Top 3 Reasons Small Businesses Fail at Marketing

I often speak to groups of small business owners and I keep hearing the same comment over and over again with many of them saying that marketers don’t matter or marketing doesn’t matter anymore.

There are many reasons I’ve heard as to why marketing doesn’t matter: “all my business comes by referral,” “I never spent money on marketing and my business grew,” “marketing is a waste of money,” “I see no value in marketing,” “marketing is all luck so why spend money on it,” and so on.

Oh, how they are so very wrong! Below are the top 3 reasons why:

1. Their definition of marketing is wrong

When business owners tell me that marketing doesn’t matter, they usually have a totally different understanding of what marketing is than those who recognise how marketing contributes to business goals where it enables you to charge the most money you can for your services and products.

Marketing is first about spending time building a solid foundation based on strategy before proposing a series of tactics aimed at lifting sales. Until the business finds a way to change the context of how their ideal customer views what they do, and then becomes become the obvious choice provider, they’ll find that their marketing efforts never seem to build momentum or gain any return on investment.

You must be able to enter the conversation taking place in the head of your customers. Or, to look at it in a different way, to be able to address the number one question on your customer’s mind at exactly the right time.

So, how do you do this? The conversation that is taking place in every prospective customer’s mind revolves around two major points. There is a problem they have, and that they don’t want… and there is a result that they want, and they don’t have.

Those who often misunderstand marketing believe that it is only about advertising campaigns, brochures, flyers, website, email marketing, SEO, tradeshows, social media, copy, etc. These are the tactics – the way you implement your marketing. I’d argue that marketing is essentially the core of business strategy because it is about understanding the current customer, tapping into their fears, their goals and their aspirations and then creating products and services that the ideal customer is willing to buy from a brand they now they know, like and trust.

2. They believe either they or their co-worker can do it

Sometimes in the “do it all yourself” world of small business (or even big business when it comes to it), it’s difficult to identify the areas that require outside help. A business may be able to set up their newsletter, add plugins to WordPress, write a Facebook or LinkedIn post, and clumsily create header graphics, but you need somebody who is trained, practiced, and skilled at looking strategically and holistically at the marketplace, understanding the customer, and then creating unique opportunities based on this understanding.

Just think about it for a minute; just because you have a calculator and excel does that mean you are an accountant? If you have a ruler, pencil and have watched some episodes of Grand Designs – does that make you an architect? If you post regularly to your friends on Facebook and Instagram – does that mean you are a social media expert?

So why do small businesses believe that by buying a Mac and some software they will become a designer, marketer and communications expert?

It needs to be led by a strategic marketer who can then develop an integrated marketing approach. Can you or your co-worker do this? In some cases, you can. But those who can are most likely to either come from marketing or consulting backgrounds where they have transferable skills and experience defining AND delivering against a growth strategy.

If you are a small business, you need somebody who will have a very solid, process, streamlined, consistent, repeatable approach. First, they will research and learn about your company in great depth, the dynamics of the marketplace and identify shifts, trends, and changes. From there, the strategic marketer will be able to present the different elements of your marketing plan in logical order of how you should construct them, update them, or revise them; and identify the key areas you should be focusing on – be it generating leads, converting leads, increasing transactions right down to changing prices.

3. They hire the wrong marketing help

There is a huge misunderstanding around marketing strategy, marketing tactics, and marketing execution.

There is a difference between being strategically capable, creatively capable and executionally capable.

Small business owners don’t hire a strategic marketing coach/firm to develop creative graphics and headers; nor should you hire an advertising/graphic design agency to handle marketing strategy. A small business doesn’t need to hire a consultant or a firm who is a strong marketing executor when their biggest need is a strategy for sustainable growth. You may get more attention, but not the best results.

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How to Travel Around the World on a Low Budget

Travelling is something that everyone desires and loves. And to travel around the world is a dream come true for people. But everyone has the same sob story, which is that people don’t have the budget for such an expensive trip. And thus, they eventually have to cancel their travel plans.

Who says you cannot travel the world on a low budget? Of course you can! You just need to make a few changes in your schedule and plans, and it would totally work. You can then travel all over the world easily.

