Food for thought

Giving and receiving business advice.

No matter how we try to sugar-coat it, to keep our current or attract new customers can be very challenging.

The fact that the business world, technology and consumer needs constantly “evolve” do not make it any easier. Getting it wrong might even break the bank — your bank.

The reality is that most small to medium sized businesses does not necessarily have large marketing budgets and this does create a “few” challenging questions, such as:
• Do I use social media?
• Do I re-invest more money into the business website (if you have one already)?
• Do I advertise in the local newspaper?
• Do I advertise on the local radio station?
• Do I place an add on some billboard in the area?
• Do I run promotions in the local shopping centre?
• Do I purchase some strategic marketing space in a shopping centre or local vantage point?
• Or….

I am sure that all these questions have come up in your mind at some stage.

The purpose of this document is to highlight the fact that businesses should consider all relevant outcomes before simply taking on advise, suggestions or making un-informed decisions.

A Real life conversation

An interesting conversation took place between a business owner “Jill” and a friend of the owner “Jack” at an informal dinner that I was invited to a couple of weeks ago.

Jill mentioned that her customers range from very young to quite older. Jack (without hesitation) immediately proceeded with advising Jill to advertise in the local shopping centre. This being on the screens and potentially behind the toilet stalls “because a lot of people go there”.

In theory, this might sound like a great idea, although there are a few crucial mistakes in this suggestion. Let’s break it down quickly:
• Who are Jill’s potential customers?
• Where are they based (living, working and entertaining “socialising”)?
• Is this the best method to expose them to the product or service that Jill is providing?
• How much will it cost to use these marketing methods compared to the potential return? Etc.

The issue with following just any advice is:
• You might completely miss your target market (and waste your money!)
• The money and time you wasted on the wrong method could have been put to use in a more productive way

Not all advice can be viewed as good or bad. In the current social media “world” we are constantly bombarded with 10 steps to this and 2 steps to that. You as the business person will have to ask the right questions at the right time to establish if the there is merit in the advice you are given.

Here are some useful questions to ask yourself?
• Who are your potential customers?
• Where would they most likely go (location or internet) to find your product or service?
• What have you done in the past that attracted customers to your business?
• What are your competitors doing in this area?
• Where have your competitors potentially fallen short or been really successful?
• Is there any space (location or internet) that has not yet been explored? Etc.

Keep in mind that each business is unique in many ways and the vanilla “one shoe fits all” approach does not work for everybody.

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