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Make it Big--Locally

Taking your business far and wide doesn't have to mean crossing state lines or landing national accounts.
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This story appears in the May 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It may seem contrary, but taking your business far and wide doesn't necessarily mean crossing state lines or landing national accounts. Take Wisconsin Natural Acres, for example. By forging alliances with exclusive and highly reputable local retailers, founder Douglas J. Schulz, 49, has made his Chilton, Wisconsin-based business--and the natural gourmet honey it produces--a local favorite. He projects year-end sales to reach $500,000. Follow these tips to turn your business into an icon without ever having to leave town:

  • Be visible in the community. Schulz and his team always try to do in-store demonstrations so they can educate customers about the product and adequately convey their passion for the business.
  • Arrange face-to-face meetings with local deal-makers. Schulz has won over retailers' trust and confidence with the help of in-person meetings.
  • Tap into the power of the internet. The internet can take a small business global-and it can help make a local business a phenomenon. Local review sites like Citysearch and Yelp have changed the way consumers make purchase decisions.
  • Get involved in the community. There's no better way to promote your business than by getting to know the people in your community. Join the chamber of commerce or do volunteer work. Help others in your community prosper, and you'll likely prosper.
  • Choose your partners carefully. Whether it's a retailer or a supplier, make sure the people you do business with are reputable and trustworthy.

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