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Small Business Success Index 4

Index Score*   Grade
73 marginal
Capital Access 67
Marketing & Innovation 65
Workforce 76
Customer Service 88
Computer Technology 73
Compliance 92
*Index score is calculated on a 1-100 scale.

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Women in Business: Marketing Strategy For Everyone! Part 2

July 26th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

Emily RichardsBecause my friend Emily Richards of Drew Consulting, a full-service marketing consulting firm based in Falls Church, VA, had so much to say about marketing strategy and small businesses, I divided my interview with her into two parts.  You can read Part 1 here

Care to share a couple of success stories?

My client’s success is my success. I was brought in last summer to make recommendation on a project in Boston, MA for a residential construction client. The investors were ready to finalize the deal (and it goes without saying my client was as well). After we conducted our market research, the deal didn’t pencil. Our recommendation, while not popular, was to not pursue the deal. They reviewed our research and recommendation and killed the deal. It was a success for us in that while we didn’t provide our client with the information they were hoping to obtain, we contributed to ensuring they maintained a solid portfolio and didn’t compromise on a bad development decision.

Another was a strategy session for a start up client. They brought us in to conduct a session with their employees to ensure that everyone understood the purpose and direction of the company. At the time, the team was only about 10 people. As the session was conducted, you could see individuals making the connection of the business’s passion, their own individual purpose and how the two ‘fit together’. While this certainly didn’t have quantifiable results, the company has continued to grow successfully and is an incredibly close knit organization.

I’m always curious as to how other small business owners market their business. So, how do you market your’s?

Often, I find myself so entrenched in marketing other companies that I neglect the marketing of my own company. Most clients come by way of referral and word of mouth. We have begun branching out in traditional methods of marketing including, eblasts, social media campaigns and direct mail to companies in the area that are identified as growing/expanding companies that could potentially be in need of our services.

If you could give 3 pieces of advice to a small business owner putting together a marketing plan, what would they be?

1)      Don’t neglect the exercise

I’ve seen start up businesses and established businesses, alike, fail to place importance on creating a formal business plan and strategy. It is difficult to express your vision and purpose if you haven’t taken the time to sit down and think through high level goals and objectives for your business. In my opinion, it could make or break your entire vision. These goals and objectives are the premise upon which we build strategies.

2)      Be flexible (to the change and evolution of your original plan)

I had a client come to me last week and apologize. He wanted to make significant changes to a strategy he previously approved. While I certainly don’t encourage serial modifiers, you must be realistic that the strategy may (and will) change dependent on a myriad of factors within and out your of your control.

3)      Be thoughtful (both in current objectives and long term goals)

Don’t haphazardly select strategy initiatives. Just because your largest competitor launched a twitter contest, it doesn’t mean you should (necessarily) go out and implement the same. If you were to replicate their campaign, what outcome would you wish to achieve? If you say ‘just because my competitor has a twitter campaign’ is rarely sufficient to jump in head first without thoughtfully contemplating your desired outcome and overall results.

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