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Panel gives business advice for Flatbush junction

From left, Kendra Webb-Scott, marketing strategist of Ideazio, Inc., presenter Nicole McGarrell, founder and CEO of Sunny Day Marketing, and Petia Bradshaw, founder of The Stylista Group, who presented at the event.
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Marketing experts and entrepreneurs got to chat to peers about business strategy and tips for small business owners and up-and-coming entrepreneurs at Brooklyn College on Oct. 27.

The Flatbush Junction Business Improvement District and Black Entrepreneurs Summit partnered for “The Many Faces of the Brooklyn Entreprene­ur,” a roundtable event to discuss and provide helpful advice for potential and current business owners. One presenter at the event said local shops, like mom and pop stores, have to make necessary business changes being located near the Flatbush junction, an area seeing major changes with the introduction of newer and bigger stores.

“When it comes to being successful in business, mindset, planning, and implementation are all equally important. First, a small business owner needs to realize owning and running a business is like running in a marathon and being on a roller coaster ride at the same time,” said Nicole McGarrell, a presenter at the event and founder of Sunny Day Marketing.

“From seeing the recent addition of Chipotle and Panda Express, I think a lot of major brands are headed to the junction. However, I do hope a good balance is kept, as I think small businesses are the heart of the junction and represent the neighborhood’s core needs and wants.”

A panel of marketers, strategists, and business owners shared their stories of success and chatted with guests on how businesses can thrive with competition, the type of services customers return for, and staying on top of technology with an online presence.

McGarrell, who founded her marketing company to assist small business owners with marketing strategies, says many business owners miss out on meeting the needs of their customers when they lack a website with up-to-date information about their shops.

“Embrace another way of connecting with your customers, especially when it comes to social media and email marketing,” she said. “Instead of thinking of digital marketing as another task to implement, think about it as another way to connect with your customer and increase your sales, as well as awareness.”

Even with the vast changes that come to areas where many small business owners operate, such as the Flatbush junction, they can still be successful when owners prioritize their customers’ needs, McGarrell said.

“There is a lot of opportunity for a new crop of local businesses to come in and serve the community,” she said. “Understand who lives and shops in your neighborhood but keep your authenticity and don’t try to be everything to everyone — know your area of expertise and provide the best product and service you can.”

The Black Entrepreneurs Summit will hold another business-focused event in Manhattan in February. Interested business and start-up owners can learn more about the event at www.besummit.org.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.

Updated 5:21 pm, November 3, 2016
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