Five Reasons to Attend Industry Trade Shows

We recently returned from our annual visit to Las Vegas, where PDRA once again sponsored the Paint & Accessories Show at the National Hardware Show® from May 5-7. In addition to giving us a change of scenery and some time away from the office, it reinforced just how valuable some time a trade show can be.

051915 NHSLogo_500Over the course of three days, we had an opportunity to check out some innovative new paint products, catch up on the hottest industry trends and make some amazing new connections. And we did it all in the name of improving our organization and service for you – our members.

But it’s not only international industry associations that can benefit from industry trade shows; whether you’re a thriving paint store in a big city or a mom-and-pop shop in a small community, trade shows are one of the best investments a small business can make.

Here are five reasons a trade show should be on every independent retailer’s calendar.

Networking. In addition to offering a huge and accessible advertising and marketing platform, trade shows are a fantastic way to network with other professionals in your industry. Not only do trade shows give you an opportunity to meet and establish rapport with vendors and potential customers, but the various presentations will also help you connect with industry experts. As an added bonus, you also get to scope out the competition and identify what they might be doing better than you.

Knowledge and expertise. Because trade shows attract wide range of visitors in the paint and decorating industry, attending them gives you the opportunity to gain knowledge on everything from growing trends to hot products and valuable resources. You’ll leave feeling inspired, creative and ready to renew your store and impress your customers with all of your new tips, tricks and suggestions for improving and beautifying their homes.

Image. Since they give you a wealth of information about the latest products and trends, attending trade shows not only provides you with expertise, but adds to your voice of authority in your industry. Trade shows are a sort of who’s who in the world of business, and your mere presence can establish your company as a leader. And If clients and customers know how dedicated you are to education, they’ll be more inclined to trust you over the competition (even if their prices are lower than yours!). And if you’re attending a trade show, don’t forget to let your social media followers know!

Professional development. One of the benefits of being a small business owner is having the freedom and opportunity to educate employees on everything there is to know about the industry. Because of the great deal of information at trade shows – from the various seminars to the countless product launches – they’re the perfect setting for professional development. Having a couple colleagues attend trade shows with you is also another fantastic way to establish expertise in your area, because having two or three highly knowledgeable salespeople working in the store is always better than one.

Fun! While having a booth at a trade show is a lot of work, it can’t be all work and no play. Packing a suitcase and getting out of your hometown for a few days is a fun experience and helps establish a healthier and happier work/life balance. Trade shows also give you something to look forward to every year and helps to kindle your passion for paint, decorating and business.

Get Educated With Our Upcoming Webinar Series

One of the many benefits of being a PDRA member is the wealth of knowledge you’ll receive about everything from new paint products to small business management and everything in between. Our webinars, in particular, are perhaps one of the most valuable benefits of membership.

051215 Ipad-new-WebsiteEducational and highly engaging, our popular webinars are great for communicating and connecting with a large amount of people while helping small business grow. In today’s highly competitive market, tuning into these dynamic webinars can be a powerful tool for giving your business an advantage over the competition. The more webinars you watch, the more you increase your expertise as not only a successful business owner, but also as a leading expert in your industry.

Here is a list our upcoming webinars. Be sure to sign up and get ahead!

June 9, 10 a.m. (CST)

Making more money because you have a business plan

The old adage of ‘planning to fail because of failing to plan’ rings true with a paint store. Having a business plan can help you eliminate mistakes because you have made decisions in advance. You know what type of customer you are targeting so you will make fewer merchandising mistakes. You know what kind of employees you want so you will make fewer hiring errors. Just like preventive maintenance on the equipment in your store, this preventive maintenance is a great way to play for the best future for your store.

August 11, 10 a.m. (CST)

The budget: like paint by number for your business

Too many stores look at their year-end financials051215 PDRA_Webinar_500 and then wonder how they achieved what they did, or wonder what happened over the past year. Those businesses that have a budget know from month to month how they are on target to achieve their goals as well as tune their business. Just a painter needs the right tools for their business, this is a ‘right tool’ for your business.

October 13, 10 a.m. (CST)

Black Ink: Cash flow management secrets your accountant never shared

How about a crystal ball for your business? What if you could know a year in advance how much inventory and how much cash your business would have? That would surely allow you to take advantage of many more opportunities as well as avoid mistakes by having too little cash on hand. This class will help you to know how to accurately make those projections.

