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Are You A Small Minded Business?

By: Guest | January 13, 2011 | 
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Troy Claus is co-founder and partner at Bonsai Interactive Marketing, a full-service marketing agency, offering integrated and digital solutions. He also blogs at TroyClaus.com.

“All I need to do to take my business to the next level is get a Facebook page and a Twitter account.”

That has become the mindset of many SMBs (Small Minded Businesses).

Coupled with that mindset is usually the understanding that financial results are instant, your brand becomes a recognized leader, and you can work less (which is clearly the mindset that leads to failure).

We’ve all had these clients who are extremely difficult to work with, want the world for pennies, and don’t understand what social media really is. Therefore, they can’t associate value with it.

They still see social media as some “fad” leads to quick returns and a well-recognized brand.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are tools, not the answer to all the problems your business is facing.

Tools are a great way to enhance your business, as long as there is a strategy in place.

Being Disconnected

Before you dive into marketing, branding, business development, social media, etc, look at your current business model and see if it’s working for you. What are your sales like? What are your customers saying? What are you doing to improve your business?

(If you’re not aware how to do this, there are companies out there to help. The point is that it should be done before you move forward.)

After you’ve defined your business’s performance, how your customers view you and your product/service, and what adjustments you need to make to improve your business, you can start planning for the build.

Audits and Trailblazing

The first thing to do is carry out an internal and external audit.

The internal audit should concentrate on your own company. It should cover your operational efficiency, how effective your service is, resources, competences, key skills, your products/services, and your core business.

The external audit should concentrate on your business and economic environment, your competition, and the market; examine the important trends that have affected and will be affecting your industry and the market; and consider searching for questions and answers about your competitors and customers, now and in the future.

After completing the audits, it will give you a much better idea of where you are and what you need to do to plan for growth, both internally and externally.

Just Like Building a House

If I was to start building a house, could I just pick a spot and start nailing and drilling? No, I would have to plan, draw up the blueprints, acquire the proper equipment and even the appropriate trade workers to help with the build.

Or, if you already have the house built and feel it’s time to renovate, can you just start tearing down walls and ripping up floors? No, you need to either do your research to see what tools and procedures are needed in order for the job to be done right, or you need to hire a professional to come in and deliver the results you desire.

So before you start anything, look at your your current business model, note the adjustments that need to be made and then start to research and plan.

Once you have a plan in place, and model for growth, then you can start using the tools to enhance that strategy.

For examples of these tools and examples of how they can work, you can check out this ebook created by Bonsai Interactive Marketing.

How about you – what are you doing to build your foundations and that of your clients? Let’s talk.

Your Friend,

Troy Claus

“To do more for the world than the world does for you, that is success” – Henry Ford

34 comments
Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

I went to see Peter Shankman speak here at Union College. It was put on by the local Social Media Club Chapter. And my second event I attended of theirs. The first was a happy hour. What I found was the attendees were not marketers. They were small business owners hoping to capitalize on Social Media to grow their business. I like Peter. He is really nice and sincere and quite funny. But I felt the attendees were seeking some silver bullet. It almost felt like what my parents probably experienced in the early 1970's when they went to their first Amway event and signed up to sell products to their neighbors.

It still comes down to focusing on a great product or service, great quality and customer care, and the right price points as much as any marketing effort on any platform. And do it yourself will get you do it yourself results. We all have done something of this nature right? We were so arrogant at the price or felt we were getting snowed we undertook something ourself.

My friend is an invesment banker. His daughter wanted a Doll House. It was $1500 assembled. $400 unassembled. Turned out it had over 1000 wood pieces. Individual roof shingles. Took him 2 months. Guy makes $500k a year and did all that! LOL

JamesDBurrell2
JamesDBurrell2

Troy, for the most part, I whole heartedly agree. There are some facets of marketing that require a thought out and organized strategy in order to gauge success once implemented. Otherwise we'd simply could be spinning our wheels without anyway to tell if we're actually moving forward.

But I think for many Small Businesses, especially ones that are cash poor and cannot hire an outside consulting firm to structure their SMM strategy, can benefit by diving first and learning to swim second. Careful planning and an established strategy certainly allow us to adapt to a quickly shifting landscape in addition to being able to measure success, but they can't guarantee it, and neither is success overly dependent upon them.

