Dear M & M:
Do you have any ideas for a quick marketing plan for my small business?
With all that needs to be done with the daily operations of most businesses, sometimes marketing is something we don’t spend the amount of time on that we need. Marketing is one of the most important aspects of any business. The first step in developing a simple and quick marketing plan for your company starts with mapping out your strategy. Grab a calendar and identify one opportunity each month to increase traffic, generate a sale, or to broadcast a message about your company. Take a look at holidays or opportunities like wacky or unusual holidays that fall on certain days every month example: December, 2012 Daily Holidays, Special and Wacky Days: December 1st – “Eat an Apple Day”, December 3rd – “World Aids Awareness Day”, December 4th – “National Fritters Day”. The next step is to identify how you can turn that opportunity into a sale or chance to increase traffic. If I was a restaurant I might want to serve Apple Pie on December 1st at a discounted price. Maybe pass out a free apple to anyone who gets an oil change while they are waiting. The idea is to try to come up with something new that your customers might be willing to participate in. Write down your promotional idea next to the opportunity on your calendar. Take a look at other days during the month (Google search wacky or unusually holidays for the month you are planning a promotional activity). There might be a holiday or special event coming up that makes more sense for your business besides something to do with apples like the example given. The next step is to identify how you will broadcast your promotion. You can use more than one broadcast method. Decide what method would get the word out best. Take a good look at what has worked well in past promotional efforts. Remember communicate your message where your customers are listening. Use a media that your customers are already receiving messages from. Remember radio, TV, newspaper, flyer or whatever method you chose to use to advertise is just delivering your message. It is up to you to develop a message they want to hear. The idea is to get them out of the chair and into your business. This is the important part. Do not forget to spend some time developing the correct message. What do you want them to do? Go to your web site to buy something, call you to set an appointment, come to your store to do what? Lead them down the correct path to do business with your company. The final step is to implement the plan. Broadcast your marketing message.
Dear M & M:
Can you explain what the microloan program is for small business?
The Microloan programprovides small business loans from $500 to $50,000. Under this program the SBA makes funds available to nonprofit intermediaries that in turn make loans directly to entrepreneurs. Proceeds can be used for working capital, purchase of furniture, equipment, inventory, machinery, or supplies. Microloans cannot be used to purchase real estate. Interest rates are negotiated between the borrower and the intermediary. Loan terms vary according to: The size of the loan, the planned use of funds, the requirements of the intermediary lender, and the needs of the small business borrower. The maximum term allowed for a microloan is six years. Interest rates vary, depending on the intermediary lender and costs to the intermediary from the U.S. Treasury. Generally, these rates will be between 8 and 13 percent. Collateral:Each intermediary lender has its own lending and credit requirements. Generally, intermediaries require some type of collateral as well as the personal guarantee of the business owner. For more information go to www.sba.gov/microloans or contact your local SBDC office at Cochise College.
To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center(SBDC) at Cochise College (520)-515-5478 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation(EDF) at 520-458-6948 or email email@example.com