December 8, 10 a.m. (CST)

Why inventory control makes money for your business

To everything there is a season; not only was that a popular song and Old Testament scripture, it is how good businesses know how to control their inventory. This webinar will show you how to monitor your sales history and accurately use that to keep the right amount of inventory on hand.

Five Thoughtful Ways to Combine Paint and Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and if there’s one thing most moms would agree on, it’s that they’d rather receive something handmade by their most prize possessions than something that was purchased at the last minute.

Not only does a handmade Mother’s Day gift signify extra time, thought and effort on your end, but it’s 100 per cent unique. Instead of digging out the crayons and markers for a homemade greeting card, we’re giving you five fantastic ideas for incorporating paint into your Mother’s Day gift.

From simple and sweet to truly going above and beyond, these ideas are ranked from easiest to most challenging so you have lots of options for choosing the perfect painted present for the woman who turned you into the masterpiece that you are.

050515 1_FlowerVase_250Chalkboard Painted Flower Vase: A bouquet of fresh flowers is a popular Mother’s Day gift, but you can make it extra special by painting a simple vase with trendy black chalkboard paint. Once it dries, you can write a sweet message to your mom and she’ll be able to have it as a keepsake forever. You’ll get extra points if you keep the vase filled with a fresh floral arrangement all year round!

Ombre Paint Chip Calendar : Perfect for any busy 050515 2_PaintChipCalendar_250mom, this Mother’s Day gift idea is an affordable way to create something beautiful with paint swatches. To make it personalized to her tastes, subtly find out what her favorite colors are and vertically arrange the chosen paint chips from lightest to darkest and place inside of a large picture frame. She’ll be able to keep her schedule clean and organized from month to month while seeing her favorite hues on a daily basis.

Homemade Wall Art with Spray Paint: Add some color and natural beauty 050515 3_WallArt_500into Mom’s life and home by creating homemade wall art with a blank canvas, leaves, acrylic and spray paint. This project looks beautiful when aligned with four canvases so you’ll want to set aside some time to complete 050515 4_Furniture_250each one.

Refurbish Old Furniture: If you’ve noticeda piece of furniture that’s in dire need of a fresh, new, updated look, Mother’s Day is the perfect time to refurbish an old chest, bookshelf, table or night stand as a thank-you for all the hard work she’s done for you. And since the “shabby-chic” look is trending right now, beginners are able to nail this rustic style even if they’ve never done a project like this before.050515 5_Makeover_250

Bedroom Makeover: For the ultimate above-and-beyond Mother’s Day gift this year, a bedroom makeover is sure to let her know you appreciate her dedication, sacrifices and love over the years. Find out what her ideal bedroom color is and take the time to turn her domain into the room of her dreams. While this gift probably won’t be a surprise (unless you do it while she’s out of town for a few days), she’ll definitely be thrilled by the idea.

 

Color Psychology and Four Powerful Hues for Your Home

When people think about all the ways they can improve their mood on a daily basis, their first instinct might be to log more hours sweating at the gym or to treating themselves to a comforting piece of rich milk chocolate. However, one of the easiest and most organic ways to alter your perception in life is by adding certain hues to the walls in your home.

042815 PaintColors_500The fascinating thing about colors is that they have a powerful effect on your mood, so much so that specific tones are even used in therapy for their proven calming and tranquil effects on the brain.

Whether you want to transform a bedroom into an oasis of relaxation or make your home office an energetic space that helps you feel invigorated and ready to tackle your projects, specific colors can help you do it all. Enhance the look and feel of your home with these four popular hues and the tips on what to do with them:

Red. The poster child of passion, fire and power, vivacious red is a classic and timeless shade that awakens all of your senses and never goes unnoticed. It can be used to create intimacy or, when paired with other neutral shades, can add a wild pop of color for a perfect balance.

  • From crimson to merlot to muted marsala, red shades are beautiful as an accent wall with neutrals.
  • Sizzling and romantic, deep reds are perfect as the main shade in bedrooms. Just make sure you get enough sunlight or the room could look a little too dreary.
  • If you love the powerful essence of red but aren’t quite ready to take the plunge, a bright front red door is always a stylish use of the color.

Blue. Beautiful blue is a complex shade that has the power to relax or energize you, depending on the tint and temperature. It evokes a natural feeling of calm, soothing freshness and is known to help make people feel happy and rejuvenated.

