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Small businesses have similar challenges to many nonprofit organizations. There's never enough money or human resources...

to do what the "big boys" do. Many small business owners are Jacks or Jills of all trades - often fulfilling multiples roles - the business development rep, the service provider, the product shipper, the administrative person, the marketer. Even when there's staff on board, turnover can be higher than average without the means to offer health care benefits or competitive salaries, leaving the owner or partners with operations difficulties.
There were 18.6 million nonemployer businesses (those without paid employees) in 2003, representing over 70% of all American businesses. Add to that the 5.3 million business establishments with fewer than 10 employees, and you get very busy business owners trying to live the American dream.
It should come as no surprise that marketing will often come last on the "to do" list. I often wonder how many of these small businesses have developed a marketing plan. In my networking circles, I've come across many nonemployer business owners who don't even have a written business plan. If they're lucky, they're making money in spite of that fact, depending on word-of-mouth marketing and referrals. But, it probably took them years to build to where they are now. Today's competitive marketplace is harder than ever to break through, so small start-ups can experience major hurdles from the get-go.
It's easy to get bogged down in the everyday tasks of running a business. For those small business owners who are unfamiliar with marketing, there are some shoestring tactics that are affordable. But, it's so necessary - absolutely imperative - that even the smallest of businesses develop a business and marketing strategy first. Without it, there's no roadmap or direction, and small businesses can chase their tails for a long time, finding out the hard way, what they could have learned early on if only they did their homework.

Continue reading "Marketing the Small Business: Don't Forget the Strategy!" ... Read the full article

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image of Elaine Fogel

Elaine Fogel is president and CMO of Solutions Marketing & Consulting LLC, and a marketing and branding thought leader, speaker, writer, and MarketingProfs contributor. She is the author of the Beyond Your Logo: 7 Brand Ideas That Matter Most for Small Business Success.

LinkedIn: Elaine Fogel

Twitter: @Elaine_Fogel