Tag Archives: small business owner

IMHO :) 6 Characteristics of Small Business Owners

Happiness is being a small business owner.

People ask why I only work with Small Businesses in the U.S.

“Why? Mostly because American Small Business owners are just as passionate and crazy about business as I am! I have worked for specialty/ franchise /department store / corporate franchise and other small businesses and love the passion that is always lurking behind small business owner energy. Not that there is anything wrong with working for a corporation, but there are just too many levels between the floor and the top, and you just really aren’t a part of what makes the business tick in an enterprise that large.

Small business is family. Small business is passion. It’s also about the thrill of succeeding with recognition – or despite the lack of!

(IMHO) Characteristics of Small Business Owners - including me:

  • OCD – Obsessed with their business
  • ADD – Simultaneously thinking of at least 12 things while still noticing something else – and sometimes missing the obvious around us
  • Narcoleptic – capable of falling asleep at a desk at any time (or even standing up) because of staying up the every night working on new ideas
  • Insatiable – can’t get enough of business-related reading
  • Clueless – unable to notice they haven’t eaten all day or taken a break or missed a family birthday
  • Annoyingly Happy – Friends and relatives don’t understand how they can work so many hours and be thrilled to do it

Despite being uncharacteristically successful despite these “faults,” there is nothing more contagious than the energy behind every small business owner! Right?

Mobile Email Opens at 41% and Rising.

THIS – is huge…

Mobile Email Opens Now 41% & On Pace To Surpass PC By End Of 2013

What does this mean to you as a Small Business owner or Non-Profit trying to market your business via email? If you are sending emails without checking the text version, your email messaging is becoming more and more likely to NOT be seen…

Make sure you view the text version of your emails before you send them out! If you are the kind who likes to create a “fit to block”  image that includes your messaging, mobile email recipients may miss it. On the go, glancing at emails, they are not always inclined to click the “display or show images” link, or the “click to view online.”

Yes, you can still use those large images, but you must also include the same messaging as text.

Always, Always, Always view your email in both the HTML and Text versions before you hit send! You must see what the recipient will see with and without images. Don’t risk your message not getting through!

AND always create alternate text for that image!!

Can you tell I think this is critical!!!!??!!

2012: Email Marketing is Dead; Now Email Marketing is King – HUH?

Keep Calm and Keep Emailing

All through 2012, the buzz was “E-Mail Marketing is Dead!”

Now, most articles are about why Email Marketing is Supreme for Small Business!

HUH?

Actually, Email marketing is perfect for small business.

But let’s discuss the why of the mixed messaging and why you, as a small business owner, need to pay attention.

1. Social Media platforms grew exponentially over the last few years.

Soooo, “they” assumed, that because the growth was so rapid, social media platforms would soon replace email and all other traditional forms of marketing and communications.

While that might be true in major metropolitan areas and college campuses, there is still a huge population out there that doesn’t own a SmartPhone or that  only accesses internet through a desktop.

But, email is universal.

Everyone sits down at home and work and checks their email…

Another assumption was that because Social Media platforms are “Free,” that it would be nonsense for anyone to ignore it as a marketing avenue. Again, you can pick up a hammer, but that ain’t gonna make ya a carpenter!

Sure you can create an account for free, but time is money, and it takes time to maintain a social media business page, not to mention at least basic marketing skills. Nothing wrong with that, – all marketing comes with a cost – but that has to be considered.

Then, when it comes to attracting fans, many of those fans are laggers in social media who only use it for sharing funny cat pictures and playing application games. So, getting fans to pursue your page is another form of investment – a good offer to like a page, the giveaway, someone to manage the comments and likes, someone to engage to grow fans… And don’t believe those hucksters claiming to bring you from 0 to 40,000 fans! Fake profiles = fake fans = no rise in insights or revenue.

Now, why was email getting badmouthed:

2. “Free” Email services were springing up all over the place.

Why pay for email service when you can get it for free? Again, because FREE is never really free! You pay a price eventually – think of the hidden cost to you when your email goes to a spam folder and never reaches your intended recipient?

So, if you were judging the effectiveness of free email vs free social media… neither one will bring results so that comparison is probably moot.

They are both an investment in Time and time costs money.

OK, so now what should you invest your time in? Social Media or Email Marketing?

If you are asking this question, it tells me you don’t know your customers or clients. Face it, most of you small business owners have poo-poo-ed SoMe and Email.

Why don’t you let your customers tell you where you should invest your time?

  • Have you noted whether your customer is tapping away on a mobile while they are waiting in line?
  • Have you asked them what platforms they use?
  • Have you invited them to join your email subscriber list?

Stop being an employee of your own business and market your business. How?

