Tag Archive | entrepreneurship

Write Stuff Newsletter: Print Advertising

Print has a nearly 80% response rate; digital still plays second fiddle to visual call-to-action advertising in print media

In the digital age, there is a perception that if you put your business offering up on Facebook or other social media, that’s enough. While social media is an important part of getting your customer’s attention, it is only a small part of the mix. Although it is “free” in the sense that posting doesn’t cost you much more than time, it is transitory at best and the number of people who will see that post is based largely on who’s on line at any given time.

The rule of thumb for ad space purchases is to budget 10 percent of your annual income to advertising. In a small town that generally means radio and newspaper. It does not include charity or support giving to various school and community publications asking you to “buy an ad.” Advertising is any medium intended to reach the greatest number of people in which you include a call to action.

Countless advertising surveys indicate consumers respond more readily to print – whether it be magazines or newspapers – or through direct mail, than to digital media. One report stated that 79 percent of readers are more likely to respond to print ads than e-mailed or digital sales pitches.

My favorite explanation for effective advertising (Sales vs Marketing) –

Sales: A hitchhiker on the side of the road with a sign that reads, “To Dallas.”
Marketing: A hitchhiker on the side of the road with a sign that reads, “I want to get to Mom’s for Christmas.”

Your sales pitch is your goal. Marketing is knowing how to reach that goal by understanding the marketplace and your customer.

Print continues to be an important platform for getting your message out, but as the fellow going to Dallas figured out, tugging at the heartstrings of his audience was more important than saying outright what he wanted.

What works for you will depend on your expected outcome. A caution here, avoid buying advertising with the flawed expectation that one ad is going to result in customers flocking to your door in mass.

If you are selling furniture and your one page $2,000 full-color ad nets one sale of $500, you haven’t wasted your money, but perhaps you haven’t made best use of the space. Your goal is to make the ad as appealing as possible to assure you get enough sales to at the very least cover your cost. Five $500 sales would more than do it. The point is, manage your expectations. Know your reach. Understand your market.

Ad 1

Ad 1

Let’s say you have a restaurant and you want to run an ad that lets folks know you are now serving T-Bone steaks. Which of these two ads is more likely to work?

Ad 1 with address prominently displayed with a small picture of a T-Bone Steak and in small print “NOW SERVING T-BONE STEAKS,” is okay. You will likely get customers out of it, but the reality is the message has been lost.

Ad 2-2

Ad 2

Ad 2 with a grilling T-Bone steak prominently displayed, coupled with a 10% discount gives the buyer incentive to show up, ad in hand. It serves two purposes: getting customers in the door and being able to track the effectiveness of the ad.

If you spend $150 to $175 for the ad and the meal price is $25, you could easily sell 10 meals including the discount, and more than cover the cost of the ad.

Sometimes your goal is to let customers know who you are and where you are. The bonus is sales; the message is where to find you.

Advertising serves many purposes. While word-of-mouth has its place, advertising specific offerings provides updated information, provides actionable offers, and expands a business’ customer base.

As a business person, you likely know on day one of a new year what you expect to achieve in the next 12 months. Make planning for your advertising as important as planning for paying your employees, even if the employee is the person you look at in the mirror every morning. Advertising is as much of an investment as the fixtures in your store. Let it work for you and it will pay off.

These links lead to a series of ads that will inspire you to think more creatively about ad space purchases.

Word stream
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Small BMedia Kitusiness Tips & Tricks: Media Kits

Media kits are resources that tell others about you and your business. Whether you are a small single-owner shop or employ hundreds, you have a story to tell. Google, Facebook, Coca Cola and Ford don’t rely on word of mouth; they rely on getting their story out to the public by every means possible. Their media kits are neither simple nor economical. They know the value of story, their story.

As a small business owner you can affordably get the job done by working with a professional to compile a media kit designed to get your message out. Yes, your friends and neighbors know who you are, but do their friends and neighbors know who you are?

Media kits are custom designed, but there are standard items to include: recent high resolution photos of the owner and images of the store front and interior, high resolution images of logos, an introduction that tells your story, contact information and online presence, testimonials from satisfied customers, overview of product/service you provide, and your business mission or philosophy.

