Having worked for both start-up & public companies, my professional "makeover" includes social giving. A few months ago, I applied to become a Pro Bono consultant for non-profits through the Taproot Foundation. Of those who apply to work with Taproot, 45% are accepted. I've been "tapped" as a Strategy Consultant. After an orientation & training in SF last week, I've targeted a few projects on which I would like to contribute. The time commitment is 3-5 hours a week, so I guess my horses will get an extra day off now an then. With a focus on small-business consulting, and a little pro bono, I'm happy to say my career is no longer focused around corporate shareholder value. What's a Taproot? If you're looking for a way to give back by leveraging your professional skills, check out Taproot.
As part of creating my business and marketing plan for Tiger Team, I needed to validate my assumptions. With the goal of providing marketing services to small business owners, I clearly need to totally get their key challenges. I have a boatload of experience marketing to small businesses, and I run two small businesses. Regardless, I need to be sure that I am packaging and marketing Tiger Team services so they truly resonate with & inspire target customers. I put into practice what I preach & did a short survey of 100 Bay Area small business owners. I was only slightly surprised with the results:
- The primary challenge for these businesses is growing sales & improving profitability.
- Only 42% indicated they have a clearly defined business plan.
- Of those with a plan only 25% are on track to meeting their business goals.
- Primarily their marketing is organic, using websites, social media & word-of-mouth.
- Not surprisingly only 35% find their marketing effective in achieving their sales goals!
Creating the Tiger Team Plan
Many of the respondents indicated that they don't have the time or aren't sure how to create & carry out a marketing plan. Almost 1/2 thought they didn't need a plan. At the same time, these respondents said they are not meeting their sales goals & need to grow revenue.
This data plays a big part in how I package and market Tiger Team services. So far, the results are positive. I have a simple step-by-step process that enables a small business to kickstart an effective marketing program.
"One Page - Two Hours - Five Steps"
It may sound a little corny, yet it totally resonates with the customers I pitch. It gives them a straightforward way to organize their planning, plus motivation to seek expert help. This simple kickstart program, moves small business leaders beyond the perception that social media for example, is the panacea for creating sales. Tiger Team Marketing offers three levels of services built around this program and customers contract with us for some or all of the five steps depending on their needs. And one of the best results for Tiger Team Marketing was going through this process ourselves, taking a huge step forward in our own marketing efforts.
Here's an unsolicited plug for SurveyMonkey. Their tool is easy to use, free for basic surveys & full of helpful suggestions. I will definitely use them again.
Georganne Benesch is the principal of Tiger Team Marketing, CMO of Centerline Farm and a over zealous Yoga practitioner. With 25+ years in high-tech product marketing, she consults for start-ups, small businesses and technology companies.