The 4 Biggest Marketing Mistakes You're Making as a Business Owner

From cherry-picking customers to working only on your time, here are the four biggest mistakes your business needs to avoid.

As business owners, sometimes you find yourself in a pickle, but it's always important to try to not get yourself in that pickle in the first place!  From mindsets to actions, these are four common marketing mistakes business owners make which impact their business and customer experience.

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    Mistake No. 1: The customer is on my time. Unless you've set clear guidelines from the start or have your timeline listed on your website, don't get angry if customers don't get back to you promptly. When customers are in the planning stage, they’re the driver of time.  You can't get upset if they don't get back to you as soon as you'd like.

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    Mistake No. 2: I only want to work with low key customers. Customers who don't pay are customers you don't want to work with. Customers who yell or are disrespectful might not make the cut. But, a customer who is indecisive or disorganized or takes little extra management is not someone to write off. The toughest customers will teach you the most!

    Mistake No. 3: I'm not going to invest in marketing. My customers come from word of mouth. When funds are right, the marketing budget always seems to get cut. But Every business should have a marketing budget at all times. Word of mouth will only go so far and if you're not investing now, you'll be left behind in the long run.

    Mistake No. 4: It's my way or the highway. You get to decide how you want to run your business and it's important you pick a path that makes sense for you and your team, but being flexible is the key to great customer service. Maybe you always do deliveries on Thursday, but a customer has a last-minute request—make the delivery on Wednesday! Give in sometimes and don't leave a customer hanging just because their small request doesn't match up with your process.

    Always put your feet in your customers' shoes, and your business will learn how to operate with empathy and business knowledge for proven success. Mistakes can be fixed, but avoiding them in the first place is important! 

    Annie Pryatel is the owner of AMP Brand Studios. Learn more about how AMP is helping small businesses succeed by clicking here.


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    Next up: The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users

    The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users

    Many small businesses today are finding success promoting their brand on social media. But for every success story there are dozens more about the ineffective usage of social media. One of the main reasons social media can be a valuable marketing tool is that it gives businesses the ability to interact and engage with a wider audience. Big or small, everyone today is looking for strategies that work to gain visibility in this new marketing age.

    Many small businesses today are finding success promoting their brand on social media. But for every success story there are dozens more about the ineffective usage of social media. One of the main reasons social media can be a valuable marketing tool is that it gives businesses the ability to interact and engage with a wider audience. Big or small, everyone today is looking for strategies that work to gain visibility in this new marketing age.

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    The Art of Social Media, published in December 2014, was written by Guy Kawasaki, the legendary former chief evangelist for Apple and a pioneer of business blogging and social media use for business, and Peg Fitzpatrick, a successful social media strategist.

    This book offers sound practical advice on ways to be effective in the digital market today and has quickly become the go-to resource for small business owners looking to up their social media game. “I am a passionate marketer and have seen the amazing importance of winning in the digital marketing space over the last 10 years,” says Mike Foti, president of Innovate Building Solutions. “This book is practicable and actionable and written in bite-sized chunks so you can learn some things, put them into practice, and then pick it back up at a later date for more input/advice.”

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    “Small business owners all have the same challenge – time – and the reality that social media is free is a myth. It takes time to do it right,” says Foti. “This book provides resources and methods to save time on social media and offers helpful advice and important lessons that any small business owner can use to improve their social media footprint.” 

    This article originally appeared in the July 6, 2015, edition of Small Business Matters.


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    Next up: The Best Decision I Ever Made

    The Best Decision I Ever Made

    The best decision I made in my business was to incorporate the theory of mise en place [mi zɑ̃ ˈplas] in everything that I do. Mise en place is a French phrase meaning to ‘put in place.’ It is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging ingredients.  I learned the term in my first year of restaurant management and it stuck.

    “The best decision I made in my business was to incorporate the theory of mise en place [mi zɑ̃ ˈplas] in everything that I do. Mise en place is a French phrase meaning to ‘put in place.’ It is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging ingredients.  I learned the term in my first year of restaurant management and it stuck.

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    Putting everything in place to me means having every aspect of my business or work day arranged so my team and I can execute it in the most effective and impactful way. If you have everything laid out and are prepared for the unexpected, it is easier to handle the inevitable daily chaos. 

