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Business Financing and Structure

One of the most important, and yet the least understood part of your business financing is how your business will be structured. You can choose one of six options: Sole Proprietorship, General Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Company, C Corporation or S Corporation. You will find that each of these differ to the degree of [...]

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Are You Using SEO in Your Press Releases?

A recent, BtoB Online article at http://www.btobonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100331/FREE/100339984, stresses how businesses are using traditional, media channels to increase sales. During tough economic times, it’s important to keep marketing messages in front of target audiences. After all, if you don’t, your competition will. And this can be tough if you are working with a tight budget. But [...]

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Pew Study: Small Business Most Trusted “Institution”

Trust Congress? Sorry, that institution got among the lowest ratings in a Pew Research Center study that was recently released. The Pew Center polled Americans to determine who they trusted least and who they trusted most. Small business owners – you should be proud. America trusts YOU most. More than churches, our President, labor unions, the [...]

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Read up, and start getting referrals

Among the many “experts” out there touting “the way” to success, there are a lot of fly-by-nights, lightweights and hucksters. But I must say, John Jantsch is among those who offer true substance and real value and merit our follows. And here’s the reason why: He’s practical. In his new book, The Referral Engine, John provides specific rationale, [...]

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Life Planning – Starting a Business after Retirement

Life Planning permeates every aspect of human existence – while you were young and building your dreams, up to the moment you achieve them and retire from work. For a lot of people, retirement is supposed to be that time in their lives when they can simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the golden years. [...]

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Marketing Planning For Your Startup Business


So you’re getting ready to start your own business; have you thought about your marketing plan?

Your marketing plan doesn’t need to be 100 pages of graphs and charts; it can be as simple as a one-page snap shot of all the strategies that you plan to implement to get the word out about your business.

Every business needs to have a marketing plan.     Here’s a simple way to put one together that I call the “10 Minute Marketing Plan TM.”

1.          One an Excel spreadsheet, write the 12 months of the year in a column down the left-hand side leaving about 10 spaces between each month.  This will be column 1.

2.         Create a second column to the right of the months, label it “Highlights.”

3.         Create a third column to the right of the highlights; label it “Marketing Activities.”

4.         Create a fourth column to the right of “Marketing Activities” and label it “To Do’s.”

I can make this even easier for you, email me at WNKenney@23Kazoos.com and ask for the “10 Minute Marketing Plan TM spreadsheet.

Marketing Planning

Now it’s time to fill it out.

For this exercise, I’m assuming that you already know who your ideal customer is.  Now you will need to do some research.

  • Highlights: For the “Highlights” column, you need to research events, holidays, or happenings in your industry, and even seasons because these will help you create marketing promotions that will help create excitement and tap into the mindset of your clients.  For example, for January, highlights could include; New Year’s Resolutions, White Sales, certain sporting events, winter, New Year’s Day, etc.
  • Marketing Activities:  In the Marketing Activities column, write down the marketing activities that you plan to implement each month.   Don’t spend all of your marketing budget on just one marketing activity.  You should do a minimum of 3-5 marketing activities monthly because your customers are every where.  Furthermore, it takes time for marketing to work.  The marketing you do this month will pay off next month, next quarter, and even next year!  Always be marketing!
  • Some sample marketing activities could include: email newsletters, daily Twitter and Facebook updates, blogging, website optimization, direct mail, networking groups, newspaper or television advertising, publicity, contests, door-to-door canvassing, etc. (Note:  You don’t need to do each marketing activity every month.  For example, you could decide to send out an email newsletter once every two months.  The idea of the calendar is for you to write it down so you have a schedule of when the activities are going to occur.)
  • To do’s: In this column write down activities you need to do to make your future marketing activities occur.  For example, if you have decided to do a direct mail campaign, then in the “To Do” column you could write down “Contact Direct Mail companies.”

Questions:

How much should I spend on marketing?

The answer is: It depends.  What are your revenue goals?  What kind of business do you have?  For some companies, it might be appropriate to spend more than others.  The key is to have a budget and use it wisely.  For many smaller companies, low cost and no cost marketing strategies such as networking groups, social media, publicity and direct mail can be very effective.

What marketing strategies should I use?

Again the answer is; it depends.  Strategies will differ based on what your business is, who your customers are, and where they are, and what your revenue goals are.

Survey what other companies in your industry have done that has worked and hasn’t worked.  Ask your CPA to help you with a budget, and then stick to it.  And most importantly, measure the results of your marketing efforts to you can understand what is working and what is not.

