Customers have never been harder to catch in Kansas City. Smartphones. Tablets. Streaming video. DVRs. Network TV. 500 cable channels. Video on demand. Your customers are watching their favorite programming on their time, in their own ways. They’re price shopping while standing in your store. They’re watching TV and surfing the web at the same time. What’s a KC small business owner to do?
You suck (at something) and that’s your leading edge for growth. Yes. You’re good enough, smart enough and darn it, people do like you, but your small business will never grow until you look deeper and admit that “you suck.” Once you know your suck-factor, you can address it. Small business owners tend to think that they can be great at a great many things. Take the ego down a notch and take a realistic look at what you do worst. Then search for the people with the specific skills in what you suck at.
To make friends.
It's really that simple (and complicated). But if we're not continually making friends with our Kansas City neighbors, then we're not going to be in business much longer.
Most small business owners loves the idea of social media, “it’s free!” Then reality hits, “this takes too much time.” And so those small biz social media accounts go fallow.
Can you invest 18 minutes a day? If so, Hootsuite put out a pretty smart social media plan for small businesses:
Video killed the radio station. Cable TV was primed to be the death of the networks. The internet, eReaders, iPads and dinosaur era publishers burned print to the ground. Now social media, digital gurus, YouTube and the app de jour is fixed to kill every media platform that has come before it.
“Location. Location. Location.”
Before online checkouts, easy highway access and a Quiktrip on every corner, the location you chose for your business mattered. Convenience mattered. The right rent in the right neighborhood was like printing money. And while you can still run a business driven by your location, commerce moves faster now. 135th Street isn’t a pasture any more. Neighborhoods decay. Every year the suburbs stretch further north and south. New shopping centers pop up to greet the new housing developments. If you can’t pick up and move with them, your geographically-based business is in for lean times.
Mistake 1: “Your customers are reasonable.”
People are more likely to be emotional, insecure, stubborn, fearful, distant and ridiculous, than rational. “Being reasonable” really depends on you, your view of how things should work and how you think your customers should act. To get these irrational customers to act on your advertising, tailor your advertising to align with their reasoning, not yours.
Big data. Macro trends. All those fancy info graphics. If you’re General Motors or Samsung or Pepsico, these long term trends matter because you need the masses. But if you’re like most of us — smaller, local Kansas City businesses — you don’t need tens of millions of customers. You need a thousand, or a hundred or maybe just ten new customers to move the needle for your company.
It’s simple really. Most advertising talks about the client, the product or to the cleverness of the ad agency. As a customer who only really cares about my own needs, that (like most advertising) is easy to ignore. There is a really simple fix: