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4 Ways Small Business Owners Can (Almost) Guarantee Their Success

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Mon, Jul 24, 2017 @ 10:59 AM

Starting a small business is akin to ice skating on mud – it’s really, really hard. Actually, to be more accurate, starting a small business is hard, but getting that business to grow and succeed is next to impossible, or so it seems.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, roughly two-thirds of businesses survive their first 2 years in business, half of all businesses will survive about 5 years, and only one-third will survive 10 years. Those numbers can be intimidating.

So how can small business owners ensure they’re one of the “lucky” ones? While there are no guarantees in life, there are things small business owners can do to set themselves up for success.Small Business Strategy. Green Chalkboard on the Gray Concrete Wall in the Interior of a Modern Office with Hand Drawn Small Business Strategy. Business Concept with Doodle Style Elements. 3D..jpeg

  1. Start Your Business for the Right Reason

The most successful business owners created their business not to make money, but because they had a passion. They wanted to somehow solve a problem or provide an incredible service. Some want to do this while creating jobs in their local community.

If you start a business simply because you want to be your own boss and make a lot of money, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and heartache.

  1. Focus on Building and Maintaining Customer Relationships

No matter how great you think your product or service is, if your customers aren’t happy, they won’t stick around for very long. This is why it’s important for small business owners to focus on building and maintaining customer relationships.

How do you do that?

  1. Anticipate your customers’ needs
  2. Maintain contact (nurture the relationship)
  3. Be completely transparent

Your goal should always be to build a mutually-beneficial relationship with your customers. Spend some time educating them on your business and then focus on helping them achieve their goals.

  1. Invest in Technology

The businesses that succeed are the ones that leverage the power of technology to gain a competitive advantage. Small biz owners are expected to wear too many hats. They must be experts in finance, accounting and legal aspects of their business.

While you may not yet have the budget to hire in-house professionals, or even outsource to lawyers or accountants, you can invest in technology that will help you automate repeatable tasks and provide valuable insights into your business’ finances. Consider using solutions like CRM and recurring payment systems to help you succeed.

  1. When You Can Afford Help – Get Some

Far too many small business owners don’t recognize the point at which they should begin to hire more help. They are so used to doing everything themselves, they have a tremendously hard time letting go and handing the reigns over to other people.

But, just as a bodybuilder needs to lift more weight to grow muscles, business owners need to delegate more responsibilities to grow their business. The more tasks you can give others, the more you’ll be able to focus on ways to improve your products and customer relations.

One of the best ways to hand over the reins is to hire a professional media buyer who can help you develop and launch your advertising campaigns. Handling this task on your own for any length of time may result in poor ROI and ads that land with a thud.

Mediaspace Solutions has spent years working with small business owners, assisting them with their national, regional and local media buys. With newspaper and digital media buying as our specialties, we help small business owners get the ROI they need to be successful.

If you’d like hep with your advertising, get in touch with us today.

 

Topics: advertising, benefits of print, media planning, small business, marketing goals

5 Common Branding Mistakes That Will Kill Your Small Business

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 @ 11:06 AM

What is branding exactly? It’s the development of a public persona, one that causes an instant emotional connection within consumers. When you think of great branding, what comes to mind? Nike’s swoosh? Coca Cola’s red can and white lettering? Or maybe McDonald’s golden arches?

As a small business owner, you’ve probably dreamed of reaching such branding success. You’ve also most likely become instantly overwhelmed at the mere idea of taking on what can be an expensive and demanding initiative.

The good news is, effective branding is much easier and more cost-effective than you might think, provided you avoid the following 5 common mistakes.

  1. Being Shortsighted

You most likely know that having a strong brand is highly advantageous from a customer-relationship perspective. After all, the stronger your brand the more top of mind you become. For instance, when you think of buying shoes online, you immediately think of Zappos.

But…

Did you know that branding is also valuable for SEO marketing? It’s no secret that Google prioritizes branded listings in its organic search results. They do this because branded websites are more likely to get the clicks. More clicks mean happier search engine users. Hence, don’t be shortsighted. Undertaking a branding initiative could lead to both awareness benefits and a boost in website traffic.

  1. Failing to Implement Branding Guidelines

Your branding efforts will be sabotaged by a lack of cohesiveness. This cohesiveness can only be reached by implementing branding guidelines. Doing so will allow your brand to be instantly recognized no matter which marketing channel you use. People recognize Coca Cola in their TV ads as well as their print ads and social media campaigns.16703717985_21f9c0cc6f_b.jpg

What should your guidelines include?

  • Logo
  • Brand colors
  • Taglines
  • Fonts and typography
  • The “voice” used in your branded materials
  • Imagery
  • Mascots or spokespeople

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of guidelines, these points are essential to getting you started.

  1. Not Keeping it Simple

Small businesses can learn a lot from Coca Cola when it comes to keeping their brand image simple. Take a look at how their logo has changed – or not changed – over the years. While the fonts have varied a bit since the soft drink giant launched in 1887, the logo in general has had the same look and feel over the last 127 years. Also worth mentioning is that look happens to be very clean and simple.

It may be tempting to “go all out” and add more variables when initiating your branding process. But, a logo with five colors and four different graphic elements will confuse your audience and overcomplicate things. Take a note from Coca Cola and keep things simple.

  1. Being Vague

I already mentioned the importance of keeping your brand image and logo clean and simple. But don’t confuse this will dull and vague. Your brand’s elements must reveal something about your company and its value proposition. Catchphrases like “Best-selling” “award-winning” or “new and improved” have been so overused, they no longer hold any meaning with consumers.

Focus on creating clear language, logos and imagery that highlight your company’s value proposition.

  1. Not Monitoring Your Brand’s Usage

Developing and launching your small business’s brand is only half of the branding equation. The other half is making sure you’re monitoring how others are using your brand image on your behalf. If you let this task slide, you risk publishing partners using your logo but with the wrong colors, or a review website using the wrong URL link. Or, worse, a competitor using a tagline that sounds strikingly similar.

While branding takes thought and comprehensive planning, it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. As long as you avoid these 5 common mistakes, you should be able to develop a brand that is instantly recognizable and connects with your target audience.

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Topics: advertising, marketing, small business, branding