For a list of 101 Marketing Strategies, email me at WNKenney@23Kazoos.com.

Are you a new startup business?  We would love to hear from you.  Post your business website and your favorite marketing strategy here!

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Wendy Kenney is a nationally known Buzz Building Expert and the Founder and CEO of 23 Kazoos, a marketing firm specializing in inexpensive and creative small business marketing strategies.

She has honed her marketing skills through over 26 years of entrepreneurship and business management.  She fell in love with marketing with her first marketing at Showbiz Pizza Place.  Since then she has gained experience marketing for several industries including restaurants, legal, insurance and financial services, independent retail, nonprofits and more.

Wendy is about to release a new book called “Buzz: How to Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business” based on her knowledge of what works and what does not work in small business marketing.  This book features practical and low cost marketing strategies, such as “How to Grow Your Business Using Social Media,” as well as valuable links, resources, and tips.

Wendy frequently speaks to organizations about marketing for small business.  To get more information or to schedule Wendy to speak go to:  Business Marketing Speaker

Claim your free download (no email necessary) on Wendy’s website:  23 Kazoos

How to Build Buzz for your Biz:  23 Creative and Inexpensive Marketing Strategies That Will Get You Noticed

Wendy lives in Mesa with her husband Mike, and three teenage sons.   Her personal goal is to visit all of the Major League Ballparks in the US before she turns 49. So far she has been to 12.


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So you’re getting ready to start your own business; have you thought about your marketing plan? Your marketing plan doesn’t need to be 100 pages of graphs and charts; it can be as simple as a one-page snap shot of all the strategies that you plan to implement to get the word out about your [...]

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Business Models—Choosing a Business Model

When choosing a business model I always recommend that it be something that you are passionate about. It seems that when passion is lacking, it is harder to get up in the morning and to do the things that you need to do in order to work your business. So, that would be the first [...]

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Life Planning – Inspiration to Start Up

Do you remember when you were young and someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up? You always had an answer. Doctor, lawyer, architect, pilot, famous actor, the list goes on… While such dreams may change over time, what’s important is that you have a plan. Success in any activity requires [...]

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Business Technology—Mobile Communications

Gone are the days of being tied to a desk in order to get business done. The advent of mobile communications enabled me to be able to do business from anywhere I took a fancy to. Some people perform best when in a traditional office environment, but I know that there is a big group [...]

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4G Becomes U.S. Standard Speed in 2015

With Sprint’s newest 4G network already receiving good reviews in the cities it has been tested in, it’s unlikely any wireless carrier will continue to focus on updating their 3G connections. At the moment, T-Mobile remains the only carrier without immediate plans to move into 4G, though it has introduced plans to start 3.5G networks, [...]

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What’s In Your PR Quote?

Are you paying attention to the quotes you’re using in your press releases or just inserting them “as is” into your PR materials? Quotes are important so here are a few, quick things to keep in mind when writing:  Provide value. How many times do you see a press release where the CEO is “thrilled” [...]

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Business Planning—Market Research and Analysis

One of the biggest mistakes made by someone that wants to go into business is not taking the time to do the market research and analysis. Here’s the most common scenario: 1) a business idea, usually something the entrepreneur is crazy or passionate about occurs. 2) He or she develops a business plan, though the [...]

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Green Options For Your Home Office

Earth Day may have been last week, but it doesn’t mean you should stop thinking green.  As an entrepreneur you may not have made the leap (or may not want to) to an office building.  Instead you may be working from home, or chose to have a home office.  Whatever the reason, it doesn’t mean you can’t make green options for your home office.

Desks

The desk is a staple in any office—home or otherwise.  There are plenty of manufactures out there that make desks completely from recycled materials.  Look for desks made of bamboo and other eco friendly materials such as un-treated wood.  If bamboo and un-treated wood aren’t for you, think about buying a vintage desk.  Don’t forget, this is a form of recycling.

Paper

Recycling should be a given, but using recycled paper might not be yet. The costs are about the same when buying recycled versus regular paper so just do it.  Since many documents can be sent electronically these days, you may not need to use paper at all or very rarely.  Reusing paper is also a great idea—printing on both sides of the paper will help save paper and cut down on paper costs as well (I know I do it and hardly ever have to buy paper).

If you send a lot of mail, you should check out the green options United States Postal Service provides.  Not only do they make green choices as an organization, but they help you with making greener options as well.

Your Home

If you are in the process of building a home, you may want to consider using steel.  Residential steel buildings are a great eco-friendly choice to make for your home.  Steel is 100% recyclable and lasts longer than other building materials.  If you aren’t in the market of building a home, there are other options you can do easily and are affordable.

