Small business around the world – Dubai, Italy & Bali

by on October 27, 2013

534When it comes to blogging, I’m always encouraging all you small business owners to have fun with it, get personal, not be afraid to shake things up and do some different posts once in a while to break up the monotony. You don’t always have to blog about the same thing, in the same format, or in the same way. Time I took a little of my own advice.

I’ve recently returned from a fantastic trip with my family where we explored Dubai, Italy and Bali. (You can see more pics from my trip if you’re interested here).

One of my favourite things about traveling is all the different small businesses I get to support along the way. So I thought that I would do something that I don’t normally do here on the blog and share some of my pics from the trip highlighting some of the small businesses I came across, as well as some nuggets of wisdom I learned that can be applied to any small biz anywhere. I don’t normally do much in terms of images and I certainly have never done an image centered post… so here goes!



Make your customers want to stay.

A pleasant ambiance is key! Whether you’re chilling in an artsy cafe in old town Dubai…
Or living la dolce vita at a restaurant in Italy…


Small business ItalyWhen you know how to do something well… work with that. My friend Pierluigi proclaims this little family run restaurant in Bologna has the best pizza in Italy. Apparently the owners consider their dough recipe so precious, no one is allowed to be on premises when the dough is being made. It’s a family secret passed on through the generations. Staff are only allowed to dress the pizzas. Who can argue with that?

Ahh… how I love farmer’s markets. Here’s how they do things, Italian style. Not hard to tell how much they revere excellent cheeses and meats, huh?

Farmer's market ItalyFarmers market Italy

Focus. This was the only small business I saw that ONLY did pesto. So it caught my eye thanks to that and the gorgeous storefront. And man, was it ever the best pesto I have ever had in my life! (In Portovenere, Italy)



110111Things don’t have to be complicated. Customers need vegetables and household goods? Forget the storefront. Brought straight to you right from the delivery vehicle.  (In Vernazza, Italy)

117127Make an entrance. A unique storefront captures interest and screams quality and care. Stand out in highly competitive locales, such as here in the highly touristed Cinque Terre (Corniglia).

Small is beautiful… efficient use of space and functionality to deliver a delicious snack, fresh up! (Bali)


063Affiliate marketing (where someone is rewarded when something they recommend is purchased) when done right, is awesome. We normally think of online business when we think of affiliate promotion, but the same principles apply with in-person interactions. To be honest, we were all a little skeptical when our driver brought us to a gorgeous spa that seemed a bit expensive by Balinese standards. We trusted him though so we went ahead. It turned out to be one of our favourite experiences in Bali. When you can suggest something that you absolutely stand behind with full integrity (not just because you’re getting a kickback) and the other person benefits from it, that’s affiliate marketing gold. It’s all about the win-win.

103Be clear and friendly. Tourism is big business in Bali. To get a boat to the Island of Nusa Lembongan, there were a ton of options. We chose a company with super clear, totally transparent signage (prices listed!) and helpful, not pushy, sales people. They stood out big time from the other boat touts. When we said that we wanted to take the local boat one way for the experience, no hesitation to accommodate and no attempts at up-selling. They provided the service we wanted with efficiency and a smile.

Perhaps the simplest of small businesses I have ever seen? Gas station, Bali style.


123Do what you love, not what everyone else is doing. These 2 cafes were centered on healthy, organic eating and generally doing good (recycling, positive community change, that kind of thing). That’s why I noticed them initially and they had me coming back for more thanks to their absolutely delish food and delightful atmosphere. Restaurants are a dime a dozen in touristy Bali. Cool cafes making the world a better place? Not so common.


125Ask and ye shall receive.

Want your customers to do something?

Don’t beat around the bush or hope that they will somehow figure out on their own what would help you the most. Tell them directly what it is you would like them to do. The worst thing that will happen? They won’t do it. No loss, no foul.

This sign asks customers to go to Trip Advisor if they are happy. To talk to the staff if they are not. Now that’s clever marketing communications.


The power of signage… to amuse, to confuse, as long as it gets attention, I guess.


You travelers out there – what are some of your fav small biz lessons from the road? Or what image did you like the best from this post?  Share in the comments…

Related Posts with Thumbnails

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie Iring November 15, 2013 at 1:19 am

I am so grateful that I got to travel alongside my sister, Martina – the small biz cheerleader! Cheers to all the wonderful small businesses we saw along our way!


Martina November 19, 2013 at 2:35 pm

What an adventure we had sis! Wouldn’t have wanted to do it with anyone else 🙂


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Previous post:

Next post: