Category Archives: small business

Top Tips for Small Businesses – From Radio Interview with Leanne Hogland-Smith

Leanne Hogland-Smith – Chicago 219-759-5601, entrepreneur small business for 15 years, uniting people and their talents with operations through management, increase-sales-coach.com

Consistent challenge in businesses today is a lack of processes and procedures. A lot of this comes about because there is no strategic plan, there are no goals written so what happens is that everyone is hitting different targets and the individual and business goals are missed.

A lot of communication is just refocusing the way they state things, getting rid of the words like need and should and start using “may I suggest this”. When you get rid of the emotionally judgmental words, it’s amazing at the reactions you get.

An employer now, if they have not hired smart, they end up with maybe one good employee for every four employees. Employers need to have consistent performance reviews. Employees then feel like they are part of the company’s success.

Top Tips for Small Businesses

  • Communication is consistent and everyone knows where the organization is going and what their goals are. Is everyone sharing the same goals? It is critical to have your goals communicated consistently throughout your company.
  • Values – What are your non-negotiable behaviors that you will demonstrate with your employees, vendors, strategic partners?
  • Find out what your real brand is – Talk to your customers, not a marketing company. The expectactions held by customers, it is a really definitive way to identify your brand. Ask them, “When you hear my name what expectations come to mind?” You will get a really good idea of your brand, but you also gain a competitive edge. When you have down-time, that is up-time to talk to your customers.
  • Marketing is about attracting attention and build relationships – Write copy and test it out. See if it gets some sort of emotional attention for your business.

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3 Important Thing to Remember for Broadcast Advertising

When you’re using radio and television (cable) there are 3 things to keep in mind. First when you’re using an address for a store or service location, make it easy for your customers.  What I mean is your postal address is not always practical for people driving or around the house.  They will miss the address a vast majority of the time.  But, if you use “ Main between 2nd and Pine” then most people in your community will know where that is located.

Second is using too many products in a single ad. Keep the message to no more than 3 products in a: 60 ad and 2 products in a :30 ad.  This allows ample time for description of features and a buying cue for them to take action. And keep the products consistent from one media to the other. Do not use different products based on the media.  It will only confuse the listener.

Finally, Jingles while not used today as much as in years past have their place.  Especially with newer businesses. A short easy to understand jingle builds name recognition for your audience.  They should be used in 40-70% of your ads depending on their purpose. Generic filler ads, sale messages and special event promotions are the best place for them in my opinion.

Rick Polson – Author “Making a Superstar Company

http://www.amazon.com/Making-a-Superstar-Company-ebook/dp/B00APQU2SE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355801910&sr=8-1&keywords=rick+polson

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When your marketing funds are limited what do you do?

Listen to A Different Perspective From Voices of Experience
By Leslie Wolff

Show Love & Respect

“Every person is a jewel, worthy of love and respect.” – Anonymous

A proud part of my career was when I was the business and personal manager of one of the world’s most famous athletes – Smokin Joe Frazier, the former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion in his later years. I was constantly amazed at the love and respect he received from his fans and it didn’t take long for me to understand why … because, he showed his love and respect for them. How many companies do you know show love and respect to their customers, employees, vendors, hell even their competition. It costs nothing to do so and the rewards are constant and significant. What should you do, the opportunities are limitless. One way is expressed ‘Thank You” whenever the opportunity arises. In a world of a never ending flow of e-mails, a simple hand written note will raise you high above your competition. Treat your employees well and they will treat your customers well. Let vendors know you recognize their efforts on your behalf and they will redouble or multiply the way in which they will seek to help you grow your business. Even competitors will have good things to say about you when you treat them with respect as well. Going back to the impact of e-mail where in the past a good or bad experience led to it be “told” to perhaps 10 other people, in today’s high tech communication channels it could be told to thousands, thus you want that ‘tale” to express how well you treat those with whom you interact.

Don’t be afraid of Change

“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” – Charles Kettering

The fear of change is a natural human response to something that seems new and opening your mind to be more accepting to change or the consideration of it releases you from the binds of conformity allowing you to examine and explore possibilities that exist around you. Some of these may offer the opportunity to maximize your potential revenue while minimizing expense. Look at the various facets of your business from new business development, advertising, promotion customer service with a fresh perspective and encourage customers, employees and even vendors to contribute ideas that can enhance your operation and in doing so impact positively your bottom line.

