As reported today on MarketWatch (part of the Wall Street Journal’s Digital Network) a recent survey of small businesses indicated that 79% have a neutral-to-confident outlook when it comes to business growth for the rest of 2010. The results contain useful lessons for horse business owners, too.
- They’re doing more with less
- They’re looking for new efficiencies to offset increased costs
- Many of them are anticipating growth in 2010
The 2010 Small Business Attitudes & Outlooks Survey was conducted by Constant Contact (which I’ve used for years for my own email marketing!) in collaboration with several other organizations focused on small businesses, including SCORE, the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC), and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE).
If word of mouth is so important, how are
people finding out about your horse business?
Here’s what I find particularly interesting from a marketing point of view – while 90% of responses indicated that word of mouth was far and away their most important marketing tool, 43% have cut their marketing budget. My question is, how are people supposed to find out about your business, and talk about it, if you’re cutting back on spending in areas that help them know what you’re doing?
It’s also interesting that the study shows small businesses turning to social media and digital tools as a way to get the word out, presumably capitalizing on word of mouth and doing so in a low-cost way, using tools such as Facebook (51%), blogs (29%), LinkedIn (27%), and Twitter (26%).
Equine businesses can do this, too! Many online and social media tools are free or low-cost. They just need to fit with your overall marketing plan and strategy, reach your target markets, and be something you can maintain over time.
Studies have shown that businesses decreasing their marketing spending during economic downturns were at a disadvantage when things improved. Even with a small budget, there are ways you can market your horse business now, to best position yourself for the growth to come.