Make Marketing Manageable
It may seem that anyone with the guts to run their own small business should be able to master marketing with ease. And yet marketing strikes many small business owners with dread.
In fact, a common refrain from business owners is: “I know my business is good, but I have no idea how to market it.” Recently, The UPS Store conducted a survey of small business owners to identify their concerns. One-third of respondents said marketing or branding their business was the biggest challenge they face.
To put it into perspective, marketing their businesses topped other common concerns of business owners including lack of time and lack of financial resources. Meanwhile, more than half of those surveyed said marketing ranked “very high” or “extremely high” on their list of key priorities.
This contradiction becomes more concerning when you factor in the role small businesses play in the nation’s overall business landscape. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses (companies with less than 500 employees) provide 55 percent of all jobs and have provided 66 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s.
The small business sector could be stronger yet, if its representatives didn’t feel intimidated by the essential discipline of marketing, said Marcus Lemonis, entrepreneur and host of CNBC’s “The Profit.” Yet nearly 40 percent of respondents in The UPS Store’s survey agreed or strongly agreed that they feel “overwhelmed” by the challenge.
“Any business owner who can make a strong, persuasive pitch for the funding of their business can probably do the same for the products or servicesof that business,” Lemonis said.
To help small businesses transfer the skill of selling to funders to selling to customers, Lemonis offers the following tips:
- Know your target customer. Just as you played to the interests and likings of your funders, you can do the same with potential customers through strategic marketing.
- Recognize that the keys to success for any small business are people, process and product. Those funding your business will want to know you have those three in order. If you do, your customers will be more confident in your business, too.
- Understand that people are the cornerstone of your business. Find the right people to make sure they’re marketing and selling your brand the way you would.
- Be vulnerable, be honest and communicate. This stands true for every aspect of your business, including developing the next steps of your marketing strategy. If you share your business or your brand’s story with a genuine approach, your success will increase.
These are things most small business owners can do. Yet there are also marketing processes and skills that many small business owners aren’t familiar with and need help from others to acquire.
Among those who can provide help are The UPS Store’s 4,500 locations across the nation. These stores are independently owned and operated, so store owners understand the challenge firsthand. Part of their mission is to help local startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses solve their problems, including marketing, printing, shipping and mailboxes.
“I encourage small business owners to find new ways to break down the marketing barrier and learn marketing processes that will attract new customers and grow their business,” Lemonis said.
Find resources to jump-start your marketing strategy at theupsstore.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Mother and daughter at store)