Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish
In business, “the hook” is a term for a line or something about a service or product that interests someone enough to try it. It’s classic marketing and promotion; get them in and then let quality retain the customer.
Sounds nice enough, unless you’re the one casting the line. Because like fishing itself, earning a customer’s business is no easy task. It takes sweat, dedication, a great idea, effort and more effort. In a sense, what small business owners want – and need – is a place to cast their line and earn new business.
Regions Bank recently held a summit in Birmingham, Alabama, that included bank, business, and community leaders. The businesses were affiliated with the City of Birmingham’s VITAL program, which is a collective effort of the city, the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA), and the corporate community (including Regions) that seeks to increase procurement of products and services from traditionally disadvantaged business enterprises. VITAL’s mission, also championed by the BBA (who participated in the summit), is to bridge the gap between larger corporations in the Birmingham region and the small businesses that want and need to do business with them.
Having an opportunity – and chance to talk to people, show what you do – is sometimes all that’s needed to earn someone’s business.
Rokki Coleman, head of Branch Business Solutions at Regions
“Small businesses face a host of financial and economic challenges,” said Rokki Coleman, head of Branch Business Solutions at Regions. “But having an opportunity – and chance to talk to people, show what you do — is sometimes all that’s needed to earn someone’s business.”
At the showcase, no fewer than a dozen local small- to mid-sized businesses and organizations set up displays to help people learn more about what they do … and hopefully show the Regions associates and local leaders what they offer.
“To be exposed to so many people is amazing!” said Aisha Taylor, owner of BRIDGE + ROOT. “It always helps your business when you can talk to different people about what you’re doing, where you want to go. It’s a real opportunity.”
Learn more about these VITAL businesses:
Adah International is an industrial engineering and IT service company that provides professional contractor services and consultancy. The family-owned business offers various industries project management, information technology, engineering and training expertise.
Empowering Differences Inc
Empowering Differences is a leadership development and training group that leads programs based on the 10 empowering actions and the 10 common differences developed by founder Ashley Brundage. The company’s mission is to help people leverage all their differences to impact change.
BRIDGE + ROOT
An upscale men’s boutique in downtown Birmingham, Bridge + Root is a haberdashery of denim, blazers, joggers, dress shirts, sunglasses, beard care, socks and more, offering quality, well-constructed garments and accessories.
Elevators is a creative community engagement firm designed to highlight opportunities for realistic connections between organizations and the communities they serve. They work with creatives – designers, musicians, artists and more – to help bring their skills to market and with communities/organizations developing programs and plans.
Emily’s Heirloom Pound Cakes
A pound cake powerhouse, this business started as a fundraiser and uses the owner’s family recipe. It has grown to serve hundreds of customers since 2014.
Naughty But Nice Kettle Corn Co.
According to a company flyer: “We exist to make relationships sweeter and to help celebrate life’s sweet moments for corporations, universities, organizations, weddings and community events and sporting events.” The company produces small-batch, artisan-style, sweet and salty kettle corn blend, using a special hand process that creates the freshest kettle corn possible.
Oasis Senior Advisors® Birmingham
This company helps adults through the process of finding and making senior living selections and arrangements – from facilities, to financing, to moving, care needs and more. The company also offers services as an employee assistance program provider to help families with senior living placement efforts and the coordination of services and resources.
People Optimum Consulting
A workplace culture boutique consulting practice, with recognized authority in people and workplace culture development. The company works with organizations to empower corporate leaders and entrepreneurs to train and develop them, help to build engaged teams and create sustainable workplace cultures.
Babypalooza helps connect new and expectant parents to information and resources they need. They offer a range of interactive workshops, expert-led seminars, and exhibits from local businesses and service providers at baby expos held across the nation, and it connects local businesses, healthcare providers, and community organizations with these parents.
After the two-hour window ended, the business owners packed up their displays, stickers and giveaway items. But they didn’t take home the impressions they made on the 200+ attendees.
“Starting a business is hard. Most of us are in the business, doing the business” said Cameron Mays, owner of ElevatorsonFourth, “And the business development part lacks sometimes, because we’re so into doing the things we love to do. But forums like this allow face time … and an opportunity to grow our business.”
“It’s really about providing the platforms and opportunities for companies of all types to earn business,” said Tiffany Lovelace, senior manager in Procurement at Regions Bank. “We need to pick the best vendors for our needs; but we also need to look for those providers who are bringing new ideas, innovative approaches, and a fire to work with us. Just like we’d tell a client of our own: ‘It’s not all about price.’ It’s also about the service, the product and how they can help us reach our goals.”