5 Reasons a Media Kit Makes Sense
Be prepared:
Whether you are celebrating your 10th year in business, or your millionth customer, you want to share your success. Most media outlets are willing to do a write up, or invite you to provide your own. Plan ahead for those special moments by compiling the bits and pieces of your story so it is easily and quickly accessible.

Be informed: Preparing a media kit requires market awareness. You may not believe you have competition because there is no other store like yours in your business district, but competition exists everywhere, including in most homes through the internet. What sets you apart? What makes your store the best place to go for what you provide? That’s the story you want to tell.

The elevator pitch: “Media kit” is an intimidating phrase. The elevator pitch is, “A media kit organizes outreach.” What is your elevator pitch? Compiling outreach information helps you fine tune your elevator pitch.

Aids in marketing: When someone walks in the door and wants to sell you an ad, are you ready? Is the idea of putting an ad together daunting? A media kit is a tool in your business tool box. You can readily answer the question of whether this ad placement is the right one for you and have the tools to help the ad rep create the ad.

Insight: A media kit inspires you to think in new ways about your business. The process of working with a professional (or doing it on your own) generates excitement and ideas.

Because of technology, this “kit” need not cost you a lot in printing and distribution. It can be uploaded to your website or e-mailed at any time to whomever is in need of the information.

For help creating your Media Kit, or to set up a free consultation, contact WRITE STUFF, 505-617-0839 or e-mail fsharon@msn.com. Type Media Kit in the subject line. In the body of the e-mail include your contact information.

Image: Created at www.canva.com



Q&A: The Candy Man

…and family

We're Open!The Ulibarri family’s route to its new shop at 161 Bridge Street has been circuitous and – as is often the case with small businesses – not without challenges. What it has continued to have is faithful customers who love the candy they make. The store came out of a family who personifies “family first” when it comes to making decisions.

Mike, a native of Espanola, moved with his parents (Jose and Magdalena Ulibarri) to their home town of Anton Chico, N.M., when he was in junior high. Donna’s parents, (Eloy and Marcella Montoya), owned and operated the Plaza Supper Club at the Plaza Hotel from 1962 until they sold it in 1975. They moved to Golondrinas (Mora County), where Mike, Donna and their son, Chris, currently reside. Mike said he and Donna met at the Flower Pot (on the Plaza) in 1979 and married in 1980 at Our Lady of Sorrows Church. “Old Town Las Vegas has always meant a lot to us,” he said. After 20 years in the Navy, Mike retired. He and Donna moved back to Golondrinas to help Donna’s parents.

Mike said Donna’s gifts of candy at Christmas one year were such a hit, he talked her into making it for a craft fair. They sold out by noon. That was in 2002 and they have been making candy commercially ever since, but had to take a break from the business in 2009 when Donna’s father’s health began to fail. Mr. Montoya passed away in 2012.

Christmas GoodiesWhen Mike and Donna decided to go back into business in 2014 they choose to go with a home-based business for production. Only the family can sell the product, but the Ulibarri family is okay with that. Electing to keep the enterprise small and manageable, for two years they sold “door to door” and participated in fairs and farmers’ markets. It meant loading and unloading, setting up and tearing down, which began to affect Mike’s health. When they saw that Paper Trail was relocating, the soon-to-be vacant spot looked to be ideal for their needs. The Ulibarri Farms Candy Shoppe opened its doors in late October.

The family has put its signature style on the interior with a counter made from reclaimed wood and, for now, seasonal decorations made and arranged by Donna. It is an inviting space with delectable temptations. Below are Mike’s responses to questions about what being in this business means to him and his family.

ORP: What inspired you to go into the candy making business?
Mike: Donna made candy as Christmas gifts. They were such a hit I encouraged her to make them for sale. At our first fair, we sold out before noon.

ORP: What three pieces of advice would you give to someone who wants to start a business?

  • Have good people behind you. I couldn’t do it without my family.
  • Be prepared to work harder than you’ve ever worked.
  • Have fun.

ORP: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful business person?

  • Honesty
  • Have a good attitude.
  • Don’t be afraid to try. The worst thing that could happen is that they say, “No.”

Peppermint Fudge BallsORP: How did you decide what candies you wanted to make when you kicked off your business?
Mike: The brittle has always been a great seller and my wife’s fudge is a close second. We are known for them.

