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.

Using Your Small Business Marketing Tools to Differentiate Your Business

Perhaps the most important quality for your small business marketing materials is that they are different. If you do nothing else right in your small business marketing, at least be different.

Why is differentiation so important? Because, in most industries, there are hundreds – if not thousands or millions – of other businesses that claim to provide the same service or sell the same product as you do. If you don’t differentiate your business from all those others, the chances that you’ll get many customers are pretty slim.

Some common ways to differentiate your business are:

Superior service

Greater product availability

Higher quality

Better performance

Greater durability

Prestige

Technology leadership

Satisfaction guarantee

Lower cost

Faster delivery

More customer support

But even if you are very different than your competitors – you offer superior service, greater durability, or a satisfaction guarantee that beats all others – it won’t matter unless your prospective customers know about it.

That’s where your small business marketing strategy comes in. Businesses have been using their small business marketing strategies to announce how they’re different from their competitors as long as they have been using small business marketing strategies. Think Maxwell House’s “Good to the last drop,” Campbell’s Soup’s “Mmm, mmm good,” or WalMart’s “Always low prices.” Those highly successful taglines not only get prospective customers to remember the company name, but also convey a message about the difference between that company and others.

To make differentiation a part of your small business marketing strategy, you first need to understand your competitors – you can only explain how you’re different from them once you know what they’re like. Learn what your competitors offer, how they differentiate themselves, and – most importantly – what your prospective customers think about them (if you know what qualities your prospective customers see as shortcomings in the other companies in the market, you’ll have a good idea of the market gap you can fill).

Once you’ve decided how you are different from your competitors, you need to tell your prospective customers about it. Building that differentiation into your tagline can be a very effective start. Then include that tagline, along with your logo, on every piece of small business marketing collateral you have. Another small business marketing way to publicize your differences is to write a press release. Explain how you’re filling a need in the market that no other company has filled.

Once you’ve differentiated your company and used your small business marketing tools to publicize your differences, you have to follow through on your promises. If you say that you’re the cheapest – or the highest quality, or the friendliest, or whatever – then you better be just that (nothing turns away a customer like a failed promise).