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// by Jeanne Rossomme / May. 16, 2016 0 comments
What's your story?

Think about the last social or business gathering you attended.  What stands out in your mind?  Likely, it was a story relayed by someone you met or knew.  Stories are deeply tied to the way we capture information, attach meaning and retain data. Bottom line is stories capture attention and foster trust. 

  • Stories are memorable.  Many studies have shown a high correlation between narrativity (or story versus straight, fact-based) and the amount of information recalled.
  • Stories tie into emotions. We remember what we feel. 
  • Stories help rationalize.  Even though intellectually we may know a story is a specific case of one, we feel that a story rings true, especially if we can see ourselves in the characters.
  • Stories create connection.  A story well-told connects the teller and listener, especially if told in a personal, engaging way.

So how do you assemble and use your stories for your small business marketing?

Reach out to positive, valued partners and customers.

Ask them to think of a strong, vivid image or situation where we really helped you.  Go with your first impression, and

Ask your employees for their stories too.

Have them think of a specific instance of “customer delight”.  (You can really make things easy for everyone by recording the audio or video of the raw response.)

Record your own “origin story”.  

Why did you start the company or create the product?  What was your vision?  What problem were you trying to solve?  What obstacles did you face, and what drove you to keep moving forward?

Hire a writer.

You can also ask someone on your team to gather these raw stories, and assemble them into a library.  Add details about the characters such as gender, age, background.  Add emotion or how it felt throughout the process.  Add credibility through specific details and numbers.  Add an element of surprise or the unexpected (which also helps drawn in the listener and improve memorability).

Assemble a library. 

Have at least one story per customer segment in addition to your origin story.

Stories can be used in many ways:

  • On your website as quick credibility boosters.  Stories can be used as quick quotes, client testimonials or longer case studies.  Photos are a plus, as prospects are drawn to “look-alike” people and problems.
  • At networking events.  Having a few interesting stories burned into memory is a great way to answer that question, “So what does your company do?”.
  • On social media.  After polishing up your stories, ask your prospects and partners to post referrals on LinkedIn, Yelp or other rating sites.

 

Jeanne Rossomme
President
RoadMap Marketing

Jeanne uses her 20 years of marketing know-how to help small business owners reach their goals. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she held a variety of marketing positions with DuPont and General Electric. Jeanne regularly hosts online webinars and workshops in both English and Spanish.
www.roadmapmarketing.com | @roadmapmarketin | More from Jeanne

// by Bridget Weston Pollack / May. 13, 2016 0 comments
photographer

Many businesses can thrive as one-person operations for a few years while you target your market, refine your offerings and get a handle on business finances.

This is especially true if you have a creative small business. You may refer to yourself as a solopreneur, a microbusiness owner or simply as an artist. Just because you conduct business alone, however, doesn’t mean you’re truly alone in the world of small business.

If you’re feeling isolated, uninspired or otherwise stuck, try these tactics for reinvigorating your creative business:

1. Find your network

You might not have an office and a water cooler, but you still need a place to process events that affect your business. Where you can you blow off steam, vent or get a trusted second opinion when you face a challenge?

Your network might arise from an arts-focused networking group, a regional meet-up schedule, or via a neighborhood listserv. Facebook groups can even help you expand your network and discuss issues relevant to your group’s focus.

Don’t limit yourself to networking with people working in your same medium, though. Don’t hesitate to get to know writers, photographers, bakers or other solopreneurs who know what it’s like to wear all the hats of a small business team. Their support may lead to opportunities for collaboration, too.

2. Find your tools

Nothing saps your creative energy quite like late nights hunched over the dining room table doing paperwork. If you have the cash to spare, consider buying back your creative time with web-based business tools. Tools for bookkeeping and accounting, customer management or order processing can streamline your systems without having to hire an employee or contractor.

While these tools can take some time to get set up and acquainted with, they’ll save you time in the long run. Plus, many tools, especially those focused on finances and accounting, allow you to give account access to an employee or accountant. That means when it’s time to call in professional help — especially at tax time — your accountant or other pro won’t have to deal with that shoebox full of crumpled receipts.

3. Find a mentor

This one’s easy, but it’s worth reminding you how important mentorship is in growing a business, no matter how big or small.