ORP: You make the candy at home. Talk about the challenges of having a home-based manufacturing operation.
Mike: Days like today are very challenging. When one of us has to stay home, and cook, while the other is at the shop. Tomorrow Donna will be home cooking. She and her mother, who is blind, will package all the candy she makes, as well as the candy I made today. We have a designated area for candy production that we keep separate from the living area, so really the biggest challenge is time management. Our son Chris, is finishing up his semester. He does an online school from home. As soon as he is done we will have an extra pair of hands.

ORP: How has running the business affected your life?
Mike: We didn’t expect it to be so much fun!

ORP: What motivates you?
Mike: I have a nice life, and a nice family. That’s what motivates me every day. I’m proud of the candy we make and I’m proud that so many people like it so much.

ORP: How do you generate ideas for expanding the types of candy you offer?
Mike: My wife wakes up in the morning with all kinds of ideas. I don’t think she ever sleeps!

ORP: What is your greatest concern, and how do you manage that concern?
Mike: I worry that we can’t keep up. So we work harder.

ORP: How do you define success?

Gift BasketsORP: How did you fund your business?
Mike: Navy Federal Credit union gave us a small personal loan.

ORP: How did you build a customer base?
Mike: Word of mouth, walking around town and giving out samples, attending meetings like the one (Rotary Club of Las Vegas) where I met you.

ORP: Talk about your new location on Bridge Street?
Mike: We love our new Ulibarri Farms Candy Shoppe. It’s just the right size and Bridge Street is so quaint. Lots of foot traffic, lots of great stores and restaurants and the other merchants in the area have given us the warmest welcome we could have ever gotten.

ORP: How do you market your business?
Mike: Radio, flyers, social media, and I talk to EVERYONE!

Quick Facts:
Ulibarri Farms Candy Shoppe
Location: 161 Bridge Street, Las Vegas, NM  87701
Hours: M-Sat 11 am to 6 pm, Sunday 11 am to 3 pm
Phone: 505-425-3123
Website: Ulibarri Farms
E-mail. Ulibarrifarms@aol.com
Online: Like us on Facebook



Jewelry Artisan and Entrepreneur

Making art into a business

WelcomeBeing in business is a challenge and an opportunity all wrapped up in one great adventure. When you’re good at it, you share your expertise with others who are dipping a toe into the entrepreneurial waters. With more than thirty years of experience under her belt, Andrea Gottschalk of Unikat Fine Jewelry has grown her business and reached out to help others. She believes in working in concert with other business people and making the most of networking opportunities. She has an abundance of talent as a jewelry designer and creates a customer-friendly shopping experience as a business owner. Her insightful responses to the Q&A reveals a woman who enjoys what she does, and who remains grounded in the essentials of business ownership: making wise market decisions and operating within your means.

Andrea was born and raised in Germany. She graduated from high school in 1985 and went on a  two-year world travel adventure, including an extended visit to New Mexico. She returned to Germany and attended the Goldschmiede Schule in Pforzheim. She returned to New Mexico in 1988 “for the love of it,” and started a home based jewelry business working as a sub contractor for many different retail jewelry stores in Santa Fe such as Spirit of the Earth, James Reid, Mitzi Lynn, Mahdani and many others. She made special orders and custom pieces. Andrea moved to Las Vegas, NM in 1995. “I opened Unikat Fine Jewelry in 1998 where Genesis Computers is located now. I moved across the street in 2004 to 158 Bridge St., where I had my business until September of this year.” When the opportunity came to move into a much bigger location she took it and is now operating at 160 Bridge St.

Unikat Fine Jewelry will have a Grand Opening celebration at its new location, 160 Bridge St., in conjunction with Paper Trail, 166 Bridge St. The event will be Friday and Saturday, November 11 -12.

ORP: You’ve made the move to your new location. What do you hope this will do for your customers?
A lot more browsing room without feeling cramped in. Lots more inventory to select from. Big store windows to do window shopping, and it’s easy to find me.

