Archives for December 2012

Marketing and Advertising Tips for the Small Business Owner – Part 2

Welcome back for Part 2.  If you’re ready, willing and able to kick your small business marketing and advertising up a notch then sit back, grab a cup a’ joe and make some mental notes because this is some great stuff.

There is no excuse for low-grade promotional materials when you’re in business for yourself.  Your cards, brochures, flyers, letterheads and even the packaging material that you use to send products to your customers all need to be first class all the way.

If you’re worried about the high cost of printing but you still want to go color you can use a screen print to make it appear as if there are different colors when in reality all the colors are the same but at different tints. This can be done for anything printed, and it should be printed ion high quality paper.  The fact is, these promotional materials are sometimes the 1st impression that a person get of your company and, if you’re using cheap materials, guess what people are going to think?

Speaking of promotional materials your business card is one of the most important that you have.  If you can make it a mini-brochure and stuff it with all the pertinent info that you can you’ll see that it can and does deliver.  If you want you can even use it as a promo-card and put a discount on it for people who bring it to you at your location. There is a famous car salesman story that talks about a guy who used to take his cards, with a discount offer on the back, to football games and throw them by the handful off of the upper decks during the game.

One of the most vital things you need to do is to thank people for their business or their referral.  Sending a thank you card, flowers, a gift certificate, anything that says how grateful you are that they made a purchase or sent someone that did.  There is nothing better to create an affinity for your business in your community than to tell people how much you appreciate them.

Finally there’s one thing that you can and should do to be the best in your business; copy what the best do and do it too. The fact is that as long as you don’t break any copyright rules you can copy anything that your competitor does and, if you analyze what they’re doing well enough, you may even be able to do it better.

Marketing and Advertising Tips for the Small Business Owner – Part 1

If you’re a small business owner today then you better know how to market your business or you’re not going to be in business for very long.  There are, to be sure, many different things and tasks that you need to perform on a regular if not daily basis.  Do them and, with time, diligence and patience, you’ll see your client base increase as well as your revenues.

One of the most imperative tasks that you need to accomplish when you’re in business for yourself is to know who your customers are.  No, we don’t mean that you should know Bob or Mary and their family member by name, we mean that in general you should know what you’re selling and who your ideal customer is.  Knowing what type of person will be interested in your product or service, why they would want what you are selling and what their motivation would be is key to being able to give them what they want. The simple fact is that you can’t start selling anything until you’ve defined your product and positioned it correctly in the public’s eye.

One of the best direct marketing concepts still today, even with all the internet and social media hoopla, is postcards.  They deliver a sense of urgency to your potential customers, have a much higher read-rate than letters, and can help you keep a lid on your mailing list. Not only that but they can be seen by others who may happen upon then in someone’s home as they’re very visible.

Another excellent way to build affinity for your brand and promote it at the same time is to print and send a survey to all of your existing customers. This goes back to knowing your customers and, with a survey, you can find out who they are in as much depth as you like.  You can ask where do they work and what type of jobs do they have, what types of things they do for recreation and what magazines and TV shows they watch.  This info can give you an excellent idea about what they’re looking for from you and, if you want a great response, you can give them a discount offer for helping you out by completing the survey.

There are a lot of other Tips that we’d like to share with you so come on back for Part 2 and bring a pen and paper.


Small Business Marketing Tips

As a small business owner there are many ways to market your business that won’t break the bank but will provide a great revenue push for your company.  Many of these can be implemented for a very reasonable cost and will generate leads and revenue quickly. Below you’ll find a handful of the best that we’ve seen over the years.  Read them and use them well to build your small business.

One of the worst things that small business owners do is try to advertise like big companies.  The simple fact is that this can’t be done on a small budget.  Better to design what advertising you can afford to produce sales right away. Great offers are still one of the best ways to increase sales dramatically and should be included in everything that you send out into the public’s eye.

If you’re losing sales because your product is high-end and expensive you may want to consider offering a scaled-down, low-cost version for those that are hesitant to spend the money you need to make on the top of the line model.  The truth is, if you have a great product with all the bells and whistles you can still make sales to those that can’t afford it by taking away some of those bells and whistles and giving them a more basic model.

The opposite of this of course is to offer a premium product or service for those that are looking for the best and are willing (and able) to pay for it.  You can boost sales significantly this way and of course your total revenue by offering premium or combining services into a premium package. The last thing that you want to do is lose sales because someone felt that your product wasn’t as good as they needed it to be when in fact it is.

Lastly you can trim the size of your advertising. If what you’re getting now is costing too much trim it down and make it sharper and leaner. In many cases a smaller, easier to read ad will do better than a longer, more convoluted ad.  You can also stretch your advertising budget by running 2 smaller ads instead of 1 large ad.

The truth is that, as a small business owner, you need to constantly be on your toes and looking for new ways to generate interest and affinity for your brand.  It may be cliché but thinking outside the box, especially when it comes to advertising and marketing, is something you need to focus on every day.



Tips to Improve Your Odds of Small Business Success

If you’re thinking of starting a new small business today there is much more information available online about how to do it than only a few short years ago.  From ‘how-to’ websites that tell you step-by-step how to do certain tasks to online organizations that have been set up solely to help the entrepreneur the wealth of info online is almost limitless. Best of all, most of it is also absolutely free.

It doesn’t matter if you have a small business idea, an idea for an internet start-up that’s never been used before, you need a start-up loan or you want to start a business from home, there are websites that will help you, guide you and advise you at every step along the way. In fact, below are some great tips from us that will help you too and improve the chances of success for your new business.

One of the most important factors that differentiate the small business startups that thrive and those that don’t is people. If there is any way that you can afford to hire employees when you are first staring out you should do it as the stats show that small businesses that are well-staffed have a much higher chance of success and survival than those that are 1-man shows. If this isn’t something that you can do right away your next best bet is to seek out and get advice from experienced mentors.

