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Tests, Surveys, and Ma Bell

Have you been testing all your advertising and marketing or just throwing mud up on the wall like most small business owners? Maybe you’ve wanted to test but it always seems that time and/or money get in the way?

Many years ago, back in the days of retail and rentals, we tested and tracked it the good ol’ fashioned way with the telephone and personal questionnaires. Testing was very slow and archaic back in the early to mid 1990’s. It took time to gather enough information but it enabled us to see which yellow page directories, radio stations and newspapers pulled the most, but it also allowed us to see which search engines were driving traffic. At one point, USWest (now Qwestdex) actually did an interview with me to find out what we did to track and research. Before we tested and surveyed, I thought that GTE was pulling all the traffic, but it turned out that USWest was the winner, and we were wasting quite a bit of money with GTE. Had we not tested and surveyed I would have kept placing the same old ads in the same old places. With testing and surveying we were able to better define our target markets, shift more dollars towards marketing that would bring better ROI, plus serve our customers better.

My recommendation is that you test all your marketing, online and offline. This can be done by split testing and surveying. It’s much easier and faster to split test online ads today with so many online resources. AWeber’s auto-responders are a great way to keep in touch with your PSC (prospects, subscribers, and clients). By using the autoresponder, you can test and survey as much as you think is necessary. I would also pay close attention to your search engine traffic, and check the reports frequently. Another option in today’s online environment is to utilize surveys.

Working offline? Then test all your marketing to see what works and is bringing in new prospects and existing customers. If you are using offline media such as radio, you might mention your website in your ads with a special promo code. Split-test ads to see which ones pull by producing two radio commercials with two different offers. Maybe one directs the listener to your website and then the other sends people to your physical location.

Remember, test everything; track as much as you can and survey periodically to see how you’re doing with your customers and prospects. In the long run you’ll be glad you did and you might be surprised at which ads really work.

If you want to learn more about how you can use testing, tracking and surveying in your small business, checkout My New Guide Here .

Dave K


Decisions and Gut Feelings

As a small business owner you have to make countless decisions every day that not only impact your life but those around you. Ever heard that life is about the decisions we make and actions we take? Does your gut ever tell you to do something and you decide to go a different direction? Gut feelings come into play all the time and you might take notice of them or ignore them.

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Evaluating Business Expansion

“Is Business Expansion for You?”
Is business expansion for you?

How do we hold on to our good employees during this economic down turn? We have spent time and energy training them. More importantly they have become part of our business family and we care about them.
Developing new ventures can be a good option, which brings to mind a conversation I had with a friend a couple of weeks ago. This friend owns an equipment dealership. He is still doing some repair work, but sales are dead.
When my friend evaluated his community he recognized a couple of unmet needs that he could address with his business, which would mean extra work for employees. The friend and his wife took the ideas to the Lord and asked for wisdom. The couple received quick confirmation on one, but were still unsure about the other, which prompted the call to me.
As we discussed this new business venture we reviewed the biblical benchmarks for starting and growing a business.

  1. The business meets a valid need.
  2. The expansion will allow you to keep your priorities in order:
    God – Spouse – Family – Business & Ministry
  3. The expansion will not cause you to violate biblical principles.
  4. You and your spouse agree it is a good idea.
  5. Do we have what it takes to expand:
    Finances – Processes – People – Time

As we ended our discussion I was reminded of another critical element. I asked if he had a passion for this new business. The answer was no, which still didn’t rule out the new business venture, but raised a caution flag. If we don’t have a passion for the business, it can quickly become a drudgery. Most of us could grit it out for a couple of years to help make ends meet, but for the long run this will not be a viable business. Understanding this dynamic should help us use caution in putting too much capital into such a venture. Exiting a venture can be a very expensive and time consuming event, and we need to count the cost before we proceed.