Why Life is So Much Harder for Small Businesses

Corporate Stockholm Syndrome is the result of super effective competitive marketing and this happens on a national scale and soon a global scale. Small businesses unfortunately go into the marketplace with inferior budgets and usually far less experienced marketers leading them to overspend on outreach more often than large brands.

Corporations with more capital and more experience have the ability to maximize their returns by doing ridiculous amounts of high-quality A|B Testing and investing in research and development to organize data on prospects. Inevitably, any small business to experience enough growth to compete with industry market share leaders learns this sooner than the majority of others.

Branding was never intended to represent trust but through redundancy, huge brands have embedded the idea in people’s heads that familiarity of their brand has something to do with trust. Despite most conglomerates being guilty of being far less trustworthy than a majority of small businesses, the message is well planted through their practices.

Without the drastic resources, knowledge and the expertise, small businesses can only exist where corporate Stockholm Syndrome does not prevail. The alternative is to be extremely competitive in marketing to gain the loyalty of customers.

Even the most optimistic of owners know things appear to be getting more difficult in some ways. Human interaction is one of the key tools small businesses need to form networking relationships. Not to sound pessimistic but human interaction appears to be less and less in demand by the year.

What owners can do is harness the power of partnership, crowd sourcing and creative modern marketing. It is a lot for one business to consider, yet no one is exempt from needing to find profitable outreach methods. Price, placement, creatives, timing, season, economic climate, segmentation, return, competition and cost are just some of the variables to consider.

Two Kinds of Customers in 2020

Naturally, trying to generalize usually entails negative results but from a marketing perspective, consider the following classifications a part of behavior segmentation.

The first kind of customer is the extrovert, and you guessed it, the second is the introvert.

Behaviors are a vital chunk of user experience design. Knowing that the industry you wish to dominate is full of people who prefer face to face human interaction is important. In many industries, the majority of prospects often prefer little to no human contact. Knowing that is vital to sales.

Having the option of a self-serve or a semi-self-serve system really takes a load off of customer support and salespeople because only qualified leads make it through to them. Significant improvements in optimization might not seem so impressive until you see how much money you would be losing with even a percent less.

Introverted people will almost always choose a self-service over calling a number or going to an address if the option exists. Outgoing people prefer communication and therefore have no problems going to a store in-person or calling a phone number to ask questions.

Not all industries are built for self-service though. Take promotional products for example. A majority of promoting surrounds the natural talent of social butterflies and extroverted people in general, so it’s very common to solely use calling.

Another reason self-serve platforms might not be a great option is if you sell a very expensive service or product. A phone call can be a decent start for making sure the potential buyer is not a scam artists, but beware there are many that do call and seem real. Many platforms have built in security but bot developers have always found ways around them.

Extroverts and introverts come in a cornucopia of varying personalities so it is safe to assume the only thing one extrovert has in common with another extroverted buyer is just the extroverted part and the same goes for introverts. Unfortunately, from this everyone should derive that everyone’s preferences for design are subjective.

The way a user makes a purchase does depend on the user experience design; however, its effects are indirect. User experience design and user interface design go hand in hand but are not the same. Your user’s experience design changes the user interface design and that’s just the surface of development. Keep in mind, even offline businesses are subject to the same principles.

When things get a bit confusing, never forget, there are many UX and UI designers who specialize in your industry whatever it may be. Doing it yourself does not save time or money.

In the past, the comparison was between narcissistic buyers and selfless buyers and the point of that was to address convenience as part of your marketing strategies for those who feel entitled to it. Today, the point is so everyone who reads these words knows that now is the time to upgrade to self-serve if applicable; that is, if you like having a cash-flow positive business.

The 1st of 5 $100k Ad Spaces Is Now Occupied

If you have never seen the homepage, it would seem fitting to do so before continuing. It is moneyequalsvalue.com .

Consider public relations a vital part of every business and not just business to consumer. Trust is built as seeds are sown. Before the public will take notice, they must be made aware of the brand they are forming a relationship with.

These are not just ad spaces. Every spot on Money = Value is individually crafted to reflect a simplified and marketable version of the brand it holds within it. It is the perfect intangible investment for industry leaders.

Awareness and publicity are similar but not the same. The ad space will generate awareness, but it will do more. It will grow in value and can be resold to whomever its owner pleases. The affiliation and momentum of publicity in the forthcoming media from growing scarcity will bring the highest quality prospects.

A return is inevitable. Throughout advertising history, uniqueness presented in a familiar form has proven to capture the curious public’s eye. Especially amidst current events, people seek out exciting news to keep from overthinking. Prestige and authority are the kind of publicity consumers expect from any brand that appears on top of other brands.

