BBB Business Tip: Emerging trends local businesses need to consider

Many local businesses struggled through 2020 and are ready to take on 2021 with a fresh start. While some trends feel like they come and go, the ones that stay can help you identify new and effective business strategies to ensure your company thrives. Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB) shares the following tips for emerging trends that will be important for small businesses. Read the complete article at bbb.org.

1. Mobile marketing

Nearly everyone has a smartphone, so you should attempt to reach your customers through their mobile devices. Rather than only communicating through email, send text messages or even create an app. Check out BBB Pacific Southwest’s digital marketing tips and business management system THRIVe, to learn how to make your company stand out online.

2. Online courses

Online courses have been surging in popularity, especially since people have been spending more time at home during the pandemic. Establish yourself as an expert in your field by creating an online course. Check out BBB Pacific Southwest’s online events and webinars, and full playlist of educational content to get you started.

3. Data transparency

Be transparent about your data practices and ensure that you aren’t careless with your customers’ data. For more information on how to keep your data safe, read our BBB Business Tip: The top 5 cybersecurity practices every small business needs to do now.

4. Marketing to Generation Z

Over the next few years, Generation Z will start to make up more and more of your consumer base. Some important marketing considerations that matter to Generation Z are strong loyalty programs, quality products, diversity in advertising and socially responsible products.

5. Social media for customer support

Consumers want answers quickly, and look to using social media to connect with companies. When a young customer has a question or complaint, they can’t be bothered to write an email. BBB Pacific Southwest has a dedicated team monitoring our social media accounts and offers live chat on our website.

6. Gig economy

As your business expands, you may find that your employee base starts to look a little different. As a small business owner, the gig economy offers many opportunities. It’s much easier today to hire highly skilled people at reasonable rates for short-term contracts. If you need graphic design work, marketing assistance, or accounting help, you can simply contract the work out. Hiring contractors allows you to hire experienced people for a shorter time, learn from their expertise, and extend or cut the contract as you need.

Moving forward

Some trends come and go, but others become patterned behavior that stick around for years. It’s essential to keep an eye out for these new behaviors so you can make sure your business adapts to the changing marketplace.

One trend that will never go out of style is the value of consumer trust. Visit BBB.org/get-accredited to learn more about BBB Accreditation and how it can help your business.

BBB of Southern Piedmont and Western N.C. contributed this article.

 

About Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest.

BBB Tip: Economic Impact Payments Are Coming Via Mailed Debit Cards

(Phoenix – January 26, 2021) – Many Americans have received their second stimulus check or Economic Impact Payments (EIP), either by direct deposit to their bank account or in the form of a mailed check, which is still ongoing. However, it was recently announced by the Department of the Treasury that debit cards are being sent by the IRS as part of the plan to deliver EIP payments as rapidly as possible.

Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB) is urging consumers to take precautions when they receive these cards in the mail, as scams are still prevalent. BBB has received numerous calls from consumers to verify the validity of the cards they’ve received.

“I went to check my mail and found a VISA card and an explanation letter that claimed it was my stimulus payment,” shares Denise, a BBB team member. “Working for BBB, I am very well educated on what to look for to avoid potential scams which keeps me on guard, and I knew fake prepaid cards were popping up. I really thought it was a scam and was about to throw it away until my husband reminded me to check it out before I made any assumptions. After some research, we found out it was real, and one of the ways the IRS is sending people their stimulus money,” continues Denise.

Consumers who have not received payment should refer to the GetMyPayment site on IRS.gov for more information and remain vigilant to ensure that the card they receive is legitimate.

Tips on how to recognize a legitimate EIP card:
EIP Cards are being sent in a white envelope with the U.S. Department of the Treasury seal.
The Visa® name will appear on the front of the card; the back of the card has the name of the issuing bank, MetaBank®, N.A.
The welcome kit explains more about the EIP card. Please go to EIPcard.com for more information and to see a sample image of the card.

Once the card has been verified:
–  Activate the card by calling the number provided, setting a 4-digit PIN
–  Sign the card.
–  Keep the card in a safe place.
–  Do not share the information on the card with anyone.
–  Use the card anywhere Visa cards are accepted and/or get cash back at a retailer or ATM.

Note that most transactions are free, but certain uses could incur fees. For more questions, visit EIPcard.com/FAQ.

