Creative Marketing for Small Businesses
Small business owners are faced with a vast number of challenges to be successful. Most owners may be experts in the product or service that they are offering, but are not experts in the other aspects of business. From the legal aspects of employer/employee relationships to ensuring that the accounting function of the business is being handled properly, small business owners face a multitude of challenges to be successful.
One of the most important, but often ignored aspects for small business owners is marketing and advertising of the business. There are so many different areas in marketing that owners need to be concerned with to ensure that their small business can be a success.
The most successful businesses do not become successful by accident. Owners of successful businesses, both large and small, have a better chance at being successful if they have a well thought out business and marketing plan. A well thought out marketing plan will have several components. They will include looking at where the currently stand, where they want to be and look at the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities that are available.
- Marketing Plans – valuable resource from the SBA on how to develop a marketing plan for your small business.
- Marketing Plan Elements – information on how the marketing plan works with the overall business plan, and listing of the elements that should be in the plan.
- Marketing Plans – collection of resources to help build marketing plans for businesses and individuals.
Advertising is one of the foundations of business success. Unless potential customers know about the new business, they will not become customers. By advertising, you reach those potential customers. There are several different ways to advertising including traditional methods such as print advertising, radio advertising and word of mouth. In addition, newer forms of advertising include e-mail advertising, online ads and using social networking to advertise.
- Advertising Law – government resource with information on legal aspects of advertising and marketing.
- Advertising & Marketing Basics – information geared towards small businesses on advertising and marketing for their business.
- Advertising Directory – useful directory of adverting and marketing information.
Even the best ideas for products or services need to have potential users of the product or service. That is where market research comes in. Market research can be in many different forms, either complex or simple. Types of market research can be by way of face-to-face surveys, phone surveys, online surveys, as well as looking at competitors and locations as a way to gauge potential success. From the results of market research small business owners can determine products, set prices, select locations and other key issues.
- Market Research – information including a step-by-step guide to conducting market research for your business.
- Market Research – government information on how and why market research should be conducted for new and existing businesses.
- Market Research – helpful information guide to market research.
- Marketing Research – online marketing research guide.
One of the most important aspects of marketing and businesses is how successful are you? Of course, one method of measuring success is if you are making a profit. If you are, then it is a success, and if not, well it may be time to look at your operations and possibly make changes. But you also need to look at the success rate of your marketing initiatives. By looking at your return on marketing investment, you can measure success or failure of your marketing efforts. For example, if you are using print advertising, you would weigh the cost of the advertising against the resulting sales. Simply put, if the sales were greater than the cost, it is successful.
- Measuring Marketing ROI – tools and information on how small businesses can measure marketing return on investment.
- Marketing ROI – article discussing the components of marketing ROI.
- ROI Calculator – tools and spreadsheet showing how to calculate marketing return on investment.
- Marketing Plan Calculator – template explaining how marketing ROI is calculated.
Other Small Business Concerns
As mentioned previously, small business owners are faced with numerous concerns in order to make their business a success. From legal concerns to personnel issues, they need to either wear many hats or hire individuals that are capable of managing these functions.
- Small Business – resources and information from the SBA about small businesses.
- Small Business Tax Information – information and resources from the IRS about small business tax concerns.
- Small Business Human Resources – resourceful site providing information on human resources for small businesses.
- Small Business Employment – outing of small business employment and labor laws that are important to business owners.