I’ve talked to a lot of small business owners over the years and I’ve heard a lot of excuses as to why they don’t advertise, promote or otherwise market their businesses. I want to share the top 3 excuses I hear and try to defuse them.
1. “I don’t have the budget”. I know times are tough; we’re all feeling it. But that’s no excuse for neglecting the long-term health of your company. Take a realistic look at your finances, surely you can find $10 or $20 each week to sock away. No? Then brown bag it once or twice a week instead of eating out. Or skip that double low fat decaf frap a couple of times a week. Every little bit helps and if you can find just $20 each week, in 3 months you’ll have $240. Think that’s peanuts? Think again – that $240 will buy you a direct mail postcard campaign to about 200 people AND about 1000 emails. Now you are communicating with your best prospects and customers quarterly and all you gave up was a couple of lunches and a few trips to Starbucks.
2. “It’s too expensive”. There are so many free and almost free ways to promote your business that this is just plain lame. I have 3 words for you – HARNESS THE INTERNET. You’ve heard of Twitter, Facebook , LinkedIn, MerchantCircle and Google? You can use any or all of these to promote your business – absolutely FREE. I know what you’re thinking, “if it’s free it has to suck, right?” Wrong! Check this out – in less than 2 months I have accumulated over 170 Twitter followers; in less than one month, I’ve gotten over 40 Facebook fans, over 20 hits on my MerchantCircle profile and a call from a perspective client (proposal went out yesterday, keeping fingers crossed!). What does all this mean? That means for a little ole company like mine, in little ole Fairfield, California, over 230 people and small businesses who never heard of me 2 months ago, now know about me. How can that be bad?
3. “I don’t have time”. Ughhh, this one drives me crazy! I get it, you have a lot going on; customers to tend to, phones to answer, bills to pay – I get it. But one question always comes to mind: Is this really what you envisioned when you started your business? Seriously – wouldn’t it be nice to pay someone else to do all that? My guess is your answer would be a very tired “yes”. Then you need to find the time. Isn’t your business worth investing in? Just like budgeting your money you need to find a way to budget your time. Find 2 hours a week to devote to growing your business and before you know it you’ll be able to hire that extra help you need.
My point is this: Marketing is doable for small businesses – the tactics aren’t as time consuming or expensive as you think they are. But remember, none if this is going to be as effective or efficient without a strategy to drive the tactics. Planning is still the key to small business success.
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