Big Ideas Start Small

”Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises” — Demosthenes

Just because you have limited funds does not mean you can’t take carefully controlled actions to improve results. If you believe you have identified a need that has gone unrecognized or is underserved look at how you can develop it in a way where you give it all you can. Think big, but remember everything starts out small. Never prejudge an idea because at first it looks too small, unimportant or unrealistic nor if your initial view is its too big. Look how you can break it down
into reasonable modules, set priorities and take each segment on in a way it will make the other segments easier to handle as you accomplish each step.

Motivate to Stimulate

“Recognition is the greatest motivator.” – Gerard C. Eakedale

Surprisingly, although material rewards are appreciated they are not as effective in motivating people and stimulating them to perform to more of there potential than praise and recognition. Praise of one’s contributions to the success of the business is the most desired reward of all. Publicizing that praise to the right audiences makes it even more valued to
the recipient. Something a simple as a press release to a local paper, a framed ‘Certificate of Appreciation” or a simple letter to be shared with family and friends recognizing one’s contributions carries with a major positive impact not only on that person but those with whom they interact.

Originate Don’t Imitate

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” – Herman Melville

There is a tendency in all businesses to mimic each other and that can be a benefit for a smart marketer. Take a close look at what your competition is doing where there is a tendency to replicate, duplicate or imitate. In identify those traits you will almost always find overlooked and untapped opportunities that will enable you to outsmart rather then outspend the competition. It may be a single large opportunity or a series of small things like we discussed above where the cumulative effect of the actions you take can significantly impact the results you gain.

“The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do.” ~ Thomas Edison

Leslie R. Wolff is an experienced and outspoken Marketing professional; with more than a half century in the marketing arena His mission in his business, speeches and writings is to reestablish a lost factor in business … commonsense! It is the foundation on which Smart Thinking is built. Les is CEO of The Smart Marketing Group, who simply help clients work smarter. He can be reached at 215-334-3432, marketingsmartly@aol.com, Skype: Smart Marketing or http://www.smartmarketingroup.com. Listen to his radio show, “Smart Marketing for Small Business” and participate in his LinkedIn Group of the same name.

His E-Book” Smart Thinking- Vol.-I” is available @ www.smashwords.com/books/view/34172

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Voice Mail – What Do Your Customers Think?

Very annoying when you want to talk to a human and the system is structured to make that impossible … or incredibly difficult to do so. OMG!

Human interaction is where one has the opportunity to develop relationships, build a positive image and the marketer who doesn’t understand the value of that needs to be retired!!! Idiocy is the impression one gives as it relates to understanding the value of customer relationships and how they are impacted by the “endless” voice mail process. Caring about the customer’s interaction with your firm is not an afterthought but should be a major focus and voice mail can be helpful when limited and you provide personal interaction.

Remember it costs 5X as much to get a new customer as it does to retain one and 50X as much to gain back a lost client, Emotions play an important role in establishing a relationship with a customer or with those who are interested in the possibility of becoming one. Thus how do you think a voicemail program that goes beyond being helpful but is seen as an annoyance impacts the emotions of those that call your firm? Matter? How do you feel when you incur the Voicemail “mine-field”? Take a survey not only of customers, but employees as well.

If you like, go to our LinkedIn.com group “Smart Marketing for Small Business” or any business group and ask that question. Attitude is a key factor in the success of any business and, one that focuses on making itself very “User Friendly” will always rise above the crowd. Interaction with your target audience is key to building successful relationships. Eliminating or minimizing irritation in any aspect of your marketing efforts is smart marketing. Love your customer and at worst they’ll like you, especially when you make their effort in reaching out to you pleasant.

“Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence –
only in constant improvement and constant change.” – Tom Peters

Do you agree or disagree? Let’s hear from you.

Les Wolff The Original Marketing Curmudgeon Also listen to our radio show, Smart Marketing for Small Business (Live every Wed @11pm EST) And visit our LinkedIn Group of the same name.

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Filed under Free Marketing Tips, Marketing Curmudgeon, small business, Small Business Interactive Advice

Smart Marketing Move: Wegman’s

Supermarkets are in a very competitive environment. Overall, I think that Wegman’s is a great grocery store. They have their own less expensive brand, like a lot of stores have. But they have more.They have a cafe section where you can eat lunch and use their wi-fi. Some stores are catching on to that also. And like most grocery stores, they have a reward card program, but they did something a little different, and it caught my attention.

