If there is one thing entrepreneurs want, it is to grow their business. And there is certainly no shortage of webinars, e-books, seminars, and strategies designed to help them do just that. The good news is that a lot of them work. In my experience, if someone has taken the time to create a system, it is usually legitimate.
The problem, however, is that watching, say, a 12-part video takes time, thought, effort and energy, and that doesn’t even include the time, thought, effort and energy that implementing the ideas could take.
So instead, to save you some time on the front end at least, let me suggest this simple, time-tested, two-part approach that has proven to facilitate success in growing businesses large and small.
1. Become brandtastic. Every small business has a brand. The problem is, most small businesses have a brand by default, not design. There are 25 million small businesses in this country, and that means that you simply cannot afford to be ordinary, unexceptional. Your business has to stand out from the crowd in one way or the other, and let me suggest that if it is more business that you want, then having a great brand – nay, a brandtastic brand – should to be near the top of your list.
When I say Mercedes Benz, you think of something. When I say Taco Bell, you think of something else. Essentially, whatever it is you think of is that company’s brand. Branding takes place in the mind.
What is it that people think of when they think about your business?
There is something your business offers that people like about and that is unique, different, and special. What is it? Whatever it is, you would be wise to build your brand around that. That’s what brandtastic brands do. Creating that memorable, unique, likable brand can make it easier for people to remember your business.
It will help you be noticed above the din.
This may take creating a new logo, or inventing a catchy tagline. Here where I live there is an organic grocery chain that calls itself “the friendliest markets in town.” Do they brand around their organic produce? Nope. Too crowded. Instead, they found the thing that separates them from the crowd that people appreciate and branded the business around that.
That’s the ticket.
2. Market that brand . . . and then market it some more. Once you have created a business around that unique factor you have that your customers tend to respond to, then you should take that brand and blast it out, and blast it out in as many new ways as you can.
Another common mistake that small business people tend to make is that they stumble upon a marketing strategy that works, and then they run it into the ground until it stops working.
I myself am guilty of this marketing sin. Back when I practiced law, I would put on seminars for the public – wills & trusts, divorce & child custody, debt & bankruptcy – that sort of thing. I would advertise the heck out of them in the newspaper and on the radio. And it worked . . . until it didn’t. The problem was that, over time, the same people (generally) would see or hear my ad, but after a while, they tuned them out.
What I learned, and what I am suggesting instead, is that you market your business in as many different ways as you can. This is especially true today when it’s possible to market one’s business in so many ways, and do so affordably to boot.
The reason this is so important is that people get their information in so many ways these days. By casting a wide net, you are far more apt to catch them than if you dip deep into a narrow pool. Whether it is digital or analogue, whether your audience is wealthy or not, male or female, young or old, or what have you, the range of options is boggling. You can:
- Create a killer website
- Tweet up a storm
- Have a YouTube channel
- Launch an e-newsletter
- Try out Facebook ads
- Check out Google ads
- Advertise in the newspaper, TV, or radio
- Use a billboard
- Hire a PR firm
You get the idea. The important thing to realize is that if you want to grow your business right now, then the thing to consider is to create a brand that people will like and remember, and then get that brand in front of them, wherever they are.
Photo Credit: Estudio Gokiburi, Flickr