How much do you know about marketing your small business? Spend a few minutes with this quiz and see how much you know.
1. Does your business need a website?
a. Yes, definitely . A website is needed so people can find you around the world.
b. No . My business is tactile, and doesn’t translate well to an impersonal online experience.
c. Maybe . All my friends tell me I should be online.
2. You should hire an expert to help your business:
a. Write a marketing strategy / business plan
b. Design your marketing materials
c. Create your website
d. Write your advertisement
e. Create your logo
3. Compelling marketing copy is all about “selling the sizzle”.
a. Sure. That’s what works, doesn’t it? Otherwise, it’s boring.
b. Only if you are a huckster. You tell people about the benefits of using your services/products, and people that need it will be interested.
4. Do you need to spend money to make money?
a. Yes, of course. That’s the way the world works.
b. No . A good idea will naturally attract the right people to my business.
c. Maybe . I should be able to bootstrap my business, spending as-I-go (but not all at once).
5. The best way to assure business success is to:
a. Get an MBA. If it works for corporations, it will work for my small business.
b. Hire a business coach. They know how to motivate me to get ahead.
c. Find a mentor. There’s nothing like learning from a wiser person.
d. Read. Business books are a great way to learn new skills.
6. The Small Business Administration (SBA ) / SCORE counselors are for:
a. Cheapskates. They don’t charge for their services.
b. New businesses. They have expertise for startups.
c. Old businesses. They have expertise in brick-and-mortar companies.
7. The best way to attract attention to my website is:
a. Use flashy graphics to grab attention.
b. Write compelling text to make the reader interested.
c. Use SEO techniques to grab the search engine’s attention.
8. The best way to become an expert is to:
a. Say you’re one. If you don’t shout it, who will?
b. Write lots of articles on your expertise. Let people judge for themselves.
c. Comment on others’ articles. Let people see how you give-and-take.
d. Write white papers sharing your strategies. Let people see your big-picture strategy.
e. Read articles, books, blogs. You need to build your wisdom on the shoulders of others.
f. Take classes from other experts. Learn from an expert and get a chance to interact with them.
g. Get an advanced degree. Let others teach you the best practices of the past.
9. Marketing and Advertising mean the same thing.
a. Of course. You’re just telling people to buy stuff from you.
b. Not quite. Advertising (telling people to buy stuff from you) is a type of marketing (focusing on what people want and fulfilling their needs).
10. It’s important that your website and other marketing materials are top-notch.
a. Obviously, yes. If your image isn’t polished, no one will believe you’re great.
b. Not me. Top-notch marketing materials look too “corporate”, and I’m selling something more intimate. Besides, if everyone else’s materials look “corporate”, mine will help me stand out.
c. Maybe yes, maybe no. It depends on what you’re selling. If you’re selling something very expensive, yes. If it’s cheaper, having marketing materials that you can afford to do is better than bankrupting yourself.
11. As a small business owner, I should be able to know how to do everything to run my business.
a. Of course . I can’t trust someone else to care as much as I do.
b. No, I’m not a jack-of-all-trades . It’s better to leave some things to the experts.
c. Yes, but I don’t have to be an expert . I need to know what the process is, but I can get help to complement what I don’t know.
— Answers —
As you will see, there’s no right answer for all businesses. What’s right for your business is what works. However, here’s how I approach these issues with my clients:
1. Does your business need a website? Most businesses do benefit, but they’re not necessarily where everyone looks first to find you. Look at it this way, can it hurt to have a one-page website?
2. You should hire an expert to help your business. If you’re just starting out, having expertise is a shortcut for saving you time, money, and aggravation. If you don’t have the funds for hiring an expert, then you’ll need to do-it-yourself until you can get others to help. Doing it initially yourself (and seeing the results) will also give you a better appreciation for the various specialists that can help you.
3. Compelling marketing copy is all about “selling the sizzle”. Traditionally, “male-oriented” copy is about sizzle while “female-oriented” copy is about emotional benefits. As sizzle has become overused, selling emotional benefits becomes more important.
4. Do you need to spend money to make money? If you have lots of time, then you can use your time to make money. If you have lots of money (but not a lot of time), then you’ll need to spend money to make money.
5. The best way to assure business success is to. .. There are no guarantees for business success. However, having someone who’s “been there, done that” can be a huge boost. However, if you’re trying to break the established rules, having a “voice of reason” can become a headache (that you may wish you listened to).
6. The Small Business Administration (SBA ) / SCORE counselors are for anyone who wants help 1 on 1 from experts. The US Government wisely invests in these organizations, since a successful business pays more taxes. If you need expertise, talk to them. If you don’t like their services, find other offerings.
7. The best way to attract attention to my website is (b & c). Flashy graphics are often used poorly by site designers. Keep it simple, clean, and compelling.
8. The best way to become an expert is to …be patient. Anyone can say they’re an expert, but the next question will be, “Oh yeah? Prove it!”. Have a volume of quality work speak for you.
9. Marketing and Advertising mean the same thing . (b = Not Quite)
10. It’s important that your website and other marketing materials are top-notch . (c = Maybe yes, maybe no). A top-notch first impression is wonderful, but isn’t always realistic. What is important is that your materials are improving, better targeting your prospects’ needs.
11. As a small business owner, I should be able to know how to do everything to run my business . (c = Yes, but I don’t have to be an expert). Ultimately, it’s your business, so you’re the decision maker. The more you understand about how a business operates, the better the business owner you’ll become.