Before I address this notion of your advertising agenda, I wanted you to take a little quiz, of sorts.

So many new tax and ACA regulations are going to be coming down the pike in the next year, that it’s really important that you have your business squared away.

So, here’s the quiz: How many “Yeses” can you answer?

1) I have a financial statement for my business that is no more than 30 days old.

2) I reviewed my financial statement with my bookkeeper or accountant within the last month to pinpoint the potential trouble spots and identify pockets of easy cash.

3) I know exactly which products, departments and services give me the highest ROI (return on investment).

4) I have a year-end tax strategy based on my figures to date.

5) I know how much cash I have and how much I will need next week.

6) I can sleep at night, knowing that my record-keeping will support my deductions if the IRS audits me.

If any of these are concerns for you, especially with the regulatory situation continuing to evolve, let’s discuss ways that we can fix it for you: (410) 224-2600

Now … to switch gears, I want to talk about marketing, and a big myth I see.

And, so you know (and as I’ve clarified before), the reason I do write about marketing so much is NOT to set myself up as some sort of guru — I’m not. But it’s one of the primary (if not *the* primary) factors in your revenue column. I can help you with the planning and expense side … but YOU have to manage the revenue side.

So, I put together ideas I see from my best clients — and I distill them into advice for you. This stuff works.

And this week is about another big myth which is sometimes making ad reps rich … and small businesses, not so much.

Valerie McLaughlin’s
“Real World” Business Strategy Note
The Real Agenda For Your Advertising
“We all start with all there is. It’s how we use it that makes things possible.” – Henry Ford

Advertising is obviously a crucial ingredient of any effective business plan, yet it actually works against many businesses — especially “small businesses”. You see, most small businesses mimic what they see the “big boys” doing (I mean, big mammoth corporations), and that’s like a thoroughbred horse jockey trying to imitate an elephant trainer.

You’ve got entirely different agendas as a small business owner. Many large corporations are engaged more with “marketing” than they are with direct advertising.

You see, to run a successful ad for a small business, it must do one of two things — and do these ONLY:

1) Generate Sales
2) Generate Sales Leads.

Even better — do it in a measurable, quantifiable way.

The best part — when you do this right, then you have no problem ‘getting your name out there’ … but you’ll also make money in the process.

Unfortunately, most businesses simply attempt to “get their name out there,” and it’s very likely that they won’t generate sales OR sales leads with such advertising.

People don’t expect nearly enough from their advertising, and they don’t hold it accountable for results. So they waste thousands of dollars, and then they start pounding their sales people for orders on the 26th of every month.

So … what about when you’re trying to generate leads? Well, don’t try to accomplish very much at that stage.

You must remember that all you’re really trying to do for lead generation is to get people to “raise their hands” and identify themselves as someone who has a problem – and tell you who they are.

Anything more than that, will actually reduce your response. The purpose of pure lead generation advertising is NOT for you to tell them all about yourself – not in the first step anyway.

The only purpose is for them to tell you who they are.

When you do this correctly, it’s simple and effective. And most importantly, nobody feels like you’re chasing them.

And THAT’S a power position you want.

Feel very free to forward this article to a business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.

Warmly (and until next week),

Valerie McLaughlin, EA
(410) 224-2600