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When you think of Salem, MA what comes to mind?
1. Witch trials
2. The best Halloween festivities in the country
3. A forward thinking city that’s using technology to maintain the integrity of its local business community
The answer is all of the above! For the purpose of this story, however, we’ll focus on #3. Salem has always been proud of its unique local ambiance, and is now making moves to further help local business owners succeed through an online business network and messaging platform called Alignable.
Alignable is a network exclusively for local business owners to connect with each other.
Sound too obvious? The truth is, business owners want help connecting with each other. While they know the storeowner directly next to them, they might know the business across the street and they don’t know the business an eighth of a mile down the road, and it’s because they don’t want to intrude. A recent study highlighted the fact that 86% of local business owners are being sold to every single week, so the thought of going to another store in town to introduce themselves feels too sales-like.
On Alignable, however, businesses are able to build a business profile and connect with fellow-business owners in a more relaxed and convenient manner. For business owners in Salem, once they login, they’ll instantly see all of the other business others in town that are on the network. From there, they can introduce themselves and connect.
The core value between business owners focuses around referrals, which include:
- Customer referrals
- Product/vendor/brand recommendations
- Co-promotion opportunities
- Industry peer connections
- Community awareness
For business owners in Salem, they can connect in a number of ways. They can engage in a public or private Q+A discussion and include other business owners in town if they so like, they can message each other directly via both desktop and mobile app, and they can also schedule a meeting at a local coffee shop.
So who is spearheading this effort in Salem to connect all of the local business owners in town? Look no further than the Mayor’s office. Mayor Kim Driscoll and Economic Development Planner Andrew Shapiro recently discovered that a few local business owners were already using Alignable get connected, and that’s when lightning struck.
“Running a local business is hard work, especially these days with the ever-changing landscape of technology and consumer behavior,” said Driscoll.
A few recent examples of connectivity include businesses meeting for the first time as well as groups forming with specific goals.
The City’s use of Alignable also squares with its recent push to better engage technology-focused businesses. InnoNorth, which launched in June, is a program developed jointly by the City of Salem and local technology leaders to engage these businesses and entrepreneurs, and to firmly establish Salem as the next great innovation hub in Massachusetts.
“The whole idea for InnoNorth was born out of the fact that when I moved from Back Bay to Salem, I was blown away by how much tech and design was already out here. For example, Dribbble, which has hundreds of thousands of active designers on its network is headquartered in Salem and I literally had no idea,”
said Justin Miller, the driving force behind InnoNorth.
“At that point it just became about building a brand around what’s already happening to promote it to the outside while creating a platform to better connect the community already in place; which is why Alignable makes so much sense for us,”
The City of Salem and its many partners host several events and festivals throughout the year from 4th of July fireworks to Haunted Happenings that welcome thousands of locals and tourists. The Mayor will be using Alignable to easily communicate important updates to business owners in town as these and other major events occur.
The more local businesses Salem has to offer its community the better. With the City of Salem leading the charge in the greater Boston area, they’re truly stepping up to the plate to give all local businesses the best opportunity to grow.
The Mayor and her team will be posting frequent updates to the City of Salem page on Alignable, and will work towards truly connecting the entire community. In addition, Miller will continue to use Alignable to grow the InnoNorth group, which is rapidly growing for the tech community outside of Boston.
If you’re a business owner in the city of Salem, or anywhere else in North America…