What are your biggest challenges as a small business entrepreneur? Some might respond that they have difficulty with financing, scheduling, or need additional help. Many challenges have their foundation in a lack of working capital. The two ways to increase working capital are to bring in more sales or to cut expenses, which is hard to do in a bare-bones operation. So you have to turn to finding more customers, which means marketing.
Marketing can lead to awareness and enthusiasm for your business, but far too many small business owners push this critical task to the bottom of their to-do list. They don’t understand it, think they don’t have the time or believe it’s not worth the effort. A few say they do have a marketing strategy, but it’s just not working. Instead of thinking they have the wrong strategy, they just stop trying and soon enough prove themselves to be right. So what can an entrepreneur do to meet some of today’s toughest marketing challenges? Here are a few suggestions:
- “I don’t have a marketing budget” – It can be hard to allocate precious dollars to a marketing strategy when there are so many priorities vying for your attention. Fortunately, marketing can be extremely cost-effective in today’s digital communication world. A website, Facebook page, and Twitter account are great places to start.
- “I don’t have time to do marketing” – This goes back to scheduling difficulties. If you think of marketing as a low priority item, you push it to the bottom of your list and nothing ever gets done. You know that you should post something to your Facebook page or write a blog for your website, but don’t have a topic in mind. Other matters seem more manageable, and your marketing enthusiasm soon fades. The best way to address this is to set up a marketing calendar. Since this is the end of the year, take a look at what you want to tell prospects and customers in 2017. Come up with a topic or focus for the month, and jot down some points you want to make. Then schedule in your marketing time. Make a commitment to yourself that you will spend one hour several times a week working on your marketing, and then stick to it. You’ll be surprised at what you can do with a laser focus.
- “I don’t have the skills to do marketing” – Said every entrepreneur since the beginning of time. You were not born running a business, but you have figured that out pretty well, and you can learn how to conduct effective marketing, too. Look online and read professional blogs that provide tips and insights. Find a mentor who can help. Ask your local Small Business Administration about possible classes.
There are really no good reasons why your small business cannot benefit from a better marketing strategy. In reality, there are just excuses you make to keep yourself from having to try.