Post image for How Small Businesses Can Stay Smart

How Small Businesses Can Stay Smart

by Dave on November 14, 2011

Small businesses have to stay up to date on marketing trends or risk falling behind their competition. Unfortunately the pace of change in online marketing continues to speed up, and our ability to absorb information isn’t increasing fast enough. Advice and how-to information in the various disciplines of marketing is out there, but you have to find it.

Know what you need to know

You just can’t master every subject. The key to your success is focusing on the items you really need to know. For example, unless you are an accountant, it doesn’t make much sense for you to follow the ever-changing details of tax law – it’s a full time job, and would keep you from yours.

Three types of information

I like to divide the wide, wide world of information into three classes:

Areas where you need expertise. These tend to be core functions of your job or your business. If you are a builder, understanding the building codes is a must.

Things you need to understand. This covers items that you need to understand because you use it every day, and things you need to know in order to supervise someone else, like a vendor or an employee. Most business people don’t need to be an expert at computers, but they do need to understand how to use one.

Nice to know, but not necessary. These are things that interest you, but don’t have a direct impact on your business or your job. Origami is nice, but it probably won’t improve your email marketing.

You need to focus on the first two areas, with a more intense focus on your area(s) of expertise. Try to find sources that will summarize information in the areas you need to understand but don’t require expertise.

Find the right sources for your information

The difference between those who successfully keep up and those who get bogged down isn’t so much in the ability to absorb information, but in the ability to select the right sources of information.

There is plenty of information out there. But not all information sources are equal. Some are good, some are great, and some are a flat-out a waste of time. How do you find the good (or great) ones?

Here are some ideas on how to find quality sources:

  • Rely on your experience. If a person or group has been a reliable source in the past, chances are they will continue to be in the future.
  • Recommendations from others. Listen to what others are using – both online or offline. Look for those who regularly share the things they like and the places to avoid. Find a few to follow. You’ll get the benefits of multiple experiences and perspectives.
  • Look for signs of Trust. This is especially important online. Is the information source respected, quoted, shared by others you respect? If they are, it’s a very good chance that they will give you the quality you need.
  • Keep a critical eye. It would be wonderful if everyone is trustworthy, but they aren’t. Occasionally step back and ask yourself if the person or organization appears to be worthy of your time and your trust.

What do I recommend?

I regularly post commentary and helpful links from sources I trust on Facebook and Twitter. If you can’t find what you are looking for, feel free to ask me.

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: