“We don’t have much money for marketing.”

I just got done talking with an owner of a small business that just opened.  And by talking,  I mean I had about a 30-second conversation with the owner, who I had e-mailed a few times after attending her ribbon cutting.

What’s interesting is that I didn’t go in there because I had a driving desire to get what she was selling.  I went in there because I was in a business across the street from it and asked if they had sampled the food that the business was selling.

All three of the women said the same thing: “No.” And two of them didn’t even know about the business, which, as I mentioned, in plain view from where they work.

Think about that for a minute.  

The business-to-consumer business that sells food products, something people consume fairly regularly,  has not yet reached out to its neighbors.  This simple tactic that costs maybe a few dollars for samples, could have already led to a new flow of regular customers into the doors of the new business, providing consistent cash flow.

I mentioned that to the owner after she told me that “we don’t have much money for marketing,” and “How much does it what I do cost?”

The point to take  home here is that marketing doesn’t always have to be about spending a lot of money all of the time.  It does mean, though, that you have to have a plan of attack in place to get and keep profitable customers.  

And the plan has to be more than what I see too many businesses do: Set up a Facebook page and have a goal to get to x number of likes. And if the business gets x number of likes it will reward one or two customers with a special gift.

How do you get a true marketing plan?  Well, you can read a pile of marketing books, take courses, talk to people, and talk to advertisers bent on selling you whatever they have to offer, etc.

Or you can invest in someone who is going to take a structured approach at looking at your business and developing the most cost-effective method for you to reach your goals.

The choice is yours, but with a 50-80% fail rate for small businesses, you need to make small business marketing as important as anything else you are doing. 

by Brad S