  • Because it’s such a relaxing shade, designers suggest using light and airy shades in common areas like the living room and bathroom.
  • To make a room seem larger, this light shade can be painted in a ceiling to mimic a clear, blue sky.
  • Classic and timeless, blue is a hue that will work in any room of any home and during all seasons.

Green. Fresh and reminiscent of nature and renewal, green is another relaxing shade that’s known for its powers of inspiration and optimism. Versatile and calming, there are so many rich and muted shades that work in all areas of the home while adding a light elegance that’s sure to lift your spirits.

  • Soothing and earthy, green can be used in the bedroom for a relaxing oasis or add in the bathroom for a comforting spa-like experience.
  • To make your home feel more rustic, designers love pairing olive or moss greens with natural wood, as they’re highly complimentary and a beautiful tribute to the beauty of the outdoors.
  • For a fresh, classic and elegant look in the main living area, you can never go wrong with a rich green and creamy white duo.

Yellow. Perfect for triggering feel-good vibrations, sparking creative juices and creating a positive ambiance, there is no shade more cheerful than yellow. With a wide spectrum of hues like pale, mustard, sun-kissed or muted, the options are endless for incorporating this beautiful shade042815 Yellow_LR_500 into your home.

  • Want to make a common room more soothing? Opt for a saturated or buttery tint. Looking to expand the space in a room? Pale will be your best bet, as it’s natural and reflects light. And if your overall goal is to bring a heavenly ambiance to your home, opt for a cheerful bright tone.
  • Create warmth in your kitchen with a saturated yellow, as it’ll make it cozy yet clean and fresh.
  • Embrace the natural, old-world charm by adding brown accents to your yellow additions.

5 Smart Mobile Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

5 Smart Mobile Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Did you know nine out of 10 adults in the U.S. have a cellphone, and more than half of those are smartphones?

As a small business, it can be difficult to keep up with the evolution of technology. But as the number of people using mobile devices for shopping continues to grow, not having an effective mobile marketing strategy is a sure-fire way to lose business and revenue.

To help you keep up with the current trends, and to better connect with your mobile customer base, take a look at these five smart mobile marketing tips for small businesses:

Set Specific Goals. If you’re unfamiliar with the world of mobile marketing, it can be daunting to take the first move into this new and unknown digital world. But like any new venture for your business, 042115 PDRA_MM_500the initial step is to set goals and to tie them into your existing marketing plan. Determine exactly what you want your mobile marketing launch or website app to accomplish – both short and long term:

  • Will it promote a special offer?
  • Build brand awareness?
  • Sell more products and services?
  • Drive traffic to your website?

 

Keep It Easy To Read And Navigate. When launching a mobile app or website, one of the most important things to consider is that it absolutely must be easy to read on a smartphone, iPad or tablet. Because these devices are smaller, the bold and flashy HTML-based format you would generally use on computers simply doesn’t work anymore. Not only are simple and straightforward mobile web pages more visually appealing, but they’ll run faster, too. It’s a general rule-of-thumb that if a webpage takes more than three seconds to fully load,042115 PDRA_MM2_500 your potential customer might get frustrated and leave before it even opens.

Mobile Coupons. Treat your new mobile customers to a special gift for using your brand new app with an incentive program, exclusive coupon or first-purchase discount. Customers will be thrilled to receive these special perks and will likely check back more often for more exciting promotions from your business.

Get Social. Social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have become notorious for giving people an outlet for constant sharing. Use this to your advantage by giving them something extra special to share by providing giveaways and special offers for fans and followers that “like,” “retweet,” “pin” or comment on your promotions. This desire to share and connect can be a powerful tool in gaining loyal customers and growing your mobile webpage or app.

Give Users an Opt-Out Option. As unfortunate as it may be, there will be times that a customer decides they no longer want to receive notifications from your business. Whether it’s for your e-blast, coupon or mobile newsletter, give your users a clear opt-out option for their convenience.

 

Five Effective Ways to Build Customer Rapport

Creating trusting relationships is crucial in all areas of the business world, and especially when it comes to customers. You could be the most passionate and knowledgeable paint and decorating retailer in your city, but if your customers and clients don’t trust you, you probably won’t receive their business.

Independent retailers, however, have an advantage when it comes to building rapport with customers. Since independent shops are generally smaller, salespeople have more time and freedom to make lasting connections, create brand advocates and – ultimately – increase retention. And because of the local nature of your business, the opportunity for positive word-of-mouth is much greater.

