It’s an unusual small business owner who planned to be in the business he or she ends up in (and I count myself among them). I ended up in my business to some extent through a love of writing, and partly through necessity. Few of us sit down and create a small business marketing plan for the whole venture as a business from the outset, though.
So here in this brief article I share with you what I regard to be the 3 most critical components in any small business marketing plan.
Obviously I cannot share everything I know about small business marketing in one article and three simple tips … but in true 80/20 style I can give you some strategies which, if you take them to heart, will make an enormous difference in your business.
1. Endless follow up
Successful business owners learn the key to business success is found in following up.
Put another way, you’ll sell more if you tell more.
It’s a tough job selling anything to anyone on the first meeting, particularly if it’s a large purchase. It takes time. I, myself, often get new customers and clients who have been getting my tips and e-mails literally for years.
2. Serve, not sell
The real value of a customer or client is in his or her lifetime value — the sum of money he or she pays you over the lifetime of your relationship.
Too many business owners really don’t grasp this, and instead fall over themselves in the rush to make each individual sale, without bearing in mind this long-term value.
In my experience, it’s often held true I make more money in my relationship with a client in the long term by talking them out of an early and to my mind inappropriate purchase.
3. The bull’s eye
Why does your business exist?
Any answer much different from “to make a profit” suggests to me you might need to think again about the whole business thing.
I’m not being mercenary here because even a non-profit business founded for the most humanitarian and noble of reasons must profit to stay in business. No matter how good the primary cause, there are still pay checks to be paid, obligations to be met and bills to be paid.
It follows then that you plainly must be selling something.
This is not inconsistent with my previous point, incidentally, since by focusing on the relationship and the long term value of the customer or client you are also necessarily focusing on sales.
What you’re not doing is focusing on any single sale as being particularly important.
Yes, you need sales and you do need customers and clients … but no single one of them is indispensable. If they are, then your business is in a very unsafe position, and you need to do something about, and soon.
Seriously, it’s easier than you think to grow a successful and profitable small business, and if you embrace what I’ve shared with you here, it’s going to be a lot easier for you.