Small Business Marketing by Jillian Shaw Marketing, Advertising & Public Relations for the Small Business

Marketing Is Not Optional

02.06.2010 · Posted in The Basics
Small businesses marketing

Marketing Is More Than Nice Signage

It’s hard to see past the bottom line as a business owner.  Sales and revenue are the earth and stars.  But when you’re overly focused turning a profit – to the point that you’re tracking your year-to-date numbers down to the day – you’re shooting yourself (and your sales) in the foot.  Watching a pot that will never boil.  Missing the forest for the trees.  Heck, the cliché was invented by business owners of old who counted their pennies hourly.

When the laws of supply and demand are in your favor, maybe you can neglect marketing.  But when they’re not (and for most people, they’re not) you can not afford to get lost in the shuffle.  Marketing can literally make or break you (because I needed another cliché in this post).

This blog is for the small business owner that knows absolutely nothing about marketing.  And worse, probably doesn’t even realize the value of it.  In fact, if you’re a small business owner reading this, it’s probably because somebody that saw you floundering emailed it to you as a random act of kindness.  Or you’re so desperate, you finally took some time to Google “how can I save my flailing business?”

So enough lecturing (because I could go on for pages).  The purpose of this blog is to inform even the most just-crawled-out-from-under-a-rock (or, more likely, a stack of bills) small business owner about the basics of advertising, public relations, and general marketing, so that he or she may apply it with very little to no expense.

First, let me define ’small business owner.’  I know that there’s probably a government regulation out there that defines a small business as having less than fifty employees.  They have no idea.

A true small business owner:

  1. Often has one employee, himself.  And maybe his kids, if he can bribe them into waking up early on the weekends.
  2. Works on Sunday whether the doors are open or not.
  3. Has to decide which invoices to pay and which ones he can slide on without totally pissing off vendors.
  4. Neglects other priorities in his life to pour blood/sweat/tears into the business.
  5. Actually cares deeply about the quality of his product, the satisfaction of the customer, and the community in which his business resides.
  6. Pays himself last, if at all.
  7. Deserves a vacation more than any cube-dweller, factory worker or “manager.”  Probably more than all three combined.

Now let’s talk about the business.  A small business can be anything.  It can be run out of your home, selling handmade crafts online, a kiosk in the mall, a website hawking ads, or freelancing.  It’s anything that could generate an income for you (but probably really doesn’t).

Maybe you’re feeling downtrodden.  Maybe you’ve thought ‘I’ve got all the pieces, if I could only pull them together.’  Maybe you’re living on a dream and a prayer, and hoping that the money to live and live well will follow.  I’m here to tell you that your hope is not misplaced.  You really can succeed at making your dream business prosper and even make decent money.  Whatever your trade, if you care enough about it, you can apply some basic marketing principles to improve your revenue.  That’s why I’m writing to you.

I firmly believe that you don’t need to spend money to use the tools and tactics of advertising/PR/marketing.  What you do need is time.  You need to carve out time in your schedule, whether its 5 minutes or 2 hours, and preferably as part of your actual work day (rather than taking time away from other priorities, like family) that you focus solely on learning the skills, creating a plan, and implementing it.

Figure out how much time you’re going to dedicate and when, and meet me here tomorrow.

Jillian's Currently Reading: Guerrilla Marketing, 4th edition: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business
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