BBB warns that scammers may try to text, call or email you, trying to convince you to give up the card number or your personal information. Report any phishing or scam attempts to the IRS and file a report with BBB Scam Tracker to warn others not to fall for the scam.

Value
BBB encourages businesses to operate with integrity, and helps consumers make wise marketplace decisions. Our innovative approach to business growth provides the tools that companies and entrepreneurs need to build better businesses. By working side by side with industry experts, we unite with a common goal. Become BBB Accredited and join our mission to create a community of trust.

More Information
For media inquiries, contact pr@bbbcommunity. Please allow a 24 hour courtesy for interview requests. For additional news stories, visit bbb.org/us/news.

Reprinted by permission of the Better Business Bureau, © 2021.

 

 

Any Act of Service Can Make a Difference!!

Today marks the 26th anniversary of the federal day of service that celebrates the life and legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. The U.S. national observance encourages everyone to volunteer and do their part to improve the communities they live in. As nonprofits continue to suffer financially from the pandemic, the need for support has increased with people out of work and seeking help for basic necessities. Many are struggling to obtain crucial items such as food and hygiene items for the first time.

Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB) believes that creating a thriving community anchored in trust is a group effort. To encourage this by civic action, BBB offers employees one paid day per quarter to volunteer at a nonprofit organization of their choice. Employees have provided service at local food banks, homeless shelters, donated blood, and supported cancer education organizations – to just name a few.

No act of service is too small.

“Giving back to our communities is important for our organization and it is a responsibility. We encourage our employees to volunteer their time at nonprofits to foster goodwill and it gives them a sense of achievement when helping others,” shared Noelle Rooke, BBB Vice President of People and Culture.

Those looking to make a donation or to volunteer for a nonprofit can find trustworthy, charitable organizations and view evaluation reports at BBB Wise Giving Alliance. Reports on charities are based on 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability that address governance, results reporting, finances, and truthful and transparent communications.

Value

BBB encourages businesses to operate with integrity, and helps consumers make wise marketplace decisions. Our innovative approach to business growth provides the tools that companies and entrepreneurs need to build better businesses. By working side by side with industry experts, we unite with a common goal. Become BBB Accredited and join our mission to create a community of trust.

For media inquiries, contact pr@bbbcommunity. Please allow a 24 hour courtesy for interview requests. For additional news stories, visit bbb.org/us/news.

Reprinted by permission of the Better Business Bureau, © 2021.

Scholarship Recognizes Ethical Behaviors

Students have navigated immense change during the past year. Many work hard to stay on top of their studies in school and those who unexpectedly shifted to online learning may find it more challenging. These ethical behaviors often go unnoticed, but should be recognized to inspire others to do the right thing. The Ethical Torch Essay Scholarship does just that.

Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB) encourages integrity and ethical behavior in the community, and the BBB Ethical Torch Essay helps students recognize these actions at an early age. This scholarship honors students who have chosen ethics and integrity when faced with a dilemma.

“Ethics is doing the right thing even though no one is looking or if there are consequences for speaking up. By promoting trust and ethical conduct with students, they will be able to model that behavior when they enter the workforce,” shared Faustine Chan, Director of Business and Community Programs. The program aligns with BBB’s Annual Torch Awards for Ethics which celebrates companies for upholding outstanding integrity throughout their business operations.

Students are invited to write a 400 word essay on “The Importance of Ethics and Integrity in our Community”. The essay challenges students to dive into inner-conflict while describing resolution tactics for their unique encounters with ethics and integrity. High school students in Greater AZ are eligible to apply and five winners will each be awarded $500-$1,500 in scholarships to be used for college tuition and expenses.
To submit an application or to learn more, visit torchessay.bbbcommunity.org. Submissions are accepted now through October 10, 2021; winners will be announced at BBB’s Torch Awards for Ethics celebration in the fall and on the website.

Value

BBB encourages businesses to operate with integrity, and helps consumers make wise marketplace decisions. Our innovative approach to business growth provides the tools that companies and entrepreneurs need to build better businesses. Become BBB Accredited and join our mission to create a community of trust.

More Information

For media inquiries, contact pr@bbbcommunity. Please allow a 24 hour courtesy for interview requests. For additional news stories, visit bbb.org/us/news.

Reprinted by permission of the Better Business Bureau, © 2021.