So many of our 10,000 SCORE mentors know what it’s like to work alone on a small business endeavor. Many of them still practice their creative skills even if they’re not running a business every day. When you’re feeling stressed or apprehensive, your SCORE mentor can calm your anxieties and help you work through your challenges. And when it’s time to celebrate your wins, your mentor will know exactly how good it feels to experience victories large and small for your business growth.

Running a creative company on your own doesn’t diminish the strength of your small business. Instead, it’s a clear symbol of your independence and determination. Surround yourself with the right people and tools, and you’ll find success around every corner. 

Bridget Weston Pollack
Vice President of Marketing & Communications
SCORE
Bridget Weston Pollack is the Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the SCORE Association. In this role, Bridget is responsible for all branding, marketing, PR, and communication efforts. She focuses on implementing marketing plans and strategies for the organization to facilitate the growth of SCORE’s mentoring and trainings services.
// by Deluxe / May. 12, 2016 0 comments
rubber bracelets

There’s nothing wrong with getting caught up in a fad. In fact, back in the 1970’s, the inventor of the Pet Rock made $15 million in just six months.

The key is understanding what a fad is and how to profit from one.

A fad is short-lived, typically lasting less than a year. Fads tend to start up suddenly and are typically limited to one industry (such as clothing) or one demographic (such as tween girls).

A trend, on the other hand, starts slowly, grows slowly and has more staying power than a fad. It also generally involves more than one industry or demographic.

Fads can turn into trends. For example, juicing started out as a fad in the 1990’s but has become a mainstream trend today. However, a trend can also fizzle out and become just a fad.

Inventing a brand new fad product, like the inventor of the Pet Rock, Chia Pet or Rainbow Loom did, isn’t the only way to profit from a fad. You can also sell someone else’s fad product in your store or on your website, or quickly make or import a product tied to a fad (like the plastic vuvuzelas that became a fad during the 2010 World Cup). Whichever option you choose, following these steps will help you profit from a fad:

Analyze the fad’s potential. What competitors are already selling similar fad products? When did the fad start, and how long is it likely to last? For example, fad products tied to an event, such as the presidential election or the Olympics, inherently have an end date. Estimating your fad’s limits ensures you don’t invest too much time and money in it.

Study the market. Who are the potential customers for the fad product? What is the best way to reach them? Gather all the market research you can to identify potential target markets. American FactFinder from the U.S. Census Bureau, Nielsen’s MyBestSegments and Pew Research are good sources of market research.

Move fast. To profit from a fad, you need to enter the market rapidly before the craze blows over. You’ll need adequate capital to make or buy the fad product, a way to sell it (such as a website or kiosk) and a marketing plan to promote it.

Spread the word. Social media marketing, YouTube videos and memes are great ways to spread the word about a fad. You can also use email marketing, create promotional material or offer introductory coupons (especially if your fad item is marketed to kids, and you want moms to buy it). 

Be ready to work. When it comes to fads, you’ve got to strike when the iron is hot. Be prepared to put in long days and nights to maximize the profits from your fad before it fades.

Think about ways you can prolong the fad or even turn it into a trend. For instance, if you’ve been making money from fad products related to the presidential election, are there fad products you could develop after the election related to the new president? If you make Beard Bauble Christmas ornaments, could you branch out into new product lines, like Christmas ornaments for girls’ hair, to give your product staying power after the beard fad dies down? By making a fad product more mainstream, adding new versions or targeting new consumer demographics, you could see lasting success. 

Deluxe
SCORE Corporate Patron

At Deluxe we strive to be an indispensable partner to the small businesses we serve. Our goal is to provide you with products, services and advice you need to help you achieve success. From personalized printed products to logo design, web services, and search engine marketing that helps your business get found, we work to deliver the most innovative products and services to help you live your passion.
Deluxe.com | Facebook | @DeluxeCorp | More from Deluxe

// by Gyawu Mahama / May. 11, 2016 0 comments
older woman at computer

There’s a quiet revolution happening in this country. You may have heard rumblings of it, or you may even be part of it. There’s a new breed of entrepreneur that is having a big impact. Sometimes called ‘Encore Entrepreneurs,’ or said to be starting their ‘Second Chapter,’ first-time small business owners over 50 are on the rise.

There may not be any such thing as a ‘typical’ encore entrepreneur, but there are some characteristics they share.

