved with the Grow America Springboard business competition. I wear several different hats, and the most entertaining one involves my interaction with the people who are participating in the competition.

Recently, I called a competitor and said, “Hello, this is Colette from the Grow America Springboard Competition.”

“I don’t know you,” he responded, and the line went dead.

Naturally, I called him back. “Hi Sir, this is Colette with the Grow America Springboard Competition, I…”

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Tips For Small Businesses Marketing on Pinterest

March 6th, 2012


By: Colette M. Williamson


“Who me?”

“Yes, you.”

“What did I do?”

“My wife is on the computer all day now because of you. I can’t get her off.”

I’ve had this conversation with a few men after I introduced their wives to the fabulous world of Pinterest. Conversations such as this occurred so often that my husband, Sam, semi-jokingly forbade me from speaking to more women about it. I abstained for a bit, but caved in and naturally started sharing my new-found fun with everyone, with a disclaimer, “Don’t tell Sam I told you.”

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What Happens When You’re a Finisher Not a Quitter

February 10th, 2012

By: Colette M. Williamson

You know those antique wooden snowshoes that you see fastened above fire places in log cabins? My husband, Sam, and I are crafting two sets — one for me and one for him. When we went back east for Christmas recently, we discovered that Sam’s father had all the tools and knowledge to make them. Read the rest of this entry »

Ideas vs. Execution

January 27th, 2012

Why a novel business concept isn’t as valuable as it used to be

We’ve all seen it. An inventor on a TV show or movie has a flash of insight and sells his idea for millions of dollars to a roving businessman. This idea is so iconic that it has become part of the small business mindset. Entrepreneurs often struggle to come up with a truly original idea, and immediately get discouraged if they see another company starting something similar. Read the rest of this entry »

Make Them Think of You First: Establishing Your Brand

January 20th, 2012

By: Colette M. Williamson

Every company’s dream is to be known, far and wide, for “something”—and for that “something” to bring customers back over and over again. AND for their customers to tell everyone they know about that “something.” One reason consumers return to a particular retailer is because of the experience they had. Another reason is because the experience was memorable—in a positive way. Read the rest of this entry »

Create Customer Loyalty Through Validation

December 21st, 2011


By: Leo Dirr

Sometimes it’s the small things that keep life interesting. Like my friend’s 3-year-old daughter. She’s gone from slobbering Spaghettios to babbling at Buddha statues to saying some surprisingly intelligent stuff for such a tender, young humanoid.


“Kidnapping kids is bad manners, huh mom?” she commented the other day.

As funny as that observation is coming from a toddler, I’m interested in it for its business value. That’s right, I’m the kinda guy who would monetize my own mom.

“Hey, ma, I just slapped your photo onto a bottle of salsa!”

When a 3-year-old girl says something like that — “Kidnapping kids is bad manners, huh mom?” — what she’s really doing is seeking validation. She’s asking for confirmation that she’s not the only one who sees things a certain way: huh mom?

And therein lies the lesson for anybody who’s trying to do business online. Our customers, who were once toddlers, still need and crave validation. They want confirmation that they are making good decisions with their money. If you give it to them, they will love you forever. Read the rest of this entry »

Infographic: Free Shipping Statistics

December 1st, 2011

By: Colette M. Williamson

Recently a member of our team found this infographic. The statistics are fascinating, especially the one that said 52 percent of abandoned online shopping carts occurred due to the shipping and handling costs.



Another statistic I found fascinating was, during the holiday season in 2010 the average order value with shipping was $86.58, and with out shipping it was $125.20. A $38.62 difference may not seem likemuch, but it can add up in the end. Would you rather have people buying your products because you offer free shipping or abandoning because the shipping costs are to high?

These statistics reminded me of an experience. I wanted to buy a perishable food product that was difficult to find in regular stores. The price seemed reasonable so I went the website and placed it in the shopping cart.  As soon as I saw the shipping cost, I aborted my purchasing quest immediately. The product was five dollars and the shipping cost was $30! I was willing to pay a few dollars for shipping, but $30 was outrageous, especially since the product wasn’t very large or heavy.

If they had offered free shipping, I probably would have thought about buying more than one container. But since their shipping was ridiculously out of my price range they lost my business.

As business owners it is important to weight out the pros and cons of free shipping. It might be in your companies best interest to have a free shipping option, but then again it might not. You decide.

Why Increasing Website Speed Is Way More Important Than You Think

November 21st, 2011

By: Colette M. Williamson

When I was in college, I took the No. 625 bus to school. I knew exactly when it was coming. I would run to the bus stop, wait a minute, and the bus would pick me up right on time — for the most part. Read the rest of this entry »

Search Engine Optimization

October 31st, 2011

By: Colette M. Williamson

Search Engine Optimization (AKA: SEO). When is the first time you were exposed to this word? For me, it was when I was working for an online magazine in 2009. My boss was talking about our optimized website and how we have a specialist that takes care of this. Having never heard about this subject before, the dots were not connecting; optimizing a site, specialist, how did they have anything to do with each other? What on earth does it even mean to optimize a site? Through time, I connected the dots on my own. I learned that every website wants to be at the top of all the search engine searches, whether it be Google, Bing, Yahoo, or YouTube. Many times you can end up higher on the search results through keywords, but that is just the beginning of optimization. Read the rest of this entry »

Use Company’s Facebook to Help, Not Hurt

October 18th, 2011

By: Colette M. Williamson

Within our first month of marriage, my husband, Sam, and I moved cross country to the state with the best snow on earth, Utah. Sam was jobless and I was a full-time student. Out of desperation, Sam signed on as a sales rep with a water company. They were a startup and needed all the help they could get. Read the rest of this entry »