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Marketing Your Small Business

If the idea of marketing your small business falls somewhere between flossing your teeth and cleaning the toilet, you’re not alone. As entrepreneurial as any small business owner has to be, there’s something about sales and marketing that can be intimidating for even the most ambitious business person.

And while marketing is obviously a “big deal”, many times the marketing of a small business is put on the back burner somewhere after buying a new coffee pot for your office and coming up with some cool business cards.

Yeah, those business cards count as marketing – sort of. But it’s no exaggeration to say that how you go about marketing your business will make or break it, which means that marketing your small business calls for more than just a passing thought.

Research, Research, Research

The best place to start with small business marketing is perhaps the easiest. Research – and lots of it!

You can start by looking into your competition and finding out what they’re doing to get the word out about their business. Pay special attention to those businesses that seem to be industry leaders in your market space.

What are they doing that’s contributing to their success? How are they increasing brand recognition for their business? What are the things that are most appealing about their website, sales collateral, and other advertising?

Take notes as you go. Call the company and ask for literature. Cruise their websites for ideas.

The best part? This part of your marketing plan can be from your desk with a nice cup of coffee from that new coffee maker!

A Little Reality?

It’s easy to get carried away with big ideas for small business marketing. Now more than ever, there are a lot of cool ways to get the word out about your business. From Flash-enabled websites to high-end, professionally designed logos, you could easily spend thousands and thousands of dollars marketing your small business.

But you do want to give it some thought – a lot of it, in fact!

Small business marketing is kind of like shopping for a house. It’s a good idea to identify your budget first so you don’t fall in love with something you can’t afford!

Sit down in the early days of your business and decide how much you can afford to spend marketing your small business. At this stage in the game, it will be difficult to do this too far in advance, so just figure out a budget for the first 3-6 months. Hopefully the small business marketing strategies you choose will be so successful you’ll have even more to spend later.

But for now, let’s just get your business off the ground!

Divide and Conquer

Now that you have a “big picture” number in mind, it’s time to divide it up. You might start with the obvious, like business cards if your business is the kind that needs them, or internet advertising if that is more suited to your type of business.

From there, you can prioritize the things you “have to have” versus the things you’d “like to have”, and make compromises accordingly.

Stay Flexible

You know that old saying, “The only sure thing in life is that things will continue to change”? Well, it was never truer than for a small business. In the beginning you’ll likely have all kinds of ideas about how things will turn out and about what will work best. But it’s next to impossible to foresee at the outset the future of any small business.

So remember, slow and steady wins the race. Take things a day at a time, review the results from your existing small business marketing measures, and be willing to make adjustments as you go.

With a little luck – and a good small business marketing plan – you’ll have even more money to spend as your business grows!

John Edmond worked for many years in insurance and finance and now writes on Small Business Marketing . Join our Newsletter” and get 5 ebooks completely FREE of Charge.

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4 Things to Avoid When Marketing Your Small Business

In the rush to open your small new business, you’re probably occupied with a thousand details. In many ways, the timeline sets itself according to what has to be done in order to launch your product or service.

Unfortunately, what gets left behind is often an equally important, but seemingly invisible consideration – marketing your small business.

By the time you get around thinking about marketing your small business, you may be low on time and money! Not exactly the best conditions in which to make important decisions about marketing strategy!

Making small business marketing decisions under the gun leaves you with a greater risk for making mistakes. Marketing is one place where even small mistakes can have lasting consequences.

Following are a few of the most common small business marketing mistakes.

Not Doing Your Homework

First and foremost, you have to spend a little time researching your industry. Start with your competition. What are they doing to market their business? Take note of where and how they market their product or service, especially the successful ones. Call in or email an inquiry as if you are a potential client. See what their process is, what type of material they send you, and how they follow up.

You can also join an organization like the local Chamber of Commerce to strategize with other business owners in your area or field. Developing relationships with other small business owners allows you to leverage combined expertise, and may also leads you to joint marketing ventures that can save you time and money.

Spending Too Much, Too Fast

It’s easy to jump in and start spending money, especially if you have it in the way of a small business loan or other start-up capital.

But this is one of the most dangerous mistakes you can make when planning your small business marketing strategy. More is not always better. Sometimes it’s just more.

You want to spend smart, not necessarily big. Don’t spend a dime until you’ve done the research to back up your investment, and then start small. It’s much, much easier to add additional marketing than it is to ramp back after you’ve already spent the money.

Spending money too fast can mean running through most of your start-up capital too soon, leaving your business without the funds it needs to survive.

Spending Too Little

In an effort to curb costs and ration your budget over the long, slow haul to profitability, you may just make the opposite mistake of spending too much money and spend too little.

Starting a business is scary, and most small business owners don’t have an unlimited time to turn to a profit. With a tangible or intangible deadline looming, it’s common for small business owners to keep a death grip on whatever capital they have “just in case”.

But you will have to spend money to make money, at least on some level.

If you have the jitters about spending your working capital, start small with something that has measurable results. You need to be able to determine if your campaign has produced results within a short period of time and before you’ve spent too much money. This way you can kill it and move onto something different if it’s not working or ramp up the existing campaign if it’s doing its job!

