As a small business owner, you’ll be given a lot of advice, asked for and not. And while some of it may provide you with the inspiration and guidance you need, other advice might lead you to decisions that will irrevocably harm your company. Here are a few types of bad small business advice you should avoid.
Uninformed Operational Advice
If you want to get qualified advice about how to run your business more efficiently, it’s a good idea to seek other entrepreneurs who have found success in your industry. Ideally, you should seek out someone who has operated in the same market you operate in now. With that in mind, you should be skeptical of advice that comes from consultants eager to sell their services, business people who operated in your industry in the pre-internet era or entrepreneurs who have no experience in your field.
Social Media Evangelism
It seems like a hot new social media platform is always being hailed as the next big thing in online advertising. Digiday recently detailed Snapchat’s plan to develop an API in order to become a big player in e-commerce. In September 2015, Fortune posted a story about Instagram’s “huge” potential as an advertising platform because of its unique targeting capability. And in May 2015, Venture Beat called WhatsApp “a marketer’s dream” because of the possibility of businesses using it to market directly to consumers. But in terms of quantifiable return on investment, email is still king when it comes to marketing online, with a current average ROI of 4,300 percent. Unless it’s backed up by hard data, you should view all social media platform evangelism with a skeptical eye.
Gimmicky Marketing Ideas
In today’s technology driven, hyper-competitive marketplace, it’s more difficult than ever to make consumers aware of your brand. However, burgeoning entrepreneurs should be cautious about using any off the wall marketing gimmicks in their brand building efforts. These include large promotional contests that might be suggested by well-meaning friends and associates who are unaware of the complex legal considerations involved. It’s not a good idea to create marketing content such as an outrageous viral video, without considering how your target demographic will react. It doesn’t take much for a company to alienate themselves from consumers with wholly inappropriate marketing material.
This article was written by Mario McKellop for Small Business Pulse