To help you and your employees hone in on your rapport-building skills, take a look at these 5 effective tips.

Match Their Style. Within the first few moments of 041515 BuildRapport_400 (3)approaching a customer in your store, take a few seconds to try to gauge their communication style. Does it seem like they’re in an open, friendly mood, or do you get the impression they would rather side-step the small talk and get down to business? Every customer is different and some might not have a lot of time to politely talk about the weather before explaining what they need to purchase. They’ll appreciate if you match their style to make their shopping experience as quick and efficient or as relaxing and leisurely as possible.

Get To Know Them. From the moment the customer walks into your store, your first priority should always be to make them feel welcome and special. If the person is open to chatting (see No. 1), there is a great opportunity to build a strong foundation by asking their name and learning a little bit about them. Actively listen to their wants, needs, projects and problems in a friendly way so they’ll know you’re not only there to help, but that they can come back for more excellent service in the future with someone who knows their entire story.

Body Language. Let your customers know you’re actively engaged in what they’re saying by presenting open body language. Face your body towards 041515 Rapport_HappyFaces_400 (3)theirs and nod along while they’re explaining their wants and needs. Since 55 per cent of your communication comes through non-verbal elements like gestures, facial expressions and posture, your customers can easily tell whether the salesperson is actually interested in what they’re saying. By remaining engaged in the conversation, your body language will tell your customers that you’re a good listener and value their business.

Solve Problems Before Selling Products. One of the best ways to build rapport with customers is to solve before you sell. If a person comes into your store with a particular issue and has a salesperson pushing unhelpful products on them, it could result in the loss of not only a sale, but also a future customer and the repercussions of bad word-of-mouth. However, if a customer notices the salesperson is offering helpful suggestions before and beyond a purchase, they’ll trust that you’re in the business to help them instead of simply making a sale – and likely pass along the good word.

Follow Up & Stay Connected. Building rapport with clients and customers doesn’t always happen in one visit. Take the time to send follow-up emails asking your customers how they enjoyed their product or how a certain project turned out. And if you have social media accounts, pay attention to the comments and direct messages from customers and inquirers, as most people use them as a way of communication with businesses they love. Social media engagements are a great way to not only market your business, but also maintain relationships with customers outside of the store.

 

Five Ways to Send an Eco-Friendly Message this Earth Day

The fresh spring season is in full swing, and with it comes one of the most important and widely celebrated days of the year – Earth Day!

Honoring the earth is a smart way to not only benefit the environment, but your small business. By making small changes to the way you run and operate your company, you can consistently send an eco-friendly message to clients, customers, colleagues, employees and your community.

Here are five ideas that will not only help reduce your carbon footprint this season, but strengthen your brand and reputation. Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22.

Embrace Online Marketing. E-marketing is quickly becoming the best way to run campaigns and advertise your business. Not only is this technological advancement more eco-friendly since it significantly040815 EarthDay_500 reduces the amount of paper waste, but it’s a huge advantage for small businesses because it’s also incredibly cost-effective. Social media, e-blasts and newsletters are inexpensive ways to connect with your clients and customers in a smart and tree-free way.

If You Must, Use Recycled Paper. In certain situations, it’s simply impossible to cut out paper completely. However, a great way to send an eco-friendly message is to use recycled paper or paper made from post-consumer materials. For important marketing pieces like brochures or business cards, a fantastic way to easily demonstrate and promote your eco-commitment is to pay the extra few dollars for greener, more environmentally-friendly paper. As an added bonus, its natural look and unique texture is sure to impress recipients.

Promote Local Vendors & Artisans. Working with local vendors and artisans is a great green business practice because it connects you with more members of your community and greatly reduces the impact of carbon emissions from the long-distance deliveries of products. Whether you team up with painters, crafters or designers, your customers will love having access to unique home decor pieces from the community.

Invest in Green Products. Going green doesn’t mean you or your customers have to sacrifice in the quality of paint and decorating products. The market for eco-friendly paint has grown tremendously and most brands offer eco-friendly options that aren’t as harsh and detrimental to the environment as some of the others. Make sure your store offers a wide range of paint products so you’re sure to appeal to the eco-conscious consumer.

Donate To A Good Cause. Earth Day is the perfect time to make a charitable donation to an environmental cause. If promoted and communicated in an efficient way, your customers and community members will also love taking part in the initiative and it will greatly reinforce your commitment to being a great, green eco-friendly business.

