Get ready for the 2019 tourist season with these ten tips from Marc Willson, a nationally known expert and speaker on helping independent and rural retailers, restaurants and lodgings win and keep customers.

West Business Development Center, in partnership with Visit Mendocino, the City of Fort Bragg and Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce, is bringing Willson to the Coast for a dynamic, one-time only event Friday, May 17th at Fort Bragg Town Hall from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. This is Willson’s second trip to Mendocino County – last year his workshop was packed in both Ukiah and Willits, where small business owners learned new ways to stay relevant and sustainable.

Says Willson, “small business owners need to start thinking outside the box and learning to implement new business strategies. I love teaching small businesses how to do just that.â€

Rainbow Ag, the well-known general store in Ukiah and Lakeport who depend on rural homeowners for their business, sent their entire team, “The Rainbow team was there and we picked up some good pointers. My team had questioned doing this during our biggest sale of the season but we needed to attend this local training. Nice work, West Company.â€

Willson will present his signature, free two-hour special event workshop where participants will come away with tactics they can implement right away to attract the all-important summer crowd on the Coast. Check out his tips for Retail Readiness and RSVP here for this special and open-to-the-public event.

Marc Willson’s Ten Tips to Retail Readiness

  1. Get found. The number one businesses today are found is on the internet. Make sure your Google business listing, your Yelp and Trip Advisor listings are updated and up to par. Pro tip: If you don’t have a Google listing go to to create a listing for free.

  2. Use social media. Pick two platforms you are comfortable with and post every day or every other.

  3. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. This is a non-negotiable in the new economy.

  4. Be open when your customers want to shop. Extend your hours, offer specials, have an event.

  5. Get a customer testimonial from everyone who comes into your establishment. How? Just ask. Offer a discount for testimonials or other extra benefit.

  6. Cooperate, don’t compete. Partner up with other small businesses in your area to cross-market. Host events together, create a merchants association.

  7. Be patient. It usually takes businesses two to three years to turn a profit.

  8. Be known for something. What is it that you do and do so well?

  9. Small establishments in small town are entertainment – how can you entertain your customer?

  10. Be flexible. The best laid plans will change and morph with time, changing market conditions. Do experiments, test new things out and measure your results.


Get Ready for the 2019 Tourist Season

Friday, May 17, 2019

1:00 PM 3:00 PM

*Please note we ask all attendees to be at the Town Hall fifteen minutes prior to this workshop event

Fort Bragg Town Hall

363 N Main Street

Fort Bragg, CA 95437  

RSVP here.


Free Business Advising at West Business Development Center

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Click here to sign up for free advising. We’ll schedule a free, thirty-minute call and then we’ll assign you the free expert advisor you need.

See how these successful businesses set up, grew and expanded with West Business Development Center Free Advising services:

Stan’s Maple Café, Ukiah

MendoTechNet, Ukiah and Lakeport

SlamDunk Pizza, Ukiah