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Re: Getting to Business Owners Cheaply
Not to rain on your parade but I'm going to play a little "devil's advocate"-- OK?
The small business market (5 or fewer employees with sales of less than $500,000 per year) is in my opinion the "fool's gold" of information marketers.
I'm tried my hand at the market at least fours different times, once as an employee of a non-profit corporation hired to put on seminars for small business owners and the other three times on my own.
I felt like you and a number of marketers have felt-- these folks need some serious marketing help!
The problems with that perspective are as follows:
1. Most do not think they need marketing help-- you may find that difficult to believe but after working or attempting to work with over 2,000 of them that is the honest to God's truth. Most are ignorant to their own situations. Sure it's easy for us, who've studied all the masters from Hopkins to Abraham to Kennedy to look at a yellow page ad for a local pizza shop and say, "Boy that's a lousy ad-- I know I could create one that does 5x the business".
The trouble is the business owner won't believe it. You'll be talking a different language than what they understand. They'll look at you like you're from outer space-- or maybe even worse-- France.
You may not believe this but it's true and the amount of time it will take you to convince them otherwise will ultimately drive you to other business opportunities. And if this was just the only challenge when dealing with small business owners things would be bad enough... but my friend it gets worse.
2. While you may think they have loads of money to invest in marketing the opposite is more the reality of the situation. These folks view marketing as an expense-- pure & simple. You suggest to them that they should be doubling their marketing dollars and they'll either laugh in your face or will show you the red ink of where they've been "stealing" sales tax dollars over the last 4 quarters to bolster their bottom line and keep their kids and other relatives employed. Yeah, you could spend time educating them-- but you'll never, ever recoup the investment.
3. They have no ability to put in place any of the suggestions that you'll have. They don't have the time, the patience or the management ability. So they won't even bother to attend any seminars because it their mismanaged world their time is already fully committed without considering some newfangled marketing ideas. And if you think they'll pay you to put these concepts in place-- guess again! You're a needless expense! You're "advertising". These people get all of their business from "word of mouth", which is "free". At least according to them it is. Yeah you can educate them but by this point I hope you've come to realize the foolishness of that.
Millard if you want to spend some time trying to help some small business owners get ahead? Fine go ahead and do that just don't plan on this being some sort of money-machine that is going to pump 6-figures into your pocket. You don't have enough time or patience to deal with these folks.
I finally quit doing seminars and wrote my book, "Killer Techniques To Succeed With Newspaper, Magazine and Yellow Page Advertising" which is basically my seminar in a print format.
A couple quick stories...
About three years ago Dan Kennedy offered to do a free teleseminar for the national association of independent booksellers-- in other words these are all the stores that aren't affiliated with a franchise. Dan Kennedy is big on reading and was a huge champion of independently owned bookshops-- you know "mom & pop" bookshop owners-- the type of businesses you want to target.
Anyway the national association put some real effort into marketing this event. And this was a legit thing. Kennedy was going to give them some terrific information.
There are thousands of these bookshop across the country... you know how many participated?
Kennedy was livid and said that he would never step foot in another independently owned book shop again.
Just a few months ago Dan was doing a teleminar and towards the end they allowed a few questions. Some guy said that he wanted to do exactly what you want to do Millard-- essentially help small businesses market better. Dan basically said that he'd go broke trying. His exact words were, "You can't help people that don't want to be helped."
I wouldn't waste me time if I were you but you're not me so go forth give it a go and the bottom line is that you can't say that you weren't warned.