Dan Smith may hold the title Economic Development Director for the City of Kent but all of us play one every day as we go about our lives making purchasing decisions about where to eat, where to get a hair cut and where to hire a plumber. In the old days before the advent of the internet we tended to stay closer to home to buy what we needed because we liked doing business with people we knew and had developed relationships with in our hometown. Did we pay a little more for something here and there because of it, maybe, but we didn’t necessarily know better and frankly hometown convenience and service was worth something. With the explosion of the internet we can shop all over the world if we want to. And we don’t limit what we buy to stores, we buy from people just like us on eBay. Lost in the mix has been that hometown touch but here’s a local Kent entrepreneur who’s looking to change that one shop at a time in Kent.
It’s always been pretty tough for the small business owner to compete for consumer attention with the big boys that have deep advertising and marketing resources. The small town shop owner can’t pay for a billboard display but he/she can be in Rotary, Kiwanis or the Lion’s Club and have lunch with you every week to win your business the old fashioned way. The small shops fought back on the strength of their local contacts and personal touch with us consumers.
But old fashioned can become irrelevant if we’re not careful and with your business on the line irrelevant is not something you can afford to be. With that in mind, the internet may ultimately prove to be the great equalizer. It let’s the little guy at least share the stage with the big guys if you look hard enough to find them.
That’s where social networking on the web began to reveal the untapped potential of the internet to be the next evolution of customer relationship building. The internet has opened up a Tsunami of customer choices, which is good if you can figure out which is the best choice for you. And that’s where entrepreneurs see the potential to combine trusted social networks with consumer choices by sorting out the choices for you — and even offering price discounts as well.
One new example of that is happening right here in Kent. I received a note this week from an emerging new businessman who is looking to give his business networking idea a run the money. He calls his web service Kent Campus Cash and while it’s starting with a student focus he’s hoping it will grow into the larger market of the whole community.
Here’s a peek into what he’s up to.
Hey Dave, I was searching through my Google search results and I came across your site. Looks pretty interesting. I am a Kent State student about to graduate in a week and I started my own discount website for the Kent community. It’s generally targeted to the students, but anyone in the community can use it. The URL is www.kentcampuscash.com. Our mission is provide an area where we can link the businesses around Kent to the community with one website.