  1. First, there are a lot of them. In fact, PBS Newswire reports that there are now twice as many entrepreneurs over age 50 as there are under age 25. And they’re not going anywhere either. According to the 2015 Hiscox DNA of an American Entrepreneur Report, most (74%) entrepreneurs aged 50 – 59 do not plan to exit their businesses in the next five years.

  2. They start their businesses for a few different reasons. In some cases, they may be turning a lifelong hobby into a business, because they’ve decided to get out of the corporate ‘rat race’ and do something they love. In other cases, they may be concerned about downsizing, layoffs or ageism in their workplace, so they make a preemptive move.They may come up with better ideas, and be better able to execute them. Successful companies are built on satisfying a need. Understanding that need comes from experience.

  3. They have a network.  The idea is only part of the battle. Once you have the idea, you need to execute. People over 50 often have the networks, connections and just plain chutzpah to turn their ideas into actions that 20-somethings lack.

  4. They take smart risks and insure their businesses.  Those over 50, with their real world experience, better understand the nitty gritty details of running a business. They’re more likely to protect their investment with liability insurance, and they understand the importance of hiring people who have skill sets they lack to round out their team.

The Great Recession - A perfect storm for baby boomer entrepreneurs

The Great Recession of the late 2000's caused a kind of perfect storm for those who were in their early fifties at the time. Many got laid off and had trouble finding new jobs that would pay them what they were used to, if they could find jobs at all. Outsourcing and younger, cheaper employees fresh out of college meant that many people with 20 or 30 years of experience couldn’t find work.

These boomers may have lacked job opportunities at the time, but they did have a couple of other things. They had experience, and they had contacts. They had built up networks of other professionals whom they could call on as partners, mentors and customers.

In many cases, they also had savings. They could draw on their 401K accounts or on the equity in their homes. Their spouses may have had jobs that could support the family during the start-up phase.

So they started their own businesses. In some cases, being their own boss was something they had always wanted to do, so they took the chance. In other cases, they simply felt they had no other option. But whatever the impetus was, they started their own businesses, and many of them have been successful.

Some boomers exhausted their savings looking for a new job before they decided the answer was to start a business. These entrepreneurs feel they may need to work well into their 70's because of the toll the recession took on their retirement savings, and they fear that a large corporation won’t let them do that.

Finding a new kind of courage

The older entrepreneur is busting the myth of the tech startup born in a dorm room. Just as the path to entrepreneurship is different for the over-50 crowd, there’s a different kind of courage that’s needed as well.

Mature entrepreneurs also demonstrate courage, but sometimes in different ways. The courage it takes to tap into your 401K to bootstrap your dream is different from the courage it takes to postpone college to work full time on your technology startup.

After a 28-year career in IT, Marie Bankuti felt it was time for a change. She researched her options and landed on life and leadership coaching. After her first day of training, she knew she was making the right choice. “I didn’t feel courageous at the time,” said Bankuti, now owner of Tether Free Vision coaching in Maynard, Massachusetts. “But looking back on it now, I can see that it really took a lot of guts.”

In fact, Bankuti started out coaching on the side. It was two years before she left her full time IT consulting job—the first time. “I jumped too soon and had to go back to IT for a time,” Bankuti said. “But I set a goal to do some financial self-care and try again. I gave myself a year to get into a position where I could make the move to coaching permanently. After eight months, I made the move permanently, and in eight years I haven’t looked back.”

The willingness to keep on trying and to overcome setbacks is indicative of the older entrepreneur. Having been through life experiences that haven’t always gone as planned, they have a different outlook on failure, often seeing it as an opportunity to take a new approach.

Entrepreneurs over 50 have a better understanding of the risks involved in a startup and how to manage them. When your retirement savings are on the line, you may have a different approach to opening that second location or adding an untested product to your mix. More experienced business people also understand the value of having a comprehensive liability insurance package to protect your business—and your investment—from the unexpected or unavoidable.

Are you an entrepreneur over 50? What prompted you to start a business? Do you think you have an advantage over the youngsters? 

Gyawu Mahama
Social Media and Marketing Manager
Hiscox

Gyawu Mahama leads U.S. social media and marketing at international specialist insurer Hiscox. Prior to Hiscox, Gyawu held communications and corporate responsibility roles in the technology industry. Gyawu’s work has been recognized with the Golden Flame Award from the International Association of Business Communicators and Points of Lights’ prestigious Corporate Engagement Award of Excellence. He lives in Atlanta where he’s a sought after expert on social media marketing. 

