Be Inspired | Do Good:
Nanette Levin, who has several years of experience in marketing and communications, has always been an champion of the underdog for small businesses. When she started her marketing firm in Rochester, NY in the 1980’s, small businesses were disrespected frequently if they were not financially strong and were thought of as “mom and pop” shops, but they deserved more respect. She began to provide consultant support, copywriting, and other services that were more affordable by delivering them in small pieces. She has served clients both nationally and internationally.
Recently, Nanette relocated her life and business to the Roanoke area in pursuit of a lower cost of living and longer growing season. She is helping more local and small businesses through her company from Rochester with marketing, promotion, and communications. She offers copywriting services with strategic development, marketing plans, ghost writing, speeches, short nonfiction books, and editing support. In addition, she established a new business that takes advantage of the growing season which provides chemical-free customized packages of fruits and vegetables to a small number of clients.
Nanette has also worked for publications like The Catholic Virginian and she currently publishes Roanoke Revealed, a blog about the cultural attractions of Roanoke. She started the blog after moving to Roanoke to keep her accountable of exploring the area more and help share her knowledge of small businesses with others. The blog shares small business issues and resources, attractions in the area, and helps to show more of what Roanoke offers.
For small businesses, Nanette shares secrets for getting their message out there:
- Be Specific: find a tight niche to serve, instead of trying to be general and making products for everyone since these general products may actually appeal to no one
- Good Writing Skills: the written and spoken words of businesses are the first impression for a new customer and it will impact their decision to use your business; if you are not good at writing, find someone who is
- Focus on Your Identity: do not neglect the presentation of your business’ identity package (letterhead, logo, and business cards), these will also create an impression long before you even talk to your customer
- Have Fun: if you do not enjoy your business, you will not have the stamina and mindset to get through difficult times and your customers will catch on; they will go somewhere else to someone they enjoy being around
- Serve Others: doing business and looking at it from a serving perspective is key
- Network with a Few Others: at networking events, do not focus on handing everyone your business card; instead, identify a few people who are most significant to your goals and spend more time with them and make sure to follow up afterwards
Nanette Shares More About Networking in Roanoke Revealed:
While I sputtered at first, I’m now finding Roanoke to be an easy small business networking town. Most cities are. Unless you’re moving to a metropolis like New York City, Los Angeles or Chicago, you’ll discover those active in the community show up repeatedly. This presents great opportunities for an owner willing to participate and deliver.
My first stop after landing in Roanoke was the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). I met with Director, Bart Smith. He helped me get a lay of the local land shape my branding strategy. If you’re a business owner looking for objective perspectives or an individual considering entrepreneurship, this is a good place to find free (technically you’re paying for this with your tax dollars) counsel.
Chambers are a good resource if you’re willing to contribute on a committee or the board. It’s a good idea to find one you’re excited to support. Don’t join with a get mindset – figure out how you can most happily give and the returns will come. Merely showing up at networking meetings may leave you disappointed.
LINKS AND RESOURCES FROM THIS EPISODE:
Call Nanette: 540-400-7106
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