7 Steps to Creating a Successful Small Business Marketing Plan

Small business marketing is all about determining the needs of your target market and then providing solutions to meet those needs.

These 7 steps are aimed at entrepreneurs starting a small business and those who want to create a successful small business marketing plan for an existing business.
Most small business promotions focus on how great their products and services are. Instead, you should educate your target market consistently and start building a relationship that will establish your credibility and trust. It is important to develop a marketing mindset. “Think Marketing” your products and services all of the time. It is very important to consistently market your products and services. Don’t fall into the trap of stop and go marketing. Some small business owners only market when sales are down.

You can’t have a successful small business without having a successful small business marketing plan. Effective small business marketing is the way to growth and profits

If you’re a small business owner or you want to know how to start a small business in the future, this simple 7-step plan will help you understand your business and your target market.

How to Start a Small Business Marketing Plan: 7 Steps
Begin the process by answering these questions:

1) Who — Who specifically is your target market? Who is your ideal client? What research can you do to find out more about your target market?

2) What — What products and services do your ideal clients want and need? What does your product and service do for your ideal client? What problems does your product solve for your customer? What are the solutions that your ideal client is looking for? What is your area of specialty that will differentiate you in the marketplace? What are the industry trends? What type of message will your ideal client likely respond to? What are you ultimately selling? For example: Are you selling eye glasses or are you selling vision? What is your unique mix of products and services? What is your pricing strategy?

3) Where — Where is your ideal client? Where is your customer located geographically? Where will you position yourself so they can easily find you? Where are the best places to get your marketing message to them? Will you speak to groups, hold seminars, or write a blog, newsletters or articles?
4) When — How frequently does your target market need to hear your marketing message? When are they most likely to buy your products and services?

5) Why — Why are you in business? Why do customers or clients buy from you? Why should they choose your product or service over your competition?

6) How — How does your customer buy your product or service? How are you going to reach potential buyers for your services and products? How will you communicate your marketing message? How will you provide customers or clients with the information they need to make their buying decision?

7) Marketing Mindset – Practice mastering a Marketing Mindset and you will be on the path to a profitable small business.

With these 7 steps, you can take action towards starting a small business marketing plan that targets new customers. “Marketing is about testing and evaluating your return on investment. But it’s primarily about helping people get what they want.” Master these small business marketing steps and you will be on the path to more profit and success as a business owner.

Leadership Tips – Small Business Requires Faster Decisions

Introduction

This leadership tip has something in it for managers everywhere, but it’s particularly targeted at those of you with large company backgrounds who have made career moves to smaller businesses that you own and/or manage.

My background is primarily in large scale management of IT organizations. The companies where I’ve worked were places where changing a process or behavior took some time. I always thought I was quicker than most, and action oriented. As a small business owner, I found I had to be much quicker.

I’ll offer this leadership tip in the form of a story. It’s a story of how taking your eye of the ball can cost you money, and worse than that can cost you customers.

My First Small Business

I opened a small personal services business. It was located about an hour from my home office, and with all my other commitments I knew how important hiring the right manager would be for this shop. It took a few tries, but I found one with a good background and references, and she seemed to quickly develop loyalty to the business and to me.

For the first six months we grew slowly but steadily. We were behind plan in terms of customers and revenue, but the trend was up. There were a few staff issues, but overall turnover was okay. I decided to invest a little more in marketing to try and get more new faces in the door.

Over the next three months, customer counts were mostly flat, and average sale was actually down a little. Concerned, I visited the shop a few times more than usual. The people were not as upbeat as they had been. When asked about that, they attributed their moods to less business and less enjoyment of the job. I wondered about seasonality, the economy, and whether I needed even more marketing investment.

Want to know what was really going on? My trusted manager had some personal problems that I had not been aware of before, and was exhibiting some totally unacceptable behaviors:

  • Criticizing staff in front of customers
  • Intimidating staff, letting them know they were at risk of being fired, and telling them I was out to get them.
  • Stealing money by voiding transactions and other means

The Damages

I’m still figuring out how much money all this cost me, but the money is only today’s problem. The customers I’ve lost are a more serious longer term issue, because many of them won’t be coming back.

When I figured out what was going on, I moved quickly to fire the manager. There were only two problems:

  1. I was too late, and there had been several months of damage done;
  2. There was collateral damage. I had to fire two other employees who had adopted the attitude and behaviors of the manager.

Today, I’m working on putting together data to see if I can assemble a case for prosecuting the employees and the manager. An even higher priority, though, is the work I’m doing to recruit and orient new staff and develop a recovery plan for our customer service reputation.
This leadership tip was a painful lesson that I hope never to repeat.

Corporate Business Solutions – Getting Sophisticated With Time

Voice over internet protocol, or VoIP as it is commonly called, has metamorphosed the way one can communicate over geographical distances and in real time. It can be said that VoIP has had a hand in making the world a smaller as well as a better place. Businesses, for one, have been among the first categories of users to reap the wide array of benefits that this high-end technology has to offer. More and more businesses are realizing the tremendous scope that an adoption of VoIP can open up before them. As a matter of fact, the corporate business solutions have become high-end and innovative with the adoption of this very useful technique of sending voice as well as data over Internet networks.

But we would come to that later. First and foremost, we have to understand the rising significance of clear and distinct channels of communication for the proper functioning of any business establishment. There has to be a free flow of information; both within the organizational structure as well as outside. Colleagues within a particular corporate establishment should be able to communicate freely within their organization. Moreover, the organization as a whole should be able to have an uninterrupted channel of communication to connect with partners, suppliers or branch offices, which could be located almost anywhere in the globe. Moreover, a degree of cost efficiency is very much desirable in these channels. The latest corporate business solutions, powered by VoIP, can do all these and quite a bit more.

It can be said that these VoIP solutions have revolutionized the telecommunication domain and nothing is the same as before. High speed broadband connections have taken the place of traditional telephone systems. With special hardware and software of VoIP in place, the business users are able to make the most of these specialized business solutions. The support provided by broadband networks becomes important in this context. With the routing of voice and data over broadband internet connections, users are able to enjoy good call quality. In addition, the data congestion is also reduced to a significant extent.

As a matter of fact, there is more than one benefit of using corporate business solutions. Some of these benefits are mentioned below:

1. Lowering of infrastructural costs: With business VoIP solutions, there is a significant reduction in the telephone costs. The provision of free calls to certain areas offered by many providers of such services make them all the more valuable to potential users.

2. Availability of additional options: The solutions come with a number of highly innovative options that include features such as call waiting, call routing and voicemail. In this context, these solutions score a point over the traditional phone lines.

3. Flexibility in operation: The voip solutions on offer come with some very amazing options that enable their easy adoption by different businesses from diverse backgrounds. In addition, easy updation of these solutions as well as seamless integration with existing networks makes these solutions very much popular among business users.

So, the fact that many organizations having global presence are reducing their communication related expenditure through these solutions should not come as any surprise. Other business establishments that are making the most of corporate business solutions are the ones having call center operations.

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