Hiscox.com | @GyawuTweets | Facebook | More from Gyawu

// by Rieva Lesonsky / May. 10, 2016 0 comments
success on chalkboard

Without tracking financial information like sales, cash flow and receivables, you’d have no sense of whether your business is succeeding or failing. But there are some other less obvious things you need to track as well if you want your business to be its best.

In addition to your financial data, don’t forget to track these important metrics:

1. Track Time

Tracking your employees’ time consistently and accurately has many benefits:

  • It ensures that you pay your employees for time they actually worked—no overpaying, which saps your cash flow, or underpaying, which can lead to employee lawsuits.
  • Save time and money on payroll: A time tracking app that syncs with your accounting and payroll software eliminates the tedious work of inputting employee hours—and the human error that can come with it.
  • Avoid unnecessary overtime costs: Look for time tracking tools that can alert you and your employee when a person is getting close to their regular time limits. This helps you forestall overtime and the associated costs. 
  • Increase employee accountability: Tracking time makes employees more aware of their actions and less likely to waste time, arrive late or leave early. 

Don’t have employees? Even for sole proprietors, freelancers or contractors, tracking your time can help you bill customers more accurately, manage your time better and be more accountable to your own clients—and yourself.

2. Track Your Competitors

Are you so busy working on your own business that you don’t pay attention to what your competition is doing? Big mistake. Regularly monitoring your competitors can help you:

  • Get new ideas: By watching what’s working for your competitors and what isn’t, you can get ideas for new products or services or to try.
  • Maintain a competitive advantage: Tracking your competition will help you spot opportunities to take advantage of their weaknesses. It will also alert you to threats your competitors may pose to your business, so that you can prepare to fight them off.
  • Market your business: Finally, tracking the competition will help you differentiate your business from theirs, so you can market your business more effectively.

Use social media monitoring tools to see what people are saying about your competitors. Sign up for the competition’s email marketing messages or print mailing lists. And be sure to visit their locations (or send your “spies” to do it) to keep tabs on them.

3. Track Your Content Marketing

Do you use content marketing? Whether you have a business blog, send out an email newsletter or post on social media, chances are the answer is yes. Here are some content marketing metrics to track:

  • Track reads and shares: Are people actively engaging with your content by reading it and sharing it with others?
  • Track backlinks and mentions: Backlinks and mentions on other websites help to build your domain authority.
  • Track ROI: Your ultimate content goal isn’t just to get “likes” but to drive sales. Track how successful each type of content is at generating leads, converting leads to sales or whatever its purpose is.

Use the analytics tools provided by your email marketing service, Google or social media accounts to track what viewers do with your content, and act on what you learn.

By regularly tracking these metrics, you’ll help keep your business on the path to growth. Need help figuring out what to track? Your SCORE mentor can help. Visit www.score.org

Rieva Lesonsky
Columnist and CEO
GrowBiz Media

Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship. 
GrowBizMedia.com | @rieva | More from Rieva

// by Michelle Van Slyke / May. 9, 2016 0 comments
Honor Your Favorite Small Businesses with #SmallBizSalute

National Small Business Week was first celebrated in May 1963 to recognize the work of American small business owners and entrepreneurs. It’s a fantastic celebration of innovation, collaboration and perseverance.

But The UPS Store doesn’t think one week is enough. They created the #SmallBizSalute campaign for the entire month of May.

Want to join in the celebration of small businesses? Send a salute!

#SmallBizSalute recognizes small business owners around the country during Small Business Month.

Salute your favorite local small business owner by posting about them on social media with the hashtag #SmallBizSalute. It’s our chance to recognize and celebrate small business owners who do so much for our local communities and economies. Who’s your favorite small business owner? Share what makes them special with a #SmallBizSalute!

Why your #SmallBizSalute matters

Your salute is a great way to attract more customers to your favorite local brands. It’s a form of word-of-mouth marketing, a popular way for increasing brand awareness, which is always important.

In fact, marketing is a huge concern for small business owners. The UPS Store conducted a survey of 500 business owners this spring to determine their views on marketing.

One-third of respondents said “marketing or branding my business” was their biggest business challenge. To put it into perspective, that challenge beat out lack of time (23 percent) and lack of financial resources (23 percent).

