17 Rules for Marketing & Running a Successful Small Business

Beyond needing high levels of determination, building and running a successful small business requires a certain approach.

To achieve your business growth objectives, follow these 17 marketing rules.

When you do, revenue will increase and you’ll be well on your way to running a successful small business.

#1 — Answer the Question. I know what you’re selling, but why are you selling it? When your prospects agree with you, they’ll buy from you.

#2 — Think Mobile. Assume your message will be viewed on a tiny device. To increase readership, add numbers, subheads and photos. The latter is friendly on the eyes. Remember, most people scan your message. They won’t actually read it until your headline, subheads or graphics capture their attention.

#3 — Pick One Audience. Your customers are drowning in digital clutter. Pick a niche target audience and communicate clearly. Furthermore, stop being afraid of picking a niche for fear of losing business. Scores of clients inhabit niches. Pick one and own it!

Piggybacking Partnership Marketing Small Business Examples#4 — Mingle. Step out of your office and meet face-to-face with other small business owners. Many successful partnership marketing ideas evolved after a firm handshake.

There is nothing more cost-effective than another business promoting yours for free. What’s more, partnering with other reputable businesses increases your credibility.

#5 — Stop Creating Stuff. Finish what you started last year and years prior. By limiting your work-in-progress, you’ll be more able to get things done faster. Keep in mind that every project has an associated cost and, until it’s successfully implemented, holds no value. Lighten your workload by finishing your smallest projects first.

#6 — Profit From Your Time. See number 5.

#7 — Write Short Email Subject Lines. Mobile devices cut messages off after five or six words.

[Related eBook] Email Marketing: Subject Lines that Sell

#8 — Be Present. Get your head out of your device and listen. Active listening leads to subliminal revenue generating ideas. However, you must be present for your brain to capture the information. What’s more, these days most customers do not feel heard. Therefore, by simply listening, you’ll easily distinguish yourself from your competition.

#9 — Spend Money. You must spend money to make money. Create a marketing budget. It doesn’t matter the size. Just start spending strategically and see sales increase.

Questioning where to start? Try a postcard marketing campaign. My significant other just received a postcard from Amazon. The message encourages him to shop at Amazon’s fashion department and included a coupon code. If Amazon advertises using postcards, then you know this advertising channel is not dead. Goliath doesn’t spend without numbers to back up its strategies.

Creating Successful Small Business

#10 — Get Over It Already.

Stop festering about stuff. Put it behind you and move on. Festering and worrying are pointless habits that impede revenue growth. Bust down these tormenting barriers for revenue to flow smoothly.


#11 — Repeat Everything. Let me say it again, repeat your marketing efforts over and over and over again. The latter creates momentum. Plus, most people haven’t seen your marketing messages, or if they have they don’t recall them. Keep at it.

#12 — Use Top-of-Mind Timing. If you want customers to hear you, then tie your marketing messages to the prevailing subject on your customer’s mind. For example, in the case of a blizzard: “Stock up on your knitting supplies before hunkering-down for the storm. Then relax, knit and enjoy the brilliance of Mother Nature.”  

[Related Video] Weather Marketing Ideas

[Related Blog Post] Cold Weather Marketing Ideas & Slogans

#13 — Save Money. Piggyback onto your customers’ habits. As small business owners, our pockets aren’t deep enough to inspire prospects to try something new. Unless you’re Apple or Microsoft, don’t try to convince consumers to alter their behavior. Successful small businesses piggyback onto existing customer habits to expedite the sale.

#14 — Manage Rejection. It happens. Some people won’t like your products, services or you. Find out why and then incorporate these lessons into your marketing plan. Don’t forget number 10!

#15 — Use Video. Your customers’ desire for video is surpassing the written word. What’s more, your videos don’t need to be polished, as long as they benefit the viewer.

#16 — Plan to Succeed. 

Create a 12-month marketing plan. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Two pages is plenty. Put your goals in writing and pair specific marketing activities with each one. Profits follow organization.

#17 — Be Nice. Need I say more? Okay, I will. Remember, the energy you project is exactly what you’ll get back. Smile, receive one back. Snarl…you get my point. More importantly, we don’t know what’s going on in another person’s life at any given moment, e.g., loss of a loved one, poor health, etc.

More Rules

Fire bad clients. Here’s a helpful article regarding why/how to fire bad clients. It includes good questions to ask problematic clients.

P.S. Communicate. Even if you don’t know the answer, say so. Don’t leave your customers in the dark. Send a text/email, make a phone call, offer water or a revised ETA while they wait. Disrupt the question festering in their minds: What’s going on? Of course, how you manage this question will determine if you retain customers for life.

[Related] Sign up for my free monthly marketing tip. Receive creative and practical ideas to help you grow your small business.

How about you? Are there any business growth rules you follow? Please help other small business owners by sharing your ideas in the comment section below.


Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing.

Independently yours,


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