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Three Things Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know

Let’s get back to basics this week. I’ve been in sales and marketing a long time and sometimes  forget that for many small business owners the whole idea of growing and promoting a business is a complete unknown.  I talk to a lot of entreprenuers who fell in love with a product and decided they wanted to become an authorized dealer or realized they are really good at providing a particular service and decided to make a go of it on their own, but in many cases, they have no idea what it takes to make a business grow and thrive. 

 I can give marketing tips and ideas all day long, but without a little basic knowledge, that isn’t going to help long-term. So here are 3 things that I believe can arm business owners with a few more tools to succeed. I can think of at least 100 more, but I’ll start with 3 today – it is a holiday week afterall!

1.  Your website is a lead generation tool. Do you think Bayer Aspirin has a website just because they think they should?  No, they know a website is a tool for building trust. Bayer knows that their website is the single best vehicle for getting people who have a headache, fever or muscle pain to get to know, like and trust their brand. You need to think of your website the same way. 

Your website is your window to the world. Make sure you are attracting people who want and need what you have to offer, and engage them, draw them in.  Add an opt-in form to get their permission to send information of interest to them.  Post stories, ideas, and reports they are interested in. Educate them. Provide solutions to their problems. All of this builds your reputation as a giver and a trusted source for industry related information and it gives people a reason to re-visit your site, keeping you top of mind! .

2. Buying advertising is a complete waste of money if you don’t do some homework first. Running an ad that attempts to cover everything and speak to everyone is a huge mistake. You will end up appealing to no one. Ask yourself:  what are you trying to accomplish? Who specifically are you trying to reach? What action do you want them to take? Why should they take it? You need to ask yourself all of these questions and answer them before you can even consider investing money in advertising.  Otherwise you may as well donate the money to charity where it will actually do some good.  

3. The internet is your friend, use it! I’m not just talking about your website and social media tools, I’m talking about embracing the internet as the invaluable resource it is. Before I started my business I researched everything I could possibly think of that related to my business:  statistics and reports about small business and marketing, attitudes and behaviors, local competition, local attitudes toward marketing and marketing consultants, and more.  I continue to use it every day to learn and improve my skills.   

You can find just about anything related to your product or service online. Invest the time;  find out who buys your product, how they buy it, what their attitudes are toward it, get stats, reports, analysis, research the competition and their customer base, learn about related products and services and industries, learn what your prospects and customers are reading,  where they hang out, what they want and need. Become a student of your product or service and your industry. Knowledge is power – use this power make smarter decisions. Click here to comment.

Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

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