Small Business Marketing – The Power of a Market Review

Conducting a market review is one of the most important steps in the small business marketing process as it provides together with a business review the information you need to create a dynamic marketing plan. All big businesses conduct these reviews as they know it can save time and money for their business.

A market review does not have to be complicated and a lot will depend on what information you can source. The important factor regarding a market review is to understand the key elements of your market and how these elements can affect your business now and in the future.

The key elements you need to look at when conducting a market review for your small business include:

Size of Market
Your market is simply the overall industry in which you compete. For example if you sell juice then you compete in the Beverage Market. If you sell holidays as a travel agent then you compete in the Tourism Market. Analyzing the size of your market can tell you whether it is growing or declining, help you to identify growth opportunities and for a new small business can determine if the market is large enough to compete in and operate a profitable business. There are many sources you can use to gather information on the size of your market and these include trade magazines, industry associations, search engines and local government websites and resources.

Market Segment Analysis

Segmentation is a process that looks at the total market and then divides the products or services into broad groups that have similar characteristics. In the examples above, whilst the total market is beverages, the segment that is the most important to a juice manufacturer is the Juice Segment. Looking at the total beverage market today throughout the world the leading soft drink manufacturers have entered many of the market segments such as bottled water to expand their business. Market segment analysis also helps you to determine where your small business marketing efforts should be concentrated.

Distribution Channel Analysis
A distribution channel is the way in which your product or service is made available to your customers so they can purchase it. Examples are supermarkets, personal selling (face to face selling), distributors and the internet. Analyzing the sales of each distribution channel in your market enables you to identify which channels are the most important for you to compete in to grow your business.

Market Trends
A trend is any significant change to your market that your business may need to respond to. Examples of market trends include changes to the economy, changing customer demographics, social and global factors (to name a few). If you conduct business in the USA at the moment or are intending to compete in the USA then the concerns about a possible recession and how it could affect your small business needs to be identified so action plans can be put in place to minimize the impact.

Market Seasonality
If a product or service is seasonal it means that the majority of the sales occur at one or a few times a year. Tax accountants obviously have increased sales when the end of the financial year occurs and tax returns and other government reporting are required. Understanding market seasonality factors can lead to your small business maximizing sales through this period and also may highlight opportunities to spread your sales throughout the year.

Competitor Analysis
Your key competitors need to be analyzed in order for you to identify their key strengths and weaknesses and how they compare to your own small business. Reviewing this area means that you can be smarter with your marketing efforts and be proactive against their weaknesses and of course defend against their strengths. One tip that all big businesses do is to have a competitor file with examples of their marketing activities, products or services.

Big businesses know the value of reviewing the market in which they compete and you can to. Remember you can start slowly and just review one section at a time and then put in place activities or make business decisions based on the review to grow your small business.

© Marketing for Business Success Pty Ltd 2008

What Can A Small Business Marketing Consultant Do To Help You Grow Your Business?

Think back to the time you started your business. Chances are it was because you enjoyed being in a particular industry – you had a passion about your product or service, and wanted to share it with the world. But did you ever stop and say to yourself, “I can’t wait to market this business”? Probably not. That unfortunately is why many of today’s small businesses fail. The owners try everything they can think of to save their business, yet they miss out on the one opportunity that can turn their business into true success: hiring a small business marketing consultant.

A small business marketing consultant specializes in learning the top ways to market a business; creates strategies that will help businesses double, even triple their current profits; and teaches the most effective methods for increasing the bottom line of any business.

In today’s business world, there are two types of small business marketing consultants:

* Traditional small business marketing consultants

* Online small business marketing consultants

A traditional small business marketing consultant can help you create a marketing strategy using traditional tools. They understand how to advertise your business. They understand the importance of branding. They can help you write copy, and create dynamic promotional pieces. In short, they understand how to marketing your business well in the traditional environment.

But if someone has been in the marketing field for a number of years, and understands traditional marketing venues well, what they may not be good at is making the transition to the online world. And there is a world of difference between traditional and online marketing.

An online small business marketing consultant understands the same strategies used in traditional marketing. They understand advertising. They understand branding. They understand the importance for creating dynamic promotional pieces. But from there is where the differences begin.

An online small business marketing consultant realizes that you sell differently online than you do off. It takes different strategies, different copy, and different promotional materials to succeed online. Not only should a consultant provide you with traditional methods, but they should make sure these methods feed the online world as well.

For example, a postcard sent out direct mail has always been a successful tool. But if you send out that postcard asking for the reader to take one action step – heading to a website to sign up for a free report – you success rate for that postcard will improve dramatically.

While this technique may seem simple, there are many techniques just like this that can bridge the traditional and online world together, and make your business stronger and more profitable. It’s all in what you know – and whom you ask to help make it a possibility.

Copyright 2006 Vision Business Concepts Inc

Four Tips Small Businesses Should Consider Before They Outsource Accounting Services

There are several important guidelines that you should take notice of when you intend to outsource accounting services. It is no waste of time to plan carefully before engaging in anything you need to do. Proper planning in this particular case is very worthwhile since it can reduce errors by a great margin. Small businesses especially should definitely implement the following guidelines since failure to do so may lead your business into financial trouble; something that you do not want to happen to you.

1. Does the company really exist on paper or it is conning you?

First and foremost, when it comes to identifying the best outsourcing services, it is very important for you to find out whether the outsourcing company is legally registered. Now that the world is turning digital a lot of people are taking advantage of the change to dupe others and extract money from them.

It is the role of the authorities to look into this, but, at the same time, as a businessperson, it is wise to ensure that your business is safe. In order to accomplish this you should carry out comprehensive research on the legality of the outsource accounting services provider that you may want to work with. This way you will avoid losing your money to conmen. This is not just talk; these cases are on the rise, believe it or not.

In your efforts to establish the right outsource accounting services always check if there are any laws or rules that have been put in place to guide you. If laws and rules exist,then abide by them in order that you get the best result possible.

2. Will outsourcing your accounting services actually benefit you?

The next thing you need to consider is the value that the outsource accounting services actually brings to your business. Does it benefit your business, and if it does then to what extent? If your business stands to gain at the end of the day then the deal is worthwhile and it is right to go ahead. If what your business stands to gain is fairly minimal then it is just common sense to simply walk away.

3. Are they trustworthy?

You business should target building long term partnerships with those providers who administer your business with outsource accounting services. This is because long-term partnerships lead to the development of greater trust and confidence between you and the outsourcing services provider.

4. How easy is it to outsource? Is it productive or not?

The moment you realize that the outsource accounting services are productive then you are safe. At the same time,if you perceive that the service is not flexible enough and is less productive for you then you need to abandon any idea of using it.

In conclusion, if you want your business to be successful outsource accounting services can be of great use to you. However, to find the best one for you, always research prospective services thoroughly to ensure success.

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