Many studies done over the years show that starting a business with less than $50,000 is a recipe for failure. If there is any way to do it you should have at least 50 K in capital so that your new business baby will have a better chance to survive the 1st year.

No matter if you’re the most educated person in town and the specialist at what you’re going to be selling you should invest your time and energy into training and business classes.  If your town has a local Small Business Development Center or your local college has entrepreneur and/or business courses you should take advantage of them as soon and as often as you can until your business is established.

Finally one of the best ways to make it in your new small business is to start at home if at all possible, even if you hire employees.  Stats show that a business that starts at home and then, when ready, moves to a bigger and better location will survive more often than one that starts out too big in a space that is beyond their capacity to afford.

How to Hire the Right Employees

As your small business grows one of the things you’re naturally going to have to do is start hiring employees because there will undoubtedly come a time when there is too much work for you to handle all by yourself. One caveat; many small business owners make the mistake of confusing their lack of organizational skills as the sign that they need to hire someone to help them.  Don’t make this costly mistake.

There are pros and cons to having employees to be sure.  For every task that they help you to accomplish they can create new tasks that you will have to take care of as well. For every 10 good employees who help you greatly there will be one bad employee that makes you crazy.  Theft and tardiness will have to be dealt with as well as hiring and firing. Motivating your employees is also something that you’ll need to consider, especially when business is slow and times are tough (as they inevitably will be occasionally).

One of the most important tasks that you will have to complete before you hire anyone will be to write a job description so that your new hire knows exactly what he or she must do for you and when. Education level, experience, salary range and a host of other factors must be looked at as well. Recruiting prospective employees will also need to be addressed and can be done through various recruiting venues.

Interviewing and screening potential employees comes next so that you find the most qualified person and someone with whom you feel you can communicate well. There will be lots of people who apply for your offered job position so this task becomes quite vital. Phone interviews and resumes are the 2 best ways to complete this chore.

After that there’s the in-person interview for the most qualified candidates that you have already screened. This is not the time to settle but to pick the prospective employee that really is phenomenal. This is also not the time to feel sorry for anyone but to protect the future of your business.

Checking their references is vital before making the final step which is hiring the person that you feel best fits the job, leaving only the legal paperwork (and there can sometimes be a ton of that) to get through before your new employee can settle in and start making your (work) life a lot easier.

Successful Marketing Starts With Your Mindset

As with almost anything in   life successful business marketing starts with the right Mindset. Starting   any marketing plan with the right mindset can mean the difference between   marketing that attracts and convert and marketing that falls flat and wastes your   hard-earned revenue. The right mindset for marketing will also keep you   focused, on course with your goals and sustain your energy level while the   marketing has a chance to power-up your business. With that firmly in mind   have a look at these next few tips that will help you to attain and maintain   a powerful marketing mindset.

One of the most powerful   mindset tips is that you should give your marketing efforts the time they   need to really deliver the results that you want. Many small business   owners make the same mistake over and over, and that is to pull the plug on   their marketing efforts before they have had enough time to come to fruition.

Another big mistake that   is common to many small business owners is that they don’t commit to   frequent marketing. Even if it means sending out 1000 email reminders to   get a client if you keep sending, keep repeating and keep doing whatever it   is you do to market it will eventually start showing results.

Look to the future and start   planning for what you’re going to need when things are really firing on all   cylinders. Too many small business owners are so busy in what’s happening   today that they don’t think about   what will likely happen tomorrowand   so don’t plan for it and, when tomorrow arrives, aren’t ready for it. This is   most important when it comes to the support team that you’re going to need.

Anything in your business that is repeated or   repeatable needs a system so that it can be repeated by others in the organization. This needs   to be done before the business gets too big and too busy or it will cave in   on itself at some point. If the systems are in place ahead of time the change   from slow to busy will be much easier.

Let your personality shine through in your marketing.  Too   many times, because they want to remain ‘professional’ and so their marketing   is kind of boring and blends-in with the rest.  Blending in will NOT get you noticed!!  Don’t be crazy but you can certainly be   fun, silly and certainly friendly in your marketing. The results may surprise   you.





Overcoming Price Objections

The question today is; when should you start overcoming price objections with your new, prospective customer?  The answer is, right from the start of any sales call.

Now you might ask how you can start overcoming price objections before someone even knows the price, but the simple truth is that if you set up your customer for the coming sale with information and answers, and if you’ve listened well to what they want, you should have very few if any price objections once you get to the point where you present your price.

Many people, including seasoned salespeople, believe that their competitor’s lower price (or better product) is the thing that people will cling to when the question of price finally arises. The fact is however that no matter what your competitor’s price is or how much better (or worse) their product is, if you present yours in a way that speaks to your customer’s needs and gives them the perceived value that they want they will buy from YOU every time.

The easiest way to do this is to get your customer’s input before you get anywhere near the point of talking about price.  Ask questions, give questionnaires, get their opinions and find out what they really want. Do anything you can to find this out ahead of time and present them what they want before you present them the price. If they’re happy with what you’re selling them the price, unless it’s way out of line, should not be a problem.

It is vitally important that you engage your customers early in the sales pitch, drilling down as deep as you can to find out what’s important to them.  Is it price, or is it something else?  If, for example, you sell shoes and find out that your customer wasn’t satisfied with their last pair because they never fit right you now know what you need to accomplish in order to get the sale, which is a pair of shoes that is super comfortable and fit correctly.

When it boils right down to it your customer needs to see value in what you’re selling and the way to get them to see the value in what you have is to give them what they’re looking for. Do that and price should never be a problem. Do that an, when I’s time to talk price, they will already be sold and head to the cashier with a smile on their face.