ORP: What inspired you to go into business and how long have you had the store?
I opened my first store in 1998 when Price’s Ilfeld closed their jewelry department. I was their repair jeweler for about one year and I took the business opportunity to fill that niche. I had been making jewelry since I was sixteen. I went to gold smithing school in Germany. I had always worked for other retail stores making their custom pieces. There was an important link missing for me in that I never got to have the contact with the client and never could see their joy in purchasing that piece of jewelry I had made. That was the biggest inspiration to have my own store, to have that direct connection to the client and feeling proud of what I accomplished when I would see their reactions to the finished product.

ORP: What is the single biggest challenge to being a sole-owner business and how do you address it?
All the investments are on your own risk. All the debt you may accumulate is yours. There is no corporation that backs you up if you fail or no government that wipes your debt clean. You are solely responsible for every single decision you make and sometimes that can be very nerve racking.

ORP: What are your biggest opportunities as a business person on Bridge Street?
The Bridge Street/Plaza area is the most well known historic area and most walked on foot by locals and tourists alike. The chance that someone will stroll by and and take a peek into your store and buy something is huge.

Designing EntrepreneurORP: In addition to being a business owner, you also make jewelry and do jewelry repair. Talk about what inspires you as a business owner?
I would have to answer that in reverse, making jewelry inspired me to become a business owner and having my own retail store. The creation of jewelry and the sales aspect of it and going more and more into designs and repairs for customers directly,  taught me to have a good professional attitude with clients and subsequently has made me a good  business owner. I cannot say enough how important it is to have a professional, service-oriented attitude to gain a good loyal customer base. Yes you are in business for yourself but you really work for the client and their satisfaction. If that is not understood then you better not be a business owner. Of course quality is on top of everything.

ORP: What inspires you as a jewelry maker?
The color and shape of gemstones. They inspire the whole design and the outcome of a piece. I also love gems in their natural uncut beauty and often set them just as they are found in nature. I love combining different metals into one piece and personally I am very drawn to geometric simple shapes so a lot of my own creations have that as a component of the design.

ORP: Where do you get ideas for your jewelry designs?
Usually when I see a gem stone that grabs me at a supplier or at gem shows, I see a whole piece of jewelry around it in my imagination. That is what I create for the most part. I really don’t sit down at the drawing table much and think a piece through from start to finish. While I create a piece the design may change in the process when I see that something works better than originally thought of. Those are usually the best pieces.

ORP: If you had a motto as a business person, what would it be?
Know your market and don’t get in debt over your head. Don’t overspend on a huge inventory. Start slowly and built up your inventory when you can afford to invest more in it. If you create something make it top quality!

ORP: What do you like about being an entrepreneur?
You are responsible for your own self. When something goes wrong you only have yourself to blame. If it goes right – and hopefully  that’s most of the time – well, then all the credit goes to you and you feel you deserve it! It makes you an integral and meaningful part of society when you have the ability to produce something that people appreciate and cherish.

ORP: You are also active in the Las Vegas First Independent Business Alliance. Why is it important to you as a small business person to be part of an organization of this type?
There is strength in numbers. Belonging to a business organization where everybody has the same mission, same goals, struggles and joys, you truly have a sense of belonging and you can commiserate or share the joys and successes together. You can find solutions together to common problems. Of course our top mission is our motto: Keep your money where your house is. That means to buy as much locally as you can and keep your tax dollars in town. It makes a tremendous impact on our town when the City has more tax revenue to spend. Quality of life improves for everybody by having better streets, parks, clean-up efforts, sidewalks, lighting, things for our youth and elderly to do, school improvements and the list goes on and on. People forget that all this depends largely on the revenue that comes in from tax dollars, and a huge amount is generated through our gross receipts, which is generated by shopping here locally.