BBB Business Tip:

5 consumer trends businesses should follow in 2021

(Phoenix, AZ – January 7, 2021) – As a new year approaches, we tend to look back at our previous year — and this one has been a doozy. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that the businesses that are able to quickly adapt to the changing times are able to thrive. It’s about taking lemons and making lemonade — despite the difficult circumstances, you need to see what you have to offer, what your customers need, and find where the two intersect. Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB) shares these 5 tips of consumer trends for businesses to take into consideration as they plan for a new year. For the full article, please visit bbb.org.

1. Focus on Health and Safety

This year, the world was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and health and safety became paramount. As consumers were allowed to return to their favorite businesses, it became increasingly important that the companies they were visiting were clear on their health and safety precautions. In order to quell any concerns your customers may have about safety, plainly publish the measures you are taking to ensure their safety.

2. Socially-Conscious

Activism has made an impact this year, and companies who don’t take a stance are left in the dust. Show your customers your values, whether it is on widespread social issues or by making a difference in your local community. Becoming Accredited with the BBB explicitly illustrate that you are a trustworthy company built on integrity, honesty and transparency. Learn more about how to get Accredited here.

3. Personalized Communications

The modern consumer expects a much more personalized experience when working with a company, whether they are online or in person. How can you make every customer feel special? Personalize your communications so that you can market to your customers based on where they are with your brand.

4. At-Home Experience

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, people across the world have been spending more time at home. Even as businesses are starting to open their doors again, many consumers have gotten used to shopping from home and will likely continue to do so. Consumers want the experience to be as accessible and easy as an in-person shopping experience, and are looking for a way to feel just as welcome in your virtual storefront as they would in person.

5. Provide Value

Consumers are looking for brands that add value to their lives and to the world around them. Providing value goes beyond just promoting your product or service; it’s about having insightful content and conversations that push to a sale that then expands to a loyal customer base. The more you are concerned about their needs over your bottom line, the more you won’t have to worry about the latter.

Moving Ahead

If 2020 has taught business owners anything, it’s how to pivot. This year has been full of ups and downs, and business owners have taken these changes in stride. Small businesses have adapted and built a strong digital presence, which helps them to be present where their customers are. This ability to adapt will only continue to help in 2021, as you continue to improve, keeping your customers’ needs top of mind.

Value

BBB encourages businesses to operate with integrity, and helps consumers make wise marketplace decisions. Our innovative approach to business growth provides the tools that companies and entrepreneurs need to build better businesses. Become BBB Accredited and join our mission to create a community of trust.

More Information

For media inquiries, contact pr@bbbcommunity. Please allow a 24 hour courtesy for interview requests. For additional news stories, visit bbb.org/us/news.

 

 

Reprinted by permission of the Better Business Bureau, © 2021.

 

 

Crucial funds allow small businesses to survive

Vulnerable small businesses, working families, women-owned businesses and communities of color continue to be severely impacted by COVID-19. In April, the Main St. Matters Grant Program was launched by Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB) to support local businesses experiencing financial hardship. The program awarded 24 additional grants in September, totaling over 150 businesses with $145k distributed.

Nearly 1,350 applicants have applied to the Main St. Grant Program and are vetted through a three-tiered process. This includes verifying immediate need, history of upholding BBB Standards for Trust and length of time in business. Grant recipients are awarded a one-time grant of $500 or $1000 to provide support and financial relief to business owners. They have been immensely grateful and share crucial needs the funds will support.

Staying Alive

A pet sitting company who was a recipient of a grant, shared that he would use the money to “stay alive” as the pandemic has completely halted his business.

Paying Bills

“I’m going to use the grant money to pay my water bill to prevent it from being shut off this week,” shared a holistic wellness center owner.

BBB understands the hardships the pandemic has caused to Main St. businesses. The program has been made possible by company sponsors and individual donors from the community. Donations can be made directly online.

There’s Still Time to Apply

Awards will continue throughout the remainder of 2020. Small businesses that operate within BBB Serving the Pacific Southwest’s service area who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 pandemic may apply. Visit BBB’s website for application information and criteria.

For PR inquiries, please contact pr@bbbcommunity.org.

Reprinted by permission of the Better Business Bureau, © 2020.

Local Better Business Bureau Has Moved!!

