Aligning with Others
Cooperation and collaboration are essential to the success of most small retailers -- whether it is through your local buy local movement, Chamber of Commerce or merchant association. Now there is a new tool available to help business owners connect, thanks to Eric Groves, a former senior executive of the online marketing company Constant Contact.
Groves is the co-founder of a start-up business called Alignable, which describes itself as a free, online social network where business owners can connect, collaborate and learn from each other. He described it as a “LinkedIn for local businesses” in a recent interview with the Boston Business Journal.
The beta version of Alignable has only been live since last September, and I hadn’t heard of it until today. But I’m intrigued by the Eric Grove’s blog postings, and the potential of his idea. It’s simple (and free) to sign up, although a premium version is planned for the future that may have costs associated with it.
Once you sign on you are asked to invite other businesses in your area to join in, with the goal of building communities. As you can see in this short video, the idea is to share information about what you are doing -- and what others can do. You can post from Alignable to Facebook, and of course it can also connect to Constant Contact.
The site also has a feature that allows you to ask questions of other businesses, and also to get ideas by seeing what promotions other retailers are doing. It’s early days for Alignable, but by signing on I can see that there are already quite a few other Madison businesses in my “neighborhood.” I welcome one more way to be connected with them, because I strongly believe in the power of aligning ourselves together for mutual success.
PS: Please note that there will be no blog next week. And a reminder of the upcoming May 1 deadline: I am looking for 10 retailers (or potential retailers) willing to receive a free copy of my book, Specialty Shop Retailing: Everything You Need to Know to Run Your Own Store, in exchange for giving me your input for the next edition. Please send me an e-mail (email@example.com) if you’d like to be being considered. Kindly tell me a bit about yourself and your store, because I am hoping for geographic and age diversity in the ten reviewers.