December 2016

News From The Louisville SBDC
Why Online Reviews Are Important for Your Business
Today's shoppers depend on online reviews the way your parents depended on a friend's recommendation. Online is the NEW word of mouth.

Online reviews of your business are extremely important. Tis the season to shop till you drop so this is even more relevant this time of year than any other. Research conducted by moz.com asked participants, “When making a major purchase such as an appliance, a smartphone, or even a car, how important are online reviews in your decision-making?” Nearly 68% of the participants reported online reviews affects their purchasing decision. More than half of them admitted the decision-making process was fairly, very, or absolutely important. Google has taken notice of this, and they have ranked review sites at the top of their search results. This means that whenever someone searches for your business, reviews are usually at the top of the search results pages. Since most people never browse past the first page of results, reviews are what they tend to click on the most.


Online reviews are so important to consumers that review sites have popped up everywhere online, such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google+. Millions of people have used these sites to leave reviews, and even more have used them to influence a purchase. This can mean great things for your business when you have online reviews. Positive
ones can turn interested consumers into customers. A study in 2015 found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. The study also found that 72% of consumers say that positive reviews improve the trustworthiness of a local business. Based off this information, it’s obvious positive reviews can bring customers to your business ready and willing to buy, but what happens if there are negative reviews?

How Negative Reviews Affect Your Business

Again from moz.com, businesses are at risk of losing 22% of consumers who would have bought from them when there is a negative review. This is based off just one review. If there are three or more negative reviews, the chance of losing customers jumps to 59.2%. Four or more negative reviews can turn as much as 70% of customers away.

Negative reviews can take a successful business and lead it to destruction. This is why it is incredibly important to always respond to those negative reviews promptly. Don’t ignore them. One irate customer leaving a negative review can open the floodgates for many others to add their review. Always think of this as your way of providing customer service. Ensuring that the majority of your customers leave happy and satisfied from your store or restaurant means more than you may have realized because it’s a different world now with the anonymity of online reviews. So, how do you ensure customers are happy, and won’t leave negative reviews?

Improving Customer Service

Customers want an easy, quick, and pleasant transaction. When they feel as though they are being treated as an individual, and not just a source of revenue, they will be satisfied. To ensure this happens, answer questions promptly. Make sure the products or services they receive are in good condition and are of high quality. This may mean taking extra steps, like offering free gift wrap or shipping, but that effort will be worth it if the customer leaves a positive review, which brings more business your way.

Managing Your Company’s Online Reputation
If you receive a negative review, try to take care of the problem where the review was written. For example, Yelp allows business owners to respond to reviews. Always acknowledge the comment and offer to fix whatever the problem is in much of the same way you would in person (by offering a return, exchange, or free product or service). Consumers will see how attentive you are to the reviewer’s
complaints, so you may be able to stop them from believing you are not a good business.

Encourage Positive Reviews Whenever Possible
Remember comment or suggestion boxes? Asking for
online reviews have taken their place. Perhaps you offer a small incentive like a percentage off on a future purchase or next visit. Yes, these incentives cost you money, but hopefully not as much as a bad review can cost your business. Asking for online reviews is a great way to start meaningful conversations with your customers. Let your customers know that their opinions really do matter.

Your opinions matter to me, so don’t hesitate to reach out to the Louisville SBDC if you would like to share your thoughts regarding this article or simply want to start a
meaningful conversation with one of us. We’re here to help. The main office number is (502) 625-0123. Tell us what you really think!







   Vallorie Henderson, Louisville SBDC Center

Can't afford the legal services your start-up needs?
Maybe the Louisville Legal Aid Society can help!

                                                                                               
President Coolidge once said “the chief American business is business,” but if engaging in business depends on having money to cover legal fees then it is not an opportunity everyone enjoys. Luckily, the Legal Aid Society (LAS) has recently started its Economic Development Program (EDP) to break through that barrier and to ensure that all have the opportunity to engage in this great pastime if they so desire.

As any small business owner will attest there are many legal issues entrepreneurs need to consider when starting their own small business. Business owners must contend with the liability and tax consequences of different business forms, zoning law and regulatory compliance that varies from place to place and product to product, and they have to sift through the subtle legalese of commercial leases and vendor contracts. It is a lot for any new entrepreneur to handle and it is especially difficult for one without the financial resources to retain an expert. Yet the potential payoffs for lowering this legal barrier are immense.


Studies show that a majority of low-income micro-entrepreneurs are able to work their way out of poverty and that their business’ earnings play a major, often sole, role in making that possible. Research also shows that low-income entrepreneurs reduce their reliance on public assistance by 61% (more than $1,600 a year) and that over the span of five years the average low-income entrepreneur’s income grows by about $16,000. Simply put, the rewards reaped by society when financially strapped entrepreneurs are able to wed their drive and talents to the force of the market are remarkable, and Legal Aid is here to help make that courtship possible.


Through the Economic Development Program the Legal Aid Society will match income-eligible entrepreneurs to volunteer attorneys with the legal expertise they need to make their business dreams a reality - and to make one path out of poverty a little easier to walk. In addition to matching clients to legal experts we are also developing a set of legal education clinics and legal self-help tool kits to assist both start-up and existing small businesses that would be available to all. These clinics and tool-kits are still in development and we would love your input and to incorporate your suggestions into the clinics and tool-kits if we can.

So, if your business aspirations require some legal advice and you think you might fall into our income thresholds, or if you just want to know more about the program, please contact the Economic Development Coordinator Ezra Dike at (502) 584-1254 or edike@laslou.org.




Thank you to all the businesses that participated in our #SmallBizSaturday "Grand Swag Giveaway". Check out our Facebook and Instagram for some great pics and video from the day. 

We also want to thank Louisville Independent Alliance for partnering with us over the past few months as we worked to inspire local business owners about the celebration. Visit L.I.B.A. at

www.keeplouisvilleweird.com to see how you can win a $1000 local shopping spree in their #hoLOUdays contest.



Upcoming Workshops
Ticket Info

Own Your Own Business
January 14th
8:00 am - 3:00 pm

Finding Money for Your Business
January 17th
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Regional Business Events

Ohio River Bridges Project Celebration
Monday, December 12th
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