All small businesses at some level have limited resources. It can be time. It can be money. And in most small businesses, you are the owner, sales person, chief cook and bottle washer. Most days you are wearing many hats and accomplishing great feats of strength. Other days you may feel like a cartoon character running place but getting nowhere. So when you are choosing to either “do the work”, market your business or do the necessary paperwork, are you spending the effort needed to attract new customers, take care of your existing customers and do it all with little or no funds? Do you struggle with allocating time and funds? Do you really know who your customer is?
Here at the BRIC we take a business plan approach to answering these types of questions. And unfortunately it’s not a “one-size fits all” solution that will work for your business.
- Have you taken the time to understand all of the products/services you offer?
- How do you customers identify with your business – what is your core product/service offering?
- Are you the low-price leader or are you looking for the high-end customer with a wallet full of discretionary income?
- Physically, where are your customers?
- Do you have a global, worldwide operation (if you have a web presence, your customer may come from all parts of the globe) or does you operate in a small niche?
- Where are your competitors finding customers?
- Are you paying attention to their lifestyle and life-stage habits, how they access information and what they like to do for fun?
Once you’ve answered these and other questions, you may find that your promotional activities may be good old-fashioned networking and public relations. If you are looking for a wider reach to find customers, creating a keyword-rich website with the appropriate social media platforms may be a better choice. You may find that your customers shop at the same places, have the same entertainment choices and get their information from similar outlets. All these answers will start to formulate a plan. Maybe you are comfortable with speaking in public and find the right venues to spread the word. In the end know the answer to the question, “Why do you do what you do?”.
In the end when you answer all of these questions, you may have more questions. Research may be the answer. Using good research tools can be the answer to learning more about your customers so that you can reach them more effectively and efficiently. Stop by at the BRIC and we will show you tools like ReferenceUSA and Business Decision to help find competitive and consumer level data.
The Business Resource Innovation Center (BRIC) is city partnership of the Office of Business Development, the Carson City Library, Building, Engineering, Planning and Business License. The BRIC is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is located at 108 E. Proctor Street. Visit them at http://carson.org/Index.aspx?page=2526