Derek Collins social pr secrets guest
Public Relations, Social PR Secrets

77: Derek Collins: How to Stay Afloat During Pandemic Times and Small Business Ownership Secrets

From selling knives to owning multiple local businesses and venues, Derek Collins shares how he put his business on the map and kept it there. How do you keep a local small-business successful throughout multiple seasons including a global pandemic? Pedal Tavern owner and operator Derek Collins says the answer lies in customer service and customer relationships. 

In this episode of the Social PR Secrets, host Lisa Buyer spoke with Derek Collins about his experience managing a small local business and sustaining and growing his reach –especially through a global pandemic. Pedal Tavern was born in 2010 around a dream and a single passenger vehicle for customers to drink, pedal and experience the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in a new and entertaining way. Derek says that due to the success of the original business, Pedal Tavern has been able to expand into multiple ventures including; boat tours and in-house event space.

During the episode, Derek shares his experiences with marketing and drawing customers to his business, handling reviews and tips as a small business owner going through the pandemic. What may surprise many people is the organic and old-school approaching Derek takes to digital marketing with Pedal Tavern. Although he does still use Instagram and Facebook, he says as a small local business Google Ads draw a lot of traffic to them as people search for Milwaukee experiences. As many know, the key to business success is reputation and reputations are built on reviews. Derek says the best result with review engagement from customers has been reaching them on a more personal level like a text message. In the episode, he shares how simply texting a link after their experience ends to leave a review garners more response and an overall more positive response as well. 

Despite all of the successes share, Derek and Pedal Tavern are not immune to the effects of the coronavirus plaguing the globe and halting business production everywhere. In order to keep his business alive, Derek had to find creative ways to speak with customers and continue the positive relationship they have despite not currently running tours. Incentives like gift certificates are what Derek has found as a great way to keep customers booking and using your small business, but booking ahead of time rather than getting upset with the lack of business in the current state, For small businesses that also have activities and booking lists, Derek suggests providing customers new booking times for next year, so they don’t just request refunds and leave. 

What’s Derek working on now? In the episode, he shares with Lisa the possibility of a Pedal Tavern collaboration with a Florida business to create boat tours in Key West. Similarly, he is now raising his new bundle of joy as his wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl during the pandemic. 

How can I get more customers interested in my small business? What should I do about coronavirus related cancellations or negative reviews? Tune into this episode to learn the answers to these questions and more concerning running a small local business. 

“The relationship you have with the customer is key. Keep positivity going and let them know you’re on their side they believe you and come back.” – Derek Collins 

Some topics discussed in this episode include:

  • Small business ownership
  • Local business outreach
  • Digital marketing 
  • Handling positive and negative reviews 

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