ORP: Talk a little about Entrepreneurial Network and why you think it’s important.
The Entrepreneurial Network is so important for similar reasons to why it is important to have a business organization, but with more specific multi-functions. The EN facilitator, which has been me for the past three years, functions as a one-on-one business coach where I help a start up business or expanding business in every way possible to be successful. I do that by listening to their individual needs and try to find answers to any questions they may have. This help may be through my own business experience. If I do not have the answer, I refer people to business experts in their field or to valuable programs that are being offered through the Regional Development Corporation. There is technical assistance, market research, alternative micro loans, investments through the venture acceleration fund and much more. Every business has a uniqueness to them. It is my goal to help each and every client that comes to me for help in the best way possible, and to help them succeed in their own way, to the best of their abilities. It is their own talent that they need to rely on. I help them focus on what they are good at, encourage them to build on that in their business, and remind them to not overextend themselves. If you can talk somebody out of a very bad idea and save them from a lot of trouble, then that is a success too. Every other month I have what is called the Entrepreneurial Network Forum where I invite one to three business owners to do a public presentation on their services and goods to an audience of other business owners and interested people. This is free and open to the public and is usually held at the El Fidel Hotel Wolff’s Den room. It’s a great way to promote your business and network with other like-minded people. You get updates on what is new in town and who does what, when and where. If you need any assistance with your business please call me at my store, Unikat, 425-6113. It is a completely free service and exists in four Northern New Mexico communitites: Taos, Rio Arriba, Mora and of course here in San Miguel County. It is sponsored by the RDC, Los Alamos National Laboratories and Las Vegas First Independent Business Alliance.

Andrea’s new location and contact info:
Unikat Fine Jewelry
Location: 160 Bridge St., Las Vegas NM 87701

Phone: 505-425-6113 or cell 505-617-6113
E-mail: unikat@spinn.net
Unikat on Facebook

Photos: Sharon Vander Meer (Note: If you are interested in doing a Q&A on One Roof Publishing, please contact fsvandermeer@gmail.com.)

Paper Trail Moving on Up–

And across the street…

nancy.jpgNancy Colalillo is one of my favorite people, fearless in the face of just about everything. Her entrepreneurial spirit brought an exciting book store to Las Vegas several years ago. After she sold that successful enterprise, she went out on a limb and opened Paper Trail, a card and gift shop. This venture has been so well received, she has now moved to a bigger space – 166 Bridge Street – and expanded her card and gift product lines. There are darling baby items, a card for every occasion, gift books, gift wrap, lots of gift ideas and plenty of new merchandise. This locally owned and operated business is a jewel of a shop.

For those of you who don’t know Nancy’s background, here is a brief bio in her own words:

Born and raised in the Garden State, just one atlas-page away from New Mexico. Graduated Georgetown University School of Foreign Service with a BSFS in International Economics, and NYU with an MBA in marketing. Early career in Washington, DC included working at the Imperial Embassy of Iran (Press Office), the National Schools’ Public Relations Assn.(editorial assistant), and the US Department of Labor (Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance). Left DC to join the family business due to my father’s health issues. Learned supermarketing from the ground up, from Produce to HR, Floral to Meat Room. Sat on various coop buying committees, including Produce (vice-chair), Seafood, and Floral (chair), and the Consumer Affairs (chair) and Labor Relations committeesk. During a 2-year hiatus from the supermarket industry, worked at a New Jersey advertising agency creating and implementing large scale special events for food industry-related clients. Followed a dream and landed in Las Vegas in 1994.

ORP: As an entrepreneur, what do you think are the three critical skills to achieve success?

  • Creativity. (Finding a niche that needs to be filled, and meshing your dream with the needs and desires of those you serve.)
  • Perseverance . (Always looking for ways to improve your business.)
  • Optimism. (Believing that next week, or next month, or next year will be better.)

Kid StuffORP: What ignited the spark in you to start Paper Trail?
The sidelines that I offered at Tome on the Range for 18 years were no longer available and folks were asking for them. When I learned that 161 Bridge Street was for rent, I figured I couldn’t get into much trouble in such a small building. That’s the short answer!

ORP: The move to 166 Bridge Street is complete. What does this mean for Paper Trail customers?
Nancy: A broader selection of gift items and greeting cards, and the space to browse  and enjoy.

ORP: What will the move to your new location enable you to offer that you didn’t have before?
I’m working on an expanded kids’ selection, particularly infant to preschool, which will include (surprise) books! I’m also scouting items suitable for shower and wedding gifts, and fun, funky, just-because gifts. Like the sign on the window says, there will be more of “what tickles nancy!”

ORP: You’ve more than doubled the size of your boutique shop. How creative did you get to fill the space with merchandise?
Trust me, buying and filling up space is not an issue! Finding the right mix is the challenge.