Learning that quality wins over quantity is something that can be learned sooner than later. Until then, most organizations and leaders will have to enjoy the stress of inadequate marketing.

Virtual Real Estate Metaphor

While there might already be virtual real estate businesses, I do not want to confuse them or what they do with this metaphor. By virtual real estate, I only mean the opportunity to own and manage one or more properties online.

When I purchased a domain name on the internet for the first time, there was no transparent way to see how far the rabbit hole went down. Over a decade later, there still is no way of knowing.

Imagine buying a plot of residential land. It’s tiny and it’s just dirt; no electric or gas amenities yet. There is not yet a paved road to it but you purchased it anyway. The possibilities are endless but for now, you own dirt that no one else can see. That’s what buying a website from scratch is like.

The hookups to the plot are like the hosting and security needed for a website to place a design on it. The website design is like the building you choose to construct atop your plot. A larger building for commercial purposes would require a larger, properly zoned, area so the one you purchased is only good for some things and not others.

The rent you would charge is like the income you make from affiliate ads online or if you use a network, like Google Ads, it would be more like turning your development into an AirB&B.

The space you are allocated to work with on your land is like the bandwidth and server space that comes with hosting. The construction company is your web developer.

Some people have home offices, just like some websites are small but still offer products or services.

With this logic in mind, any way you look at it, there is a symbol for every occasion. Web design and it’s uses are the virtual equivalent to real estate. Clearly, some circumstances are better, worse or more unique.

Adapt or Die

From a business perspective, times of adversity can be an opportunity to display true value in respective communities. Attempting to take advantage of people in cases like these always backfires sooner or later.

Unfortunately, while many people run businesses that can and do lend a hand in crisis situations, many businesses suffer heavily from lack of mutual support.

You might think some products and services have no place in all this but everyone fits in somewhere. Even if you already have a niche, times are dictating that everyone find their niche in relation to current events.

Artists give historical contributions in the form of embedded social commentary whether ambiguous or boldly stated. Producers give us the option to supply ourselves with commodities and novelties we would have to otherwise make ourselves. Distributors make products and services widely accessible for a majority of intended audiences.

Even seemingly forgotten or foreign markets make a difference in the bigger picture as one market changes in supply and demand, related marketplaces respond. For example, when gas stations decrease in supply, demand and prices go up but also the electric automotive industry experiences a positive growth as a result.

Do whatever it takes to survive; however, keep a broad perspective and stay proactive in business, community efforts and stay honest in marketing.

Good luck.

Marketing & Sales

A lot of people surprisingly think sales is the heart of marketing, but sales and marketing really exist entirely independently.

The reality is that sales are vital to any profitable operation and marketing is typically used to maximize sales, increase conversions, reduce unnecessary costs, land partnerships, demonstrate value or just to spread an idea. Sales are often the result of marketing; however, both are separate processes.

It is, unfortunately, more common than one might think to find sales teams that lack any kind of communication with a marketing team other than to automate leads. Marketing can mean anything that isn’t directly a sale such as advertising, CRM, tests, product development, price adjustments, reviews, research and development, account management or campaigns.

Some salespeople are excellent at landing sales consistently enough to where marketing is secondary, but not every type of product can survive that way. The more expensive a product or service is, the more patient and direct a business has to be making salespeople more vital than in a situation where very little pressure is part of the decision process. The approach is different too. Closing a sale is no longer an objective with modern sales techniques; at least not conventionally.

Marketing has become so driven by data, it’s almost unnecessary to learn how and why the methods work (almost). Of course, once the data is collected, utilizing it is the tricky part. Understanding the consumer’s needs and wants is still the heart of marketing. The right data can reflect consumption and can be organized any way needed.

Algorithms and machine learning can simplify analytics and produce a wider array of information. The purpose of better information is to optimize processes from ad to sale to review to repurchase.

In the past, the cycle was less data dependent because people were more trusting of advertising. Ad blindness is to blame for the aggressive advances in marketing. Some call modern practices invasive due to the accuracy of ad placements.

It is possible to survive as a business without much marketing but at the very least, leads must be generated and qualified. The reality is that everything varies from industry to industry.

Things You Can Automate

When you’re just starting off, it’s practical to consider all the ways you can improve your organizational structure, marketing rates and customer satisfaction. Every day, new software is released announcing the latest and greatest capabilities of artificial intelligence. Here are some things you can automate with software, bots and hardware.

The top companies are very on top of staying up to date, especially with competition hot on their tail. The last thing they want is to fall behind. Taking note from the greats, consider using SaaS (software as a service) to email dozens of contacts at a time. With the time you save, you can either double your productivity or enjoy the temporary freedom.