Accommodation

The first and foremost and the most important money saving tool is that you need to find the perfect place to live which is not at all expensive, plus totally comfortable. SO try not to book hotels when you go out, and swap them for hostels or workaways. Workaways are usually where people can work for small businesses or other families, and in exchange they would get free food as well as housing.

Another great way to save money on accommodation is to try couchsurfing. And if you are not comfortable with this, then you could just stay in large hostel dorm rooms. And you could even share your space with a local, which is even more exciting. Camping too is another great way to save money on accommodation, and not just that, you’ll have loads of fun and adventure if you go camping.

Airline Ticket

A round the world airline ticket is purchased through an Airline Alliance, and this of course makes it easier to travel rather than buying individual tickets for every location. This helps you save a huge amount of money.

Apart from this, there are a lot of other ways to earn free flights, if you really are keen on travelling. What you could do is just sign up for a few travel credit cards, through which you could collect miles and hola, you could easily travel for free. This is mostly for amazing destinations like Central America, Europe, Australia and Scandinavia.

Eat Street Food

We know that a part of everyone loves street food, so then why should you try and east expensive foods from high end restaurants when you could easily do with the street foods. Food consumes a major portion of your budget and if you cut it down then it would be really advantageous to you.

So the best way is to talk to the locals there, and learn more about their customs, traditions and famous street foods. Ask about what are the things that are a must try and do try all the customary street foods.

Give up your phone plan

It’s pretty expensive and hard to use a sim card when you are travelling abroad, since you need to take sims for every single destination. Thus, it is better if you just a hotspot or wifi in a cafĂ© to connect to the people at home. Thanks to WhatsApp and Facebook adding call and video chat features, you don’t really need to invest hefty amounts in additional sim cards.

Download apps for budgeting

It may seem weird, but you do need to keep track of all your expenses. Budgeting apps help you in keeping a tab, even if it may be for the smallest of expenses, say even buying a subway ticket. Trust us, all those subway tickets, and small knick knacks add up to a lot.

Even though you may not be spending a lot on big things, but small spending’s in bulk are also pretty heavy on the pocket.

Use Public Transportation

Using public transport is not only cheaper, but also the best way to know about a city. Taxis are especially expensive, and a cheaper alternative could be to rent a car for a few days. This way you can easily travel according to your own whims and fancies, and its so much more fun too. Just try and search for the best car rental deals, and you would be able to get ample of them. And if you’re fond of bikes, then you can rent a bike too and explore the city.

Try taking buses, or hitchhike with people. Make a tourism card, which would offer you great discounts as well as free access to famous attractions as well as museums, plus public transportation too. The London Pass, or the Paris Museum card are some examples of passes which you should totally get.

Drinks – Especially water!

Order drinks only in places where there are great discounts. Alcohol in some countries is not very expensive, so you could easily drink wine and beer. And if you are in a large group, see that you split all such expenditures with everyone.

Plastic bottles of water can be really expensive, thus you can try drinking from the tap. A great hack is using a Steripen to purify your water wherever you go. That ways you wouldn’t even have to buy such costly bottles every time, and this would just be a onetime investment.

Plan your destination first

First plan your budget, and then plan your trip. A small budget would mean less months in countries like Europe, but mean more time in probably South America. And if you travel in India, its obviously way more cheaper. Thus, its important to plan your travel dates, and it is recommended that you go in the off season, so that you save a lot of money on travel and living..

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Grow a Business That Involves Woodworking

Growing a profitable business from home is possible even in these uncertain economic times. If your passion is woodworking or even if you have little or no experience in this area, it is possible to be successful in starting a business that centers on woodworking.Areas of such a business could also include designing and building sheds or boats. All you need are proven business plans. You will also need plans that will give you step-by step instructions with regards to building various woodworking projects.

There are a number of business plans available on the internet that help get your woodworking business started and become profitable in a timely and cost-effective manner. These plans should explain the necessary tools and materials you will need to complete your various woodworking projects.

Sourcing the materials you will need to complete your wood working projects is very important when it comes to the bottom line. You will also need to exactly what to purchase so that there is no waste. You do not want any left-over materials that will not be used in future projects.

You will need to know what types of woodworking projects to build such as furniture that will most profitable. Maximizing your profits by producing a good quality product that is easy to sell will help your woodworking succeed in the short and long-term.

