I consult a lot of small business owners on their social media marketing being a consultant at PCRSBDC a subsidiary of SBA and found out that more than 95% of these businesses fall into the same trap which is not really knowing what they stand for, or what makes them special or even why they are in business. So I decided to write this post to clarify few points
Building a business is like building a house without strong foundation it will not sustain itself for a long time or might even crumble.
First things first, I am a great believer that if you do not plan you are planning to fail, I see that most small business owners jump both feet first then try to make sense of everything else.
The following items are needed for any business to complete their “Business plan” which is crucial to the existence and sustainability of any business small or large. Any businesses will never be able to get a loan without a business plan if needed.
This is what I suggest for start-ups or even for current small business owners, to go back to your drawing board and start thinking and determining the following:
1- Vision: A vision is a statement about what your business wants to become, so ask yourself what is my vision for this business, the vision should be inspiring, it tells your audience what will carry it into the future and what it will accomplish. A vision is a short statement that communicates what your business does, for whom and what long range success looks like. The vision gives shape and direction to the business’s future, you articulate it in a vision statement.
2- Mission: What is your business mission? It is more specific it describes how you your business will achieve its vision. It describes your business, what it does, where it is going, and how is it different from other businesses
3- Values: As a business what are your values, you need to clarify them to your audience or customers such as honesty, integrity, great customer service
You will be surprised how many small business owners when asked have no clue about their vision or mission or if they admit they have one, when asked they go on rambling for ten minutes without really coming up with an answer
The vision, mission and values have to be spelled out by the time you click your fingers, it should be prepared, learned, believed in and shared with passion. After all they are the reason of your business existence and if you do not know why you exist your audience or customers will not know either and they will move to the next business that knows
4- Branding: This one is huge –many small business owners fall under the false notion that as a small business you do not have a brand, and that only fortune companies like Coca Cola and P&G have brands. The truth is that we all have a brand. So small businesses have to establish a brand to stand out. A brand is the promise you make to your customers, it is the image you project to others about your business. If you do not know your brand no one else will and chances are that your business will not have a chance to soar.
A brand has to be consistent across the board, online and offline, transparent and should tell a story.
5- Value Proposition or USP (Unique Selling Proposition): This is mind blowing, though very simple and basic. It has been said that in order to stand out you need to be outstanding. If you as a small business owner do not know or is not able to articulate your best qualities, skills, or services no one else will. You will be just another business.
What troubles me is that many small business owners never put any thoughts into this. You need to think about what is your edge, what stands out about you, what is unique about you, what is it that you do that no one else does, what value you offer, what solution you bring to the table, mainly what differentiates you from other businesses in the same industry. It could be as simple as the passion moving you to do what you do. Not only should you know it but you should articulate it clearly and without hesitation
6- Elevator Pitch: They call it the elevator Pitch as you should be able to tell it by the time the elevator goes from the ground floor to the top one or vice versa so we are talking about 30 seconds to 1 minute. It has to be crafted artfully. So after knowing your USP, you form your elevator pitch that should tell a short story to attract your customers so they would know why to buy your product or use your services rather than using another business
Your branding statement should be attractive, have a momentum, telling a story and having a Call To Action.
The above elements are not only important to a business plan but they are the base of any marketing or social media marketing strategy and planning. If you do not have a foundation you will never be able to build your business the right way.
If you do not have these elements, I would highly suggest take a couple of days to work on them, then refine them and start using them.
My next posts will be discussing how to share them on your social media channel, what kind of common mistakes small business owners make on their websites that can cost them a lot of traffic.
If you have any questions or have some suggestions on subjects I should write about, please let me know
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