ORP: What is it about being in business that appeals to you?
Damned if I know! But seriously, in this town, one of the most appealing things is the support and collegiality of the independent business community. Plus, I am unemployable. I have a brain and a big mouth and don’t hesitate to use both. Many bosses don’t want that from a female employee, or at least not when I was entering the workforce. There’s a lot to be said for answering only to yourself and your customers.

ORP: It’s one thing to start a business. Keeping it going is the test of success. How do you keep fresh ideas flowing to energize yourself and your employees?
Nancy: By being curious and critical. Busman’s holidays are crucial. See what others in your business are doing, both right and wrong. See what other unrelated businesses are doing that could apply to your business. And always think like your customers; see your business through their eyes. My father always used to say that it was important to walk into your shop through the front door.

Christmas Cards & Gift IdeasORP: Who is the biggest inspiration in your life and career?
Nancy: Every nun who ever taught me, particularly at my all-girls high school where it was crystal clear that women could achieve at every level, and my father. My dad tossed a coin and ended up joining a group of independent grocers that would become the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the country, Wakefern Food Corporation. He was a butcher with an eighth grade education who took chances, always believed in himself, and set goals by saying, “How high is the sky?”

ORP: Aside from money, what motivates you to succeed?
It has nothing to do with money. My retail ventures in Las Vegas have been about creating retail spaces that add to the quality of life in Las Vegas. What I love is the validation I get from customers who enjoy what I have to offer and let me and my staff  know.

ORP: Add anything that will be helpful to customers and any other web presence you would like to promote related to your business.
Our official grand opening will be Friday-Saturday, Nov. 11-12 and is a joint celebration with Unikat Fine Jewelry, which has also moved to the north side of Bridge Street – again, like me! Paper Trail is currently open M-Sat, 11-5. I’ll be working on a website, but in the meantime folks can find and like us on Facebook. I’m usually on KFUN’s Over the Back Fence on Wednesday mornings with others from Las Vegas First Independent Business Alliance. It’s a great way for folks to hear about what Las Vegas businesses have to offer and what is going on in the larger community. And I’m working on a telephone number!



What can we do?

Answer #1

If you are a member of Las Vegas First Independent Business Alliance you can take part in the scavenger hunt taking place during the Cowboy Reunion and Heritage Week

How do you get involved?Scavenger Hunt

  • E-mail Andrea at unikat@spinn.net, or call her at 505-425-6113, or Tito at 505-425-3745
  • Confirm you want your LVFIBA business to participate.

What is required of you?

  • Hide a little plastic pony in your store (provided by LVFIBA).
  • Allow participating children to look around your store in search of the pony.
  • Once they find the pony, stamp their sheet (which they will have with them), listing all participating stores.

What’s next?

  • Participants turn in their fully stamped sheet at Tito’s Gallery, any time during the contest period (Aug. 1-8).
  • Following the drawing, 12 winners will receive a free pizza at JC’s Pizza (sponsored by LVFIBA).

What’s in it for you as a business?

  • Folks coming into your store.
  • You get to be part of the fun!
  • You help celebrate the cultures and historic foundation of who we are as a community.

Answer #2

If you have the entrepreneurial spirit, attend Growing Recycling Businesses in New Mexico, sponsored locally by the New Mexico Recycling Coalition in partnership with the Las Vegas San Miguel Economic Development Corp.

According to information provided by the coalition, in 2010 New Mexicans spent $51 million dollars to bury $168 million worth of recyclable items. On Friday, June 26, Jessi Just from the coalition will share a dozen working business models that could immediately be launched by an intrigued entrepreneur.

Some of what you will learn:Las Vegas San Miguel Economic Development Inc.

  • How to identify sources of material
  • How to coordinate activities with local solid waste departments
  • Learn about customer selling points
  • Understand equipment requirements

Growing Recycling Businesses in New Mexico is aimed at developing and supporting recycling-related businesses that manage or use locally generated recyclable materials.

When and where?

  • Friday, June 26, 10 am – 11:30 am
  • Charlie’s Spic & Span, 713 Douglas Ave.

For more information call 505-454-9323, or email execdir@lvsmecon.org
Las Vegas/San Miguel Economic Development Corp.

Source information for this post comes from LVFIBA and LVSM EDC.


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