I know there's starting to be a theme of negativity here about our Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs). Don't get me wrong, small businesses are great. They are more fun in general to work in, make a meaningful difference in people's lives and are how all big businesses are starting. I'm all for them. This blog is supposed to be more instructive of things to do and things not to do, but my own personal writing style just gives it a bit of a negative vibe.
That aside, I am continually amazed that small business owners believe they are marketing experts. Almost all of them that I encounter do. I am sure some are, but most are not. You're a good plumber or a good electrician or a good programmer or a good veterinarian or something. But you're probably not a good marketer. Those who are lucky enough to be good at both get really successful (and probably end up as big businesses, or at least medium). Those are who are really only good at their profession stay at a certain size.
These business owners should take a step back and take advice and hire experts. You don't write your own contracts, you hire a lawyer. You don't do your taxes, you hire a CPA. (OK, maybe you do this all yourself, but again: Not a Good Idea!) So why do small businesses insist that they market themselves? "No, I don't need to advertise." Really? You have so much business you don't want more? Really, you believe the word of mouth is all there is? Really?
No, I think many businesses would be more successful for longer if folks engaged with marketing resources. Yes, marketing is hard to measure. Yes, marketing can be hard to understand. But find the right marketer and you will do well. Because whatever slogan you think is great (reference here my first slogan: inexpensive, high-quality website design) is not. Just accept it and go hire someone to help.