I often speak to groups of small business owners and I keep hearing the same comment over and over again with many of them saying that marketers don’t matter or marketing doesn’t matter anymore.
There are many reasons I’ve heard as to why marketing doesn’t matter: “all my business comes by referral,” “I never spent money on marketing and my business grew,” “marketing is a waste of money,” “I see no value in marketing,” “marketing is all luck so why spend money on it,” and so on.
Oh, how they are so very wrong! Below are the top 3 reasons why:
1. Their definition of marketing is wrong
When business owners tell me that marketing doesn’t matter, they usually have a totally different understanding of what marketing is than those who recognise how marketing contributes to business goals where it enables you to charge the most money you can for your services and products.
Marketing is first about spending time building a solid foundation based on strategy before proposing a series of tactics aimed at lifting sales. Until the business finds a way to change the context of how their ideal customer views what they do, and then becomes become the obvious choice provider, they’ll find that their marketing efforts never seem to build momentum or gain any return on investment.
You must be able to enter the conversation taking place in the head of your customers. Or, to look at it in a different way, to be able to address the number one question on your customer’s mind at exactly the right time.
So, how do you do this? The conversation that is taking place in every prospective customer’s mind revolves around two major points. There is a problem they have, and that they don’t want… and there is a result that they want, and they don’t have.
Those who often misunderstand marketing believe that it is only about advertising campaigns, brochures, flyers, website, email marketing, SEO, tradeshows, social media, copy, etc. These are the tactics – the way you implement your marketing. I’d argue that marketing is essentially the core of business strategy because it is about understanding the current customer, tapping into their fears, their goals and their aspirations and then creating products and services that the ideal customer is willing to buy from a brand they now they know, like and trust.
2. They believe either they or their co-worker can do it
Sometimes in the “do it all yourself” world of small business (or even big business when it comes to it), it’s difficult to identify the areas that require outside help. A business may be able to set up their newsletter, add plugins to WordPress, write a Facebook or LinkedIn post, and clumsily create header graphics, but you need somebody who is trained, practiced, and skilled at looking strategically and holistically at the marketplace, understanding the customer, and then creating unique opportunities based on this understanding.
Just think about it for a minute; just because you have a calculator and excel does that mean you are an accountant? If you have a ruler, pencil and have watched some episodes of Grand Designs – does that make you an architect? If you post regularly to your friends on Facebook and Instagram – does that mean you are a social media expert?
So why do small businesses believe that by buying a Mac and some software they will become a designer, marketer and communications expert?
It needs to be led by a strategic marketer who can then develop an integrated marketing approach. Can you or your co-worker do this? In some cases, you can. But those who can are most likely to either come from marketing or consulting backgrounds where they have transferable skills and experience defining AND delivering against a growth strategy.
If you are a small business, you need somebody who will have a very solid, process, streamlined, consistent, repeatable approach. First, they will research and learn about your company in great depth, the dynamics of the marketplace and identify shifts, trends, and changes. From there, the strategic marketer will be able to present the different elements of your marketing plan in logical order of how you should construct them, update them, or revise them; and identify the key areas you should be focusing on – be it generating leads, converting leads, increasing transactions right down to changing prices.
3. They hire the wrong marketing help
There is a huge misunderstanding around marketing strategy, marketing tactics, and marketing execution.
There is a difference between being strategically capable, creatively capable and executionally capable.
Small business owners don’t hire a strategic marketing coach/firm to develop creative graphics and headers; nor should you hire an advertising/graphic design agency to handle marketing strategy. A small business doesn’t need to hire a consultant or a firm who is a strong marketing executor when their biggest need is a strategy for sustainable growth. You may get more attention, but not the best results.
Most of the people look for the business opportunities that require no special skills and lesser operational cost too. The setting up of a Vending Machine business requires no professional training or skills. An estimate says that this helps in generating nearly $7 billion in a year as sales. One can install any vending machines right from foods and beverages to beauty products or any other customized products. Therefore, here are few pointers that will help people to get started in this business:
Research for Good Vending Machines
People must research thoroughly for such workable and intelligent machines that they can find easily near their location. They must take the services from popular suppliers who sell quality vending machines. Moreover, customized machines are also available according to the needs of a buyer.
Think About the Products to Sell
This is one of the most important things to know for setting up a vending machine business. Think about different statistics for varied types of products. Like, at some places, candies, ice creams, and beverages do well while at some other places, foods, and snacks or alcohols are much in demand. Therefore, one can target a particular age group too and get customization for their products.
Choose a Better Location
business works well in high-traffic locations where the visitors are
much in a number. These machines can be set up near the factories,
restaurants, malls, golf courses, healthcare centers, car dealerships,
service centers, offices, etc. Before placing a vending machine at a
particular location, one must check out for the electrical outlets over
there. People can even place this type of products on some
establishment’s site. For this, one can offer commission to the manager
of that location.
