Whether you’re a small business owner already who is looking to sell or someone who is ready to try small business ownership for the first time, marketing (and marketing creatively) should be a top priority. This article is part one of two that will ask both why creative marketing is important and how to do it.
Part 1: Why?
I’m selling, why do I care?
Your business is one of many that is currently for sale, and you need to stand out from the crowd. One of the ways you can differentiate yourself from others is to have a creative marketing plan in place. Not only will an already implemented marketing plan be appealing to someone who is looking to taking the reins in your business (it is one less thing a new owner would have to implement themselves), creative marketing can bring value to your business in the form of a growing customer base.
Sellers who mentally check out or who decide that anything to do with growing the business should be the next owner’s problem are setting themselves up for trouble. First of all, it typically takes between 9 and 12 months to sell a business – sometimes longer if you are in a niche category. Secondly, what if your business doesn’t sell? What if something in your life changes and you decide to pull the business off the market? Your focus should stay on your business and the future growth of that business until the day you actually hand over the keys.
I’m buying, why does a marketing plan matter to me?
When looking at businesses to buy, there will typically be two different categories – those that have a creatively designed marketing plan in place and those who do not. Those businesses who take advantage of all available marketing opportunities are probably going to hold greater value for a potential buyer, so you might pay a premium for this type of business but the returns on a consistently growing customer base will be worth the extra cost. Learning the marketing plan and techniques will need to be a big part of your training when you take over the business, as you wouldn’t want the change in ownership to create a gap in communication with your current and future customer base.
For businesses without a decent marketing plan in place, buyers will need to keep marketing at the forefront of their minds as something that needs to be implemented as soon as possible after the sale. These businesses will have more opportunities for growth, and you may be able to pay a bit less.
You should ask the current owner what they currently do as far as marketing is concerned, and also ask what they would choose to do if they had unlimited time and resources. Sometimes the reason a small business neglects marketing is as simple as a personal issue that has taken too much of the owner’s time. Use their experience within the business as a starting point when considering what ways you could use creative marketing to grow.
Have more questions about why a creative marketing plan is important to you and your current or future business? Want to know how much difference a well-implemented marketing plan will make on a listing price? Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments for us below.
Want to read Part 2: How do I do it? Click here.
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