Make the switch to compact fluorescent bulbs over incandescent bulbs. “They use 75% less energy and last 8 to 10 years,” says Jennifer Roberts, the author of Good Green Homes.

Remember that little changes we all make can make a difference.  If everyone works together we can make the environment better.  What are some options you have made to make your office (home or otherwise) greener?

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Earth Day may have been last week, but it doesn’t mean you should stop thinking green.  As an entrepreneur you may not have made the leap (or may not want to) to an office building.  Instead you may be working from home, or chose to have a home office.  Whatever the reason, it doesn’t mean [...]

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The Big Marketing Mistake Business Owners Make and How to Avoid it

Have you ever had this happen to you? Several years ago, I attended a business networking function and I just happened to strike up a conversation with a person who sold cars for a local Chevrolet dealership.

And as luck would have it, I was in the market for a new car and was especially looking for a Chevrolet Trailblazer.    I really liked the person that I was speaking with and told them that I was in the market for a Chevy and asked if they would contact me.  We exchanged business cards and I looked forward to their call.

A few days passed and I still had not heard from the salesperson.  I was very anxious because I really wanted to buy a Chevy Trailblazer.   So I gave them a call, leaving a voice message on their cell phone and on their office phone.  And then I waited for a return call.  And a few days, I still had not heard from the salesperson and so I gave up.

I decided that if they did not want my business, I would take my business elsewhere, ending up buying my Trailblazer through the car buying service located at my credit union.

I’ve had this happen to me several times, and in each case, the sales person, or business owner has lost thousands of dollars in sales from me all because they did not follow up!

I think many business owners confuse the term “marketing” with the term “selling.”   Marketing is simply the process or strategies that you use to get the word out about your business and gather leads.  Selling is the process of turning those leads into paying customers.

The biggest problem that I see in marketing your business is that you can be the best marketing in the world, but if you don’t convert the leads to clients you have nothing.  And the most important step in converting leads to clients is simply following up with them.

There are many ways to follow up with leads or prospects, here are just three.

1.  Phone:

After you exchange information and agree to follow up, give them a call within 24 hours.  Say something like, “Hey, I said I would follow up with you, and here I am!  I would love to get together with you to learn more about your needs.”  Don’t aim to sell them your product over the phone.  Aim to set an appointment and to build a relationship.  Find out about what they want before you start selling them.

2.  Email:

If the thought of making a phone call gives you hives, then you could also follow up by email.  The benefit to that of course is that you can do it at any time, and they can answer at their convenience.  If you don’t hear back from them though, go back to step one.

3.  Snail Mail:

Yes, snail mail still exists, and believe it or not people enjoy getting old fashioned cards and letters.  If you’re just not sure about the person, or if you want to send them some additional information, sending a letter via regular mail is a good option.  However, if the contact had indicated that they were interested in your product because they are looking to buy one in the near future, do not use snail mail. Give them a call first, within 24 hours is best.

The lack of following up is the biggest mistake small business owners make and it costs them thousands, if not millions.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Follow up with people right away.  I guarantee your sales will soar!

Note:  This is an excerpt from my upcoming book “How to Build Buzz for Your Biz:  Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity, and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business.”

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Have you ever had this happen to you? Several years ago, I attended a business networking function and I just happened to strike up a conversation with a person who sold cars for a local Chevrolet dealership. And as luck would have it, I was in the market for a new car and was especially [...]

Continue Reading

Got a Celebrity Photo to Sell? Business Idea Becomes Success

Have you ever taken a photo of someone famous? Maybe you just enjoy viewing celebrity photos? Well, here’s a new business you’ll find interesting. Jordan Osher, CEO of Meet The Famous, http://MeetTheFamous.com, recently introduced “the first and only celebrity photo agency for the everyday person.” Here, people can upload, distribute and sell their candid celebrity [...]

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Controversy Sells

Recently, Tempe, Arizona, restaurant, Café Boa, sparked worldwide controversy when they announced the highlight of their Easter menu; rabbit.     This shocking revelation led to over 200 stories in the media from all over the world.  From Arizona to Tokyo, people were talking; even protesting; the Arizona restaurant that was cooking the Easter Bunny for dinner. [...]

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A Six-Letter Word to Use Often

With the way things are right now in the business world, there are many four-letter words that I’m sure you have no problem saying! But, at the same time, have you thanked your customers, partners, associates, and media contacts lately for helping your business stay afloat?   If not, here are three simple ways to [...]

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