Reasons to Hire a Small Business Marketing Consultant

Many business owners operate under the false assumption that marketing consultants are only affordable for larger companies. In truth, there are many benefits to hiring a small business marketing consultant, as outlined below.

What Marketing Consultants Do

First, here’s a look at just what a consultant does for organizations:

Overall company evaluation. It’s hard for new business owners to evaluate their young organizations. A consultant can pull from years of business experience to assess the weaknesses and strengths of a fledgling business.

Strategic planning. Consultants must have:

1. A strong educational record in business.

2. Extensive experience as a business leader.

3. Exceptional understanding of how business trends work.

These features allow marketing planners to provide suggestions on how a business can succeed. After learning about an organization and identifying major opportunities and obstacles, a small business marketing consultant should be able to create a strategic plan to lead the firm to success.

Marketing design. Chances are your small business marketing consultant can write excellent ad copy to draw in new customers. Beyond designing small business marketing strategies, consultants can construct complete marketing campaigns. From graphic design to copywriting and editing, a small business consultant can wear many different hats while helping your business succeed.

Project and process management. The consulting lifestyle appeals to many leaders in the corporate world. Indeed, most small business consultants are top business performers who have decided to shift to a different way of life. This means consultants usually have project management and process design skills, which they can employ to improve your business’s performance.

How Small Companies Benefit

Let’s explore the benefits of hiring such consultants:

A fresh perspective. Contracting with a consultant as one of your marketing strategies will bring you an unbiased, fresh perspective. Internal conflicts and ongoing office politics can limit one’s vision. Outside consultants are free of preconceived ideas about your business, so they can provide a fresh perspective.

High-quality help. As mentioned earlier, most business consultants have transitioned to consultancy from a star-studded business career. In other words, you’ll likely receive top-shelf advice from your consultant – and for less than the cost of a single employee.

Peace of mind. Partnering with a marketing contractor can help you feel calm and confident about the future of your business. With peace of mind, you can better focus on your organization’s core offerings and drawing in new business.

Cost and time efficiency. You get great bang for your buck when you hire a marketing contactor. Since most marketing strategy planning consultants charge hourly rates, you avoid paying employee-related taxes by hiring them. Moreover, consultants are experienced, versatile professionals capable of handling everything from social media to long-term strategic planning. Rather than bringing in a new crew of writers, marketers, project managers and designers, you can pay a trusted advisor on an as-needed basis. Hiring a small business marketing consultant maximizes cost-efficiency.

Clearly, there are multiple benefits to partnering with a small business marketing consultant. From creating comprehensive small business marketing strategies to performing overall business check-ups, marketing consultants can help your company shine.

Home Business Opportunities – Four Home Based Business Opportunities To Choose From

Home business opportunities are virtually everywhere you look online. And the promoters of each home based business opportunity often claim that the opportunity they promote is the best business opportunity to join. This often makes it difficult for newbies to make the right choice, the choice that best suit their situation. This article takes a look at the four broad categories of home business opportunities so you can identify the option that suit your circumstances and therefore make informed choice.

The four broad categories of home based business opportunities are:

1. Opportunities that involve building an information rich web site from scratch and thereafter monetizing the resulting traffic

2. Opportunities that involve joining affiliate programs that offer unique affiliate links for promoting the affiliate product or service

3. Opportunities that involve joining a network marketing home based business opportunity that offer free distributor web site to members and

4. Opportunities that involve getting paid a fixed amount for completing a set of tasks online

Let’s take a closer look at each option above.

The first online business opportunity involves building your dream online business from scratch.

The right process requires you to do the following:

  • identify your passion
  • brainstorm topics that fall within your passion or interest using appropriate brainstorming software
  • identify a profitable niche that matches your passion or interest
  • Assemble low competition keywords that define your niche
  • Draw up a site blueprint
  • Design your web site
  • Write content for your web site using the low competition keywords brainstormed earlier
  • Promote your web site massively online
  • Add income generating streams to your web site
  • Cash your money month after month

If you conclude that the above process is tedious and time consuming, you’re probably right.

But why?

It’s because it’s business… it’s online business. And online business takes time, effort, and creativity just like offline does.

The second home business opportunity mentioned above is affiliate program marketing. With this type of online business, you join the affiliate program of your choice and promote the affiliate links you’re given using a blend of online marketing techniques. Some online marketing techniques will produce more results than others. So, you need to track your sales promotion efforts or campaigns to determine what works and what doesn’t for the specific affiliate program you promote. Then drop campaigns that don’t work and do more of what works.

The third category of home based business opportunities are MLM home business opportunities that offer members free distributor web sites to promote the MLM business opportunity. As with the affiliate program model, members of this type of MLM business opportunity promote their member web site url and register new team members using the tools on the member site they were given.

The fourth online business opportunity involves completing a set of tasks in expectation of being paid a pre-determined amount.

This kind of opportunities include:

  • paid to write
  • paid to attend to customers (online customer service jobs)

… and other such online job opportunities.

WARNING: Verify that the internet job opportunity you’re interested in is legitimate before you join!

Each of the home business opportunities described above have their pros and cons.

Option 1 above requires you to do a lot of work without immediate reward. With this type of online business, you’re basically writing an online book or journal. And you don’t get paid for writing a book until it’s finished and it starts selling, right?

In simple words, this option is a long-term business where you build traffic or your own customer base through content writing and marketing. This is a tedious but rewarding way to build a long-term business. With this type of home based business you own your traffic or customer base. And when you own your traffic, you own your business.

