Crain's Business
January 12, 2009

It's a new year, and conditions are certainly different than they were 12 months ago. Crain's asked local entrepreneurs to share the resolutions they're making to survive in '09 — and gathered some expert advice for each.

Dave Zier, 48 • Zier's Prime Meats, Wilmette • Butcher shop • Annual sales: about $700,000

Dave Zier resolves to spend about $4,000 to revamp his Web site for online ordering. He aims for the site to be profitable within a year. To promote it, he'll reach out via local media and direct mailings and hopes to generate buzz on foodie blogs. "They're reasonable goals, if not a little conservative," Mr. Zier says.

Advice: One low-cost way to raise your site's profile is to contact non-competitors whose businesses complement yours and suggest creating reciprocal links, says Todd Allen Hatoff, president of Chicago meat giant Allen Bros. Inc. The best way to reach customers: direct mail. "Targeted mailings are what generate the most buyers on the site," Mr. Hatoff says of the Allen Bros. home page. "We've worked on tracking that for 17 years, and we have it down to a science."

Sandra Swanson

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