During the recent COVID-19 crisis, many businesses temporarily closed as a safety precaution for their employees and customers. The local Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest (BBB) in Lake Havasu City followed suit and is now on a path of reopening.

While uncertainty brought hardships to many, it also provided to be an opportunity for growth and new perspectives. BBB is excited to join the creative entrepreneurs in the F106 Co-Working Space in Lake Havasu City to further support our local small businesses.


BBB Regional Director Kryistyna Hook

Our economy is beginning to bustle with life again, so providing varying levels of support for businesses under one roof is a logical step forward. We’re excited to expand the BBB local presence and explore more options to help build better businesses for our community,” shares Kryistyna Hook, BBB Regional Director.

The collaboration with the Partnership for Economic Development (PED), owner of the co-working space, is another step forward in increasing support for local entrepreneurs. Other space-mates include companies offering visual design, social media, photography, videography, content creation, events programming, corporate education services, nutrition services, and more.

We are excited that BBB is moving into this space, as it compliments in so many ways our overall mission of helping businesses succeed at every level,” shares James Gray, PED Director.

Community collaboration has been a focus for Kryistyna since stepping into her BBB role last year. As a proud partner of the LHC Resource Alliance, along with other key organizations, funneling the proper support to businesses and citizens is crucial to a thriving community. Even through these uncertain times, BBB launched a small business grant program and quickly shifted to virtual programming including business start-up courses and educational summits.

Beginning in late August, or as it is safe to do so, BBB will begin accepting in-person meetings, by appointment only. Please contact Kryistyna Hook at 928.302.3701 or kryistyna.hook@bbbcommunity.org for details. F106 Co-Working Space is located at 1100 London Bridge Road, Suite F106 in Lake Havasu City.

Reprinted by permission of the Better Business Bureau, © 2020.

BBB Launches Main St. Matters

Life has taken a drastic turn in the wake of the current crisis, forcing small businesses to shift nearly every aspect of their daily functions. Behind each small business is a family, giving it their all, but still caught amidst compounding negative impact. Start-ups, hometown offerings, and Main Street shops comprise a significant economic footprint, so now is the time to extend a helping hand. Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest is proud to launch the BBB Main St. Matters Grant Program, designed to provide essential funding during this unprecedented time.

“Main Street businesses are the lifeblood of our economy,” says Matthew Fehling, President & CEO of BBB Serving the Pacific Southwest. “Their strong threads weave through the nation, tying communities together, and without them, everyone suffers. These businesses have supported BBB services for over 100 years, so being able to give back in a time of crucial need is an honor.”

BBB Serving the Pacific Southwest has taken an innovative approach to guide small and start-up ventures and their forward-thinking strategies focus on building ethical businesses from the ground up. Crucial funds provided by the BBB Main St. Matters Grant Program will ensure these businesses have a fighting chance. BBB Serving the Pacific Southwest is asking businesses to share their stories, and how the funding will assist in sustaining their mission.

Grant Program Details

● Open to small business, with priority given to those with 5-20 employees

● $500 or $1000 grant amounts will be awarded

● The grant is open to qualified small businesses that are in good standing with BBB and uphold BBB Standards for Trust. We will consider a company’s history of community involvement, including but not limited to, BBB accreditation.

● Businesses must operate in the BBB of the Pacific Southwest service area (Apache, Coconino, Gila, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pinal, Yavapai and Yuma Counties in AZ, and San Diego, Orange, and Imperial Counties in CA)

● Applicants must not have previously received relief or emergency funding, loan, award or grant resulting from the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.

Read more for additional criteria and grant application.

The BBB Main St. Matters Grant Program is launching in partnership with Desert Financial Credit Union, who has contributed a generous, matching donation to the fund. In order to keep this momentum going, BBB of the Pacific Southwest is seeking additional donations to continue with the expected demand of the program. Reach out to get involved and support the BBB Main St. Matters Grant Program.

More Than Money: Wrap Around Benefits

The BBB Main St. Matters Grant Program is more than funding; it is a hand up to the most deserving businesses. Grant recipients will also receive a variety of educational resources, mentorship from industry leaders and other in-kind offerings to ensure continued stability and an open path towards success and progress. BBB of the Pacific Southwest daily webinars and a frequently updated resource page are available immediately to supply the latest information to help businesses navigate through the COVID-19 crisis.

Reprinted by permission of the Better Business Bureau, © 2020.