Approximately half of all respondents listed marketing as a top business priority. Young business owners in particular value marketing — 67 percent of respondents aged 18 to 34 were significantly more likely to prioritize marketing. Meanwhile, about half of older business owners listed marketing as “very” or “extremely” high in their business priorities.

Marketing interest, however, doesn’t always line up with finances. Seventy-seven percent of respondents spend less than 25 percent of their business budget on marketing. More than one quarter of respondents said that finances are their biggest barrier to marketing their business, while one third said they didn’t have time to create a marketing plan.  

So along with a celebration of small business, your #SmallBizSalute helps spread the word about your favorite local company. Send your salute today!

Michelle Van Slyke
VP Marketing and Small Business Solutions
The UPS Store
Michelle spent the first 15 years of her career at Ford Motor Company and more recently at Jacuzzi Group Worldwide and Raley's, a supermarket chain. She holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Southern California as well as a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame.
// by Bridget Weston Pollack / May. 6, 2016 0 comments
main street shops

Today marks the end of another National Small Business Week, another chance to honor the innovative and enthusiastic small business owners in our country. We hope Americans learned that small businesses bring big rewards to the economy and community.

Do small businesses really matter? 

Yes! In a world of online shopping, apps and instant gratification, small businesses have several advantages. They are poised to provide the best customer service experience, pairing expertise with a personal touch. They can move quickly to react and respond on social media — or be proactive to anticipate clientele needs. And small businesses represent our communities, from small towns to bustling cities. Small business owners seem to spend as much time working in their communities as they do on their business projects.

Inspiration from SCORE success stories

You can find successful businesses all around you. Our own clients serve as shining examples and reminders of why we celebrate Small Business Week. An act of generosity by Julie Weymouth blossomed into a thriving nonprofit that brings joy to military families. Circus performer Gregory May discovered that teens and adults found the same self-esteem and fitness benefits from circus skills classes as the children he expected to cater to. Former pro athlete Luis Elu opened a restaurant as his third career.

These are just a sample of the businesses we see starting and growing all around us at SCORE. What helps these unique ideas succeed? Support from friends and family top the list, of course. A willingness to learn is certainly helpful. And a little resilience goes a long way. Last year, during a particularly difficult business-lending period, we found that 36 percent of small business owners had used personal assets to fund their business. That dedication takes faith and passion.

Another ingredient to the recipe of success

What else helps a lot of small businesses succeed? Mentors! In 2014 alone, SCORE mentors worked with more than 148,800 business owners and entrepreneurs. From your business plan, to financing options, to human resources questions — SCORE mentors have seen it all in their own business experience, and they’re happy to share their knowledge. No question is silly, and no goal is too small. Perhaps best of all, SCORE mentors make excellent business cheerleaders. They’re always excited to celebrate your small business triumphs.

We appreciate all of our hard-working mentors, and we honor one group in particular this Small Business Week: our Canton, Ohio chapter. Being in the top five of SCORE’s chapters last year seemed to encourage the nearly 40 members of the Canton chapter to work even harder. Last year, the Canton chapter helped start 169 new businesses, and in turn, create 324 new jobs. The chapter also doubled the number of client services offered by 2.5 times over the past three years.

You may be far from Ohio, but you can still work with an inspiring, encouraging and knowledgeable SCORE mentor. Become a small business success!

Bridget Weston Pollack
Vice President of Marketing & Communications
SCORE
Bridget Weston Pollack is the Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the SCORE Association. In this role, Bridget is responsible for all branding, marketing, PR, and communication efforts. She focuses on implementing marketing plans and strategies for the organization to facilitate the growth of SCORE’s mentoring and trainings services.
// by Deluxe / May. 5, 2016 0 comments
event planner

You want to start your own business, but you don't have a lot of money to invest.

There are plenty of businesses you can launch for well under $10,000 (or even less than $1,000).

First, review our list of “12 Best Part-Time Business Ideas,” many of which are also low-cost. Then, check out the low-cost business ideas below. Most require little more than a computer, smartphone, and enough of a marketing budget to set up a basic website, print business cards or brochures and place some online ads.

  1. House sitting/pet sitting: Watching over clients' homes, pets or both while they're on out of town requires literally no equipment. You will want to get insured and bonded to give your clients peace of mind, but other than that, your startup costs are very low. Word of mouth is the best way to grow your clientele, but you can also list your services on a site like the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters or HouseSitter.com.
     