5 Traits Every Small Business Owner Should Strive For

Running an independent business is hard work. Running a successful independent business is even harder.

If there’s one thing setting your company apart, however, it’s you – the business owner.

But as you’ve probably realized over the years, nobody’s perfect. And there’s always room for improvement. So whether you’re just starting out or already counting down the days to retirement, here are five traits every small business owner should strive for.

Passion.Passion_400 033115 Passion is perhaps one of the most important traits a business owner can have. If you don’t have an overall sense of pleasure, happiness and enjoyment when you’re clocking in those long hours, you will burn out, fade away or both. Also, passion is contagious. It will motivate your coworkers to go above and beyond and keep your customers coming back for years.

Tenacity. Whether you own a restaurant, a pet store or a paint and decorating shop, there will come a time when business isn’t as great as you would like. No matter the cause of the lull, the one thing that will get you through this tough time is your tenacity. Successful business owners are not easily defeated and often find ways to see failures as opportunities for growth and success.

Outside Abilities. In today’s highly digital world, simply handing out promotional flyers to attract customers to your business isn’t going to cut it. Small business owners, no matter which industry they’re in, have to hone in on their various skills to ensure success. Entrepreneur_400 033115Whether it’s social media savvy, marketing expertise or an eye for design, take full advantage of your arsenal of talents. And, of course, never be afraid to pick up new ones.

Flexibility. Successful business owners know that it’s important to stay flexible and open to the market changes around them. No matter what kind of business you own, there’s a good chance that everything is done differently now than it was 10 – or even five – years ago. The ability to adapt will keep your business fresh, present and open to new challenges while establishing your brand as an industry leader.

Confidence. Whether your goals are to strengthen your social media presence or increase your monthly sales target, the most important trait you should have as a business owner is confidence. You have to believe in yourself, your company and what it is you’re selling. If you don’t, who else will? If your business has grown from a place of passion and confidence, all of your goals will be succeeded.

 

5 Paint Colors to Freshen up Your Home This Spring

With its fresh blossoms, warm breezes and the essence of new beginnings, it’s no wonder spring is one of the most popular seasons of the year. Springtime_500 032415And while most people use springtime to clean their homes and businesses, another fabulous benefit of this fresh new season is that it’s the perfect opportunity to revamp the look of your home with trendy and stylish spring shades of paint.

In the spirit of renewal, here are five of the most swoon-worthy paint colors to add style and sophistication to your home decor.

Coral. If you’re looking for a way to add a bright punch of color to a room in your home this spring, feminine and vivacious coral might be your perfect pick. While it’s currently trending in both fashion and home decor, one of the most special qualities about coral is that it has an incredible amount of versatility with design – it’s traditional and vintage, yet elegantly modern. Whether you use this endlessly gorgeous shade in your bedroom, sunroom or living room, it’s sure to add a fun touch to your home.

Sandy beige. Create drama, allure and a sense of overall calmness in your home with a classic sandy beige. While spring is all about fresh colors and bright shades, a classic neutral can be all it takes to take your home from winter-induced drab to a fresh, renewed fab. To make the most of this artisan-like color, designers suggest using it in a room that has a good amount of natural light or it can become too dark and dreary. It looks especially fabulous with a punch of color from a bookcase or accent wall.

Caribbean blue. Few shades are more BM_CaribbeanBlueWater_500 032415 (1)inspirational and relaxing than an ocean water-like blue. A perfect contender for your living room, kitchen or home office, this bright, clean color is ideal for spring re-decorating because it’s modern yet traditional enough that it’ll never go out of style. For a fresh, rejuvenated shade, we love the crisp look of Benjamin Moore’s Caribbean Blue Water.

Tangerine. Zestful and loud (in a good way!), this bright and cheerful shade is the perfect choice for people looking to add a bold statement with their decor. While it’s gorgeous in its most vibrant and saturated intensity, tangerine is best used as an accent wall in a dark room or can be less intense when used for entire walls in a quieter, more muted shade. Whether you like it completely vibrant or a little on the subtle side, a sweet tangerine is the perfect compliment for the airy vibrance of the spring season.

Cream. Some things in life are simply classic, and a rich, velvety cream is most certainly one of them. We love this shade because while totally neutral, it has a fresh, clean essence that completely captures the spring season. Whether paired with a coral, sandy beige, caribbean blue or tangerine accent wall, this complimentary shade envelops you with a calm, relaxed feeling that will stay in style every season.

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