It’s 2013; get a website already

If you ask a room-full of small business owners whether they have a website, a surprisingly large number will look you straight in the eye and say, "I don't need one." This group tends to include some of the smallest businesses, like handymen, … [Read more...]

Your business card is not an ad

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Work boots are like soccer shoes in the sense that they both provide a protective covering for your feet. But if you play soccer or work in a steel plant, they are anything but interchangeable. Your marketing materials are purpose built in the … [Read more...]

Names make news (2.0)

Photo courtesy of "graur razvan ionut";

Two years out of college, as a young reporter for a business weekly in Upstate New York, I met the crusty old publisher of the Pacific Business News – a business journal in Honolulu. I didn't like him much. I was idealistic and ready to change the … [Read more...]

Make sure value-added really adds value


Value-added is the currency of the new economy. The idea is this: You do business by giving people what they pay for, but you gain and retain customers by adding a little something extra on top. When the Eat 'n Park restaurant chain gives each … [Read more...]

Wants vs. needs? You’re selling both

Seth Godin, one of the best marketing bloggers I follow, says wants and needs are often confused. He writes: That pays off for any marketer that has persuaded his market that they need what he sells. It backfires when those 'needs' are seen for what … [Read more...]

First things first: What game are you playing?

Image: Stuart Miles /

    Strategy before execution. This should be simple. But it's human nature to jump right into doing stuff before sweating out the big questions. For example, a couple prospective clients have put off small, closed-ended … [Read more...]

Everybody’s a publisher now

I moved from the editorial side of the publishing business to the money side in 2000 and my timing couldn't have been worse. In my first month of selling advertising, it was my job to convince would-be advertisers why they should select my … [Read more...]

So much to do that nothing gets done

Many small business owners are not marketers. They'll tell you as much. People start their own business in order to do what they love and do well. Marketing becomes a necessary evil. For many, writing is a chore. Or databases are a mystery. Or … [Read more...]

Privacy: It grows fainter and quainter

In a recent workshop on social media for small business, one owner remarked that she didn't want to start using Facebook for her business because she doesn't want information about her personal life to be available to strangers online. After an … [Read more...]

The Rules of Social Media Content

Rule #1: They don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. (Attributed to many sources including Theodore Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr.) Rule #2: It's not about what you say; it's about what they hear. Rule … [Read more...]