5 Common Small Business Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)

1. Technology: Everyone in small businesses understands the need for technology but don’t truly understand what really makes it valuable to your business. Valuable technology has really only two purposes: to make you money and to save you money, period. Although that sounds rather generic, the truth is technology’s primary function is recording data; therefore, the data your systems are using should increase client retention or decrease the time spent on your staff or product fulfillment. Finally, don’t undervalue your technology; don’t pinch pennies here because the right technology is the foundation of your business.

Essentials for technology:
A. Website for lead generation
B. Contact management system for recording clients’ sales history
C. Secured network for growth, sharing, and remote employees (sales team)
D. Technical consultant for helping you determine the best and most cost-effective software and hardware for your company
E. Powerful e-mail marketing system
F. Good accounting software

2. Marketing: Many small businesses don’t think much of marketing until their sales are slumping or they are not generating enough customers (or enough revenue). To compensate for this error, we begin panic promotions, which usually will not lead to greater sales or more clients.

Essentials for marketing:
A. Marketing is essential for business growth and should be implemented before the doors open and continue throughout the business life cycle.
B. Marketing and sales are not the same thing (marketing generates sales leads).
C. Develop a marketing plan and stick to it for a minimum of 90 days.
D. Review and refine your marketing plan consistently; what works for the grand opening may not work next year.
E. Develop a marketing budget and stick to it; marketing is a business cost and should be treated as importantly as your rent (if not more so).
F. Remember “If you open, they will come” is a myth; only marketing will get clients to your business.

3. Know or learn your customers (market research): In my opinion, it is better to know who your customer is before you open the doors, but for the young entrepreneur, this is seldom the case. The good news is if you have done steps 1 and 2, this step will be a little easier because you will have the data to help you see who your true customer is.

Essentials for market research:
A. Know what your best and worst selling items are.
B. Determine the clients’ gender, race, and socioeconomic status.
C. Send out surveys (including some form of incentive).
D. Determine the clients’ buying patterns (every month, week, or year).
E. Include new information in the marketing plan.

4. DIY (do it yourself): Of the entire group of successful entrepreneurs I have met, they all had one thing in common: they did what they were good at and delegated the rest. We all have strengths and weaknesses; as a small business owner, you don’t have the time to correct your weaknesses, so focus on making them irrelevant to your success instead.

Essentials for business management:
A. Delegate effectively.
B. Use technology.
C. Prioritize your strengths.
D. Delegate all weaknesses.
E. Use outside talent when necessary.
F. Hire based on the company’s weaknesses.

5. Being too nice: Most small business owners develop a peculiar bond with their employees and a fear of their clients, which develops to this unique situation. The employees tend to feel that they can do what they want in the company as opposed to what they are told; your business is not a democracy. As for the client side, many new small business owners are afraid to charge what they should or believe they should be cheaper than the competition; nothing could be further from the truth. You charge what your value proposition supports, period.

Essentials for employee and client relations:
Employees
A. Hire slow; fire fast.
B. Business is not a democracy (you are king/queen).
C. Personal feelings have no place in business.
D. Hire to fill a company void.
E. Develop an employee handbook.

Clients
A. Prices are not negotiable.
B. Friends and family are still clients (if they are friends, they would understand that this is your livelihood).
C. You can’t be “all things to all people.”
D. Don’t be afraid to say no.
E. Apologize as well as stand your ground when necessary.

Best wishes,
Darrin Jackson

Gravitational Marketing for Small Businesses – First Law: Why Your Marketing Doesn’t Work

Traditional Sales and Marketing Tactics are DEAD!

In your heart and in your mind you already know this is true. That’s why we’ve come together…you’re seeking a solution.

What you’re doing is not working the way it should be – or the way it once did.

There was a time when just doing a good job was enough to stimulate word-of-mouth or running an ad or sending a mailer could get you some leads and deals. That’s not the case anymore.

You want – and have a right to expect – more.

More leads.

More business.

More commissions

And more money.

We don’t blame you. You didn’t get into this business to clown around or work like a dog.

But that’s what too many small businesses and professionals are doing.

