Carolyn Browne Tamler

has helped hundreds of businesses and organizations with her thoughtful facilitation and research services. She also writes colorful and compelling articles about new business initiatives! Would this help you? Call Carolyn today!

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    p:| 360.222.6820
    c:| 425.351.7531

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    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    5-3-12 Three basic ideas when thinking about how to increase your business 

    When you’re thinking about how to best use your dollars for marketing, here are the three ways I approach this:

     1)      It is always easiest to sell more to those who are already buying your product or service;

    2)      You are more likely to sell to new customers who are much like the customers you already have; and

    3)      It is hardest to sell to new people about whom you have little information.

    Item 1 assumes that you do everything to keep your customers happy so they’ll want to keep coming back to you.

    Item 2 is based on the idea that the kinds of people who really appreciate you, what you sell, and how you do business are likely to want to do business with you….once they know who you are.

    Item 3 means it can be very expensive to simply place an advertisement without knowing details about the audience that will see the advertisement.

    So, two wise ways to use your advertising dollars are to promote your business to current satisfied customers and to ask your customers for referrals to others they think will want to do business with you.


    4-26-12 The second simplest marketing research tool: “How did you learn about my business?”

    When someone comes into your store, or contacts you to purchase your product or service, be sure to ask how they found out about your business---and, keep track of what you learn.

    If you are already doing this…..that’s great! 

    Are you keeping a record of what you learn?

    Asking this question and keeping a record of the responses is important, so that you can see where to place your energy and dollars to promote your business. 

    On Whidbey, there is certainly a lot of word-of-mouth business, but we also have newspapers, emails, Drew’s List, bulletin boards, brochures, and promotions for non-profits (hopefully, you’ve heard me mention businesses that support the Whidbey Children’s Theater, for example).

    When you have a sale or any kind of special promotion, it is especially important to keep track of what brings potential customers to you.

    Be aware also, that advertising and promotion that works well may vary.  It is not uncommon for something to work great for a while, and then suddenly not be as effective in generating business for you. 

    That’s why it’s so important to continue to check on what works, and if something isn’t working as well as it used to, try something new.



    4-19-12 The simplest marketing research tool

    The most basic information needed when you run a store front business or a business out of your home is where do your customers live.

    A simple method to answer this question is to create a system where you get the zip code of every person who comes into your business or contacts you to make a purchase.  This can be done on a computer or by doing listings and hatch marks on a piece of paper near your register (OK, I know this doesn’t sound very high-tech, but it works).

    You can keep track of these zip code tabulations by the month or season, or after you have done a new advertisement or promotion.

    Once you see the patterns, it can provide you with valuable information about where, geographically, to focus your advertising dollars.


    4-12-12 Building a community while you build a business

    This last weekend, Rich and I participated in the annual Clinton Easter Egg Hunt.  This has been going on for close to 20 years, and as I handed out prizes I heard a mom comment that she came to this event when she was a child.

    No one did a formal count, but there were certainly hundreds of people – adults with their children – that participated.

    This event could not occur with out strong leadership (this year, Kathy Craven of Craven Insurance), lots of volunteers and contributions from the business community.

    I particularly noticed prizes from five Clinton businesses:

    • ·         Neil’s Clover Patch Café – free child’s milkshake
    • ·         Pickles Deli – free pickle
    • ·         Anchor Books and Coffee – free child’s hot chocolate
    • ·         Dairy Queen – free child’s sundae
    • ·         Critters and Company – free gold fish

     I did an informal check with the business owners, and, not surprisingly, learned that when a parent came in to get a child’s prize, other purchases were usually made.

    How great to contribute to a wonderful community event and build business at the same time!



    4-5-12 Collaboration is a great tool for building business

    While visiting Dr. Craig Weiner’s Chiropractic Zone office in Bayview the other day, I commented on the lovely photographs by Tom Trimbath that are being displayed.

    Craig told me that he likes to have new artwork every couple of months.  By letting his office be used as a gallery, he always has a lovely and interesting environment for his patients.  The artist loves having the work shown (and often they sell a lot through Dr. Craig), and the artist promotes The Chirorpractic Zone in the community.

     When businesses collaborate and promote each other, this is one of the most effective, and obviously inexpensive, ways to build customers.