Information Overload

The internet makes it possible to tap into previously unheard of quantities of information. That’s both good and bad for anyone looking online for small business marketing advice.

With the advent of blogs and free websites, everyone’s an expert! But they’re not, really. They only play one on TV!

Seriously, though, carefully choose the advice you seek out and use to market your small business. To avoid getting bogged down with too much information, choose one or two sources you know to be reliable, and resist the urge to cruise the internet for fifty more opinions.

Take it Slow

Launching a small business is a learning experience above all else. Avoid making rash (or expensive) decisions when it comes to marketing your small business, at least in the beginning.

By taking it slow, you can try different marketing techniques and check the results as you go, mitigating the consequences for your long term small business marketing plan.

John Edmond worked for many years in insurance and finance and now writes on small business marketing and the Internet at A href=”http://www.business-in.info/blog”>Small Business Marketing. For ebooks on marketing off and on the web go to OneClickBooks where all single ebooks are just 99p

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favorite place to pick up stuff grown locally and other great things! All in this tiny store.

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Small Business Marketing Strategy: The 7 Steps to More Referrals

Qualified referrals are something that most small business owners can easily agree the more there are the merrier. The key is simple – you and your small business need to become more referable! In my over two decades of working with successful business owners, I’ve come upon “The Seven Small Business Marketing Strategies” that will virtually guarantee your small business will soon have a steady stream of qualified referrals.

Becoming referable doesn’t usually happen overnight, but you can make it happen if you create a process in your small business marketing plan. Start with two of the small business marketing strategies listed below and scrutinize the results. Take to heart the strategies that work best for you and prolong adding strategies up to the point where you are able to gain more referrals than you ever thought feasible!

Small Business Marketing Strategy 1: What can I do for you?

When focused on providing for others and doing everything in your power for your business marketing strategy, you’ll be incredulous at the number of referrals you will soon receive in response. This strategy has you view all your relationships with perspective; ask yourself, “What can I do for you?”

Small Business Marketing Strategy 2: Show you care

The cornerstone of an effective small business marketing and referral-building strategy is comprised of the motto, “clients don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. When clients grasp that you sincerely care about them, they feel duty-bound to spread the word about you and your business; everything is about building those tight bonds. Take the time to make that one extra phone call, set up a lunch or coffee date, or even send a birthday card; by going the extra mile and perceiving what your clients are passionate about you will have an army of referral sources. Maybe one of your affluent clients loves golf; take this person to the annual tournament that comes to town. If another loves roses, you could take this client to the annual rose exhibit. Clients and prospects suffer from a starvation for affection and consideration, and to achieve actual results on the number of referrals you receive, even a few diminutive gestures can have an impressive effect.

Small Business Marketing Strategy 3: Ask for referrals upfront

Small Business Marketing Strategy 3: Get your clients and prospects into the “referability zone”

Small Business Marketing Strategy 4: Get your clients and prospects into the referability zone

A portion of any small business marketing plan should be inclusive of a plan that encourages referrals. Anyone who has ever been a serious athlete can empathize on what it feels like to be focused and “in the zone.” Analogous to these athletes, you have got to get your clients and colleagues into a “referability zone”. You’ll know this strategy is working when a client calls and tells you something like, “You need to call Jerry because he needs help marketing his business.” With the intention of achievement, you need to make sure your clients immediately link you with the key words of your message. For example, if your small business provides marketing and consulting to entrepreneurs you will want people to think of you – and refer you – every time they take notice of someone using the words “small business marketing,” “business opportunity,” “small business marketing consulting” or any other word or phrase that portrays a small business or entrepreneur who can use your services. You need to send memorable messages – with both pictures and words – to your clients, prospects and colleagues on a regular basis if you truly want to make this happen.

Small Business Marketing Strategy 4: Ask for referrals upfront

I have two stories to share where the moral comes out to be to always do the right thing, even when you don’t suppose anyone is watching… Because chances are, they really are looking and they will be telling others.

Small Business Marketing Strategy 5: Get your clients and prospects into the “referability zone”

There was another instance concerning an associate of mine who serves on the board of a homeowners’ association, who I had thought to be a very knowledgeable service provider and the proprietor of a small business. I had brought up his name one day to a friend, and another of our friends unexpectedly declared that she “would never use him.” She then advanced in telling us of how unprincipled, discourteous and outright uncouth he had been to others in his subdivision. My friend peered at me then and stated that she wanted someone who was more conventional. In less than five minutes, this small business owner lost an approximate $ 10,000 worth of potential business because he hadn’t been acting professional.

Small Business Marketing Strategy 6: Create reciprocal referral relationships

Small Business Marketing Strategy 7: Create reciprocal referral relationships

Small Business Marketing Strategy 7: Under-promise then over-deliver

Becoming referable doesn’t usually happen overnight, but you can make it happen if you create a process in your small business marketing plan. Start with two of the small business marketing strategies listed above and monitor the results. Keep the ones that work best for you and continue to add strategies until you gain more referrals than you can even handle!

The Marketing Guide for Affluent Women: How to Create a Thriving Advisory Practice Working with Affluent Women, Marketing to Women.

Small Business Administration Awards Luncheon
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Small Business Administration Awards Luncheon. by Jay Baker at Baltimore, Maryland

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