Wasting their time, money and opportunity with traditional marketing practices that are dead.

The ideas we will teach you have been in use for over one hundred years. We only use time tested direct response marketing tactics that are responsible for the most effective marketing efforts in history.

One time we were explaining these concepts to a small business owner here in Orlando, Florida.
He’d had been a sales professional and now a small business owner for over 25 years and was always researching marketing techniques.

At the beginning of our meeting, we could tell he was a little skeptical – because of our young age.

But when we were done with our rapid fire explanation of our “Gravitational Marketing Secrets” – and how they could revolutionize his business – he stared at us and finally said, softly, “I’ve been in this business for more than 25 years, and I’ve never heard any of this before.”

We’re not surprised.

It’s a conspiracy.

It’s perpetrated by media professionals, sales imposters, creative morons and ad agencies. You see, these people are all deathly afraid that you – the advertiser – will be able to track and measure the results of your marketing expense.

This is a huge opportunity for you.

Most people, most business owners, most sales professionals don’t know this information (and many of the ones who do know it are too stubborn, too lazy or too egotistical to take action).

The wise business owner and sales pro who takes this information and runs with it will be in striking distance of dominating their market, making their competition impotent – even small businesses and sales professionals that have been doing this for ages – are ending up with a lead and business producing machine so powerful that you’re actually able to take a few days off each week because the system runs itself.

This is exactly why we created the Gravitational Marketing.

In the second Law of Gravitational Marketing for Small Businesses, we’ll tell you how to DOUBLE the probability that a customer will do business with you. Can you imagine?

What is Direct Mail Marketing and Why Should I Use It to Promote My Small Business

Most small business owners have heard of direct mail marketing, but may not really know what it is. And there’s good reason to consider direct mail to promote your small business.

It’s versatile, effective and affordable. It allows you to give prospects one-to-one direct attention, and it allows you more control over growth than nearly any other type of promotion.

Direct mail marketing is one of several types of direct response copywriting. I suppose it’s somewhat confusing, but most tend to think of the two terms as interchangeable. There is however, a subtle difference.

Direct mail marketing can be defined as one-to-one communication sent by mail directly to potential clients with the goal of specific action by the recipient. Direct response copywriting is basically the same thing, but isn’t limited to snail mail delivery.

Direct Mail Marketing is Versatile

Direct response is one of the most versatile forms of small business promotion there is. You are in fact, really only limited by your imagination. Some of the more common types of direct response are:

  • Direct mail letters
  • Direct post cards
  • “Lumpy” mail
  • Business letters of introduction
  • Direct response brochures
  • Flyers
  • Direct fax
  • Direct email
  • Bulletin board letters

Of the eight different types listed above, only the last three wouldn’t be considered direct mail marketing, but would instead be considered a different type of direct response copywriting.

Most of them are self-explanatory, but you may not have heard of “lumpy” mail. Lumpy mail is simply direct mail with the addition of something related to your message in the envelope besides just a letter. It could be as simple as a stubby pencil, a sample-sized bar of soap, or even a child’s toy. It might cost a bit more, but it often leads to a surprisingly big increase in response rates.

And perhaps you haven’t heard of bulletin board letters. Technically, they’re not a form of direct response, since they’re not sent directly to a particular recipient, but rather are posted on a community bulletin board where anyone in the local area can find them.

Community bulletin board letters can be nearly as effective as a direct mail letter, but have the added advantages of lower costs and reaching a larger audience. They’re most often hand-delivered, stapled to bulletin boards in towns, in storefront windows, or anywhere else you feel they’d be seen.

Direct Mail is Affordable

Whatever the mode of delivery, dollar for dollar, direct response copywriting is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your small business. On average, a direct mail letter costs less than $1 per recipient. That’s including paper, envelopes, printing and postage stamps.

A direct postcard can cost even less because it costs less to mail–total cost is around 70 cents. However, higher paper costs could even out the cost difference.

Direct Mail is Effective

With average response rates between 1 and 3%, it’s one of the most effective ways to promote your small business as well.

