Recently, a friend in Elizabeth City, NC and I had several conversations surrounding what could be done to help people struggling to either get a business started or people already in business who were encountering hard times. I was fiddling around with finding an acronym for a “S.C.O.R.E. On Steroids”* kind of organization (my acronym for that is, naturally, S.O.S. – though of course, we’d never use that one!) and Betty suggested S.I.M.P.L.E. as one to try on. Her original idea was “Success Is Marketing plus Essentials, ” then she thought of “Success Is Marketing Plus Long-range Effects” and challenged me to come up with another one. The title of this article is what I came up with, and here is why I thought these were the needed elements.
*(S.C.O.R.E. is the acronym for the Service Corp. Of Retired Executives, a volunteer organization that is an arm of the Small Business Administration.)
Here is a breakdown of my acronym. [Update: Resources just added!)
Success – well, that needs to be defined carefully. What will success mean to you, the business owner? It is important that you answer the question, “How will I know when I have achieved success?”
Is – meaning something that exists, and furthermore implies an intention to continue existing.
Marketing – this is number one. One isn’t in the widget business; rather, one is in the widget marketing business. Identifying and satisfying customer’s needs is the primary focus here. Also, using market-testing before jumping in and spending money on an idea is cheaper than ever, using AdWords and Facebook advertising to test what is being searched for and check on demographic interest levels now being possible quite inexpensively.
Planning – the business plan, the testing of the plan (via marketing), the tentative 5-year growth plan, the organization of your company, the banking and taxes, and all that sort of stuff that is essential.
Leveraging – taking what you already have that is successful and pumping that back into the organization to help it grow. Taking what is already working well and amplifying that.
Economy – not just the financials and being frugal, though that is important, but also narrowing one’s focus of operations so that it solves one client’s problem extremely well before moving on to solve another problem. “Niching it down” is a common phrase describing this process, or “Narrowing ones niche.” Economy of scale and economy of execution is also what is referred to here. This brings the acronym back around – SIMPLE is better.
Resources – Not just informational ones, but spaces, money resources, venues, transportation and technical help. Also tools. Google’s AdWords, and Facebook, LinkedIn and Bing advertising are all tools for market research, for instance. Free 800 informational phone calls are another. Resources make “simple” simpler.
This may or may not become the name of the new organization we’re putting together to help local businesses with their marketing, but its ideas definitely express where we are going with this!
More to come as I flesh-out the mind-map for this idea!
P.S. – To explain the update: While editing, I thought of one more item that would make this simple idea simpler. That being Resources, of course! So, I suppose S.I.M.P.L.E.R. is a better acronym still!