Some services are now fully able to automate

  • market tests,
  • landing pages,
  • analytics,
  • automatic segmentation,
  • A|B tests,
  • email campaigns,
  • scheduled content,
  • keyword data,
  • competition reports,
  • proofreading,
  • database backup,
  • IT security and
  • alarm systems.

Without a doubt there are more that are not on this list. Automation becomes more important as a business prepares to scale. Without cash-flow, it might be hard to justify spending money on services every month.

Not every business needs every kind of automation. Before software, business owners used training processes to automate operations. Now that the world has become a loosely unified service economy, less time is needed to accomplish repetitive tasks.

While it can be scary falling behind, relying too heavily on software has its liabilities. Be modern, but be smart.

The Producer, Distributor, Advertiser Relationship

The world runs on a system of marketing that boils down to a relationship between those who produce, those who distribute products to gain an audience and those who seek to capitalize on those audiences.

While it might seem exclusive to consumer industries, the relationship extends to just about every conventional business one can think of. Some business to business models combine advertiser and distributor processes as advertising involves distribution.

Creating original products typically leaves two options: handle distribution or find a distributor. Being a distributor is almost entirely logistics and not much creative work.

Advertisers depend on distribution to get brand awareness through existing channels. Since distribution can only exist if there is a demand for a product, producers are vital as well as distributors and advertisers to one another.

Producers do not always need to advertise. Many have one or a handful of contracts. Distributors advertise if the products are consumer based. Advertisers place client ads strategically according to data, targets or groups.

An example:

  • We produce content.
  • WordPress handles distribution.
  • Advertisers pay blogs for shared target audiences.

“We” might be both producers and advertisers if we want to see growth happen a little more rapidly, but even a blog can grow too quickly.

Consider whether an organization falls under the producer, distributor or advertiser category. Understanding the relationship between them is often the first step towards systematic progress.

The Speed of Financial Growth

Contrary to popular belief, business can grow too fast. When it does, things like loss of quality, over expansion and poor customer satisfaction can happen very easily.

The more of something that needs to be made by a deadline, the less attention individual products can be given logically.

The less time that exists for planning, the more likely it is to make mistakes and have to compensate financially for poor planning.

The faster the growth of sales, the less time and effort can be given to each customer.

A combination of these problems is fatal to a business of any kind. The solution is either to prepare very well for when the rain pours or to limit the amount of units that consumers can buy.

By learning limitations early on, problems can be avoided more simply and the business can scale at a realistic and credible rate.

Limiting sales may seem counterintuitive for a successful business model; however, keeping commitments and deadlines are vital to any professional process and requires resources proportional to sales.

Research and development analysts suggest a ratio exists within every industry. Consider figuring out how fast or slow your business should be growing. It can be motivational.

How to Change the World with $20

You might think it’s pretty bold to assume anything impactful could happen for twenty dollars. You might even think this is going to be about generosity and giving a little each day or whatever. No, it’s not that, but this is a two layered article. I will be using Plant-Based Munchies as my example because it’s my product. What this is not is an empty plug for a new product. What it is, at least primarily, is an example of how real passion and inspiration can transform almost any product.

Logic is the enemy of ambition (or at least in advertising it is).

All you need to know about Plant-based Munchies in this particular case is that it’s a pretty simple vegan game that is currently priced at twenty dollars (hence the title.)

On the outside, it looks like any other game. In reality, other games are lot more polished and their packaging looks more professional but that can and does work as an advantage.

Unlike most games, this one does not aim to give you an escape from reality. Instead, it invites you into reality by making the world as wholesome as it can possibly get.

It is the funnest way to save the world. It is a symbol for all that is good. It’s the best defense against ignorance in a dissonant world.

It paves a revolutionary path to better health for the human race. Plant-based Munchies is the perfect way to introduce someone to veganism.

The potential is beyond anything anyone can imagine.

In the world of veganism, there is a pressure to limit yourself to only vegan products. While the people who accomplish this incredibly disciplined act are impressive, the battle Plant-based Munchies fights is not one that demands limitations.

Today, the omnivorous are being addressed. You set the examples for others who have not yet considered the challenge of exploring your dietary biases. You are the hero who inspires friends, family and bystanders to make a healthier decision, even if just for a moment.

When you suggest playing Plant-based Munchies, you alone contribute to a better future. The real most valuable players are those of you who are honest about your dietary and cognitive struggles and are still trying to include vegan products in your life.

If disciplined vegans can’t appreciate how much good you can do on a daily basis, the people you save will. It will never be easy but your perseverance will be remembered.

Maybe not anyone, but you can without a doubt change the world with the right intentions.