I've seen very tangible results from my foray into social media for my various businesses and organizations, and I had no clue what I was doing when I started - as you put it, I simply picked up the hammer and started swinging and learned how to build as I went. Works for some but not for all.

Great advice... even if the opposite works on occasion.

Mark_Harai
Mark_Harai

Great points here Troy... however, SMB's still don't understand old school marketing really... like measuring the impact of ad in a newspaper or radio spot. Now we have new media/ social media, which does require at least a clue about web/ tech. There's many tools to measure results of online marketing efforts, but they're not understood by most SMB's. I guess the only hope for SMB's is to hire Bonsia Interactive!

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Great post today - possibly the best guest post you've had on here. It's clear that Troy Claus knows his stuff, and if he's indicative of the talent over at Bonsai Interactive, then everyone should contact them immediately after reading this post and hire them now. :)

Griddy
Griddy

@Danny Brown @JamesDBurrell2 @TroyClaus @ginidietrich Haha! I know you're only kidding but that's actually what I thought WWF stood for as well before I looked it up to find out that it's some Scrabble game Ha! Looks like those Scrabblers have turned fierce and feisty these last few years.

And here I thought it was but a calm and composed board game! Words With Friends just turned into Words With Fists! ;)

JamesDBurrell2
JamesDBurrell2

@TroyClaus First, I laugh at myself. Clearly, I'm suffering mild sleep deprivation because I'm pretty sure a 5th grader could've articulated a point better than I did. No wonder @ginidietrich is beating me in WWF.

I'll agree, people who think that establishing an online presence will be the panacea for their business woes are profoundly mistaken. As you put it, Web 2.0 is a toolbox to utilize, but if the blueprints are flawed from the start, no set of tools, even contractor grade, will build a sturdy house. I really like that metaphor. It's fun.

As you said, there are plenty of resources (I think I've discovered 1 or 2 ... wait most have commented below) that pretty much tell anyone willing to listen how to succeed with SMM. My hope is that folks are judicious enough in determining which advice is sound and which is hogwash. The line is blurred and there are plenty of people still convinced that the internet is THE key to get rich quick.

Thanks for putting up with my foggy-headed-ness going on tonight.

TroyClaus
TroyClaus

@JamesDBurrell2 Some great points you make there James. I agree that many Small Businesses don't have the capital to put forth into research...etc, BUT I still feel it's important for them to do what they can to understand their business and how these tools can benefit them. There are many resources available that can help give people an understanding of these tools, and how they work (Which is why I offered a free ebook in this post) and that would be better than nothing.

I know a few people that have tried the "learn as I go" approach and it worked out for them too, the difference is they displayed a hunger to learn and understand as they went along, they just didn't throw the dice, and I feel thats where the disconnect sits.

Cheers,

Troy

TroyClaus
TroyClaus

@Mark_Harai Cheers Mark! lol, yes... come to Bonsai hah! Seriously though, I can see how it can be very overwhelming for SMB's to try to understand everything going on in the space.

So many people saying so many different things. This is where I think it's important to research people who have done it, and ask them to provide a case of measured results. There are too many "experts" out there. What will separate the real from the fake are solid results.

You are correct in emphasizing measurement, thats the one thing I tell my clients, make sure whatever you do, you can measure it.

Cheers,

Troy

TroyClaus
TroyClaus

@Griddy @Mark_Harai @Danny Brown - Now thats a comment- Wowzers, thank you so much Ingrid. You have been great to Bonsai and for that we thank you 1000 times.

And I agree 100%, Danny nailed that post, hopefully people will start catching on that these tools are not quick fix solutions.

Cheers,

Troy

Griddy
Griddy

@TroyClaus @Mark_Harai @Danny Brown I should have known better than to set myself up for that one LOL ;)! But Alas, sometimes an honest opinion only takes a few words - I mean lines - to make its mark! I meant what I said.

Oh, I forgot to mention how right on this post was :). I think you nailed it here Troy.

Between this article right here and Danny's post last week on "Why Your Social Media Strategy Sucks" - you've pretty much covered it all and opened the eyes of all businesses or individuals that think Social Media is a miracle worker in itself. It is but a tool and there needs to be a proper strategy in place (one that works for you) with an end goal in mind (as Danny explained in his post).

Cheers

Griddy
Griddy

@Mark_Harai @Danny Brown Yeah, I hear those Bonsai Boys do a hell of a job! I wouldn't think twice about going in any other direction! That's just my 2 cents.

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