  2. Consulting: Turn your previous work experience into a low-cost business by starting a consulting service. You can often tap into previous connections — or even your former employer — for your first clients. (Just make sure you're not breaking any non-compete agreements with your ex-employer.) Your biggest expenses will be marketing your business and joining professional and industry organizations to meet potential clients.
     
  3. Ecommerce store: Launching an ecommerce website is a low-cost way to get into retailing. Use drop shipping to save on startup and operating costs: This means you don't buy or store inventory but have products shipped directly from a third party when the customer makes a purchase. Want to keep it really low cost? Set up a store on Amazon or eBay.
     
  4. Event planning: If you have a flair for events, are good at managing details and have connections among musicians, caterers, florists, furniture rental companies and other event-related providers, consider an event planning business. Since vendors provide the equipment and customers pay for it, your upfront costs are minimal. Get started by offering to organize a few events for free or at reduced cost to build your portfolio, then use social media and word-of-mouth to grow.
     
  5. Accounting/bookkeeping service: If you have a way with numbers and experience as an accountant or bookkeeper, it doesn't cost much to turn your job experience into a business of your own. All you need is a computer and accounting software tailored to your clientele. Specializing in a particular type of client, such as restaurants, retailers or manufacturers, can help you gain an edge.
     
  6. Mobile automotive detailing: Who has time to take a car in to get washed and detailed? That's where your mobile automotive detailing service comes in. You can start small by targeting residential customers at home, or you can service corporate clients — either by detailing their fleets or by providing mobile detailing services they can offer to their employees at work as a perk.
     
  7. Non-medical senior home-care provider: Aging Americans prefer to keep living in their homes, and as a senior home-care provider, you can help them do so. You won't provide medical care but help seniors with tasks of daily living, such as cooking, light cleaning and transportation. Make connections with organizations that work with seniors, such as rehabilitation centers, doctors and senior day-care centers, to get referrals to potential clients.
     
  8. Admissions consultant: College and postgraduate education are becoming more competitive by the day, and parents are willing to pay for admissions consultants who help students get into the school of their choice. If you have experience as an admissions officer, you're ahead of the pack, but many admissions consultants learn the ropes by getting their children into college. Specialize in a particular niche, such as obtaining financial aid or helping with medical school admission, to make your business stand out.
     
  9. Residential cleaning service: Busy two-income families mean ongoing demand for housecleaning services. All you need to get started is transportation, cleaning supplies and a budget for marketing, such as setting up a basic website and printing brochures and business cards. Most housecleaning customers prefer to get recommendations from friends and family, so use referrals from satisfied customers to grow your business by word-of-mouth.
     
  10. Mobile massage services: Check with your state’s requirements for massage training and licensing; you’ll also need to obtain insurance. However, once this is handled, your equipment needs are few--a portable massage table and/or chair, linens, and lotions or oils. You can target individuals and go to customers’ homes, take the corporate route and offer mobile massage services to businesses as a perk for their employees, or specialize in areas such as pregnancy massage or sports massage.
Deluxe
SCORE Corporate Patron

At Deluxe we strive to be an indispensable partner to the small businesses we serve. Our goal is to provide you with products, services and advice you need to help you achieve success. From personalized printed products to logo design, web services, and search engine marketing that helps your business get found, we work to deliver the most innovative products and services to help you live your passion.
Deluxe.com | Facebook | @DeluxeCorp | More from Deluxe

// by Jeanne Rossomme / May. 4, 2016 0 comments
marketing strategy board

You have a new business, you need more customers, so you're reading the latest and greatest research on marketing plans. But all that reading can become tiresome. Often, marketing plans are written as long prose rather than dynamic pictures.

Here are a few one-page marketing plan models that can help keep the entire business focused and aligned:

1. How Marketing Fits in with the Business Plan, Sales Function and Other Business Functions

marketing plan flowchart

Use your business plan as the springboard for assessing the market and developing your value propositions and buying cycle. This will help you determine what marketing channels to use and what should be in your messaging. This plan then dictates your sales and customer service approaches.
 

2. Marketing as Value Connection Between Customer and Business

Does your product or service fit with your customer? Good marketing will do just that.


3. Tactical Marketing Plan tied to Customer Buy Cycle

tactical marketing plan

How you can use each marketing channel to build a customer relationship

 

SCORE has numerous marketing resources, including a downloadable marketing plan guide and marketing calendar.