Many of profitable woodworking projects can be built with basic woodworking tools. You do not always need expensive power tools or a large garage.These easy to build crafts can be built-in assembly line fashion. This will reduce your overhead and help your woodworking business become profitable in a timely and cost-effective manner. A proven woodworking plan will help you achieve this.

The woodworking crafts you decide to build could be easily constructed in the shed in your backyard. This would free up you garage for other uses such storage or keeping the materials needed for your woodworking projects.

If you don’t have a shed on your property it is possible to build one with little or no woodworking experience. There are many resources on the internet that will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to complete such a project. The cost for the plans are sometimes free or can be acquired at minimal cost. After completing your shed you might to make the design and construction such structures as part of your woodworking business.

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Stress Is Normal!

Living in the 21st century, we have adopted certain terminologies as a part of our vocabulary. And, we do not even spare a moment to think about them. One such common phrase is “stress is normal!”

Is stress normal?

Is it Okay for stress to be normal?

According to MedinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, “stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. It is a feeling emotional or physical tension that arises from any thought or event that makes you frustrated, angry, or nervous.”

Now, if we try to relate this definition with the concept of “stress is normal,” it makes one believe that,

It is normal to get into a state of emotional or physical tension each time we are angry, frustrated, or nervous!

First of all, staying in such a condition is detrimental to our health in several ways. Diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart conditions, mental illnesses, and many more are the consequences of staying in a state of stress.

Then is it okay to accept stress as a part of our lives?

Now, if we look at what causes stress according to the above definition, we find that it arises from “a thought or event that makes us frustrated, angry, or nervous!”

Why do we get frustrated/angry/nervous?

The simplest reason for this is when things don’t go our way, or people do not behave in the manner we want them to. In other words, we feel frustrated when we cannot control our circumstances or others around us. The unfortunate truth is, most things that happen in life are beyond our control, and people behave the way they want to, not the way we want them to!

If this is the hard reality, should we then respond to these aspects by getting stressed and impacting our physical and mental wellbeing?

A closer look at the definition of stress points out to a simple word, “Thought!” It says that other than a specific event it is the thought that triggers stress.

Well! That’s a saving grace because while we cannot control the events that occur in our lives what we CAN control is our thoughts. It is only our thoughts that can help us respond to stressful events in life in a manner that we do not get stressed.

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Stay Home and Earn Unlimited Income

With the internet opening up opportunity for people to work from home is something that more and more people are trying to do.

The problem is that most people don’t know where to start or what action to take to start generating an income (earning from home.)

Do you have a problem trying to make money from home? If so,

I have written this article because believe I can help you get started generating income from the comfort of your home and this article is going to show you two ways that you can do that;

These are;

1. Affiliate Marketing

2. Taking Surveys

1. Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is quite interesting as It is very simple to become an affiliate marketer.

All you do is just help people (or companies) promote (or advertise) their product to people who need them and when those products get purchased, you are paid a commission (or a percentage) of the profit they made out of the sales.

Remember you don’t need to come up with the product to sell as this already exist.

Simply put, you are like the middle-man between the buyer and the seller.

The secret of becoming a great affiliate marketer is for you to promote the product you know (or like).

Example:

People want to buy weight lose products and there are companies that sell these products. All you need to do is help the company sell their weight lose products to people willing to buy them and you get paid.

2. Paid Surveys

This is when you are giving an incentive for giving your honest opinion about a product (or company).

Incentive can be in cash or vouches but it is mostly cash.

I can tell you that if you are available for at least 1 hour per day, you can make more than $100 for every hour you spent giving your opinion about a product (or company.)

There are lots of companies that wants to know how their customers feel about their products and services. This helps them to improve on their products and services deliveries to the populist.

We all use these products and services so, to form your opinion is not a problem in this situation. As an additional advantage, you get to let the companies that manufacture the products you use know how you feel about their product and that you turn helps them service you better.

What a great way to earn an income from the same company that you pay for their goods and services.