  • Find out which Social Media platforms are appropriate for your business and demographic – Start with one and do well, then move on to others.
  • Invest in an email service that fulfills your needs for marketing and has integrated social media tools for efficiency and broader distribution that will attract new subscribers. (want to play around with one for free for 60 days? Click here!
  • And pay Freaking attention to where your customers live online! ASK THEM. SURVEY THEM. TALK TO THEM.

3 Small Business Technology Resolutions for 2013 or How to Do Better Next Year! (pt.1)

A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts: “Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?”

The man below says: “Yes, you’re in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet above this field.”

“You must be an engineer” says the balloonist.

Balloon (aircraft)

Balloon (aircraft) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“I am” replies the man. “How did you know?”

“Well,” says the balloonist, “everything you have told me is technically correct, but it’s no use to anyone.”

The man below says “you must be in management.”

“I am” replies the balloonist, “but how did you know?”

“Well,” says the man, “you don’t know where you are, or where you’re going, but you expect me to be able to help. You’re in the same position you were before we met, but now it’s my fault.”

Read Quote of Jason Heinrichs’s answer to Jokes: What are some of the most profound jokes ever? on Quora

Does this joke strike a nerve? Which role characterizes you as a small business owner or non-profit leader?

And does it occur to you that if the two worked together, the end result might be more positive?

This is a 2 part post about 1. the lack of success for SMBs and NPOs in understanding marketing and 2. technology tools for better collaboration and productivity for better results.

Marketing

I have tried to explain marketing to many small business owners and non-profit organizations in my presentations and work with clients.  What I have come to realize is that a lack of time and understanding for marketing for SMBs and NPOs is in the denial in that it simply must be a collaborative effort.

While you can silo out accounting, maintenance, IT, stock, and other non-customer oriented tasks, the remaining roles of owner, management, marketing, sales, advertising, customer service and any other roles that “touch” a customer must work together to be the most effective and deliver the most positive ROI.

Why can’t you just delegate every role and let them be their individual success story?

  • Salespeople need to understand the goals of marketing and owner/management to understand and follow the mission.
  • Owner/Management must listen to the needs of sales to optimize customer satisfaction.
  • Marketing needs the feedback of sales and management to determine marketing effectiveness.
  • Sales needs to constantly convey customer feedback to owner/management and marketing to provide aesthetic ROI measures.
  • Owner/Management needs to provide product and sales input to marketing for consistency in messaging both on the floor and in marketing.

In other words, silo-ing will always lead to failure of some kind.

So what can you do to improve your success rate?

As for any small business or organization, lack of time is always the primary factor that inhibits productivity and growth. Therefore, I have 3 suggestions for using modern technology to make it all easier in the 2nd part of this post…

YES you CAN do it! You learned how to use your computer, this is just as important!

Use the tools that are available to help your business or organization stop being silo-ed from each other… There are so many free apps and tools, there is no excuse. And you can get someone to set it all up for you, but you must learn how to USE them if you expect others to follow suit and get tangible results.

See my next post for the suggestions…

 

Maybe the problem with understanding Social Media Marketing is in calling it “Marketing”?

I got hit between the eyes today.

A friend of mine who is a Small Business Owner said something that really made me realize what the biggest misconception of social media is.

He is in the business of helping customers with foot pain through healthy, supportive shoes,  and arch supports and other remedies. He told me had given social media a try and it didn’t work because  “who wants to have an affinity with someone who reminds them of foot pain?”

Of course, he has a point. Who would want to be constantly reminded of a negative condition?

But my point to him was that while I agree with that no one would, it’s a moot point when it comes to Social Media.

Fans and followers don’t really want to know anything about your business. They want to know who they might be doing business with.

It’s like friends, neighbors, colleagues, anyone you network with. When you meet, they want to know your name, and the next question is always, “and what do you do?” So think about it… once you have stated what you do for a living, do you bring it up EVERY time you see them again? I hope not!

I think it boggles the mind of Business owners that they aren’t supposed to sell when they do social media marketing. I also think the problem lies somewhat in the terminology – or lack of.

Social Media is not a platform for marketing. Period. It was not created to be such, it isn’t now. What did occur over time within this casual platform was an evolution of the strictly social relationship aspect into a natural fit for enhancing customer relationships. But somehow that got lost when they called it Social Media Marketing (for lack of a better term).  Because, after all, what is great customer service but primarily a great connection with your customers, right? So the focus is on relationships, not marketing.

The problem lies in the term ‘marketing.’ Traditional marketing was all about convincing people to buy your product. So people translate what they should do in Social Media based on traditional marketing.

What we ought to do is call a Social Media Business Page a “Customer Relationship Building Page” – in other words, Social Customer Relationship Management!

When you get that, then you will know what to do on Social Media.

Social CRM

[Understanding Social Customer Relationship Management January 24, 2011 By JD Rucker]