Business Advice from local owners

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Business Advice from Three Local Business Owners

For this article, I spoke with three local business owners and asked them about business advice. The three business owners I asked are all located at the historic Cotton Exchange in Wilmington, North Carolina, which is a hub of local commerce and small businesses. The three owners I spoke with were Wu Ping of Ping’s Tibet which sells traditional Tibetan art and clothing, Lisa Larue of Heart of Carolina which sells crafts made by native artisans, and James Smith of Coastal Paws which sells pet supplies. Each owner gave me different business advice and touched upon multiple aspects of running a business, from keeping customers to treating employees well.


Business Advice - CustomersWhen I asked Ping about business advice, she focused on maintaining a relationship with customers. “You want the customer to come back again, keep the customer happy,” she told me. Every business depends on customers. Without the customer to support the business and buy the products which the business is selling, your business will very quickly cease to exist. So, how do you attract and maintain customers?

Ping’s business advice was to have a niche market. When a business is unique and has a product or service that no other business does or does a service in a different way than other businesses, it naturally attracts a customer base. Ping’s Tibet is also known for its excellent customer service which is also necessary for a business to thrive. Keeping your customer happy means being genuinely polite and friendly. People like genuine friendliness and will come back to a business if they like the service they receive.

Keep your customer happy. Keep them coming back! #SmallBusiness #entrepreneur Click To Tweet


Business Advice - PassionLisa Larue focused on a different aspect of business when I asked her for business advice. “Do something that you love and stay committed,” she told me. When a person is passionate about something, they will enjoy doing it even if it’s difficult or they have to work hard to accomplish it. In fact, passion can make things less difficult because a person will really enjoy what they are doing. When a person is passionate about something they will naturally do it better as they will put more effort into it. If you’re passionate about your business, it’s easier to stay committed.

In addition, passion attracts customers. People are attracted to the energy and exuberance of a passionate person. If you’re excited about your products, your customer will be too. This makes it easier to market your products and to sell them.

Passion attracts #customers. People are attracted to your energy! #SmallBiz #entrepreneur Click To Tweet


Business Advice - EmployeesJames Smith, who owns Coastal Paws with his wife, focused on relationships to one’s employees when I asked him for business advice. “Pay your employees well,” he told me. While some businesses, such as very small storefronts, might be able to get away with not having employees most business owners need them. No one can be expected to do everything on their own after all. Therefore, employees are an important part of a business. If an owner wants their business to be successful, they will want to give incentives to their employees to do the best job they can. Paying them and treating them with respect is the best way to do this.


Each owner I spoke with shared a different perspective with me, but there are connections between the three pieces of business advice I received. A business owner needs passion, needs to attract customers and needs to treat their employees well. If an owner has passion, it naturally creates a customer base and attracts employees who may share the owner’s passion. These three aspects are necessary for a successful business.

If you like the business advice from these small business owners please consider patronizing their establishments! Our country depends on small businesses like these!

Ping’s Tibet
Heart of Carolina
Coastal Paws


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About Charles

Charles Alexander Neal is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire’s creative writing program. He is a novelist, short story writer and locally produced playwright. He also plays the flute and performed with the Cape Fear Community College orchestra.

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