Unemployment has reached a record low in September, and small business confidence is gaining. Nevertheless, many small businesses across American still need a boost in order to compete with big-name stores and online retailers.
Ty Pennington, from “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” and marketing expert Amanda Brinkman are helping to revitalize small businesses, one town at a time.
On “Small Business Revolution: Main Street,” Brinkman, chief brand and communications officer at Deluxe Corporation, explained on The Final Round that “we’re really trying to prove this thesis that if you have a strong small business core, an entire town can thrive.”
Deluxe commits $500,000 each season to help fund the hyper-local facelifts of six businesses. And while Brinkman says access to capital is one thing all businesses struggle with, it’s more abstract things that really help businesses stand out.
“Even if you’re in a small town, local search is the name of the game,” Brinkman said, explaining the strategy she brings to the show. “They don’t necessarily know…what their numbers are telling them.”
“Let’s face it: Main Street probably has more struggles than anybody because on the big highways, and the big malls, that’s where the shopping is done,” Pennington said.
Brinkman taps into her marketing expertise to help owners make “better decisions about the future of their business based on the numbers themselves. … We see small businesses across the country struggling with not knowing how to use marketing and then not knowing their numbers.”
‘A makeover show with heart’
The show has asked viewers to vote on which town to feature each season. Wabash, Indiana, and Bristol Borough, just outside of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, got makeovers in the first two seasons. Season 3, which debuted on Friday, takes on the small town of Alton, Illinois. The series is currently accepting nominations for Season 4.
In each case, the revitalizations have focused on maintaining the histories of the towns, which often hold a large part in the heart of the communities.
“What is so fantastic about this show is that you shine light on Main Street and the small mom-and-pop shops that make up that personality of the town,” Pennington said.
Brinkman called “Small Business Revolution” a “makeover show with heart,” and Pennington noted that they have to remember how personal these projects are for the business owners.
“You’re really rebuilding a business, not just a structure,” he said. “You’re helping … somebody who’s put their life dreams into it.”
Time is as valuable as money
Brinkman also offered some advice for individuals who might be considering starting their own business.
“Start small,” she said. “It’s very tempting when you have an idea to think about all the things your business could potentially be. … Start out with what you can afford and then build the business from there.”
The marketing expert explained how easy it can be to take on all responsibilities as a new business owner, but recommended delegating as much as possible to others.
“There just isn’t enough time in the day,” she said. “Figure out what you uniquely can do to grow your business. … Make sure you’re focusing your time there and thinking of your time as a resource that is as valuable as your money.”
“Small Business Revolution: Main Street” streams on Deluxe’s website.
Katie is an editor at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.