April 9, 2015

Marketing Your Small Business

A good friend of mine opened a running shoe store. He knows tons about running and running shoes—not so much about marketing. So when he asked me for ideas, I had to consider how to promote his business on a shoestring budget. 

Here are a 5 TIPS that apply to his business—and many other small companies:

  1. Craft a plan 
    Having a plan is the first step to success. If you’re anything like my buddy, he’s got financial targets and weekly goals for selling running shoes, but he didn’t really have any plans for how he’d market his business. Craft a plan that includes consistent, regular marketing.

  2. Think like your customers 
    What is important to your customers and potential customers? Determine what you can do to make your service or products stand out from the crowd.

  3. Find your blue ocean 
    Trader Joe’s is one example of a “grocer” who developed a distinct and highly profitable niche in a very crowded market. Consider finding or creating a space—a blue ocean—in the market where there are fewer competitors.

  4. Make it difficult for copycats 
    Identify more than one thing to differentiate your business or product from others. The more distinct aspects you can promote, the harder it will be for competitors to copy you.

  5. Use push and pull strategies
    A combination of push (taking the product to the consumer) and pull (getting the consumer to your business) strategies can be particularly effective for small business. My friend continues to “push” his business by sponsoring local running events, for example. I also encouraged him to buy ads in local running journals and consider store promotions or events to pull customers in.