Six Tips for Better Business

By Stacy Cornay for the Times-Call
Publish Date: 04/14/2013

Tomorrow is the big day.

It's April 15. It's time to pay the piper. If Uncle Sam's tax deadline slipped your mind, you probably tuned out those “responsibility” lectures.

We've all been on both ends of responsibility lectures. Our parents recycled lectures they got from their parents and used the lectures on us. We, in turn, rephrased the lectures in modern terms to guide the behavior of our progeny. Responsibility lectures are predictable. One size fits most circumstances – putting away toys, cleaning rooms, doing homework, coming to a full stop at stop signs, going to classes, doing what you should be doing and stop doing everything else. One word holds all the lectures together. Responsibility.

That's what we as parents emphasize as we strive to remedy perceived shortcomings or to modify the behavior of our offspring. Responsibility. And while we are pontificating on the finer points of responsibility, the eyes of our children are glazing over, just as our eyes glazed when we were young and we were on the receiving end of a responsibility lecture.

In business, responsibilities are matters of great consequence.

Businesses not only have mandated responsibilities to Uncle Sam, they have year-round responsibilities to their clients and customers, their employees, their families and their community. To meet those responsibilities, businesses need to grow and keep their doors open. That means marketing, not just once or twice a year but throughout the entire year.

  • Keep everything fresh. Update your web site regularly. Review and adjust advertising and promotion strategies to keep pace with changing conditions. Freshness keeps old customers/clients and attracts new ones.
  • Put your expertise in the hands of customers/clients. Give people tips on how to do things faster, easier, cheaper and better. As they value your advice, they'll come back for more. Each time they do, you have another sales opportunity.
  • Set your business apart. Don't let the competition set the agenda. Critically assess what makes you different from the competition – lower prices, broader selection, superior customer service, faster delivery, proven results, etc. Stress your advantages in all your advertising. Give people solid reasons for picking you over the competition.
  • Keep your business on course. If you don't have a marketing/communication plan, develop one, then update and adjust it regularly. Use focus groups. Target your audiences. Have defined goals and time lines. Devise and implement strategies for taking your business from where it is today to where you want it to be next year.
  • Sell the steak and the sizzle. Buyers want good products and services. They also want the use benefits. Car buyers are interested in mileage, color and how they will look driving their new car. Clothing buyers want style, quality, positive feedback and attention. Use your advertising and web pages to show results of what your customers/clients are buying.
  • There are few constants in business. Change is inevitable. Rapidly changing technology and aggressive, innovative competitors are just outside your doors.

What you did successfully last year may not work in today's economy. Expect change. Prepare your business for it. Stay current with trends to recognize change at its earliest showings. Then innovate. Shape change to your advantage. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Use a variety of marketing methods to reach multiple target audiences.

These proven marketing techniques will help grow your business. In the process, be mindful that the tax collector will come calling at the same time next year. When Uncle Sam's bagman/woman shows up, forget about paying with a smile. Tried that. Doesn't work.

Uncle Sam wants cash.

Stacy Cornay is the owner of Communication Concepts Public Relations & Advertising. 
Visit or call 303-651-6612.