Considering that “70% of small businesses are operated and owned by a single person,” the question arises: Who is doing the marketing?51
Find at least two small service businesses, one that you know to be successful and one that might be hanging on by a thread (hair salons, dry cleaners, mechanics, party planners, florists, etc.). Call and see if you can arrange a time, either on the phone or in person, to ask questions about their marketing efforts. You might want to do a bit of homework before you do. Here are questions that will help you gather information:
- Do they consider what they do to promote their business as marketing?
- Do they have someone who helps them?
- Do they have a website or Facebook page?
- What are the main activities that they do to market their business?
- Do they have a formal business plan? A budget?
- How do they figure out what their budget should look like?
- Are there efforts that they consider successful and anything that seriously did not work?
- Do they respond to the marketing of their competitors?
Of course, there are additional questions that you can ask as time permits. The idea here is to get a good look at what the challenges are to marketing a small business. Is this something that you see yourself doing—perhaps even as a business of your own?