Expanding On The Grapevine Method

communication with consumersThe small business world is collectively holding their breathe in anticipation for what could possibly happen with the health care reform bill.   Till that time comes to pass, it is all about communications.

All business sizes rely on the classic concept of communication. The aim of communicating that a business exists involves television, social media networking, Internet advertising, business websites, and a slew of other methods.   However, the old ways are still the best ways for small businesses.

The power of communicating, via electronic methods, are well-documented to hold new keys to success.   Businesses that have something to offer to the public have taken to the net and expanded mega empires.   Success stories with their achievements or ground-breaking ideas make the front pages of business and entrepreneur magazines.   The concept grows that the only way to be successful is to be on-line. This is certainly not the case; otherwise, small businesses would have been gone ten years ago.   It does not hurt to keep using the wheel as it is today, yet there is a need to be creative with the new age innovations but it will require work.

Readdressing The Grapevine Method

There is a balancing act small business has never failed to establish among themselves (much like the larger corporations), and the concept is the grapevine method.

The grapevine method involves a small business owner being that pioneer for and in the community. Small business owners rely heavily on the word of mouth, via the interaction of customers and the community at large. The in-person communication is an effective method to keep customers coming back, or customers recommending others to the business.   Since the majority of small business owners realize this method (and utilize it fairly decently) it is time to incorporate small businesses being in communication with each other via social media. If small businesses are a fairly common sight for locals and tourists in high-traffic areas, this should be especially effective.

The Concept We All Know

A consumer stands on the block where a row of small businesses starts in his or her town. The consumer has a goal to get in some retail therapy shopping. It has been a hard week and by golly they want to see what you have to offer.   The consumer enters the X store and the small business owner greets the consumer, offers help, and continues on with prepping the store for business.

After a while, the consumer has found a product after taking a walk through the selection. The consumer is checking out, and the small business owner is chit-chatting. (Of course this is the casual talk when interacting with the public.) The small business owner gets around to saying something along the lines of mentioning lunch or dinner, and recommends another small business owners’ establishment two doors down. The small business owner has eaten there before and recommends the Y restaurant to the consumer.

Now, a small business owner could just recommend the place or, relay an abbreviated Twitter message received earlier in the day saying what they were going to be fixing for the day.   (The daily specials menu/highlights.)   This is a method that could give the small business owner an inside track to what is happening within their world of the small business block. This has all been accomplished without having to leave the store, yet it is promoting the grapevine method for the small business community.


Communities that have a wealth of small businesses thrive the best.   Small businesses contribute the most return, the bang for the buck, for the community compared to larger businesses.

The above concept for small businesses communicating, via a social media tool locally, essentially re-tools how much business is kept in the local community; not to mention the small business owners form a greater bond of working together.

So, don’t forget to set up a Twitter account for the local consumer to follow your small business. What a terrific way to promote specials, and be active in the community!

Rachel Breet RichmondAbout The Guest Author: Rachel “Breet” Richmond is a freelance writer residing in Richmond, VA. Her experience includes the different aspects of collections.   Her interests are in the environment, news items of the day, and researching new/different topics.


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