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    As a business owner, it is extremely important to ‘set the table’ and get everyone focused and on board with both strategic goals and daily tasks. The catering business offers exciting daily challenges and every one of our teammates at Food For Thought is set up for success by having the best ingredients at their fingertips to create a consistent wow-factor for our customers. If you are able to always put the right ingredients, including talent and resources, in place at the beginning, you will be able to exceed expectations. I believe our focus on mise en place is our secret ingredient.  

    If this kitchen analogy doesn’t resonate, think of the soft high lob on the tennis court, the set-then-spike in volleyball, or teeing it up on the golf course. Whatever vision works, create the set up and have confidence in your deliverables.”

     

    BONNIE MATTHEW, President/Owner, Food for Thought

    This article originally appeared in the August 3, 2015, edition of Small Business Matters.


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    Next up: Video: The Biggest Challenge Facing My Business Is...

    Video: The Biggest Challenge Facing My Business Is...

    During COSE’s recent Annual Meeting, we asked attendees what the biggest problem is that is currently facing their business. And, more importantly, what steps they’re taking to overcome those challenges.

    During COSE’s recent Annual Meeting, we asked attendees what the biggest problem is that is currently facing their business. And, more importantly, what steps they’re taking to overcome those challenges.

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    Watch the video below to find out what they had to say.

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    Next up: The Doctor Is In: Discipline, Desire Lead to Sales Success

    The Doctor Is In: Discipline, Desire Lead to Sales Success

    Our “Sales Doctor” Marvin Montgomery is accustomed to diagnosing all types of sales woes that could impede your success, and he provides the prescription to alleviating these ills. Today’s column focuses on how to achieve the self-discipline you need to stay on task and get your critical action items checked off every day.

    What are some of the most important tasks you have to do every day, but you procrastinate because you don’t feel like doing them? Is it cold calling? Writing proposals? Maybe you delay filling out your CRM report?

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    If you do not have self-discipline, none of the above will get done in a timely manner and your work is going to suffer. Retaining a healthy amount of self-discipline will help you get all of your checklist items done when they need to be done because it requires you to do:

    1. what you are supposed to do;

    2. when you are supposed to do it; and

    3. whether you feel like it or not.

    Tips for Prioritizing:

    1. Collect a list of all your tasks.

    2. Identify urgent vs. important.

    3. Assess value.

    4. Order tasks by estimated effort.

    5. Be flexible and adaptable.

    6. Know when to cut.

    Start today holding yourself accountable for all of the important tasks that you need to accomplish today. A lot of this comes down to having the desire to succeed, plain and simple

    The desire to succeed

    At the end of the day, you must desire success. The dictionary defines “desire” as: “A strong feeling, worthy or unworthy, that impels to the attainment or possession of something that is (in reality of imagination) within reach: a desire for success.”

    When you have that strong desire for success, the self-improvement that you are trying to attain will become a reality. You may want to improve your time management or become an active listener and do less talking. It’s right there within your reach! It just requires a desire to make a change.

    Marvin Montgomery is an author, motivational speaker and professional sales trainer. Learn more about Marvin by visiting www.MarvinMontgomery.com. And you can reach him via email at SalesDoctor@MarvinMontgomery.com.

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    Next up: The GCP Submits Testimony on the Importance of Access to Capital

    The GCP Submits Testimony on the Importance of Access to Capital

    On Oct. 11th, the Ohio Senate Transportation, Commerce, and Workforce Committee received testimony from the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) regarding House Bill 10 (HB 10), legislation that would permit intrastate crowdfunding in Ohio. 

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    Building capacity and improving access to capital for businesses across the state is just one of the many important undertakings outlined by our members in the GCP Public Policy Agenda.  HB 10 would allow Ohioans to invest in businesses through an online OhioInvests Portal.

    Access to capital promotes stability and greater predictability and can allow entrepreneurs to create jobs and thrive in an ever-changing environment,” said Marty McGann, Senior Vice President of GCP Government Advocacy.  “The importance of continuing to make strides to maintain an economic environment conducive to startup entrepreneurship cannot be understated and the need for Ohio not to lose ground on strides made in other states is critical to our collective success.

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    This summer, approximately two weeks after the GCP provided testimony to the House, the bill cleared the Ohio House Representatives.  The GCP will continue to monitor activity in the Ohio Senate and advocate on behalf of our members.

    To read the entirety of GCP’s submission to the Ohio General Assembly on HB 10 click here.

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