Congratulations! You have already begun or are considering becoming a small business owner. Don’t let the word small mislead you. Getting a business, large or small, up and running, is no small feat. However small business has different needs than a large corporation. You will soon become a professional marketer, as you market your small business. As you research and consider business marketing tips for small businesses, keep in mind these thoughts…what can you do on your own to market your business, when should you hire a professional’s assistance, and what are the laws that need to be followed when marketing? Keeping these things in mind, and a willingness to take a chance and put yourself out there, will improve your chances of success as a small business owner.
What Will Your Small Business Be?
You probably already know what your small business is or will be. But maybe not – maybe you are looking into business marketing tips for small businesses first, to see if owning a business is something you can invest your time and money in. The entrepreneurial spirit built our nation, and is still alive and well today, even through tragedy and pandemics. It is estimated by the National Restaurant Association, that by 2029, because of new restaurants, 1.6 million jobs will be created. And that’s just the restaurant business. Small businesses are too many to list, and still a part of the American dream.
First Things First – Consult With a Lawyer
As you begin your small business adventure, the start-up cost can be overwhelming. Hiring an attorney will be yet another cost, but one of the best investments you can make, and at the top of the list for business marketing tips for small businesses. Marketing, advertising, and how you run your business need to be done right from the beginning. It will save you headaches and costs in fines or worse, down the road. Your lawyer can answer all of your marketing questions, and also give you helpful suggestions.
The Laws of Advertising
You plan on advertising your business. What you say and how you say it needs to support your business and also follow any laws. Your lawyer can tell you exactly what you can and cannot say in your advertising. Some states require certain names or words to be left out, or insist certain things be on a sign, billboard, or social media ad, depending on what your service is. You don’t want to invest in marketing materials, only to find out you’ve missed a legality.
Insure Your Business
Business insurance will be needed to cover unexpected loss and damage to your business, or accidental damage to others at your business. Without business insurance, you will end up paying out of pocket, and that could destroy your business if the cost is large enough. Consult your lawyer for advice on how much, and what type of insurance you should get.
If You are a Franchise Business
Franchising takes on many legal issues that other small businesses will not. Your lawyer can refer you to franchise legal services if necessary. Through launching your franchise business, or recruiting others to franchise through you, and as your business grows, a franchising legal service, and your lawyer will be there to answer your many questions, and help protect your small business.
Patent Your Name or Idea
A very important area your business lawyer can help you with, is patenting your business name or idea. Imagine coming up with a great new, innovative business idea, only to have it stolen out from under you. This is where your lawyer can serve you well. A lawyer can run a search to make sure you aren’t accidentally using someone else’s name for your business, or your idea isn’t too closely related to someone else’s. That’s not to say you cannot start a business similar to another. Depending on the patent, you may have to adjust some things. These are the questions your lawyer can get answers to. Your business name and ideas need to be protected.
DIY Business Marketing Tips for Small Businesses
Saving money is music to a small business owner’s ears. An obvious way to do that is to do as much marketing on your own as possible. Hiring someone to help with marketing will be a necessity at some point, and very helpful. But there are areas you can manage with your phone and laptop, right from home. It is easy when starting a new adventure like a small business, or feeling eager to freshen up your current one, to want to go big quickly. Remember…slow and steady wins the race. Take your time, and don’t go broke on marketing. Spend the money wisely as it comes in.
Give Everyone Your Business Card
Business cards are one of the first, inexpensive business marketing tips for small businesses that should be followed. There are several companies to choose from online, and orders are usually received fairly quickly. Be sure to include all the necessary information on your cards. Choose a design that reflects the personality of your business. Modern? Classic? Edgy? Have fun with it, order in bulk, and be sure to hand them out whenever possible. Using your new business cards regularly will get your name and your company’s name into a lot of hands, and minds. Send a quick handwritten notes to friends and family letting them know about your business, and stick your card in the envelope along with the note. Make your business card your social media cover photo. Leave a card at the table, next to the paid bill, when dining out. Use your cards as a way to share your information at social gatherings, when numbers are being exchanged. You can get really creative with business cards. They are one of the best ways to immediately start advertising.
