“Advice To Managers Hiring Small Business Consulting – By A Professional Marketer”

What to look for – and what to avoid like the plague – when you hire small business consulting to help you with small business marketing technique.

Remember that moment of fear last time just before you decided to engage a “professional” to help you improve some part of your small business?

After marketing my own companies, hiring others in small business consulting, and being hired to help more than 3,100 others over a quarter century, these six rules appear more valid than ever . . .

  1. Avoid (or at least never rely for know-how) on any marketing or advertising people who ask either of these two questions:

    a. “How much budget do you have to spend?”
    b. “What do you want to say in your ad(s)?”

    Either one means your guy (or “guyess”) has no idea what you need. You’re trusting the “blind to lead the blind.”

    After some hard fact-finding about your circumstances, they should know what to recommend as a legitimate amount to invest in your advertising and marketing. You don’t have to agree with their idea, but they should know the numbers.

    If they have no idea at all what to recommend, you’re in trouble.

    If they throw out a “catchall” number like 5% of gross sales, you’re in deeper trouble.

    Different business cost structures need different budgeting – and your ad rep or consultant must know how much is too much. A few businesses would require 5% of sales but others would require far less or more. If your own company’s gross margins are only 10%, a 5% ad budget will kill you.

  2. He’ll use a systemized approach to learn everything about your business so he can make ads that really sell. This exercise takes time.

    If she simply asks a few questions and waltzes out the door assuring you she’ll be back with a “killer” ad campaign, don’t bother. You’re about to be subjected to the old huckster hocus-pocus.

  3. Is he enthralled with four-color print ads, or lots of special effects, musical jingles in radio & animation in TV ads? I hate to tell you this, but those “pretties” can get in the way of your “sell.”

    It does pay to have a first class look, but these are also many a marketing company’s favorite way to run up the tab and clean you out.

    Sometimes such ploys help, but if he can’t give you a good reason for them, he has no idea what actually makes ads sell.

    He just wants to be “creative” and use your money for his artistic endeavor. Surely you know by now no creative person in his right mind really wants to subsist on macaroni & cheese and live in a garret . . . not if he can find some sucker to foot the bill.

  4. Does he understand business? Know the difference between gross profit, gross margin, and net profit? Can he read an Income Statement? If not, odds are he’ll just run up your tab.

  5. Does she try to use national-level methods to market your local-level business? To be successful, you need to market each very differently.

  6. Does he try to impress you with “two martini” lunches (maybe it’s “two wine” lunches nowadays)? Exude a pseudo-sophisticated manner? Some advertising people believe they’re in “entertainment,” not business. They’ll cost you money.

    Invite your guy for a sack lunch in your back room and find out how much he really knows. If he thinks the sack lunch is beneath him, odds are you have the wrong person.

Find out. Don’t be afraid to ask many questions. Marketing is hard enough without tying the “ball and chain” of somebody else’s ignorance around your neck.

If you’re looking for reasonable answers to a tough subject, you’re welcome to phone Maverick small business consulting anytime. We know what questions to ask and won’t run you around. Phone us toll-free 800-445-3437 any workday, 9 a.m- 5:30 p.m, Mountain Time. Or . . .

Email us here Your question or first consultation is always free.

After 30 years in the trenches of business and media, much of our reporting comes from behind the scenes . . . stuff you’d never hear from media.

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I wish you well.


Rod Rademacher
Maverick Strategy
4148 S.W. Emland Drive, Suite 7
Topeka, Kansas USA 66606
Phone: 785-783-7756 or
Email us here

P.S. If you’d like to explore more helpful small business marketing technique articles for maverick managers like this one on small business cnsulting, click here for the Table of Contents.

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