Weekly blog from the N.C. Retail Merchants Association
By: Jeanne Eury
One of the things I love most about my job is visiting NCRMA members. I had the pleasure of meeting Margaret Barrett last week of Barrett’s Printing House, a 120-year-old, family-owned business in Wilson. The business struck the perfect balance of respecting and celebrating the past while confidently keeping step with the times. I saw traditional wedding invitations alongside ingenious fans for outside weddings with the entire wedding program printed on the fan. I heard Margaret take huge corporate orders with the same calm and helpful manner that she used while walking a customer through a small business card order. Customer service, professional knowledge, expertise in execution, and accessible products … isn’t that the description every business longs for?
During our visit two of Margaret’s comments struck a chord that I wanted to share with you. She said, “educate yourself every chance you get,” and “I look forward to every day being different and presenting new challenges and opportunities.” Her attitude about the family business and staying on top of changes in the marketplace embodies the New Year’s theme of this month’s blog posts.
As you are reflecting on your business operations for 2016, you have probably identified a few areas for change or improvement. You may have questions about what services are available to help you save time and/or money and to run your business more smoothly and profitably. Retailers join NCRMA for numerous reasons, but many tell us a year or two into their membership that they were unaware of the additional services membership affords. In addition to legislative advocacy and educational opportunities, your membership also connects you to a group of professional business services that can assist you with various business operations necessities. [Note: At NCRMA’s headquarters we walk the talk and use many of the services we promote so that we know they are beneficial!]
Member Services Have Been Thoroughly Vetted to Ensure Savings to Members
If one of your challenges is in human resources, we have several services for you to review. If you run background checks (or haven’t because you didn’t know the legalities or where and how to start), Background Direct offers a system for micro- to medium-sized businesses. If struggling through researching the best health care plans for your company, Hodges Insurance can talk with you and design package options to fit your needs. Payroll services are a lifesaver – make sure to let Flex-Pay, a local North Carolina company give you a quote. Many of you are using First Benefits Insurance Mutual for your workers’ compensation insurance already but if you aren’t, be sure to ask your agent to provide a quote at your next renewal. Affordable workers’ compensation insurance is NCRMA’s most popular benefit.
Several of our members are eager to maximize their marketing, e-marketing, and social media presence. SnapRetail is a calendar marketing system organizing Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and email marketing with hundreds of pre-written posts and email templates to make sure you always have something fun and interesting to convey to your customers. They provide training on these programs as well. Additionally, this year we’ve added the professional services of a public relations firm to our member services. Largemouth Communications can offer comprehensive communications audits as well as plan complete store opening and rebranding programs.
If security is on your mind this year (and it should be), we have options for both internet security and infrastructure security. Benton Technology acts as an extension of your team by providing IT support to businesses of all sizes. No need to have a full-time tech support staff member, Benton is there when you need them. Heritage Payment Solutions has worked this past year with many of our members, assuring they were up to date with the credit card/EMV changes. With secure systems from Heritage, and monitoring from Benton Technology, your internet security is one less challenge to face. In addition, ASG Security offers great physical security packages for NCRMA members for both home and business locations with remote monitoring and secure access.
As many of you are participating in e-commerce this year and will need shipping and packing options, UPS provides discounts for NCRMA members based on their volume of shipping. As with our other services, you may find more information and a list of the offers for NCRMA members on the Membership drop-down on our website.
As Margaret so wisely stated, “educate yourself every chance you get” so that the challenges and opportunities that present themselves to you daily as a business owner aren’t overwhelming. And remember, you aren’t in this alone. You have NCRMA’s 114 years of experience and knowledge as your partner, advisor, and resource. You have access to information in our online Resource Library, peers in our online Councils, and answers from our staff every day via phone or email.
I’ve included a photograph here of a striking mirror frame Margaret, Barrett’s Printing House in Wilson, made using old printing press letters. How cool!