Starting a small business Part 6

Everything that I learned about marketing in college and before starting a business was WRONG.  Marketing is the most important responsibility of a business owner.  Read that again.  You may think that you’re a mechanic, software developer, hairdresser, CPA, etc, but you’re not.  You are a marketer.  I didn’t understand this until I wasted a ton of money.  I wish that I’d read Dan Kennedy‘s books before 1) starting my business and 2) before spending any money on advertising.

Dan Kennedy is a marketing guru who upends everything that you’ll ever learn about marketing in school (or in working with advertisers.)  I’ve read most of his books and subscribe to his monthly newsletter.  I’m not making a cent from my endorsement.  Start your real marketing education by visiting his website.

I started my business as a consultancy and probably should have stuck with that.  Instead, I decided to enter the highly competitive market of tax return preparation and bookkeeping.  I spent thousands of dollars on advertising.  This is what I had learned – get your message out and new customers will just show up.  I would have made a better investment by sponsoring an open bar for a night while handing out a refrigerator magnet with each drink.  The advertising didn’t work and even if it had, I had no way to measure it.

Marketing is the task of acquiring new customers and retaining existing customers.  Advertising is a tactic used in marketing.  Marketing should be a holistic exercise in your business.  This is one of the reasons for creating the customer list recommended in Part 1.  Everything that your business does must include an element of marketing as it will help you acquire new customers while retaining current ones.

Dan Kennedy’s methods and opinions are 180 degrees different from the current marketing curriculum.  You may disagree methods with his methods.  If you disagree with his message – you are in the marketing business – you will fail in your business.

If you can’t handle the marketing or a energy consuming involvement in marketing, don’t start a business.  You’ll fail.

One thought on “Starting a small business Part 6

  1. This is great insight. As a Public Relations professional, my own work falls closely in line with marketing and advertising. I see them as three separate, but overlapping circles and in a large enough business make up three entirely different jobs. I can see why they’re so often lumped together, but to those who live and breathe these professions, they’re very different. I think you hit the nail on the head that these efforts are hard to measure. Even if something can be measured, you can never say beyond a reasonable degree of doubt that something else didn’t affect the result as well.

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