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3 Insights I’ve Observed as a Small Business Marketing Consultant

3 Insights I’ve Observed as a Small Business Marketing Consultant

For the past several months, I’ve been working as a marketing consultant for a local government agency currently funding marketing-related project grants for small businesses within the Greater Boston area. In this role, I was hired to listen to the concerns and challenges each small business owner has and make critical recommendations for improving their marketing activities, specifically around website design, brand marketing and marketing strategy.

I’ve consulted a handful of small businesses owners since January, and after several conversations with these small business owners (all of them being women-owned businesses), I began to notice specific trends with how each of these business owners viewed marketing their businesses.

Each business owner was pre-qualified to receive my consultation through their participation in a series of marketing related workshops. But one thing is for certain, they all acknowledged how important marketing was to the growth of their business!

Below are some insights I’ve discovered working with local small business owners, in the Greater Boston area.

Insight #1:Each business owner revealed a high level of anxiety when discussing marketing activities related to their businesses.

Each of the business owner I’ve worked with had a solid command on the work that they do. They also had a solid command on who and what the profile was of their target customer. They all had an interesting air of confidence describing the work they did but when we shifted the conversation towards activities needed to drive growth for their business, their confidence level reduced. My guess to what drove that anxiety: the use of technology was introduced.

Insight #2:Each business owner has done some level of marketing activity for their business, but the activity has been sporadic.

All of the business owners I met with had done some level of marketing activity for their business. They each had the basics: business cards, email addresses, social media accounts and a website. What they lacked however (or what wasn’t articulated to me) was a coordinated plan of activities that was sequential or tied to any schedule.

Insight #3:Each business lacked a marketing plan, void of marketing activities tied to any real measurable financial goals.

I mentioned before that each business owner acknowledged the importance of how marketing activity is imperative to business growth. I didn’t hear any financial goals in terms of annual sales or revenue goals. What I noticed? Each business owner didn’t have, or couldn’t articulate, a set of coordinated marketing activities that tied towards financial business goals, because there wasn’t any clarity on their financial goals in the first place.

I wanted to share these observations because I’m sure a lot of small business owners just getting started with their business, or just hitting their 3 to 5 year mark, find themselves with these concerns and anxieties, especially when they think about growing their business through targeted marketing activities. I think small business owners like the clients I’ve been meeting with experience the insights I’ve recorded because of fear of stepping into the unknown (the unknown the next growth phase of their business). I also believe small business owners experience these anxieties and concerns because their growth is often tied to investments in technology they may or may not be familiar with or understand thoroughly.

Comment: 1

  • Bonnie Lerner
    April 12, 2016 4:02 pm

    Very interesting post Marcus. I am curious as to the age range of these business owners. I would assume that the older they are, the less comfortable they would be with technology, but perhaps I am wrong.

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