Top critical review
3 people found this helpful
OK but less useful for micro-businesses
on 14 April 2014
I was interested in the book as I am starting up my own new business. The business is completely unrelated to my previous professional career but in that earlier life I did have to undertake a fair amount of business development activities. It would be fair to say therefore that I am coming at this book with some knowledge of how to develop marketing strategies, etc. albeit in a very different environment and on a different scale to the new venture.
By its nature, a book like this cannot hope to address the marketing needs of all types of businesses and the ideas it contains will not suit all businesses. For example, there are repeated references to repeat customers but for some types of business this is not a strong feature - you aren't likely to want to have your garden designed on an annual basis nor are you likely to buy a wedding cake on a regular basis. The (sensible) advice to analyse your client base and see why they return is therefore of limited value in some circumstances: it isn't of much benefit to a local electrician or plumber who is mainly called in to deal with an emergency or to effect repairs that the customer needs rather than wants.
Overall, I thought much of the advice better aimed at the larger end of the small business market, most likely selling physical product of some description or selling a wide range of services. This is borne out by repeated references to employees & staff and a comment on bringing in marketing experts when your annual budget for marketing communications is a mid-five figure number. There is also advice on working with marketing & ad agencies, placing ads in mainstream media including TV & radio - all well and good but of limited use to the typical start-up business. The part I found most useful was in relation to developing a website (something I've not had to think about before as there was someone on hand to deal with this aspect). The part that irritated me most was on the subject of social media marketing. The author is convinced of its value but I know a number of large businesses who have found the effort involved in using Twitter, blogs, etc was not rewarded by any increase in business. I suspect this is something that works brilliantly for some businesses and is a complete irrelevance to others, particularly locally-based service businesses that can fill their order books entirely from plain vanilla 'word of mouth' communication without any need for electronic involvement.
Inevitably, there is a certain amount of 'teaching grandma to suck eggs': telling businesses to answer calls quickly and to have a professional answering machine message, or, for businesses with a physical presence, that the entrance should clean and clear from clutter. It strikes me as unlikely that someone who would go out of his or her way to buy this book wouldn't have enough 'nouse' to figure these things out.
Overall the book is OK - readers will need to take from it what is relevant to their own business and its stage of development.