Small Business Marketing FAQs

What is a small business? The government has introduced certain criteria including the number of employees, annual receipts, affiliates and other applicable factors to identify a small business. It can be quickly determined by using SBA’s NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) Lookup. Enter the business description; NAICS will locate the business type in the resulting table.

What is marketing? Marketing refers to the commercial processes involved in promoting, selling and distributing a product or service.

What does marketing involve? Marketing is an organizing tool. The four basic aspects of marketing include the four Ps such as product, price, promote and provide. It involves market research, formulating strategy and selling based on two important principles. The first principle states that all company policies and activities should be directed toward satisfying customer needs. The second is that profitable sales volume is more important than maximum sales volume.

What is marketing strategy? Marketing strategy is the summary of the marketing goals. It is the formulation of the methods used to achieve the marketing objective.

What are the major constraints for small business marketing? The major constraints for small business marketing include budget limitations, lack of adequate resources and tough competition.

What are the important collateral marketing materials? Collateral marketing materials consist of printed marketing materials. They include brochures, business cards and news letters.

What is the importance of advertising in small business marketing? Advertising plays an important role in small business marketing. It helps to influence people with attractive marketing materials such as banners, sign boards, magazine and directory ads as well as trade booth displays.

Leadership Tips – Small Business Requires Faster Decisions

Introduction

This leadership tip has something in it for managers everywhere, but it’s particularly targeted at those of you with large company backgrounds who have made career moves to smaller businesses that you own and/or manage.

My background is primarily in large scale management of IT organizations. The companies where I’ve worked were places where changing a process or behavior took some time. I always thought I was quicker than most, and action oriented. As a small business owner, I found I had to be much quicker.

I’ll offer this leadership tip in the form of a story. It’s a story of how taking your eye of the ball can cost you money, and worse than that can cost you customers.

My First Small Business

I opened a small personal services business. It was located about an hour from my home office, and with all my other commitments I knew how important hiring the right manager would be for this shop. It took a few tries, but I found one with a good background and references, and she seemed to quickly develop loyalty to the business and to me.

For the first six months we grew slowly but steadily. We were behind plan in terms of customers and revenue, but the trend was up. There were a few staff issues, but overall turnover was okay. I decided to invest a little more in marketing to try and get more new faces in the door.

Over the next three months, customer counts were mostly flat, and average sale was actually down a little. Concerned, I visited the shop a few times more than usual. The people were not as upbeat as they had been. When asked about that, they attributed their moods to less business and less enjoyment of the job. I wondered about seasonality, the economy, and whether I needed even more marketing investment.

Want to know what was really going on? My trusted manager had some personal problems that I had not been aware of before, and was exhibiting some totally unacceptable behaviors:

  • Criticizing staff in front of customers
  • Intimidating staff, letting them know they were at risk of being fired, and telling them I was out to get them.
  • Stealing money by voiding transactions and other means

The Damages

I’m still figuring out how much money all this cost me, but the money is only today’s problem. The customers I’ve lost are a more serious longer term issue, because many of them won’t be coming back.

When I figured out what was going on, I moved quickly to fire the manager. There were only two problems:

  1. I was too late, and there had been several months of damage done;
  2. There was collateral damage. I had to fire two other employees who had adopted the attitude and behaviors of the manager.

Today, I’m working on putting together data to see if I can assemble a case for prosecuting the employees and the manager. An even higher priority, though, is the work I’m doing to recruit and orient new staff and develop a recovery plan for our customer service reputation.
This leadership tip was a painful lesson that I hope never to repeat.

Limousine Transportation Services For Business

This could be for clients, or it could be for taking employees out on the town. Either way, finding a decent limousine service is vital, though it isn’t always going to be easy. The question you might have right now however is what you can do to find a decent limousine service for business, and what types of services they should offer.

First of all you want to make sure you are hiring a company that has a decent sized fleet. The typical agency should have a fleet of about sixty, and any less simply would not be acceptable. That being the case, always look over the fleet and see what types of vehicles they have on hand.

A good company will normally keep several different vehicles on hand. For instance there could be limousines, but there are those who would rather employ the use of vans. No matter what type of vehicle is being used however, there are still a few things that need to be established. One of these things of course is the level of amenities provided with the vehicles. Believe it or not, this can make a huge difference, particularly if you are trying to impress a client.

Some amenities that should always be included regardless would be cellular phones, credit card readers, internet terminals, etc. These are things that are necessary for business, but then again there are a few things that would only exist for pleasure. For instance there are some limousines that feature a minibar for parties, and in some cases there are built-in video games.

Keep in mind that accessories aren’t everything. Sometimes there is a need for security, and this is exactly why you need a company that can provide it. This doesn’t just mean locking doors of course, it means security personnel that can fend of virtually any threat. A good limousine company will normally employ an external security force that will be able to assess your situation and give you a quote based on the risk.

Hiring a good limousine service is never going to be easy but it will be well worth it if you can pull it off. Not only will you have a decent ride for now, you will also have a company that you can hire in the future without needing to look online or in the phone book. Keeping this in mind will serve your business quite well and allow you to ride in style whether you’re going out on the town, making an impression, or just getting from point A to point B. It’s only a matter of time before you get the transportation you need at a price you can afford.

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