Small businesses, particularly those looking for an organic growth fail more often than they think. The success rate being fairly low, startups and small businesses need a foolproof strategy to be successful in the long-run. There are several things a small business owner can do to take her business to the next level. While on one hand, setting up of goals, planning in that direction and organizing the tasks is imperative, staying put with the latest technology is also equally important on the other.
The latest trend that small businesses have been seen to follow is embracing the cloud technology. The bookkeeping technology has taken a sharp turn, moving up from the traditional methods to accounting on the cloud.
QuickBooks Cloud: A New Way of Managing Finances
QuickBooks Cloud is bookkeeping software that serves the users with all of the necessary accounting tools at a single platform. It has not only made accounting and bookkeeping easier for its users but also made documenting simpler for CPAs, entrepreneurs and owners. Here is how an entrepreneur can grow a small but resilient business with the help of QuickBooks Cloud.
- Embrace The Cloud, Once and For All
To compete with the larger firms and make a mark in the market, firms need to move to the cloud already. QuickBooks Cloud is an innovative way that offers anywhere, anytime accessibility along with a slew of unique benefits such as printing checks, managing payroll, keeping a track of inventory, managing the invoice etc on a single platform, without depending on paper.
- Enjoy Increased Productivity Finally
Small firms need to work on their productivity. Since the workforce is comparatively smaller, SMBs need to work out a system that helps them to grow. QuickBooks cloud is highly scalable, thus when a firm grows, the growing functions can be easily managed without increasing the firm’s expenditure.
- Make Tracking A Habit
In the traditional methods of bookkeeping, entrepreneurs would keep a lot of tasks on the mind instead of on record. This can be classified as an inefficient method of running a business as it is a careless method of tracking the tasks. With QuickBooks Cloud, tracking can be done on the software in no time. The software unfailingly reminds the users to make the payments on time, to track the inventory and to schedule or/and attend the upcoming events.
- Keep Up With The Taxes
QuickBooks Cloud helps its users to stay updated with the changes in tax laws. Along with that, tax payments have also become a lot easier as QuickBooks software helps to organize the taxes beforehand. Tax payments with QuickBooks are a stress greatly reduced for the firms.
- Be A Learner
A successful entrepreneur understands the importance of being up-to-date with what’s latest. Learn where the competitors and leaders are going. The customers need keep on changing and so does the market. Thus, a SMB must keep up with the market to be in business in the long run.
- Backup and Backup
Cloud means multiple backups. And with QuickBooks Cloud, an entrepreneur is making sure that he has several backups for his most valuable company’s data. Loss of data owing to any possible cause can mean a loss of thousands of dollars to the firm. Thus, every company is required to keep its data safe.
- Enjoy Better Planning For Your Business
Cloud helps the firms to plan its future in a better way. The scalability feature of cloud helps firms to expand and contract their functions easily. With easy access from anytime, anywhere, the entrepreneurs can carry out the work with the clients and CPAs even if they are located at a remote location in any part of the world. Thus, better planning and problem solving made easier on multiple levels.
QuickBooks Cloud has helped young entrepreneurs, CPAs and owners of small and medium sized businesses to do more at a single platform. With cloud computing technology, the users will not only save their time and money, but will also stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field of bookkeeping. Businesses thus looking to compete with the larger companies can start with accepting QuickBooks Cloud server for running their accounting operations in a more resilient manner.
There are various types of independent distribution routes. When buying a route, it’s important to identify and purchase a profit-generating and equity-building route delivery business. There are different types of route delivery businesses which are available at different locations. Getting to know the different types of routes available and their unique features will go a long way in helping you to make an informed decision about the right route business you should venture into.
The different route types along with their unique features are:
Snacks Routes: This a route which is offered by companies such as Snyder’s-Lance, Mission Tortilla, Tim’s Cascade, Utz, and so on. This particular type of route business requires a lower physical level of as products are delivered in boxes. Its autonomy is very high although management from suppliers helps increase sales. Financing is almost always available through the supplier’s banking partner.
Cookies Routes: This route which is offered by companies such as Pepperidge Farm, Voortman’s and so on. This particular type of route business requires a lower physical level of as products are easy to move and have very long expiration codes. Its autonomy is very high although management from suppliers helps increase sales. Financing is available for larger companies such as Pepperidge Farm whereas smaller companies may not have any.
ATM Routes: This particular type of route business has complete autonomy and requires very little physical effort as cash is the only product being distributed. Financing comes through a third party as it is almost always sold directly from the owner to the independent operators.
Vending Routes: This a route which is offered by companies such as Healthy You. This particular type of route business has complete autonomy and requires moderate physical effort as drinks are the most cumbersome product. Financing comes through a third party as it is almost always sold directly from the owner to the independent operators.
