I’ve had my ideas shot down for every conceivable reason…
Results. Heroes. Ego.
What do your customers want? Results. Heroes. And to feel good about themselves (Ego). Your business doesn’t have to deliver all three, but you need to give them at least one or you won’t be in business for very long.
Sell from the inside, out.
It’s one of our founding principles. Get your staff and managers behind your advertising and your advertising can’t miss. If they’re not behind it, living it — if your customer service doesn’t match your ad’s promise — then it doesn’t matter how many Kansas City Ad Club awards your creative wins or how much money you throw at it – your ads are going to give your company a split personality.
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.