Can we emphasize social media enough? Whether you are a fan of it or not, social media has stood the test of time, and if you have a favorite business you support, odds are, they advertise on social media. Facebook in particular has a great ad platform you can begin using immediately. All you need is a business page, which is easily set up as an added page from your personal account. Don’t worry, it is all kept separate from your personal account. The great thing is, when you set up your business page, you can then easily send an invitation to all of your current FB friends, asking them to like and follow your new business page. This is an easy way to get promoted quickly. Those 2,000 friends may actually come in handy now.
After your Facebook business page is set up, you can now use their ad system. It is easy to use, and the link is right on your business page. You will be given the option of how much you are willing to spend daily, and how long you would like the ad to run. This is very helpful when you are on a tight budget. Facebook ads work but targeting a specific type of audience (you choose or allow Facebook to choose), and then getting your ad on a certain number of pages within that targeted group. You can reach hundreds or thousands, depending on how much you can invest. It is a great place to start, and get noticed quickly.
Grow Your Email List
Sounds old school, and maybe it is. The reality is, email still exists. Just look at your inbox…it’s pretty full. Email still works to get the word out, and it is FREE. Do whatever you can to grow and maintain your email list. Add new email addresses whenever you can. If you have a business where customers are asked to give their information, make sure you are asking for email addresses. With email, you can write out information for your customers, and send it to literally thousands at a time, with the click of a button. Don’t overlook this simple way to market.
Time to Make a Video
This one can be intimidating, but studies show, people, tune in to videos. Reading an ad is okay, but watching a video is more interesting and fun. Again, using your social media accounts, you can upload eye-catching videos to market your small business. This is another free idea for business marketing tips for small businesses. All you need is a smartphone.
Simply Let People Know
Yes – advertising can be that easy. If you can communicate, simply tell your friends and family what you are doing. Ask them to tell others. Strike up conversations at the store, when out to eat, or at the gym. It’s okay to casually bring up your small business. After all, it is a part of who you are.
It is Time to Leave It To The Professionals
At some point, marketing and advertising will need to be handed off to a professional. After finding as many free business marketing tips for small businesses as you can, there are many more that can be paid for, and are extremely helpful and necessary. It’s time to take your small business to the next level.
Find Out What Really Works
Marketing consultants focus on listening to your needs for your business and then letting you know what will work best for you. In this day and age, the possibilities of advertisements are endless. Rathe then waste money on marketing yourself in ways that may not do much for you, consult with a professional first, and they can point you in the right direction. This is a great way to start off on the right foot, and not waste money.
Billboards, buses, benches, even grocery carts, are all considered outdoor advertising. Most business marketing tips for small businesses will suggest waiting until you have some good cash flow coming in, before investing in these more expensive advertising options. That is wise advice. Take your time, and when the time is right, get your business outside, and in front of customers.
Credit Cards and Cyber Security
You are in business to make money. Many people no longer carry cash. You are going to need to accept credit cards. Credit card processing will of course need to be handled by an outside company, and you will be charged for that. It is a part of business, and well worth it to bring in customers.
Along with credit cards comes a need for cyber security consulting. This protects your business, and also your customers’ information. It is an important and necessary investment for security in your small business.
Your business is growing and you need some help! It can be an exciting time in your small business, knowing you need to expand and begin to hire. An employment agency is a great place to start. Business marketing tips for small businesses usually suggest an employment agency if you need temporary help, or are just too busy to get the hiring done yourself. The person hired is actually an employee of the agency, and that can relieve some burden for you.
Search Engine Optimization
You have probably seen the term “SEO” thrown around while researching business marketing tips for small businesses. There is a good reason for that. Search engine optimization is used get your business found quickly and easily using search engines on the internet. If you have ever googled anything, you have seen that thousands, even millions of sites can be found. Your business website needs excellent SEO content writing. Paying professional SEO services and website design to get this done right, is essential.
It can be easy to get burned out as you run your own small business. When you feel that happening, turn to others for inspiration. Find an entrepreneur blog and read someone else’s story. Use meet up sites to connect with other like-minded business owners for support. Do what you need to do to keep going. There will be times when it seems all you are doing is marketing, but those times will pay off when you get to sit back and see all you have accomplished!