Create a MINI Marketing Plan by answering 3 questions.

Small businesses make up the majority of the companies in the US. The Small Business Administration has different ways to define what is a small business depending upon which industry the company is, but typically it is 500 or less employees. Here’s the facts from the SBA Q&A page:

In 2009,there were 27.5 million businesses in the United States, according to Office of Advocacy estimates.The lastest available Census data show that there were 6.0 million firms with employees in 2007 and 21.4 million without employees in 2008. Small firms with fewer than 500 employees represent 99.9 percent of the total ( employers and nonemployers), as the most recent data show there were about 18,311 large businesses in 2007.

2018 update: There are new guidelines for defining “small business” based on industry. Click through to the SBA size standard information here for details.

So, if your b-b target is basically every company out there, you’re really not creating a target market strategy.

How do YOU define small? Maybe it’s one person companies. That’s about 21.4 million small businesses actually. It could be everything from a Mary Kay cosmetics independent contractor, to an insurance broker, to a dog groomer.

By really defining your potential customer, beyond just as a small business, (even just a business with employees!)  would help to narrow the target a bit.  How you approach an owner with your product and services and how you approach an employee could be very different.

I recommend you take these three steps FIRST before you begin your marketing:

Research: Learn exactly who makes the purchasing decision for your product or service.
Who influences the choices? Is it really the company president? The purchasing department? The engineering manager? Learn who has the signing authority for the purchasing level. Sometimes one person makes the recommendation, gathers the information and another person actually signs off on the purchase with the third person cutting the check. In other companies, only one person may be involved and they purchase with a credit card on line or in person, with no approvals or presentations needed.

Picture: What do they read? How do they think? Are they on the internet or do they attend certain meetings? Are they members of a certain organization? Do they just GOOGLE a certain phrase and buy with less than a few minutes of looking? Before you begin your marketing, you should develop a strong understanding of who they are and how they think. What’s important to them, what’s a deal breaker and what doesn’t even matter.Get a clear picture in your head or on paper of the people you are trying to influence, persuade and convince to buy your product or service.

Focus: Once you understand exactly who you are marketing to and what influences them, get your marketing message focused on their problem.  It could be their fear, pain, annoyance, or what keeps them awake at night.  If your business is a problem solver for them, you’re not selling.  You’re helping.  Focus your message on the benefit to them.  Not the feature your service provides.

Mini marketing plan:

  1. Who do you help?:
  2. What is important to them?:
  3. What’s the key benefit your product/service provides to them?:

If you can narrow those three questions down to a sentence, write it down in the comments below.

Three Steps to Creating a MINI Marketing Plan to Target Small Business Owners

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