There's something special about vinyl records.
The feel, smell, look and sound all seem richer and more authentic than digital music.
In 2016, stores sold 13 million records, the highest volume of vinyl sales in the past three decades. We are in the midst of a vinyl revival.
Vinyl record pressing companies can barely keep up with the demand. Most pressing companies are relying on restored equipment from the 70s and 80s, which is slow and error prone.
However, Hand Drawn Records is modernizing this process. They are using the first pieces of modern technology designed for record pressing. Their presses are controlled by computers, reducing error rate and speeding up the pressing process 3x.
Today, on Small Business War Stories, we are joined by John Snodgrass from Hand Drawn Records to discuss how they are revolutionizing the vinyl pressing industry.
Selling to small businesses is different than selling to large corporations or consumers.
A small business has a unique set of needs.
These businesses do not have purchasing experts on staff or vendor managers whose sole responsibility is to make deals happen. Instead, the decision maker at a small business is typically wearing many hats and hearing your sales pitch might be a stretch for them.
The good news is that with small businesses, a lot of the time the sales cycle will be much shorter. There are fewer people involved with the decision and less red tape to work through.
However, establishing trust is extremely important. Small business owners can be loyal to a fault. Also, while the majority of businesses in the U.S. are small businesses, sourcing and reaching this long tail of potential customers in a cost-effective way can be very difficult.
To help us dive into the secrets of marketing and selling to small businesses, we talked with Alison Burns founder of Precision Payments. Her company has been successfully selling their credit card processing and merchant services to small business since 2013.
Nearly 100 years ago, Detroit was poised to become a major American industrial city. Cars, new factories and an eager workforce helped put Detroit on the map.
A lot has changed since the early 20th century.
After some very rough years, small businesses are helping to restore economic viability and community in Detroit. The once booming factory scene is being replaced by a booming small business scene.
We are very lucky to have spoken with one such small business owner, Alicia George, owner and operator of Motor City Java House.
She began working with Motor City Blight Busters 17 years ago to help revitalize and develop commercial destinations in her neighborhood in Detroit.
In 2003, inspired by the idea of having a local community coffee shop, she started work on opening Motor City Java House. It took over five years to open, relying on the help of volunteers and the local community to help raise money for renovations.
She would raise money, then do work and then have to stop. But her patience paid off, she's now operating a thriving business with no debt and is an amazing example and a positive influence for her neighborhood.
Brand marketing and storytelling are essential components to creating a great company brand that will grab people's attention.
With the growth and adoption of technology, we have more potential mediums than ever to reach people with our brands.
However, the downside is there's a ton of competition and we really only have about 10 seconds to grab someone's attention.
Our stories need to be concise. Effective storytelling is about staying out the way, being authentic, being patient and keeping it simple.
Today, on Small Business War Stories, we talked with David Rice from Flow Nonfiction about how he helps big brands tell stories of their philanthropic work in a way that does not feel contrived.
In 1985 David Williamson and his brother were struggling to make their used car sales business work.
After failing to sell a 1947 Dodge pickup truck multiple times, even going as far as to offer it for as little as $300, they got the bright idea of trying to sell just parts from the truck.
They listed an ad for truck parts in a motor news magazine, and what had been an impossible vehicle to sell, became a hot commodity. They ended up selling parts from that old truck for $3,000 and realized there was a lot of money in just selling parts.
Those were the modest beginnings of CTC Auto Ranch; now they are one of largest classic car junkyards in the country. Starting with just 80 cars, they now have over 4,000 classic cars and sell parts all over the world.
Today, on Small Business War Stories, we talked with David Williamson from CTC Auto Ranch about his start and success in the classic car junkyard business.