Because Small Business is Big Business

Posts by David Catalan

Mortal Creativity

In our daily experiences, as we travel the path of personal and professional living, we are constantly called to action by visual and written advertising. Some we automatically file away in some part of the brain created for that purpose, some we take in through a more conscious part of the brain that processes the information, while some force us to stop and marvel at the creativity, which is being revealed before our senses. Advertising is creativity in action.

What is creativity? Is it a mysterious quality, like genius, that is present at the birth of each individual? Is it reserved only for the artist, such as a Rembrandt or a Mozart, and cannot flow into the essence of us, who are not blessed with an artistic flair? Why does the use of the adjective creative lift the thing being observed into a higher realm of existence? Why does the creativity label appear to be out of the reach of most mortals—an attitude that relegates us to a level of just being satisfied with what we assume to be our skills and talents?

Let me assure you that if you are informed, you are creative. Creativity, I believe, is a blossoming of information. The more you know about people and their environment, the greater becomes the understanding of their nature, or “what makes them tick.” With such essential acquired information, the better you can appreciate their attributes, and the more expressive you can be in recounting their strengths. On the flip side, the better you know their weaknesses and what to avoid.   Get your creative juices flowing by checking out the book Small Business Guide to Marketing Basics


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