An old Chinese proverb goes something like this: “Confucius say, ‘Hungry man sitting with mouth open waiting for roast duck to fly in have long wait.’”
So it is with marketing and small business strategy. So many businesses have great ideas and plans, but they fail to take action. They’re waiting for “things to be right” before they do anything. To some extent, that’s understandable.
Considering most businesses, especially small businesses, are tight for money, they spend large amounts of time thinking through their small business strategy and want to make sure their advertising pieces are laid out just right, that the message is clear, that they’re getting the very best deal on advertising rates, and that the market conditions are favorable.
Make no mistake, all those things are very important, but it’s critical you don’t get paralyzed into not taking action because of them.
What Apple Can Teach about Small Business Strategy:
Let’s look at an example from Apple.
Back when Apple Computer was first getting off the ground, articles were written about how it used the “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach.
That is, the company got a product “Ready” (it wasn’t perfect), it “Fired” (got it out in the marketplace), then “Aimed” (listened to customer feedback and made modifications) and got it back out there again.
That is so different from the way many small or even mid-size businesses run their marketing campaigns today. They get an ad, a promotional letter, or campaign ready, then sit back and analyze it for months.
Then they may or may not actually run it.
What holds them up? Why don’t they take a chance? Why not get the ad out there and see what happens?
That’s what Apple Computer did. Who knows? Maybe the ad or promotion will be successful and maybe it won’t. But they’ll never know unless they test it to see.
Now, it’s important not to go about wildly spending money and blindly running ads and promotions just to see if they’ll work. You certainly must put some thought into the market you want to target, the message you will send them, and the offer you make to them. This takes careful and calculated consideration.
But any business, even your business, can learn exactly what Apple Computer found out: the market will tell you if your product or service is right or wrong and whether your prices are too high.
And, keep in mind, the market will tell you exactly what you need to do to make it saleable. Not only that, but as a bonus, consumers in the marketplace will also tell you exactly how much you need to charge for it.
How Can Consumers Inform Your Small Business Strategy?
It’s simple: When you run an ad or promotion, if a lot of people respond or take you up on your offer, it obviously worked. However, if the response was too great, then it may mean your offer was too good or your prices were too low.
On the other hand, if you get no or very few responses, then something is wrong.
Here are three problems you may have if your targeted small business strategy doesn’t seem to be working:
1. You are marketing to the wrong target.
2. The message you’re sending them is not clear.
3. The offer you have made them isn’t attractive enough for them to justify parting with their money. (Your prices are too high.)
But, if you just conceptualize the ad, design it, lay it out, and spend months on end analyzing it, you won’t learn a thing, except that your procrastination cost you a lot of unnecessary time and missed income.
Better to get the ad out in the marketplace and find out if it works or if it needs improvement.
No need to second-guess. Let your market evaluate it for you and tell you what corrections you need to make.
But do it carefully, by testing as we discussed earlier. Once you find that it works, take massive action.
Roll your ad or mailing campaign out and let it bring you the profits you’ve worked so hard to earn.
VisionPATH Business Solutions offers personalized consulting and advisory services to companies large and small. We have a long-standing reputation of providing honest, individualized advice to our clients. No matter your need, whether it is to capture new market share, to streamline processes and cut costs or to add services and grow you business, you can rely on VisionPATH to provide you with honest advice to help you achieve your goals.