Marketing Ideas Small Business Owners Can Use to Get More Referrals

Many professionals and small business owners want more referrals. They know referrals are a big part of their marketing strategy.   However, many people are reluctant to ask for referrals. It makes them feel needy, greedy or pushy.  But it doesn’t have to be that way!

What is the number one question people ask you?  It doesn’t matter what you do for a living.  The question is always the same.  Ready?  It is:  “How are you?” 
 
If you are like just about everyone, your answer is always the same: “Fine.”  That is a dead-end street.  Next time, use that as an opportunity to talk about your business. 

 
Try something like: 
 
“I’m great.  I’m working with a new client who (describe your client).  I’m helping him by (fill in what you are doing to help that client).  I really like working with people like that because (say why).”
 
Now here’s the important part. Ask for a referral.
 
“Do you know anyone who (describe your client again)?  If you do, let me know.  I’d love to help them, too.”
 
Need an example?   
 
Here’s something an accountant might say.
 
“I am great.  I am working with a client who wants to retire and sell her business in a few years.  I’m helping her get her finances order now, so she’ll be in good shape when she is ready to sell.  I like this type of project because I know with my help, she’s going to get a lot more money when she does sell her business.  Do you know any business owners who are nearing retirement age?  If you do, send them my way.  I’ll be happy to review their books and see if there are areas that need updating.”
 
Need another example? Here is something a restaurant owner could say.
 
“I am great! I just introduced a new menu. It has some heart-healthy entrees on it and my customers love it! I like providing food that tastes fabulous and is good for my customers, too. It makes me feel like I am really taking care of them. Do you know anyone who is interested in improving their eating habits? If you do, send them my way. Be sure they tell me they know you. I will be happy to give them extra-special treatment.”

 
With a little modification, you can also use this type of message in written communication (seasonal cards, e-mails, etc.) to your contacts. 
 
Give it a try!  You’ll soon find getting more referrals is a lot easier than you thought.

Small Business Marketing

The term market refers to the aggregate of all demand for a particular product or service arising from the aggregate of all consumers – both existing and potential for the product. Markets vary widely from one another since the consumers who constitute the markets vary widely in their characteristics. Even a specific market for a given product is not totally homogeneous.

In small business marketing, a market is split up into several smaller units, each with homogeneous characteristics; it facilitates the effective tapping of the market. Market segmentation is the process of disaggregating the total market for a given product into a number of sub-markets. The heterogeneous market is broken up in the process into a number of relatively homogeneous units.

The process is based on the recognition that any given market or consumer group is made up of a number of subgroups distinguished by varying needs and buying behavior. Also, it is feasible to disaggregate the consumers into suitable segments in such a manner that the characteristics of the segmented groups would vary significantly among segments but would also be identical within segments.

Market segmentation confers several benefits on the marketing man. In the first place, it helps him distinguish one customer group from another within a given market and thereby enables him to decide which segment of the market should form his target market. It also enables the effective crystallization of the specific needs of the buyers in the target market and facilitates an in-depth study of the characteristics of the buyers.

When the buyers are approached after careful segmentation, responses that are predictable would be forthcoming from them. This would help the marketing person develop his marketing program on a predictable and reliable basis. When the needs and characteristics of the customer group have been brought into a clearer focus, marketing offers that are most suited to the particular customer group can be easily developed.

SBA Small Business Loans – A Huge Benefit to Start-Up Businesses

Setting up a new business is never easy. There are innumerable details that need to be taken care of. Start-up businesses are mainly dependent on loans for almost all their business requirements. It is therefore extremely important to find an appropriate and reliable lending source to cater to their financial needs. However, since most conventional lenders and banks are not keen on providing loans to new business owners due to various security reasons, opting for SBA small business loans can be an excellent idea.

Small businesses can contribute immensely in developing and enhancing the nation’s economy. The Small Business Administration (SBA), which is a United States government agency that provides loans to small businesses with the aim of improving the country’s financial condition. These loans are meant to support the establishment of small businesses by providing through adequate financial assistance. These loans cannot be obtained directly from SBA, but through a number of their lending partners working in accordance with the SBA rules and regulations.

The SBA offers a wide variety of loans that demand different qualifications of the borrowers. The various financial programs offered by SBA such as surety bonds, debt financing and equity financing are designed to cater to the different financial requirements of borrowers. In order to avail a loan from them, it is extremely important to understand how the SBA works. Let us discuss some basic rules and regulations of the SBA:

  • The SBA loans are provided to business owners at a lower interest rate than banks and other conventional lending sources owing to the fact that start-up business owners do not have adequate capital to opt for loans with high interest rates.
  • SBA does not provide loans to small business owners directly. Instead, they merely set certain rules and regulations that are strictly followed by their partners, including private-sector lenders, micro-lending institutions and community development organizations, who are authorized by the SBA to provide loans to start-up businesses.
  • The loans are provided to the business owners under an SBA guarantee to ensure that the loan is repaid on time to the lending partners. Business owners cannot avail SBA small business loans in case they have the eligibility to obtain loans from other lending sources on affordable and reasonable terms.
  • You can obtain SBA loans fast and without any kind of hassles. They can be acquired on an immediate basis as soon as they are applied for. This can be immensely beneficial for start-up businesses that need financial assistance for all their business needs. Delay in acquiring loans can create problems for them in setting up the business.
  • One of the most beneficial aspects of SBA loans is that they can be availed even if you have a poor credit record including bankruptcy, insolvency, IVA etc. It can be an excellent way to improve your credit records.
  • SBA offers various kinds of loans, including 504 for purchasing real estate and equipment, 7 (a) for common small business loans, disaster loans and microloans. Not all banks issuing SBA loans offer the same loan programs. Moreover, in accordance with individual bank policies, the loan requirements for a particular program can differ from bank to bank.

The SBA rules and regulations for small business loans are designed to help start-up business owners and can be extremely beneficial for them.