Greg Smith

Greg Smith

We’ve talked in previous articles about ways to improve sales during this wild roller coaster ride we’re on. Here are more ideas that may not only benefit your bottom line but help give another business a boost.

It begins by thinking outside the box. Perhaps instead of seeing another business as a competitor, think of them as another potential customer and be creative about working together. Consider the following:

• Initiate an after-hours Zoom call inviting a variety of different business owners. Brainstorm on ways you can cross-promote and directly support each other. Much of what you can do won’t cost a penny.

• Write a positive review or testimonial on social media. Talk about a great item they carry or a specialty service they offer and post a picture on your Facebook page (personal and business). Ask them to the same.

• Go live on Facebook. Share the name of your favorite restaurant and suggest a special menu item. Maybe send a gift card from your business to a standout server.

• Consider a mini “shop-hop” in which customers are entered to win a gift basket featuring items from each establishment.

• Cross-market gift items. Perhaps your killer gourmet marinades and sauces are offered at a specialty meat market across town.

Obviously, the goal is to generate more revenue for your business, but do not be afraid to work together. It’s not about giving a fellow entrepreneur a competitive edge. It’s helping ensure that as many businesses in your community survive as possible.

Finally, most people are more committed than ever to shopping locally. Vibrant businesses working together have a better chance of anchoring customers. Also, by showing your own support both as a business owner and private individual, you’ll garner goodwill and help ensure the business community — which includes your own company — will have a brighter holiday and future.

Greg Smith is the director of the Eastern Oregon University Small Business Development Center located at 1607 Gekeler Lane, Room 148 in La Grande. For free, confidential business advising, call 541-962-1532 or email

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