March 8, 2017
Meet the stars of SBR: Julie Gordon of Deluxe
In our “Meet the stars of SBR” series, we highlight the individuals behind the scenes of the Small Business Revolution and interview them to learn more about their experience working with business owners across the nation and why small businesses are essential.
Julie Gordon’s infectious energy and endless enthusiasm – not to mention her unmatched marketing chops – make her a perfect addition to the Small Business Revolution team.
She works closely with all of the businesses featured in the Small Business Revolution series in her role as Deluxe’s director of marketing partnerships. Part of her role is developing relationships with the small business owners in the winning town and overseeing their work with Deluxe. Julie digs in deep and gets to know the town and its business community, as well as the wants and needs of the area’s entrepreneurs. We caught up with Julie to talk about the importance of supporting small businesses, interesting projects from Season 1, and what we can expect in the Small Business Revolution Season 2.
Tell us a little bit about your role on the SBR team.
I have the good fortune working hand in hand with the featured business owners on their marketing plans. I spend quite a bit of time upfront understanding their overall goals, what makes their business unique, what types of customers they are trying to attract, and how to cost-effectively bring in new business. Once the plans are developed to meet these goals, my primary responsibility is to work with our team at Deluxe to implement these ideas on behalf of the businesses.
Why is it so important to support small businesses?
If you consider the impact small businesses have in creating jobs, sparking innovation and providing unique products and services, it’s easy to understand how vital they are to making our communities and economy more vibrant. When you watch Season 1, you can really see this type of impact come to life – from the pampered shopping experience at Ellen’s Bridal & Dress Boutique, to the curated, locally-made goods available at Eclectic Shoppe, to the employee-centric mindset at Schlemmer Brothers. These businesses help make Wabash an exponentially better place to live.
What has been most inspiring or surprising about the series for you?
What amazed me in Season 1 was witnessing how deeply the business owners cared about their downtown neighbors and the community at large. Sure, they wanted their own businesses to be successful, but what was so impressive and humbling to see was how much they wanted to make their main street stronger holistically. It played out in many ways, including planning events together, making infinite referrals, shopping at each other’s businesses, or just sharing a simple “thumbs up” when passing by each other’s storefront.
What’s one of the most common marketing mistakes you see small business owners making?
As it pertains to marketing, one of the biggest opportunities for small business owners is to improve how their story is told online. How many times have you wanted to share a newly discovered “hidden gem” with your friends, only to find the business didn’t have a website or a Facebook profile that truly represented the in-person experience you just had? Today, 50 percent of small businesses still don’t have a web presence, and those that do often struggle with how to translate their unique qualities online. The series really addresses how to overcome this hurdle.
What’s one of the easiest ways small business owners can improve their marketing?
Setting goals. Marketing can be challenging no matter what, but if you identify and set monthly goals for your business, it will help you become more decisive where to invest your time and your dollars. One of the most helpful things to understand is how much a new customer is worth to your business – is it $50, $500 or some other value? Once you know that number, you’ll have an easier time figuring out how to spend your marketing budget.
What are some of the most interesting business problems you’ve worked on?
In Season 1, it would have to be the marketing plan for Ellen’s Bridal & Dress Boutique. The wedding and prom business has so many inherent challenges given the high-dollar, low purchase frequency nature of the business located in a small town. Instead of trying to solve how to get more brides or prom-goers in the door, our team approached the problem more broadly by looking at ways to make Wabash a bridal destination. Owner Lisa Downs is really moving this idea forward.
What excites you about Season 2 of the Small Business Revolution?
Season 2 has already started with so much energy. We’ve experienced record-breaking nominations and votes, as well as an extraordinary number of business owners applying to be part of the series within the Bristol Borough community. Our team is looking forward to digging in to help the six selected businesses make their downtown a destination.