I just signed up for their reward program this past week since I now live near a Wegmans. It was a very easy process and when I was all set up, the customer service rep handed me my new reward card and a welcome packet. She explained that there were coupons in it, along with the magazine they publish. So, I’m going to save money right off the bat because I signed up for their rewards program but I also get coupons…..and then a magazine which normally costs $4.

I thought that a welcome packet was really nice introduction to their store. I started looking through the magazine and they just do it right, from a marketers perspective. It’s named “Menu” and it features a ton of recipes with their products and other products that they carry. From one pot meals to soups and salads, from easy to hard recipes.

Looking at it from a customer’s eyes, it is a great way to get ideas and encourage purchase of brands they carry that are featured in the recipes. From a marketer’s perspective, I see that this is a great way to increase customer loyalty. Additionally, there are advertisements in this magazine, which can generate revenue from non-competitive entities or is an effective way to utilize co-op ad funds to reduce or eliminate production costs, Smart, very smart.

So, as a small business what can you learn from this and how can you apply it to your business even if it is on a small scale?

1 – You don’t have to publish a full-fledged magazine, what about creating a tri-fold brochure or some form of handout that delivers information that educates or benefits the recipient in some way. In particular if it highlights a specific part of your business? This can be done for a service or a product based business.

2 – Try to think differently and outside of the box like Wegman’s did by creating a promotional vehicle, where people would want to advertise or align themselves with you and what you’ve created?

Need some help brainstorming? Smart Marketing Group and its advisors are available to help you long term or on a short term basis. The latter is available in a truly unique and effective  “marketing as needed” basis through their  “Advisory Time –Block” program (www.smartmarketinggroup.com/timeblocks.htm, or call 215-334-3432 for a no-obligation introduction on how we can help you today!

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Guest Blog: Time for a small business update?

If you have been in business for some time, the services and avenues for your marketing dollar have expanded.  Print products are on the Internet, direct mail and e-mail working hand in hand and then there is that new thing Social Media.

What should you do? Find sources and get involved with them in a logical step by step way.  Jumping in without a net will make you fall farther than you need to fall. There are many sources to use and there are people in your network of business people that can share what they have learned.  All of these components can help your new adventure.  And relying on one source for each new area is dangerous.

Consistent business practices no matter what area you’re starting is the key.  And repeating things builds a reputation for your business. Saying the same things keeps things consistent.

By Guest Blogger –  Rick Polson – Making a Superstar Company

Website: http://www.amazon.com/Making-a-Superstar-Company-ebook/dp/B00APQU2SE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355801910&sr=8-1&keywords=rick+polson

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Smart Marketing Move: Yonana

One of the perks of being a small business is that you can learn from larger businesses. From their failures to successes.

Yonana, a machine that turns frozen bananas into an ice cream substitute, made a very smart marketing move. They simply did a great cross promotion with a sticker. They stuck it on a banana I bought.

It’s a silly name, that would normally spark my curiosity, but I already knew what a Yonana was because of one of my friends. She loves this little machine. It helps her eat healthier while still having a tasty snack. She has talked it up and down. This little sticker reminded me of when I had some at her house. It was really good and I would definitely get one of these machines because of how good it was.

This little sticker on each bunch of bananas enforced what I had already heard about it. And if you didn’t know what it was, they had a website on the sticker so that you could check it out, if it peaked your curiosity.

How can you apply this to your business?

1 – Does your name reflect on what you are about? Company names (and taglines) can set you aside and raise you above the cluttered business landscape. (Checkout www.namesandtaglines.com)

2 – Try to think of interesting ways to cross promote, be it in your own store, website or other form of communication to your target audience. Do you have two products that go perfectly together like bananas and a Yonana.

3 – Is there a non-competing business that you can make a connection with that can add value to their business so that they can offer another service, aka your service? And of course vice versa.

Are you a business owner? Have you already successfully put this into practice in one form or another? Have you seen something you’d like to share. Perhaps even talk about it on our Internet radio show “Smart Marketing for Small Business”? We’d like to hear from you! Please comment below.

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