Because Small Business is Big Business

Posts by David Catalan

Ad Man

Ad men live in a world of puns, quips, rhymes, jingles, and anecdotes— with a touch of poetry—a world of words and phrases, which grab the mind and stick. If you publish a magazine, it is copywriting writ large. It’s all stories. Stories that will not only entice your subscribers to renew their subscriptions but also will attract new advertisers—the lifeblood of radio, magazines, newspapers, and television. Copywriting writ small must accomplish the same end for your product or service. Whether it is William Shakespeare’s Hamlet or Ernest Hemmingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls, both authors rode the power of the written word to success, albeit a different style, a different time, a different audience. Remember, the only reason a business exists is to make a profit. If you decide to write your own copy, I suggest that you take a walk, visit a business, and write in your mind copy for that business. 

Advertising made simple, check out the book Small Business Guide to Marketing Basics


Be Strategic

The Strategic Planning Cycle. The strategic plan provides a roadmap for the company to follow. The planning cycle is straight forward. Once a strategic plan is developed, it provides the guidebook for day-to-day operations of the company. In other words, execution of the plan is a continual (daily) process, which is monitored on a periodic basis (perhaps monthly or quarterly). Every so often, perhaps annually or biannually, the strategic plan itself is revised. This cycle is shown in the figure below.


Strategic Planning Cycle Note: Bradford and Duncan’s Simplified Strategic Planning.

Are you ready to strategize?  Check out the book “Small Business Guide to Marketing Basics


At What Cost

The cost of your marketing efforts depends on many factors, including such considerations as:

  • How established is your business or have you positioned yourself successfully? (If no one has heard of your business yet, you should probably spend more.)
  • What industry are you in and what are your priority products or services? (You should have a sense of how much your competitors are spending.)
  • How much can you really afford? (Don’t spend yourself into a hole, especially today, when there are so many cheap and highly effective Web options to help you promote your business.)

After you’ve gathered all the business variables and arrived at an annual figure for marketing costs, don’t forget about other marketing-related expenses, such as market research, attending functions and trade shows, training yourself and others, and hiring experts to help you with special projects, such as improving your Web site and beefing up its content. And always allow a bit extra for the unexpected under the Contingency line item.  Learn more about marketing cost in the book “Small Business Guide to Marketing Basics


The Brands Have It

What is brand? I’m reminded of scenes from one of my favorite American movies, Red River; namely, the branding of cattle in preparation for a historic cattle drive along the old Chisholm Trail. Brands were visual symbols of ownership. They depicted in graphic geometric shapes and/or letters the names of the various ranches: The Circle R, The Flying P, and The Two Rivers are examples. The brand message to all who saw it said, “This is mine, and it is separate from the rest of the herd.”

The most successful and durable brands like Coca-Cola, Walt Disney, Ford, and Budweiser create a special relationship between the company providing the product and the customer—indeed, the brand becomes the product in the mind of the customer.

“Brand Bonding” results in the customer experiencing a feeling of ownership. Recent television and print commercial scripts have the actors saying, “that’s my CVS,” “my Sprint,” my Tide.” After multiple repetitions and images of people just like us embracing a product, an almost subliminal message becomes imprinted and oftentimes drives the sales decision.   Are you ready to get started in branding your small business? Check out the book “Small Business Guide to Marketing Basics


Marketing Practices for Your Life as a Published Author

So you are a published author.  Book sales have begun with that first one being one of the most memorable life events.  You are now a small business—welcome to the industry which drives America’s economic growth!  As a small business, your professional story takes on a new page.  Critical to growth and sustainability is the creation and implementation of a personal marketing plan—the blueprint leading the way to strategic direction.  Consider these markers along that path:

Update your resume.  Dust off the old one or write a new one.  It’s important that all items on that document be timely, relevant, and readable.  In addition to the standard personal, education, and job history components, give a boost to community involvement.  Have you served on nonprofit boards or committees, volunteered for political campaigns, or spoke about your book to a group.  You may be asked to provide a resume at any moment as your book becomes better known and the public wants to know more about the author—you.

Jazz up your business card.  Usually, it is not practicable to carry copies of your book as you navigate through your day’s activities.  Design an eye-catching, but professional, business card which can be handed out at the market, in line at the cinema, the barber/beauty shop, or in a restaurant.  Include a QR Code which provides more details about your book and where potential customers can go to purchase a copy.

Become a visible joiner.  Yes, networking and word-of-mouth opportunities are still the most direct and effective avenues for promoting your book.  Join your neighborhood association, the employee organization at work, your occupation’s professional group, Rotary, Kiwanis, and a book club, if available.  Be open to accepting volunteer positions of more responsibility within the organization, as well as speaking offers.16

Develop research instincts.  Where will themes and ideas for your continued writing originate?  The best come from personal experience.  The expression of that experience needs a push of inspiration to flower into words.  Become a research junkie.  Read newspaper headlines and articles.  Don’t pass up a magazine without scanning its contents.  Focus your television viewing on global news and human interest pieces.  When you least expect it, that “aha!” moment will arrive and propel you to the keyboard for capture and expression into words.

Evaluate social media resources.  Social media is what it is.  By now, you may have a facebook, twitter, and/or linkedIn account and are pursuing their value to your continued success.  In today’s cyberspace, personal and professional promotion and marketing require such a necessary presence—but do not let it become a necessary evil.  Do not obsess on its scope and limitations.  Remember that what will make your writing career fulfilling is the continued development of your power as an individual with something to say to the world.  Mining the rich veins of your inner spiritual wealth into words of inspiration, compassion, advice, information, and comfort will reward you with a joyful sense of being.  Cheers!