Unfortunately, most amateur copywriters (and many professionals as well) don’t have response rates nearly that high. They’re soon discouraged, giving up on direct mail marketing when their first efforts show a poor, or no response.

One of the reasons might be that they’ve chosen the wrong goal. Keeping in mind that it takes an average of 5 to 7 contacts before a potential client actually buys something from you, your goal should seldom be a sale.

Most of your contacts will need to get to know you before they spend their hard-earned dollars on your product or service. Don’t expect a sale. Rather, consider any purchases from introductory direct mail a pleasant bonus.

A much better goal might be to consider direct response as lead generation instead of sales generation. For example, you might want your recipient to visit your web site, contact you for a free report, or call you for more information. Those types of requests are more likely to result in the type of response you’re looking for.

Direct Mail Allows You to Speak Directly to Your Recipient

What other form of small business promotion allows you speak directly to your recipient? Not television, radio, billboards, or your web site. Besides, with the exception of a web site, TV, radio and billboards cost way too much for most small business owners to consider.

Addressing your recipient personally, as in “Dear Joe” or “Dear Ms. Smith” rather than using “Dear Colleague” or “Dear Homeowner” increases response rates dramatically. And it improves the chances that your recipient will actually open the envelope instead of throwing it away unopened. (So does using an actual stamp instead of a postage meter by the way).

Direct Mail Gives You Control Over Your Growth Rate

Growing your small business too fast is almost as dangerous as not growing fast enough! What would you do if you suddenly grow way past your company’s capability? It’s a danger you might think you’d welcome, but there is such a thing as too much growth.

With direct mail, you control your growth as simply as controlling the number of direct mail letters you decide to send. If your goal is one new lead a month, knowing the average response rate is 1 to 3%, you can send between 33 and 100 letters for one response

No matter how you’re promoting your small business right now, I hope you’re convinced to add direct mail marketing as one of your strategies. If done well, it truly is one of the most effective marketing strategies available to small business owners.

Importance of Social Media Marketing for Your Small Businesses

Social media marketing has gained popularity among small businesses and they are taking this kind of marketing as one of their important marketing strategies for their businesses. It is a helpful platform from where you can reach thousands of customers in a short time with less efforts. In this post, you will see the importance of social media marketing for your small businesses.

Cost-effective: Social media marketing is a cost-effective marketing strategy for your small businesses. This is because it is free to open your business account in these sites, but where you need to spend a little money for its maintenance is on content, graphic creation, and for further developments. It has the ability to reach thousands or millions of targeted audience within a short time and with a less efforts.

Take a look at the number of the users:

  • Facebook has 1.15 billion users.
  • Active Twitter users are about 200 million.
  • LinkedIn users are about 238 million.

A platform to educate and empower online community: Social media marketing is a powerful tool in educating and empowering your online community. Here what you need to do is – share educational to informational posts as these reveals your brand personality to the community followers.

Direct interaction with customers: Social media marketing is a two-way communication tool, by which, small businesses can engage their customers by conducting polls or surveys or by responding to the queries. By this, the businesses can know about the targeted audiences – what they like/dislike about your products/services, what their needs and wants and so on. Accordingly, you can make necessary adjustments to provide quality customer service. This will build trust customers’ trust. They will feel your business is credible.

Generates leads/sales: Social media marketing plays a critical role in generating leads/sales for your small businesses. According to the report – 2012 State of Inbound Marketing – it has 100% higher leads to close rate than outbound marketing. However, do not get overwhelmed with this feature, because you will not get instant results. Here you need to put consistent efforts in implementing and maintaining the marketing campaign. Over a period of time, you will get the best results.

Social media marketing helps in branding: This is a good platform to build branding. It depends on you in deciding how to position your organization in the minds of the organization. Here what you need to do is – put consistent efforts on creating and posting valuable content over these sites. This will build reputation for your brand.

Business Exposure: Social media marketing is a boon to professional employers who are willing to connect with the other professional in the same industry. This helps in building comprehensive network as well as you can gain referrals.

Social media site usage has grown manifold over the past few years. Therefore, it is an effective platform to promote your business.