Failure to market fatal for small businesses

FAILING to market a small business is as fatal as not taking care of its finances.

Small Business Development Corporation acting managing director Bruce McFarlane said marketing was essential for small businesses, especially with globalisation.

“Small businesses need to differentiate their products and services,” he said.

Mr McFarlane said most small businesses had the financial side of their operations organised due to the GST.

“Now they are looking for growth opportunities,” he said.

Mr McFarlane said it was imperative small businesses had a marketing plan as part of their business plan.

“It allows them to assess where they are, where they want to get to and how they are going to get there,” he said.

Mr McFarlane said the SBDC had helped 100 businesses set up business and marketing plans last year through its Small Business Improvement Program.

The program offers grants of up to $5,000 on a dollar-for-dollar basis for small businesses to hire consultants to prepare business and marketing plans.

Marketforce Direct general manager Tony Prescott said distributing leaflets was a useful and cost effective way to reach customers.

“You can be selective in who you target. Just blanketing an area can be a waste of money,” Mr Prescott said.

“You need to know who your customers are.

“The best customers to have are the ones you’ve already got. Repeat business is valuable.

“A lot of people spend a lot of money to prospect customers. Once they get them they forget about them.

“Sponsoring things such as local sporting clubs and charities can also be useful because they can keep you in front of mind.”

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