Learn How to Market a Small Business
Small business America is making a comeback. According to the SBA, 23 million small businesses currently account for 54% of all sales in the United States while also providing 55% of all the jobs that are currently out there. This is certainly impressive, but it could be better. One of the toughest aspects of being an entrepreneur is knowing how to market a small business. This is one of the top reasons that over 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years. So how do you do it? You’ll be relieved to know it isn’t quite rocket science. You have a product, or a service, to sell; you simply need to sell it. The following are three tried, tested, and proven answers to the common question of how to successfully market a small business.
Have A Plan
This doesn’t necessarily mean ‘Have A Business Plan’. You should; but we aren’t your parents, and we aren’t giving you a business loan, so that’s your choice. What we mean is that you should have a Marketing plan. A detailed one. Know your demographics and find out how to market your small business in a way that caters to their needs. More importantly, know your business! How many times have you been asked, ‘What do you do?’ and fumbled your answer? Fail. You should be your best cheerleader. You should know the names and positions and jersey numbers of every single player on your team. Your ‘elevator pitch’ is the most important marketing tool you could possibly have. Everything else is pretty much based on it. It’s how you create partnerships, affiliates, and generate new leads. Get it done and practice.
If you build it, they will come.
That might have worked for baseball-playing ghosts, but it won’t work for your would-be customers. They’re going to be a little tougher to sell. To market your small business well, it’s essential that you become involved in your community. They need to know you’re there and what you’re all about. Yes, this means networking. Yes, this also means social media. Customers want to be able to relate to you. It means the world to them that you aren’t just out to get their money. It’s not as hard as you think to get involved either. Most business owners who don’t, to be honest, are either somewhat intimidated or they just can’t find the time. If you need help, ask for it! Mentors are another great resource for small business owners, and they’re everywhere! Just get involved!
Push Your Product
That’s right. It’s time to be a pusher and get your product out there by as many means as possible. This goes hand-in-hand with the other two ways to market a small business. It’s part of having a plan and getting involved. Whether your small business marketing plan is advertising, networking, social media, or any other ideas you have, you have to be your best salesman as well as your best cheerleader. They’re basically the same job. (So what? I can talk about cheerleading twice. Jeez.) You also need to be creative. Advertisements in the weeklies (aka junk mail) don’t quite cut it anymore. Coupons still work, but now require a certain finesse. Try a promo on Facebook. Try anything! Just keep track. Heck, why not try giving it away? ‘Pay What You Want’ marketing models are working all over the place, and well enough to keep small businesses alive.
Hopefully these tips have been helpful and I didn’t lose you with the random Kevin Costner reference. The important thing is that small business owners understand that learning how to market a small business isn’t as hard as you think. Don’t be scared to get creative and try new things. You’ll thank yourself in the end!
Sound off below! (Free T-shirt to the first person to comment below with the name of the movie I misquoted!)