Option 2 is affiliate program marketing. This system involves selling a product or service by finding a market for it. Depending on where you advertise or promote the affiliate programs, you can begin to make money right away.

Here’s one thing to remember though.

Not everyone makes money from promoting affiliate program products despite spending a lot of money in advertising.

Why?

It’s because affiliate program marketing success requires a set of skills. To succeed, you need to learn the skill-set that guarantees success. Option 3 is much like option 2. You get paid for promoting a network marketing opportunity.

However, unlike most affiliate program opportunities that are free to join, virtually every network marketing home based business opportunity require members to join with a registration fee. Besides the registration fee, members must buy at least one pack of the MLM product they promote every month to stay active and qualify to earn commissions (at least in most programs). This means there is a maintenance cost for most MLM business opportunities.

Option 4 is the most direct form of online business. You get paid to complete a set of assignments. The problem with this is that it’s like having a day job… when you stop working, you stop earning. Whereas with the other kinds of home business opportunities discussed above, you can build your business to a point where what you earn far outweigh the efforts you put in. And you can put your business on auto pilot.

What home business option is right for you right now?

It depends on your current circumstances. In my candid opinion, the overall best option is one that allows you to build a long-term business and put your business on auto pilot down the road.

I’m talking passive income!

Bottom line.

It’s your life. Choose how you want to live it.

Choose the opportunity that works for you.

Work-Life Balance Tips for Small Businesses

People involved in small business get a bad rap for their workaholic ways. You know because you either know someone who is involved in small business or you are that person. Let’s look at some facts about small businesses in San Diego and then ways people involved in small business everywhere can a better create work-life balance.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 99.9-percent of the 27.5 million businesses in the United States are considered small firms with fewer than 500 employees*. According to the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, the majority of companies in San Diego County are small businesses with 50 employees or less. One out of every five small businesses in San Diego County are in the business services segment which includes consulting, engineering, accounting, research and management. The additional types of business segments in descending size order are wholesale trade, manufacturing / repair, transportation, consumer services, specialty construction, builders, retail, finance/real estate/insurance and an “other” segment (the unclassified small businesses in the county). In San Diego County, the average number of people employed by a small business is 7.3 people.

Everyone related to small business – the owners, the employees, the people who cater to and support small businesses – here are three tips for more balance in your life:

1. Schedule time off. Small business owners value the importance of sticking to a schedule and deadlines. Decide how much time you can schedule to relax, be social or spend time with family in the next week and also how much time you would ideally like to have for such activities in the future. Then, schedule time away from work. Maybe this upcoming week you can only dedicate one hour away from everything work related; block out that hour on your calendar immediately. Knowing that your ideal amount of time is two full weekdays per month, a small business owner can set aside those specific dates in February now. Once those days are on the schedule, they must be respected as if they are meetings with the most valuable client. Commit to taking the time off for the things that matter most outside of business and protect that scheduled time.

2. Turn off the cell phone. This goes for small business owners and anyone who has ever thought about work outside of the workplace. Especially when spending time with others outside of working hours, turn off the distractions of business. By removing the distractions of phone calls, text messages, instant messages, e-mails and phone alerts for a short time, you can truly relish in your time away from the office.

Do you (or the small business owner you know) feel anxiety rise up inside of you when you merely consider turning off your phone? What if you took up the challenge of turning your phone off for one hour next week? Maybe it’s turning off the phone for the hour you’ve scheduled for yourself and your family. Maybe you turn off your phone before you fall asleep or leave it off while you get ready in the morning. Another suggestion is to shut off your phone during your commute if you drive. Since you shouldn’t be on it if you are driving, turn it off and turn up your favorite tunes. Whenever you decide to turn off your phone, you are claiming that time for yourself, which is a crucial piece of the work-life balance equation.

Once you’ve turned on your phone again and realized that your business or work hasn’t imploded or exploded, your anxiety will be less the next time you cut off this type of communication. And what if your business does start to implode or explode? If you are not the sole person in your business, then someone will get ahold of you through your significant other, neighbor, friend, coworker or someone will show up where you are to tell you. If you are the sole person in your business, find another business owner in the same situation and work out a trade where you ensure each other’s businesses don’t go awry. Which brings us to the next point.

3. Appoint a second-in-command for when you are inaccessible. You will take time off whether it’s an hour next week or a full month next year, and you don’t want to worry about your work during that time. That would eliminate the balance. Select a second-in-command and let the person know in what circumstance they will be in charge and how to reach you if a true emergency arises. (You may want to clarify what you consider an emergency with this person.) Let everyone in your company and important vendors know who is in charge in your absence moving forward. That way if something comes up in the hour you are in a business meeting or at your child’s play or in the month you are on vacation abroad, all employees and important vendors will know who to go to. Your second-in-command acts like the gatekeeper to your time away and assesses when he or she needs to contact you. Finally, when setting up your away messages with the times and dates you will be out of pocket, list your second-in-command’s contact information. Your away message may be on your website, in your social media messages, in an e-mail bounce-back message, on your store’s door, and on the phones in your business. If you’d like that breath of fresh air without the worry, then take the steps needed to prevent work from finding you unnecessarily while you are claiming more life in your work-life balance.

With the majority of businesses in United States and in San Diego County operating as small businesses, work-life balance is necessary to continue and grow. By scheduling time off, turning off the cell phone and choosing a second-in-command, you can protect and freely enjoy your time away from the small business you run, work for or support. Here’s to work-life balance in small businesses everywhere!

* The U.S. Small Business Administration sources data from the Office of Advocacy estimates based on data from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau, and trends from the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Business Employment Dynamics.