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

“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