Marketing is an essential function for every small business. However, many small business owners make serious mistakes during their promotional efforts. Small business consulting firms offer valuable services that help these entrepreneurs ensure the success of their companies. When it comes to marketing, they have several tips to pass along to owners of small businesses.
At a certain point, a small business may need to hire staff. Small business entrepreneurs should look for people who match their targeted demographic. Prospects and previous customers will relate to these staffers and the workers represent a focus group for new products or services. People who actually use what the company offers are like free advertisements. Their enthusiastic (and often, unsolicited) endorsements of the products or services are at the heart of guerilla marketing.
Another great way that entrepreneurs can market their companies is by marketing themselves. Every new encounter is an opportunity to promote what they do. Small business entrepreneurs should look for speaking opportunities at chamber of commerce and business association meetings. They can even arrange panel discussions with colleagues or record and upload videos to YouTube and the company website.
Speaking of collaboration, a wholesaler or distributor may have co-op funds for purchasing ad space. Small retailers can secure advertisements they could otherwise not afford and the wholesaler or distributor receives much-desired visibility. Retailers may even be able to afford billboard ads in high-traffic locations. The best way to identify these advertising opportunities is to ask members of the supply chain.
While advertising is important, it is only one area of corporate marketing. Entrepreneurs must develop connections with customers in order to win their business. Sharing a story is a unique way to do this. The story should reveal what inspired the entrepreneur to start the business and what difference the individual wants to make in the lives of others. People want to hear about the personal side of the companies they do business with so provide this to them. Tell a short, authentic tale that combines some self-promotion with a focus on the customer.
This is just a sampling of the advice that small business consulting firms provide to their clients. Owners of small businesses should call on the expertise of a small business consultant when developing marketing strategies and dealing with operational issues. Over the lifetime of the company, this individual will become a mentor, helping the business owner to take the company to unprecedented levels.