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Marketing a Small Business

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Marketing is vital to any business and can be the difference between succeeding, surviving or failing.  Getting it right can make a huge difference to your profits but it can be a daunting area to many small businesses.

There are lots of definitions of marketing out there but in essence it is simply the process of understanding customer requirements and addressing them in order to satisfy your customers and make a profit.

Getting Started

If you are running any business, you should have a business plan – if not, that is the best place to start.  During the business planning process you will look in detail at your market place, products/services, customers etc. as well as future plans.  By this point you should have a full understanding of who your company is, what you do, who your target market is and why they will buy your product or service from you.

From there, your marketing plan should come together naturally and the most appropriate strategy should become obvious.  The following are a few tips which should help you market your business effectively:

Set a budget and stick to it.  Even if you can only afford £20 per month, put that in your financial plan so you have allowed for it and don’t be tempted to overspend as not keeping on top of overheads has got many businesses into trouble!

Be where your target audience are.  There are so many ways to promote your business such as advertising, networking, social media, websites, print, exhibitions – the list goes on!  Make sure you know where your potential customers will be and focus on that.

Have objectives.  Decide what you want to achieve i.e. launching a new product/service, getting more customers or increasing profit margins and then set relevant targets.  Monitor your activity each month against your targets to help you keep focused.

Analyse your results.  ROI (return on investment) is a widely used term for a reason.  Marketing should always generate results and if it doesn’t, it isn’t working.  Look at the results for every bit of marketing you do so you can tell what works and what doesn’t.

Merie Sennett is a business consultant that helps local businesses with business consultancy, planning and strategy as well as marketing services, planning and strategy.  Merie also offers a professional CV writing service.

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Guest Monday, 16 September 2019