5 Small Business Tips for Marketing Success

Meet Linda Hailey and learn about social media marketing at her eMarketing Unplugged seminar with She Inspires in Sydney We caught up with Linda Hailey to find out what inspires her and what she loves about small business.

As part of the Kochie's Business Builders team and running her own consultancy, Linda is a dynamic small business owner who is passionate about creating positive change.

Linda is also sharing her skills, tools and experience about marketing at the She Inspires Social Media Seminars.

How did your small business consultancy firm come about?

I got my first glimpse into the world of small business during my career as a radio copywriter and marketing manager where I worked closely with hundreds of small business owners developing radio campaigns for their products. What I didn't realise at the time was that I was marketing in 30 seconds, but that's another story.

When I left radio I worked as a retail marketing manager for a year looking after 150 retailers at the start of a recession. During this time I realised that it was almost impossible for small businesses to get unbiased, affordable advice on marketing or planning.

If they went to a newspaper; it would be suggested they buy an ad, if they talked to a graphic designer, guess what, a brochure or new logo would solve their problems etc etc!! It's also interesting to note that back in the early '90's small business were almost ignored in terms of marketing and it was assumed that a smaller version of big business or corporate marketing strategies would work. My research showed they didn't and some were actually toxic to small businesses.

I felt there had to be potential to develop commonsense marketing and strategic planning diagnostics that helped small business owners make better decisions. So, I left my well paid job and with $20 and half a client started my own business. I tested my theories on a number of friends who owned small businesses (in fact payment for my first job was a second hand air-conditioner) and soon realised that I had identified a gap in the marketplace.

Within months I was officially one of two consultants that specialised in small business and weren't interested in the big end of town.

Having your own consultancy can be challenging, what's been the biggest challenge for you?

I'd love to say my business took off from day one, but like most business owners I soon discovered the start up phase was a challenge with feast or famine cash flow and a sense that I was faking it!! Of course, I now know since writing 'Your Business Your Future' that this is totally normal.

Once I emerged from start up, the main challenge was maximizing revenue and deciding whether to hire staff, clone myself or stay as a lone consultant. I introduced new more profitable products such as keynote speaking and also decided to use technology to make me more efficient and keep me ahead of the pack. Adopting new ideas and technology has become a recurring theme in my business and I just love the fact that my GenY clients cheerfully refer to me as gadget girl!!

Make your content marketing work for your business

What do you love about working with small business owners?

I love the speedboat factor. Small business owners are quick to spot an opportunity or act on advice; unlike larger companies that tend to act like oil tankers and are slow to adapt to change. SME's don't have to think about things for days, if they believe in it they make it happen, and fast.

I also love the passion most small business owners have for their products and services. This drives them to continuously update and improve their products. That passion is also irresistible to buyers; it's the best sales tool ever.

Often independent business owners feel isolated and without a voice, how does a coaching or mentoring program help these entrepreneurs?

As a home based "one person" company I can totally relate to isolation. I think making the effort to go out and network is really important, also finding a business group or organisation that you really care about and volunteering can also help you feel connected.

I love to catch up with colleagues where I don't have to be the expert or consultant. At one stage I formed a "Five @ 5 on Friday" group and we used catch up for drinks weekly to just chat about stuff. Rules were, when you couldn't say Five@5 on Friday 3 times quickly it was time to go home!

Coaches and mentors can give you insights into the business world as they share their experiences; they can also help you define your views and options so you are more confident when it comes to selling, marketing or lobbying.

Writing a book can be one of the most difficult and wonderful experiences, how did you find writing your books?

I have always written in some shape or form; poetry as a kid, plays as a young adult and I was a commercial copywriter by profession. Writing my first book which was 90,000 words was a real challenge when I was only used to writing 30 second commercials which are around 120 words.

I find the actual process satisfying but totally frustrating as I never know whether it's going to be a good day (3000 words) or a bad day (200 words and they are all rubbish).

However, I just love the thought that I've made a different to someone's business and people all over the world are finding my thoughts, ideas and anecdotes useful in their business.

I always swore two books would be the limit but the writer's gene has recently kicked in and I am just in the planning phase of writing a book/diary about the first three years of a business. This will be based on the experiences I've had with one particular client where we have taken his business from an idea right through to a thriving bricks and mortar business. So, more sleepless nights and deadline dramas lie ahead.

Small business owners are always feeling the pressure of time and long to do lists. What core activities do you think can bring the best results with consistent attention?

If you are a stressed out business owner the first thing to do is look at what tasks you can delegate or get rid of. The tasks you outsource may differ depending on whether you are a new business or a long established company, but it makes sense to spend your time and energy where it will do the best to improve your profitability.

Core activities, especially when you are a start up, include financial management, keeping your accounts up to date, sending out invoices on time and collecting debts. Analysing the accounts and really understanding how money moves through your business will make a big difference to your business viability.

Visibility offline and online is also critical in this day and age; websites, SEO, social media are no longer "set and forget" aspects of your business, they require regular attention.It is also vital to have a sales focus in the business and market regularly. You should be constantly checking in with your target markets to make sure you are meeting their needs and expectations.

What are you 5 tips for small businesses to make the most of their limited time for marketing?

Click to go in our free online competitionsBusiness Tip 1.

Little and often, fight the feast or famine cycle by setting aside time every week for sales and marketing.

Business Tip 2.

Understand the true value of existing clients; they are the people most likely to buy from you at any given time. Look after them, communicate regularly and reward their loyalty.

Business Tip 3.

Don't try to be all things to all people. Focus on one or two target markets you can proactively target.

Business Tip 4.

Be consistent with your marketing messages, from business cards, signage and websites to email signatures, Facebook pages and blogs, it should all look and sound like it came from the same company.

Business Tip 5.

Don't be afraid to own a position in the market. Stand out from your competitors by being different rather than just go head to head on price.



Meet Linda Hailey

Meet Linda Hailey

Linda Hailey

Small Business consultant Linda Hailey is passionate about helping entrepreneurs make their businesses flourish and grow sustainably.

Linda is the author of two books, Kickstart Marketing and Your Business, Your Future written for small business owners.

Linda is presenting at the She Inspires Social Media Seminar Series on eMarketing Unplugged.

Social Media Tools and Seminars for Small Business

Social Media Tools and Seminars for Small Business

Social Media Seminar PresentersSocial Media Seminar Presenters
The presenters for the social media seminar series all come with solid backgrounds in small business and marketing and range from agency experts to entrepreneurs.
It's a great opportunity to meet and learn from their passionate and talented individuals in an intimate and creative environment. 
Small Business Social Media Seminar CalendarSmall Business Social Media Seminar Calendar
The She Inspires Small Business social media seminar series runs from February to October 2013 with an exciting range of seminars to help small business owners make the most of the latest marketing skills.

Find out the calendar of social media seminars here.
Social Media Events for Small BusinessSocial Media Events for Small Business
Want to make sense of social media for your small business? Join us with our social media training events this year and grow your business and your skills.
Find out about the social media seminars, get some great tips and book online here.
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