The Discovery of Bigfoot (Marketing)
Welcome to the world of the curious. Maybe you are wanting to see for yourself if you think that Bigfoot.Marketing is a hoax or a reality. I hope so. Small business owners, including those currently engaged and those thinking about starting a new business enterprise need to follow some important first bigfoot steps:
Or, thought, feeling and action. The order of those is vital, by the way.
You can tap on the questions below to dig deeper or scroll down to get to more related resources.
What is My Back Story?
I work with small business owners, mostly local businesses that provide local products and local services locally. Some of my clients have a broader and wider reach, but the largest majority of them are as I have described.
I have worked with this demographic for over 30 years. My dad was a general contractor and he did a lot of work for and with small business. I started my first enterprise as a professional painter when I was seventeen years old.
I was also engaged in the printing trade at the same time. I did graphic arts (logo design), typesetting, copywriting, camera (darkroom) work and printing ... way back before computers were used in that process.
I continued to work in the printing trade (managing varying sizes of offset, sheet-fed printing plants) and eventually starting my own company. I was a pioneer in selling printing through the internet. Back in those days, when I told people "I used Google" many of them either had never heard of it or they did not know anything about it.
There is a direct correlation from early typesetting code and HTML and that was my sedgeway to the internet. I built my first websites using notepad and starting hosting my own websites in the late 90s.
I Love Small Businesses!
I Love Small Businesses because I love people and people own and manage small businesses.
I love small businesses because in so many ways they are disadvantaged in a business environment that favors big business.
I suppose it is like "cheering for the underdog" or "stopping a bully from abusing someone weaker than them."
I suppose I also love small business because I grew up in a small town and spent a lot of time with small business owners.
They are truly "my people."
It Really is a "Love" thing.
Love defined: concerned for another's welfare. (John 3: 16-18) God so LOVED that He sent His Son. In the story of Jesus, God sent Him to a world that was already condemned NOT to compound condemnation but to save a world that was already condemned.
Love demands action. If you love, you must act. If you really care about someone or something, your heart will compel you to act. I believe if we fail to act upon what our hearts are compelling us to do, it will be a catalyst for depression. Depression is imploded anger and I think in this case, we will be angry at ourselves.
"I Don't Give a Damn!"
Have you ever heard that? The home I grew up in was what people would call today "dysfunctional." That is a mild way to put it. I remember hearing that phrase a lot in arguments. "I don't give a damn!" What that means is "I don't care" or "I don't love", doesn't it.
My success in business is largely due to this,
"I Do Give a Damn"
I give a damn about you and the success of your business. Stated more gently, "I care about you". Stated more emotionally, "I love you."
I may not know you but I already know that I love you.
I actually care about you as a person. I see you as a person of value. I don't see people as "potential money."
I ALWAYS start every new relationship I have with a small business owner or manager by giving them something of real value without the expectation of any reciprocation.
- It is more blessed to give than to receive.
I want to help, so I offer free help. That is the main purpose of this website, because my available time is less and less each year. My time has more demands upon it and I have already spent over half of my earth-bound years.
Love Tells the Truth
I'm sure that 80% of the people that have come to me to pitch their ideas about starting a new business were told "don't do it." Over 90% of all new business startups fail. Failing at a business is not so bad in itself, but it sometimes destroys relationships on it's way down.
As I write this today, I had a call from someone yesterday that was referred to me for consultation.
"___________ told me to get an appointment to talk to you. I am wanting to start a new business".
and my reply was,
"Great, (name), and I'm going to try to talk you out of it!"
That was not the last thing I said, I followed up with something like "the reason I say this is the fact that most small business startups fail and I think your business idea will not work, I will tell you. I'm pretty good at this. I'll be asking you a lot of questions and will give you some things to think about as well as the next steps you should take." ... something like that and now the appointment is scheduled.
Research is at the Heart of Bigfoot.Marketing
Having a fairly clear idea of the problems that a small business (the object of my love) faces, I created a direct mail questionnaire and sent it to over 10,000 small business owners in my state. This was done about 1996 or 1997.
I created this card using BRM (business reply mail) so all they had to do is answer the questions and put it in the mail.
I got about 350 cards back, which to me was very surprising. I was hoping to get at least 100.
The card explained that this was a simple research project and proposed this single question:
What are the 3 Biggest Problems You Face in Business?
The #1 answer was stated in several different ways, but it was something along the lines of "effective, affordable marketing."
It was by far the biggest problem (which was already my suspicion) but I just wanted it confirmed.
The #2 answer was complaints about taxes and regulations.
The #3 answer was related to finding and keeping good employees.
A Decade of Asking that Same Question
I continued to conduct local, scientific polls asking that same question and towards the end, the #3 previous problem had risen to #1.
Effective and affordable marketing has stayed in the top 3 problems small business owners face, but it seems that #1 is now more consistently finding and keeping good employees.