Welcome to Small Biz Spoken!

Elizabeth H. Cottrell Connection Maker and Chief Encourager

Elizabeth H. Cottrell
Connection Coach and Master Encourager

My name is Elizabeth H. Cottrell, a.k.a. RiverwoodWriter, and I teach small business owners (including consultants, artists, home business owners, writers, and other solopreneurs) how to harness the power of connection to:

  • Become known as an expert in your niche or field.
  • Increase your visibility, both offline and online.
  • Make more contacts and turn prospects into customers.
  • Turn existing customers into loyal customers.
  • Harness technology tools, especially social media, to reach far beyond your physical store or office in a way that is both efficient and effective.
  • Think like a problem-solver instead of a sales person.

And if you don’t currently have an online business but want to create one, I’ll introduce you to the experts I’ve learned from and the resources I’ve used.

Small business owners and managers wear so many hats!

As a small business owner myself, and active in the community of small business owners in my rural area of Virginia, I know how overwhelming it can feel to keep up with trends, tools, and technology—not to mention marketing and promotion—while dealing with the other day-to-day challenges of running a small business.

  • You don’t have time to learn every new trick that comes along and figure out which ones work and which ones don’t.
  • You don’t want to get sucked into the time-sink you hear about with social media.
  • How do you figure out what you really need and focus on that?

You always need to be open to learning new things, but let someone else sift through the noise and feed you just the best information. That’s what you’ll find here at SmallBizSpoken.com: tips, tricks, nuggets, and guidance that will save you time and money.

The biggest mistake I see small business owners make

As I write this in 2013, most business owners now have a website, and some even have a blog. Many have a Facebook Page, and an increasing number are jumping on the Twitter bandwagon. But sadly, many of you are using these tools the wrong way. You’re still using them to do the old kind of marketing—what’s known as “push marketing.” You’re shouting at people with a megaphone using social media tools.

But things have changed. The new mindset now is “relationship marketing,” and it involves making meaningful and authentic connections with those who most need your products or services. Stop throwing your advertising dollars everywhere and hoping they’ll bring in business. Instead really get to know your prospects and clients and make them feel you care about them and their problems, as they relate to your business. Think of yourself as a problem-solver and dedicate yourself and your business to that. You won’t believe what happens when people come to realize you’re trying to help them, not just sell them something.

What you’ll find here at Small Biz Spoken

  • Updates and simple ways to use social media tools
  • Videos, webinars, training, and courses, most of which I’ve taken myself, for those who want to dig deeper into various strategies
  • Book reviews of business books I’m reading and finding helpful
  • Reviews of software, services, utilities, and apps that can save you time and relieve stress
  • Expert interviews with people I’ve come to know and respect
  • Tell me what you need and I’ll do my best to find answers and solutions!

Why the name Small Biz Spoken?

The website and blog I began in 2010 is called Heartspoken.com. There I help followers learn how to connect in a disconnected world– to strengthen those connections in their life—with Self, with God, with Others, and with Nature—that are essential to happiness and success. It is primarily motivational and educational, but I soon realized that many of the principles of connection apply to business too, so I wanted to create a place where this was the focus.

I believe it dreaming big, so why not imagine many more “Spoken” sites in the future: e.g., FaithSpoken, WealthSpoken, HealthSpoken. SmallBizSpoken seemed a great way to start branching out from the original concept.

What happened to your RiverwoodWriter.com site?

It’s alive and well, but it now features my technical and business writing portfolio and focuses primarily on writing, editing and digital publishing services while here at SmallBizSpoken.com, we focus on small business marketing and visibility issues. There is some overlap, of course, because I do freelance writing and blogging for small business clients, but in general, it made sense to separate them. If you need freelance writing or blogging—or if you want to get that book out of your head and into print—head on over to RiverwoodWriter.com and find some help. Creating a Q&A e-book that you offer for free to your clients and prospects is a great way to showcase your expertise.

Want to know more about Elizabeth?

Feel free to visit me at LinkedIn, check out my profile, and connect with me there.


Sometimes, I mention products and use affiliate links from which I may receive compensation if you make a purchase. Occasionally, I may receive a review copy. You never pay extra for a product purchase because I’m an affiliate, nor does it cause me to recommend a product that does not deliver what it promises. To the best of my knowledge, every product I refer to you is offered in good faith. My reputation depends on it.