How did you create your marketing strategy? 

Jeanne Rossomme
President
RoadMap Marketing

Jeanne uses her 20 years of marketing know-how to help small business owners reach their goals. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she held a variety of marketing positions with DuPont and General Electric. Jeanne regularly hosts online webinars and workshops in both English and Spanish.
www.roadmapmarketing.com | @roadmapmarketin | More from Jeanne

// by Rieva Lesonsky / May. 3, 2016 0 comments
woman helping elderly woman

May is Older Americans Month, celebrating people age 65 and older. Small business owners and entrepreneurs should celebrate seniors all year long, because there are so many businesses you can start to serve them.

Here are some facts and tips on how to create a business for seniors:

There are some 44.7 million people 65 and older in the United States, accounting for 14.1 percent of the total population. In less than 20 years (by 2033), however, the population 65 and older is projected to outnumber people younger than 18 for the first time. By 2060, the number of seniors is projected to more than double, with people 65 and over accounting for nearly one-fourth of the population.

A big part of that senior population is the baby boomer generation, currently between 52 and 70 years old. These influential Americans continue to make their mark as consumers: It’s estimated they’ll control some 70 percent of U.S. disposable income by 2017, according to a report by Nielsen.

Baby boomers occupy a unique consumer position: Not only are some of them seniors themselves, but because Americans are living longer, many of them are also buying products and services for their parents.

What are some growth industries related to seniors?

  • Senior care consultant: These professionals help find the best living arrangements for seniors, whether that is at home, daycare or a senior living facility. You'll work with community services and local government agencies that help seniors to get client referrals.
  • Home retrofitting/remodeling: Seniors who want to stay in their homes as long as possible are getting their homes retrofitted with things like wider doorways, shower grab bars and other changes to make their homes safer and more accessible.
  • Travel company: Active seniors are eager to travel, and a travel business focused on senior or family travel can be a big hit. These days, many seniors are planning multi-generation vacations, “girlfriend getaways” or vacations with grandchildren.
  • Home services: Nearly three-fourths of seniors own their own homes, but as they get older, they may prefer to have others handle the maintenance. Home-related services, such as housecleaning, lawn care and handyman services aren't just for seniors, but targeting this clientele can help you build a thriving business. Earn the trust of seniors and their adult children, and you'll have more referrals than you can handle.
  • Nutrition/exercise consultant: You can work with physical therapists, geriatric physicians, fitness centers and other organizations targeting seniors to provide fitness and nutrition programs for their patients and/or customers. You can also market your services to individuals. Yoga, Pilates, dance and swimming are popular exercise programs among seniors.
  • Non-medical in-home care: Adult children often worry about aging parents living at home alone. Your service can ease their worries by helping senior clients with tasks of daily life, such as getting to and from appointments, shopping, cleaning and cooking, so they're able to stay in their homes longer. You'll need to market the service to adult children, since few seniors will admit they need this type of care.
  • Medical claims assistance: If you're familiar with health insurance, Medicare and the healthcare industry, you can start a business to help seniors and their families manage medical bills. You'll review bills and medical records to make sure seniors aren’t paying too much and are getting all of the benefits they’re entitled to. Market your services to senior centers, medical offices and financial professionals that can refer you to potential clients.

To successfully market to seniors, keep these tips in mind:

  • Seniors — especially baby boomers — don't think of themselves as “old.” No matter what you’re selling, your marketing should speak to healthy, active customers. Focus on how your product or service enables customers to stay independent, enjoy life and keep fit.
  • Trust matters—especially if you're selling a service that involves coming into seniors’ homes. You will need to be licensed, insured and bonded (if relevant to your industry). Since seniors are most likely to trust companies they hear about from friends and relatives, strong word-of-mouth is essential to attract new customers.
  • Diversify your marketing. While traditional marketing tactics such as direct mail and print advertising will attract senior customers, the vast majority of seniors are also online. And since adult children buying for their parents are also a key target market, an integrated marketing campaign incorporating both traditional and digital media ensures you cover all the bases.

Need more help launching or marketing your senior-related business? The experts at SCORE are there for you 24/7. Visit www.score.org to find out more. 

Rieva Lesonsky
Columnist and CEO
GrowBiz Media

Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship. 
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