Starting a small town business – part 2 in the series

One of the most positive things about starting a business in a small town is that word-of-mouth advertising is like "being on Oprah" anywhere else in the world.

Within days of making my first move to create a custom framing business, I had people coming to me with news of equipment and supplies I could pick up and businesses I could buy. Even more would come and tell me that they had framing they needed to get done as soon as I had my shop set up.

This small town network helped in other ways too. Someone told me about a local merchants special being run this week in the local paper where I could get a full color ad for the price of a black and white ad. I scrambled around this morning and managed to create this ad just in time to make the ad deadline.

People have been asking me about this "conservation framing" I have been talking about so I roused myself to finish a brochure last night which explains what conservation framing is and why it is a good investment for your original art and keepsakes. Basically it is a framing process that protects your art against deterioration and environmental damage.

One of the first people who picked up the brochure today went home and looked at her framed artwork and discovered dead mosquitoes inside the glass of the picture frame!

She will be one of my first repair customers. Educational advertising works.

Since custom framing with archival materials is not a commodity product or service, I need to spend more time explaining what it is and why it is needed in my ads and in my literature than in selling.

I also need to use the word-of-mouth channel to spread the idea that a few dollars spent preserving art and keepsakes will pay huge dividends in terms of peace of mind. There is nothing so disappointing as to see a valued diploma or keepsake piece of art turning yellow around the edges. We resist personal aging as best we can and it is a shock to see our possessions aging unnecessarily before our eyes.

Those of you who are running a company singlehandedly, can appreciate that I had to put the framing on hold temporarily while I caught up on the promotional activity of the past two days. This weekend will give me some time to catch up with orders.

UPDATE: I finally got my act together and put up a website for Floyd Custom Framing.

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