Small Business Advice – Where to Find It?

The internet is filled with advice for small businesses and their owners. But is this real advice? And how practical is it? Or is it just written to get some more clicks to the website where the article is hosted?

This is an important question because the wrong advice might mean the end of the small business who tried to put it in practice.

But how do you know what advice to take into account and what advice to ignore? And from whom? Who is a real expert and who’s not? How can you check their credentials?

Let’s take an example. Suppose I want to find out what are some marketing strategies for small businesses that are still giving results. So I search for “small business marketing strategy“. (I usually avoid searching for “best” of anything because I’m never sure if the writer’s criteria for choosing best are the same as mine. I’m just being a little sarcastic here.)

Guess what happened? Out of the 10 results on the first page 7 were saying more or less “X [Best, Essential, Awesome, Most Effective, Great] Small Business Marketing Strategies“.

I don’t know about you, but when I see this I start being cautious. Best, essential, awesome, most effective, great small business marketing strategies for whom? What kind of small business? Not all small businesses are alike, right?

Nevertheless, I venture out and open the (best search engine optimized) one on top. And what do I read?

close Post your content on Facebook

Yes, definitely. The author must not be aware that Facebook’s organic reach (the number of people who will see your post) has decreased dramatically. So, I’ll be wasting my time to create a decent looking post for Facebook only to have it seen by 10 of my friends (if ever) and one of the people who follows my company’s page (organic reach for company pages is almost insignificant). Same goes for the other social networks.

check Post your content on Facebook (or LinkedIn) Groups

This is one piece of advice that the author of the article forgets to mention. Even though, groups on social networks can drive a lot of traffic back to your website.

But you need to be a practitioner to know this. You would ideally want to get advice from people who are “practicing what they preach” and are testing every day what they are talking about.

close Post great content (randomly)

“Great” advice! Now it’s up to you to define greatness. And also what is relevant content. The article goes on saying that you should write content that will attract your customers to your website. This is a great idea, but how do you do it? Not mentioned.

check Create a content strategy

A practitioner will tell you that before you start writing even one line of content you need a content strategy. It sounds complicated but it isn’t. You need to identify who your customers are (but not just where they are and what age range they are, you need to go deeper and understand their pains and their dreams), you will need to transform your sales message into a story that will attract your customers, find what is the right format for this story, what are the channels that you can use to distribute it and when should you do it. It’s more complicated than saying you need to write relevant content, isn’t it?

This is an extremely frustrating experience when you start a business and you learn how to swim when you are already in the water.

A place to ask questions

The ideal situation would be to have a place where to ask questions and have an experienced professional answer them. And, if there are more experienced professionals answering your question, each one with their specific “from the field” knowledge, it’s even better.

Vetted experts with real business experience

You can read books and gain some knowledge from them, but real experience is built only when you’re confronted with a problem and you manage to find an efficient solution to it. That’s why you’d rather have your question answered by a person who knows what works and what doesn’t. And not only that, but, most importantly what works NOW and what doesn’t work anymore (in the online world, where algorithms evolve and change so fast, things that worked well three months ago might not work at all right now. It’s a little bit like wearing last year’s famous fashion designer’s collection. I’m being sarcastic again.)

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