Doing Business in San Jose: Traditional Tools and Beyond
On September 19th Business Owner Space (BOS) hosted a Doing Business in San Jose workshop in San Jose’s City Hall. The workshop focused on teaching entrepreneurs how to market their business through the use of digital tools. The workshop was separated into two categories, one focusing on funding, with panelists from KIVA, and the other focused on marketing, with panelists from Oakland Digital, Silicon Valley Talent Partnership (SVTP) and Milohas Pastries. The space was quickly filled with small business owners, eager to listen to the panelist’s stories, strategies and advice. It was interesting to see the enthusiasm and involvement from both the panelists and the audience.
The marketing panel was moderated by AnewAmerica’s Women’s Business Center Director, Roxanne Caldera. Panelists Shaun Tai, Lea King and Lina Prada-Baez came together to reveal how they successfully shared their story online and through social media to promote and expand their businesses.
Shaun Tai, founder of Oakland Digital, shared stories of how his company has helped small businesses embrace tech literacy and social media. Their primary focus is to teach entrepreneurs how to grow their business through the power of digital tools. In order to stand out from competitions, Shaun Tai mentioned the importance of branding your personal story through your logo. Your logo should be able to tell a story of who you are and what you stand for.
Lea King, executive director of Silicon Valley Talent Partnership, mentioned the digital accelerator program that SVTP is currently working on. The purpose of this program is to bridge the digital divide among small business owners and help them achieve success by improving their digital literacy and utilizing the power of social media. She brought up very important points of what a small business would need to succeed. Overall it is important to identify and keep in mind the overall goal and direction the business is heading in when developing your brand and logo. Once that is clearly identified, a business can begin to target corresponding consumers. Although it is very important to create an online presence, Lea notes that it is not necessary to be present on every platform of social media. Most importantly, it is necessary to develop your branding in a way that allows you to stick out from business competitors. I found this very crucial to note. I find it best to start promoting your business through one or two forms of social media and once you have built enough traction, it will be much easier to continue promoting and expanding your business through other platforms.
When creating the logo for SVTP, Lea mentioned minor details she incorporated to create an affordable logo that captures the essence of SVTP. The font and colors used for the logo were inspired by the font and color used in the logo of the city of San Jose, the city in which the company is based out of. The logo of people holding hands, simply reminds consumers of the company’s tagline of building #strongercommunities. As Shaun Tai stated, It is small details like this that help people differentiate your business and associate it to the expressed missions and overall goal.
Lina Prada-Baez, from Milohas Pasteries, discussed the importance of brand development during the early stages of a business. Being that Milohas is a family owned business that provides home cooked meals using a family recipe, the owners wanted the business to have a “homey” atmosphere to make their customers feel welcomed. When developing their logo, they chose a design that was simplistic and traditional.
Lina also touched upon the importance of sharing content through social media (I.e. facebook) to promote the company and events. She found it crucial to post information not only on the company’s social media, but also her own. By using both, Milohas was able to reach more people and produce a much larger affect than they had imagined.
Overall, A few of the key take-aways that I found crucial for small businesses to adhere to are…
- When developing a logo it is important that you keep in mind your company’s goal and mission in order to appeal to your customers.
- When developing a logo, you should chose a simple design that would stick out to your customers and allow them to easily differentiate you from other competing businesses – this can be done by carefully choosing an appropriate font, color and image to represent your business.
- Once this is done, you can begin building content online. This can be done by continually posting through one or two platforms of social media (typically facebook or twitter) and consistently using hashtags or phrases that will allow your customers to separate you from the rest
- When sharing content on social media, the use of photos is crucial. It can provide much more information to your customers than a single post. I often find a post to be much more effective when accompanied by an image.
I would like to thank BOS, AnewAmerica, the panelists and the audience for this enriching experience. It was a great opportunity to hear from various businesses in San Jose share their personal stories and see both the commonalities and differences among them. A special thanks as well to Milohas for catering the event with their mouthwatering empanadas!