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Opting Out of the Rat Race Can Be a Valid Life Choice

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat” said Lily Tomlin, American actress and comedian. That’s an acute and deep analysis of the frenetic chase oriented lifestyle that most people seem doomed to live over and over, all their lives! A blind race after the so-called finer things in life; for money and power and social position and accepted definitions of success; a running in place simply to keep up with the next person; all these factors have combined to make the modern Human a driven creature running, running, till the day they die.

But is this the only possible way to live and be? Isn’t there any other way to have a full, and fulfilling, life? Are the stress and daily angst of the rat race; the associated physical, emotional, and mental health problems; the inescapable evils of a modern life? Not necessarily, as a lot of people around the world are discovering. Opting out of the rat race is becoming a distinct possibility in the age of information, technology and outsourcing and the possibilities have only improved manifold over the last year, as the world, and corporate, have realized the alternatives to the 9-5.

There are numerous stories of people seizing control of their own lives and changing direction in mid-stream. From sales professionals giving up lucrative jobs with MNCs in order to teach MBA, to engineers turning restaurateurs; young people are choosing to walk away from the high stress, high speed, and insane run up the ladder, to do something they enjoy. It’s huge! It’s a risk! But most of them agree, it’s worth every minute of it! They may make less money, at least for a while, but what they gain instead more than makes up for the financial loss.

First of all, there’s a huge fall in stress and angst levels. That brings with it massive health and lifestyle benefits. Occurrence of diabetes and hypertension are sky high in most professions these days. Younger and younger people are being afflicted, and most of them have no family history of either disease. Experts agree that this is caused by the high levels of stress these people function under, everyday. Heart attacks are happening younger and younger, and fertility and libido are way down in most urban centers. Get rid of the stress, and voila! Problems are reduced significantly, sometimes even totally disappear!

Less time spent running after money or the next gadget or the newest television means more time on your hands for doing things you love and spending quality time with family and friends. Creative pursuits, hobbies, and social interaction, all reduce stress further, not to mention make life a joy, and give an immense amount of meaning and fulfillment. And the really fun thing is that you don’t even have to give up on the money! Consultants make good money these days, as can freelancers and business owners. Maybe it wouldn’t be as much as your executive salary package, at least for a while, until you build things up to that level, but the advantages are many too. And with modern technology, as we have already seen this past year, it is highly possible.

So take a serious look at your life, and consider opting out of the rat race. Even thinking about it helps. Feeling like you have an out, anytime you want it, makes the here and now less like a jail sentence and more like a choice.

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How Can I Become An Innovative Person?

We see the word innovation often, and it’s amazing sometimes what qualifies for innovation as this buzz-word is being bantered about. Those of us who are creative and innovative know our prospects for success are greater than those without such talents and attributes. Perhaps this is why so many people seek to learn how to innovate themselves. It sure looks good on a resume, and most job descriptions do have a phrase or two in them such as; looking for an innovative self-starter. Let’s talk about innovation a little bit and see if you can figure out how to reposition yourself better as someone known to be innovative.

Innovation is Just Combining Observations and Solutions from Other Domains

Many who’ve thought about it long enough realize that most good innovations in any particular sector come from borrowing ideas or portions of ideas from other sectors or domains. Most innovators I know admit that most of their new original thought concepts come to them in this way. If this is the case, then we don’t need to teach innovation at all, rather we just need more polymaths and people with vast arrays of experience in many fields.

Unfortunately, that would mean all the ‘Innovation Gurus’ would be out of work and teaching very few seminars because until their enrolled students had more experiences in more areas of life and work, the seminar attendees wouldn’t be ready to use the methodology taught or have enough knowledge to be a future contender in the top ranks of innovators.

Of course the scary part of this theory of re-combination to create innovation means that it’s pretty easy to teach and if so, anyone can do it, so maybe that’s why everyone is trying to specialize in this “innovation coach” generalist category today. Once someone has experience and knowledge and understands how to use information in one area in another, they can become innovators, at least proficient at the most common type of innovation that is.

If you’ve played sports, you might take some of the strategies and tactics used to win and use something similar in a business situation to better a product or sell a service. Perhaps you had a short stint in a summer job, and realize that some of your observations there could be used at the organization you work or volunteer at now. Maybe you use a utensil in the kitchen that might also be good for doing a task at work, with only a little modification. There’s your chance to innovate. Take it. Think about it, both early and often.

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