Small Business Consulting Services – Is it Money Well Spent by Small Businesses?

A wise man knows that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. All Massachusetts leading small business consultants can provide many services including strategic assessment, strategic planning, marketing and promotional planning, loan and grant proposals, customized training solutions all wrapped up in a comprehensive business plan solution or individually, based on a specific need.

All the services mentioned above require planning in some form. Many times, businesses don’t have the staff nor ability to perform these services for themselves because they are usually bogged down with the day-to-day operational side of the business. So that is where and why consulting services can help.

Again, you may be considering help in the areas listed above or you may be seeking an unbiased professional opinion on specific issues. You may need help preparing a complete business plan, pro-forma financial documents or a marketing plan. Whatever your needs, small business consulting services encompass many answers to the problems facing small businesses.

Consulting services are utilized by every business size imaginable. Both large and small accounting and consulting firms are always employed by companies as big as Microsoft. Any size business has needs that can not be met internally because businesses sometimes look at themselves subjectively rather than objectively or lack the experience and expertise in an area that could improve a component of their business which could translate to growth and higher profits.

But wait, if you’re short on resources whether it be financial or human resources and you need small business consulting services it’s important to find one of the Massachusetts leading small business consultants that offers a strong track record of success and a firm which will listen to your needs carefully.

You need to remember that careful planning and consulting is extremely valuable to any profitable venture…as the Visa commercials profess…it’s priceless!

Small Business Marketing Plan Revisited

Creating a small business marketing plan as a subcategory of your overall business plan is vital for evoking and accelerating business growth. When you have a plan, you are able to focus on the right things at the right time and measure your progress toward a goal.

Many business owners are resisting planning. When you’re running a business, you can easily be consumed by your day to day responsibilities. But failing to plan can be a great mistake.

Now, what is the essential function of marketing? To generate qualified sales leads. There are any number of methods that can be used to do that but how do you know which methods to use if you don’t have a plan?

And how do you know what your lucrative marketing activities are? How do you invest in those activities if you don’t know how big your budget is, or know what results you are trying to produce?

A marketing plan doesn’t need to be a huge document. First, start with your business goals for the next six months. You should already have these, for example your target revenue, if nothing else.

Now, what marketing goals align with those business goals? Ok, you want to make 100k. How many leads do you need to generate in order to allow your selling activities to close the deals necessary to reach this revenue target?

Next, what marketing strategies are necessary to meet your business goal? Will you need to get more publicity? Expand into a new market? Reach more people in your current market? Create a direct mail campaign? Create sales partnerships?

You must pick one or two that deliver on what you are aiming for and hit your target revenue. Now, determine what specific activities will achieve your strategies.

At this point it gets a little bit tricky. You must choose from a vast pool of marketing options/activities and you must choose the activities that will work best for the potential customer you want to reach. You might need to participate in trade show events where you get face to face with your market.

You might need to launch a new website, you might need to implement a referral program for current customers. The list goes on and on.

Whatever your activities are, put them together into your plan and create target metrics (e.g. number of leads collected, number of prospects you talked to, etc).

Finally, you end up with your marketing plan.

The next step, your sales plan, tells you how the leads generated by marketing will be converted to customers, and how back end sales will be made to those customers. Sales metrics include conversion rates, overall revenues, or revenue per customer/per square foot/per time spent in the store, etc.

The great thing is that now you have something to measure against and you can review things periodically to see if you are on track or if something needs to be adjusted.

This process or call it small business marketing plan, doesn’t need to take a lot of time but the benefits to your business can be huge. Having a plan will give you a lot more insights into your well oiled business machine or parts of your business that need some tweaking.

How to Use Small Business Web Solutions to Help Generate More Profits For Your Local Business

There are many small business web solutions available today to help a local business owner take massive action to generate more profits. Unfortunately, many small, local business owners are not taking advantage of the largely untapped local marketing source called the Internet.

Small business web solutions like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a fairly new, and unfamiliar, discipline for many local businesses. Think about it, SEO has really only been around for a decade or so and many businesses have not tapped in to this powerful marketing tool. Instead, they are stuck in their old habits of using the Yellow Pages, newspaper ads, or direct mail. While these methods still work, they are expensive and hard to track.

The Internet on the other hand offers small businesses the ability to use inexpensive, many times even free, advertising methods to generate traffic to their website, phone calls to their office, or more customers into their stores. Once a business owner welcomes this new advertising media with open arms, they will be able to take full advantage of the small business web solutions available to them.

As a business owner, your goals when advertising on the internet are some of the following:

  • Generate targeted leads to your sales staff
  • Generate phone calls to your office from potential customers
  • Generate direct sales from your website
  • Increase traffic to your store (or place of business)
  • To build an email list you can advertise to directly

You do not simply want to have a website brochure out there that is not generating targeted traffic and generating leads for your business. This is just one of the mistakes many small business make when spending valuable resources on website design.

Your website can be, and should be, a tool to generate unlimited leads and new paying customers for your business. Don’t make the mistake of getting a fancy, high-tech website created only to have it sit online never to be found by your potential clients.

Here are some of the free tools available for small business owners to increase their web presence:

1. Google Places – free business listing on Google. This tool integrates your website ranking and your Google Places listing to help “local” customers find your business.

2. Citation Listings – there are many local listing services out their just waiting to help your customers find your business. Some examples are Yelp.com, InsiderPages.com, and SuperPages.com. Simply register or verify your business listing and your chances of being found are increased greatly.

3. Local Directories – like the citation services, there are many local business directories that have high rankings in the search engines so when some searches for your type of business, you can be found.

There are many other services available to help small businesses get found online. Tap in to this market and you can expect a prosperous future.