What makes a good marketing strategy?

By Samantha Garner | November 9, 2019

What's the best small business marketing strategy?

The 4Ps of marketing – Product, Price, Promotion, and Place – were classified by E. Jerome McCarthy, a marketing professor from Michigan State University, in 1960. But are the 4Ps still relevant and useful for small business owners?

What should your marketing focus on?

Product

Today, customers are rarely looking for just a product – they’re looking beyond the product itself, and to solutions. It’s no longer “If you build it, they will come.” Solutions deliver, products and services don’t.

Small businesses should focus on creating solutions or products and services that bring value to their customers and not only on features or functionalities. This value – the value proposition – forces companies to move beyond the basics and express the solution that customers really want.

Price

Price is still a major factor in a purchase, although it’s not the only one that makes a successful sale. As information becomes more and more accessible and transparent, there’s greater demand for value for money. Customers are often willing to pay a premium price for better service or faster delivery, because they consider it a value-added benefit that justifies the higher cost. Be careful of overpricing relative to the benefits of your product or service.

Promotion

Promoting a product has moved on from blasting potential customers with ads and bulletins. These days, it’s all about engaging and resonating with people. Promotion also expands well beyond the traditional marketing channels. Google introduced the term Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) that shows consumers research and engage with your company before they make a decision to purchase. This means you should be there at the micro-moments when the consumers need them the most.

However today’s customers are more media-savvy and ad-weary than ever before. This means that small companies must not only focus on the primary promotional methods, but also add digital marketing techniques and build relationships with customers and potential customers. You can do this by creating engaging content or campaigns on social media platforms, or even build an online community through forums.

Place

This category used to look at the locations and channels that were most appropriate for a potential customer to make a purchase. But now, every business competes in two worlds: a physical world (marketplace) and a digital world of information (e-commerce). We’re all connected and online, no matter where we are. Customers want ease of purchasing regardless of whether they are in a physical store or shopping online. Also, the introduction of e-commerce opens up sales opportunities worldwide, providing companies with more places to sell their products. The marketing landscape has changed dramatically thanks to e-commerce. Today’s small businesses must keep the digital space in mind when considering their marketing strategy.

Check out our GoForth Expert Rob Campbell’s advice on how to create a strong marketing plan.

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Small business blog posts we liked this week

By Samantha Garner | November 2, 2019

From open offices to cannabis products, here are some of the small business articles and blog posts we found interesting this week. Do you have any you want to share? Let us know in the comments!

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Atlantic Chamber & GoForth Institute partner to deliver Canada’s leading small business training to entrepreneurs in the Atlantic region

By Samantha Garner | October 26, 2019

GoForth With the Chamber

GoForth Institute and Atlantic Chamber of Commerce (ACC) are proud to announce GoForth with the Chamber, our partnership program that delivers small business education to entrepreneurs through the Chamber network in Atlantic Canada.

With fewer than 50% of small businesses surviving, helping business succeed is critical—particularly in Atlantic Canada where 98% of business are small with less than 100 employees, yet provide 75% of the region’s employment. GoForth with the Chamber improves entrepreneurs’ odds of business success because it’s fast, comprehensive, affordable and convenient.

Since 2009, more than 10,000 entrepreneurs have used this program to build their small business skills and 90% were still in business two years later—that’s 20% better than the national average. Clients also saw great results, reporting successes such as: 100% participant completion, increased confidence in business skills, and positive community metrics as a result of our training.

ACC is the largest accredited business organization of influence in Atlantic Canada, and partners with its members and other organizations to influence, educate, advocate, and promote initiatives that contribute to sustainable economic growth for business in the region. ACC represents more than 16,000 businesses through its network of 93 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, and 26 corporate partners in Atlantic Canada.

GoForth with the Chamber is a unique partnership program being offered to members of Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade throughout Atlantic Canada—it provides industry-leading, innovative small business education to entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada. This partnership is committed to the business success and economic health of the region.

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Deductions for home-based businesses in Canada

By Samantha Garner | October 19, 2019

home business tax deductions canada

Running a small business from home involves many considerations – but the good news is you may be able to make home-based business tax deductions.

How to make tax deductions for your home-based small business

To qualify, your home must be the principal place of your business – that means more than 50% of your income-producing activities are performed there. That, or your home office must be exclusively used for your business, and used regularly for meetings with clients or customers.

Self-employed business owners, employees, and commissioned sales employees can also make deductions.

To find your business-use-of-home deduction, calculate how much of your home you use for business. If you have a home office, you can usually take the area of your work space and divide it by the total area of your home.

A portion of household expenses that relate to your business directly — like internet, phone, utilities, and cleaning materials — can also be deducted. You may also claim house insurance, property taxes, or rent.

If you operate a part-time business out of your home, expenses must be adjusted accordingly by calculating the hours the work space is used per day, divided by 24 hours. This provides a calculated portion of your total home expenses.

For more information, including what in-the-home expenses you can and cannot deduct, check out CRA’s guidelines for work-space-in-the-home expenses.

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Free downloadable one-page business plan template

By Samantha Garner | October 12, 2019

free business plan template

A business plan is the design and construction plan for a great small business. If you wanted to build a house, you wouldn’t walk over to an empty lot and just start nailing boards together. You’d follow a blueprint that tells everyone what the finished product should look like and how to build the home. Essentially, a business plan serves the same purpose.

What does a business plan contain?

A business plan contains sections such as: Marketing Plan, Startup Expenses and Capitalization, Management and Organization, Products and Services, and Operational Plan.

A business plan is usually developed around the answers to three common questions:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • How are we going to get there?

And is usually written for one or more of these five reasons:

  • To test the feasibility of your business idea and work out any bugs on paper first.
  • To develop strategies ahead of time for marketing, finance, operation and human resources, instead of when you’re in the fast-paced start-up stage.
  • To get funding, such as a bank loan.
  • To attract investors.
  • To have a roadmap to follow for at least the first year in business.

Download our free business plan template

A great deal of time and effort should be spent planning before your new company’s products and services ever reach the market. You need a good foundation and planning before you invest all your time and money.

To get started, check out our free One-Page Business Plan – happy planning!

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