Bread Routes: This is Bread Route which is offered by companies such as Pepperidge Farm, Holsum, Bimbo, Sara Lee, Arnold, Martin’s and many other local bakeries. This particular type of bread routes for sale business requires a higher physical level of as products are heavy and are mostly delivered in large stacks. Its autonomy is very high although management from suppliers helps increase sales. Financing is almost always available through the supplier’s banking partner.
Pool Routes: This particular type of route business has complete autonomy and requires moderate physical effort. Financing comes through a third party as it is almost always sold directly from the owner to the independent operators
The features discussed above are typically true for each of the business types, although independent routes can vary. Knowing all these details will enable you to make an inform decision about the route delivery business which is right for you.
Though it has undergone many changes, the business plan is still around. No longer limited to the traditional 12-15 page type-written document, a business plan can be exciting and engaging as well as useful. Many of us realize that it’s the planning process, and the associated research and soul searching, that is so valuable. The finished plan is just icing on the cake.
Just as there are many types of entrepreneurs and business ideas there are many kinds of business plans. Here are three that deserve some special attention.
The “Accidental Entrepreneur” Plan:
Believe it or not, it happens quite often. An impulse, a hobby, or a passing notion turns into a business without warning. One day you’re handing your extra back-yard tomatoes or homemade cake to the neighbors, and before you know it you’re filling out the forms for a booth at the local farmer’s market. Perhaps you create a unique bit of hand-crafted jewelry and wear it to school or work, and then find your phone flooded with messages like, “Where can I get one?” and “I’ll pay you to make one for me.”
When you’re writing a business plan in a situation like these, you need to address a few issues the intentional entrepreneur has already pondered. The first is do you really want this idea to become a full-blown business? Certainly it’s flattering when you realize there’s a market value for something you were doing anyway, but that doesn’t always mean you should launch a business. A lot of accidental businesses form around fads or seasonal items, and may not be robust enough to function as year-round, money-making, enterprises.
Next you will need to carefully examine what actually goes into your offering. How many hours does it take to create those one-of-a-kind bracelets? How much does it cost to bake a dozen of your special recipe cookies? How much research goes into “whipping up” a website? Making tangible goods requires space. Do you have room to grow enough squash to actually generate profits? Are these numbers you could sustain beyond the occasional personal or family use of your product or service?
The business planning process can be very helpful to “accidental entrepreneurs” as it allows you to decide which ideas are best left as hobbies and which ones could provide some real cash flow.
The “Back of a Napkin” Plan:
It is the source of entrepreneurial legend and lore, the million-dollar idea that was hurriedly scribbled on a bar napkin. Yet, for most potential business owners this option for business planning remains a fantasy. However, like any myth there is a tiny grain of truth inside. A quickie business outline can work as a launch plan under the right circumstances.
If you need to get going quickly to ride the wave of a fad before it fizzles, then fast, bare-bones planning may be all you’ve got time to execute. This works best when you’ve already got the infrastructure in place, perhaps from previous projects or an established business, and you can simply shift energy and resources to the new idea.
When you, and your partners if any, have all the core skills and industry knowledge you need to start right away without seeking experts, napkin notes may be enough to get going. Let’s say you are already an expert in technology and social media. Then you, and your team, probably don’t need a detailed plan to start developing a new app. You will draw on your knowledge and experience, and you understand that you might need to go back and do some more detailed and formal planning later.
Certainly when you reach the point where you are looking for investors or lenders, you will move beyond those first casual notes. Until then, drawing upon your expertise can allow you to quickly jump into the market and perhaps gain a competitive edge by using a minimalist plan.
The “One Pressing Issue” Plan:
Business planning does not stop the day you open for business. Under the best of circumstances you should be revisiting your plan once or twice a year to see how things are going, and where perhaps you’ve veered away from your original goals. Remember, changing the direction of a business isn’t always bad, but it should be intentional.
Then there are the moments when something seems to be going wrong, when one or more areas of the business just don’t seem to be working. Cash flow is anemic or the marketing message is flat. Perhaps customers have shown a marked interest in only one particular product or service, ignoring all your other offerings. This means it’s time to revisit your business plan, more precisely it’s time to revisit the questioning process that helped you craft your plan.
Look at the assumptions you baked into your original plan. Did the city follow through on opening that new park across from your location? Were insurance rates what you expected? How many hours of accounting or web design help did you really need? Are your online inquiries out-stripping your face-to-face sales? Or vice versa?
Sometimes no matter how much you research, plan, or test, things don’t go as expected in a business. This isn’t necessarily a herald of failure or a sign that you’re not cut out for entrepreneurship. Life and the marketplace are both unpredictable, and plans need to be fluid and responsive. The “One Pressing Issue Plan” is simply a reflection of a normal evaluation process.
While I still recommend the business planning process, I caution you to realize that a beautifully crafted document does not always equal business success. I’ve worked with many entrepreneurs who successfully launched without a plan, and some with beautifully written plans that never materialized. You and your business idea are unique. Your planning process will be unique as well. Be wary of one-size-fits-all advice or pronouncements from experts about how you should proceed.